Dear readers, tonight with me is a man long departed, contacting us from the other side.
Once the realm’s greatest sell-sword and adventurer, he sealed his sword in a dark cave, and placed a curse upon it. He spent a century in the caves as a ghost, until someone found a way to accesses the deepest reaches of the caverns and trigger the curse.
He’s here to tell us about his adventures as a ghost, mentoring the young woman who retrieved his sword and triggered the curse.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I was born in the bustling port city of Acantha. It’s close to the Golden Peaks, south of Cathell itself. My father was a well-known merchant there and our family was quite influential across the region. I found it a stifling environment, however, with too many expectations I had no desire to meet. I made every attempt to leave as soon as I was old enough to set out on my own.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
No, not really any favorite toys I can recall, other than my stuffed bear Rufall. My father did not believe in a lot of play time for his children. He pushed learning on us more. I had favorite books instead. Histories of the realm and the rise of the Tae’Ahjin Empire. And my magik primers, of course.
What do you do now?
Well, as a ghost, I don’t have many worldly demands on my time anymore. However, I was once Cathell’s greatest adventurer. The bards sang of my exploits across the realm. I genuinely miss being an adventurer — the thrill of exploration and hunting out treasures that farm-hands only dream about. There are few things as exciting as that. And of course, a good clash of swords and trading spells with rival adventurers and mercenaries! I have to admit, when the chance arose for one last adventure, I jumped at it. Perhaps I should have warned Aeryn, before I gave her my sword, but sometimes the path to a good adventure requires a little subterfuge at first.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Ah. You mean the business with The Harbinger. Aside from the gods themselves, only I knew of that creature’s imprisonment in the caverns. It was my sword Aric, given to me by the god Vortenthas himself, that kept The Harbinger bound. But when The Harbinger latched on to Aeryn, well, I knew The Harbinger would manipulate her into setting him free. And then it would be a race against time to stop him from bringing back the Time of Terror. The whole affair was bloody and even terrifying at times, but I would not have missed it for all the gold in a dragon’s horde.
What did you first think when the curse was triggered?
When I first became aware that Aeryn had survived my curse, which had stopped so many before her from reaching The Harbinger’s prison, I knew it was time for Aric to have a new master. I only hoped she was capable of battling The Harbinger.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
When The Harbinger stole my magikal powers, of course. I have no hands to wield a sword. I am a shadow of my former greatness, if I have no magiks. To have them stolen from me by that fiend… I knew not what I might do.
What is the worst thing about being a ghost?
By far, the most frustrating thing about not having a body is being unable to affect physical objects. I am sure you can imagine how hard it is to storm out of a room when you can neither stomp nor slam a door behind you. And dusting things is also a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, I know a fair number of wind spells. They work wonders for keeping the dust off my old armor collections.
What is the best thing about it?
The upside, of course, is that things like walls and doors no longer restrict me. I can come and go as I please, and no one short of a high wizard can stop me.
Tell us a little about your friends.
I would rather not speak of my old adventuring companions. We didn’t part on good terms… I have nothing but praise for Aeryn and Theo, however. Aeryn has a strength of character that few can match. She was wholly right for giving me such a hard time for not telling her sooner about The Harbinger. And as for Theo, for being a thief of barely 10 years old, she has quite the sharp mind and will. I suspected neither from her when we first met.
Any romantic involvement?
Sadly, not many true connections. I had many admirers in my day, quite a few with whom I spent the night, but none truly touched my heart. Or none that I would care to speak of publicly. It is not proper, I think.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
The Harbinger surpasses all by far. I blame his influence for the death pf my dear friend Rimen. He fell in battle under the most improbable of circumstances a few years before my own death. I believe his death to be directly the result of my resistance to The Harbinger’s attempts to manipulate me and my powers. The terrible nightmares he sent to plague my sleep were not enough. He had to kill my closest companion, too. And when he did get free…such suffering and slaughter he left in his wake. He is a truly despicable creature.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
My favorite color? Hmm. I wore quite a lot of red in my day. I had a crimson velvet cloak that I felt complimented my blond hair very nicely. Blue the color of a clear sky would perhaps be my second favorite. It matches my eyes.
As for a favorite drink and pastime, ah, well, there is no match for a tall ale drunk in the common room of The Bronze Helm. It’s a pleasure from my former life that I miss to this day. I spent many a cold night in Valis drinking ale and trading stories of our exploits with the other adventurers there.
What does the future hold for you?
I have receded from the earthly plane for now. Should Aeryn or Theo truly need me, however… I could probably call in a favor or two and find my way back. I dare say the gods — Aephis especially — owe me more than a few for keeping their dirty little secret for so long.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
As I said, my family were very influential in Acantha. I tried several times to escape, to start my own life away from their fame. Each time, someone alerted my father and he sent someone to round me up and bring me back. Rimen and I did not succeed until we managed to hide away in the wagons of a band of traveling minstrels. Well, more like an entire theater troupe. They were an insufferable lot to be around — always so dramatic! — but I owe them for my final escape from the loathsome bore of a life my father wanted for me. Because of them, I could make my own way in the world. And what a way it was!
Scary stories and fantasy books became A.M. Rycroft’s obsession early on. The first story she ever wrote was a horror short at age eight, to the horror of her parents and teachers. No one could convince her that horror and fantasy weren’t what “serious” authors wrote, no matter how hard they tried. She devoured one book after another on her road to writing her own dark fantasy novel. After more than a decade of work, she released Into the Darkness. Rycroft’s third book in her Cathell series, The Joy Thief, was awarded high honors in two categories at the 2017 Virtual Fantasy Con Awards.
You can find Tynan Selvantyr on the pages of Into the Darkness.
Join us next week to meet a swordsman for hire, who died a long time ago. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.