Characters in Motion with C.L. Talmadge

The Villains of Azgard

By C.L. Talmadge

Question: Who are your five top antagonists? Talk about each one and what motivates them.

Answer: Meet the schemers of Azgard, the doomed island nation setting for the Green Stone of Healing® speculative fiction series. They are ranked in reverse order, with the fifth least vile villain first on the list, and the most lethal up last.

As the series moves from generation to generation, some of the antagonists’ change. Or they become more or less powerful, depending on circumstances and whether or not they’re still breathing. But the top viper retains his place as No. 1. His plots and plans ultimately consign the entire world to mass destruction.

Don’t use anything except a pencil to fill out a scorecard….

Fallout

Villain No. 5: Griffin Mordecai

Griffin Mordecai is the grandson of Lord James Mordecai’s mortal enemy, his uncle, Lord Jasper Mordecai. After he kills Lord Jasper to claim his right to the Dukedom of Alta and position as Lord Protector, Lord James refused to acknowledge Griffin. That consigned the latter to an early life of poverty and obscurity, although Lord James did pay for Griffin’s higher education. Needless to say, Griffin seethes with murderous (if impotent, at first) rage against the Lord Protector and anyone related to him, like first-generation heroine Helen Andros.

As a young man embarking on a profession in the law, Griffin seeks out the patronage of the Prince of Istar, the highest-ranking political enemy of the Lord Protector. Prince Seti finds Griffin an occasionally useful lackey and a symbolic insult to his detested rival.

At the outset of the series, Griffin holds the powerful post of Lord Chancellor thanks to the undue influence of his princely patron during the incapacity of the Exalted Lord, Azgard’s title for its king. Griffin aims to destroy Helen as an indirect shot at undermining the Lord Protector’s support among the noble houses of the Kinshazen, the Toltecs’ political assembly.

Later in the series Griffin’s social status changes, and he uses his wealth and power to inflict a great deal of harm and wreak havoc in a once formerly prosperous province. He gets his comeuppance from the one person he actually loves, to the extent that he can love.

The Scorpian Strike

Villain No. 2: Ezekiel Malachi

In Azgard there is little distinction between religion and the state. As Helen discovers to her peril, subjects and residents of Azgard can be charged, tried, convicted of, and punished for purely religious offenses as well as for crimes against the state.

Thus the position of the Supreme Lord of the Temple of Kronos, referred to commonly as the Holy One, wields extensive power. At the start of the series, a native of Southern Alta Province named Ezekiel Malachi holds that high and powerful religious office.

Malachi is a true religious fanatic. He is determined to force both Toltecs and Turanians to adhere to his concept of proper religious practices and beliefs. Resenting and fearing the Duke of Alta’s toleration and support of the Turanians within Alta Province, Malachi invariably sides with Lord James’ political enemies. The Holy One also feuds with Prince Enoch Atlas over his toleration of Turanians.

Malachi not surprisingly strongly adheres to the Temple’s edicts against half-breeds, for hidden personal reasons that go beyond religious belief. He is only too eager to make an end of Helen and of her half-breed second cousin, who is the second son of Prince Enoch. Helen and her father suffer the pain of separation due to Malachi’s machinations.

Malachi’s own arrogance, however, will bring about his demise. He cannot believe that his trusted No. 2 would do anything to undermine him, and pays dearly for that mistaken assumption.

Villain No. 3: Prince Seti Poseidon

This prince of the Ruling House of Poseidon is defined by lust and hate.

Born the Prince of Istar, which means he is heir to Kingship held by his elder brother, Kefren. Prince Seti lusts for absolute power. This drives him to find covert ways to murder his elder brother to inherit the Kingship. He lusts for revenge against Lord James Mordecai, the man whom Prince Seti chooses to believe stole Kefren’s respect and affections away from him.  Prince Seti also hates Lord James for refusing his sexual advances during Lord James’ boyhood. He is the personification of the scorned lover.

Bisexual, Prince Seti also lusts for his own daughter, Lady Samantha. After she, as a child, is betrothed to Lord James, Prine Seti abuses her as a twisted payback against Lord James, who eventually weds her. Prince Seti falls in love in with her in much the same way as he fell for Lord James.

Prince Seti is a twisted, unprincipled opportunist with a certain amount of political savvy, even if he lacks true wisdom or the slightest inkling of compassion. When Lord James’ relationship to a half-breed bastard becomes public knowledge, Prince Seti wastes no time in using the information to try to destroy his political opponent.

When he finally comes to power, he invariably overplays his hand and loses the support of the noble houses. His loveless treatment of his son and heir guarantees that he will not long maintain his hold on the Kingship.

The Vision

Villain No. 2: Prince Enoch Atlas

To call this prince of the Royal House of Atlas a snake in the grass would be an insult to all serpents.

A direct descendent of Kronos’ presumed second son Atlas, he becomes Prince of Westar upon the mysterious accidental death of his elder brother. Prince Enoch is also the highest-ranking lord of the Kindred generally regarded as a member of the Exalted Lord’s faction. While Lord James treats Prince Enoch like a staunch ally, Kefren’s wily Consort, Lady Naomi Palladin, isn’t nearly so certain. She doesn’t trust this prince at all.

Her suspicions are well founded. Unlike the openly power-hungry Prince of Istar, the Prince of Westar wraps his ambitions to rule supreme in the mantel of friendship and support. Unfortunately for Helen, Prince Enoch’s murderous designs will include her and her ability to bear half-breed children if married to his half-breed second son.

Prince Enoch betrays not just Lord James and Helen, but his country, too, leading to an unnecessary war that claims millions of lives.

Villain No. 1: Lucan Silenas

Second in command of the Temple of Kronos, the Holy Deputy is motivated not by the religious fervor (however warped) of his superior, but by boundless personal ambition. Lucan makes it his job to do favors for those members of the Brotherhood of Kronos who are willing to play along with him, dig up dirt on those who are not, and always apply his influence in ways that advance his standing with the Holy One and thus his Temple career.

Amoral and cunning, Lucan will not let anyone or anything like mere principle stop him from achieving his aims.

As the series moves forward, Lucan begins to disagree openly with his superior over the question of what to do with half-breeds. While the Holy One wants to destroy any and all half-breeds, Lucan argues that the Temple should explore ways to harness and use the reputed powers and abilities of half-breeds to usurp the power of the Kingship and impose its will on all of Azgard and the world beyond. When Malachi won’t be persuaded, Lucan removes him to claim the Temple’s top post.

With a little digging into Azgard’s censored history, Lucan uncovers explosive secrets about the founding of Azgard, the abilities of half-breeds, and the true heir of Kronos, the God-King revered by the Toltecs as the founder of their nation.

Lucan disregards the curse of Kronos revealed in the secret writings. By doing so, and by injuring the hidden heirs of Kronos, Silenas invokes deadly wrath that ultimately destroys all trace of Azgard and its mighty civilization.

C.L. Talmadge is the author of the Green Stone of Healing® speculative fiction series, the first three novels of which are B.R.A.G. Medallion winners. More information is available at www.greenstoneofhealing.com

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