So, in leaving The Border House and thinking about my own writings, I’ve been really stumped on one of my own characters, Black Clover’s Xavier Guldstein. Xavier has the odd honor of being the only handicapped man to appear in any of my personal writings to date, although in working on Black Clover I certainly have more ideas to add in more characters featuring types of common disabilities.
In working with The Border House, I was exposed to the concept of characters that offer false or derogatory representations of their minority groups. While I clearly understand that no one would like a character that makes a mockery of any less fortunate person, I don’t think we should suddenly just stop making characters that may not be the best examples of their minority groups.
I say this because I believe that a person is more than the sum of their parts. I’m a transgendered individual, sure, but I’m also a gamer, a writer, a designer, a graphical artist (sometimes), a programmer (sometimes), a scientist, a researcher, partially religious, white, etc… All of these things interact with one another to make me into me and I don’t see a need to ever define myself by one trait.
The point of all of this, however, is Xavier and the perception people may have of him. I worry that he may look offensive to some, but I want to be sure. So, below, you’ll find the profile I wrote for Xavier before using him in one of my short stories to help define the gothic steampunk world of Black Clover. I want to let you, my readers, be the judges of his character. Is he offensive to a handicapped person, or is he simply just another antagonist?
Character Profile: Harbinger Xavier Guldstein
Xavier Guldstein is a 40 year old veteran of The Plague War and a former Clockwork Soldier from the Silver Consortium’s “Ashes” division. During the war, his unit was assigned to decontaminate areas of land deemed to be unfit for human survival by burning them to the ground through the use of forest and grassland fires. The only way to ensure the plague’s ultimate demise was to “cleanse” the world with fire, as the priest of the division use to say.
While the Ashes Division normally operated behind Consortium lines in an effort to stem and prevent resurgences of the plague, it doesn’t mean they never saw action. On the contrary, in fact. When dealing with pockets of plague contaminated ground, the unit regularly came under attack from the plague-twisted beasts as well as plague spawn.
Near the tail end of the war, shortly before the invention of the Black Clover rifle, Xavier’s unit was under vicious attack as they tried to level the small town of Brackenridge. While fighting in the village streets, Xavier was attacked and overwhelmed by a pack of drachenshund (plague-twisted dogs with fur resembling dripping ink, eyes of cold blue fire, and unhingeable jaws.) His unit was able to slice and kill the dogs on top of him, but not before one was able to rip off his left leg at the knee.
Xavier was transferred back to St. Angela’s Hospital in the city of Arque Rizon, where he was pulled out by the Consortium and subjected to “experimental treatments” in the Grand Clock Tower. The pain was intense, but Xavier survived the “purifications” administered to him by the Consortium scientists. The Consortium used their breakthrough patient to be subjected to one more treatment at his request — the addition of a clockwork prosthesis.
Xavier’s leg from the knee down is now a complicated mess of silver plating, brass gears, electrical wires, and a firecore wired to a internal steam engine. A silver pin has now been shoved through his knee, the framework running down the sides of his leg to allow him to move the prosthesis with ease. His foot has been elegantly handcrafted into a metal military boot, a design perfectly fit to his new position — a Consortium Harbinger, a high-ranking member of the Consortium police.
Harbingers are the personal messengers of the Consortium — nicknamed “The Angels of Repentance.” Most convey a very simple message to their recipients: “Fall in line, or die.” Xavier’s fighting spirit and years of faithful service made him into one of the best Harbingers the Consortium keeps on staff.
While he was once a war hero, Xavier sees himself in that way no more. Since his return to Arque Rizon and the end of the war, he is disgusted with how people treat the city he fought so hard to protect. Crime is through the roof, the Starlight District is full of prostitutes and drug houses, the sewers are overrun with the homeless, the Market District is filled with beggars and con-men. And, above all, more people attempt to defame the Consortium with their toxic slander. He did so much to protect these useless fuckers, and all they want to do is spit in his face.
Xavier’s method of correcting the city is a swift, silent death to those who oppose the Consortium. He will play by the City’s laws when it suits him, and he will twist the scales of justice to make sure the Consortium always prevails. He owes them his life and he knows these pathetic souls in the city streets owe the Consortium their lives too. Without them, Arque Rizon would have been run-over and destroyed.
It pains him to destroy so many, but he knows they cannot be fixed. They cannot be saved. they are beyond redemption. They are the new plague, and they must be cut out of the wound to ensure the city’s survival.