As part of the Kingshold blog tour organised by Dave at The Write Reads, today I host Jyuth from D.P. Woolliscroft‘s debut novel, Kingshold.
Born in Derby in England, on the day before mid-summers day, David Peter Woolliscroft was very nearly magical. If only his dear old mum could have held on for another day. But magic called out to him over the years, with a many a book being devoured for its arcane properties. David studied Accounting at Cardiff University where numbers weaved their own kind of magic and he has since been a successful business leader in the intervening twenty years.
Adventures have been had. More books devoured and then one day, David had read enough where the ideas he had kept bottled up needed a release valve. And thus, rising out of the self doubt like a phoenix at a clicky keyboard, a writer was born. The Wildfire Cycle is David’s debut series.
He is married to his wife Haneen and has a daughter Liberty, who all live with their mini golden doodle Rosie in Princeton NJ.
David is one of the few crabs to escape the crab pot.
Welcome to the Asylum, Jyuth! Please don’t mind the screams, the tenants are a bit restless today. Come, take a seat by the fire, have a beverage of your choice and tell us something about yourself!
What is this trickery? I was promised pies and entertainment but instead you present me with raving lunatics hollering for their freedom. What manner of foul beast are you? I would suggest you step aside post haste, unless you can give me a sausage.
Now, now, there is no need to talk to the Queen of the Asylum like this, sir. You better know your place. I, however, have to apologise for the behaviour of my subjects. I have all kinds of magical creatures and magic wielders holed up here. I think they might have sensed your presence. My servants are working on calming them down. Please, calm yourself as well. I’m sure we can get you some sausages. Let me fetch you some myself… Now then. Shall we begin our conversation? Good. I know you probably saw a lot of places during your life and lived in some comfy castles and such, but say, you can live in the fantasy house/lair of your dreams. What would it look like?
Fantasy? Why would I need to think about fantasy. My life is too good to waste my essential mental energies on things that are not of significant importance.
But you are right that I have lived in a variety of places over the years. It would be easy for me to choose the royal palace in Kingshold, for I remember when that was little more than a stone barn and far from the place of opulence and comfort that it is today. But it has also been a long time since I have enjoyed that place. A pox on those Kings and Queens and their proclivity for depravity and incompetence.
No, if I could be any place my heart desires, I would go back to the home of my grandmother. It was humble—meager even—but it was always warm from the peat hearth and her heart, and she was always there to nurse a wild young boy’s injuries. When my teacher took me from that place, was that the last time I was truly happy? Perhaps. But is that not the same for others when they cease to be a child?
Most certainly. I wonder, if you were locked in an asylum, who would you like to live with? And no, you can’t magic your way out of it.
Foul despot!!! You have only just wormed your way into a modicum of good graces as a result of that sausage, and now you reveal your true intentions. Prepare for you have met your doom!
I can assure you, I have no ‘intentions’. This is only a discourse between rulers, nothing else. Calm yourself down! Are you always this paranoid?
Paranoid? I hardly think it is paranoia when you have an elf with delusions of godhood throwing demons at you for centuries. Do you think I just walk into any old place without knowing the exits?
But I shall calm down. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
I confess, this is a question I’ve been burning to ask ever since I’ve heard about your adventures: how did you get to meet the pyxies? And what is your relationship with them?
Why should I waste my breath? I am sure you will not understand…
Excuse me, as I said, I’m a Queen, I think I possess enough intelligence to understand whatever you might want to say. Sir, if you dare to offend me again, I’ll have to ask my servants to bind you. Are we clear?
First of all young lady, I am intimately affair with the fact that just because you have a royal title that does not in any way make you intelligent. Far from it in my experience.
However, in this instance I will give you the benefit of the doubt. I suppose I can try to keep this simple so that you may comprehend the basics. There are certain stones in the world that are conduits for immense power such as this one i wear around my neck. They are highly prized by users of magic as a more reliable and plentiful source of magic than using the world around them. Even i know not how or why they came to be, but there are demons who are attuned to them. The Pyxies—those vicious, wrinkled, tiny creatures—are one of the known species of demon.
I found the stone of Jyuth many centuries ago deep beneath the earth, past many challenging obstacles, and it was Basharaat, king of the Pyxies who was magically chained to the wall, just out of arms reach from his prize. I took the stone for my own and freed the pyxie king in exchange for a lifetime of occasional service.
Heh. I doubt he realized I would live for so fucking long.
You’ve spent some considerable time in Kingshold. What would you recommend for a tourist to check out?
Finally, an astute question, and one more suited for you. Three things I will tell you:
One. Mama Batty’s pie shop in the Narrows. There is nothing quite like her blood pies. Crisp pastry encloses a glutinous red filling that is rich and with a slightly tinny taste. They will put hairs on your chest! Some people say Flying Pig Pie is the most famous pie in Kingshold but I don’t care for it.
Two. The University of Kingshold. Bringing peace to the warring tribes of Edland and forging a nation that rules the waves surrounding the Jeweled Continent is one of my lasting legacies. But the secret that many don’t know is that it is this seat of learning that has been the bedrock on which the Edland’s success has been built. I think you could learn much there. For a time I would teach students myself, but now I content myself with attending classes in magical disguise to argue and debate with the professors. It keeps them on their toes, you know. And you can hardly begrudge an old man a little entertainment.
Three. Unedar Halt. Receiving an invitation to the Dwarven city that resides below Kingshold may be challenging for one such as yourself. But were you to be able to gain admittance, then you would see a place like no other. Vast caverns filled workshops; towers to their gods; unending tunnels; living statues; luminescent mosses; and a library that is a monument archiving everything, just in case. And then the hot spring baths are wonderful for a soak after a long day of seeing the sights.
Oh, yes, I’ve heard about Unedar Halt. I dearly hope I’ll get invited one day for a royal visit. I really would love to see that magical place. Can I ask what happened to you since we last heard from you in Kingshold? Had any interesting adventures? What was the most exotic place you visited?
I am afraid that there is nothing interesting to note here. Most definitely not interesting enough to warrant a story called “The further adventures of an old man and his pyxie” in Mareth’s upcoming Tales of Ioth (out soon).
How cryptic. Fine then, keep your secrets. It was a pleasure to have you here as a guest! I hope you don’t mind staying a bit longer. Look, D.P. Woolliscroft is here, you might know him. Alright, I’ll leave you two to catch up. *locks door*
I have warned you twice before!
Now you shall pay the thrice price!
*spinning razor sharp discs levitate ominously above his head, catching the meager light of the asylum*
Open. The. Door.
*through the door* Keep your threats to yourself. You’ve been disrespectful through our conversation, so I think it serves you right to learn a bit of humbleness. You’ll stay until I deem you to be free. Good day to you!
If you’d like to get in contact with D.P. Woolliscroft (and Jyuth), you can find him on social media: