Everyone loves free books!

For all of July at Smashwords.com, you can get *both* A Division of Souls AND its sequel, The Persistence of Memories, for exactly $0.00!!

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Book I in the Bridgetown Trilogy, A Division of Souls, is currently free.  So if you haven’t experienced the first book in the Mendaihu Universe, have at it and have fun!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/565782

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Book II in the Bridgetown Trilogy, The Persistence of Memories, is part of a month-long promotion at Smashwords — all you need do is insert the coupon code ‘SFREE’ when you purchase this book and it’s all yours!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/625392

Hope you enjoy them both!

Cooler heads

west side story cool

Cooler heads have presided, and the edit of The Balance of Light has been reeled back in.  I’m keeping it a single book. It won’t be the sprawling epic that my Writer Brain threatened earlier this week.  Heh.

Printing out the manuscript seems to have worked wonders, as I figured it would.  Having done a galley edit with a test copy of A Division of Souls (which helped me find a lot more issues I’d missed), doing the same for Book 3 seems to be working out just fine.

Which reminds me — remember that first chapter I deleted a month or so ago?  Yeah, it’s back in again.  Why, you ask?   Well, again, cooler heads.  I realized that starting the story on the original Chapter 2 was an even WORSE idea.

So…what does that mean?  I need to delete at least 50k words somewhere in this behemoth.  Where the hell is that going to take place?  Well, that’s a good question.  This is another reason for the printing out of the ms…so I can give it another reread and find those soft squidgy spots that can be cut out.  Scenes I can merge or leave out.

This is still going to go far past my original deadline, but again — I’m okay with that.  As long as I’m going in the right direction, that’s all that matters.

Coming Soon

Not too much to report on this slightly cloudy Friday afternoon here in Spare Oom.  Just waiting for the Day Job to end and for the weekend to start!  I’ve been all kinds of busy the last few days.  I’m still neck deep in the edit for The Balance of Light; the Walk in Silence entries are coming along at a good clip, and will be hitting a multi-entry ‘interlude’ before continuing with the story; I’ve been hitting my daily practice words almost without fail; and I’ve been making slow but consistent plans for the next non-MU project I’ll be writing.

But!

I will say, however, that I have a few fun announcements to make pretty soon, regarding the Bridgetown Trilogy, as well as with the business end of my writing projects!

Let’s just say that it’s going to be an interesting ‘release’.

Stay tuned! 🙂

On Writing: Who Am I Writing For?

gromit

I’ll admit, that’s not a question I often thought about when I first started writing, because the answer was most likely going to be: well, ME, of course.  What a silly question!

I’ve tried in the past to write for a specific audience, and it never quite panned out the way I wanted it to.  Love Like Blood was me trying to write to the urban fantasy crowd.  Two Thousand was me trying to write for the litfic crowd.  True Faith was me trying to write for the sf/virtual reality crowd of the mid 90s.  All three projects have since been trunked, as I found them to be some of my worst work.  Paved with good intentions, but let’s face it: I was pandering.  I was trying to write for an easy buck.

Recently I’ve been thinking about who I’m writing for, and each time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m still writing for who I want to write for:  just your regular blue-collar joe who likes to read.  Yes, I’m still writing for me, but I’ve noticed the biggest response I get from readers is not always the avid science fiction/fantasy reader, but those I know who like to read a little (or a lot) of everything.  Someone who might read the latest George RR Martin but follow it up with, say, a history of 60s counterculture.  Or maybe not even that: someone who just likes reading what they like reading, and don’t necessarily fit into the definition of ‘avid fan’.

That’s not to say I find avid genre fans beneath my stature, far from it.  I just know that I’m not a hard sf writer or a military sf writer or even a high fantasy writer.  I just write what comes to mind, and I try to fill my created worlds with people and ideas that my readers will connect with.

The Mendaihu Universe might be chock full of spirituality, but I try not to write religious/spiritual fiction, which is its own genre.  The characters in this universe of mine have the same issues as readers: frustration, fear, indecision, confusion, irritation.  I put the characters into an everyday situation that just happens to have a supernatual/spiritual setting.  And for the most part, I think I pull it off, because nearly all my readers so far have commented on that as a definite plus to the worldbuilding.

I’ve been thinking about this in part because I’ve been trying to figure out how to sell my trilogy now that two-thirds of it is already out there.  It’s one thing to self-publish and release it, but it’s quite another to get it out there and advertise it.  As much as I dislike sales, I do need to think about who my target audience would be.  I know, I should probably think of this WHILE I’m writing the stories, but that can’t always happen.  Again: if I write to order, I write horribly.   I can only write what I know I can write.

But what about my other projects?  The non-MU stories?  Who am I writing for then?  I probably won’t know until the project starts.  I have some non-genre stories in mind that could easily be quirky litfic.  I have some genre stories that would fit nicely in the urban fantasy mold.

For me, I guess the only way I’ll know is when I start writing the damned things!

Meme Extra: F is also for Dylan Farraway

In doing the A to Z Challenge last month, even though I couldn’t come up with anything for X, Y or Z, there were numerous characters and ideas that I didn’t hit, due to something already laying claim to that letter.  So without further ado, here are a few more entries that you may enjoy!

* * *

Dylan Farraway - Kevin Spacey

Q: What is Farraway’s origin?

A: Along with Alec and Caren, Dylan Farraway was one of the newer characters in the Phoenix Effect reboot.  I’d originally pictured him as a takeoff of Chief Aramaki in Ghost in the Shell: bald and kind of weird-looking, bound to blow up at his staff on a daily basis.  I soon backed away from that idea and recreated him as an even-tempered, highly intelligent but extremely overworked boss.

Q: How is he connected to the Mendaihu?

A: Well…it’s kind of complex.  But I can say that he’s quite efficient at obtaining and retaining his various contacts outside of the ARU, so he knows quite a few Mendaihu and Shenaihu.

Q: That’s Kevin Spacey in that picture.  Did you base Farraway on him?

A: Actually, no!  It wasn’t until maybe about a month ago that I realized he’d be good at playing Farraway.  Just like when I chose Kathleen Turner as Madeleine Jakes…I had a general idea of what they looked like and how they acted, but didn’t have anyone in mind until recently.

Q: He has quite a close relationship with Alec and Caren.  Is there a reason for that?

A: In general, yes.  Farraway knew Caren’s parents quite well, having come up through the ranks around the same time they were high-level agents themselves.  He was never their chief, but he would work alongside them on many cases, and got to know Caren personally in the process, while she was at the ARU academy.  He’d become Chief Inspector at the Branden Hill HQ around that time, and had personally put in a request to have her assigned to him when she graduated.  So in the process, whoever Caren has worked with, he has connected with.  He was also the one to decide that Caren and Sheila should remain close workwise, ensuring she remained as part of the Team Two setup.

Q: Anything else?

A: He lives not that far from the HQ, actually…he walks to work.  He has a wife, but she unfortunately never made it into any of the stories.  He’s quite aware of Alec’s connection to Vigil; in fact, he deliberately says nothing because he knows it’s a safe and very lucrative connection for them.  He always plays his cards close…even with his agents, he never reveals everything unless absolutely necessary.  He won’t even reveal who his own outside connections may be.  He does have some psionic strengths (he’s quite good at clairaudience and clairsentience), but refuses to use them as a crutch.  He speaks softly, but he can really raise his voice quite loud when need be.  He drinks way too much coffee.

#atozchallenge: W is for Wilderlands

gatlinburg tn
Gatlinburg, TN – pic courtesy Business Insider

There’s a few passing references to the Wilderlands in the trilogy, though I don’t go into too much detail.  Sometimes Sheila will call Nick a Wilderlander…in other words, calling him a hick.  Other times someone will mention that their family used to go on vacations out that way.  But what is the Wilderlands?

When I was writing True Faith, I knew that this story would take place in a big sprawling city.  I briefly expanded on that in the worldbuilding phase, thinking of how the east coast of North America would have evolved over a good five or six hundred years.  In my world, many of the cities expanded, encompassing nearby communities or creating new ones to become megacity sprawls.  Sort of like Los Angeles or New York City and their surrounding boroughs.  This happens with smaller cities as well, including Boston, Phoenix, San Francisco, and so on; their surrounding cities and towns just became part of the bigger province.

Which left all the small towns in between.  I called these “outpost” towns, basically stopovers between the larger provinces.  Rural living never went away, it just became a little more compact.  Many of the supertiny villages are still out there, of course…they’re just part of the nearby outpost towns now.  In essence, not much has changed too much in terms of livability.  Some choose to live in the outpost towns, such as those doing agricultural work, or have specialized jobs that require a bit of distance from civilization for safety’s sake.  And as mentioned above, most of these towns have a brisk tourism business as well.

Originally in TF, the Wilderlands were thought of as the back of the beyond that no one ever traveled to if they could help it; it was pretty much considered where the outcasts and the criminals hid out.  This changed during TPE, having decided to show it as Earth’s homage of sorts to the wilderness of Trisanda instead.  It’s been that way ever since.

There is of course a bit of New England tied to the idea as well.  Having lived in a small town in central Massachusetts for most of my life, I wanted to include a rural setting in this universe that honestly portrayed what small town life looked like.  It doesn’t show up in the Bridgetown Trilogy, but it will show up in future stories, including the new one I’m working on.

#atozchallenge: V is for Versions

You’ve heard me go on about the various versions of the Mendaihu Universe stories, and how long it’s been since I began it.  And since I have no characters or information that starts with V, I figure I’d post a bit of a timeline of writing the trilogy and its numerous versions, iterations and so on.  I know some of you have read this somewhere before (either my LJ or elsewhere), so I won’t go into too much detail!

 

1993, October: Doing laundry, reading Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing for inspiration, and trying to make sense of my stagnated writing career.  Contemplating writing/drawing a comic zine, writing a novel, or a screenplay.  The Infamous War Novel still burbling away in the back of my brain.  Having watched the first two Gall Force anime OVAs recently, I decide that maybe writing science fiction is the way to go.

1993, 26 November: Vigil is started.  My first attempt at writing SF is promising, and yet doesn’t get too far.  Possibly focusing too much on trying to maintain the mood and my prose is sadly nowhere near what’s unfolding in my head.  Spend a few months working more on the worldbuilding, timelines and possible plot ideas in between my Day Job (register jockey/shipping clerk for Harvard Coop, Longwood branch).  Also noodling around with a non-genre story, Two Thousand, which is my attempt at writing a coming-of-age novel.  Listening to a lot of music, barely getting by on meager paycheck.

1994, July: Still noodling around with various ideas.  Still juggling writing and Day Job (Brigham’s Ice Cream; I can still make you a killer milkshake frappe if you ask nicely).  Hanging out over at my girlfriend’s apartment on South Russell more than my own because it’s got AC and it’s across the street from my job.  She and I have been semi-seriously playing around with various ideas growing out of Vigil.  One hot and muggy evening I take an as-yet-unused idea of a character popping back in from an alternate reality and decide to use that as an opening.  This sparks more conversation about where the story should go, and True Faith is born.

1995, summer: Girlfriend is spending the season back at home with family.  I’m now living in an apartment out in Allston, still juggling my writing and my Day Job (various positions at a Sony Theater).  Start playing around with an extensive worldbuilding idea connected by multiple novels; the Eden Cycle is born.  Decide that during my copious free time and lack of funds I will use my gf’s computer (Windows 3.1!) and transcribe all my writing thus far, in addition to writing new words for TF.  Due to various unfortunate circumstances, I move back home with parents at the end of the summer.

1996, April: Somehow despite my sad state of finances, I manage to get a tax return.  I decide to spend it (and a few extra funds from family) to buy myself a used PC.  It runs on Windows 3.1 and has a monochrome CRT monitor, but that’s all I need.  I continue with the transcription project while juggling day job (local radio station!).  By the end of the summer I move the PC from my bedroom down to my parents’ basement, which becomes my writing nook for the next nine years.  Make various attempts at practice words at least a few times a week to get myself used to daily writing.

1997, 9 March:  No longer speaking to now-ex-gf, True Faith having stalled due to same (and having run out of decent plot ideas anyway), decide to start over from scratch.  Some elements of Vigil and True Faith — and very small dregs of the Infamous War Novel — are saved, reimagined and completely repurposed into a new story.  Make a decision to get to Day Job (HMV Records) an hour early to hang out in the mall food court to write longhand.  Writing finally turns into a daily habit that never goes away.  The Phoenix Effect is born, with nearly all new characters, the Vigil team now hiding in the periphery.

1998, August: Now writing during the daytime and transcribing the new words at night when I get home.  TPE is finished by month end.  Begin my first attempts at submitting to various publishing houses, with no luck whatsoever.  That doesn’t bring me down, though…I decide the best thing to do is to keep writing.  Numerous false starts on a sequel longhand while working on more TPE revision.  New novel beginnings, major worldbuilding changes.

2000, summer: So much revision, so little to show for it.  Feeling frustrated, I decide that a major rewrite of TPE is in order.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the prose is extremely weak and thin, that I hadn’t expanded that much from the longhand original.  Instead I decide to completely rewrite the story, expanding on every single scene and discarding a hell of a lot of chaff.  A Division of Souls begins.

2001, April: A switch in shift at Day Job (Yankee Candle) now gives me a truckload of time to work on writing.  Now dedicating two solid hours to new words on a daily basis.  Major expansion on worldbuilding, new characters, and planning out second and third book in trilogy.  My Day Job has a bit of slow time here and there, enough for me to brainstorm a few scenes or chapters ahead on scrap paper so I’m well prepared by the time I head home to write it.

2002, Summer: Finishing up ADoS first draft and starting on a bit of revision to include a recently created conlang for the universe, Anjshé.

2002, November 11: Begin sequel, The Persistence of Memories, and finish the first draft exactly one year later.  The Balance of Light started a day or so later with its original name, The Process of Belief.  It starts off well…

2003, summer: Worried…TBoL has stalled and I’m starting to lose track of where I want to go with it.  Day Job (still YC) starting to lose its luster due to management and work shakeups.  Still, I soldier on.  Start in on Love Like Blood just to keep myself busy.  Work on TBoL is in fits and starts at this point.

2005, March: Move down to New Jersey, and my writing habits start wavering due to a lot of (quite positive!) personal events.  Day Jobs include office temp work, a significant change from years of physical work.  At this point I think I may have lost the plot, literally.  Can’t quite figure out how to finish up the story.

2005, December: Another big move, this time out to San Francisco!  First apartment on Stockton Street, with my desk facing one of the bay windows.  A few years of dithering between projects like LLB and other ideas, while keeping the trilogy in the back of my mind.

2008 into 2009: I decide to share what I have of the trilogy on a friends-locked blog, partly to share it with a few beta readers and also to give it another serious read-through after far too long. By the time I finish the posts in late 2009, we move to our current place and I know exactly how to finish it.  I return to my old YC habit of plotting out a few chapters/scenes ahead of time and working on them.  At this point it feels like forever since I’ve written anything of import, so I’m quite excited!

2010, January 14: The Balance of Light and thus the trilogy is finally FINISHED!  Yay!

2010 – 2015:  A few years of other projects, but many, many months of reading, rereading rerereading, rererereading, etc, the entire trilogy, to become so familiar with the entire story again.  Much revision, rewriting, adding new scenes, getting rid of some old ones, editing, getting some beta reading commentary.  A hell of a lot of background work.  My writing style and quality finally seems to be going in the right direction again.

2015, summer:  Thinking it might be a good idea to self-publish the series.  I’d done a lot of research on it, weighed the pros and cons, and felt it would be the right step to take.  Immediately started an intensive revision/edit of ADoS with the aim of release on 3 September — the date the first scene of the book takes place.

2016, April 15:  The Persistence of Memories self-published!

2016, April 26: …I spend far too long typing this up for a silly but fun blog challenge, but prove to myself once again that it was so worth sticking with the project after all these years.  🙂

#atozchallenge: U is for Nehalé Usarai

Q: What is his origin?

A: Nehalé Usarai [neh-HAH-ley ooh-SAH-rye] one of the few non-Vigil characters that survived nearly every single iteration of these stories, all the way back to the late 1993 original.  His name and background evolved numerous times over the years, but his role in the entire story remained the same for the most part: a catalyst.  In Vigil he was to be a violent anarchist; in True Faith he was an Edward Snowden-esque whistleblower.  He was a not-so-violent anarchist in The Phoenix Effect.  And finally in the Bridgetown Trilogy, he became the spiritual leader we all know and love.

Q: How is he connected to the Mendaihu Universe?

A: Aside from the obvious connection in the very first chapter of A Division of Souls, he feels he has the role of Reluctant Shepherd.  He’s conflicted; on the one hand he fully believes it’s his responsibility to help usher the newly awakened Mendaihu and Shenaihu towards their own enlightenment…but on the other hand, he doesn’t want them to become blind, passive followers either.  Because of this, he likes to work behind the scenes.  He continues to be a catalyst in this respect, preferring to inspire and instigate changes instead of performing or enforcing them.

Q: He’s an exceptionally strong Mendaihu, given his actions.  What’s that background?

A: I go into it very briefly in ADoS; in his youth he was chosen by Mendaihu Elders to have accelerated training, due to his naturally high spiritual strength.  For a time these Elders would bring the young initiates to a small outpost village west of Bridgetown, where they’d go through various exercises and projects to show how well they could utilize their abilities.  Nehalé not only showed promise, he surpassed all expectations and became one of the youngest awakened Mendaihu of his time.  He chose not to be an Elder, however, instead being a mentor for others who are in the process of awakening.  This is how he met Anando Shalei, and why the two men remain close friends.

Q: Is he based on anyone in particular?

A: Not really, and I think he’d rather like it that way!  His early incarnations had him more talkative and abrasive; I think I may have seen him being played by Denis Leary, who was big box office at the time.  The TPE and Trilogy incarnations are more laid back, more pensive and reserved.  In fact, Nehalé is one of the few characters that I’ve never been able to completely visualize.  I’ve always seen him as a typically tall Meraladian, somewhat gawky; strong but definitely a beanpole sort of guy.  He’s not one to focus on his physical image all that much, so he’d be one of those guys you’d lose in the crowd.  The only reason he doesn’t is that so many others in Bridgetown know him by spirit signature.

Q: Anything else?

A: The ‘i’ at the end of his name denotes that he’s a distant cousin of the Usara clan.  Even the strongest Mendaihu have day jobs; Nehalé, up until the beginning of ADoS, worked for DuaLife as a Re-Gen (reconstructive genetics) Therapist.  He’s a philanthropist who likes to give to local shelters, churches and community centers.  He can be quite stubborn at times, often to his own detriment.  He’s performed quite a few awakening rituals before the one at the beginning of ADoS, but none as strong or as wide-ranging as that, and he’s not even sure if he has the ability to ever do it again…in fact, he feels he may have caused irreparable damage to his spiritual strength after pulling that off.

#atozchallenge: T is for Trisanda

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boreal forest, Canada

My original idea of Trisanda (trih-SAHN-dah) was that it was a forest planet.  Inhabited but not even close to Earth’s population at this time.  There’s evidence of civilization, of course: there are buildings, halls, chapels, houses, and so on.  Most of them are settlements of maybe no more than ten to twenty thousand people spread out over a good number of miles.  You could very well argue that my first thoughts of Trisanda was that it was an entire planet that looked like New England!

It’s more built up than that, of course.  There are cities as well as villages, forest lands as well as tropical ones, and so on.  In a way, think of it geologically as a possible Earth if we hadn’t evolved into a messy, dirty and somewhat irresponsible Industrial Age.  Trisanda is what Earth would be if we’d kept nature quite high up there in importance when it came to our cultural, communal and productive evolution.  [Not to say I was going to turn it into a political diatribe on ecology, far from it.  I admit to not being entirely well-read on that, and didn’t want to go in that direction anyway.]

We make multiple visits to Trisanda during the Bridgetown Trilogy, but for the most part we stay near a community called Bann Dassah (bahn DAH-sah).  That’s an extremely important spiritual center for the Trisandi, including a great meeting hall*, a Landing Field**, a Meeting Table near that***, and a wide path that leads toward the center of the community.  Bann Dassah, just like all the other communities, also has a spiritual leader of sorts, who acts both as a seer and as a teacher; her name is sehndayen-ne emha Eprysia Kaalen [ey-PREE-see-ah KAY-lenn], often known to many as Ampryss (a conjunction of ’emha Eprysia’).****  She too pops up from time to time in the trilogy.

As this planet is extremely spiritual in nature, a visitor is able to sense a marked difference in the spiritual energy around them, even if their ability isn’t the strongest.  It too works on a similar yin-yang balance; this world is the starting point of the Mendaihu-Shenaihu balance, as well as its imbalance.  It too reacts with equal force to whatever might be done to it or is taken away from it.  Many consider Trisanda and Gharra (Earth, that is) two planets with a related spiritual balance as well.  Therefore it’s considered an extremely holy land and its visitors give it the most utmost respect.

 

* – The meeting hall is mentioned many times in the books, but I never quite made it there.  It may show up in future MU stories, however.  We do visit a massive living quarters nearby in The Persistence of Memories, however.

** – Landing Fields are dedicated clearings where Lightwalkers can arrive safely on Trisanda.  Each field is partitioned into circular segments with shorter grass, with the sigils of the various Trisandi clans set into them with darker wheat-colored stalks.  You’ll see these quite often in the trilogy.

*** – Meeting Tables take various shapes, depending on how each community has them set up.  Bann Dassah’s is a long, continuous table that takes up most of the field.  Feasts are prepared twice a day, every day, regardless of weather.

**** – Anjshé vocabulary lesson time!  Sehndayen-ne (sen-DEY-en-ney) = teacher. Emha (EY-mah) = general feminine title (i.e., Miss, Ms., etc)…the masculine title would be edha (EY-dah).

 

#atozchallenge: S is for Saisshalé

Saisshalé - Andrew WKQ:  Okay, wait, I gotta ask this first:  Really?  Andrew WK as the villain?

A: Heh.  Yes, and no.

Yes, Andrew WK!  When I picked the Bridgetown Trilogy back up in 2010 and started rewriting and revising it, it occurred to me that my original physical description of the character wasn’t quite working.  I’d originally envisioned Saisshalé as a cross between a beefcakey dude, a bouncer, and that crazy guy you cross the street to avoid.  That didn’t quite jive with his true nature, though, so I started thinking about it a bit more.  A short time later, I’m listening to one of my older mixes and “Party Hard” comes on, and it dawns on me: AWK is actually a SPOT-ON physical match!  So I ran with it, and come to find out, the more I saw him playing the role, the better my revision of the character started to be.  So it all worked out just fine.

And no, he’s not the villain.  He’s merely the spiritual opposite of the One of All Sacred.  He gets a few unnamed cameos in A Division of Souls, but he’s in quite a few scenes in both The Persistence of Memories and The Balance of Light.

[As an aside: it really is hard to find a serious picture of Andrew WK online that doesn’t involve him partying hard, making faces or jamming with his pizza guitar!]

Q: What’s the origin of Saisshalé?

A: Saisshalé [say-SHAH-ley], as mentioned above, is the spiritual opposite of the One of All Sacred.  I came up with him around late 2001 when I needed to have someone just as strong spiritually as Denni was.  He was to be her equal across the board: whatever action Denni took, he would respond with equal force.  This presents a serious conflict between the two, because they’re both refusing to back down from what they believe is the right thing to do.

He originally had a much longer, more tongue-twisty name, but during the 2010 reboot I chose to change it.  I wanted to hint at a kiralla background, so I chose to go with the very sibilant sounds, and referred to my Anjshé glossary.  It comes from the words sa’im (sah’EEM, a qualifier used to add grandeur or excitement) and D’haff Sshalé (djaff SHAH-ley, lit. ‘dark-minded reptile’ but usually refers to someone stubborn and/or cruel).  In short, sa’im + Sshalé = Saisshalé.  In a way, his name translates to ‘Grand Reptile’, a rather cocky reference to his spiritual history.

Q: What is his history?  He’s kind of a weird character.

A: He is that, but I love writing him, because he’s a let’s see how far I can take this kind of guy.  I go into more detail in TPoM, but the short version: he was known as a vengeance deity during Trisanda’s very early spacefaring years: he was known as a brilliant tactician who was able to plan out and execute incredibly complex war plans.  He ascended to deity status similar to Denni, actually.  However, just like Denni, he hasn’t completely ascended yet.

Q: Why is he feared?

A: Basically because he projects the personality of a sociopath.  He can be extremely friendly, but his actions can very frequently be seen as amoral.  He often claims that he only acts this way ‘because he must’.  [And here’s the rub: if you actually sat down and analyzed his actions with what incited them, especially with comparing his actions to the One of All Sacred’s, he’s 100% correct in saying that.]  That’s not to say he’ll tear off your head for no reason; he would never do such a thing, and would be offended by such an accusation.  In short: he’s a pure Shenaihu, driven completely by spirit and reason, even if that reason goes against expected social mores.

Q: Anything else?

A: Saisshalé is quite tall, about the same height as Governor Rieflin.  His connection to the One of All Sacred goes a bit deeper than anyone knows or expects…and we’ll see more about that in The Balance of Light.  His voice is low in range, but not quite bass; when he speaks, he uses both vocal and innerspeak at the same time, so his words hit you especially close.  He also uses both his muscles and Lightwork for his physical actions, so he comes off as frighteningly strong.  Despite his reputation, he can actually be quite friendly and chatty.  And absolutely no one knows what he does during his down time, not even me.