Protagonist in the Hotseat of Truth… Durban Chola

Welcome to the Hotseat of Truth, a device in which your protagonist is trapped. The only way to escape is to answer five searching questions completely honestly or the Hotseat will consume them to ashes! 

Today’s victim is Durban Chola who you can find in the Fortune’s Fools saga by E.M. Swift-Hook.

Accepting the fact that you may not be exactly what you appear, did you have any input into what you look like? Is there anything you would change if you could?

I had no more choice than anyone else about how I look. My looks were to a large degree pre-determined by genetic necessity, which is perhaps something many in Central have escaped, but for most of humanity is still the rule. Though it is true to say that the genetic necessity that went into my body was not that of the average human. 
Sadly we live in a galaxy where appearances do matter. Would I like to change anything about the way I look? **laughs** When I need to I do. But mostly I find my appearance works well enough. No one runs screaming when they see me and I don’t have the problem of being pursued because of my looks. You could Ask my friend Jariq Zarengor about how that plays out, his issue has always been that he is too good-looking.

From time to time you have been known to pick up a musical instrument and play. Do you derive comfort from music?

I am not sure comfort is the right word. The instrument I play is the lysigal which is a thirteen stringed instrument known only on the Western Continent of Temsevar. The strings are set on a crossbar between two horns and the soundbox bells out below and to the side giving it a surprising volume at need. It is a very versatile acoustic instrument that can be played to sound ebullient and martial or gentle and whimsical and I love that range and variety.
Mostly nowadays I play it to help free my mind to focus. I suppose it is a form of meditation. The patterns in the music seem to help me perceive and formulate patterns in events and concepts. It is as if playing silences some aspect of my mind and allows others to step to the fore and be heard.
Yes, it can be a source of peace, but it is also always a reminder of other times and of people I have loved and lost. It can also be a gateway to memories I’d rather forget. Then it brings me no comfort at all. Music is like that, potent.

In all the time you have been in this incarnation of yourself, have you ever loved a human? If so, who?

I like to think I love all humanity. I tried to explain it to Avilon once, but I’m not sure it really got through, but perhaps it is still the best explanation of why I love the human race…
“I have sung songs written to move the heart, I have seen the glory of a sunrise and the felt the thrill of watching the bright splash of lights over a city at night. I have danced under the stars, laughed with friends, got drunk in a tavern, made love in the damp grass, argued with a philosopher, played games with a child, bargained with a merchant, marvelled with a scientist, travelled with an explorer,explorer, shed blood with a soldier and dreamt the dreams of a poet. I have known pride and sorrow, courage and friendship, fear and hatred, love and loss.”
No one can experience those things and not learn to love the incredible contradiction of the human condition.
But I think you might be asking more specifically. About individuals. In that case I am not sure exactly what you mean by ‘love’. If you mean the deep affection I feel for a friend like Charis or the utter devotion I have for my sister, then yes, I have loved. If you mean romantically – I have had a few crushes for sure, but love? **laughs** I think love is only known in its time of trial, otherwise it is little more than a delightful recreational, making you feel good in the moment.

Which of your human companions has frustrated you most? And why?

Avilon. Undoubtedly. The lack of trust, the ability to see through what I am doing as I do it. Someone much too perceptive and intelligent – which is why Avilon is also the one person I most value – need – as an ally.

In your quest, you have experienced betrayal, reversals and physical harm, and your companions have suffered greatly too. Can you honestly say the end will have justified the means?

My quest? **laughs** I suppose it must seem like that from the outside. I have to say though, my aims and ambitions are neither singular nor linear, so I’m not sure that really works as a descriptor, but you are the one asking the questions so let’s run with that idea for now.
To answer your question honestly, I don’t think I can ever know the answer. It is not for me to judge. It is something for others, those who live out what I have set in motion, to judge. Of course, I believe it does when I act or I would not do what I do. But in the end? Who knows how things will play out? I am not omniscient and I don’t even have the advantage of Kahina Sarava’s Future Data to tell me the probable outcome of my actions. I can only work towards what I see as a worthwhile goal.
One thing I seem able to do that others struggle with is set aside approaches or even entire projects if I see they have failed. Others seem more inclined to try and patch the unpatchable and try to keep going, as if the investment they have made already means they dare not let go. I learned young that you can’t do that and hope to succeed. It is better to accept defeat and open a new way forward than to expend all your energy trying to restore a ruined hulk to working order.
So ask those who inherit the results of my deeds in a thousand years time. Perhaps by then all I ever did will seem pointless and irrelevant. I hope not, I believe not, but I can’t be sure. No one ever can.

X

You can read more about Durban in Fortune’s Fools by E.M. Swift-Hook.

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