Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Interview with a character

From the Online Library of Liberty
Dante Alighieri

As I'm coming to the end of my novella, I realize that the character I am most in love with is the one who is the driver behind the scenes who doesn't get much screen time. I'm talking about Dante - the crotchety old Voyager that stands in for Solus's errant conscience when the lost demon goes astray. So I thought "How fun would it be to have an interview with this character?"

Here is the outcome...

Interview with a character, the demon Dante Alighieri of Circles

JH: Hello, and thank you for taking the time to do this interview Mr. Alighieri.

Dante: Hmph. Just call me Dante, and make this quick. I have work to do.

JH: Yes, of course. I won't take up too much of your time. Ah, speaking of work, would you please introduce yourself by explaining what it is you do?

Dante: Eh, wouldn't you like to know.

JH: Um, well, yes, and so would readers of the novel.

Dante: (Sigh) Well, in simplest terms, I am the principal demon of the Great Lord's court. He's like the demon king. I handle day-to-day affairs and scheduling, offer advisement, gather information, and I maintain the Circles of the Lower Realm.

JH: Now, you created the nine Circles, correct?

Dante: The Circles where already there, and pretty full by the time I entered the Lower Realm. I just spruced them up a bit and made them more homey.

JH: Being set fire to every day is homey?

Dante: (Shrugs) Eye of the beholder, love.

JH: Yeah, okay. Anyway, so what design ideas are your favorite?

Dante: My favorite? It would have to be the Circle of treachery - Dolus. it's where my most beloved countrymen are, and I can visit them at any time. (Laughs) Although it's hard to carry on a conversation when their frozen heads are just screaming all the time.

JH: That's the ninth Circle, Right?

Dante: Yeah, that's right, the one that surrounds the city of Dis.

JH: How convenient for visiting, I guess. Um, okay, how did you become a demon?

Dante: As you know, in life I was a brilliant politician, skilled orator, and exceptional poet. But through political treachery I was banished from my beloved Florence, forced to live out my days in exile. I was a bitter man. And when Death came to greet me, it was in the form of Samil, you know him as the Great Lord. He offered me a choice; I could have my soul live out my anger and hate in perpetuity in the Circles, or I could be his right-hand demon and run the Circles instead. Obviously I chose the latter.

JH: I see. So the Great Lord thinks very highly of your skills then?

Dante: I do my job better than most.

JH: Hmm. Alright, how is it that you came to meet the demon, Solus?

Dante: That idiot boy? Bah. His master, Andras, was spending an awful lot of time and energy on him, and I was curious to know why. As information gatherer, that's kind of an important thing to know. As it turns out, Andras figured out that his Avenger had an enormous well of power that would grow just by feeding him lies and keeping him hell-bent on revenge. That kid's single-minded stubbornness was, amazingly, what made him strong. Huh, who would've thought.

JH: What is the difference between an Avenger, like Solus, and a Voyager, like you?

Dante: Now, child, first of all, I'm not like most Voyagers. But in general, Voyager demons find their strength in spying, surveillance, and lies. In a pinch, a Voyager could put up a fight, but one would have a better chance of survival by stabbing you in the back than face you head on. I, however, have the unique opportunity of "borrowing" power from the Great Lord, making me stronger than any other demon so I don't need to stab you in the back. And because of my particular circumstances in life, I excel in espionage and information-gathering. I'm so good at what I do, I don't have to lie to get the upper hand. It's all about what you don't say and how you don't say it.

JH: Huh?

Dante: Exactly. Now, an Avenger demon is the strongest of the three types. A Voyager is more cunning but has no strength. A Destroyer's brute strength exceeds that of the other two, but has no smarts. Avengers are able to use both cunning and strength to find advantages against their opponents. This trait makes Avengers the obvious choice to lead missions. Although, that Solus could use a bit more brains, I think.

JH: Why don't you like him very much?

Dante: Didn't say I didn't like him! Just because he's stubborn and stupid doesn't make him unlikable. He's just a bit thick-headed when it comes to seeing things the way they are.

JH: And so you took it upon yourself to help him see straight?

Dante: In a way. Samil could see the potential in this kid. But for the kid to see it, he had to find the truth on his own. I could help point out the path to discovery, but I couldn't reveal it.

JH: Why not?

Dante: Ah, that's on a need-to-know basis, and you don't need to know right now. (Winks) Let's just say that when he figures it out, he'll be on to bigger and better things.

JH: Um, okay then.

Dante: (Tilts his head) Well, I'm being summoned, gotta go, love. (Gets up)

JH: Oh, wait! I just have one more question, please?

Dante: Ugh, hurry up then, child, haven't got all day.

JH: What is your greatest regret?

Dante: My what? Regret? What kind of question is that, child? Regrets are for those who did not accept their lives, mistakes and all. I have no regrets! (Laughs and disappears)

So, that was my interview with the character Dante. He was quite condescending, but it was somehow forgivable. I can certainly see why Solus dreaded having to talk with him. Dante could run you down by words alone! But he has now opened the door to the mystery of Solus's future. I wonder if I will have the courage to find out what it is!

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