Dear readers, tonight with us is the second son of a king, is a prankster who lacks a sense of purpose, from a kingdom threatened by an enemy nation. Faced by subterfuge, assassinations, and fire-powered weapons, he and his select friends must infiltrate and eliminate this threat before all is lost.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I had a complicated childhood. Growing up as a prince living in a castle is not as easy as it sounds. My older brother, Broland, garnered the most attention. Yes, he was the crown prince, but where did that leave me and my twin sister, Cassie? Sure, we had the best education, but I wasn’t too interested. Reading, math, lore—it all came easy to me. Too easy. That’s where the trouble began.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
While my parents were always supportive, I was not well-loved by the palace servants. Burtles, the head of staff, was often the subject of the pranks Cassie and I used to plan for entertainment. The man remains scarred from the time I replaced his shampoo with pink hair dye. The rest of the staff enjoyed that particular joke, but there were times when they were forced to repair or clean the damage we had rendered.
Despite my antics, things were fine until my sister and I hatched a plan to drug guests at a dinner party. To see every noble in Kantaria hallucinating and delirious was a moment to remember. A duke stripped down to his smallclothes, my brother and a duchess danced on the table, and a man slid across the floor, thinking he was a worm. It was all in good fun until my father treated the lit fireplace as an enemy soldier…
What do you do now?
Our last prank was the final straw. My parents sent me and my sister to Fallbrandt to join a secret organization called ICON. There, we trained to become wardens. My strength with Chaos magic, the skill I had developed with a sword, and my knack for impersonating others made me a natural fit to become an espion. My sister, whose magic outstrips my own, trained as an arcanist.
With parents who are among the strongest magic-users in Issalia, our leaders believed we both had the potential to become even more powerful. Time will tell.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
After a few months training, I was sent into the heart of enemy territory to join Quinn, a fellow espion. Within the Kalimar Palace itself, the two of us spied on the enemy, seeking any means to reduce their power before war breaks out between the Empire and the kingdoms of Issalia. Quinn and I executed amazing feats, crippling our enemy and sapping their means to produce fire-powered weapons. Still, the threat of war looms and the Empire possesses fire-powered weapons unlike anything we have ever seen.
What did you first think when Quinn asked you to free the imprisoned king?
I had just arrived in Kalimar when Quinn reported that King Pretencia was imprisoned in the citadel dungeon. My father and the other rulers had assumed the man dead after the Empire captured Kalimar. Finding him alive was one thing. Having to free the man without being caught or killed was another. Still, I couldn’t say no. Not to Quinn.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
How we survived our mission in Corvichi remains difficult to comprehend. The odds were incredibly against us and all seemed lost until I tried the new Rune my sister discovered. The magic it unleashed was incredible.
What is the worst thing about teaming up with Quinn?
Quinn is forever bold, brave, and fearless. I adore all those things about her. However, she is too like me. Combined, we take risks that anyone with sense would avoid. I just hope we survive our next adventure. I could not bear to lose her.
What is the best thing about it?
Every day with Quinn is a fantastic day. She inspires me to be a better person while simultaneously fulfilling my lust for danger and need for adventure.
Tell us a little about your friends.
The wardens are a tight team, consisting of a variety of characters with different skills. Take Quinn’s brother, Everson. He might be physically disabled, but he has the brightest mind of our generation. That’s how he discovered Chaos Conduction and used his discovery to create mechanical legs that enable him to walk.
There are others who support our cause in their own way, such as Puri and Thiron, both of whom are skilled rangers. We also have wildcats, like Curan. What’s a wildcat? Those are warriors trained to fight while empowered by Chaos magic.
You would like my fellow wardens…at least most of them.
Any romantic involvement?
From the very first time she beat me in a fist fight, Quinn captured my heart. I’d follow her to the ends of Issalia if asked, which is quite possibly what comes next if we survive this war.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
I despise Archon Varius, who hates Chaos magic and anyone able to wield it. She and the other Empire leaders wish to execute people like me.
What have I ever done to her?
What does the future hold for you?
With the war soon coming to a head, I hope to survive it. If I do, I will surely remain a warden as long as Quinn is at my side. I suspect our adventures will continue for some time, so long as we don’t end up dead.
Perhaps, one day, we will settle down. For now, I am having too much fun.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I now confess something few know—a secret that puts both me and my sister at great risk should our enemies discover the truth.
We can communicate telepathically.
Yes, ICON sees our ability as a tool. Despite this, we choose to comply. Our communication skill has proven critical to the success of numerous missions and might be the difference between victory and defeat at the hands of Empire forces.
Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer’s imagination. Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses his imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire the dreamer within us all.
You can find Brandt on the pages of the Wardens of Issalia series.
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