Character Interview: Rome Lockheed and Julian Rider

For our second set of character interviews, The Rising Tilde interviewed the protagonists of The Talisman Series by Brett Salter.

[includes major spoilers until Book 4!]

Rome Lockheed is our first protagonist. He is a fire dragon, and the readers follow his journey into the world of dragons and knights with The Talisman series.

Our second protagonist is Julian Rider, a Knight and Rome’s sworn brother. He discovered he was a Knight when he was seven years old with the help of Mr Jones.

Here’s how our interview went.

Hi! It’s good to have you here with us. How are you both today?

Rome: Hey Rising Tilde!  Good to finally meet you guys

Julian: Doin’ awesome!  Feelin’ awesome!  Lookin’ awesome!

So, let’s get started with the questions.What does a typical day look like for both of you? 

Rome: Healthy breakfast.  Then, I’m off to school which can be so boring, except for lunch and the hackey-sack crew.  After school, it’s training and preparing for anything The Tyrant King throws at us. 

Julian:  I pretty much wake up when the sun is warm and just grace the world with my coolness.  If there’s any time leftover, I watch anime, play video games, and bust out the skateboard. (Rome nudges Julian).  Oh, and I help Rome with fighting the Darkbrands!

You both seem like very different people. What makes your friendship work?

Rome: Well, I think we get along so well because we have the same goal in mind.  Even if we go about it very differently. 

Julian: I agree, dude.  We compliment each other very well like how opposites attract.  And the one thing we are the best at is kickin’ butt on the battlefield.  

How has the Great Synergy changed your friendship and battle strategies? 

Rome:  I knew who Julian was before The Great Synergy, but we were never the best of friends. 

Julian: Yeah!  Like We were kinda friends, but after The Great Synergy, we got to be the best of friends.  Now we know everything about each other. 

Rome: Exactly, Jules.  Sharing the same mind space as someone and the same heart REALLY compels you to get along.  And it allows us to communicate during confrontations telepathically.  That helps tremendously when fighting Darkbrands.  

What do you do when you’re not being a fantastic Knight-Dragon duo or practising battle strategies? 

Julian:  Movin’ and groovin’, my friends!  Always trying to live each day to the fullest.  My motto; drive fast and leave a good lookin’ corpse! 

Rome: Jules, you don’t even have a driver’s license. 

Julian: It’s a metaphor, dude!  Dragons are so literal sometimes. 

Rome: You don’t even know what “metaphor” means. 

Julian:  Ummm.  Yeah, you’re right.

If you had to describe Mr Jones and Mrs Case in three words or less each, what would they be? 

Rome:  Organization, intelligence, and foresight for Mr. Jones.  Mrs. Case’s words would be kind, powerful, and talented. 

Julian:  Um?  I’d say Mrs. Case is cool enough for an adult.  And Mr. Jones?  A rambling, old codger with too many schemes…. (under his breath) and a good friend. 

Rome:  No way you could keep Julian to less than three words about ANY subject.  

How do you feel after successfully performing The Great Synergy the right way? 

Julian:  I feel GREAT about it!  There’s literally nothing holding us back now from taking on The Tyrant King and protecting this world. 

Rome:  Agreed!  It sure is nice to be able to say we’ve done it the right way.  I never knew what I was missing until Jules cracked that egg. 

Julian:  Only one drawback, to be honest.  That mysterious, little lizard popping up outta nowhere.  That’s the only part that stinks!  Literally and figuratively.

How did you guys feel when you learned about Camela and Krysta being a Knight-Dragon duo? 

Rome:  I was so excited to meet another dragon!  It genuinely gave me hope that there may be other dragons out there like me.  Dragons that were free of a concealment spell.  It made the world seem not so small, you know?  Not so alone. 

Julian:  I always knew my sister was hiding something.  She’s always been daddy’s little angel.  It made me sick growing up.  She’s just too perfect, ya know?  And when I found out her dirty, little secret? (rubs hands together) Oohoo, man!  Payback time! 

Rome:  You’d blackmail your own sister? 

Julian:  Not really!  I’m not THAT type of guy.  Just nice to have something in my back pocket for the next time I get in trouble with my dad. 

Rome:  Oh, Jules!  What ARE we going to do with you?

Questions for Rome

Could you tell us about your family? 

R: My dad works a lot.  I barely see him.  My mom does too.  We are not the richest family in town, so my parents have to work hard to provide a decent life for me.  I really appreciate that, but I feel like I should tell them more.  I really do love my parents.  I think they have set a good example for me on how to work hard for what you believe in.  And to never give up, even when times are tough.  

Will you ever tell your family about you being a Dragon? 

R: I have thought about this a lot lately.  I think that I may just let them stay blissfully ignorant to the situation.  They already have a ton on their plates.  If they found out I was out gallivanting around with wizards and knights, they may not understand.  So, I will wait a little while longer.  At least, until we beat The Tyrant King.

What was your first impression of Julian? How do you feel about him now? 

R: Jules?  I only remember him being a pretty strange guy.  He was always kind of standoffish with other kids, but then in class, he would blurt out stuff a lot.  Like he did not know how to fit in.  To be completely honest, it was hard to get a read on him.  Nowadays, he is my best friend, and I cannot imagine my life without him.  I understand now why he was shy around people.  Knowing the truth about this world must have been quite a pressure on him.  And feeling the ever-growing need to find a dragon so he could start saving the world must have been tough.  I like him BECAUSE I understand him.  And every adventure, every step forward just makes us stronger as friends.   

What do your eyes catching fire feel like? (It sounds painful) 

R: Warmth.  A warmth I can barely explain.  Like tears, almost.  Yeah!  Like an abundance of tears sprinkling your whole face.  But without the wet feeling.  It’s more of an emotion than an actual feeling.  I imagine it is what feeling a soul might be like.  Surprisingly, it does not hurt at all.  

What do you like about Krysta? 

R: I like her for being herself.  She’s smart, and pretty, and unusually warm for an ice dragon.  She is just all the good things you like in people rolled into one.  When I think about why I do what I do for the realm.  And why I put myself in dangerous situations, I just think about Krysta.  She is the kind of person worth saving.  The kind of person you want to be around all the time.

If you could be any Dragon other than a Fire Dragon, which one would it be and why? 

R: Hmmm.  That is a great question.  I think it would be cool to be from The Den of Verdana.  I like the idea of living off the land and a staying in a community that helps each other.  Definitely NOT a water dragon though!

What is the best and worst part about being a Dragon? 

R: The worst part is that I have to stay in human form most times.  The world is not yet ready for dragons.  But they will be.  And I will be at the forefront when that day comes.  The best part of being a dragon is everything else!  It is freedom.  And strength.  And the love that comes with a full heart.

If you could have anything in the world gifted to you, what would it be? 

R: I want a Dragon Dyne.  Maybe one day…

What is the quirkiest thing about you that not many people know? Being a Dragon does not count. 

R: Haha.  Well, aside from my Synergy Scar on my hand from performing The Great Synergy the right way, I have a barely visible birthmark on my forehead in the shape of a “V”.  You can only see it when I am overrun with emotion.  Very few people have ever even seen it.

Questions for Julian

Could you tell us more about how your journey as a Knight started with Mr Jones when you were seven years old? 

J: Aha.  The old man sought me out.  Said he needed me for a mission to save the world.  I thought he was cracked until he showed me things that I couldn’t explain.  Like monsters in The Void.  And magic.  (sighs)  We spent the first few years reviewing the “true history” of the world.  Super boring!  Lessons whenever I could find time to spend at the library.  Learning about my family history.  Then, once he thought I was caught up on everything, we started working with my Talisman.  Those were fun times.  A little monotonous, but fun for the most part.  When I finally felt comfortable using it, we started our search.  A search that we both took seriously, ya know?  It took forever.  We chased several leads, but never found a dragon.  I started thinking this whole was a bust until, a few years after Rome’s family moved to town, when I realized he was a kindling fire dragon.  And here we are!  I’m the most awesome Synergist Knight to ever live! 

When do you think you will tell your father about you being a Knight? 

J: Look, I hate liars.  More than anything.  Almost as much as stanky, gross Garms.  And I realize that by withholding the truth from my dad, I am, in fact lying to him.  But I just don’t think he would get it, ya know?  So, maybe one day, if things change, or I’m forced into the situation, I’ll tell him.  For now though, I’ll just keep the secret.  

Your family seems to have a lot of Knights. What if your father is a Knight too? Camela was against Dragons too, or so we thought before we found out the truth. Maybe your father is a Knight, and he is hiding the truth too? Who do you think the Dragon would be if he is a Knight? 

J: Whoa (simulates explosions by his head).  You just blew my mind!  I mean, anything is possible.  He could be using this whole anti-dragons thing as a cover.  And it WOULD be an interesting plot twist if he came out as a Synergist Knight.  I mean, the only people that can use elemental Talismans to bond with dragons are member of my family so…  I see what you’re getting at.  Theoretically, if he were a Synergist knight, and I had to guess his dragon?  I would say his crazy friend from the yacht club, Mr. Von Rosen.  He’s just like my dad.  Same social circles.  Same crummy get togethers.  Same awful taste in clothing.  That’s my guess.

What was your first impression of Rome? How do you feel about him now? 

J: I thought he seemed cool.  I kinda wanted to be like him.  Friendly and honest and a hard worker.  A good combination.  Kinda like he is now.  He’s a perfect leader.  Simple and forthright.  And he’s so humble that he doesn’t even know how good he is at it.  The truth is, we would follow him anywhere if it meant protecting the ones we love.  And that is Rome in a nutshell.  Courage personified.

Do you think Rome and Krysta make a good pair? 

J: Meh.  I guess so.  Remember how I said Rome is simple.  Well, Krysta is NOT.  So, I guess they make a smart match.  Fire and ice after all.  Honestly, I feel like she may be taking up too much of his thoughts these days.  I just need him to focus on what’s ahead of us.  But, she doesn’t really annoy me TOO much, so that’s a positive.  

What was it like growing up with Camela? 

J: Cast your mind.  Imagine a complete know-it-all following you around all the time.  Now, mix that with the biggest suck-up you can invent, and you have Camela.  Oh, and make sure you include someone who ALWAYS has to have the last word and is NEVER wrong.  That should give you some idea.  Let’s just say that I was not overly sad when she left for school in England.  But, she IS my sister, so I think deep down, I love her a little bit.  I’ll say this.  It’s nice to have her and Krysta on the battlefield, so I guess she’s not a total lost cause.  

How heavy are your armour and helmet? 

J: I know right?  Thank you for asking.  No one ever gives me any credit for the pains I go through for this team!  I gotta lug this stuff around every time we fight.  And if it weren’t for my statistics boost from being a Synergist Knight, I doubt I could even move in this stuff.  It’s heavy, man.  And it gets sweaty in there!.  But I’ve learned to deal with it and still look awesome cutting through Darkbrands

If you could have anything in the world gifted to you, what would it be?

J: Well, The Great Synergy gave me a brother.  And Mr. Jones trained me to be the most famous Darkbrand slayer the world’s ever seen.  So, I guess I’d want a never-ending supply of tacos!

What is the quirkiest thing about you that not many people know? Being a Knight does not count. 

J: Where do I start?  I’ve seen over 200 movies.  I have an autographed picture of Stan Lee.  I can juggle all kinds of fruit.  I’ve beaten The Legend of Zelda like 6 times.  I have perfect pitch but ONLY in the shower.  In a room, I always have to sit facing the door.  I don’t trust snails or slugs.  I’ve memorized the entire Weezer blue album and once performed it at the talent show.  I invented “Rick-rolling”.  I don’t drink coffee, but I love the smell.  My hero is Monty Oum.  I sleep with only one sock and with my feet out from under the covers.  I can never spell the word “seperate” correctly….see?  I don’t eat the crust on my sandwiches.  My favorite dinosaur is the velociraptor.  Favorite Pokémon is Charizard.  I can hold my breath for 47 seconds.  I have a collection of spores under my bed that I use for the science fair every year.  I once drank an entire 2-liter of Coke in one sitting.  I can fit my entire fist in my mouth.  I don’t have any…

Thank you guys for answering our questions.

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