Iphyria Today Episode 1: Blaise Hawthorne

[A tall, raven-haired woman sits in an overstuffed chair, legs crossed as she watches a young man being ushered onto the stage. He glances around, ill at ease, before sitting down on a long couch after the woman makes a grandiose gesture towards it.]

Pearl: Hello and welcome to Iphyria Today! I’m Archivist Pearl Whittaker and today I’m joined by none other than Breaker Blaise Hawthorne. Welcome, Blaise!

Blaise: [Realizing there’s an audience and becoming more nervous than he already was] Er, thanks?

Pearl: [Smiling and ignoring his obvious discomfort] Tell us a little about you, Blaise. How old are you and where are you from?

Blaise: Oh, um, I’m Blaise Hawthorne. I’m 22 and I’m from a small town in Desina named Bristle. [Rubs the back of his neck.] Bristle’s a pretty small town in the hill country.

Pearl: And what made you choose Librarian Amy Campbell as the one to chronicle your extraordinary life? Any reason in particular?

Blaise: [A panicked look on his face] Er, wait, what?

Pearl: [Deciding to move right along because maybe there are some things he should remain unaware of] Tell me about your magic. What is a Breaker, exactly?

Blaise: [glances down, scratching at his bearded chin] Can I not? [Pearl stares at him until he sighs, relenting.] Okay, fine. I’m a Breaker. My hands are a hazard because I can break almost anything with just a touch. It’s ruined my life.

Pearl: Or has it?

Blaise: I’m not even going to argue that point with you.

Pearl: Fair enough. Next question, how would you describe your childhood?

Blaise: I guess it was normal until my magic developed. Then I went from having friends to . . . I guess, being a social pariah. Nobody wants to be around the guy who can bring the roof down on top of you, right?

Pearl: That sounds harsh. Do you get along with your family?

Blaise: [Sighs] I think so. My parents are . . . were . . . very protective of me. My younger sister, Lucienne, is mostly annoyed by me. But she’s thirteen so that goes with the territory. My little brother Brody I don’t think understands about my magic. And to be honest he breaks his fair share of stuff without any magic at all, so it sort of vindicates him a little.

Pearl: I see. So when and where were you the happiest?

Blaise: That’s a really unfair question. [Pearl just shifts in her seat, not moving on from the question.] For the longest time I thought I had to settle for a shadow of a life in Bristle. Then, um, things happened and I had to leave. It was scary but I found a place I could be happy.

Pearl: With the outlaws in Itude?

Blaise: Well, with some of the outlaws.

Pearl: [nods] As I understand it, baked goods are very important to you. Can you explain why that’s the case when you obviously have . . . other talents?

Blaise: [A grimace crosses his face for a moment at the hint of his magic, but quickly clears as he delves into a topic he enjoys] Oh, that’s because I love to bake. It’s calming and is about the only time my magic doesn’t get out of control. And I make the best desserts in the Untamed Territory if I do say so myself.

Pearl: [Tilts her chin with interest] Is that so? Care to show us?

Blaise: Er, I can?

Pearl: We can do whatever we like during my Iphyria Today show.

Blaise: What?

Pearl: [Sighs] Did no one explain this to you?

Blaise: Someone literally shoved me in a small door and told me to go talk to the Librarian.

Pearl: [Straightens] I’m an Archivist, but close enough. The kitchen is that way. Let’s go. [She points and rises from her chair. Blaise follows her to another stage with a kitchen set up. He appears boggled for a moment, but shrugs when he notices everything he needs is on hand.]

Blaise: I’m going to show you how to make a Cider Cake with caramel frosting, which is something I sold in Itude. Also a favorite of my pegasus, Emrys. Though to be fair he pretty much will eat anything I make with sugar.

Pearl: [Nodding] Very good, and I believe our audience can find the full recipe and directions at this site: [She makes a gesture with a hand and words appear, floating in the air]

Blaise: [Stares at her for a moment, then shrugs his shoulders] Right, I see you have everything here for it. [He sets to work, checking to make sure the oven is already warming before moving to grease a pan. It’s clear from his relaxed stance that he’s suddenly at ease with himself, and Pearl simply watches with fascination. Once the cake goes in the oven, Pearl claps her hands lightly.]

Pearl: And I think we have a cake made earlier here to show the audience.

Blaise: [Blinks] We do? [He glances down, and there’s a cake on the counter where a moment earlier there hadn’t been one. He bends over to stare at it.] Um, yes, I suppose we do. [He straightens, assured that it really is the right sort of cake.]

Pearl: [Produces a serving knife and slicing off a piece] Let’s have a taste, shall we? [She serves it onto a plate and takes a bite, her lips curling with pleasure.] Oh, now that’s an unexpected treat. I didn’t expect that when I knew you were going to be my guest today.

Blaise: Um, thanks, I think.

Pearl: [Smiling] I want to once again thank my guest, Breaker Blaise Hawthorne, for joining me and distracting me with this absolutely wonderful cake. Join me again next week when our guest is Wildfire Jack Dewitt.

Blaise: Wait, Jack is coming here too?

Pearl: Goodbye, Blaise. [A stagehand ushers him offstage, though they both grab a slice of cake before they leave.]

Author’s note: Pearl was a character who appeared in a late draft of Breaker and then ended up having to sadly be cut. But I still have plans for her and the other Librarians in my head, and this interview series was a fun fit for her in the meantime. She does enjoy a good biography.

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