Character Interview, Writing exercise

Interview with Victor

The lovely and wonderful mod over at the Kiss and Tell group on Goodreads asked if she could interview Victor. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to spend a little time with that flirtatious, sarcastic, sometimes aggravating man? For your reading pleasure, and with the permission of Rachel, I’m posting it here.

[START OF TRANSCRIPT]

The car service drops me off in front of the Coterie headquarters within the financial district of Toronto, Ontario. Veronica Del Rosa, the author, explained this is where Victor works as a Mage Demon Enforcer. After making it through security I take the elevator up to the 21st floor where I’m directed to a large meeting room with rows of chairs, and the only other person in the room is another man who looks faintly bored, although his gaze doesn’t waver.

With short dirty-blond hair, hazel eyes, chiseled jaw, and light stubble, Victor strides toward me in a long black overcoat over a black t-shirt and black cargo pants. My eyes narrow as I notice his pants have a mind-boggling amount of pockets.

“Why hello there,” he approaches to greet me. “I didn’t realize they’d send me such a pretty lady to interview me.”

I tilt my head down to hide a sudden blush, yet find myself strangely comforted by his presence…

“And how are you doing on such a fine day?” he asks.

“Quite well actually,” I say, taking a deep breath. I exhale a contented sigh before I continue. “Thank you so much for meeting me today. It’s really great to finally meet you.”

“I’m very pleased to meet you, too.”

Drawn to him and feeling a bit fuzzy, I lean in rather close to extend my hand.

“I’d offer to shake your hand, but I’m a bit of a . . . germaphobe,” he explains, backing away slightly. “Oh and don’t mind my partner over there. He’s here to make sure nothing untoward occurs. Safety sake and all that.”

“Oh, um . . . Of course. My apologies.” He gestures that I sit across the table from him, and my head clears as I pull out the plush office chair to take a seat.

“So, just out of curiosity,” I begin, “what kind of weapons are standard issue for a Mage Demon Enforcer?”

“You wanna see my weapons?” Victor leans back and gives me a lopsided grin. “Why darling, you’re looking at my weapons. It’s all me. I can either charm you or irritate the hell out of you, but you’ll never be unaffected.”

I raise a brow and swallow an inappropriate comeback. Best to keep this professional, being that I’m outnumbered and most definitely outgunned in here.

“What is your occupation, officially?”

“Mage Demon Enforcer extraordinaire, second to none. I hunt demons who’ve either slipped their summoning leash, so to speak, or who engage in illegal activities while on Earth.”

“Fascinating. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?”

“Who set you up for this? Why would you want to know something like that? Is Keeper behind all this?” Victor scans the room. Once satisfied, he continues. “No, I don’t have any physical weaknesses. In fact, I’m in perfect shape. Would you like to see?” he asks with a suggestive wiggle of his brows. “On second thought, I don’t think your heart could handle such perfection. Maybe we should just carry on.”

“Well aren’t you rather self-assured?” I scribble something in my notepad and press on, ignoring the soft chuckle coming from the other man in the room. “What do you have in your pockets?”

“Oh, now this will be fun. Have you ever seen inside a mage’s pockets?”

“Not to my knowledge . . .”

“No? Well then, you’re in for a treat!”

Intrigued, I sit up to watch him. Victor rubs his hands together in glee before pulling out several plastic bags. “We have bat wings, powdered granite, eyelashes, bits of lint… Don’t look at me like that. Spell components are important in my line of work. And now we’re on to the next pocket which has . . . okay, fine, I’m done.”

I frown and move on; the contents of that last pocket certainly piqued my interest.

“Would you rather be a jack of many trades or a master of one?”

“I am a master of one. Demon hunting. You won’t find a better one than me. And no, that’s not arrogance speaking, just the full unvarnished truth,” he explains and the other man snickers. “Quiet, Jackson, or next time you’re bait for the demon and not me. Don’t mind him, he’s a little jealous that I get all the attention.”

I recall the sudden and inexplicable pull toward him and decide he’s probably right.

“Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities?”

“The Enforcer Academy. We all go there to train in magic and other things. Mainly magic. As for being awesome, that I come by naturally. I spent twenty years as a junior Enforcer, then ten years as a senior Enforcer. I applied for the Mage Demon division and was accepted. That was about oh, a hundred years, give or take.”

Jackson speaks up and mutters, “Try 150 years . . .”

Victor sighs. Again with the jealousy. It pains him that I have so many years of expertise on him. He’ll never catch up to me.”

I let out a quiet sigh and make a few notes. “If you are a supernatural being (i.e. mage, werewolf, vampire), tell the story of how you became what you are or first learned of your own abilities.”

“As a mage, I knew I’d eventually have magic at my beck and call, however, my magic didn’t unlock until I was 17. A little on the older side, but you can’t rush perfection, right?”

Despite myself, I giggle quietly.

“No you cannot.” Shaking my head in an attempt to refocus, I review my list for the next question. “How honest are you about your thoughts and feelings (i.e. do you hide your true self from others, and in what way)?”

“Oh darling, have you met us Enforcers before? We all hide our thoughts and feelings. If not, ka-boom! Enforcers have a tendency to overload on magical energy if we don’t control our emotions, so yeah, we hide our feelings.”

“Oh my, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind! Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?”

“Well, bugger it all,” Victor grumbles. “Don’t let this get back to him, but Keep is my go-to person when things hit the fan. His full title is Keeper of All Knowledge and that isn’t something the Coterie just hand out. The amount of information stored in his head is staggering. He’s also an arrogant know-it-all who likes to dole out his secrets, so…” his voice trails off and he shrugs. “I make sure I really need his help when I come begging.”

“The ‘Keeper of All Knowledge’, huh? Wouldn’t mind meeting him . . . Do you care what others think of you?”

He barks out a laugh. “Not even in the slightest. In fact, I go out of my way to piss off most people. It’s fun to see others all riled up, and it’s amazing what’s said in the heat of the moment.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” I ask, mostly to myself. “Alright then, last question. Who or what, if anything, would you die for (or otherwise go to extremes for)?”

“My family, and I don’t mean just by blood. Isabella, Jackson, Lilith, she’s my big sister, Sylvia, hell, even Keep. I consider them mine to protect. I would do anything to keep them safe. For Isabella, I gave myself up to a nasty demon who liked sharp toys. Jackson, well, my career would be on the line if we talked about that incident. Yeah, I protect those close to my heart.”

“Well Victor, I must say I can’t fault you for that. And thank you again for taking this meeting.”

“Well, darling, it was certainly nice meeting you. If you ever need another interview, just let me know.” Victor winks and gives another lopsided grin. “Jackson will escort you from the building. Just remember, no breaking into the Coterie building to come visit me after hours. Security frowns upon that.”

[END OF TRANSCRIPT]

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Making my son happy, Writing exercise

Ghost Town – Chapter Four

Read Chapter Three here

Screams, some harsh and loud, others a wailing against death, filled the air. People were hurt, shocked at such an outcome. The ghosts swarmed the town, taking advantage of the confusion their cannon had caused.

Bones yelled orders, searching for the humans who might fight back. Many would not, though, their spirits broken along with their homes and bodies. Jade and Chet both sped through the air, abandoning the cannon. It had no use now. It had served its purpose.

“Bring the leaders to me. I will make an example of them!” Bones commanded. This town was his and no one would dare to fight back. Not after he showed them the price of disobedience.

Within the hour, a mass of bodies huddled in the town square. An unending moan of pain vibrated from them. The leaders, three of them, knelt before Bones with straight backs and lifted chins.

One of them, a tall man with a shave hair and a scar running down his face, spat on the ground at Bones’ feet and sneered, “This is our town and we will take it back.”
Bones laughed as he floated closer. The power of the lay lines boosted his own natural power. So much strength and a near limitless source of energy. This, this was the true reason why the ghosts wanted the town. They would have no worries of fading away, groundless to this plane. No, the lay lines would feed them for centuries or more.

“This is our home now. I’d suggest you humans get used to that idea. We will not leave. Try to force us and you will find just how dangerous of an enemy we are.” Bones floated closer and, in a blur, slammed his essence into the human’s body. Had the man been expecting such an action, he might have succeeded in blocking Bones. Instead, he lost all control of his body.

Bones settled, adjusting to the unfamiliar weight. He curled his borrowed lip in disgust. So limited and lacking. Had he really lamented the loss of his body after death?

He turned to the assembled mass, lifted the arms high and shouted, “We can control you, control your bodies anytime we choose. There is no way of stopping us. Just think of the damage we could do to your fragile shells. Take you to a cliff and jump off. Put a gun to your head and pull the trigger. Kill your loved ones. And we wouldn’t take any damage. Either bow before us or leave. This is your only chance.”

Silence descended. As one, the humans bowed down to their new rulers. Several fell, unable to stay upright due to broken bones. They made no move to pick themselves up. Bones flicked a sharp glance to the two leaders and both grudgingly dipped their heads. He made a mental note to keep an eye on them.

With a quick push, Bones exited the human, grateful to leave behind the cumbersome reminder of mortality. Chet and Jade flanked him, a show of power and solidarity. The rest of the ghosts gathered behind them and cheered.

This was their town.

Ghost Town.

Making my son happy, Writing exercise

Ghost Town – Chapter Three

Read Chapter Two here

“The cannon is set up and ready for use, Bones.” Jade’s usual high pitched tones were hushed. For once, she showed proper respect for their mission.

“Good. While they sleep, all snug in their warm beds, we attack. Cut them down before they can rally against us.” Bones snorted with laughter. “Then again, these humans have no idea how to fight us. They’re pathetic. We’ll have the town before daybreak.”

Chet floated closer to Jade and stared longingly at the sleek piece of technology. Bolted to the ground, its black body blended into the surroundings. He said, “I’ll use the cannon while you two lead the charge. The others need to see their leader out front.”

Bones nodded and turned away from the weapon. Several hundred ghosts hid behind the hill, waiting for instructions, anxious to finally claim land as their own.
His voice rang out, clear and crisp. “On the count of ten, the cannon will fire. It will knock the humans flat on their asses, leaving them vulnerable to us. Do not kill if you can avoid it. We don’t want any vengeful ghosts disrupting our plans.”

Facing the town, Bones lifted his arm and counted down. When he reached one, he dropped his arm. The cannon fired, releasing a sonic charge designed to attach the human nervous system. The ghosts cried out and swarmed over the hill.

Read Chapter Four here

Making my son happy, Writing exercise

Ghost Town – Chapter Two

Read Chapter One here

“Well, what did you learn?” Chet asked.

“I forgot how easily distracted humans are. Were we like that? Centuries of death has burned away the memories.” Bones lamented.

“We were all like that. The living doesn’t realize what they have. They squander it with pettiness. It matters not. We will take the town from them.” Chet floated above the chair, not caring how it look to others. He no longer maintained any human pretenses.

“And the weapon is ready?” Bones pulled his wandering thoughts away from the humans. They were merely obstacles to overcome. The town will belong to the ghosts, making slaves out of any who stay behind.

“Yes, the weapon is ready. Jade tested it earlier today”

“Good, we use it tonight. I want the town cleared so we can take over. I want the magic.” Bones drifted away from Chet, his mind consumed with the unlimited energy hiding within the earth beneath the town. The stupid humans couldn’t feel the power, had no clue what they’d built their houses upon. Bones knew. And nothing would stop him from gaining control of it.

Read Chapter Three here

Making my son happy, Writing exercise

Ghost Town – Chapter One

My six year old son wanted me to write him a ghost story. He gave me the plot and the characters. I filled in the rest. And he’s demanded for me to publish the story. So for my hard task master of a child, I’m putting it on my blog. Enjoy!

The ocean breeze drifted across the rocky shore bringing with it the tang of salt and a hint of burning firewood. Bones squatted next to a downed tree, it’s rotting trunk perfect cover for him. It wasn’t often he tried consciously to hide from others as it came naturally to him. Bones had no corporal form, a ghost in more simple terms.

The ringing of metal against metal held his attention. Two humans fought near their campfire, slashing each other in earnest. Shouts and grunts accompanied every clang. Other humans circled around them, their yelling indecipherable and paper clutched in their tight fists.

One of the fighters slipped, dropping to one knee. The other man took advantage and pressed the tip of his blade against the fallen opponent. Silence descended upon the crowd, eyes riveted.

“Yield or die!” The victor’s voice boomed across the distance, travelling to Bone’s ears with ease.

After a moment’s hesitation, the defeated human flung his sword to the side. Cries rose from the crowd, some jubilant, others angry. Paper exchanged hands.

Bones slipped further behind the tree, not wanting the humans to catch sight of him. Many walked away from the fire, disgusted.

Read Chapter Two here

Writing exercise

The origin of the werewolves – Enforcers and Coterie mythology

One of the groups I’m in posted a picture of a woman with a wolf and challenged us to write something about it. The image created a tale in my mind, one that explained the origins of the werewolves in the Enforcers and Coterie universe. I hope you enjoy and if you want to read more about the werewolves, then check out Sylvia’s Torment.

His wet nose pushed into her palm, an apology and a plea. He needed her forgiveness. Her red hair steamed across his back as she hugged onto him and hot tears scalded his skin. Stuck in wolf form, he couldn’t comfort her. Couldn’t tell her it’d be fine.

She’d always told him his quick temper and cutting tongue would get him into trouble. As usual, she was right. Who knew the witch wasn’t all hot air and actually had power to back up her words?

Cursed to walk this earth as a wolf until he performed an impossible task, but the witch hadn’t told him anything about the damn task.

A tiny shudder reminded him he wasn’t alone. Wallowing in pity wouldn’t help. Straightening his shoulders, he lifted his head and nudged her cheek. She lifted her head and sniffed. With a quick swipe at her eyes, she erased the evidence of her sorrow.

“Fix this,” she hissed at him, anger overtaking her normally sweet nature. “Fix this somehow. You can’t stay as a wolf.”

He sat down, ignoring the rocks poking into his backside.

Ozone tickled his now sensitive nose and he sneezed from the onslaught. His body tensed. This smell meant one thing.

A witch.

“Why hello, little wolf. Are you enjoying your new form?” she snickered at him.

Cara stood and stalked towards the witch. “Change him back.”

He caught hold of her cape with his teeth and pulled her backwards. No sense in both of them irritating the other woman.

The witch’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Imagine that. You’ve learned something already.” Her expression turned sly. “Would you like me to remove the curse?”

Releasing his hold on Cara’s cape, he nodded and tried to look properly contrite. A hard feat when he no longer had human features.

“Then I shall give you the way to break the curse. Your impossible task. Bring me a bucket filled with lava.”

He cocked his head, unsure of how to accomplish this task. First, he was a wolf with no hands. How could he carry a bucket, never mind one filled with hot liquid rock? And where would he find a volcano? There hasn’t been an active one around here in centuries.

This was…an… impossible…task.

Damn it.

Did he really think she’d go easy on him?

***

For thirty years he wandered, searching for some way to fulfill his end of the bargain. He avoided all civilization as none would accept a wolf in their midst, afraid he’d eat their livestock. And perhaps he would. Instinct had become harder to deny as each day passed.

Not once did he visit Cara, afraid of hurting her, or worse, giving up. She would’ve grown older, aging while he stayed in this magical form. A beautiful girl, now a mature woman, surely one who’d moved on with her life.

One day, feeling lost and hopeless, he climbed a large mountain and looked down. Before him spread out the lush beauty of the forest. A deep scar carved its way through the trees, dark rock making life all by impossible. Several centuries would need to pass before any vegetation would grow again.

Turning his back on the forest, he continued further up the mountain. Trees clung to the rock, skinny and sparse the higher he climbed until finally he reached the top. Expecting a peak of jagged rocks, instead he found a massive crater. Confused, he stared at it, wondering what had happened. Did an angry witch destroy it in a temper?

He settled back on his haunches, puzzling over this when it came to him. A volcano. An inactive one by the looks of it, but one nonetheless. He howled his frustration. To finally find one and it no longer had any lava. He dropped onto his belly and covered his snout with his forepaws. Maybe he should give up. Accept defeat. Even if he’d found lava, he still couldn’t carry it back to the witch.

Lifting his head, he clawed at the black rock. At least now he understood why a vicious scar ran through the forest. It must have erupted at some point and leaked the molten lava down the mountainside. Afterwards it would’ve cooled and formed into hard rock.

A tingle of excitement wormed up his spine and he jumped up. He wasn’t defeated yet. He’d found a volcano and soon he’d break this curse. Racing down, dodging trees and bushes as he went, he mentally mapped out where the nearest village lay. A few hours if he ran full speed. Hope lent him energy.

Soon the village came in sight and he slowed. Caution became the name of this little game. He couldn’t get caught. Not when he was so close to his end goal. All he needed now was a bucket. A twinge of guilt poked him at stealing, but he refused to stop. This was his chance.

Moments later he spied what he needed. Slinking in on his belly, he wormed closer and closer to the metal container. He snatched the handle between his teeth, elated it was empty and raced away. Shouts rang out behind him. They faded away, unable to keep up with him.

***

He scratched at the door and whined. He would’ve barked except he still had a firm grip on the handle between his teeth. Not once had he put it down, worried it’d disappear if he did.

The door swung up and the witch glared at him. “Eh, what’s this? What do you want?”

With a triumphant grin, or as much as a wolf could make, he placed the bucket at her feet. She shook her head then gathered a bit of energy. Ozone curled through the air. “Mind-speak spell. Tell me what this is about.”

Your bucket of lava. I’ve done your impossible task. Now please lift this curse.

“This isn’t lava. It’s rocks. You haven’t completed the task,” she argued.

You didn’t say it had to be molten lava. You said a bucket filled with lava and that’s what you have. These rocks are hardened lava.

“Tricky, wolf. Really tricky. Fine, I’ll lift the curse. However, from now on your descendants will also learn from the error of your ways. As you spent thirty years as a wolf, they will get thirty years as a human. After that they will then change into wolf form. A small caveat, they can shift between forms at will. Perhaps they’ll learn not to be so hasty with their words when it comes to someone more powerful than them.”

***

“And that is how werewolves were made, Bobby,” his mother said as she smoothed the hair from his forehead. He loved this story and begged her to tell it every night.

“Mean old witch,” he complained without any real heat.

His mother smiled. “They were both to blame. He should have been more respectful. Not because she was powerful, but because words can hurt. And she shouldn’t have reacted in anger. She used her magic to cause him pain. Remember though, we don’t call them witches or warlocks. That’s a derogatory term. They’re mages.”