Interview with Ryland, Fairlie and Shaye

Before writing The Turning Tide, I had a lot of trouble sorting out Ryland’s, Fairlie’s and Shaye’s voices and who they were. So I conducted interviews with each of them. I knew enough about them to pick questions that would trigger some good information, and tell me about them emotionally. I needed to know them much better than I did. I particularly like the interview with Shaye. He simply would not give things up. But if you’ve read The Turning Tide, I think you’ll really like what’s here. Keep in mind I haven’t edited or corrected or spell checked this. It will have lots of mistakes, but it’s from working notes and that’s what you get. Be warned, it’s a bit long.


You’re the son of the king. Do you want to be the next king? Or do you want to be something else?

I would certainly serve if the people chose me. However, I have never aspired to kingship. I hope to serve my father and the next king—or queen—of this country in the best way I can. My skills are best utilized in the capacity of ambassador. I like the strategy and political maneuvering. It infuriates me sometimes, I admit that. There’s posturing of course, but that’s gamesmanship. There’s never a moment when you aren’t playing at something, usually a dozen or more intrigues all at once. It’s exhilarating. To be on foreign soil and play the games . . . There’s nothing better.

What was it like growing up in the palace?

It was quite pleasant. I had my lessons, learning protocol, manners, history, mathematics, languages, dance, fencing . . . all the skills needed for a prince of the realm. It was fine. I didn’t mind it mostly. Even the tedious parts. You should have heard my brothers and sisters though. You’d have thought they were getting burned alive with all the complaining. I was the quiet one. Always had my head in a book. Didn’t matter what. I wanted to know. And then too, I had friends. We explored everywhere, always getting dragged out of corners and holes where we didn’t belong. I collected a lot of information then. I didn’t really know its worth, but over time, I’ve learned the value of even the smallest snippet of something. It’s all patchwork puzzle making and leverage.

What is your father and mother like? Your brothers and sisters?

My mother was fierce. She had the short temper of the two. She was emotional-she could never keep a mask in place. It was easy enough for most everyone to know where they stood with her. My father, he has always been able to keep his emotions under control. He has a lot to juggle. Crosspointe is not easy. The merchants and majicars get worse every year. The Chancery suit is such a nuisance. But it’s been good for the family. That’s one thing they’d hate to know. We have taken jobs in every segment of society. We are clerks and bakers and hostlers and merchants and majicars—we’re everywhere. It used to be we were contained—nobles—royals. The chancery suit changed that. We infect every level of Crosspointe now. Our eyes are everywhere. Father takes every advantage of it. He’s always thinking, always planning, always prepared. He’s a great man. He may be the best king Crosspointe has ever had, with the possible exception of the first William Rampling.

Tell us about Shaye.

He’s a merchant brat. A scalliwag. A rogue of the basest sort. Cousin of the Wevertons. Sharp as lye and wickedly funny. A humor that truly bites. He doesn’t talk much, except to Fairlie and me. He sees way too much and has a way of never forgetting. He knows how to hold a grudge. He’s a majicar. I thought he was a arrogant before—you know, being a Weverton, even a minor one and his entire sense of privilege. But he’s worse as a majicar. Has a way of looking down his nose, not that we let him get away with it much. Or rather, Fairlie doesn’t. She refuses to be a part of his attitude, to accept that he’s any better than anyone else. Or me for that matter. She has a way of deflating us both. She deals in truth. She’s a child of Chayos—firm, centered, down to earth in every way. She believes in truth and facts and what she can touch and feel. And yet she’s got whimsy in her. She has to, to create the art she makes. Did I tell you that Shaye’s in love with her? He doesn’t know it. Or doesn’t want to admit it. She doesn’t know. She’s absolutely in her own world. But he’s been in love with her since she came here. He was thirteen seasons old and she was nine. I was eleven seasons at the time. He fell hard. Like he’d been clobbered over the head with a hammer. A large one.

She’d just come to Sylmont. She was in the palace. Taken as an apprentice by a master metal worker—Toff. He was the best. Died just a few months ago. His heart gave out. Probably 85 seasons years old. Strong. He just dropped one day in his workshop. Blow to Fairlie. Toff was a gruff man but he doted on her. Heard about her from the smith in her town. She’s made of basic stuff. Homespun and wool and hemp and charcoal and of course, metal. Daughter of a grain farmer. He told Toff all about her, her affinity for metal. Chayos-blessed is what she is. A daughter of the goddess.

She isn’t much to look at. Never was. Thin when she got here, but strong boned. A lot of muscle. Scarred on her hands and arms, her hair a frazzle from where it burned and curls. She is often careless when she works, too intent on what she’s doing. She’s got hair the color of bitter tea, with brown eyes the same color. She’s always covered with burns and her clothes always have holes from cinders and burns. She doesn’t care. She’s not a primping sort of woman. Most of the time here eyes are always far away. She’s always thinking of metals, of the shapes she can make, of the art. Half her mind is always there. She was always that way.

She’s a force. A true force. When she’s around, she’s like a flame for moths. And Shaye is most definitely a moth. I’m drawn to her, though not in the same way. But Shaye—that first day, when we tripped over her. She was lost, looking for Toff. She’d wandered out of the baths and we found her. She was so angry, wasting time when she could be hammering on metal. We led her to Toff’s workshop. He’d hardly noticed her missing. He was as distracted by the metal as she was. They were kindred spirits. And Shaye, he was absolutely struck. I think it’s her devotion to her craft, and then too, she is full of whimsy as I said. Happy. She laughs and you must laugh too. A rich laugh like a gurgling spring. She had questions, thousands of them. About Sylmont, about Crosspointe, about everything under the moon. There was never time to answer. Shaye was bowled over, like leaves in the wind. I don’t think he’d ever met someone like her. So unimpressed by him, so completely sure of herself, so uninterested in anything he cared about at all. Money didn’t matter, not clothes, not food, not rank, nothing. She only cared about her work.

He comes to the palace nearly every day. He finds excuses to be around her. To help her. To make sure she eats, since she won’t. To renew the protections on her clothing against burning cinders and so on. He renews them as often as he can. He makes sure she wears them, since she forgets much of the time. He heals what she’ll let him heal, though if it’s minor, she doesn’t bother, or rather, doesn’t let him bother her with such trivialities. He gets in her way. She will banish him from her workshop if he doesn’t stay silent and out of the way. He hates that. Steams off in a fury.

He’s working on his master status as Majicar. He’s a journeyman, as is Fairlie. He’s good, though he hasn’t quite found his specialty. Or so I suppose. He doesn’t talk of it much, though I listen for him to mention his special interest. He never does. Mostly it’s Fairlie. I don’t know when he works on his craft. He’s up for service soon. He hates it. Doesn’t want to have to do scut work for nothing, as he puts it. Not that he performs services for money. I’m not sure what he’ll do for money—he’s got a lot of family wealth. His family is nothing like him. Aloof I guess, but kind enough. He’s got two sisters who are married, and another who lives at home. None of them are involved in politics. They breed horses. A very elite business. A lot of money in it. They’ve been breeding for generations. They try to be politically neutral—whereas the other Wevertons tend to be more entrenched against the crown. But Shaye has always resisted following anyone. He’s a loner. His own man. It works against him. If it wasn’t for me and Fairlie, he’d be a cold, bitter man. He’s brilliant, but he doesn’t make a lot of friends. If he didn’t have us, he’d pour himself into his work. I can’t begin to think what he’d create. But he wouldn’t care about anything. I don’t think I’d like him much that way. He’s got the potential to be brutal and cruel. And he’s willing to be so. Crossing him is a bad idea. Alone with his majick, he’d be quick to take offense. He needs tempering. That’s Fairlie’s art.

Tell us about Fairlie.

I’ve told you already what I know, what’s important. She’s one of the finest metal craftsmen of our time. They don’t like to crown new masters—keeping the masters pool limited increases pricing leverage, but they’ll have no choice with her. She’s going to shine so bright they’ll never have a choice. The guilds are corrupt, you know. Too many politics, and so many fine craftsmen can never achieve master status, and are bound by bureacracy, remaining at journeyman status for years and years, sometimes forever.

Except for Shaye, she’s my best friend. Maybe even as much as a best friend. It’s different though. With Shaye, we are almost always at war, though we’d never betray each other, never truly hurt each other. But there is always a tension. The root of it is both our roots—that I am royal and he is both merchant and majicar—and also Fairlie. He cannot help his jealousy, of any time she spends with anyone but him.

I can talk to her. Tell her things. She holds secrets. She never gives them away and she does not judge. She accepts who I am—who Shaye is too, though I am not so prickly as he. She knows I cannot be too open with her. I am too close to the business of the kingdom. I cannot say what I know or suspect. Even though I know she would not reveal my secrets. Still it would break my father’s confidence if I spoke, so I do not. I am a Rampling, first and foremost, after all. To know that information I know is confidential or sensitive passed my lips would be . . . untenable to me. I think it would break my soul.

But Fairlie understands. That’s her gift. To know what a man is capable of, to see how much he can bend and not ask for more. It’s the same gift she has with metal. She makes me comfortable. I am most myself when I am around her. Or maybe, I am more my best self with her, and more of my worst self with Shaye. Together, they know all of me. It is, rather surprisingly, unsettling to realize how much they do know of me. I should not like to lose them.

What’s your greatest fear?

Do you know what you ask? To know such a thing is to know the secret to a man’s soul. It is to have power over him. I do not answer such questions lightly. Most men do not know their own greatest fear. They know what they believe is their greatest fear, but they truly don’t know. They don’t think about it—it is too frightening. They dare not imagine it. But I know mine. It is that I should fail. That something I do, or something I don’t do, will endanger Crosspointe. That because of me, my people will suffer. Or perhaps I am wrong. Maybe I am lying. This is not the sort of information most men know. Most men think they know, but they don’t. I may be one of them. I hope I never find out.

What’s your greatest hope?

This is not one I think about much. I suppose I have many hopes. I wish to serve well. I wish to be admired and respected by my father, by the people. I wish to live a worthy life.

What do you want more than anything else?

I want . . . Do we speak of impossible things? I want my mother back alive. I want my father to stop looking the way he has since she died—hard, brittle, desperate, resolved. Crosspointe is not easy, and lately she has been much more difficult. I believe that trouble is coming to us. The Jutras attack was merely the first of things to come. It scared my father. Made him realize things had to change. The trouble is, he was already in trouble with the merchants and majicars. Whatever he does now will not sit well. I wonder if my mother was alive if he’d be so driven. She’d temper him, the way Fairlie tempers Shaye.

What is your favorite food?

Blueberries in cream. And oranges. Being in the palace has its privileges. The Greenhouses are full of fresh fruits and vegetables. And sharp cheese. Ah, that is too many for your question.

What is your worst vice?

Vices? I have none. Ah, but the truth is I have too many. I like women. I am not certain this is a real vice. Men are supposed to enjoy women, right? I do not drink or take drugs. I do like fine wines, fine horses, fine things I suppose. Some would call me a bit on the foppish side. I dress so they’ll think less of me, think I’m soft when I’m not, think I’m stupid when I’m not. There’s no real room for vices for the son of a king, though we have ours. I am also more curious than I ought to be. Sometimes it is not good to learn too many secrets.


What was growing up like for you? Tell us about your family and childhood.

What business is this of yours? I grew up and I am still living and mostly undamaged. A broken nose and a broken jaw and a few other broken bones. All worth it. Nor have I broken any laws. My family is at home, comfortable and happy. I don’t suppose I wish to expose myself to you in any way. I have no desire to become sort of object of your gossip and maunderings.

You did promise. And Ryland has already told me about himself. And Fairlie will too. Won’t you give me something? I promise this is not for gossip. This is simply to be fair to you. To all of you. I want to tell the story right.

Ryland loves to talk about himself. He loves to talk, though he listens more than you might think. He talks enough to get you talking and then he knows to bite his tongue and see what you will say. And Fairlie . . . I doubt you can pry her out of her workshop. But fine. It seems a waste of time. I spent my early seasons in the country with my family. They breed horses, as no doubt you know, though it is never certain how stupid and careless people can really be. I came here to foster when I was nine seasons old. I lived with my Weverton cousins so as not to be the country bumpkin family member. My sisters have married quite well, though neither live in Sylmont, though both will come for the seasons. My brothers are also well-married. Family politics, don’t you know. Byron married a second cousin, helping to preserve wealth for both families. Miles married Sophia Kent, the largest shipowner in Tilman. Quite a coupe, I’m sure.

As a majicar, I am excused from marriage, though certainly the family would certainly like to see me make an advantageous alliance.

Did you always want to be a majicar? Did you always know you were going to be a majicar? How did you become one?

My, my. Like a child, aren’t you? Impetuous and bubbling over with juvenile eagerness. Excuse my yawn. No to the first. I did not always want to be a majicar. I had little enough ambition. I expected to find a place in one of the array of family businesses. It mattered little to me. And no to the second question. I did not know. As for how I became one, that is guild business. I may not reveal it. And while there are not many rules I choose to follow excessively, I do take my guild oath quite to heart. I must apologize for that. You have a right to expect me to be less principled. Most can count on that. I am quite selfish really. I don’t really care about very many other people.

What’s your worst vice?

How to choose? Well, I’m sure that what I consider my worst vice is not the one you would judge worst. I am lazy, I am rude—I don’t consider them vices though certainly others do and so they have told me often. Especially my mother who is quite the opposite of me in every way and yet I still love her very much. She even loves me, though I do not doubt this embarrasses her. My father is more resigned to me, and has decided that if a family must have a black sheep, I am at least mildly entertaining. But as for my worst vice . . . I think, perhaps, that I am impetuous on occasion. I would call that my worse vice. It leads me places I don’t always wish to go, and while some of those places are exciting bramble patches wherein which I scrape myself, break bones and make enemies, some of those places, while interesting, are more than a little unpleasant to me. They are too . . . close.

What’s your best trait?

Do I have good traits? Ah, Fairlie and Ryland think so. I wonder what they said. Well, if I am to say what my best trait is, and I am apparently, then I must say that I am loyal. Not to everyone. Not even to many. If I give you my friendship, if i give you my loyalty, then you will be able to depend on it. There is nearly nothing I wouldn’t do for you in that case. I do not make such promises lightly. I make them to my parents and to Ryland and Fairlie. And to my brothers and sisters, though Ryland and Fairlie before them.

What do people say about you?

I am rude, abrasive, dangerous, crude, short-tempered, sharp-edged, nasty, bitter, angry, insufferable, arrogant, proud, annoying, and mean. And many other things. Those are the less crude things. I’m also quite good as a majicar, though I have not yet earned my masters badge. The fact that I have Weverton ties makes it impossible to not invite me to events and to throw their daughters at me. Sons too, though I don’t bend that way. I would be an advantageous match for many, though the daughters would scream and rail against such a dreadful fate.

Tell us about the majicar guild.

I should not. The guild prefers to keep itself veiled. But for you and your story, I will speak. And because I can say some things without breaking my oath, or its spirit. The guild is run by the Sennet, as you no doubt know. It is a body of masters only. Power and seniority are the method of getting an appointment. It is complicated. You must be nominated and your nomination ratified by twelve masters. Then you must be elected by the body, with even the lowest apprentice having a weighted vote. Of a lower weight than a journeyman who has a lower weight than a master. The Sennet makes all of the guild law and enforces it as well. It negotiates with the crown and merchants for larger majicks and service majicks, and it collects a hefty tithe of all transactions. It has a powerful influence at court and within the Merchant’s council.

Much of the majick is practiced out on Merstone Island. The workshops are largely inside caves, well below sea level. It’s a warren. There’s hardly any real island left. But it’s important to practice great spells outside of the Pale, and inside Merstone is safe from the Chance storms. No doubt you were concerned about that.

There are approximately 10,000 majicars in Crosspointe at a level above apprentice. Many never make master. It requires a certain skill in things I cannot reveal to you. But some fail. Utterly. Some simply do not try past a certain point. There are plenty of adequate journeymen who can make potions, repair masonry, hunt down spawn, and so forth. But there’s more to being a master. It’s about creating new things, taking risks, facing fears, and of course, it requires a level of talent that not everyone can claim. I believe I do claim the talent, but the question is whether I have the discipline and desire. I do not know yet if that is the case. The prestige of it doesn’t matter to me, though it matters to many. The sense of privilege and superiority. I already have that. I am a Weverton, after all.

Who is your worst enemy?

Undoubtedly myself. Or so my mother tells me regularly and often. And truly, I know that she is right. I will certainly hurt myself more than anyone else will. However, if I was to say who my worst enemy is, then I should have to say . . . No. There is no one else. I hate a great many people and they hate me. But this is my doing and I am the one who creates the fires in my life. I wouldn’t let anyone else claim that power.

What is your favorite food?

Wine of course. And roasted beef. Bloody.

Have you ever been in love?

Of course not. Unless you consider my selfishness. In which case, I am in love with myself.

Would you tell me if you had been in love?

Would you believe me if I said yes? I thought not. Can I have grown to a man of twenty-five seasons without ever falling in love with someone? I’ll let you choose.

How would you describe yourself?

I am . . . rabidly loyal, when i wish to be. Thorny. Rude. Truthful often though I will lie when the mood strikes. I never lie to cover my own ass. Mostly to be difficult. Tactless. I am not generous, I am not charitable. I judge people. I apologize for nothing. I accept the price of my tongue. I am genuine, though I am not easy.

Tell us about doing majick.

This . . . I love. It . . . fills . . . something inside me. A hole. It is a second heart. Or perhaps my first, some might say. It it my breath and my bones and my every nerve in my body. The majick is always there, like sunlight on the skin. It sparks and it hurts, oh dearest Meris how it hurts. But it is a beautiful pain, an agony of delight. When I summon the majick, it rolls through me in slow, curling waves, hot and intimate in a way that you cannot comprehend. It builds. You must hold it inside, focusing on the spell you have built. Legend is that Errol Cipher could simply imagine what he wished and call it into being. The spell may be in your head—if it is simple enough, it will do. I see you do not know what I am speaking about when I say spells.

Spells are the alignments of elements. Majick is merely a powerful force—a conflagration, a hurricane, a flood. A powerful force of energy. In itself, it is nothing. Sylveth is perhaps the exception. I do not know if sylveth is pure majick or if it is infused with majick. But it is the blood of Meris and it is a separate component in spells. It is used by more advanced and talented practitioners. It is required for the master’s test. A spell is required for most majicks except the most minor.

Spells can be complex and simple. It depends on the sort of thing you wish to accomplish. If you have to mix antagonistic elements, it gets more difficult. And while fire, air, stone and water are cardinal elements, there are a total of thirty-two. As many as the winds, as many as the compass. Each. But the level of majick and skill is enormous. It requires skill with metal and with working raw sylveth and with implementing powerful spells. I am not supposed to know that the majicars make the compasses, but I am a Weverton. We know a great deal. I am not the first majicar in the family. We have collected information from a variety of sources and a variety of sources and created an archive of knowledge. must be part of the spell and there are varying shapes to focusing the spell.

But the illidre allows us to do much that would require a formal spell. It contains a special . . . not quite a spell. It is a focusing and magnifying structure inside it. It is keyed to the majicar from whom it is made. Masters make them for apprentices and journeymen, using the stuff of their minds and souls. A master makes his own. He must have that much talent over sylveth, though it can be made from worked sylveth. He need not be able to work raw sylveth, which is rare. Rarer still is the ability to make compasses. I don’t even know how it’s done

Inside the illidre is a structure. You might call it a half-formed spell. It’s made up of the cardinal elements and then the elements of which a majicar has the greatest power. With the help of a master majicar, it’s formed into a series of basic shapes that can be shifted and molded with ease to perform a great many spell, leaning largely toward the majicar’s strength. It’s linked to him. With it, he need not lay out a formal spell structure, and as he practices, it’s easier to form the spells in his mind. The illidre becomes stronger. A master may over time modify his illidre, giving him more power to work independently. He may add to the partial spell structure, imbuing his illidre with a great deal of potential. All it takes to answer that potential is rearrange the spell in a complex pattern.

I had my illidre reformed when I became a journeymen. My strengths are in wind and fire My illidre is in the color and shape of flames.

What is the one thing you will never do, no matter what the cost.

Hurt Fairlie. Or Ryland, I suppose. Give up majick.

What if you had to give up majick for one of them? What if you had to choose?

It would tear my soul in half.

But which would you choose.




Care to say any more about it?


Your guild wouldn’t be very happy to hear that about you.

No, they wouldn’t.

So why tell me? You didn’t have to answer.

Because I can’t tell her.

Why not?

Because . . . Because she wouldn’t like it. She’s comfortable with us being friends. I won’t risk that. Now move on.

All right. Tell us about Fairlie.

You call that moving on? All right. Fairlie is a brilliant artist. More brilliant than even she knows. She’s one of a kind. She puts everything into her work. She holds back nothing. She always forgets the things you tell her when she’s working. She doesn’t look after herself whatsoever. Left on her own, she’d starve to death, or light herself on fire. She’s generous with everyone. She’s got no time for judging people. She enjoys herself no matter what she does. She’s full of whimsy. She doesn’t care about fine clothes or jewelry, though she wears the finest—she makes the finest. They are beginning to seek her out. Soon she will be rich beyond belief. Not that she will care, except for what she can give away. The only way to spend time with her is to be with her when she’s working. Not that she will really notice you.

She likes blackberries. She loves spiced tea. She forgets to eat and sleep and she needs a keeper. Lovers? I’ve never known of one. Her lover is her work. Don’t think she’s cold or frigid—she’s passionate. But for her work. No man can match it. If she were ever to love a man, he would be blessed and lucky.

What about you? Do you love anyone?

Who has time for love? Haven’t you already asked me that?

Are you involved with anyone at all?


Have you ever been?

I’ve had lovers. For short periods. But as I said, there is little time for such things.

But no one you love now?

I did not say that.

You are in love but do not have a lover? Does she know?

I’m done with this. If you have more questions, ask them.

Tell us about Ryland.

He’s a prig.

That’s it?

Do you need to know more? He’s royal and desperately devoted to his father, the King. He speaks a dozen languages or more, his head is always in a ledger or a report, or he’s chatting up diplomats or studying histories or treatises on this or that and so on. He can be amusing when he wishes. Fairlie can stir him out of himself. He laughs, but has to think about it first, consider the repercussions, consider who’s watching. I expect he’ll be elected king next time around. He’s got a talent for it. I’ll give him that.

You don’t sound like you like him much.

Like him? I don’t think about it much. We’re . . . like brothers, I suppose. Family any how. It’s not about whether we like each other. It’s about . . . we are more like brothers, I suppose. We’d kill for each other; we’d die for each other. He’s a pain in the ass. He’s forever late from something, always in a hurry to get to something. We pick at each other a little. Like brothers will.


Talk to us about your art. What are you doing now?

That’s a secret. But I just finished my tribute to Queen Naren. It was my Masters project and it’s good. Not perfect. There are things that I just could get done the way I wanted. Next time. I’ll get it right. I’ve got the rest of my life, right? And I learn knew things every time.

What was it like to get such prestigious recognition from the King for your work?

It’s nice.

Just nice?

It’s not that important, you know. It’s more about whether the piece wakes up and breathes on its own, whether my vision is there. I like to watch people’s faces when they look at my work—to see if it really touches them the way I wanted it to. That’s real art. That’s really what it’s about.

Tell us about your family and childhood.

I came here when I was nine. Before that, I was always into the metal. My poor parents— They probably thought I’d burn the house down. Out of sheer self defense, they let me work with Avril, the blacksmith in Bourneton. He was amazing. He contacted the guild. Told them I needed to apprentice with someone good. He actually went to a guild meeting. That’s how I ended up here. He got up and spoke about me so loudly and passionately that Toff asked for me. He ASKED for ME. Can you believe it? Didn’t charge an apprentice fee. I miss him so much. He was . . . He knew me, you know. Like no one else. He knew what it was like to have the metal sing to you, to feel it shifting, changing, becoming beneath your hands. He was truly Chayos-blessed.

What’s your greatest fear?

Losing my hands or my eyes—anything that would prevent me from working metal. I have to. That’s all I am. If I lost it . . . I think I would die.

What’s your greatest hope?

To keep doing this forever. To be able to make wonderful things and keep learning and growing.

Tell us about Shaye.

He’s a dreadful nag. Eat this Fairlie. Sleep Fairlie. Your clothes are on fire Fairlie. He’s always poking at me. He’s part mother, part big brother and part bully. He understands, though. He knows what the metal means to me. He helps me a lot. He’s got strength with fire and air. I think we could truly do some amazing work together. I just wish he’d do what he needs to do to become a master majicar. He’s forever in my workshop. I know he needs more time to do his work. I just can’t convince him.

Tell us about Ryland.

He’s going to be king someday. He’s always thinking of the politics, of ramifications and negotiations. He’s amazing. A dreadful flirt, too. Girls chase him everywhere. He’s handsome, of course. So’s Shaybe, but Shaye is a dark, thin, wiry shadow, with a face of craggy character. Ryland is just beautiful. Square jaw, blue eyes, blond hair—takes after his father.

Do you consider yourself to be a brave person?

What’s brave? I’m not going to go hunting spawn. But I don’t run from fights either. I’ll put my hands into fire. I’m brave enough.

Is there anything you don’t like about yourself?

Sure. I can never managed the smooth, polite beauty of court ladies (and sometimes I am forced to try—like this ball coming up to launch my tribute to Queen Naren. Ick). I’m always saying whatever comes into my head. It’s lucky I’m mostly alone. Except for Shaye, of course, and he doesn’t care. He’s the same way. Except the things that come into his head are a little bit sharp, if you know what I mean.

If you couldn’t be a metal artist, what would you be?

I don’t have any idea. I can’t even imagine it. I don’t want to.

What’s your living space like?

The usual. Bed, dresser, that sort of thing. It’s attached to my workshop. Oh, I’ve got some apartment somewhere in the palace. It’s plush and all that. But I like being close to my workroom. I can work whenever I want.

Do you ever consider taking Ryland or Shaye as a lover? Have you ever been lovers?

*goggling* No! I mean, first, Ryland has his pick of any beautiful creature he wants. And Shaye, too, if he’d just put out a little effort. And they are my friends. Besides, I don’t have time for a lover. He’d be too distracting. I disappear for weeks and months into my work. Who would want to live with that?

Have you ever had a lover?

Just my work. There have been a couple of boys—kissing and that sort of thing. But like I said, I didn’t have enough time for them. I don’t really care about that sort of thing. I’ve got Shaye and Ryland for company and the rest—I’ve got my work.

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