Chat with Odin Nelek and Raze from Eternal Hearts by Jennifer Turner
Odin Nelek and Raze are both secondary characters from the first two books in the Darkness Within series. Eternal Seduction is book #1, and Eternal Hearts is book #2. Odin is an Ancient vampire, while Raze is a very old Paladin. By design, most Paladins and vampires don’t get along…but Raze walks the path of Balance, meaning she’s more tolerant of other supernatural creatures as long as they aren’t abusing humans. And, well…she and Odin have a rather interesting relationship, even though she claims to despise Stefan Nelek, the man who made Odin a vampire.
Odin (smiling like he just ate your dinner): Welcome to the glorious Odin Interviews hosted by The Plot! Today I have Raze with me. She agreed to be my first victim. Well, l should probably use the victim term loosely since I’m not exactly chewing on her…even though she probably wouldn’t mind.
Raze (arches a brow): I would mind. I like you, Odin. I really do. But if it even looks like you’re gonna chew on me…I’ll shove those interview cards down your throat.
Odin (pulls a beer out of thin air and opens it): Awww, Razey-Poo, is that really the tone you want to set for this?
Raze (twisting a spike of neon green hair around her newly tattooed index finger): Considering what I do on a daily basis, do you really think threatening to chew on me is a good idea?
Odin (still smiling like he ate your dinner): What if I chew on you in a nice way?
Raze: (leans forward and sets her sheathed blade on the table between them): What if I stab you in a nice way?
Odin (narrows his eyes in a mischievous but evil way): Do you really wanna throw down with me?
Raze (smiles like she just ate Odin’s dinner): The only throwing I wanna do with you is down the stairs.
Odin: You always have such a bright and cheery disposition. Why don’t you tell everyone a little about yourself?
Raze (sets her blade back on the chair next to her and kicks her boots up on the table): What would you like to know?
Odin: Let’s start with the basics. Who you are, what you are, age, marital status, likes, dislikes, wants, desires , future aspirations. You know, stuff like that.
Raze: Well, my name is Raze. I’m a Paladin. I’m a little over 7,000 years old…at least I think. I might be older, but it’s hard to keep track anymore. I’m single. I like vampires who behave and follow the rules. I dislike vampires who treat humans like dirt. What I want and desire depends on the day. And my future aspirations probably pale in comparison to your daddy’s plans for world domination.
Odin (chuckles for a minute): Wow. You made it almost 5 minutes without insulting my Sire. Are you feeling okay?
Raze (smiles wide again): I’m fine. I just didn’t have an opening until then. How about you, Odin? Are you feeling good today?
Odin: Me? I’m great. I’m always great. It’s good to be me. So, in your own words, why don’t you explain to the people out there what it means to be a Paladin?
Raze: Do you mean what being a Paladin means to me, or what our general purpose is?
Odin: We’ll go with purpose first, then what it means to you.
Raze: Okay. I guess the best way to put it is a Paladin is someone who protects the humans from vampires and other supernaturals who’d abuse them. We’re not turned like vampires or born like weres…it just kinda happens one day. It’s like everything clears, some fog you didn’t know was there…and you finally see the world for the truth. From that moment on, I think the best way I can describe it is like, a compulsion or a driving force that burns in your stomach. You do everything you can to keep the humans safe, because they can’t guard against what they don’t know is there.
As for what it means to me…it’s everything. It’s just who I am. (She sits in silence for a few minutes, staring intently at the floor to the side of the table before she finally takes a deep breath.)Trying to describe what being a Paladin means to me is like trying to describe love to someone who’s never felt it. The feeling is so strong, and you know it’s right…no matter what anyone tells you. It’s…God, I can’t even find the right words. All I know is I wake up in the morning and know I’m doing what I was meant to do. It’s that simple.
Odin: You said becoming a Paladin “just happens one day”. What was your day like?
Raze: Umm… (She stares at the floor again then closes her eyes.) I…went to find my older sister. It was late, maybe an hour before dawn. I saw her climb out our window a little earlier and when she didn’t come back in what felt like forever, I got worried. He had her by the throat when I found them in the stable. It was dark, but the red streaks down the front of her gown seemed to glow as bright as the sun. I don’t know exactly how I knew. I mean, his fangs weren’t out anymore, but I knew what he was. He stared at me through those cold, dead eyes and it was like I suddenly knew every horrible thing he’d ever done to her. And at that moment all I wanted to do was kill him. For her, for the others he’d hurt…and to make sure he’d never hurt anyone else again.
Odin: Did you kill him?
Raze (absently nods before she finally opens her eyes): I did. And to this day, I still remember the terrified look on his face when I took that first step forward and all that golden light burst around me. I won’t say the fight was an easy win. He was stronger and faster than anyone I’d ever seen. But when morning came, that fanged bastard met the first rays of light on the ground in front of me…on his knees.
Odin: What about your sister? What happened to her?
Raze: I lost her that night. She’d lost too much blood and I couldn’t heal back then the way I can now. Hell, I didn’t even know what I was when it all happened. But I did the best I could, made her as comfortable as possible for what little time we had. I knew in my heart that she was at peace when she went…that she knew he’d never do to anyone else what he did to her.
It hurt. Oh, God, did it hurt to watch her die just minutes after he did. And trust me when I tell you I spent a good decade wishing I’d gone after her sooner. Thinking maybe if I could have gotten to her quicker I could have saved her. But, I didn’t get there sooner. I didn’t know…and it took me a long time to make my own peace with those feelings. We all make mistakes, and if we’re lucky, we find a way to learn from them. And if we’re really, really lucky…we find a way to grow around them.
Odin: (offers her a genuine smile): I couldn’t have said it better myself. Let’s shift gears. What’s with the colorful hair? You look like the love child of Rainbow Brite and Mr. Porcupine.
Raze (lets out a loud laugh twists a few of the spikes jutting out of her high ponytail): First of all, I happen to like my hair. It’s very…unique, like me. Second, it’s my early warning system for the Fledglings of New York. Believe it or not, I don’t think every vampire out there is evil. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here with you. I try to give each of them a chance to show me who they really are, and I also don’t make it a point of trying to catch them in the act of anything. Considering how tall I am, and how much height my boots and hair add on top of that…there’s no way when I walk into a club or even down the street, that they can’t see me coming. If they’re still doing dirty when I get to them, they either weren’t paying enough attention or they just don’t care. Both of which are punishable offences.
Odin: How benevolent of you. So what do you do when you aren’t monitoring the kids?
Raze (shrugs a shoulder): It depends on the day. I have human friends that I like to spend time with. I like visiting the museums here in NY, going to concerts, listening to music, and cooking. I’m actually pretty normal when the sun’s in the sky. I’m also old enough to be a Mentor when a new Paladin Ascends. I have to admit that I really enjoy training the newbies. I remember what it feels like to not know what the hell you are or what you’re supposed to do, so I’m all about helping the younglings find their way.
I think that’s the one thing I envy you Leeches for. When you guys come into the world, there’s usually someone there to explain everything. We don’t get that luxury. I think I was a Paladin for just over a decade before my Mentor found me.
Odin (gives a full fanged smile): I keep telling you, Buffy, fangs are where it’s at.
Raze: Don’t call me Buffy. You know I hate that shit.
Odin: Yeah, I know. Let’s start with the dirty questions for all the ladies out there. Who’s the hottest vampire you’ve met?
Raze: I try not to think of vampires in terms of “hotness”, but if I have to answer, I’d say your brother.
Odin (picks up his beer): Which one?
Raze: Wouldn’t you like to know.
Odin: Something tells me I probably wouldn’t. Knowing you, it’s probably Vookie…and that’s just not right. Top or bottom?
Raze: Neither. I’d rather be on my knees.
Odin (spits out the sip of beer he just took and coughs a couple times): What?
Raze (flashes an evil smile): What? I’m in charge of pretty much everything I do, day in and day out. Sometimes it’s nice to let someone else take control. Is that a problem?
Odin: No, that’s just not the answer I expected from you. Wow. Moving on. Would you ever consider shacking up with a vampire?
Raze: Probably not.
Raze: Because I’m a Paladin, Odin. There are vampires I like, a few I even care for and consider good friends, but at the end of the day I’m still compelled to judge their actions. Plus, I don’t really think I’d be comfortable cohabitating with someone I know will regularly cheat on me. I’m well aware of how vampires usually feed…and I’m pretty sure said vampire would be picking all his clothes up off the front lawn after about the second time I found him chewing on some bitch in our bed.
Odin: A man’s gotta to eat, ya know.
Raze: I know, which is why I don’t think I could date a vampire. I’m old, which means I’ve had plenty of time to learn exactly who I am, and I’m the kind of woman who wants it all. I want commitment. I wanna be the only woman on his mind, the only one in his heart, and absolutely without question, the only one in his bed.
Odin: Well, at least you know what you want. If it makes you feel any better, I wouldn’t wanna date you either. I find your hair unbelievably distracting. I’d probably cut it while you were sleeping.
Raze: That’s fine. If it wasn’t for the fact that she’s already with Kerestyan, I’d hook you up with Logan.
(Author note: Kerestyan and Logan are the hero and heroine from the first book, Eternal Seduction. Kerestyan is also Odin’s twin brother.)
Odin: (looks like he’s about to be sick): Oh, that’s just wrong. She’s so…so…yuck.
Raze: I can almost see it, you know. You, all decked out in your armor, standing in a doorway with her. You’re leaning towards her, one arm braced at the top of the doorway, the other slowly sliding around her waist as you pull her close to whisper in her ear. Then you smile and start to trace your tongue—
Odin (jumps up from his chair and throws the interview cards at Raze): This interview is over! Good God, are you trying to kill me? Ugh. Yuck. (He turns his back to her and walks away, fingers jammed into his ears.) Fluffy bunnies. Big sammiches. Beer. Hordes of dead enemies…
Raze (laughs long and loud as she stands up and straps her blade to her back): Bye, Odin. Thanks for the questions! Let’s do this again sometime. How about next week?
Odin: You are so not welcome! I hope you get your multi-colored head stuck in a door!
Raze: Sweet dreams, Leechy-Poo…sweet dreams.