In the first online interview ever with a member of the Pyr, Deborah Cooke spoke with Erik Sorensson, leader of the Pyr and the hero of Kiss of Fate.
Deborah notes that he was not particularly cooperative, and that it took a long time to arrange a mutually convenient time for the interview. What she did manage to learn from him is presented here.
DC: Good morning, Erik. I know that you’re pressed for time today, so let’s dive right in. Who are the Pyr?
ES: Good morning, Deborah. The Pyr are dragon shape shifters. We are an ancient race, and our own stories suggest that we date back to the creation of the planet. Of course, there is no documentation to prove this claim, but my partner Eileen notes that every human civilization has stories of dragons. She believes – because she is convinced that human stories are a reflection of human observations and beliefs – that this supports the notion of our being at least an old of a species as humans.
DC: So, you’re just another species that coexists with human society?
ES: I should think not! The Pyr were created, according to our stories, to defend the treasure that is the earth itself. We are the guardians of the four elements – earth, fire, water, and air – and charged with ensuring the future of the planet.
DC: In human stories, dragons guard treasures of precious gems and gold. Are you saying that the Pyr value more basic things?
ES: We defend the earth and its elements, but we are not without our hoards. Even a Pyr does not live by air, earth, fire and water alone, and many of us do have a taste for luxury.
DC: And how are the Pyr different from humans?
ES: As noted, we have the ability to transform ourselves into dragons. This is generally a decision on the part of the Pyr, but the change can be involuntary under duress, or the effects of an eclipse. It is a fighting pose, so some Pyr shift automatically to their dragon form when sensing a threat.
DC: Are Pyr born with their powers?
ES: We are born as Pyr, but do not come into our capabilities until puberty. The ability passes through the male line, which is to say that every Pyr is the son of another Pyr – and that Pyr‘s destined human mate.
DC: Does that mean there are no female Pyr?
ES: At any point in time, there can be one female Pyr. She is the daughter of a Pyr (and that Pyr‘s destined mate) and is known as the Wyvern. The Wyvern has additional talents and plays a unique role within Pyr society. She is usually a seer and capable of perceiving the implication of events far beyond that of any other Pyr or human. She can dispatch dreams, targeting individual Pyr and humans, and sending them the information they need. She can change into additional forms, characteristically adding a third form of a salamander to her repertoire. She can move through space and time by will, appearing instantly in a given place. This is somewhat startling, and also gives her the power to move through dragonsmoke – essentially she manifests on the other side of the smoke barrier.
This means that the Wyvern is very sensitive. Traditionally, the Wyvern has remained remote and kept herself apart from even Pyr society. Her influence has been felt, but in many times and places, she has not been seen. Sophie, the most recent Wyvern, chose to become more actively engaged in our battle with the Slayers. I fear she paid a tremendous price for her decision. I would never have suggested that she pursue the path that she did, which is probably why she didn’t ask my advice.
DC: You’re referring to the developments in KISS OF FATE. Does this mean that there won’t be another Wyvern?
ES: No. The role of the Wyvern is much like that of the Smith, in that it is a task that a soul undertakes for one lifetime. I believe that Sophie will be reborn – perhaps in human form, perhaps in Pyr form – because the divine spark that gave her life will continue to burn. She will not be the Wyvern in that next life, that I guarantee.
DC: You sound very certain of that.
ES: I am Pyr. I have a daughter, conceived during my firestorm.
There is no further explanation necessary.
DC: Well, I’m a bit confused. Does that mean that your daughter is Sophie reborn? Are they both the same person inside?
ES: Actually, that is an interesting question. Because of the loss of our lore and the fact that the Wyvern traditionally kept herself apart from our society, we weren’t certain. I knew that Zoë had to be the new Wyvern simply because of her gender. Rafferty was skeptical that she could be the Wyvern because her nature is so different from that of Sophie. Even as a very young child, we can all see that Zoë is very direct, which is quite different from the evasiveness that characterized Sophie. On the other hand, it has also become clear that Zoë already possesses some of the powers traditionally associated with the Wyvern.
So, it seems that the position of Wyvern is one that a soul chooses to accept for a lifetime. Sophie, then, has completed her tour of duty – to use a human parallel – but unfortunately, I don’t know what has happened to her soul. Perhaps she has chosen not to reincarnate. Perhaps it isn’t time. I don’t know, but I do wish her every happiness. Our world is not the same without her presence.
DC: But you said Zoë was conceived during your firestorm. What is the firestorm?
ES: I understand that you intend to speak to Rafferty, as well. As the firestorm is a matter close to his own heart, I will let him explain it to you.
DC: Do the Pyr have any other powers?
ES: One talent that many Pyr manage to develop is that of beguiling. Beguiling is a kind of hypnosis, the ability to persuade a human that things are other than that human believes. To beguile, the Pyr conjures a flame in his eyes. The human stares at the flame, because humans are fascinated by fire, and it is possible for the Pyr to introduce new thoughts to that human while the human is transfixed.
Beguiling can be useful in disguising our presence within human society, but there have been those who abuse its power, and use beguiling to deceive. I have mixed feelings about beguiling and advise its use sparingly.
DC: But don’t the Pyr have affinities to certain elements? Can you tell me more about that?
ES: I have already said too much. You must understand that we do not exist openly in human society, but rely upon our ability to blend in. It is not in my nature, nor is it my inclination, to explain all of Pyr history to you, simply because you have asked. I have an obligation to defend those I lead, after all.
Perhaps Niall will explain the nature of affinities to you. His affinity with air is very strong.
DC: It sounds as if there are particular challenges to your role as leader of the Pyr.
ES: Humans have a metaphor about herding cats. I assure you that gathering dragons and building consensus between them is several orders of magnitude more difficult! I believe in respecting the convictions and decisions of other Pyr, but there are times…
My father invented the notion of a ruling council of Pyr. It is an idea that I have brought into use again, although in a more fluid form. It is my observation that Pyr do not respond well to having the will of others imposed upon them, and I have learned a great deal in recent centuries about persuasion. Although I have a core group of Pyr upon whom I can rely, it is an ongoing challenge to gather those who have chosen to exile themselves.
DC: Maybe you should just beguile them!
ES: A Pyr cannot beguile another Pyr.
I know where the others are, though, and will use all of my powers to gather them in time. As you might well imagine, individual Pyr can be stubborn.
DC: I can easily imagine that! You have a lot on your proverbial plate right now. Can you explain the crisis facing the Pyr at this time?
ES: It is the final crisis, the final challenge from the Slayers over the future of the planet. The magnitude of that challenge means that I cannot discuss it further today. Perhaps Donovan could better explain it to you, as he has been actively engaged in the battle.
DC: Thank you, Erik, for your time, and also your authorization for me to interview the other Pyr.
Interview ©2009 Claire Delacroix, Inc.