I still can’t believe that this site has been around in some form since 2009. I may have ideas churning constantly in my brain and the motivation to put them out there for others to read – but YOU are the reason I’ve kept doing this for so long. Your support, honest and constructive feedback, and friendship mean the world to me, and not enough “thank you’s” would do it all justice. So, in my opinion, this celebration is for YOU. 🙂
As promised a few weeks ago, we’re celebrating the site’s 6th birthday with a very special post: a character interview with Eva, the protagonist for my YA fantasy WIP The Keeper’s Curse. You readers asked fantastic questions; a wonderful mix of the fun, the thoughtful, and the challenging. So, again, thank you for submitting them, and I hope you enjoy the interview!
If you’d like to read other articles about Eva, check out this past edition of Chronicling The Craft, her solo Beautiful People post, and two other BP posts and her relationship with Aurek and the parental figures in her life.
And finally, stay tuned for a special (belated) blogoversary giveaway coming in August! 😉
Interview with Eva of The Keeper’s Curse
Hi Eva! Thanks so much for stopping by today.
(*blushes*) Thank you. This “question and answer” bit is very new to me. It’s not something we Faeries do at all.
I understand. An interview is meant to give other people a chance to get to know you better. Think of it as a different version of the Faerie game Tell Me True, except I’ll share your answers with the audience.
Oh. That makes sense now!
Good! OK, the first question comes from Zezee. What’s the one thing you treasure the most? Why do you treasure it so much?
Hmmmmmmmm…. Perhaps the scroll painting of my parents that hangs on my bedroom wall. It shows them standing at the foot of their kagende – the “treehouse” we lived in – when my mother was pregnant with me. It reminds me of what my parents looked like, and how much love there was in our family. I can see it in the way my father wraps his arms under my mother’s belly, and the way she leans her cheek against his neck. My parents seem so alive there that sometimes I can’t help but touch the painting. I have other reminders of them, but this is the one I see every day when I’m home, and I miss it when I’m away on Council travels.
Awwww, I love that choice! Here’s the next question. Phoenix Grey wants to know how you coped with being taunted and bullied throughout your childhood. Does it still affect you now? How?
Not well at all. I was frightened at first; I didn’t know what to do or who to tell. But as the months went on, the other fledglings kept spreading rumors about my wing, and teasing and shunning me, and I started getting angrier.
Finally, I lashed out. I would get into fights during school, and then found myself in the infirmary or the headmaster’s quarters. Uncle Lusan punished me as well. Only Aunt Maji convinced me to stop. I still remember what she said: “You’re giving those terrors what they want, Eva-love. They want to provoke you. They want you to be upset. Don’t fight back anymore. Sit up straight, bite your tongue, and pretend their words don’t hurt you. It won’t be easy, but it will show them that you’re stronger than they think you are. Then they’ll learn to leave you alone.”
It worked after a while, but not before my cousin Gidion stepped in. Sometimes he would set the taunters straight without laying a finger on them; other times… Well, let’s just say he had his share of headmaster visits, too. (*giggles*) But he never stopped defending me. I think that’s why we’re so close. He would do anything to protect me, and I would do the same for him.
I wish with all my heart that it wouldn’t affect me still… But it does. I’m confident in my magic and my abilities as a Councilor, but with most other things I’m so insecure that it hurts. I have no friends outside of the Council, and not because I choose to. And I don’t go to seasonal festivals or other city events unless I’m with the Council or my family. It’s the only way I can avoid stares from other common Faeries. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them believe the rumors despite the lack of proof and think I should have been exiled. (*shudders*)
It’s OK. I was bullied when I was in school, too, so I know how you feel. The next question’s also personal, if you don’t mind. Kristen A. Kieffer asks if you could bring your parents back to life at the cost of never seeing your fellow Councilors again, what decision would you make?
(*blinks*) I… I… No. No Faerie can be brought back from the dead. Not even rogue magic can draw their spirits out from the stars and give them life again. And if a Faerie does find a way, I wouldn’t want to know. Rogue magic always has its consequences.
But if that weren’t a problem and I was forced to choose… I don’t know. If my parents were still alive today, I probably wouldn’t be a Councilor. I wouldn’t be Doni’s archery trainer or have the friendships I have now with Keli, Nito, and the others. I wouldn’t be so close with Gidion or Aunt Maji, too. But I’d probably be happier, and all of the terrible things I’ve been through wouldn’t have happened. But… would I truly want to trade the life I have now for that? I don’t know if I could.
Understood. I think anyone would struggle to find the “right answer” there. The next question is from Mogsy. What’s the story behind torn or injured wings seen as such a transgression? It seems so cruel, especially since it was through no fault of your own.
It’s very cruel, I agree. But it’s been part of Fae culture for centuries, so no one questions it anymore. There’s a legend that explains how it came to be. Let me see if I can remember it…
A long time ago, a Faerie boy named Lilo’efro was playing in the woods of Kasialonen with his friends. As the sunk sank below the horizon, the fledglings decided to play one more game instead of flying home. They chose fanesiela; I think your kind calls it “hide and seek.” Lilo’efro was one of the children hiding. He was very good at finding tricky hiding spots, so it was no surprise when he heard his friends’ distant voices and suspected he was the last one left – and he wanted to remain hidden for as long as he could.
So he dashed off, hoping the others wouldn’t catch sight of him. He wove through the woods, darting over and under tree limbs as fast as he could – until he got too close to a broken branch, and it caught on his right forewing, tearing through the gossamer. And the pain. Oh, whatever had caught his wing, it sent waves of crippling pain through the sensitive gossamer into Lilo’efro’s body. But he didn’t want his friends to find him this way. So he pulled and yanked himself away from the branch, until he tore himself – and his wing – free. By then, the pain was stealing his breath and numbing his senses, and Lilo’efro could only writhe on the ground, screaming and crying.
And that’s how Lilo’efro’s friends found him. When they saw the torn wing, they all gasped and dared not go much closer. One of them spotted a piece of gossamer flapping from the branch’s splintered end. ‘He was careless,’ another friend said. ‘He shouldn’t have flown so far or fast from us.’ Fledglings were taught that their wings were part of their Faerie identity and should be protective of them, either by remembering to draw the wings into the body when in danger or shielding themselves in some way. They realized Lilo’efro had been reckless with his wings, and that made his friends ashamed of him. They left Lilo’efro there, alone in the forest, and returned to their village.
When Lilo’efro’s family asked where he was, his friends lied and said he had gotten lost and they couldn’t find him. A search party went out looking for him, only to find Lilo’efro drowned in the Kenehi River. No one wanted to touch him, not even his own family. Yet the village governor reminded the family that Lilo’efro was their son, and he deserved a liersiva regardless. So the family took Lilo’efro’s body and prepared the final ceremony that would deliver Lilo’efro’s soul and magic to the sky. But no one in the village forgot what Lilo’efro had done to himself, and they viewed his death with anger, embarrassment, and horror. The only time anyone ever spoke of him after that was to warn the fledglings what would happen if they were careless with their wings.
Like I said, all of that is legend, but it scares fledglings out of their bushes and teaches us the importance of our wings. But this last bit is proven history: Two hundred years after Lilo’efro died, King Naftevesiar of Fae was deciding the fate of the rogue Faerie sorcerer Keneto. He remembered Lilo’efro’s story, and how the boy’s village reacted to his torn wings – and King Nafte decided he wanted our people to feel the same humiliation toward Keneto, and to discourage other Faeries from playing with rogue magic. So, King Nafte cut off Keneto’s wings, leaving stubs at his shoulder joints, and ordered him exiled from Kasialonen. And while the Faeries were indeed ashamed by Keneto and all the wrong he had done, they never fathomed the consequences that would come later…
Sweet Tovana. I’ve been going on for a while, haven’t I? I guess it’s a long way of explaining that wing injuries are seen as a sign of carelessness with our wings. Most Faeries are so repulsed by bends and tears in a wing that they won’t even go near the suffering Faerie – even if the injury is a mischance.
I’d like to slip in my own question now. Tell us your thoughts about the Mountain Folk. Why do you dislike them so much? What would you do if you ever met one?
(*clenches her jaw*) They disgust me. They’re dirty, bloodthirsty brutes who care for no one except themselves, and they’ll hurt whoever stands in their way so they can get what they want. And they’re unnatural. They’re the only race that Tovana didn’t create when she made the world. They’re the spawn of the Saaresgard, the nomads of the north, and the Human women they took as wives. And they deserve no kindness or respect from anyone for that reason.
(*balls her hands into fists*) I hate them. I’ve hated them ever since they killed my family. My mother was pregnant again when it happened, did you know that? Those rocks took everything from me that day. I don’t want to be friends or allies with them. I’d rather show them how much pain they’ve caused me all my life. If a Mountain Folk – man, woman, child, I don’t care – if one of them ever crosses my path, I will kill them. Each and every one. I trained to become a Councilor just so I could physically be capable of it. Except now I have to keep my trainer’s promise and follow the Council Code. Unless I find a way around that…
Um… How about some pleasant questions now? Victoria Grace Howell has a few for you. Her first one is, who is your best friend?
(*relaxes, then smiles*) Gidion and Aunt Maji. Yes, I have two best friends, and I won’t choose between them. (*laughs*)
Gidion became the older brother I never had after my parents were killed, and not because he was forced to. He would comfort me when nightmares used to wake me in the middle of the night, and he taught me how to ride a horse and shoot a bow and arrow. And of course, all those visits to the headmaster’s quarters after fighting with my taunters. (*laughs*) He has been there for me when I needed him most, and I can talk to him about anything. Well, except my vow of vengeance…
Aunt Maji is a different kind of friend. She’s very wise and nurturing, and full of unconditional love. When Uncle Lusan used to chastise me for playing outside instead of learning how to sew or cook, Aunt Maji would defend me. She let me be who I was, even though that meant disobeying Fae expectations for women. And she constantly tells me how proud she is of me, and how proud my parents are as they watch from the stars in the night sky. I’ll never find all the words to say how much I appreciate everything she has done for me. As for her advice… Well, it’s awfully cryptic. (*laughs*) But eventually I understand it.
I know what you mean. Tori’s next question for you is, do you have a place you like to go to be alone and think?
Sometimes I’ll sit by the Kenehi River. It runs past our kagende; I see it from my bedroom window. I’ll sit there on its banks and listen to the water. Some Faeries say that the Kenehi whispers guidance or answers if you listen closely. I can’t say whether I’ve heard actual words in its trickling… But I’ve always walked away from the Kenehi soothed and cleansed in my soul.
I also like to go for rides with my horse Immer and my messenger bird Thrush. I’m not truly alone then, but my animals have a way of calming me. Immer tends to sense when I’m not myself. She’ll nudge my shoulder if she does, and won’t stop until I prepare her saddle. Thrush… (*giggles*) He’s such a chipper! That’s all he has to do to cheer me up and make me laugh. The three of us will go off for hours and just be together in the forest. Sometimes I have a destination in mind. Other times, I let Immer decide. It doesn’t matter, as long as I come back feeling less nettled, and I usually do.
Both are great answers. I love the relationship you have with your animals. Tori has one more question for you. Do you enjoy reading books?
I like books, but I don’t make much time for reading them. Not because I’m busy, but because I like to be off and about. I don’t sit still for long! But I appreciate books, and I don’t shy away from them if I need to research something for Council purposes.
That makes sense. The next question comes from Elizabeth Rawls. She wants to know why your favorite weapon of choice is a bow and arrow. Did you make them yourself?
Archery has always been a part of my life. My father worked in the royal armory when he was alive, and he built his own archery butts outside our kagende. I still remember watching him practice with his bow and arrow some mornings, and wanting to be like him. Then, after my parents were killed and Aunt Maji and Uncle Lusan adopted me, archery still surrounded me. Gidion would take me with him whenever he hunted, mostly for the company. And Uncle Lusan is an arrow fletcher by trade. When I was eight years old, Uncle Lusan made Gidion a new bow and arrow set. I snuck away with the old set before anyone could get rid of it and started practicing in secret. Well, as secret as it could be. I was caught shooting apples and squirrels out of Aunt Maji’s tree a few times! But even though Uncle Lusan punished me, Gidion still took me along when he hunted, and started teaching me to be a true archer.
The bow and arrow I use now were made by Uncle Lusan. (*grins*) Yes, after a while, he accepted the fact that his niece would wield weapons, even if society expected her not to. He still reminds me of that breach from time to time, but he’s never turned me away when I’ve asked for new bowstrings or arrows.
Two questions from Leslie now. First, what’s your favorite time of year? Are there any extra-special festivals?
My favorite time of year? Ohhhhh, the end of spring and beginning of summer. It’s not too hot then. All of the leaves and grass have returned from their winter sleep, and most of the flowers have bloomed. It’s the perfect time of year to be outside and thanking Tovana for all her gifts.
And yes, we Faeries have our share of festivals! We have four seasonal festivals every year, on the first day of each new season, and then two that coincide with the King’s and Queen’s birthdays. The summer festival is my favorite one. I love the Dance of Life that’s performed there each year. It’s fast and thunderous and joyful, with lots of percussion and chanting. The dancers dress in costumes and face paint to represent the sun, storms, woodlions, dragonflies, and other reminders of the season. Then there are firebreathers and acrobats, sprawling flower displays, sweets and breads and fruits and vegetables from the season’s first harvest. And at night, we cast up illumination spells that spiral and explode in the sky in the brightest rainbow colors. It’s a day so full of… life. That’s the only word that fits. It’s lively and extraordinary, and it always takes my breath away.
Leslie has one more question for you. What is your favorite food?
Cocoa nibs! (*grins*) We Faeries don’t eat many sweets, and cocoa nibs can be expensive. I don’t eat them unless they’re a gift or I have some spare to coins to indulge myself. But they’re so delicious! I also like fruits very much, especially peaches, apples, and blueberries.
Mmmmm. You’re making me hungry, Eva. Let’s do the last question before I get too distracted. (*laughs*) This one is from Robin Rivera. If your society wants women to marry and take on household roles, how did you learn to fight? Are your fighting skills something you’re respected (or resented) for?
The fighting lessons were held in secret, sort of like Gidion’s archery lessons with me. Gidion didn’t teach me how to fight, though. That came from Nomaro. I met him just before I turned 13. He was a former Councilor, and had been expelled after… well, I know his story, but it’s not mine to tell.** All I’ll say is Nomaro worked as an assassin in Suderland after he was expelled from the Council, then quit and returned home to hide. Except I found him. I knew who he was, and I was so desperate to learn more about magic and fighting that I wheedled him into teaching me. Our lessons went on for almost a year and a half. That’s when Nomaro was discovered by the Royal Guard, and the King exiled him for a crime he didn’t commit. That… still hurts too much to talk about now. (*appears teary-eyed*)
I’m sorry. The rest of the question… No, not everyone respects my choice. I think that when I tried out for the Council, I was so used to Uncle Lusan’s disapproval that I’d grown deaf to it and didn’t think much of how the rest of Fae would react. Now I know better. Many elders and Faeries my age just stare, snicker, or avoid me completely. The younger fledglings don’t seem to mind, especially the girls. Sometimes when I’m in the center of Netarlena, they’ll flutter over to me and ask if I can teach them how to use a bow and arrow, or tell me they want to be just like me. Then their parents grab their hands and lead them away. I know it’s not just my choices, though. In fact, it might be more about the rumors about my wing, which we already talked about.
But my Council brothers respect me for my abilities. They wouldn’t have chosen me if they didn’t, would they? And perhaps the King does, too, or else he would have named his own choice for Councilor to replace me. And then my family, and the royal and noble families during my Council tenure – they all seem to respect me. I guess that as long as I keep proving myself, others will learn to accept and respect me too. What do you think?
**Note from Sara: I’m planning to write a novella about Eva’s training with Nomaro while TKC is with beta-readers next year. 😉
I think that’s an excellent way of looking at it, Eva. (*winks*) Well, that’s it for now. Thanks again for your time!
You’re welcome! I thank you as well. And please tell your friends I thank them for their questions. (*smiles, then flutters off*)
That wraps up our interview with Eva. Thanks again to everyone who submitted questions! Maybe we should do this again in the future? 🙂