Shadoe Van Ives – Interview
Today I am interviewing the legendary Shadoe Van Ives, whose life has been the subject of a series of Chronicles by famed writer Lynette White. It is our hope to find out from the man himself if he feels he was portrayed fairly by Lynette.
1. Shadoe, in your own words, who are you?
I am a self-made man. Everything I have is because I obtain it by whatever means necessary. I will fiercely protect those I care about. I am the most loyal friend you could ever ask for, but cross me and I am a very lethal enemy.
2. Where do you live?
I have two homes actually. My primary residence is Shadow Glenn, not the name I gave it by the way, in the city of Salaria. Shadow Glenn was the last estate exclusively built by the Elves so it is very elegant with its stately mansion, guest house, and five perfectly manicured gardens. If it was not, I would not be there, as I want nothing less than the best.
[stops to inhale deeply] However, I retreat to my large seaside villa in Rican any time I can. Do not misunderstand me. I love Shadow Glenn, but there is something majestic about standing on the veranda, on the top of that cliff, and looking out over the ocean as the breeze wraps itself around me. It is not an experience you get when you are trapped behind city walls.
3. Are you the hero of your own story?
[laughs] Hero? Mr. O’Neill, let me tell you what I have learned about heroes. The only thing that separates a hero from a coward is a single split second decision. It is also dictated by the person telling the story.
[shaking his head] No, despite what others have said I do not see myself as the hero. I simply did what had to be done. For a long time no one knew what I knew, nor could I reveal how I knew it without exposing my other life. Then when I found out that I had no one I could trust inside the garrisons I was in a precarious situation. I had to trust the people no one could know existed in order to save the Twin Cities from an enemy they had no idea they had.
4. What is your problem in the story?
My problem is power and one man’s obsession to stop at nothing to get it. Paulis Stenson never was quite right. [clicking his tongue] Personally, I have never liked the man from the time we were kids.
When my sister was placed in the position as the second most powerful cleric in all of Cyrus, a position Paulis felt he deserved, I guess something in him just snapped. When Coriane suddenly announced she was entering exile he got it into his head to have the robbers and Goblins raid the outlying villages.
How does a High Priest murder his own people just so he can rush in and save the day? But, that is exactly what he is doing. Every time there is a raid he is right there to offer comfort to the victims while Coriane is conveniently absent. Then there is the conspiracy. [wagging his head] Gods, Paulis blackmailed everyone from garrison commanders to common thieves to achieve his objective. Now that Coriane has suddenly left exile I have to keep her alive long enough to bring Paulis to justice. Not to mention the assassins who are determined to stop me. Then of course, I nearly got taken out in those last two battles. Seems people are getting in line lately to get a shot at putting me in my crypt.
5. Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?
[snickers] I have a lot of problems she graciously kept to herself. The biggest one is my relationship with Cecilian. You see, Mr. O’Neill, I live two lives, one in broad daylight and one in the shadows. Mal and Darnel had enough common sense to choose women who embrace both worlds. But not me. My foolish heart had to choose the one woman who is the biggest threat to me. She, alone, has the power to bring down both of my empires with the flick of her wrist. Thank the Gods her love for me keeps her from seeing how dangerous she is to me. For now she only sees the man who walks in the daylight, but I will not be able to hide the other Shadoe Van Ives from her forever.
6. Shadoe it would seem according to Lynette that you embrace conflict. Do you?
Embrace it? I would not go that far, but I will never back down from it. Conflict is nothing more than a problem that needs to be resolved. The way I see it is that it does not matter if it is person waving a sword at me, threatening someone I have sworn to protect, or trying to take something I want; the answer is the same. Only one of us is going to walk away the victor.
7. Do you run from conflict?
[laughs] Never have yet. I may have to put it off for a bit, but my problems are always resolved sooner or later. I am not a man who leaves unfinished business.
8. How do you see yourself?
Well, now that can be a complicated answer. [taps his chin as he thinks for minute] Let me make it simple. I am a man who never had failure as an option. My father drilled that into me, my sister, and younger brother from the time we could breathe. Therefore, I settle for nothing less than being the best warrior, the most powerful business man, and the man who is always one step ahead of my enemies.
9. Tell us Shadoe, How do you think your friends see you?
Friends are something I have few of and that is by choice. Those chosen few know they will never have to doubt my loyalty. If they ever need anything from me it is theirs to have, right down to my last heartbeat.
10. How about your enemies? Do they see you in the same light?
Now that depends on which Shadoe they have crossed. [raises a finger] Allow me to explain. Shadoe the business man is very patient, silently wearing them down until I own them or I destroy them. Shadoe the warrior will stop your heart [snaps his fingers] that quick and move on. Amulan the leader of the Black Faction is a little of both. I can be very patient, but my retribution can also be swift and brutal. [sitting forward his expression is fierce] My enemies know my hands are stained with a lot of blood, Mr. O’Neill, and I will not lose a moment’s sleep adding theirs.
11. Shadoe, in your mind how does Lynette see you?
[smiles as he sits back] She is much kinder to me than I probably deserve, but so is my precious sister Coriane and my beloved Cecilian. All three of them see more good in me than I do. Lynette understands that I am very complicated man. She is one of people who tries to portray me as the hero I do not see myself as.
12. Shadoe, do you think the Lynette portrayed you accurately?
She is only one who knows the whole truth about me and could tell the entire story accurately. So yes, I suppose she did.
13. What do you think of yourself?
I think of myself as a man who knows what I want and goes after it. Like I said a few minutes ago, I was raised that failure was not an option. I might have been forced to be the best warrior, but I chose to be the best business man. Am I a little arrogant? Damn right I am, because I know I am the best.
14. Growing up did you have a hero?
[Sitting forward he stared at the floor for a long time, clearly tormented by this question.] At one time it was my father. Gods, I used to think the sun rose and set on him. [ he whispers than finally looks up at me] That is until he forced me to start training with Huran. Huran was a Black Leopard Master Blade, the best of the best as far as warriors go. I would spend the next ten years with him, six to ten hours a day. Huran was the first man I truly respected.
15. Shadoe, what do you want out of the rest of your life?
[shrugs] Simple, I just want some peace. I fought my entire life to get where I am now and I just want to spend my days not fighting the demons of my past.
16. And what do you need?
Need? What I need right at this moment is to bring this to a close before the cities are destroyed. Do you have any idea, Mr. O’Neill, how treacherous our situation is right now because of what Paulis has done. The Twin Cities are on a precipice right now and if I make one wrong move they may crumble to dust. What I need is a damn miracle!
17. Can you tell us what makes you the happiest?
Those moments on my veranda in Rican when the sea breeze dances around me as the sun rises up over the empire lying at my feet. You see, Mr. O’Neill, I own most of that little city. It is the core of an empire vast enough that there are very few hours where the sun does not look down on some part of it.
18. Are you afraid of anything or anyone?
[oddly enough his expression is more sad than fearful] There is only thing I am afraid of Mr. O’Neill. I am told my father is the most powerful magus to exist, has accomplished what no magus has in a thousand years. That same man nearly killed me ten years ago when he found me is his lab with his most bitter enemy. But that is not the source of my fear. You see, there was a time when I saw pride in his eyes as he looked at me, but I have not seen that for a long time. Despite everything my father has done to me, and I have done to him, I still love him. One day I want hear him say I am worthy of his respect again. What I fear is that one of us will be dead before day comes.
19. What makes Shadoe Van Ives angry?
When people betray my trust. But right now it is what Paulis is doing to the very people he has sworn to protect. I may not be the best of men, but I would never pray on the innocent like that snake is! The mere thought of what he is doing to these people infuriates me more than anything anyone has ever done to me personally.
20. What makes you sad?
[ he stared at the floor for a long time before he answered me.] Sadness is something I never allowed myself to feel until the last few days. Huran taught me that sadness makes you weak and vulnerable. That you must close yourself off when death is your profession. That is exactly what I did for a long time. It was not until I lost the second man I ever respected that I truly felt the weight of grief. Michelnick’s death cut a wound deeper into my heart than I can even understand, much less explain.
21. What does Shadoe Van Ives regret the most?
The deepest regret I have is what I did to my younger brother Calmak nine years ago when I found him searching for me in the streets of Salaria. Blessed Gods, he was just a kid and all he wanted was to be with the brother he idolized. At the time I thought the only way I could protect him was to drag him back to my father‘s estate and order him to stay put. Three years would pass before I found out how much that hurt him to have me do the exact same thing to him that father did to me. I turned my back on him. Thank the Gods we are very close now, but I never forgave myself for the pain I inflicted on him.
22. What, if anything, haunts you?
That night ten years ago in my father’s lab when he made the decision to attack his own son. Yes, I was in his lab with his most hated enemy, but he took it upon himself to assume I was also the enemy. He never gave me the chance to explain what my intentions were. To this very day I can not be inside a magus lab and not get anxious. Above all, I realized that those you love the most can become your enemy in the blink of an eye.
23. You have been betrayed in the past. How has that affected who you are today?
[casually shrugs his shoulders] I have been betrayed by more people than I can count, Mr. O’Neill. And I must admit I am guilty of betraying more than my share as well. One thing I have learned the hard way is that most people just want something from you and will turn on you in a heartbeat if they do not get it. It is when I have been betrayed by those I have trusted the most that I truly feel the pain. Therefore, most of the people in my life are kept at a safe distance and never completely trusted. It makes my life less complicated.
24. At age six you were forced into the warrior’s life when your father hired Huran Laksen, to see to your training. How has losing out on childhood affected you as a man?
I did not lose out on my childhood. [shrugs his shoulders] I had just mastered an arsenal of weapons before most boys picked up a wooden sword. By the time they figured out which end of the sword would cut them I had the skills to murder a man within two heartbeats. However, I despised those weapons, and my father, for most of the ten years I trained with Huran. The only thing that gave me any type of happiness was training with Mal for nine of those years. The two of us were able to still have fun and when we had those restless days Huran would kick us loose so we could be kids for an afternoon. As far as it affecting me as a man? [chuckles] I guess, that is why I have this reckless streak that surfaces on occasion. Subconsciously, I just need to make up for missed childhood adventures.
25. Shadoe, do you keep your promises?
[ sitting forward] A promise is something I never make unless I intend to keep it, Sir. When I give my word it is not something I do lightly. There are few situations that have ever forced me to break a promise. When those situations have happened I always made it right one way or another.
26. The citizens of the Twin Cities (at least the eligible women) would never forgive me if I did not ask this next question. Do you have a true love? Can you tell us who it is?
[throws his hands up in mocking frustration and laughs] What is it with women? You take them out for dinner and they think they have some claim on you. Bed one and suddenly she is making wedding plans. Gods, it would pluck my last nerve. However, I do believe I have already revealed my true love, and yes, we formally announced our engagement a few days ago. As I mentioned earlier, Cecilian Manston is the absolute worst woman for me to be tangled up with. She is a very powerful woman and my original intention was to use that power to my benefit, but keep my heart to myself. Then a twist happened I was not prepared for, I found myself falling in love with her. [a goofy love sick smile lights up his face] She is so wrong for me in so many ways, Mr. O’Neill, but for the first time in my life I truly know what happiness is. Cecilian completes me. [the love sick expression is suddenly gone with a sigh]. Now all I have to do is make sure I never give her a reason to destroy me.
27. How would you describe your relationship with your twin sister the Salaria High Priestess, Coriane Van Ives?
As twins Coriane and I have a unique relationship. We are more than brother and sister, we balance one another. Our friends jokingly refer to us as the good twin and the evil twin. [points at himself] Guess who plays the evil twin role? When I left my father’s house and entered the streets Coriane suffered the most, saying she felt half of her was ripped away. [sitting forward he frowned] When I teetered on the brink of death a few days ago Coriane said she felt a part of her dying right along with me. We have always been able to sense when one of us is in trouble or needs the other. When she went into exile, and I could not see her everyday, I was lost for the better part of that six months.
Where I am strong, decisive, and unmoving she is kind, gentle, and giving. As she progressed through her leadership positions I taught her to be tougher and more steadfast. At the same time she has taught me to be less guarded and more gentle. Because of me she is the strong leader she is. Because of her I built the orphanage in Rican and several families in the twin cities have received anonymous gifts ranging from homes to food.
Coriane is also the reason why my son’s name is Aiden Shadoe Van Ives and not some nameless bastard child. I took care of his mother and Aiden’s half brother Aron for several years until her business was strong enough to support them. However, I still own a portion of her business and Aiden and Aron have large trusts to tend to their needs. Thanks to Coriane I have a strong relationship with Aiden even though, for more reasons than I want to discuss, I never married his mother.
28. Shadoe, what is your most closely guarded secret?
I think by now you know the answer to that too. Let me explain how Amulan, leader of The Black Faction, which is the most powerful criminal faction I might add, came to be. When I started that two year crime spree after leaving my father’s house I established a strong network. Sadly, it was then that I realized how all those years of training with Huran gave me more power than I ever imagined. After I was arrested and sentenced to hang for my crimes it was Coriane who forced my father to intervene in my behalf. That is when I was given two choices, either serve the garrison for seven years and clean up my life or hang. [ smiles sheepishly] Not a lot of thinking went into the decision to join the garrison.
However, I never completely severed my ties with the underworld. [shrugs] Just in case I needed a fast escape. Mal, Darnel, and I were already dabbling in the smuggling market, but within a couple of years after I joined the garrison we discovered we could make millions and still lead honorable lives. So little by little the Black Faction was molded into a business empire. On the surface our businesses are no different than any other business on the street, [ dramatically extends his hands out ] but with the right words you can have the impossible. We specialize in getting items no one else has access too, but everyone wants. For the right price I can get anything, legal and illegal, on or off the Cyrus peninsula.
29. And what is your most prized possession? Why?
[snickers] Ironically, my most prized possession is an exquisite sword my father gave me the day I was promoted to Second Commander. It is made of the purest gold and the blade is perfectly crafted from the finest metal available. In the hilt alternating blue sapphires and fine diamonds form an S. It is the finest sword a man could possess and it was my father’s first attempt to heal the deep wounds we both suffer from. The only time that sword ever leaves my arsenal is when I am serving as Coriane’s bodyguard or on special occasions. The next time it will be seen will probably be my wedding day.
30. What is your favorite music? Why?
[laughs] Well, that depends on the mood I am in and what I am doing. If I am with my buddies and we are washing away our cares than a light hearted, happy tune is in order. When I desire a woman’s undivided attention there is nothing better than to keep her held captive in a nice, slow waltz.
Read ‘The Enemy Within’