In this post, I interview Lorica Warde, the bat-whispering, fiery-redheaded, cave-explorer extraordinaire from The Brumal Star.
Lorica: Fiery, huh?
T.Q.: That’s you alright.
Lorica: I figured you’d be the one to pounce on that. I thought you hated cliches?
T.Q.: Well, if the shoe fits…
T.Q.: Sorry, couldn’t resist. Anyway, thanks for joining me.
Lorica: Thanks for having me. I needed a break from my healer training. Elira is killing me.
T.Q.: I heard she’s a tough cookie.
Lorica: Yeah, but so am I.
T.Q.: No doubt! Tell me how the training is going. What’s a typical day like for you?
Lorica: Elira has me get up with the birds, literally. One of the first things I do after I wake up is feed her zoo– the chickens, the cows, the goats, the ponies. By the way, did you know she has beehives?
T.Q.: I did not! Are you in charge of those too?
Lorica: No, Elira takes care of the bees, gathering the honey and beeswax.
T.Q.: You must be glad about that, especially after your run-in with the sloe wasps*.
Lorica: (shudders) Thanks for that, by the way.
T.Q.: Just doing my part to add a bit of danger and excitement to your journey!
Lorica: I’m done with stinging insects forever.
T.Q.: I don’t blame you. What do you do after you feed the animals?
Lorica: We eat breakfast and then I have to do five-hundred hours of exercises. That takes up part of the morning.
T.Q.: Five-hundred? That seems a bit excessive. What kind of exercises?
Lorica: It feels like that much. It started off with jumping jacks, squats, sit-ups, and push-ups.
T.Q.: Those sound exhausting.
Lorica: You don’t know the half of it. Jamison had to open his fat mouth and tell Elira all about the different military exercises he had to do when he was in Cailreth Army, so she decided to include those too. Now she has me doing these things called burpees.
T.Q.: Oh, I know burpees. Painful! What else?
Lorica: Then there are these things called planks which build up your core. They’re like a push-up but you stay up without lowering yourself to the ground. Elira makes me stay in that position for as long as I can. I think she “forgets” she’s timing me sometimes.
T.Q.: I wouldn’t put it past her.
Lorica: And then they though it’d be a good idea to start making me jog! So now I have to do ten laps around the farm after I do all the other exercises.
T.Q.: At least you’re in great shape. Tell us about some other aspects of your training.
Lorica: After the exercise hell, I have to meditate. Elira said I needed to learn to quiet my mind.
T.Q.: I could use some lessons. I bet it’s nice getting to relax after all that physical conditioning.
Lorica: It was hard in the beginning but it’s gotten easier. I had to learn how to do deep breathing, because Elira says it’s supposed to “center yourself”. If I don’t do things the right way, I get thrown off balance and have bad reactions. I had to become mentally stronger as well as physically.
T.Q.: Describe what healer practice is like.
Lorica: That part of training is what we usually do after meditation. I started small, like on cuts and bruises, things like that. Then I worked my way up from there onto more serious things.
T.Q.: You started off pretty big.
Lorica: I had no choice, as you recall!
T.Q.: I apologize. It was all in the name of suspense and adventure!
Lorica: And I got really sick. All that exertion was what made me pass out and cause all that pain. I was untrained and couldn’t control my new ability.
T.Q.: You’ve come a long way since then, though. Can you explain in a little more detail how becoming centered helps you to be a stronger healer?
Lorica: Well, it has to do with the Soeruecen.
T.Q.: Can you explain what the Soeruecen is?
Lorica: It’s an energy pool that leads to other realms of existence. It powers some of the magic on Ransara**. But when it gets inside of you and you aren’t ready, or you’re weak or vulnerable in some way, or you’ve never done magic before, then it can cause a lot of problems.
T.Q.: Like what?
Lorica: Well, Elira gave me a book that explained it like this: it can reveal darkness in a person. It can bring out their demons. It can change your personality. Or it can make you act bizarrely. It can make you do or say things that are out of character. And for some people, it just drains them of their energy and leaves them open to all kinds of illness. That’s what was happening to me.
T.Q.: That sounds rough.
Lorica: That’s not even the worst of it. That’s just for people who survive an encounter with Soeruecen energy. I just happened to be very lucky.
T.Q.: What’s the worst case scenario?
Lorica: You die. Jamison told me you can be burnt to a crisp. Completely incinerated, just like that (snaps).
T.Q.: At least you’d be saved the trouble of being cremated.
Lorica: (rolls her eyes) Nice joke. I think you’ve been spending too much time with Jamison.
T.Q.: Well, he was just here.
Lorica: That figures. What did he talk about?
T.Q.: You can read it here if you’re that curious. Anyways, this is your interview, not his.
Lorica: Fine. I just wanted to make sure he didn’t try to tell any embarrassing stories about me.
T.Q.: For what it’s worth, he didn’t. But since you’re here, what is your most embarrassing moment?
Lorica: Hmm. I think it had to be when some people at school dared me to climb into a dormitory laundry chute and I got stuck partway.
T.Q.: Oh, no!
Lorica: I was wedged in there folded almost in half. It wouldn’t have been as bad if they hadn’t all laughed and thrown a bunch of dirty clothes down after me.
T.Q.: How did you get out?
Lorica: They threw down a huge rope with a giant knot tied on the bottom and pulled me out.
T.Q.: Did you get in trouble?
Lorica: Of course! What else did you think would happen?
T.Q.: I don’t think the students at Reathe Upper Academy would have expected any less from you.
Lorica: At least I made a name for myself there.
*sloe wasps are tiny black stinging insects
**Ransara is the world The Brumal Star is set in.