1. Tell me a little about yourself—your name, profession, where you live, do you have a family, the usual.
My name is Aleena Kurrin. I live in the town of Sharleah, Kerdonia province. We’re a member of the Artisan League, a confederation of provinces united by economics located on the western side of the Ophirees Mountains. Actually, my home is just outside of Sharleah. I was born one of the Chosen. Chosen are people who are born with two gifts. The major gift is one in which our talent comes as naturally as breathing. In my case, it’s the warrior arts. The minor gift is something we have a strong aptitude for, but we need instruction to reach our full potential. In my case, it’s the bardic arts. It is believed we are chosen by the gods, though why we should be is a mystery. However, others believe we are demonic. We are also quite rare. I’m not a soldier, though. For one thing, the Artisan League has no standing army. We have militias and hire mercenaries, but we mostly secure our safety through economic means. For another, I’m very… temperamentally unsuited for military life. I’m, ah, resistant to most forms of authority. I question things. Both qualities are just in my nature. I’ve always been that way. So, no, military service is out of the question. As of now, I make a living escorting trade caravans. My father is a master blacksmith, one of the most renowned in all the Artisan League and the only human blacksmith apprenticed to the dwarves. He taught me and loved me. He was always there for me. My mother is a master weaver. Like Father, she is one of the top ranking members of her craft and always loved and supported me.
2. What happened to you, so you ended up in this crazy adventure the novel talks about?
It was Chosen versus Chosen. I was born with the gift of the warrior, but I never wanted to harm anybody. I just wanted to be left alone. The first time I ever killed was a traumatic experience—what sharp objects do to a human body is nothing short of horrific—but even worse was seeing what happened when I didn’t kill. Getting abducted by slave traders showed me the true nature of human evil and what happens when I don’t use this gift the gods granted me. My abduction and subsequent experiences after escaping played a vital role in making me understand what my purpose is and giving me the confidence and experience to do it. But as vital as those experiences were, they were decidedly unpleasant. But then, that’s usually the way of it, isn’t it? Our most unpleasant experiences are usually the most educational. The gods granted me the gift, and they required that I live up to its responsibilities, even though I’d rather curl up with a good book. But there was another like me, Anlon, with the same gift, born at the same time. Multiple Chosen living at once is traditionally considered a harbinger of doom. Whereas I wanted the world to simply leave me alone, he wanted the world under his boot. Dealing with him fell to me, since I was the only one who could face him.
3. So the idea of multiple Chosen living at once being a harbinger of doom would seem to be true, wouldn’t it?
Not quite. There is a third Chosen, Baezha. And she…well, let’s just say that she is forged of far different metal than Anlon.
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