Dear readers, tonight with me is a girl that ran away from home, only to discover a world of strange creatures and dark magics. She is here to tell us about her bond with a wolfhound and about an ancient skyhorse.

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

I grew up in Cimarron, the capital of the Salish Federation. It’s a port city, very old, with lots of stone buildings. My mom and I live, or maybe I should say lived, on the third floor of a house overlooking St Stephen’s square, right downtown. My mom’s still there. Right now I’m staying with my auntie and uncle and cousin on Satter Island, the furthest of the Outer Islands.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My favourite toy was called Donks. He was a donkey. Kids aren’t supposed to display any seithr abilities, any magic, that comes on, or not, until puberty. But after my dad disappeared when I was four, I was really upset. And Donks tore apart another favourite toy, a tiger. True story! I was there, with a High One who took me back to my past. It was really weird watching this four-year-old version of myself. The older version of me couldn’t speak, couldn’t affect anything.

What do you do now?

I’m waiting to apprentice as beast-T, a beast-Talent.  All my life I’ve been this weird kid and now it turns out, I actually some ability. Which is such a relief. I’m going to get training and I’ll be with a bunch of people who practice seithr and I’ll have friends. It’s taking awhile because most Ts only want to take on younger kids. I’ve already have a bond, a gorgeous wolfhound called Narvi.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I met my dog Narvi! He got smacked by a curse and I had to do way more exciting things than I ever want to think about to get him back. He just about died! I went through a terrifying forest to ask a High One, for help, which I don’t recommend ever. I rode a skyhorse. We got chased on the skyroads by flame-rats and the skyhorse’s tail got singed. My best friend, a knobbie who was an apprentice-T, ah, I can’t talk about that yet.  

What did you first think when you met your dog?

I looked at this gorgeous Rus wolfhound and I knew his true-name. I said, “Oh, you’re Narvi.” And it was like this click happened between us. He got so wound up he ran around in circles and put his paws on my shoulders and he cried. Seriously, dogs can cry. It’s such a touching thing when you hear it. But that connection triggered a really old bit of enchantment on me and it started to cinch in on my heart so I couldn’t breathe.

What was the scariest thing in your adventures?

When I was paralyzed with darkside seithr and had kuhl poured on me. I knew the next thing coming was to set me on fire.

What is the worst thing about being a Talent?

My mom thinks it’s disgusting. That hurts.

What is the best thing about having Talent?

Well, I’m not nill anymore, someone with no magic ability at all. That’s exciting. And there’s Narvi. We get to do things together.

Tell us a little about your friends.

In Cimarron, my friends were Kari and Sol. They were odd like me. Kari was a scholar and Sol figured stuff out. He invented things.

Any romantic involvement?

Well, the last jack I thought was cute tried to kill me. Ask me in a few months.

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

The thing I really hated about those two doing the darkside seithr, they made it sound reasonable and normal. Just I was some kind of scum in their way and of course it was all right to kill me and set the barn alight with the horses in it. They made doing bad things seem like Of course!

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

My auntie’s partner in Geranium Lodge is Valdi. He’s a green level cook-T. And the chocos he makes for Yule, just for family, are so delicious. They are my downfall.

My favourite color is a nice gentle green.

My favorite thing to do is read! Though Narvi is trying to persuade me it should be going for long walks.

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

My uncle asked one of the wardens up Haunted Mountain if, as a favour, they’d let me and my dog Narvi train with them on a temporary basis while I wait for an apprentice placement. Only I don’t think my uncle knows what the wardens actually do up there. If he did, I wouldn’t be training right now. He’s been stuck in Cimarron for three weeks and the spire line to Satter Island’s been down. Besides, the wardens made me sign this oath of secrecy. But there’s these creatures called the Lovelies they use for night patrol. I wake up dreaming about the Lovelies, covered in sweat.

Zoë Landale has published eight books, edited two books, and her work appears in over forty anthologies. Her writing has won significant awards in three genres, including first in the Stony Brook University Short Fiction competition, National Magazine Gold for memoir, and first in the CBC Literary Competition for poetry. She taught for fifteen years as a faculty member in the Creative Writing Department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, British Columbia.

You can find Jorrie on the pages of Jorrie and the Skyhorse.

Keep an eye out for mid-week SPFBO interviews! Join us next week to meet a man haunted by a dragon — but not in the way you think! Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.