In this post, I attempt to interview Anno Einarsson, exiled Tarn and editor of the ‘The South Garth Inquisitor’ about Granny Maberly. As is common with anything to do with Anno or Granny, it did not go as expected.
MM: Anno, you were going to bring us an interview with Granny Maberly today, yet here you are alone, clutching a blank tablet and stylus?
ANNO: Sorry about that. Couldn’t pin the old besom down. Must be a Wagonwalker religious thing, not sharing their personal stories.
MM: You couldn’t have tried very hard. Could it be that you’re uncomfortable around her? I heard you and she had some sort of run-in, back in Four Crossings?
ANNO: Ha! You don’t know the half of it! That old mare is tighter than an accountant’s purse-strings! I tried—believe me, I tried: But she was in one of her stubborn moods. How about I interview you? Seeing as how you’re in the middle of writing my life history, which I am sure everyone will find fascinating.
MM: Hardly your life history, Anno. You play an important part in the first, full-length, upcoming Dragonish book, “Under the Splintered Mountains”, but it hardly revolves around you. It’s a smallish part.
ANNO: Oh. Well, let me interview you anyway. I am sure I could tell your readers—
MM: No thank you. Let me ask YOU some questions instead.
ANNO: [nervously loosening cravat] What about?
MM: Well, perhaps you could explain the Tarn to us?
ANNO: [relaxing visibly] What do you want to know?
MM: What are they? What are the Tarn?
ANNO: The oldest inhabitants of Dragonish. Immortal—unless you cut off their heads or burn them to a cinder. Uh… don’t print that last bit, please. No need to give anyone ideas. Just finish at ‘immortal’.
MM: You’re very tall. Is it true that all Tarn are equally tall, or taller?
ANNO: Yes. [cheerfully] I’m a runt compared to the average Tarn male. I’m only six-three, six-four. Most Tarn males stand around seven bootlengths tall. King Tahlen’s about seven-two. Positively freakish. Big face, leering into yours. Big feet. I can still see him. Ugh.
MM: [dubiously] I heard he was angelically handsome and irresistible to women. In fact, I’d always heard that Tarn are incredibly handsome, but …
ANNO: [bristling] ‘But’? Are you saying I’m not?
MM: [tactfully] You wear very nice clothes. Do all Tarn have silver hair?
ANNO: Go on. Say it. I’ve got a big nose. I look like a Talurian kamal.
MM: No, no. Not at all. I would never have said ‘camel’. Your nose is saved from being camel-like by being, uh, crooked. And turning up a bit at the end. In fact, it’s all over the place. Did you have an accident?
ANNO: [eyes turning silver] I don’t want to talk about that. Can we change the subject?
MM: No problem. I was asking about silver hair? Tarn?
ANNO: No, we don’t all have silver hair. You only see that among the Fríth Mor; what you might call the Dark Forest Tarn. Garanhon’s lot were known for mostly brown or dark hair, and you’ll see mostly shades of red hair among the Coedig Óraid-”
MM: The what?
ANNO: [impatiently] The Golden Forest Tarn: They control the West Garth of the island. The Dark Forest Tarn control the East Garth. Garanhon controls the Summer Forest for the South Garth (since you obviously can’t handle Tarn names-)”
MM: Well, your language is a real toothbreaker. I must say, though, Anno: You don’t sound Tarn at all. Not a trace of a foreign accent. In fact, you sound like a South Garth tradesman.
ANNO: [shortly] Pure affectation, I assure you. People talk to me more readily when I speak like an ordinary Southerner.
MM: What about the North Tarn? You haven’t told me about them.
ANNO: There are no more North Garth Tarn. Gone. All of ’em. You used to find them up around Arrandelf and back of the northern mountains.
MM: What happened to them?
ANNO: Ah, that’s a story for another day altogether. The first Tarn Queen, Phaedelin, got corrupted, and that set off a whole chain of events, ending with the destruction of the Draig, the Great Dragons and the devastation of the North. After that, Tarn just hid in their forests.
MM: Except for you.
ANNO: Except for me.
MM: I heard you were banished.
ANNO: [Loftily] You heard wrong. I left voluntarily.
MM: We’ll let that go for now. [brightly] Hey! Did you know I can speak some Tarn? Tha thu cho duaichnidh ri èarr àirde de a’ coisich deas damh!
ANNO: [Eyes widening] I’m as ugly as a southbound WHAT?
MM: [Conscientiously consulting notes] Oops. Sorry. I think I used the wrong phrase.
ANNO: [Writing it down] I can use that one, actually. Thanks. And for the record, what you just spoke is Scots Gaelic, which is similar to Tarn, but not the same. What WAS that last word?
MM: Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thanks for dropping in, Anno. We both have deadlines to meet so …
ANNO: “Writer Insults Last Living Member of Tarn”. Or no — how about: “Fantasy Writer Explodes into Foul-Mouthed Rant”? Ho-ho! I’ve got a story NOW. Thanks, Missus Miller. [grabs camera and snaps photo]
MM: WAIT! DON’T YOU DARE … Well. Whoever would have thought a Tarn could run away so fast? AND he took my camera…