So, you ask. We’ve shown that the Shenaihu are not the antagonists of the Mendaihu in this universe. And yet…who is?
That’s a very good question indeed, because it took me a long time to figure that out myself. In the Bridgetown Trilogy we learn that the two do not necessarily have a protagonist/antagonist relationship, but one of balance. One exists to balance out the other in some shape or form. Both sides had a reason for doing what they do, whether that action is noble or misguided. But the fact remains that there is balance between the two. It is nuanced and often contradictory, but it’s there and that’s how life is. I thought about this early on when writing A Division of Souls as an extension of the Golden Rule: similarity and difference working together peacefully.
This was the question I’d been asking myself: who wants to upset that balance? Whoever that happens to be in MU4 is the real antagonist. The person or group — or even a belief — must have a reason to ensure that the true balance between the Mendaihu and the Shenaihu cannot hold. Which brings up the next question: why would they want to do that?
It occurred to me recently that the answer to that question will not be found in a goal-oriented way. Maybe they are doing this to gain power, but that’s only one of the end results and not necessarily a goal. I started thinking about how in this current political climate, there are those who see progressive movement as a positive evolution, and there are those who see it as a perversion of stasis.
Thus the drive of the antagonist of MU4 (and perhaps whatever comes after it) could be precisely that: a person or a group — or belief — that sees only the perversion and fights to eradicate it. [Which of course begs further thoughts about the balance between those two. But that’s a bit further into this created future.] They want to create barriers that keep this evolution from taking place at any cost.
So far I have two concrete things for this antagonist: a name for the group, and their sigil. And a pretty good idea of how far they’re willing to take it.