Tell Us About Yourself
Name (s): Tempus, called the Riddler, the Black, the Obscure, the Sleepless One, Tempus Thales, Herakleitos, Favorite of the Storm God, the Hero.
Age: I’ve lived for centuries, in different countries, through different times, different dimensions.
Please tell us a little about yourself: I am a mercenary of the storm gods, servant of the gods of war. Sometimes I find my path solitary, but often I have warriors serving with me who also serve celestial purpose. When I was young, I contested with a sorcerer to save my sister. From this struggle came my curse and my immortality: those I love are bound to spurn me; those who love me die of it; I regenerate any wound I take, except wounds of the spirit or the heart. I’ve been thrust by gods and demiurges and even my sister from one world to another, so time for me is fluid. I was born in a lost place we called Azehur then, a philosopher-prince who loved the glory of truth above all things. Now I go where the storm god of the armies leads, carrying him in my heart and in my flesh.
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less: Two meters tall, horseman’s body, eyes that show my age.
Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? I have one; I wrote one; I live one. The Sacred Band Ethos serves me most times. At its core is this truth: live by the Logos; fight shoulder to shoulder for freedom; honor those who die in battle. In living I have found that character is destiny. My character tells me this: grab reality by the balls and squeeze.
Would you kill for those you love? Without hesitation, I always do.
Would you die for those you love? If I could, I would. But death is denied me. Once I offered to trade my immortality to save another, to no avail. I live on, amid the strife on every battlefield, from war to war. Some say no war I fight can be lost, no cause I champion fail, but that is mythos, not reality.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? Strengths I have many; governing those strengths is my hardest task. My weakness resides in loving too much, all my fighters, my partners, and the world the gods have made. For untold years my weakness was my sister in arms, Cime; then for a time it became Nikodemos, my partner. Love of life itself, lived with heart and soul, is weakness: one must want neither too much to live nor too much to die. Rage is power, yet rage is weakness. Only so much can be borne from men, so much from gods. My greatest strength is knowing one simple truth: in change lies all good, all rest. Glory and wisdom are all around you, in every breath taken, yet no man can discover the limits of soul.
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? I greatly prize my relationship with my Sacred Band of Stepsons, and with one special Stepson, Stealth called Nikodemos. My relationship with my sister Cime, who was cursed with me so long ago, yet confounds my heart.
Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? Here too are gods: in every creature free to breathe is proof of heaven. There is no animal that is not more noble in its way than humankind. Horses are my greatest allies, friends and companions. In a horse is nature’s greatest impulse, realized. We breed some special horses in the Sacred Band: Trôs horses, so fast they run holes in the wind; Aškelonian horses, created by the demiurge, who can run on water; we have even a ghost horse, who cannot die or be hurt whatever men may do.
Do you have a family? Tell us about them. My Sacred Band of Stepsons is my family. They mean the most to me. Niko, my right-side partner, is the best of those, the closest to me. As for my sister Cime … some say we have no consanguinity, but we grew up together, fought a sorcerer together, staggered under our curses together; when we were younger and more angry, we wreaked great destruction together – her against sorcerers and me against human folly. I have a mistress, Jihan, a Froth Daughter sired by Stormbringer, who begat all weather gods. And I have a few sons and daughters, scattered here and there: some of those are worth succouring, and so I do.
Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I remember something from my youth, but you would not call those days my childhood, nevertheless, from earliest days I have taken the side of Reason against Unreason. I have spoken above of my encounter with a sorcerer, trying to protect my sister Cime, and the curses that fell upon both our heads because of that. If she hadn’t come to me to save her, would things have gone differently? Would I have stayed where I was born, assumed my kingship? Been content to philosophize and teach, but never act? Probably not. For war is all, and king of all… and all things come into being out of strife. Unlike most, I know what gods and heroes are. My curse and the warlike life I’ve led colors all: the battles I have fought; the dead I carry in my heart, from battlefield to battlefield, war to war. My battle with all sorcerers is not yet over; may never be. Trying to help Nikodemos takes me back to my own young days of strife and fury. The best men choose immortal glory in preference to mortal good. In teaching Niko, Cime and I have another chance to know the name of justice, to prove that opposition brings concord as we guide this hero, closer than any blood son to me, toward a worthy future.
Do you have any phobias? No.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. When I am in battle, I am faster than any other upon the field. If I am on a Trôs or other such horse, I can transfer my speed to my mount. And, of course, any wound I take will heal, any limb regrow.
Tell Us About Your World
Please give us a little information about the world in which you live: Now when I can I ‘live’ with my Stepsons in Lemuria, a seaside island citadel where time does not pass as it does elsewhere. From there, with Cime’s mystic powers, I can stage any mission, fight in any place or time. At this moment we are campaigning somewhere in ancient Thrace, Pelasgian times, at the whim of the storm-god Enlil, who shepherds us through all things. War will be in the mix of it, with the god guiding us. My Stepsons are skirmisher light cavalry; we fight with edged bronze weapons, primarily, against what hegemonies challenge us or displease the gods. But a man is a warrior because of mind, not weaponry. We fight with weapons at hand, against whatever confronts us, and mostly where the ancient gods still war.
Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? Many.
If so do you follow one of them? I believe in admitting that all things are one.
Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour: Our world, as you call it, all that lies within humanity’s ken, is full of gods. We are servants of history and its storm-gods, sworn to the gods of war. Enlil is the foremost of these for my fighters and myself. The worlds we know are polytheistic, and many wars we fight are actually theomachies – wars between gods or among gods and sorcerous humans, who warp the fates of simpler men. Once I warred in a nearly godless future, to bring them the means to repopulate their heavens; this we did for people dying from their paucity of belief, prey to the lusts and greed and fears of others no wiser than themselves. As for myself, I am a simple warrior-philosopher; my relations with gods remain pragmatic: when gods reside in my flesh and in my head, then they control the battle tempo, not I. Is this religion, when gods and fates and worse walk the earth? Or is it reality?
Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? I mentioned that I go wherever the gods send me. I have been in Akkad, in Sumer; I have been in Chaeronea, in Nisibis, in Mygdonia, in Thrace. I have been in what you call 20th century New York City, and to a future of dying oceans and a place there called Sandia. I have been to the ends of the earth, to Bandara, to Lemuria, to the City at the Edge of Time, and to Meridian, the archipelago of dream and nightmare. To Meridian, I suspect the Sacred Band will soon return.
Name and describe a food from your world. A posset: spiced wine and cheese or milk and barley, sometimes with nuts and sometimes not; served often with lamb or fish or ox-tail.
Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? We have a surfeit of magic, sorcerers from every time and plane meddling with Fates and gods. We have wars between wizards and gods. We have sorcery to rival godhead. Thus, because people believe more in evil than in good, it does.
What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) Our world, I once said, is an everliving fire, with portions of it kindling and portions going out. In age of bronze, we hear Plato’s musings about timocracy and democracy and tyranny, as well as the elusive republic. I have lived in earlier theocracies, oligarchies, and simple hereditary monarchies, often passed down through female lines. Meritocracy I have seen but little of; Kakistocracy is, to my mind, a condition synonymous with governance by decree of any kind and especially with simple democracy: people will choose those most like themselves, long before they’ll choose a person one bit better: the foolish hate the smart and try to destroy them. This truth itself dependably produces bad government.
Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? Prejudice lives in flesh; the black dog hates the white; the roan horse hates the chestnut; in herds, mares of one color stick together. How different, for humans? People hate anyone different, and call them prey.
Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. The greatest myth is that wisdom is called by the name of Gods. The legendary Gilgamesh sat beside the dead Enkidu seven days, until a maggot fell from Enkidu’s nose.
What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Most of all, I need my war horses and the heroes who bestride them or drive them. The items I need are loyalty, clarity, and justice. The technology in my world depends on when you ask me: sometimes we have bronze spears and war axes; sometimes we have iron flights and crossbows; sometimes we have fireballs, and armor forged by men and gods. I have been where metal flies and chariots need no horses; in those places, man has become the slave of all he owns, afraid of having so much to lose – and thus has nothing.
Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. We have a populous cosmos. We have demons and devils and fiends; we have were-wolves and were-snakes and men and women who can change into any creature at whim. We have undeads and necromants; we have dragons and rocs and creatures part-man who lie deep in the seas; we have Froth Daughters and Fates and Erinys and sphinxes and naiads, and creatures who lived before the gods were born and spawned them. We have pantheons of gods, most of whom are jealous and bellicose, and deadly when they walk the earth. We have gods within and gods without. We Stepsons ourselves are the weapons of the gods, some say.
Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? That an intelligible light drives all things through all things, under a sun that is new every day.
Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.) First, Enlil, greatest of the storm gods of heaven. Next, Harmonia, whom we call Harmony, who is Justice, and sometimes walks among my Sacred Band. Next comes Maat who tends the Balance. For eons, Aškelon of Meridian, demiurge, ruled over the seventh sphere, realm of dream and shadows, but no longer – but that is another story. And we have the Logos, by many different names, who some call the will of Fates and some call Thunderbolt.
Please check out further posts in the next few days for Tempus and his Sacred Band.
Here are book links in chronological order, beginning with Beyond Sanctuary, the Author’s Cut, first book in the Sacred Band of Stepsons Beyond Trilogy.
Beyond the Veil
The Sacred Band
The Fish, The Fighters and the Song Girl
Here are Kindle Single links (shorter Sacred Band of Stepsons fiction):
A Man and His God
Wake of the Riddler
Here are the Audio book links: