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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Verena (of Verena’s Whistle, by K. Panikian)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a grad student from Alaska who found out her family has been keeping secrets about their origins and their purpose. She’s here to talk about magic, love, and saving the world from Chernobog’s demonic beasts.


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

Hey guys! My name’s Verena, but my friends call me Very. I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska with my parents and my Grandpa Basil. I always knew we had magic, but never why or how. But a few months ago, a meteor struck the ground in Russia and man, I found out some secrets!

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

Hmm, favorite toys? I guess, being from Alaska, I have to say my pond skates? Maybe I should say something sweet and cute, like my dolls, but honestly, I was a tomboy. I was a bossy kid and I’m still pretty take-charge. I liked to play sports and run around in the woods with the kids that lived nearby.

My cousins, Theo and Julian, would come up and visit in the summer and seriously, summertime in Alaska is like, heaven. We’d camp and hike and mess around with our magic.

There are some great magic wielders in my family, people that can launch lightning bolts or create incredible illusions, or people that can see into the future. But my magic never manifested more than a little—like, I could make sparks. Big deal. Everyone was really nice about it, of course, but it was a definitely sore spot for me.

I threw myself into my sword training instead—my family is really big on martial arts training, sword play, that sort of thing. I figured, if I couldn’t do magic, I’d learn other ways to defend myself. And, I have to tell you, I’m really, really good with my sword. Should I just have said my sword? I like my sword—it’s this 1796 light cavalry saber and seriously, it is SWEET.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I’m not supposed to tell anyone, but you look like you can keep a secret.

So, the people in my family that can do magic? It turns out that we’re descended from those crazy Roman-Vikings guys, the Varangians. Ever heard of them? A thousand or so years ago, the Byzantine emperor sent a cohort of his Varangian Guards to Rus. And when they got there, they vanished, poof, gone from the history books.

What ACTUALLY happened is that a meteor struck their camp and it opened a portal to another world! Can you believe it? I couldn’t believe it, the first time Grandpa Basil told me the story. In the other world, they learned magic and they battled demons. They built a huge citadel and just tried to survive that really hostile place.

Now, about 100 years ago, my great aunts and uncles were out hunting demons in the countryside and they found another portal back to Earth! They went through and ended up in Russia, which, you know, was not a great place to be at that time. They hid and fled and ended up in Alaska. And they kept their origins a secret. Obviously.

But when that meteor struck in Russia in February, they knew someone would have to go and check it, to make sure none of the demons came through. So, I did! I went with Julian and Theo and we kicked some demon ass, let me tell you.

Continue reading “Verena (of Verena’s Whistle, by K. Panikian)”

Victoria & Friedrich (of Under His Spell, by Luv Lubker)

Dear readers, tonight we are hosting a royal couple, the Princess Royal of UK and the future emperor Prince of Prussia. Known as Vicky and Fritz, they are here to tell us about life and love across 19th century European courts.


In tonight’s double interview we separately ask Fritz and Vicky, who are husband and wife, mostly the same questions — but they can’t see or hear each other’s responses.

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

Vicky: Dear Windsor is the home of my heart, and though Buckingham Palace is where I was born and lived a good deal of my earliest years, Windsor is where my happiest childhood memories live and is where we spent our honeymoon. My memories there of my childhood are among the happiest of my life – but happy in a different way than my life with Fritz – all my dear siblings and Mama and Papa were always there. Buckingham Palace is not a Home – it is a Palace, and is not very welcoming to little people.

Fritz: The Neues Palais was where I was born. It was a huge place, but I only knew a very small portion of it – the nursery – and my parents moved to Babelsberg before I remember very much. Babelsberg is a pretty place – but not… it was my home, but I didn’t love it.

What are your happiest memories of your childhood?

Vicky: My dear parents birthdays were always wonderful affairs in my eyes, with all of us children waiting outside the door with our drawings and things, and Mama in a pretty new dress when she came out, and Papa welcoming us all so lovingly. The Great Exhibition was one of the grandest events and is, of course, one of the dearest memories looking back, when Fritz was there and was always so kind. Papa’s loving advice during our lessons, which I treasured up and remember so well now…

Fritz: Happy memories? *sigh* My least unhappy memory of my early childhood was… perhaps Lotte’s birthday parties. I was always allowed to go to them and she was always kind to me, as was the Queen, Aunt Elise, who’s ward Lotte was. Later, our time in Mainz was not particularly unhappy, but… my childhood was not a happy one, I always wished myself out of the world. *Sighs and looks away.* I… I still have such thoughts, at times, when I am away from home – away from Vicky…

You are the Crown Prince and Crown Princess now. What does that mean for you? How does that change your life?

Vicky: Fritz’s being the Crown Prince means he has more duties, which he fulfills faithfully. We shall be the next King and Queen, some day, and perhaps, Emperor and Empress. We work steadily towards the dream of bringing into existence a peacefully united Germany. But it means we often have less time together, which of course is not particularly pleasing.

Fritz: Since I have become Crown Prince, I am required to be present at the Crown Councils. One might think this is an honor, and it is, but… to be a witness to some of the things which go on is unendurable. And Papa requires me never to speak at the Councils, so I am not a part of it, only a tacit witness they think they can control.

Continue reading “Victoria & Friedrich (of Under His Spell, by Luv Lubker)”

Mathew Slade (of Gaslight Gunslinger, by Sugar Lee Ryder)

Dear readers, tonight with us is an ex Pinkerton Agent turned detective and gun for hire. He’s here to tell us about the 1870’s Wild West, and of how a gunslinger used to open plains and prairies can deal with the criminal underworld of a crowded metropolis.


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

I grew up on the prairies of Nevada. It’s a dry, dusty sort of place. My family moved to Virginia City where my father got a job in the mines during the Comstock silver strike. As soon as I was old enough to hold a rifle, I honed my tracking and shooting skills killing varmints around Virginia City. People in those days didn’t care about the pest control, so whatever I bagged went into the pot.

My father was killed in a mine accident. He’d gotten us into debt, and mother and I still needed to eat and a place to rent, so I took a job as a wagon guard for the silver shipments. People who’d fallen on tough times or slid face first into the bottle were everywhere in a mining town. I got more practice with my gun than I care to admit before I left that town behind.

What made you leave Virginia City?

Mother caught the fever and after she died, I had to leave town to avoid payin’ off the rest of my father’s debt and caught the first train out of town. I ended up in Springfield, Illinois and since I needed to keep body and soul together, I lied about my age and I enlisted in the Army.

I looked as green as grass but shooting skills were in demand due to the start of the Civil War. So when I told them I was 18 they believed me.  I ended up 6th Illinois Cavalry under General Nathaniel Banks. I saw combat, I saw ‘the elephant’ as we then called it. Dreadful, just dreadful. I don’t want to talk about what I saw during the war right now.

All right, then. So what brought you to the current place in your life?

After the Civil war I joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency. First job I really liked, so I spent several years becoming the best agent there could be. Until my last assignment, where I was assigned to track two young women heading along the Oregon Trail to San Francisco.  

Turned out that Samantha Williams and Charlotte Hart were two tough young ladies, gave me a hell of time finding them. Hell of a job – I had to bring Samantha back to an abusive father. Idiot only wanted to marry her off like a damned cow.

Wild Bill Hickok was travelin’ with the two. He told me flat out what a lousy job I had. And when a legend of the West tells you that you’re in the wrong, you plain just listen. A year or two later, I quit Pinkerton and decided to head to San Francisco, where I am now.

Continue reading “Mathew Slade (of Gaslight Gunslinger, by Sugar Lee Ryder)”

Tardi Mack (of Doomed?, by Rita de Heer)

Dear readers, tonight we have a truck-driver from 22nd century Australia, who in a freak surfing accident got infected with a sentient alien substance. We caught him talking to Trucker & Jockey magazine, describing life post-infection while trying to avoid a rather persistent ex-girlfriend.


Tardi: You’re from the Trucker & Jockey magazine? Well met! I was a trucker once, with TLC, a family company. My dad and brother ran the workshop, and I drove our old Mack and jockeyed our live-mind freighter. Hope you’re recording all this? I also surfed for Virtual Surfing. Check me out on their website, they still have me in the sensor-suit surfing the actual waves and voice-overing the rides. My pay from them allowed me to rent in Watego’s Wall on Byron Cape, still a hot-shot tourist destination. Yes, formerly Byron Bay.

Me in the past? Oh, my name. My parents intended to register me as ‘Trader.’ The old man can’t spell and neither can I. Learning to write my name, I transformed it into ‘Tardi.’ They did an about-face on names when my brother Steve was born five years later. But Steve. Oh man. My brother and my burden. He drowned and I couldn’t save him. And Herm wouldn’t let him go. Don’t ask me more about Steve, mate. I’ll be tearing-up for the rest of the day. The landscape? Look outside. Boat-ways instead of streets. Major roads on stilts. Get up on one of them and in the distance you’ll see Wollumbin, a world-famous volcanic plug. Nearer at hand is the pimple called Chincogan. The Koonyum Ranges hunker at the back of the valley. And there are the trees, more than ever.

My kid-sized surfboard was absolutely my favourite thing when I was a kid. My dad taught me the basics. And there’s my cherished memory, him waist deep in the sea, pushing me off. Fishing me out when I fell. He’d plonk me back up on the board half-drowned, and push me off again. Remembering him then—like that—makes me feel warm in my heart, you know? You’re asking what I do now? Good question that I don’t know the answer to. On we go to one of my latest adventures.

Rowan: “Mph. You? Adventuring? I wish.”

Tardi: “Rowan, for Pete’s sake. Give it a rest. We broke up months ago. Hey Cy, good to see you’re still in charge.”

Cy, publican: “Seeing as we’re all holed up together in the Gondola, one of the premier eating and drinking places in town, we might as well wet our whistles. Ale for you, Tardi my man?”

Tardi: “Thanks be to you, Cy. Adventuring is thirsty work.”

Ben: “What’s with serving the Tree-man first? We should shoot him and all the rest like him.”

Cy: “Nothing for you until you put the gun down, son. (Grrr-grrrr-grrrr) And drat it, boy. You’re aggravating Tardi’s dog. Easy. Easy. Be a good dog and I’ll find you a bone.”

Tardi: “He’s not mine. He decided to come along. I call him Argie.”

Trucker & Jockey: “A cyborg dog?”

Tardi: “He’ll have had alien input, I suspect, because of that silvering. Argie and I were up on the ranges yesterday. As we came up to the Loreno Picnic place, we heard an almighty stoush of barking and growling, a woman shouting, and a little kid wailing. I dropped my pack and grabbed up a knobby tree-branch, ran into the fray, Argie beside me. The animals were the baskervilles, six of the critters. The woman and child were Del and Lilly Loreno. Del had held them off, but was tiring. Six of the critters. Argie and I turned up in the nick of time to help Del see them off. Seeing his product worse for wear, their damned inventor will hopefully keep better control. Those dogs are the cyborgs. Argie is flesh and blood.”

Continue reading “Tardi Mack (of Doomed?, by Rita de Heer)”

Seyvyar Trist (of The Servant’s Story, by Peter Thomson)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a magician, who rather fancied a life of adventure than the safety of the guild.


The Ancient Order of the Learned Archive

Herriam Tnar

Senior Recorder, Dtlag

Esteemed Colleague

Our chapter in Kaber City turned up the record below. They interviewed a number of venturers as part of a project on mortality in the Wild. This was filed under “Discard on Notice of Death”. An attached note – presumed made by the interviewer – read ‘This jerk won’t last long or make much’. Clearly our judgements are not always accurate.

Yours in the pursuit of knowledge

(illegible)

Azbai, 146 12 Ghei 14 (3 Harvest, 184 of the Revelation)

Project Attrition

Interview conducted at Kaber, 12, Month of the Marten, Year 216

Seyvyar Trist, Venturing 2 years, age 22.

Seyvyar agreed to meet me at Anni’s Bar in Kaber City, a little place on a side-street near the Fur and Pelt Union. It’s a steady place, the kind of bar senior clerks and journeymen crafters go for a quiet drink. A kitchen at the front selling skewers to the passing trade, booths at the back, dark and bright ale on tap, a warmth welcome in this season of cold rain. I wore a yellow jacket, as arranged, and Seyvyar stood up from a booth to wave me over. I saw a young man with fine, long-fingered hands, hair neatly confined in a pony-tail, perhaps over-dressed for this meeting in a flared coat and tight breeches. Oddly, he had wrapped a narrow scarf wrapped about his head so as to hide his nose, and wore sandals despite the cold. We gave our orders to the hummingbird which darted over from the bar, I opened my notebook and we started.

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

Well, the family’s from Irrus – that’s on the Chir, about a day from Chiran. But my folks moved to Chiran a while back, and that’s where I grew up and studied. Ah – you wouldn’t know, would you? Chiran’s a city, quite a big place if not the same size as the capital at Azbai, a centre of learning in the art. It’s a river port as well, of course, and folks come from all over to study there. Still lost? I’ll show you on a map some day. I’d say I had a normal childhood – playing around the docks, school, then college. I came third of the whole city when I got my scroll, which is a pretty good result, let me tell you.

By ‘the art’ you mean magic? And you got your scroll when you graduated from a school teaching magic, is that right?

That’s right. Don’t they test for sensitivity to ether-flows where you come from? I was at the top. My family could have paid, but I got a scholarship and, like I said, I came third. Ah, here’s our drinks.

Doesn’t the world talk to you? It does to me – to anyone with the wit to hear and the learning to understand, really. The art is about sensing the mood  – we call it the surround – and asking accordingly. At least for us it is. Those with craft have a different approach, one much inferior in rigour and flexibility. It’s only us with the art that you can move across the world in the blink of an eye.

I understand you did not pursue the usual career in magic after graduation?

Yeah. I mean the usual is three more years learning to make glow-stones or herd-sticks or fire-wards or whatever, and then a place in a guild and you get a pension and a reserved seat at the festival after 20 years in the job. I’m not in for that – I’m more of a free spirit. I wanted adventure, freedom to grow as a magician, and money. Lots of money. You can only get those in the Wild.

How is that going for you? If you don’t mind my saying so, your appearance does not suggest current wealth.

It’s had its ups and downs. I’m definitely much stronger in the art – in the Wild you get better fast or you die. I can cast spells my class-mates back in Chiran could not begin to grasp. I’ve seen things would make them blench, I tell you. Demons and Spirits and weird beasts, I’ve faced them all and lived.

You mentioned getting rich?

Okay, so things are not too good right now. Mind you, if you’d seen me even six weeks ago, things would have been different. I’d have shown you some awesome gear. Ever seen a Reaching Glove? Pick your purse right through a wall. Or a Fearsome Noise? Shatter every glass in this place and send everyone blind (except me).

I see you are now wearing sandals. Can I ask why you have a piece of cloth over your nose?

Like I said, ups and downs. Just a temporary inconvenience, occasioned by some cheating low-life rivals who pulled a totally unfair stunt. It would never have worked, either, except for a slip-up on the part of my colleagues. I feel really let down, but I’m big enough to let it go. Anyway, let’s not talk any more about that.

Can you tell us about your current plans?

I can’t say too much – I think your saying is that even walls can hear. But it’s big. Really big. The gang is with me on this, but there’s room for another one if you want in. I can’t say there it won’t be dangerous – it is the Wild after all, but we’ll be rolling in it when this comes off.

I’ll think about it. What is the scariest thing you have faced to date?

There’s not much fazes me now, but let me tell you about the first time I went into the Wild. There I was – three spells and a knife – and we stumble on this old temple and dog-spiders start coming out of the walls. I wanted to run, but my friends were relying on me. So I stood firm and, well, we won. I finished the last one off with the Winged Dagger. Since then, well, there was this delving where the frescoes would melt your eyeballs, and a pack of rabid undermen and some kidnappers looking for saleable body-parts. The Wild is not for the faint-hearted.

What is the best thing about being a magician?

Ether-sense! I can feel the currents of the ether around me all the time. To be a magician is to be in tune with the world, part of its thoughts, able to talk to it and have it respond. It’s wonderful and exhilarating and I don’t know how ordinary folk live without it. In the Wild the ether-flows are much stronger, and the feeling is intense. The surround is moody and fractious, and you have to be on your toes. I can’t really describe it to a non-magician but it’s better than beer and nearly as good as sex. In fact, many magicians think it’s better than sex, but I like both.

Tell us a little about more your friends.

I’ve put a great team together! Strong Saram’s one of the best with a sword,  Kelve’s gifted with craft and Rudrin’s nearly as talented in the art as I am. We’ve done some amazing things together, and we’ll do even more amazing things in the near future. Of course, I’m the one who does the planning, but they’re all with me.

Any romantic involvement?

I’m not seeing anyone at the moment. There’ve been a few – nothing serious. I’ll start looking again when I’m back in town with a shipload of money.

Is there anyone you really hate?

I don’t hold grudges. After all, what happens in the Wild stays in the Wild. That said, if you hear of three thieving sods from Dravish called the Kat Sisters, well, let me know. What those women did was totally out of line, even for the Wild, and I intend to pay them back, with interest.

(Here Seyvyar became so vehement his scarf slipped, revealing a nose of a hideous shade of blue. He hastily adjusted the scarf, gave me a weak grin, and waved the incident away)

Anyway, let’s not talk about the past. I’m a future-oriented kind of guy.

What’s your favourite relaxing pastime?

Well, the art’s a bit consuming. It’s like music – if you’re serious you have to practice every day. But I’m not a hermit – I read, and go to concerts, and I like a good meal and the company of friends. Like now – it’s good to just chat and enjoy this beer. Speaking of which, shall we have another? Your turn, I believe.

What does the future hold for you?

Accomplishment in the art, and adventure, and wealth. Mark my words, before too long my name will be on everyone’s lips all around the Green Sea – and beyond.


Peter Thomson was born in Sydney, Australia, spent a few years wandering the world (caught up in a few riots and revolutions, but claims innocence), then had a lot of fun in the public service before retiring. Along the way he played a lot of RPGs, starting with the first copy of D&D to reach Australia, and now writes about the people in a world built over the years from his home in Canberra (a much under-rated city). It’s a world where magic is everyday but the land has the last word.

You can meet Seyvyar Trist on the pages of the Tales of the Wild series, starting with The Forked Path and continuing in The Servant’s Story.

Join us next week to hear from an ex-truck driver, now infected with an alien sentient substance. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

Dayna Chrissie (of the Fantasy & Forensics series, by Michael Angel)

Dear readers, tonight we host LAPD’s best detective, or at least she was until transported to the magical world of Andeluvia. She is here to tell us of applying modern forensics to crime scenes involving centaurs, dragons, and other creatures.


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

I grew up in Pike County, Illinois. Pike County is known for deer hunting, farming, and apple cider, in that order. The kind of place where people say ‘gosh’, ‘darn’ and ‘shucks’. Very wholesome. I couldn’t wait to up stakes for UChicago as soon as I was accepted there as an undergrad.

You didn’t like where you grew up? Surely you have some cherished memories of the place?

It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t fit in. I took a lot after Wednesday Addams. Moody, dressed in more black than my Mom would’ve liked. Put it this way, I was the only kid who looked forward to dissecting frogs in biology class.

As far as memories…one winter when I was seven years old, I found a trail of blood spatters leading from the woods towards my family’s garage. I found my father inside, crying over our open chest freezer. In it was a doe he’d shot. He was a hunter, taking game that was in season, but what shook him to the core was that this doe had spoken to him right before she died.

I don’t know if I’d call that a ‘cherished’ memory…but it was my first encounter with the magical land of Andeluvia.

It wouldn’t be my last.

What do you do now?

Officially?  I’ve been working as a Crime Scene Investigator for the Los Angeles Police Department for the past few years. I’m the one who the cops call in after they find the body, and I also perform the follow-up in the lab.

Un-officially, I’m part of the Andeluvian Royal Court. I do my best to solve mysteries in a land of magic using good old fashioned forensic techniques. I also try to help out whenever a magical creature’s in trouble.

You know, that is kind of wild now that I said that out loud…

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Anything happening with me is like C.S. Lewis meeting modern CSI!

Right now, I’m busy solving a murder case. The Andeluvians believe the Good King Benedict was killed by the ruler of the Centaur Realm, King Angbor Skullsplitter.

I’ve got about three days, max, to solve the case before the two kingdoms go to war. Hey, no pressure, right?

Continue reading “Dayna Chrissie (of the Fantasy & Forensics series, by Michael Angel)”

Othrun (of A Drowned Kingdom, by P.L. Stuart)

Dear readers, tonight with us is an exiled prince, leading his people to a new continent to found a new kingdom. He’s here to talk about troubled past, a cursed sword, the mysterious spirit guiding him, and the truths of kings and legends.


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

I was Second Prince and born with all the advantages accorded to one of my noble birth.

I was born in the greatest kingdom the world has ever seen: the beautiful island of Atalantyx. My birthplace was in gloomy Westrich, the solitary castle traditionally given to the First Prince of the realm, for my Father was First Prince at the time of my birth. Westrich is perched atop a hill, amongst the misty heather-filled moors, where the winter rains loved to blow and bluster down from the murky highlands.  Westrich was located on the northwest coast of the island, in the Earldom of Urtlan.

My favourite part of the kingdom was the Circle City, which was the capitol city of Atalantyx. It was the biggest and most glorious capitol in the world, and held a populous in the tens of thousands.

Atalantyx was the world’s leader in terms of sophistication, culture, language, arts, and of course religion. Besides that, we were the military and naval power that dominated the globe for the past five centuries. We were an unstoppable force, that conquered and subjugated many ungodly nations, and brought the proper worship of the Single God, to those heathen lands.    

My new friend Hert, who never saw Atalantyx, perhaps described it the most eloquently in terms of how the rest of the world saw Atalantyx, “..Atalantyx was almost a fable, in many ways, to us in Eltnia. Atalantyx was a vision…a place where summer reigned eternal, and towers of stone taller than mountains rose above the plains. Where women more beautiful than ever seen wore gowns of silk and satin in the streets, and tall men were warriors few could contest. Where steel was so sturdy it shattered the blades of common men.”

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

My favourite toy is a child’s sword, that my cousin Glathan, the famous explorer, brought me back from a market in the country of Lifren, a land in the continent of Atramland. I believe I was about nine years old when Glathan gave me the sword as a birthday present. I still have the sword, now that I am a man. I used to pretend that sword was Suresteel, the fabled sword carried by my hero, the Purple Prince.

My beautiful mother died, bearing me into the world. I never met her. He who I knew as my father, Atalan Ninth, the King of Atalantyx, was consistently cold to me, and always seemed dissatisfied with me. He greatly favoured my older brother Erthal over me. Meanwhile, Erthal was horribly mean to me. Overall, both my father and brother treated me unkindly, and it very much hurt me. I was determined to prove both of them wrong: that I was worth far more than they valued me. I did love Grandfather, for he was kindly to me, and he used to put me on his knee, and tell me wonderful stories. Oddly enough, though Grandfather had a reputation for kindness and benevolence, he didn’t care much for his own sons: Atalan and Yedwol. My Uncle’s wife, Aunt Lolove, treated me like her son, and she was my mother-figure. Her husband, my Uncle Yedwol, despite his grouchiness and sharp tongue, was more of a father to me than the king. I never liked my cousin, also called Yedwol, the son of my Uncle. He was always scheming and conniving. I think he was jealous of my relationship with his parents. I think they liked me better than their own son, and the younger Yedwol, known as the Ready, knew it, and resented me for it, though he was careful how he dealt with me, as I was his superior. My family life was very complicated.  

What do you do now?

Right now I’m the high lord of the last survivors of my people. Only about two thousand of them remain, following the destruction of Atalantyx. By rank and title, I’m the heir to the last King of Atalantyx. When we establish a kingdom in exile on the continent of Acremia, in the land of Eltnia, I’ll be a king. The kingdom I establish will be called Eastrealm. I’m charged to protect my people, in the strange and hostile continent of Acremia, in the region of Eltnia, where we plan to establish our kingdom-in-exile.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I was once Second Prince of the mightiest kingdom in the known world. Now I must lead the last survivors of my exiled people into an uncertain futures far across the Shimmering Sea from our ancestral home, now lost beneath the waves. With my Single God binding my knights to chivalric oaths, intent on wiping out idolatry and pagan worship, we will have to carve out a new kingdom on the mysterious continent of Acremia – a continent that has for centuries been ravaged by warlords competing for supremacy and mages channeling the mystic powers of the elements – and unite the continent under godly rule. With my troubled past, a cursed sword, and a mysterious spirit guiding me, I mean to be that ruler, and to conquer all. But with kingdoms fates on the edge of spears, alliances, and pagan magic, betrayal, doubt, and dangers await me at every turn. I will be forced to confront the truths of all I believe in on my journey to become a king, and a legend. 

When one kingdom drowns, a new one must rise in its place. So begins the saga of that kingdom, and the saga of me, the man who would rule it all.

Continue reading “Othrun (of A Drowned Kingdom, by P.L. Stuart)”

Robinson Lubank (of Alexander Southerland P.I. series, by Douglas Lumsden)

Dear readers, tonight we revisit the world of Alexander Southerland, P.I., whom we visited before. This time we reprint a magazine interview with his gnomish lawyer, that lovable scamp Rob Lubank. Caution: foul language ahead.


Welcome to Community Outreach. Today’s guest is one of the most well-known defense attorneys in Yerba City. Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?

Glad to. I’m Robinson Lubank, attorney at law. What th’fuck d’ya wanna know about me?

You’ve been described as someone who has his finger on the pulse of Yerba City. Would you say that this is an accurate assessment?

You kidding me? I’ve got this town by the balls! I’ve got the dirt on every important person in the metropolitan area, and that includes the judges. That’s why I’m the best defense attorney in the city.

Have you always wanted to be a lawyer?

I’ve always wanted to make a lot of dough, and I figured out pretty early in the game that making it as a mouthpiece would be a hell of a lot less risky than robbing banks. As you can see by my big adorable round ears, I’m a gnome. I don’t pack a lot of muscle into this three-and-a-half-foot body of mine. I’ve got more brains than brawn, and the law is a good racket for a mug like me.

Gnomes are known for their financial success, aren’t they?

Hey, that’s a stereotype! Not all gnomes are rich, but, yeah, a lot of us are. We tend to have good heads for business. When the Dragon Lords stormed out of Hell, they brought trolls and dwarfs along to slap their enemies around on the battlefield. They brought us gnomes along because they needed people with intelligence to build their economic infrastructures. We gnomes prefer to do our fighting across a table in the boardroom, or in the courts.

What was it like growing up in Yerba City?

I had it pretty good. My father was a bank manager. Very fuckin’ respectable. He taught me the value of money, which is something I’ve never forgotten. School was okay. I made some dough helping some of the guys get through it, you know, doing their homework for them and “convincing” some of the teachers to alter their grades.

How did you do that?

Hey, teachers aren’t any cleaner than anyone else. They’ve all got something to hide. Maybe from their spouses, or maybe from their bosses—maybe even from the coppers! Once you’ve ferreted out their little peccadilloes, they become very willing to make deals.

So blackmail is the key to your success?

Watch it, pal! “Blackmail” is such an ugly word. It’s not my fault that so many people have skeletons in their closet, or that I’m so good at discovering them. Once my operation started to grow, I began hiring investigators to get the dirt for me. There’s this hard number named Alex Southerland, for example. He’s done a lot of good work for me. We have a nice copacetic little arrangement. He tends to get himself into a lot of hot water with the boys in blue, and it’s my job to get him out it. For a price, of course. I make sure that I rack up a lot of billable hours keeping him free to operate, and, as a result, he’s into me deep. He pays some of it back by doing investigative work for me, but the poor bastard will probably die owing me money. And the way he operates, that could happen sooner rather than later.

Continue reading “Robinson Lubank (of Alexander Southerland P.I. series, by Douglas Lumsden)”

John Conquer (of Conquer, by Edward M. Erdelac)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a P.I. from 1976 Harlem — the cat you call when your hair stands up, a supernatural brother like no other.


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

I was born in New Orleans but came to New York with my parents when I was seven. We stayed with my Uncle Silas till he passed. I was raised on West 115th in the Foster Projects in Harlem. They call ‘em the MLK Projects now. It was cool growing up. We had the big playground, monkey bars, ball courts…good old PS 170. When my daddy died and my mama got run down by a taxi, I stayed with Consolation Underwood in East Harlem. She was a bookie for King Solomon Keyes, and an Ifa priestess – an Ìyánífá. She taught me divination with the opon Ifa, had me memorize the 256 odu, while other kids were doin’ times tables. Said ‘cause I was born with a caul I ought to learn, maybe become a babalawo some day. She was Mama to just about every orphan in Harlem at one time or another. Always some kid coming or going in her kitchen. Me and her niece, little Phaedra Williams were the ones who stayed the longest. I used to walk Phaedra over to the pool at Marcus Garvey Park in the summer, stand under the monkey bars to catch her if she slipped. That was before ‘Nam.

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

We couldn’t afford much in the way of toys. Played outside most of the time. One of my favorite memories is of sittin’ up late with my Daddy and my Uncle Silas beatin’ on these handmade mahogany Rada drums he had. My uncle taught me to beat the rhythm on the Boula when I was six. My mama would dance till the sweat made her arms shine in the dark.

What do you do now?

I’m a private investigator now, got an office on 33 St. Marks Place. I run down stray husbands and wives mostly, but sometimes folks call me when the hair on the back of their neck stands up, you dig? I got a reputation around town after I took down a rakshasi one night at the Empire Roller Disco in Brooklyn. Brought it in a lot of weird business. Weirder by the day, sometimes I think. Lucky I inherited a library from my godfather, Fish Marmelstein. He used to own a supply company, Brother Hoodoo. My daddy was his top salesman. Anyway, it’s got most everything I need. I got books on Vodoun, Hoodoo, Kabbalah, Hermeticism…you name it. And if I don’t have it, I know where to find it.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, I wouldn’t call it an adventure. Adventures are supposed to be enjoyable, right? Where do I start? It’s been an eventful year. I took down a clique of vampires in the Harlem Hospital morgue, helped out my Uncle Silas’…..I don’t know what you call Verbena Mechant, a partner? Husband? Wife? Hell, you call her whatever she wants to be called. I learned that the hard way. Anyway, Auntie Verbena had a boo-hag causin’ problems with her girls in Crown Heights. Let’s see….there was that time Lou Lazzeroni found Genie Jones shrunk and floating in a lava lamp and called me in….there was that thing eatin’ graffiti taggers in the subway. Then there was that other thing running rampant at the Vatican…sorry, that’s what Pope used to call the apartment building where he housed his girls….ugh…sorry, Pope’s the pimp whose ghost haunts my car….eh, that’s a long story. I don’t wanna get into that mess. Let’s see….my last ‘adventure’….finding the dude who shot Preacher dead with an arrow in front of Hekima Books. Preacher, that was Benny Galarza, one of my oldest friends. We started the 167th Street Black Enchanters back in ’69 when we got outta Vietnam see….him and me and Black Adam. It had to do with a butchered gorilla carcass the cops found laying in an intersection in the Bronx. I just got out of the hospital from all that. It was a bad scene. Nearly got my black ass pitched off a roof.

Continue reading “John Conquer (of Conquer, by Edward M. Erdelac)”

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