Today we sit down for a chat with Iol of the House of Cszabo from author Helen Henderson’s Windmaster books.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
I don’t know who this “author” is that you say controls of my life. The ruling council of the House of Cszabo is made up of eleven men, all senior officers of either land caravans or sea-going vessels. Ever since I knocked on the guild master’s door, petitioning to apprentice to Cszabo, the council has ruled my life. I have seen Lady Helen called an author. If it is her of which you speak, she just chronicles events as they are told her.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
By personality and training, I make a good first officer. I’m happy to be the second-in-command, but skilled enough to assume the helm if circumstances require it. Because of my talent for organization, the leader of my guild chose me to run the summer gathering of the trading houses.
What do you like least about yourself?
I wish I was more skilled in the ways of diplomacy. I’ve learned that not just members of other trading houses can sabotage a trade or business arrangement, but members of my own guild as well. Those who are in essence my kin can betray even quicker than your enemies.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
During a crossing of Botunn Loghes, the winds died and my ship, Loch Bird, was becalmed. All of a sudden, wind filled the sails. Not by an act of nature, but by my passenger who turned out to be the Oracle of Givneh traveling incognito. Not only is the Oracle the head of a community dedicated to service to others, he is a mage.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Lady Helen merely recounts the story. As long as she is accurate, there is nothing to argue with her about. It is not her fault if fate sends storms in my path.
What is your greatest fear?
As a member of the House of Cszabo, I fear failing my assignments and letting my house down by not returning home from a sail with a profit. As a junior officer, there is always the fear in the back of my mind that I will make the wrong decision and cause the loss of my ship and crew.
What makes you happy?
Although a sailor, I do enjoy the occasional ride on horseback. Because of my rank, my personal space aboard ship is limited. I can’t bring enough books to read, so my one personal belonging is my guitar. There is a simple joy in fingering intricate cords. Playing music not only helps pass the long hours aboard ship when not on duty, my crew seems to enjoy the tunes.
What I would say makes me happiest is spending time with my friends. I don’t have many but treasure the ones I do have. I count Subcommander Pelra of the House of Pirri and Conall of the Bard Guild among them. No matter how far apart we are or the length of time of our separation, when we meet it is as if we never parted.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
In Windmaster Legend as Lady Helen penned the tale, I am pursued by members of my own house and trapped on a ledge halfway up a cliff with no escape except a leap into space with only the ocean below. If I could rewrite those few moments of my story, I would not have Lady Pelra on the ledge with me. She would not be hunted by her own kin, but happily learning magic on the Isle of Mages.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
This question is easy to answer. There is only one person I wish I had never met—Ensign Leod of the House of Cszabo. Not that I would have allowed Leod to force himself on any woman, but I interfered when he would not accept Lady Pelra’s rebuff of his advances. Leod’s kin on the ruling council provides him the power to get what he wants, or to ruin those who refused him. Because of him, I lost my ship, my rank... my future.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
This question took some thought. It might be my captain on the ship where I earned my stripes. Then I’d have the gold bracelets of rank that I’ve worked so hard for. Or it could be Faeld, acting First Seat of my house council. But then I’d have to deal with all the internal politics of those trying to take my position.
I guess I’d choose to trade places with Conall. I expect soon he will be receiving his master’s knot from the Bard Guild. Not only will be allowed to travel, but wouldn’t have to ration his time in order to be able to play music. Although the Bard Guild is not immune from having detractors, those who do so too aggressively find themselves the topic of an unflattering ditty.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Although the author of several local histories, and numerous articles on the topics of American and military history, antiques and collectibles, Lady Helen’s first love is fiction. Her work in the museum and history fields enables a special insight into creating fantasy worlds. The descendent of a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer, her writing reflects the contrasts of her heritage as well as that of her Gemini sign. Her stories cross genres from historical westerns to science fiction and fantasy. In the world of fantasy romance, she is the author of the Dragshi Chronicles and The Windmaster Novels. In her books, she invites you to join her on travels through the stars, or among fantasy worlds of the imagination.
Learn more about her and her books at her website.
What's next for you?
My fate... my future... is up to the reader of Windmaster Legend. Lady Helen presents three possible fates and the reader gets to choose the one they prefer.
A forbidden love. An impossible quest. The accusation of witchcraft.
Can love survive?
What history and time may conceal sometimes refuses to stay lost in memory. Windmaster Legend reveals the story behind the legend of the star-crossed lovers, Iol of the House of Cszabo and Pelra of the House of Pirri.
Fate conspired to keep Iol and Pelra apart. Friendship is allowed between members of competing trading houses, but nothing more. He loves the sea and wants his own ship. She hates the deep blue and has worked too hard to allow her dreams to be sidetracked by the lure of magic. Despite a beautiful woman on his arm every night, Leod wanted the one he couldn’t have—Pelra. His kin on the ruling council did more than put him on the fast track to his own ship. It provided him the power to fulfill his desires, or to ruin those who refused him.
Exiled to distant posts, given impossible challenges, and subject to Leod’s machinations, Iol and Pelra only have the hope of a future together to sustain them. But can their love survive the accusation of witchcraft?