Dear readers, tonight with me is the young heir to the throne, a woman with mystical abilities.
In a society where men are destined to be warriors and women are destined to stay home, life is not easy as the first female heir.
She is here to tell us about life in the palace, the expectations of war, and the public and private reactions to her magical talents.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in the palace of Calistar with my sisters. My mother passed on when my youngest sister, Cala was born. It wasn’t a terribly difficult childhood. I was the oldest princess in a palace that seemed designed only to cater to our wants.
Until I came of age and my power manifested, of course. At first, I didn’t realize that it was magic. I’d picked up a knife to cut a pear for my sister Aini. Before I could, though, Chrissie cried that one of the palace cats was going to fall into the bathing pool. I turned to save it, and found myself running faster than I’d ever seen anyone run. I managed to catch the cat before it even fell.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
I remember Master Shilom catching me train. I’d snuck into the Citadel, and was practicing a battle dance that I’d seen some of the young warriors do. I might never have known he was there if he hadn’t laughed at my poor performance. Why he agreed to train me I’ll never know. If we’d been caught he would have been executed.
What do you do now?
I am heir to my father’s throne, and only now am I realizing how much work that’s going to entail. Most heirs begin learning Law, Economics and History as soon as they can be trusted to read a book and not rip the pages. So I have much catching up to do. I study, and I sit with my father when he deals with our people.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Being the first female heir has not been a universally loved position. Calistar women are used to their place. Always worshiped, always adored. If I am an heir, what does that say of them? Of course, there are also the rumors of trouble at the Kussier border. There are always issues at the Kussier border.
Honestly, right now I’m worried about my sister in law, Lenore. She and her husband are traveling with their newborns to Montelair, a bitterly cold and poor country. They’re trying to help the kings there get some order in their country.
What did you first think when you saw the Black?
That it couldn’t be real. That it was something out of a nightmare, or a manifestation of my own fears of leading. But it was so much like the vision my husband, Devon, had. We’ve got to find a way to stop the Black, before it consumes all of Calistar and Kussier.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
I’d never marched to war before. I’ve found myself suddenly in the center of a battle, but never have I experienced the night before a battle. It is a different experience, going to bed and realizing that it might be the last time. That for some of the men, it will surely be the last time.
What is the worst thing about becoming the first woman heir?
My sister Chrissie’s reaction. I expected this to be difficult for my people, but her animosity shocked me. I suppose it’s understandable. The people aren’t just angry at me. They’re taking their anger out on all three of my sisters, and my new step mother. I would have spared them that, if I’d been able to.
What is the best thing about it?
I am the first female steel mage. Devon is the first male thread mage. Together, we’re helping others like us. I can’t be the only woman who wishes to be a warrior. He can’t be the only man who doesn’t.
Tell us a little about your friends.
As a princess, my only friends were my sisters. Now, I’m meeting new people every day. The best among them has been my new training master, Insaf. She, her sister and her daughter are teaching a brand new style of battle dancing to the women of Calistar.
My new assistant Mergin is a wonderful addition to my life. She’s shy, but getting better about it. I don’t know that I could get through the day without her to whisper jokes in my ear.
How has marriage been so far?
It’s been wonderful, being married to Devon. I didn’t expect him to enjoy living in Calistar, but he’s taken to it. He loves the horses, I guess they don’t have them in Septa City. He’s even taken a strong liking to our food.
Devon is never going to be the kind of man my father is, a strong warrior. But he’s kind and intelligent. That has more value to me, now that I’ve grown up a little myself.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
The Kussier. Especially their Sultain Al Matin and his fat son, Abisha. The men of Kussier are nothing but overfed, lazy beasts who treat their women like chattel. There’s nothing redeemable about the country at all, and I’d like nothing more than to burn the whole place to the ground.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
I always like a good cup of strong coffee with plenty of cream. I don’t get much time to relax over a cup of coffee, though. Not with training, lessons and a war. But the early morning battle dance training with Insaf have been a treat. Its the only time I don’t have to be in charge.
What does the future hold for you?
Devon’s sister just had twin girls. I understand that they have a niece on her husband’s side that will be visiting in Septa with them for awhile. We want to visit soon, to meet them.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I’ve been worried about Shilom since the accident. He’s in pain, of course, but there’s something deeper wrong with him. Some bitterness that he doesn’t seem to want to share with anyone. I’m hoping that time will heal whatever is wrong with him.
Nicole Luttrell is a speculative fiction writer. That means she write about dragons, ghosts and space. Sometimes about ghosts of dragons in space.
You can find Sultiana Abella on the pages of Broken Patterns and Starting Chains.
Join us next week for the official pre-release report of a dangerous criminal, released back into an even more dangerous interstellar society. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.