Today Friday Night Reflections welcomes back television talk show maven Ophelia! Ophelia's very eager to interview Marcus Aquila, a Roman blacksmith and a key character in The Grail King,
coming this August from Dorchester Publishing.
Ophelia (eyeing Marcus): That's right, Joy. I never tire of interviewing large, hunky men, even ones from the past. Maybe especially ones from the past. They're always so...uncivilized.
Marcus (snorting): I'm a Roman citizen, Ophelia. Not a barbarian. You'll find me very civilized.
Ophelia (doubtfully): Hmm...I see. Well, I suppose appearances can be deceiving. Marcus, tell our audience a little about yourself. Where were you born?
Marcus: In Rome. I came to Britannia as a boy of ten with my father, Lucius Aquila. He was a commander in the army, investigating the suspicious death of my uncle, Aulus.
Ophelia: Lucius discovered his brother was murdered, didn't he?
Marcus: Yes. By a crazed Druid named Madog. Once Aulus was dead, Madog enslaved his soul with dark magic. Under the Druid's foul influence, my uncle's ghost nearly killed my father.
Ophelia (gasps): Oh, my! How awful!
Marcus: Yes. Magic sucks, Ophelia. And it's not pretty, either. I was hiding nearby when my father battled my uncle's ghost in a cursed Druid circle. I was sure Father was going to die.
Ophelia: But he escaped.
Marcus: Barely. I had nightmares about it for years afterwards.
Ophelia: Which is why you now hate anything to do with magic.
Marcus (scowling): Yes. As I said before, magic sucks.
Ophelia: And how do you feel about Druids?
Marcus: Are you kidding? They suck, too. I hate the crazed idiots. The Roman government of Britannia had them outlawed for good reason.
Ophelia: And yet, as I understand it, your best friend is a Druid.
Marcus: Ah, yes. Rhys, the traveling minstrel. We were friends for years and all that time, he never told me of the real reason he visited my home--to keep an eye on my younger half-sister, Breena. Rhys is a member of an outlawed clan of Druids who dwell on the sacred isle of Avalon. He deceived me, and I don't know if I can ever forgive him for that. Magic sucks.
Ophelia: And yet, you can't seem to get away from magic. The Druids of Avalon are interested in your half-sister Breena because she has the Sight. And what about your stepmother's brother, Owein?
Marcus: My stepmother, Rhiannon, is a Celt. Her younger brother, Owein, was an apprentice to Madog, the Druid who murdered my uncle and tried to destroy my father. Owein helped Madog every step of the way. After we left the northlands, Rhiannon was afraid Owein had been killed along Emperor Hadrian's great Wall. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have been sorry if Owein had been killed.
Ophelia: But he wasn't.
Marcus: No. He went into hiding, practicing his foul Druid arts in the mountains of Cambria. Magic, as I've said, sucks.
Ophelia: Um, I see. Well, then, tell us a little about Clara Sempronia.
Marcus: Clara's the daughter of Sextus Sempronius Gracchus, the fortress commander in the Roman town of Isca Silurnam, located in what you call Southern Wales. I want Clara to be my wife, but Commander Gracchus won't hear of it. He's determined to have Clara will marry well, and though I'm a patrician, my family's a disgrace. My father abandoned a Senate seat to marry a barbarian Celt. And I practice a trade--blacksmithing. Roman patricians look down on tradesmen.
Ophelia: So you want to marry Clara. But doesn't she have magic, too?
Marcus (with a pained expression): You know something, Ophelia? I'm getting really sick of all this woo-woo stuff. Magic's like a sucking chest wound, in my opinion. Who needs it? Yes, Clara has magic, though I didn't know it when I fell in love with her. Her magic is linked to a mysterious silver Grail. The cup was stolen from her and she's determined to get it back. Do you believe the fool woman ran off into the mountains looking for Owein, hoping he would use his Sight to help her find the Grail! But I can tell you, if that hulking, red-headed Druid gets his hands on a magic Grail, the last thing he's going to do is give it to Clara. Rhys wants to get to the damn thing, too, before Owein does. And so does another Druid--some hidden sorcerer who's been calling up violent winter storms and playing with Owein's mind. The whole situation is a mess.
Ophelia: And it only gets uglier, doesn't it?
Marcus: It sure does. So do you understand now why I say magic sucks? There's just too much of it floating around for my taste. You know, I'm the only one who doesn't give a damn about the wretched Grail. I just want too find Clara and get her home safely. Preferably before Owein (the rat bastard!) talks her into bed.
Ophelia: Well. Good luck with that, Marcus. I think. Though according to Joy, The Grail King isn't exactly your lucky book. Except for the very last chapter, when you meet your true love.
Marcus (snorting): Knowing Joy, I bet my true love has more sucky magic than I ever want to see in my lifetime.
Ophelia (laughing): I just bet she does! We'll have to wait for your book, Guardian of Avalon, to find out how you deal with that.
Marcus (grumbling): You know what, Ophelia? Magic sucks. Big time.
Joy: Thank you Marcus and Ophelia! Readers, check back next month when Clara Sempronia, heroine of The Grail King, takes the hot seat!
Until Next Friday,