Thursday, May 31, 2012

Character Interview of Mershad Shahab, from the Fires in Eden Series, conducted by Stephen Zimmer

Hi Mershad, I am just a figment of your imagination, a part of your dream right now, but I hope you don't mind talking for a few minutes and perhaps answering a few questions.

MS: Not at all, I don't mind.  It is nice to talk to someone else from my home world.  Things have been very different for me, for quite a while now.
You were a university student not that long ago.
MS: Yes, until the night of the mists.  Being a student seems so long ago now.   At the moment I'm in a world called Ave, in a land called Midragard.  It has been a big change going from worrying about tests to worrying about staying alive.  I have never felt the kind of danger to myself that I have experienced since coming into Ave. 

I can't imagine how jarring it must have been to find yourself in another world.

MS:  It did not take long for me to find out it wasn't a dream.  I thank the Great God that Erika was there with me, and I was not alone.  But I also wish that she did not get forced out of our world.  We don't know if we will ever find a way back.   

 But you met up with some others not too long afterwards, didn't you?

MS:  Yes, a few more from our world.  Derek, Kent, and Janus, who knew each other well from before.  And Logan and Antonio, who were also friends already. 

You were taken in by the tribal people of the Five Realms, the Onan tribe I believe.

MS:  Yes, we did, shortly after this massive army passed by the edge of the forest.  That shook the ground, like nothing I'd ever felt before.  At first, I was scared, as they were all carrying weapons, looked anything but friendly, and had their bodies painted in black and red.  Going to their village on the top of the hill was amazing, and the more I was around them, the more comfortable I got.  They were strict with us, but good to us.  I really feel I could have lived among them with no trouble. 

But the upheaval with the attack on the village in the night?

MS. Yes, and it was a horrible tragedy.  Using these huge, flying creatures, the ones attacking the village dropped a rain of large stones that tore the longhouses apart.  Many, many people were killed.  It is a blessing from the Great God that those of us from my world survived it. 

That night probably bothered you deeply.  I know that in our world you had family living in Iraq when war broke out with the US and it fell under heavy airstrikes.  

 MS: Yes, I did.  And I can relate a little more to the terror that they must have felt, that sense of helplessness.  The tremendous damage in the aftermath.  All the death.   It was really horrible.   There was nothing we could do to stop those big flying beasts.  A great warrior among the Onan, Ayenwatha, led some tribal warriors into the sky on their flying steeds to attack the enemy beasts, and the tribal warriors were able to finally drive them away.  But the damage had been done, and the village had to be abandoned.

But that was only the beginning of a much bigger attack, wasn't it?

MS: The armies in support of the Unifier, mainly from a land called Gallea to the west of the Five Realms, invaded.  The tribal leaders thought it would be best to get myself and the others out the Five Realms, so they took us by canoe to an island where there was a Midragardan settlement. 

What are the Midragardans like?
They are a very lively and strong people.  They definitely work hard, they are not shy about fighting, and they eat and drink to their fill.  Very much how I imagined Vikings would be in my own world.

They were all very interested in me.
  Evidently, Ave has lands that have people that resemble me, ethnically, who are very respected by the Midragardans.  They thought I was from this area, called the Sunlands. 

You mentioned eating and drinking to their fill.  Don't the Midragardans drink ale and mead?  Did their consumption of alcohol cause you some difficulties?  I know you are a practicing Muslim.

MS:  It was one of the harder things for me to accept, as I do not consume alcohol because of my beliefs.  Of course, I know that in a world like Ave, it is safer to drink alcohol than water.  I finally allowed myself to drink of their mead and ale, but only in moderation.  I am trying to keep to my own ways as best as I can.

Your daily prayers cannot be easy to do, with moving around so much.

MS:  Both the tribal people and the Midragardans have shown no opposition to my daily prayers.  The tribal people worship a One Spirit, a Creator, and the Midragardans follow the All-Father, so they are not without their own faith.  From what I have been able to learn, and this is fascinating to me, there seems to be a religion in the Sunlands that is much like Islam.  It was even revealed by a great Prophet.  I really would like to visit the Sunlands if I have a chance.

But you are pretty far away now, aren't you?

  Yes, the Avanorans attacked, along with some very powerful creatures called Trogens.  Derek, Kent, and myself barely escaped, using Fenraren steeds, which look kind of like flying wolves.  They are incredible creatures.  We were led to Midragard, where I am living now.

You flew all the way?

  It was like nothing I ever experienced.  Very different from being in a plane.  It was very cold in the upper air, and I got really sore from sitting in a saddle for so long, but the things I saw were incredible.  Going into Midragard was amazing.  The land and sea were beautiful to look upon.  We flew right down the midst of a fjord when reached land again.  I won't forget that experience! 

Where were you taken in Midragard?

To one of the estates of King Hakon, where we are being given protection.
  The king has a beautiful long hall there.  There is some greater purpose in the prophecies of Ave regarding people from another world.  I don't know what I think about being someone related to a prophecy.  But the Midragardans and the tribal people did not want us to fall into the Unifier's hands.

Do you feel safer now that you are in Midragard itself?

MS: Not really, to be fully honest with you.  I saw what happened to the tribal people, and I saw what happened to the Midragardan settlement.  I cannot believe anywhere is safe, and I will have to be very cautious.

I wish you the best of luck, Mershad.  A hard road may lie ahead of you, but maybe some great things are in store for you as well.

If the Great God wills it.  I must take a step at a time now, one day to the next.

Good advice for anyone.  Thank you for spending some time with me in your dream. 

You are very welcome.  It is always good to dream of my home world.  I just hope I can return some day.


  1. The third day of the tour and every day something new!
    Well done Stephen.

    Thanks a lot Stephen and Alexx for an interesting and entertaining characte interview which is satisfying for new and experienced FIRES IN EDEN series readers.

  2. Awesome interview! I always enjoy a good character interview. It's fun to see inside their head for a moment.

  3. Definitely an interesting character. I'm enjoying the tour.