Time for a character interview with the other main character from Prince of Shadow and Ash! I think she was relieved to be able to talk freely.

Welcome, Adelaide. Are you ready for this?

Not sure what to expect, but I suppose.

To begin, what is your full name and its origins, if you know?

Adelaide Diya Belanger. Mother wanted to name me Diya, but Father thought I should have a Monparthian first name. My parents like meaningful names, so Adelaide basically means having noble character, and Diya means light. Which, is maybe ironic since—wait, who are you sharing this interview with?

No one in Monparth. Any secrets are safe here.

No one, no one?

I promise. You can be as honest as you like without worry.

Then who’s this for?

Interested parties far from Monparth. You might as well be, uh…fictional to them.

Hm. Alright. She hesitates for a moment, a look of indecision on her face before she nods and smiles slightly. In that case—it’s just slightly humorous I’m named after light, since I’m a mage. She conjures an orb of pale blue light. Seems fitting. You’re being honest, right? Mother will be furious if she discovers I’ve been practicing, and I can’t risk the wrong person finding out.

Because of the mage-killer known as The Shadow?

Yes. She vanishes the orb and chews on her lower lip. It’s been nearly twenty-two years, and sometimes I think it has to be safe by now, but…whoever was behind the massacre never was caught. If The Shadow is still in Monparth… She sighs. My parents think it’s best to keep my power a secret, just in case. Can we move on? I don’t really like thinking about being murdered.

Of course. Do you have a nickname? Tell us about it.

Ad. Never Addie. Also Tha Shiraa. It’s Khast for Little Tigress. Mother says I’m bold and brave.

How old are you?

21.

Do you have any claims to fame?

She laughs. I would if I wasn’t hiding my magic. Only mage in Monparth after The Shadow murdered them all would get noticed. Hence why I don’t use my magic in public, at least for now.

How would you introduce yourself?

Lady Adelaide Belanger, daughter of Lord Alfred and Lady Tamina Belanger. That usually staves off some of the curiosity and casual judgment, since my father is a respected Monparthian war hero. But sometimes it just leads to questions about my mother that—make her seem inferior? I hate that. She’s not inferior because her father was a merchant, or because my parents fell in love while he was fighting in the Trade War, or because she’s his second wife, or because she’s Khastallander. Poor character makes you inferior, and I can think of a few nobles who don’t have half her good character. Sorry, I’m getting worked up.

No, you’re fine. Do you like to read?

I love reading! It’s one of my favorite hobbies.

What was your most prized possession as a child?

My first dagger. My mother gave it to me for my sixth birthday. I still have it, but it’s chipped and small, so I don’t use it.

What are you family members like?

Depends on which ones you’re talking about. She laughs. Minerva, my older sister, is great. She’s sweet and a little sassy. I want a relationship as close and loving as my parents one day. But my six half-siblings… She shrugs. We don’t get along.

What would you change about yourself, if you could?

She fidgets with her hands. Nothing, I think. Sometimes… She blushes slightly. Silly, superficial things, like my height, so I wouldn’t stand out so much. Or maybe be a bit less bold—but Father says if I make people uncomfortable, that’s on them.

What is your greatest achievement?

She furrows her brow as she thinks. Maybe my friendship with Minerva. It was difficult to get close after I spent a few years living separately with Mother while I learned to hide my magic.

When/where were you happiest?

Even though I was sad I rarely saw Min or Father, those years living in a cottage with my mother. I was free to be myself and learned a lot of confidence during that time. The only thing that would have made it better was if I was learning to use my magic instead of trying to stop it from spilling out.

What are you afraid of?

Her expression falls. I’m most afraid of losing any of my family. I honestly hide my magic more because I don’t want them to get hurt by someone trying to get to me than fear for my own life.

What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

It feels wrong to say practicing my magic even though I’m not supposed to, but…I actually control my magic better when I let it out a little now and then.

What’s the best invention ever?

Split skirts! Khastallanders are clever. Do you know how difficult it is to ride in a Monparthian skirt? I hate sidesaddle. So I make my own Khastallander-style riding dresses with short or split skirts.

Do you have a life motto?

Judge actions. Words can lie, and appearances don’t affect a person’s character.

What are you going to do when you’ve finished this interview?

I promised Min I’d help her fix a rip in one of her dresses.

Thank you for taking the time to answer all those questions.

Oh, that’s it? That wasn’t too bad.

Tell Regulus that.

She straightens. Is…he around?

Not right now, sorry.

Oh. Well, if you see him…tell him I hope he’s well and I’d like to see him again?

I’m trying not to smile. Of course.

If you missed the interview with Regulus, you can find it here.


Selina R. Gonzalez

Selina R. Gonzalez is an author of medieval fantasy. Her debut novel, Prince of Shadow and Ash, book one in The Mercenary and the Mage duology, will release in early summer of 2020.

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