Here's my idea for my novel's villain. I'd love to know whether it makes sense- within its world (NB, I'm using a bunch of Heroic Fiction conventions so bear with me). He started out rather naive, charming, and quite good-hearted. During a tremendous event known as the Limaen Incident, he accidentally blew out the willpower chunk of his mind and spread a bunch of untapped will into three other people (who happened to be nearby at the time, and end up as the book's 'heroes'). Two of the three stayed relatively dormant, and he was able to recover and lock away within his mind most of the power he had accidentally given them. The third, however, went on a rampage and destroyed most of the town, by setting fire to the Airship Manufacturing Ward. Only after she was incapacitated (yes, only incapacitated) by the blast, he locked away what powers he could, though many of them had by now been hard-wired into her brain. After that, he picked through the wreckage of the town he once owned (he owned both the Iron Mine and the Steel Smelter, where most of the townsfolk worked), searching for survivors. The blast from the Airship Manufacturing Ward knocked a new seam into the earth, and from that seam poured a potent but previously rare gas (which had been found in the Mines and was part of the reason for the Limaen Incident). Our villain, knowing the power of the gas, immediately took steps to contain it, including pouring vast amounts of debris into the fissure and, along with his survivors, building a wall to keep it sealed off. Many of the survivors began to show mutations in their body structure- extra arms, huge muscle mass, bulbous sores all over their bodies- and this villain knew well that their presence in other places would not be tolerated. (the deformation is due to the gas, which gradually makes the body more along the lines of the self-image of the body. At the same time, the gas distorts the mental image into a grotesque, exaggerated form. Spooky stuff, no?) It was about this time that he realised that his memories of his survivors' bodies could be moulded, and reformed, into whatever he wanted- and that gradually their bodies would change to suit his mental image. He took two low-intellect miners aside and created Diggers from them, great and powerful beasts capable of tunnelling at truly remarkable speeds. Using his Diggers, he carved an underground base for himself and the survivors. After that, he reformed the Diggers into Gold-Eaters- Similar to Diggers, but they eat rocks and save Gold in a separate stomach for later harvesting. His survivors, who now called themselves his followers, lived with him, sending out raiding parties to the Northern Farms (south of this city, north of King's Town) for sustenance and generally keeping fit and readjusting the Citadel, as it was called. It wasn't until a year later that the idea struck him to use his powers to build a new world. He was intelligent enough to see that mankind's greed and will kept it from becoming the truly remarkable creature it could be- and he saw his followers, and their collective survival, as a possible alternative. He began to make a plan. The plan involved the Malcharryn, a great, flying base of operations he would grow from scratch. That meant a child. That didn't sit well with his moral compass, but he 'knew' it would work, if only because with the awe that would create, he could command anyone to do anything and they would do it- "live together in harmony with one another" didn't seem to be that far-fetched compared to a giant, flying behemoth. To rationalise this decision, he created within his mind three Advisors, based on an ancient children's game he had learned a long time ago- the Combatant (closed fist), the Concubine (open palm), and the Spymaster (index and middle finger extended). The Combatant thought in terms of absolute, removed strategy and conquest. The Concubine thought in terms of eventual emotion and pleasure. The Spymaster was a way to rationalise the stream of thoughts from other beings- it was easier to bear mind-reading from another creature's mouth. These creations gradually took on personalities and thoughts seemingly of their own, though he knew they were simply figments of his imagination. Through the guidance and advice of these three, he brought a child into the world through one of his female followers and exposed it to a concentrated mixture of the gas, then began to form within its mind a bizarre and glorious form, a living fortress, which it quickly begins to take on. Nine years later is the start point of the novel. There's probably going to be a whole bunch of flashybacky. Mr. Villain is going to be one of the POV characters. Several of the villain's secondary followers- people persuaded to his side and transformed after the construction of the base- begin to catch wind of his plan to take the world under his wing. They know that the council of Sarvenne (the main city in the story) will never bow to him unless their lives are at stake. And thus they decide to put the Council's lives at stake. Simply put, they fail, due in part to the heroine and in part to another major character. These come as serious blows to our villain friend, who begins to rely more and more on the guidance of his Advisors for forgiveness and explanation as to 'why, why did he have to let that happen?' Though his followers understand his ability to change their forms, they don't quite grasp how- and they don't understand that he has the ability to read minds directly, as well as a bunch of other things that are still locked inside his mind from the Limaen incident. The Combatant especially, but also the Concubine, advise him to keep the ability secret from them- the logic is 'they are already unstable; it isn't good to poke unstable people with sticks'. Revealing that he always knew everything they ever thought would not be a wise move, they advise. Eventually, the Malcharryn is finished- his child has grown into a blimp the size of a city, with vast numbers of minor creatures swarming around his vast hull, protecting him from birds and the like. The blimp appears to be a bizarre combination of a human face and a morbidly obese seahorse- the face bursting out of the chest of the seahorse, or something. Haven't really figured it all out yet. Anyhow, the Malcharryn is set in motion and it looms its way over to Sarvenne (in the book I won't use nearly such ironically non-dramatic language), with the intent of delivering the villain directly to the Sarvenne Council to convince them of his cause (which doesn't work- they aren't convinced), and simultaneously kidnapping the heroine's girlfriend to control her motions and keep her from interfering (which does). When his attempt to convince the council fails, the villain is convinced by his advisors to hold the city to ransom- the Malcharryn deploys a transport system the villain had never intended it to have, and releases a horde of sub-creatures that he didn't consciously know existed. These creatures begin to steal people from Sarvenne and place them in the holding pens on the Malcharryn. It seems like it's going to work. The villain, at the same time, begins to long for human contact, and finds it in the heroine's girlfriend (a cheerfully bisexual and intensely forgiving person, in case it isn't quite obvious). Together they spend many hours wandering through the villain's dream world, where the people of earth are focussed on knowledge rather than money and only compete to be the most proficient in their chosen craft. Because mental intimacy breeds physical intimacy, the two gradually form an affection for each other that will last for the remainder of the book- he resists the advice of his advisors on this one. It should be understood that he is an attractive and a kind man, and that finding affection for him is not a difficult task. After a few days of this, they become intimate in the nudge-wink sense. The heroine's girlfriend actually falls pregnant later on, due to this. It is during one of these intimate moments that hell, in general, begins to break loose. The heroine and the two other heroes sneak aboard by disguising themselves as vagrants (for the purposes of being held captive), then begin to basically rip the ship apart from the inside. Every bit of damage to the ship causes the entirety to scream in pain- imagine your body being torn up, bit by bit, from the inside- and the villain is intensely aware of it. In his joyous optimism, he never planned on resisting an attack from the inside- however, the Combatant, a component of his mind, did. Internal sub-creatures are waiting in the wings to rip the heroine and her comrades apart- something that, in his conscious mind, the villain would never accept. He wrestles with the Malcharryn for control and eventually wins it- but by this point the damage done is severe to say the least- the gas chamber that kept the system afloat has been ripped open and is venting. The Malcharryn is dying and is going to take Sarvenne with it, unless something is done. The villain vents a huge amount of the form-shifting gas into the Malcharryn's lung system and forces it to change from blimp to quadruped. The design is by nature hasty but is enough to support it long enough to dump its cargo of hostages, heroes and girlfriends, and move a fair distance north, before the villain's child finally gives up the ghost and dies of internal injuries. Soldiers from Sarvenne venture north and find him, broken and weary, and take him into a cell to await the death sentence. The rest of his followers escape capture. After this, the villain becomes excruciatingly depressed, as you would expect. He realises just how wrong he was to create the advisors in the first place, and attempts to remove them from his mind- however, they are by this point self-propelled identities and pull the old nightmare switcheroo on him, shoving his conscious mind deep into layers of 'it's for your own good' and 'this is what you want' and taking control of his body. The Combatant takes over his physical body, the Concubine takes his speech and the Spymaster begins to trawl through his mind for all those abilities he locked away over a decade ago. Through this combination, the villain attains a new level of power, though the heroine's girlfriend can see the difference (though his body posture, speech and mannerisms suggest a bon vivant, his eyes are dead). Two days before his sentence, he crumbles his cell and the building that contains it, snaps the necks of every guard in the place and walks away, whistling softly as he does. This new aspect of the villain works fast. He quickly gathers resources (basic theft) and begins to gather followers by force- shoving the thoughts into their heads as opposed to talking to them and gradually, genuinely convincing them. He sets up an import service to bring stored shifting gas to Sarvenne and creates a gallery of horrors from these followers, beasts whose entire purpose appears to be causing fear, nausea and panic amongst the general public. Through direct mental coercion he has the heroine listed as an incredibly dangerous criminal wanted for, amongst other things, murder, arson, drug trafficking and rape (some of them- many of them- are quite deserved), forcing her underground. After two weeks, he is back in full force, this time without a moral compass to restrict him. The climax of the piece comes when the villain again makes a move at the Council offices. This time he's on foot, dressed in a nice suit and has a nasty temper- and has a bunch of new abilities to boot. He has constantly reasserted that 'if I can take Sarvenne, I can [heal/take] the world", so this should be suitably dramatic. He takes the council by storm, killing two of its members and frightening the rest into submission- however, in a Richard III twist, just as he seems to be the most powerful, everything starts going against him. His original followers appear, spearheaded by the three heroes from earlier. Though he manages to slaughter his original followers (who offer no resistance), it visibly weakens him, and tears begin to wet his cheeks. The three heroes attack then, but he is still under the control of his Advisors and defeats all three at once- though again, the brutality of the act forces him to his knees with mental trauma, and he hesitates too much to kill any of them. It is the heroine's girlfriend, heavy with his child, who deals him the final blow, simply by walking up to him and hugging him. There is the 'tipping point' moment when his hands begin to wrap around her throat, and then, suddenly, his conscious mind is back, and his Advisors are pushed aside- though not destroyed. He accepts her hug, and then begs for death, knowing that they will return if his mind is allowed to remain active. He is killed by the heroine in a somewhat tragic scene, possibly made more so by the intensely warm and calm weather outside. The narrative story ends with his funeral, though the book goes on a ways from there, telling the reader directly what happened to other characters since. The heroine's girlfriend left for the Far East to raise the child there, away from everything and everyone (she has an immense wanderlust throughout the story, manifesting in various forms); the heroine disappeared later and no-one knows where she went, though speculation runs rife. Whew! So, now that that's done, is it convincing? Is there anything that doesn't make much sense? Is there anything that makes no sense? Is he morally 'good' enough at the start? Could he be made 'better'? Should he be a nice guy? Anything! Let's get that feedback rolling!