Monday, May 4, 2015

Character Interview: Sefa Metavanya

By the request of one of my readers, I have with me today Sefa Metavanya. Sefa first appears as a minor character in The Crystal Lattice, but he is fairly prominent in both Sand into Glass and Arrow of Entropy. It is difficult to interview him without giving away too many spoilers, but I'm going to try.

Good afternoon, Sefa. Let's start at the beginning. What was your childhood like?
Sefa: Huh. Starting right out with a hard one, aren't you?

Just tell me what you want. You don't need to go into detail.
Sefa: All right, then. I was born in Lina but I mostly grew up in Watulya. I had an older sister who died when I was six months old, and that set me up for a lot of childhood stress. My father ended up walking out on us when I was still a toddler so my mom raised me on her own. I was mad at my father for a long time for leaving me, but now I'm more ambivalent because he explained to me why he did it. Won't get into that now. Anyway, I didn't have a lot of friends because my lightning talent displayed early and frightened away most of my playmates. I spent a lot of time reading. I did have a couple friends, but they lived in Lina and I didn't see them much. They were the younger children of Barchal Vun, who was the closest thing I had to a father when I was growing up.

Magical abilities, especially the likelihood of becoming an Emergent, tend to run in families. Are there other Emergents in your family, or are you alone in that regard?
Sefa: There is a long history of Emergence in my family. My mother is Aerlya Metavanya, the clairvoyant Emergent. Nearly everyone in my father's family is an Emergent. My daughters are both Emergents. Uli is a mimic and Catta is a metal mage.

Were you and your daughters trained by the Aulor Bethel Masiona, then?
Sefa: I was, but my daughters weren't. I wasn't about to send my girls to Bethel after the brutal education he put me through. By the time they were old enough to train, I found a better option for them. Bethel's brother Rassa moved to my village several years after Kirad Pass and after I watched him transform my sulky little brother into a healer Emergent, I decided my girls would be his next students.

Your little brother? Do you have other siblings?
Sefa: I have three younger half-brothers. I'm not going to talk about them, so don't ask.

Can you tell me a little about where you live?
Sefa: Sure. I never felt like I belonged with the Watulya Efi. A few years after my Emergence, my wife and I were having trouble finding a place that would accept us. I'm mostly-Efi and she was Toli, so our marriage was seen as distasteful in most places. We heard about this beautiful lake in the Alata Highlands, north of Argenor, so we went up there and scouted it out. It seemed like a perfect place to settle, but we didn't want to live there alone and be stuck entirely self-sufficient so we invited some other families similar to ours and soon we had a settlement. Rye Lake, the name of both the village and the lake. Other misfits trickled in from all over Melor and now we have a village with a population of about 250. Most of us are mixed-blood and we have a large number of mages and Emergents. This has led to some interesting combinations. For example, my younger daughter is married to a man with a Drey father and a Toli-Mero mother. I think in a couple generations Rye Lake will blend into an entirely new race, a conglomerate of all the other races in Melor. I love it here. The winters are brutal, especially for a southerner like me, but the summers are wonderfully mild and we have a spectacular view of the Athuals over Rye Lake right in our front yard.

Do you mind explaining the goggles to me? I'm a little unnerved by interviewing someone whose eyes I can't see.
Sefa: Sorry about that. [pushes goggles to top of his head] They're corrective lenses so I wear them all the time. My vision is terrible and I'm light sensitive, which is why they're tinted.

I wasn't expecting your eyes to be gray.
Sefa: They weren't before my Emergence. I used to look a lot like my mother - brown eyes and auburn hair. Rare coloring for an Efi, but Watulya Efi are a bit different from Efilon Efi. Now I have gray eyes and white-blue hair.

The last time I saw you, you were visibly electric and we were warned not to touch you or we'd be shocked. Now you look more approachable. Why is that?
Sefa: Well, I have two states and you must have seen me in my charged state. If you touch me when I'm charged, you'll get electrocuted. I'm normally not like that, but I turn into a bundle of static energy when I'm wound up. Normally I'm like this and I'm fairly normal, at least as normal as an Emergent can be.

Do you have a best friend?
Sefa: Two right now, actually. They're both completely insane, but that's what I love about them. Exi Achay and Rassa Buananor. It's a little funny that I get along so well with Rassa because I'm not fond of either his brother or his nephew.

Nephew... Arden or Theron?
Sefa: Arden, mostly. I've only met Theron twice and he's decent enough. Arden's the one I'd be perfectly happy never seeing again. Bethel, too, but he keeps showing up around here looking for Rassa.

What talent would you most like to have?
Sefa: I'm not interested in possessing another magical talent because the one I have is troublesome enough, but there are some skills I would like to learn. My younger daughter is a blacksmith and she's actually taken me on as an apprentice. I'm not very good at it yet, but I'd like to be. I also find Rassa's skills as both a luthier and a musician fascinating, but I suspect my innate electrical energy wouldn't allow me to do either without unintentionally destroying something.

What is your most treasured possession?
Sefa: My daughters. I certainly don't possess them, but I do treasure them.

What is your greatest fear?
Sefa: Losing another person I love. I know it's inevitable that someone close to me will eventually die, but just contemplating it makes me feel ill. I also fear the tremors that have rattled the universe on occasion the last twenty years or so. I'm not sure what they are, but they can't be good.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Sefa: I have hobbies, but they're not that interesting. I read everything I get my hands on. I like to hike up in the mountains. I have a little cabin up there. Lately I've been zapping rychan because their population has gotten out of control and they don't have enough carrion to sustain their numbers.

Zapping rychan? That seems like a strange thing for an Efi to do.
Sefa: Remember, I'm a Watulya Efi. We're forest guardians like the Efilon variety are, but we also understand that sometimes we have to kill things for their own benefit. I'd rather zap a few rychan to keep their numbers down than watch the beasts slowly starve to death.

I just have one final question before I let you get back to work at the forge. What was the last gift you gave someone?
Sefa: Seriously? That's an oddball question. Physical gift... I gave Exi a piece of jewelry a week ago. Non-tangible gift... I told another friend that he needed to stop denying that he was in love and just go for it. That bit of advice seems to be doing him some good for the moment.

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