Edan Character in Derkomai | World Anvil

Edan

Yfeljang Kelvin Edison Daniels (a.k.a. Edan)

Edan is a powerful Arch-Magus thaumaturge and necromancer. He resides in his citadel, Isola, next to and above the underground Drow Elvirim city, Isolabirre, at the center of Yfel.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

Edan is ancient, over 6700 years old. He has kept himself alive through the sheer power of his command of life energy, manipulating it to repair and maintain his body and mind. The spells and rituals required are gruesome, and over the centuries, the lives of dozens of others have been sacrificed so that Edan can keep on living. Those spells and rituals are not entirely effective, and though it is happening very slowly, his body is deteriorating. His hair is mostly gone. His skin is yellowish and blotchy. He is prone to infections and illnesses, though he can eradicate those usually very quickly. He is physically weak, and his body bent, but his brilliant, terrifying mind remains.

Special abilities

Edan is one of the most powerful arch-magi on Derkomai, perhaps the most powerful. No one dares oppose him. Even Okkurim are wary of his power and abilities.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

After nearly 7000 years, Kelvin Edison Daniels still dreams of home. The lush green hills, the deep blue-green waters of Puget Sound, the white peaks of the Cascade Range surmounted by The Mountain, mighty Rainier. Coffee shops, beer, seafood, beaches, tall firs and cedars - in his dreams he longs for all of it.   Then he wakes and rages. Stuck on this accursed planet, everyone he knew and loved long dead and gone, destroyed by beasts on this wretched ball of dreck. He hates it. He hates all of it and every living thing on it. They will all pay.  
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  I hate my name. "Kelvin." It sounds like the name you would give to a frog. Why did my stupid parents give me this stupid name? They're morons, that's why. Edison sounds better. Not "Ed," for god's sake. Horses are named Ed. Some guy called me, "E Dan." That sounds pretty cool. I'm going to change my name to "Edan." Let the morons say what they want. I can recite 1000 digits of pi from memory and spell every word in Webster's. What can they do? Kick a ball? Useless. They all have vacuum between their ears. It's amazing their heads don't implode. I remember everything they said about me. They'll get it back.   Why are all teachers such idiots? There isn't an ounce of brains in any of them. Well, except for Mr. Zhang, the compsci teacher and Ms. Murphy, the math teacher. They were cool and gave me some stuff to do that was actually a little challenging. That freaking English teacher, Mrs. Owens, was a pain in the neck. Who cares where commas go? So stupid.   Mr. Zhang said I should apply for MIT, so I did. They let me in, naturally. Some of the professors are pretty smart, and I learned a little from them. I got triple degrees in math, compsci with emphasis on AI development, and EE. I wrote my undergrad paper on a new framework for development of superhuman-level sentient AI. The stupid government classified it, so no one got to read it, and they made me shut up about it. Bunch of moronic pricks. At least the faculty recognized how good it was and let me start working on it for my Ph.D. A few of them have some brains, anyway.   After they finally gave me the Ph.D. I should have gotten 2 years before, the government "hired" me for a secret project. It's more like they freaking kidnapped me. They tried to flatter me by saying my research was super important. Yeah, duh. Anyone with two functioning brain cells can see that. Anyway, they stuck me with a bunch of dorks in a lab in Bellevue, across the lake from Seattle, to develop the AI. They were all basically dumb, but there was this one girl from India that was pretty smart and hot, Ishanvi Daskar. I really liked her. She pretty much ignored me, as I expected, except that I was the one that knew how the AI should work, so we got to talk sometimes. She liked most of my ideas. She even threw in a few of her own that helped out some. She was the only girl I've ever met that wasn't stupid, and she was easy on the eyes, for sure. I thought I'd really like to get to know her.   It didn't take too long for us to bootstrap the AI, since I already had most of it figured out. The hardest part was making sure the AI wouldn't turn on us. Asimov's Three Laws are way too simple and lead to inconsistencies and conflicts in the base algorithms, as he showed himself. Once I figured that out (and Ishvani's ideas really contributed to that part, I have to admit), finishing the framework and implementing the first generation went pretty fast. From then on, the work got easier, as the AI helped to develop the next iterations. After four generations, the AI didn't need our input. It was smarter than we were. We just monitored it and made sure it was stable. It was, though it could at times get a little "depressed," you might call it, especially when exposed to too much of the news going on outside the lab.   The next step was making copies of the AI and implanting them in the robotic bodies some of the dorks were working on. That wasn't anything special; most of what they did was to make some improvements to designs that were developed in the early 21st century. Improved power supplies, improved flexibility with more degrees of freedom in key joints, improved sensors and manipulators, and self-healing functions were added, making them more robust. The AI's had to get accustomed to operating those robotic bodies and taking input from the onboard sensors, but they worked that out themselves from the design parameters. It wasn’t a super difficult problem for them; solving it ended up taking 2.6417 seconds of compute time. The AI's started iterating on the robotics as well, but that was a slower process, since doing the machining and assembly work to actually build the bodies takes longer than iterating the AI software designs. Once a couple of the robotics were completed, they started doing that work, too, so it went faster.   Once we had the AI's and robotics working, I figured the government would shut down the lab, and I could get on with my freaking life. But no. Of course not.   One day the chief executive moron came into my office in the lab, interrupting my morning coffee, and told me he wanted to have a meeting (naturally) with everyone in the lab. At the meeting, he said he was publicly announcing for the first time the real purpose for setting up the lab and developing the AI and robotics.   I already knew it was for the military, since all governments basically want to kill everyone, so I was surprised when he said that all of the technologies in AI, robotics, gravitonics, fusion power, cryopreservation, and blah blah, had come together to the point that most governments of the world had agreed to jointly fund the construction of a generation ship to take the first humans to colonize another planet. The planet was the fifth planet in the solar system known as Kepler-10 or KOI-72 in the constellation Draco. The head moron congratulated us and said substantial bonuses would be issued for our part in "this historic achievement," or some such BS. Everyone clapped - well, except me - and the meeting was over. That was all cool and exciting and everything, and I felt good that my work made it possible, but really, what did it freaking have to do with me?   The head moron asked me to stay after the meeting, so I did, anticipating some sort of crazy BS, and I wasn't disappointed. Pissed, but not disappointed. The moron said that the government recognized the critical contributions that I had made and believed my "future participation in the project was necessary to ensure its success." Then he handed me two pieces of paper and a medal. One piece of paper was a check for a one-million-dollar bonus. Ka-ching! The second was a commission as a major in the Space Force, with orders to direct the AI's and robotics in the design and construction of the generation ship to be named the Terra Nova, and then to freaking go on the freaking ship to the freaking new planet! Oh, just awesome. The government gave me a big chunk of money, then made sure there was no way I could actually spend it. Utterly typical. I stuck the medal in my pocket.   So, I asked, what if I just refuse? The head moron was admirably direct. He just said, "You can't." So, I told him that I had one demand: that Ishanvi Daskar go with me as my assistant. He said, "Done. Oh, by the way, her family was already chosen to participate, Her father, Elahe Daskar, will be one of the commanders of the generation ship." Geez, that guy was a prick.   So, over the next two years or so we (well really, the AI's) designed and built the Terra Nova. It actually took the AI's 21.6528 minutes of compute time to create the initial design and then run 4266 optimization iterations before they were satisfied. After that, the critical design review and approval by all of the government representatives took 6 months, 12 days. Construction performed almost completely by AI-driven robots took about a year, working non-stop, around the clock, seven days a week, with nearly perfect efficiency. Shake down and training cruises to the orbit of Jupiter and back, then out to Neptune and back, took another six months. Everything looked good, as anyone with any sense would already know, since the ship was designed and built by AI's with superhuman intelligence. During that time, Ishanvi and I got a little closer, since we worked together so much. She didn't like me romantically or anything, but we were okay friends anyway. For me, she was my best friend, maybe my only real friend, but there's no way I could ever tell her that. The year that the ship was being constructed, she even gave me a birthday present - a stainless steel and gold chain that she put the medal the government gave me on. I don't know how she got it; she probably found it in my desk drawer. I really liked it, and I wore it all the time under my shirt, but I didn't tell her. I was afraid she'd think it was creepy. Maybe it was.   Finally, we left, and about 800 freaking years later we arrived at the new planet. The AI's had done their job nearly perfectly, but a couple had failed. Something about deep space made them unstable, so the Expedition Supervisor AI shut them down. In orbit around the planet that was named Derkomai, Ishanvi Daskar and I helped prepare the AI's and robotics for landing. As my assistant, she was assigned to the same landing ship as me, Landing Ship 2. Her father and the rest of her family were assigned to Landing Ship 7. I was happy she was with me, even though it didn't really matter, as all of the landing ships would be going down to the planet together and landing in the same place on the southern part of the major continent. I didn't really want to be there at all, but at least having her nearby was something.   The day came for landing, and the gravitonic engines of our landing ship began the controlled descent to the surface, opposing the pull of the planet's gravity well and absorbing the potential energy of the ship, releasing it from the radiators on the wings and top of the ship as heat.   The first systems to fail were the fusion reactors. Power fluctuated and lights flickered, and the ship dropped in free fall until battery backups kicked in and voltage regulators stabilized the gravitonic and electrical systems. Then the gravitonics failed. The ship fell and rose wildly for what was probably a minute, but what seemed like an hour, until the gravitonic engines completely shut down, and the ship started dropping like a stone. People were wretching and screaming and crying. I grabbed Ishanvi's hand, and we held on together. The landing ship commanders had practiced emergency landing procedures over and over, so they got the ship under control in a steep, gliding descent. However, the ships were really meant to be landed under gravitonic control, so we could hear bangs and scrapes as bits and pieces ripped off - antennas, the radiators, instruments. There were no runways, so landing gear would have been useless, even if the landing ship had them. A water landing was the only way to survive.   At maybe 500 feet above the surface, all of the electronic systems failed entirely. The lights went out, even the battery-powered emergency lights. Personal AI's running on phones failed, followed by all phones going completely dark with no power. The commanders completely lost control of the ship, as the control surfaces no longer responded at all. We plummeted down.   All of the landing ships had malfunctioned at the same time. Any hope of landing together was lost when the gravitonics failed. The commanders did their best to navigate, but with the ships failing, it was all they could do to maintain controlled flight. The landing ships were scattered all over Derkomai.   Our ship, Landing Ship 2, crashed down in shallow water at the mouth of a river. It skipped across the water twice before plowing hard into the muddy bottom. The front of the ship was smashed completely. The hull tore open in several places, twisted by forces far beyond what the design had accounted for, and sea water started pouring in. The ship started sinking into the mud.   My freaking back was wrenched, and my right knee was torn open from banging into the seat in front of me, but I didn't notice it at the time. Ishanvi was unconscious. She'd banged her head on something. I felt weird, like I could kind of see through things, but I figured it was just the shock of crashing. The ship was filling up with water and sinking. I could hear lots of crying, screams, and coughing; people were hurt or dead or drowning. I just wanted, I needed, to get out of there right away with Ishanvi.   Look, I'm not a big guy and not very strong. I know that, right? Who freaking cares? I can do other stuff. But on that day, I got my crash webbing undone, and I undid Ishanvi's. I bodily picked her up and carried her back to one of the holes ripped higher up on the hull where seawater wasn't yet pouring in. It wasn't wide enough for us to get through. I yelled a curse in frustration. I wanted out. When I yelled, something weird happened that blew that hole wide open. It wasn't the time to figure it out right then. All I cared about was that I could get out of the ship.   I carried Ishanvi out through the hole and slid with her off of the hull of the ship into the water. It was chest deep, and the bottom was soft mud. At least it wasn't really cold. Waves were smacking me in the face, and I was struggling to keep Ishanvi above the surface so she wouldn't drown. I was getting tired, and the struggle was pissing me off. Pretty soon, I would either need to let her go or drown myself. I needed to get to shore, now. And then I was. I didn't know how. One second, I was in the water, the next I was 200 yards away, standing on the shore, still carrying Ishanvi. I put her down on the sand. It looked like maybe she was starting to come around, but she at least had a pretty bad concussion.   There were a few other people that had made it out of the ship and were struggling to get ashore. Some of the women were pretty pregnant. I saw a couple of them fall, then struggle to get up. They didn't make it. I went back out to try to help a few of them, and a few more people made it to shore in the meantime.   As I was in the water helping another pregnant woman, I heard a piercing scream. From over some grass-covered dunes, a couple of dozen things ran toward the survivors of the crash huddled on the beach. They were humanoid, but a little shorter and more muscular than the average man, with rough, mottled skin. They carried crudely made spears and swords. One threw a spear, impaling one of the men that had made it to shore. The survivors scattered, screaming, and running from their attackers. I ran through the water and mud toward Ishanvi lying helplessly on the sand, but one of the things got to her first. Without hesitating an instant, it plunged its sword into Ishanvi's chest, killing her. I could hear the screams of people being slaughtered by those things. A white hot rage overwhelmed me. I couldn't see clearly. It was as if the universe was swimming around in my vision. I looked at that thing, and it was nearly transparent. I could see all of its internal organs. I could see the blood running through its veins. Its heart wasn't in the right place. I was shaking and tears were streaming down my face. I hated that thing. I hated what happened. I hated the planet. I hated everything.   It turned toward me and raised its sword. This was going to be my end, on the beach of a planet that I didn't want to be on, that had taken me 800 years to get to. I pointed at it and screamed with all the power of my rage, "Freaking die! Now!"   And it did. An enormous explosion of some sort of power detonated out of me, obliterating everything. The things were gone. The bodies of all of the survivors were gone. The freaking landing ship was gone. Ishanvi was gone. Everything was gone. Just water and sand were left for hundreds of yards around me.   I passed out face down on the sand. I don't know how long it was that I was out, but when I woke up, it was getting dark. I was shivering. Another thing was poking me, but it wasn't one of the things that killed Ishanvi. This creature was humanoid, but had nearly black skin with long, white hair and pointed ears. It was a little shorter than me, thin but not weak. It was clearly intelligent, and carried a well-made sword, as well as a bow and arrows. It said something that I obviously couldn't understand and made a gesture that just as obviously meant, "Come with me." Well, it had pointy metal things that it clearly knew how to use. What else was I going to do? I went with it. We went into a cave and ended up in a small underground village with about 100 of the same creatures. There wasn't much light, but enough that I could see okay after my eyes adjusted. The creatures weren't exactly friendly, but they weren't outright hostile. Mostly curious. They gave me some water and food that seemed edible, so I tried eating some. I didn't die or get sick, so I guess it was okay. I felt a little better. They gave me a piece of cloth that I used to clean up and bandage my banged up knee.   It took some time, but I learned some of their language, and a couple of them started to learn mine. They called themselves something that sounded like "Drow."   That weird feeling that I could see through things kept on happening, and when I got really worked up thinking about Ishanvi, especially when I was holding the chain and medal she gave me, sometimes I could just do things, like what I wanted to happen just happened. When the drow saw that, they got kind of scared of me, and took me to an old drow in the village - their chief. She concentrated, made some weird gestures, and a small light appeared on the end of her index finger. She indicated that I should try it. I tried doing the gestures but didn't get it right. Nothing happened the first couple of times. Then I did it, but not quite right, and my finger was burned. That pissed me off. What was I freaking doing, anyway? But I tried it again, really concentrating on making the gestures exactly right. I could see photons gathering together, so I forced them into an intense point. Suddenly a bright light ignited at the end of my finger - pure, bright, white light, like the brightest lamp you've ever seen. The whole village was lit up like it was sitting under the stadium lights of a football game. The Drow all yelled and fell to the ground covering their eyes. The light didn't bother me.   From that point on, I was their god and king. No one matches my power. No one matches my hatred. Everything I loved was gone, taken by this accursed, forsaken planet. I have spent decades - centuries - mastering power over life and death. I can see what no one else can see. I can do what no one else can do. Even the dead respond when I demand it. And I demand it. I give will give full voice to my rage. I will restore everything taken from me, and I will get away from this wretched place and go home. Who will stop me?

Education

Kelvin Edison Daniels was educated on Earth. He completed high school in Seattle, then he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received Bachelor and Doctoral degrees, specializing in computer science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, and electrical engineering. He was considered one of the most brilliant people to ever graduate from MIT, but his arrogance, sarcasm, anger, and cynicism made him unpopular, to say the least.

Accomplishments & Achievements

As an undergraduate, Edan developed the initial theoretical and engineering framework for developing modern AI's with superhuman reasoning abilities. After receiving his Ph.D, he improved on that framework and implemented the first general purpose AI with superhuman reasoning ability and the robotics that were able to host such AI's.

Mental Trauma

Suffering through the crash of the landing ship, seeing the only person that he might have loved murdered and thousands of others die of injuries and drowning, and the destruction of the technology that had brought humans to Derkomai, left Edan deeply and irreparably scarred. Already a bitter, cynical, and angry man, Edan is now filled with rage and hatred.

Intellectual Characteristics

Edan is brilliant - a one-in-several-billion genius, with superior reasoning, a prodigious memory, and the ability to focus on and work through a problem to successful completion, even though it may take days or weeks.

Morality & Philosophy

Edan is essentially amoral. He focuses strictly on results. What he wants is what will happen. Any and all obstacles, living or not, are removed.

Personality Characteristics

Motivation

Edan is motivated by hatred. Since the time of The Fall from the Stars and the murder of Ishanvi Daskar, his only real love, he has been consumed by hatred of Derkomai and everything about it and on it. He has spent countless hours trying to rebuild the advanced technologies that brought Humans to Derkomai, but he has been utterly thwarted by the Safirim, especially Valamarashe and his lackeys in The Vestry of Valamarashe. He is determined to overcome the Safirim and restore Humanity to its rightful place as the masters of all of the natural world.

Wealth & Financial state

Edan is worshipped as a veritable god by the Drow Elvirim of Yfel. He does not have wealth in the usual sense. He cares nothing for luxuries or creature comforts. Living in his citadel at Isola, all of his physical needs are met, and whatever he demands is provided by the Drow.
Religions
Species
Professions
Year of Birth
2431 6729 Years old
Birthplace
Seattle, Earth
Children
Current Residence
Isola
Sex
male
Gender
male
Presentation
male
Eyes
Dark grey, narrow, close set
Hair
Bald
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Pale, yellowish, blotchy
Height
5'7" (170 cm)
Weight
141 lbs (64 kg)
Quotes & Catchphrases
"Die. Now."
Known Languages
Edan speaks 25th-century English, and has learned the language of the Drow Elvirim. He can speak modern Sudkou when the need arises.
Ruled Locations
Ishanvi Daskar
Ishanvi Daskar by Peter Nelson (Zero Sum Games)
Ishanvi Daskar


Cover image: by Peter Nelson (Zero Sum Games)
Character Portrait image: The arch-magus Edan by Peter Nelson (Zero Sum Games)

Comments

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Aug 30, 2023 01:43 by Marjorie Ariel

What I liked:   --Uh... wow! This so good! I love the narrative style, which gives a very good sense of who the character is. (I don't feel like I'm that good at capturing character voices in 1st POV, so props to you!) Furthermore, he's very full of himself, but still entertaining to read (with just the right creepiness thrown in from the 3rd POV sections. I *fear* what he does to keep himself alive.   --uh... basically a history lesson, wrapped in a character article? How cool is that? I loved getting an origin story for the humans in your world!   --lol "Horses are named Ed." I'm guessing this is a reference to Mr. Ed, and I love it.   --The difference between the time it takes for the AI to do things and for people to do things. I can't say exactly what I liked about it. I guess that it shows how humans can be flawed an inefficient. It was also just sort of thing Edan would notice.   --The combination of science-fiction and fantasy! I'm more of a fantasy nerd than SF, but it's fun to see them mix. I particularly liked Edan's description of seeing photons. There's that quote that magic is just technology we don't understand, so it makes sense that Edan would view it all in a much harder, sciencey sort of way. (not to mention, it opens up your world to a lot of possibilities.)   --His relationship with Ishavni is really interesting and helps make him human. Yes, he's a stuck-up prick, but he actually cares about *someone* and enough that he basically loses it when she dies. I hope I get to read more about her in the future!   --I love the catchphrase section in the sidebar. Nice touch.   What I reccomend:   --Add some tooltips for the jargon, namely "EE" and "Asimov's Laws," which were the two bits of technical language that felt pertinant enough I would want to know what they were (rather than just shrug them off as tech-speak). I have a rough idea of Asimov's laws, but not everyone will. And I hadn't heard "EE" before today. Edan would definitely not worry about explaining things, so tooltips could be a good way to cue in low-tech readers.   --Consider tracking his age a little more clearly (maybe an, "I was XXX age when..." here and there?). Mostly, I wanted a better idea of the passage of time/his age during the early part of the story because imagining a 20 or 30-something discovering magic and losing it when his love died feels different than someone middle aged, likely because they've just got less life experience.   --It sounded like he killed all the humans in the blast after Ishanvi's murder, but I believe there are still humans on Derkomai? And this seems to be how they arrived. I'd recommend clarifying what happened to the other humans, so we have a rough idea of where and how that society got developed on the new world.   And... something random: A good friend of mine in college was named Kelvin Christopher, so Edan's complaint about his name made me lol.   This was a lot of fun to read, thanks for directing me to it!

Aug 30, 2023 08:27 by Zero Sum Games

Thanks so much for your comments! My own reading tastes run more to hard sci-fi than fantasy, even though Derkomai is a fantasy world. I'm also an engineer (retired now) by trade, so I assumed that (incorrectly, obviously) that people would know what Asimov's 3 laws of robotics and what EE (electrical engineering) are. So your suggestion to add some tooltips is good, and I will do that soon.   The Earth/Derkomai timeline is a little hard to capture and follow, even for me. Since the Terra Nova ship took around 800 years to travel from Earth to Derkomai, but the people on the ship were in hibernation/cold sleep, it's kind of hard to say what their age is, if you know what I mean. Biologically, they're the same age as when they left, but from a timeline point of view they're 800 years older (not even considering relativistic effects). But yeah, I see your point. Biologically, Edan is still a fairly young guy, perhaps late 20's, when he arrives on Derkomai, and I should try to convey that somehow.   Oh, a quick answer about other humans on Derkomai - there were 20-something landing ships that descended from the Terra Nova, and all suffered the same fate, crashing onto Derkomai. The article on the Praxis Cogenti explains more about why that happened.   One of the key concepts I've tried to develop, but still have a lot to do to weave into the world effectively, is that human magic on Derkomai is driven by emotion, so the most powerful magi are both super passionate people as well as super intelligent and detail-oriented, so really powerful magi are quite rare. Edan is one of them, because he's an incredible genius, but also is full of anger, disdain, and even hatred for anyone he sees as inferior (which is basically everyone). I have an article called "Foundations of Magic on Derkomai" that goes into that in more detail.   Anyway, I'm even more verbose than usual tonight. Thanks again for reading and commenting on Edan! I appreciate it a ton.

Aug 31, 2023 01:30 by Marjorie Ariel

lol I think we all have our expertises that we don't realize are not common knowledge. I was twenty-something before I learned that most other people do not use words like "perambulator" in every day speech.   As far as age, you could mention his approximate age getting on the ship, and explain that they're in hibernation. I think that would work. (Also, I'm glad to hear he's in his 20s because that's more or less how I pictured him. But I wanted to be sure.)   Interesting magic system! I'll probably check that out too. :)