Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Character Interview #2: Jorthen Lavahr

Hello again, fellow digressors! On Saturday, I opened up my character, Jorthen Lavahr, to be interviewed by you, and today, I present you with his answers. I apologize if he comes across like a politician sometimes; he's been trained to do that. 

Does your job ever annoy you because you could sometimes end up stuck working with some rather immature/annoying people? 

The short answer is yes. Ideally, those who enlist in the Guard are at least mature enough to know when to keep their mouths shut. For instance, they ought to realize that when their commanding officer is speaking, any remarks about a fellow recruit's behavior the previous day or, say, their instructor's physique, would be inappropriate. Unfortunately, the people who know about those social rules are in the minority among the recruits I usually train. It can get quite irritating. 

Heehee. Like with Dehlara... So how do you feel about fangirls who might really like you? 

...Based on the general definition of "fangirl" that I've gathered, I'm used to them. It's not as enjoyable as one might think. It was flattering for the first few months. After several years of it from nearly every female recruit I've ever trained, it's gotten a bit old. Not to insult anyone, but in most cases, I would rather be left alone. 

I bet. I don't get nearly the amounut of attention you get, and I still feel awkward about it sometimes. But then, I'm an introvert. We do, however, share something in common: Perfectionism. Does the perfection you and other expect from yourself ever feel confining? 

You have no idea. But on a more positive note, higher expectations mean higher motivation. I am more likely to perform a job well if I am expected to put in a superlative amount of effort. Stress is a natural byproduct, but one I can handle. 

Uh-huh. Sure you can, Superman. What is your relationship like with your father, Atrin? 

...It's cordial. 


I'm not lying. We're not on the warmest terms, but we speak when we must, I do as I'm told, and for the most part, we mind our own business. As long as he sticks to his own affairs and I stick to mine, and the two don't intersect too much, we're fine. He's even stopped openly trying to make me cut ties with Sohrem. Which is a bit surprising, considering that Sohrem did punch him once, but I'm not complaining. That's one less bit of stress to handle. 

Do you believe the stories about your mother? If so, what do you think about the choice that she made?

I believe that she's gone, and that she's not coming back. That's really all that matters. With all due respect, I'd rather not make a comment on that situation where my father might read it. 


Let's just say my father guards his reputation with a jealousy that I'd rather not arouse again. If my mother left the way Atrin says she did, then I have to say it was out of character, especially considering that she'd expressed an intent to take me with her. But she might have decided just to make a clean break and leave me behind to avoid facing Atrin again. In that case, I can't say I fully blame her. If she didn't leave... I'm sorry, but I'd really rather not discuss this any further. 

I notice you called Atrin by his first name and called Kyndra "my mother." A little favoritism there, maybe? 

I have no comment. Insinuate what you will. 

Psh. Fine. Okay, why did you accept the enemy's offer? 

...First, let me give some context. We were trapped. Everyone was turning on everyone else. Sohrem had just attempted to murder Sheth, claimed he didn't know how it happened, and insulted me to my face. It was a messy situation, and the resulting stress had become a health hazard. The Saethen offered a way to restore order, and I took it. I know it was a selfish, idiotic move. But it seemed much more reasonable at the time. 

And it was what Atrin would have done. 

I have no comment on that, either. Next question, please. 

Fiiiiine. How did you meet Sohrem? 

I'd just spent a long day as a trainer's assistant, and followed up by having an argument with my father. I was stressed and angry, so I took a break and went for a walk outside Jaern. I saw a horse and rider coming, but didn't think much of it until they got close and I saw the shape the rider was in. I didn't get a good look at him, but I could see he was dark-haired, rail-thin, and looked as if he'd been in a fire. 

Okay, um, Jorthen... I know you're a detail-oriented person and all, but could you not resort to describing the scent on the air, the exact hour of the day, or the chill in your heart this time around? For now, we just want to know the gist of what happened. 

...Right. My apologies. He fell off of the horse, and when I went to him, he was badly burned, scarred, and unconscious. I could see he needed medical attention, so I took him to the physician on duty at the base. He was in obvious need of treatment and recuperation, so I took responsibility for his supervision for a while. I assumed that once he was well, the council would deal with him and he wouldn't be my problem anymore. He didn't say more than two words during his recovery. He wouldn't even tell me his name; seemed to think something terrible would happen if he did. Eventually he gave the name Sohrem Terahl, probably just to get me off his back. By that point, he was well enough to be on his own, if a bit erratic, so I tried to move on, but then people started targeting him, accusing him of outlandish things. I caught a group of male recruits assaulting him in a hall once. Back then, he couldn't fight very well. He was a lot less intimidating, and it wasn't hard to peg him as a scared runaway. He'd panic when they went after him, try to get away, then just sort of freeze. If he did lash out, they'd only get more aggressive. I couldn't watch it happen, so I stepped in. I did that a few times before he finally got comfortable enough to attempt to irritate me. And yes, I did say he attempted it. It's like a defense mechanism for him, or a filtering method. The more crass and rude he is with you, the more likely it is that he's just testing you to figure out how much you'll take from him. 

The point being, of course, that once he started to get comfortable, he started challenging me. A muttered comeback here, a glare there, and sometimes he would just say things outright to see how I would react. He was surprisingly observant. It got uncomfortable sometimes, I'll admit. But he was quick on his feet, so I started training him. We got to know each other through the training sessions, mostly, and transitioned into more normal pastimes later. At some point, he stopped deliberately testing me. That was helpful. It made it that much easier to resist the temptation to throw him into lockdown when he got into trouble. Which he did a lot, but we don't have to get into that. 

Yeah, uh-huh. Sure. How about the time he punched Atrin? 

That was not my idea. But I can't say it made me particularly upset. 

How have your health challenges affected your life? 

I don't know what you mean. 

You know, your heart condition which I have yet to equate with a real-life problem...? Well, I know it's some sort of congenital defect. I'm still working out the details. But you do have it, Cappy. 

Please don't use that nickname again. Ever. 

All right, so I do have a heart condition. I've had it my whole life. As a child, it only meant that if I was excessively active, I would tire out. As I got into adolescence, it became a bigger problem. I got involved in... extracurricular activities, which involved a fair amount of exertion, and sometimes it would feel like my heart was going to collapse. I was supposed to rest, but back then, I wasn't the best at doing as I was told. Atrin found ways of conditioning me to push past my problems so that they wouldn't interfere with the job at hand, and my mother taught me methods for coping with them. Their methods weren't usually consistent, and Atrin usually won out. I've become exceptionally good at acting over the years. At this point, with a combination of caution and concealment, my condition doesn't affect me too badly. 

Um, didn't you cough up blood...? 

That was due to an unusual set of circumstances, and I wasn't coping well. It won't happen again. 

One of these days, I'll figure out how to tell the difference between when you're lying and when you're telling the truth. It's confusing. Okay, so what is your definition of perfection? 

My definition? I suppose I'd define it as a combination of consistency and responsibility. Perfection, to me, involves living up to expectations, and making up for any times when you didn't quite meet them. It means stepping up and doing what needs to be done without complaint, whether you want to or not, and ensuring that everyone in your jurisdiction does the same. Anything less is a problem.

Who is your example? 

...My example of perfection, or someone I hope to emulate?


Somehow, I knew you would say that. The closest to a perfect person I've ever met was probably my mother. That might seem strange, considering that everyone believes she left, but she was loyal, kind, and strong in ways most people wouldn't understand, even when she had every right to give up. She always knew what to say, what to do, and was rightfully admired for it. Yes, she's gone now, but for many years, she was my role model. Now... I'm not sure who I'd name as my example for today. Probably still her.

Aw, that's sweet. Incidentally, I want to write some short stories involving Kyndra; she really was pretty awesome. What was your biggest failure? 

I'm not sure. I can think of two incidents where I failed miserably, and I haven't redeemed myself from them yet. One is the time I took sides with the enemy. I have to confess, I'm still not sure what I think of the whole situation. They made more sense than they should have, but I would like to believe that if they approached me again, I would refuse them. The other... incident... involved someone I once cared for. We grew up together, but were separated when I left for Jaern. We met again a few years later, but I made a mistake that changed everything about our relationship. They left, and I haven't seen them since. I never got a chance to make things right, and I don't expect to ever see them again. I don't think I'll ever stop regretting that.

Ah, yes, that little... slip-up. *ahem* Who are you most afraid of disappointing? 

My father. I've been working to live up to his standards for so long that I don't quite know how to stop. But then, I'm used to disappointing him. I suppose if either my mother or the friend I failed came back into my life and disapproved of what I'd become, it would feel like another failure.

What is your greatest success? 

Probably convincing Sohrem to become a functional member of society, and getting everyone else to give him a chance to do that.

Wow, that one didn't backfire on you at all. 

Are we done here?

Yup. You can go now. Maybe check to make sure Sohrem is keeping out of trouble. 

Sohrem can take care of himself, I think. But thank you. I'd appreciate being given something to do besides answer questions soon, though.

Oh, don't worry. You will. *cackles* 


Aaaaand there you have it, folks. Another fun fact about Jorthen: His name was originally Jorthen Delraen, but a friend saw his name and that of Yannah Lavahr, and suggested that I switch the names. I did, and so the characters became Jorthen Lavahr and Yannah Delraen. I must say, I like the altered names better.

Thanks for your questions! This is fun. Well, at least it is for me. Maybe not so much for the characters. Have any questions you didn't get to ask Jorthen, or ones stirred up by what he said in the interview? Feel free to pose them in the comments!

This weekend, I'll be bringing in a slightly lesser-known character, Talsyn Lethar, for an interview.

Sohrem: Wait, what? How is that even possible?

Sorry, bud, you're not allowed to come out during this one.

Sohrem: I want. To talk. To. My. Brother. 

Nope. And anyways, he won't be here until Saturday. Go away.

Sohrem: Carissa, so help me-- 

Uh-uh -- no threats. *stuffs Sohrem back into the character closet* Anyways, Tal will be here and taking questions starting this Saturday, so stay tuned! He and Sohrem have similar personalities, but let's just say they've ended up at different places in their lives. Getting Tal to talk should be as easy as threatening Sohrem. Hopefully, he's not too jaded for it to work. As always, thanks for reading! Don't be messy.

Wait... Uh, sorry, that's not my tagline, is it? That's Jordan's tagline on Jordan's Messyges. Incidentally, check out Blimey Cow, and their show, Messy Mondays, if you haven't already. They put out some truly amazing satirical videos, largely talking about faith, relationships, and popular culture from a Christian perspective, and they're hilarious. But be prepared to go on a video-watching marathon. They have a lot of great videos waiting to be discovered.

But, of course, I digress. 


  1. Good interview. Jorthen sounds like a cool character. ^ ^ I think it's neat to have characters with physical struggles it isn't shown much. And isn't Jorthen's tendency to give the exact details of a story a writer attribute? ;) What's wrong with that? Lol.

    Stori Tori's Blog

    1. Yeah, his physical struggles aren't really revealed until late in 'The Follower' (I might change that in a rewrite), but they certainly make things interesting.

      hehe Indeed. Jorthen, ever thought about becoming a writer? I know you thought of being a musician once, and that's artistic.

      (Jorthen: I'm happy as a captain in the Guard, thanks.)