Dear readers, tonight with me is a man from a Middle-Eastern inspired fantasy world. He has been drafted by his god and his prophet to a war against ancient sorcerers, in a battle at the end of day.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
It’s hot, and there is a great deal of sand. And scorpions. A wise man always checks his shoes. I received regular beatings from my master, Yazid, for ignoring my studies or being insolent. About half of them, I counted as unfair. The rest were simply the cost of doing as I wished.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
I had a wooden sword I was very fond of, but I barely remember it. Yazid gave me one of steel when I was five, and told me to put away useless children’s things. I have no idea what became of the toy sword. Likely, Yazid destroyed it.
What do you do now?
Mostly, I obey Yazid or I get my ears boxed. I’d guess it’s about sixty/forty as to which. He is very strong, and very fast. I have no hope of beating him in a contest of fists.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I have visions from my god, Ilaweh, and I see people’s auras. I don’t like to talk about it, but Yazid says it is a wonderful gift, that Ilaweh speaks to me directly.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
My master, Yazid, has found in the ancient texts a terrible prophecy of doom, one voiced by the Dead God, Elgar. Yazid took this to one of the princes, Michael, but he would not listen. Fortunately, we had two princes. Philip gave us a ship and men to go and search for some mysterious sorcerers, called Meites.
We journeyed to the land of Nihlos, where Yazid left me behind to await his return. More and more, I fear I will not see him again.
What did you first think when you met these Meites?
The same as I do now, that they are all madmen. I told you I see auras, yes? Theirs are bizarre. I have only seen the like when, as a child, Yazid took me to visit a house of the sick. I later realized those patients were sick not of body but of mind. Their auras looked like the Meites’: gray and full of static.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
When I realized that the prophecy was not only true, but that it may well fall to me to thwart it. Yazid knows much that I do not. I am not at all prepared to shoulder his burdens.
What is the worst thing about sea travel?
Vomiting. It was very difficult for me, being raised in the desert, to adapt. I eventually gained my sea legs to some degree, but it will always be unpleasant for me.
What is the best thing about it?
There is nothing good about sea travel, but sometimes it is the only way to reach one’s destination. So that is, I suppose, the best thing.
Tell us a little about your friends.
There is Yazid, my ‘father’, if you will. He raised me and taught me languages, ancient texts, history, mathematics, and fighting. I suppose Brutus, our ship’s captain, is a ‘friend’, though he is a hard man, and does not like me much. In truth, I don’t have many friends. I don’t even know very many people. I have lived a somewhat cloistered life.
Any romantic involvement?
I have lived most of my life in Yazid’s school, so I have rarely met women. I don’t know any personally. Ilaweh did not bless me with any interest in men, so there is no romance in my life to speak of.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Slaves. They are weak and cowardly. A man would die rather than live as such. Anyone who chooses life over liberty is not a man, he is a beast.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
In truth? My favorite pastime is sleep, because I get so little. Yazid believes sloth is a disease to be cured with fists and switches. I don’t care about colors. Why would someone have a favorite color? Fine, brown. I am brown, so it is my favorite color. As for drinks, I do not drink alcohol, and I prefer my water with as little salt as possible.
What does the future hold for you?
Burdens and failure, I fear. If the world ends, it will be because I did not pay attention to my lessons, and do not know what to do. Perhaps Yazid should have beaten me harder when I was younger. I pray Ilaweh will guide me, or we are all doomed.
Matt Gilbert, in addition to being a fiction author, is a professional video game developer; a veteran; a columnist for his local newspaper; and the father of three wild boys and two wild girls. He was born and raised in Woodbury, GA, and has been on watch for zombies ever since.
You can find Ahmed on the pages of the Sins of the Fathers trilogy, starting with Dead God’s Due.
Keep an eye out for our mid-week SPFBO fantasy specials! Join us next week to meet lord from a world where forgotten dead sagas predict the rise of the dead. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.
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