Time to meet Alexander, the love interest in A Thieving Curse. And, apparently, someone else who tagged along. For reference, Alexander has two black horns, massive black wings, a scaly red and black dragon tail, red-black claws, fangs, ruby red irises, and some small patches of little red-black scales along the edges of his face. Like Raelyn, I decided to interview Alex pre-story.
Welcome. Ready to get started?
Lucas: Jumping out of the shadows. YES!
Alex: I knew you followed me!
Wait, why is Lucas—
Lucas: I thought it sounded fun. I want to know what questions you ask, and Alex will probably just say something like, “Oh, she asked boring questions,” and not give any details, and I want—
Umm… You can stay if you promise to be quiet.
Alex: I will literally bet my wings he does not stay quiet.
That’s slightly morbid. Anyway… What is your full name and its origins?
Alex: Alexander Kendrick Brand Tallon. I don’t know exactly the origins, but I do know the meaning. Jasper says my name is a description, a promise, and a compass, pointing me to who I should be. He shrugs. Seems dramatic, but sure. Defender of men, royal or bold power, sword, and my ancestral name.
Alex: Chuckles. My parents thought a future king should have a mildly intimidating name, I suppose.
Do you have a nickname? Tell us about it.
Lucas: We call him Alex.
Alex: Told you. He laughs. But yes, Alex.
How old are you?
Lucas: I just turned 15!
Alex: I don’t think she was asking you.
Lucas: Oh. Right.
Do you have any claims to fame, Alex?
Alex and Lucas both start laughing.
Lucas: He’s a prince!
Alex: Well, most people do think I’m dead, so…there’s that. But probably the whole kingdom has also heard of the monster prince. His smile falters and his eyes start to glow. My claim to fame is I’m a monster.
Lucas: No, but you are a prince.
Alex: Sure. He takes a deep breath. Also a prince. A long time ago.
So…how would you introduce yourself?
Alex: Huh. He leans back on his chair, his wings partly unfolding so he doesn’t crush them. I don’t meet new people.
Lucas: If you did, you’d probably have to start with, “Don’t worry, I’m nice.”
Alex: Great. “Hi, I’m Alex, stop screaming.” He growls, then clears his throat. Maybe I should practice that. I’m angry just thinking about it.
Lucas: He pats Alex’s shoulder. Can you ask something nicer, to distract him?
Oh. Yes. Do you like to read?
Alex: I like it well enough. Gives me something to do in the cave. We have so few books, though, and several of them are boring.
Lucas: Jasper gets offended when you call his kingship and history books boring.
Alex: But they are.
What was your most prized possession as a child?
Alex: I remember I once got in trouble for putting my first wooden training sword on the dining table. I was…maybe five? I took it everywhere. I was so proud.
What are you family members like?
Alex: Lucas is like a mosquito, he follows you around buzzing and you want to smack him.
Lucas: Hey! You’re moody and over dramatic and half the time your breath stinks like smoke.
Alex: Laughing. Alright, I take it back! I’m kidding. He tousles his hair between his horns. My parents are dead. My uncle is…not family anymore. My friends—my former servants—are my family now. Meredith is like a mother to me. I guess that would make Peter my father, but honestly, Jasper’s more of a father to me. Peter’s like…an uncle. Or much older brother. He playfully pushes Lucas’ shoulder. And Lucas is my brother.
Lucas: Not anymore. He sticks his tongue out.
Alex: Hey, I took it back.
Lucas: You should take me flying to make up for it.
Alex: He sighs. Fine…
Alex, what is your greatest achievement?
Alex: He thinks for a moment, his tail curling and uncurling over the ground.
Lucas: I beat Dad in a practice swordfight the other day. Alex frowns at him. What? You weren’t answering.
Alex: I was thinking. Quietly. You should try it.
Lucas: Okay, you’ve thought, what’s your greatest achievement?
Alex: He shrugs. I haven’t done anything but survive.
Survival can be an achievement.
Alex: Really… He exhales slowly, smoke curling from his nostrils. I’m proud I haven’t killed anyone. When I lose control.
Lucas: As if you could. He’s not as scary as he looks. Even when—
Alex: Next question?
When/where were you happiest?
Alex: Flying, since my parents died. I was happy a lot before my mother got sick.
What are you afraid of?
Alex: Being found. People don’t like monsters.
Lucas: You’re not a monster, Alex.
Alex: He stares down at the claws on the ends of his fingers. Hurting someone on accident. My uncle. He shudders. You were wrong about this being fun, Lucas.
Sorry. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
Alex: Hm. I almost ran away when I was ten. From my friends. I didn’t want to hurt them, and I didn’t see how they could love me. He smiles. Meredith convinced me to stay. I’m glad I listened. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
Lucas: Naked somewhere, without Mom to make your clothes.
Alex rolls his eyes.
Do you have a life motto?
Alex: Love is a choice. It means real love isn’t just an emotion. It’s choosing to be kind and support and love another person, including when it’s hard.
Lucas: You didn’t come up with that, Mom did.
Alex: I didn’t say I came up with it, I said it’s my motto.
Lucas: What’s a motto, anyway?
Alex: Something you live by. A guiding idea. Your motto is, “Never stop talking.”
Lucas: No! My motto is something like, “Bring happiness.”
Alex: …I concede, that seems appropriate.
What are you going to do when you’ve finished this interview?
Alex: Check the traps—
Lucas: You’re taking me flying.
Alex: Oh. Right. Apparently I’m taking Lucas flying.