Interview with an Antagonist

One of (possibly many, in my case) my responses to Writing Challenge: Antagonist Job Interview.  This lovely gentleman has abruptly become the central villain in a steampunk fantasy novel I’ve been working on.  I was creating him as I went here (since I haven’t really reached a physical representation of the evil in the novel so far), so we’ll see how it turns out.  🙂

Leaning back into her plush armchair and rubbing softly at the bridge of her nose, the young woman heaved a great sigh before waving a hand at the open door, gesturing the tall figure standing sternly in its space forward.  Adjusting his jacket slightly, he entered slowly, each broad step deliberately precise and concentrated upon reaching his eventual goal of the chair that sat opposite his possible employer.  He lowered himself into the proffered spot and blinked at the woman, studying her with darkly veiled curiosity masked by stoic indifference.

“So…” the woman began, glancing over the top of her glasses at the notebook in her hand.  “You’d be Glenwood, correct?”

The man frowned, the subtle lines in his face emphasized by the motion.  “If by ‘Glenwood’ you mean Sir Theodore Glenwood, master magician and respected gentleman of Her Majesty’s court, then yes, you would be correct.”

“Adding ‘pompous ass’ to the characteristics list, then,” she muttered in reply, scribbling at the page before tapping the edge of the pen against its surface.  “So, care to tell me a bit about yourself, Sir Theodore?”

“I am not a pompous ass,” Theodore sniffed in the deep rumble that was his unmistakable voice, drumming his long fingers against his knee in a steady rhythm.    He sighed, entwining his hands together in an attempt to halt the tapping before continuing.  “As I said, I am a magician, specifically one of the variety that deals with metals and the advances of technology.  I studied under the masters at the Institute in Munich…I’m sure you’re aware of their, ah…vast specialties.”

Lifting a single eyebrow, the woman nodded once, attempting to keep her expression blank.  “Yes, shockingly enough, I know all about the Universität, thanks very much.  That still doesn’t tell me very much about you personally, however.”

“What, precisely, do you wish to know then, authoress?” he inquired, arms crossed over his chest as he glared at her pointedly.  “’Tell me about yourself’ hardly gives one anything specific to elaborate upon.”

“Point taken…fine.  What exactly do you do?  Other than foil the plots of do-gooders, of course.”

“My official occupation is that of one who works directly under Her Majesty’s name, doing as she sees fit under her reign.”

She eyed him carefully, meeting his soft blue-gray gaze steadily.  “That’s not all you do, though, is it?” she prodded.

He leaned back against his chair, angular jaw set in a determined grimace.  “No.  I also…care for the upper class.  Tend to their needs.”

“That’s not what I meant, Glenwood, and you know it.”

Rising to his feet, he swiftly began pacing along the edge of the desk between them, dark curls dancing with every twist of his head.  “I am fully aware of what you mean, creator, I thank you.  Must it be spoken of in such plain terms?  Very well, then – I provide services for them, in the form of lower class men and women, to care for their physical desires.  Does that reply satisfy you?”

She scrawled briefly in her notebook before responding, expression distasteful.  “You can’t even speak of it fully.”

“Of course I cannot!” he roared, turning to lean towards her against the hard wooden surface.  “It is atrocious, barbaric, evil!  But it is what must be done for the good of all!”

The pair fell silent except for Theodore’s harsh breathing, until the woman cleared her throat.  “Well then.  I believe that clears up a few key character points, now, doesn’t it?  Shall we move on?”

Heaving a sigh, the gentleman nodded, falling heavily back into his seat.  “Ask your questions, woman, and let us be done here.  I have work to tend to.”

“Right.”  She glanced back down at her notebook, searching from the list of questions for an appropriate selection.  “I know a bit more about what you do, but what about your weaknesses?”

Snorting almost imperceptibly, he gave his head a slow shake, a minute blush appearing across his pale skin.  “My only weakness is that there is always more for me to learn, and I am merely human.  I lack the time to gain all that the world has to offer me.”

“So…your weakness is mortality?”

“You could say that.  It is the weakness of all of us, is it not?  The inability to continue on in the same ways that the marvels we craft can, dying rather than simply breaking down and needing a quick repair.  It is the weakness of all mankind, and yet I feel it particularly strongly.”

“Careful there, Theo, I very nearly feel sorry for you.”

He chuckled lowly, rubbing at his chin thoughtfully.  “I am not the one deserving of your pity.”

The woman’s eyebrows furrowed slightly as she gave a faint sigh, returning her eyes to her notes.  “What are you most proud of since you joined the Queen’s service?”

He took a moment to answer, stoic face nearly betraying his intrigued attitude as he considered his answer.  “I suppose I am proud of nearly everything I have done.  I have accomplished much over a very small span of time, as I am sure you are aware, and it truly is remarkable.  I managed to do more during ten years of dedication than half of the Queen’s magicians have over their entire lifetimes combined.  Surely that must say something of my skills.”

“’Proud in general,’” she mumbled as she scribbled across the page, unable to keep the smirk from her lips as he scowled menacingly down at her.  “What else do we have here…ah.  How would you resolve a dispute between two valued magicians, then, hmm?”

“Whichever is the least useful could easily be – “

“Death isn’t an option, Glenwood, so don’t even think it.”

Sighing dramatically, he waved a hand disconcertedly.  “You never allow me the chance to have any fun.  Very well…if I’m to be perfectly honestly, I would most likely allow them to settle themselves without my interference, unless absolutely necessary.  Really, a person of my station has little concern over the bickerings between colleagues unless it directly relates to one’s self.  As long as they keep their squabbles away from me and my business, I really couldn’t give a damn what happened between them.”

“Not even if it were between Levi, Felix, and August?”

“They are valuable, all three of them, certainly, but not irreplaceable.  Though I would be loathe to attempt to find their equals; far better uses of my time could undoubtedly be found.”

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“Exactly where I am right now.”  She blinked several times at his instantaneous and resolute answer, startled despite herself.  He noticed her surprise almost immediately and continued.  “I know that what I do is of value.  I am more than aware that, without my gifts and dedication to the task handed down to me by those I once apprenticed under, our very world would come to ruin.  I shall not allow such an occurrence, not while I still stand breathing before you.”

“You really think that all would go to hell over a few gifted women?”

He forced her to meet his eyes before he would answer.  “I know it, Madame Auteur.  They are a threat to themselves and the entire country.  Without me there to tamp down their gifts, as you call them, we would be nothing.  A mere rock of broken possibilities.”

She stood abruptly, unsettled by the dark edge to his startling eyes.  “I believe that will be enough for now.  You are dismissed.”

Slowly, he followed her actions, giving a swift bow of his head in respect before he strode from the room.  Throwing down the notebook onto the desk, the woman let out a small breath of air, rubbing dully at the back of her neck.

“Holy hell, that was creeptastic,” she muttered under her breath, before lifting her head towards the empty doorway.  “All right, send in Wrensbry!  I’m going to need something a bit more ridiculous after that darling little escapade…”

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About shannonihicks

I am a mid-twenties woman attempting to fulfill my creative need through writing. Check back here often to see what I'm working on!
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