Yes, finally, you get to meet Eriden. This interview doesn’t quite fit the formula of my previous character interviews because Eriden is not fond of formulas (except the deadly kind), so I decided to have a little fun with it. 🙂
The door swings open. “You’re the chronicler?”
I look up from my desk to see a dark haired young woman in the doorway. “I am. And you’re Eriden.”
She folds herself into armchair, taking a moment to get comfortable. I imagine, with blades strapped to your waist and concealed in your boots, it isn’t easy to find a comfortable way to sit.
“What do you need to know?” she demands.
I smile. “We’re in no rush.”
Eriden’s eyes narrow but she sinks back into the upholstery of the chair. “No,” she says, dragging out the syllable. “What are you writing?”
I lift the quill from the page. “Basic information. Name. Age. Place of birth.”
“I’d rather my name not be recorded in the chronicles.”
“No? You’ve played such a big role in Kara’s successes.”
Eriden shrugs. “I enjoy my anonymity.”
“But you’re a registered member of the Assassin’s Guild,” I confirm.
“Yes. But that’s a different matter.”
“The whole country knows you’re working with Lady Kara. Everwinter, even the Haeleans probably know.”
Her gaze is steady. A challenge lurks beneath the surface. “There is a difference between what this generation knows and what history knows.”
“True,” I concede. “I seem to recall a kerfuffle when you became a member of the Guild. A coup, was it?”
“That was in the past,” Eriden replies. “We are here to talk about the present.”
I ignore her. “Do you have many secrets, Eriden?”
“We all have secrets.”
“It seems,” I muse. “That everyone has a secret they would kill to protect.”
Eriden’s eyes narrow. “You wouldn’t want to try me.”
I let her threat slide. “You see, Eriden. I know your secret. My question is: what would you do if Kara discovered it?” I ask.
The polite smile falls from Eriden’s face like an anchor. She pales. “You don’t mess around.” Her voice is low and cold.
I shrug. “I know you too well.”
“And I don’t know you at all.” Her hand shifts towards her hip. “Who are you working for?” she demands. “Alyan? The Master? The Haeleans?”
“None of the above. And,” I add as her hand slips beneath the belt of her tunic. “Don’t even bother going for the dagger. It won’t work on me.”
Eriden’s eyes widen but she doesn’t remove her hand. “Why?”
“Think, Eriden,” I say, suppressing a smile. I shouldn’t mess like this. I know I shouldn’t. But it’s so fun! And too easy. “How do I know your secret? How do I know your mother’s name and the precise concoction you poison your blades with?”
“You’re on of the Master’s spies. You must be.”
“But you’ve never seen me around before, have you? And while the Master’s training may be…efficient…it doesn’t extend to immortality.”
The final word hangs in the air between us.
“What did you say your name was?”
I hadn’t. “Oghrain,” I reply. It means ‘singer of the silent song’, an epithet used by the goddess Nare*.
Eriden’s eyes bulge and she throws herself to the ground. “Forgive me, Eternal Lady,” she mumbles into the carpet.
I have to swallow a laugh. Schooling my face into a suitably divine mask, I say, “Stand up.”
Eriden leaps to her feet.
“Relax,” I say.
Eriden sits down again, folding her legs. She rests on hand on her knee and one on the arm rest but her fingers are curled, her knuckles white. Her foot twitches in time with her heart beat.
I let silence settle between us while I think of a question a deity might ask. “Do you have any questions?”
I smile. This question is easy. “She feasts by My side in the Eversummer. And when she sings, which is often, even the spirits stop and listen.”
“I miss her,” Eriden whispers.
“I know,” I reply. “But one day you will have the chance to join her.”
Eriden looks up, eager. “What must I do?”
“No more than you already have: be true to yourself.”
*goddess of the moon, sea and death, amongst other things.