Dear readers, tonight we are privy to something unique. We are lucky to get a glimpse at how these interviews are conducted in the myriad alternate universes of books.
From a fantasy world where magic and science intermingle and anything is possible, please meet a immortal hero and his interviewer.
Fionn entered the room. He was still nursing a headache, even after the shower. The past days had been, to put it mildly, an odyssey. The worst part hadn’t been the fight, but dealing with the aftermath of all what happened. Mostly because of the bureaucrats. Damn bureaucrats. He was still dubious this whole justicar for the Crown would work. But he needed the money to support the little girl currently sleeping in the next room. He had to be thankful that Harland had been nice to offer them a place in his family’s state.
I could swear, no matter the century, middle management remains a bane of the world.
Harland was already there, sitting on a comfortable leather chair. His legs dangled from the edge of the seat, understandable given his condition and the short stature resultant of it. He was nursing a black eye and a probably broken nose. Harland was drinking a cup, probably some red wine. It meant that he was trying to be serious with this. If Harland wanted to get wasted with him, he would have just brought applelime ale. Fionn dropped into the seat opposing Harland put the cup on the table to his right and then grabbed a notepad and a pen.
“So you are serious with this? I told you already, I don’t want people to know that… well…”
“That the legendary Greywolf, the hero of the Great War is back? Or that you are basically immortal?”
“Both. Neither. I don’t know. I just want to be left alone. The last thing that little girl needs is to be in the spotlight after what happened.”
“You mean the little girl that is technically your great-granddaughter?” Harland pointed with his pen to the direction of the room next door. “Exactly what happened is why we need to do this because sooner or later is bound to happen.”
“You, saving the day. No offense, but I’ve read pretty much every text mentioning you. I’ve been with you since the first day you came back to the land of the living, or the awaken… or the unfrozen. I’m not sure of the correct terminology…
“It was a spell that…”
“Nevermind. Bottom line, you, my friend have this chronic need to be the hero. Sooner or later, you will end saving the world but the aftermath won’t be contained, everybody will find about you, and speculation will start. So I prefer that you have your story ready to tell, written by someone of your entire trust, like a friend, to keep the narrative with the public under our control. That’s a good way to keep Sam out of the spotlight.”
“So we are friends now?” Fionn shook his head.
“I would like to think so.” Harland smiled.
“Go on. Shoot.” Fionn smiled back. He signaled Harland to continue.
“I have a set of questions ready for you here?” Harland grabbed a piece of paper.
“Where did you get them? Did you download it from… how do you call it? Aethernet?”
“No… yes… I downloaded it from a blog I follow.”
“What’s a blog?” Fionn asked, confused.
“That doesn’t matter. Let’s start. First question: Where did you grow up? Or where you were born? I don’t think I have seen that mentioned in any text.”
“For a good reason.”
“Humor me,” Harland pointed to his face. “You owe me as much.”
“Fine. I was born around 120 years ago I guess, in a freefolk settlement north of the World’s Scar, into the Mistlands, around the Humbagoo forest. My dad, Fraog, was a human, a wanderer that fell in love with my mother, Dawnstar, a freefolk for the Wind Tribe. We had a good life until the tribe got almost destroyed in a sneak attack. I was too little to recall who attacked us. I only know my dad died giving us a chance to me, my mother, my grandfather and other families to escape. We were protected by his best friend, a Kuni demonhunter named Hikaru. After some wandering, we arrived at Skarabear, in the northern part of the Emerald Island. There we settled in. I was basically raised by my mother and Hikaru, who was a great warrior. I really admire her.”
“So you were raised by two women.”
“Freefolk don’t have the hang-ups about gender roles that humans tend to have. And they were two of the three strongest women I’ve ever met. I’m lucky I had them and my grandfather to teach me all I know.”
“Hmm, let’s move into something less heavy-handed.”
“That’s better,” Fionn replied, as he got up to pour some red wine in a cup for himself.
“Did you have a favorite toy growing up? Or any other memento you still have with you?”
“Really?” Fionn looked at a Harland. “Fine, it was a small wooden dragon wolf with wheels that my dad carved for me. As for memento, my only current possession is Black Fang,” Fionn pointed to the curved fangsword, currently resting next to the couch, safely sheathed in its black lacquered sheath.
“Ah! The legendary Tempest Blade. You will have to tell me one day how did you get it.”
“The one and only. And I thought you had read all there was about me.”
“Which is not much, truth be told. So what is your current occupation?”
“A friend of mine convinced me to get a license as Justicar for the Crown, which seems to be a special agent in charge of solving odd cases involving magick and the supernatural.”
“You are welcome by the way. A good form to put your skills to good use. Like a few days ago. Wanna talk about that?”
“What’s to talk? I just went to find about my descendants and I found my granddaughter and her husband murdered by an insane cult and I had to rescue their daughter, my great-granddaughter from those guys.”
“You seemed to really enjoy beating them to an inch of their lives. Your smile was like that of a wolf savoring the prey. I’m pretty sure you killed a couple.”
“Good. No one messes with my family or friends. Ever. I don’t enjoy fighting. I do enjoy putting scumbags in their place. And if a friend is ever in need of help, I will be there to help them. It’s what I have always done and I will keep doing. Next question.”
“What can you tell us about your adventures? What do you think about the things you have faced?”
“First of all, I go with the mentality of trying to not die. It’s a risky business y’naw? My experience had been full of meeting new people, traveling to interesting, sometimes mysterious places in search of clues. The downside is the kind of creatures I have faced. Some are truly the stuff of nightmares. Eldritch abominations…”
“Incursions you mean?”
“Yes. Nasty creatures.”
“Have you ever been afraid? Of the monsters I mean.”
“Always. But the
key is to use that fear to keep your ego from extending checks your body won’t
be able to cash. And after a while, you get used to dealing with outsiders and
other nasty creatures from the Infinity Pits, or Hell as you call it. If you
don’t deal with them, innocent people will suffer. And someone has to stop
them. I do admit that possessions can get nasty, the smell is unbearable and
there is no way the body can be recovered. Once I saw a whole family turned
into a patchwork hanged in a wall…”
Harland grimaced at the thought of that.
“Let’s move on. What has been the best thing about your adventures?”
“Sharing them with my friends. No matter how dangerous they were, knowing I had my friends next to me always helped me to survive another day.
“Wanna talk about them? Your friends I mean?”
“Currently I have only one living friend,” Fionn pointed back at Harland. “I’m not keen on talking about what happened to Izia and Ywain. Let’s just say that Izia was the best friend and wife a man could have. And Ywain was like my little brother. Annoying but always there, willing to help. I’ve been wondering how it would be to meet his descendants. But he died before having one.”
“As far as I recall, his body was never found. Who knows? Maybe he survived and something kept him from coming back, got himself a family and maybe his descendants are somewhere, maybe on the other side of the world, maybe in a town nearby.”
“Wouldn’t be that nice? But right now I prefer to focus on my living friend. You. I can’t be thankful enough for all you have done for me… for us. Taking me in, guiding me through a century of changes in a few weeks, for helping me find Sam and offering a roof. You are a good man.”
“It’s the least I could do. I was the one that awoke you from that spell so it’s my responsibility and that of the Foundation to help you.”
“Yeah yeah, still thanks though. I think Izia and Ywain would have liked to meet you.”
“I hope the feeling would have been mutual. Ok, next question…” “You know what? I will better skip that one.”
“It’s about romantic involvements. I think its poor taste to ask that right now.”
“I see. Look. I was happily married to Izia for almost a decade, we had a beautiful girl that I’m sad we didn’t get the chance to see her grow up. She was a special lady. And a kick-ass shaman.”
“Would you ever consider to date again?”
“No. Dunno. I still love my wife, even if she is not here anymore. Maybe if someday I meet someone special and strong and kind I might consider it. But right now I have to focus on taking care of my only surviving relative.”
“Ok, this is a tough one. Do you hate someone?”
“Byron,” Fionn replied. He tightened his grip so hard that he could feel the glass cup almost cracking under the pressure.
“The former crown prince? I thought you were friends!”
“He was an asshole. He betrayed us, killed all my friends and comrades just because his father thought he was not ready to be king. He sold his soul to a demonic entity and my wife died sealing him in a mausoleum, trying to save me from being killed as well. Good thing he is gone or I would…”
“I think is better if we go back to the frivolous questions: favorite drinks, colors, pastimes?”
“Appleline ale. Grass Green. I like reading interior design magazines and making miniature models of houses, siege engines, and wooden toys.”
“Interior design? I didn’t see that coming,” Harland replied taken aback.
“What? It’s good for a former soldier with admitted PTSD. It helps me to relax and fall asleep. And to improve my fashion sense.”
“Too much information… next question. What do you think the future does hold for you?”
“Right now? I just want to raise Sam. Knowing my luck, I will probably end, sooner or later, embroiled in some crazy adventure trying to stop an old monster and traveling from one point to another in a race against time. The bright side is that I might get to know new people. That always brightens the quest.
“And who knows? You might get a mentee or two. The world would benefit from your experience.”
“Tried that, didn’t work. Not gonna happen again. Next question?”
“What’s your secret? How do you do what you do? How do you survive?”
“Off the record?”
“Off the record.”
“At the end of the Great War, I obtained something the legends call ‘The Gift”
“I have heard rumors of it. What’s it?”
“No one knows for sure. It’s like this energy generated inside me that grants me improved senses, greater stamina, and reflexes. And some special abilities. Those vary from people to people. In my case, it helps me with enhanced healing.”
“So that’s why you don’t look injured. Do you know where I can get some of that for me?”
“I wouldn’t recommend it. It also has several drawbacks and to get it you have to be dead. Or almost dead.”
“That’s… that’s grim.”
“Y’naw what? Let’s leave it here and continue tomorrow. Both of us could really use a good night of sleep.”
“Agree. Besides at this pace, I will have enough material to write your biography.”
“Ahh, we are moving from interview to biography.”
“Maybe even a movie someday.”
“Ha! Well, I admit this was fun, to have someone to talk about… things. Thank you.”
“No. Thank you for trusting me.”
“Harland, as an old story said: this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”
“I drink to that.”
Born in the (formerly) frozen landscape of Toluca, Mexico, Ricardo dreamed of being a writer. But needing a job that could pay the rent while writing, he studied Industrial Design and later obtained a PhD in Sustainable Design, while living in the United Kingdom and working in a comic book store to pay for his board game & toy addiction. He is back now in Toluca, living with his wife and his two dogs where he works as an academic at the local university. He has short stories featured in anthologies by Inklings Press, Rivenstone Press, and Aradia Publishing. He was nominated to a Sidewise Award for the short story “Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon”, co-written with his arch-nemesis, Brent A. Harris. He also won a local contest for a fantasy short story during college. But hey! That one doesn’t count, does it?
You can find Fionn on the pages of The Withered King.
Keep an eye out for our mid-week special SPFBO interviews! Join us next week to meet a girl who ran away from home to discover a world of strange creatures and dark magics. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.