Nebador Archives presents an epic young-adult science fiction adventure - Characters

J. Z. Colby's NEBADOR takes place in the wide universe around us ...
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STORIES
Kibi and the Search for Happiness
2010
Rini and the Old Slave
2010
Buna's New World
2011
First Taste of Freedom
2011
Neti's Temptation
2012
What're Friends For?
2012
Sata's Strength
2012
Boro and Sata
2012
Buna's Search
2013
The Magic Needle
2014
Still Voices
2016
Floating Away
2016
The Lonely Space Dragon
2016


NEBADOR on GoodReads

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The Ghost Host

NOAA Space Weather Scales (PDF)

The Donkey Sanctuary, Ireland

MENSA International

FlamingNet

As the home team, Nature Bats Last.

Outward Bound International

National Outdoor Leadership School

Post Carbon Institute's Resilience.org

Kurt Cobb's Resource Insights

Kids vs. Global Warming

Transition Network

National Youth Rights Association

Hesperian Health Guides

CarolynBaker.net presents Speaking Truth to Power

The Characters

This page begins with images, descriptions, and backstories for Ilika, the ten original students, and their one travelling companion. Farther down on the page you will find lists of the secondary characters.


by Rachael Hedges Ilika

In Book One, he reveals that he left his original home at age 8, and studied and trained on ships from age 10. He is in his early 20's as the story begins, and must find and train his own crew as a final test to become a ship's captain.

He is deeply touched by events around him, but able to quietly use his perception and intuition before committing himself to action. Although young and inexperienced, he obviously has a broad education, a long perspective, and a noticeable lack of human fears. He is clearly from "somewhere else."

BACK-STORY:
    "My father was drunk half the time, my mother was afraid of everything and everybody, and my older sister tormented me constantly. I had no friends - all the boys wanted to be big, strong factory workers like their fathers, and all the girls wanted to get married and have babies. I spent all my free time on a little flat roof I could get to by crawling out a window. I could see the factories all around me, and the smoke stacks belching fumes day and night.
    "But the real reason I went up there was to look at the stars. I couldn't see very many, but every night I would send a wish up to a different star, until my sister started yelling for me to do chores.
    "I was eight years old when I was offered a chance to leave. I was on a long walk alone in the barren hills overlooking the town, and the only thing I had with me was a toy animal I would talk to. I was afraid that if I went back home for anything, I'd lose my chance, so I just held my toy and didn't look back.
    "For the next two years, I had to learn countless things about my new home. I didn't even speak the language at first. One class I took showed me all the different professions I could follow. I had always liked ships, so when I was ten, I chose the Transport Service.
    "For the next nine years I studied and worked on ships, eventually learning every job that most ships have. Then I applied for a command, and after two more years of study, I was given a little ship and my final exam, to find and train my own crew. So here I am."


by Rachael Hedges artist unknown Kibi

Shaggy-haired and almost 17, she is a person of the heart, but has become strong and practical after a childhood with simple parents, then many years of slavery.

An intuitive, Kibi gathers information from many sources other than her eyes and ears. She listens to her "heart," which includes all the small, still voices of the universe. This allows her to see the subtle patterns around her and sense dangers before most people.

She is immediately drawn to Ilika during the test day, and quickly becomes the student he can rely on to lead well and make good decisions, even with little time to think.

BACK-STORY:
    "I've always felt I was in the wrong place," Kibi said from her heart when they returned from lunch. The others all gathered to listen.
    "I've always loved words, especially important words that say a lot. I learned quickly that I couldn't ask my parents about words. The list Ilika gave us this morning would have been enough for them. So I talked to every traveler who came by. When my father found out, he started beating me and telling me strangers were dangerous."
    Everyone could see she was holding in tears.
    "By the time I was eight, everyone around knew I was smarter than my parents. When another farmer came by to trade something, he'd talk to me first. So my parents told me that if I was so smart ..." She stopped to deal with her deep feelings. "If I was so smart, I should go off on my own.
    "They were wrong," she continued with mixed sadness and anger. "I needed them. But I went, because I was really tired of the beatings. I didn't last long, of course. Once I was a slave, most of the masters liked me because I could figure out how to do complicated things. But their wives hated me. I knew words they didn't know. I knew how to do things they couldn't. So they had me beaten and whipped when their husbands weren't around. I learned to keep my mouth shut."


by Rachael Hedges

artist unknown Sata

An innkeeper's daughter, Sata is a member of the very small medieval middle class. She began working full-time at her parents' inn as soon as she was old enough, about age 5. As the story begins, she is 10, and still acts a bit childish around her parents, but craves to sink her teeth into something challenging, which her work at the inn is not.

BACK-STORY:
    "I used to think my life was rough, but now I know I was wrong. You guys have been through a lot more than I have, and I'm really glad you're my friends now."
    "You've worked hard and had few choices too," Kibi said with sympathy. "We're glad you're our friend."
    "I've probably had some choices ... I don't know ... but the first time I ever opened my mouth and said I wanted something was to be tested by Ilika. And I'm sure glad I did. I've always wanted to learn things, but there was never anyone to ask, except ... you know, my mother about cooking and sewing and stuff. Even though we've just started, already the things I'm learning are swirling around in my head. I think I counted dots in my dreams last night ..."
    The room erupted with laughter.
    "The truth is ... my parents are going to give the inn to my brother, and I'm sure he'd let me work here, but someday he'll probably get married, and then there would be two women running the inn ..."
    "Bad idea," Buna said with a scrunched face.
    "Yeah. And ... there's something out there I want to find, something I don't know anything about yet, but I want to keep looking until I find it."


by Rachael Hedges Boro

Fourteen years old as the story begins, Boro is large and muscular, but also shy and clumsy. Unlike Kibi, who excells at language skills, and Sata, who is good with numbers, Boro's gift is with things he can see and feel. Even though he is at first timid, he quickly shows Ilika that he is extremely reliable and has leadership potential.

BACK-STORY:
    The silence stretched for nearly a minute and a dark shadow came over Boro. His eyes looked far away as he began to tell his story.
    "My earliest memory is living on a cattle ranch, maybe four years old, but I can't see it clearly. I think I was happy. Then I remember a day when someone said there was a stampede, and I never saw my mother and father again.
    "After that I lived with aunts and uncles, but they were always saying I was too gentle for man's work, too clumsy for woman's work. They would make me take a cow on a lead rope from one ranch to another, which was way too dangerous for a little kid. Twice I lost the cow and got whipped for it.
    "One day I was walking a cow and a soldier came by. He didn't believe me when I told him where I lived, said that if someone cared about me, they'd come to the guard house to pay my fine and get me out. No one showed, so I became a slave.
    "I guess I'm still too gentle and too clumsy. The last master I had made me wash dishes. I broke one and he jabbed me with the broken piece."


by Rachael Hedges Mati

As the healer discovered, Mati's bad knee was an injury in early childhood. Although perhaps deeply scarred by a life experience that would crush most people, she has a strong spirit and a determination to succeed, even though she has no idea how that could be possible, given her handicap.

BACK-STORY:
    "But ... someone already said the answer," she whimpered in a voice close to tears. "Someone else always gets to do things instead of me, it's always been like that, all my life."
    Sata put her arm around the trembling girl, and Ilika came close to listen to what she had to say.
    "I guess I had parents once, but they just passed me around from one relative to another. The other kids had copper pieces to spend, but not me. The other kids got to learn how to cook, or garden, or keep animals, but not me. I think my parents eventually forgot who I was staying with, and the relatives forgot I was a relative.
    "For a while I slept in a shed with the slave, a big, simple boy who was kind and kept me warm. I helped him weed the garden sometimes, and that made me so happy. But then the relative got sick, his farm was sold, and I went with the slave.
    "I've been sold and resold many times since then. I'm worth a little silver piece at the most, sometimes just a few coppers ..." Her words broke into deep sobs as Sata and Neti surrounded her with their arms.


by Rachael Hedges

artist unknown Rini

Rini has a personality and a value system that is always very rare. In some societies, he would be respected as a mystic, shaman, priest, or prophet. In others, he would just scrape by, staying in the bottom rungs of society, perhaps being some kind of artist. In either case, he would be happier than most people could imagine.

BACK-STORY:
    "I'm the last at something else too," the slender lad said. "I've listened to everyone tell their stories, but I haven't told mine. Every time someone tells about how they got into slavery, it makes my stomach all twisted into knots, especially the girls dealing with ... you know. My story is very different. I chose to be a slave."
    Looks of shock and disbelief came to almost everyone. Only Ilika didn't seem too surprised.
    "I wasn't very old when I realized I didn't want to be like other people. Everyone around me, even my parents and my brothers and sisters, were hurting themselves, using each other, and abusing all the wonderful animals and plants. Everywhere I looked people were taking beautiful things and making them ugly ... taking truth and changing it into lies ... and making good into bad. It made my stomach twist up just like your stories do.
    "I began walking into the woods and the hills, as far as I could go. At first my father would whip me when I got back. But I kept going, walking for hours, then all day, then several days. My father finally gave up when he realized I wasn't taking any food with me, just finding things in the wild.
    "One day I met a man. He told me what it was like being a slave, since he had been one. I knew I didn't want to be a slave all my life, but I decided it might help me understand people. So I became a slave and it taught me many, many things. But now I'm really happy I'm with all of you."


by Rachael Hedges

artist unknown

by Nancy F. Miko

Sixteen and committed to Neti before the story begins, Miko is intense and romantic, but also very respectful. His weakness can be glimpsed in Book One by a very observant reader, but will not really show until the group is in the wilderness in Book Two.

BACK-STORY:
    "Yeah. I was about nine. I hated my mother, 'cause everything had to be done exactly her way. Even if me or my brother knew a better way, she'd beat us if she caught us. If we asked why we had to do it her stupid way, she'd just say, 'Because I said so!' and then she'd beat us for asking.
    "My father would never lift a finger to her. She even told him exactly how to do things, and he'd say, 'Yes, Honey,' and then do it the way he knew was best.
    "I don't regret leaving home, but I should have waited a little longer. I just left one day when she made me really mad, and I didn't have anything but the clothes I was wearing. I wish I'd waited another year or two, saved up some coppers and stuff. I lasted about a week, stealing food from gardens and cellars. Then I got caught and I've been a slave ever since."


by Rachael Hedges

artist unknown Neti

One of those rare people who can gracefully experience humiliation that would deeply wound most people, Neti's dream is to have a real home and her own family. Shortly before the story begins, Miko offered her that possibility, even though neither one, at the time, knew how it could happen.

BACK-STORY:
    "With our new clothes, can we go into Cobble Town?" Neti asked, a huge smile on her face. "I used to live there."
    Many eyes turned in her direction with a mixture of shock and wonder.
    "Tell us all about it!" Buna said from across the table after quickly swallowing a bite.
    "You can wait for the privacy of our room if you want," Ilika said.
    "I don't care. Miko knows. I've had three different masters who bought me for ... you know ... affection. Two of them lived in Cobble Town. But even though I've lived there, I could never go out and see anything."
    "How did you become a slave?" Kibi asked.
    "I think my parents couldn't pay their taxes or something like that. I was about six. I saw my mother in a slave compound about two years ago. She was dying."

Some people might criticize Neti for not feeling her humiliation during slavery, and the death of her mother, more deeply. This is an example of the "point of view fallacy," explained on the Fallacies page.


by Rachael Hedges by Mireille Xioulan Powers Toli

Probably the most intelligent student in the group, his lack of social and emotional maturity soon comes to light. He develops a relationship with Buna, but time will tell whether or not he has the maturity to keep her.

BACK-STORY:
    "I was very young, so I'm not sure if I remember it right. I know my mother died. Then it seemed like my father had a new wife right away. For a while I was really confused, 'cause my father wanted me to think she was my mother.
    "The only problem was, she hated me - at least that's what it felt like. I think she wanted a slave, but my father wouldn't get one. So she used me for one."
    "So you were a slave before you were a slave," Buna said with understanding.
    "Yeah. Then my father died, so there was nothing to stop her from treating me like a slave. I slept in the shed, worked all day ... you know. But it made me mad, so I didn't do things very well. By that time I was about ten.
    "Eventually she started running out of money, so she sold most of the land, and then she sold me. I yelled and screamed that I was her step-son and she couldn't sell me, but no one listened."
    Toli paused to deal with the painful memory. After swallowing several times, he continued. "I think my father was smart, and would have taught me many things, but we just didn't have time ..."


by Rachael Hedges Buna

Not afraid to be different, Buna has crude and quirky mannerisms that have protected her through years of slavery. Her strength only reveals itself during the weeks of travel through the wilderness in Books Two and Three.

BACK-STORY:
    "Can I tell my story now?" Buna asked as they splashed and frolicked in the bathing pool later that afternoon.
    "Sure," Ilika said, "unless you want the privacy of our room."
    "No, I want to do it while I'm in a good mood. If I let myself get gloomy about it, I might throw things or kill someone."
    Ilika and the other students sensed she was at least half-serious, so they gave her their complete attention.
    The story began with a very poor family who lived in one small room somewhere in Rumble Town. Buna remembered clearly the day, sometime during the winter of her seventh year, when her mother, tears streaming down her face, explained that her father was dead, and there was only one way they could both survive the winter. A strange man handed her mother a coin and took Buna, kicking and screaming, to the slave compound.
    As the years passed, Buna saw how the pretty girls were used by men, so she hardened herself and did everything possible to make herself ugly and crude.
    "I guess it worked. I know it made me kind of ... rough. It was just what I had to do. I don't blame Neti for doing it differently. And if I'm ever rough with any of you ... it's not because I want to be ... it's just a habit."


by Rachael Hedges Kodi

At age 12, Kodi's obvious intelligence causes Ilika to choose him, but the boy's ethical values are not yet visible.

BACK-STORY:
    "You see," Rini began, "we know a lot more about Kodi than you do."
    "Kodi's been a thief all his life," Buna blurted out. "Always stealing from his masters."
    "We don't much care about that ..." Kibi began.
    "But he's a snitch, too," Miko spat out. "Always ratting on other slaves. If a master offered an extra potato to find out who'd been goofing off, Kodi was always right there, naming names and pointing fingers."
    "The really funny part," Neti said, shaking her head, "is that he always goofed off as much as anyone else."


by Rachael Hedges Misa

BACK-STORY:
    Three more times that day the strange guide led donkey and people back into the smoke, each time finding a child petrified with fear or howling with grief, not daring to venture closer to the devastated town, not willing to leave. A seven-year-old girl was barefoot so Ilika carried her on his shoulders.
    ...
    "I was up on the hill playing, and saw my parents running away from the fire, toward the capital road," Misa announced, trying to act grown-up like the others who had just made their reports.


Remember them?

Below is a list of all the secondary characters, the ones we got to know a little, sometimes more than a little, usually (but not always) learned their names, and then had to say good-bye as they (in one way or another) departed the story.

Book One
    Doko, Mosa, son
    Tori, wife, son
    slave master
    Jobi, Namo, Pica
    Doti, Tibo
    Zini
    high priest
    captain of the guard
    sage

Book Two
    Tera
    Keni, wife, Kora
    Noni, Ri, Bo
    Port Town healer
    Kit
    Port Town baker
    Tati
    Rosi
    Kamo, uncle Boti
    Koto, wife, sons, daughters, Josa
    young goatherd
    old shepherd

Book Three
    high priestess
    Kali
    Cattle Town guards
    Doko, Mosa, son
    Tori
    Doti, old woman
    Ss'klexna Rrr'tak-fi
    high priest

Book Four
    trader
    rich man, middle daughter
    Timod Gor, Risan Gor

Book Five
    Drrrim-na
    King Zolko
    Councilors Ganlo, Memna, Sarto
    Nosta

Book Six
    Dakalio
    K'stimla
    Drrrim-na
    Glorm
    Sorrano, Rossilia
    Krish-ka
    Toran Takil, Silmula Sorafax
    G'sonk
    Memsala
    Sss'rol'ti
    Trekila Spimalo
    Captain Kam'rrral-ta

Book Seven
    K'storpo
    M'palta
    T'shlix
    Tizoromulia, Timorafilia, Timorasimia, Timorazonia, Timoradalia, Timoratamia
    Liberty Buchanan, Senator Michael Buchanan, Harold Neils
    Shawn Mitchell, Reverend Tommy Mitchell, wife
    Reverend Walker
    Ashley Riddle, mother, father
    Nancy
    Rebecca, Jacob
    Claudia, Randy, Joan, Sheena, Howard, Tim, Maria
    Rachael
    Sarah
    Clyde
    Chad
    Kenneth, Marscha
    Jenny
    Malcolm

Book Eight
    Metateron
    Ashley
    T'sss'lisss
    Kolarrr'ka
    Jimox, Teina
    Rrr'tana
    Brora
    Giona
    Kasssor-k'm

Book Nine
    Syble Ko-korna
    Jan Ko-korna, a.k.a. Heather, a.k.a. Priscilla Ka-mentha
    General Malcolm Ko-fenral
    Major/Colonel Lisa Ka-markla
    General Samuel Bo-seklin
    Major/Colonel Sarah Ma-soran
    Colonel/General George Ba-kerga
    Sergeant/Lieutenant Ben Ta-Nibon
    Captain Drinn-tala
    Shemultavia
    Corporal/Lieutenant Ginny Do-forva
    Corporal Matthew Tu-lorat
    Maria Ta-benro
    Simon
    Mark
    Mandy, mother
    Doctor Susan Bo-kamla, psychologist
    Doctor Richard Tu-feltin, historian
    Doctor Chris Po-selem, physicist
    Doctor Larry Bo-leden, philosopher
    Doctor Betty Ko-silma, chemist
    Doctor To-marin, climatologist
    Colonel/Doctor John Bo-torin, political scientist
    Brian Lo-saran
    Sergeant Rachael Ma-tirol
    Doctor Tanya Po-morna, biologist
    Doctor Ko-rensis, anthropologist
    Professor Dennis Ma-zolen, agriculture
    Doctor Jargen Bo-tora, non-renewable resources
    Doctor Donella Po-tirel, pollution
    William Ko-poran, industrial output
    Harold To-kamra
    Tiffany Ko-moran
    General Ko-doran
    Doctor Jean Bo-hilson, languages
    Kelatorrra
    Ashley, T'sss'lisss, Kolarrr'ka
    Malika-Terno
    Toran Takil
    Ss'klexna Rrr'tak'fi
    Trekila Spimalo
    Memsala
    Mayor Do-salan
    Colonel Bo-hefra

Book Ten (Escape from Sonmatia Two)
    Tir
    Dem
    Jin
    Tik
    Bel
    Fen
    Fim
    Tol
    Ril
    Bim
    Min
    Dil
    Sim
    Feli-tala Rima

NEBADOR
Book by Book

the narrow streets of a medieval walled city
Book One:
The Test
Spring 2010

English

Português

Français

Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 1 (6MB)

Comments

Illustrations

Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

a lonely beach along a wild seashore
Book Two:
Journey
Summer 2010

English

Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 13 (8MB)

Comments

Illustrations

Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

the colorful aurora above majestic mountains
Book Three:
Selection
Fall 2010

English

Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 5 (13MB)

Comments

Illustrations

Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

stranded on a frigid ice continent
Book Four:
Flight Training
Spring 2011

English

Letter to Readers

Comments

Illustrations

Deep Learning

Where to Get It

fascinating planets with strange life forms
Book Five:
Back to the Stars
Fall 2011

English

Letter to Readers

Comments

Illustrations

Deep Learning

Where to Get It

a shining jewel floating in the blackness of space
Book Six:
Star Station
Summer 2012

English

Letter to Readers

Comments

Illustrations

Deep Learning

Where to Get It

unseen guests at an event of universe importance
Book Seven:
The Local Universe
Summer 2013

English

Letter to Readers

Comments

Illustrations

Where to Get It

stillness and silence where movement and sound should be
Book Eight:
Witness
Summer 2014

English

Letter to Readers

Comments

Illustrations

Where to Get It

Heather's meeting circle at a top-secret military facility
Book Nine:
A Cry for Help
Summer 2015

English

Letter to Readers

Comments

Illustrations

Where to Get It

a strange eco-system deep underground
Book Ten:
Stories from Sonmatia
Summer 2016

English

Letter to Readers

Comments

Where to Get It

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by J. Z. Colby
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