All right. Let’s start out with the easy questions. What is your full name?
Jaranin Riel. Or, well, actually, Jaranin Thoranan. Sorry. The new last name sure takes some getting used to! (Laughs)
Do you have a nickname, pseudonym, or alternate identity?
Oh, well maybe I should’ve saved the “Thoranan” bit for this question? I only found out recently myself. Apparently my family has been changing their surname for some time in order to hide the fact that we’re Thoranans, descendants of the Faer Ristan Thoranan—Oh, but you probably don’t know him, not being from Amboron and all… He was a war hero and, well, my hero, I suppose you could say.
And how old are you exactly?
What is your ethnicity?
Eth… what is that, exactly? I’m a human, if that’s what you mean.
Right… Remind me to strike that one from the interview checklist. Let’s see… Tell us about your hair (oh, that’s a good one)! Color, style, length, all of that.
Oh, my hair. By Orien it’s atrocious. Well, you can see–but I suppose those readers of yours won’t. It’s brown. And it never manages to do anything that I want it to. Looks like I got up out of bed with it like this and never bothered to comb it through. Now Elun—Elun has a fine head of hair. I’d jump on the ocean rocks for that hair of his.
“Jump on the ocean rocks”?
Sorry! That’s a Sinoan sort of thing to say, isn’t it? It means I’d do anything for it. As in I’d even jump onto all those deadly, jagged rocks on the shores of the Xagimn Ocean.
Well don’t do any rock-jumping until we’re done here, okay? (Laughs) And what color are your eyes?
Do other people think you look attractive?
Oh, well… I-I’m not… You’d have to—I’m really not the one to be asking for something like that…
Where were you born?
Sinoa. Tiny little—well, can’t even quite call it a hamlet. Just a handful of families that lives on the outskirts of Wilfay and Towston territory. More countryside and farmland fields than actual dwellings. But I love it there. The trees are tall and green and the breezes blow through the hills. Smells like flowers and grass nine out of twelve months o’th’ year. It’s lovely. You should visit sometime; I’m sure you’d like it.
Tell me about your parents.
My parents… (Sighs) Their names were Arenen and Elaine. I don’t… I don’t recall my father. He passed when I was a babe. And I don’t remember much more of my real mum. She was… beautiful. But the only memories I have of her was when she was very, very sick, so I remember her being quite pale. She looked like if you held her too tightly, she’d break into pieces like an expensive plate you dropped on the floor. She passed when I was three.
But I remember she’d hold me close, and I’d hold onto her neck to try and keep her warm. And she whispered all sorts of stories in my ear until she’d drift to sleep.
It sounds like your mom especially was really special to you. Are there any other people in your life you consider precious, and if so, why?
Naomi’d be the main one. She’s raised me since my real mum passed. Oh, she’s a peach. You have to meet her. She’s just one of those people that makes the room she’s in as warm as a fireplace. She’s always looking on the bright side of things even when things are bad, and she always has a way of finding a way to cheer you up.
And she makes the best scoff this side of the mountains.
All right, Jaranin. Now come the hard questions. What sort of things make you feel happy, and why?
Whenever I’m feeling gray, I head out into the woods. There’s something about the trees that helps me calm down. Maybe it’s the quiet sounds of the creatures and the crisp of the leaves… or the way the light looks all soft and yellow when the sun peeks through the green leaves… I dunno. It’s pretty. Being anywhere pretty cheers me up quick!
And what kind of things make you feel angry?
I… don’t like to be angry much. But… if I had to pick one thing, I suppose, it’s the way people sometimes look at Isalaina. It’s not the fear I hate so much as when they give her that sneer as soon as she turns her back. I think she tries to pretend she doesn’t notice, but she knows. She’s too smart not to. And that look they give her—the way they talk to her and treat her—it makes me sick. Makes me want to reach out and hit ’em square in the nose.
They don’t know her. They don’t know her at all, but they treat her like she’s less than dirt, and I—
Maybe we should go on to the next question, please?
I’d like to know, what do you consider to be “the greatest sin”? In other words, what’s the most evil thing a person could do?
Hurt another being, whether it’s by beating them or hurting their soul. And a whole lot of ’em are guilty of the second even if they’ve never done the first.
Sounds like you feel pretty strongly about that.
I do. There’s nothing worse you can do than hurt another soul. And I don’t mean to duck the blame–I’m guilty of the same sort of thing. But you’ve got to try not to do it as much as you can. Otherwise, well… the world gets to be a dark place.
And lastly, do you have any enemies? I’m guessing an enemy of yours would be someone who didn’t care who they hurt.
His name… His name’s Maddokar the Dark. You… may not have heard of him before. Honestly, not a lot of people have, even where I come from. But… he’s not good news. ‘The Dark’ is a good moniker for him, ‘cause he’s dark and wicked and… I don’t want to think about what might happen if he ends up getting his way.
I’ve only spoken to him once. But that’s the worst part—he doesn’t strike you as that way when you meet him, eh? He seems all prim and proper an’ cultured… Almost seems like he’d make a good ally. Like he knows all these things that’d be useful for solving the world’s problems. Like he really cares. But he’s not like that at all when it comes down to it. It’s just a sham.
That’s why I’ve got to stop him. I have to find the Victor’s Blade and… end his life. Or else he’s going to destroy Amboron. Maybe the whole world.
I can’t let that happen.
Do you have any questions for Jaranin? Drop them in the comments and I’ll have him answer next time! (If I can convince him to come back for a second interview…)
For Him, to Him