These characters did not spring fully formed from the ether. They have histories, or what is called back stories. Here is where three of my characters come from:
This story first appeared on my Facebook page, “Blood Bonds by Rosanne Licata.” Something tells me to share it here, too.
[This is the second interview I had with Raj and Bjornolf. We spoke mostly about communicating. I think I've been fascinated with the whole concept, because they learned to speak each other's language.]
Q: When you first met, you couldn’t speak directly to each other.
Bjornolf: My brother, Hirgar, translated Raj’s Latin into Norse for me, and my Norse into Latin for her.
Raj: Both of us learned the other’s language as quickly as we could. I learned Norse – very useful with the entire band – Bjornolf already knew some Latin, but he would not speak it. I can learn languages quickly, so I took on the responsibility to make myself understood as well as possible. Arabic remained a language my brother, Kemal, and I used for private conversations.
Bjornolf: I mentioned it before, having an interpreter, even my brother, took the privacy away from conversation. That was the most important reason to learn to understand each other directly.
Q: Didn’t you have a link where you could sort of read each other’s mind?
Raj: Not at first. From the beginning, we were able to sense when the other needed protecting, but we could not mind-speak until after we were wed.
Q: Didn’t you find all that frustrating?
Bjornolf: We communicated a good amount by expressions and gestures, at first, but Raj began to speak Norse with me very quickly. Within a half a moon, she could make herself understood.
Raj: Bjornolf is being too modest, here. Even though he did not speak the language aloud, he learned to understand Latin very quickly, so he understood nearly everything I said.
Q: So not being able to communicate did not last long, at all.
Raj: No. Half a moon, perhaps?
Bjornolf: It is important to remember we wanted to understand each other. That mutual desire was a critical ingredient in our success.
Q: Ya gotta wanna.
Bj and R (together): Yes.
Rosanne: Thank you for your insights. Perhaps we can get together another time and talk about other things?
Bjornolf: Again, yes.
I managed to catch up with Raj and Bjornolf (Heaven knows how!) and got to hear from them a little of how they see themselves, both as individuals and as a couple. Here are some of their comments:
Rosanne (Q): You see yourselves as both individuals and one half of a couple. How did that come about?
Raj: As written in The Caravan, I first saw Bjornolf in Antioch. I knew we were connected in some way. I have, however, never thought of myself as not a whole person in and of myself.
Bjornolf: That is the most important part. I first expressed my reaction to meeting Raj as finding something I did not know I had lost. I thought it most strange at the time, but when you know about Spirit Twins, the feeling becomes clear.
Raj: I like to think I speak for both of us when I say we are each complete in and of ourselves, but we would much rather be together.
Q: What is your understanding of Spirit Twins?
Raj: It is a major part of my faith. I believe we each have a twin soul. We are not identical, because we each have different lessons to learn, but we fit together perfectly.
Bjornolf: It is about mutual unconditional positive regard. We are together, no matter what.
Raj: And only Spirit Twins can do that without conscious effort.
Q: I don’t get it. I thought a good relationship takes work.
Raj: Of course there is work involved. After all, we are two different people.
Bjornolf: In our case, two very different people.
Raj: In order to truly understand each other, we must communicate clearly. Not easy, sometimes, when our native languages are different. I refer to the staying together part is without effort.
Bjornolf: The one assumption we can make is that we never leave each other. We are always together.
Raj: It is a knowing without being able to explain it.
Q: Like the exchange, “How will you know when you’re in love? You just know!” You have given me lots to think about. May we talk again, later?
Raj and Bjornolf: Yes.
These characters! They are flatly refusing at the moment to give an interview, group or otherwise! Let me talk with them and see if I can’t change their minds. I’ll be back!
Not just characters in a series of novels set in the tenth century. These guys seem real to me. They talk, I listen and take dictation, a story ends up on paper.
I have the final say when it comes to how the story is told, and who gets to tell it, but the characters have expressed in no uncertain terms, they have a lot more to say than what shows up in the pages of the books.
Hence, their blog.
Before you run screaming from what may seem like the deranged utterances of a mind afflicted with Multiple Personality Disorder, check out what these characters have to say about themselves:
Bjornolf: I am the leader and protector of my roving band of warriors. I like to think I am always calm, but a dragon lives within me. It comes out when I perceive vast injustice. Easy to manage? Not yet…!
Raj: I am Bjornolf’s Spirit Twin, his other half. We have been searching for each other all our lives, but did not know we were missing anything until we found each other. I know I have great difficulty controlling my temper. I ask myself, what else is new?
Hirgar: I am Bjornolf’s younger brother. The reason I am on this earth is to protect others, mostly my brother. I think.
Ethol: I am not ready to tell you about myself. Perhaps later…
Kemal: I am a teacher and a writer. I revere tradition. It supplies order in a chaotic world. This order keeps getting overturned, though, and mostly by Raj, who is my younger, and exceedingly non-traditional, half-sister!
Next time, they will be giving a group interview. I ask questions, they all provide answers. Except maybe for Ethol.