In this interview with Rafferty Powell (the hero of Darkfire Kiss), Deborah Cooke asks about the firestorm. Note that this interview was conducted before the events in Darkfire Kiss.
DC: Good morning, Rafferty. Thanks for meeting with me. Can you explain the firestorm to me?
RP: I would like nothing better. The firestorm is the mark of a Pyr meeting his destined mate. That mate is always a human woman, and the consummation of their relationship will result in the conception of the Pyr‘s son.
That all sounds very biological, but I assure you, the firestorm is a magical moment in the life of a Pyr. It occurs only once in the life of each Pyr, and should be savored as the rare opportunity that it is.
DC: Only once?
RP: I’m not suggesting that the Pyr are celibate otherwise! But it is only during the firestorm that the Pyr can conceive a son and heir.
DC: And that happens the first time he and his mate are intimate?
RP: Yes. And that’s part of the issue. There are some Pyr who perceive the firestorm simply as a biological urge to make more Pyr and one that must be satisfied. There are those who consummate the firestorm, then move on. But in my many centuries of observing firestorms, I have noticed that the Great Wyvern chooses those mates who offer something to us. A firestorm can result in an enduring relationship, one that makes the individual Pyr stronger and gives balance to his life. It can also empower him.
DC: You make it sound as if it doesn’t always work out that way.
RP: It is always risky to care for another individual, regardless of your species. Love makes us vulnerable. For the Pyr, love actually makes us physically vulnerable – we lose a scale in our dragon form when we care for another. There’s literally a hole in our armor, and a blow struck there can kill us.
DC: Wow. Is there any way to repair that damage?
RP: I like that the mate is the only one who can offer the solution. In surrendering a physical token that is of emotional importance to her, the Pyr‘s scale can be repaired with that token. It is also necessary for the four elements to be accounted for in the repair ceremony.
DC: How so?
RP: There are four elements, as you know – fire, water, earth and air. Both parties in the firestorm typically bring two elements, or affinities with two elements, to the partnership. By forming a permanent union, one represented by the repairing of the Pyr‘s scale, a balance is formed in the relationship that is an echo of the four elements in the world at large. We are the guardians of the elements, you know, so I think that balance makes us stronger.
I think you should talk to Niall about the Pyr and their affinities with specific elements.
DC: I’ll do that. How does a Pyr know when he’s having his firestorm?
RP: It’s impossible to miss! Sparks literally fly between the Pyr and his destined mate, and the heat of the firestorm burns in his blood. It burns hotter as time passes, increasing the demand to fulfil it. I don’t think anyone has ever resisted a firestorm’s call for long.
The other issue, of course, is that all of the Pyr can feel a firestorm burning. We are drawn to it, like moths to the flame. Not everyone comes with good intentions though – Slayers often try to interfere in a firestorm. The most effective way of doing that is to kill the human mate.
DC: So, the Pyr ends up trying to seduce his mate while he’s also defending her?
RP: Often, yes. I understand it can be a very intense courtship.
DC: Have you had your firestorm?
RP: No. But I am content to wait until the Great Wyvern decrees my time to have come. I believe that a firestorm is worth waiting for.
DC: But you said you’d been observing firestorms for centuries. Are the Pyr immortal?
RP: No. We are not immortal. First of all, we do not come into our powers until puberty. After that – which can be a trying period for all concerned – we age very slowly until we have our firestorm. I am 1200 years old.
DC: And very patient!
RP: Well, good things are worth the wait. And the firestorm comes with a price, as well. Once a Pyr has had his firestorm, his aging processes accelerate. There are those who perceive this as a negative, and try to evade their firestorms because of it. I think, though, that it is part of the Great Wyvern’s plan to encourage us to make a lasting bond with our mates, and I think that when we do so, there is no point to life without that mate. I could tell you numerous stories of Pyr who died shortly after – if not concurrently – with their human mates, simply out of a lack of will to continue. It is my conviction that they are together then, somewhere, although of course I have no evidence of that.
DC: You sound like a romantic.
RP: I was raised at my grandfather’s knee, listening to stories of adventure and romance. Romance and a conviction in the power of true love is what sustains me and gives meaning to my life.
DC: So, do Pyr have only one child and heir, the one conceived in the firestorm?
RP: Not necessarily. That woman has the ability to bear that Pyr‘s children. She is the only woman with whom he can be fertile, and all of the children they conceive will be Pyr. That’s a good argument for a lasting relationship, in my opinion. I like the idea of large families!
DC: What about the roles that some of the Pyr have? Are those hereditary, or are they earned?
RP: I think you should talk to Quinn about that. He is the Smith of the Pyr, and can explain to you how he came to assume that role.
DC: Thank you, Rafferty, for sharing your vision with us. I wish you luck with your own firestorm, whenever you feel its power.
Interview ©2009 Claire Delacroix, Inc.