A little while ago, I proposed an idea that would spark up some interest in what’s intended to be my next WIP, Serpent in a Cage. Already, I’ve done a post talking about the geography of the world that SiaC kicks off, but I had mentioned character interviews on the blog where readers can also ask questions and learn more about the story and the world of Aryneth through them. The response was pretty good; a lot of people seemed interested, so this Friday, we’re giving it a shot. We’re starting out with one of the three main characters of Serpent in a Cage, Locke Mandrake Battarack. But before we get to Locke, let me tell you a little bit about him.
Is Marc-André Grondin dark and broody and (most importantly) cheek-bony enough for Locke Mandrake Battarack? I think so! All he lacks is the piercing blue eyes….
So, if you’re a certain age, you’ve probably heard of the Battaracks. If you’re a little younger, maybe you haven’t. In some opinions, the Battaracks were the scourge of Kyano; others found them to be heroes like from the tales of old, marauders traversing the continent from one end to the other, fighting the battles that others would not. Through the years, though, the numbers of the nomadic tribe of warriors began to dwindle; they still remained a significant force, but no where near the legends they were since their inception in the Age of Legend. Always contending with the forces of Gynnocota, Kyano’s largest city-state, one fateful night, the armies of Gynnocota slipped into the nearby Battarack camp and completely massacred what little was left of their factions.
Well, almost completely.
Through a deft maneuver, Lady Serene Battarack was able to entrust her young infant son, Locke, to Knolan Rszbeki, her husband’s right-hand man. Knolan was able to steal into the night with the child safely, as well as with another, Gilferen Allok, whose dying mother requested the man take her son as well. With everyone they knew dead from the bloody massacre, Knolan struggled to bring up two boys in the wilderness and rebuild a life for himself and the all but destroyed Battaracks.
It wasn’t an easy life, but Locke and Gilferen grew up to be quick and resourceful young men, creating a much diminished group of marauders in the spirit of their deceased forefathers. They traveled Kyano, scavenging for jobs and heists, making a meager living for themselves. Now that Locke is a full grown man, though, he’s turning his attention to calling up the glory of the Battaracks of old, to move beyond being mere theives and mercenaries, and rebuilding an empire. It will be a difficult task, though, and, with the addition of a new member, a mysterious Analisian by the name of Jaxson Devoii, the Battaracks are just about to embark on a truly new experience: traveling to the desert continent of Kassir in the hopes to garner prestige in a whole new land. We caught up with Locke the day before their ship was to sail toward this exciting new journey.
Hello, Locke! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us a little. You must be incredibly busy for such a big trip!
L: (he smiles tightly) Busy’s one word for it, I guess. It’s not that we have a whole lot of stuff to pack, though. Most of it’s just the cargo that we’re transporting, and preparing ourselves for how different Kassir will be. I’m not looking forward to the heat. Or the insects. Or the jungles. Or any of it, really.
Yikes. Isn’t there anything you are looking forward to?
L: (he shrugs, avoiding my eyes) Not really. I mean, the whole thing is Jaxson’s idea; if I had the choice, I’d have never taken a job like this, but Knolan insists that it will be good for us. I’m the leader of this group, so what I say should be paramount, but he’s so insistent on it! I guess we can try it and when it doesn’t work, I can reinstate at least a little bit of authority. He acts as though I’m still a boy no bigger than his hip, and that Jaxson is just the thing we need to turn the Battaracks around. But we don’t need Jaxson. We need to be heading toward Gynnocota, figure a way to strike at them in a way that’ll shake this whole continent.
L: (he shrugs again) Something like that. All I know is that the Battaracks have been a part of Kyanese history for longer than most people can remember. What in Hadesari’s Realm are we going to do in Kassir, besides fry our brains and contract some torturous tropical disease? It’s insane, but Knolan, as usual, won’t listen. I guess I’ll have to wait for the stubborn old goat to see it with his own eyes.
Now I feel odd wishing you luck, but I do hope it goes well for you, whatever the outcome. You never know. You could surprise yourself and be very successful in Kassir.
L: I could. But I doubt it. I think that’s something someone like Jaxson will never understand. I don’t even think Knolan understands it, either. But I feel connected to Kassir; I have a history here that runs deep in my blood, and whenever I think about the fact that I’m leaving it, I start to feel it. Right here. (his hand covers his chest) It aches. I just have a bad feeling about this, but I’ll see it through. I’m nearly positive that it’s going to fail, and, when it does, I’ll return and things can get back to the way they were. It isn’t as though I haven’t suffered through mishaps before.
Like what? What would you say was the most challenging thing you’ve faced in your life so far?
L: (he snorts) You mean besides the rigors of every day life? Of trying to ensure that you have food and shelter every day, when you’ve gone so many days without? Every single day is a challenge, L, but that doesn’t stop me. (he chuckles, a bit suddenly) Besides that, I guess the biggest challenge would just be that I’ve got to do it with Gilferen. I love the man as if he was my own brother, but he doesn’t make things easy. Do you realize how many villages we’re not allowed in anymore because of him? I’m pretty sure we could repopulate the Battaracks entirely just by going around and collecting all the bastards he’s put into the bellies of innkeeper’s daughters and milkmaids…
Your words say one thing, Locke, but your grin says something else entirely. I’m pretty sure Gilferen’s not the only one who’s had his hand in those sorts of dalliances.
L: Pretty sure, but you’d be wrong. That’s more Gilferen’s thing; I have other things on my mind.
Surely, there’s had to have been a few beauties to turn your head through all your years of traveling…
L: Of course. I’m not blind. But I’m afraid I lack the fervor in which Gilferen seems possessed. It doesn’t really bother me. There was one girl… (he drifts off, shakes his head) It doesn’t matter, though. I’ve yet to meet anyone that I’ve felt so strongly about to bring her into the Battarack fold. Maybe I’m too picky. If Gilferen had a say in it, we’d have a regular traveling harem. (a pause) If you talk to him, do not mention that. We don’t need to be giving him ideas of what we should be bringing back with us from Kassir.
Don’t worry, I won’t. But I will open up the questions to everyone else, if you don’t mind. Locke, thank you so much for taking the time. I know you’ve got a lot to do before you sail off into the Great Sea, but our audience might have a few questions of their own.
L: (he shrugs) Sure. Go ahead…
And so I open the floor to you, Dear Readers, if you’d like to ask our guest Locke Mandrake Battarack anything at all about himself, his life, and his world*. Before we get into that, I do have a new subscriber to mention, too! Thanks for joining us, Justin Zamora Rodriguez! Good to have you here!
*(General comments, as well as questions that Locke will answer directly, are welcome, too!)