Spotlight: The Hulcondan State
The Korean War Armistice was signed on July 27th, 1953, ending the fighting (though not the war itself). Since some readers have called The Purification Era’s world/government reminiscent of North Korea, I figured I’d share about my beloved antagonists: the Hulcondans (hull-CON-dans). Because you know they’re fun.
I began writing what has become this series in 2003. The basic idea was that a girl who was different found others like herself. (Most original plot ever.) Then I forgot about the story for five years, rediscovering it in late 2008. After a couple years of toying with it, I set aside the other series I’d been writing and dove in. The new-original plan? Ariliah witnessed Rabreah’s execution for treason, which catapulted her into, well, the rest of the story. While nearly everything has changed (that’s a story in of itself, good grief), some things haven’t —
1. Ariliah’s character/personality 2. The overarching conflict between Hulcondans and itzalin (read their spotlight here!) 3. Rabreah being a rebel (don’t worry; I have no plans to kill her… *evil smile*)
Yeah, that’s about it.
WHAT IS THE HULCONDAN STATE?
I didn’t intend to make medieval Nazis. My thought process was, “What if a group like the KKK controlled everything — but instead of being racist against blacks, they were racist against a literal other race of humanoids?” I planned to kill them all off at the end. Somewhere along the line, I realized I was writing Nazi Germany but, ya know, medieval. Though, while I jokingly say the Hulcondans are “medieval Nazis,” they aren’t exactly. Their method of rule falls between Fascism, Communism, Totalitarianism, and an Oligarchy. With a side of KGB. And another side of somehow wanting to squish their cheeks. (Why.)
The Hulcondans are the military, police, and government rolled into one. They are united across nations under the Paramount Sovereign and are humans. They are not invaders; the cities are not under foreign occupation but ruled by their own soldiers. Training starts at age eight, initiation is at thirteen, and they branch off at eighteen into complementary but different paths (Dreadnaught or Gallowman). Hulcondans never retire, though they can be discharged from active duty. They are always testing themselves, seeking ways to improve, and are hard on themselves and their own. While there are women among the ranks, the majority are men, and people would probably call it toxic masculinity at its finest (or worst?). I just call it broken human nature.
THINGS I DESPISE ABOUT THE HULCONDANS
I mean, all those government types are awful and brutal, so…that? Getting into nitty-gritty details is a tad spoilery, so let’s just say they…
1. Hunt down innocents
2. Seek increasing control
3. Facilitate and conceal immense abuse
4. Force children to become soldiers
5. Are ultimately corrupt and power-hungry
Honestly, one thing that helped open my eyes a couple years ago was watching those in power seek to control people by using the same tactics my Hulcondans would use. It was…chilling in ways I still can’t shake. But I digress.
THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE HULCONDANS
You gotta read the books to see. Ha, no. (But also yes.) I love a smart, complex bad guy — so this is what I write. So they are…
1. Morally gray (erm, most of them)
2. Intelligent & tactical
4. Brave & selfless
7. Funny & sarcastic
There are also laws in place for widows and orphans. Hulcondan widows are remarried to a Hulcondan whenever possible, and they are provided housing and care for the rest of their lives (regardless of whether they remarry or not). Orphans (or abandoned children) are placed with Hulcondan families and raised to serve their nations.
The Hulcondans are cruel in many ways, but they mean well, and they do their best to protect their people from what they believe are the greatest threats. That’s what endears them to me the most — that they are human, doing what they think is right. And that’s a lot more impactful (and dangerous) than if they were evil for evil’s sake. In a real yet bizarre way, the story isn’t about Ariliah and Rabreah, but rather the redemption of the Hulcondans as a whole. And by extension, it carries the message that anyone can be redeemed and saved — no matter what you’ve done. It isn’t what I intended, but I’m here for it.