I'll tell you something I've learned: unless there is tension between your characters
(not made-up bitchiness, not paltry unpleasantness, but actual, personality/goal-driven tension), your plot will stall.
Let me introduce you to some of the characters of The Sundered
. Each of them has a goal, a need, a want, a la Kurt Vonnegut
- but none of those desires are as simple as a glass of water.
Dr. Artemus Parnum (Human)
Just when Harry thought things were confusing enough, father issues hit him right in the face.
Dr. Artemus Parnum is the one person with a clue what's going on. He knows what'll happen if the Sundered are freed. He also knows what'll happen if they aren't.
Saving the human race is a hero's job. Being a hero means counting the cost - and it means big, bad sacrifices. It means being willing to do anything, whatever it takes.
Funny that from a different perspective, heroes can look so much like villains.
Aakesh (Sundered One, First-Tier)
Aakesh is not an easy being to know.
He keeps his own counsel, and his anger over years of mistreatment rarely shows - though when it does, the result can be deadly.
Why he allowed himself to be caught is a good question, and one Harry isn't ready to answer. What he wants seems
simple: the survival of his race. Sundered Ones, after all, are going extinct through overuse.
But it might not be that simple. Aakesh is too good at twisting the truth to be fully trusted - and first-tier Sundered have a reputation for killing their owners.
Harry Iskinder (Human)
Harry never asked for this.
Whatever he may have wanted to do with his life doesn't matter. People are looking up to him, following him, trusting him to find the solution to all the world's ills - or so he's always been told.
But being twenty and in charge is a lousy scenario even for those who seek it, and Harry certainly did not. He knows he's resented. He knows he's barely earned respect. But he won't give up.
Harry doesn't always know the right thing to do - but that doesn't mean he'll stop trying.
Gorish (Sundered One, Unknown Tier)
Gorish is low-tier, too low to number, a weak and inexpensive slave. Small, with frog-like eyes and orange, nubbly skin, he has suction-cup fingertips and a lot of baggage. Anyone who speaks to him can see he's been used a few too many times and a little too hard.
For some reason, he loves his owner, Harry. For some reason, he sees the tender boy Harry used to be, instead of the bitter young man.
Maybe that'll be enough to bring Harry back to himself. Or maybe, it'll be enough to damn him.
Demos has put up with a lot over the years.
He followed the Iskinders on their idiot search for a non-existent Hope because Iskinders always find the best salvage. When Harry's father went crazy and left, Demos was as comfortable slipping into leadership as into a custom pair of shoes.
Then Harry showed up. Young. Inexperienced. And with more idiot religious fervor than his father and grandfather put together.
Demos stepped aside for now. As long as Harry turns a profit, it doesn't matter. As long as Harry behaves, who cares?
But Demos hasn't forgotten who the real leader is.
One of these days, he might just make that clear.
Demos' younger brother, Tomas has been a Traveler for half his life, and apart from the hard-work aspect of it all, he doesn't find it too shabby.
Of course, that was before Harry began claiming weird Sundered Ones right and left, and then giving them preferential treatment.
This was not all right. Sundered Ones do not come before human lives - everybody knows that. There are laws. Tomas doesn't like that Harry's breaking them. In his experience, if he doesn't like something, hitting it hard enough usually makes it go away.
If Harry really is giving Sundered Ones preferential treatment, then something has to be done. Tomas has no problem being the bad guy on this. After all, it's sure to make him look cool.