I couldn't put a lot of background information on the characters into the book as I was writing it serial-style. Too many readers were likely to pick up chapter two in the magazine, and not have read chapter one yet, so I needed to make sure there wasn't a lot of information they would need to know from one to the other. That doesn't mean, however, that there wasn't quite a bit about the characters floating around in my head!
Merin is somewhere between 25 and 30 years old, which is how old I was when I started writing The Velderet. Before she moved to Marianna (the capital city) to take her turn as a consensus legislator, she worked as a clothing designer at a small company on the coast. On Bellonia (the world where she lives), each citizen can be tapped to serve as a legislator (in a type of parliament or congress). It's kind of like jury duty only it lasts several years, and most people don't try to get out of doing it on Bellonia. Merin has very wavy, dark hair, cut short (but not too short). I think of her as being pretty in an elegant sort of way--she carries herself well. Bisexuality is the norm on Bellonia and Merin is no exception to that.
Kobi is around Merin's age, maybe a year or two younger, and he has been a bartender ever since leaving school at age 20. Basically, he's a perfectly intelligent individual who just doesn't see a reason to use his brain any more than he actually has to. He's had an easy life, coasting along on his looks and outgoing personality, two traits that make him an ideal bartender for a sex house like The Velderet. He has long (waist-length) black hair and large eyes and plenty of Bellonians (female and male) like to fawn over him.
Nayda is also in her mid-twenties and is on the shy side. She showed an aptitude for math and engineering when she was very young and has grown up spending as much time with machines as with people. She meets Kobi when she comes to do some reprogramming on the Velderet's computer networks. She's got a round face and shoulder-length blond hair that she ties back with a cloth when she's working. She's also a little on the short side for a Bellonian.
All the Kylaran characters are wiry in build, although the Overlord, as he is known throughout the book, actually has a little more muscle on his frame than the others. How old is he? Hard to tell, as the Kylar have advanced anti-aging medicines and treatments. But he looks to be in his mid- to late-thirties. He has ascended to his rank through difficult competition with his peers and by proving himself on various previous missions to other planets. He is known among his peers for being headstrong, confident, but a bit of a joker underneath it all.
The Kylar do not have simple relationships. Each individual is defined by his (or her) rank, role, familial ties, and acheivements. Sander is the Overlord's second in command, rival and also happens to be his half-brother. If something were to happen to the Overlord (e.g. he were accidentally killed) Sander would be the one to take command of the mission. Sander is typical of the Kylaran ruling class in many ways, and has worked hard to cultivate the traits they admire most: seriousness, cruelty, and a dominating presence.
Girman is the father of both the Overlord and Sander and is along on the mission to Bellonia in the ancient-proscribed role of the voice of propriety. Essentially, he does nothing unless something goes wrong or if one of the principal leaders of the mission needs correction. Girman is more than twice as old as the sons on this mission, and he has been around the galaxy quite a few times. He is not that interested in the rivalry between the two of them but he is one of the few who can, without question, tell them what to do. He is an adherent to a spiritual sect of Kylar whose goal is to purge themselves of physical lust.
Copyright © 2002 Cecilia Tan
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