A while back I introduced the new interview survey. I got a lot of great questions for Deacon, and one very distinctive question for Ayna, the fairy. After noting that character interviews would go live only after a given character has received enough questions, someone stuffed the ballot box with a dozen Ayna questions. It turns out one of our most prolific fan artists was responsible, and I decided that since she asked most (if not all) of the questions, she might as well be the one to conduct the interview. Thus, let’s welcome Katie!
What follows is a non-canon interview with Ayna, Highest Master of Wind magic in Entwell. The interview may contain SPOILERS for those who have not read the trilogy, so if you haven’t finished at least the second book, hold off on reading. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy it. As before, any of these answers are tentative until they show up in a book. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Katie: Where did you come from, and how did you get to Entwell?
Ayna: I came here at a very young age. I was only a child, really. My home was a place known by the locals as Ravenwood. My kind has a far more elegant name for it, but I won’t sully the word by attempting to render it fit to be recorded in your writing. I’d been warned by my parents to keep hidden when elves and their like were in the forest. Unfortunately, my thirst for knowledge briefly surpassed my good sense and I allowed myself to be seen. An elf who does not deserve to be remembered managed to catch me in a net and stow me in a jar. He gave me to a group of adventurers who then made their way to the cave of the beast. They placed me in a special cage, a ‘fairy compass’ they called it. It had an open top and a string running through its floor. One end was tied around my waist, the other to a weight that hung below the cage, just heavy enough to keep me from flying. I hate to be far from the open breeze. All fairies do. That combined with our ability to read the winds makes us uniquely suited to finding the way out of a cave.
It should be no surprise that the adventurers became hopelessly lost. Unbeknownst to them, they’d made it more than halfway through the cave when they finally decided to put me to use. They would lift the weight, giving me enough slack to flutter up. I would strain at my bonds in the direction of the nearest exit. Then they would travel for a time and repeat the process. If not for me, we all would have perished. It was a terrible way to come to this place, but what I have found here has made it almost worthwhile. Without them, I might never have become a student of equal standing, and thus I likely would not have been honored properly as I am as the Highest Master.
Katie: About being the Highest Master. If a random fourteen year old girl walked up to you and basically groveled, and begged to be your apprentice, what would your reaction be? Would you say yes or no? This is, of course, assuming they had some form of wind magic skills.
Ayna: (Sigh) As a master in Entwell, it is my obligation to take on apprentices interested in learning the art of wind magic. As the highest master it is my privilege to take on only those students who meet my strict criteria. I do not train neophytes.
Katie: What about Myranda?
Ayna: Myranda. (Grumble.) Myranda was an exceptional case, and hardly a random girl. However, I suppose if a prospective student were to show traces of the same aptitude and dedication, and expressed an extreme desire to train under me, then I might consider taking her as a student.
Katie: What’s your favorite part about being you: Ayna the fairy and also the Highest Master of Air/Wind?
Ayna: I suppose my favorite part of being a fairy is having the clarity of mind and purity of form to experience the world properly. You larger creatures are unable to appreciate how subtle and intricate nature can be. Most of you lack our connection to the flow and shape of mana as well. I cannot imagine being unable to detect the underlying power beneath every breeze. It would be like living life with my eyes closed. Being the Highest Master of Wind affords me both the respect I deserve and the resources I need to pursue my art to its deepest levels.
Katie: Why wind?
Ayna: Would you ask a fish why it swims? Wind is my element in every meaning of the phrase. A fairy makes its home among the breezes. The curls and currents of the morning gusts are like a second language to us. As an aspiring mystic, turning my back on so powerful an affinity would have been unthinkable.
Katie: Have you ever considered switching elements just for a change of pace? Like, going to master Earth or Fire or something? Just because you can?
Ayna: Like all Entwell Masters, I have been exposed to other elemental teachings over the course of my education. Air was without a doubt the most pure and perfect. The rest were crude by comparison. Furthermore, a Highest Master is expected to devote herself entirely to the study and instruction of her chosen discipline. Were I to seriously pursue a different element, I would be expected to at least temporarily relinquish my title and apprentice under one of my “colleagues”. I cannot imagine voluntarily demeaning myself in such a manner.
Katie: Going along with the other question, this is a statement: I think it would really be great if you could rub it in Solomon’s face that you’d mastered TWO elements. I would laugh and be like “You go girl!”
Ayna: (Narrows her eyes and glances aside in thought.) There is a certain appeal to that… And it is not without precedent. As I recall, one of the dragon’s most skilled apprentices of years gone by was a fairy.
Katie: (Whispering to Solomon, who had wandered near to observe the interview) I just think I should warn you, because if Ayna uses my idea, in a few years you may have a smug fairy come after you and rub it in your face that she’s mastered two elements instead of one. (Quickly retreats to the shelter of a nearby rock, for fear of incineration)
Ayna: (Scowling) Perhaps you have not been informed, but I have exceptional hearing. As you are a visitor to Entwell, I will ignore your “smug” comment, but if you aren’t going to pay me your full attention I certainly don’t intend to continue this interview any further.
Katie: Sorry! Does your name originate from anything specific? Or is it just pretty? Not to be sarcastic, it is very pretty. (Grovels)
Ayna: I must say that it is refreshing to deal with a human with the proper appreciation for my kind and our customs, even if it is a transparent attempt to regain my good favor. My name, both in its proper form and in the form you know it, does indeed have a deeper meaning. Because our language is nearly impossible for larger creatures to master, we are encouraged to cobble together as near an approximation of our true names as your clumsy tongues can manage. If you must know, my name is the fairy word for “The Child of the Cold Wind from the Mountain that Blows Across the Stream and Through the Reeds.”
Katie: Ayna means all of that?
Ayna: When spoken with the proper subtlety and nuance, yes. All of my family is named for the winds through the reeds. As such, some of the record keepers here have recorded me as Ayna Reedwind. Rather redundant, but acceptable.
Katie: What’s your opinion on…say, instructing a human teenager on how to speak whatever language you speak?
Ayna: … (Crosses her arms.) These questions seem to be developing a rather pronounced theme. I have my suspicions about just how hypothetical this young person truly is. Regardless, humans lack the anatomy to do my language justice. Most wisely do not even try to speak it. I recall only one human making concerted effort to do so. Since he turned his back on Entwell I will not utter his name, but suffice to say his accent was deplorable.
Katie: (Impressively imitates a trilling flute.)
Ayna: (Eyebrows lifting briefly in surprise) … Well, your diction is passable, but you’re speaking gibberish.
Katie: If you could do one thing that had no consequences, what would it be?
Ayna: My fellow elemental Wizards insist that wind magic is the least useful of the four elements with regard to combat. I’ve long dreamt of demonstrating in no uncertain terms just how effective it can be when in the hands of a true master. I’ve shown my prowess in mock battle time and again, but there are some aspects of my arsenal which I feel certain cannot be fully appreciated outside of genuine combat. The risk of taking the lives of my fellow wizards makes this utterly out of the question, however.
Katie: Couldn’t you do it in the Crystal Arena?
Ayna: And voluntarily subject myself to Azriel? I’ve had dealings with her once before. That is entirely enough for one lifetime.
Katie: How tall are you, exactly? Like in feet?
Ayna: Hmph. Humans and their preoccupation with size. I’ve never felt it necessary to measure myself.
Katie: You look about six inches tall. Half of a foot, give or take an inch.
Ayna: I trust that is accurate enough to allay any further curiosity on the matter.
Katie: You don’t seem to like humans very much, or anything other than fairies. Is that just your personal opinion, or does the same go for all fairies?
Ayna: (Her posture stiffens and her eyes narrow) Fairies are remarkable creatures. We are born with a depth of mystic understanding that it would take any other race a decade or more to attain. We are second only to elementals in terms of raw, innate ability to manipulate fundamental forces. Yet, in the world beyond the cave, are we revered? No. Are we treated as equals? No. We are not even feared like the dragons. When the adventurers who brought me here introduced themselves to the Elder, they did not so much as list me as a member of their party. They owed their lives to me and I was nothing more than equipment to them. (Wind surges) Equipment! (She seems to realise that her emotions are getting the better of her and regains her composure.) So you’ll understand if I do not hold the larger races in high regard unless given reason to. And no, most fairies do not share my attitude. Those outside of Entwell view the larger races with a mixture of curiosity and awe, as I once did. Those of this village have mostly overcome those feelings, or have never been given reason to feel them in the first place. (She straightens her dress and brushes a few dislodged strands of hair aside.) Is that all, or are there more questions?
Katie: Umm… No, I don’t have another question. Just wanted to tell you that you’re super awesome. ^_^
Ayna: … You are an unusual human. Though for one who has witnessed my mastery over wind, awe is an entirely appropriate response.
That’s all for now. If you’ve got questions of your own, remember that until further notice, the Interview Survey is open. Thanks for reading!