Dear readers, tonight with us is a demon – a denizen of another realm. Rather than the devilish connotation you might have been led to believe, they are peace-seeking beings. He’s here to tell us about magic, cats, dragons, space aliens, and love.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Well, I was born on Mundus which would be a lot like Earth except the technology ran on magic and it was full of demons like me. Like most demons with a human parent, my mom kinda just dropped me and left me to my own devices. That was the norm before the Prudens started changing things, but my mom was old school. Or so I guess. Never met her.
But, when I was a kid–barely forty years old–my great great grandmother Hecate found me and told me we were going after Prudens and her family to another plane, leaving this one to the war with the humans. I didn’t argue since Paul is Prudens’ grandson and my best friend. I half grew up at his house. Now Orbis, the new plane, was empty and pretty primitive so even the kids had to work hard, try new magic, stuff like that. It’s still kind rural-feeling next to someplace on the Earth but it’s nice to know your neighbors and there’s no smog or anything since we snagged all the renewable ideas the Earth had been working on–no sense not learning from humans even if they’re pugnacious and prone to nuke first and ask questions later–which they did to us. But not the new plane, Orbis, because humans don’t know how to get there.
What’s it like? Well, we use magic sensitive crystalline materials for most things so we can shape buildings and stuff with magic pretty readily and still have something we can imbue with magic. Most of us have a hobby or skill we can use for barter so no one really wants for much. Most of us grow stuff to eat or have a few animals for milk or meat–or both. It’s a pretty calm relaxed place to live–almost boring if it wasn’t for Beth coming and giving me a chance to show off. Good thing I’m the best teleporter in the whole demon world so she had no choice but to take me along on her adventures.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
I don’t remember much about the first decade or so. I was mostly trying not to get eaten by dragonets and unicorns and stuff. I mean, obviously I was a tough demon even as a baby, but young dragons can eat several times their weight in one sitting. My only chance was to try and talk them out of it. Fortunately, if you sweet talk a few female dragons, they’ll help look out for you so some rogue doesn’t decide you’re a snack.
Then Port and Paul stumbled on me, and I never had to worry about how I’d get my next meal or sleeping without a roof over my head. I think Port is the one who told Hecate who came to look after me, but I had to learn how to cook in self-defense. That woman makes a mean potion but her omelettes are twice as deadly.
I don’t remember favorite toys. I don’t think demons have toys like human children. We’re more about making things to suit our interests. You know, tinkering. Now I remember tinkering with lots of stuff that I was proud of, but, once you’ve got it, you kinda move on to the next one. Besides, I didn’t often make something that Dux couldn’t improve on. He’s the best at making cool gadgets especially in conjunction with Paul’s golems.
Good thing I was so damn good at porting or I might have gotten a complex.
As for cherished memories, hanging out with Paul, Dux and Stult, another friend who’s moved away when his mom did. They were a great bunch of fellows, always ready for adventure. And, since I was the biggest and the oldest, I usually found some for us.
What do you do now?
We still make the odd gizmo, but I scored a sheaf of coordinates in the asteroid belt. Dux fixed up an inflatable station-like thing and a couple space suits. I port ‘em out there and they gather a couple of kings’ ransomes in heavy metals, and then I port ‘em back. Metals like that are always in demand.
Might give it up now I’m a married man. Hecate knows Dux could port out without me, but I’d be worried someone would lose track of time or something and then they’d be stuck. I better keep helping them.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Now that was a doozy. The demon realm hadn’t been threatened since the human sniffed out Mundus. And the aliens were canny. Didn’t come gunning for us directly–well, they couldn’t. Didn’t know where we were. So they went after the human world. After all, we’d saved them from the aliens once before, but they didn’t realize how adverse the demons would be to saving the humans. No full scale protection this time, bucko, not after what the humans pulled. For a bit, I thought even Roze and Beth couldn’t convince the demons to help at all–and there’s no way the humans could do it alone–when Beth pulled out the sacrifice of our own to save the humans the first time and damn near got the whole room crying.
Put her money where her mouth was, too, because, when I mentioned I thought I could port to the ship that had a beam that could kill everything on Earth in one blow, maybe sabotage it, she offered to go instead so the demons wouldn’t get on the alien radar.
That’s just hwo Beth rolls. No one goes into danger she won’t face. And she’ll face damn near anything. We went to the alien ship and she was Miss Intrepid. Even when we ran into a baby dragon–a very hungry one.
What did you first think when you arrived on the alien spaceship?
You might think it was foolish to go with Beth instead of just sending her–Port certainly chewed me out enough over it–but I wasn’t so sure this was all about an alien conquest of just Earth.
What I mean is, after having their first armada toasted like marshmallows with their own death beam by the demons on Earth, you really think they were going to send a whole armada out just to get the Earth? When we’re nearby with so much power? Well, I sure as hell didn’t think so and I was right.
They had all kinds of booby traps there. Even the baby dragon was bait. Now, I ask you, how would a human get there without demon help? They don’t teleport or build portals. They had to know that about us and figured we’d help out because they had magic traps all over, filled with these little fuzzballs that eat magic like no tomorrow. Irksome for a sorceress like Beth but damn near debilitating for a dragon and a demon. They knew we were coming and were looking to catch one of us to bring them to our plane. But they didn’t get one of us.
Besides, if I hadn’t gone with her–whether she wanted me to or not–I would have missed out on dragons and swibils and proof they were coming after us. And a chance to take out killer robots with Paul and Dux’s toys. Sit at home while that kind of shit is happening? Not this demon.
Of course, after that we had to get a spaceship from the humans. I was all for stealing one but you know what a stickler Beth is. Fortunately, she’d gone and got partnered with a dragon so we had dragon power on our side.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
I guess two places. One where Dux and Paul managed to divert another beam, but they power zapped through the fuselage and Beth was crammed up against it and got a horrible shock. For a minute there, I thought I’d lost her. Thank Hecate she’s a weather sorceress and this wasn’t her first bought with lightning.
Then there was the time Paul was swarmed with drones, but that was way later. And then Roze…
You know, when you care about people, you’re apt to be scared to death on a nearly daily basis.
What is the worst thing about your adventure?
I didn’t like when we were imprisoned on the beam ship. And why would they even have a prison on an unmanned vessel if they hadn’t expected us. It’s these damn pockets of holding. Swibbils bet on one of those, null the magic, and now six months water and food are pinning you to the floorboard. Damn it, I forgot to ask what they were using for artificial gravity. I’ll have to ask Dux if he found that in the data we stole.
Anyway, we all ended up in a beautiful prison–or at least it had a great view– with the dragon and me stuck under a mountain of swibbils and Chrys complaining about how clumsy we were. Oh, right, Chrys is my familiar. Anyway, at first I was pretty stymied. I didn’t want to wait around for whatever they had in mind for us. I mean, they’d left Oni the dragon hatchling to starve. But I soon figured out I could tinker with their RNA, the swibbils I mean, so that I could convince them to eat mundane power–like the force field at the door rather than magic. Meanwhile, Beth in a fit of brilliance, worked up a reverse potion and managed to change a bunch of the swibbils so that they enhanced magic rather than taking it away.
That’s when it got fun.
What is the best thing about it?
Are you kidding? Laser battles with killer robots? Tinkering with RNA? Modding spaceships we got directly from the Empress of Japan, sabotaging another armada by slipping right into the middle of it and convincing it we belonged. I mean, the whole thing was a hoot from one end to the other, except for a couple of scares and dealing with the prickly attendants of the queens. And the politics.
Tell us a little about your friends.
So, my absolutely oldest friend is Paul. He’s got two demon parents so he’s undersized but not underpowered. And smart as hell. No one figures out coordinates like he does and he’s mastered golems at a time when no one in the demon realm has dabbled with them for millenia. Totally self-taught.
Then there’s his boyfriend, Dux, who’s another childhood friend of mine. Didn’t expect him to hook up with Paul, but they make an adorable couple. Paul is cute and Dux is pretty as a picture. But he’s also super smart and all you have to do is tell him what you want and he can make it.
Paul’s dad is Port–Fortis Portens, but everyone calls him Port. He’s the second best teleporter in the demon realm, a cop, a good egg, and just about a surrogate dad to me. Got a little stiff for a while, but then he married the human Roze and she straightened him out.
Roze is a human who came down here maybe sixty years ago after saving Paul in the human world and then getting swept off her feet by Port. He’s still totally smitten and who can blame him. She’s also sharp as a tack and nothing fazes Roze. She’s like a rock, whether carrying her twelfth demon kid or arguing for humanity with the demon council. She’s also Beth’s aunt even though she’s got more than half a century on her. Have to ask Roze how that happened.
And then there’s Beth. Beth is a weather sorceress, who started by using the power of the demons they’d imprisoned and ended up saving both human and demonkind out of sheer pigheadedness and a good bit of out of the box thinking. First I thought she had nothing on Roze but she proved me wrong a dozen times.
Any romantic involvement?
You bet. I mean every demon wanted Beth–are you kidding, smart, brave, willing to defend demons, savvy. Shit, she had a dozen proposals before her first day was out. If I wanted to win her–and I did–I was going to have to really wow her. Be as smart and savvy as I could because I could tell she thought of me as a teenager, even if I was five times her age. Persistence pays off. And I’d seen how Port treated Roze as the treasure she is–without getting in her way. The Parker women won’t stand for shit like that. So I tried it on Beth and then reminded her I was big and handy to have around. Wore her down.
So much for all the other proposals. She accepted mine so now she’s stuck.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
I used to really hate humans. I mean, I lost my mom and uncles and stuff to them. And they made me abandon my original home and all that. But after meeting Beth, I realized that they weren’t all the same, that it only took a few persuasive humans to do all that to us, not the human race as a whole.
When we faced the aliens, it was like that too, but that bastard that let Oni hatch without having a scrap of food handy, thinking she’d make a good pet–and then abandoning her to starve when she naturally ate a couple of handy aliens–that bastard I could have roasted over a spit with glee. And, if I managed the next best thing later on, can you blame me? Most of the alien drones were insufferable asses. Useless and power-hungry. Didn’t miss a one. They all deserved their fate. Beth said the rest of the aliens are more interesting but I don’t know. Big bugs kinda give me the heebie jeebies.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
My favorite drink is of my own concocting, a soda flavered with boysenberries. Got Beth addicted to it, too. Color, black most likely since I’m red head to to and nothing else looks right on me. But Beth is stunning in silver or black or green or, damn near anything. I’ll just say black.
What does the future hold for you?
If Roze and President Portens have anything to say about it, it will include some baby demons, but I don’t see how it could possibly be tame. My name means trouble and, to date, it’s been truth indeed. And Beth doesn’t seem to have the power to keep trouble at bay so I’m sure we have plenty more adventures ahead of us, especially now that we know the secret of the star gate and a whole other planet of strange critters.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
When I was a youngster, just shy of adulthood, and my parents were killed in the war, Port offered to adopt me. I was tempted, like, really tempted. Port was always like a father to me. But I didn’t want Paul to miss out even a little on his dad. They were really close and I thought that was a beautiful thing. So, I instead petitioned to be considered an adult.
Although Stephanie Barr is a slave to three children and a slew of cats, she actually leads a double life as a part time novelist and full time rocket scientist. People everywhere have learned to watch out for fear of becoming part of her stories. Beware! You might be next!
You can find Jactatio on the pages of Add a Cup of Chaos.
Dear readers, join us next week to meet a young woman whose search for her Navajo roots leads her to an ancient conspiracy. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.