Invulnerable to Labels
[Note by Brantley Thompson Elkins: This was originally a post at the Aurora Universe Readers Group, in response to a thread I started about whether there was any phrase that could be used to characterize a Velorian.
There were a number of suggestions, like Queen of the Hill, Bell of the Ball (or Brawl), etc. But not of them sounded right, and it took the creator of Velorians, the former Sharon Best, to explain why. I thought his explanation was worthy of being enshrined here at The Bright Empire. Speaking of enshrinement, hereÕs the video clip that inspired my thread in the first place:
The problem with Velorian cliches is that Vels are supposed to defy categorization.
1) They are trained for battle and immensely capable in a fight, but they aren't soldiers. Nor are they warriors in the conventional sense.
2) Tall, blonde, blue-eyed and stunningly beautiful, but in a completely unconscious way. No makeup, no hair styling. Their clothing is simple and functional (outside their uniforms, which are there to provide recognizability). Natural beauties who rarely trade on that beauty. In fact, when hiding themselves among human populations, their stature and beauty is more a curse than a benefit and must be overcome.
3) Curvaceous and built and sexually willing and capable beyond human standards or mores. Their concept of fidelity even in relationships does not include physical fidelity. But they aren't slutty. They don't play with men's emotions. They might have sex with a lot of men (and women), but they cherish the uniqueness and memory of every encounter, experiencing the personalities, the souls and the bodies of their partners. They remember every partner and every aspect of them, savoring the memories and the possibility of further encounters. They have relationships, but many of them. Which makes their encounters completely different than the drunken one-night stands of the urban clubbing scene on Earth. Yet their sexuality and pheromones can also be a tool, even a weapon, when employed against their bitter enemies. On the surface, that suggests a Bond Girl kind of beautiful and deadly spy, but that concept is woefully inadequate to describe them.
4) Guardians and protectors of entire planets, they yet resist the trappings of power. They could be goddesses or queens or planetary leaders or dictators, but they instead prefer invisibility. They could shape cultures and the futures of entire worlds with their knowledge, yet they cherish a Prime Directive that forbids interference. They lack the kind of egos that any human with such power would develop. Humility is one of their strongest character traits.
5) Despite all the traits above, from deadly warrior to ultimate lover to protectors, their dominant trait is compassion for humans. Protectors exist solely to protect humans from the deprivations of the Arion Empire. They give their lives to that cause, a lifelong service. Everything above is somehow tied to that.
6) Yet they aren't heroic characters in any conventional sense. Their closest icon in fiction is Superman, yet we've created far more complexity in their characters than his four color personality. Yet they usually die alone and so very far from home, with the only indication of their demise being their disappearance. They are remembered only in the galleries of the Hall of Protectors, and perhaps in the hearts of the people they once protected. So they are heroes in the simplest sense, even if few realize that because they are blinded by many of the traits above.
Like the blind men grasping the elephant, each one of them approaching the elephant from a different direction, a dozen people will have a dozen different interpretations of Velorians, depending on which side of their character or life they have witnessed.
Harlot, savior, hero, beauty, goddess, warrior, angel, soldier, lover, alien, spy, slut, protector. I could go on. Look at the diversity of Velorian characters that the writers in the genre have created. They vary tremendously based on the angle the writer chooses to view them from. Each reflects our own fantasies, yet a Velorian can be all that and more.
In the end, it is their humanity which shines through. Yet, paradoxically, they are not human.
All I can say for sure is that anyone who met a Velorian would be forever changed in some way.
So... cliches are hard to come up with. By design. I say, why bother?