Dear readers, tonight with me is a bounty hunter from the world of Perilisc. He’ll take any job though – bodyguard, a mercenary, anything – to afford the medication his daughter needs.
He’s here to tell us about taking the job of hunting one of the kingdom’s most dangerous men – together with others just as bad.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Dragonsbane is a marvel. It’s filled with landmarks and wonderful things that are mythic and legendary at the same time that they are terrible and magnificent. Your viewpoint on the city really depends entirely on where you grew up. So my viewpoint of the city is disjointed and confusing. I went from a poor child with a loving family, to a child monster, to rich, all within the span of about two years. I was raised in wealth, but never really took to it. I could drink at a corner pub on a mean street, in an angry section of town, or talk art with dignitaries and nobility. If I had my choice, it would probably be the corner pub.
What do you do now?
I’ve got a sick daughter. What do you think I do now? I’m sorry, I, you didn’t deserve that. I get angry when I think about the life she leads and the life I’m forced into. I have no money, though I was raised in wealth, I have no money. My daughter’s medicines are expensive and failing her. So I wander the country trying to cut a living out of the jobs that are available to a man who’s only really good at one thing. So it’s the sword, and whatever it can get me. Sometimes bounties, though I don’t really like that work. Sometimes I’m a bodyguard, a mercenary, anything I can do to put medicine in my daughter. I don’t get to see her much. But at least I know she’s out there, safe and happy, as happy as she’s capable of being.
What do you not like about bounty hunting?
I’m a bounty hunter when I have to be. I’m a bounty hunter for my daughter. But I pretty much hate everything about it, about the job, about the people I’ve worked with, and about the way it makes me feel. There’s a sickness that grows inside every bounty hunter, every hunter of man. It starts off as justice. You tell yourself, “You’re fighting to bring a criminal to justice. The courts will decide what to do with him.” And that’ll get you through a couple of months, maybe even a year. But then it becomes about the pain, the pain of caging another man, the pain you can cause to him. When you take joy and money for bringing a man to his own execution, something sours in you. There’s a lot of self-loathing involved with hating the people who do what you do.
What has been the scariest thing in your travels?
Well, when you’re travelling with monsters, everything’s scary, isn’t it? They knew where I was sleeping. And as much as we had separate rooms, they were still gifted enough to steal into my room and stand over me while I slept. If they had known my intent, they would have eaten my heart. I’m good with a sword, but I also knew what they were capable of. To know you’ve got a murderer guarding your back is to know relief and terror.
What is the best thing about a sword? What is the worst thing about it?
Well, it’s a sword. It’s security in your hand. If you’re good with it, you can carve out safety and justice. Armed with skill and willpower and a sword, you can do a lot of good for a lot of people. A sword is a miracle in the hands of the desperate. But you can’t use it for hunting. You can’t bring home a meal with it. You can’t fire it from a bow at a stag at 50 yards. All you can use it for is pain and death. In order for a sword to be useful, it has to intimidate, hurt, or kill another being. A sword is a tool that can be used for honor and truth, but at the same time, its very nature is despair.
What can you tell us about your latest job?
(chuckles) Well, hunting Rayph Ivoryfist is no easy task. He’s easily the most dangerous man I’ve ever met. I know too much about him to be confident that I’ll survive this, too much about his enemies and his allies to ever think I could walk away from this unscathed. But the money could reverse the disease, and heal my daughter. And I have other reasons, personal reasons. You can’t look at this life as too much of a business. In the end, you have to work the job you believe in, and I believe in this one.
Tell us a little about your friends.
I’ve got a lot of friends. I was taught, by the man who raised me for most of my life, that the most dangerous thing about a man is the people who love him. Yeah, I’m skilled with a weapon, but with a friend at my back, I’m doubly as dangerous. When I was told that, I took that lesson to heart and I started creating an army out of love. Loyalty breeds loyalty. So when I meet someone, I search everything about them, looking for something to love, looking for something to cherish. Most people have that thing. So I’ve got friends all over this nation, and many others. Nothing like Glyss, though. There’s only one Glyss. We’re so close that if he drinks wine, I get drunk from it. We’re so close that when we fight, I can feel his weapons in my hands. He’s a better person than I am. There’s a part of me that’s got rage from my childhood in it. I keep it tempered with the love that I’ve known, but Glyss doesn’t have that darkness. There’s nothing like Glyss. There’s nothing like Konnon and Glyss.
Any romantic involvement?
I’m skipping this question. After I lost her, there’s nothing. I think part of me died with her. What’s your next question.
What’s your favourite drink or relaxing pastime?
So, let’s talk about drinking. There’s a couple kinds of drinking. There’s the social drinking that you do with the rich. Everybody’s drinking. Few people are drunk. We all pretend that the drink has loosened our lips in order to give ourselves the freedom to say things we normally wouldn’t, but we knew what we were doing when we said it in the first place. Then, there’s drinking to have a good time. This is what you do when you go dancing, when you go boxing, when you go to lose yourself in revelry. Then there’s the drinking that you do alone. You can’t really numb pain with drinking. People say you can. It’s a lie. But drinking will put you in a state where you can express your pain, free of inhibition. So, I’ve got three different drinks. For hobnobbing with the rich and obnoxious, I like to drink wine, trimerian wine if you can get it, a good wedding wine, or a knighting wine, that opens in your mouth like a bouquet. For revelry, there’s nothing like a honey ale. There’s a place in Leeth where they feed their bees on nothing but gossamer plants. It creates a thick, brown honey. Make an ale of that, and you’re gonna have a great night. But there’s nothing like cheap whiskey when I have to think of her, and the years we didn’t get to spend together.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
A secret. You want a secret? Secrets are the coin that you buy a favor with. So, do me a favor. When you tell people of this conversation we’ve had, don’t use her name. Just say “her”. I can’t have people that I don’t know walking up to me and using her name. It will hurt too bad. If you’ll do that for me, then I’ll tell you a secret.
There are times when I wish I’d never met her. Times when I wish I had been back there, in that hell, as a child monster, and died the grisly death that awaited me. Because when I think about the decades ahead of me, of living without her, it just makes me so tired. It makes me wish that none of it had ever happened. I’ve got a lot of enemies, a lot of people I wish ill will on, would even kill if I had the chance, but there’s no one I would wish this on.
But what was it like when you first saw her?
When I saw her? That was a long time ago. But like any other pinnacle moment in a person’s life, I remember every bit of it. I had been brought into her home, mad with hunger, and feral. She pulled back in terror of me, and I wanted to hurt her. I wanted to hurt everyone. I would have slit her throat for a mouthful of food. Once she was a safe distance away from me, I saw her face shift from utter terror to pity and grace. I didn’t know what would become of our relationship at that moment. But I saw a kindness in her, a kindness that would unfold and envelop me in later years. Like I said, I was young. But if I could paint or draw, I could draw that instant, that moment of grace that I saw in her face.
Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.
You can find Konnon on the pages of Song.
Join us next week to hear from a former city guard, turned pathfinder for the spymaster. Please follow the site by (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.