Prince Jehal Interviews the Night Watchman (27/4/2010)

The regular author of this site is still railing and ranting about geology so I, Prince Jehal, continue my questioning of characters from The Adamantine Palace and King of the Crags. After the unexpectedly prickly Queen Zafir last week, I have with me today the doubtless equally prickly commander of the Adamantine Men, Night Watchman of the realms, Vale Tassan.

Jehal: Um, you don’t really appear in The Adamantine Palace at all, so our readers aren’t going to have a clue who you are. Could you begin by explaining who you are and the purpose of the Adamantine Men?

Vale: The first Adamantine Men followed Narammed the Magnificent during his travels across the realms. They were holy soldiers ready to fight and die in the name of the Order of the Dragon at a moment’s notice. When Narammed became the first Speaker of the Realms, he took these men to become the nucleus of his holy guard – the Adamantine Men – who would serve and guard the office of speaker. Over the years that followed, the legions of the Adamantine Men have grown. We began as the hundred and one. There are twenty legions of us now. Over time, our purpose has changed. We are no longer the Speaker’s bodyguard, but the defenders of the realms against any danger.

Jehal (raising an eyebrow): Including dragons?

Vale: Yes.

Jehal: Is that how you get your other name, the Scorpion King?

Vale (with slightly wistful air): We have over a thousand scorpions with which to defend the City of Dragons. Almost half of them can be placed on the walls of the Adamantine Palace itself. It is said in Prince Lai’s Principles that the legions of the Adamantine Guard could face more than two hundred dragons. Given the way things are going, perhaps we shall find out. Although doubtless we will have another book of your tedious posturing to endure before we finally reach the real meat of the matter, in which man faces dragon and the snakes shall be sorted from the lions.

Jehal: I beg your pardon!

Vale: My pardon is not yours to beg. I am a servant, Prince Jehal. I will serve the Speaker of the Realms, whatever she commands and her alone.

Jehal: No, no, I just meant there were far too many animals in that last metaphor for me to follow. Are we starting another menagerie? We had one of those once, up at the banqueting house and then in the city. Didn’t Speaker Ayzalmir feed all the Taiytakei he rounded up to the snappers and the desert cats?

Vale: I am called what I am called for a reason, Prince. When night comes it falls to the Adamantine Men to keep watch over the nine realms. Those were Narammed’s words and I trust you will not deny that the times are dangerously dark.

Jehal: Dark? My fine fellow, they are positively luminous. We have a new speaker, one with strength and vigour and powerful allies, while all those who opposed her have been scattered. Dark? What’s dark about that? Or have you been reading ahead? “…the tension that made The Adamantine Palace so addictive runs throughout this sequel…” does make it sound exciting; but secretly, Alice and I both know it was me that made TAP so addictive. So tell me, Vale, what exactly do you bring to this little tale of ours?

Vale: I watch as you strut and smile and slowly poison us all. Do not think you fool me, Jehal. I have faced dragons. To me, you are nothing, any of you. You will not beguile me and I doubt I am alone. There will be a war and I will have my time. You must see this too. Ancestors!

Jehal: Hmm. “The dragon war that rages through out the final stages of the book is simply superb.” Should have seen that one coming really. Hmmm. Epic fantasy with dragons in – chances that they won’t be allowed to show their teeth before the end?

Vale: (sotto voce) Also, it is thus far sorely missing a significant character with any manner of moral backbone. It is a void I will eagerly fill.

Jehal: Oh but that must make you so immensely dull. Ah well. Speaking of voids eagerly filled, I had an interesting conversation with Queen Zafir about the role of women in epic fantasy last week. Any views you’d care to share, as Night Watchman of the Adamantine Men.

Vale: The Adamantine Men are swords who sate themselves in flesh. That is our purpose. There is no place for the softness of women within our ranks. Otherwise I have no opinion to offer. A speaker may be a king or a queen, but to me, they are simply the Speaker.

Jehal: Well thanks, Vale. Do you think you could be even more terse about covers?

Vale: Covers?

Jehal: Book covers. You know, awesome-looking dragons flapping about the place. Hooded men. Wizards clutching balls of glowing light and looking like they’re have a really bad attack of constipation. Backlit women with swords that they probably couldn’t actually lift and certainly couldn’t pull out of a scabbard without a lot of huffing and jiggling. You know, the picture that goes on the front.

Vale: Ah. You mean like the façade you wear to cover your frail and shallow cowardice?

Jehal (through gritted teeth): If you must put it that way.

Vale: They are as nothing to me. A pretty picture is a pretty picture. I will admire it for a time and then it is forgotten. The deeds of men are what matter. The deeds of men and dragons.

Jehal (checking his hourglass and miming being sick when Vale isn’t looking). Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for Vale you-are-all-as-nothing-to-me Tassan, Night Watchman.

One Response to “Prince Jehal Interviews the Night Watchman (27/4/2010)”

  1. Joe Crenshaw says:


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