Black Stump Books Reader's Club

Interview with Killian

This interview is a with a character who appears in Revenant. It was based on a story called Rebel that hasn't been released yet.

This was an attempt on my part to follow the more traditional interview format rather than the (slightly confused) story style that I used in the interviews with Pin Wei and Venom. It's a sneak peek of a work in progress, and, as such, has a few rough edges. Still, it's something that readers of the series should find interesting as it gives some insight into how Reaper's friends see him. Enjoy.


“When did you first meet Reaper?”

“I was thirteen or fourteen the first time I met Reaper. My father had just been murdered and my sister, Barbany, kidnapped. I was leading a ragtag group of street urchins, thieves and beggars, in a fight against the D’nuran governor. We weren’t doing much of anything except stealing D’nuran supplies and ambushing the occasional patrol, typical teenage rebellion stuff. The first time I saw Reaper I thought he was a bravo, a mercenary, and that he was going to get himself killed. Then, watching him fight, it was like watching a dance. He moved so quickly, it was almost like the D’nuran’s were smoke. I’ve seen him fight many times since then, and it’s always the same. It’s a beautiful thing to see, as long as you aren’t the one he’s moving through. Then it’s terrifying.”

“What did you think when you found out who he was?”

“I was terrified. Reaper has a reputation that is larger than life. He’s the destroyer of cities, the Reaper’s bird of prey, sent by Death to strike down those whose time is due. I was a lot more surprised than I should have been. I mean, I’d seen him fight. I’d seen lots of people fight, but he made the professionals look like bumbling amateurs. He was standing there, a slight smile on his face as though he knew what I was thinking, and sitting beside him was Strikes-With-Venom, the woman who slew the emperor. I was terrified. This was the deadly duo. The people who, between them, brought down D’vo. The fear wasn’t so much for myself, though I’m not saying I didn’t think they might kill me. My first thought was, ‘Oh my god, they’ve come to destroy Rhyntal!’”

“And yet you didn’t flee. Why?”

“Because he’d stepped in to save me in the alley. I was Tarsithian and I was fighting D’nurans. I thought, hoped, that he would take my side over theirs, even if all that meant was letting me go so I could keep fighting.”

“You overcame that fear though, and eventually became friends with them both?”



“They’re both really nice people. They are honest, kind, generous. They treated me like a responsible adult.”

“How is that?”

“With Respect.”

“You were fighting a war—.”

“Hardly a war. A border skirmish.”

“Alright. Either way, you were fighting against the D’nurans. How did that change once Reaper joined your rebellion?”

“He didn’t.”

“But didn’t they agree to help you in your fight?”

“Yes. And they did. They both offered advice, but, essentially, they ran their operation, I ran mine. Oh, Reaper occasionally furthered the cause by taking out a patrol or two, but that was because they were interfering with his plans, not because he was working with us.”

“And that was enough?”

“He taught me how to fight, taught me how to get others to fight, taught me how to ensure they knew why they were fighting. Without him, the rebellion would have collapsed within a week or two. We all would have been captured, or some of the citizens would have turned us over to save themselves. Because of his advice and instruction, the rebellion grew and became more effective.”

“Was that what you expected when they agreed to help? That all you would get was advice?”

“Advice and training.”

“Alright. Advice and training. Didn’t you expect them to step up and do some of the work of killing D’nurans, driving them out of the city?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t think I expected that so much as I feared it. They didn’t know Rhyntal, not like I did. If they took over the rebellion, it wouldn’t be a rebellion anymore, would it?”

“What do you mean?”

“A rebellion is, by definition, an oppressed people fighting off their oppressors. If Reaper and Venom had taken over the fight for the Tarsithians, it wouldn’t have been a rebellion, because we would have just sat back and watched. Then our freedom wouldn’t have been won, it would have been granted, and nothing would have changed. It wouldn’t have been our country, it would just have been the place we lived.”

“So you were happy with the way things turned out?”

“In Rhyntal? No. But I don’t blame Reaper or Venom for that. They were right. Freedom is something you have to fight for. There is always a cost involved, a risk. Some people don’t want to pay that cost, they don’t want risk, they want safety, even if the price of that safety is slave chains. For some people it is better to live in chains than to die free.”

“But you aren’t one of them.”

“No. I believe that those who accept their chains are already dead. There is no life without freedom, and if you believe that, then no chains can take it away from you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know Reaper’s story. He was in chains once—.”

“More than once.”

“But he was never a slave. A slave’s chains are in their soul, and in their mind.  It doesn’t matter how many physical chains you put on a free person, their soul will always remain free. I didn’t know that when I met Reaper, though I felt it. I think part of what scared me about Reaper was the fact that he was the first person I ever met who was free. He was a wild grylth, the rest of us… we were lapdogs dreaming of being wolves.”

“And what of Venom?”

“She had that quality too, though more restrained, better hidden. But it was self-restraint that kept it hidden, not…” She waved her hand. “I don’t know, something imposed from without or something missing. Reaper was like a forest fire, Venom was like a lantern. I had the feeling that, if she wanted, she could blaze as brightly and dangerously as Reaper, but she controlled her power better.”

“And later?”

“What do you mean?”

“How did Reaper change?”

“He became a volcano.”


“It’s a metaphor. Figure it out.”

“It sounds dangerous.”

Killian shrugged.

“You don’t think it’s dangerous having a volcano for a friend?”

“There’s a difference between a volcano and a man. You can think fondly of the volcano because it provides heat and fertile soil for your crops, but the volcano doesn’t think about you, it doesn’t care about you. You might be friends with the volcano, but the volcano isn’t friends with you.”

“And with a man, the friendship can be mutual.”

“Now you’re starting to get it.”

“So what’s it like being friends with a volcano?”

“Safe. Exhilarating.” She smiled. “Like being in the eye of a storm.”

Leave a Reply