Character Interview Number Twenty-Nine – Dii’Athella

 

Tell Us About Yourself
Name(s): Dii’Athella, or just Dii. I’m told it means Flower of the Dawn in the Elvish language.

Age? I’m not sure. About 25 summers or so, I think.  I was never allowed ‘birthdays’ as you call them. Elves live longer than humans, even in captivity, so for my people I am quite young. Unless, of course, hardship or disease takes us. I’ve heard of elves living several hundred years but that is very rare these days. There is magic which prolongs life, but it is little known, hard to cast and the price paid very high.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m an elf, and a Forbidden. In the land of Erana that means I am a slave, or at least I was. Elves have no rights, we are property. We have no recourse to law, our culture is nothing but fragments of a lost glory, and we cannot move freely. I am also a sorceress. Although that, too, is illegal. The Order of Witch-Hunters deem magic to be wicked, and elves to be the bringers of the greatly feared Plague. I’m a mage, my blood flows with magic. Even in hiding that is so. Either one is magical or one isn’t. I cannot change that any more than my Elven birth.

In my former life I was used as the plaything of rich men. I was given or sold to them, to pleasure them. My Keeper thought it amusing to have an educated slave – it brought me even lower I suppose. Literacy is not common, especially amongst elves. The Order of Witch-Hunters don’t encourage knowledge and people thinking for themselves. This leads to questions, and the seeking of answers about the world. For them, this is bad. I love to learn. Ignorance helps to divide us. Knowledge is power.

Now I am a healer, herbalist and a scholar. I am also a rebel and a traitor, or so you’d say. That is correct yes, when one fights against the established rulers? If so, then I am proud of it.

There is more, but you’ll have to follow my adventures to discover that.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Red curly hair, tattoos, slender, beautiful (so I’m told).

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Morals in Erana are not quite the same as in your world. We have love, honour, friendship, trust and all those things but there is no law, save what the Order decide. It is not law for it serves not the people, it serves the Order and slavers. I am, by my birth, my magic and my race a criminal and so I break what passes for law in our land.

I have killed, although I try and avoid it as I am a healer. I have stolen to feed myself, although I am not sure apples count. I have harboured criminals, I have lied and I have stood by whilst others died. I have led people into traps, but they were Witch-Hunters and deserved it. Morality is relative to one’s position. I cannot afford to follow the ‘moral code’ the Order espouse. I spent enough time as a slave, and in the Order dungeons to know that.

I am devoted to my family – my real family – not the bastard who stole me and raised me in his house.

I am kind, and I will defend my friends before myself. I like to help people. Archos told me it is because I was so eager to please as though not to be beaten, or worse. A lonely child longing to be liked. I have no idea if this is the truth but I suppose it explains a lot. It was a way to protect myself and now is habit.

I think I am trustworthy and discrete. When one’s life is a lie then one gets used to keeping secrets.

Would you kill for those you love? Yes. I would also kill for a cause I love. Freedom.

Would you die for those you love? Yes, and technically I have. Or close enough.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

Weaknesses:

I don’t think I am very brave.

I am emotional – I suppose it is because of my earlier life. There are all these awful memories in my head and I can get upset about things. Archos says I am strong, a survivor. I don’t see it. Sometimes my emotions get the better of me.

My magic.

Strengths:

I am clever and resourceful. I had to be.

I’m kind and except for the Order I don’t tend to hate.

I learn fast.

My magic.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? Archos. He saved my life. He is kind, clever, fascinating and unbelievably desirable. Mages tend to be passionate and we are. He does not treat me simply as another elf. Finally my life has some worth.

Olek – Olek is like a brother to me. I trust him with my life. He’s amusing, he is loyal to Archos. They have a special friendship, very close with much shared between them. He was with Archos long before I came to live in Tremellic and they value the friendship. Thus so do I. Olek is very complex. One of those people who is not what he appears.

Ozena, my dear friend. She has also suffered much at the hands of slavers. But she is feisty and speaks her mind, far more than I. I suppose I was used to not being allowed to, or no one caring what I thought. Ozena is much bolder. When we first met she stood up to Lord Archos, challenged him on points and won the argument. Not many people would dare, or if they did dare they would most likely regret it. Archos still chuckles about it. I think he likes the challenge.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? I have a raven, well to be precise she’s a Spirit Bird – a familiar you might call her. Ethnii chooses to be with me and I am honoured. She’s named after the Goddess of the Sky. She has some magic of her own, and she is very clever. The Shaman Kherak Var gave her to me, as a protector.

There are several horses too, plus goats, chickens, and such like in the manor grounds and the paddock.

I was never allowed a pet in my old life. My….foster brother had dogs but I was not allowed to pet them or make a fuss. I used to put crumbs down for the mice and sometimes the squirrels would come to my window but they don’t count, I suppose.

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? *Looks sad.

My childhood? You want to know about that? It was difficult… cold, frightening and devoid of much love. Malana, my Keeper’s mistress tried to be kind and protect me but she was often as frightened of him, or sometimes would do nothing so she would not be beaten.  I was often hungry and I was used….

I never got to know the parents who brought me into the world.

Do you have any phobias? Being returned to the Witch-Hunter dungeons. I’d rather die than return there.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.I know Shadowplay – at least a bit. Not many people do.
Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. Erana is a world of magic. But it is a world in which magic is forbidden. It is a world of inequality, martial law and prejudice. Yet it is a world of possibilities if one is brave enough or fortunate enough to find them. It’s an old world, full of surprises and strange creatures. Parts of it are very beautiful. Tremellic is a secluded valley close to the Jagged Peak Mountains, it is very fertile. The plains I have not seen very much. Then, of course there’s the Shimmering Forest.  The forest elves say it is alive, I don’t mean in the usual way, I mean sentient and cunning. There are many myths about the ancient forest, not all of them are simply myths.

The Tree of Always – the oldest tree in that part of the forest is supposed to be the mother of all the apple trees which grow. The tree is so old it has seen the elves rise and fall, it has seen the world change. Is it really the oldest? Who knows, there is nothing living to disprove it.  There are many lost magics and lost creatures – hiding from the scourge of magic until such time as it is safe to return.

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. Officially not really. The humans nod in the direction of the gods when it suits. There are temples to Syltha – the goddess of healing and the gods in general but it is more a vague belief, hedging one’s bets you’d call it. Racial memories perhaps.

The trolls are the most spiritual – they have gods and spirits for pretty much everything. Our neighbours, the Var tribe, worship the Goddess of the Sky, called Ethnii’a by them or Kal Rean by the trolls. I suppose you could say she’s the mother goddess. She’s powerful and capricious. Her children are the sun and the moon.

Archos is….well that would be telling, let’s just say he honours to Sky Goddess above others.

There are minor gods, demigods and nymphs. These are, or were, magical beings from the early times. There are but a few left and those in hiding. We found a nymph, Oeliana in the Shimmering Forest. She guards the forest pools.  There are elementals too. Creatures of magic which are the essence of the world, the essence of magic. Once they were common, but even an elemental can be hunted and slain. Once they were worshipped and honoured, now if they are remembered at all it is with fear.

 

I think the forest elves have many local spirits and gods, but as I’ve said their culture is almost gone so it’s hard to tell. The city elves cling on to the old beliefs – they have little except faith and hope.

The Witch-Hunters don’t encourage belief in the gods – that’s close to magic for them, but I’ve been told individuals may belief, all be it vaguely. The gods exist, or existed. Acknowledgement is another matter.

Does it affect my behaviour? Of course. I’m a mage, we KNOW the gods are real, we KNOW the magic is real and won’t be tamed. We tend to follow the Lady of the Skies and the goddess of healing. I’m a light mage so of course I honour Syltha too. It pays to honour the local gods – after all one may need their assistance. Magic is magic.

Name and describe a food from your world. Once we had roasted Salamander. Olek eats anything so he liked it. No one else did. Giant Salamanders spit acid and they are disgusting and slimy. Not the best meal. We didn’t have much choice. I learned long ago one will eat anything if one is starving.

We have many forms of wine – some from grapes from the warmer lands, and other fruits such as blackberries, rosehips, and elderberries.  There are cider orchards too – both pears and apples.

The trolls eat a seed bread. It is much flatter and harder than other bread, like a cracker from your world. Wheat doesn’t grow that well in their lands but there are the hardy mountain grasses which provide a kind of flour.  It is easy to store and doesn’t go stale.

Ozena tells me her village ate mainly what could be gathered or farmed from their goats. Milk, goat cheese and yoghurts. They have hunters too – so wild pig, deer and birds are on the menu.

Tremellic has many farms – sheep and goats, pigs for bacon and a few cows for their milk. We have makers of cheese, a few hunters now and Archos is contemplating getting some deer to add to the food stores.

Our housekeeper makes divine honey cats. Oats, butter, honey and sometimes fruit. She has a secret recipe.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? You need ask after all I’ve told you?

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? The humans blame the elves for the Plague, for the ills of society and for, well, being elves. The trolls tend to keep themselves to their mountain villages but do sometimes trade. It’s not that they don’t like the other races, just most humans either haven’t seen one or have odd misconceptions about their ways. Foolish ideas such as trolls eat people. They don’t, well not unless they get REALLY hungry. Something about a seven foot tall horned warrior who can shapeshift into a bear or a trollish shaman who can predict the future seems to worry many people. A lot worries the humans.

The elves are generally too oppressed to trust anyone much. The humans enslave them, and the trolls are distant. Once the elves, trolls and humans worked together.

Tremellic is probably more forward thinking than anywhere else. That is Lord Archos’ doing. He sees the advantage of alliances with trolls and elves. What’s that phrase on your world? ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ The Order are strong, they rule by force after all – so any alliances against them is valuable.

On rare occasions trolls will marry an elf or human. There are a few half trolls around. Half-elves are common – usually an elven mother – willing or not. Half-elves are slaves as much as elves.

Then there are the fae and the keres… Which shouldn’t exist but do.

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Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links:

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I

The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book II

The Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book III

THUNDERCLAP.

As Book I has just been re-released here’s the promotional Thunderclap. Please support, like and share.

http://thndr.it/1E6kCII

(For further links please see the links on the linky pages.)

 

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

 

Blog: https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

 

Character Interview Number Twenty-Eight – Eriale – Fantasy

Please tell us a little about yourself. My name is Eriale Bareny. I’m seventeen years old. I’m a mage, almost an Adept, which is the highest rank for a mage, although I haven’t applied for the Adept license yet. I live with my mom and dad in our manor. Our family belongs to the minor nobility of the kingdom.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Short, skinny, pale, long black hair, gray eyes.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them. I love my family. My mother and father are my best friends. My father is also a mage, an Adept, and he is my mentor in magic. He owns a magic school, and I help him tutor the younger students.

My mother is a healer. Both my parents were married before. My father’s older daughter from his first marriage, my half-sister Tamara, is the queen of our kingdom. She’s much older than I’m and a pain in the butt, very ‘royal’, if you know what I mean. Her husband, Axelor, the king, is a much nicer guy. When they married, he was pretty far removed from the throne. Nobody thought he would inherit. Only a tragedy made him king. It happened a few years after they got married – I was twelve at the time.

I also have a half-brother from my mom’s first marriage. His name is Toller, and he’s a healer, like my mother. He is also much older than me, but we’re buddies.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? I’m a very powerful mage. My father (and mentor) says that I might be the strongest mage on the continent. I can do anything with magic. In fact, my father says I do too much with magic, even things that could be done without it, like drying my hair after washing or getting a ribbon from another room. I disagree with him. Of course my hair could dry without magic, but it’ll take too long – I have very long hair, almost to my knees. And I have magic to spare anyway, so why not use it productively?

My weakness – my relationship with people, I suppose. I’m usually awkward in company. It’s much easier for me to deal with magic than with people – often I don’t understand them. I spent all my time studying magic, so I never had friends growing up. Now, I have to learn some useless things like small talk or flirting (my mom said I should learn to flirt a little) but I’m not sure why I should bother. With my magic, I can help people. Did flirting ever help anyone? Or empty chat? But both my parents consider those my weaknesses, so I’m willing to learn.

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? My magic manifested when I was three. At first, my dad had to be with me always, to control my magic; I was too young to do it myself. Later, even after I learned to control it, I sometimes got in trouble because of my magic. I always tested it, tried to find the limits. Once, when I was seven, I think, I flooded the cellars of my parents’ manor. It was a mistake, of course, in the alignment level of the spell, but my dad got mad. He grounded me for a month. Another time, I made my mom’s ball gowns dance by themselves, and I danced with them. I was nine. We danced a polka, and it was fun, but my mom panicked when she saw it. Of course, dad grounded me again. Eventually, I learned the hard lesson: I couldn’t use my magic for pranks or practical jokes – ABSOLUTELY NEVER! My magic is too strong for that. Of course, sometimes I still do, but I’m careful now, so my dad doesn’t learn about it. And I know my limits now. I’ll never hurt anyone or damage anything with my magic.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Yes. I suppose my moral code is like most other people’s: don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie, the usual. The ‘don’t steal’ clause is a bit flexible though. I would never steal from a friend or from poor people, who can’t afford to lose anything, but a rich merchant who gets richer by deceiving others is a fair game.

But there is one prohibition that’s sacred to me as a mage: Don’t use blood magic! Blood magic is the magic one can derive from the pain and death of other creatures, human and animal. It’s easy power, but it’s dirty. Mages who use blood magic are evil.

My father taught me to use and recognize blood magic. With my level of power, I need to know, but I always feel nauseated whenever I perform anything reminiscent of blood magic. Some spells come close, they’re on the borderline, and as an Adept, I must know them, but I’ll never use them if I have a choice. Fortunately, there is usually a choice in magic, a selection of spells one can apply to accomplish the same goal.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. This fact is mostly about what happened in this book, Almost Adept. The book is about me, but I wasn’t planning to leave home and go on adventuring. It was a piece of bad luck. I just finished my studies and was going to apply for the Adept license but I got into a scrape and had no choice but to disappear for a while. You see, it’s about this guy, Gordin. He is a duke’s nephew. We danced together at a few balls. I liked him and I thought he liked me, but he only pretended. First, he insulted me behind my back, and then he humiliated me in front of his friends, almost raped. I’m no wussy; I’m a princess, well, kind-of anyway, so I had to retaliate. I turned him into a muttonhead.

Of course, it was only for a week and only his head. His body remained human. I really intended to give him a ram’s head, but I miscalculated (it was a spur-of-the-moment spell), and he got a ewe’s head instead. His family was furious. Maybe they wouldn’t be so angry if I gave him a ram’s head, but still. I had to flee until the furor died down.

I probably shouldn’t have used my magic on him. I should’ve broken his nose instead or kneed him in the balls, but I was angry. I should control my temper better; that’s another of my weaknesses, I think.

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. I live in the kingdom of Varelia. My brother-in-law, King Axelor, is a good king and popular. The commoners love him; I heard it myself when I sneaked to a marketplace last year. People said that our laws are reasonable and our roads are safe. Of course, they complained about the taxes, but who isn’t?

I saw beggars too but not too many. Maybe they hid from me, or maybe I just didn’t go to the right places. Later, I saw terrible poverty and suffering during my travels through other kingdoms. I hope my own country is better. I’ll definitely check it out when I return home. Maybe I can do something to improve everyone’s life. I have so much power I should be able to do some good. As my dad always says: “With power comes responsibility.”

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? I have distant relatives, my mother’s cousins, in the Roodiman Empire, so that was where I headed after the muttonhead disaster. I stopped in Grumesh at my father’s request, for some magical guild business, but then things got complicated. I became embroidered in their freedom fighting controversy and I met the most wonderful man, Kealan. And then I had to challenge a blood mage to a duel. Scary stuff, but it happens, when one is an Adept. I’ll get to Roodim eventually. I like traveling.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? Of course. I told you already, I’m a mage. People in our world use magic for everything: weather adjustment, harvest enrichment, sending and receiving messages, honesty control in gaming houses and in court, building inspection. Lots of different applications. Mages work for hire like anyone else. And like any other profession, mages have a guild which governs the members’ conduct. I’ll apply for a guild license as soon as I return home from my trip.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? Mostly, it’s monarchy. My country is a kingdom, and so are most of our neighbours.

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? Yes. There are elves in different enclaves around the continent. They live in most cities and in big forests like Sisiry. Their university in Pereyaslon in Sisiry is famous for its magical studies faculty, and the city itself is very beautiful. I visited there with my father once, when I was young. There is also a huge autonomy of dwarves in the midlands of the Roodim Empire, and trolls live in the swamps all along the northern crescent. I think we’re all getting along okay. At least, there haven’t been any wars between races for several centuries. Of course, not everyone likes everyone else, but you can say the same thing about humans. Humans always wage wars against each other. Stupid, if you ask me.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. I like elven legends most of all. Some of them talk about another race – letuns, the elves with wings. According to the tales, they lived here a long time ago, until humans started hunting them for their wing membranes. Then, they all flew away, to another continent, but nobody ever proved it. No human ship ever reached that continent and returned. Maybe it’s just stories after all, but every elf I’ve ever talked to says it’s the truth.

And then, there is this famous saga about a dragon-shifter, who turned into a human at will and loved a human girl. That one is definitely a myth; nobody could turn a man into a dragon and back. The transformation spell is brutal and requires tons of magical power. Trust me, all the stories of shifters – dragons or wolves or pythons – are just that: stories. No scientific descriptions and no chronicles ever mentioned even one real case. The same with vampires – dozens of tales but not one proof that they exist.

Dragons are real though, even if I’ve never seen one. We don’t have dragons here. They live on another continent and can’t cross the ocean, but sailors sometimes bring their scales or claws as souvenirs. Once they brought a mummified head of a dragon, and it traveled as part of a freak show. I saw it. It was disgusting. I’d like to see a living dragon. Maybe I should sail to their land. I know dragons have magic, at least some breeds of them do, and I wonder what I could do with their magic. Maybe I could talk to them.

Sometimes, I think maybe the stories of letuns and dragons have merged somehow, maybe they’re the same.

 

Author notes:

Eriale is the protagonist of Almost Adept, a fantasy novel by Olga Godim.

You can find the book

 

Olga Godim’s website is: http://olgagodim.wordpress.com

 

You can also find her on