In this interview, Kelly Blanchard meets with Raven–the antagonist from Kat Perrin’s story, Raven’s War. Kat writes Raven while Kelly writes herself. Enjoy!
Fire swirled in the eyes of the demon. After being told what he could and could not do, he stormed from the Author goddess’s cottage and into the hillside of Shadow Wood. He hated spring. It always brought up those annoying little lilacs, dandelions, clover, and assorted other wild flowers. He could tell the Elemental had been here, there were flowers blooming entirely too early in the year hiding in corners as well.
Raven glared at one such blossom and watched it slowly turn gray and wither. A clap of thunder overhead and the clear skies told him his author goddess noticed, and he cringed. Damned woman was a slave driver. He kicked a rock and hurried down the hillside to the circle. A golden coin was handed to the witch there who opened the portal back to his lair. If he was going to be interviewed, he’d do it in his quarters. Moments later, leather clad legs met the edge of his throne and he collapsed onto the soft velvet material. The castle was old, falling apart and claimed by nature in some parts, but the great hall was still all his.
He smiled, noticing his companions had left the torture devices up, some of them still dripping with blood and assorted other bodily fluids.
She said he couldn’t torture anyone in the woman’s presence, but she didn’t say he had to hide the evidence. A wave of his hand brought a smaller throne to sit in front of him, a step down on the dais. The portal mirror was set in front of that, so the woman really never had to notice the scene behind her. Instead, she’d see him, one leg hanging over the arm of his blackened stone and red velvet throne, the other kicked to the side, as if he had accidentally fallen into the thing, or simply had no care for formality. His black hair was disheveled, bed head was common for the six and a half foot demon. And he waited. He hated waiting.
Kelly walked through the corridors of her imagination to the designated portal into Kat’s where she would meet this Raven villain. She walked with swift strides but proper posture and grace.
She knew she was going to face an individual many people feared, but Kelly was never one to be starstruck. He couldn’t touch her because he was a character and she was an author, and those two dimensions never collided no matter how interwoven they seemed.
Finally, Kelly came to the mirror, lifted her hand to it, and then pressed through.
Stepping through, she immediately noted man lounging on the throne, but her eyes did a brief glimpse around the room and identified her surroundings as a medieval grand hall.
And something stank, and the feeling of great pain, horror, and darkness crept from behind her, and Kelly narrowed her eyes but didn’t look. She didn’t need to see whatever torture devices he had behind her. Her imagination filled in the blanks, and with her strong empathy she could still feel the torment of past victims.
Stepping away from the mirror and approaching the throne, Kelly raised her brows. “Well, this certainly reminds me of my conversations with Vlad the Impaler.”
He gave a bark of laughter and waved lazily at the throne in front of him. Simple, made of wood and cotton, it was one he rarely had use for. “Where do you think he got the ideas from? Have a seat.” His voice was soft, seductive, like every woman’s dream. The thing was, he really never really had a voice of his own, it was second nature to pick up the sound from the dreams of those around him, awake or asleep. His accent was neutral, the lack of accent almost as foreign. “I have no refreshments to offer, unless you’re into blood wine?” He rolled his eyes, “So few appreciate the dietary needs of demons, I chose to ignore the needs of humans. I understand you have some…” He waved his hand in the air a moment, as if searching for the word, “questions? To ask me.”
Kelly smirked at his seductive voice, and she almost laughed out loud. So many guys had tried that on her, and they usually ended up on the receiving end of a very stern lecture or worse a kick where it always hurt. Kelly had no interest in games, but she wasn’t about to tell him that.
“No drinks, thank you, but it is very considerate of you to ask.” Kelly nodded although she knew he hadn’t done it out consideration, but she had yet to approach the throne he had motioned to. Instead, she took the chance to walk around the room, taking in her surroundings.
“So yes, questions.” She smiled as she turned back to him. “First question, are you truly a demon, or are you some kind of supernatural creature with fire abilities—and perhaps more, and people only call you a demon because they don’t know how else to describe you?”
He rolled his eyes and barked a short laugh. The woman called him considerate. Oh if she only knew what he’d do to her were he to have the access. Alas, it would have to wait for another day, he was on too short of a leash for this. Instead he allowed the torches in the wall scones around the room to light with their green-white flame. It was easier on his eyes than the usual red flame, contrary to the swirling fire always inhabiting his eyes.
“Humans have no real concept of what a demon is. The ancient one called Dante came the closest, I believe, in describing us. Though he was rather off as well.” He watched the woman as she wandered through the rows of torture devices. Some created within the last hundred years or so, far in her own future, and some far in the past, ancient even to her own present.
Blood dripped and glistened from some, while others held scorched flesh, or even other fluids. All looking as wicked as their purpose. The ones who had recently inhabited those devices were most likely being devoured down in the basement, in what was once the dungeons.
“Truth is, human,” he spat the word out like it was a curse, “I am an angel who chose to be free rather than caged by the gods, forced into subservience.”
Kelly rolled her eyes at his term for her as ‘human’. If he kept it up, she would use her power as author and her connection to his author to have him call her either ‘muse’ or ‘m’lady’. She didn’t care for him to call her by her actual name.
“If I may say, you’re quite NOT free. I do believe there is a certain someone who has great control over you—even now.” Kelly turned away from the torture devices back to the demon with a smile. “So, you’re the villain, the big bad scary guy who does a lot of terrible deeds.” She motioned to the bloodied devices as she moved away from them. “Why do you do such things? It must get tiresome after torturing person after person to realize they all scream, they all cry, they all bleed, and they all die. Must get boring. Do you have any great ambitions?”
He narrowed his eyes and growled. His mouth opened and a thunderclap shook the building, a reminder to keep his temper. Damned author goddess. “I am free, most of the time.” He rolled his eyes again, ignoring the human’s disrespect for the moment. She would likely never understand, and it wasn’t his worry. He was promised another go at Nadia if he cooperated, so he would—for now.
A lazy hand waved at the devices she had mentioned before resting on his well toned pale chest, “I do not bother with such devices. Those are for my allies, they feed off pain and the such. That is where the source of their power lies. My power, and the ones of my particular breed, feed from the nightmares of humans, and to a lesser extent, witches. I am the General of Nightmares. It is I who rules over all of my breed, and soon, all of Earth Realm. I have already seized control of six of the seven Earth Realm’s continents—the lands formerly called North America being the last to bow to my power. But bow they shall, any day now.” He rested his head against the back of his throne and half closed his eyes. “Once I get Nadia under control…” Another sound of thunder rolled through the ancient ruins, and he shut his mouth.
“And why’s Nadia so difficult to get under control?” Kelly raised her brows. She sensed she might be pushing his buttons, but she didn’t care. It amused her.
His head slowly turned back toward the woman named Kelly, a string of expletives in what one could only assume was his natural tongue rolling forth from him. Soft at first, growing louder until his eyes met hers with searing intensity. “The damned witch continues to hide, using the other lesser creatures and damned humans as shields. She has denied the order for all witches to join my army, and yet still seems to elude my best generals!”
Raven turned in his chair, his eyes never leaving the woman’s, holding her gaze to his a moment longer. “It was ordered, centuries ago, for all witches to join my army or die. She has denied both orders, and will suffer greatly when I finally get my hands on her.” He wanted to hold it there, but he turned and whispered instead, “I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on the Fates and their oracle as well. They failed to see the beauty of my plans, and the necessity of my rule.”
Kelly began to chuckle. She couldn’t help it. Finally, she was laughing right out loud. When Raven gave her a fierce glare, she forced herself to stop laughing but only managed to quiet the amusement to chuckles once more. “I’m sorry, but that’s just absolutely hilarious. You’re acting like my little brother when he doesn’t get his way.”
His eyes narrowed on the woman, hopefully formerly, known as Kelly and waited for her laughter to fade. “Are you sure you’re not Nadia in disguise?” His voice was a low growl, “I could eat you for dinner, spit you out, and do it again if I so chose!” He stood and woodenly walked out of the room. A moment later, shrieks were heard before dying down with a thud. Moments later he returned, still tense in his gait, but somewhat calmer. Again he draped himself in his throne. “You may continue.”
Kelly arched a brow. “You’re totally predictable. It’s no wonder Nadia continues to dodge you successfully. I’d offer you some advice, but hey, who am I? I’m merely human, and you’re hundreds of thousands years old, so you know all there is to know.” She smirked at him before finally getting back to her questions.
She resumed meandering about the room at a slow, confident, but steady pace. “So, if you were to conquer the world…world domination—seriously? That’s your goal? Do you have any idea how many villains have tried that—of this world and all others in the galaxies? But anyway!” She shook her head and went back to her question, “If you DO succeed, then what? What’s your next goal? Because I get the feeling you need someone like Nadia to give you a challenge.”
He glared a moment, then closed his eyes and rested against the back of the chair. “You wouldn’t know, would you? You’re a controller, a master of your own little worlds and demons. But do your pawns enjoy being controlled?” Raven sighed, “I gave of myself for eons, and nothing I did was ever truly noticed. Now they see, now they understand, and it is too late to stop me. In a year’s time I will have control, And then the portals from the Gods’ Realm and Hells Realm will be sealed. They will be trapped, and without the strengthening power of the humans. It’ll be the dawn of a new age, of freedom from those pricks. Your precious humans will be free, as long as they pledge their allegiance to me, of course.”
“Of course,” Kelly said sarcastically. “As for me being a controller—you really don’t know what authors do, and that absolutely amuses me.” She smiled but shook her head and settled on something he said. “So, you gave of yourself for eons, you say…how so? I mean, what did you do back then?”
He glanced at the woman a moment, studying her, mentally searching for her own dreamscape. Maybe one day. He shook his head and settled again. “You are aware, of course, that there are many levels of the Hell Realms. Most of what you may call mythology and religion has some sort of resting place for the dead. Hell Realms is that resting place. The heavens as described by your Dante are there, as well as the hell, as well as Valhalla and all the others. They all coexist. There is a council that rules the realm, comprised of the most powerful of each cluster. These would include Lucifer and Hades, naturally, as well as the rest. I fell from the Heaven Realm with Lucifer and became his general, controlling all those of my breed, matching his plans for our cluster. It was I that suggested he convince Eve to eat of the Forbidden Fruit. But he had her eat from the wrong tree first. He ignored me though, one too many times. Now he will see what I spoke of, and it will be too late for him.” He frowned a moment. “It is regrettable that it has come to this, but he has grown weak, while I have continued to grow stronger by the day.”
“Oh, so you’re becoming even stronger than Lucifer. Interesting.” Kelly nodded. “But have you ever had anyone you cared about?” She then quickly raised her hand. “Yes, I know, I know, that is likely a weakness of humanity, but come on.” She lowered her hand and gave him a look. “It makes you more relatable.” She shrugged.
He laughed, “You think me without emotion, incredible!” He laughed a moment longer before sighing. “I care, I fell from the Heaven Realms because I cared. I remained loyal to Lucifer because I cared. But whip a dog and does it not turn? Is that not your saying?” He growled and thought, “There was a human once, who fought me every twist and turn. She laughed at every twist I gave her. Her dreamscape was beautiful, always full of light.” The flames in his eyes dimmed, “Lucifer found out, and sent Baal to her. They corrupted her. She’s his secretary now. I believe you call her Cleopatra? Beautiful, but she’s too full of evil, she not the woman she once was. Good lay though, when the itch comes.”
“Interesting—you’re most drawn to what is good, and I don’t think you even fully comprehend what that means, but it doesn’t matter. As it is, unfortunately, my time here is up. I’m sure that is quite a relief to you.” Kelly smirked at him as she neared the mirror. “I do appreciate your time and the answers you gave, and I do hope I was thoroughly annoying.”
He batted her away with a lazy hand, “Begone and your silly talk of good!” He growled and tossed a gold coin into the portal. It sunk in and disappeared before showing Kelly her own world. “You know so very little. One day, maybe, we’ll speak some more. Suffice to say I do not dislike you.” He stood and walked to the exit, “I would watch you leave, but I have dreams to invade, work to be done.”
“I don’t like you either!” Kelly hollered after him. With that, she stepped through the mirror and came into her own world. Seriously, that guy had issues, but thankfully she didn’t have to put up with him. She did muse if he ever found himself in her dreams, he would have quite a host to face—not just herself. That thought amused her, and she hoped Nadia the best—admiring her for keeping Raven at bay.
To read more of Raven’s War by Kat Perrin, follow her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/musekperrin