I have three characters, one of which I have already formerly introduced. To better distinguish them I found myself attaching an element to each character:
Devi is Earth. She is firm, filled with purpose, and provides a solid ground that one might make the mistake of taking for granted.
Nemain is Water. She takes on a passive role with regards to her direction in life. She bends and molds herself, however imperfectly, to whatever path lies before her. Her character is slippery.
Indra is Fire. She is passionate, reckless, and sometimes overwhelming. She can do good, and god knows she can do a whole lot of bad.
Devi is tied to spirituality. Nemain: intellect. Indra: emotion.
While Devi’s childhood is defined by the complete absence of parents, Nemain’s was defined by her strong bond with her father. Let us assume that Nemain’s mother left the family when Nemain was between the age of 3 or 4. Maybe this mother found residence on a colony world, maybe not; but there is no “maybes” when addressing whether Nemain misses the nurturing touch that a mother might provide. The resounding answer is “No”.
Nemain’s father, The Duke as she lovingly called him, was a highly skilled tutor who specialized in mathematics and chess, and who also had a fervent love for old world technology and music. He was an eccentric who passed his quirks onto Nemain, or rather, Nemain took it upon herself to absorb all that he said and did. The two of them lived in a rather poor part of Baltimore, Maryland. Her father, The Duke, was a dedicated member of the Baltimore chapter of the Inner Sanctum movement; a growing, loosely organized group spreading throughout the United North American States which emphasized independence from high technology, rejection of gene therapy, self-evaluation, and humanism. Because of her father’s participation in Inner Sanctum Nemain had limited exposure to the gadgets most kids her age fiddled with and the Sanctum’s lifestyle amplified Nemain’s reclusive, solitary nature. However, because of her father’s emphasis onclassical education, she quickly adapted to life outside of Inner Sanctum’s communes once she reached the age of twelve.
Adaptable, thy name is Nemain.
At 12 years of age Nemain faced the death of her father due to an undetected case of thrombosis. Her grasp on life loosened, Nemain found herself more at home on the streets, trailed by her outdated pal-drone named Etting, after one of her favorite old time singers Ruth Etting. (Though it was not uncommon for her to switch the names from the list of 1930’s to 1940s singers kept in her pocket--Billie, Mae, Mildred, and Ella were among the few to find themselves honored by Nemain’s recognition)
Unlike Devi, Nemain had to quickly learn how to operate without familial support at a much later age, and she also
lacked the physical talent and the cool confidence that Devi often exuded. Small and reclusive, Nemain’s 7 year stint with the burgeoning Reds gang was more a matter of convenience and protection. While Devi had taken on a leading role in her brief time with the Reds--becoming the reasoned voice that steered the Reds from larger crimes---Nemain was more than happy to sit in the backseat, not in the least bit interested in taking over the steering wheel while traveling down the road of morality. In spite of Nemain’s natural intelligence, delinquency had a way of catching up on her. The Reds had become a burden as their crime sprees grew larger in magnitude and the idea of living a directionless life dimmed whatever joy Nemain once took in her street-born freedom.
The Alliance accepted this clever 19 year old by the good grace of second-chance sponsorship programs; propelling her through various technical proficiencies, shaping a mind left dormant, and promising a future of financial stability, educational opportunities, and maybe, just maybe.....a higher purpose in life.
Nemain is contradictory. One of her defining traits is her easygoing demeanor. It is in fact an affectation she mastered as a teenager and continually uses to her advantage in the more structured environment of the Alliance Military. Her smiles come easily and they help distract from the fact that Nemain has very few, true confidants. To those who are more astute observers of character, they may find themselves uneasy under her glance. She is as often curt as she is welcoming; unpredictable, yet admired for her concise battle strategies and technical know-how. Service personnel once liked to joke that Nemain treats them as game pieces. In later years, after Torfan, that joke was realized as reality and very few now laugh at this once popular analogy.
True to Nemain’s character, the whispered stories surrounding the infamous battle on Torfan are not what they seem. Nemain doesn't bother to dispel the rumours, however. They work to her advantage. It was not
her tactician's mind that gained the respect from her peers throughout her first few years in the Alliance; it was the knowledge that she would willingly make risky moves that carried with them great sacrifice.
So it was that two eyes met four under dusky sky: an elfin intelligence officer and an uncanny batarian
warlord, and with frowns as wide as the Skyllian Verge, Nemain and Nar'Hador engaged in an endgame set on a four cornered board. They had both suffered heavy losses and they were both reluctant to continue a war of attrition.
With one piece for each soldier on either side, and when one king stands and the other falls, the victor of the final Torfan skirmish will be decided.
In the end, her hand held four eyes and true to their word, the warlord's men departed from that potmarked moon. Nar'Hador's soul did not go with them. And Shepard would not shepherd his soul.