Dear readers, tonight we print an interview overheard with a swordsman-to-be on the eve of a great adventure. He’s here to tell us about friends, family, past mistakes, and the chance to fix them.
Brisk steps tap along the grass as an upbeat man carrying a quill and parchment approaches a young swordman watching merchants unload bags of goods from a wagon.
Palon: Hello there, young man, would you mind if I ask you a few questions? I’m Palon of the New Longaiya Gazette and I promise you’ll be well compensated for this discussion.
Erevan: Is it about age? You’re probably used to seeing mercenaries that are bit older, huh?
Palon: I am indeed. But I was more curious about where you’re from. For that traveling merchant wagon there to have hired you on for protection, it must’ve been a long road.
Erevan: I’m from Bogudos on the other side of the country. It’s pretty common to learn how to use a blade when you’re still young there. You never know when you’re going to need the skill. But you will need the skill.
Palon (scribbling with quill and parchment): I see. So you’re saying New Longaiya is a much better place then?
Erevan: Well, I didn’t say that.
Palon: So you hate New Longaiya and all its people?
Erevan: I didn’t say that either.
Palon: But you do support a culture of violence.
Erevan: Not at all. It’s just that I haven’t always had a choice. It’s not like I have cherished memories of stabbing people. Swords aren’t toys.
Palon: How does one as young as yourself become a mercenary anyway?
Erevan: To be honest, I’m not a mercenary yet. But I will be. I’m going to duel my father for his blessing later today, and when I beat him, I’ll be able to officially claim that title.
Palon: Who’s your father?
Erevan: Sir Lee—
Palon: Sir Lee?! Then I think it’s more fair to say if you beat him. My sources have heard of his swordsmanship from three dozen travelers. How is it you and Sir Lee ended up escorting these merchants?
Erevan: I wasn’t actually paying much attention when we got the job. It was something about it being good pay for a safe job.
Palon: So nothing scary on the road then?
Erevan: Unfortunately not, the scariest things were the tales the ferrymen told on the river. But we are headed back that way, so maybe something will happen. I wouldn’t mind a bit of action to change things up.
Palon: So you’re looking for violence?
Erevan: We’re not seriously back to this, are we?
Palon: Just making an observation. Would you say your friends have non-peaceful tendencies?
Erevan: What does that even mean?
Palon: What activities do you do with them?
Erevan: We talk, joke, and laugh, same as anyone else. And… do other stuff sometimes.
Palon: Such as?
Erevan: If we’re desperate and we really need something, we might come up with a way to take som—I probably shouldn’t tell you that.
Palon (whispering to self): The famed Sir Lee’s son is a thief, quite interesting.
Erevan: You aren’t writing that part down, are you?
Palon (scribbling): Of course not!
Erevan: Do I get my reward now? I could actually use some coin to—
Palon: Just a few more questions. What do you think the future holds for you, outside a life as a mercenary?
Erevan: I want to help my mom with the school she’s planning to build. But we don’t have enough coin yet.
Palon: A surprisingly noble goal. What else?
Erevan: Well there’s—never mind. I’m definitely not talking about that.
Palon: Is this a romantic endeavor?
Erevan (face warms): No way!
Palon: Your denial is hard to believe.
Erevan: There is my friend Selea and she’s… oh, please don’t write that down.
Palon (scribbling furiously): I would never.
Erevan: Can I check those notes?
Palon: If it were up to me, I’d agree in a heartbeat, but the man I work for, you see, has very strict rules about sharing our work.
Erevan: But if not for him then surely—
Palon: I’d share everything without hesitation!
Erevan: Is he here now?
Palon: He could be anywhere.
Palon (walking away): Well it does indeed appear that that’s all the time I have for you today, but I appreciate your assistance.
Erevan: Wait. What about my reward?
Palon: Ah, you see the compensation for this talk is the chance to become famous as a result of your words appearing in the New Longaiya Gazette.
Erevan: You’re a lying trickster.
Palon: No, my good boy, I’m a journalist.
Ethan Avery believes in the power of stories. As a child growing up in Ohio, they gave him a chance to see a bigger world, and to hear what life was like for people that didn’t look like him or believe what he did. And now years later, he hopes to do the same for others.
You can find Erevan on the pages of Sword and Sorcery: Frostfire.
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