Welcome to Swordplay by Katharina Gerlach! Who better to explain the world of the Gendarmerie Magique than the characters themselves?
Who are you? Can you please introduce yourselves?
Druidus: "Ladies first."
Sabio (simultaneously): "This is Moira Bellamie, daughter of Lavant Bellamie, yes, the Lavant Bellamie."
Moira: "You can't define me by whose daughter I am, Sabio. I'm more than my genetic setup."
Sabio: "Sorry, dear. I know you're a terrific observer and an all round nice person."
"Nice doesn't quite describe it." Druidus gins. "I should know best, shouldn't I?"
Moira thumps him on the arm but smiles.
M: "My partner Druidus. Sabio matched us. Maybe he thinks I need protection."
D: "More likely he thinks I need supervision. We're his responsibility as Commissaire Magique, after all."
Sabio, please tell us something about the world you're living in. How does it work and what's the role of magic?
S: "Well, our world is not too different from yours. The major difference is that where you use electricity, we use magic. Every human, animal and plant is suffused with magic and most use it subconsciously. Those with greater talents can either work in factories producing everyday spells, or they can study the Mastery of The Art where they learn to control spells without using safety triggers."
"Don't forget the nerls," Moira interrupts. "They're soooo cute. Some of them are even smaller then the head of a pin."
D: "They are really handy when it comes to manual labor. A lot of the levers and things needed to run the machines are too small for our hands, so we leave it to the nerls."
S: "They get paid in magic, but the system is rather complicated. Let's start with the basics…"
D: "No you don't, Sabio. Moira and I want to go home before midnight."
Moira, why do you insist on working for the Gendarmerie Magique?
"I knew that question would be coming. Why can't anyone ask anything else? Why always wonder whether I'd be able to control magic well enough? Well, let me tell you something. I might not be very good with spells, and yes, I have nearly ruined a crime scene once, but I'm determined and a quick learner. I can do the same work as the magically fully balanced."
Sabio puts a hand out and holds her back. "That wasn't meant as an insult, you know? It was genuine interest."
Moira sighs. "Sorry. I'm a bit touchy when it comes to my disability."
Druidus, what was your first impression of Moira?
"Dream girl." Druidus shoots Moira a glance and grins sheepishly. "No, not really. When I first met her, she sat in a puddle of blood half out of her wits, trying to tell me something important. I can't really remember if I thought anything at all at that point. I had a job to do. But she is extremely beautiful. I know now."
Moira blushes but returns the tender look in his eyes.
What shaped your view of the world?
Sabio: "My great grandmother was a very curious woman who always needed to know how things worked. I learned a lot from her. She instilled the need to search for knowledge in me, I think."
(author comment: wow, I didn't know. Why've you never told me that before, Sabio. Ignore this. I didn't ask)
D: "Well, Moira was definitely shaped by her relationship to her father. It made it really hard to make her see my value."
M: "As if you're life has been all that much easier with your parents."
D: "At least I had everything money could buy."
M: "Money's not the same and you know it."
Druidus puts an arm around Moira's shoulder. "You're right as ever, my dear."
Sabio, are there different forms of magic? And what influences the individual's potential for using magic?
D: "Don't set him off with questions like that. He'll go on for hours if you let him."
S: "I'll keep it short. Promised. There are three forms of magic in our world that are intricately interwoven. One magic balances the other. If the balance is disrupted, the consequences are usually deadly. The three kinds of magic are connected in a circle of change. One kind is turned into the next through the process of photosynthesis. It is then used by humans and changed back to its original form by the nerls. But as Druidus so eloquently put it, If I'd get started on the details you might as well get a few more writing pads for your dictanerl."
M: "I agree that we don't get into this too deeply, although the stuff sabio knows is really, really fascinating."
Moira, I don't want to intrude again, but how do you cope with magic?
M: "Well, magic reacts strangely around me. Normally, spells are very predictable."
S: "At least the ones produced in the factories."
M: "But when I use them something goes wrong inevitably. Mostly, this leads to disaster but sometimes it can be a life saver, as I learned the hard way."
Interviewer: "But why does this happen?"
M: "I don't know. It's not that I'm doing things differently from other people; it's more an incompatibility of my aura with the magic around me. I'm usually trying to stay well away from spells."
Druidus, does magic play a major role in your life?
D: "Aside form the major role it plays in everyone's life? No. I'm using magic like every other person in this world. But my mother is an auralogist – that means she evaluates a human's aura to determine the magical talent within."
The story starts with a theft of valuable antique weapons in the National Museum. Do you have a special connection to museums or specific weapons?
M, S: "Yes, most definitely."
M: "My parents used to take me to museums when I was a kid. I have many happy memories related to them."
S: "I've done extensive research in some museums. It's often surprising what inspiration one can get from studying the old masters."
Sabio, how did you become Moira's mentor?
"That was entirely unplanned. I noticed she had an exceptional gift for observations. She noticed some really insignificant changes in one of the classic paintings, and I simply had to have her on my team. The more I got to know her, the more she grew on me. First, she was barely more than an interesting enigma, but she became a friend quickly."
Moira, what have you set your heart on?
M: "I will be a member of the Gendarmerie Magique whatever the cost. Everything else is secondary."
D: "Hey, even my love for you?"
D: "That's quite unfair, you know?"
M: "At least it's honest."
S with a wink to D: "Considering how many people I've met in my life, I think Moira is lying to herself a little there."
D: "That's reassuring."
Druidus, do you have a favorite scene?
D: "You mean in the novel? Of course I do, but I'm not at liberty to share a woman's secrets with the world."
If you would get one wish granted what would it be?
S: "That's a purely speculative question with no real answer for it. Since I do not get wishes granted, I do not know what I would really ask for should the occasion arise."
M: "Didn't the elfqueen suggest she'd grant you a wish, Druidus?"
D: "I didn't like the pricetag attached."
M: "Well, I'd wish for Franka and Tord's baby to be healthy and thriving."
D: "I'd add health and prosperity for the parents. Wouldn't we make the perfect godparents."
All three laugh.
Thank you for answering all these questions.
M: "We thank you. It's been fun."
S: "And if you really want to know more about how magic works in our world, why not join me for a coffee? There's a machine just outside the blog-studio and the stuff it spits out is not half bad."
CSI with magic but without the gore
Despite her obvious lack of magical talent, nineteen year old Moira Bellamie apprentices with the Gendarmerie Magique, the magic police. She puts all her effort into solving a burglary at the National Museum where antique weapons have been stolen, to keep the hard won job. Falling for her partner Druidus wasn't part of the plan. When more and more people are murdered with one of the stolen weapons, Moira must tame uncontrollable magic, or the people she cares for will die, her partner first and foremost.
For lovers of Fantasy and Mystery from 14 years up
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Giveaway for "Swordplay – A Gendarmerie Magique novel"