Interview with a Harpy – Calista (from The Rise of the Stone)
Although Calista is only briefly mentioned in The Path of the Stone she fully appears in The Rise of the Stone. Unlike all other harpies who were made thousands of years ago – and some a few hundred years ago – Calista came from the future. For a silly misstep, the Stone marked her as guilty and she was hurled down the time tunnel. So, get ready for an interview with a harpy who is not quite what you expected.
Ch Duts – Hi Calista, it’s so good to see you here.
Calista – Thank you for having me. It feels nice to talk to someone from my century for a change. I’m always with those harpies who have these age-old mentalities that I’m not used to.
Ch Duts – Is it hard to live with them?
Calista – No, not at all. I love my harpy sisters and my life with them gives me a lot of freedom, but they often make fun of me for the way I speak. I use words that don’t even exist in their times. When I was first made I had to explain what I said nearly all the time.
Ch Duts – The male-dominated society of the past must also be difficult for a girl of our era.
Calista – Only the human world was male-dominated, but not ours. No man controls a harpy. We simply won’t allow it. Aeron was the only male lord who ruled over us, but you know what happened to him.
Calista – So, the harpy society is free?
Calista – Free for us, yes; but we keep to ourselves. We don’t mix with humans or other creatures. First of all, we don’t want any conflicts because of their different laws and rules; and secondly, our isolation keeps the peace.
Ch Duts – Other creatures? Like what?
Calista – Well, witches, wizards, although I only know of one witch and, luckily, she stays away from us. There’s also a Merfolk society, but we don’t know much about them and we haven’t met any mermaid or merman yet.
Calista – Aren’t you working on the third book, The Fall of the Stone? I thought you mentioned the Merfolk in there.
Ch Duts – That project is on hold for now, but I will resume it when the muse returns.
Calista – I hope so. I’d like to get to know the Merfolk.
Ch Duts – You know that saying, be careful what you wish for.
Calista – Don’t I know it? She laughs. – One evening I was sitting at my desk at home in Athens, complaining about homework and wishing I had more freedom, and the next thing I knew I fell down a dark tunnel and ended up in a harpy village. You could say that I got the freedom I wished for, but man, it cost me.
Ch Duts – Do you have any regrets about being a harpy?
Calista – You know, I always regretted not having witnessed the switch to the year 2000. I had always been looking forward to the New Year’s party on the eve of December 31, 1999. 1999 sounded so special, so historical, I was really looking forward to it.
The time tunnel was destroyed by the time I could have gone up there. I never got to see it. – she pauses and stares into the air as if mulling over past events. Then she looks at me again and adds – There was even a song about it, by Prince, 1999. Man, I loved that song. My mother promised me that I could see him live in concert for my 18th birthday. He was going on tour during that time, but a few months before that I was snatched and taken down the time tunnel.
Ch Duts – You never saw your mother again, did you?
Calista – No, that wasn’t possible. When they took me away I was supposed to be executed because the Stone had marked me for punishment – or perhaps Aeron had, who knows? Calliope saved me from death and, years later, Azure turned me into a harpy. My poor parents … I always wanted to let them know I was OK, but I couldn’t. The pain they must have gone through … believing me gone, perhaps dead … I can’t even imagine.
Ch Duts – Now that you’re here, you could go see your parents.
Calista – I will, as soon as this interview is over.
Ch Duts – I won’t keep you much longer. I just have two more questions for you.
Calista – Shoot. She laughs again and says – The first time I said that word, ´shoot,´ my harpy sisters took it literally, believing that I wanted them to shoot someone or something. I’ve had to teach them much of today’s spoken languages
Ch Duts – More than one?
Calista – Yes, Greek and English. Most of them speak Gaelic but Greek was also an accepted language since many harpies came from there. We adopted English a few centuries later. She crosses her arms and leans back comfortably in her chair – So, what are your two remaining questions?
Ch Duts – You were snatched in the year 1991. You have lived through centuries and seen a lot. Now you find yourself in 2022, and I’d like to know what you think of the world in this year?
Calista – Oh man, do I have to answer that? She smirks and continues – I guess that there are good things and bad things. Honestly, I don’t know where to begin. It is sad that even nowadays women still don’t have all their rights. Of course, that depends on the country they live in. In some countries they enjoy much freedom and in others their lives are severely restricted.
And what is with all those diseases and viruses? There always seems to be a new one. What the hell is going on with the world today?
And why is everyone walking around staring at their phone, busy typing on the blasted thing and smiling at it while hardly paying attention to the real person who is next to them and talking to them? I didn’t have a cell phone in 1991, and I remember always meeting my friends at the mall or we went to the beach. We were always outside, all the time. We had so much fun. – She stops, smiles, and says – I could go on, but I think that’s enough. Rant over. You probably know all that already.
Ch Duts – It’s always good to hear observations from an outsider. So, here’s my last question. Do you have any advice, tips, or a quote you’d like to leave with our readers?
Calista – First, I would like to leave a message for my parents, now that it’s finally possible. If they get to read this, I would like to tell them that I love them, and I’m fine, I’m happy. Hopefully, after this interview I will get to see them, if it’s not too late. – Once more she pauses and then she says – My advice? Don’t be fooled by pride or the false notion of having time. Time never waits.
If you want to tell someone you love them, do it. If you want to apologize for a past wrong you did, then do it. Saying you’re sorry doesn’t make you weak; on the contrary, it shows strength, humanity, and it can only come from love, friendship, and respect. Life is too short for pride or grudges. The biggest regrets at the end of our lives are often the things we did not do.
Ch Duts – Wise words
Calista – For a seventeen-year-old? Please remember that I have been seventeen for a little over 2000 years. I may look like an adolescent but within me beats the heart of an old, wizened woman.
Ch Duts – I have no doubt.
Thank you for joining us with Calista today, the feisty one of the harpy bunch. If you’d like to get to know her better, her adventures with Azure, the harpy queen, are described in The Rise of the Stone. Although she is a side character, she plays an important role in the story, and I’m happy to reveal that in The Fall of the Stone Calista will play an even bigger role (when I get that written).
By the way, both books are currently having a special deal, from $2.99 to only $0.99. 🙂 See below for more details.
UPDATE: This deal ran in the summer of 2022 and ended a long time ago. Amazon, however, is offering the paperback of The Rise of the Stone at a low cost right now, currently $3.82 – March 2023. I’m not sure how long this deal will last and why Amazon is offering it like this, but feel free to check it out 🙂