Dear readers, tonight with us is a man, an Acquisitioner — a mortal who loves taking risks and chances, but lives by a code. He’s here to tell us about immortals conquering as gods and a tiny band of rebels preparing to take back their world.
Tell me a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I spent my early years on the island of Mallach. It’s a paradise tainted by my father and his thieving cutthroats. As ya can imagine, it has the usual sweat reeking beerhouses like this one, and houses of pleasure to keep the men entertained. Fortresses govern the hilltops, piers rule the docks, and impenetrable defences stand sentry beneath the waves.
Keeping with tradition, I was born at sea. The night of my mother’s anguish was the only time my father released her from her cell. Ya see, she was the one person he couldn’t control, a Chashmalim, a mind speaker, so he’d locked her away.
From the moment my legs held my weight, I began learning the Acquisitioners trade. I can see by ya expression ya have heard of em. Then ya know we take pride in knowing our enemy.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Are ya serious? I just told ya, he locked my mother away.
Apologies, I never set the questions.
Well, I cut my teeth on a dagger handle if ya want to call that a toy. I did have a dog for a while. My father said it made me soft. I ain’t cherished nothing since.
As for memories, after several failed attempts to free my mother, and swearing I’d never give up, my father killed her as well. The flare in his eye as he waited for my rage is something I’ll never forget.
That’s quite a history. So how did you end up working for Meciel and what is it like?
Meciel wanted an Acquisitioner, and everyone knows I’m the best. We don’t always see eye to eye, and before ya ask, it ain’t coz the old hermit says he’s immortal. Who cares if he’s crazy, believing he and others like him came from another realm? He required an army. I knew where to recruit men. He needed ships. I knew how to build em.
He pays well, better than I’d make on the hostage racket. So I put up with his talk of impending war and everything else… Makes me wonder though. Have you seen the empires they’re building and the size of their gigantic sons? Maybe they are gods, though Meciel denies it.
Truth is, he ain’t keen on my sideshows. He insists I focus on his tasks and nothing else, but I got a reputation to uphold. Life ain’t only about silver. I’m the best Acquisitioner on the seas for a reason, and doing the jobs nobody else will keeps me at the top.
What can you tell me about this latest adventure?
I can tell ya one thing, Sojin is excited. All he wants is to kill the god who murdered his mother. The way he sees it, we’re finally heading in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got skills, trained him myself, so I know how good he is, but he ain’t ready. Anyway, we just met Meciel in Lithanos and picked up the one he’s chosen to lead his army.
What did you first think when you met this chosen one?
Chosen one? That sounds like destiny, and I don’t believe in such nonsense.
Meciel insists Gabe has the power of thunder. Can’t see it myself, and I’m darn good at reading people. He’s just a kid, can’t be much older than Sojin, maybe fifteen, and what’s more, he’s broken. Except for the younger lad who survived with him, everyone he’s known was just slaughtered. I doubt he’s even lifted a practice sword, let alone a real one.
It’s gonna be a hard sell getting the men I’ve spent years recruiting to follow him. That’s if we even reach em. The lad’s got it into his head that his sister was taken, and for reasons I’ve yet to unravel, Meciel has agreed to help him. Which means I’m now on a rescue mission, transporting a mad hermit and a child with a death wish. Gonna be a fun trip. At least when the lad dies, Meciel will see sense and put someone more capable in charge.
Is that what scares you the most, dying?
Knowing my father will destroy anyone or anything I let get close, scares me the most. It’s a risk I refused to take until I met Sojin.
You mentioned you were born on the ocean. What’s the worst thing about life at sea?
Ya might think it’s the storms or the constant searching on the horizon for my father’s ships, but it ain’t. I know the ocean like a lover and how to avoid her displeasure. As for my father, I always know his whereabouts.
The worst thing about life at sea is leaving port and then learning ya hired a shit cook.
What is the best thing about it?
Out there, the wind speaks, and I listen. She is the one thing my father can never destroy. Never has she steered me wrong. Her gentle caress is the closest I’ll ever get to finding…
Anyway, the rumours in every dodgy beerhouse back up Meciel’s claim. What’s more, I’ve seen a giant’s rotting head suspended on a pole outside Anat’s fortress. Meciel calls them abominations, hybrids. Will it amount to war? I ain’t sure yet. But one thing I know, the sea connects me to everything, bringing knowledge, which gives me the edge.
Tell me a little about your friends.
I already mentioned Sojin. He’s the little mugger who snuck onto my ship hidden in a barrel of grain. It was either make him my apprentice or watch him get slain. The kid has raw talent. I figured it would be a shame to waste it.
I trust Omer. He’s my second and a bit crazy when it comes to making things explode. The rest of my crew are loyal, but I wouldn’t call em friends. There ain’t anyone else except for the woman Meciel sent to fetch me. Her name is Bina. Now that’s a risk worth taking. I ain’t never met a woman so agile. A warrior with a crossbow, and those otherworldly lavender eyes… I’d like to get friendly with her.
Speaking of which, any romantic involvement?
I’m in my prime. Men want to be me, women want to bed me. What do ya think? I know how to pull off a wicked, sexy grin to get what I want. Don’t get me wrong, I treat women right, but I ain’t gonna settle down. They know what I’m about; I make sure of it, I wouldn’t want any broken hearts on my account.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
I hate my father, but he ain’t the villain I have to fight.
Meciel says five wicked Immortals entered our realm. Gabe’s sister, if she’s even still alive, was snatched for the one ruling Hermonial. He collects tithes and turns em into elemental wielders. As if giants and chimera ain’t enough to conquer our lands. Again, not my fight. No, that falls to this kid, Gabe. Meciel must know something I don’t coz, I ain’t seeing any victory coming his way.
Regardless, for Sojin’s sake, I’ll do my part. Someone’s got to look out for the little mugger. The one who killed his mother, they call him the god of deep mines.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
I don’t drink alcohol, ever. I’ll play dice with whoever is foolish enough to lose their silver. Nothing relaxes me as much as tending my ship. Sojin and Wind Weaver are what I care most about. As for a colour, silver. Sunrays or moonlight, silver never fails to glisten on the waves.
What does the future hold for you?
I’m guessing killing Immortals will take a while. I need to figure out a plan so me and Sojin stay alive. After that? Who knows!
Can you share a secret, one which you’ve never told anyone else?
Sure, seeing as ya ain’t leaving this beerhouse alive. What? Ya think I’d let ya shuffling feet slink off to my father so ya could squeal to him about Sojin? I warned ya at the beginning, Acquisitioners take pride in knowing their enemies well.
Cully Mack is a truth seeker, a fantasy lover and student of myth, so it’s no wonder after completing her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing and her Masters in Creative Writing she combined the three into an epic fantasy series where monsters crept into the world, myth was born, and magic first breathed. When Cully’s characters aren’t invading her mind with unresolved conflicts and plot twists, she brings herself back into the real world where she enjoys travelling, reading and walking her dog in the forest. Cully is an advocate for following your dreams.
You can find Ammo on the pages of A Voice That Thunders and the rest of the series.
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