Warning: May contain spoilers for those who have not yet read The Rebirth and Awakening of Wolfie Star-Runner.
The sweet scent of flowers hangs heavy in the air as the chubby, brown-skinned young woman makes her way to the little teahouse nestled in the center of the botanical gardens. As she reaches the door she pushes up her black, pseudo-cat-eye framed glasses and straightens her T-shirt—a brand new white one with a picture of Chewbacca holding up a “Free Hugs” sign. Then, she walks through the door of the cozy, cottage-like establishment and looks around for the person that she is to meet.
There, at a booth next to one of the wide windows over to her left, sits a young woman with long brown hair. Her hair is done in a neat but fashionable style with a single red, rose-shaped hair clip pinning it back on the left side of her forehead which creates an elegant asymmetry, and she is wearing a simple string of pearls and a matching pair of earrings as well. Her blue, ankle-length dress is decorated with bands of white lace on the skirt, white lace trim around the sleeves and hem, and a red silk rose embellishment at the center of the just-above-bust neckline. Her low-heeled leather shoes are the exact same shade of blue as her dress with white bows the exact same color as the lace, and her semi-sheer stockings sport white and blue vertical stripes—again, perfectly matched to her dress. Around her right wrist is a charm bracelet bearing gold, silver, and glass charms in the shapes of kittens, rainbows, ponies, hearts, and stars. This is River Bendis.
She looks up at the chubby, brown-skinned young woman and beckons her over with a polite wave and a sweet smile. As soon as the interviewer is seated, the two women begin the interview.
Quick Facts about River Bendis
Name: River Bertha Bendis
Birthday: Maya (May) 22, 1019 P.W.D.
Height: 5 feet, 6 inches (167.6 cm)
Hair: Dark Brown
Weapon of Choice: Semi-automatic assault rifle
Favorite Color: Powder Pink
Danielle Freeman: It’s good to see you, River. I love your outfit.
River Bendis: Thank you very much. I bought the dress just for the occasion…but then I realized that I didn’t have a matching pair of shoes, so I got these *turns her foot to show off one of her shoes*. They were half off when I bought these adorable red boots. And then I saw this hair clip and I just had to have it…and these stockings were on the rack right beside them. *giggles and blushes* My apologies for rambling on like that. I admit that I can be…a bit of a shopaholic sometimes…
D.F.: It’s no problem. I’ve heard my fair share of shopping stories from my sister, so your little detour didn’t bother me one bit. Shall we begin the interview?
R.B.: Yes, I am ready to start.
D.F.: Good. So, to start with, which of you is older—you or Flood?
R.B.: I am the elder sister by one minute and twelve seconds. I know that it technically should not matter, but the fact that it makes me the eldest of all of our siblings means that in times when our elders are not available, I am the de facto Head of Household. It is a very big responsibility, and I take it very seriously.
D.F.: And are there any times when you have had to take on that responsibility?
R.B.: Yes. There was one time when we were children when Mother and Miss Amersbey were both bedridden with a terrible cold and Father was away on business. In that case, it fell on me not only to ensure that my brothers and sister stayed out of mischief and did not skip out on their training, but also to make sure that the household staff did not take Miss Amersbey’s illness for an excuse to slack off. Quite a bit of work for a single ten-year-old girl, but luckily I was cute enough that the adults behaved themselves just because I was the most adorable boss that they had ever had. My siblings, however…*sighs and shakes her head* As they are now, they were quite a handful to deal with. Silver was attempting to sneak between meal snacks every time that I turned my back, Inferno half-destroyed the upstairs parlor with a fireball spell gone wrong, Wolfsbane got his head stuck in the stair railing…Oh! And Flood was the worst! Seemingly every ten minutes she was attempting to battle me for the right to assume command! Thank the Gods that I was only in charge for a week before Mother was finally well enough to take over again…
D.F.: So, has there been any time when you’ve allowed Flood to take the helm and taken on the role of second in command?
R.B.: *nods* Usually, I allow her to take the lead in combat scenarios and in situations where mischief is needed more than diplomacy. She is a very cunning strategist and is excellent at concocting brilliant plans and schemes on the fly. My strengths, on the other hand, are more rooted in negotiation and public relations. You could say that I am the face of our team, but she is the fist.
D.F.: But you’re no slouch when it comes to fighting yourself. In fact, you’re quite the expert with a rifle, correct?
R.B.: *smiles coyly* I wouldn’t call myself an “expert,” but I will admit that I am a pretty good shot. I prefer to fight at a distance, so an assault rifle and the occasional fire spell are all that I usually use in combat. Though, if I truly must resort to close combat, I can hold my own in a fist fight and am somewhat capable with a rapier. Luckily, I rarely have to.
D.F.: And have you ever had to fight…say…Helga Mir?
R.B.: Well, I hate to speak ill of the dead, but…Yes. Once I did end up having to do battle with that despicable woman—may her eternal slumber be fitful.
D.F.: And how did that happen, exactly?
R.B.: Once, several years ago, Flood and I walked into the Hunters’ Station in Bevelle. Ren Ascot’s team just happened to be there, and that dreadful woman was taunting Wolfsbane—who was only thirteen or fourteen at the time—by pressing his face into her bosom.
Wolfsbane has always been terribly shy with girls, and her harassment was very clearly causing him distress. He was trying to pull away from her, screaming for her to stop…but she just continued her abuse.
Naturally, Flood and I went over to rescue Wolfsbane and request that she stop her shameful behavior immediately. Flood pulled our brother out of that…horrid woman’s chest, and I went about attempting to resolve the matter civilly. However, despite my asking her politely and attempting to speak with her on the terms of being two mature women, she became very belligerent with me.
D.F.: Belligerent, how?
R.B.: Invading my space, shoving, poking, swearing…Whenever I would back away from her, she would just move forward again and again until I was backed against a wall. The only reason why Flood did not intercede in her usual manner is because I had told her to stay with Wolfsbane and allow me to deal with Miss Mir.
Once I was against the wall, I tried to side-step her. However, she blocked my path with her arm. When I asked her one last time to back away so that we could talk things out like adults, she grabbed me by the hair and threw me to the floor.
Once again, I had to tell Flood to stay back and take care of Wolfsbane. I was not down for long before Miss Mir came over to kick me…but, I caught her foot before she could hit me and pushed her to the ground. As soon as we were both up, she lunged at me and I caught her by the arm and threw her across the room. It was thankfully a very short confrontation, because she was knocked unconscious when her head hit a chair.
D.F.: And what happened after that?
F.B.: Flood and I evacuated Wolfsbane to our inn room and filed a formal complaint against Miss Mir for lewd conduct and sexual harassment, along with a request that our brother be removed from Mr. Ascot’s team. Unfortunately, due to the foolishness that is the female-on-male sexual harassment double-standard, the higher-ups dismissed the charges and our request. They even had the nerve to suggest that that woman was only giving Wolfsbane “what every boy that age wants anyway!”
If that…that…jezebel had been a man shoving a young teenaged girl’s face into his groin, then the incident would not have been pushed aside so cavalierly! But a woman shoving a young teenaged boy’s face into her breasts? Totally excusable. They get away with a written apology and a fifty krown fine. It’s an outrage! *her face is relatively calm, but there is a terrifying look in her eyes by the end it it*
D.F.: Alright…let’s change the subject to happier things, like your relationship with Valin.
R.B.: *her expression softens* Yes, Valin. The love of my life. Some days, I still find it strange how we even ended up together.
D.F.: As I understand it, you and Flood met him on a job and from there made him a permanent member of your team. How exactly did you end up falling for him afterward?
R.B.: Honestly, I was neither trying to gain his attentions nor looking for a new boyfriend. It all sort of fell into place quite spontaneously. Valin has many good qualities—he has a strong sense of justice, he is chivalrous and respectful, kind and gentle, incredibly brave…if, at times, a bit thick-headed. The fact that he is good-looking and a skilled warrior are only the icing and sprinkles on the cake, really. I fell in love with the person he is, without even really realizing it until the day that we were at the park together. I half-tripped and dropped my ice cream bar, he caught it before it was even halfway to the ground, he handed it to me, our fingers met, our eyes locked, we moved in closer…and then so did that ice cream bar, right on my favorite white coat! *giggles* I usually would have been annoyed by that, but instead I just couldn’t stop laughing. That is when I knew that I had fallen for him. After all, getting chocolate stains out of white wool is usually nothing to smile about.
D.F.: *giggles* Aw! That’s sweet! And the fact that he is a werewolf never acted as a buffer against your being attracted to him?
R.B.: Absolutely not. After getting over the initial shock of seeing him change back to human form the first time, I have not really been bothered by his being a lycanthrope. Actually—and this is a bit embarrassing—I think that he is quite fetching in his werewolf form. That platinum blonde coat, those brilliant crimson eyes…and those adorable ears! I know that he thought that I was strange the first time that I asked to touch them…but I couldn’t help it! He just has the cutest wolf ears of any werewolf ever!
*regains her composure and clears her throat* Anyway, I have always accepted his lupine qualities as simply part of his personality, nothing more. Although he is sometimes a bit self-conscious about such things as occasionally getting distracted by steaks in a butcher’s shop window or how snappy he gets when he is injured, I find those things just as endearing as any of his other traits. *giggles* I wouldn’t have him any other way.
D.F.: And yet, you asked him to stay out of town until after the full moon when you came home for Silver’s birthday.
R.B.: Only because I feared for his safety. I knew that Mother and Uncle Falcon would be alright with Valin being a lycanthrope if they found out, and I thought that Inferno would likely be uncomfortable for a little bit before his curiosity got the better of him…But Wolfsbane, Silver, and Father? Father and Silver have never liked any of my boyfriends to begin with, and finding out about Valin’s true nature…I feared that they would kill him without hesitation if they knew.
And Wolfsbane? He had been terribly conflicted in his feelings toward werewolves since Father’s extreme “corrective intervention” fifteen years ago. I was afraid that at worst he would kill Valin and at best…he would never speak to me again. But, it seems that Shogga had planned to be kind to us.
It is not just Wolfsbane finally being dragged back to his rightful self that I am talking about, but how everything ended up coming together. Though, I did have to deal with Valin for jumping the gun and ending our magic mirror conversation without hearing me out…even if it was out of concern for my safety. After all, if one does not lay down and enforce solid ground rules in a relationship, it will not survive.
D.F.: One final question before we finish up: If you could have picked between being a werewolf hunter and any other occupation, what would you be?
R.B.: *thoughtful pause* Hmm…I suppose that I would have chosen to be a traveling musician. I love to play the harp and the piano, and I am not too bad of a singer. Plus, even if the money is not always very good, I would get to make people happy for a living. Alas, I suppose that fighting to protect other people’s happiness and their right to be happy will have to do.
D.F.: Well, that does it. Thanks for the interview.
R.B.: You’re very welcome. Oh! While we’re here, would you like to enjoy some tea and cake with me? I know that I am supposed to be keeping my sweet tooth in check so that I can fit into my wedding dress, but…this teahouse has the very best chocolate-chocolate chip cake!
D.F.: Well…I’m on a bit of a diet myself, but…Oh, what the heck! I love chocolate!
And so, the two young women enjoyed some tea—and probably a few too many slices of cake for their own good—together before parting ways.
That does it for this week, folks. I’ll be taking next week off to refuel the old idea machine, but join us on Sunday the 26th for more Star-Runner World fun. In the meantime, be sure to check out The Star-Runner Chronicles on Amazon (print and Kinde ebook versions available, ebook coming to Smashwords in August), archive binge around here for a bit (there’s lots to see, and if you liked this article then you may want to check out others in the “Interviews” category as well), spy on me on Twitter and Pintrest, or check out my Fan Works Spot for some of my leisure writings (especially if you like Sonic AU fics…). Make sure to spread the word if you like the books or blog, and drop a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else good books are reviewed if you’ve read the series (your reviews=lots of help for me). So, until next time, thanks for reading and have a great week!