Today I am interviewing Tesji, the narrator of The Crystal Lattice. He has been kind enough to allow me to play around in his head for the last nine years, and he has a lot to say.
Good afternoon, Tesji. First of all, would you describe yourself to me?
That's kind of a loaded question, isn't it? Do you want the full version or the short version?
Short version. You already told me the full version.
All right, then. You know you have to clarify things like that for me because I can't keep my mouth shut. I'm a half-Efi, half-Mero fire Emergent, but I'd rather be a musician. How long has it been since the war? Oh, never mind. I'm about seventy years old now, which still puts me between adolescence and adulthood. I was born in Vanora, grew up in Tiponia out west in the Efilon Wilderness, and was trained by the Aulor Bethel Masiona. I have been accused of being arrogant, but I'm not. Confidence isn't arrogance.
When you walk into a room, what do people notice about you first?
The hair. I was born with an instant "look at me!" trait, and after my emergence it only became more noticeable. For a long time I used it so people would immediately pay attention to me, but after the events I told you about, I cut it all off and went incognito. I wasn't up for attracting any more attention to my family. People still recognize me, though, so I get stared at a lot no matter where I go. My cousins get mistaken for me quite often, but that is only because people notice the hair first.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a bard. For now, I'm working on several solo projects, but I'm thinking of starting a band with my cousin. Faron wants to call it the Rogue Amoebas, but I'm leaning toward Lyrebird, and we'll tour all of the seedy joints on the east coast.
Tell me about your parents. How well do/did you get along with them?
Ugh, you're going with that one already? Bad memories. I didn't know my parents until I was an adult. I was raised by my grandfather after my mother left and my father had a total breakdown. I suppose my mother and I get along all right now, but that took a lot of work.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes, one, but since our ages are so far apart I grew up as an only child.
Who else was in your family while you were growing up? How did you get along with them?
I only had my grandfather from the time I was eight until I left home. He ignored me much of the time because he was so obsessed with his own projects. We had some great conversations, but he probably gave me too much freedom. I was a bit feral and uncivilized.
What were three things you liked to do when you were a child?
Much to the chagrin of the community, I enjoyed experimenting with pyrotechnics. I read everything I could get my hands on and loved to explore the forests. I wasn't supposed to wander alone, but I did anyway. My grandfather only rarely noticed my absence and once I wasn't in school anymore, no one cared what I did as long as I kept my distance.
What were you afraid of when you were a child?
What makes you happy now?
My chosen family.
What is your greatest fear?
I'm terrified of losing control of my abilities. It's happened before and every time was a disaster.
What do you want from life?
I really need a couple of years of quiet, where nothing goes awry and no one is trying to kill me. Yeah, that would be nice. Might not happen. I made too many people angry to be left alone.
What three things would you take to a Desert Island?
My sitar, Faron, and Safora. Sitar for entertainment, Faron to make sure we always have food, and Safora for... well, I won't go into that.
How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?
Far too quickly for my own good. My childhood crush hated me, but that didn't stop me from dreaming about her for decades. When I was older, it was frustrating being the one to fall in love at first sight when the person of my affection took a long time to warm up to me. Once she realized she loved me, we were inseparable, but that only came after she almost got me killed.
Do you hold grudges, or do you forgive and forget?
I used to hold grudges, but then I realized that even the nastiest people can change if you give them the chance. I was shown a few different perspectives, and I try to be more empathetic now.
What do you consider to be your special talent?
Persuasion. I recently convinced my cousin that squirrels don't exist.
What do you wish your special talent was?
I'd love to have a fraction of Arden's glass-making talent. I also wish people would go back to seeing me as just a musician instead of a... well, you know...
No, I don't know. Tell me.
I'd rather not. I'm trying to put all of that behind me. That's why I've gone back to using my birth name instead of my Emergent name.
Because Ravaki Thula is now infamous?
What are you most afraid of?
The elements calling on me again. I don't want to lose the serenity I struggled so hard to achieve.
I think the rest of Melor is afraid of that as well.
They should be.
How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
The events of my past brought me to where I am today, so even if I could change my past, I wouldn't. Ten years ago, I couldn't have dreamed about being where I am today. I have my own family and I'm living within sight of Ara. I am absolutely content with my life right now. I wish I could bring back the people I lost, but there is no use in lamenting necromancy or time travel.
Thank you for speaking with me today. What are your plans for the rest of the day?
Well, we were going to go swimming, but it's raining again. I think we'll take Zella and Sora over to my mother's for the afternoon. Thank you for the interview. I'm not as crazy as everyone thinks I am, am I?
Maybe. You have your moments.