(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. The Humani was written by Becca Bates. To stay caught up with these interviews, be sure to SUBSCRIBE.)
The Humani stood on the mountaintop, looking out over the land with his hands clasped behind his back. He did not turn when the portal materialized behind him and a woman stepped out through it. “You must be Kelly,” he said, still facing ahead.
“I am.” Kelly nodded, not bothered by him not turning to greet her. Instead she gazed at the majestic surroundings. “Wow…it’s lovely up here.” The she fixed her gaze on his back. “I presume you are The Humani? Which, by the way, is a very interesting name. Why do you go by it?”
He turned to face her. “It is what I am.”
“And what does that mean?” Kelly raised her brows.
He crossed his arms. “The Humani are those who watch over the world.”
“So you’re not the only Humani?” Kelly assumed this because he used the plural verb.
Looking away, he said, “Not at first. I am now.”
This guy really liked short answers, Kelly determined, but she shrugged—more time to ask more questions then. She stepped forward to come stand beside him and gaze at the spacious view spread out before them, and then she slid him a glance. “What happened to the other Humani?”
“They died in the war.”
“Well, that is quite general.” Kelly resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Fine, she’d just have to be more specific. “What war? I’m assuming you’re rather powerful, so…how would multiple Humani die?” She looked at him—intent on focusing on him.
The Humani sighed. “The Great War. We all fought each other. I was the last standing.”
Finally Kelly decided to be blunt, and she turned to face him. “Could you give me a bit more detail, please? I understand you might not be thrilled with this conversation, but it would go a lot quicker if you give me more information. The shorter answers you give me, the more questions I will ask, and…I get the feeling that would annoy you, so could you help both of us by being a bit more precise?” She raised her brows.
He narrowed his eyes at her, not one to willingly divulge information, but he considered her point and turned his head away with resignation. “We were created to protect humanity, but humanity grew corrupt. There was a disagreement among us, half feeling it was our duty to destroy humanity and start fresh, and the rest arguing that would go against our purpose of protecting them. The first struck anyway, the others fought back, and in the end only I and a handful of humans remained. But that was several millennia ago and there are many more humans now.”
Kelly frowned when he said all this, but she was grateful for the brief history lesson. “So, you were created to protect humanity…that sounds as though you came into existence after humanity.” She looked at him curiously. “Were you ever human? Or simply…Humani?” She was trying to understand all the pieces
“We were created together. I was never human.”
And they were back to the short answers again. “Before or after humans were created?” Although Kelly felt like she was asking the question ‘which came first—the chicken or the egg?’
He eyed her quizzically. “Together.”
“I…see.” She nodded. “So what do you do as an Humani? Just stay up here and watch everyone?” She raised her brows.
“Essentially. Though I don’t just stay here. I travel all through the land.”
“Can the humans see and interact with you? Or no?” If he was going to give short answers, she’d just stick to short questions. This would be interesting.
“Only if I want them to. Which I typically don’t. I tend to stay unseen.” Even volunteering this much was a struggle for him, but he was trying his best to maintain the conversation.
“You’re lonely.” Kelly finally voiced her observation. He didn’t respond, which she didn’t expect him to, but she went on, “Do you feel you can trust me?”
The Humani took in a deep breath and looked her over before giving a reluctant, “Yes.”
She gave a small smile. “I’m glad to hear that. Now, I understand you’ve had a very long life and have endured so many difficulties that I can’t even begin to imagine. However, you’re alone. You are the last of your kind. That has got to be hard. You watch humans and as you said, you tend to remain unseen. I’m sure there are some you communicate on occasion, but…” She spread out her hands. “I’m not one of the humans you need to watch over, and I’m not someone you will ever speak with or hear from again, so…talk with me. You don’t have to keep everything bottled up. Now’s your chance to finally just…talk.” She wondered if he’d take her up on this offer, but she hoped he would.
He didn’t look at her as he gave a slow nod. “What should I talk about?”
Well, this was a start. “You weren’t always ancient. What was it like growing up as a Humani?”
He gazed across the landscape. “I didn’t really grow up. I was created as a young man. But to answer the intent of your question, I spent my time watching over humans and consulting with the other Humani. We were not so often hidden back then.”
She figured he was created as a young man, but still he hadn’t been created old. “Tell me of the other Humani. What were their names? I’m sure you were close to some of them.”
Swallowing hard, he hugged his arms tighter to his chest. “There was Adela, Jeno, Poriot, Bikel, and Sireen. I was close to Sireen, and Adela was a good friend as well. I thought the others were at first.”
She noted the way he hugged his arms tighter, so she approached this with care trying to be considerate and sensitive. She wanted to know what happened to the others, but first she focused on the two he had mentioned specifically. “What were Sireen and Adela like?”
A faraway look glossed over his eyes. “Sireen was…the most spectacular being ever created. Determined, but kind. She was like a mother to every human she met.” The slightest smirk touched his lips. “Adela was enthusiastic. Nothing ever kept her down for long.” The smile faded away.
Kelly caught his faint smile and she smiled as well then asked, “What is your favorite memory of your time with them?”
He tilted his head in consideration. “Once when things were turning sour, before they grew to the breaking point, Adela caused it to snow, distracting us from the hard times for a short while as we took a rare moment of fun for ourselves. As for Sireen… There are so many, it is too difficult to pick just one.”
“The snow sounded as though it was lovely. I imagine snow fights between you all were probably pretty epic, am I right?” Kelly chuckled, but then she settled on something she had sensed from him. “Were you in love with Sireen?”
“They were quite a spectacle I’m sure. And yes. We were in love with each other.”
She nodded, figuring that had been the case. “What happened to her?”
He frowned at her. “I already told you. She died in the war with the rest.”
“Oh come on! She didn’t just drop dead. Were you there? Did she die in your arms? Yes, I’m asking difficult questions because you’re being difficult, so sorry about that. I’d prefer not to dig up painful memories, but…” She trailed off, watching him, waiting to see his response.
He met her gaze for a moment before answering. “Bikel killed her. I saw, but was too far away to help.”
Kelly sighed and lowered her sighed. “I’m sorry.” Then she hesitated, knowing her next question would probably be something he wouldn’t want to dwell on, but she still had to ask, “I’m assuming Jeno and Poriot sided with Bikel then too? ON the opposite side of you?” She glimpsed back at him.
“Have you ever forgiven them?”
“And will you?” Back to the short answers again, Kelly noted.
“I doubt it.”
“Is that proper?”
He shrugged. “Does it matter?”
Kelly gave him a look. “You’re the last Humani, and from my understanding, you’re the most powerful creature created. Having such a person hold a grudge is absolutely unhealthy and unwise and will only further isolate you. Sure, you may be fine—for another thousand years, but eventually you will watch the humans go over and over again with the same hurt and all their wars, and you will be so hardened by your own ancient hurt that eventually you’ll want to end it all.” She paused but then added, “And isn’t that the very thing you fought against in your war? So you tell me, does it matter if you forgive them?”
“You assume I have not gone through that already, yet I have not attempted to end it all myself, nor will I. I made a vow that prevents me even if I wish. I will admit, I did give into a moment of weakness and agreed to empower a person who I knew would do such, but I corrected that mistake. For the moment, at least, though we shall see the long term consequences of that.”
“You are a bitter individual,” Kelly observed. “Sure, i understand the root of your bitterness, but bitterness is never a good thing for the soul.” However, she decided to shift the topic to something else. “So, who’s Corinne?” She smiled at him.
Thrown off by the question, he blinked at her for a few moments. “Corinne? The Teshak girl? How do you know of her?”
Kelly smirked then shrugged. “Oh, I know a lot. So who is she?” Then she added, “Who is she to you?”
He frowned in confusion. “She is nothing to me. We’ve only spoken once. I gave her a bond with time and have never seen her since.”
Kelly smiled. She supposed she could let that go. “Well, keep an eye on her. You might be surprised.” Then she decided to shift the subject, “And how did you come across Damian?”
His brow furrowed more at the first comment but lightened at the mention of Damian. “For someone who knows so much, why even ask questions?” He shook his head. “Damian was very sick as a child. I gave him a bond with the healing layer, but that caused him to have extraordinary longevity, so I’ve been watching him since then with hopes of making him my heir. Even I won’t live forever.”
“So…basically that means he’ll become an Humani?” Kelly folded her arms and furrowed her brows as she looked at him.
“Eventually, yes. He will be the first who was not born as such.”
Kelly frowned and tried to contemplate this, but it just sounded too complicated. “Okay, so…how does that work?”
The Humani sighed. “We will make a different type of bond that will transfer my powers to him when I die.”
“I’m assuming you’re grooming him for that position, right? Not going to merely thrust him into it.” She arched a brow as she looked at him.
“Of course. I would never impart it to someone I didn’t trust with it.”
“And why do you trust him so much?” Kelly watched him. By his mere disposition, she could tell he was someone who trusted very few.
“Because I have been consulting with him his whole life, so he’s always known this was his destiny if he so chose. He has taken it very seriously and I can tell he would make an excellent Humani when the times comes.”
Kelly mused his words, but he hadn’t quite answered her question, so she tried another angle and turned from the mountainous view to look at someone. “You can know someone their whole life, and they can know their destiny and be properly trained for it, but still they could screw up. So, why do you trust Damian? Something in his personality and who he is must prove trustworthy.” She tilted her head to a side. “What is it?”
“It is in his nature. He cares about everyone and wishes to protect them all. Perhaps it is due to his ability to heal those who are hurt.”
Kelly nodded. This made sense. “When do you think he will be ready to take over?”
“When will he be ready? Fairly soon. But I don’t plan to die just yet.”
She have him a perplexed look. “So you have your death all planned out?”
“What? No. But I have no intention of dying for a while yet.”
Kelly nodded. “So is Damian immortal? Or…well, you said he has extraordinary longevity, but does that mean he doesn’t age, or what exactly?”
He shifted his weight and ran a hand through his hair. “He is not immortal. He does age, and did so rather normally up until now, though he’s reached his peak health, so from now on he will age very slowly and live several hundred years before growing anywhere near ‘old’.”
“I see.” She paused, trying to think of what to ask next, and then she fixed her gaze on him to really watch him. “What would you say was your greatest regret?”
He clasped his hands in front of him. “Making the vow.”
She paused. Was this the vow he mentioned earlier or what? Uncertain, she frowned. “What vow?”
“The vow I made to never bring harm to a human. I know it sounds bad that I regret it, but it prevents me from doing much good, either, when someone is threatened by another human.”
That made sense—in a way, but Kelly was curious. “Why did you make that vow?”
“I was so distraught by the destruction brought about by the Great War. I did not think it through, I just made the vow.”
“I see.” She nodded. “And there is no way to reverse it?”
Kelly sighed as she glanced back at the mountainous horizon. “In a way I understand why you regret that vow, and I know sometimes killing—or harming—one person may spare a thousand…” She gave him a quick glance, “though I wouldn’t play with destiny. However, surely there’s a loophole. Have you thought about getting someone else you trust to carry it out for you?”
“Damian does not carry this restriction. Though I have never asked him to do something like this specifically.”
“I’m not talking about Damian.” Kelly shook her head. “He doesn’t sound like the kind of person who would carry out such a thing anyway, but maybe there’s someone else?”
“There is no one else I trust.”
“Yet.” Kelly added. “As you said, you don’t intend to die yet, and someone can come along.” She shrugged. “It’s just an option you should have in the back of your mind in case you do come across someone you trust and feel can carry through with that. You never know.” Then she added with a smile. “Am I annoying you with my questions yet?”
“I suppose it’s possible. And no, not as much as I expected.”
Kelly smiled. “That’s good to hear, but I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that we’re about finished here. However, before we go, what are your hopes for humans and the future? I’m assuming it has something to do with peace.”
He nodded, crossing his arms again. “In an ideal world, yes, I wish there was peace among them. Though I cannot help doubting that will ever be the case.”
Kelly shrugged. “If it’s any consolation, as long as there is strive in the hearts of men, there will never be peace in them, and that’s not your fault—or anyone else’s. It’s simply an unfortunate part of who we are. Sometimes though, we could use an example of someone good—someone upright, someone who isn’t corrupt but also isn’t weak. I know you prefer your isolation, but…maybe that isn’t helping the situation.”
He nodded. “I don’t disagree. But I can offer little to help.”
“Sometimes a little is more than enough. You never know.” But then Kelly finally sighed and dropped her arms. “Well, my time here has come to an end.” She offered him a smile. “Thanks for chatting with me. I know I’m nosy with all these questions, but it was interesting to learn all this about you, so thank you.” She bowed her head to him as a portal opened behind them. “I hope you find true companionship sometime and let go of that bitterness deep within you. Then the rest of your life may be a bit more…pleasant if possible.”
He nodded to her. “I’m glad you found it interesting.”
She smiled at him once more. “I will admit, you were difficult, but I’m stubborn, so….” She shrugged once more then flashed him a grin. “Take care!” With that, she stepped into the portal and vanished.
He watched her go, eyes lingering on the portal as it faded away. Taking in a deep breath, he turned back to look over the landscape once more for a moment before stepping through a gate and vanishing himself.
Becca Bates’ series, Humani Chronicles, is not yet released, but is scheduled to be published late August or early September. However, she has other works published, which you can find here:
A World of My Own: http://amzn.com/B015VSFXM0
Satyr Wars: Volume IV – A Naiad Hope: http://amzn.com/B01CPFOGYS
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