I know it’s been forever. But, for today at least, a Question of Fiction is back! I know it’s normally on Saturdays, but I have something else planned for Saturday. So today, I’m Welcoming Sharzahd and Despina on A Question of Fiction. To find out more about them, click here.
Despina: The first thing I thought about Shazi is that she was annoying. Come on! There was a lot that she had to be grateful for, and she was moping. Get it together, Shazi!
Sharzahd: I thought that Despina was gorgeous. Stop kicking me, Despi, it’s true! And then I realised that I had signed up for more than I expected.
Me: You live in one of the most famous palaces in all the land of Khorasan, if not the world. What’s the best part of palace life?
Sharzahd and Despina together: The food.
Sharzahd: Well, the food is definitely a big bonus. But I also love the beauty of the place, though it took me a while to see it as more than a cage. And I like a lot of the people inside it.
Despina: I like the people too, especially-
Despina: (slaps Sharzahd) Shhh! I made friends here, that I wouldn’t have if I had never been captured.
Me: Okay then. Now tell me, do you two ever fight? You seem like really good friends.
Despina: Well, we wouldn’t fight if Shazi wasn’t such a pig-headed princess ridiculously full of herself, and kept refusing my assistance.
Sharzahd: What Despina means is that we wouldn’t argue if she wasn’t such an arrogant secret keeper who doesn’t tell me important things.
Despina: We wouldn’t fight if-
Me, interrupting: Okay, ladies, enough of that. Now, you mentioned secrets. Do you think you should tell people secrets? Does it cause them more hurt to tell the truth or keep your knowledge to yourself? When I read your adventures, I was astonished by some of the secrets you kept.
Despina: The thing with secrets is that sometimes you’re not even aware that you have them yourself. And then what are you supposed to do? Still, I think it’s best to tell, if it will be better for the person in the end.
Sharzahd: I disagree, actually. Secrets can become part of your identity, and telling them is dangerous. But it is good to know things. I find it phenomenally annoying when people hint at secrets, but don’t tell them. It would have been useful to know about- well, a lot of things (Sharzahd glares at Despina) You did not tell your secrets soon enough, my friend.
Me: You two have different roles of power in the palace, and I liked seeing how that meant you were privy to different information. Do you struggle with the power difference in your relationships?
Despina: Sometimes, you know? Thebes was so different from here-but I barely remember it. i guess I have just learnt to trust the people around me, like Shazi and, um, someone else, as my friends, and that they won’t hurt me with their power. It does make telling them things nerve racking, though.
Me: Oh yes, I picked up on that. What about you, Shazi?
Sharzahd: Well I’m lucky that i have always had a position of some power, and all the things I need. That doesn’t mean that I can’t make friendship with other people. I think I have to remember that despite the fancy clothes, I am just a girl. Who can do ordinary things (though with some more skill than most) It’s by holding on to that that I can be friends with people, no matter who holds power. Power is really about fear, and I refuse to be afraid. Most of the time.
Me: What is something that you’re most proud of?
Sharzahd: It’s still something I struggle with, but I forgave someone who I didn’t think I could forgive, and forgot someone I didn’t think I could forget. And for that, I am glad for the mercy I can grant myself and others.
Despina : Oh I’m pretty proud of the time I managed to make you wear that kameez, remember *nudges Sharzahd* And you were so beautiful. Oh and I’m also proud of all the times that I brought you to your senses when you were stupid (and I think I helped you with the forgiveness too).
Me: Achievements all around. Finally, what is your favourite food?
Sharzahd: Quince jelly.
Despina: Almonds. And tea.
Me: Thank you so much for featuring on a Question of Fiction! And now I ask my readers: What is your favourite food? Have you been introduced to Shazi and Despi? Should characters tell secrets or keep them hidden? Tell me in the comments!