Pronunciation Guide

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


“B” is for brand

Most of my characters have a brand (or two) on their right arm. I haven’t quite decided what it looks like, but it is a symbol of who they are. To whom they belong. To what beliefs they ascribe. The ones who do the branding believe it unites them. You cannot become a Hul without it. It’s something that cannot be taken back; once it’s done, it’s done.

Except when things change.

Loyalty is under constant scrutiny. If someone fails the most important test, they receive another brand. This one also defines the bearer – not as one united, but as one Shamed.

This, too, is permanent.

Many of my “good guys” have two brands: the uniting one, and the snakelike “S” to show that they are no longer part of what they once were.

I realize this may not be the smartest thing, and many of my Huls don’t agree with the system either. They see the flaws. But, like the good soldiers they are, they follow orders. (Except the ones who start plotting how to take over. Muhaha.) But the top ruler is just power-mad enough to believe that removing an 18 year old boy from the only life he’s ever known, branding him as Shamed, and forcing him into slavery is more than enough to crush anyone’s spirit.

He thinks he’s delivering the worst blow possible, leaving young men to a fate worse than death where they must deal with the ramifications of their stupid decision for the rest of their miserable lives. Plus, he is getting some beaten-down workers out of it too, so he wins all the way around.

What he is actually doing is bringing together defiant, selfless, and trained men who have every reason to hate the Huls.

The world is ripe for revolution.

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