I'm sitting down with a woman whom I've written about for the better part of the last few years, Ms. Abigail Thomas. (She's already shaking her head at me about the introduction.) Pardon. I'm sitting with Ruhei Abigail Faelis, of Echovin temple. She came to be known by this name and title because of an unfortunate incident in the woods. Abbie has been through a lot in the past few months (at the 'time' that I'm doing this interview, it's about halfway through the story arc of Become), but I greatly admire her ability to adapt.
First, I want to know how you feel that your world differs from mine?
Well . . . it's really very much the same except that we have the olichon. I had an iPod and a Blu-Ray player. All the same stuff and history - everything. Except for them, and the political turmoil that came after the revelation, it's all exactly the same.
How would you describe the olichon?
Incredibly medieval-minded. Is that even a proper term? Anyway, I wouldn't really call them backwards, because they can be very proactive in the way that their culture operates, but old traditions die hard. They were always called 'energy shifters' by humankind because they're able to consume energy without, you know, chewing it. They . . . 'shift' . . . it into their bodies somehow.
How does that work?
Osmosis, I guess? That doesn't even really describe it. I've been trying to read up on the mechanics and it seems to be a similar process to physically eating food only . . . not. It's different, and I don't really understand how it all works. Something to do with auras, I believe. They do have chamber pots, though. *she shrugs*
So, what is the hardest thing you've had to learn?
To not be myself. I've been me for 22 years, and now I'm supposed to be a similar person with a different name and history. But everything that I was before is still all up here in my head. It's confusing sometimes.
How do you feel you've adapted to your situation?
I think I've done quite well, considering. It really surprises me that no one can tell I'm human. I thought for sure that I would be found out by now. Sometimes I feel like my luck is going to run out and someone on the inside is going to out me.
The four members of the Beloved comprise a core part of temple life. How would you describe those who have sworn to protect you?
Devoted. But they're not all that religious, which is funny. I'm allowed to call them by their informal names, and not by title, when in private. I think that they're just people struggling to fit into the world that they call home. It makes me feel a bit better about my own circumstances.
What has been the most rewarding thing that you've learned about yourself?
That I can overcome just about anything.
What part of olichon life fascinates you the most?
How they treat their women. Aside from Kai (Geldin - Beloved of Fire), every male has been incredibly respectful. The only woman I've ever seen not be bowed to a bunch of times - for just being female - is Sana (Soturne - Beloved of Air). The male Beloved don't treat her like a fragile flower, and she doesn't act like one. She's respected and considered an equal. But given how respectfully they treat their females, it surprises me that they would have allowed Sana to be a member of the Beloved at all.
And why is that?
Because of the nature of their job, I guess. I've been lead to believe that the priest/priestesses won't live as long as some of their kin. They're elite fighters. Sana has breeding value, so she should be . . . I dunno . . . more coddled than she is? I've been told that there aren't as many olichon women as there are men, so females are something of a precious resource. Although, I've heard that Kai bugs Sana a lot about not having a mate. I've never seen him do this, but I wouldn't put it past him. Brothers and sisters, you know.
What one thing do you wish your human world had understood about olichon culture?
I wish that we had known about their territory wars. Or *Fallon's cult. Even just an understanding of Fallon's . . . curse? vow? . . . would have, maybe, prepared me for everything.
(*Fallon is a major goddess worshipped by the olichon. She's not a pleasant sort)
What does that mean?
*Abbie shrugs, gives me a knowing look*
Seth Valia (Avimato, Beloved of Water) is the leader of the Beloved. How do you feel about him?
At the moment, he's not exactly talking to me. I mean . . . he does . . . but it's very . . . *she sighs* I kind of pissed him off. I'm trying to make it right, but it's hard when he won't even look at me. It's funny, because Aulline (Tsoto) Tallowyn keeps worrying about mending our relationship, and I just don't know what to say anymore.
All right, I think we're about to wrap this up, but can you share a secret with me?
I got lost in the library once. I was so embarrassed that I never mentioned it to anyone. I found my way back by following the trails of upturned dust, and that was only after I'd managed to wander out of the darkness. I didn't realize I needed a candle to go in there, and I wouldn't think it to be a good idea in the first place. You know: dust and books not being really great around fire and all of that. Oh! And you wouldn't believe the amount of hidden passageways in the temple. In general, I mean, not just in the library. I guess that's two things. Oh well.
Thank you so much for answering my questions Abbie. You can read more about Abbie and her trials in Become.
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