Today I’m posting a special interview. This is fictional journalist Ian McFae interviewing the characters from High Maga by Karin Rita Gastreich. Enjoy!
Love and Magic in the Highlands of Moehn
An exclusive interview with Maga Eolyn and Adiana of Selkynsen
By Medieval Times correspondent Ian McFae
Moehn seems an unlikely setting for one of the kingdom’s most ambitious projects. A rough-hewn province, its villages are clusters of earthen homes; its people humble in dress and aspect. Cultivated fields grow haphazardly across rolling hills. Wheat and lentils struggle amongst scattered saplings in a constant battle against the ever-encroaching forest.
Today I’m visiting an Aekelahr, the first community of its kind in over a generation. A half-finished wall marks the perimeter. Inside, small stone buildings house living quarters as well as a herbarium and library. At the center, a young fir tree has begun its reach toward the sky. On the southern side of the complex, insects buzz through a large garden of fruits, vegetables, and fragrant herbs.
My hostess, Maga Eolyn, survived the purges against magas and is often hailed as the last Daughter of Aithne. Her companion, Mistress Adiana, is a talented musician from the province of Selkynsen. You may, perhaps, remember her performances from the days of Mage Corey’s Circle. Though similar in age, Eolyn and Adiana seem very different in disposition. Maga Eolyn comes across as formal and soft spoken, reminiscent of a lynx that prefers the forest deep. Adiana, on the other hand, is restless as a songbird in spring.
MT: Thank you both for hosting me today. I’m going to start with a question that may seem obvious, but that many of our readers could probably use a refresher on: What is a maga?
Eolyn: Thank you for visiting us, Ian. A maga is a woman trained in a tradition of magic unique to Moisehén, first discovered in ancient times by Aithne and Caradoc. We seek to understand the natural world, the spirits of plants, animals, and rocks, and to use that understanding for the betterment of our people.
MT: Sounds noble. Yet not too long ago, the kingdom made a concerted effort to rid itself of everyone who had learned this tradition.
Adiana: Fools will be fools. And kings more so, when given the chance.
Eolyn: When the magas rose up against King Akmael’s father, Kedehen, the consequences were many and brutal. Here we are trying to put that past behind us and create a new future in magic, not only for the young women who have joined our Aekelahr, but for all of Moisehén.
MT: Tell me a little about the women who live here. How do you choose your students?
Eolyn: We accept anyone who comes willingly and demonstrates an aptitude for magic, as well as respect for the traditions and teachings of Aithne and Caradoc. Right now we are a small community: five young girls, Maga Renate, Adiana, and myself. But we hope to grow.
MT: So, Maga Eolyn, you teach magic, but what role does Adiana have? Why bring a musician to the Aekelahr?
Adiana: Aithne and Caradoc, who discovered magic, recognized music as a form of Primitive Magic, the most ancient and complex magic given to our people. It’s true that I was never trained as a maga, but I know music, and I love teaching the girls. This is the one gift that I can offer in support of Eolyn’s effort.
MT: So you left the cosmopolitan city of Selkynsen to settle in this remote and rather backward province. Do you ever miss your home?
Adiana: I miss the wine. There is no better wine than the wine of Selkynsen.
MT: But you don’t regret your choice?
Adiana: Not at all. This is the most wonderful community I’ve ever been a part of, which is saying a lot since I was a musician for Mage Corey’s Circle. And let me tell you, that was amazing! But Eolyn has built a strong family her out of a most unlikely collection of orphans and misfits. We love each other and care for each other. The girls who study with us will one day be some of the most powerful women in the kingdom.
MT: It’s common knowledge that this Aekelahr would not exist without the very generous support of King Akmael. How did you convince the son of Kedehen to finance this endeavor, to even make it legal again for women to practice magic?
Eolyn: My Lord King and I were brought together by very unusual circumstances when we were children. It was on the basis of that friendship that he eventually decided to reverse some of the rulings made by his father.
MT: Friendship. A carefully chosen word. Some would call it love.
Adiana: Well he is in love with her. Madly. No doubt about it.
Eolyn: I cannot speak for the King’s heart, but I can assure you there is no romance between us.
MT: Yet there was romance at one time. Would you deny this?
Eolyn: Of course not. Akmael – I mean, the King – and I were involved for a brief period some years ago, but that ended before he married Queen Taesara. We have not seen each other since.
MT: King Akmael and Queen Taesara are expected to arrive in Moehn in the next few weeks, as part of their summer progress. Any chance of old flames reigniting?
Eolyn: No. Absolutely not.
Adiana: I would say so. Definitely. Yes.
Eolyn: Adiana, please.
Adiana: I’m just saying! Look at her, Ian. What king wouldn’t be in love with this woman? She’s beautiful! And I know she still has feelings for him. You should see how nervous she’s been with all the preparations. It’s driving the rest of us mad.
Eolyn: Perhaps this would be an appropriate moment to bring the interview to a close.
MT: As much as I’d like to delve deeper into this question, we are, I’m afraid, at the end of our time today. I’m certain our readers will be anxious to learn what happens in the coming weeks, Maga Eolyn, when you and King Akmael are reunited.
Readers of Medieval Times, I will be back soon with full coverage of the King’s long-anticipated visit to the province of Moehn. Until then, this is Ian McFae signing off from the highlands and wishing you a most magical day.
Find out more about High Maga here!