Time for that Midnight’s Wings post I’ve been promising for *ahem* a while. Sorry for the delay, guys…this summer got away from me. I mean, in a couple weeks I’ll be back in classes! (Que terrified screaming) But enough with that. We’re here to talk about Aderyn!
Today I want to focus on two of Aderyn’s defining characteristics: her “soul searching,” her ability to see through a person’s eyes into their emotions and intentions, and her belief that using her soul searching will turn her into a monster. As I mention in the books, Aderyn’s soul searching is a rare and powerful gift, and one that’s been abused in the past. Several times Aderyn mentions Fargeden, a half-faerie half-elven king who’s tyranny caused the faerie creatures to rise up in revolution and institute the Fae council. He’s kind of a Hitler/Stalin figure in their society’s history, a figure who used his immense power to destroy thousands of lives. So in a way, Aderyn’s fear is justified. If she let the power go to her head, if she became less concerned with doing good than with getting her own way, if she decided that she might as well act the monster that she’s feared to be, then she could’ve very well been on the opposite side of this battle. That potential is what caused her uncle, Falk, to train her to fear using her abilities. That potential is what causes Aderyn so much turmoil when she’s forced into using her gifts to help train the Wrydian and to search the Fae. In a way she believes her power is corrupt in and of itself, and she has to learn throughout the book that it’s how she uses her gift that determines it to be good or evil.
But part of Aderyn struggle is that it isn’t just her own experience that teaches her to fear herself. Falk’s well-intentioned training, influenced by his own experience of a soul searcher’s manipulative abilities, is something Aderyn has to strive against at many points. She wants to accept it as truth, and she has for most of her life. Falk raised her, protected her, died for her…he’s the only family she’s ever known, and she trusted him implicitly. But as she continues through this story, she has to face the fact that her uncle wasn’t perfect. As she fights the enemies attacking the parks, she battles between her loyalty to the faerie who raised her and the lessons she learns about how she should live. Through that turmoil, through the desperation to help that pushes her into using her abilities, God teaches her that using her soul searching for His purpose is what she’s meant to do.
But even when she decides to use her gift for the Creator’s purpose, she’s still not sure how to do it. She finds a certain peace in what Zareth has her doing, searching the Wrydian trainees for signs of treachery, because it’s a rather passive work. She’s invading their privacy, and that makes her uncomfortable, but it’s for Zareth. And it’s to protect against enemies, nothing like Nieran did. But just as she starts feeling comfortable with her place, getting used to standing at Zareth’s side helping behind the scenes, she’s pushed into the very world she’s never wanted to enter. She’s forced to face the fae and play the very game she’s always hoped to avoid, and she’s still not sure where the line is between persuasion and manipulation. And as she faces these beings who are so hardened against her, she believes she only has two options: to be another Nieran or to prove that she’s different and thus sacrifice her voice. She doesn’t want to manipulate, she doesn’t want to play the political game. She listens to Nieran and recognizes that he’s trying to help her, but she’s still hesitant. She’s resigned to being disliked, and ultimately she puts finding the enemy before how the fae see her, but she still hesitates. There’s still a part of her that believes she might as well be silent, that if they won’t listen what’s the point? There’s a part of her that wonders if maybe they’re right to dislike her, to distrust her.
But then in that desperate moment, as Zareth leaves to fight Moira and the entire room is against them, everything clicks. She can’t stay silent, but she doesn’t have to speak as Nieran does, either. In that moment she comes to understand that God has called her to use the voice He gave her: a soft tone speaking truth, undiluted and undefiled. And as she speaks the words God calls her to speak, she’s at peace. It doesn’t matter what they think of her, and whether or not they listen is their own choice. She’s voiced the truth, she’s accomplished her task. And that passion that leads her to speak truth without hesitation, to look them in the eye and reveal their hypocrisy without fury or flowing persuasion, without seeming to care whether they listen or not…that’s what gets them. In that moment they don’t see a soul searcher. They don’t see Nieran or Fargeden or Lilieth, they don’t even see her. They see the truth she speaks, they see their own calloused hearts and swollen pride. And though it doesn’t have it’s full affect in time for them to help in the fight, it changes them. It changes Aderyn.
That scene reveals so much of the growth Aderyn has gone through. She’s not finished yet: she still wishes she could live in the background, she has struggles with who she is and what she’s been taught…but she’s learning. She’s found a family, she’s found mentors, and she’s found her voice. And when God calls her to speak, nothing will silence her.