This is the 9th in a series of pieces on characters and places featured in Joinings: A Seared Sky. This background information, isn’t covered in the book, but should enhance the reading experience. For some of my people, there’ll be a character drawing, supplied by Alice Taylor, maybe a video interview, and accompanying script. I may do short pieces of fiction, deepening knowledge of certain minor characters as well.
For the places, I may use sections of the map, to indicate location, along with a description of the place, as I see it, and, where appropriate, links with characters. Perhaps I’ll indicate the way of life there with a short anecdote or story. I won’t reveal any of the main story, either as already published or as written in the series, merely enhance readers’ enjoyment of the trilogy by providing more information. I hope this will give pleasure to those who’ve bought the book and, perhaps, persuade others to take that step.
Chellyth – chell-ith
Por-Kildu – paw-kill-do
Dagla Kaz – pronounced exactly as written.
Aklon-Dji – ak-lon-djy (think of the Dj sound in the name of tennis player, Djokovic
Muhnilahm – murn-ill-arm
Names are pronounced phonetically. But this is my take on them; how I hear them in my head. You may pronounce them as you wish, of course; reading is, after all, active rather than passive.
Chellyth is the female half of a pair who lead the rejects, criminals and so-called deviants imprisoned on The Point. I know some will balk at her lack of apparel, but, like all those who live in her community, she lacks the means to make clothing. She is 30ish, attractive, and a strong woman who exists in a very harsh environment. She has to be tough to survive. Here she talks to our Fantasy editor from Fantastic Books Publishing, where you can purchase the first book in the series: Joinings, A Seared Sky.
FE: So, Chellyth, how do you fit into this fantastic story?
Chellyth: Fit in? An interesting idea for the leader of a group of people rejected by the rest of society, don’t you think?
FE: Rejected? In what way, and why?
Chellyth: I don’t know your world. But here, on the island of Muhnilahm, everything’s ruled by a tyrant who holds the title of High Priest. Dagla Kaz is a cruel, intolerant, bigoted and basically dishonest man. You get on the wrong side of that bowelcreep and you’ve generally got two choices: an agonising death – he loves to invent ever more painful ways to kill people – or escape to The Point.
FE: The Point?
Chellyth: Por-Kildu, who’s my partner, and I, are known as ‘The One’. We rule on The Point and give sanctuary to those who either run away from the main part of the island or are brought here as a punishment by the High Priest’s gang of corrupt officials, the Holy Ones. This place is effectively cut off from the rest of the island; a long narrow peninsula isolated by a huge scar that runs the width of the landward end of The Point. It’s more or less unscalable, except that Aklon Dji manages to get up and down it. He’s the High Priest’s son and a man we admire more than any other.
FE: So, you live a segregated existence on this Point?
Chellyth: Exist, yes. We’ve no choice. There’s no way down the steep cliffs, unless you want to kill yourself on the rocks below. And, as I said, only Aklon Dji seems to know how to ascend the scar onto the main island. We’ve no fabric for clothes here, the only water comes from a spring that dwells under the shadow of the small copse of trees on the low hill. The rest of the land is arid and parched; home to venomous snakes and carrion birds. We grow what little food we can on a small piece of land hard by our village.
FE: Sounds a hard life, Chellyth.
Chellyth: Hard? It’s all I’ve ever known. I was born here. Por-Kildu, he’s different. He was tortured by Dagla Kaz and then brought here to die. I restored him to health and we became lovers. But he describes life on the main island, telling tales of luxury and plenty. Yes. It’s a hard life.
FE: If you’re governing a bunch of criminals, law-breakers and social outcasts, how do you keep control?
Chellyth: Don’t make judgments about people you’ve never met. My people are fine. They’re victims of an unjust system. They’re not really criminals, except in the sense they’ve broken unreasonable laws. It’s a harsh land and I have to employ harsh rules. Break the rules of my society and you’d better be prepared for a horrible death.
FE: Doesn’t that make you as bad as Dagla Kaz?
Chellyth: Fool! He has a choice, and he chooses to inflict pain and suffering for entertainment. Nothing to do with imposing his will or governing the people: he has the Holy Ones and an army for that. I have to keep control of people who have nothing. You can’t take anything away from them, except their lives. And some of them would welcome that, so I have to make it a difficult ending. It’s the only way to rule here, as you’d know if you’d ever lived in such a place.
FE: Do you have dreams, hopes?
Chellyth: Aklon Dji will save us all one day soon. He’ll overthrow his evil father and allow us back onto the main island. Then we can lead normal lives.
FE: Sounds a bit unlikely.
Chellyth: You think our hero can’t fulfil his promise to us? What do you know?
FE: One man against all the High Priest’s forces? There’s a price on his head, isn’t there? Suppose they catch and kill him?
Chellyth: I’ve nothing more to say to you. You delight in inflicting pain on a repressed people. Leave me be. Go! You’re no friend of mine.
FE: A remarkable woman, but I get the feeling she’s delusional. Mind you, if things are that hard, who can blame her for clinging to a dream?