“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 says, “Our author describes her thus:
The youngest and fairest of the four winds of Welken. While her brothers are known for their stormy strength and cruelty, Vesparya employs a lighter touch – though perhaps one no less powerful. While winds can take any physical form they wish, that of the West will most often appear as a tall, voluptuous young woman, auburn hair breezing all around her, eyes a mesmerizing golden-green.
“Welcome, Vesparya!” Will greets the figure floating above the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – I think I’m in love with you.”
Allyn coughs off-camera. “That wasn’t a question, Will.”
Vesparya’s laugh trills ‘round the stage. “Of course you’re in love with me. I’m the West Wind! You’d need to have no heart to avoid me stealing it – if you can call it stealing when a thing throws itself willingly into your hand.”
“A question, Will,” Allyn reminds him, when the host does nothing but smile dizzily.
“Hmm? Yes. A question. Will you marry me?”
“Marriage,” Vesparya says contemplatively, drifting side to side over the seat cushion. “That’s not the sort of thing a wind will often do. Austeryn – the South Wind, you know – he’s the only one of us who’s yet bothered with such a long-term commitment. And even in his case, it’s not with a human. He would consider that beneath him.”
Will looks stricken. “Do you share that outlook?”
“Oh, heavens, no,” she says, her smile summer-sky bright. “I love humans! You’re so… well, the first word that comes to mind is ‘easy’.”
“Some more than others,” Allyn mutters, scarcely louder than Will Scarlet’s panting.
“True,” the wind agrees with a sigh. “All too true. I don’t know what enchantment’s touched Denebdeor or whether there’s something in the water, but I’ll swear I’ve never met a heart sturdier than that of a Wyle. Not one of them has thrown themselves at me, and we’ve kept in contact for almost six years!” She blinks wide eyes. “If I knew no better, I’d fear I was losing my touch.”
“Why in the world is your touch so intoxicating?” Will asks, close to falling out of his seat as he drinks deep of Vesparya’s air.
She wafts in circles around her chair. “It’s just what I’m made of – who I am – same as any of the world’s elements are who they are. I really couldn’t help it if I wished to. And why would I? It’s a delight to delight! All power knows there are winds enough to bring unpleasantness into the world. I count it as bliss to counter that wherever I may.”
“That is so great,” Will says drunkenly. “So, hey. You wanna kiss me?”
Vesparya cocks her head. “Aren’t you supposed to ask me something about secrets?”
“Mm? Why? Have you got any?”
“Not really,” she says, shrugging. “That’s more Austeryn’s department, too.”
“Well, there you have it! No choice but to kiss! And to maybe have each other’s babies!”
Vesparya breaks into aerial loops of laughter. “Ah, Will Scarlet, you most amusing man! Here, funny thing – have your kiss.” With that, she places her lips to her palm, and blows a breath of perfumed air across the stage. His smile almost too big for his face, Will drops like a sack of bricks to the floor.
“Dear me,” says Vesparya. “There’s easy, and there’s an endangerment to one’s one health. Perhaps I’d best be off before he bursts something vital.”
“Good of you,” Allyn says appreciatively, crossing over to Will’s side. While the West Wind vanishes from visibility, nothing but the rippling of the stage’s curtain to mark her path off the set, Allyn gives Will’s cheeks a few gentle whacks. “Come now. Pull yourself together. We’ve got to wrap this thing up properly.”
Will mumbles something that we’ll choose to interpret as, “Quite right, Allyn. How ‘bout a quick word from our sponsor?”
Returning to his post, Allyn announces, “Today’s embarrassment— ahem, I mean Kiss & Tell segment, was brought to you by Danielle E. Shipley’s newly-released fairytale novella, ‘The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)’, the Launch Week celebration of which is detailed in this post.
The Sea’s storm brought them together, and the Sea’s rules will keep them apart, unless the mute but melodious Muirigan can find another to take her place, freeing her to pursue the human man she loves. But when her plan collides with the schemes of the sly South Wind, a princess’s agenda to look for love in all the most fantastic places, and a prince whose head and heart have been long years at war, the result is a tragedy of errors from which the world might never recover.
“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says from the floor. “Thanks also to you, beautiful wind, wherever you’ve flown. And thank you, audience of mine. 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!”