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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Renaissance

Thal Lesky (of Werewolves in the Renaissance, by Tracy Falbe)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a werewolf, stalking the streets of 16th century Prague. He is here to tell us about witches and sorcerers, and about a world that denies its pagan roots.


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

My youth, or my first life as I like to think of it, is not easily recalled. I have flashes of memory since I emerged from the forest. The potions and spells that gave me the wolf life in the forest wiped away my clear recollection of childhood. Or perhaps the ageless decades that I spent in wolf form gradually consumed memories of my early years.

Now that you know better my troubles, I can say that I came to live with my mother on the outskirts of Prague as a young lad. My mother was a midwife and much disparaged by some quarters of society although relied upon by a trusting clientele. Our life on the fringe of society made me an outcast.

I think that motivated me to seek out my father for he could work the magic that would take me away from the human world. He gave me potion and chanted over me in a secret forest grove.

I became a wolf and lived wild in the forest. Always was I an alpha. I knew mates and sired pups. When the wolves of Central Europe howl, I hear my kin.

All of those years are precious to me. Part of me will always be the beast of the woods.

Do you have any important possessions?

I must admit that my wolf hide is precious to me. When my mother cast the spell of werewolf making, it drew me out of the wolf body and left me as a man. But the magic wolf fur remained at my side. When I recite the spell written on the skin, I become the werewolf.

Aside from my fur that I carry with me always, I do love my two pistols. The first one I won in a game of cards from a Bohemian Captain. His rage at that loss caused much misery for the Gypsies whose company I was keeping at the time, which I regret. My second pistol I obtained from a gunsmith in Prague.

Why did your mother cast a spell that made you a werewolf?

The werewolf spell was her last desperate act before witch hunters caught her. They burned her at the stake, but her magic summoned me to avenge her. Her magic compelled me to do some terrible things, but she had her justice in the end.

The folk now call me the Butcher of Prague for what I did.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I’ve reunited with my father, Sarputeen. He gave me shelter after I fled Prague. We’ve decided to make war, such as we can, against an old rival of his. He is a perilous sorcerer named Tekax, who empowered the Ottoman armies.

When Tekax learned that I had returned to the world of men as a werewolf, he wanted to strike a blow against my father. And so Tekax sent assassins to kill me. He worked dark magic to make a creature called a fext. This fext began as a man, a skilled warrior, but now…he cannot be killed.

His body expels bullets and heals. If he is cut, his skin closes and makes the flesh whole again. We hope to defeat him by cutting him into pieces and burning them.

Continue reading “Thal Lesky (of Werewolves in the Renaissance, by Tracy Falbe)”

Giulia Degarno (of Up To The Throne, by Toby Frost)

Dear readers, tonight with us is an ex-criminal on a mission of revenge. She is here to tell us about a world of magically-enhanced Renaissance: a dangerous world of assassins, alchemists and flying machines, a world where artists and scholars cross paths with feuding nobles and clockwork monsters – and death is never far away.


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

I grew up in a city-state called Pagalia, in the north of the Astalian Peninsula. Pagalia is the site of the rebirth of man: the greatest flourishing of art and knowledge for a thousand years. It’s produced painters, scholars, authors, inventors… and people like me. All the stuff about the art is true – but there’s plenty of thieves, robbers, forgers and every other type of criminal there.

Did you have any cherished memories of childhood?

Memories, eh? I don’t have many. Sometimes I think it’s best that I didn’t know much about my parents, what they must have done to make ends meet. There is one memory, though, that always comes back to me. It was during the War of Faith, so I must have been five or six. This column of Inquisition soldiers marched through town on the way to fighting the heretics in the north. They wore black cloaks and silver breastplates, and their boots were so shiny. Everyone had to go outside and cheer. But you could tell that people were scared of them. Even then I knew that. Sometimes I wonder if the New Churchers had to go out and cheer for their soldiers, and whether, deep down, they were frightened, too.

What do you do now?

These days, well, some would call me a thief-catcher, but it’s more complicated than that… Let’s just say that I get things done. Sometimes, it’s finding something that’s been stolen, other times people want me to steal it back… and other times, I just plain steal. When I get some time to myself, I train. You see, I’ve been away from Pagalia for a little while, and when I go back, I’ll need all the practice I can get.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, this is just between you and me, understand? You see my face, these scars? A man called Publius Severra put them there. It was a long time ago, and I was – well, I was a criminal. But I was much less of a criminal than he was, and he wanted me out of the way. His men got me out of the way all right, but they didn’t get the chance to finish me off. So now I’m going back to the place where Severra lives. And I’m going to finish him.

Continue reading “Giulia Degarno (of Up To The Throne, by Toby Frost)”

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