Titus Stephen West

My sister asked me why I did my first character profile for Scarlet Rose on a man who was hardly even in the first book. Because I wanted to, for some reason, I suppose. But the character today plays quite a big role in all three books.
Meet Titus Stephen West. At twenty, he’s the oldest child in the West family. Anna is two years younger and they’ve always been close. Ever since a narrow escape from Reasoner police, when Titus was only six, Anna has looked on him as a bit of a hero. And Titus has viewed her protection as his own personal duty. This isn’t to say he didn’t love his other siblings as well; they were all dear to him and when his mother, David, Bethany, and Sarah died, he masked his sorrow in silent grim work to save as many others as he could. And the incident has only enforced his protective attitude toward his two remaining sisters, Anna and Elizabeth. 
Though two years have passed, and his sorrow has dulled, Titus is still serious, cautious, and very intense…and not without reason seeing he’s faced the possibility of death his whole life. He isn’t without a sense of humor however, which can appear at the most unexpected times…normally in the form of a very dry or sarcastic comment. 
Titus is a strong Christian. He also has very strong political views…mainly that the Reasoners need to be thrown out of the government and the people should reclaim their freedoms. He is willing to fight for what he believes, but isn’t going to lead a rebellion himself. He doesn’t plan on getting married until America is free, however. And he intends to spend his whole life in the meantime doing what he does best, protecting the innocent.
How does he do this? Well, you must promise to keep this a secret but Titus is the second most powerful man in Gideon’s Sword. He is in fact, Sword himself…the code name referring to the leader of the military part of Gideon’s Sword. Though the Christians do not attack Reasoner patrols, they do set up sentries around safe houses and house churches and will defend themselves and buy time for the woman and children to escape. Titus has also led over a dozen successful prison breaks to rescue Christians the Reasoners have captured. 
A few fun facts about Titus. He loves chess and refers to his sister, Anna, as the queen. He likes old classics, like Lord of the Rings and a particular seven book fantasy series by a certain author, Hope Schmidt (well, perhaps not). His favorite color is deep indigo blue and he likes to wear steel tipped boots. He carries several knives and is an excellent shot with about any gun.
Titus is a great friend, a loyal comrade, and a confident fighter. His friendship is a great asset. And if you are his enemy…well, all I can say is watch out. And, under no circumstance, mess with his sister. 

Swimming

Kicking on my back
Swimming lessons are over. It’s a bit sad, since they were quite fun, but I’m looking forward to getting back into normal life. Well, as normal as life ever is here. 
So, a two week review. What have I learned? Well, I wouldn’t say I could ‘swim’ but I can float on my back and move around by kicking my feet and stroking with my arms. So maybe I can count that has half swimming. Also, I can tread water…kind of. The boys can move a bit better than Joy and I, and Noah and Luke were jumping into deep water then paddling back to the pier. Us older ones did that some as well, but a bit more cautiously. 
Enjoying water I can stand in
The highlight of the week was jumping off the diving board. Our teacher/life guard, Josh, had a flotation ‘tube’ he’d give us as we came up if we needed it. But we also used the jump as an opportunity to see if we could tread water without drowning. We were taught a few dives too, on our last day, which I didn’t do very well at. Noah could manage them, though Luke belly flopped most of the time. He (Luke) was crazy…running down the diving board and jumping into the Lake. But he can probably swim the best of all of us so I didn’t stop him.
A fun shot I got of my sister.
Jumping off the diving board is an exhilarating experience. First you are plummeting down, down into the water and then a few kicks and suddenly you’re shooting back up and a moment later your head breaks from the water. Thrilling. Of course, I’ve yet to try it on my own. I’m sure I can do it, and yet the thought of jumping into such deep water, without a life guard waiting for me, is intimidating. Still, I plan to do it the next time we go to the lake. That probably won’t be until the middle of August, but I look forward to it. 

Tramping of Feet

One of my first articles was on the speed and distance of horses. Now I’ve decided to write about the same topic as it relates to men and armies.
runningA healthy adult, who is used to walking, can walk an average of 20-30 miles a day. Many trained walkers finish the 26.2 mile Portland Marathon in around seven hours…without taking breaks. If the walker does take breaks 20 miles a day is reasonable, while a steady walker with no breaks could cover 30 miles a day. Historically, the Western pioneers, where many people walked along with the wagons, normally covered around 20 miles a day.
The official average of a human’s walking speed is 3.1 mph. Now, obviously, there are variations to this speed if someone is old, young, or sick. Or if they haven’t walked very much. According to one account, a beginner can walk six miles in two hours fairly easily while ten or more miles will likely cause some blisters.
Doctor Who
Figuring out running speeds is a bit trickier. People (and note that I’m talking about healthy trained adults) can sprint at 15.9 mph which equals 100 meters in 13-14 seconds. Now, seeing the Olympic qualifying time in 2012 was 10.18 seconds for 100 meters in the case of men (11.29 for women) the average person may or may not be able to run that quickly or for that long.
A moderately fit man should be able to run a mile in nine minutes. Two or three minutes can be cut off for a trained man and the record of a mile hovers under four minutes.
Maze Runner
For distance running, I was finally forced to look up marathons for information (everything else seemed to be about health and fitness). In any case, the average finishing time for a 26.2 mile marathon in the USA is four hours, nineteen minutes for men and four hours, forty-four minutes for women. This equals a 9.5-10.5 mph speed kept up for the better part of a day. Elite marathon runners can finish the race in a little over two hours, but this is not a common case.
Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, in Lord of the Rings
If a runner is needed in a story (or if it is the main character running) it’s not unusual for them to travel faster than the average person, so here are a few running records to give you something to base your times on. Remember, however, that the speeds listed below are on smooth tracks…not cross-country as most runners in a book will probably be.
Mile: 3 minutes, 43 seconds
5000 meters: 12 minutes, 37 seconds
10,000 meters: 26 minutes, 18 seconds
Half a Marathon: 58 minutes, 23 seconds
Marathon: 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds
Records that might be a bit more applicable include cross country times of 1 hour, 11 minutes for half a marathon.
Army in The Hobbit
And finally, army speeds. 15-18 miles a day seem to be about the average speed (with the army traveling around seven hours a day). 5-10 miles a day could be reasonable for a peasant army while a fully mounted army could travel around 30 miles a day. Forced marches, obviously, could would move the army faster for a day or two, perhaps doubling the average speed.

Walking source

Marathon source

Running record source

Army marching source

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Kagan Trent

So I’ve decided to do character profiles for Scarlet Rose, one a week for..well, I don’t know for how long. For awhile. So, first off, Kagan Trent. 
Kagan Trent is 34 and is a quite complicated character. He’s a minor character in Scarlet Rose, though his importance will grow through the next two books…and I still haven’t figured out an end for him. He is, simply put, a Reasoner interrogator in a prison in Elkbend, and quite a ruthless interrogator at that. 
While a child, Kagan had a rocky relationship with his father. His parents divorced when he was just five. He never knew his mother very well…she died when he was sixteen. His father, however was stern. He taught his young son that working hard and gaining a good position was all that ever mattered. But no matter how hard Kagan worked, nothing was ever good enough. And, though Kagan’s father died six years ago, Kagan is still determined to rise higher and higher, proving his father’s ideas about him wrong.
Currently, Kagan is working as an interrogator of Christians and Rebels in East Elkbend Penitentiary. His goal is to become chief interrogator of the whole of Elkbend with a possibility of moving on to larger prisons in Chicago, the capital of the United Reasoner States. And his present assignment is finding the Scarlet Rose and wringing from her information about the Christian underground. The problem? He has a suspicion that Anna West, the Christian girl who was arrested a few days ago, either knows about the Scarlet Rose or may actually be the Rose. Only she’s been mistaken for another prisoner and had her memories replaced, so not only can Kagan not question her but she’s loose, thinking she is someone else, and liable to remember her own identity any time and take off to the wind. He wants her in a cell but Oliver Pent and the scientists will have none of it.
In any case, Kagan is cruel. He’ll do what he needs to get done what he wants. If you make him angry, there’s no telling what he’ll do, probably kill you…you you’re lucky. But, in recent times, his focus has been so on the Scarlet Rose that he sometimes lets others go. He has a tender spot for young lads and for dogs. He loves the beasts. A dog was his only friend when he was young and he always seems to have a few about his house…normally strays that he’s rescued.  
A tragic character, obsessed with finding the Scarlet Rose, Kagan hates Christians and has no love for the Reasoners. And all he sees before him is a chance for power. And beyond that, nothingness.
Kagan Trent, on duty

Swimming and Hats

Swimming classes started this week…or at least that was the idea. We have classes half an hour a day, five days a week, but we’ve only gone two days so far. Monday it stormed and then Wednesday and Thursday it was too cold…in the 60s and low 70s despite being the middle of July. Beautiful weather, but not good for swimming. 
Anyway, on the two days we have gone, we worked on floating, which most of us could do fairly well, and then started the flutter kick. I’m getting the hang of it, meaning I can propel myself forward part of the time, Hopefully next week I’ll improve even more (providing the classes don’t get canceled again). The weather is supposed to be warmer though, and there’s talk of adding some extra days since we missed so many this week. 
On Friday, after our second lesson, I was able to jump to the front of the shower line and then Mom and I went out shopping. We had a few things to pick up and then went to the Goodwill where I found some more hats! Some of you might know of my ‘writing hat’ that I ended up wearing almost all the time. Well, I found two more hats of a similar style. Though I still like my brown one the best, I now have a few choices to pick from each morning.
My ‘old’ writing hat is in the center, with the new ones flanking it.

Griffins

In the past months, griffins have begun to fascinate me. I desperately want to put them in a story, but so far have no ideas. Maybe that’s a good thing…I have too many books lined up to write as it is. Still, perhaps someday… 
In any case, here are a few griffin inspiration pictures I’ve found on Pinterest. And I’m hoping to make up some more of my own writing prompts to post in the coming week.
Alone
Captive
To War
Hunting
Watch from the skies
Messengers
And I thought all these different griffin variations were pretty neat.