Dear readers, tonight with me is a man facing imminent cataclysm. A conspiracy of darkmages have resorted to harnessing the powers of Hell to save their legacy, and Quin and his brother Braden are determined to stop them.
A mage himself, but with with a turbulent past and terrible and tragic secrets, he’s part of a band trying to prevent the forces of chaos from boring the Well of Tears into the netherworld, right under their city.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in Caladorn. What you probably know of as the Black Lands. Of course, back in my day, they weren’t so very black. All that came about later…but that’s a story for another day. I was raised among the horseclans of the Khasahar until it was discovered that my brother and I could sense the magic field. There, on the spot, we were claimed as property of the Lyceum. After that, Braden and I were taken to Bryn Calazar to be trained to our respective orders. The names given to us by our father were stripped from us, our language replaced, our hair shorn…it was an appalling transition, one that I was only too delighted to make at the time. I was rather naïve back then, you see. I was still under the delusion that I might actually make something worthwhile of myself some day. How optimistic I must have been! Or stupid, which basically amounts to the same thing.
What do you do now?
Now? I drink. I’ve been known to frequent a brothel from time to time. It’s a lifestyle that seems particularly suited to my apathetic disposition.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
I seem to have gotten myself into a honey of a pickle. My brother Braden has apparently lost every scrap of reason he ever possessed and is hell-bent on destroying everything that has anything do with magic—including the both of us. And he wants me to help him! I’m not certain just yet what I’m going to do about it. I’ve half a mind to stand back and wait for him to fail. Unfortunately, Braden has very rarely failed at anything in his entire life. Which is why his current mindset scares the hell out of me.
What did you first think when you met Merris?
I thought she was contemptible. I mean, she was sent by my brother, so how could she fail to disappoint? She invaded my home, evicted my whore, doused me with water and forced me to drink tea—tea, of all insufferable heresies!
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Now, that would spoil the plot, wouldn’t it? I’m frankly surprised you have the temerity to ask.
What is the worst thing about being Braden’s brother?
The worst thing about being Braden’s brother is being forever condemned to live in the vast shadow he casts—all the while deprived of even the satisfaction supplied by resentment. Because, in all truth, he has earned every one of his accolades. I can’t resent him for that.
What is the best thing about it?
The best thing about being Braden’s brother is that he’s been out of the country for the past nine years. During that time, I’ve grown more fond of him. His presence is immensely more enjoyable when absent.
Tell us a little about your friends.
I don’t have any friends. Pathetic, I know—thank you very much for reminding me. You see, my reputation has sustained a substantial amount of tarnish. And my charm just isn’t quite what it used to be.
Any romantic involvement?
Depends on how much coin I can scrounge up on any given evening. I have expensive tastes, you must realize.
Whom do you really hate?
Myself. I detest the person I’ve become. And I deplore my brother. I really don’t know which one of us is worse. We’re both insufferable. What I lack in grace, Braden makes up for in arrogance. I would truly pity anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves locked up in a dungeon with the two of us.
What’s your favorite drink?
My favorite drink is arak, a rather strong fermented beverage that I adore. One cup of arak somehow makes life more palatable. Two cups makes it almost livable. By three cups, I’ve usually forgotten that the woman standing in my bedroom is only there because she’s still waiting to be paid.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I’m a firm believer that both secrets and women are best kept to oneself. Nothing good has ever come from sharing either. Trust me; I know from experience.
What does the future hold for you?
That depends. If Braden’s plan succeeds, then we’ll all be dead in a few days. If we fail, that means the darkmages will be opening up a gateway to the Netherworld. It doesn’t really matter. Either way, I’ll be sleeping in in Hell.
M.L. Spencer grew up writing fantasy. She wrote her first novel-length manuscript at thirteen. Her debut novel Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy. She was also awarded 1st Place Prose in in the San Bernardino County Writing Celebration.
Ms. Spencer lives in Highland, CA. By day she works as a biology teacher; by night she sweats over a beaten-up keyboard. She is now in the process of expanding the Rhenwars Saga into a series. Her favorite authors are Robert Jordan, Stephen King and Frank Herbert.
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