Now that we’ve talked about where The Water Road trilogy takes place, it’s time to shift the focus to the people involved in the story. As you know from earlier WWW entries, nobody in The Water Road trilogy is a “person” in the sense that they’re human beings, but that doesn’t stop me from referring to them as “people” or “persons.”
The most important person in The Water Road trilogy is, without a doubt, Antrey Ranbren. The trilogy’s overall arc is her story, although it folds in a lot of other important characters along the way. Remember the post about how Napoleon’s exile and return sparked the idea that became The Water Road? Well, Antrey is Napoleon (after a fashion).
Antrey is a woman between worlds. In a world divided by species, by nation, and by clan, she has none of them. Antrey is of “mixed heritage” (as they say in more polite circles), product of an Altrerian father and Neldathi mother. Her surname, Ranbren, is a generic one for such offspring. They are generally shunned by both Altrerian and Neldathi societies, often left to fend for themselves in Altrerian brothels (children of mixed heritage cannot have offspring of their own, conveniently enough).
As a result of her parentage, Antrey was exiled from Clan Dost as a youth and made her way to Tolenor, the home of the Triumvirate. There she caught the attention of Alban Ventris, Clerk to the Grand Council of the Triumvirate. Alban took her into his home, taught her to read and write, and made her his assistant. It’s a good life, better than she ever expected, but it doesn’t make her any more a part of regular society:
It wasn’t as if she could blend in with the crowds. The city was jammed full of Altrerians of every shade of green, from the pale northern Telebrians to the dark hued Arborians. With her pale turquoise skin, Antrey was distinctive, a small patch of clear sky on an overcast day. At least she inherited her father’s slight Altrerian frame. It was difficult enough looking different. Having to poke out above the heads of everyone else by a foot or more would have been unbearable. She did her best to try and conceal her otherness. She kept her black hair, from her mother’s side, closely cropped so as to be almost unnoticeable. She did her best to ensure that as little skin was visible to the public as possible. Despite her best efforts, she stood out.
Most importantly, it’s a life that’s put her in a place to learn a secret that will change the whole world, not just hers, forever.