The religious warrior-priests known as the Solvicar are inspired by Robert Jordan’s Whitecloaks. The Solvicar’s real name translates as “Children of the Sun,” hence the Sol in their unofficial name : Sun — Solar power — Sol. A vicar is another name for priest, so Solvicar is a bastardized version of “priest of the sun.”
The early story was again inspired by the same formula that Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World novel: the running for your life, the semi-heavy religious order, the uncertainty of survival against overwhelming odds, and a lot of people wanting to kill you regardless of reason. I originally just needed an organization to shepherd the early story, but they grew beyond that purpose in future novels.
John Jekai was the foremost representative of the Solvicar order: religious to the point of obsession. Now this is archetypical of the corrupt clergy found so often in the role playing games I play, but I wanted to give readers more than just faceless zealotic cliches. But on the other hand, I wanted to keep a little mystery to tease Jekai’s nature. We know that Jekai is haunted by the death of his wife and child, and we know that he believes Mykel is the murderer. Yet there is no evidence that Mykel has killed anyone. He’s never gone outside his libraries. He’s never seen or met Jekai before, let alone his family.
There’s something else: Jekai uses magic. It’s odd, concerning his job is hunting wizards and witches. Not to mention he has an extreme disgust for magic. This hatred is yet to be explained, but it describes an interesting level of denial. This anatagonistic relationship is curbed by the bigger picture. Like so many enemies before them, Jekai and Mykel are forced to fight together against a superior foe: Sutyr. Not only is this a complete reversal of their relationship, it’s a way to make sure that both characters end up at the site for their ultimate showdown.
Jekai and the Solvicar were meant to be throwaway villains. But they grew as the story grew, as shown in future stories. You want to know how Jekai and the Vicars became what they did? You’ll have to wait for the second book for that.