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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

Month

February 2022

Malachi Thorne (of The Witchfinder, by J. Todd Kingrea)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a witchfinder, from a post-apocalyptic world where tyranny and medieval torture reign supreme and witch burnings are an everyday occurrence. He’s here to talk about demons and sorcery, of the dark past and twisted present.


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

I grew up in a Church-sponsored orphan house. My parents died in a fire when I was young. The Church of the Deiparous takes in and provides for all foundlings, until such a time as they are old enough to begin apprenticing or enter a profession. Like most homes of this kind, mine was rigorous but fair. They taught me about the Church which in turn nurtured my love for the Church.

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

I have no particular toys that I remember a distinct fondness for, but books are another matter. One of my most cherished ones, given to me by Valerian Merrick—the man who would become my sponsor and mentor—was called Malachi the Strong and the Keeper of the Gate. I think I was six at the time. Merrick used to tell me that I was named after Malachi the Strong although I’m sure that wasn’t really the case. When I was eight, the two of us were supposed to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Malachi the Strong but it didn’t happen. Merrick was a Witchfinder Imperator and got called away at the last minute. I was so mad I wouldn’t speak to him for three months!

What do you do now?

Once I was a Witchfinder Imperator just like my mentor. One of the best, in fact. A Witchfinder Imperator is the highest rank attainable in the Paracletian Order, the arm of the Church responsible for law and jurisprudence across the realm. It was our duty to assess, investigate, interrogate, and pass sentence on those convicted of heresy, witchcraft, rebellion, sedition, or other acts against the Church. In my first three years as an Imperator, I had overseen the trials and executions of 200 heretics. People referred to me—with awe and fear—as the “Hammer of the Heiromonarch.”

However, in the pursuit of my duties I uncovered some…troubling…things about the Church. I rejected these discoveries at first, convinced that they were nothing but lies. But I soon learned different. And with that learning my faith was torn asunder. All that I had ever believed, all that I had willingly given my life to, crumbled like burnt parchment. I was faced with horrible truths about myself and questions about what my future held.

Continue reading “Malachi Thorne (of The Witchfinder, by J. Todd Kingrea)”

Sir Ritter of Valkeneer (of The Last Keeper, by Joe Hilliard)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a captain of rangers, from a kingdom facing many threats – within as without. He’s here to talk about a blind boy with visions, an elven princess with a secret, and defending his home.

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

My family hails from a small town called Valkeneer. It sits on the border of Ravenwood, at the foothills of the Dragon’s Breath Mountains.

I live in Castle Valkeneer, but locally the castle is known as “the Bridge.”  The Bridge is my ancestral home, and it rests atop a windswept mountain. It overlooks the crystal lakes and the blue waters of the Gossamer River, which rushes below the castle. In the early mornings, when all is quiet, you can hear the river from a distance, whispering you awake. The tip of the castle is at such an elevation that sometimes the clouds break upon the peaks and surround the town, which is how the Dragon’s Breath Mountains got their name. The locals once thought that the clouds could only come from the nostrils of the mythical beasts. In the winter, the snow gathers in pillows on the firs of Ravenwood. It’s my favorite time to be in the woods. Its purity and beauty are unequaled.

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

Toys? No.

The dangers of the Dragon’s Breath Mountains and the trollborn tribes of the north left little time for games. I guess if I had to answer this truthfully, my favorite “toy” growing up was my longbow. I learned to hunt and defend myself (and my people) at an early age and was taught the life of frontier noble since I can remember.

Although I had little in the ways of toys, we did have many pets. I know that may not be the answer you are looking for but my mother Amandaris is a Raven elf from nearby Ravenwood, and she is a sorceress. The powers of her magics tend to attract stray animals and she passed that on to my sister, Aerendaris and a little to me.

My first pet was my only pet—a war falcon that I named Storm—that found me when I was six. I convinced my parents to let me train with him, and now he rarely leaves my falconhand.

What do you do now?

I am the captain of the Longmarchers, a team of rangers and scouts, that protect the people of Valkeneer and those pilgrims and merchants traveling to and from the Bridge.

The term “Longmarcher” was a moniker given to my rangers by my father, Lord Hertzog Valkeneer, because he felt it perfectly befitted the scouting element of my small retinue of woodsmen. We operate outside of typical military protocols and spend extended periods of time in the field.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I am defending the realm of Warminster from a man known as Graytorris the Mad, a fallen Keeper of the Forbidden, that is seeking revenge on the Cathedral of the Watchful Eye. His sect excommunicated him when he tried to use their vast powers of prophecy for his own purposes, and his Ancient, Erud, the God of Knowledge, cursed him by stealing not only his physical sight, but his powers of seeing the future.

Graytorris has many allies, however, including Baron Dragich Von Lormarck, a man who is in open rebellion from the crown of Thronehelm. Von Lormarck has moved against King Godwin Thorhauer and has brought Warminster to the brink of war. Valkeneer is just a small province in the barony of Queen’s Chapel, but it is a pivotal one. Without the Bridge to guard against the trollborn tribes of the north, Thronehelm and its army may starve over the harsh winter.

I cannot fail.

Continue reading “Sir Ritter of Valkeneer (of The Last Keeper, by Joe Hilliard)”

Constance Nicolette Neethe (from Of Slaves and Exiles, by Margaret Gaffney)

Dear readers, tonight with us is the heir to the Throne of Men — but that doesn’t matter anymore since all humans have been enslaved. She is here to tell us about the immortal overlords, about drug addiction, and about fighting to save the world her addiction makes her susceptible to every evil enchantment.


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

I didn’t get out much. Well, not that I didn’t try. Anastasia was always trying to find ways of keeping me occupied in our little forest cabin. She did have a point there. When you’re supposed to be dead it’s best not to draw attention to yourself, but why not interact a little with your people, even if they’re all slaves?

Where was I? Oh, I grew up in the forests around the Freand estate, a sort of mini village owned by one family and the home of hundreds of slaves and their Curae guards. It wasn’t the most exciting childhood, but the occasional visit to the slave tavern for cards and a drink (maybe don’t mention that bit to Anastasia – she’s my guardian – please?) made things a bit more interesting. I always had to pretend to be a slave to blend in, which was no fun at all, but it was for my own safety.

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

Anastasia worked hard to provide me with little toys here and there, but that didn’t happen often. I would make dolls out of grass – that sounds pathetic now that I say it out loud.

But I suppose … it was nice when Anastasia would brush my hair in the evening. I always complained, but I also always slept better when I’d let her do it.

What do you do now?

I’ve wanted to travel since I was a child. I know it isn’t safe, but I can’t help it. I devoured any books Anastasia ever had the chance to get me, but geography was always my favorite. There’s a whole world out there, and now that Prince Ewan has come to find me and is taking me to Ephaniest? I mean, that’s the main port city for all Verdania! Though, I hope the smell of fish isn’t as bad as the travel accounts claim …

Though, if I were to answer more seriously, I’m scared. I only agreed to this expedition because my companions know I’m scared and that I might not decide to rise to my throne. Asking someone to pick a fight not even their parents’ could win is a big request. Ewan’s told me repeatedly that it’s my choice … I just hope I don’t choose wrong.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

We haven’t gone very far yet. I never knew a forest could be so large. Though, we did come across a Curae outpost the other day and … I can’t help but shudder thinking about it. I’d really rather not describe what happened, if you don’t mind. Suffice it to say it left me sick and even more terrified than I was before. Time will tell if going on this journey was a mistake.

Continue reading “Constance Nicolette Neethe (from Of Slaves and Exiles, by Margaret Gaffney)”

Pamela Williams (of May It Please the Court, by Daniel Maldonado)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a private investigator. She’s here to tell us about being drawn into a court case starting with the severe injury of a mother at her daughter’s sweet sixteen party — followed by her even more suspicious death.


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

I’m a military brat.  My father served in the US Army Special forces.  So I’ve lived in various places in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

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

Following in my father’s footsteps, I also served in the military and ultimately became a private investigator when I retired. 

What do you do now?

As a private investigator, I work with law firms and individual clients.  Sometimes, it’s the run of the mill divorce case spying on cheating spouses and catching them in the act.  But when I work for law firms, it can vary depending on the assignment.  I may have to spy on the firm’s clients to ensure they’re on the up and up.  Or I may have to investigate and interview witnesses to a murder scene.  It all depends.  That’s why I love my job.  It varies day by day. 

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

In my latest adventure, I work with the Mendoza law firm to find out why a hotel guest unexpectedly injured herself by falling down the stairs.  Complicating things is she ultimately died under suspicious circumstances.  Inevitably, I have to investigate in various states including, Las Vegas, NYC, and Phoenix, Arizona.

What did you first think when you when to saw the scene of the accident?

The luxury hotel premises were lush and beautiful.  I wished I was staying there myself rather than working.  But what I found there, wow, it changed the whole investigation.  I’m skilled but sometimes luck plays a big part of it.

Continue reading “Pamela Williams (of May It Please the Court, by Daniel Maldonado)”

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