Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Introducing Clifford and Jai from FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS

After interviewing three dragons, I've learned a few things. Dragons are always punctual, and they never arrive in the same manner. So, it was with no surprise that the sound of wind chimes announced the arrival of my next interview. And while I usually can't stand the sound of wind chimes, something about this sound soothed, rather than giving the usual annoyance.

I opened my door and gaped at the two men standing there. I instantly recognized Jai. Well, it was kind of hard not too. His stark white-blond hair was a huge contrast to his sun-kissed skin. And of course there was the naked torso. In fact, other than pants, only intricately woven vines of black tattoos cover his skin- shoulder to wrist, neck to waist. He smiled, and his bright blue eyes seemed to twinkle with mischief. I couldn't help but smile back, feeling at ease before either of us had spoken.

Beside him, stood Clifford, and I instantly thought I looked at a green-eyed Clark Kent. Although about six foot tall (and about 3-4 inches taller than Jai), and muscular, Clifford appear quite unassuming and non-threatening. He wore black framed glasses, a pale green button up, khaki pants and loafers. He gives me a shy smile, and I step aside, motioning the two inside.

MW: Hi, please come in and make yourselves comfortable.

Jai gave me a quick hug, and I think said thanks, but it was a little hard to tell because of his heavy accent and quiet voice. He scooted past me and wandered the room while Clifflord cringed.

Clifford: I'm so sorry, Jai isn't always the best with personal space. We do both thank you for inviting us to your home.

He pronounced Jai's name with a soft 'j', rhyming it with 'hi' and apologized for Jai's behavior, and then thanked me for the invitation.

MW: It's fine Clifford. Jai hasn't done anything wrong, and neither have you. Please, sit. Thank you for agreeing to meet and talk with me. I've been learning about the Dracopraesi, and have been quite fascinated by the others I've met. I'll try not to be too long here, as I know you have other duties to attend to. Let me start with you, Clifford. I understand your the tech-type guy. How did you get interested in tech and gadgets? What's your favorite invention? If you could make any gadget at all, what would it be and do?

Clifford fidgets a little as he sits alone on the couch, watching Jai wander around my living room, looking at the swords hanging on my wall, the castle print, the collection of DVD and PS3 games in the corner.

Clifford: Well, I, um…I just…I don’t know. I guess I’ve always just liked figuring out how things worked.

My cat wandered in, and Jai picked it up, distracting Clifford as he pet her.

And, um…Well, when I spent some time with Da Vinci, that interest grew more into creating things, not just figuring them out. But my favorite? 

He laughed nervously.

Ah…My brothers would tell you every time something new comes out I have a new favorite. I would say the invention of the satellite phone eased the extreme distance and separation between some of us…

He quietly said something to Jai in a language I didn't understand, and Jai responded with a smile, bringing the cat with him as sat close to Clifford on the couch. Clifford shifted, resting his arm behind Jai, and immediately he appeared more at ease.

As for what I could make…

He gave a shy grin and bit his lip for a moment. 

I do a lot of R and D for Dracopraesi security. Fascinating stuff, but you don’t have the clearance for me to discuss it. Sorry.

He gave a sheepish look and I smiled before turning my attention to Jai.

MW: Jai. You grew up with the Fae and are a mage. Were you born with the ability to use magic, or is it something you learned from the Fae? 

Jai looked at me with a huge grin on his face, and friendliness in his eyes. He spoke very softly, and with his thick accent, I found myself listening very carefully to understand what he said.

Jai: Not grow up. Not born. Always be. Always dragon. Always Mage. But always learn. 

MW: Oh, okay. so, can you give a demonstration of some magic? Or do I not understand the term mage, and it means something else, like wise-one? And if that's the case, would you give a piece of advice?

Jai handed my cat to Clifford and then faded out until he was nothing but mist in the air. The mist moved around my living room, disturbing nothing. It moved behind me, and Jai turned back to his solid, human form and whispered in my ear.

Jai: Wise advice. One can always learn.

He giggled and moved back to sit beside Clifford, reclaiming my cat. Clifford gave me a weak, apologetic smile. I smiled back, utterly charmed by Jai.

Clifford: You aren’t misunderstanding what a Mage is, necessarily. A human Mage, or even a Fae or Elfin Mage may be different, but as a Mage dragon, Jai is capable of both great magick and profound wisdom. The Goddess created him this way, so this just is Jai. It’s who and what he’s been from the moment she brought him into existence…But his view of the world is different than most dragons. He sees every experience as new, because no moment in time is exactly the same as another. Everything is an opportunity to learn, and Jai observes the world with fascination and an open mind.

MW: That is really fascinating. So, you two have known each other a long time. How did you first meet?

Jai: No. Not long time.

Clifford: I think what he means is, it’s not that we’ve known each other a long time, but that as dragons, we’ve known each other since the beginning of our existence. We’ve never not known each other.

Jai shook his head. 

Jai: We dragons. Thousand years with my Clifford not long time.

Clifford laughed quietly and looked at down at where his hands draped across his lap.

Clifford: Yes. If you mean how long we’ve been with each other, for dragons, a thousand years is the blink of an eye in our concept of time. You can’t imagine how long we’ve lived, the span of our existence…But to answer your question, the first time we spent any significant time together was while I stayed with the Fae to learn about some biomedical research they had been doing that I believed had potential applications in biometrics. That was centuries before humans even figured out something as simple as electricity. Much of the technology we have today has Fae origins. They’re highly advanced, despite their disinterest in full cultural integration with humans, leaving some to believe they must be tribal savages.

Jai laughed and patted Clifford’s leg. Clifford blushed and shook his head.

Clifford: Sorry. I accuse him of going off on nonsensical tangents, but I’m probably worse.

MW: It's alright. I don't mind the tangents. So, what do you like to do when you have time and can be together, and how do you keep in touch when your duties keep you separated?

Jai: Together we share all things we cannot when apart.

Clifford: He’s right. Jai and I are both busy with our own responsibilities, keeping us apart more often than not. We’ve gone as long as fifty-seven years without seeing each other even once and have had many times our opportunities to be together were limited to merely a day or two. We try to share everything possible in the time we have, all the things we’ve seen and done, what we’ve learned or read…

He glanced at Jai.

In that way, I think we’re no different than any other couple. We miss each other and want to make up for lost time.

MW: Just like any other couple.  I smiled. How do you keep your relationship strong with such short time together over a thousand years?

Jai: Patience. Commitment. They bring strength.

Clifford nodded, and Jai gently touched his face. Every look and touch between them showed me their deep affection for each other.

MW: Seeing you've been a couple for so long, what piece of advice would you give about love and relationships?

Jai: Love be in action, not feeling.

Clifford: It’s believed dragons are incapable of love because the romantic aspect is outside our understanding of human emotions, but that’s not what Jai believes or what he’s taught me. It doesn’t matter what you understand or what anyone understands, it’s your actions that speak of your ability to love someone. How I treat Jai tells him he’s loved. That works for us because, as dragons, emotions are often overwhelming and confusing… but too often, I think humans say the words without putting any action behind them then find themselves at a loss when the relationship fails. Perhaps humans should listen to Jai too, and the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high among you.

Clifford's cheeks tinged pink, and he covered his face with one hand for a moment before sighing deeply.

I am so sorry…I didn’t mean to offend you. I just…He shakes his head in embarrassment. I don’t spend a lot of time speaking with humans. Sorry.

MW: No offense taken. I think you have the right of it. Now, how about some quick fire questions? Moonlit strolls or sunny car rides?

Jai bounces up and down on the sofa like a little child.

Jai: Sun!

Clifford: Sunny car rides. Jai loves to be in the sun.

MW: Modern times or past times?

Clifford: Modern. I don’t have to hide all my tech abilities now.

Clifford grinned and Jai nodded.

Jai: My Clifford happy. Yes. Now.

MW: Many loves over time or one true love for all time?

Clifford moved his arm off the back of the couch and took Jai’s hand in his. They smiled at each other before looking toward me.

Clifford: I think you know the answer to that one already.

Yes, I think I do. Thanks so much for coming to visit. I really enjoyed getting to know you both a bit better.



  1. I'm not sure I could ever choose my favorite dragon, Mary. I LOVE Clifford and Jai, how sweet they are together, but I love all my other dragons too! This interview with them is wonderful! Thanks for doing this! :-)

    1. Well, I thought my favorite was Theo, but now I'm torn between him, Liam, and Claaron. Who knew?

      It's really been my pleasure to do these interviews. Thanks for giving me the opportunity.

    2. OMG. Claaron... And everyone still has to meet him tomorrow! He is just, well, they'll have to see. ;-)

      I'm glad you've enjoyed it. I've had fun with them too! I hope with the revamping of my blog starting in April that you'll sign up to be a guest!

    3. Mmm. Claaron. :-)

      And I can't wait to see the new designed blog. I'll be sure to sign up as a guest :-) The rest of you should be sure to check out Melissa's blog, and authors, see if you fit for a guest spot, too!


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