Today I’m uber-excited to have the characters from Tamara A. Lowery’s series Waves of Darkness here to answer a few questions about the predicament they find themselves in.
Lillian: *startled by the two pirates and siren sitting in her living room* Well this is a welcome surprise! I have SO many questions for you all. Ummm….how did you two meet? *points at Grimm and Vik*
Grimm: I signed on with Vik for his first captaincy as his second mate. Old Billy Black recruited me to Vik’s crew when I was fresh off a voyage with a rather piss poor captain. I’d left that one with a big red second smile, if that gives you any idea of how sorry a captain he was. I admit I had my doubts about Vik at first. He was only seventeen at the time, and I was twenty-five.
Viktor: Aye, that fact didn’t sit well with more than a few of that first crew. Hezekiah Grimm would have been the first one I’d expect them to pick to replace me. Jim and I thought that was what he’d come to do when he came to my cabin three months or so into the voyage.
Grimm: *shakes his head* By then, he’d proved his leadership ability to me. He might be younger, but Billy was right when he said Vik was born to piracy. He was and still is the most successful captain I’ve ever sailed under. I warned him about a danger he was already well aware of, it turned out. Together the three of us, Vik, Jim, and myself, quelled the budding mutiny before it could cause any real damage.
Viktor: Hezekiah has been my trusted friend ever since, even during the years we didn’t sail together, and I do not trust that deeply easily.
Lillian: *avoids looking at Viktor* Grimm, was it hard keeping a secret from him?
Grimm: *clears his throat and looks uncomfortable* Very. If not for Zeke’s interference, I probably wouldn’t have even tried. Vik deserves better than that from me, and I didn’t want to keep the fact that the Elder, Zeke, had shared power with me a secret. As it was, it nearly got me killed.
Lillian: *finally looks at the brooding captain* How are you coping with all this? Your curse, I mean. It seems to be ruling your actions more.
Viktor: *strokes his beard and raises an eyebrow at you* I wouldn’t say it is ruling my actions more, except in a few instances. I was a predator before the curse; perhaps what you’ve observed is how my new nature has integrated with my old nature and shifted my focus a bit. Still, while I would like to believe I’m fully in control of myself, I know better. Vampirism offers some very enticing temptations. I find I do need to be reminded that instances where I lose control are warning signs that my time to find the remaining Sisters of Power is running short. Of course, I feel some of these instances are caused by magical interference from either the Sisters or Uncle Zeke. *grimaces irritably* I won’t even pretend to know what that old man is up to most of the time.
Lillian: Did you ever think all these myths about vampires and witches and sirens were true before you were cursed?
Viktor: Truth be told, I didn’t give them much thought. I knew witches were real. Mother Celie raised me, after all. As for vampires, I was fairly unaware of the legends. They aren’t exactly a seafaring beastie commonly. Sirens… *glances over at Belladonna* I’d heard the tales and read a few accounts of mermaids. Belle educated me on the differences between the species. The only classical reference to sirens I’d come across in my readings were the Greek bird-women who lured sailors onto the rocks to devour them. Clearly, that was as wrong as mistaking a mermaid for a siren or vice versa.
Belladonna: *smugly* I told you you’d read the wrong books.
Lillian: *points between Belladonna and Viktor* You two are obviously attracted to one another. Why do you fight it?
Viktor: At first, trust issues. I didn’t trust her not to eat me.
Belladonna: For me, it was knowing it would cost me even more of my freedom and independence. My instincts betrayed me and caused me to bind myself to his will. After millennia of belonging to no one but myself, I naturally fought against anything that would make the bonds closer. When two beings of such magic and power as Viktor and I possess have sex, that power is shared and mingled to an extent. It can also be addictive, and addiction can be read as a sign of weakness, a dangerous quality for any predator to exhibit.
Viktor: Indeed. It can also prove to be a costly distraction. As Belle pointed out to some of my crewmen, her lovers have a tendency to lose track of time. There is the fact that it makes sex with a mere human seem bland in comparison, too. I’ve always enjoyed women of many varieties; my appetite for them is as voracious as my blood Hunger. Now, unless there is some level of magic involved, the experience leaves me slightly unsatisfied.
Belladonna: *smirks* He’s been ruined for other women.
Lillian: *clears throat to cover laugh* Belle, what will you do once he completes his quest?
Belladonna: I’m eternally bound to him. I suppose I could ask Zeke to sever that bond, but I doubt I will. Viktor and I suit each other. I’ve a feeling he will probably need my unique talents again, anyway.
Lillian: *notices the black cat at Vik’s feet* That’s really Jim Rigger, isn’t it?
Viktor: *nods solemnly*
Lillian: *sighs* What will happen to him? Will he ever be human again?
Viktor: *smiles tightly* My ship’s scribe, Mrs. Lowery, assures me that question will be answered in the sixth volume of this saga. For now, he can take human form briefly if he consumes human flesh. You are what you eat, after all.
Lillian: *suppresses a shudder* What about the Brumbles? What’s your plan for them?
Viktor: Thomas is already a permanent member of my crew as part of my cadre of vampires. His brother, Zachary, will join that number eventually, provided he doesn’t die by beheading. I intend to continue to harry any Brumble & Sons ships I encounter, although I believe a good deal of damage has been dealt to that particular company. I suppose I will eventually have to deal with the daughter, Samantha, since she is actively hunting me. What befalls her when we encounter will depend on the circumstances and the mood I’m in at the time. Jim has a say in that, of course. He’s bitten her, thus he has a legitimate claim to her fate. I’ve no real desire to kill their father, Tobias. Breaking him is much more satisfying a vengeance. Again, Jim may have other plans, but he hasn’t told me.
Lillian: And your quest. What do you want to encounter next?
Viktor: I would say a fairly easy to deal with Sister, but I know better. It has been my experience that if the quest seems too easy, it is usually a false lead or an outright trap. At least the next one will be the last before I have to face Mamaan Juma again. She placed the curse on me, and I’ve been strictly instructed not to seek her out again until I’ve dealt with the other six Sisters of Power if I’m to have any hope of surviving. Easy or difficult, I hope the quest is one that can be completed in a timely manner.
Lillian: *whispers* I only have one more question. *awkwardly looks at the vampire sitting in front of her* I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be a pirate. Can I really not join you because I’m a woman?
Viktor: *laughs* That old fallacy again. The main reason for any captain not wanting women aboard has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with strife among the crew. Seafaring men, be they merchant, Navy, or pirate, are not really fit for polite society. The potential for rape of or fighting over a woman is a very real possibility. Still, I’ve encountered countless men capable of controlling themselves, either of their own volition or from fear of reprisal. I’ve also encountered women who thrive in a male-dominated environment without causing conflict. Either they can defend themselves capably, or they don’t mind servicing several among the crew.
Aboard my ship, if you can prove yourself useful in some way, your gender would not be a prohibition. I’ve taken measures to ensure my crew do not step out of line. I’ve kept them from accepting Belladonna’s advances in the past, and she can be very persuasive. That’s not to say a human female wouldn’t be subjected to crude flirting. There are some among my men who will seek the company of another man over that of a woman, but they are a minority. The rest are more acquainted with sporting women than with ladies.
What is it like to be a pirate? If you’re good at it, quite rewarding.