Today I welcome author, singer and songwriter Chris Morris and his character.
*I am Tarhunt the Storm God of the Hittites and the Hurri lands.
Why are you embarking on this quest? The dragon Illuyankas brought me battle and vanquished me, eating my heart and my eyes. From that day on, I planned revenge, and now I will take it, using my own children, now grown, to triumph over this dragon who eats the children of our country.
Where are you from? I live in the heavens, but my main temples are in Nerik and Hattusas
*Tell us about dragons in your world. This dragon Illuyankas demands human children for sacrifice. He is a dragon of the sea, and sometimes he mates with human women.
Do you have a family? I begot upon the daughter of a poor man and a goddess a son named Sarruma, through whom I will avenge myself upon the dragon Illuyankas. And also I begat a daughter, to help me lay low this dragon and stop him and his family from eating Hattian children.
What is the best way to kill a dragon? To kill such a dragon, even a god must go carefully. I will smite him with my lightnings, and overcome him with my lightnings. I will strike the sea, and it will arise to my purpose. I will summon the storms, and they will come to aid me. When he is weak I will pierce his eyes with my trident. I will make the sea boil with my wrath, and the dragon will die of my rage.
Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero?
To be a god, one must be a hero. One must heed the peoples of the lands, and bring good things upon them. I bring the thunder, the lightnings, the rain to nourish beasts and crops. I fight beside my people when they war, striking down their enemies and even their gods. I summon the rain and the wind and all weather. In the Hatti lands, where we have 1,000 gods, I rule them all. For the sake of my peoples, I call the other gods to aid me and together we fight great battles.
Author questions: I am Christopher Crosby Morris, writer, narrator, and musician. I have been a defense policy analyst and futurist.
How do you define a hero? A hero is one who serves a cause greater than the self.
Why did you choose this era to write in? This anthology needed to start with a dragon from earliest days of myth. I chose the Hittite and Hurrian Illuyankas myth because it may well be the earliest battle of god and dragon ever told.
Give us a couple of lines about your characters.The narrator of my story is Kella, the actual narrator of one of tablets that record a variant of the Illuyankas myth. In my story Kella, high priest of Nerik, in the north of Hatti, tells a first-hand account of the second battle between the dragon and the storm god. The hero of this tale is the storm god himself, Tarhunt, who begets two children specifically to help him defeat the dragon who previously had eaten his heart and his eyes. There is another variant of this story, in which Tarhunt’s daughter and her human lover get the dragon drunk and tie him up so that the gods can come down and slay him, but that is not the variant we tell. In our story, although the storm god’s daughter has a role, he himself fights this rich and predatory dragon… and if I tell you more, I’ll give away the story’s ending.
Heroika: The Dragon Eaters is a dark heroic fantasy – how do you define that genre? Dark heroic fantasy was once called simply heroic fiction or mythology – which is always dark, always allegorical, and usually carries a moral whose value is shown in the story. For me, heroic fiction is any tale in which a character strives to put aside his personal well-being in search of a solution to problems greater than his own.
How much research did you need for your story? My wife, Janet Morris, and I have spent many years reading and researching Ancient Near Eastern myth and legend, some of mankind’s earliest stories. But researching in detail the myth of Illuyankas required not only a deep familiarity with the various versions of the story, but enough command of the early texts to be able to create a single version out of several.
Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? I have written for a number of shared universes, including Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell universe, Bob Asprin and Lynn Abbey’s Thieves’ world universe, C.J. Cherryh’s Merovingen Universe, and more. I actually enjoy the challenges of working in a shared cosmos. I’ve also written stand-alone short stories, another different form. A novel allows you time to work with more layers of story than does a short story, in which space is very limited. In a short story, you must know everything about the “past” of the characters, but not tell all, only the climax. So compression of the most radical sort is needed for a short piece of fiction which must have a beginning, middle, and end in a confined space.
What other novels/short stories have you written? With Janet Morris, I have written a number of novels: The Sacred Band is my favorite, with its grand canvas and heroic ethos. I have also co-written The Fish, the Fighters and the Song-girl, Outpassage, The 40-Minute War, Threshold, Trust Territory, The Stalk, The Little Helliad, M.E.D.U.S.A, and other novels, including several by pseudonyms.
Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. Recently, I came to the craft of narration, and found that it allows me to mix my musical, technical, and prose skills in a new and most satisfying way. I have just finished narrating The Sacred Band for Perseid Press, available on Audible.com, and am just in the final stages of producing I, the Sun for Perseid Press, which will be released on Audible.com for Perseid Press.
Tidbit: My favorite recipe for dragon meat is simply to brush it with olive oil and vinegar and cook it over an open fire for about two hours, or until the skin is black and the scales fall off.
Author website/blog: sacredbander.com