Andrillrian, thank you for taking the time for this interview. You have just been instated to the Palace Guard. Can you share what that means to you, your training and assigned duty?
Thank you. I am honored to be here. Becoming a member of the Palace Guard means a great deal to me and is my proudest accomplishment. I trained with a sword since I was a little girl, but it didn’t meet with my parents’ approval. Determined not to give up, I snuck away to take lessons from Ishtar, a retired Guardsman. It came to the point that the small amount of training I received each week was hindering my progress. Finally, I made the decision to leave my family and travel to Mystandia in order to follow my dream.
Ishtar made the journey with me and introduced me to other master fighters. I trained constantly and became proficient in the great sword, which I favor, but also short swords, daggers, and archery. My years of commitment finally came to fruition only a few months ago. I applied to become a member of the Palace Guard. The tests given were difficult, and many applicants were rejected within the first few hours. I am one of only eight people chosen to become trainees. What makes my accomplishment even more meaningful is that I am the first woman to become a Guardsman. Women have never been forbidden from joining the Palace Guard but none before me displayed the necessary skills. Not only am I the first woman, but I rose to the top of my class and beat each of my fellow trainees during the elimination trials. Because of that, I was chosen to protect Darrak on his journey to defend people throughout all of Dragonath.
I’m not saying all of these things to boast. I couldn’t be more honored to be Darrak’s protector, and I get a great deal of praise from him and the rest of the company, but I will be the first to admit that I am not the best. I am not invincible. One of the most important things Ishtar taught me was that there will always be someone better, stronger, and more skilled. Instead, I see my accomplishments as a way of inspiring others, especially young girls who dream of joining the Palace Guard. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is out of reach. But things will only be achieved through hard work and dedication.
That you were selected ahead of experienced Palace Guards says something positive.
Who is Darrak, and why does he need special protection as he travels Dragonath? What is he defending the people from?
Darrak is the rightful heir to the throne, but he is from another world called Earth. He didn’t know anything about Dragonath or his true heritage until only a few months ago. His parents were murdered, and the Grand Sorcerer brought Darrak here in order to offer him protection while he learned about our world and the role he needs to play.
He is being hunted by the enemy. They don’t want his bloodline to regain control of the throne. They’ve remained extremely secretive and not much is known about their powers or full ambitions. They infiltrated the palace, turning people the Grand Sorcerer trusted against him. But he didn’t become aware until it was almost too late. There was no way protection could be offered to Darrak within the palace walls until all of the traitors were discovered and dealt with. The only solution was for him to flee and make his way to the northern country of Krémarra. But with no knowledge of how to fight or the lay of the land, he needed people to protect, guide, and teach him on the journey.
The enemy is cunning and a master of a black magic that focuses on deception. They were originally led by the Grand Sorcerer’s daughter, Mionee, however we have recently discovered that to no longer be the case. An evil lord has returned from the dead and he’s determined to kill Darrak and claim rule of all of Dragonath.
Darrak is the only one whose magic is powerful enough to defeat the ancient lord. But it’s not simply a matter of standing against the enemy. None of Dragonath’s citizens know that the current Grand Sorcerer isn’t the true ruler. In order to gain victory over the enemy, Darrak will need the aid of the people. But first, he must prove to them his worthiness and gain their trust. He is the only one who can save them from the oppressive rule of Payton Niemel, and his first battle is to make them understand that to be so.
I don’t think he realizes how difficult it will be. The people of Dragonath do not take kindly to change and unfamiliarity.
Although it’s not your area of expertise, what magical powers does Darrak have, or might have once trained, that would empower him to overcome the evil lord who has returned from the dead?
Like all those who can wield méno, Darrak summons his magic through what's known as a kraylock. A small glass sphere, Darrak's kraylock is bound to him, and he draws energy from it as well as himself when casting a spell. The magic only responds through a language called Ancient Mystandian. As long as Darrak understands the meaning of the words he is uttering, he can cast any type of spell from healing to protection to attacks such as fire or lightning.
But Darrak, is also what's known as a Healer. It's an ability which is exceptionally rare, and not much is known about the full extent of a Healer's capabilities. But from what we've seen so far, he is able to summon méno without the use of his kraylock. And as long as he uses it to heal others, his own energy isn't depleted. He can heal the injured of an entire battlefield and not experience any fatigue. However, one caveat Darrak discovered, is that he cannot heal when he himself is wounded. If we fail to protect him during battle, his powers are useless. Unless he reverts to relying on his kraylock, he cannot heal himself and he cannot heal others.
What do you anticipate to be the most difficult aspect(s) of your duty and what do you believe would be the result, should you fail?
I think the most difficult aspect for all of us is preparing for war against an enemy we know almost nothing about. Darrak isn't the only one fighting in the dark. The only information we have was learned through some of Darrak's visions. If not for that, we wouldn't even know the true identity of our adversary.
For me, trying to train Darrak in such a short amount of time is challenging. Although he is a Healer, his magic won't always be available to him. He is the enemy's target. They want him dead. He needs to be able to fight and defend himself with a sword and other weapons. The skirmishes we've been in so far have been only a taste of what we'll encounter. The enemy is well trained. So far, Darrak has been lucky, but luck is something he can't rely on. Finding time to train him while on the run has made my task even more difficult. But Darrak understands what is at stake. We are all working as hard as we can and are using what we've been given.
I have a few important responsibilities. Not only protecting Darrak, but also training him. Should I fail either, and he should fall, the world will fall with him. The reason the enemy wants him dead is because he's the only one strong enough to pose a threat. Yes, he is still learning the extent of his powers, but without him, we cannot win this war. Dragonath will be controlled by an evil more terrifying than any of us can even imagine.
One final question, Andrillrian. Should Darrak succeed and your side emerges victorious in the war, what might you see yourself doing next?
It is my hope that if we work together, we’ll be able to keep the newfound peace throughout our land for years to come. But there will always be people who disagree with Darrak and his policies. Adversaries will rise to challenge him for power. It is the nature of our people. I will work to keep him safe and will fight in defense of our country, wherever I am needed most.
Understandable answer, Andrillrian. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
|Andi O’Connorat ConCarolinas 2015|
Andrillrian is a character that appears in Andi O’Connor’s Dragonath Chronicles.
To learn more about Andi and all of her works, check out the links below:
Author Website: https://www.andioconnor.net/