Behind the Name: Ànifa’s Party

My debut Science Fantasy novel, Battle for Eklatros: Book 1 in the Rebalancing the Cosmos series, contains well over a hundred unique names. Whether those are names are for characters, animal gods, locations, or aliens, each name is unique and has a story to tell.

The first blog in this series will focus on Ànifa’s nine official party members, as most members have an extensive history.

Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.

The Heroine Herself: Ànifa

Ànifa’s name has quite the story behind it. The name began as Anifa, without the accent. I first thought up the name when I was in Florida on Summer break in the early 2000’s. I remember sitting in my aunt’s car as we were pulling into her garage. I was examining a water bottle—specifically a bottle of Aquafina. As I looked at it, I began to spell it backwards – Anifauqa, which then shortens down to Anifa. For my family—this was the place off of Pine Echo Road.

Now, I could have sworn that Anifa had appeared alongside Quaant in Quaant’s first outing (which I’ll get to in a little bit), but I was mistaken. I just looked it up, and Anifa’s first appeared is actually in a different story altogether, one I had titled Ados: Book 1: The Beginning of the End. (Fun fact, the name Ados is another backwards spelling of a beverage—soda. And Ados is now a spider, not a humanoid.) The date on the document says it was last modified on Saturday, November 6, 2004, which means that I began writing a few months before then—my stories back then never lasted very long. So I was around 13 when I first came up with Anifa’s name.

After that story, the name Anifa was used almost exclusively alongside Quaant, which is why I always associate the two together. Anifa was a fairy—the Faeryious as I named them (I wanted to use every vowel, haha).

Anifa remained a fairy until late 2017 or early 2018, when I started formulating the story that would become Battle for Eklatros. I decided to use Anifa as the name of the main character. As I mentioned my first Building the Cosmos blog, Battle for Eklatros was originally created to be a computer game. I was building it out with RPG Maker VX Ace, but it got way too complicated, and so in April 2018 I began to turn it into a book. Fun Fact: I do have a semi-stable version that still is somewhat playable (but barely), and when I go back into it every now and then, I can still find lines that came directly from the video game that made it into the book. Here’s a screenshot from that game:

You want me to be your leader?

Anyway, the final evolution of Ànifa’s name was the addition of the accent. This came from a suggestion from my wonderful editor, Erika M. Weinert. Her comment was that Anifa closely resembled Antifa, and I didn’t want to be associated with anything political. I honestly really like the change; I think that accent on Ànifa makes her that much more unique (even if I may not pronounce it correctly.)

The B-Class Sorcerer Theodore Henry Caldwell

Theodore Henry Caldwell was inspired by a LEGO minifigure. This minifigure in particular I have had since I was very young (for all I know it came from one of my sister’s LEGO sets). However, it didn’t get a proper name until I was in college. So Theodore never appeared in any older stories like Ànifa and other characters. Instead, Theodore was involved in many different LEGO photoshoots I used to do that I called Hyptno-Toad Anonymous (yes, that is not a typo; its Hyptno-Toad). Theodore appears for the first time in the third collection in the series, ‘Shelling Noodle Hares’ (and that name came from the Noodles and Company hotwheels-like van that I have). That was shot on July 6th, 2011, which means I began the series during the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college.

Now, the name Theodore Henry Caldwell comes from, well, THC. I started smoking marijuana in my sophomore year in college, and when I started the Hyptno-Toad Anonymous series, I wanted to name the wizard something weed related. So I decided to create a name using THC as the initials: Theodore Henry Caldwell.

So back in the Hyptno-Toad Anonymous series, Theodore often appeared beside a blue striped Battle Droid LEGO figure that I named Blue Dream, after one of my favorite strains at the time. While Blue Dream (Now spelled Blu-Dreem, aka Beedee) did not make it into Battle for Eklatros, he will appear in the next book, Into the vortex.

Here is the first picture I can find of Theodore and Blue Dream together, and funnily enough, Theodore isn’t wearing his iconic hat. Also appearing in the picture are Wallace Dine, Raza, and Raff. (Yes, I know. I am not very familiar at all with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so when I named Raff, I thought that Raphael was the purple one… I now know that Donatello is the purple one, and Raphael is the red one.) Anyway, all three of those characters—Wallace, Raza, and Raff—will appear in one of my sequels.

Theodore's First Appearance

Fun Fact: Theodore’s face comes from a Star Wars LEGO Set—I believe it was a Luke Skywalker head. This of course plays well into the weed-related theme—Skywalker.

The Lost Knight: Sir Cecil Johnathan Kloud

Cecil was another character that got is real debut from the Hyptno-Toad Anonymous LEGO photoshoot series. This was another LEGO character that I had for a long time that never got an official name until the series. Cecil’s first appearance is actually in the second series, titled ‘Skeleton’s Island’. He appears next to an Ultraman toy (That Ultraman toy comes from Thailand—My dad brought it back for me as a gift when he went in 1997.) Here is that photo:

Cecil's First Appearance

Now, if we dissect Cecil’s LEGO Character, under the armor is, and has always been, a bank teller. I just always enjoyed the color combo of the bank teller with the armor. Here is a little video of that dissection:

As you can see, the head I’m using for Cecil has long red hair that covers one of his eyes. That is the main motivation behind giving Cecil long hair. I now think that it suits his character really well.

Okay, onto the name behind Cecil. So, Cecil Kloud combines the names of two Final Fantasy protagonists – Cecil Harvey and Cloud Strife. While Cecil Harvey is a very different character, I always really liked the name Cecil for a knight. And Cloud—well, Final Fantasy VII was always traditionally my favorite (today I think I like Final Fantasy XIII slightly more). So I simply combined Cecil and Cloud to create Cecil Kloud. Of course, I changed the spelling of Cloud to have the ‘K’ instead, and again I just like it better that way.

As for his middle name, Johnathan, that I came up with on the spot while I was writing Chapter 21: Battle for Friendship. I can’t say why exactly I chose Johnathan, but it works well I think.

Finally, I named him the lost knight here because I thought it suits him pretty well, as Cecil is quite lost when Ànifa first meets him.

The Man from the Past: Dasch Valentine

This is probably going to be one of the simpler names to explain, which seems fitting for Dasch Valentine. As I was working on the Battle for Eklatros RPG Maker video game, I came up with an original character that came from hundreds of years in the past. Now, originally, I used a different name for this character—Sterg. However, when I was transitioning the story from being a video game to being a book, I knew I needed to change the name, as Sterg is already a character in the storyline; you’ll meet Sterg in book 2. (So, this was also before I fused Battle for Eklatros into my Vortex storyline – but now I think it is one of the greatest decisions I ever made). For the new name, I naturally went with yet another Final Fantasy reference. This time I drew from Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy VII. Basch fon Ronsenburg is one of the main playable characters of FF12, and I was replaying that game around the time I was working on the video game. I really like Basch—he’s a fantastic character. So I just changed Basch to be Dasch—and now I actually like the name Dasch far better than Basch, haha. As for Valentine, well, that’s Vincent’s last name (from FF7), and I think that Vincent and Dasch are quite similar in ways.

Also, while Dasch may be a brand-new character that was never envisioned within the Vortex storyline until I fused the stories together, he is now absolutely integral to the story and I can’t imagine it without him. So, go Dasch the Destroyer! I also want to say that the original version of Dasch did have hair. It was only while I was writing the book that I decided to make him completely hairless.

The Pirate turned Privateer: Vesten James Teixeira

So Vesten is another character, like Dasch, who was created specifically for the story set on Eklatros. I knew that Ànifa and her party needed a ship, and that the ship needed a captain, so Vesten was born. His character evolved as I was writing the story, more so than any other character. I knew about certain arcs that he would complete, but there was one main arc that took me completely by surprise. His relationship with another character was absolutely not planned, but Vesten seemed like he was leaning that way, so I ran with it.

Vesten James Teixeira’s name comes from several different sources. First, during the video game version of Battle for Eklatros, his name was West. However, when I fused the story together, I couldn’t keep that name, so West became Vesten. Also, when I was making the video game, I didn’t yet come up with the name West Wind yet. So when I named the ship, I wanted to keep the reference to his original name (that was borrowed from West Kilinder.) That all being said, I think the uniqueness of the name suits him really well. His middle name, James, is a nod towards my good friend named James. His last name, Teixeira, was inspired by another friend of mine, Patty. (So I’ll go into this more in a different post, but Patsy’s name is inspired by this same friend.)

The A-Class Sorceress Tyrona Claire Knorse

Tyrona is another character with a long history, and she has changed a lot since she was first ‘born’. The oldest date I can find associated with her is April 5, 2008, but that means that she is older than that. I think that she may have been a LEGO character, since I do have a LEGO character for her, but I can’t remember if what I am using has always just been a placeholder, or if she was born through LEGO like all my other LEGO characters. I say that because her LEGO character looks nothing like her—I think I have always envisioned her with dark skin. Fun Fact: The pirate hat Tyrona is wearing is actually my LEGO character for Lyd (he’s part of Professor Clums’ crew). More on that when I write the blog about Navacus’ crew.

Here is Tyrona’s LEGO character. This is from set 14 of Hyptno-Toad Anonymous, titled ‘Thai Avenue, or On the Night of Which Both Cowboys and Aliens Appeared’:

Tyrona with a fortunate shark

Back when Tyrona very first appears in my old drafts, she had a very different power. It was only when I was writing Battle for Eklatros that I changed her powers. Tyrona used to always have the power of electricity—and pretty much only electricity. She was quite powerful with it too. However, since Theodore was already my elemental magic-user, I didn’t want Tyrona to have the same power. So that’s when I changed her to have the power to control soundwaves and vibrations, and through that, she is able to control people’s thoughts and resize objects (since everything has a vibration). This makes her far more powerful than she ever was when she just controlled electricity.

For Tyrona’s name, that I just came up with on my own. It wasn’t inspired by anything really, I just thought it was (and is) a cool name. Also, while I don’t want to give too much away here, Tyrona has had different middle names and surnames in the past. She’s also very closely associated with a different character that will get her spotlight in the second book. Her middle name now, Claire, is actually yet another Final Fantasy reference, this time from Final Fantasy XIII. Claire Farron is the given name of the main protagonist, Lightning, and Lightning is probably my all-time favorite Final Fantasy character. As for her last name, Knorse, well, that’s just Norse with a ‘k’, since I thought it sounded cool.

The Angel of Light: Joan de Ligtheramnii

Joan is another old name that I have been using for a very long time. The source comes from my mom, and when she used to read to my sister and I. From what I can recall, there was a book about Joan of Arc, and she read us that book because she had a connection with Joan of Arc. So, the name Joan has always meant a lot to me because of that personal affiliation.

The oldest story I can find that features Joan comes from 2004/2005, also from Ados—the story that first featured Anifa. In that story, I have it written that Joan was the queen of the enchanted forest, and she was a fairy. Then she became an angel in 2008 when she became integrated with the main Vortex story.

Joan’s last name, for probably about a decade, was Weisel. Weisel was inspired by Elie Wiesel, the author of Night. I remember reading Night in middle school, and while I don’t remember much about that book at this point in my life, I think it was one of the first times that I really started to understand the horrors of the Holocaust, so it always stuck with me.

Now, her last name, de Ligtheramnii, is a play off of Jeanne d’Arc, for the ‘de’ part at least. Ligthera, which I based Ligtheramnii off of, is another very old name, and had many different uses. One of the uses was an alternate name for Light Beings, but the main and current use of Ligthera is for a different species. This is an excerpt from a document dated from July 13, 2013 (almost 10 years ago from the time this was posted).

They are like a mix between a cat/lynx/fox. They have white hair with blue streaks in it. The darker the blue, the more magical abilities the Ligthera has. Sometimes the stripes are teal or even purple, but this just means the Ligthera has more specific magic in a specific field of study. Besides their white fur and stripes, they have tall ears and long black whiskers. They have two tails, split at the base. Both are long and skinny, with a poof at the end.

Anyway, the Ligthera won’t be seen until much, much later into the series (book 3 or 4 maybe), so I hope you don’t mind the tangent. Now, the source for the name Ligthera is Light. Just swap the ‘t’ and the ‘h’ and add ‘era’. So Ligthera, or Ligtheramnii, was always used for spiritual and divine characters.

The Forever Faerie: Quaant Yttenramnii

Quaant hails from a story that I attempted to write when I was about 11 or 12 years old (2002-2003 or so). This is a story that will never see the light of day. It was called ‘The Scared Watch of Power’. I wanted to write a story like The Lord of the Rings that featured wristwatches instead of rings. So yes, it is quite bad. It looks like I only made it to 26 pages, haha.

Anyway, Quaant was the main character of that story, and he was a fairy. So, Quaant has always been a fairy, which is pretty cool.

Concerning Quaant’s name, I only have a vague recollection of the motivation behind zir name, as I was quite young when I came up with it. From what I remember, I wanted a name similar to Queen (my favorite band at the time) but rather than the double E I opted for the double A. I don’t believe I ever gave Quaant a last name back then. Zir current last name, Yttenramnii, breaks down into three different parts: Ytten, for Yttendaus; Ramn I use in many of my names; and the double I for the finishing touch.

You may notice that I use ‘ramn’ and ‘ii’ a lot, and its mainly because I like how it sounds. And ramn reminds me of om, the sacred sound in Hinduism.

The Goblin turn Fairy turn Elf: Druder Nanasazii

Druder is actually another character that comes from The Scared Watch of Power. Druder was a goblin—the King of Goblins. Druder was originally written as an antagonist, but throughout the years I’ve used the name for a variety of other characters. The 2009 version of my Vortex story featured Druder as a Fairy. He was part of a crew that contained Quaant, Anifa, and others.

I always liked the name Druder, so when I started writing Battle for Eklatros, I knew I wanted to include him in this story. And rather than make him a fairy, I wanted to go back to his roots as a goblin. While dark elves are elves, and not goblins, in some stories, goblins were once elves. Also, while I was writing the book, I used the term ‘drow’, but I ended up cutting it out because I didn’t want it associated with Dungeons & Dragons. I want to add that I do not remember how I came up with the name Druder, but is a name I just made up on my own.

As for his last name, Nanasazii, that is a combination of Anasazi and Nanaki. Anasazi is a term that is Navajo in origin meaning ‘ancient enemy’, and it should not be used to describe any group of Native Americans anymore. However, growing up in Colorado, I grew up hearing that word used a lot, and as a word itself, I like how it sounds (as an artist I’m allowed to manipulate things, right?). As for Nanaki, I’ll give you three guesses. If you guessed yet another Final Fantasy reference, you would be correct. Nanaki is the given name for Red XIII, a playable—and absolutely awesomely amazing—character from Final Fantasy VII.

What Comes Next

If you’ve gotten this far, thank you! I hope you enjoyed my rambling explanations and tangents, haha. But as you can see, many of these names are very old now, and so they have long and winding histories. And as with anyone or anything that has a long and winding history, it can be hard to keep track of things. That’s actually why I’m really glad I am starting this blog series—so this information can be recorded, now, before even more time passes.

The next one in the series will dive into the meaning behind Eklatros and the Ekataramn.

Until next time!