Healer? Archer? Apprentice?
A CONVERSATION WITH BRILLAR
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in Laurenfell in a beautiful home next to a lake. Laurenfell is home to the Sisterhood, and my mother is a Life mage, a Healer skilled in Item magic. Papa owns horse breeding farms, mines, a trading business. We were very well off, and life was easy.
I was pretty jealous of my elder brother when he started training with the sword. I wanted to train too, but they wouldn’t let me. I begged Papa to let me train, but he said no. Well, not exactly. Looking back, he was very cagey about it. He managed to get me to switch to the bow. I think he and mama were both surprised when I took so well to archery and hunting. In fact, I loved it so much that I continued it even after I entered the Sisterhood to be educated as a Life Mage and Healer. Not that we didn’t have fun too, but studying was the focus for every student. Except for me. I used to sneak out before dawn to practice the bow, which impacted my studies. I fell so far behind that I took the same classes as my little sister Alliana.
When I was twenty, I decided that more education wasn’t for me. I ached to be out in the world, to travel to the small villages where there was no Healer. To be free of constraint. So I left school and did just that. The open road lead me to small villages and remote farmhouses. It’s a good thing I did or would never have met Elden. He changed everything.
What makes you so special?
Well, there aren’t many Healers who are also Master Archers. I am prouder of that mastery than I am about being able to heal others. Well, until I healed Elden, that is.
Tell me about your reputation and how it has impacted your life and your relationship.
Reputation? (laughing) Ask my parents. They will tell you that I am stubborn, headstrong, and independent. Again, if I hadn’t had those qualities, I would never have met Elden. Being his apprentice changed me. An apprentice is bound to the Master and obedient to his directions, and I was, always. That certainly surprised my family, not only about having to obey someone else but that I signed up for more study.
Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you wished you had done differently?
There are times when I wish I had learned the sword. Still, Papa was right. The bow can feed you on the road, while the sword is only good for close defense. I did learn to throw a knife though, just by watching my brother practice then doing as he did.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Only the Light knows that answer.
What are your dreams for the future?
I’m only twenty-two, so there’s much I still wish to achieve. But ultimately, I dream of love. A home, a family.
If there was one thing you could change about your past, what would it be?
Everything in the past has led to the present. If I changed it, where would I be now? Oh, I would change little things, perhaps. I would keep my younger brother closer to me. He was too young to . . . Never mind.
If you could go anywhere with one person, who would you take and where would you go?
I would love to see the other parts of Darae, not just our continent, but that would mean a sea voyage, and Elden gets seasick. We could visit other places if I could learn a spell against seasickness.
Describe something that happened to you for which you have no explanation.
I killed a man. Well, more than one actually, an act that a Life Mage must never do. All those years of training as a Healer, yet when he attacked, the only words that came to mind were those of Lord Geskinan. “If you are faced with a vicious animal, strike to kill.” I can’t explain why it was those words that echoed in me, not the words of my teachers at the Sisterhood that spoke of a non-violent solution.
What was the best compliment you have ever received?
After all my study, I will still always remember the words of the Master Archer, Nenaris, when I won my first archery contest. He was not a man given to lengthy statements; he just smiled down at me and said, “Well done, young archer.” Not ‘Brillar,’ not ‘young lady,’ not ‘my girl,’ just ‘young archer.’ I thought I would explode with joy.
If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose and how would you torment them?
I may be an archer, but I am also a Healer. No Life Mage would ever do that. I couldn’t do that.
If you could reward someone with a special day, describe that day and tell us why.
I would find a way to take my sister, Alliana, to visit the Ælfain. We could wander with the children, and I could show her the grotto with the pool where Elden and I swam. We would listen to their music all afternoon and feast with them at night.
Would you rather be ugly and live forever or attractive and die in a year?
Who would want to continue to live when everyone you love had died? No one would ever want to deal with so much loss. I suppose I would choose a short life over that, but I wouldn’t want to know when or how it would happen.
If you could go to anyone (living or dead) for advice who would it be and what would you ask?
That’s easy. I would go to the Founder, the first man to learn to harness mana for healing, and ask what it was like, that first time. How did he know what to say and do? Did the Light fill him? How did that feel?
What is the weirdest thing about you? Are you proud of it or embarrassed?
I suppose being both an expert archer and a Life Mage is strange. To be able to both kill and heal. That I killed a man is weird for a healer, and I was ashamed of it for a long time. Now I think I understand it. Still, it sets me apart.
Mountains or beach?
Beach, of course. Papa never took us to the coast when I was young because he fought in the Coastal Wars, and it held too many painful memories for him. I would go to the beach with Elden, catch fish, clean them, and cook them over a fire. This time, we would share a blanket.
Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?
An elevator? Something that makes me taller? How could I be stuck . . . I don’t know what an ‘elevator’ is.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to take with you?
Can Elden be one thing? Elden, a fish net, and a tent. That would be enough for me.
Will we be seeing more of you in the future or has your story already been told?
Do stories ever really end? I hope to be around for a long time.
If you could change one thing about the world… what would it be?
About the world? I would establish a school of the Sisterhood on another continent where sickness and accidents cause so much pain. If I could change one thing about Elden, it would be to let him travel by ship without being seasick.
Tell us about your best friend and what makes them so special.
My sister, Alliana, has always been my best friend. She exudes an air of calm and poise that I can’t manage. I miss our talks at night, the soothing effect she always had on me. Some day, maybe we can go back north and visit her.