Interview with Shawn Michel de Montaigne

Thank you for talking to me. You are a scribe?
It's my pleasure. Yes, I am.
You realize of course that you are placing yourself in harm's way by agreeing to this interview, don't you?
I do. You as well will be in harm's way. The Imperium will not recognize you as an innocent should it fall into the wrong hands.
Information is very precious these days. I know the risks.
As do I.
The Dreamcatcher has vetted me.
He told me. Else I'd not come within a thousand misons of you.
He hardly seems the scary sort everyone seems to think he is, is he? He's elderly and a little bent; and he's quite kind.
He's Riparius.
[The interviewer's eyes go wide, and he swallows hard.] He isn't.
He is.
I thought Riparius was only a legend.
You thought wrong.
[The interviewer gulps again.] Had he come away from me with even a single doubt ...
Exactly. He told me you were safe, and to trust you fully.
[The interviewer goes silent.]
His human name ...
[He pulls focus.] ... is Luis Arroyo. He told me. He was a top adviser to the late King Exeter of Vanerrincourt, and now is employed as one to your king.
He's been indispensable to our war effort.
You say that like it's going to be a war and not a slaughter--as in, the Resistance completely and totally slaughtered.
Do I have a choice in the matter?
I suppose not.
He's real, and so are we.
"The Saeire Insu."
Yes.
"The Ten Fingers of Insurrection," if I'm to understand the translation correctly.
That's correct.
Ten being the number of sovereign Aquanian nations that joined your king as he fled east along the Great Pier to avoid the Gyssian invasion.
No, that's not correct.
The number isn't ten?
No, the king wasn't avoiding anything. He was trying to balance the terms of engagement to the greatest degree possible.
An engagement that has no official history. No one on Aquanus knows about it, that it ever happened.
No one outside the Resistance knows, you mean.
I myself find myself doubting it ever happened, that it isn't some grand tale told to a handful of foolish mutineers and their followers to goad them into a suicidal revolution against the Imperium.
Believe as you wish. We "fools" and our "followers" exist, don't we? It happened.
Assuming it did, how does a paltry, even insignificant handful of people believe it can overcome what is probably a million or more heavily armed and entrenched Imperials?
Not paltry or insignificant. And just to remind you: we've defeated them before.
Riparius--"Luis Arroyo"--told me the Saeire Insu is but a quarter million strong. Forgive me, but compared to the Imperium, that's quite insignificant, even laughable.
If you wish.
Your confidence is ... startling.
You were going to say "foolhardy."
If you wish.
I believe in my king. I believe in the people of my kingdom. And I believe in the prophesy--
Ah. The one that claims one will come who will be able to destroy the Lord Emperor?
The Apprentice, yes.
A young girl, is she not?
Fourteen years old, or close to it.
"Earth"-years?
Yes. Earth is the world beyond the Eastern Tangent of Aquanus. You'll see it in a few days.
Doesn't fourteen years old make her quite old? Fourteen years old on Aquanus makes one a middle-aged man or woman.
But on Earth it makes one a "teenager," which is the Gaian term for an adolescent.
"Teenager." I see.
You don't believe Earth exists.
Let's just say I have my doubts.
There are four Tangents on Aquanus along both Great Piers, at the north, south, east and west Edge of Aquanus, respectively. Each Tangent leads to a different world--a different universe. The legends are true. Again, in a few days you'll see it, Earth, for yourself.
I'll remain with my doubts, if it's all the same to you. I'll believe Earth exists when I see it.
That's your choice.
Let's talk more about this "Apprentice." How can a young girl possibly stand up against a being, a Mathematician, as powerful as the Lord Emperor?
[I shrug.] I have no idea.
Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket! [He laughs incredulously.]
The Lord Emperor--Necrolius Anaxagorius--is not content to simply rule Aquanus. He wants to rule every world beyond the Tangents as well. We believe in the prophecy--
[The interviewer consults his notes.] --yes, yes. The prophecy. One delivered to your king, apparently, by a Pier God, otherwise known as a Samanlainen Guardian.
Not apparently. It happened.
Proof?
The king has the Pearl-Yang Serpenthelm. It was given to him by the Guardian.
[The interviewer stops.] The Pearl-Yang Serpenthelm. The mythical talisman?
That's right.
You've seen it. Actually seen it.
I have. As have many others. Which makes it real, not mythical.
I'm sorry, but I find all this incredible, beyond belief.
Luis Arroyo warned me that you would. His Excellency, I'm sure, will be happy to show you it himself.
"His Excellency"? I must say as an aside here that I find it interesting that Mr. Arroyo is once again near the top of the heap of a government.
Is that a problem?
I am always leery of those who glom onto power. If I were a citizen of the Saeire Insu, I'd be quite circumspect about Luis Arroyo.
In over twenty years he has been nothing but noble and utterly above reproach.
Twenty years being the amount of time you--the Saeire Insu--have waited for this "Apprentice" to show up, correct?
That's correct. To be exact, it's been twenty-two years.
Let's talk about her some more, this "Apprentice." Given that she is in fact the prophesied savior of Aquanus--
--and of all the worlds Aquanus touches by means of the Tangents ...
If she is in fact that savior, how in hell's name is she taking it? She must be a nervous wreck! And her parents! Good God!
I'm sure it weighs heavily on her, and her mother as well.
You're "sure"?
Absolutely.
You've met her, then?
Several times. Her mother, too.
Not her father?
She lives with her mother. Her father lives in Florida, which is a province of a country on Earth.
We're talking about an adolescent, a "teenager," standing against Necrolius Anaxagorius himself!
She is a happy young woman, despite knowing her destiny--
[The interviewer laughs.] "Destiny"? You must be joking!
She is a very powerful young Mathematician just coming into her own--
I don't need to remind you of this, but Mathematicians are illegal on Aquanus. They have been utterly eradicated. Young children who are discovered to possess Mathematical skills are killed on sight.
The Apprentice is well protected, believe me. No such thing will happen to her. She has the unconditional love and support of her mother, and of the king, and, for that matter, the entire Saeire Insu.
That's all well and good, but what does it mean in the end? Again, I must remind you of the odds here. In terms of numbers, the Saeire Insu is no match whatsoever against the Imperium. How is this girl not cracking?
Perhaps the reason she isn't cracking is precisely because she has the spirit to handle it.
"Spirit." You mean "soul"?
Yes.
Speaking such a thing on Aquanus is heresy, punishable by death.
Speaking pretty much anything on Aquanus is heresy, punishable by death. Are you through trying to remind me of what I already know?
Forgive me.
We are well aware of the challenges facing us. Move on already.
Fine. Being a "teenager," isn't it far more likely that the Apprentice is thinking more about young men and social engagements ... or are young girls on Earth completely different from those on Aquanus?
Oh, I'm sure she thinks about boys--"young men." And I'm certain she harbors all the insecurities and desires of being a teenaged girl. But there's more to her--a great, great deal more. As for adolescent girls on Aquanus, I'm sure they're thinking more of the Lottery than they are anything else. They should be thinking of boys and social engagements. They'll be lucky if they get the chance, don't you agree?
I would.
The Apprentice is a quiet girl, an introvert. As it turns out, she cares little or nothing about popularity and fitting
in. She loves her mother, and isn't afraid to show it. She loves her scholastic studies. On Earth those things make her an outsider to her peers, who have on occasion treated her quite cruelly. Her worldview is as expansive and encompassing as any I've come across. And she's very bright.
I've heard it mentioned by others that her best friend is also quite extraordinary.
[I fish around in my duffel and pull out a CD of Yaeko Mitsaki's music, which I hand to him.] Listen to this once you cross the Tangent back to Earth.
[He stares at it.] What is this? How do I "listen" to it? [He holds it up to his ear.] It's silent!
Inside is a disc that can play music. Melody's best friend, Yaeko, is a master musician.
The interview opens the case, pulls the disc out and goggles at it for a long time.] Extraordinary ... It can't play music here? Why not?
The technology required does not exist on Aquanus.
Extraordinary ... [He stares at it for a few moments longer, then puts it into his satchel.] You said the Apprentice's name is Melody, is that correct?
That's correct.
And her friend, this Yaeko Mitsaki, is a master musician?
Correct.
An interesting coincidence, don't you think?
We of the Saeire Insu don't believe it is, no.
What instrument does Yaeko play?
The violin.
I don't know what that is.
You will. You'll recognize it when you see it. I don't know the Imperial word for it.
Will this Yaeko be accompanying the Apprentice once the Saeire Insu cross the Eastern Tangent back to Aquanus?
She will.
Isn't that extremely foolhardy, not to mention extremely selfish?
No.
Why not?
There are a few of us in the Saeire Insu who know Yaeko Mitsaki. Those of us who do believe she is much more than just a friend to Melody--the Apprentice.
Please explain.
[I shake my head.] No. Listen to the CD when you get the chance.
You believe she--Yaeko Mitsaki--can aid in the Saeire Insu's war efforts?
Again, I'm not willing to comment further about her at this time. Please move on.
Very well, very well. I don't suppose Yaeko Mitsaki would be available for an interview after ours is concluded--?
[I shake my head.] No.
Why not?
I'm certain the king would not allow it, nor her guardian, for that matter.
"Guardian"? Don't you mean parents?
Your continual poking about is fruitless. Stop now, or I will walk out.
My job is to inform, sir. I cannot do that without, as you put it, "poking about."
[I chuckle darkly.] Unlike the vast majority of journalists on Earth, who are nothing more than paid stenographers or cheerleaders for those in power.
It sounds like all is not well on Earth ...
All is not well, no.
Please elucidate.
The world--Earth--is overrun by soul-sucking parasites much like Necrolius Anaxagorius on Aquanus. They are called corporations. And they're the reason journalists are stenographers and cheerleaders; they're the reason the planet is being despoiled and very rapidly becoming hostile to all life.
My. It sounds very serious.
It is. As on Aquanus, so on Earth: the people turn their heads and simply accept the evil that's lording over them, thereby becoming part of the problem.
These "corporations" can't be destroyed?
Of course they can. As can Necrolius.
That remains to be seen.
Agreed.
Your king must either be very wise or extraordinarily arrogant to believe so dearly in his chances--both here and on Earth.
He isn't arrogant.
Wise then?
There are kings, and then there's him. I would lay my life down for him in an instant.
He sounds like a great, great man.
I am certain he would say he is merely a man, and that that is enough.
Wise indeed. I have noticed that he commands fierce, almost fanatical, loyalty among those Saeire Insu I've met.
You'll find that throughout his entire kingdom.
But isn't loyalty of that type by its very nature blinding, and therefore no better in people who possess it than those you condemned earlier for being mere followers of the Imperium, or of corporations?
Loyalty of that type can be blinding, yes. But not in this case. Not with the Saeire Insu.
Why?
Because--and I'm sure the king, without thinking of himself, would agree--that the greater the man or woman, the truer are those who follow him or her into battle. It's one thing to be thought great, or to be called such. It's another entirely to be truly so. A pure soul, like the king's, like Melody's, like Yaeko's, attracts other pure souls.
You speak this as if you know it to be the truth and not an entirely unprovable conjecture.
[I shrug.] The greatest truths are subjective and therefore objectively unprovable.
That's an incredible statement.
[I shrug again.] Deal with it.
When I meet the king later, I will be sure to ask him about your assertion.
Do. I'm sure he'll find it worth talking about.
This interview will be published at about the time the Saeire Insu will be mobilizing for their return to Aquanus. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
We may be small, sir, but we are united. We are one. Ten nations with a single purpose: to end the reign of the Imperium and of Necrolius Anaxagorius, to restore life and liberty once more to Aquanus. And to Earth as well.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you.
Published 2013-10-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

For It All
By Shawn Michel de Montaigne
Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 5,810. Language: English. Published: July 10, 2013. Category: Fiction
Thirty-six free-verse poems from the author of the beloved young adult fantasy epic Melody and the Pier to Forever.
Sole Survivor: The Story of Kaza of Theseus
By Shawn Michel de Montaigne
Series: Melody and the Pier to Forever. Price: $3.95 USD. Words: 61,490. Language: American English. Published: March 13, 2013. Category: Fiction
Kaza's country, Theseus, is invaded by Necrolius Anaxagorius' Gyssians, who destroy it utterly. He is the sole survivor. He must somehow make it to a fleet of mutineers fleeing east along the great Pier known as Ae Infinitus, led by the newly crowned Vanerrincourtian king. Kaza has thousands of miles to travel, and mortal danger waits at every turn.
Reflections of Connie: Memories of a Sundered Love
By Shawn Michel de Montaigne
Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 33,060. Language: English. Published: September 18, 2012. Category: Nonfiction
Shawn Michel de Montaigne, author of the beloved epic fantasy Melody and the Pier to Forever, takes a look back at his first love and his fourth-grade school year, 1972-73, both of which changed his life and worldview forever.
The Candle
By Shawn Michel de Montaigne
Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 29,370. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2011. Category: Fiction
Strike a match. Hold it to the wick. Romance and magic flare to life in this passionate tale of a young woman on a journey of true love and self-discovery.
Melody and the Pier to Forever: Book One
By Shawn Michel de Montaigne
Series: Melody and the Pier to Forever. Price: $5.95 USD. Words: 315,310. Language: English. Published: April 20, 2011. Category: Fiction
The Pier goes on ... forever. Epic battles at sea, an undead soul-eating villain, the unbreakable bonds of friendship and love, and the courageous heroes who are called upon to rescue a doomed world ... This is just a taste of what awaits you in the pages of the epic fantasy saga Melody and the Pier to Forever. [For young adults and up.]