Interview with Chel and Lemon (THE RIGHTEOUS)
To celebrate the release of The Righteous, the second part of Articles of Faith duology by David Wragg, Nils is here with a special interview with Vedren Chel and Lemon. What follows is a series of argu— we mean Q&As to get to know both characters better.
If you want a quick reminder of what happened in book one or to read an excerpt from The Righteous, you can find both here.
Hi Chel, hi Lemon, we’re so happy to have you on The Hive! How are you both?
Chel: Hi, yeah, all right. A bit sore from a few injuries.
Lemon: Wee Bear has a tendency to get the shit kicked out of him near daily, which must at least save on privy time.
C: That really isn’t true.
I don’t know Chel, it seems pretty accurate to me.
C: *mutters inaudibly*
L: For myself, well, it’s been a while since the consumption of vittles, and as ancient wisdom tells the longer the road, the chafed-er the buttocks, so just peachy really.
So firstly, tell us a little bit about yourselves?
C: There’s not much to tell – I come from a small immigrant family, I was educated at home until my father died, then was sent off in service with a local noble.
L: Your uncle, was it?
C: Step-uncle, thrice damn you. That bastard is no blood of mine.
L: Aye well he’s probably dead now eh, so no sense fretting now.
C: That wasn’t my fault.
L: Oh no, sure, course not, nothing you could have done. Presumably.
C: Shut up. You answer.
L: Which was it, shut up or answer?
C: *teeth-grinding noises*
L: Ah well, you know me: a fair daughter of fair Clyden, I take life as it comes; a scholar really, something of an enthusiast on the broad strokes of learning, seeing the world, experiencing its rich panorama of miracles—
Lemon, aren’t you part of a mercenary band called The Black Hawks? Fierce and deadly and such?
C: She hits stuff with hammers a lot.
L: Percussive intervention is but one strand of the method scientific.
Any particular likes/dislikes?
L: Wee Bear cares not for injustice and the spilling of innocent blood, eh? It’s enough to moisten any cynic’s weary trousers.
C: I’d say I have a fairly well-developed sense of right and wrong.
Erm, are you sure about that Chel?!
L: Aye, right, for “well-developed” read “intractable” and “sense of right and wrong” read “range of unfounded opinions”.
C: You’re one to talk, half of everything you say is nonsense.
L: Aye, but which half, eh?
C: And what about your dislikes, Lem?
L: Don’t know what you mean, the Clydish folk are even of temper and friend to all.
C: To all creatures on God’s earth?
Every single one of them Lemon?
L: Indeed, all and every.
C: Even wolves?
L: Ah fucken wolves, man! Fluffy little pointy-toothed gobshites! Coin-eyed jabber-mouthed dung—
C: *over Lemon* So nearly all and every, then.
L: —with a fucken HAMMER.
*note to self, don’t mention wolves to Lemon again. Ever.*
How did you both meet? Give us some backstory to your friendship? You are friends, right?
L: Aye, course we’re friends. The Clyde is friend to all—
C: You did that one, you plum.
L: Which renders it no less true for its retelling.
C: Oh, do shut up. Yes, we’re friends – you’d have to be friends to put up with this torrent of gibberish day in, day out.
L: That’s premium imported gibberish, mark you.
C: *smiling* She grows on you, I’ll say that.
L: *brightly* Like mould.
C: We met in slightly, er, strained circumstances. there was something of a miscommunication, you might call it.
L: Wee Bear thought we were trying to off his princeling, when ‘twas quite the reverse.
C: I can hardly be blamed for that! Everyone was trying to kill him that day.
Ain’t that the truth!
L: Well, you can see why, eh?
Speaking of Prince Tarfel, Chel, when you first met, what did you really think of him? Is our Princeling really as incompetent as he seems?
C: *bristling* You refer to a prince of the realm and a member of the most royal house of Merimonsun.
Wasn’t he useless with a crossbow right when you needed him? Hasn’t he almost got you killed regularly?
L: Aye, you can see what they mean, eh? He’s as useful as nipples on a breastplate.
Oh my god, that’s so accurate!
C: That’s not true!
L: Come on, what did you think of him when you first met?
L: Eh? Speak up!
C: *grudgingly* I thought he was a ghastly little fop and I wanted to punch him in the face.
L: And now?
C: *flushing* He’s come on a lot! He hardly complains about the marching any more. He wasn’t raised for an outdoor existence.
Or basic survival either!
L: Aye, no, that one was bred to be rolled in sugar and fried in something.
Lemon, how did you come to join The Black Hawks?
L: Ah well, if it’s ancient history you’re after, so happens I have a favoured saga which for your delight I will recite—
C: Don’t you fucking dare.
L: You’re a right misery, you – always complaining you’re starved of entertainment on the road, won’t even dip a toe in three-day poetic masterworks. Very well, I left Clyden as a Tourist—
C: Some kind of penitent, apparently – maybe punishment for crimes against nature.
L: It is not a punishment, it’s an important part of a young person’s wider education. Go off, see the world, learn some new languages, experience other cultures…
C: Hit stuff with a hammer.
There we go!
L: …and hit stuff with a hammer, aye. Well, I rather took to the adventuring life, but coin was proving a little hard to come by, and even the purest Clyde without coin is eventually going to start to smell. Fortunately, I crossed paths with the rest of the crew in a pleasant little drinking hole…
C: Emphasis on the hole, I’m told.
L: A fair assessment, aye. Anyway, long story short, I may have single-handedly saved those other buggers from a murderous ambush, and won the hearts of all concerned and my place in the company, not that any of them will ever deign to admit it these days.
C: Foss said they had to fish you out of the privy.
L: That was a different time!
To be fair Lemon, I’m sure Foss had to do that many times!
So, is Rennic as grumpy as he seems, or is he really a big old softie?
L: The big man is, what’s the word, a touch taciturn, but aye, there’s a softer side. Like a rotten apple. *pause* He’s not going to read this, is he?
C: Can he read?
L: Oh, Wee Bear, say that where he can hear you and he’ll turn you inside out.
That I’d love to see! But which member is your favourite?
C: You can’t possibly name a favourite, it’s totally unfair—
L: Come on, you know it. You’ll always be my favourite number two, Wee Bear.
C: I don’t like the way you phrase that.
Chel, what were your first impressions of The Black Hawks?
C: A bunch of gutter-born, murderous bastards.
L: Aye, but what about now you know us?
L: Oh, that’s true friendship right there, that is.
Which members of the Black Hawks would you say have the worst habits?
L: Aye, right, well, Fossy has a fairly delicate tummy, and you feed him the wrong breakfast and he’s like a fart-volcano—
L: Well, it’s true, you could use him to power a river barge. Ancestors, the wake you’d throw—
L: What? It’s why he does the cooking. Apart from that, Whisp is dreadful for pranks and practical jokes, Loveless has terrible taste in sexual partners—
Oh, tell us more about that?!
C: *uncomfortable cough*
L: —Spider’s got some nasty habits that are best kept between him and his conscience—
C: What fucking conscience?
L: Fair point, fair point … and the boss man has a tendency to fly off the handle and put a knife where he shouldn’t. And the Wee Bear regularly bollocks on about justice and such.
C: While Lemon issues forth a nonstop torrent of verbal slurry.
L: I’m telling you, man, it’s conversational fertiliser, you’re all the richer for it.
In what ways do you both feel meeting the Black Hawks have changed your lives?
C: Well, I used to have two working shoulders, so that’s different.
L: Aye, and that scar on your lip wasn’t there.
C: And I’m pretty sure one of my ribs hasn’t healed right.
L: Don’t fret, you’ll likely get it broken again pretty soon.
C: Seriously, though, it’s … I think I always wanted some direction, you know? I knew I wanted to stand for something, something right, do something good. And I couldn’t do that before, in service to my uncle—
C: Step-uncle, thank you, or before, with my family. Now I have the chance to challenge what’s wrong in the kingdom, in the world, and maybe change things for the better.
L: Wee bear, you’re making me weepy. Or perhaps it’s your redolent musk. Anyway, for me it’s certainly led to more regular meals, and I quite like the membership seal.
C: I didn’t know there was a membership seal!
L: Ah well, you’ve not been in service long enough to qualify yet.
Ok, in all the journeying you both do (or have done), which has been the most favourite place you’ve travelled to and why?
L: Easy. The mighty Horvaun blood-fortress of Liranetan. Grandaddy’s balls, do they know how to throw a feast. Got to watch what you step in, mind.
C: I liked the Bridge House, you know, the house of friendship. Amazing, er, architecture.
Is that the house Prince Tarfel was dragged out nak—-
L: *mucky chuckle*
Right, just for fun, one of our favourite questions on the Hive is what fantastical creature would you both ride into battle and why?
L: WELL NOT A FUCKEN WOLF, THAT’S FOR SURE.
Where’s your sense of adventure, Lemon?
C: Not even one of the giant mythological–
C: What’s that mixed-up one they like up in the north? Wings of an eagle, body of a lion?
C: Yeah, they’re pretty fearsome. I’ll take a griffin.
L: And I’ll take Whisper, the Death God of Rabbits. Ancestors, she’s murdered enough of the little fluffy bastards to qualify for a place in the pantheon. Stick a pair of little ears on her, you’re all set.
C: That’s not a real fantastical creature, Lem.
L: Wee Bear, would you listen to yourself?
C: You know what I mean!
What interesting new experiences have you both had recently?
L: Aye, well, we have recently become acquainted with some new alchemical techniques and outputs.
I’ve heard rumours you both pick up an extra companion who knows all about alchemy, or was that witchcraft?
C: Yeah, we’ve witnessed some miracles of science in action. God’s bollocks, do they stink.
L: Very bad for the eyebrows to boot.
C: And we’ve met many new and interesting people from new and interesting places…
L: Some of whom have not tried to kill us.
C: Not immediately, certainly.
L: …and we’ve gained some exciting first-hand knowledge of some ground-breaking new transportation for the combat professional on the go.
C: you mean—?
Was this the thing where you were up really high and started fly——
L: Yeah. *shudders*
Lastly, where do you both see your lives heading? Have you got plenty more adventures to come?
C: *long breath* Wow, that’s a deep one.
L: Ah come on, Wee Bear, you’re always guffing on about the future.
C: Yeah, but that’s, you know, in the abstract. It’s hard to see past what’s ahead of us in the short term – save the kingdom, save the world…
L: Get paid.
Keep your heads attached to your bodies?
C: It’s all priorities, eh? Ask me again when this is all over.
L: Well, for myself I’d say long-term there’s no mileage in being at the sharp end, so to speak. Your risk profile only climbs as you progress, and it’s not like the pay correlates. No, to maximise your margins and minimise your risk you need your own company, or agency if you’re working at smaller scale.
Are you telling me you’re going to run your own mercenary band?
L: Weell, I’ve a mind for a small affair, boutique, almost bijou, working perhaps in reclamations as opposed to outright warfighting – thinner margins but the comparative operational—
C: Shut up.
L: *grinning* No.
Thank you both for joining us!
THE RIGHTEOUS is out today!
David Wragg is from the UK, and has had many jobs. Most of them involved computers.
He lives in Hertfordshire. Yes, he has cats. And a dog now, too.
You can find him on twitter @itsdavewragg