by Jardonn Smith
A quarter of the way into writing Danube Divide, my tale of Romans and Germanics and conflicts of civilizations, one of the characters who was to be a secondary player forced his way to the forefront. His name is Boris Keressos, or, if need be, Father Timothy, depending upon the company he keeps at any given time. Not only did he become the love interest for Gregoric, one of the lead Gothic characters, Boris made himself the axis of the entire story, taking the plot in directions I never could have imagined.
In this chronicled lifetime he's been an adorable street urchin thieving to survive, a young soldier of the Roman legions in the eastern provinces of the mid-300's AD, and a mature-man Christian priest ministering to Roman soldiers in the field or their garrisons. Boris is an alpha-male in every sense of the term, and since I suspect he put this interview idea into my head, I'll find out.
Jardonn: I assume, Boris, you asked me for this interview. Why?
Boris: To promote myself.
Jardonn: Like you did in my book?
Boris: Exactly. Aren't you glad I did?
J: Don't know yet. Book's only been out a few weeks.
B: Don't lie to me. If I hadn't jumped in, you'd still be sitting there poking along with your story. I had to do it. Watching you beat yourself up trying to write such boring drivel made me want to strangle you.
J: Could you strangle me?
B: Of course not. Spirits don't have hands.
J: So you cajoled me intead?
B: Spoke loud and clear.
B: I already told you. Your problem was you were writing about men you didn't know. All that mush. Talking about how they so loved one another. How the look in their lover's eyes make them giddy. What horseshit! Men don't talk about it. They just do it. When they speak, their words are of important subjects, not romance. When they romance, they express it with actions, not words.
J: I know, Boris. I was trying to write for an audience I don't understand.
B: Which is why you were getting nowhere. There's only one audience of importance, and that's you. Those who get it, those who want to read about manly men and not mealy-mouthed wussies will find you and follow.
B: When they're supposed to. Don't worry about it. If you don't like what you're doing, find some other way to express yourself.
J: No. I enjoy it, as long as I have guys like you to keep my head in the right place.
B: Ok, I'm here. So why don't you cut to the chase and ask me about Gregoric?
J: You've taken over the interview, Boris. Ask yourself.
B: Right. After I got you to shit-can the chapter where I'm trying to woo Gregoric with words, I knew I'd have to take us back in time, off the Hadrianopolis battlefield in order to tell my story proper.
J: Your capture by Tervingi Goths north of the Danube?
B: Yes, and rather than sweet-talking Gregoric, something I would never do, I recognized his attraction to me during my torture.
J: How so?
B: Gregoric's thrashing upon my naked flesh was half-hearted at best. He was forced by his chieftain to participate, but his blows were nothing like those of his fellow tribesmen.
J: Had you singled him out before this event?
B: No. My mind was focused on preparing for the punishment I knew would come. Once I withstood the torture and made my escape up the tree, I knew Gregoric could be made my ally.
J: But they kept you as their prisoner.
B: True, more like a slave, really, which allowed me to win Gregoric by stimulating his youthful brain. Teaching him all things Roman -- the arts, engineering, philosophies and religions.
J: How did religion play a role in your seduction of Gregoric?
B: The cave. It's where I taught him about that illegal religion. The one banned by the Christians. It was our secret place where we made love, and believe me, the seduction was mutual. Gregoric and I loved one anothers's brains long before we ever found a safe way to express our admirations physically.
J: Once you did, nothing could keep you apart.
B: Mentally, no. If only that were true physically, but then there wouldn't be much drama in our tale. Would there?
J: Again, you are asking the questions when I am supposed to...
B: Let me ask you one more while I'm at it.
J: Can I stop you?
B: No. You tried to write something out of your element because you'd seen comments posted saying your books are not romantic. Here's a good comeback question for such nonsense. Gregoric allowed himself to be taken prisoner because he knew it was his only chance for rescuing me. Gregoric put his own life at risk for me. What could possibly be more romantic than that?
J: Nothing. Which is why I hope next time I try to write what others call romance, either you or one of your buddies will come along to save me from myself.
B: We always have and will.
J: Good. Now, Boris, I'm done with you. Go find Gregoric or somebody else who'll suck your dick. I would if I could.
B: You did me one better, Jardonn. You put me in your book.
Boris has left me for now, gone back to wherever he hangs out these days. One of his lives on earth is chronicled in my Danube Divide, and here's the link to my web site where you can read more about it.