Tuesday, 22 March 2016
An Interview with Carthinal
Me: Where were you born?
Carthinal: In Bluehaven on the Middle Sea.
Me: What was you childhood like? Was it happy?
Carthinal: At first it was very happy, but later, not so.
Me: Please elaborate.
Carthinal: My father was an elf from Rindissarillishon. He came to Bluehaven on a diplomatic mission. As you will know, Bluehaven is the port where people leave to go to Asperilla, the capital, on Holy Isle. My mother met him when my grandfather and family went to a banquet in honour of the guests. My grandfather was the president of the Merchant’s guild. They fell in love, and despite opposition from my grandparents, due to the different life expectancy, they married.
Then they had me. We were well off and had a large house close to my mother’s parents. Both my parents doted on me, as did my grandparents too. My mother was an only child, you see, and since elves have few children they did not expect more.
I had a nanny but my mother was always there whenever she could be, as was my father. They took me out with them whenever possible too.
Me: It sounds ideal. What went wrong? You said that later it was not so happy.
Carthinal: His face fell: It was the War of Succession. Do you know about that?
Carthinal: Well. The sister of the elflord had had twin boys. The succession in the elves went to the eldest boy of the sister of the elflord, or nearest other female relative if he had no sister. When the Elflord died, both boys claimed the throne saying that he was the elder. A war broke out between them and my father insisted that he go to fight for the actual elder boy. My mother was upset, and tried to persuade him not to go, but he insisted he do his duty. It was the first time I ever heard them quarrel.
Me: What happened then?
Carthinal: My father was killed. Right at the very end it seems. I was very little and don’t remember much detail. My mother was distraught. She returned to her parents’ house and locked herself in her room. Eventually she killed herself. I was not told this, of course, but I deduced it when I got older.
Here he paused and looked into the distance before once more coming back to the present. I allowed him a few minutes to gather himself.
Me: Did you continue to live with you grandparents?
Carthinal: Yes. They looked after me for the next few years then, but they were old and first my grandmother and then my grandfather died. I was still very young. They had left the house to me, and the money got from selling my parents’ house, and they arranged for my nanny to continue to look after me. She did her best, but she couldn’t replace those I had lost.
Me: I am sorry for your loss, Carthinal.
Carthinal: Thank you. It would seem that in spite of everything I was still in a privileged position. I had money and a home, and people to look after me, but those people cheated me.
He beat his fist onto the table and an angry look clouded his indigo eyes.
Me: Please continue.
Carthinal: Somehow the steward and the lawyers managed to gain my property and money. They then turned me out into the street. I was only a little kid, about ten years old. I didn’t know what to do. I wandered about, slept in doorways and stole to eat. One day a girl came up to me and took me to a person she called the leader of her gang. He would not be happy with me stealing on his patch, she told me, and so I joined the gang.
I am not proud of that time of my life. I fought other gangs, stole and maybe even killed during those fights, I don’t know, but it was do that or die. The gangs were ruthless. I even became the leader eventually, and may have ended up on the hangman’s rope.
Me: What changed it?
Carthinal: It was a travelling magician. I now know that he was only very low level, probably a failed apprentice, but to me he was wonderful. I watched him time and time again and began to copy his words and actions when I was alone. One day an archmage called Mabryl saw me. I’d just managed to bring a little flame on my finger; a feat most unusual for one untrained. Mabryl approached me and I thought he was going to arrest me. He asked me to come to his house. I’m afraid that I swore and spat at him. He approached me several times to no avail, then told me that his door was always open for when I decided to learn magic properly.
Me: How long did that take?
Carthinal: Several months. I approached a number of times but lost my nerve, but when I did, Mabryl welcomed me with open arms.
Me: Why did you eventually take up his offer?
Carthinal: I thought that magic would give me more power in the gangs. Perhaps I could become the overall leader of the thieves, but Mabryl changed that. I was difficult. Wild and undisciplined. I gave him a lot of trouble, but he was patient and persevered and eventually I became what he wanted and, as they say, the rest is history.
The first 2 books of The Wolves of Vimar about Carthinal and his friends can be bought in kindle and print format from www.amazon.com or www.amazon.co.uk