Search

The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

Month

April 2019

Kara Tanner (of Glyphbinder, by T. Eric Bakutis)

Dear readers, tonight with me is Kara Tanner, a recent graduate of the Magic Academy of Solyr. What follows is Scribemaster Tarano’s interview with Kara several days before her planned graduation.

The chaos that unfolded on Kara’s graduation day is still unclear to many, but we do know the academy came under attack, a number of students were injured, and that Kara and several of her friends (including an amnesic soldier treated for his wounds at the academy) disappeared. Their current whereabouts are unknown.


To start, Kara, I would like to congratulate you on your nomination as Speaker Supreme. You must have worked very hard to get here.

Thank you. I’m honored to be chosen, and will absolutely not make a wreck of my speech.

I’m certain you’ll do fine. To start, what do you most enjoy about your studies at Solyr?

Everything. Where else can you learn to set someone’s hair on fire and talk to the dead?

You set someone’s hair on fire?

Really? I honestly expected you to be more concerned about the other thing.

Well, you are a Glyphbinder. Soul glyphs are one aspect of your training, are they not?

Oh, right! This is an opportunity to promote Solyr to our patrons in Tarna. Five know I love promoting our academy!

If you could simply answer the questions as you would for someone outside Solyr?

Of course, Scribemaster. Forgive me. I’m practicing. For my speech.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your studies at Solyr?

The variety. Every week offers new aspects of glyph magic that either complement or contradict what’s come before, but wielding the power of The Five Who Made the World is inspiring. The Five made literally everything … the world, the sky, us … so channeling their power? Nothing compares.

Now that we’re into advanced glyph combinations, I find the more esoteric mixes fascinating. A week ago we learned the proper Life glyphs to form ice sculptures based on glyphs of idea, and there’s been no shortage of gorgeous and occasionally obscene ice sculptures popping up since.

Occasionally obscene?

Well, you taught us to create ice sculptures … with glyphs of idea. Look, I’m eighteen, and many of my peers are as well, but I imagine girls mature faster than boys. If I come across one more ice peni—

Why don’t you tell us more about your particular school! What’s it like to be a Glyphbinder?

Challenging. We teach Firebrands, Lifewardens, Soulmages and others, but Glyphbinders learn tricks from them all. Every school is scribed differently, and remembering how the lines work is a chore.

I won’t horrify you with what happens when you scribe Rannos the Wolf on a squirrel and accidentally use a Firebrand’s blood lines, but it’s not a mistake anyone makes twice. You never forget the smell.

Continue reading “Kara Tanner (of Glyphbinder, by T. Eric Bakutis)”
Advertisements

Aurora (of The Descendants, by Nikki Lee Taylor)

43433481

Dear readers, tonight with me is woman born to a Scythian mother and a vampire father. She is here to tell us about the threats to her world – and how she enlisted the last remaining vampires to fight the demons.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in a rural village on the Romanian Plain in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. I have not been back there since I was a child, but what I remember most is the mountains themselves, their white capped peaks in the winter and the way clouds would hang low in the springtime, cloaking them like a secret.

Your parents were murdered when you were still a young girl. What do you know about them?

My mother Aarani was the leader of our village. She was a Scythian, or what some history books now call The Amazons. She was strong and fierce and had the ability to connect with the life force of all living things, from the smallest mouse to the largest bear. She led many successful horseback raids on passing caravans of rich merchants travelling across the plain – until the night she met my father Vasile.

That night she realised quickly that he was unlike anyone she had met before, unlike any human. That’s because he was a strigoi, a human transformed by the bite of a vampire.

They fought for hours and when they eventually laid down their weapons, they both knew they had met their match, their equal. About a year later I was born and that’s how I came to be the original descendant – the first child ever born to strigoi and Scythian parents.

What do you do now?

I live in a rural farmhouse with my four sisters, just north of Vermont by the Canadian border. Our day-to-day lives are much the same as they’ve always been, tending to our crops and taking care of the horses, although after everything that’s happened things are a little different now of course.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, to begin with I don’t think any of us will ever be the same. I spent my entire life searching for the creatures that killed my parents and the council, the world’s last four remaining vampires, had refused to help me – until Gabriel came into the picture of course.

Oh, Gabriel… I don’t even know where to start with him. At fist I wanted to kill him, but when I realised that he, a strigoi with no idea who or even what he was, was actually the key to everything I had been searching for, I couldn’t believe it.

You know, I like to think of myself as a leader, a warrior like my mother, but if I hadn’t met Gabriel…

It was inevitable that there would be a war. That is the balance of things. Good and evil, dark and light, earth and air, fire and water – it’s how the world was created, but I don’t think any of us realised what we would be up against when the army of Reapers broke the surface. We could never have imagined…

What did you first think when you realised just how important Gabriel actually was to all this?

What did I think? Honestly, I thought there must have been some mistake. I mean, this strigoi with no understanding of anything was thrust into my life and immediately upset the balance of everything. He didn’t even know what a strigoi was… And he was one!

The thing is, he was so confused, so damaged and full of guilt for everything that happened before I met him. I didn’t know how I would ever make him understand just how important he really was, not just to the quest we were on, but to the entire world.

What was the scariest thing in your adventures?

The demon Melloch. My entire life I had been re-imagining him as I saw him that night, standing over my mother’s body, his black lifeless eyes staring down at her. I’d never seen a creature like him. I was just a child then, I didn’t know demons existed until the night he came and took everything from me. When we eventually realised he would lead the Reaper Army to the surface, I knew without a doubt that I would have to face him again.

What was the worst thing about the war?

Well, apart from the war itself and everything that happened, I think the worst part is that it was all preventable. Humans just don’t seem to understand. Yes, resources are important, but nothing matters more than preserving our earth. Since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide has climbed to its highest levels in 800,000 years due to human activities including the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, the making of cement and deforestation. It was our job to at least try and give them a second chance, a chance to learn how to love all life – not just each other.

What was the best thing about it, if there is a best thing?

For us, the war irreversibly changed things. We can’t go back to how things were before, and our family unit is very different than it was, but we certainly cherish what we have now. Personally, my life is very different post-war and the things that have happened… I don’t even know where to start.

But, if there is a best thing then I think it’s that we were all forced to put our fears aside, to find the warrior that lives in each of us, and to stand up for what’s right. In the end that’s always what matters most – and that’s what we did. Together.

Tell us a little about your friends.

My friends. Well, I can’t say I’d ever really had any friends other than my sisters. Keeping our existence a secret made it pretty hard to have friends, and to be honest, I never really had time for any of that anyway. That all changed of course when I met Gabriel and he inadvertently brought Harrison Hargreaves into our lives. I had never trusted a human around my family and I certainly didn’t trust him. It’s funny you know, I always thought there was a certain strength that came with keeping your distance, especially from humans, but after everything that’s happened, I guess I was wrong.

Any romantic involvement?

Seriously, I think you know the answer to that one…

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

Demons, Melloch in particular. I hate him for what he’s taken from me, but the truth is I do understand that evil, in some form, has to exist. As I said before, our world is built on balance. For every darkened corner, there must be a pool of light. For every tear, there must be a smile, and for every rush of love, there must be the twist of hate. What matters is that we don’t let our demons define us, Melloch or the ones that live deep inside our own shadowy depths.

What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?

That’s funny actually… You’ve just reminded me of the time I first asked Gabriel if he had coffee in his cabin. You should have seen his face. It was like I had asked for demon bran. In fact, I think he actually said something along those lines… But seriously, I love coffee. It’s one weakness I don’t mind sharing with the humans. I don’t really have a favourite colour, and to relax I love just lying on the grass with my wolf Aurel, stroking his fur and feeling the earth between my toes.

What does the future hold for you?

Well I can’t tell you everything of course, in fact I shouldn’t even be doing this interview given what’s going on at the moment, but I think it’s important that humans start to understand who and what we are. And that was a major part of all this. If we are going to help them understand how to save their world, then it’s time they started to accept our existence. It’s a big step for us, but I think if we are going to help them, we need to locate the other descendants and work together to change the course of our world.

Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?

Really? A secret? Okay, well at the moment my sister Jasmyne is travelling across Europe to learn more about a book called The Codex Gigas. It’s also known as the Devil’s Bible and from what we understand, a human is going to try and steal the book from its home in National Library of Sweden. He’s going to try and unlock the devil’s curse to try and… Oh, I shouldn’t be telling you any of this. That’s enough, the interview is over.


Nikki Lee Taylor is the author of The Descendants, a five-book paranormal romance series. She wrote her first book in crayon at the age of four and later became a news journalist. Rise of the Reaper Army is her debut novel. She lives in NSW, Australia.

You can find Aurora on the pages of The Descendants – Rise of the Reaper Army

Join us next week to meet a young woman skilled in the magic of blood glyphs, desperately trying to save her dying mother . Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

Marcus Corvinus (of his eponymous series, by David Wishart)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a Roman nobleman, scion to the patrician Valerii Messallae family. Living in the times of the emperor Tiberius, he was privy to some of the most interesting events of the early Caesars, from a unique behind-the-scenes view. He’s here to tell us about his life and his times.


Tell us a little about your family and early life.

Gods! How much time have we got here?

I was born in Rome, where the family’s been a fixture practically ever since Romulus ploughed his first furrow eight hundred years back. Father Marcus Valerius Messalla Messalinus (yeah, all four of them; we Roman aristos don’t skimp when it comes to names), mother Vipsania (just the one name this time. Women have it easy). Paternal grandfather another Marcus Valerius Corvinus. That last is relevant. More about Grampa Marcus later.

Mother and Dad were different as chalk and cheese, which was one reason why they divorced around the time of my fourteenth birthday, just after the old Emperor Augustus popped his clogs. Became a god. Whatever. No coincidence there, mind, and not the only reason. As you might guess from her name, Mother was the daughter of Vipsanius Agrippa, the old guy’s erstwhile deputy and hoped-for successor, so contracted marriages at our end of the social scale being what they are it had been a pretty shrewd move originally on Dad’s part, politically speaking. And Dad was nothing if not political. Only it bombed. Agrippa pegged out not long afterwards, and by the time Augustus died (was promoted) where the succession – and political power – was concerned the only game in town was Tiberius, aka the Wart, son of his wife Livia by an earlier marriage (are you following all this? Questions later). No coincidence there, either, far from it. Believe me, I know; as things turned out, sussing out the details of that little bit of political engineering on the bitch’s part nearly had me in an urn before I hit twenty.

Anyway…

Okay, you know how things go for a kid with my background, from their mid-teens on. It’s pretty much standard, and mapped out from day one: a couple of years’ featherbedding with a legion so’s you’ll know, when the time comes, exactly how to beat the hell out of the poor buggers beyond the frontiers who are benighted enough to want to keep it that way, or stupid enough, if they’re inside them, to want out; followed by a strictly-regulated move up the political ladder ending in a consulship and the parking of your well-upholstered middle-aged bum on one of the benches in the senate and a lifelong place on the political gravy train. That, of course, was what Dad – being Dad – had planned for me originally. Only – equally of course, and fortunately – it didn’t work out that way. Thanks, primarily, to Grampa Marcus.

Oh, sure, he’d come up through the system himself. In spades. Unlike Dad, though, he was no political arse-licker: believe me – and again I know what I’m talking about here, having had personal experience of three of the buggers so far, plus Bitch Livia, who counts as an honorary fourth – it takes guts to tell a ruling emperor to take a hike. Which seemingly, on one memorable occasion, he did. Even as a know-nothing kid I had a lot of time for Grampa Marcus.

He had a lot of time for me, too, fortunately; surprisingly so, considering that, not to put too fine a point on it, I was an over-bred, snotty-nosed, spoilt brat, but there you are, that was Grampa Marcus for you. I can see now in retrospect (he died when I was eight) that we had a lot in common, character-wise, and he must’ve seen the same. Whatever his reasons were (although I have a sneaking suspicion they included a less-than-perfect liking for how Dad was turning out) he left me enough in his will – property and cash – to make me financially independent when I came of age. Which meant that when at fifteen I told Dad in no uncertain terms where he could stick his plans for my future the threat of being disinherited wasn’t something I needed to worry about.

Not that at fifteen I wasn’t still essentially an over-bred spoilt brat, mind (at least I’d got past the snotty-nosed stage). But then that’s par for the course: what upper-class Roman fifteen-year-old isn’t?

Enough about family. That side of it, anyway. And at least me and Dad made it up in the end, before he died, with allowances made on both sides. I’m really glad about that. You don’t want bad blood in a family, you really don’t.

So how did you get into sleuthing?

That was Perilla’s doing. My wife. Or she is now, at least, and has been for – gods! – the past twenty-five years. Her stepfather was Ovidius Naso, the poet exiled by Augustus and never pardoned. Grampa Marcus had been his principal patron, which meant that when Ovid died and Perilla wanted his bones brought back for burial she gave me the job of arranging it. Not Dad as his eldest son and head of the family, mark you; me. Which, it turned out, was my Uncle Cotta’s doing: elbow-in-the-ribs, nudge-nudge wink-wink stuff, which was typical Cotta. A nice enough guy in his opportunistic, duplicitous way, and he meant well, but the bugger almost got me killed.  Like I said, I was just an over-bred spoilt kid of nineteen at the time, party-party, smashed out of my skull for thirty days in the month. But that was a lady you couldn’t say no to – think Amazon minus the battle-axe but with added attitude – so I didn’t. And that was how it started.

She’s not as bad as she sounds, mind, Perilla. Or not really. Not when you get to know her.

Continue reading “Marcus Corvinus (of his eponymous series, by David Wishart)”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑