Halifaco, Tyrant King of the Perfiduloi

We're getting close, people.  The pieces are moving into place for the final conflict.  And one of those characters that's been so instrumental in causing all the chaos we see before us proudly walks on stage, sets the car on fire, gives us all the finger and sends it rolling off the cliff.

That's my car you assholes!

So I think it's fitting to talk about Halifaco, the leader of the Perfiduloi faction.

For some perverse reason, I like characters that are hard to write.  The leader of the Perfiduloi certainly fits this roll so I thought I'd take a moment to talk about this complex villain/ hero/ oppressor / opressee/ whatever other label you want.

In the first draft, Halifaco was a head-strong young militant within the masses of the forest people.  Not really a leader yet but the kind of upstart that really pisses off any leaders they come in contact with.  In many ways his drive and ambition came from the same place but he lacked the athority to put some of his worse impulses in action.

So when I overhauled the first two-thirds of the book in the second draft it seemed only fitting to put this man into a position of authority and watch him burn the world to the ground.

That being said, I see a man who is really and truly trying to do the right thing for his people.  One gets the sense that he feels an intense sense of duty and loyalty to a people who literally cling to the edges of civilization.  I left the question of his assent to power open (for now) but I see him being the proverbial 'Man of the People' who was either thrust or rode that wave into power.  When we first met him, back in chapter 3, we saw a man who was fighting a losing battle for his people.

    Well, it was official. On this night, after hours of argument in the Great Hall, the Elders finally made their decision and another generation of his people would grow up as slaves. Most would die but a few would come back, become old men and sell another generation into slavery. Titan was place where everything remained constant, even the sky dominated by the great ringed planet.
    The man bowed his head and recited a prayer. It was the quiet sort meant to be heard only by the man and any deity that cared to listen.  He spoke in the language of his people.  A language that, legend said, was also a gift from the ancients who came before. “Great Kompanio. I still believe you care about all the people of Titan. I still believe you will come for us someday. Please, give me some sign. Show me that my faith is not misplaced. Let me know that I am doing the right thing.” 

In that moment we also catch a glimpse of his religious fervor.  I see Halifaco as a true believer.  Possibly even more than the Houston.  He honestly believes that his people are favored by the mythical beings that built the civilization on Titan and they will someday reward him by bringing him back to Earth.

You don't have to look hard through all of human history to modern times to find hundreds of examples of this kind blind faith leading people terribly wrong.

It's his belief that the people from the sky have come to rescue them that leads him to ally with the Corporation in the first battle back in chapter 15.  And, although, he forges a temporary alliance with the Urbanoi he clearly follows a firmly held belief that drives him to destroy the refineries.

By the time we reach chapter 28, the first cracks in his faith start to appear.

It's also clear by this chapter that he is a man who craves power.  He does so for ostensibly the right reasons.  He honestly cares about his people and believes that he is the only force that can end the centuries of slavery they have endured.

The coming chapters are going to pit these different motivations against each other which makes him such a fun character to write.   If there is one thing I don't like about him, it's that so much of his decision-making is made off camera and we really only see him as he deals with the fallout.  I'd like to get in his head space more.  That would be a wild ride.


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