When I was asked to write a #mancrushmonday post I was having a bit of a conniption as to who I would gush on about. Some prospects seem a bit obvious: The Rock, with his abs of chiseled stone and a heart of gold. Benedict Cumberbatch with tight buns and swooning accent. Tom Hiddleston with his wry smile… the list could go on and on. Then Droo reminded me that we could include fictional characters, and the gelatinous pile neurons that passes for my brain exploded. After I scraped my brain back into it's poorly constructed vessel, I decided to share one of my favorite fictional man-crushes: Nix Fell.
Now many, if not most, of you don’t know of the exploits of Egil and Nix. Some of you may not even know the mind that birthed my favorite adventuring duo: Paul S. Kemp. So here is a quick primer.
Paul S Kemp is a native Michigander who, back in 2000, graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. He landed a job as a corporate lawyer and began one of his professional careers. While he wasn’t studying law he was helping craft a shared world of Dungeons & Dragons and the cataclysmic events that led to the merging of Aber and Toril. His shadow loving character Erevis Cale managed to move from a minor player to a divine agent who was later killed by the Archdevil Mephistopheles. He has collaborated with literary giants like RA Salvatore and has written four Star Wars books to date. But, the character I am focusing on comes from a world of his own creation and is the roguish half of the most entrepreneurial adventurers in literature.
Nix Fall grew up on the wrong side of sewer. An orphaned street urchin who had a penchant lifting purses, picking locks, and using magical “gewgaws” earning him the titles “Nix the Quick” and “Nix the Lucky.” He takes great pride in the fact that he was expelled from the college of mages and takes great offence whenever Egil says that dropped out. His partner is the less than affable priest of a dead god, Egil. Together they are co-owners of the less than reputable brothel, “The Slick Tunnel” but they are more likely to be bossed around by the madam they put in charge to run the establishment. Egil tends to be the instigator for most of their adventures, especially if it involves a pretty girl, and always with the loud objection of Nix. Despite his objections, Nix has laid his life down on the line for causes both noble and selfless. Deep down, he is altruistic despite all outward signs.
I have always felt a weird kinship with Kemp. I discovered him while I was working on my Master’s degree and battled feelings of getting lost in fantasy instead of a writing historical thesis. He proved to me you could have success in multiple areas of life without having to sacrifice one thing to achieve the other. He became an icon for me at a formative time in my life.
Kemp will release his third novel in the seires, A Conversation in Blood, on January 24th. If I have intrigued you at all, check out The Hammer and the Blade, A Discourse in Steel, and A Better Man to catch up with Nix on all of his adventures. You will not regret it.