Interview with Kiara, Queen of Margolan
Q. This war is forcing hard choices on its rulers, and dangerous times are on the horizon. Isencroft has experienced terrible turmoil. The Winter Kingdoms have been scourged by plague and famine. Your husband, Tris Drayke, suspects that a dark summoner may not only be behind the invasion, but instrumental in the attacks on your son, Cwynn. What is your biggest worry?
A. My dreams are dark. I fear for the people I love, and for both my homeland of Isencroft and my new home of Margolan. People have already suffered so much, and it looks as if there will be many dark days before all is well again.
Q: Do you think Isencroft will survive what is shaping up to be a civil war?
A: I pray to the Lady that the conflict does not become a true civil war, but I can’t deny the signs. Although father has tried to spare me, I’ve heard the news from my homeland and it’s frightening. I grieve knowing that although my marriage was one of both love and necessity, it has been a cause of this conflict. And I pray that my children will see a better future.
Q: You’re married to the most powerful mage in the Winter Kingdoms, but your own magic has been limited. No one can be certain of Cwynn’s magic. What of the regent magic that is part of the heritage of Isencroft’s monarchs?
A: My own magic is very limited, especially compared to Tris’s power. Perhaps someday when I inherit the crown, the full measure of regent magic will come to me, but I sincerely hope that day is far in the future.
Q: Your son, Cwynn faces dangerous enemies. Can you protect him?
A: The most terrifying truth any mother faces is that there are no guarantees. Even with the resources of the crown and the power of Tris’s magic, it is impossible to assure Cwynn’s safety. But we’re surrounded by loyal friends and powerful allies, and although I’m a queen and a mother, I’m also a trained warrior, able to use at least some of my skills to protect my family. Yet there are threats both seen and unseen, and new terrors that have risen with the invaders. I fear for us all.
Interview with Adaine
Q: How is a Nargi Serroquette doing in the Principality court?
A: A ghost whore really doesn’t belong as the guest of the queen, but Queen Berwyn has asked me to stay, and Kolin does his best to keep me safe. Jonmarc believes that I’m safest at the palace, but I’m afraid that my presence endangers the queen. It’s not only a danger because of the spirits that seek me out; it’s the gossip that might cause the new queen problems. But with war on the horizon, I don’t dare return to Dark Haven, and I can’t ever go back to Nargi.
Q: You saved the queen’s life on several occasions. What’s it like to be a hero?
A: I’m not a hero; I was a messenger. Because of my gift, the ghost of someone who had information about the attacks on the queen was able to alert Jonmarc and the others to the danger. I just do what needs to be done.
Q: And yet Kolin says you also saved the lives of humans and vayash moru when one of the Ghost Carriage missions was in danger, even though you were badly wounded.
A: I was the vehicle to allow the ghosts of the murdered women to confront their attackers and distract them. Allowing ghosts to possess my body is what I do. It doesn’t make me a hero.
Q: What’s it like to be a ghost whore?
A: In most people’s way of thinking, a whore is just a whore.
Interview with Tris Drayke
Q: Are you worried about rumors that Temnotta has sent a dark summoner after you?
A: Sure. But I’ve always known there were dark summoners. My grandfather, Lemuel, was possessed by the spirit of a dark summoner, the Obsidian King. I know that this type of magic makes it very tempting to use the power for personal gain. I didn’t think I’d be the only summoner of power around forever. But I have to say, I wouldn’t have minded it if it had been many years in the future before I had to deal with such a thing.
Q: The Temnottan invasion appears to be as much magic as military. Given the recent plague and unrest, can Margolan stand against that?
A: By the Dark Lady, I hope so! We’ve seen more than our share of sorrows, and now this. The Margolense are a proud people, and they’re strong. I believe they’ll rise against the invaders. I pray to the Lady that I don’t let them down.
Q: How does the civil war in Isencroft affect you?
A: On a personal level, King Donelan is my wife’s father, and a man for whom I have great respect. I would not like to see him come to harm. Isencroft has been a peaceful neighbor, and although the history of our kingdoms has sometimes been turbulent, throughout my father’s reign relations were good. The betrothal contract my father and Donelan agreed to years ago averted a war, but caused new problems later on. Some in Isencroft still view Margolan with suspicion, and the Divisionists don’t like the idea of a joint crown until Kiara and my children are of age to take the crown and return a sovereign king to Isencroft. The troubles in Isencroft affect me very personally.
Q: What about the Dread? Are they enemies or allies?
A: They are more powerful than anything we’ve seen in a thousand years. By the Crone! I hope they’re allies, or there may be no one left alive.
Interview with Jonmarc Vahanian
Q: The Temnottan invasion in Principality has put you in the front lines as general and Queen’s Campion. That’s quite a promotion from being a merc.
A: It’s just a difference between dealing death on a small scale or a big scale. I’m here because I swore an oath to Berry’s father, and because I care about the kid. War is a nasty business I wouldn’t mind putting behind me forever.
Q: Most of the mages, mercs, vayash moru and vyrkin are in your division. What do you think about that?
A: Just my luck. Guess they decided to put all the misfits together. On the other hand, it means there aren’t any hard-core regulation military types making us do it by the book. Breaking the rules—now that’s my kind of operation.
Q: You have the reputation of being the best warrior in the Winter Kingdoms. How do you feel about being back in action?
A: There’s no glory in war, and anyone who says there is, is a fool. I’ve fought when I’ve had to fight, to stay alive or protect something or someone important. And when peace comes, I’ll be the first in line to go home and get back to my own business. I do what I have to do.
Q: You have wealth, lands and powerful friends. You’re related by marriage to three monarchs, and liegeman to a fourth. They could reward you richly. What would you like to be when the war is over?