Let’s continue the journey across the great expanse of space to the Ethian Empire and the underground tavern where Markus Nador has turned the tables and is now questioning me after my attempt to interview my character in A Character Interview and a Journey to Another Galaxy…
I sit back down at the table and look across to Markus expectantly. Gone is the attempt to hide in the shadows as he leans forward with a smug grin that makes me think that perhaps he’d planned this turn of the tables all along.
“Tell me, why did you come here?”
“I all ready told you-“
Markus’s eyes turn hard and the look is enough to send a chill all the way to my toes. I rub my sweaty palms up and down my jeans as my mind races for an answer he might actually accept.
“I guess I thought I could get to know you better. You aren’t the easiest person to understand or talk to, you know.” I reply, knowing it wasn’t that far from the truth and might just work.
Markus grunted. “Perhaps.” He sits back and the shadows hide the left half of his face, making his features longer, darker, scarier. A moment of silence lapses between us and I wonder if maybe he’d just let me get up and walk away, but he speaks and dashes my hope.
“I can’t ignore the true rarity it is to have you here like this. There are so many questions. The obvious of course. The why? The reason for all of this,” he lifts up a hand to make a broad gesture to the tavern, but I know he isn’t talking about just the tavern or the Fazha patrons still eying us with sly glances. “It takes a dark person to go the places you have and do the things you have to us.”
I almost giggle at that comment but keep silent not wanting to offend. Maybe it just takes a person willing to push the boundaries and who likes to experiment with ideas and emotion. Mostly it’s just plan freaking fun, but that kind of comment might get me a fist in the face, so I give him my most serious look and nod with great severity.
A funny look comes across Markus’s face as he speaks next. “And why Markus? As far as names go it isn’t really very intimidating or that flattering. Or very Ethian for that matter.”
This time I can’t help but laugh. “Really, out of all the things you want to ask me, you’re going to pick about your name?”
He shrugs, “It’s a legitimate question.”
“I like Babylon 5 and there’s a guy on it, a rebel named Marcus.”
“What happened to him?”
“So you named me after a character who died? That’s flattering. Is that a foreshadowing of what happens to me?”
I purse my lips and wonder how to get the conversation back on a more reasonable track. “I errr… it’s a… well, it’s just the way he died and the way he lived. He stuck with me, especially since in a way, you remind me of him.”
He raised an eyebrow, “So I’m a rebel?”
“Hmmm… hello, have you met yourself? You are the ultimate rebel, I think.”
Markus says nothing but leans forward and reaches across the table. He snatches up the mug from in front of me and throws it back with a large gulp.
I stare at him in disbelief and a little bit of murder. I could have used that right about now. I consider waving the gray woman over for another drink, but instead content myself with murderous looks toward Markus as he sets down the mug and gives me another smug look.
“And you’re an ass,” I say.
“You made me that way.”
“Hardly. You just came out assy all by yourself.”
“Assy, is that even a word?”
I let out an exasperated sigh. “Can I go now? I do have other things to do. Like I said, my son will be home from school soon.” I look down at my phone as the alarm goes off. Five minutes until the school bus arrives. Dammit. This interview should have been done long before now.
“You haven’t answered my questions yet.”
“Well, ask me something intelligent and I might answer.” I cross my arms across my chest in an attempt to look more intimating, but realize I’m doing the exact opposite and put my arms back down to my side again.
“I do have a question for you. The only one that even really matters.” He eyes me with such intensity that I can almost feel the question in the air, and I know what he’s going to say before he even speaks. “Do I get my revenge?”
I shake my head, “You know I can’t tell you that, Markus.”
Anger fills his eyes, “Why not?”
“It’s against the rules.”
“What rules? It’s just you and me here. A simple yes or no will do. A nod. A shake of the head. Do I get my revenge against the Zahn family? Do the Imperial tyrants finally fall?”
I can’t help but let out a long sigh, and I sit there looking at him not sure what to say. I want to tell him the truth, but know I can’t. Or can I? I just don’t know. It’s not like this sort of thing happens on a regular basis. Sure, I already know the answer, but should he know the answer? Or does any of this truly matter, but somehow I know it does matter. It matters a lot.
“Really that’s the best you got? You want to know how it all ends? That’s such a typical question. I thought you were smarter than that, Markus. Because I thought you might ask something like… why didn’t I chose you as the main character? Why didn’t I make this story about the Nadors instead of the Zahns?”
I see the anger play out on his face. Jackpot. He’s mad. Good. Now maybe he’ll forget the one question I can’t answer. “I considered making you the main character. I really did. But in the end it had to be him, Adar Zahn. I know you don’t understand, but you’ll see. There’s a reason for everything I do.”
“So you made a dead man the main character. You aren’t very smart. He’ll be murdered before the first book even ends. The Blood Feud will be the end of him.”
I want to laugh, but don’t. I keep forgetting that this Markus, the one right here and now, is still in this time before things change and the Fazha Rebellion really gets going. This is the Markus pre-Blood Feud. He does not yet know how important one man can be or how one person can change so many lives. Markus does not know that one decision- the one he will make very soon- will change his life forever.
All I allow myself to say is, “Perhaps.”
A long silence sits between us. I wonder why he doesn’t press the issue more and then I realize he’s thinking about the last time he’d seen Adar Zahn all of twenty-two years ago. He’s remembering the three year-old boy, not the twenty-five year old man he is today.
“I’m surprised you haven’t asked me where Adar’s been all these years.”
Markus shrugs, “Why do I care? He’s a Zahn. There was one less Zahn when he left and now there’s one more now that he’s back.”
“Most people would be curious.”
“I’m not most people.”
I can’t help but laugh at that. “No, you’re not.” I stand up. I hear the roaring engine of my son’s bus, echoing through the vastness of space into my ears and mine alone. It wouldn’t be long before the bus stopped at my driveway. “I really have to go now. This was… fun.”
Markus grunted, “Fun, you think my life is fun? Well, I think you’re a diabolical evil bitch.”
I shake my head. “You do it to yourself. I only write you as you are. You’re the one who makes the decisions. I write the results.”
“Does that make it easier for you to sleep at night?”
“Actually no, I have had many a sleepless night thanks to you and the others who can’t shut the hell up. You want to talk about diabolical and evil? It’s all of you. You won’t let me rest and sometimes it’s great and sometimes it gets really, really old. So do me a favor and just shut up every once in a while, okay?”
“Yeah, I’ll get right on that that.” The evil grin he gives me tells me different and I realize I’ve just signed self up for at least a week of sleeplessness. Me and my big mouth.
I hear the squealing brakes of the bus as it stops. “I really do have to go. But I will tell you one thing before I leave.”
“You going to tell me that I’m a worthless bum too?”
“No, Markus.” I can’t help but roll my eyes. “I just wanted to let you know that no matter how bad it gets, there will be better days, and even some days that you might actually enjoy. I know that’s hard to believe, but things will change. But in order for that to happen you need to help him.”
“Help who?” He asks with a perplexed look on his face.
But I don’t answer as I turn away and run out the door. I leap across lightyears of space in a matter of moments back to my own home to make a made dash out the door, and down the driveway to meet my smiling son.
As I hug my son, I feel a fleeting guilt for how I left things with Markus, but then that’s the way of things. I know mood and opportunity will come again when I can strap myself back in and take yet another journey to galaxy far, far away.
Until next time…