Sylas was very good at what he did. Some, perhaps, would say he was the best, although most likely didn’t understand what being a good bartender really meant. And perhaps to everyone it meant something slightly different–but to Sylas it meant listening. Listening to everything the customer had to say, audible and inaudible: understanding them. Encouraging them.
“Because I am a big man, my anger gets very big. Yes?” The giant sat hunched in front of the tavern bar, hulking. Monstrous, perhaps. He was large enough to bring to mind images of something sufficiently small–a child, perhaps, or even an average-sized woman–being crushed under him if he happened to stumble. Even the barmaid, who was a little stouter than most, made the patrons nervous when she slipped past the giant on her way to the bar. He was large enough to evoke at least some nervousness when one of the large mugs of ale was deposited in front of him and he received it with a grin. What could such a man do with enough alcohol in him?
Brent did not smile. Not when the criminal was led up to the steps, not when the bag was pulled off the man’s head to reveal a purpling bruise underneath his eye, and not when the hangman’s noose was cinched around his neck. Brent did not smile, because there was no particular joy in death. Executions were a necessary fact of life, and some people had to be removed from the world–that was the reality of it, and one he was very familiar with. He had put many people to the sword himself and returned many more for judgment, wherever possible. He was neither judge nor jury: that was a job reserved for someone else. Someone who knew better than he did, for all Brent truly knew was the edicts of his lord and the strength of his blade.
Representing personality types is difficult, in real life and in fiction. How do you convey how a person will act, overcome an obstacle or falter with just a few words? How can you say how a character feels or thinks without describing their entire life story?