Good god, where has the year gone? It’s already August and it feels like New Years was like, a month ago… They say time flies when you’re having fun, but to be honest, time never moves faster than when you’re juggling deadlines and praying for a few extra days at the end of the week just to keep caught up. July was definitely another month of me trying to get myself caught up, and while marginally successful in that regard, I’ve still got a lot I need to get working on to be in a good place come October. For that reason, let’s keep things simple this month and do another character profile.
Ever since I posted the Corbet profile I’ve had several people ask for a Ruari one. I held off on it for a bit since I just didn’t think Ruari’s profile would be as interesting as Corbet’s—after all, Ruari’s backstory was explored pretty heavily over the course of Deluge and Apricity. He had a lot more screen time, and his past played an active role in the events of the series. I figured there wasn’t a whole lot more to tell when it comes to him, but I don’t know, maybe there’s some tidbits of lore hiding in the recesses of my memory that’ll give you guys something new to learn about him!
Let’s get to it!
I suppose I’ll start with some general fae lore since Ruari being fae in my worldbuilding inhibits the concept of a “childhood” the way Corbet had. If you guys recall, there’s the concept of a “Spring” in the series as a sort of origin point for fae. It’s called that because it happens in Spring but also because fae “spring” into existence. I don’t think I ever got more detailed about it than that—as we’ve covered in previous Tempest deep dives, I didn’t plan this series as well as I would today and therefore didn’t bother coming up with particulars or specifics on what “springing into existence” entails. In vague terms, it’s meant to imply that every spring nature spawns new fae. During Petrichor we learned that sometimes nature makes mistakes, such as the Twins’ situation, but for the most part, it’s a normal, natural process that births new fae into existence a handful at a time.
If you've ever been curious about Ruari’s birthday or zodiac, I’m sorry to say that information like that doesn’t exist. He was just one fae of maybe half a dozen born around the year… 300 C.E.? Maybe 400? Again, I’ll have to apologize because it’s been so long since I’ve thought about Tempest minutiae that I’m not positive if I ever specified how old Ruari is. I know he’s younger than Aisling and Avenir by a fair amount, but still very old compared to most fae in the time of Corbet’s inception into the story. Brontide is set in the mid-1400s, if I recall correctly. I know he’s at least a thousand…?
What I can be more concrete on is his life AFTER his creation. Ruari joined the royal guard. He had to work his way up the ranks like anyone else, proving his merit as he went, and it was there that he met some of the familiar faces that survived the centuries at his side, namely Corin and Gali. He would have met Eolande there as well, though Eolande was older than him and already established within Aisling’s ranks—though not yet her personal guard. That occurred after Eolande countered an attempted assassination contrived by Unseelie insurgents when the treaty between the Courts was far less stable than it became in “modern” times. I’m only mentioning Eolande in a Ruari overview because we own them for Ruari getting the chance to prove himself as a military leader. It was Eolande who, after rising up to become Aisling’s personal bodyguard, nominated Ruari to fill their position in their stead.
After that, it’s fairly present in canon what happened next with Ruari. He established himself as a captain of the guard, earned Aisling’s personal trust, and was well loved among his soldiers. When the war between the Courts and Milesians broke out, he was on the front lines from day one with his army to stop the enemy’s progression towards the Courts. While so far from Aisling, he had an unrestricted view of the banality of the war they were fighting, of the pointlessness of it, and the sheer amount of death being wrought all the same. At some point you hit the point of no return—there’s a cost sunk fallacy reference in all of this somewhere, and it spirals into the situation we see so clearly on display in Deluge. Aisling called to surrender and Ruari couldn’t stomach the thought after all the death he’d seen. He staged a coup with the remnants of his loyal army, slaughtered those who opposed him, and crowned himself King in hopes of reclaiming the world above the Sidhe.
The thing I still really like about this series—and specifically the dynamic between Ruari and Aisling—is that everyone makes the best choice they have at the moment of truth. And yet, it’s still always the wrong one. Hindsight is a bitch. Aisling saw her own horrors and simply desired to spare everyone from further ones. She capitulated and reaped the consequences in turn. Ruari saw his share of blood and despair and desired to find meaning in all of that sacrifice, to honor those who had died by continuing to fight on. He rebelled, usurped, and realized quickly enough that there was never any chance of winning the war—but by then, it was too late. Everyone makes their choices and learns that the ripples of fate are far more disruptive than their own limited perspective ever could have led them to believe. Corbet himself carries that theme, too. The events of Brontide and his spiraling mental health in Petrichor showcase for the reader how badly these sorts of decisions ferment in a mind unaccustomed to living with an eternity of guilt one one’s shoulders.
But let’s get back on track. I originally came up with Ruari’s backstory and overall Vibe while researching Emperor Constantine. He was sent into Britain with his army to fight alongside his father, one of the members of the Tetrarchy (a group of four men who served emperors of Rome). After his father died, his army declared him Emperor outright. They served under him and fought the civil wars that followed, emerged victorious, and saw Constantine crowned sole Emperor of Rome. I wanted to capture in Ruari the sort of person you’d have to be to inspire such faith in battleworn soldiers. It was treason they asked him to commit by declaring himself sole Emperor the way he did, and their faith in him was so strong that it was worth the risk of him failing. You’d have to be a special kind of leader to inspire half of what those soldiers felt towards Constantine. I tried to make Ruari that kind of person, or at least my best attempt at what I thought I could manage.
Ruari, at his core, is a soldier who yearns for the light. He takes his duty seriously but was well known as a flirt and heartbreaker before his ascent to the throne. After that, he lost a lot of his levity. I didn’t write Brontide with enough pre-canon in mind, and therefore lost a lot of my chances to make Ruari’s perusal of Corbet more meaningful than what it came off as, but I do want to stress now that Corbet was the first mortal Ruari ever stole, the first person he’d tried to romance with any sincerity since he became king, and was generally just the first chance Ruari took on attempting personal, selfish happiness after his stint in war, usurpation, and the killing of his kin—and then the failure to bring about the change he killed to attempt. What we see of Ruari in Brontide is a glimpse of the old Ruari before everything went to shit for him. I think that’s why Corin and Gali were so intent on helping him, so supportive of Corbet’s presence there, and so determined to keep Corbet alive when Avenir launched their assault on the Seelie Court. He’s the first selfish thing Ruari’s let himself want and they wanted him to have it without being punished for the attempt.
I wish Ruari had more of an unseen backstory to divulge, but given how the story went, he had a lot of his life told on screen. Hopefully, that was still interesting for some of you, and maybe there was something new learned? If not, maybe this next segment will shed some light on new corners of Ruari’s character. Let’s move on to some fun facts and fan submitted questions from Instagram, Twitter, and Discord!
The name “Ruari” translates into “Red King” and is one old spelling for the name Rory—it’s also pronounced the same, so sorry for all of you out there saying it some other way XD
Ruari’s love of baths comes from his time spent in the field. He couldn’t bathe much then and it’s his number 1 way to relax and destress
He’s 6ft 1 I believe… maybe 6ft 2, something around that
Despite being a soldier, he doesn’t have a ton of scars that show through his glamour. Magically inflicted ones tend to be easily enough to cover but ones caused by metal or inorganic material are harder, which is why Maol’s ring wound showed until he consciously put effort into hiding it
The real reason why Tailan dislikes him isn’t necessarily Ruari-specific, but just a general aversion to fae inclined to trickery/deceit. It’s after he befriends Corbet and sees what Corbet goes through that he gets outwardly and directly antagonistic towards Ruari—though a portion of that is just Tai being jealous of Ruari getting Corbet’s attention XD and that street goes both ways
He’s too guilty to sleep with fae which is why he sticks to mortals
As you’ll soon learn in Hiraeth, he’s a bit of a bridezilla
Why doesn’t Ruari have long hair?
Linden, my effervescent flower, how many times must I tell you? He doesn’t have long hair because he’s a soldier and because I don’t want him to XD No matter how many times you draw him with Disney princess hair I will not change my stance on this! Go play with Avenir or Eolande’s long hair!
Did Ruari choose his human like “glamour”? Or can he look any way he wants to at will?
I’ll answer the second part first because that’s the easier question: He can look any way he wants at will, but the further he departs from his current form/size/limbs/structure, the more effort it takes to hold and the more taxing it’ll be to maintain. If you recall in Deluge, he only managed to make himself blond while in the Unseelie Court. That’s a demonstration of both glamours taking effort to pull off but also the limiting factor of being surrounded by Unseelie magic—the most he could change was hair color. Corbet, on the other hand, was able to fully change his gender, hair length, and body type while surrounded in Unseelie magic because he is technically an Unseelie fae—or was, at that moment in time. Aisling managed her disguise because she’d incredibly skilled magically and also insanely old. Hopefully, that makes sense and puts it all into perspective. A lot of the magic in these books is based more on Vibes than hard and fast rules, but at its core, a glamour is a glamour and can let a fae take any guise.
Now, as to Ruari’s appearance… that’s more complicated. Fae tend to base their looks on their own idea of personal aesthetics. Unseelie embrace inhumanity and Seelie tend to live closer to mortals and therefore tend to take their forms into account when sculpting their own, and any “inhumanity” that bleeds through typically looks more nature/plant-like than the Unseelie’s animal-inspired shapes. Ruari does have a “true form” that isn’t what we or Corbet see, but he’s shaped it into our handsome redheaded king because that’s who he views himself to be. He’s been in that form for so long that it doesn’t take much effort for him to maintain now.
Please don’t ask me what he actually looks like XD I am not creative enough to begin to design something like that.
Has Ruari ever been malicious to humans because of what happened in the past?
Since I know the person who asked this question hasn’t read enough of the series to know the answer to this, I’ll just say that Ruari’s antagonism towards humans was mostly expressed during the war with the Milesians and a few years after that. Once he realized the futility of the situation he distanced himself from mortals at large until the strong emotions faded and let cooler heads prevail. I’d say once several generations had passed he wouldn't have held the bad blood earned in war against those who weren’t involved. The Seelie are tricksters, not malicious neighbors. If they’re attacked or given just cause, they can retaliate or protect themselves, but they don’t seek out humans anymore to harm.
Does Ruari let other fae have human pets/partners?
Oh lord, no, not his subjects at least. He has no issue with them going above to trick or find lovers or what have you, but he doesn’t allow them to bring mortals below—at least, not Irish ones. There’s a section in the treaty following the war that forbade fae from either Court from purposefully seeking out Milesians or their descendants for malicious purposes. The reason Ruari took Corbet was because he heard Corbet speaking French and realized he wasn’t a native mortal. That prevents Corbet from being protected by the treaty, and therefore free game. Given how militant most Irish-folk are about warning travelers away from dangerous/fae areas, what happened to Corbet wasn’t common and only Ruari would’ve had the balls to turn it into a kidnapping.
Now, the Unseelie on the other hand… Well, stuff about that will come up in Hiraeth.
Ruari’s always been a favorite of mine. I think it’s becoming a joke amongst my friends and fans alike when I say I like “disaster redheads” best, and it’s just so real. Writing Deluge let me really get into Ruari’s head and show just how much he feels and cares, how he compartmentalizes to stay sane, and how he’s always finding new causes to fight for, even if death is on the table in return. I think back to writing Apricity when I had to write the chapter where Aisling tells Ruari that they’re surrendering the war, and just… God. Seeing how bloody and broken he is, how hard he tries to summon up some of his usual levity for Aisling just for her to crash the roof down on top of his head and destroy what little faith he had left in her… I made so many missteps in the process of writing this series, but there’s still so much buried in the characters and their decisions that I can’t help but adore. Ruari is the epitome of what I love most in my fiction: flawed people making decisions and then being forced to live with the consequences. I fell in love with him alongside Corbet in some ways, and I pity him in so many others.
How do you guys feel, though? Ruari isn’t even remotely close to my most contentious love interest I’ve written—that’ll have to wait for whenever Navidae’s overview happens—but there are a fair share of comments I’ve heard from people who either hate him or love him. I think he’s a moron, but one I can understand. Do you guys like him? Are you team Aisling like my artist Sun XD Or are you team Corbet like the vast majority of my readers seem to be? Chime in below, let me know, and as always, until next time!
I suppose I’ll plug my patreon again here and entice you guys with the knowledge that I have a lot of non-canon/canon scene studies, extras, aus, and scrapped smut scenes involving Ruari, Corbet, Aisling, Avenir, Shea, and Breena on there, as well as annotated chapters and all of the story outlines and chapter notes I used while writing the full series. For as little as $1 a month you can have access to my backlog, $5 will get you all my writer’s extras, and anything more than that will just get you into my good graces for the rest of eternity XD Check me out and help support what I do in between book releases! https://www.patreon.com/terminallydepraved