“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”
The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.
“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”
As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn reads the introduction, as provided by author Kendra Conine:
Ashley Vaandere [Pronunciation: Van-dare-uh] Optimistic, perky teen a bit wiser than her years. A lover of dancing. Athletic, clever, but a little lacking on the trusting side. Uncanny skill when it comes to battle.
“Welcome, Ashley!” Will greets the girl now seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – tell the audience the story of how we met! Because darned if I can remember; we’ve been inter-authorial friends for ages!”
“It was so long ago!” Ashley exclaims, throwing her arms up in very firm emphasis. “Well, it was during a Blogfest on Flame Writer, I believe!”
“Your author’s blog, yes? And?”
“I had been given a personal interview or blog post of some kind, and you commented that I was hot.”
The sound of palm smacking forehead comes from off-camera. “An all-too-likely story.”
“I know, right?” Will tosses a smirk over his shoulder at Allyn. “I get around, like that. What happened then, Ashley?”
“After that our authors exchanged e-mail addresses and Facebook accounts and we’ve hung out ever since.” She shoots him a grin.
“And a true joy it’s been! There’s little I love more than making new buddies like yourself. On that topic: Apart from me – ‘cause, y’know, let’s be fair – who would you name as your BFF?”
“Heh,” she chuckles. “Well, to be honest, it’d have to be my brother Alex. I mean, apart from him being blood, we’ve always gotten along and liked the same things, and why else would I chase him across an entire state on foot in the winter? I sure didn’t do it just for fun!” She folds her arms behind her head with a nostalgic expression. “We’re so close – and cliché – that we have friendship bracelets.” She holds up her wrist to show a simple red, orange, and yellow string bracelet. “Good times.”
“Friendship bracelets!” Will exclaims. “Why don’t the Merry Men have those? I’ll be bringing it up with Robin. Now, going back to your author’s blog: In a recent post you hijacked (to which I say, way to go, girl),” he approves with a fistbump, “you mentioned your life’s happenings include illegal cross-ocean journeys, heart-to-hearts, exploring places unseen for 2000 years, and talking to Greek gods and goddesses. Of those, which do you enjoy most, and which the least? Why and why?”
Ashley more than gleefully returns the fistbump. However, for perhaps the first time with Will, her expression darkens as he summarizes the current events in her life. (Kendra shifts uncomfortably behind the curtain, expecting to be yelled at later by Ashley’s brother.) “Well, the illegal journey was rather terrifying, actually.” She scratches the back of her neck with a weak smirk. “Especially since we fell into the ocean one thousand miles away from shore. We made it, though. So that would be the least enjoyable, followed closely by talking to the gods, since they’re on the verge on wanting me dead, but the most enjoyable would have to be seeing new places 2000 years later.” With that, the light returns to her expression and she smiles, bouncing her knees. “We found this place that is a bit of a combination between a grotto, a waterfall, and a cave all in one. All you can hear is the waterfall, and you can tell no one has set foot there for ages. It’s surreal, and all of the water refracts the sun and makes the entire grotto sparkle. Sights like that are unforgettable.”
“Ooh, a sparkle grotto? Sounds gorgeous! I wish I could see that. But maybe there’s something even better to be seen here and now.” He leans forward eagerly. “Word is that one of your story’s inciting incidents is your incendiary power. What can you tell us about the whole fire thing you’ve got going on? And if I were to reassure you that we’ve got the safety measures and insurance in place, would we be able to get a little demonstration?”
“But we don’t—”
“Not now, Allyn! What do you say, Ashley?”
With a laugh, Ashley jumps to her feet without hesitation. “Well, long story short, Hephaestus gave some fire to a guy who screwed up, with eight other elements from other gods. This guy also happens to be our antagonist. Considering he’s 2000 years old too, he looks very good for his age. Anyway, so those elements got broken up into nine different families, my family got fire, and Alex was born with it. He gave me some later without telling me.” She tosses her long brown hair over her shoulders. “And a demonstration…” She throws her arms up, spinning in place. Flames light at her feet and spiral around her, opening outward like flower petals. She bends down and scoops them up in one hand, combining them into a fireball, and tosses it into the air. The flames fan out overhead before flickering away, and with a childlike smile of glee, Ashley returns to her seat.
“That,” says Will. “Was. INCREDIBLE! Allyn, did you see that?!”
Allyn’s too busy shutting off the heat-activated sprinklers to respond.
“Ah, well. Time now for the burning question on everyone’s minds: Tell me, Ashley, what is your author Kendra’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” His eyes shine like blue fire. “Or would you rather kiss me?”
With a rather evil grin, blue eyes shining just as brightly, Ashley rubs her hands together. (Kendra cringes.) “I’ve been waiting for this. She likes to physically act out fights instead of imagine them, which often results in a blaring stereo and her running back and forth through her house when she’s home alone. She counts her blessings that no one has ever come to the front door in the midst of her ‘rehearsals.’” She cackles and rises from her seat, rushing over and giving Will a friendly peck on the cheek. “And I can’t say no to a kiss, so I’m stealing both options! Ha-ha!”
Will hoots with laughter. “You brazen double-dealer, I cannot even handle how much I adore you! Allyn, how ‘bout you distract me with a quick word from our sponsor?”
“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, flicking the sprinkler water from his hair, “was brought to you by Kendra Conine’s work in progress, ‘The Flame Cycle Saga’.
After waking up on her thirteenth birthday to find out her brother is missing and that she’s causing fires with her mind, Ashley leaves home to seek out her brother, suspecting a connection between the two. Little does she know there’s so much more to it, including a war of elements forgotten over the course of history and the fact she’s at the center of it all.
“Thank you, Allyn,” says Will. “Thanks, Ashley-babe. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided in this post, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”