CHARACTER PROFILE & INTERVIEW
Name: Morgan Marlena Montgomery
Home: Born to the Ikati colony of Sommerley, England, she currently resides on Kadavu, a tropical island paradise, fourth largest in the Fiji islands chain.
Supernatural Gifts: Vapor, Suggestion (a rare and powerful Gift but limited to touch)
Strengths: Intelligent, resilient and self-sufficient, Morgan is also courageous and highly adaptable, and never gives up once she sets her mind on something.
Weaknesses: Hot-tempered, impatient and very rebellious, she has a hard time forming close bonds with others, and carries grudges to the grave.
Personal Philosophy: “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”
This interview was conducted in Morgan’s home, a beautiful thatched roof cottage tucked on a hillside in the rainforest with a breathtaking view down to the peacock-blue ocean below. After a fourteen hour flight from Los Angeles with one connection to get to this tiny island paradise, I am exhausted, but excited to visit with Morgan again and see how she’s been doing since we last met.
A gracious hostess, she’s given me a cool, delicious cocktail—the alcohol content of which I can’t determine because it’s masked by the sweetness of guava juice—and invited me into her living room. There is a spectacular ocean view from every angle, and the room itself is airy, open and filled with radiant, amber light from the setting sun. When she’s settled herself opposite me on the couch and tucked her legs beneath her, we begin.
J.T.: “Thanks for inviting me to your home for this interview, Morgan.” I look around, taking it in. “It’s…amazing.”
Morgan, smiling: “It is, isn’t it? I love it here. It’s so different than Sommerley.”
J.T.: “I must say, you look happy. Relaxed, even. You’re glowing!”
She laughs, a loud, sudden noise that startles me; I don’t think I’ve ever heard her laugh before.
Morgan: “You sound like Xander. He says island life suits me.”
J.T.: “Will he be joining us? I’d love to see him!”
Morgan: “He’s out in the rainforest right now…” A little smile curves her lips. “Getting dinner. It won’t take long.”
Now it’s my turn to laugh. Xander dearly loves to hunt, and in panther form, there’s no one deadlier. I feel momentarily sorry for the unsuspecting creatures of the rainforest.
J.T.: “Keeping himself in fighting shape, is he? Do you two have any plans to move back to the mainland?”
Morgan: “I don’t want to but…” A dark look crosses her face. “Circumstances being what they are, it might be inevitable.”
I know she’s referring to the tensions between the four confederate colonies and the newly discovered feral colony in Rome. With her Gift of Suggestion and Xander’s hunting prowess, they would be very helpful in tracking down the children of the dead King Dominus, leader of the Expurgari, the Ikati’s ancient enemy, and supposed heirs to his dynasty of evil. But she doesn’t look happy about it. Knowing what she’s been through to get to this beautiful place, I can see why.
J.T., trying to change the subject: “I prepared a few questions, should I start with those?”
Morgan, her face clearing. “Of course. Have at it!”
J.T: “Okay. They’re sort of a ‘finish the sentence’ thing.” Looks at list. “My favorite thing is…?”
Morgan: “Night time in the rainforest. That’s my favorite thing. The New Forest at Sommerley was always chilly and foggy, but here the temperature is always warm enough to go naked. And the rainforest is so beautiful. Half the time Xander and I don’t even use the bedroom here. We love to go deep into the rainforest and find a soft spot to…” Her face flushes a deep pink. “Uh, sleep.”
J.T.: “Sounds very romantic. Okay, next question. I thought I was grown up when..?”
Morgan: “When I was elected to the Assembly.” She pauses in thought, then continues on in a softer voice. “That wasn’t true, though. I wasn’t really grown up until I learned to love someone more than I loved myself. Falling in love with Xander matured me, among other things. It’s beautiful to have something to live for beyond yourself.”
J.T., stifling an “Awwww”: “He’s a very lucky man.” Morgan’s lips twist to a wry smile. I know she hates compliments. “Next question. My pet peeve is..?”
Morgan, emphatic: “Laundry! I hate doing laundry. I never realized how spoiled I was at Sommerley—there was someone to cook for me, clean for me, everything. And now I’m doing all that for myself, and someone else. Although Xander is really good about cooking, I’ll admit.”
Trying to picture this elegant, otherworldly creature doing laundry is like trying to describe a sunset to a blind person: impossible. I forge ahead with the next question.
J.T.: “My attitude toward humans is…?”
Morgan, cocking her head: “Should I give you the honest answer or the answer I think you’ll want to hear?”
I look at her, suddenly nervous. That doesn’t sound good. JT: “Um…the honest one.”
Morgan: “All right, then. I think you’re blind.”
JT, startled: “Blind?”
Morgan, nodding: “You have everything. There’s other predators, sure, but you’re still at the top of the food chain. You’ve built incredible civilizations, you’ve thrived on every corner of this planet, you’ve even gone to the moon. And yet, as a species…you’re not happy. You’re never satisfied. You can’t see what’s right under your noses; you’ve won. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Open your eyes.”
This is so unexpected I’m at a loss for words. I stare at her, open-mouthed.
Morgan: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound preachy.”
J.T.: “No, no, that’s all right. I’m just surprised. I thought you have everything. Beauty, amazing history, talents we’ll never have…I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
Morgan: “No. The grass is greenest on the human side of the fence. Every other creature on this planet lives in fear of you. Even us. Especially us.”
Given our history of exterminating her kind, I know exactly why.
JT, wincing: “Good point.” We stare at one another a moment, then, flustered, I look to my questions again. “I can die happy when…?”
Morgan, softly, unhesitating: “Now. If I died now, I’d die happy. I have everything I’ve ever wanted and needed, and more.”
I look up at her and she’s staring at something above my shoulder. I turn and find Xander in the open doorway of the kitchen behind me, leaning against the door frame, clothed only in a tight pair of dark jeans. His black hair is still shorn close to his head as I remembered and he’s barefoot, bare chested, with his muscular arms crossed over his chest. His vivid green eyes twinkle mischievously.
I almost gasp at the sight of him; I’ve forgotten how impossibly handsome he is.
Xander: “Ladies.” A slow smile spreads across his face.
I sputter a hello. Morgan rises from the couch and goes to him. Without a word, Xander folds her in his arms and drops his face to her dark hair, inhaling. He murmurs something to her, and she rises up on her toes and cups his face in her hands.
JT, standing: “We can, um, continue the interview later, Morgan.”
She nods without looking at me, and I walk quietly away with my interview questions in hand, pretending not to notice as the two of them share a passionate kiss.
When I leave the room, I’m smiling.