Dear readers, tonight is a first for us! With us is someone – some thing – without a name, one of the legendary Pukah. “What are the Pukah?” I hear you ask. Well, that is something that we would all like to know. Due to the Pukah rather, errm, unique nature, their creator K. Caffee is also with us. So it’s our absolute pleasure to break new grounds, and interview both the protagonist and the author at the same time!
So what, exactly, are the Pukah?
Know not me. Some me pukah call, Master am, Runner am, Silk was. Pukah? Di’tang ask must.
(K. Caffee: Until Nameless encountered Raonal, he had no idea he was anything other than an unusually adept fighter. Even Raonal (Nameless calls him Di’tang – or Silken slave) hasn’t been able to fully explain the race.
The short answer is that they are a type of faerie crossbreed. Typically, a pukah will bring joy, laughter, and inspiration into the life of anyone they meet, though there are some whose tendencies lean towards the more malicious end of the spectrum. The full answer can be found here: “What are Pukah?” (http://wp.me/p4Uq5a-1k)
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Live I, eat I. Obey must always, exactly. Question not. Play, fun have, free was. Her honor always everything. Honor not, live not eat not. Speak She, tell all, teach well. Obey did, live I, eat I.
(K. Caffee: Nameless was born to the slave cells of the Melkresken and was not socialized until he was about seven. Before that, he remained in complete isolated darkness. Between the pukah inability to tell unadulterated truths and his early childhood, he mangles his syntax. I’m just happy he can string together an almost coherent sentence – most children raised in similar environments never manage to accomplish that. Even after he began learning to speak, he remained in isolation until he became an adult.)
Did you have any favourite activities as a child? Any cherished memories?
Train. Train better get: faster, stronger, agile more. Train apart, my way learn not boring same techniques – weakness had, better way my. Train move meant – run, run, run, honor Her always, run.
Maim fight – Her Children feed live do. Honor Her, Children like live food more than dead. Remember meet Her. Glorious night was – hear Her, along after never. Honor Her, care me did.
(K. Caffee: Once he was given a rudimentary vocabulary, he was sent out for combat training. Unlike his non-training hours, he felt as if he were free because the training arena was so much larger than his cell and he could move around without having to shorten his stride, or restrain his movements.
When he started fighting as a young man, he took it upon himself to maim his opponents, rather than kill them so that the Web Mother’s Children could have a live meal from his hands. For this, the Web Mother honored him and the other fighters were frightened of him.)
What do you do now?
Now Runner, stable build. Potentials seek, you wish one be? Obey you, live you, eat you. Please, learn, well fight Runner become you. Potentials find hard, leave home search. Fill stable, home honor Her. Blood of fighters money not!
(K. Caffee: When he won his freedom, he took on the rank of Runner. However, the reward he received caused him to be an outcast. He had to leave his home Realm in order to rebuild without sacrificing what power base he’d managed to accumulate.
Even when he returns, he is determined to see to it that the cultural acceptance of wagering political power on the outcome of the fights that is done by those who have never had to fight is ended. There is a history there he does not know, and will be exposed in a different series I have not yet started to work on.)
What can you tell us about your immediate and future plans are?
Plans? Plan not. Stable fill, home go. Her Bond gone, make new must. Marked am, favor gone not. Why Bond broke? Test is? Test pass! Win I, live I, eat I! Di’tang die for, Bond back.
Wager blood fighter stop, fighter only. Wrong is, fix will. Plan not, happen will.
(K. Caffee: There is a lot that breaks loose at the end of Into the Sunlits, part of which is the soul bond Nameless has with the Web Mother has been shattered. However, there is more than meets the eye to this event, And Keep This In Mind is the journey Nameless must take to understand what is happening. He may return home, but is it the home he left, or has he changed so much that he sees it as an outsider would?)
What was your first reaction when it was explained that outside the Arenas females outranked the males?
Hard understand. In Arenas – collar from father, mother nothing. Females fight rare. What free do Matriarchs honor more? Mother female, matriarchs female – honor Her, honor them. Mother Call Child to Ascension. Matriarchs call fighters to match.
(K. Caffee: Nameless had a very hard time adapting to the rules beyond the Arena after he won his freedom. The only reason there is a story after the change was because he was so devoted to Her, and She rewarded him by stepping in to negotiate a place for him to “learn the ropes”. Otherwise, he would have died in his first week as a free man.
There were other rules he had to learn as well, which unfortunately for him didn’t help much. With his upbringing, if you tell him that something is done a certain way, there are no exceptions; the society he found himself in had more exceptions than the English language has for grammatical and spelling rules for any given law, custom, or regulation. Not sure how he’s going to do beyond his home Realm, once he starts interacting with villages and more civilized populations.)
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Fail I, die I. Death Her not honor.
(K. Caffee: This takes a bit of explaining, and it has to do with Nameless’ perception of what he is. He sees himself as a living appendage of the Web Mother, rather than an individual. Everything he does is to honor Her, and bring Her glory.
He knows that some matches, should he have been killed, would have brought Her disgrace because he was under matched. As with any fight-to-the-death scenario, there is always the possibility that a completely incompetent opponent will get the lucky shot in that could have killed him. Should that have happened, then he would have disgraced Her, and broken his oath to honor Her in all things.)
What is the worst thing about being raised as a fighter, and winning your freedom?
When young know expected is. Win, live, eat, fight, obey. Always obey. Fight all – touch attack is. Insult respond attack. Help none, help receive not. All Her wish live, Her honor be.
Fight now not. Insult – fight not. Touch – attack not. Help give not. Vergol teach how Runner be. “Negotiate” honor Her. “Pay” survive do. Win not pay, punish do. Learn how rules outside be. Learn: “Eight copper equal light silver. Eight light silver equal one gold. Eight gold equal one heavy silver. Carry coin not – heavy is. Carry gem worth money.”
Learn: Matrons right, champion wrong. Learn: pass false coin wrong, matron right if pass light silver as heavy. Learn “yell” hurt worse than Silk. Learn fighter blood prestige grow if Clan runner not was.
Many rules, laws, customs learn beyond Owner Gates. How enter Silk to matches – who talk, who not. Learn must accept too much as not enough. Learn Menial cost too much, Locks not much. Learn how talk freeborn as Runner not Silk.
(K. Caffee: Nameless suffered a severe culture shock when he won his freedom. As a fighter, his life was relatively simple: obey and win. If he accomplished those two edicts, then he was well rewarded. However, once he passed through to freedom, he had to learn how to not only survive, but also ensure others knew him as a Runner. The society is extremely stratified, which meant that he was forced into clothes he did not understand (or feel comfortable in), and he was forced to take up the accoutrements of his new rank which provided him a luxury he had never been exposed to before. What do you do when you are used to constant activity and are suddenly forced into a life of idle ease?)
What is the best thing about it?
Obey know result. Win, eat, live. Free fight. Free kill. Honor fight, win. Now fight, now train, now eat, now sleep always same.
(K. Caffee: Not going to say much, since I think Nameless gets his point across fairly well here. Just going to clarify that he much preferred the structured life of his fighting years to the semi-organized chaos he’s living in now as a free man.)
Tell us a little about your companions.
Learn am who with be can. Master longer no Master, now Gartal. Hard learn kneel not. Vergol master no, Vergol is. Hard respect.
Silk, Di’tang, trainer learn must proper be. One “alpha” call, two “Master” call, one “beast”, “fiend” call. Break must, learn must. Some live may, some live not. Custom follow, law broke. Learn not, die before Sands meet. Power lose not potentials poor. More find, more train.
(K. Caffee: Nameless’ companions are his Silks that he has captured. It is a strange mix, and so far he hasn’t had very good luck in capturing suitable potential fighters. The one who may have been acceptable is a thief, whose crime is punishable by death. The other two – he’s still trying to figure out what to do with them. The last is his trainer, and she will never be sent to the Sands to fight – she is too valuable to risk losing.)
Any romantic involvement?
Mean you what?
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Power win fighter’s blood, fighter not. Wager, always wager bigger house, stronger Clan, power more earn not. Safe sit, wager always wager. Fighter die – blood fill Sands. Wager mean? Safe is, fight not, stronger is. Free lost when match won, free lost when match lost – why? Risk what blood Sands fill? Why stronger is match lost?
(K. Caffee: Nameless sees nothing wrong with the culture he grew up in, except for the ability of the freeborn to wager political capital on the matches when they have never had to face death in the Sands of the various arenas. This has caused him no end of political problems once he was made aware of the issue. It is a war he is destined to lose every time, but one he refuses to give up.)
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
Think called “citrus water” – refresh more water, last longer ale. Feel better, reward sought big. Master pleased – reward get, crowd pleased – reward might, She pleased – reward get extra!
Blood most precious – blood diamond, blood stone, blood pact, blood debt. Blood favorite see.
Run – upset, run; angry, run; bored, run. Stretch full stride, not stop. Run tired past, run complaint away, run better is.
What does the future hold for you?
Mother in heart, Mother in soul again. Stable full, honor Her always. Fighter blood no coin for freeborn, for Owners. Fighter blood for Runner only.
(K. Caffee: This is another case of Nameless wanting, and the story being entirely two different concepts. There is much afoot in And Keep This In Mind that may change Nameless’ answer as parts are unveiled. Where he is now is a very dark place – one that makes his childhood look like a cake walk. How will he recover, and what will he be like as he does so? That is the big question everyone is asking. As the author, I know where he’s going – and an astute reader may have also picked up on the hints. Nameless has no idea about the torments that are in store for him as he moves into the next chapter of his life.)
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
What new tell? Silk, Di’tang, Sericil, Trainer with stable home go. Called I? Free all be.
(K. Caffee: Nameless is slowly coming to understand that what he’s done in capturing others from the Sunlits is not right. He is trapped between his upbringing – once captured, there is not freedom except through the Ascendance Trials – and the growing knowledge that capturing others is wrong. If he is Called to Ascension, there is an unused tradition that all of his slaves are freed to ensure all honor is given to the Web Mother.
He is partially right on what’s in store. The question now is which part is correct, and which is wrong?)
K. Caffee has always been a storyteller. Now, she is sharing her words with the world, rather than a small group clustered around to hear what she has to say.
When she is not taking anyone on a ride through her wild imagination, she is thinking of something new to tell, trying to keep her cats from claiming the keyboard from her, or studying to pass her next class exam.
You can get the novels of the Followers of Torment series on Amazon, as well as on SmashWords. The novels are: Out of the Darkness, Remember the Shadows, and Into the Sunlits. A companion novella, Beslynx Spiritwalker, has already been published, and another one, Akantheldama Intu, is coming soon.
We will resume our regular scheduling on Friday, with a young girl who was surprised to realise that she lives every young girl’s dream. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.