I recently had the, ehem, honor of interviewing Shadow Walker Arianna Henderson. I’ll have to say that it was an eye-opener. Read the full interview below.
Muhulda: Good morning, Arianna. I’ve heard you’ve just returned from a tour on the Greydawn Spirit. Can you tell me what it’s like to travel the void?
Arianna: Well, it’s big and gray and full of void serpents. What else do you wanna know?
Muhulda: I’d like to know why the Shadow Walker guild employs ships and people to patrol out there. What do you do? How is the expense justified?
Arianna: Well, the expense is for the Shadow Walker guild to worry about. As to the why? (Arianna leans forward. There’s a glint in her eyes that this reporter can only interpret as madness.) How would you feel if a hundred-foot serpent with poisoned fangs that could possibly breathe fire came flying over Sangeron right now and leveled half the buildings?
Muhulda: I don’t think I’d like that very much. But isn’t protecting our borders, both from within and without, the job of the military?
Arianna: (She leans back and crosses her arms at this point.) Don’t you think they have enough to worry about? And how far out into the void do you think they go?
Muhulda: I would think they would stay close to the borders.
Arianna: (Her eyes light up, and she again looks mad.) Precisely. They stick near the border. We go further out. You have no idea what’s out there, what could be coming for us at any moment.
Muhulda: And what, exactly, is coming for us? This sounds like some kind of bizarre conspiracy to me.
(Arianna laughs at this point, and it makes this reporter’s skin crawl. There’s no doubt that this woman is stark raving loonies. Is this the kind of people the Shadow Walkers regularly recruit?)
Arianna: Sweet cheeks, you can sit there and judge me all you want, but, let me tell you, if a swarm of pixie mites got through to the Xaggarene Empire, most people would be dead before they knew what was happening.
Muhulda: And what’s a pixie mite? (I had to chuckle here, for the concept was simply ridiculous.)
Arianna: It’s this tiny little spirit that looks like a pixie. The thing is, though, when it touches you, it sucks out your life force before you can do anything about it.
Muhulda: You don’t look like you’ve had your life force, in your words, ‘sucked out.’
(Again, that laugh.)
Arianna: Of course not. I know how to fight them.
Muhulda: And how, exactly, do you fight them? Do you use poison? They sound like bugs.
Arianna: I use a sword. Others use their magic or their weapons from the gods.
Muhulda: A sword? But I thought all Shadow Walkers had weapons. Why would you need a sword instead?
Arianna: Because my ‘weapon’ isn’t one. I carry the Cauldron of Plenty from the Dagda. It gives me the power to heal. I don’t use it to fight.
Muhulda: So, the Shadow Walkers don’t use physicians?
Arianna: Of course we do. I can’t be everywhere at once. Now, if it’s life-threatening, then I’m the one who deals with the injury, but I don’t handle the lighter stuff. I don’t have the energy.
Muhulda: So, there’s a limit to the amount of power a Shadow Walker has?
Arianna: Well, yeah. Did you really think we were made into some all-powerful, invincible people? Really? We’re just normal people who’ve been given a gift and chose to use it. That’s it.
Muhulda: And how do think Barnabas Merriweather does with running the guild? Does he train the new recruits? Does he make sure those who are supposed to ‘protect us’ are competent?
Arianna: He’s great. He has a lot on him, but he does it all. (She leans forward again, and this reporter can’t help backing up a little. There is something too uncanny about that glint in her eyes.) We get training, and there’s the school, after all. New Shadow Walkers who come to us can take classes there even if they’re adults. Others have learned on their own. (She shrugs.) It works.
Muhulda: And when will you head back out into the void?
Arianna: I’m not sure. I have another mission down in Freywater for a bit, then I’m sure I’ll be back out there. I love it. Sure, it gets a little dull sometimes with all the endless gray, but the creatures that come out of it keep me hopping. I like that.
Muhulda: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the Shadow Walkers?
Arianna: Is there anything else you’d like to know?
Muhulda: No. No. I think that’s all for now.
Arianna: All right, then.
(The woman stands and tosses her hair, which is candy pink, over her shoulder. She sashays out of the office and winks at me from the door. This reporter must admit to being terrified. This woman is obviously insane and should be locked in Josephus Halidon’s Home for the Insane and Destitute. Why she’s allowed to interact with normal, decent folk, I’ll never know, but something needs to be done to ensure that these Shadow Walkers are upstanding citizens.)