~Interview with Keltor~ ((With a surprise special Guest!))
I’m completely nervous and crossing, then uncrossing my legs as I wait for him to arrive. Fashionably late apparently. Guardians, they think they are just all that and a bag of chips. Wait, never mind, they are.
So as I wait, I scribble in my notepad the many questions that keep popping up in my head. I was too excited last night to really prepare for this at all and instead enjoyed a lovely Malbec as I chatted with my girlfriend on the phone about this once in a lifetime opportunity. One glass turned into two, two to three…well the rest is history. I thought I would just breeze through this as I do all my interviews but as the tick-tock of the second hand moves, I feel completely unprepared.
I glance nervously at the clock again. It’s 1:10, our interview was at 1:00pm. What if he decides not to show? There are a damn fine amount of demons plaguing the earth at the moment. Is he battling them or would Liz not let him out of bed? I only had him for thirty minutes, something about a meeting with Lucio that would require him immediately afterwards.
I smooth my skirt and bite the end of the pen, wondering if he will be dressed in his typical leathers, his muscles lean and ripped and God, will he bring any of the others?
Startled, I look up and shriek, an enormous, slightly amused man staring at me. My notebook thuds to the floor and I slip my glasses back up my nose after I retrieve it, Yes, this is him. I glance at the clock, it’s 1:11pm. He’s wearing ripped jeans and a black t-shirt that barely hides his mountains of muscles beneath it. And the black shit-kickers on his feet are huge.
“Keltor? Please, Have a seat.”
He looks from me to the red upholstered sofa that could easily fit two women even if it was a dainty victorian piece and then back at me.
“Not a chance Ms. Sage. There will be nothing left of that couch if I sit on it.”
I jump up from the big leather chair that I typically do the interviewing from and gesture for him to sit there. “Please, this one should do. I’ll take the sofa.”
I’m flaming red, I’m certain. I can feel the heat from my neck to my cheeks. He’s everything I thought he would be and more. Keltor’s hair is tied back in a ponytail and his six foot plus, plus, plus of size easily overwhelms me. I’m surprised that he’s not carrying any weapons though.
“Do I need one in your office Ms. Sage?”
“Oh! I forgot you can do that! Is Liya anywhere nearby by chance, to help me learn to shield my thoughts?”
He chuckles and the chair groans as he sits down, crossing one ankle on his knee and putting his hands together, fingertip to fingertip as his elbows rest on the arms of the chair.
“I promise I’ll stay out for the most part.” He smiles genuinely.
God he’s unnerving with his calmness. And holy shit, those eyes. Definitely something unnatural about the green in them.
“Eh hem.” He clears his throat again, a grin still playing on his lips.
“Shit! Okay, okay!”
I plop down on the sofa completely ungraceful, feeling like a five year old on her first day of school. I’m sure my hair is a mess even though I brushed it a hundred times in the last few hours and dammit, what if my mascara is running? Lipstick? Did I put on lipstick? EEEEK!
“You look lovely. And while I quite enjoy this banter going on I really must insist that we continue. There’s some heavy fecking shit going on right now, and I don’t have much time.”
I look up at him, still calm and grinning. Me, a hot mess.
“Of course, you’re right. There’s the whole matter of saving the world you must get back to. How terribly selfish of me. So, I’ve prepared a few questions, shall we get on with it then?”
He nods. “The floor is yours.”
I fumble with my notebook a minute, the scratchings in it like that of a child, just like my emotions at the moment.
“Thank you so much for joining me Keltor. There are a lot of women, I mean, um, people, that are going to be really happy you did. What a fantastic thirty minutes this will be.”
“Not good.” He mumbles from my favorite chair.
“I’m sorry?” I ask, confusion spreading on my face.
“Oh, nothing, I apologize. Lucio just informed me of something. Please, continue.”
I cock my head slightly to the side. “Any chance you’d let me in on that?”
“Right. Okay, so..Keltor, last I heard you and Liz had settled down and were on your way to having a mini you. Can you tell me anything about that?”
He looked at me sharply a moment and then his green eyes softened.
“Raith” He grumbled.
“Yes, her name is Raith, she’s two now. And raising hell all over Ireland. I’ve re built the fecking Keep twice now.”
I raise my eyes. “Rebuilt it?”
“Aye, she’s a terror that one. So powerful and when she doesn’t get her way her tantrums cause fecking earthquakes, tidal waives….you name it. Do you have children Ms. Sage?”
I’m digesting his words as I shake my head no.
“Aye, then you canna understand.”
“No, I suppose not. But would many humans understand earthquakes and tidal waves at the hands of a two year old fit? And you do mean this literally don’t you?”
He sighs, “Aye. Ireland believes there is some bad weather going on. Extra prayers to new Gods and old each day. When it’s just wee Raith not getting her way.”
“I see.” I had been hearing the weather reports lately from there and it was bad. Flooding and reports of isolated incidents oddly close to the Keep.
“Well I do hope she grows out of this soon for you. Any thoughts of her staying with Resiayana for a time in the White until she can control this?”
“None. My child will not go there. Liz will get her under control if she has to put her in a shield until she is ten.”
I raise my eyes, thinking of my nieces and nephews and almost giggle. If only their parents could do that too.
“So Keltor, other than putting your child in a protective bubble until she outgrows her terrible two’s, are there any other thoughts of more children?”
“None. Lizbet is not getting her way on this until that one can be controlled. I wouldn’t be able to leave the house if we had another as powerful as Raith. Liz can barely manage one without me being there.”
“So Elizabeth wants more?”
He sighs again. “Aye. But she’s not getting another. Not now at least.”
“Do you know for certain you can have another? After her transformation?”
“No. It’s in the hands of the Gods and anyone’s guess. Raith should not have made it, but here we are. Tornados, earthquakes and all.”
“Indeed. Please do convey my condolences to Liz. If she needs the number of some exceptional parents that I know who have gone through this please let me know. There are only a handful that I could refer her two that made it through these years successfully but I’m sure they would be happy to tell her their secrets.”
He nods. “I may be in touch Ms. Sage.”
“Perfect. And please call me Jen. Right, so back to you. Is there anything you can tell me about the Demons currently? Are there any in particular that are new that you can offer my readers warnings about?”
His eyes closed a moment and his fingers pinched the area between his eyes a second.
“Aye, I can tell you about one.”
His eyes opened, the green lit and swirling slightly making me gasp and my heart pound in my chest.
“There is a painting in Roma, of Dante’s, that depicts it quite well. It is hanging in a gallery, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. It looks old, but he has a talent for that. It is actually quite new. In the painting, there is a human that faces a shadow demon, extending his hand. There is a wind between the two, and a glitter in the eyes of the human being that is unnatural, a smile played on his lips. The human is being taken, the wind is the Demon taking his soul. The human is giving it, in exchange for power that he won’t really obtain in the end. But it’s the eyes that give it away. Watch people’s eyes. This Demon devours the soul over a longer period of time and watches eagerly as the human causes destruction as there is less and less of his humanity left. In the end, there is no more soul, no more humanity, and no more life to feed from. But during this transition, the eyes will change. They will go from any color, slowly, to grey. These are not young men getting cataracts Ms. Sage. These are young men seduced by power. False it may be, but it is there. Eyes that are already grey to begin with, with glisten with light. Not as mine do, but a different kind. Just be wary, of your intentions and the intentions of those around you. If you notice this in anyone, call us. There may be time to save their soul, if we cannot save their flesh. These Demons are currently all over and we can’t kill enough of them as they slip so easily from form to shadow. Only when they are actually consuming a soul are they able to be offed.”
My heart hammers in my chest as the description fills my mind.
“Fuck, that’s just not a pleasant thought at all. How do you deal with that all the time?”
I frown at my language, not usually so crass but unable to stop that f-bomb from tumbling out. How completely unprofessional of me. He doesn’t seem to mind though, not even blinking as I said it.
“Eh, it’s nothing. A century in a world of shadows will numb you to it a bit. You know?”
“Not the slightest actually. I’m only thirty five. And I’ve never seen a Demon.”
“Oh Ms. Sage, excuse me, Jen, I assure you that you have. You may just have not recognized it. I can tell you’re sensitive to the supernatural. You probably just didn’t acknowledge what you were feeling is all.”
I thought back to the times I saw things that made me feel like someone walked over my grave, or into the eyes of someone that made me shudder with a soul-less look and wondered how many times I really had seen something that I brushed off as me being paranoid. My throat went dry.
“Aye, trust your gut in the future. Yours knows what it’s seeing. And then go, in the other direction as fast as you can. I’d hate to see you fall to the Shadows. Your soul, would be a pity to lose.”
Suddenly a knock at the door. I look to Keltor who is just grinning and nods his head in approval. What the hell is he up to?
“Come in please.” I stammer, wondering what’s on the other side of the door. As it opens I nearly shriek again.
“Good afternoon Ms. Sage. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
The massive man in my doorway looked a bit put off to be here, but there was no mistaking the short black hair, the goatee, the grey eyes. Dante was in my fucking office. Holy. Shit.
“I…um…..” Words, shit, where were my words?
“Cat got your tongue amore?” He grinned as he stared at me.
Did he just call me amore?
If they weren’t red enough already, I was sure my cheeks were absolutely flaming now.
“Dante, forgive me. I wasn’t prepared for you. I, um, don’t have another chair and please, Jen, not Ms. Sage.”
He looked to Keltor and back to me. “I’m sure I’ll fit next to you if you don’t mind?”
“Oh! Yes of course, Keltor had just said that the couch, oh, never mind. Yes of course! Please.”
I scooted over as he walked towards me, also in jeans that grabbed his thighs, outlining all the muscles that rippled beneath, not to mention the…oh my God, so not going there in my head. His shirt was not a t-shirt, but a black button down that exposed just enough of his tan skin to make me bite my lower lip. It had gotten to feel like a hundred degrees in here all the sudden. The same black shit kickers were on his feet.
I put my face in my hands to recompose myself a bit, sure they were entertained by my behavior. I felt the couch give considerably as he sat down, nearly forcing me towards him a little.
I looked up at him and he smiled for the first time and holy shit, how on earth was I going to speak now? I hadn’t prepared any questions for Dante. His hair was a chaos of dark spikes, his eyes a sharp contrast to his skin tone. How did any one man possess so many perfect features?
“So, Jen, how can I help you with this interview? I really must be brief. Keltor and I are in a bit of a hurry.”
Even when he spoke, his voice was deep and commanding. I imagine not too many people don’t do exactly what he told them to do.
Walk off the roof Ms. Sage. Why of course I will!
They both chuckled a little and I wanted to scream.
“Now listen here, both of you, stay out of my head!” I shrieked. “For fucks sake give a woman some privacy!”
They looked at each other, shocked at my outburst.
“That’s a tone we can respect Jen, and I assure you, we will do so for the rest of the interview, even if what goes through your mind is quite intriguing. Won’t we Kelt?”
Keltor nodded. “Aye, we will.”
I was shaking a little. Nerves getting to me. “Would you like some tea? Or wine? I think I’ll have a glass of wine while we finish.”
I jump up, the heat radiating off Dante just too much to bear for more than a moment or two and walk over to the small bar that is there for nights when I stay late and work. An electric kettle, plenty of organic wine and brandy in a crystal decanter sat there as my salvation.
“The red wine please, for us both I imagine.” Dante spoke as he leaned back, getting in a similar position as Keltor.
“Aye, for me too.”
I nodded and turned, uncorking a bottle of red as I took some deep breaths to calm myself. I pulled three glasses from beneath the bar and with a shaky hand poured the wine. I walked to the two giants and handed them each a glass and then returned for mine, taking a deep swallow when I picked it up. Returning to the couch I sat down and mustered the most dazzling smile I could as I turned to Dante.
“So, Dante. How are things in your world?”
He takes a big sip of wine and looks at me hard. “Rome is covered in activity at the moment. Tress and I have been busy. Between the Demons and the businesses, it’s been hard to get much sleep.”
“What businesses Dante?”
He just grinned as he contemplated that question. “Well Jen, I have many. As you know.”
Yes, I suppose I did. The most eligible and secretive bachelor in Rome. He was always in some article or another. Dante was a hot topic overseas.
“Okay, the businesses aside, you said that there is a lot of activity in Rome. It sounds as if there is everywhere. Are thirteen of you enough to handle it?”
He groaned. “Barely. The Goddess assures us there is help coming. There’s just too much of the world and the fuckers are being created too fast. We don’t know how he’s creating so many, so quickly, but we can only be in so many places at once.”
I scribble some short hand notes as he’s talking. This sounds bad.
“And Liya? How has her transition been. Is there anything on the horizon for the two of you?”
“Tsk, Tsk. You know I don’t discuss my personal life in interviews. But I can tell you that Liya is transitioning fine in her new skin. Old skin, as it were. She’s a great asset to our team and kicks ass in the field. I can tell you that much.”
“So what about the whole….”
Before I could finish both men jumped up.
“Apologies Ms. Sage, Jen, We’ve got to go. Emergency.” Keltor said, serious all of the sudden.
I jump up, the tension in the room so thick you could cut it with a knife. “Of course. Any way you would tell me what this is all about?”
“None.” Keltor said quickly.
I sigh and nod. I was lucky to get them at all.
“Thank you gentlemen, please return to finish this interview if you’re able to sometime.”
They both nod and Keltor disappears. Dante turns to me, takes my hand and presses it to his burning lips. “Ciao amore.” And then disappears.
I fall to the couch and take another sip of wine. Holy. Shit.