I love bad guys. They are by far my favorite characters to create, because they are a challenge. I am not by nature a mean person and I find it harder to get into their heads. But, I am curious, which probably makes my bad guys more demented than other writers. Their motivation usually falls within one or more of the seven deadly sins. Most people can relate to the feelings even if their experience with envy, for example, are not the same.
There are three main groups of bad guys in Path of Angels: Red Guard, Council, Highway Men
The Red Guard came along by accident late in the story development. I was on Facebook as usual and came across the Monte Python meme “No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.” And hence the Red Guard was born.
The Red Guard is special force that was formed from the Black Guard to stamp out rebellion and root out traitors of the newly established government. As the Council gained more power, the Red Guard took on other duties, such as wiping out the churches and religious groups after religion was outlawed. At their height they totaled several hundred members.
As the number of dissenters dwindled and peace settled in, the Red Guard was reduced to 13. The Field Captain and twelve Guard. The current Field Captain, Craag Avil, makes his appearance in Path of Angels as does several of his underlings. He is cold, hard and power hungry. He is aiming for the High Commander’s position, which is the head of the entire military/police force. He serves as judge, jury and executioner in most cases that he deals with and can go over the High Commander’s head directly to the Council.
In Path of Angels, the Red Guard are after a group of Rebels who have been defacing public property with religious graffiti. Aadi encounters them throughout the book as she’s traveling along Highway K from New Athens to the capital city of Galt.
The Council is the group of 13 (two from each region and national) that governs Nacerma. They aren’t all bad per se, but they are the ones who create the laws and refuse to reign in the Red Guard. They are also self-absorbed, living high on the hog while the rest of the citizens scrape by on the meager allowance the government gives them. They don’t live by their own rules.
Council Member Remmi is the live-in partner of Aadi’s cousin, Bree, whom she and Mischa stay with for a couple of days. Aadi experiences a whole other side of life during that stay, but also finds herself caught in more than one bad situation.
These men and women are criminals who prey on the vulnerable. They live in the forests and along the road between guard towers. The group of six led by Lesange patrols a section of Highway K where they stop travelers, and extract payment of money or young women for sale on the black market.
As you might imagine, just by their inclusion, Aadi and Mischa run into this band of lowlifes. I won’t reveal here what they extract as payment, but I will say, that they do turn up more than once in the book.