So you can read my books

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for ELU__Names Are Dangerous Things

The Native American shamans will tell you that there is power in the use of names --

and death if you use the wrong ones.

Laughing Wolf, a cyber friend, asked what Elu meant.

He told me that in Estonian it means life. I hadn't known that. I did know that in several Native American languages it means "full of grace."

But Elu is only half-Apache {a name meaning 'enemy'}. His mother is the Turquoise Woman, who was called Gaia by the ancient Greeks.

So I was very careful in selecting the name Elu, for there is more to him than even Samuel knows.

Elu in ancient Chaldean encompasses in its Semitic essence, the concept of surpassing might, immense power, and unlimited strength. There is more to Elu than what his surface would suggest.

Here is Victor Standish's first meeting with Elu:

I glanced at the reflection in the store window beside my new friend. I went a little cold. A tall Indian dressed in buckskins was reflected, not Captain Sam. His dried-apricot face looked my way. I tried to swallow and couldn't.

There was fresh war paint on the Indian's face. He shook his head in silent reproach. Lightning split the angry skies above me. Did he cause that?

In a voice of distant thunder , Sam said, "Elu's not happy about this, partner."

“W-Who’s Elu?”

“My Apache blood brother. Because of me he’s trapped in the Mirror World.”

“The what?”

Sam didn’t get a chance to answer because the ghost reflection of Elu grunted, “Not your fault. Our fault. But this boy’s death will be your fault if you bring him into the Crossroads of Worlds.”

“The what?,” I frowned.

“Meilori’s,” the two of them said together like two old friends who’ve traveled so long side by side that they think and talk alike.

“Don’t be mad at him, E-Elu. Captain Sam thinks I need to go there to live.”

The Apache glared at me. "Boy, you need to breathe, eat, and sleep. The rest is negotiable."

“The name’s Victor Standish, sir. I used your right name. Use mine.”

He pursed his lips like an old woman and disappeared in billowing mists. Sam shook his head.

“Elu’s a mite touchy, son. Best to walk light around him.”

I grunted, “We were never going to be best buds, sir."


  1. I choose my names carefully, both for lead and for side characters. The right name cements the character into my mind first, and then into the reader's.

    One character I named Evander James Genesee. Evander means good man. James is Biblical, and Genesee is a beer.

    So the name implies: Good Man of God and Sin.

    And that's how I wrote him. Having the right name made it all that much easier.

    Nice snippet. Love Vic's cocky attitude, followed by cold respect for Sam. Shows the dichotomy of his character, and his demand that respect flow in both directions.

    - Eric

  2. It is clear that a lot of thought went into naming your characters, Roland.

    The Crossroads of Worlds sound like an ominous place. I came across it when researching Santeria. Love how you meld legends from different cultures together in your stories!

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

  3. Hopefully their meetings get better after that.

  4. It takes me hours, sometimes days to come up with the right name for a character. It can be frustrating at times, but I think it's worth it.

    Tegan Wilson

  5. Names are important, their meaning, the way they sound, what kind of personality you associate with them.

    Play off the Page

  6. I try to choose my names to fit my characters personalities.

    Mean is something to think about.

  7. I love that so much thought went into your selection of Elu's name. There is much in a name indeed!

  8. Hi Roland .. I know my name was carefully chosen .. but this was a wonderful read .. and I love learning the bits about the native Indians etc ..

    Cheers Hilary

  9. Eric:
    You make me feel not quite so alone in taking thought on the names of my characters. I like how you chose the name of Evander James Genesee.

    You got what I was going for in Victor's personality, too. You seem to have a way of making me feel better about my writing. Thanks, Roland

    I've long toyed with the idea that the mythologies of the world are linked, common threads running through them all. I thought it would be neat to do that in a series of novels.

    Meilori's can be ominous, but with your martial arts training, you would probably enjoy the music or the workout! LOL.

    They did. Elu finally accepted him as family -- which devastated Elu when Victor died at the end of THE RIVAL. But being Apache, he could not mourn openly, so Alice did it for him (more of that in BEST OF ENEMIES.)

    Thanks for visiting and commenting when your plate is so full.

    Like you, I certainly believe whatever effort goes into choosing a name for our characters is worth it!

    We are kindred spirits in our writing it seems!

    Isn't writing more interesting than most people think?

    I think names are indeed power. Thanks for visiting and staying to talk a bit. It means a lot to me.

    Like you, Native American myth and legend appeal to me on a multitude of layers. I'm glad such thought was taken in the selection of your name.

    Roland was chosen by my mother from the Song of Roland(France's epic hero). His downfall and that of those who trusted him was his pride. Mother wanted me to learn that the truly great are humble. Durand, my middle name, is from Roland's sword, Durandal (mystical much like Excalibur). She Americanized it to save me some fights in the schoolyard! LOL.

  10. Love the layered meanings of the name, the "dried apricot face", and the lightning "splitting the sky".

  11. Fantasy's not really my thing, but I liked the explanation of the name. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

  12. Names can be very powerful. I love your explanation of Emu and the Mirror World. I wonder if we all don't have a trapped twin out there.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  13. Cool. I like reading the meanings of names, and the origins. its kind of a hobby.


  14. Elu might be scary at first, but Victor knows how to hold his own :-)