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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Ammo (of A Voice That Thunders, by Cully Mack)

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. 

Continue reading “Ammo (of A Voice That Thunders, by Cully Mack)”

The character cast (of Unveiling, by Zel Winter)

Dear readers, tonight we host a rather chaotic interview with five characters out of a novel’s cast. They are here to tell us about a world in which powerful Immortal beings battle for justice in a magical world just beyond the veil of our own — all while continually bickering about spoilers.


Hello everybody, tonight on the interview couch are part of the cast from Unveiling. Could you please introduce yourselves, and helps us know who’s who?

🙋♀️ Hi, I’m Nina. (a little wave)

🦇 Dan. (quick short nod)

🙎🏻 My name is Maya. (curtsy)

🐺 Lupus. (short snort)

🧛🏻 Hey, (speaking in a heavy Spanish accent) I’m Franco. (sits further away from the rest).

Nina, tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

🙋♀️ My early childhood was with my adoptive parents, and they were great. I wouldn’t say, though, that’s where I grew up. I was in foster care from the age eleven. I’m not gonna lie to you or the fans, it was tough: but I learned how to stand up for myself. I remember Tony, one of my foster brothers, he would get into kids faces and intimidate them to do the most ridiculous things one could think of. He told this one kid to shave our foster dad’s eyebrows. The kid did it. When Ronny woke up, he freaked! We had to run and hide. Three days, (she puts her 3 fingers up), three days I slept outdoors. He tried it on me a couple of times. I told him to get lost. For some reason, he stopped bothering me.

Lupus, do you have any cherished memories?

🐺 Funny you should ask. My generation was the first to start shifting into human form. AncientWeres could, but didn’t. There was no reason. So, when this new thing started to happen, all of us left our parents’ and started our own pack. At that time, we didn’t know we were supposed to walk on two legs, so we walked on all four. We also had no control over it, so when it happened it was both surprising and painful. We were clumsy, slow and hungry all the time. One time, my brother stopped shifting halfway so his right side was human while his left was in wolf form. When we saw him, we didn’t recognize him and ran away. It took him hours to calm down and complete the shift. Sometimes, we still laugh about it. I wouldn’t change a thing, I cherish those memories.

Franco, what do you do now?

🧛🏻 Me and my kind, have a grand plan. I can’t talk about it, but we are going to stick it to those other immortals. They won’t even know it’s coming, and then, KABOOM! (he makes a gesture of explosion with his hands).

🙎🏻 KABOOM?

🧛🏻 Well, not really kaboom, but you know what I mean.

🙎🏻 No, I really don’t.

🧛🏻 (He faces the host) See? That means I piqued the curiosity, yet didn’t reveal anything specific. Mission accomplished.

Dan, Lupus, what can you tell us about your latest adventure?

🦇 It was a good fight. We won.

🐺 It was fantastic, and loads of fun. Just imagine bursting into the enemy compound, killing the monsters, freeing the dam…

🦇 Spoiler!

🐺 So much more I can’t tell you about. This guy, (he points to Dan), he goes under the radar, in more ways than one, but mostly because he is dust

🦇 SPOILER!!!

🐺 What did I say?

🦇 You said ‘dust’.

🐺Dust is nothing, it’s dust.

🦇 Dust is a spoiler.

🐺 Fine, I hate being interrupted. Where was I? Oh, ya, this guy, (points to Dan), if you piss him off, it’s your funeral. I saw him once kill eight beasts, before the first one hit the floor. That’s how lethal he is.

Dan, you gonna show us some moves?

🦇 (vaguely smiles) I don’t think so.

C’mon Dan, just a couple of moves.

🦇 I’m not really pissed off. (He turns to Franco). Any volunteers, Franco? No? (Dan shrugs). Sorry.

Maya, what did you first think when you saw Nina?

🙎🏻 I thought I was going crazy. With the ordeal that happened the night before, I still thought I was drugged or hallucinating. It was like looking in the mirror but not. I remember blinking repeatedly and looking around for monsters. It took me a while to compose myself. The cup of coffee helped, along with hearing Nina through my ears and not as a random voice in my head.

Hey Dan, what was the scariest thing in your first mission?

🦇 I thought she might turn. There is nothing worse than accidentally turning someone you ca…

🙋♀️ Spoiler!!

🦇 What? I thought they already knew.

🙋♀️ (quietly) Spoiler.

🦇 Really? (looks around, everybody nods). Fine…that’s why I don’t say much.

Nina, what is the worst thing about your rescue?

🙋♀️ The previous misjudgement of my rescuer.  In my eyes, he went from hero to zero like this, (she snaps her fingers). I had one view of him and then within a blink of an eye, I witnessed a triple murder, got kidnapped again, this time by him, and then thought I’d became a fugitive on the run from the police. Could that day get any worse???

What is the best thing about it?

🙋♀️ I can’t tell you the best part, but, I’m still here, alive and not running from the police. That’s pretty good, right? (looks around, everybody nods).

Dan, tell us a little about your friends.

🦇 I’ve been lucky. I have friends among all species. All present (except one 🧛🏻) are my friends. But, I think you want to hear about those who are not here. (He adjusts himself comfortably in the chair).

Yes?

🦇 What? Oh, you want me to tell you about them? OK, where do I start?

My brother is by far the person I trust the most.

Weres’ Alpha, Lav – a WereLion, is a strong leader and a good friend to have. Weres are great; they can communicate telepathically. They do it when in their beastly form or if they want to keep a secret from Faes. 

Faes are…refreshing and a little odd. I mostly interact with FaeRaven when passing messages. They like to gossip about everything they know. A little funny, a little quirky, but what can you expect when you put birds and magic together, right?

Dragons…they are real beasts and trump everyone—the protectors of the world. The Wise One is the most powerful. He helped me a lot.  

Any romantic involvement?

🐺 Man, I went nuts. I imprinted and it drove me crazy, I couldn’t eat, sleep, hunt, focus, or talk to anyone about it, because we sort of invaded that place, without Alpha’s permiss…

🦇 SPOILER!!!

🐺 and apparently there is never a good time to talk about it, (he turns to the audience) you’ll just have to read about it, guys. Just trust me, I was crazy.

🦇 Yeah, crazy is a good word, you almost mauled me…

🐺 That’s a spoiler!!

Whom (or what) do you really hate?

🧛🏻 Let me just say…I don’t like humans, but they taste delicious. I despise Nature’s Immortals, and especially the traitor.

🙎🏻 Vampires, for what they did to me.

🐺 The cursed ones (turns to Dan), no offense.

🙋♀️ Tony, and all bad vampires.

🦇 All who disrespect life.

Franco, what’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?

🧛🏻 Fresh human blood. Red, and feeding, or planning how to dest…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

 🧛🏻 (Hisses)

What does the future hold for you?

🙎🏻 Well, I’m going to become…

everyone: SPOILER!

🐺 What about when we broke in the headquarters and took…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🙋♀️ I had a dream once…

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🧛🏻 Would you like to know about the plan? (wiggles eyebrows)

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🧛🏻 (Hisses) Do you think I would tell the readers with all of you, (he swipes his arm across the cast), listening?

🦇 I spoke to Drezga, and he told me he has a source in Hen….

everyone: SPOILER!!!

🦇 That’s why I don’t say much.

Nina, can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?

🙋♀️ Hm…how about if I share a part of a secret? Everything we witness and experience changes us, and I am no exception. In the words of Nada VaZaki, “They’ve broken the wrong parts of me. They’ve broken my wings and forgot I had claws.”


Zel Winter lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, two wonderful daughters, two dogs and two cats. She loves nature, animals and children. Zel enjoys cooking and baking, and above all, reading and writing.

You can find Nina, Dan, Maya, Lupus and Franco on the pages of Unveiling.

Join us next week to meet a man playing agent for gods. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.

Effie Tsiragakis (of Bloodsucking Bogans, by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a library assistant. She is here to talk about her policewoman friend investigating a plague of dead rats and finding something quite else.


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

Oh, I’ve always been a Dingo Flats girl. Same old. Out of the three of us, me and my two BFFs Sam and Shanna, only Sam left, to go to the Police Academy, and now she’s back too. It’s not a bad place for a Western suburb. There’s a big library, that’s where I work. And of course there’s the Vet Hospital. One pub and a nightclub, and a river runs along the edge of town, so it’s nice for picnics and that.

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

Cherished memories, umm… yeah nah I reckon my best memory hasn’t happened yet, but one of the most fun things I’ve done was staking out that hot vet, Gordon Somerville. It was just like being a real detective. Sam was real cross about it – she reckons only cops should do that kinda stuff, but hey. It all worked out for the best. It was for her benefit, anyway. A good deed is its own reward, right?

What do you do now?

I work in the Dingo Flats library. It’s what I wanted to do. I stuck out school all the way to Year 12 to qualify for it. I mean, I was sooooo tempted to leave when Shanna did, she got an apprenticeship at Scissors ya know, and all of a sudden there she is working and earning money and that, and here’s me and Sam still kids at school having to ask our Dads for our pocket money. It was hard. But I made the sacrifice and I love my job. I get to read everything, and even better, I get to know what everyone else is reading. I mean, not many people would guess that Mrs Peabody reads hot steamy fireman porn, right?

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

OMG. The last few months’ve been so epic. Sam came back, she got a posting at the nick back here, so it was wonderful just for a start, the three of us all together again. Me and Shanna had a ball giving her a makeover. Sam’s such a dag. ‘Makeup doesn’t go with the uniform,’ she reckons. OMG and you should hear her get started on drink driving. She’s always taking our keys off me and Shanna. But the most fun thing this year was when Sam investigated how all the dead rats kept appearing outside the shops down the main drag, and you won’t believe what she found out! It’s totally awesome!

Continue reading “Effie Tsiragakis (of Bloodsucking Bogans, by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith)”

Jamuqa (of the Amgalant series, by Bryn Hammond)

Dear readers, tonight we present you with a Mongol chief from the armies of Temujin (whom you might know as Genghis Khan). We witness the chief being questioned by Irle Khan — the king of ghosts.


A deep voice in the gloom. What creature are you?

Jamuqa saw nothing. Nothing was what he had expected. “I’m a Mongol,” he said aloud. “Despite everything. A dead one.” He thought about that. “Dead and proud. Who are you? Irle Khan?”

If you think I am Irle Khan, said the voice, how do you imagine him?

“Oh, as the nursery rhyme tells me.

Throned on black beaver pelts thou suppest, Irle Khan;
The breastbone of a corpse serves thee for platter,
Thy cutlery shriveled fingers, sharpened nails, from a tomb.

Thy great hips girt with thine sword in verdigris,
In iron scales, in ancient braid and epaulet, thou comest stalking,
Thou stretchest forth thy hand to our heroes, to our steeds.

Irle Khan, like a black coal thy countenance glitters,
Like tides in the ocean wave thy waxy black tresses:
Mighty, mighty art thou, lovely art thou, Irle Khan.

Flattery,” said Jamuqa, “obviously, to avert the King of the Dead. But by the end, you were lovely to me.”

My questions begin at the beginning. Answer them, Jamuqa Chief of Jajirat, to see my face.

“Fantastic.”

Exercise your faculties, after your delivery to me. Call up a cherished memory from your childhood. A toy you were attached to?

“If you’re Irle Khan you know I didn’t have a childhood. A toy? My toys were half-sized weapons and my games were soldier’s drill.”

What about that game of knucklebones once on the Tola River’s ice?

“I see. You know the answers already. You mean when I met Temujin.”

Is he the only early memory you like to think of? Talk to me, Jamuqa Chief of Jajirat. I have a list of questions and we go by the rules down here.

“Yes, you have a reputation for inflexibility, but then I was known as a martinet myself. I’ve always been curious to meet you, Irle Khan. I’ll answer your questions.

I grew up in hard years for the Mongols, and my tribe had them hardest. Except for Temujin’s, who lost his tribe. We were both eight years old when I challenged him to knucklebones that day on the frozen Tola. Same day, I took him to see my tree half-burnt by lightning and within the week, we mixed the holy ash in blood out of our thumbs, and drank the drink that made us andas.”

Did you keep that oath of blood brotherhood, the both of you?

“With you to punish oath-renegers? An oath was never so bent and battered as that one between Temujin and me. Yet on the other hand, no oath held so true. You smell out a whiff of a lie, Irle Khan, and you’ll eat a corpse like me for fibs, and the spirit too. Now I challenge you.” He fell silent.

After a moment’s wait the voice went on to its next question. No lie detected, then.

Continue reading “Jamuqa (of the Amgalant series, by Bryn Hammond)”

Luna (of Pink, Not Fanged, by Paige Etheridge)

Dear readers, tonight we interview a young woman who found herself at the clashing point of science and the supernatural. She is here to talk about anxiety, the dangers of the Amazon river, and were-dolphins.


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

I lived in Narragansett,  Rhode Island until I was eighteen. A beach town known as Gansett by locals. Being in New England, it’s cold much of the year. Despite this I walked along the beach all the time, whether it was returning home from school or just to wander while looking at the ocean. Narragansett is also known for it’s Witch’s Altar and Druid’s Chair. Joseph Peace Hazard built the Druid styled burial site for his family. Even though it’s located in a rich and considerably safe neighborhood, I was always too scared to go there. It wasn’t just because of my conflicts over the paranormal at the time. I was terrified I’d run into classmates doing crazy stuff there. It’s the perfect place to have sent my anxiety through the roof. I hated parties and drugs. Add illegal trespassing and satanic rituals? I’m staying as far away as possible. 

So do you believe in ghosts, spirits, the paranormal?

I tried not to for a long time. It scared me too much and anything which spiked my anxiety was something I always ran away from. The science I long studied didn’t give such things much value. Yet this didn’t comfort me. Somehow I knew science didn’t have the real answers for any of this. Answers about the mysterious  woman and Amazon River Dolphins I dreamed about. Answers about the power from the Dolphin tooth I found. Spending years being haunted by the ghost of a Weredolphin and finally having the paranormal literally staring you in the face changed that. I didn’t start to believe, I started to know it’s real.

Do you know how you got your name?

I don’t actually. Yet for years of my life, I very much felt like the moon. Watching others from afar. Living in my own space far from others. Not known well by most. Most of the time people passed me without a thought. Occasionally I would be stared at and it would terrify me. I found comfort being isolated and alone. But overtime, I learned to illuminate through my own light. 

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

There were glow in the dark stars on my ceiling I loved looking at when I couldn’t go outside to look at the real stars. I didn’t have things I was attached to as a child. I loved stargazing. It’s one of the few things which calmed me as a kid. I still take much comfort in it now, even if the constellations visible to me have changed. I don’t remember my family much. We were all ghosts to each other. Barley seeing or interacting with one another. 

Do you have thoughts on Astrology/Astronomy? 

Both are of equal value to me now that I know what I know. But there is still much I need to learn about both. Looking to the stars teaches you a lot, but not everything. There is still much I need to do in order to better understand the Cosmos. But there are also things I won’t understand even in my new life. Yet I can still gaze in awe. 

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I was in combat training with a Werejaguar. The first Jaguar I ever encountered nearly killed me. Training with a Werejaguar, who can take on both Jaguar and Humanoid form, has given me the advantages I need to survive in the wilderness. I have scars to prove it and I’m proud of them. 

Continue reading “Luna (of Pink, Not Fanged, by Paige Etheridge)”

Milandra (of The Cleansing, by Sam Kates)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a member of an alien race, a race that has had quite enough of humanity and has decided to do away with us.


I’d like to begin by thanking you for having me. I have lived here on Earth Haven for many years—for almost five millennia, to be more precise—but have not, until now, been able to talk about myself or my people. We have, through necessity, maintained a shadowy existence, one of secrecy and discretion, not attempting to deny the fact of our existence, but rather the nature of it: the longevity and regeneration capabilities, the power to influence lesser creatures, the ability to communicate mentally… It’s not a term we use, but I suppose you’d call it telepathy. I think it was one of my deputies, Jason Grant, who described our lifestyle as ‘hiding in plain sight’. It’s a good way to describe it—typically Jason.

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

Growing up isn’t a concept that applies to me and my kind. Not really. You see, we are born in a similar way to drones— sorry, I mean humans, but after gestating for only two weeks in the womb. The placenta is expelled whole and we mature within it, not emerging until fully grown.

I was born and lived the first couple of centuries of my life on Earth Home. That’s a planet some distance from Earth Haven. 479.4 light years, to be exact.

It’s a planet similar in many respects to this one. The main difference lies in the sun around which it orbits. It is millions of years older than Sol and has begun to expand into what scientists here call a red giant. The surface of Earth Home has been uninhabitable for many millennia; my people have, of necessity, become below-ground dwellers. Burrowers.

There will come a time—no one can be sure when, but we are confident it will happen within the next few centuries—that Earth Home’s sun will explode, sloughing off its outer shell like a snake shedding its skin. Then life on Earth Home, even our subterranean type of existence, will become unsustainable. It is why we are relocating. It is why we are here.

Continue reading “Milandra (of The Cleansing, by Sam Kates)”

Thya (of Illusional Reality, by Karina Kantas)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a marketing exec turned heir to a magical kingdom. She’s here to tell us about power and destiny.


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

Well, I’m from the UK, at least I thought I was. Turned out I was adopted and was born in Tsinia a magical land on Enumac.  My adopted parents were amazing and gave me love and everything I needed.  Thanks to them, I went to college and studied hard and then got a position in a prestigious Marketing firm and worked my way up before becoming an executive.

I was happy in my own way. I lived by myself in a converted loft in the centre of town and was single and I thought my life path was set. But little did I know that everything I thought was real was just an illusion  and everything I knew as truth, was, in fact, a lie,

What do you do now?

Now I’m Queen of Tsinia, my real home. Guardians to the Changlins (the sacred stones.) When I found out who I was, it took a lot to finally accept my rightful destiny.  I was very stubborn, well I still am. But I refused to take the crown and demanded they send me back home. Especially when I found out what they had planned for me. Can you imagine, waking up in a  strange land, being told you are the heir and you have magical powers and that you’re to marry an evil warlord’s son, which it was said, he was the one who slew my parents, the rulers of Tsinia (the Ganties.)

I didn’t know these Tsinians and yet their govern committee decided that an alliance between the two lands, Senx and Tsinia would create peace and I was supposed to be the cement. So stubborn me refused their plans and to meet with Darthorn and my decision caused death and destruction. Knowing what I do, If I could have gone back, I would have done things a lot differently.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

The first adventure was bittersweet and there are some things I don’t want to speak about. Eventually, I agreed to meet with Darthorn but I refused the marriage to Kovon, Darthorn’s son. I had it in my head that we could create peace without a union. Hey, I was young and stubborn and didn’t know any better. Let’s just say the meeting didn’t go well. 

I was being tutored in the Tsinian code by Pertuis and Alkazar was my tutor in my gifts ( as we like to call them) but it was his duty to teach me how to use my powers and control them. As a Gantie, I had the gift of Mynd, where I could make things move with my mind. I turned out I was a special Gantie where only one other ever existed with the added power to control the five elements.

Then something surprising happened and I was once again asked to speak to the Warlord of Senx. I was trained in my gifts and could use them if needed. But Alkazar spoke of another will that was fighting to get control of me. I didn’t know what he was referring to, but I remember blacking out several times and not remembering what happened. Alkazar and I tried to fight our feelings about each other. Just after the announcement that we were going to both return to Earth and get married, reality came crashing down and I lost my love.  I went back to Earth hoping never to return to Tsinia, however, I gave them my word that should they require their princess, to call for me at once. These Tsinians were my kinsmen and I refused to let them down again.

Continue reading “Thya (of Illusional Reality, by Karina Kantas)”

Ylaine (of Princess of Undersea, by Leslie Conzatti)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a mermaid princess, desperately trying to avert war — even if it means transitioning into a human.


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

This might come as a shock to most people who haven’t met me, but I wasn’t always a land-walking human. I used to be a Mermaid, living in the Channel between Overcliff and the mainland. The mer-kingdom is called Undersea, and it was once much shallower, I’m told, back when the humans, the fairies, and the Merfolk all engaged in trade with one another. That ended, and instead of building taller as the years went on, the Merfolk dug deeper to build their towers, until the “floor” of our city lay deep in the shadows of the ocean. We didn’t venture much higher than the tallest Watchtower at the center of the city, and the only humans we ever saw were the drowned ones that fell with their wrecked ships. It was only by a miracle that I was ever able to not only reach the surface, but be able to exchange my tail for legs and walk among the humans, to breathe air and live as they do.

Do you have any cherished memories from your childhood? What was the one thing you wanted more than anything else when you were young?

Well, I suppose the two are sort of related; they both have to do with my mother. You see, when I was still very young, my mother disappeared, tangled in the net of a fishing boat passing through the Channel–at least, that’s as much as anyone knows. I have vague memories of her, looking up into her kind face as she held me in her arms, sitting in her throne next to the King, my father. More than anything else, I would want to see her again. Her disappearance is what stoked my father’s anger against the humans, such that he would use my magical Gift of Song to sway the minds of his councilors to bend to his will. More than anything I just want my family to be whole again, so that I don’t have to be afraid of what might happen as a result of too many rash decisions!

What do you mean by “Gift of Song”?

I mentioned before about the humans, the Merfolk, and the fairies living in harmony with one another. Back in the days of old, the Merfolk and the humans would trade with one another, and every Great Moon, the fairies would come and bestow gifts upon humans and merfolk alike. They chose infants to gift, since each fairy only had one Gift to give, and there weren’t as many of them. That ended when the human King seemed to arbitrarily decide that the fairies were no longer welcome among them, and they set up gates of iron and other repellants to drive the fairies away and ensure that they couldn’t ever come back. (I have since learned that the human King’s decision was not arbitrary, but borne of great tragedy, similar to my father’s own decision to go to war) At the next Great Moon Rising, a few fairies came to bestow Gifts on some Mer-children, and to tell us that this would be the last time they would come. I was the last infant born before that time, so I received the last fairy Gift: the Gift of Song.

According to my godmother, the fairy who gave the Gift spoke thus: “May the music of your voice bring comfort to the heavy heart, courage to the fearful heart, wisdom to the foolish one, and truth to the hearts darkened by falsehood. May those whose hearts are noble be drawn by the sound of your Gift.”

It followed that whenever I sang or even spoke, my voice would compel all who heard it to listen. Unfortunately, after my mother disappeared, my songs would only remind my father of her disappearance, and he constantly refused to listen to me, barely letting me speak in his presence, much less sing at all, except on the anniversary of my mother’s disappearance, when he would be too distraught to protest. When he decided that he wanted war against the humans, though, he met opposition from several wiser councilors–so instead of heeding them, he found a use for me, bidding me to sing for the councils, so that they would comply with whatever he said. My “Gift” became something horrible to me, something that others used for their own purposes, because I could never use it for the purpose I really wanted: to comfort my father, and help him see reason in all the hurt and bitterness he carried.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, I became human because I wanted to prove to my father that they weren’t malicious and just biding their time, waiting for a chance to send down their best divers with giant nets and sweep us all up for food like so many sturgeon. Honestly, when I first learned about the potion that would make me human for a day, the first thing I wanted to do was acquire two doses of it, so that my father could come with me and we could just be humans for a day and find out what they were really like. I suppose a part of me thought that sharing a moment like that could pave the way for more of a discussion between us of the best course of action, rather than letting him shove me in front of the council and then ignore me when he got what he wanted. 

Well, imagine my surprise when the very next day, a human suddenly drops from the surface right next to me! I caved to my first instinct and pulled him back to the surface–but after that moment, I just wanted to find him again. I didn’t even care that only one dose of potion was ready. 

Little did I know, the situation on the surface would change my life forever.

Continue reading “Ylaine (of Princess of Undersea, by Leslie Conzatti)”

Keira Aurora (of Cyber Knot, by Paige Etheridge)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a tattoo artist from the near future. She is here to tell us about her dystopian future, with government-pushed drugs and the security of gangs, and about cyborgs – both human and whales.


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

2100s Seattle. Starbucks is still a thing, but I’ve never been there. Many of the buildings of the city are empty and covered in vines. Nature has been taking back the city. Where there’s room on the outside walls, art is created. The government can’t keep up with stopping these artists. They never caught up to my art either. 

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

I have a stuffed Unicorn which was my only toy as a child. I also held onto a Dreamcatcher from that time as an afterthought. But even when I was young, I was creating art on walls. I painted the walls of my room. I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time, but I always had my paint. My parents were too out of it to ever stop me. When I left for the last time, I also brought my paint with me. 

What do you do now?

I design tattoos which can glow in the dark. These express both the uniqueness of the individuals as well as fulfilling their needs in battle. I train with Infinity in ancient combat techniques while also honing in on the abilities left in my body after having the chip removed. 

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I swam with Cyborcas: Orcas with technological additions to their bodies. We don’t speak the same language, but communicate telepathically. It’s an experience unlike anything I’ve ever had with a human. It’s still unknown how Cyborcas came to be, but they are some kind of a result of the struggles Orcas faced off the Washington Coast during the 21st Century. 

Continue reading “Keira Aurora (of Cyber Knot, by Paige Etheridge)”

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