Character interview time. What’s the one question you’d like your favourite Three Worlds character – hero or villain – to answer truthfully? Mild forms of torture are allowed where necessary. Responses (including grunts, screams, blustery denials, blaming of victims and blatant lies) will be posted here. Get your thumbscrews out!
For more see my facebook post of 1 May 2016.
Mike: Llian, why do you get pushed around so much? Isn’t there just a little more spirit in you to stand and fight?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Llian splutters. ‘I fought a lorrsk! And killed it, too.”
“Come, now, Chronicler, you can do better than that. Let’s just give the rack another wind, shall we?” Craaaack!
“I’ll ask the question again.”
“All RIGHT! It’s … it’s my deep-seated fear of rejection. If I hold back, if I don’t engage, it … seems to make things a little easier.”
“Chronicler, Chronicler, do you really think I’m that gullible?” Craaaack!
Jay: Karan, do you still have the same feelings for Llian from when u first realised you loved him to where your story and his ends ?
Not at all. When i first saw Llian at the Graduation Telling in Chanthed I was fascinated: I’d always loved hearing the tales and he turned an old story in an intriguing mystery – and told it beautifully. The next time I saw him he came across as an arrogant idiot, out of his depth in a wilderness I was comfortable with. Later, after we’d travelled together and suffered many perils, I saw the goodness, the decency and the generosity in him, not to mention the courage it takes for a man who isn’t good at practical things to turn himself into a hero. Llian is a flawed man – he has great gifts but monumental failings. That’s what gained him his Great Tale in the one breath, and saw him banned from telling in the next. But now, ten years after that story ended, I’m not sure what I think of him. All the above is still true but … he’s STILL banned. And without being able to use his gifts, the flaws take on overwhelming importance. We’re … in a bit of trouble right now and I don’t see how we’re going to get over it.
Sue: Karan, where the hell have you been, with who and doing what! Please explain. (no torture needed for response thnx)
If you mean, where have I been since The Way Between the Worlds ended, I’ve been at Gothryme of course, struggling to keep the estate going in the endless drought, raising my lovely daughter, Sulien, and trying to put up with the brilliant, awkward, frustrating, maddening and occasionally infuriating man I share my life with. It’s not been easy – we’re both suffering from PTSD after all our past traumas (me more than him since I’m a sensitive and he’s … NOT). Llian’s ban has never been lifted so he can’t do public tellings and he’s cracking under the strain. Apart from that, things were all right until Sulien started to have nightmares about a terrifying enemy gathering in the void to invade Santhenar – and then they saw her!
Michael: Flydd: would you say you are a greater mancer (for an old human) than Mendark was?
Flydd: “Bah! Given that mancers aren’t known for their tolerance, and ARE known for outbursts of irrational anger and sudden violence, merely asking the question shows you to to be a reckless risk-taker who would not have lasted long when I was a scrutator. What does ‘greater’ mean, anyway? More powerful? I was far more powerful – control of nodes and fields gave us much more power to play with. More subtle? Mendark was an angry man but he could be subtle when he needed to. More influential and world-shaping? I was a scrutator among a Council of them, with thousands of underlings to do my bidding. Mendark mostly worked alone – and he shaped the world over thirteen renewals, for more than a thousand years. He was a great man –– and so am I.” Flydd bellows at his guards. “Now get that impertinent villain Michael out of my sight or I’ll have him flogged.”
Graham: Flydd: Did you truly lust after the Tears, and if so what would you have done if you had had them? Answer truthfully, let’s not repeat the flaying…
You just had to remind me about that, didn’t you? You had to bring up the most excruciating time of my life – the time when I was unmanned. What is truth, anyway? Every man’s view of truth is different. Besides, it was not a commodity held in high esteem by the Council of Scrutators. Power was what mattered to the council. For the nobler among us, the power to gain an advantage, however slight, in the endless war against the lyrinx. A war, I should not have to point out, we were losing most of the time. And for the base ones, such as Chief Scrutator Ghorr, it was an end in itself, for it allowed his ultimate pleasure: oppression. But yes, I lusted after the Tears more than you can ever know: the power and the beauty of them, and only one thing held me back. Self-knowledge! I knew I would not be able to control them; that they would end up controlling me … and not for the good of the world I love.
Kyle: Shand. Would you destroy a world to have saved your daughter from being kidnapped? If you were presented a chance to rewrite that history would you trade a world for it?
Shand fills his goblet to the brim with priceless gellon liqueur, then gulps it down without seeming to taste it. He gasps, wipes his eyes on his arm. ‘Aeolior, Aeolior. How could she do that to you?’ He stands up, shaking, an old, grief-stricken man. ‘If I could undo time … why, why did I leave you so poorly protected?’ He hurls the goblet into the fireplace and staggers around the room, drinking from the bottle. ‘How can anyone be so cruel, to use my daughter so?’ He drops the bottle, then raises his clawed hands towards the ceiling. ‘I would tear down the very heavens to prevent it. I would do ANYTHING.’ Shand collapses on the flagstones, weeping. ‘What am I saying? That I would destroy a thousand innocent lives to save one? Is that the kind of man I am? Is it, Aeolior?’
Samantha: Tiaan – Where in the HELL did you pull all that amazing strength that you did? and knowing what you know now, would you have changed any of the decisions that you had to make?
I never thought I was strong, or good, or even much out of the ordinary. I always thought I was just a tiny cog in the manufactory until they pushed me too far, tried to turn me into my mother, the CHAMPION BREEDER. I never planned anything; every little decision led to another, and another, until I was one of the people who held the fate of the world in their hands,. i never wanted that. Maybe there are people who crave that kind of power, but not me. I wish i was that tiny cog again, just doing my job, attracting no attention, living an ordinary life … Possibly … even being happy …
Megan 2: Tiaan: Any regrets? You’re certainly not as naïve as you once were.
I have a thousand regrets. How could I have been so stupid, so naive to believe that destroying the source of magical power would solve anything? It made things immeasurably worse. It gave Jal-Nish power he never dreamed of; an already corrupt man became the most cruel and despicable leader Santhenar had ever seen and he twisted everything in his image. There ARE no simple solutions; solving one problem always creates the opportunity for an equally bad one to flourish. But one good thing came out of it, my family.
Stuart: Tiaan…where’ve you been?
Hiding. Trying to live a good, ordinary life to make up for all the things I did, for reasons that seemed good to me at the time, that turned out disastrously bad. Catching up on the life I’d missed out on. Trying to be Normal.
Ben: Colm: what would you do if Karen and Llian returned. And what if they had not aged a day?
That’d be right. Nothing ever goes my way. The world is out to get me and everyone I know has betrayed me in one way or another. Why, why? What did I do to deserve this? Anyway, Karan abandoned Gothryme so it’s mine and she’s not getting a copper grint.
Ben: No one has betrayed you, Colm. You are seeing things as if through a smoky mirror. Besides Gothryme is Karan’s home, your families home, wouldn’t it be nice to have your family around you again?
She just wants to take from me what’s rightfully mine, and if she allowed me a place in the hearth it would only be to rub my nose in it.
Ben: Why do you hate her so much? She did you no wrong and you know the truth about what happened now! Can you not forgive?
Colm: I – don’t – forgive!
Jim: Colm…do you realise how much pain and suffering you might have prevented if you’d just bonked Maelys??!
Sir! Before else, I am a gentleman. I do not take advantage of innocent young women, no matter how desirable. In a corrupt and transitory world, I cling to one small comfort: that I have maintained my high principles no matter the cost. And the cost … has been high.
Peter: Yggur, how do you feel, now knowing of your heritage and origins of your mysterious powers?
Ambivalent – it’s comforting to know who my father was, at long last, and that he cared for me and did all he could to protect me. It helps me to understand the powers that seem to come out of nowhere; powers I’ve always struggled to control. It doesn’t help me to understand my frequent mental breakdowns, though I now know why they’re necessary. But my father was not a good man. Over the centuries he enslaved thousands; he fought unnecessary wars that devastated Santhenar – and I’M FAR TOO LIKE HIM! That, at the end of my life, is a most painful realisation.
Jill: Yggur – what will it take for you to trust another soul again? It hasn’t always worked out so well previously, however not everyone is treacherous …
Which betrayal hurt most deeply? Was it Maigraith’s? I thought we were soulmates – two damaged people finding completion in each other. Turned out she was too damaged and I can’t blame her for the rejection, crushing though it was. Or was it Rulke’s – he occupied my mind, possessed me, crippled me and I wandered witless for hundreds of years afterwards. A thousand years later I still shudder at the memories, and I still have breakdowns. But Rulke was ever my enemy, so how can I blame him? No, the greatest betrayal by far came from a man I’d thought to be my friend and ally; a man whom I’d helped when no one else would, way back at mancery school. Mendark betrayed me to Rulke, but Mendark betrayed everyone. What will it take to truly trust another soul? I don’t know that I can. I’m too broken … but if true trust comes from the heart, and I could let myself love again …
Ben: Jal-Nish, what compelled you to create the tears and why, which your love of santhenar, did you create the monstrosities and chaos when you could see the world needed healing?
I didn’t create the tears from the exploded node. I wasn’t even the first to recognise their potential. Both the stinking tetrarch, Gilhaelith, and that festering mongrel of a scrutator, Xervish Flydd, recognised their power. However I was the first to truly see their potential, and do whatever it took to get it. How dare you come to me with your puling entreaties for HEALING!!! I do love my world, and the only way to save it from the subhuman lyrinx was STRENGTH. The strength to defeat all opposition and obstacles and crush the base enemy into oblivion! That’s what the world really needed. Healing, bah! Don’t make me sick!
Alex: Jal-Nish – were you ever proud of Cryl-Nish? After everything he managed to accomplish, right at the end?
That lying, sneaking, contemptible little worm! The very least of my children and the only one to survive? I … I suppose I was proud of him at the end, though I could never have told him so. He opposed me implacably, fought me in every conceivable way, and in the end he beat me. Nish helped to reshape Santhenar in his own image, and justice, fairness and decency are not things that matter to me. Power is what matters! But I have to concede that he rose above his mean and meagre character; he has a great place in the Histories and I respect that. Though not as great a place in the Histories as I do! He’ll never take that from me, the little swine!
Scott: Jal-Nish Hlar, what torments you so ?
Apart from the stupidity of my incompetent son, Nish; Scrutator Flydd’s treachery; my wife’s rejection of me; the brutal way Irisis hacked off my maimed arm; the agony of my ruined face and the festering claw marks that, after ten years, still won’t heal – and the fact that people REFUSE to do what I want? Apart from all that, my life is all sweetness and light – at least, when bathed in the sorcerous glow from Gatherer and Reaper, ha ha!
Simon: For Ryll or Liett at the end of the Song of the Tears Trilogy :
Firstly, Hello, and please don’t maul me!
Secondly, how well are you and your people settling on Tallallame, considering from what I understand it took your current formidable bodytype to simply survive in the void, and (again, to what I understand) you now see reverting to old human in a physical sense as a goal for your people, with your new home being infested by all manner of void creatures and nasties?
You are overly bold for a puny old human, sir! That goal is a long-term goal, for a time (should it ever come) when a weak and feeble body type will suffice. As to your earlier question – that is classified information, never to be revealed to an off-worlder. But I can say this: we are making progress. Over the past 12 of your years we have made inroads into the alien infestation … here and there. To bring an entire world back from ruin takes time.
Angela: So, Faelamor, you and everyone else will talk about this mysterious, inexplicable ‘rivalry’ you had with Yalkara, apparently from the very first time you saw each other. And yet you were able to direct a gate to Yalkara’s personal salon in Havissard based on the strength of your memory from ‘the last time you were there’. And you were pretty weird while you were there, refusing to even say the word ‘bedroom’ and generally flitting around like a spooked cat. So tell me, why exactly had you ever been inside Havissard? Is there a little more to this ‘rivalry’ than anyone knows?
How dare you, an OLD HUMAN who will be lucky to live 80 pathetic years, have the temerity to question me, the leader of the greatest human species of all, before which old humans are no more than maggots? I will say only this – even the least student of your Histories knows that there is nothing inexplicable about our rivalries. The rivalry between the us and the Charon species goes back 50,000 years and will last until one of us is rendered extinct.
Tom: Rulke: I feel like it’s a silly question but I can’t think of anything else. Rulke has always been one of my favourite characters, so I’ll give it a go. Rulke, if you were able to go back in time to change a single moment or detail of an event to suit your plans, what would you change, if anything, and why?
I have many regrets, bitter ones. Over my long life they’re too many to number, but one stands out among all the others. It dates back a thousand years, to the end of the Clysm when the corrupt Council, led by Mendark, took the young woman I was betrothed to, and loved deeply, and used her as the bait in a trap they had made for me – their foul and forbidden Proscribed Experiments. She was an innocent and I did everything I could to save her but it was not enough. She suffered a cruel and pointless death and I was cast into the Nightland, a prison I did not escape for a thousand terrible years. But her death was more painful, by far, and when i look back on my life my deepest regret is not my imprisonment, or my many follies, or even failing my people and seeing them go to extinction. My deepest regret is failing to protect the innocent.
Michael: Rulke: did you ever return to Alcifer after the… er, setback at Carcharon to try and unleash the power there? Why Shazmak?
I often returned to Alcifer. It’s not just a city construct of great and enigmatic power, it’s my home. It recharges me, reminds me of who I am, and reinforces the great purpose of my life which I ever strive to achieve: saving my dwindling people from extinction. As for Shazmak, I went there reluctantly because it’s still interwoven with the defensive and attacking spells of the Aachim who built it. But I had to go there: it’s one of the most powerful places in the land for working the particular kind of mancery i needed. No where else would do.
Ian: Cryl-Nish, knowing you are terrified of your father, how would you wish things were different between you to and what kept you compelled to carry on despite setback after setback?
I was terrified of my father from an early age, for he was a hard, cold man completely lacking in love or kindness. After I grew up I hated him and even came to despise him … and yet I craved his approval. i was desperate to prove myself and have him say, just once in my life, that i had done well. I still wish … No, I have to get over it! Jal-Nish was a monster who wanted to rebuild me in his own image; he would only have praised me if I became a brute like him. My greatest accomplishment is that – after a most unpromising start – I rose above my evil heritage and repudiated all he stood for. At least, I tried to …
Carmen: Aah Nish, you are as I expected you to be. But without regrets? I don’t believe you.
Footnote from Nish’s unauthorised biographer. He pretends not to care because caring makes you vulnerable; it exposes weaknesses your enemies can use to attack you. But deep down – very deep down, Nish does care about the weak, the vulnerable, the fragile – and the woman who was none of those things but he loved her more than his own life.
Carmen: Nish how do you live with yourself?
Very easily. My conscience is perfectly clear. My parents made it clear from an early age that i was a disappointment to them and couldn’t wait to get me out of the house. But they taught me one good lesson – the world is a rotten place and if you’re a little bit different it’ll crush you unless you crush it first. I’m out for what I can get, but aren’t we all?
Joy: Tensor, do you regret some the actions you took towards Karan? If you did what would you do differently?
I regret nothing of what I did to Karan. How could I? She was only half-Aachim; she could never truly be one of us, and the old human part of her heritage would have diminished us. She had a great, innate gift for mancery and I could not allow it to develop; it could have threatened us. I could not destroy it without killing her and I would not do that: I cared for her. The only thing I could do was block her gift while she was a child, knowing that once she’d grown up it’d be too late to get it back. Did it lessen her? Undoubtedly. But the sacrifice was worth it. As I said – she’s a half Aachim, neither one thing nor the other, and far, far inferior to my kind.
Megan 1: Emberr – what were those brief few days like for you finally meeting another human after living so long in isolation?
Emberr tries to speak, but cannot; he’s overcome by emotions he’d never even thought about in his eternal isolation. Emotions he struggles to understand and is quite incapable of articulating. But Maelys offers this small insight: “The look in Emberr’s eyes when he was with me said all that was needed to say – it was as though spring had finally broken after a century-long winter.”
Shaun: Gilhaelith: What’s your favourite dish? And drink to wash it down?
‘I don’t have a favourite dish, do I Mihail?’
‘And why is that?’
‘The act of making a dish favourite renders it unsatisfying to you. It arouses unrealistic expectations that, when inevitably unfulfilled, means you can never enjoy that dish again.’
‘Just so, Mihael.’
‘May i offer you a scalded toad’s kidney, Tetrarch, steeped in horseradish?’
‘You may, since there’s no chance of it ever becoming my favourite.’
‘Not even washed down with an eggcup of the blistering chilli wine?’
‘Damn you, Mihail! Now you’ve ruined it.’
Dave: Irisis, why didn’t you duck?!
I kept telling everyone that I wasn’t going to survive the war, that I had a destiny beyond the grave that was bigger than me. But no one would listen. Even I didn’t listen … until the last, fatal moment.
Erin: Nadiril: what is your favorite story from the library?
How a ragged, frightened, uneducated little urchin who had nothing save a desperate thirst for knowledge transformed herself until she was the only person worthy to take over my position.
Shaun: Minis: …. just, calm down ok? Are you sure you’re not going to regret this?
What’s one more regret in a lifetime of regrets? All my life I’ve been used, manipulated and emotionally blackmailed to do things for the good of the Aachim – never for myself or my own happiness. And I went along with it; I collaborated in the destruction of the essential man I was until there was nothing left of me; just the shell. Now I’m striking back the only way I can. I know it’s petty and vengeful, but the only way I can prove that my life ever had any meaning is to cut away the part that’s caused all the trouble. It won’t help anyone, least of all me, but … I’m going to do it anyway.