I am currently working on the characters for a story. The setting is a world that once was much like our own, until an ancient cataclysm sundered the world, and released divine and arcane energy. Men harnessed this energy, and the ensuing wars consumed science, technology, and reason. Eventually, the church formed an order of clerics, whose quest was to rid the world of the profane technology and arcane sorcerers who threatened the stability of mankind. The main characters of my story: "Kaedryn": A young sorcerer, who was inducted into an order of druids. He is eventually ousted because the source of his power is discovered as being arcane, and not divine in nature. He has suffered dreams since childhood that haunt him, his power is a mystery to even him, and he craves understanding of it. Kaedryn is fascinated by the arcane and mystic, and tries to hide his power knowing that his talents may well be the death of him., but his power is too great to be concealed. Sera Delaine: A young woman, one of a small handful of female clerics. She was inducted into the order of clerics after showing promise as a convert from the old ways. Her family was that of nobility, but her father was involved in sorcery and mysticism, and so her entire family was slain. The church spared her and her siblings, but she was the only one who would renounce her father. She struggles with the teachings of the Church, and is easily misled. Daryn Filden: The son of a highwayman, who is among the greatest brawlers the world has ever seen. He feels guilty of the path his father has set him on, but he feels an obligation to his father to continue along his path. "Artemis": Artemis belongs to an ancient order, who has sworn to protect the secrets of the sciences of the ancient race of men. He is gifted with technology, and was eventually seduced by the powers of alchemy. His experiments with technology and alchemy eventually led to his expulsion from the order. He has spent his life since his expulsion chasing a legend of how magic came to exist in his world, and to find and study for himself, the source of magic. I've got some basic plot hooks put together to bind the four characters together, but I don't really know if the character development is enough to avoid having flat characters, or whether I'm attempting to apply my characters to a situational story development at the expense of character development. Sera, Daryn, and Kaedryn meet through happenstance. Sera is set to hunt Daryn down after his exposure as a Sorcerer, and bring him in for trial and execution. He manages to subdue Sera, and in the process of trying to escape, stumbles upon a crucified Daryn. Kaedryn is enraged by the foul treatment of the common man at the hands of the church paladins and clerics, and drags Sera's battered, half-dead body into the clearing in front of Daryn, showing her what her church stands for. Kaedryn saves Daryn, and heals Sera, cursing her with his magic, the curse forbids Sera from harming another human being unless Kaedryn wills it. Daryn swears a blood oath to protect Kaedryn from harm, and accompany him on his quest to find the source of his power. Through the story, Sera's hatred for Kaedryn and her feelings of helplessness at her situation begins to develop into a sort of love. Sera begins to feel enthralled by Kaedryn, and she begins to doubt the church, as Kaedryn does not seem corrupted by his power. Daryn over time becomes obsessed with Sera, and angry over the way Kaedryn treats her. This strains Daryn and Kaedryn's relationship, but Daryn will not break his vow. Kaedryn enjoys Daryn's company, but wishes Sera to leave his side. He over time begins to accept her choice to follow him, at first because he wishes to punish her further, and show her the error in her ways, but eventually, because he understands that his curse makes him responsible for her well-being. Artemis meets the three later. Artemis becomes fascinated by Kaedryn's immense power, and Kaedryn begins to respect Artemis for his knowledge about the arcane. My story's antagonist is the Inquisitorial church. It is later revealed that the leader of the Inquisitorial church is actually a divine entity, an ancient god, whose attempt to destroy the old race of man for their blasphemies resulted in his imprisonment in the material plane, and the unleashing of the divine and arcane magics into the hands of men. He uses the church as a method of "mopping up" the arcane energies, and restoring them into the void, so that the old god can return to the divine realm, and reforge the world. Kaedryn escapes his appointed time of execution, thus becoming too powerful for the old god to easily manipulate. The antagonist of the story becomes somewhat muddled eventually, as the Kaedryn's power begins to corrupt him, and his own need to survive begins to cast doubt on whose goal is for the best. On the one hand, Kaedryn is being used, and on the other hand, his power becomes dangerous. The old God wishes to undo the damage to the world, and save humanity from the corrupting influence of the magical energies. Daryn, Kaedryn, Sera, and Artemis end up becoming tragic heroes. Sera's vow of chastity is broken, and she becomes pregnant with Kaedryn's child. The growth of the child is accelerated, and the influence of Kaedryn's power begins to twist both the mother and the child. Kaedryn refuses Sera's love, and attempts to send her away, as her condition is too fragile to allow her to continue their journey together. She admits her love for him, and he tells her that he cannot afford to love her. Sera's will is broken but she eventually agrees to end their journey together when the chance presented itself at least until Kaedryn's journey was over. Kaedryn eventually ends up killing several members of the Inquisitorial church, including several children, and Sera begins to see that she cannot bear the child of Kaedryn, who she calls an abomination. During a failed attempt to kill Kaedryn, she turns the knife on herself, killing her unborn child as well. Daryn never forgives Kaedryn, but agrees to continue on with the other two in order to fulfill his vow. Kaedryn's confrontation with the old God ends with Kaedryn absorbing the old God completely, turning his power into his own. Kaedryn is consumed by madness and corrupted completely by the chaotic energies of the void. Kaedryn, Daryn, and Artemis set out to destroy the church entirely in the last chapters of the story, and Kaedryn's control of himself is forfeit. He murders man, woman, and child alike, and proclaims himself sovereign over the world. Artemis turns on Kaedryn in a moment of weakness. He turns on him suddenly after he had exhausted himself destroying the last of the church, cornering him, but Kaedryn has enough power to render him unable to strike the killing blow. Daryn is faced with either breaking his vow, or killing his friend, Artemis. Artemis and Kaedryn both beg Daryn to kill the other, but Daryn decides that he must kill Artemis. Daryn leaves Kaedryn's side and walks away, leaving his sword in Artemis's dying body. How is this so far? like I said, I'm having a hard time building the characters. I don't want any one character to be a "bad guy". I'd like to see each character trapped by their situation, with no choice in their action. I like tragic heroes, and leaving the story somewhat without a clean end, so I think the plot is working out well, I just need to figure out if the characters are more than means to an end.