Tell Us About Yourself
Name (s): Olek Marison, the Shadowdancer and the Watcher from the Shadows.
Age: about 40, I think, although I could not say precisely.
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Black hair, red and gold streaks, half-elf male, ivy-leaf tattoo.
Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Ah yes a moral code. I expect mine is not the same as yours, morals are for those with the luxury of freedom. The morals I have are not the ones society says I should have.
If I must choose it would be loyalty to my master, to my lady and his and to our cause. If I am your friend I will remain so, if I am your enemy then beware the shadows for they have eyes.
I do what needs to be done to protect us, and those we help. I am a thief and an assassin. I have killed more times than I can remember but there are worse than I in this dark world. There are those who take freedom and life and pretend they do so in the name of law; these are the slavers and Witch-Hunters and those I kill without guilt. For they have chosen that profession and they bring such sorrow to the world. There are those who simply to not see what is staring them in the face, or turn away and it sometimes they need to be reminded about reality.
Would you kill for those you love? Without a doubt, and I have.
Would you die for those you love? Oh yes, my life belongs to my lord, my friend and my master, and I would die for him without regret.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? Strengths: I am loyal, I am talented and the shadows are mine to command.
Weakness: I tend to see the worst in people. Experience has taught me that.
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? Archos, he is my lord, my friend and as close to brother or father I have ever known. He saved me from the gallows, but more than that he has shown me kindness, friendship and he does not treat me as a slave. Elves and half-elves have no rights in Erana, you understand, but with him I have wealth, I have freedom to come and go as I please, I have been educated and I have been loved. He trusts me I make sure I do not disappoint that trust. I was a street urchin, with nothing, and now I have so much more, he is a remarkable man and it is my honour to serve him.
My lady, Ozena. There have been other women, but none like her. She is brave, and she speaks her mind. Even after this time there is an innocence about her which I love. She has such a wild spirit. Ozena is a good person, far better than I.
Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? I tend to prefer animals to people. We have many horses, my favourite is my gelding, Shadow, but they all serve us with love and loyalty. The manor has various goats and fowls for food, although they are generally cared for by the housekeeper. Animals do not judge, nor do they care if one is an elf or a human and they love unconditionally. There is a Spirit Raven which is the familiar of my mistress Dii’Athella, but I don’t suppose it counts as an animal.
Do you have a family? Tell us about them. I have no blood family – my mother died giving birth to my still-born sister and I do not know who my father was. My mother was a whore, and it could have been any one of the human men she entertained at that time.
Archos, I’ve mentioned. He is family to me, and Ozena, my woman and Dii, Archos’ lady.
Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?Elves have no rights, my mother, as I’ve said was a whore. That was not her choice. I would supplement our income by removing the trinkets of her clients. When a man is otherwise engaged his mind is not on his purse. As the child of a slave I was also a slave but the Madam who controlled us would also get me to steal for her. When my mother died I was expected to pay her debts… by any means. How does it influence me? I suppose you could say I will do what needs to be done. I despise slavers and I will fight to my last breath to free any woman forced to do what my mother did.
Do you have any phobias? Losing those I love.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I will eat pretty much anything, when one has to survive in the Enclave and is always hungry, one eats what one can. I have eaten, rats, cockroaches, snails, maggots, rubbish, rotting food, snake and salamander. I used to know a great recipe for rat stew.
Tell Us About Your World
Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. My world? Ah yes Erana. Once it was glorious, once it was mighty but now it is dark, it is full of corruption and hatred. War and Plague will bring even the greatest low. There are those who think they run the land, the Order of Witch-Hunters, but they control it for their own gains. They rule by fear, and division and I must admit they are very successful in that. However they do not have everything their own way, there is resistance. Not that I know anything about that at all…
Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. If I am honest I am a little too cynical to put much faith in the gods, but I know the mages follow them more than I. Oh they exist, of that I have no doubt, I have seen their work first-hand but whether they help the likes of me, that is another question. The Witch-Hunters do not encourage the old beliefs, the gods and the demi-gods, the magical creatures are anathema to them. How do they affect my behaviour? I hedge my bets and toss a prayer their way when I need it.
Name and describe a food from your world. As I’ve said, rat stew… yummy. Well not really but meat is meat when you are hungry. With some pilfered veggies, and bread which is not mouldy there is a meal which will keep you alive and will not kill you. Usually anyway.
Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? Of course. Although if the Witch-Hunters have their way it will be eradicated. They have not been successful thus far. Magic is magic, it has many forms and it will not yield to the laws of men. Officially magic and its practitioners are illegal. Mages and adepts can be executed, simply because they are magical, if they are caught. Mages live in hiding, or disguise their skills and apothecaries, or wise folk. Poor Dii, my kind and gentle mistress, was tortured and raped by the Order, because she was an elf and a mage. Were it not for Archos she would not have survived. Even adepts, like myself, are not safe although our skills are easier to hide. I can command the shadows, I can walk in silence and I can fight like few other men can. Archos always tells me magic demands a price and sometimes that price is freedom, pain or even death.
Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? There are elves, half-elves, humans and trolls. Elves and half-elves are generally slaves to the humans, they certainly have no rights. Many humans blame the elves for the Plague, although whether this is the truth I have no idea. Archos is the man to ask on that. Trolls tend to keep themselves to themselves; they live in the mountains and remote areas and trade among themselves. They are magical and far nobler than the other races if you ask me, although they do like to war, so I’ve been told. I have only encountered the Trollkind recently but they are decent folk.
Oh and there are the Fae, but WHAT they are I have no clue. They came from one of the lost magical realms, nasty bastards they are as well. Or at least the one we found was, he is….no longer a problem.
Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. Hmm, well let me see. There is a nymph in a magic glade in the Shimmering Forest, she is one of the old forest folk, a magical creature and guardian of the sacred places. My Ozena found her from a childhood story and her lover is a toad, an elven prince cursed by wicked magic.
A troll goddess guards the route to the Temple of the Sky, and it is her whim, or not that one may pass the sacred waterfall. Her daughter is a flower….
What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?Technology? We have iron or steel swords, armour of the same, for those who can afford it and people get about on their own feet or horseback. Archos has a magic powered hot water urn, and there are magic powered lights. What do you have?
What could I not live without? As I have lived with next to nothing I can make do with my own bare hands. What would I WISH not to live without? My drake-metal swords – iron magic-forged with drake’s blood. They are strong, they are sharp and they give me an edge…well two as they are paired…Apologies, bad joke. Ozena laughs at my humour but I am sure she is just being polite.
Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. As I’ve said there are a few, although they are rare and generally live in hiding. Archos is a Skychild, and an Archmage. I think he is the last of his kind, although I doubt they were ever common. There are gods, and demi-gods but they rarely show themselves. Being ruled by the Order does that. We found an Avi-tam, an air elemental, recently but aside from the fact she is a creature of magic and serves a goddess I could not say WHAT exactly she was.
Author name: A. L. Butcher
Website/Blog/Author pages etc. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher