Character name: Caleb Davies, Temple Chevalier & Agni Pradesh
What did you really feel when you first set eyes on CHARACTER?
Caleb – When I first saw Agni, I had to rethink my stance that love at first sight was twaddle. Not only was he incredibly handsome, he had amazing skills in combat. He stole my reason with a mere look. Later when I found out how smart Agni was, I was sold.
Agni – When I saw Temple for the first time, I prayed to the gods for strength because he never shuts up. I’ve never seen anyone talk so much or bounce so much. Within a day I suspected Temple was possessed by an incubus. I’m still not convinced he isn’t.
Temple – I was going to say something nice but forget about it now. (deep breath) I was intimidated by them both, especially Agni. Also I was pretty sure I had never met a bigger stick in the mud that Agni, either.
What is your favourite childhood memory?
Temple – I didn’t have much in the way of a happy childhood except for my mother. My favorite memories are of being with Maman, especially out shopping in Paris. Pere would always tell her not to buy me any pastries and we would always stop for them anyway. Me, Maman, pastries at a café, best of times.
Caleb – My happiest memory was the first Christmas away from the orphanage. That’s when I learned I wasn’t just at the Soldiers of the Sun complex because I could see demons. My adopted dad told me that he’d given me his name. I was so excited to have a family to belong to I barely noticed he had given me a toy train to celebrate with.
Agni – I’m luckier than my partners. I had a good childhood. My best memories were having all my brothers and sisters around for the diwali festivals or just having time off together. That didn’t happen often when you come from a long line of demon hunters. Probably the very best memory was of Mother and Father returning home after they were reported as missing in action.
One thing from your back story the reader won’t know from reading the book?
Caleb – That would be that I love my homeland and when I was a kid, my adopted dad took me all around the country, so I could see the standing stones because he loved them. I really wanted to see Merlin’s dragons but of course I never did. We even stopped at Castle Harlech and sang Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech, the Men of Harlech. Not sure the non-Welsh members of Dad’s team appreciate it.
Temple – I would really like to turn our adventures into books. Just think about it. It would be even more exciting than John Carpenter of Mars or Tarzan. Can’t you see it as a radio drama? I’ve started writing it but I haven’t shown my partners because I’m afraid they’d laugh. Also in it, I am happier than I really am.
Agni – I am very grateful to the Soldiers of the Sun for making me less homesick. They are very good about allowing us to retain as much of our culture as we can. They go out of their way to get care packages from people’s homelands. I love that I get to have some of my traditional clothing and more importantly the spices. I love cooking and I enjoy sharing my culture through food. It feels good to come back to my apartment and have a little bit of India waiting for me.
Preparing to leave his little apartment within the walls of the Order of the Sun, Temple nearly slammed into his teammates Caleb and Agni. Caleb had his hand raised, presumably to knock. Temple eyed them sourly. “What are you two doing?”
“Taglioferro asked us along to meet your new partner,” Caleb replied, running his sword-calloused hand over his slicked-back blond hair. The gesture made Temple a little dry mouthed. Shaking the dirty thoughts out, Temple realized it made sense his teammates had joined him. Caleb was the team leader, after all. Surely he needed to be there.
“And since you’d be late to your own funeral, we’re here to hurry you up.” Agni made hurry-along motions exaggerated by the newspaper he had in hand—Temple’s paper, which he’d forgotten to pick up. Agni handed it to him. Temple set it on the door-side table, but not before he saw the headline about a couple of deaths of desperate men who’d died after drinking radiator fluid down at the Mon wharf. They had pulled out the potato they were using to detoxify the alcohol a little too soon. Under that was an article about another demon attack on a speakeasy. Hadn’t he and Caleb just cleared a speakeasy the other night?
“You’ll notice I am on time,” Temple grumbled, trying to lock his door. After a few moments of fussing with the key, a metallic clank echoed down the hall, telling him he was doomed. “Damn it, it broke again. Why do we have to live in such falling-down housing?”
“The building has been here a century. It’s bound to have problems.” Caleb shrugged. “Come on. I’m excited to meet our new teammate.”
“I’m nervous,” Temple said, walking down the old stone corridors. The Soldiers of the Sun’s complex had been built with castles in mind, well fortified but dark and cold. “How do I explain what happened to my last partner?”
Caleb shot him a look. “It’s not your fault Li died.”
Did Caleb think Temple blamed himself? Of course he did. Temple had said it more than once. Li had been the love of his life, and Temple watched him bleed to death. Caleb probably worried Temple wasn’t dealing with his guilt. His partners knew him pretty well, but he wished they were easier to hoodwink. He wasn’t well. The closeness he’d felt since all of them had become lovers was good, but it never lasted.
“We were outnumbered,” Caleb said as he opened the exterior door. The wind caught them in its maw, blasting through the open door. The sulfurous stench of the steel mills rode the frigid air.
“Then why does it feel like it is?” As Temple’s shoulders slumped, Caleb favored him with a sharp look. Agni’s face was inscrutable as always. After a brief silence broken only by the whistle of the wind through the buildings, Temple said, “Taglioferro is an understanding guy. He knows what we get up to, but it’s not always easy to find someone with our talents who wouldn’t want to beat us for being shirt lifters.”
“Mostly it means we have to be discreet,” Agni said, turning his cool gaze on Temple. After a second his nose wrinkled. “You’re right. You have a problem.”
Temple made a face. “Go to hell.”
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Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.