The Monsters of Joshua’s Nightmares

Or “I totally just posted about villains not even a day ago, but have some more stuff about villains.  I’m not even a little sorry.”

I wrote what amounted to a love letter to all things villain-related just hours ago, and it spawned another idea that has been bouncing around my brain inconveniently (and preventing me from sleeping, which is awful as I have to be awake in less than four hours from now).  I’ve done a lot of talking about Joshua’s Nightmares here, which makes sense because this blog was born as part of my efforts related to working on it.  I have a page about the novel-to-be (that needs revising, I fear) that gives a solid enough synopsis of its plot.  Beyond that, I’ve not really posted anything from the actual story, whether it’s for fear of it being swiped and used elsewhere (gasp!) or just because I’m overly-picky over who gets to see works-in-progress.

However, it only seems appropriate to share a little, and so I present the villains and monsters (a sampling, so as to not bring out any major spoilers) of Joshua’s Nightmares.  Obligatory “the following characters and locations are my intellectual property, and are not to be used in any way without my express permission” comment goes here.

Marcus – Not so much a villain as a bit of an antagonistic force in the story, Marcus is Joshua and Amelia’s friend-with-a-lousy-attitude.  He is kidnapped by mistake, instead of Joshua, and taken to the lair of The Wicked Nightmare King.  Throughout the story, he belittles others, focusing largely on wealth and power as the most important qualities a person can have.

Captain Dreadeye Darkstar – Dreadeye Darkstar is the leader of one of the Sleep State’s many pirate crews, commanding several vessels that endlessly patrol the Everdark for other ships to relieve of treasure.  He is a tall, somewhat rotund man with a bright blue beard and a fragment of the heart of a dead star he claims to have stolen from Death itself.  Dreadeye separates himself from other pirates by not allowing his crew, nor himself, to kill during their treasure raids.  If he had to be placed in a Dungeons and Dragons stylized alignment chart, he’d probably fall somewhere between Chaotic Neutral and Lawful Evil.

Maximillian Malady – The leader of one of the Sleep State’s other, larger pirate crews, Maximillian was created specifically as a foil to Dreadeye Darkstar.  Where Dreadeye will spare his victims, Maximillian tends to dispatch of them with long-lasting, painful methods such as poisoning (a favorite of his).

Umbramortis, The Wicked Nightmare King  – Umbramortis is the primary antagonist through most of Joshua’s Nightmares.  He regularly haunts Joshua’s nightmares, and once he is stopped he goes so far as to send two of his minions into the Waking World to capture Joshua.  He is a villain who is just as uncertain about his purpose as his prey, however, and continues to pursue Joshua in search of answers.

Tick and Tock – Clockwork constructs who act as loyal servants of Umbramortis.  Tick is a smaller, fluidly-moving, and far more violent creature, while Tock is large, often stoic, and preferential to psychological harm.  These two characters actually came into being shortly after Umbramortis (who, at the time, was a nameless bad guy).  As they evolved, Tick became a more sadistic, blood-thirsty character, while Tock favors mind-games and verbal harm.  The focus here developed into showing how villains, especially ones as monstrous as these two, can harm in more ways than one; break the body, or spare the flesh and break the spirit.

The particular lines that sparked all of this villain-related activity take place while Tock is watching over Marcus, and Marcus is trying to get a rise out of Tock.  I apologize for a tremendous lack of context, but I figure a little actual sharing from the text can’t hurt.  I’ll wrap this post up with a sample of what can be expected once Joshua’s Nightmares sees completion, and what my always-helpful proofreaders have been putting up with for a while now.  Pardon the formatting; copying and pasting from MS Word to WordPress seems to get a bit iffy.

 “What’s it like being his slave?” Marcus said.  He made a point to drag the word slave out.  Tock remained still, save for the inner movements of its gears.

“I said,” Marcus said, his voice raised, “what’s it like being his slave?”

“It must be so lonely,” Tock said, “to know you have companions who only tolerate you for the sake of one another.”  Marcus flinched, gritted his teeth, and could feel the hints of warmth around his face.

“What did you say?” Marcus said, an air of challenge in his words.  Tock’s faceplate switched to the jester one Tick usually wore.

“All the times you were in his room,” Tock said.  “All the times you would look at Joshua and Amelia, and feel that gnawing jealousy.  Tick and I were there, watching you three.  Savoring your misery.  Delighting in your anguish.”  Tock eclipsed Marcus with its hand, lifting him up high.

“Your greatest strength lies in the two people you push away,” Tock said.  “Alone, you are only good as a bargaining chip.”  Tock set Marcus back down, and made it a point to push him down to his knees.  The clockwork construct towered over him, the jester’s face leered downward at Marcus.

“Tick specializes in breaking bodies,” Tock said slowly, with great emphasis on each word.  “My gift is breaking spirits, and what a fragile one you possess, dreamer.”

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