Haskell Interview

By: Ken Brown
Published: 1/25/2018

An Interview with Haskell, The Mountain King

A - Hello, What's your name?

H - My name is Haskell, I'm also known as the mountain king.

A - Why are you in this book I'm writing?

H - Because you have sent these blasted teens to complicate my well laid plans. But, that's okay, because I can kill them now. I'm not limited by the prophecies anymore.

A - How is your health after the volcano and eclipse experience?

H - I'm recovering at the Ice Castle. I was hit with a killing blow, but, I managed to escape using a traveling technique. I had the extra magic after the sacrifice of Lauren Anderson. I might have been able to fight my way off the volcano, but I didn't want to risk it.

A - What injuries did you sustain?

H - My right arm is burned, scarred and pretty much un-usable. My right leg is scarred with burn marks. You see the scars around my right eye. But don't feel sorry for me. I got the Crown of Anticletus.

A - What exactly is the Crown of Anticletus?

H - This is a person. When the moon is full this person radiates a blue persona. It gives the person power over other's thoughts and they have to listen to the person. You are imbued with an aura of celestial authority, inspiring awe in all lesser creatures that behold your terrible perfection and righteousness. Creatures cease what they are doing and are compelled to pay attention to you. Creatures cannot leave the area while you are glowing.

There is a theory that you need the Crown of Anticletus to capture the Crystal of Zaraboth. That old fool, Alpherge the Great, learned the need for the Crown the hard way. I was happy to learn of his demise.

A - Are you planning on going after the Crystal of Zaraboth soon?

H - As soon as I can. But, I need more healing. I will stay the winter here at the Ice Castle. I should be safe. There is no way for the teens to find me here. I will heal. I don't know if I will ever be able to use my right arm again. I will make sure the teens pay for that.

A - Where were you born?

H - In the city of Velidred. My father was a blacksmith and my mother was a seamstress.

A - That sounds nice, what happened? What caused you to become the mountain king?

H - It was all a mis-understanding. The king needed his horse re-shod. He brought the horse to my father. My dad had shod hundreds of horses over the years. My dad was fitting the shoe on the horse's back hooves. Something or someone spooked the horse. The horse kicked just as my dad was nailing in the shoe. His hammer missed, and hit the horse's leg. The horse went lame.

The king was furious. He hanged my dad before sunset. He threw my mom into prison. I was left on the streets. I visited my mom a few times in prison, but she eventually died, like all people in the prisons.

A - You were walking the streets of Velidred? How did you survive?

H - I hustled. I stole food. Sometimes I slept in the streets. Sometimes friends of my parents took care of me for days at a time. I knew they weren't my own parents, I would eventually run away. I heard there was opportunity in the city of ... so at age fourteen I traveled there.

A - How did you get there?

H - I traveled with a caravan. I was a tug puller.

A - What's a tug puller?

H - I took care of and cleaned up after the mastodons.

A - Mastodons? Cleaned up?

H - Yes we use mastodons to pull our huge wagons and sleds. They're very powerful creatures. They can pull up to three wagons or sleds at a time. I was good with the animals. All the years I helped my father in the blacksmith shop, I was usually helping my father handle the horses. Except that one day. I was only twelve at the time. My friend, Harry, convinced me to go watch the caravan come into town. The caravan was getting ready to deliver supplies to the Ice Castle. I had only seen the mastodons a couple of times and I was fascinated with the creatures. They're so huge and powerful. Anyway, I snuck out of the shop. My dad didn't have me to help handle the horse that day and he lost control. So, I guess you could say it was my fault he was killed.

A - How did that make you feel?

H - Don't ask. I don't think about those things anymore. I'm the king now. I decide who lives and dies.

A - So what was it like on the streets of ...?

H - It was tough. I didn't really have a job. No place to stay. I lived in back alleys. This city was a lot bigger than Velidred. I found odd jobs. I did some work for the local blacksmith, but I didn't want to be at risk like my father. You get some Lord or king or something and they can mess you up real good.

I had more ambition than that; I wanted to be a lord. Could I go from son of a blacksmith to the local lord and landowner? I didn't know. But by the god of Velidred, I was going to try.

So, I got caught up with this local gang. The leader was a complete loser. But, I found the work easy and they fed me and I didn't have to live on the streets as much.

A - You joined a gang?

H - Yeah, it made sense at the time. But, then another gang came in trying to take over our turf. that's when I found out I had the gift. The gift of Magic. I didn't even know it before then. Turns out I was born with some ability from an ancester I didn't know and I was accidentally born in the path of the Velidred and Pantaleon moons. It was that combination that apparently made me very strong in magic. I didn't know until the man with the white beard came along.

A - The man with the white beard? Did he actually have a white beard or was it really gray?

H - No it was definitely white. He was old when I met him. Some people said he was over 100 years old even then. He is said to still be alive. No one knows how. Plus, he is still quite active from what I hear.

A - What else can you tell me about him?

H - He has one eye / eye lid that droops a little. And he doesn't let his white beard get too long. He keeps it trimmed to a couple of inches. You would think he was a business man looking at him, maybe a banker. His eyes are black. His forehead hangs over his eyes so you don't see the eyes that well. They always look black to me. When he looks at you, you want to look away. It seems the sun light diminishes on a sunny day when he looks at you. Almost like he is pulling the sun light toward him or maybe casting a shadow or net over the area. It's really weird the first time you experience it. I eventually got used to it.

I was afraid of him at first, I was young. Then when I got to know him better, he was okay. He was the one that sent me through the Fire and Ice experience.

A - What's the fire and ice experience?

H - That is a test that young wizards go through if they want to go to the next level. It's dangerous, because sometimes the wizard can't handle the test and they either go crazy or die. If you survive it you have the better magic potential. I think priests go through it too. There are three tests you go do.

FIRE - Rid you of sins you have committed against others. SMOKE - To see the present more fully.

ICE - Allows you to see a possible future sin against your fellow man.

Then when you complete the tests, if you survive you are branded.

A - Branded? Like a cattle brand?

H - Yeah, I never thought about it, but yeah, just like a cattle brand.

We usually put it on your upper biceps, chest or back scapula bone area. It isn't visible very often to others, but secretly we know who's branded and who isn't. I can tell you the wizards that are branded get more respect than the others.

A - How did you become the mountain king?

H - Oh, you're way ahead of the story now. You're writing a whole book about that aspect of my life. Finish the book, I'll tell you everything.

A - I'm sorry, thanks for spending time with me.

H - Yeah, no problem.

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