Aakesh is a Sundered One, and the only first-tier Sundered One. When Harry Iskinder claims him, it quickly becomes clear that Harry has bitten off more than he can chew.
MAJOR SPOILERS WARNING
Aakesh is not an easy being to know.
He keeps his own counsel, and his anger over years of mistreatment rarely shows – though when it does, the result can be deadly.
Why he allowed himself to be caught is a good question, and one Harry isn’t ready to answer. What he wants seems simple: the survival of his race. Sundered Ones, after all, are going extinct through overuse.
But it might not be that simple. Aakesh is too good at twisting the truth to be fully trusted – and first-tier Sundered have a reputation for killing their owners.
“Lord of the Sky” in Sanskrit. The name is actually something of a joke with two parts.
1. Sundered Ones mimic what they see. When baby Aakesh first came into the world, he saw the clouds, thought they were beautiful, and tried to mimic them. It didn’t work very well, and the result was a big, black, blobby mess.
2. When the humans arrived, the Sundered Ones absorbed every language the humans knew, and Aakesh took a shine to Sanskrit. He liked the sound Aakesh – it sounded to him a little like water splashing – and, most importantly, the meaning amused his siblings, who were well-aware of the cloud debacle. “Lord of the Sky,” indeed.
Aakesh is one of the few Sundered who truly enjoy the human form, but he genuinely could not decide between male and female. He mimicked one after the other (flawlessly, of course), and eventually found his solution in one human’s mind: anime.
No, I am not kidding.
Anime as an art form wasn’t common by the time of The Sundered. The planet dying took precedence over entertainment, and so the only people who watched anime were (a) well-off enough to have leisure time and access to appropriate entertainment devices, and (b) into “vintage” things. Aakesh fell in love with the fluid movement and androgynous beauty of so many characters, as well as the generous extension of natural human coloring. He opted for a slender, youthful appearance, mostly male but with distinctly female beauty, and retained solid black skin and hair with brilliant orange irises to represent sunlight reflecting on Motherwater at the end of the day.
Influenced (again) by anime, he gave his hair gravity-defying lift and movements, allowing it to shift according to his mood. When he jumps or flies, it settles around him with slow and very pretty drama. If Aakesh is good at anything, it’s drama.
Interestingly, he is one of the few Sundered Ones to keep his adopted shape after being freed from enslavement. He still thinks the human form is beautiful, but more importantly, he retains it in defiance of the slavery he endured.
Aakesh’s choice not to allow the horror and cruelty of his captors rob him of joy is a crucial one, and a very big influence in the choices the Sundered make.
This is difficult to classify because he himself doesn’t know.
Like all Sundered Ones, he shares the ability to shape matter down to the atomic level. He hears thoughts – essentially, anything broadcast by a working brain – and is capable of broadcasting his own thoughts into any that happen to be functioning.
Sundered Ones grow and learn by mimicking, becoming what they mimic, so Aakesh’s centuries-long study of humans was not only dangerous for him, but deeply challenging and very painful.
In terms of his actual potential, that has yet to be plumbed. What we do know (though he does not) for fact is this: Motherwater created him as an equal. Perhaps he’ll make his own planet someday. Who knows?
Why does he matter?
- Sundered One mimic by design. He came first and his emotions and experience were the most influential in determining the general attitude and activity of each succeeding generation. This is explained in the short story, To Amend This Fault.
- Aakesh has the hard-earned ability to understand human psychology, which none of his brethren do. Observing is one thing; understanding is something else, and and this discernment has cost him. To grasp how humans react with fear and paranoia, he had to dive into those emotions until they were nearly his own. To know how illogical a human becomes when angry, he had to taste anger so strong it blinded. None of these states are natural to Sundered Ones, and had he not been connected to his brethren, he could have been lost – and for the Sundered, mental dissipation leads to physical dissipation. He would have died.
- Aakesh’s choice to forgive is an utterly pivotal and life-altering thing for the Sundered. If he had not chosen that, the Sundered would have become essentially weaponized – the living form of bitterness and revenge, and it would have altered them more than four hundred years of slavery did. But Aakesh’s dive into human nature lent him this truth: bitterness kills. Bitterness is what led Jason Iskinder to do what he did. Bitternes makes one mad, and while Aakesh does not really know yet how to deal with the pain he and his siblings carry, he is determined they will not grow bitter.
- Harry: The one everyone wants to know about: is his relationship with Harry sexual? Not exactly. It is intimate; it involves claiming and a binding of souls that Harry finds terrifying. It involves exposure, ownership, and a mental penetration at all times. Harry owned Aakesh. Now, Aakesh owns Harry – and nothing will ever make him let go. There is not a single aspect of Harry’s heart, soul, or body that Aakesh isn’t in contact with now, and Aakesh intends to keep it that way, partially because he wants to keep Harry forever (and that means preventing aging, not to mention the million other things that can go wrong with a human body), but also because it makes him feel better. Just… better. Aakesh has not looked into this feeling too deeply.
- Bakura: There is no true antagonism between Aakesh and Bakura. Half of it was a ploy to manipulate Harry into trusting Aakesh. The other half was Bakura’s genuine desire to destroy all things Iskinder – the same way a frustrated person may briefly consider smashing the computer, or throwing away the annoying possessions, or telling a supposed friend something hurtful. One may consider them, but the rational mind chooses another path. Bakura wants to hurt Harry; Aakesh does not, and yet these are not conflicting wills, but more like two parts of the same mind.
We haven’t seen the last of Aakesh or any of the Sundered. His story is far from done – but to tell you that now would be too many spoilers for even this wiki. You’ll have to wait and see.
Note: there is now a set of short stories diving into the Sundered mind. Enjoy!