I think I am going to have to inflict Aerden on Paul Graves; it's that dire a situation.
For those of you unfamiliar with either or both of these characters--Aerden is my irascible Pernese healer, created for StarRise Weyr, and Paul Graves is my 'Death-Eater and a Gentleman' original Hogwarts character, created for the SP Hogwarts roleplaying game.
Paul was coerced into joining the Death-Eaters, blackmailed by the hope of keeping his father alive and of someday rescuing him from the hidden place where Voldemort kept him captive. Eighteen years later, Paul prepares to do just that. There's only one snag--a fellow Death-Eater suspects Paul of being less than a total groveling slave of Voldemort, and she presents him with a magically-binding, blood-oath contract that will bind not only Paul, but all of his descendants in perpetuity to the Death-Eaters. Failure to sign will be regarded as proof of disloyalty, which would mean the death of Paul and his family.
Instead of signing, Paul tells the woman who brought him the contract exactly what he thinks of Voldemort and then murders her, so she can't tell other Deaath-Eaters what he admitted or show them the unsigned contract.
He's a pretty good actor, so he plays the part of enraged and insulted Death-Eather to the hilt while the cover-up team takes care of the body, sees to faking the coroner's report, etc.
The second they leave, Paul falls apart. He's fought plenty of magical duels, but killing someone in your formal sitting-room is quite a different matter. Killing someone like that after you've dedicated yourself to the service of the Light is unbearable. He thought long and hard about killing himself, the night of the murder. The result is that he is alive not because he wants to live, but because he feels he has a duty to his victim to stay alive and accomplish his father's rescue, and because he feels he has many things to atone for.
He's completely lost faith in himself. I haven't been able to write about him in a week. He used to have hope that he could right the wrongs he's done in his life, but with this murder, that hope is shattered in him.
This character, who is usually extremely eloquent and a pleasure to write about, can no longer bring himself to talk.
Or maybe the problem is that I haven't wanted to write a week's worth of Paul wallowing in angst and guilt. A little bit of angst inserted at appropriate times gives depth and pathos to a character. Too much of it, though, is annoying in the extreme. I don't want to annoy my readers.
I don't know how to kick him out of this, except maybe by having his doctor (who is an Aerden clone and knows that Paul is a DE) be more perceptive than might be realistic, figure out how miserable (and, frankly, suicidal) Paul is, and just argue him out of it. I think I did plan for him to have a doctor's appointment on August 20, since I also had one then, so maybe this will work. If not, I don't know what to do. I don't want to inflict this on Paul's wife. *wince*
I knew it would be bad, if we went through with the murder scenario. *sighs, tears hair out* And he's got to rescue his father before the new term starts at Hogwarts. Ack!