Silenna Gardane of Amya Chronicles

lenna1Silenna “Lenna” Gardane of Amya Chronicles

“Let me give you some advice, Silenna. There will always be those who treat you differently. Cherish it. Take pride in it. Channel your anger into your work and use it to rise above the rest.”
Caryne, stalker of the Kerell Tribe

Half-elf Ranger Lenna Gardane is possibly my favorite character among the delightful cast of the smartly written and elegantly drawn high-fantasy webcomic, Amya Chronicles. The Amya creative team features the writing talents of Savannah Houston-McIntyre and Andrew Hewitt with the illustrative prowess of Rebecca Gunter-Ryan. While the setting of the story is very well thought out and Savvy and Andrew have an impressive gift for deceptive storytelling, it’s the charming and relatable characters who truly make Amya such a terrific tale.

Lenna is one of the lead characters and a travel companion and semi-bodyguard for the main protagonist Faye, a mute spell-touched. Early in chapter 3, Faye and her companions first encounter our lovely ranger with a band of guerrillas fighting for half-elf rights. On learning that Faye is the missing daughter of an important lord, Lenna agrees to escort her home and continues to travel with her even after this mission is completed.

lenna4One of the aspects of Lenna’s character I admire most is how seamlessly she transitions from guerrilla fighter to Faye’s bodyguard—and without ever really being asked to. Verily, she’s one of the most well-balanced characters I’ve ever seen in terms of both her role in the narrative and her role within the party. She’s quick and stealthy yet still physically imposing. Serious and competent, but maintains a light sense of humor. Muscular and athletic without being pumped or ripped. Strong and battle-hardened without sacrificing her beauty or femininity.

Her role as a combatant is nicely balanced as well. She’s a primary archer, able to fire two arrows simultaneously to hit two moving targets. But at the same time she’s a dual-wielder in melee, not afraid to leap into battle, swords drawn, to protect her friends. In terms of training, weapons, and gear, I feel like she’s very well set up for both roles.

lenna2Lenna’s cuirass is a flexible, well-built set of hardened leather armor. Designed to deflect arrows, it’s also fairly sturdy against the bite of spears, swords, or knives. Her shoulders are protected by heavy spaulders, though it’s not possible to tell from the artwork if they’re leather, metal, or some other composition. Early on our lovely ranger wears a pair of wrapped cloth bracers to protect her arms, but later she switches to a pair of leather ones with more protection for her hands as well.

If I have a concern about Lenna’s armor, it’s the sculpted breasts of her cuirass. Though they don’t pose the danger of breaking her sternum like boob-plate, any blow that hits between them risks being deflected toward her heart. It should be noted, however, that as an archer and dual-wielding fighter, she keeps one shoulder to her opponents at all times, thus largely negating this risk.

lenna3Lenna’s outfit is kind of a refreshing break from the archetypical ranger’s ensemble of the dark green cloak over dark leather armor over green woodsman’s tights. Instead she wears a cloak and tabard over her armor. As well as protection against the weather, these serve to partially obscure her armor from curious passerby. Her tabard also includes a hood that she can pull up to protect her lovely head from the rain and wind, or to hide her half-elven ears when traveling in regions less friendly to her half-breed heritage.

Beneath her armor, Lenna wears a short dress—an unusual choice, no question, but hardly an impractical one. The dress likely functions more as a kilt, I suspect, offering complete freedom of movement in traveling or combat and isn’t so long as to snag on things or trip her up. (And yes, she does wear shorts underneath.) Finally, her boots are a pair of flexible leathers for traveling or combat. It’s also worth noting that Lenna makes sure to layer-up when they travel to cooler climes, adding pants and long shirt to her ensemble.

Silenna’s weapons are of excellent make as well. Her bow is an unusual recurve, not particularly long, but offering outstanding delivery and armor penetration at optimum range. Her “side arms” are a pair of masterwork broadswords forged from the iron sands of the country of Estul. According to Kaden, the party rogue, swordsmithing in Estul is a spiritual tradition, where each blade takes months to perfect.

As I previously brought up in the Amya discussion forums, a final attribute I like about Silenna’s role in the narrative is how she functions as sort of a role-model for the younger Faye. Because she is mute, Faye has been sheltered and overprotected her entire life. Thus lenna6I think it is important for her development as an up-and-coming adventuress and heroine to have a strong, experienced female mentor to observe and learn from. Lenna’s every heroic action says, “This is what a smart, spirited woman is capable of. I don’t let being a woman and an underprivileged half-elf keep me down; don’t let being a woman and a sheltered mute keep you down.”

Rebecca and Savvy’s work can also be found on DeviantArt, for those interested. Deepest and sincerest thanks to Savvy for letting me borrow Lenna for a bit. Thanks for reading, as always, folks, and stay awesome!

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One Response to Silenna Gardane of Amya Chronicles

  1. Finished this one early, so I went ahead and posted. It helps that I avidly participate in the discussion forums for Amya, and so a lot of what I talked about here has come up in those conversations.
    Amya Chronicles is a story that’s meant a great deal to me since I discovered it a couple years back. Not only has it been a joy to read, but I feel it’s helped me with my own storytelling more than any webcomic I’ve ever read. In particular, I have huge respect for the strength of Savvy’s heroines in how they relate to each other and the events unfolding around them. Even Faye, the gentlest of the group, shows a strength and determination in the face of impossible odds. Their strength, smarts, and competence has definitely helped me in creating my own strong, smart, competent heroines.
    For Savvy’s own discussion on writing strong female characters, I recommend this article from her Tumblr: http://writersavvy.tumblr.com/post/53999173681/strong-female-characters
    Take care and thanks for reading, folks.

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