Character Interview: Jorge
Last week I promised an interview with a very elusive character in Matt Archer’s life: Jorge, Peruvian medicine man, magic-knife creator and Yale scholar. He’s graciously agreed to speak with me via satellite phone…primarily because Major Ramirez offered him a box of Girl Scout Cookies?
J: Well, you can’t exactly get Thin Mints out here very often. The major was kind enough to pick up a box when he was on leave.
K: Wouldn’t they melt, though? It’s kind of humid in the rain forest.
J: You’re assuming I try to keep them for a while. I shared one sleeve with the major’s team, and ate the rest the same day.
K: Wow, and I thought my addiction to Tag-alongs was fierce. But this leads me to my first question. You grew up here, with your people, but were offered the opportunity to study abroad, in the United States. What kind of culture shock was that?
J: It was extreme. I picked up English quickly, so it wasn’t the language, but I had no concept of what American life was like. I’d find myself in social situations and have no idea what was going on. I’m good at studying behavior, so I worked hard to fit in, although I never really did.
K: Is there anything you miss from those days after returning home?
J: Besides the Thin Mints? <laughs> Well, I don’t miss the winters. It got very cold in the Northeast, and I was sick a great deal those first few years. But let’s see…some people would probably say modern conveniences like plumbing and coffee makers. I don’t really need those things. I miss the books. I have a small library here, and the major brings a few for me, but it’s difficult to keep them since I’m on the move a lot.
K: I can see that being an issue. I’d miss books, too. So I have a few questions from other people…Misha has questions about the knives, if you are willing to answer them.
J: <long pause> I’ll answer some, but this isn’t necessarily knowledge I’d prefer to get out. It could be quite dangerous, you see.
K: Okay, we’ll give it a try. First up, materials: What metals did you use to make the knives? Was it the same mix for all five?
J: The blades themselves are all made of the same mix of metals. They’re a bronze alloy. <chuckles> Don’t tell my grandfather, but I threw a little steel into the mix for durability. Not classic technique, but these aren’t ordinary blades.
K: How about the handles? What are they made of?
J: Each one is slightly different. Four are made of enameled bone. Plain white, plain black (which is mine), black with white markings and white with black markings. Variations on light and dark. The fifth I made from a bronze/steel alloy.
K: Why the difference with the fifth?
J: That’s a secret. Next question?
K: Um, okay. How did you forge the blades, and when you bound the spirits to them, did you feel it?
J: That’s two questions.
K: Well, yeah.
J: Hmmm. To the first, I used a version of clay casting (the old ways are better sometimes) and a great deal of heat. I…might have achieved the desired heat through less than natural means. <clears throat> To the second, yes, I absolutely felt the spirits enter the blades. I had to bind them together, so I was the link. It was painful, especially with young Archer’s knife. His knife-spirit is willful and extremely strong. The bronze’s spirit was strong-willed, too, but more…refined? I don’t have a better way to explain it. The other three were strong, but definitely less potent than those two.
K: Speaking of which, what do you think about Matt?
J: He frightens me.
J: His power, his ability. It’s…odd. But my hope is that it’s a good kind of odd. We called the knives the “blades of redemption” for a reason.
K: Sounds like all the wielders have a rough road ahead.
J: You have no idea. And hopefully, you never will.
K: Not very optimistic.
J: That is not my role.
K: You’re probably right. Well, I know you’re a busy man, so we’ll wrap up. Thanks so much for taking the time.
J: You’re welcome. And keep that boy out of trouble, will you? I can only heal so much.
K: I…can’t promise anything, but duly noted.