Meet a Character, Episode 1: Cray!
(From the perspective of book 1, without toooo many spoilers)
Cray has been my main muse for about five years now. And by that I mean that he rarely leaves me and my brain alone. When he’s not back-seat writing, he’s scoffing at my putting cream in coffee and screaming at me for not cleaning my knife properly. Don’t worry though. He likes to eat the leaves of strawberries, which warrants plenty of teasing back.
I know it’s obviously silly it is to say, but looking ahead to my other characters and their weirdness, Cray is from Earth – Swords, Ireland in specific, ironic considering that Cray is a bladesmith. He made his first knife at the young age of 11 and has been working metal every since. He officially passed the Journeyman Bladesmith test in his late teens, but his mark of ‘Master,’ unfortunately, only came with the title of King’s Royal Blacksmith (so sad). Why didn’t he officially pass the Mastersmith test, you ask? Well Earth is kinda ‘toast’ some may say, but we won’t linger in that right now. Along with being a king’s head blacksmith, Cray protects one of the king’s high officers/knights; Cray is dubbed a squire. It is his job (according to Cray) to ‘basically keep the eejit alive, because he won’t do it by himself when all he eats is pastries for breakfast.’ Cray is super particular about breakfast items, and in my opinion, he needs to calm down about his boss’ eating habits. It’s really not that big of a deal, Cray. Anyway, he cooks, cleans, would take out the dog if they had one, and helps with any task boss needs. Most importantly, he’s a very-needed drinking buddy. Being a king’s high officer is stressful business, and Cray is happy to try all the alien drinks necessary to keep anxiety at bay.
Cray would describe himself as ‘bleeding sexy,’ but let’s go a little bit more into detail. Cray is a lot freaking taller than me, 6’2″ to be exact, and is relatively slender. As a blacksmith, you could probably guess that he has the arm strength to rip a car door off. He doesn’t – well, he DIDN’T – work out when he lived on Earth, but now, it’s, like, basically his job to be a bodyguard, so he works out a lot more than he cares to. He has dark hair, keeps tidy scruff, and has dark hazel eyes that shine like honey in sunlight. He likes to think he’s edgy with his ear guages, snakebites, and tats, but he knows he’s really just a big teddy bear…usually. I mentioned ripping car doors off for a reason.
Cray has a wide variety of interests, some of which I really shouldn’t say here. Setting those aside, Cray’s number one interest besides forging is rum. Unfortunately, the brands he enjoys are not easily found off-Earth, so he has come to enjoy a range of drinks from different planets. He also greatly enjoys eating, and he is not picky at all. Remember, he eats strawberries whole, leaves and all. What a lunatic, right? He enjoys his coffee with two sugars and no cream but likes his breakfast tea with a splash of milk. His favorite food is mansef, an Arabic lamb and yogurt dish, and grape leaves (those, I can absolutely agree on). Cray’s favorite pass time is doing literally anything remotely dangerous. He once tested the quality of his homemade chainmail by wearing it and having a friend attempt to hurt him. That uh…didn’t end well as you could imagine. He at LEAST learned his lesson and will be the first to tell you not to self-test armor, lest you end up stabbed with two knives inches about your heart. Then again, I found him a few years later throwing a handful of flammable objects into lava. He’s gotten a lot better as an adult, but we’ll just go ahead and say that he’s not one to think things through fully.
Cray’s taste in music has changed a lot over the years. As a kid, he found peace by listening to Gregorian chants and an artist named Enigma. Those turned into Electo Swing and EDM, namely Kaskade, Tiesto, and Secret Lab (not really EDM, but close enough). As a teenager, rock was his go-to, bands like Metallica, Korn, and Breaking Benjamin. Now, he listens to just about anything, but his favorites are Seven Lions, Crywolf, and Red. Whatever music he listens to, it needs to be fast-paced and something he can dance to or work out energy. Bonus points if it has a beat he can forge with! Unfortunately, I know that in the future (think books 5-6ish), Cray is going to be corrupted to like a lot of rap music. I 100% blame his boss. 🤮 I apologize if you enjoy rap music, but you can jam it out with Cray instead of me.
Someone did ask what Cray’s favorite film would be, but honestly, he doesn’t watch Earth movies or shows. They are impossible to come across in his current home. He doesn’t miss them. He was never one to spend time sitting down not doing anything for hours. Cray has to be constantly moving, doing something active, or mingling with people. As an introvert myself, I’m shocked his energy doesn’t exhaust me. I do know that he would absolutely adore to be on Forged in Fire, but he never got the chance.
Now getting into a bit deeper topics. He’s been asked a few other questions. I’ll try not to include too many spoilers.
What makes him hurt? Who wounded his soul? Does he want revenge or redemption?
A lot of things have made him hurt in his life, but he’s incredibly thankful for the people that have helped him overcome. He has been through Hell in countless ways. There are plenty of topics that instantly grab his heart and squeeze. He was hurt by those closest to him over the course of his life, and the only reason he survived it all was his best friend, Jupiter. As for revenge/redemption, Cray made that decision long ago. Now, he lives with the mental consequences of those decisions, even if they were the “right” choices. Cray went through years of torturous self-care, and in the end, he came out on top of many of his demons. However, some will always linger, and he has to push through them daily. And with that, we move on to the next question:
What makes him happy? Who does he love? Does that person love him as deeply and passionately?
People make Cray happy. He’s been blessed with more good people in his life than bad. Jupiter and Jupiter’s family has been a constant source of light and strength. They have saved him in ways Cray could never quite express. He considers them as his own family, and they welcomed him with not only open arms, but a place of safety and rest as well. Off-Earth, Cray has met some of the most amazing people of his life. Cray is someone who needs a lot of attention and reassurance, and he is blessed to have found that in his new life. He is in the best place possible, and its all due to the love and care of good people.
What would he rather be doing?
Forging. Literally always forging. Making blades is his ultimate passion. It keeps him focused, de-stressed, calm, and active, all the things that Cray needs in order to function correctly. Sure, it makes him happy too, but it’s more of a therapy for him rather than a way to find happiness.
Who does he see in the mirror?
He sees someone who has overcome the impossible. He sees someone he is proud of. He sees someone who works as hard as he can every day to be a good person. And most importantly, he sees a sexy ass mofo (his words, not mine).
And last but not least, our closing question: what would he sell on Shark Tank!?!
He’s never seen Shark Tank, so I had to explain it to him. He has no idea what he would sell, because off-Earth, he now has everything he could ever want. He does miss legitimate rum though, so he would attempt to find the closest alien thing to molasses and start a business selling “Earth style” rum across the planets.
Do you have any questions or comments for Cray? When answering, I will do so from his perspective. Warning: he does have quite the mouth on him, so be prepared. 😉
*Art by me. You can check out my FB art page at Melissa Beth Newton.*