In the middle of summer, not all of my characters are willing to brave the Texas heat and drop by for an interview. But Konar the Conqueror (more commonly known as Konar the Mad) so gallantly decided to risk heatstroke and drop by. He's currently getting one of my kitchen chairs all sweaty. The glass of ice water isn't helping him. Maybe I should hurry up with this interview before he decides to take his clothes off--or kill everyone with his axe. I knew I should have brought my pocket knife.
M.J.: First off, Konar, I must say that it’s an honor to interview you.
Konar the Mad: (Smiles) The honor is mine. It’s not every day I get to meet such a lovely girl for the first time.
M.J.: Thank you, sir. But aren’t you married?
K.M.: I am—to my third wife, actually. Thordis died of cholera, and Hildegard—not sure what happened to her.
M.J.: She left you?
K.M.: She’s not here anymore, is she? No matter, now I have Caitriona. We’re so happy together.
M.J.: (Suspiciously) I’m...very glad of that. Now, I’m curious of the island’s history. Would you mind enlightening me?
K.M.: Certainly. We lived northeast of here, closer to Norway than Iceland, until I was a lad of five or six. My father Idir was chief then, and he decided we needed a larger island to call home. So—conquest. We slaughtered the Gythians, the largest of tribes, and took hold of their island. We renamed it Eagle’s Deep.
M.J.: Do you remember any of this?
K.M.: I remember landing on the fair shores of Eagle’s Deep and wishing I could join the men in battle. My father refused. I set fire to his bedroll in retribution.
M.J.: Was he in it?
K.M.: Apparently not. He didn’t die for another fourteen years, had to buy himself a new bedroll. It’s amazing how much money it cost him.
M.J.: Speaking of money, I’ve heard that you are quite wealthy.
K.M.: The richest on the island, milady. I shall have to relieve myself of some of it, and purchase you a ring. Have your hands ever seen a day’s work? The finest silks cannot compare in their softness.
M.J.: (Curtly) Thank you. How did you acquire your vast wealth?
K.M.: Export and trade. I specialize in the transport of living things—cattle, horses, a few falcons. Slaves make up a large portion of my commerce. There’s a huge market for them.
M.J.: Where do you find your slaves?
K.M.: Everywhere, really. Sweden, Denmark, Scotland and Ireland. I sailed to the southern edge of the world once, or very close to it, and I brought back some dark-skinned Catholics who did nothing but swear at me in their native language. By the gods, they were hard to deal with.
M.J.: So it really doesn’t matter where your slaves are from.
K.M.: So long as they sell for a good price, I couldn’t care less.
M.J.: And race plays no part in this?
K.M.: (Raising his voice) I just told you what part race plays in this. No ones gives a **** about where their slaves are from. They’re slaves. No one cares about them!
M.J.: I’m terribly sorry, sir. I seem to have set off your temper.
K.M.: Shut up, you ill-born dog!
M.J.: (Wisely shuts up)
K.M.: Now, if that’s all you want, I’ve a village to run. Get back to work, do something useful for once, and leave me be! (Thunders out of room, overturning his chair. Yells from the doorway) And another thing, you could use some mead to share with your visitors! (Slams door)
M.J.: (Sighs gratefully) Thank You God, I survived!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.