When I was doing the world building for my science fiction romance novels set in the far future of the Sectors, where WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM (“Titanic in space”) occurs, I knew I wanted to include an element of pure paranormal, along with the technical aspects of life in the far future. So I added the Red Lady of D’nvannae and her sister, the White Lady. They’re ancient twin beings, regarded as goddesses by many in the sprawling outer space world of the Sectors, with seemingly unlimited powers. I know their backstory of course, but only reveal the details grudgingly. The mystery is the enticing thing, right?
As you might expect the Red Lady has an army of highly dangerous followers who serve on contracts as bodyguards or assassins. She decides on a whim which to provide, if both services are requested in the same case. If you can make the payment and contract with a member of the Brotherhood, the odds are high that you’ll achieve your goal, whether it’s your safety or someone else’s death. Her men and women are lethal. I modeled her very loosely after aspects of Kali, goddess of Time and Change and Darkness. It’s not a one for one Red Lady equals Kali. She’s known to be beautiful, greedy, sensual.
Marked with the flamboyant scarlet facial tattoo of his Order, Khevan, a senior member of the Brotherhood, plays a significant role in WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM and I’ve had so many requests for a sequel about him. Which I do plan to write in the not too distant future.
Her sister, the White Lady, is harder to quantify, if you live in the Sectors. Her servants go about doing good deeds, don’t accept payment and sometimes directly oppose the D’nvannae. Some of her followers take a voluntary vow of poverty and chastity. I think most in the Sectors view hers as a charitable organization. I will say she’s the only one who can control and contain the Red Lady, so what does that indicate about her power? Not that she chooses to act against her sister very often! She does play a small role in one scene of WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM.
There’s one key moment in a novitiate’s training where he or she first sees one Lady or the other – or no one, in which case they’re released from further service. In extremely rare cases, the candidate may see both goddesses and can choose a path. Here’s what Khevan had to say when challenged by another Nebula Dream passenger, Damais:
Barely touching his skin, Damais traced the tattoo on his cheek. The outline glowed as her finger passed over it. Khevan flinched.
"You have seen them both, have you not? The Red Lady and her sister, the Lady in White, although you chose to serve Red." Damais made a flat statement, but Nick thought he heard an odd hint of something faintly judgmental in her tone.
Perhaps Khevan heard the same thing. Raising his head, he met her stare calmly, but with the beginnings of a frown, brows knitting together. "I have seen them both, my lady. And made my choice, as you say."
"To have such choice is rare, but not unknown." She eyed him for another long minute. "Confident in your selection of loyalties, I see.”
Khevan’s loyalties get tested to a terrible degree during the attempt to escape the wrecked ship.
When I was first plotting my Sectors it was so much fun to really think through the two opposing forces embodied by the sisters, what motivates them, how the rivalry will play out over all the Sectors novels where they do appear, how the humans caught up in the service of each are affected…
It’s quite a change from the Ancient Egyptian paranormals I also write, where I’m working with the Egyptian gods and goddesses and trying to stay somewhat inside the beliefs of the people who actually worshipped them.
But it’s all fun, as a writer! Do you have a favorite pantheon of gods and goddesses you like to see in novels?