Dear readers, tonight with us is a storyteller extraordinaire, a man in love with words and his voice. He is here to tell us about the healing arch-mage and the many other wondrous sights he encountered on his travels.

Tell us a little about where you grew up.

It’s hard to imagine such an extraordinary storyteller like myself, the wondrous Loquacious McCarbre, was born into such humble beginnings but it’s true. In the Middle Realm of Edra, nestled in-between two woods: Fire Spark Wood and Water Spark Wood, is the sleepy village of Nymphs Crossing. I grew up in the family tavern, The Gift of the Gab. The ramshackle pile of wooden beams, white plaster walls, and grey slate for the roof fought with the laws of gravity. The lead-latticed windows were slanted and the whole building looked like it drank the beer and cider along with the locals that frequented it. But this was home, true home.

Did you have any cherished memories?

In The Gift of the Gab where it all began, is where I told my first story. My father was a storyteller and my father’s father too. I was five years old and I would make all the sounds of the animals and of nature while my father would weave glorious tales around the expectant audience. My dad encouraged me to tell fragments of stories until, aged seven, I told my first full tale: The Gnome Who Lost Her Home. Wave and wave of love hit me as the locals cheered and bought me cider to celebrate. Best of all, my father raised me into his chest with a hug and whispered, “I’m proud of you.”

What do you do now?

I travel the realm weaving the finest, grandest, most thrilling tales in all of Edra; from the mysterious Dark Woods to the immoral Smokeshields Citadel, the suppressive Crooked Smile Island to the perilous Banshees’ Forest. I collect and re-tell tales of woe and tales of wonder, tales of sun and tales of thunder, tales of pity and tales of spite, tales of creatures fierce with fight. I also have to put up with my useless apprentice Stumps! 

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I happened to hear of one legend that tells of a man who desired to heal with real zeal. Grimous Ironblood, Arch-Mage of renown; he travelled to hamlet, city and town. Offering the cure to all one’s ails; the sick, poor, needy and frail. His heart desired to cure where he could, using his talent and magic for good. But some were suspect of this healer’s skill: “A trick”, “Deception!”, their voices shrill. “What was his secret?” They were dumbfounded; the magic he used always astounded. I decided to follow and see his good deeds, from place to place, answering their pleas. Seasons passed on the long treacherous road, collecting his stories to be told. What I procured will entertain and delight, intrigue, entice, and even fright!

What is the most touching tale you know?

On my travels through the realm, collecting tales of woe and tales of wonder, I’ve encountered many strange and curious people, creatures and shenanigans. But one tale, The True-Love Rose, struck me as particularly tragic. To marry for anything else but love is to invite misery into your soul; but alas, Princess Isadora led King Odo a merry dance, despite all the affection he lavished upon her. All she craved was gold and riches. The cruel folk named her Isadora Gold Digger and behind the king’s back they did laugh and snigger: eventually they wed, but still she was not happy. The king decided to master the science of the alkymystics’ lore and turn base metal into more gold for his beloved Queen. But still she was not happy, for the king became obsessed with creating the most beautiful, the most glorious, the most exquisite of treasures: the True-Love Rose. Would this satisfy the Queen’s passion for gold? Did the King love his treasure more than his Queen?

What was the scariest thing in your adventures?

The scariest thing in my adventures, eh? Apart from certain dim-witted fug-buckles and mug-winkles who throw their beer bottles at me when I’m telling my stories, you mean? Too many to rattle off here but I did read about a creature so fierce, so foul, and so ravenous that it would stalk its prey (normally a traveller) for many leagues, always hiding, always just out of sight, that the traveller’s mind would unravel, convinced that something was watching them. The creature, named the Wendigo, would strike at this vulnerable moment, ripping into the traveller with its long yellowing nails and sharp teeth, biting large chunks of flesh and eating them whole. Not many survive the Wendigo.

As for spells and magic, always dangerous in the wrong hands, or wands as I should say in the case of the Witches of Sorriest. These are hideous hags who live in Banshees’ Forest just West of Shatteredshields Citadel. Their bone-curdling screams alone will turn your hair to dust. But that is not the worst of their fiendishness; for they are vain! ‘Why is that so terrifying?’ you may well ask.

Edric Iden, a dwarf-smith of magical items, knows better than most, for he was tasked by the High-Witch to make a witch bride look pretty for her wedding day. A daunting task for any; some say an impossible task. Edric’s quest was to forge a mirror using the ancient Blood Crystalline, the only crystal whose magic would be able to distort the truth so far: the witch bride would only see beauty reflected back. Would this magic mirror’s spell hold true? All I can say is Edric was never the same dwarf again.    

What is the worst thing about being a storyteller?

The worst inconvenience of my life as the greatest storyteller in Edra, is to endure the mindless chatter from my apprentice and illustrator Stumps, as we travel from place to place. All I ask for is peace and quiet to appreciate the beautiful countryside whilst enjoying an ale or two, but no: Stumps insists on joining me as I steer the horse and wagon through some breath-taking views. His surly attitude is a constant drain on my energy and his lack of competence grates on my nerves. But being an apprentice, he is cheap and does fetch and carry my bags. And he gets the drinks in. 

What is the best thing about it?

The most delightful thing about storytelling is the thrill of captivating my adoring public with my tales of wonder and astonishment, leading them on a perilous journey, manipulating their emotions but above all, entertaining their minds and souls to an inch of what their nerves can take! And the booze… and cheese.    

Tell us a little about your friends.

Friends? Friends? Friends are like leaves in autumn, they fall away. Fair weather friends anyway! Never trust anyone; friends will betray you. All of them! I do recall only one friend of mine who stayed true; I met Snaffles while at The Storytellers’ Guild. Our love of wondrous tales bonded us and his kind soul was endearing; to my discredit, I was the one who let him down.  

Any romantic involvement?

There have been many, shall we say, dalliances, but only one has captured my heart. She was the fairest, most beautiful, most delightful woman in the land but alas, my pain is too great to speak of her further. 

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

My biggest hate is injustice, and those who champion it. One culprit was Kranbür Agrôth who had a fierce hatred of his brother Kölbran because of their shared love of Kîndrith Swordsmyth, a blacksmith’s apprentice. At every twist and turn, Kölbran did everything in his power to belittle, undermine, and upstage his younger brother, in order to win the love of Kîndrith. The man had no shame.  

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

The Rusty Axe Tavern is like so many taverns in Ferrum’s Forge: dingy, dank, and above all, noisy. All manner of creeds pack into the tall oak-beamed building that creaks and squeaks when the wind blows. Which happens to be most of the time.

The cheapest drink they sell, Old Giant’s Toe cider, seems to go up in price weekly; but I’m not sure why, as the taste seems to worsen each week.

One of my favourite drinks, especially when regaling my tales, is a light, hoppy ale with the attractive name of Snakeroot. Or Alder’s Buckthorn cider, a woody pint, apparently the finest cider this side of Atros. Of course nothing goes better with cider than a bowl of scaledrake scratchings!

What does the future hold for you?

Ah, I’ll continue to scour the realm of Edra for fantastical folktales, legends, and myths to regale for my adoring crowds, and commit them to my Storyteller’s Codex known as The Great Tales from Edra. And drink lots of Old Giant’s Toe cider, obviously.       

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

You want to know a secret, eh? Well, seeing how I’ve drunk six pints tonight, I might as well give you a titbit or two.

I stumbled upon two intriguing storytellers by the names of Gannon Ivie Slit and Eva Jots Sneck in The Scythe and Shackle Inn which is located north of Skytop Mountains, and west of Druids’ Forest in the lands of Atros in the village of Lantern’s End, many leagues as the dragon flies from Ferrum’s Forge. But I digress.

These two fine storytellers held their audience captive. Not by locking the doors like I do, but by the yarns they spin. Their sheer genius of an idea is to have the audience decide how the tale unfolds; and I thought I was lazy. Never one is miss an opportunity to let others do the work for me, my next creative endeavour is titled Fight or Flight: Immortal Myths.

You are a Storyteller Apprentice tasked with learning the noble art of storytelling, with dreams of becoming the greatest of storytellers. Over the course of the Fight or Flight: Immortal Myths trilogy of adventures, you will advance through the ranks from Apprentice to Master, Master to Spellcaster, and Spellcaster to Grand Storyteller Extraordinaire, if you survive…

But I must fly, my adoring public need me now. May the magic of storytelling flow through you, always.

K R Boyter (Ken Boyter), has been writing since childhood. He has always loved stories and storytelling, in particular medieval and fantasy. He has had several short stories published, and three plays and two musicals for children performed. As well as writing, Ken has been acting professionally for the past ten years. He has appeared in over 20 short films and 7 features, three plays and over 250 murder mysteries. He has fulfilled a life-long ambition by writing and performing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by adapting his fantasy verse-book The Legends of Grimous Ironblood, creating the stage play The Storyteller’s Apprentice.

You can find Loquacious McCarbre on the pages of The Legends of Grimous Ironblood.

Join us next week for an interview with the heir to the throne of England and Danemark. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.