Basically, today I got to think about the magical girl story again. And while I'm blogging about it so much that I've probably made you sick of the idea...I cannot convey how ecstatic it makes me feel.
So basically, today's focus was mainly on Sally's friend, AKA the blood donor for the vampire. I gave her the name Hannah. I gave her a few basic attributes. I decided that before she becomes the magical girl, her hair is not-quite-shoulder-length, but after she gains her powers, she grows it out to be longer than Sally's.
Speaking of which, I decided that Sally, being the Tree of Life user and having threads, would have longer hair. She'd keep it out of her eyes with a green headband. But back to Hannah, when she powers up, her hair turns golden, her big glasses turn into a mask, she gains a sailor-top, and yet has shorts instead of a skirt, wears tights instead of socks but sneakers instead of heels. In short, her pink-and-green outfit (primarily green, with pink accents) is a hybrid between Ruby and Sally's.
Her superhero name is simply Aeris. Her Aether Shield token is a blank sheet of paper, and transforms into a simple staff. Unlike most Riders, her powers are mostly affecting things indirectly: she can make things intangible or impenetrable (think like a Papermaster turning a sheet of paper bulletproof), and make someone light as a feather all at will. She can also blow a person away with an invisible blast, and has access to a nearly-never-used white razor attack that slices through nearly anything.
(Those are just the powers she has for sure. If you couldn't tell, she'd be the magical girl for Air/Wind. Other powers I'm not as sure about include being able to turn invisible, being able to teleport, and inverting the light-as-feather into weighing-a-ton.)
The reason why this power never gets seen?
Simple. But let's go roundabout anyway, by describing Ruby first. The trope best describing Ruby is that, surprisingly, she's an All-Loving Hero...just not the type of all-loving hero that's always nice. (And there is absolutely no contradiction in that!) She deals out tough love, as it were: while caring about her enemies (she never kills) no matter how vile they are, she'll still beat them to a bloody pulp with only the slightest of hesitations. She's heavily snarkish not to mention easily annoyed, and she most certainly won't baby others, willing to scold them and force them to act as needed rather than as wanted. None of these seem like traits of love...but through this all, she still cares for them all deeply and unconditionally. She expects nothing. (In fact, part of the reason for the snark is exactly that, expecting no payoff for her service.) Yet she gives, she tries, so hard.
Hannah/Aeris is a nice girl who puts Ruby to shame, taking a fair number of the traits up to eleven. She only fights as a last resort, and extremely reluctantly even when in the midst of the battle. She has one of the strongest powers, but doesn't wish to harm anyone with it. She loves to an even kinder, more extreme extent, to the point where so much as harming inanimate objects is something she tries to avoid. (For instance, damaging a car, a wall, a building, a rock; all are equally bad to her.)
She's a bit naive, and also a bit of an airhead, but she's highly supportive (basically telling her friend "Go get 'em" even before she herself becomes empowered), and basically the ultimate compassionate member of the team, there to help and protect others with her powers geared largely towards that end. Someone who gives a lot, even if giving isn't the 'best' action.
I also thought of a couple of other things. I figured out the weaponmaster's name; his codename is Herald, but his real name is Harold. (Harold Archer, more specifically, and yes him choosing a homonym to his real name gets lampshaded--you might have noticed most of the characters with secret identities are really, really bad at hiding them. Sally doesn't like the need for one and doesn't even have a mask, whereas Hannah forgot superheroes were even supposed to keep their identity secret and took on the name Aeris as a last-minute thing.) I might have said this already, because I did decide it a while back, but to make it official, I did decide that I wanted Ruby's eventual daughter to be Amethyst, called Amy for short.
And from there, I've worked out the basics for a couple additional Riders. One magical girl would be the 'fire' Rider, and she'd use a staff, and wear a pink princess dress with yellow accents. Another magical girl would be the 'lightning' Rider, and she I envisioned as fighting mainly through bladed lightning, technically having a combat knife but using her lightning more than anything else, and her uniform I basically saw as being workout clothes, so she'd be another one not really bothering with the secret identity thing.
That's five elements reserved, and Gary as a Rider gets another, between Water or Ice. I'm thinking Amy gets to double up on light (something that the characters had just assumed wasn't going to happen), so if going for eight elements, that leaves space for one more magical girl or guy. At this stage, I could use an established guy, since there are two that lack powers and could gain them, but one's a vampire (thus, disqualified) and the other if he gained powers I'd want to be just light. (Since if Amy doesn't get them, then he's my alternative even though I think Amy's better for them.)
So it'd be a new girl or guy not yet designed. It could be the traitor (if the girl), or the traitor could be one of the fire/lightning ones. I heavily lean towards it being a girl, since the only reason I'd have for it being a guy would be to bring the number of guys in the cast closer to the number of girls. (Something I am known to do, particularly since I like romantic pairings of my characters. For this story, though, I think it best to break from that mold, so that while there will be some characters that fight in relationships with other characters that fight, there are at least one if not two relationships with a noncombatant who stays a noncombatant.)
I really think that's a nice balance in the number of characters. Six magical girls (later, seven), one magical guy, one normal guy, one monster guy, and occasional additional support (an additional one or two monster guys, for instance). Seems like a nice, balanced team to me.
I really wish I could convey the concepts running through my mind more clearly. Because this idea of mine, I really, really love.