When I first began writing The Azetha Series, I had in mind a totally evil sorcerer, who had no redeeming qualities. But a writing class soon had me changing my mind about who Mortan really was. Very few bad guys are all bad, and very few good guys are all good. In Batman, the Joker’s origin story has him asa failed comedian who turned to crime as a way of supporting his pregnant wife. Because of Batman’s interference he ends up in a chemical vat, resulting in his disfigurement.  While the Joker has always creeped me out (he looks too much like a clown), I can’t help feeling a little bit sorry for him, knowing what I know now about his background.

 

The same goes for Mortan. The more I know about him, the more I feel sorry for him and yet hate him at the same time for the destruction he has caused on Fathara by bringing the Elves to the brink of ruin, alienating the Giants of Tirlon, bringing about several wars, creating horrible experiments like the zhobani, zhralli and Sha'andari, and establishing a false religion in order to conscript people to his army.

 

Yet this is an Elf who was under great pressure, a queen’s son. He was pressured into a loveless marriage by his family, and his best friend married Daliinu, the Elf Mortan truly loved. And when Daliinu was poisoned by an arrow, Mortan did all he could to try and heal her — too much in fact. He went over the edge in his efforts to heal her and turned to The Intelligences, accepting these formless beings into his mind and allowing them to teach him dark magic, in order to keep Daliinu alive and at the brink of death for centuries until he could find a way to fully revive her.

 

The question then becomes, how much of what Mortan does is really within his control, or up to The Intelligences that occupy a space in his mind, whispering to him, teaching him, guiding him. Who is doing what? And what will be the final outcome when Tika and Mortan come face to face with one another? For both Mortan and The Intelligences fear what Tika will do to them. They fear she will show them no mercy for what they have done to her mother and father. No mercy whatsoever.

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