– Arthur C. Clarke
I led this blog post with a quote from the great science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke because this post is all about Pellus, an important character in The Passion Season: Book I of the Covalent Series. Pellus uses science in a way that seems like magic. He is like a father to Barakiel, my male protagonist.
Both of them are Covalent, ancient beings who use their great power to keep the forces of Creation and Destruction in balance. Barakiel is a warrior whose purpose is to defend the Covalent Realm against its enemies, but Pellus is much different. He is a traveler, the type of Covalent who can travel between dimensions using rifts in the fabric of existence.
Moreover, Pellus has achieved the highest rank of traveler. He is an adept, able to manipulate the properties of matter and energy as well as pass between dimensions. What does this mean? He can change the phases of matter from gas to liquid to solid and back again. He can bend light and muffle sound. He can desiccate corpses and send electromagnetic waves to do his bidding. This may seem like magic, but it’s science with a touch of art. Travelers are born with the ability to perceive the molecular structure of things at the subatomic level, but they must study for an age before they can fully understand the bonds that give structure to all things. Before they can break and reform those bonds at will. Pellus has achieved this mastery. He is badass.
Below is an interview with Pellus by Roan, his apprentice at the Travelers Guild. Roan conducted this interview for his fellow apprentices, who are all slightly in awe of Pellus, one of the Covalent Realm’s most powerful traveler adepts.
Q: When did you first realize you were a traveler?
A: My earliest memory was watching my parents and noticing their vibrations. I could see they were different from one another yet in harmony, an impression of beauty and love. I did not know what it meant until my mother began to teach me about the different types of Covalent. When she told me about the travelers, I knew I belonged with them.
Q: What was your apprenticeship like?
A: I was fortunate enough to be apprenticed to the legendary adept Segellen. She was demanding, but she taught me well. During one lesson she taught me how to construct a barrier over my head, to strengthen the bonds between the molecules in the air so they could not be broken. Then she placed heavy objects on the barrier. If my concentration had wavered they would have come crashing down on me. That is one way to learn how to focus.
I loved Segellen dearly. I would not be who I am were it not for her. Some time ago, she and her mate grew weary of life, they were so ancient. They met the Stream together. They let themselves be absorbed by the furious power of Creation. I will always miss them, but I am happy they were able to choose their death together.
A: Sometimes I miss it, flowing through the rifts, the beauty of the vast heavens spinning before me, the dark energy taking me wherever it wanted to go. I encountered phenomena so fantastic it will take the adepts and scholars an age to decipher to the information. I am often tempted to shoot off into the cosmos once more, to gather more data, but I have responsibilities.
Q: You are traveler to the great warrior Barakiel, who lives in exile. No other traveler adept has ever had such a duty. What is it like?
A: I enjoy it. For all the times I have passed to and from the dimension of the Earthly Realm with Barakiel, I still relish the task. I hold the memory of the curves and waves of the fabric of existence within me. The journey is like riding along the petal of an intricate flower to find the point it joins with other petals, their surfaces quivering with energy.
I've also had the chance to build a strong relationship with Barakiel. I value our friendship and I feel privileged to know him so well. Not many do.
Q: Covalent are generally forbidden from traveling to the Earthly Realm. Can you tell us something about it?
A: A fascinating place, a realm that offers the highest beauty and the most visceral ugliness. I love earthly weather. Once, when Barakiel was feeling broken-hearted because he had to leave some humans of whom he had grown fond, he asked me to take him to a storm. We stood on a plateau and watched it approach, a wall of driving rain and wind and flashing electrical power that swallowed the boiling reds of the sun. I could feel the beating heart of the Earth, and I could see Barakiel gather its strength. I knew Barakiel was powerful, but at the time I did not know what he could do with a storm. It was astonishing to behold.
That was a long time ago. The Earthly Realm still holds great beauty, but there are too many humans now. The idiotic creatures are befouling their own home. I fail to understand what Barakiel sees in them.
Q: Do you have any advice for apprentice travelers?
A: When you graduate, you will begin your duty as journeyman travelers. Many will be lost or return insane. You must hone your ability to avoid this danger as much as possible. Before you set foot into a rift, your concentration must be unwavering. Spend some time outside Covalent City’s protective barrier. Test your survival skills there. When the wasteland is as easy as a stroll through the gardens, you will be ready for the rifts.