Dear readers, tonight with us is a champion from a series we’ve visited before. He’s here to tell us about dreams, death, destruction, and love.

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born in the underbelly of the Universal arena, a place people go to fight to the death for glory. My mother had been a slave mage and had been killed when I was very young. After surviving in the shadows, and hiding from the guards, I was rescued and taken to Vestas, a place of peace. Malek, my adoptive father, raised me on that paradise world, but it was not without its own dangers. 

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

When I was rescued, I had nothing more than the scraps of clothes on me, and an ornate cloth belt. It was my mother’s, though I remember nothing more than the blurs of colors and voices of her. I now use it to hold my swords at my side. One of my favorite things to do with my friends was race about town, to the waterfalls, then leap off! We would test one another, seeing who could do the most elaborate flips. I always won!  

What do you do now?

Now I am the champion of Vestas, warrior of the people, and protector of the planet I love. I would give my life for these people, as they once gave me my life back.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I have received some information about my father. Though I’m told he died before I was born, I know little more than that he was a great warrior himself. Legendary among the stars. I’m told he fell making a stand against the terrible Ridran, the monster who owns that cursed arena. I’m going to find out what happened.

What did you first think when that young mage girl Odeal joined your world?

I never believed in true love, or meant to be, or destiny, until she walked into my life. In a moment I knew my heart would ever be hers, and somehow all the wrongs in my life were made right through her love for me. Suddenly I couldn’t swing my sword without dropping it, and I’d trip over my own heart when she was near. Nothing else in the entire universe mattered at all as long as she was with me. Ah, and her scent of fruit drove my senses insane! 

What was the scariest thing in your adventures?

One day, while my team and I were investigating a possible threat by Ridran’s forces, our home was attacked. I could feel my love’s pain as she called to me, and with powers I didn’t know I had, I blasted home to find it in ruin. I fought with everything in my soul, but we had lost our home and needed to retreat. I couldn’t find Odeal anywhere! I learned she had been taken to the Arena as a slave, so I went after her.

What is the worst thing about being a warrior?

Any life I lose under my watch is my fault, even if Malek says it isn’t. Losing anyone I have sworn to protect is unbearable.

What is the best thing about it?

The people under my watch feel safe with me looking over them. To know they trust me, and believe in me so, is heartwarming. As I said before, I would die for my people. 

Tell us a little about your friends.

My friends are crazy! We’ve been buddies since we were little, and we go everywhere together. When I was asked to form an elite team of warriors, the Enforcers, they were the natural choice, but getting them to listen proved tougher than expected. We were like brothers, though, so we had each other’s backs in an instant. But what goofballs we could all be! From running through the trees, to leaping off the waterfalls, these guys were idiots! But I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the universe. I sure do miss them, and those care free days.   

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

Ridran. He’s a terrible warlord bent on enslaving the universe. He is responsible for the pain, suffering, and death of my parents. He’s why I was a slave in the underbelly. He is why so many worlds suffer. He is why I am a warrior. After rising through his arena, I refused to fight him, embarrassing him in front of everyone. Now he wants me dead. The feeling is mutual. If I must face him, I will do so. Only one of us will walk away from that fight. 

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

Often, I’ll walk around my beautiful city, taking in all the old memories of good times. The universe is filled with evils, and dangers, and battles, and one never knows when their end is near. If I can take a few moments to remember what was good about this life, this sweet place in time, I’m reminded why I fight, and what I may be dying for. 

What does the future hold for you?

I don’t know. I know Ridran is coming for me, and he is a deadly adversary, but I will face him when the time comes. But until then, I will enjoy every moment I am given with my precious Odeal. Moments, I’m sure, that will never be long enough.

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

Despite my confidence and deadly demeanor, and the way I charge into battle without a thought, giving strength and hope to all who follow me with weapon in hand and war chant on their lips, I am afraid. Yes, even me. Not for my own life, but for those I may not be able to protect. If I cannot stop Ridran, then everything good that I have ever known, will be mercilessly destroyed.

S.P. Joseph Lyons is an Algonquin children’s author, and romance fantasy novelist. As a 60’s Scoop adoptee, and intergenerational survivor of the residential school legacy, he endured abuse and segregation through the child welfare and school systems. His wild experiences and encounters inspired his many novels’ rich themes and unforgettable characters.

You can find Orion on the pages of The Great Orion.

Dear readers, join us next week to meet the antagonist from a dystopian adventure. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.