Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Live and learn

I built this character table the other day – and posted it before. Afterwards, I looked at it again and I thought about a few things. One of them is OMG I’m old. Some of the characters in Parallel have been in my head for 20 years now, and that is a sobering thought. Then I started thinking about them.

In the original story, Madiq was a high priest in ancient Egypt – while pretty much sure that said gods did not exist. He got turned into a vampire himself by one of the first vampires, and continued to serve in the Queen and King’s palace. Ydemb Arā was a general in the army that would later become a vampire as a reward for his bravery and commitment. Later on, Ydemb Arā would spawn.

But that was 20 years ago and I was a teenager then. Now, as I work on “rebooting” their story, I see that they have changed, and yet they have not – I always think about Ydemb Arā when I walk into any kind of gothic building. Maybe they have grown. They have always been in the back of my mind, the three of them, along with some other vampires from their world.

So I turn thoughts in my mind. Probably Ydemb Arā and Madiq are my first gay couple ever, the first I considered in my life. But a long time has passed since I started wondering about how two guys’ dynamics could work – and probably Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat influenced the way they interacted. Now, looking back, twenty years and a lot of life experience later, I can do a more complex analysis of them, and how they have changed in my mind.

Madiq is a former slave. He was castrated shortly after reaching adulthood, thus becoming a eunuch. Being turned into a vampire gave him a new dimension of relationships that did not necessarily go through sex. Or turned around the idea of vampire sex, which involves blood and death rather than sexual hormones and organs. Thus, I have gathered that Madiq is what we would call pansexual nowadays. Furthermore, he would be someone without much interest to commit to a long–lasting relationship. From a slave to be sacrificed to the gods, Madiq became a high priest after being turned into a vampire and lived in court.

Ydemb Arā, on the other hand, is mostly heterosexual. His relationship with Madiq is born from obsession, and I am not that sure of how healthy their interactions are. Ydemb Arā met Madiq when the latter was already a vampire, so their power dynamics are imbalanced – Madiq started as a slave and had already outlived his generation as a vampire when Ydemb Arā was born. Ydemb Arā belonged to a rich, military family and logically chose the army career. He was already a general when he was assigned to serve in the Palace, not to protect the Queen and King but the High Priest Madiq. However, at this point Madiq was already pretty much immortal, so it was most pretence than anything else. This is what triggered that part of Ydemb Arā that would later “fall in love” with Madiq. Ydemb Arā would later be chosen by the Queen to become one of the first generation vampires, but this did not equalise the imbalance between Priest and General

For Madiq, vampire Ydemb Arā was not too different from what the general had been. He still considered himself above the other, but he would eventually start warming up to him – even if Ydemb Arā did not really go for a romantic relationship. However, Madiq regularly left Ydemb Arā to wander the world and be alone. During this time, Ydemb Arā’s obsession led him to pursue mortals who reminded him of Madiq. Only one of these would survive the creation process – Idol.

Idol (who is not on the Parallel character table as he is not a main character) had originally a love story, but somehow it never felt right. I was not sure why but it would just not work. Now I have it all figured out – not every character needs a romantic arc, and not every character has an “average” sexuality (read “average” as “the ones that you find most represented in fiction”). The reason why Idol’s romantic arc never worked was that it was not destined to work. Idol is asexual, and thus my teenage attempts to have him in an actual “average” relationship blew up on my face. Sorry Idol, I know better now.

So I’ve learnt about the sexuality spectrum, and what I am learning now is the gender spectrum. I know that I’ve got a transgender character but I don’t know how to present that. In the end, it does not count if it is not “out” does it? I’ll have to wing it somehow, I guess.

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2 responses to “Live and learn

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