In this “supporting characters” series, I am highlighting the side characters in The Edinön Trilogy. [Revisit the Supporting Characters of Liquid Death.] The side characters include one-shots and recurring characters in the series; basically everyone (except the two main heroes and the main villains) who plays a significant role in the protagonists’ lives.
The entire cast of Burning Space:
Kandi, Juan, Sam, Sarah/Iden, Talia, Traci, Vïndi/Time, Jeremy/Deinor, Ledyn (Appetite), Leisil (Appetite), Sebastian, Ento, Weida, Calwen, Yuter, Darbati, Lidret, Pywan (Hope), Matt, Adarein (Energy), Onüseth (Intelligence), Eza (Love), Ema, Velgyn, Merfet, Ödi, Emanuel, Dün, Feskit, Jónif, Radi, Ghen, Deioïn (Survival), Leidor (Agency), Levüth (Conscience), Vodi (Time), Esui, Redon, Ajuna (Energy), Ema (Love), Ashin, Evïdin, Man, Rüt, Ujean, Atania, Barder, Barder’s wife, Eimay, Exala, Ilion, Juduni
First appearance (in Burning Space; Chapter One: The Hero)
Ento always knew the human hybrid was more than he appeared. Despite his relatively small size and unusual skin tone, Juan (or as many call him, Aun, since his name is difficult to pronounce) is a force to be reckoned with. Ento was the first to reckon with said force when he met him in Jarbakül, the Slaver’s Capital on Bynivul. It was Juan’s first day on new soil.
He looked blearily at his unfamiliar surroundings. The transporter hovered past the trees behind him, blowing his black hair and summoning more moisture to his eyes. He was dressed in common human-wear that drew attention to his skinny legs and left the neck completely bare. The boy appeared unable to breathe. Ento walked across the flat, paved courtyard to shake the human from his stupor. The humans behind the boy backed away in fear, while Juan remained still, carefully absorbing the environment. As the boy watched the transport zip out of sight, Ento noticed the mark on his throat. He has been cleansed, Ento thought, puzzled. This was the first human he had encountered to have undergone the ritual. It was a grisly process that involved slicing the victim’s throat, draining him of all his blood, praying over the blood to “purify” it, and transferring it back into his system. It was a procedure required for all potential Mates to endure. The gods could not mate with any mortal, after all.
Why was Juan chosen for cleansing?
The courtyard was soon bustling with slave traders and Lords anxious to take their pick of the new meat. This shipment was all human, mostly adult males. One adolescent female was already stolen away by a trader affiliated with a cult known for its unhealthy obsession with the Deioïn Bloodline. The female screamed as she was carried off into the towering marble structure at the opposite edge of the clearing. Like the other new slaves, she was to be tagged, bathed, groomed, fed, and evaluated by the Lords. Once evaluated, a price would be branded into her arm, and she would be kept within the Slave Tower until purchased and shipped to another center of trade.
Burning Space, pages 12-13
Ento is an Edinön , a species similar to human, but stronger, taller, and fairer. Most Edinön have fair skin, and Ento is no exception. He is the first to notice Juan when the human lands on Bynivul and is hired as Juan’s official handler by Leisil, the new Appetite (Ledyn’s/Leyla’s heir).
Ento becomes a strange father figure to Juan over the years while Juan is a slave. He is wealthy and somewhat clueless, as he has little comprehension of the suffering Juan endures and generally thinks of his own comforts first. But Ento is also older and taller than Juan, with an air of authority that Juan eventually grows to respect. Plus, Ento has the charisma to provide opportunities for Juan that few other slaves can have, and he enters Juan into a deadly competition that might earn Juan his freedom because, deep down, he genuinely cares.
First appearance (in Burning Space; Chapter One: The Hero)
Ento knew Juan would be singled out in seconds, so he made sure he nabbed him first. The boy was not like the others. He was cleansed, he was sturdy, and his eyes matched the Appetite Bloodline, which led Ento to think he might be a notable figure to humans… Perhaps a prince. He would be expensive.
Ento grabbed the human’s arm and pulled him toward the tower. He wasn’t surprised when the boy resisted. He was surprised, however, by the strength of the resistance.
Ento looked down at the human. There was pain in his eyes. Real, raw, unadulterated pain. It dawned on Ento that Juan would not willingly follow him.
“I will not hurt you,” Ento promised, tugging the boy’s arm again.
Before he could anticipate anything, Ento was on the ground, the wind knocked out of him.
The human said something in his native tongue and knocked another trader on his back. Other traders gathered to take the human, some with electric rods. Ento feared the boy would be harmed beyond repair, which would knock his price down a notch, so he quickly rose from the ground and rushed between the traders and the human, arms spread. “Do not harm him!”
“You have no claim on the human, Ento,” a trader by the name of Rüt said, pointing his rod at the slave.
“His value will decrease if a single hair is singed, Rüt,” Ento argued.
Suddenly, Rüt lost his electric rod and fell to the ground. The human stood above him, cracking the rod over his knee. He looked crazed now, poised for a fight, and Ento knew the boy was more than human. Humans were generally slower and weaker than Edinön, whereas this particular specimen moved faster than his eyes could track and managed to break an advanced piece of machinery in half with his bare hands.
A burst of light nearby drew the crowd’s attention from the boy to an indistinct, shadowy figure that only took a corporeal form after a few blinks. The newcomer was obviously Appetite itself, disguised as an impossibly attractive Edinön female with golden hair and red eyes. Her garment glittered like the night sky and clung to every feminine curve. She tossed her head back and walked toward the boy, leaving a trail of red flame blazing across the soil.
Ento had already forgotten about the human prince.
“This one is mine,” Appetite said, gazing at Ento directly. Ento’s throat shrunk.
The human collapsed to his knees, hands shaking. “Kandi?”
Appetite lifted him up by his arms and caressed his face. She spoke human words to him, which instantly calmed him. Ento could not believe his eyes.
She smiled seductively at Ento and said, “Ento, you are coming with me as well.”
Ento lowered his gaze to her feet. “I am not a slave, Leisil.”
She pulled him forward by the golden tassels on his collar. Ento could not tear his eyes away from hers as they changed from red to green. He inhaled a scent manufactured specifically for him. It twisted his insides and rewired his brain. His sole purpose was to please her. He was hers, and he realized she was the piece of him he’d felt had been missing all these years. His life was complete. His soul was whole.
The world darkened around her flawless form. Her ruby red lips curved, and she released a sigh so blatantly sexual he nearly burst with ecstasy. A thread of consciousness insisted that he was not a slave. He was a trader. He was a master.
“Not a slave,” he heard himself whisper, even as the heady fragrance weakened his knees. Not a slave…
Appetite hummed. “You are to me.”
Burning Space, pages 13-15
Leisil is the new Goddess of Appetite, Lust, Fertility, and Beauty, aka Ledyn’s successor. She is more beautiful and ruthless than her mother, and she has everything she wants — except the one thing she can’t have: the only mortal male who can resist her magic. Juan is young, powerful, and attractive, the perfect Mate with the potential to restore her Bloodline to its former glory. If only he wanted her as much as she wanted him…
First appearance (in Burning Space; Chapter One: The Hero)
My best buddy, a fellow slave named Yuter, greets me in our shared quarters on the fifth floor with a forehead touch – which would definitely be an overly intimate gesture if he did not look like an oversized lizard. Yuter is an Imitun, so he possesses rough, gray skin, yellow eyes with tiny black pupils, no hair whatsoever, and a forked tongue. He is like a creature straight out of Star Trek, and that fact alone made it easy to befriend him. He speaks a little Gídnei (enough to understand the soldiers, escorts, and masters) but his native language is Veirditumu, which is one of the most difficult languages in the universe. There are no standalone words, just phrases, and depending on the context in which you use certain phrases, they can mean completely different things. “Edumekizahd,” for example, means “how are you,” when used as a greeting. But if you use it after “jetifuevnar,” which means “bring to me,” it translates to a specific midday meal served on Yuter’s home planet. I still don’t have the language down enough to call myself fluent, but Yuter is patient with me. He has even learned a few English phrases while I’ve practiced pronouncing the Veirditumu term for “hello.”
Our quarters are not quite spacious enough for us to lie down at the same time, so we sleep in shifts. The toilet is a hole in the corner connected directly to the sewage pipes. Our bed is a thick fur mat that could sharpen a knife.
“How was your trip?” Yuter asks, habitually brushing his hands on his threadbare trousers.
“Long overdue,” I answer in Gídnei, adjusting my metal collar so it stops pinching my Adam’s apple.
“I heard you won.” Yuter attempts to smile, and I laugh. Imita express themselves primarily with their eyes. The rest of their facial features don’t move at all without practice. Yuter tries to communicate his emotions like I do, unaware that I already know exactly what he is feeling all the time.
I shrug and gesture to the plastic curtain dividing our room from the lush green yard. “Let’s go.”
“Appetite is hosting a feast in my honor.” I slap Yuter’s arm.
“And I’m invited?” Yuter says excitedly.
“Don’t be an idiot. Come on.”
Burning Space, pages 23-24
Yuter is Juan’s friend on Bynivul, a fellow slave with no resilience or strength of his own. He relies completely on Juan for social and physical support. Juan is Yuter’s “safety net,” and when Juan’s life hangs in the balance, Yuter knows his does, too. Without a backbone, Yuter is prone to resentment and pessimism. It is trust that Yuter lacks, but soon he may learn trust is possible if he can trust in the right thing.
First appearance (in Burning Space; Chapter 6: The Creator)
“Everul,” Merfet taps my arm with hers, directing my attention to a red-skinned girl no older than eight approaching me with her mother.
“Everul, it really is you?” the girl asks as she brushes her frilly yellow skirt.
I hesitate, gathering my wits. “Yes. What is your name?”
The girl glances up at her mother. “Esui.”
“Please forgive us, Everul,” her mother says, pulling her child closer. “We will not waste more of your time.” Then she whispers to Esui, “Come on, let’s go.”
Oh, wait. Esui needs help. I feel grief piercing my chest. She must have lost someone recently. “Wait. Esui, come.” I stretch my hand toward her, inviting her to grasp it. Esui looks at her mother apologetically and obeys, walking forward to take my hand. My heart clenches immediately, the grief briefly intensifying with direct contact. I pull it all in, shaking slightly by the time I release her.
Esui bursts into tears and falls on the ground, thanking me in her native tongue.
“What did you do?” her mother asks. There are still people gathered around, baffled by what they just witnessed.
Suddenly all of their sorrows and concerns begin flowing into my being, wrapping like vines around my heart and rapidly tightening. My breaths shorten, and my control over my powers fails. Energy from my core rises to the surface to ease the pain, causing my aura to brighten to near-dangerous levels for mortal eyes.
“I need to leave,” I say, urgently holding onto Velgyn’s shoulder.
Burning Space, pages 131-132
Esui is an archetype of Innocence, the girl who has lost nearly everything and deserves healing and comfort more than most. Kandi wants nothing more than to give Esui what she desires, but she is constrained by Time. Esui will learn patience, and she’ll love Kandi regardless of her limitations.
First appearance (in Burning Space; Chapter 9: The Healer)
The murmuring among the crowd is interrupted by a deep, authoritative voice as it climbs up the hill. “What is the meaning of this?”
“We were just leaving, Ujean,” the same man says. He and fifteen other men race down the hill to escape punishment.
If the gods found it so important that I hide my face in public, I imagine revealing my entire physical form to mortal eyes might be catastrophic.
“Kandi, it is safe to come out. Atania has your dress.”
“And Ujean?” I query softly.
She leans over the grass and mouths, “He’s blind.”
I nod and raise myself out of the water. Atania rushes to the bank with a long, dry cloth over one arm and my dress over the other. I thank her as I take the cloth to dry myself and step back into my dress.
Ujean is 40-50 years of age. He has a strong, masculine physique and jawline, and softer facial features. His green eyes are framed by long, dark lashes, his dark hair is soft and shoulder-length, and his symmetrical nose is dusted with freckles. He is a stunning man, one which I could study for a while.
He smiles in my general direction. “Kandi, I am Ujean, the Defender of Deiban. Welcome to my village.”
“Thank you, Ujean.”
“Your presence in the village has caused quite a stir. From what I hear you are very beautiful. Would you like to accompany me to my home where we can speak privately?”
Gosh, am I blushing? “Yes.” I step forward to grasp his forearm in greeting, reigning in my power so the contact feels ordinary. “That would be ideal.”
His smile grows. “Good. Follow me.”
Burning Space, pages 191-192
Ujean is a village “defender,” or chief, and a worshiper of Kandi’s father, the God of Death. When Kandi falls into his life, he immediately falls in love with her and desires her for a companion. He is one of the few true believers of the Order whom Kandi has met, so she knows the impact of revealing her identity would have on him. She happens to enter Ujean’s village the day before a festival honoring none other than the Hero of Bynivul, Juan, for his courageous defiance against the gods. Ironically, if not for the Hero himself, Ujean’s love for Kandi might be requited.
What highlighted character was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!