Basta is a character created by Cornelia Funke for the book Inkheart. He is a member of Capricorn's team of "fire-raisers" and often is assigned Capricorn's dirty-work.
Though a villain, Basta is an enigmatic character and openly admits to not enjoying killing as much as the others. His past is a mystery, but he is said to have a fear of fire because of an accident that burned both of his arms. Incidentally, this occurred when performing an act of arson for his master, Capricorn. One of his character traits is a constant wearing of long-sleeved shirts because of his shame due to the scarring on his arms, as Fenoglio tells him.
Famous for knives (and his love of using them) Basta is never seen without one. Occasionally when he is in an attempt to kill one of the main characters, he caresses and runs his hands over the knife, presumably addicted to the sense of power that it gives him. Though Dustfinger steals a couple of them at various points during the course of Inkheart, he always replaces them quickly. Dustfinger and Basta have a history that began when Basta slashed Dustfinger's face several times as revenge for his pursuit of Roxane, the woman that Basta loved.
Basta is very superstitious, always wearing some kind of medallion or good-luck charm to protect him from a bad luck that he thinks exists everywhere. Many of the characters, Dustfinger and Fenoglio particularly, take advantage of this to achieve their means.
In addition to his superstitions, Basta has several other bizarre insecurities. Some readers have gone so far to interpret these as hints of a case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Once told by a girl that he had bad breath, he chews constantly on peppermint leaves. Also, when Dustfinger takes refuge in Basta's abandoned house on the edge of Capricorn's village, (which is strangely and intentionally isolated from all of Capricorn's other minions) he notices an uncanny cleanliness, particularly in the kitchen.
For whatever reason, Basta has an oddly large cult-following on websites like fanfiction.net and DeviantArt. In the Inkheart fandom, Basta "fangirls" are not difficult to find. Many are attracted to the mystery surrounding his character and the potential he exhibits toward redemption.
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