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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Napoleon

Lieutenant Colonel Gaston d’Bois (of Mon Dieu Cthulhu! by John Houlihan)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a French Hussar from the Napoleonic Wars, who found out that there are worse horrors than facing Wellington in battle. He’s here to tell, in his charmingly French way of speaking, about his adventures.


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

D’Bois is a child of the forest, and was most fortunate to grow up in the Ardennes and even luckier that it was the French rather than the Belgian part, non, or Lieutenant Colonel Gaston d’Bois (retired) would be a different man entirely!  Mon Dieu, you could not wish for a more idyllic playground, the wooded glades were my play pen, the trees my climbing frame, the birds and the beasts my teachers, and d’Bois learned many of the most important lessons in life underneath that idyllic canopy.

Did you have any cherished childhood memories?

D’Bois was born to be an hussar, a formidable rider, swordsmen, crack shot and lover, although he is equally a most ‘umble and modest man. Yet it was almost before he could walk that he began his lifelong love affair with the cheval—the ‘orse as I believe you Anglais types term them.  D’Bois took to the saddle like he was born there and his père schooled him in the virtues of ‘unting, shooting and swordplay, so he was perfectly prepared for the horse soldier’s life which destiny had chosen for him.

What do you do now?

Alas, d’Bois is long in his dotage now, but the fire still burns, even if it produces more smoke than flame nowadays! Mais, but he is passing the time, in between pursing the delightful if ever elusive widow, by recounting his adventures in Napoleon’s grand armee to a journaliste Anglaise. Normally, these are the most despicable of low life types, who d’Bois would not hesitate to horsewhip on sight. Yet this one seems a decent fellow, enraptured by the many strange occult adventures that befell d’Bois during his time in Napoleon’s armee, as well as being most liberal with the cognac.

Continue reading “Lieutenant Colonel Gaston d’Bois (of Mon Dieu Cthulhu! by John Houlihan)”

Raphael (of Light’s Rise, by Yvette Bostic)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man born in the early 17th century — at least the corresponding time of an alternate history.

He is here to tell us about his magical adventures during the Napoleonic Wars.


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

My name is Raphael Silva Lopez. I grew up in a small village on the eastern coast of Brazil, in the early 1600’s. My father was a retired Portuguese soldier and my mother was the youngest daughter of a sugar plantation laborer for the Jesuits. Her tribe worked for the Jesuits for years. My childhood was difficult, as I wasn’t accepted by either culture. Rather than try to fit in, I retreated to the jungle and learned to hunt, fish, trap and survive. Papa took the time he could to teach me things he learned from the army, while Mama taught me the ways of her people. I was always eager to learn and was grateful when an old Jesuit schoolmaster took me under his tutelage. The school said he was too old to teach, but it didn’t prevent me from soaking up whatever knowledge he would grant me.

Did you have any cherished memories from your childhood?

One evening, Jose, my Jesuit teacher and I walked along a well-worn path where the forest met the beach. He pointed at the different trees, flowers and shrubs as we strolled past them, demanding that I tell him their names and characteristics. What were their uses? Were they edible or poisonous? Did they have healing properties? We reached the old log that marked our time to turn back. Jose never took me beyond that point. For three years, I followed him along the path and for three years we always turned back at the fallen log. That night, Jose paused and looked at the rotting wood. “Raphael,” he said in his old, graveled voice. “There comes a time in everyone’s life where we must walk beyond our comfortable boundaries.” He stared into the darkened trees and fell silent for several moments. “When that time comes for you, do not hesitate.” He turned his gaze on me and his deep brown eyes bore into my own. He placed his gnarled fingers on my bony shoulder and squeezed. “Don’t be afraid of the unknown, son. Everything is unknown until it is no longer.”

Twelve years later, I reached the point in my life where I was faced with crossing my boundary. It was that moment in time when I had to decide to fight against the evil that threatened our world or walk away from it. The old man’s words came back to me and I didn’t hesitate.

What is your role in the Council of Light?

I think I have many roles. I like some of them better than others. I suppose the others I would avoid all together if I could. My role is completely opposite of everyone else. They are blessed with strength, stamina and magical powers. I was blessed with knowledge, for which I am eternally grateful. I was never very good with a sword and only barely proficient with daggers. But my eagerness to learn proved my greatest asset. I cannot manipulate magic the way Mikel or Magdelin do, but I can see the way they use it. I could spend hours watching it surround, caress and flow through my fellow council members. It dances with them as if the magic and person are one. Maybe they are. But, I digress, my job is to use this knowledge to create protective runes and enhancements for our warriors. Continue reading “Raphael (of Light’s Rise, by Yvette Bostic)”

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