Honor Bound: Creme de la Creme 4—Protect a boarding school as a military bodyguard! [Ch 5 public/Ch 6 Patreon, updated Apr 8]

Not knowing anything about the other characters at this point, I want to smooch the kitteh.

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Can I convince the person responsible for making me so stressed that a cat showing it’s belly is really an invitation to blow the tummy fur up towards it’s little face?

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There’s definitely at least one character who is gullible enough to believe it, and a cat for whom it is true, and a cat for whom it really isn’t. Cat roulette to commence.

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Bonus points if the cats are named Boris and Natasha! Kitteh Russian roulette…

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The cat for whom it isn’t true responds to bellyblowing by clawing your face off. Let’s see which contestant is ready to put it all on the line in today’s! edition! of! Wheel! of! Furballs!

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I’m ready. I’ve been through the previous ones in this series, so I’m ready.

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Here’s a more detailed look at two of the major characters of Honor Bound, Fiore and Catarina! As parent and child, they’re strongly linked, and their relationship with each other is tracked as well as your relationship with them as individuals. In order to get very close with Fiore, you’ll need to have a solid relationship with Catarina too; Fiore won’t want to be close with someone who isn’t kind to their daughter.

Via military higher-ups, Fiore has arranged for you to guard Catarina while she’s living away from home at boarding school. It’s your choice how - and if - you’ll shape Catarina’s school life, and what connections - friendship, romance, or something else - you’ll build with Fiore along the way.

Fiore

Fiore:

Full name: Honored Fiore Roldan

Age: 35

Gender: selectable between trans man (he/him), trans woman (she/her) and transfem (they/them)

Background: an eminent scientist awarded a title for their contributions to agricultural science five years ago, though they haven’t done much of note since then. They grew up in the capital of Teran, New Belmir City, and still live there in a luxurious but empty house. They married young, had a single child, and are now widowed.

Personality: serious, anxious, intelligent, protective

MBTI: INFJ

Appearance: mid-height and heavily built, with dark skin, brown-black eyes, and black tightly coiled hair.

Style: Fiore currently wears their hair in braids reaching to their upper back and carefully tied back. Their clothes are tastefully expensive and not entirely practical; smart-casual in everyday, glamorous for special occasions. They like the colour lilac.

At their best: intellectual, measured, caring

At their worst: fussy, indecisive, overcautious

You’ll like Fiore if you like… someone quietly smart, who’s eager to be liked, who (over)thinks before acting, who’s considerate, for whom still waters run deep, who cares fiercely and is a devoted parent but who sometimes finds it hard to connect.

You’ll like romancing Fiore if you like… a slow burn, mutual support in the face of old regrets and new problems, forming a new family, being looked after, reconciliation, facing up to mistakes, intense long-repressed emotions, and someone who will take charge in a caring way if you’re into that.


Catarina

Catarina:

Full name: Catarina Roldan

Age: 14

Gender: cis girl (she/her)

Background: Catarina grew up in New Belmir City with her parents Fiore and Jaime. When she was 8, they divorced, with Fiore taking primary custody; when she was 10, Jaime was killed in a road accident. Catarina has a keen mind and is unafraid to tell people when she thinks they’re wrong. Her dearest goal is to go into scientific research related to the young field of computing.

Personality: ambitious, perfectionistic, contrary, enterprising

MBTI: ISTJ

Appearance: plump, going to be taller than Fiore, with dark skin, dark brown eyes, and tightly coiled black hair.

Style: Catarina currently wears her hair in two puffs. When not wearing the golden Ozera school uniform, she likes to wear wide-legged trousers and turtleneck sweaters.

At her best: friendly, determined, eager

At her worst: stubborn, seeing things in black and white, inconsiderate


Fiore and Catarina

Fiore and Catarina: Fiore truly wants nothing but the best for Catarina but is finding it difficult to let go and allow her to spread her wings. Concerned for her wellbeing, they don’t want her ambitions to push her into burnout; they’re also anxious for her safety in the light of their fame.

Catarina and Fiore: it’s been a tough few years for the two of them. Although they’ve had support from family and friends through the divorce and bereavement, they have found it difficult to connect and are often at odds. In particular, Catarina finds Fiore’s anxiety patronising, and chafes at the idea that “it’s the taking part that counts, not the winning”. Why would she not want to win?

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I’m going to like Fiore, I think. Their personality is basically me (I’m an INXJ, so maybe a tiny bit more cerebral in my decision-making process). And they’ll take charge and look after me? Yes please, I’m already in love. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

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Awww, I hope you’ll like them! I have found writing them delightful and it’ll be even more fun to eventually write them unwinding a little.

Fiore is absolutely the most nerdy of the adult main cast, though they aren’t doing very personally fulfilling work currently and haven’t followed up on their big success from a few years ago :disappointed_relieved: There are also a fair amount of enthusiastic academics among the teaching staff. I’ll be posting more about the second most nerdy major character this time next week (cliffhanger, hoho!).

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Is there a Darcy/Professor of Magical Studies influence I detect here?

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Fiore sounds much too considerate to be inspired by Darcy.

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The “not doing very personally fulfilling work currently and haven’t followed up on their big success from a few years ago” was where I was drawing the connection, but I may be seeing shadows where none exist :woman_shrugging:

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Ahhhh, fair enough!

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HELP you do quiet & intense LI’s so well, I already know my poor bodyguard is going to be head-over-heels before he know what’s happened to him. Do you think you’ll do faceclaims or picrew icons for the characters later down the line? Would love to know exactly how bad the crush is gonna get :sweat_smile:

As an aside: it’s really cool that both Fiore and Catarina are fat! IDK if other people feel like this, but it gets kinda tiring for me when every character in every setting has the same lean, athletic build. I know that you tend to have a great variety of body types but it is just nice to see fat characters in IF.

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Hear, hear!

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An intriguing theory! :zipper_mouth_face:

@vignatic eeee thank you! Being clearer about character appearances is something I’ve been working on over time - when writing Noblesse Oblige I had clearer images in my mind and I’m pleased that that’s carried through to Honor Bound as well. The Honor Bound characters are all very attractive to my mind but not all of them would be Hollywood star material - and that’s not a bad thing at all :smile:

Because of that, though, I haven’t been able to find perfect face claims for all the characters, especially finding out trans people as references for the trans characters. I found actors that suit all the iterations of Savarel, but for everyone else I’ve either just found one, and/or I have a sort of composite of features//vibes in my head (which was how I put together the Noblesse Oblige characters in my head). So… something like this hairstyle or perhaps something like this, or this with less shaved sides is what I have in mind hair wise. Hamza Yassin’s science enthusiasm and self-effacing manner makes me think of Fiore even if Fiore wouldn’t have the ability or desire to enter a dance contest and Hamza is a lot more muscular; while Aida Osman is younger and thinner than Fiore, this lovely picture of them looking preoccupied puts me in mind of them; neither exactly match. Janelle Monae has a wonderful focused, anxious/mournful look sometimes that makes me think of them too. I think Fiore’s male body shape may be similar to that of Harvey Guillen. I’ll probably spot more over time so if I do, I’ll post here!

  • Alex Newell is a reference who works very well for nonbinary Fiore! This one’s great too.
  • Ceval Omar for female Fiore… since she’s a model, all her pictures are mostly SUPER SERIOUS/SULTRY which isn’t very Fiore but perhaps this picture would make sense for Fiore on an unusually chilled-out occasion
  • Brian Michael Smith, for male Fiore; Fiore has different hair, and Brian Michael Smith is thinner, but the big eyes and slightly soulful but restrained look in this picture are perfect

If I have cash to spare I’d enjoy commissioning artwork, but it adds up a lot to account for all the gender selectableness. (I might commission something of Catarina and at least one of her pals - we’ll see!)

I went through a picrew-searching period before I started writing, haha! Similarly I found it quite hard to find “realistic” picrews that include varied body shapes and ages. The ones I found the best-suited were ones that were more cartoony - so there was this chibi one that was cute. Even if it doesn’t exactly match my internal image of Fiore - especially their body shape! - it does manage to capture some aspects of them. Spoilered as I know not everyone likes to see rough approximations of characters and will prefer to imagine!

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Thank you for the long response! Yeah, I can see how finding ‘perfect’ FC’s gets difficult – it ends up like trying to create a composite or constellation of different vibes in order to give an impression of what someone might look like rather than one solid ‘reality’. Same w/ picrews – though the one you chose is one of my favs!! (& Fiore looks so cute, I love seeing a character’s signature color)

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Thank you everyone for your continued interest! I will be posting more about another character on Tuesday - and in the meantime here is a little progress news update.

Current wordcount: 105998
Wordcount change in the last fortnight: +18050
Average playthrough wordcount: 29296

I’ve been coding Chapter 3, which is turning into some sort of behemoth already - I keep saying this but the chapters are turning out larger than I intend with each one, but at the same time I don’t want to skimp on those early getting to know characters / slice-of-life sections, especially when this chapter includes some early starting-romance stuff… Just with code and placeholder text it’s already almost 10,000 words. Next time I do one of these I hope to say that I’ve finished the chapter coding: I’m not too far from the end. Even though today I’ve been very tired and the first thing I did was cut 500 words of code…

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It’s a very good idea not to skimp on the getting-to-know-you sections. I also have to remind myself to do the same as well. It helps set the tone and foundation for what to come next. Looking forward to the romance sections as well!

Secondly, please take care and remember to rest! I don’t want to see this rushed!

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Time to stop working and go plop down on the couch with a tub of icecream.

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