Katya’s idea was to craft an epic tale around characters who had each mastered one of the six senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste, and the psychic sixth sense. In addition to giving the tale a Kurasawa-esque scope, juggling a narrative between so many characters and viewpoints virtually guaranteed something to scribble about; goodbye, writer’s block!

Most of the characters practically created themselves. Sight would have to be an eagle-eyed, reticent marksman, a crack shot with bow or rifle (Katya hadn’t decided between a high fantasy or steampunk setting yet), and most likely the member of an ancient oft-oppressed group that would have to be invented. Tall, dark, and handsome, of course.

Mr. Smell would be a werewolf, or perhaps only raised by wolves since Katya was always very concerned about accusations of trendy bandwagon-jumping. Regardless of his precise origins, he’d be savage and animalistic, eschewing weapons for tooth and nail yet concealing a deep and soulful well of feeling. He would be cleaned up, erect, and in a pressed and starched garment by adventure’s end, no doubt.

The Hero of Hearing would be blind, either a Zatoichi-type veteran warrior or an up and coming young prodigy but definitely blinded by a tragedy. The Hearo would be the understanding type, never judgmental but always supportive and humorous.

Touch was a bit hard to wrap her head around, but Katya conceived of him as an ascetic monk who could set up deadly vibrations in opponents simply by touching them. The Touch of Death would be too difficult to control, leaving him unable to touch another human being for fear of accidentally turning them to jelly in what Katya thought was a deliciously original and complex twist.

Psychics were easy; Katya’s would be a wisecracker, always interrupting people to tell them what they’d been about to say, very superior but at the same time concealing a tortured yet generous heart. There was no final decision of the cause of his condition; alien abduction, genetic mutation, and an ancient Amun-Ra curse were all viable candidates.

Despite all that, she simply could not wrap her head around the last Sensible Hero, taste. How did a sense of taste, superhuman or no, translate into a hunky and conflicted warrior? He couldn’t very well go around licking things, and a Beefeater made for a poor quest-hero even when she allowed for the possibility of carnivorous ravens at beck and call.

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