The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books



Ervig Greenfields (of Dragonborn, by Donna Sundblad)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a prison guard, talking about self-sacrifice for the greater good, how humans join with the dragons to become Dragonborn, and his adventures as he slipped through a tear in time to the past to change the future.

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

In my early childhood, I lived in Resallat’s capital, Prudek. My father was the glasssmith there. I started to learn his trade while very young, but I lost my parents in a tragic mudslide. So I went to live my grandmother on her small farm on the outskirts of Prudek, in the foothills. It wasn’t an easy life, but we helped each other through the loss. I grew strong, developed an interest in the different purposes of plants, and learned how to work without complaining.

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

I didn’t have many toys, but my father had crafted a stick horse for me. I remember galloping around in the glassmaking shop which was at the front of our home. Da and Mother were always telling me to “take care.” Then one time I bumped the table and a tall bottle fell and knocked the next, and the next until they all came crashing down in bits. From then on no riding allowed in the shop. Da started teaching me how to blow glass orbs and a few basic shapes, but then the accident happened. I’m not sure what happened to my horse when I moved in with Grandmother. Life totally changed. I had to grow up pretty fast. We both worked hard, but we had a good life together.

When my chores were done, I used to sit in the shade of the nut tree watching dragons circle over the mountains to the north and wondering what it would be like to fly. To visit places beyond the mountains. Grandmother watched them too. She said that dragons communicated with animals but only very special people. I was still young enough to believe her and said, “I wish I was special like that.” I can still see her smiling at me and saying, “I think you are, but that would be up to the dragons.” For a good while I believed such tittle-tattle, until the other children at school started calling me a dull-headed nimwit. I still watched the dragons circle, but overtime I didn’t believe in them the same way. Then Grandmother died just as I was coming of age. I closed up the house and moved to Prudek. There I found work as a prison guard. It provided a place to live and a wage. I liked the discipline and the work except for the dungeon. I hated the dark and the odor smelled like death.

What do you do now?

That’s a bit complicated. I’m what you call Dragonborn. Not something I’m free to talk about in full, but since you live on this side of the portal, I can tell you that the Dragonborn are part of a select group of humans who have joined with the dragons to overcome the evil of a living book I came into contact with through a prisoner. He cursed me with its dark magic. As part of my oath to the dragons, I must be careful how much I say about some things, so if I sound like I’m evading a question, you would probably be right. I can tell you that the curse trapped me in an…unhuman body. Don’t ask me more. I’m not saying, but he locked me in that dungeon, in the dark, and I didn’t even have a voice I could use to call for help. Long story short, I thought back to my Grandmother’s teaching about the dragons. She said they had powerful magic and with no other options, I hoped they might be able to help me…maybe even change me back. If they didn’t eat me first.

Because I wasn’t human, I found a way of escape. I made my way to the mountains, to the dragons. I kept calling with my mind believing that dragons could communicate with animals who can’t talk, it made sense to me. I thought of nothing but the dragons while keeping my eyes open for predators like snakes and hawks. The suns hung low in the sky when I broke through the foliage and onto a wide stone ledge. A dark shadow loomed above me and asked. “Who calls for help?”

As you can see, I’m human again. The dragons offered access to the Labyrinth of Times. Within the corridors of time, all magic, other than dragon magic, is erased. But there was a catch…a cost. I can tell you no more, for I gave my word. But, I can say, that I work with the Dragons across time to shut down the Book Darkmore. I’d like to say destroy it, but it can’t be destroyed.

You work with dragons then. What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Adventure? Well, that same prisoner who changed me into…something else. He escaped from the dungeon and stole people’s identity. I mean their face, voice, how they dressed. Everything. The dragons wanted to get the book and I wanted to get the prisoner. So we worked together. But when we found him, he looked like my friend Claus and was ready to escape into the Labyrinth through an unsanctioned portal. The book’s dark magic gave him that power, but that forced opening into the Labyrinth also caused a tear in time and a vulnerability. Everything that Book does is bad for the world. As we spotted him, the portal was swirling with red energy. He stepped through, and I ran after him and jumped through. As it closed, I hit the floor in the darkness. Pain wracked by body as I turned back into a man. I had to get that book away from the prisoner, because as long as he had it, he could draw power from it, but if I got the book away from him, it would draw life from him. He’d get weaker, and lose his magic.

Continue reading “Ervig Greenfields (of Dragonborn, by Donna Sundblad)”

Antonius Xandron (of An Evil Planned, by Theo Faurez)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a Roman citizen from the time of Trajan. He’s here to talk about the why Antioch is a better city than Rome or Alexandria, about cultural diversity, and about winnowing truth from lies when a crime has been committed.

It’s not often that we have a guest from Antioch in Syria. Tell us about your city.

Antioch is the finest and most beautiful city in the free world, the one, true beacon of civilisation.

Many people in our audience believe that description fits Rome and Alexandria better.

I said, the greatest city in the FREE world. In Rome, no one is free. Without the imports of grain from the East, the city would starve. To walk in the streets is to contract infection unless you can avoid the contents of latrine pots that people throw out the window. You cannot speak the truth for fear of offending the Emperor, who has spies everywhere. As for Alexandria, you cannot even set foot there without written permission from the Emperor. No, freedom is neither in Rome or in Alexandria. But in Antioch, it is everyone’s birthright.

Besides freedom, what else does Antioch have to offer?

The first daughter of freedom is creativity. The city is full of poets, philosophers, musicians, actors, sculptors, painters, architects, writers. Artists beautify not only the city itself with monuments, porticoes and gardens, they beautify the mind. The second daughter of freedom is truth. In Antioch, no one needs to pretend they are someone they are not. We are who we are, in harmony with ourselves from the moment of birth. To be forced to be someone we are not is the greatest crime.

Speaking of crime, your brother Antonius Sabas is famous in the whole Roman Empire for solving them. Especially murder.

My brother is the best discoverer of crime in our city’s history, if I do say so myself. You see, a murderer kills someone, and then proceeds to live a lie. He or she must pretend they did not do what they did, and take care to deceive everyone around them. Sabas exposes the pretence. He reveals what the murderer actually did, which in all cases is very different from what the murderer says he did.

You assist him in his inquiries. Do you enjoy looking for criminals?

I enjoy separating the facts from the fiction. To pretend to be someone you are not, or to love something you actually hate, or not to have done something you actually did, is to attack not only the truth, but the harmony of the cosmos. I enjoy helping Sabas to restore that harmony.

Continue reading “Antonius Xandron (of An Evil Planned, by Theo Faurez)”

Keisha Alighieri (of Keisha and the Rise of the Legacy, by T.R. Tells)

Dear reader, tonight with us is a teenaged girl, related to our very first interviewee! She — and her author — are here to tell us about secret societies, infernal realms, monsters and monarchs.

A portal opens and a man steps out. He sits down at a table, resting his notebook and pen down on the table. A little girl wearing roman-esque attire sits in front of them as they both sit down inside of a large tent

Interviewer: Hi, so you must be Keisha. How are you? I’m just going to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind. Can you…

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

Hi! Thanks for having me. Yes, my name’s Keisha Alighieri, um, I never been in an interview before so I might stumble a bit. So, I guess I should start with how old I am? I’m fifteen now. I just had a birthday in the Inferno—that’s another world via portal, it’s kind of like Earth—my Papá is originally from there, but I was born in Atlanta. It’s kind of a long story, haha. I liked it okay, especially, when me and mamma go out city-shopping or go to the movies.

Didn’t really like school too much, sometimes it can be a bit challenging for me—and there are some mean bullies—but when I do get something, it’s pretty fun.

Ooh, there’s been a convention in the city one time for The Heroes Society – they’re this really cool super hero group and Scarlett Hero is my favorite! I really want her weapon (haha, spoiler I kind of get my own through my adventures… but I still want her scepter cause it’s pretty awesome).

Interviewer: That is pretty awesome. So you like super heroes? Cool. I’m a big fan of history, mystery, and throw in some fantasy. I think I might have to check out the Heroes Society with my family one day *laughs* Alright, next question….

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

Mmmm…I have a stuffed doggy back home, does that count? Cause Action Figures are not toys. I have a lot of stuff about the Heroes Society; there’s some action figures, the book bags, and I have an Insider Book about the Society. My wall has a bunch of posters of different anime and RPGs I play too! Wait, um… where were we going…Oh, yeah, sorry I get side tracked sometimes.

I got plenty memories about my family. Especially with my Papá, Dante, he’s the one who taught me how to play chess and I know several different languages. It was kind of hard at first, but he made it into a real fun game. The day that is my best memory was when I was twelve and we all sat down and opened presents on Christmas and we had this really big turkey. There was so much food and gifts, we played a bunch of games staying up past my bedtime. I know it seems like it’s not a big memory, but… it was around the last time I saw him before he disappeared (he actually was taken back to the Inferno when his friend wanted him to stop a mysterious entity known as the Anomaly. We’re trying to stop it too).

Interviewer: Well, I hope you find your Papá too. Also, well point taken about action figures. If you’re ready for the next question…

What do you do now?

Oh! I’m a Legacy (like the title, see!) That’s like a Hunter that protects the people of the Inferno (the Natura Borne) from Demi (like a Supernatural) that attack or go through portals to the human world, so Legacy’s (or the adult term after your 18 is Shikari) capture them. I don’t do that though cause I think it’s pretty wrong to bind a Demi and make them do your bidding and stuff. It’s not the kind of Legacy I wanna be (though I’ve made mistakes, I’m trying to get over now. It’s hard, but I got some really good friends by my side). Besides, there’s a lot of Demi that are misunderstood and they’re the ones who are terrorized. Like, sure, Leo and Scav tried to attack me, but it worked out in the end! Ooh, and Cerberus, he’s pretty cool—oh, wait, I think I’m saying too much, but yeah, there’s some good Demi’s out there. Like my best-friend Celra, she’s a She-Wolf and she’s pretty dang awesome. She gives the best cheek-nuzzles!

Interviewer: Okay, so I’m kind of curious cause The Inferno Verse sounds pretty interesting…

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Uhhh… Not sure if T.R. Tells wants me to say much, buuuutttt…. What I can say is that there’s this prophecy and it has us traveling all around the Inferno. There’s the Illicit—I’ve met some really cool and kind of scary people—Perdito…erm, I can’t say too much, but there are some really special people I can’t wait for you to meet soon, and NOW we’re actually on our way to Paradigm. I kind of have to get this… thing… that’s really bad news before the… uh, bad guy gets it first. Hmm… this is waaay harder than I thought it would be and I don’t want to get in trouble, I’m sorry!

Continue reading “Keisha Alighieri (of Keisha and the Rise of the Legacy, by T.R. Tells)”

Erevan (of Sword and Sorcery: Frostfire, by Ethan Avery)

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?

Continue reading “Erevan (of Sword and Sorcery: Frostfire, by Ethan Avery)”

Augustus Thorne (of A Hybrid’s Tale, by Andrew P. Weston)

Dear readers, with the release of A Hybrid’s Tale, the first novel in The Cambion Journals Series, we are proud to present an interview with one of the most intimidating characters you will ever meet: Augustus Thorne.

Augustus is here to tell us about his existence as a member of the demondim – supernatural creatures spawned following the rebellion and fall from heaven – a scavenging, insidious multitude who have preyed on humankind since the dawn of time. They live among us, in secret, and have steered humanity’s politics, religions, and evolution for countless centuries.  

This interview is set in the present day, and reveals the motives that drive Augustus to do what he does. Kill demons… And the dire situation such a lifestyle places him in mortal danger.

Pay attention, for some of the details he uncovers may just save your life.

Who are you, and where are you from?

My name is Augustus Thorne, and I was born on the 12th of November, 1760, in the tiny hamlet of Bearwood in the midlands area of rural England. My mother, Rosemary was raised in a protective environment by her father, Frederick—the village blacksmith—and his wife, Lilly. Because they were affluent, they paid a considerable sum of money to guarantee an education of the highest standards for my mother, and always ensured she was chaperoned wherever she went. That, together with her natural beauty and wonderfully long golden hair, meant she caught the eye of the son of the local squire, Robert Archer.

Unfortunately, it also resulted in her catching the eye of a monster; a devil in the truest sense of the word. A high-ranking Incubus; my spawn-father, Fanon. It was his arrival that blighted her life and led to my creation.

So you’re over two hundred and fifty years old? Do you ‘age’ in the sense that normal, everyday people do?

Yes, I have lived far longer than any human being could possibly dream of. And while I do age, it’s very different to the concept you’re thinking of. I’m a Cambion, you see, a human-demon hybrid; as reflected in the fact that I didn’t have a heartbeat until I was seven years old. After that, I grew as every other child did, but only until puberty. When that kicked in, my demonic hunger surfaced: the need to feed off human emotions. The stronger the better. And while I can eat normal food, it’s the life essence of human souls that boosts every aspect of my vitality, slowing ageing as a byproduct. And once a member of the demondim reaches physical and mental maturity – about thirty years old – the physical ageing factors slow right down, becoming almost negligible.

Continue reading “Augustus Thorne (of A Hybrid’s Tale, by Andrew P. Weston)”

Darroll Martock (of The Psychopath Club, by Sandra Bond)

Dear readers, tonight we have with us a budding serial killer, a member of a self-styled psychopath club. He’s here to tell us about life, high-school, and the ability to move between alternate realities.

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

Er, no. It was as boring as all hell to live through and it would be as boring as all hell to make you read what some book I had to read in school called “all that David Copperfield kind of crap”. I was born; I was given a stupid name, with an even stupider spelling that nobody ever gets right; I grew up; I reached my teens; my parents divorced and my mom moved to the Midwest. There are probably some good parts of the Midwest. I live in a town called Muldoon. It is not one of those. It’s tiny and it’s cold and it’s boring. I want out so badly.

What do you do now?

I go to high school with an assortment of jocks, fools, inbred assholes and garden-variety losers. You read  books, right? Then you probably went to school with similar types.

But I hope you aren’t like me in other ways. No easy way to say this, so out with it: for years I’ve wanted to kill people. Made plots and plans. They might have worked, too. Only I’m too chicken to follow any of them through.

Or I was.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Okay, here it gets weird. I ran my car off the road and suffered a brain injury. I deserved to have killed myself, but they saved me. Only now… I have this weird thing that happens, where I slip between alternate universes. (Except, guess what, Muldoon still sucks in every single one of them that I’ve seen.) I can’t control when it happens or where I go. I’ve found myself in universes where I died in that accident. People see me and think they’re seeing a ghost. It’s fun to play along with that.

Continue reading “Darroll Martock (of The Psychopath Club, by Sandra Bond)”

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)”

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