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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

Aemilia (of In Numina, by Assaph Mehr)

Dear readers, with the forthcoming release of In Numina, the second novel by our fearless leaders, we are proud to present an interview with one of the novels’ most charming characters.

This young lady is here to tell us about life in Egretia, that wonderful fantasy city based on Ancient Rome and Alexandria, from a point of view other the Felix’s. The interview is set at a time between the books, and reveals things that might surprise you.

(Note that this interview first appeared on D. Lieber’s blog. Our many thanks for her prompting to write it.


Welcome to Ink & Magick. I’m your friendly neighborhood witch. What kind of spell can I get for you today?

You do incantations? Right here? What branch of magic? Can I watch you do it? Will you show me how you do it? Oh, you want something specific? Anything really, just so long as it’s not permanent and I can see you perform it. Maybe light a fire? It’s rather chilly this time of year.

Please introduce yourself, and the book you are from.

My name is Aemilia, and my first appearance is in Murder In Absentia.

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in the Clivi Ulterior, in my family’s domus. If you’re not familiar with our city, the Clivi Ulterior are the highest reaches still within city limits on mount Vergu. It’s a neighborhood of rich men’s mansions. My father was Tiberius Aemilius Mamercus, a consul and a direct descendant of the T. Aemilius Mamercus.

My life, I know, was better than for the vast majority of people in our city. In matter of fact, I knew little about how most Egretian live their lives. I grew up with friends of the same social circle – sons and daughters of the Senate’s elite. My elder brother died young, but my family kept his tutor. I thus benefited for a scholarly education beyond that of most women.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My brother had a couple of wooden toy soldiers, that one of the slaves made for him. One was an Egretian legionary, the other an Arbari barbarian. When Tiberius died from the ague, I kept those soldiers. I hid them under my pillow, and I imagined my brother’s spirit was still in them, that he – and they – were guarding me. I treasured them more than anything else I owned. I still have them.

What do you do now?

Trying to delay the inevitable… I’m nineteen. My mother is busy planning my wedding. I may have some little say in who I marry – or at least absolutely refuse to marry – but the outcome would be the same. Some young scion of a well-respected, old family. Probably a lawyer or a promising career military man, on his way to the senate. Me, I’d just like to experience life a little bit, before I become a show wife, sitting quietly behind the loom.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Ha! A young woman of my social standing is not allowed to have “adventures”. Not formally, that is. That never stopped me. My cousin Caeso has died in some strange circumstances, and the family wanted to keep it quiet. They hired a man to find out the killers, which he did. I am thankful for him bringing peace to my uncle, even though I thought his methods dubious.

Now another uncle seems to have ran afoul of some bad property investments, his tenants claiming that his apartment blocks are haunted. We thought Felix could resolve this too, so we recommended him. But I’d love to know how he approaches this. Continue reading “Aemilia (of In Numina, by Assaph Mehr)”

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Ishali (of Mara’s Awakening, by Leo Flynn)

Dear reader, tonight with us is a prisoner from the far future, one who claims his imprisonment is for good deeds.


It’s very unusual for a person so young to be in such a high-security prison. What did you do?

Never one to be subtle, are you? I suppose all interviewers always cut to the chase. There was a famine crisis in the neutral world of Livina, and the Council refused to give aid, despite it being in their constitution to always offer such help.

We decided to teach them a lesson. So we hijacked their cargo ship carrying supplies to the latest ball for the dignitaries and sent them to Livina instead.

The people got their food, but I was careless and ended up arrested. With the mounting charges to my name, I was thrown in jail for misconduct, hijacking, and thievery.

You’ve been in trouble with the Council before?

Many times, I’m afraid. I would have thought my actions would be enough to change their minds, but alas, they remain as stubborn as ever.

What brought you into the world of crime?

Crime? I would hardly say the things I do are criminal. I admit some of my methods are more… erring on the grey area of the law, but they function well. I only have one purpose, which is to help end the suffering of the innocent in any way I can.

What inspired you to help others?

My home planet, Anguini, is a neutral world. So I suppose I am fortunate I grew up on a planet with relatively unbiased approaches to the galactic political proceedings. Some years ago, before I was born, our planet was ripped apart by civil war.

The High Council stepped in and sent their most elite peacekeeping forces, the Star Corps, to settle the matter. After a few years of a bitter struggle, they finally did, and they helped us recover and flourish as a planet.

I very clearly remember one Star Corps member, then retired, came to our school to talk about the conflict. It was difficult for her to talk about, but she did regardless. I couldn’t help but admire her.

I asked her why she’d risked her life for people she didn’t even know. She said, “The Star Corps is about helping everyone, in any way we can, because it’s the right thing to do, and it makes the galaxy a better place.”

Their selfless assistance for my people inspired me to do the same.

Continue reading “Ishali (of Mara’s Awakening, by Leo Flynn)”

Miss Bennet (of Death of a Clergyman, by Riana Everly)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a character out of Jane Austen’s novels, who found that life continues beyond her original appearance. She is here to tell us about love and murder during the Regency.


Well, Miss Bennet, you have had an interesting little adventure. As magistrate in these parts, I need to gather a bit more information to write my report. It is not every day that a young woman of your tender years solves a mystery like this, and the murder of a clergyman as well. We were all quite shocked. I have a few questions, if you do not mind. First, I need to know a bit about you. Your home, for example. 

Thank you, sir. Of course I will answer anything you need. My home is a small estate called Longbourn, in Hertfordshire. It has a small village, but the closest town of any size is Meryton, a mile yonder. I suppose it is not so different from many other market towns, and we have a good selection of shops and necessary provisions, as well as a fine set of assembly rooms. We lack for little, and in this modern age (for it is 1811, of course), we can travel to London in the course of half a day.

Your home sounds not out of the usual, but there must be something that has formed you into the person you are. What of your childhood? What has shaped you to be able to solve these horrid crimes?

I cannot imagine myself anything particularly special. Indeed, I grew up thinking myself not special at all. I am the middle of five daughters, after all. I am not pretty like my two older sisters, nor am I spirited and outgoing like the younger two. I would rather read then attend parties, and I have little interest in ribbons and lace or flirting with the officers from the milia regiment. I quite often feel rather invisible!

As a child, I retreated into the comforting words of scripture and sermons. They helped me make sense of the world and shaped my sense of morality. A young woman’s behaviour reflects not only on her, but on all her relations, and must be well regulated.

I also sought refuge in the pianoforte. I begged Papa to allow me to learn, and I had a great desire to become proficient. Perhaps, if I could play the most difficult pieces, people would pay attention to me and laud me.

I know not whether these shaped me, but perhaps they gave me the discipline to examine the clues I found so as to solve the mystery of Mr. Collins’ murder.

What do you propose to do now? Surely solving murders is not an appropriate activity for a gentlewoman of your tender years. Will you return to playing the pianoforte?

Oh no, sir! I can hardly credit it. It was a grand adventure, but you are correct. I am expected to act within my station, and with all propriety.

And yet I find the whole affair was stimulating. I should never wish to see such violent death again, nor do I rejoice in the cause of the investigation, but I have never felt so useful before in my life. I have never felt so needed, so important, so alive. I know I should be pleased to have this experience to remember in the years to come, and yet a part of me hopes that it might not be the last time I can put my meagre skills to work for so useful a purpose.

Very good. I shall make notes of all of this. Now, on to the crux of this interview. Here I must make good notes for my report. What can you tell us about these terrible events?

Oh, sir, I shudder even now to think of it. It started, as you know, when my cousin Mr. Collins was discovered dead in a field near Longbourn. He had been killed with a knife, and that knife turned out to belong to my sister Elizabeth. She had been out on the day Mr. Collins died, and she returned home injured and covered in blood. This, when seen with the evidence of the knife, brought her to the attention of the local authorities, who came to charge her with the death.

Of course, I could not let that happen! Elizabeth could never kill anybody. I knew I had to do whatever I could to save my dear sister. Then there were the missing candlesticks and the lost maid, and I found myself in the middle of a great mystery that needed solving.

Continue reading “Miss Bennet (of Death of a Clergyman, by Riana Everly)”

The protagonist (of Merchant Magician, by John Champaign)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a man known by many — usually unflattering — nicknames. He’s here to tell us about trading mystical goods and services, about meeting mermaids in San Francisco, Midwestern leprechauns, Icelandic dwarves and the girl of his dreams, who happens to be a cultist.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born right here in the U.S.  I had friends who would tease me and call our house a mansion, but it wasn’t really.  No servants or anything like that.  We’d traveled for vacations, which was always fun, and helped prepare me for all the travelling I ended up doing.  My dad was always getting my sister and me ready to work for the family business.  Looking back, I’d say I really “grew up” during my adventures after my 23rd birthday, which is where the book I wrote begins.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

I always loved Transformers.  I had a vintage “Soundwave”, he was the one that turned from a robot into a microcassette recorder and had the cassettes that also transformed!  When I was eight, some nymphs who my dad was doing business with gave me a magic sword, but my parents took it away from me when they caught me cutting a boulder in two in our backyard.  I was angry at the time, but they were totally right – that was no toy for an eight year old to be playing with.  It’s like in that old Christmas Story movie when everyone is telling him he’s going shoot out his eye.  “You’re going to chop off your own leg, kid” is what I’d say to an eight year old with a magic sword today.

What do you do now?

Busy setting up deals and trying to build my business.  My expectation was that running my own shop would give me tons of freedom, but it’s just been putting out one fire after another.  Just arranging the fair dealing guidelines with the demons has been almost impossible.  Things with the dwarves have been going smoothly, but it’s obviously very time consuming.  Financing the vampire hunters has probably been the easiest project, but smoothing over the strong personalities is a bit of a pain in the ass.  I haven’t been having nightmares about the mermaids since we started dealing with one another over Zoom, so that’s been a big improvement with them.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I saved reality as we know it and no one gives me the slightest bit of credit for it.  I wasn’t expecting parades or anything, but my father was more proud about the deal with the dwarves.  Your blog has been the first press I’ve gotten!  No other interviews!!!  It’s as bad as people ignoring information about the supernatural, except even supernatural beings themselves act awkward and change the subject whenever I bring up saving reality.

My big advice to anyone on a quest to save reality is:  Do it.  If reality needs saving, you gotta do it.  But don’t expect any accolades at the end.

Continue reading “The protagonist (of Merchant Magician, by John Champaign)”

Beryl (of Viridia, by Tim Frankovich)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a man leading a revolution. He’s here to talk about cybernetic implants and fighting immortal dragons.


Beryl? Can you hear me, Beryl?

What? Ow. Where am I? The last thing I remember was being on a train. I used my implant, and… I don’t remember. Ow. My head.

It’s all right. The confusion will pass. It’s normal in these situations.

I don’t know normal. And what is this situation?  Who are you?

Just the one asking the questions. You want to answer my questions, don’t you?

I… for some reason, I do. That’s weird. Will you answer my questions?

Not really. Tell us a little about the city of Viridia. What is it like there?

I hate it. I’ve hated it all my life. No one’s really happy here. The green dragon rules over everything. His soldiers and draconics impose his will. If you’re not useful to him, you’re dead. I know that better than most.

Sounds like you really hate the dragon.

Of course I do! I want to kill him. And the other five dragons. They’ve ruled over the cities for too long.

Do you have any cherished memories from childhood? Surely something must have been worthwhile in your early life.

I… don’t like to talk about my childhood. My parents. I didn’t have a good relationship with them after… No, I’m not talking about that. You can’t make me. And they’re dead now, anyway.

Dead? What happened?

An accident. The same one that crippled me. I wouldn’t be able to even walk now if my friend Loden hadn’t given me a cybernetic implant to control my legs.

Interesting. Does this implant do anything else?

I can use it to give extra boosts of energy to my legs. Run faster, jump higher. Wait. Why am I telling you this? It’s forbidden technology!

Continue reading “Beryl (of Viridia, by Tim Frankovich)”

Sydney Mason (of Sophie is Scarlet, by Greg Neyman)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a college students, doing normal things — taking classes, dating, thinking about a Masters Degree, helping in her community, and being a witch. She is here to talk about witchcraft, vampires, and fighting tech conglomerates.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I spent my entire childhood in Paisley, Scotland. It’s – what do you want me to say. It’s a town. You’ve seen one Boots the Chemist, you’ve seen them all. These days, most people can’t agree where Glasgow ends and Paisley begins. I have some memories of living with my mum and dad in a Council Estate, but then I was able to live with my Gran in her house when I started school, and it was a bit more posh.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

So not to brag, but when you’re as potent a Sister as myself, you find very few toys that work as expected, all the time. Until you learn to control your Skill, of course. That’s why I loved the old drum set that I got second hand. Nothing that can really go wrong with it. It’s how I got into punk rock. I remember my first Christmas, when I had my hair all blonde, and spikey. You know Christmas is a big thing. But I couldn’t get the Christmas crown to stay on my head! I just had to drench it in hair spray until it stood. And then the turkey just reeked of the spray, I could barely get it past my throat!

What do you do now?

So this was my chance to see something other than Scotland, so I decided to go to a Yank Uni. Apparently the first place to give ladies degrees in the States, so of course you know Sisters soon followed. I getting to meet a lot of new Sisters, and learning to solve people problems without my Gran hovering over my shoulder. And the Uni is on me to pick a major.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

It’s hard to talk about. My everlasting shame. Did you know vampires could go tame? Live a normal life, find willing Meals, that sort of thing? Well, I wish someone told me before I vapourised three of them with a bolt of lightning without so much as a ‘how do you do’.

Continue reading “Sydney Mason (of Sophie is Scarlet, by Greg Neyman)”

Simon Strong and Tristan Montague (of Tombyards & Butterflies, by Orlando A. Sanchez)

Dear readers, tonight we print an interview by an author, who went into his protagonists’ world to interview them. These are the owners of Montague & Strong, New York City’s premier supernatural detective agencies.


I’m sitting at a large table in the back of The Last Gasp Brew – a coffee and tea shop located in lower Manhattan when they walk in. Right away you can see the contrast. Simon stands around six foot tall and has a casual air about him. He’s wearing a leather pea-coat, black jeans and a light gray sweater. His bronze complexion is off-set by the shockingly white hair that sits atop his head. He looks around for a few seconds, sees me, gives me a wave and a smile as he approaches. He slides into the chair opposite me.

Behind him glides in Tristan who looks like he just left a martial arts class. His eyes scan the room and he exudes a quiet danger as he enters the shop. He’s wearing what appears to be a black loose-fitting tai-chi uniform. He’s not as tall as Simon, but his presence makes him appear to fill the space around him. His complexion is darker than Simon’s and his hair is a deep black with gray at the temples.

They sit at the table opposite me, both facing the door. Simon and I shake hands, Tristan gives me a curt nod.

Orlando: Thank you both for meeting me here tonight. I know your schedule is usually busy working cases. I really appreciate it. By the way the coffee here is excellent.

Tristan: You only say that because you haven’t tried the tea. It’s our pleasure. Thank you for having us.

I notice that Tristan has a slight English accent while Simon sounds very ‘New York’.

Simon: No one drinks tea anymore.

Tristan: Except maybe most of the civilized world.

Orlando: Thanks again. I didn’t realize how difficult arranging this interview would be. You two must have some of the busiest schedules in the city.

Simon: Well it’s not like we had a choice – what I mean is you are… you know?

Simon makes some gestures I don’t understand with his hands and Tristan sighs.

Tristan: What he means is that he’s happy to be here answering questions. You’ll have to excuse him, sometimes he’s as tactful as a brick.

Simon looks at Tristan and chuckles. He takes off his coat and reclines in the large wing-back chair. His laugh is infectious and I find myself smiling. Tristan responds with a brief smile, but remains mostly serious and vigilant. I get the impression he has assessed everyone in the shop and found no imminent threats.

Simon: What the worst he can do, Monty? He did make me immortal you know. Try and relax.

I look down at my notes and prepare my first question.

Orlando: About that- you’re immortal?

Simon: The technical term is ‘cursed alive’. Apparently Kali-

Orlando: Kali as in the goddess Kali the destroyer? Shiva’s consort?

Simon: Yeah that one. Well I was on this job for Shiva-

Tristan: Which I told him not to take. I distinctly remember advising you against getting involved with those two.

Simon: Anyway- Shiva asked me to get some information, things I’m not at liberty to discuss. Kali found out what I was doing and lost it. She went ballistic and marked me with this.

Simon shows me the back of his left hand. An intricate design is etched into his skin.

Orlando: What is that?

Simon: It’s called an endless knot. She basically stopped me from aging.

Orlando: I’m not seeing the downside. She made you immortal. You don’t age. This may sound odd, but can you die?

Simon: Can you?

Orlando: Well yes, I haven’t been cursed by an angry goddess.

Simon: Well so can I. The problem is that I wont stay dead. Even worse is that I don’t know how I’ll come back. It’s not something I’m eager to test. You know?

Orlando: I can understand your reluctance.

Tristan: His immortality may be conditional, is what he’s trying to say. He could very well die and return as a goat. Which would be an improvement if you ask me.

Simon: He didn’t ask you, Monty.

Continue reading “Simon Strong and Tristan Montague (of Tombyards & Butterflies, by Orlando A. Sanchez)”

Tillman Rosenbaum (of the Tawny Lindholm Thriller series, by Debbie Burke)

Dear readers, tonight in an interesting twist we have both a character — and his author! He’s a lawyer assisting the protagonist, and has his own style of doing things.


Debbie Burke: Tillman Rosenbaum is the brilliant, arrogant, cynical attorney who elbowed his way into
the first book in the Tawny Lindholm Thriller series and refused to leave. Today, I’m interviewing Tillman for The Protagonist Speaks. Thank you for talking with me, Tillman.

Tillman Rosenbaum drinks Glenfiddich single malt scotch while his intense dark eyes pin.me to my barstool. His baritone sounds like God in a cave.

TR: Get this straight right up front—I didn’t agree to this interview. Tawny did.

DB: You seem hostile?

TR: We can talk all day about landmark cases, precedents I’ve set, innocent people I’ve
gotten acquitted. But nothing personal. Understand?

DB: Uh, okay. Since Tawny is one of the innocents you saved, why don’t you tell us how
you first met?

TR: Tawny had unwittingly gotten involved with a terrorist (Book 1 – Instrument of the
Devil
). Feds were after her, seized her bank account. She was in deep shit and her only crime
was trusting the wrong guy. I like a righteous cause.

DB: You’re the crusader hero?

TR: I’m the asshole who backed down Goliath. Afterwards, I offered her a job. She was
broke from her late husband’s medical bills, doesn’t have much education, dyslexic—helluva
time reading, can’t spell. But she’s really bright and has this gift. People open up to her. Clients
tell her the secrets they’re afraid to tell me.

DB: You’re six-seven, aggressive, and sarcastic. Can’t imagine why clients would be scared
of you.

TR (snorts): I scare prosecutors and judges, too. Underneath this gruff exterior beats a heart
of stone. In more than twenty years of practice, I only lost three cases.

DB: Your style of questioning differs from Tawny’s.

TR: Hell yes. I jump on ’em with both feet. She just smiles, like the sun breaking through
clouds, and then she listens. Finds out the damnedest shit that way. (shakes his head in
amazement
)

DB: So your skills complement each other?

TR: Oh yeah. Like when my old man was targeted by this sexy con artist (Book 2 -Stalking
Midas
). He’s a smart financier, made millions, but an unprincipled prick. Serial womanizer.
Drove my mother to suicide. Suddenly he’s broke. Refuses to talk to me. But damned if Tawny
doesn’t get him to open up. She cracked the scam. Unfortunately, the con artist almost killed her
in the process. (looks away, blinks hard, and swallows)

Continue reading “Tillman Rosenbaum (of the Tawny Lindholm Thriller series, by Debbie Burke)”

Ammo (of A Voice That Thunders, by Cully Mack)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a man, an Acquisitioner — a mortal who loves taking risks and chances, but lives by a code. He’s here to tell us about immortals conquering as gods and a tiny band of rebels preparing to take back their world.


Tell me a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I spent my early years on the island of Mallach.  It’s a paradise tainted by my father and his thieving cutthroats.  As ya can imagine, it has the usual sweat reeking beerhouses like this one, and houses of pleasure to keep the men entertained.  Fortresses govern the hilltops, piers rule the docks, and impenetrable defences stand sentry beneath the waves.   

Keeping with tradition, I was born at sea.  The night of my mother’s anguish was the only time my father released her from her cell.  Ya see, she was the one person he couldn’t control, a Chashmalim, a mind speaker, so he’d locked her away.  

From the moment my legs held my weight, I began learning the Acquisitioners trade.  I can see by ya expression ya have heard of em.  Then ya know we take pride in knowing our enemy. 

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Are ya serious?  I just told ya, he locked my mother away. 

Apologies, I never set the questions.

Well, I cut my teeth on a dagger handle if ya want to call that a toy. I did have a dog for a while.  My father said it made me soft.  I ain’t cherished nothing since.

As for memories, after several failed attempts to free my mother, and swearing I’d never give up, my father killed her as well.  The flare in his eye as he waited for my rage is something I’ll never forget.  

That’s quite a history.  So how did you end up working for Meciel and what is it like?

Meciel wanted an Acquisitioner, and everyone knows I’m the best.  We don’t always see eye to eye, and before ya ask, it ain’t coz the old hermit says he’s immortal.  Who cares if he’s crazy, believing he and others like him came from another realm?  He required an army. I knew where to recruit men.  He needed ships. I knew how to build em. 

He pays well, better than I’d make on the hostage racket.  So I put up with his talk of impending war and everything else… Makes me wonder though.  Have you seen the empires they’re building and the size of their gigantic sons?  Maybe they are gods, though Meciel denies it. 

Truth is, he ain’t keen on my sideshows.  He insists I focus on his tasks and nothing else, but I got a reputation to uphold.  Life ain’t only about silver.  I’m the best Acquisitioner on the seas for a reason, and doing the jobs nobody else will keeps me at the top.

What can you tell me about this latest adventure?

I can tell ya one thing, Sojin is excited.  All he wants is to kill the god who murdered his mother.  The way he sees it, we’re finally heading in the right direction.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s got skills, trained him myself, so I know how good he is, but he ain’t ready.  Anyway, we just met Meciel in Lithanos and picked up the one he’s chosen to lead his army. 

Continue reading “Ammo (of A Voice That Thunders, by Cully Mack)”

The character cast (of Unveiling, by Zel Winter)

Dear readers, tonight we host a rather chaotic interview with five characters out of a novel’s cast. They are here to tell us about a world in which powerful Immortal beings battle for justice in a magical world just beyond the veil of our own — all while continually bickering about spoilers.


Hello everybody, tonight on the interview couch are part of the cast from Unveiling. Could you please introduce yourselves, and helps us know who’s who?

🙋♀️ Hi, I’m Nina. (a little wave)

🦇 Dan. (quick short nod)

🙎🏻 My name is Maya. (curtsy)

🐺 Lupus. (short snort)

🧛🏻 Hey, (speaking in a heavy Spanish accent) I’m Franco. (sits further away from the rest).

Nina, tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

🙋♀️ My early childhood was with my adoptive parents, and they were great. I wouldn’t say, though, that’s where I grew up. I was in foster care from the age eleven. I’m not gonna lie to you or the fans, it was tough: but I learned how to stand up for myself. I remember Tony, one of my foster brothers, he would get into kids faces and intimidate them to do the most ridiculous things one could think of. He told this one kid to shave our foster dad’s eyebrows. The kid did it. When Ronny woke up, he freaked! We had to run and hide. Three days, (she puts her 3 fingers up), three days I slept outdoors. He tried it on me a couple of times. I told him to get lost. For some reason, he stopped bothering me.

Lupus, do you have any cherished memories?

🐺 Funny you should ask. My generation was the first to start shifting into human form. AncientWeres could, but didn’t. There was no reason. So, when this new thing started to happen, all of us left our parents’ and started our own pack. At that time, we didn’t know we were supposed to walk on two legs, so we walked on all four. We also had no control over it, so when it happened it was both surprising and painful. We were clumsy, slow and hungry all the time. One time, my brother stopped shifting halfway so his right side was human while his left was in wolf form. When we saw him, we didn’t recognize him and ran away. It took him hours to calm down and complete the shift. Sometimes, we still laugh about it. I wouldn’t change a thing, I cherish those memories.

Franco, what do you do now?

🧛🏻 Me and my kind, have a grand plan. I can’t talk about it, but we are going to stick it to those other immortals. They won’t even know it’s coming, and then, KABOOM! (he makes a gesture of explosion with his hands).

🙎🏻 KABOOM?

🧛🏻 Well, not really kaboom, but you know what I mean.

🙎🏻 No, I really don’t.

🧛🏻 (He faces the host) See? That means I piqued the curiosity, yet didn’t reveal anything specific. Mission accomplished.

Dan, Lupus, what can you tell us about your latest adventure?

🦇 It was a good fight. We won.

🐺 It was fantastic, and loads of fun. Just imagine bursting into the enemy compound, killing the monsters, freeing the dam…

🦇 Spoiler!

🐺 So much more I can’t tell you about. This guy, (he points to Dan), he goes under the radar, in more ways than one, but mostly because he is dust

🦇 SPOILER!!!

🐺 What did I say?

🦇 You said ‘dust’.

🐺Dust is nothing, it’s dust.

🦇 Dust is a spoiler.

🐺 Fine, I hate being interrupted. Where was I? Oh, ya, this guy, (points to Dan), if you piss him off, it’s your funeral. I saw him once kill eight beasts, before the first one hit the floor. That’s how lethal he is.

Dan, you gonna show us some moves?

🦇 (vaguely smiles) I don’t think so.

C’mon Dan, just a couple of moves.

🦇 I’m not really pissed off. (He turns to Franco). Any volunteers, Franco? No? (Dan shrugs). Sorry.

Maya, what did you first think when you saw Nina?

🙎🏻 I thought I was going crazy. With the ordeal that happened the night before, I still thought I was drugged or hallucinating. It was like looking in the mirror but not. I remember blinking repeatedly and looking around for monsters. It took me a while to compose myself. The cup of coffee helped, along with hearing Nina through my ears and not as a random voice in my head.

Hey Dan, what was the scariest thing in your first mission?

🦇 I thought she might turn. There is nothing worse than accidentally turning someone you ca…

🙋♀️ Spoiler!!

🦇 What? I thought they already knew.

🙋♀️ (quietly) Spoiler.

🦇 Really? (looks around, everybody nods). Fine…that’s why I don’t say much.

Nina, what is the worst thing about your rescue?

🙋♀️ The previous misjudgement of my rescuer.  In my eyes, he went from hero to zero like this, (she snaps her fingers). I had one view of him and then within a blink of an eye, I witnessed a triple murder, got kidnapped again, this time by him, and then thought I’d became a fugitive on the run from the police. Could that day get any worse???

What is the best thing about it?

🙋♀️ I can’t tell you the best part, but, I’m still here, alive and not running from the police. That’s pretty good, right? (looks around, everybody nods).

Dan, tell us a little about your friends.

🦇 I’ve been lucky. I have friends among all species. All present (except one 🧛🏻) are my friends. But, I think you want to hear about those who are not here. (He adjusts himself comfortably in the chair).

Yes?

🦇 What? Oh, you want me to tell you about them? OK, where do I start?

My brother is by far the person I trust the most.

Weres’ Alpha, Lav – a WereLion, is a strong leader and a good friend to have. Weres are great; they can communicate telepathically. They do it when in their beastly form or if they want to keep a secret from Faes. 

Faes are…refreshing and a little odd. I mostly interact with FaeRaven when passing messages. They like to gossip about everything they know. A little funny, a little quirky, but what can you expect when you put birds and magic together, right?

Dragons…they are real beasts and trump everyone—the protectors of the world. The Wise One is the most powerful. He helped me a lot.  

Any romantic involvement?

🐺 Man, I went nuts. I imprinted and it drove me crazy, I couldn’t eat, sleep, hunt, focus, or talk to anyone about it, because we sort of invaded that place, without Alpha’s permiss…

🦇 SPOILER!!!

🐺 and apparently there is never a good time to talk about it, (he turns to the audience) you’ll just have to read about it, guys. Just trust me, I was crazy.

🦇 Yeah, crazy is a good word, you almost mauled me…

🐺 That’s a spoiler!!

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

🧛🏻 Let me just say…I don’t like humans, but they taste delicious. I despise Nature’s Immortals, and especially the traitor.

🙎🏻 Vampires, for what they did to me.

🐺 The cursed ones (turns to Dan), no offense.

🙋♀️ Tony, and all bad vampires.

🦇 All who disrespect life.

Franco, what’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?

🧛🏻 Fresh human blood. Red, and feeding, or planning how to dest…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

 🧛🏻 (Hisses)

What does the future hold for you?

🙎🏻 Well, I’m going to become…

everyone: SPOILER!

🐺 What about when we broke in the headquarters and took…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🙋♀️ I had a dream once…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🧛🏻 Would you like to know about the plan? (wiggles eyebrows)

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🧛🏻 (Hisses) Do you think I would tell the readers with all of you, (he swipes his arm across the cast), listening?

🦇 I spoke to Drezga, and he told me he has a source in Hen….

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🦇 That’s why I don’t say much.

Nina, can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?

🙋♀️ Hm…how about if I share a part of a secret? Everything we witness and experience changes us, and I am no exception. In the words of Nada VaZaki, “They’ve broken the wrong parts of me. They’ve broken my wings and forgot I had claws.”


Zel Winter lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, two wonderful daughters, two dogs and two cats. She loves nature, animals and children. Zel enjoys cooking and baking, and above all, reading and writing.

You can find Nina, Dan, Maya, Lupus and Franco on the pages of Unveiling.

Join us next week to meet a man playing agent for gods. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

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