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Air, Water, Sister, Brother

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Aquatus, guardian of the waters.

Aquata, guardian of waters.

Ventus, guardian of the air.

Ventus, guardian of the air.

Twin walks
at the Dawn of Time

with Jodi Milner

Author, Jodi Milner, really rocked it for me. I mean, it’s brave of another writer to let me interview a character, but Jodi made a leap of faith, and let some of my characters talk to hers.

As it happens, Ms. Milner’s story, “Breath,” graces The Toll of Another Bell, right along with my story, Jilted River. It didn’t take me long to notice that her story had a set of twins, a brother and a sister, just like my story. So as you might guess, my twins, Trystan and Wagner, were eager to interview the elemental twins, Aquata and Ventus.

Aquata and Ventus play pivotal roles in the story that gave them birth. Beloved siblings of the guardian of animal life, Fauna, they are the first to notice that something tortures her. The elements are not without heart in this story, either: Ventus and Aquata are troubled by the pain of their sister. Out of concern, they bring her secret to their eldest sibling, Terran. A private conversation becomes a meeting of sibling gods, all of them determined to give peace to their beloved Fauna. Their love for each other inspires them to give a gift to their dear sister. It is what she needs, and she can have it; but only if she will sacrifice herself.

It is a happy accident that Air and Water walk through the same pages as my Trystan and Wagner. As I see Aquata flowing down the mountain streams, I think of Trystan’s eyes on the northern waterfall of the Hollows. As I see Ventus pushing the breezes ahead of his sister, I think of Wagner’s lovely singing voice, for which even the cerulean warblers fall silent to listen.

Trystan and Wagner had a wonderful time interviewing the twins. Below is a transcript from their walk together.

Trystan and Wagner, twins living in the Jilted River State Park

Wagner (left) and Trystan (right), teenage twins living in the Jilted River State Park, interview guardians Ventus and Aquata.

Trystan:    We don’t remember the day we were born, but I remember growing up with my brother.
Wagner:   (smiles)  Yeah, I remember, that. Were you ever children, like us?

Ventus: When we first came to our world we were innocent and a bit foolish, in many ways it was like being a child.  We had to learn how to work together and in the process we caused untold trouble for Terran, our older brother.
Aquata:  Once we accidentally washed away one of the mountains he had been building.  He still brings it up when he is cross.

Wagner (to Ventus):   My sister really bosses me around sometimes (Trystan gives him the elbow). What does your sister do that annoys you most?

Ventus:  Ah, I better be careful what I say here.  Aquata has a tendency to be moody, especially when the moon is new. She withdraws into herself and won’t talk to me or come out to play. I usually can tempt her out with the promise of a good storm, but not always. Thankfully the moon continues in it’s cycle and she’s never like that for long. And now I’m going to duck for cover, she’s stronger than she looks.

Trystan (to Aquata):    Fair’s fair. If the boys get to talk about us, we get to talk about them. What does your brother do that annoys you most?

Aquata:  Wow, what doesn’t he do!  He’s always been the more playful of the two of us and sometimes I really just want him to leave me be.  Plus, he’s far more mobile than I am and so I can’t help but be a bit jealous.

Wagner:   All right, enough bickering. I can’t imagine life without my sister. What would the world be like if the two of you had to separate?

Aquata:   Impossible.
Ventus:   No, really. That’s a truly terrible thought.
Aquata:   There would be no more summer storms or rainbows if we couldn’t be together.
Ventus:   Clouds couldn’t form.
Aquata:   No, they couldn’t. We would be miserable without each other.
Ventus:   Miserable, and the whole world would suffer.

Wagner:    We don’t have any other siblings.
Trystan:    No, it’s only us. How do you get along with your brothers and sisters?

The Toll of Another Bell: A Fantasy Anthology

Read more about Trystan, Wagner, Ventus, and Aquata in “The Toll of Another Bell”

Ventus:   We get along fairly well. We kind of have to in order to work together to maintain the balance in the world.
Aquata:   It was hard when Fauna left us, we miss her dearly, but it was for the best.  We still visit her even though she can no longer see or hear us.

Trystan (to Aquata):   My brother has a beautiful singing voice. Does your brother sing at all?

Aquata:   Well, that depends on what you consider singing. Have you ever heard the wind howl through the trees or tickle a wind-chime?  That’s his song, and to me it’s beautiful.

Wagner (to Ventus):   My sister tells some great stories. Your sister has traveled a lot. What kinds of stories does she tell you?

Ventus:   Aquata and I almost always travel together and what amazes me is how different she sees the world than I do.  Hers is a more detailed view, by far. I could listen to her talk for hours about the trees and flowers she studies along the way.

Trystan (to Ventus):   What’s the best thing about your sister?

Ventus:   I love her strength and determination. Once she has set her mind to something, she won’t give up until she reaches her goals.

Wagner (to Aquata):   What’s the best thing about your brother?

Aquata:  He is the best friend and brother I could have.  Without him I couldn’t do half the things that I set out to do.  I need him.  He lifts me to the clouds to create the rain, he drives the storms in the right direction. He is my encouragement and my strength.

Trystan:    If you could each be one of the animals that your sister, Fauna, created . . . (looks at Wagner, wryly)
Wagner:   Okay, what animal would you be, and why?

Ventus:  Ok, I’ll go first.  I would choose the mild mustang horses of the grasslands.  I admire their speed and strength and how they love to run in the wind.
Aquata:  As for me, I’d love to be a dolphin. Don’t laugh, but it’s for the exact same reason that Ventus likes horses.  I guess we really are twins after all!

Author Elise StephensJodi L. Milner
Jodi Milner lives among the most epic vistas of the Rocky Mountains in Utah and uses them for inspiration when writing fantasy. When not shepherding her children, she dreams of magic and getting a good night’s sleep. She’s published fiction and poetry in the online literary magazine Soft Whispers.

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You can read Jodi’s story, “Breath,” along with nine other amazing stories, in “The Toll of Anther Bell,” a fantasy anothology by Xchyler Publishing.



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