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Dante, Hero of Mermaid's Ransom, Book III of the Daughters of Arianne series

Summary: Leontine is descending to the Underworld for a chat with Dante. He'sstill pretty new to our world...

Originally posted December 2009 at Leontine's Book Realm, home of the Beefcake Preview Club

Interview

© Copyright 2009 - All Rights Reserved

I am descending to the Underworld to have a one on one with Dante…the Club was not his setting and I really am eager to get in to his mind. I wonder if I’ll meet Lucifer…hhmmmm.

Dante, can you give us some details regarding yourself and your story, in short; what can we expect?

I was born in the Dark One world, a terrible, desolate place where only violence and survival matter. My mother was a vampire captive, making me Dark Spawn, a half breed. For sixty-some years, I endured brutality at the claws of the Dark Ones and built up sorcery skills to contrive a way to escape that world. A seawitch had visited my world once, twenty years ago, and showed me there might be a way, but she left. However, I figured out how to cross the barrier between our worlds, enter the dreams of her goddaughter and yank her physical form into my world. That is when I met Alexis.
I did that terrible thing, ransoming her for my freedom, but Alexis ended up helping me come to her world. We have been together since, as she has tried to help me adjust to a place beyond anything I’ve ever known. *pause* I do not know how your readers will feel about me. I have looked at your site and I am not sure if I am heroic in the way many of your past guests have been, but Alexis says I am her hero. I am never quite sure how to respond when she says things like that, but I am glad she feels that way.

General Profile:

Name: The name I chose for myself is Dante. My vampire mother did not name me, because she bore me in captivity, in the Dark One world.

Age: Sixty something – Time is not measured in the Dark One world the way it is measured here, so when I finally came to your world, I could only estimate.

Length: Hmm. If this means what I think it means, Alexis says I am more than adequate for her needs.

Hair: Long black hair. I have been told my mother had Native American blood, and that it looks much like that of her people.

Eyes: Dark brown, almost black. When I am angry, they turn red, an inherited feature from my Dark One sire.

Body build: I am over six feet, and the life I have led makes me muscular and yet lean. Of course, being part-vampire, I do not have to have defined musculature to be stronger than most of the human race, but Alexis seems to like the way my body looks.

Color wings: No wings. I am part vampire. Alexis has beautiful wings, however, because she is a merangel, though most of the time she is in her human form. However, when she swims in the ocean, she sometimes pulls out several of her feathers and weaves them into my hair.

What is the one thing you have on you at all times? *Scowl* I agreed to wear a collar bespelled by the seawitch, Mina, that supposedly keeps me from causing harm to supposed innocents, though in reality it only causes me extreme pain if I do so. Pain is not a deterrent to me if I believe Alexis is in danger. However, I agreed to do this for Alexis, because it was the only way I was allowed to stay with her and let her teach me about her world. She explained that, because so much of human behavior is unknown to me, I might accidentally harm an innocent because I do not understand their ways.

Personal turn on? *Conferring with Alexis* I asked her to explain what this meant, and it made her blush. She explained it to me, however, and then escaped before I could decide to cut this interview short and make her blush further. There is nothing about Alexis that doesn’t arouse me. I don’t think that differs from most males (growl). However, having lived in a world where there was no softness, nothing gentle, I will admit--though I fear it is a weakness--that it is the touch of her hands on any part of me that mesmerizes me. She is always so tender, even in her passion. Her body so pliant beneath me when I take her, the silky smoothness of her thigh sliding along the back of mine, the way her hands clutch into my shoulders, digging in like a kitten’s claws... Then there is the way she strokes my hair when she thinks I am asleep, or curves her body into mine when she slumbers. I never stop wanting her, that gentle surrender she gives me.

What do you do to relax? Alexis has told me I don’t really understand relaxing yet. She says I am always on guard and watchful, but she says the closest I come to “relaxing” is when I create things. I have discovered clay and paint and wire, and she seems amused when I spend hours making things with them. She says she will have to move out of her apartment soon, because my creations are taking over. I have told her I will simply dismantle them, but she refuses, and her mother, Anna agrees. She’s taken quite a few of them to her cottage. I have decided females often don’t make sense.

Dante 101:

Does your Dark One side ever come in to conflict with your Vampire side and what do you need to do to keep sane?

As much as I am reluctant to admit it, the seawitch has helped me with this, since she is Dark Spawn as I am, only her non-Dark One half is merperson. Vampires are normally very aggressive, but can exercise what I’ve learned is a conscience or moral compass, reining in their aggressive tendencies to preserve life when they deem it appropriate. My Dark One blood has only one compass point, and that is that I must subdue anyone around me with violence or fear. When the Dark One blood and the Vampire blood are both roused, I am likely to react on violent instinct, with no thought. However, I am working on this. I don’t want Alexis to fear for those she cares about when I am with her. I don’t want her to worry, though I admit at times she tends to protect those that I feel could stand a little violence to improve their manners.

As a Leader of the Underworld what was the first thing you learned?

I think Lucifer might have an issue with me being called a leader. I stay in the Underworld right now, until I am deemed to be less of a threat to the outside world and have addressed some issues of redemption that I do not wish to discuss. He has begun to show me different aspects of his world and I am assisting with some of the responsibilities down here, but I do not think I am considered a person of authority. Certainly not with this damnable collar on me. But I do...like it here. It is odd that I find this a place of sanctuary, a place that looks, on its face, so much like the hated world I left, but it is different here from the Dark One world. Alexis says it is a good transition place for me, a way to bridge the gap between my two realities.

Also, Lucifer asked me to convey his regard to you, and that he regrets he was otherwise occupied during your visit, but his Lady had need of him. He said it would be his honor to give you a personal tour of the more aesthetically pleasing parts of Hell at another time.

What is your motto in battle and in life?

For all of my life, it has been to survive at all costs. However, Alexis has taught me that survival may not be the most important thing. I certainly did not expect to be willing to give up my freedom and life for her, but she taught me about feelings...emotions, that I didn’t know existed. Things that seem...Well, that doing without them would be worse than death. So I perhaps do not have a motto right now, unless it is ‘wait and see’.

What do you consider your personal pros and cons?

I am a sorcerer with fairly formidable skills. I also understand that I am a powerful vampire, for my relatively young age, but once it is determined I no longer need to stay in Lucifer’s Underworld, I will be spending time in the vampire world, with a very old and powerful member of that world, the Lady Lyssa, to learn more about that part of myself. Alexis says there is no electronic device I cannot dismantle and destroy within a matter of moments, in my attempt to understand how it works, but I think she may not consider that a “pro”.

Cons? She says... *pause* it occurs to me, that I am defining myself much by Alexis’s opinions of me, but I feel that is best, since I do not have a great capacity for what the seawitch Mina calls “self analysis” yet. She seems to be amused by that at times. This is one of many reasons I don’t like her very much. She is very sharp-tongued, but she cares for Alexis, and that means something to me.

Anyhow, “cons”. According to Alexis, I am impatient. Very impatient. That I believe all conflicts can be resolved with violent action (which I prefer to call appropriate response), and that I need to learn how to use a laundry hamper. She says I tend to get aroused at her presence at inappropriate times, but I am learning to find places, no matter where we are, that meet her puzzling need for privacy.

What is your favorite place to find solace?

The only place where everything is still is when I am inside Alexis. She is back, and she is blushing again, saying I should not say things that personal, but I’m not used to your ideas of modesty and discretion. I can only say how I feel.

What does courage entail in your opinion?

*Silent for several moments* You ask a very personal question. Alexis said I should answer all your questions, however, because it will help me to talk about things I don’t want to talk about (have I mentioned that females do not make much sense to me?). In the Dark One world, courage was irrelevant. You either figured out how to survive, or you died, or were tortured by others stronger and more clever than you. It is only in this world I have learned what courage is, and it was not what I expected it to be.

I had to have the courage to trust Alexis, to let her guide me in her unfamiliar world, and that was very hard, because she is so gentle and innocent, so fragile compared to what I knew. But I remembered when I brought her into my world, she showed me what true courage was. *Another long pause* I hurt her. I did things to make her afraid. I was willing to let her die to escape my world. Yet as frightened as she was, facing fear and her own death, she opened her heart to me, tried to guide me. She didn’t see herself as the prisoner in need of help – that was the way she saw me. So when I came here, and she asked for my trust... I could never match her courage, but I must at least honor it by giving her that one thing.

Who is Alexis through Dante’s eyes?

She is simply everything. The beginning, the end, the reason I am here, the reason I have anything other than desolation. I didn’t know what smiling or laughter was, before her. She takes such joy in life. She works at a local Conservancy with manatees, dolphins and other sea creatures, and likes to swim with them after hours. On some nights, she takes me to a place called a pub, with her friend Clara, and we listen to music. She gets up and she and Clara dance. Sometimes other men try to dance with her, but she always comes back to me when that happens, because she knows I have difficulty with what she calls male territorial issues.

I cannot deny it, because I must have her every night, sometimes two or three times, even if she is exhausted and merely curls her arms and legs around me in half sleep and accepts me into her body. I must reassure myself that she is mine, mark her in a way that any vampire or other creature with the ability to detect these things will know. Her friend Clara has mentioned, with what you call a great deal of humor, that if there was a football field between us, only an idiot would miss the bond between us. But it is still new between us, and I am too accustomed to having what matters taken from me. I will not allow anyone to take her.

At night, she reads to me, or we watch movies she picks out to help me learn more about her world. We go to the community center together and she has me volunteering to help in the craft room with the children there. Everything she does seems to make the people around her happy, and though sometimes I prefer it when it is just the two of us, I admit I can simply be wherever she is, watching her, and be content.

Who is Dante through Alexis’ eyes?

She says she loves me. I am learning what this means, slowly. It seems to mean that she accepts who I am, wants to help me learn to live in her world, make amends for things I have done. She responds to me physically, such that I can fluster her quite easily, anywhere, at anytime, and I do not understand why that can make her uncomfortable, for when I have her in my arms, am tasting her skin or her sweet mouth, she loses all her inhibitions and gives herself to me fully.

I hope... One day I hope she might see me as she sees her father, Jonah—with complete trust and love, and something I cannot really describe. Perhaps a sense that I will always be there for her, however she needs me, and that I will not fail her because of ignorance or anger.

Dante, what was the first thing you felt/thought upon meeting Alexis?

I used sorcery to enter her dreams. I wanted to view her as a means to an end only, but found myself drawn to someone so different from anyone I’d known. All creatures in the Dark One world are prey or predator, and all are male, unless a female captive is brought in, and they never lived long, with the exception of my mother, who was vampire. I admit I was quite absorbed with her physically at first, because of this, but there was a puzzling quality to her that made me want to understand her, beyond her role as my captive. She is an empath, so in her dreams, she was able to reach inside of me, read my feelings, and respond to them in a way I didn’t expect.

Love is…? (fill in the blank please)

I am still learning this for myself. I know how Alexis defines it, and others, but I have come to realize I must have my own definition before I will truly know what it is. But I am certain that when I figure out what it is, Alexis will be at the center of it.


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