1. Tell me a little about yourself—your name, profession, where you live, do you have a family, the usual.
My name is Will Lesterall. I have ten winters. I’m the son of Ham Lesterall, the Lord of Fort Lesterall, and even though father is not a king, I’m called a prince – that’s because our castle is special. Fort Lesterall is the one place in the world where the Ogres and Trolls and Goblins – all the horrors of the mountains – are not allowed to come, thanks to the pact made by my ancestors 200 years ago.
My family is special, with many secrets. I wish I knew them – father told my older brother Robin some, to prepare him for his inheritance, but I think Robin is lying to me just to make me jealous. My sister likes to read books with her friend Rena, and she keeps lots of secrets from me too, but that’s just because she’s a girl. Grandpa is always rude and inspects the serving women a lot, as if something is wrong with them, and if I try to ask him about the family secret he gets that fish-hook scowl on his face. Grandma doesn’t speak at all, and she farts during dinner – but she can’t help it, father told me, so no one is allowed to acknowledge it. The only one who tells me anything is my uncle, but he doesn’t visit often because he’s away serving the King of Annon. When he does come to visit, he tells me stories of the world beyond the castle.
Then there’s Jony Tiller. She’s the head of all the servants in the castle, and she comes to tell me stories at night. She’s mysterious, and I wonder if she knows magic, but she won’t ever tell me. She reminds me of mother…
2. What happened to you, so you ended up in this crazy adventure the novel talks about?
We were celebrating two hundred years of safety when a messenger arrived from the Mountain Patrols bearing a red token – a sign that the Unborn creatures had declared war on us. I was afraid, and father was busy planning war, so I went to find my friend Jak – a stable hand – and his master sent us on a mission.
That mission changed everything…
3. What’s the best thing that happened to you? Ever?
Oh, that’s easy. When I was eight I met Jak. No one knew we were friends, except the Master of Stables. I was walking by Alyria’s Well and Jak was on an errand. He would have walked right past me, but I shouted at him, because I saw that he had a hole in both his shoes. He told me he was a stable hand, so the next day I showed up at the Stablehouse with brand new shoes – we have too many in the wardrobe.
That night, we became friends, and he showed me the secret passages, underground, into the groves – no one is allowed there, unless father gives them permission. We climbed the Northwood trees and looked at the mountains, and every time after that, we planned a trip to the world beyond the castle, a trip to find the Dwarf Men and the secrets of the world…
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