How to Find Your Perfect Hero
starring Dante da Silva and Roxell the Tarot Queen
Dante: Tell me again how we got roped into this. Scruffy was behind it, wasn’t he? Trying to reform my image. Well, what do we know about finding heroes?
Roxell: I don’t see why we couldn’t discuss this topic as well as anyone. I did find you.
Dante: Ha! As if I qualify as a hero. And as for you, staying in the same cottage at the top of an inaccessible mountain for four hundred years until your “hero” wanders in through a locked door doesn’t sound like particularly useful advice.
Roxell: You told me that door was unlocked!
Dante: Did I?
Roxell: My point isn’t so much the mechanism for finding your hero, but what characteristics you should be looking for in a hero.
Dante: This isn’t about looks, is it? Because, if it is, I’m gone. People who equate beauty with merit are the most irksome and easily used of all.
Roxell: No nor charm either. If that’s all you had–and we all know you have both–you still wouldn’t be a hero.
Dante: [scratching the chin of the ugliest cat ever] I am not a hero.
Roxell: [rolls eyes] Right, just like don’t have a cat.
Dante: I don’t have a cat. We just happen to be in the same area once in a while.
Roxell: For how many years? Or a dog.
Dante: That is not my dog.
Dante: Besides you’re the one that named them.
Roxell: Anyway, back to the subject at hand. What do you think a hero is?
Dante: [contemplating the glowing red tattoos on his pale skin] Someone who isn’t actively possessed with a worthless sex demon.
Roxell: I really don’t think that has anything to do with…
Dante: Someone who hasn’t lived a life of dissipation. Someone who isn’t ruthless. Someone who isn’t dangerous.
Roxell: This isn’t about what a hero isn’t nor will giving me a list of your own characteristics make you less the hero. I don’t want a list of what a hero isn’t. A want to tell the readers what a hero is.
Dante: A hero has no business having a tainted past.
Roxell: A hero isn’t about what one has done or who one used to be, well it can be if it’s a reflection of your core personality. It’s about who you really are and what you are willing to be.
Dante: If you’re so smart–and I know you are–tell me what a hero is and convince me I fit.
Roxell: A hero doesn’t have to be ready to save the world or do nothing but good. He can, but he doesn’t have to. What he does have to do is care about someone or something, enough he’d risk his life, whether a child, a pet, or a lover. Maybe a principle or group of people. Something beyond himself.
He has to be willing to grow and learn, be willing to do things he would never normally do. He can be ruthless, but he shouldn’t be needlessly sadistic, taking pleasure in hurting innocent people unnecessarily. He doesn’t have to be kind to everyone, but he should be kind to those he cares about. Wait, are you blushing?
Dante: I am not. It’s hot in here.
Roxell: You’re a fire demon.
Dante: Are you done?
Roxell: No. He should be capable, not so capable that you’re basically just an accessory, but capable enough that he’s helping solve the problems that come your way instead of making them. I personally favor smart heroes. Brawn is nice and all but you want to have a partner you can have real conversations with, who challenges you to do better yourself and to help you grow.
They don’t have to be adventurous but they can’t be boring or your life will drag along. But what one person needs in a partner or a companion isn’t always the same. Different people need different partners. Maybe someone that’s a little too hard could use one that can tell jokes and help her relax now and again. Maybe one that’s a little inexperienced…
Dante: A little– darling, you’d never even stepped foot outside that cabin for four centuries.
Roxell: I held my own.
Dante: Yeah, yeah you did. I pick really kickass heroines. So, why is this only about the men?
Roxell: It doesn’t have to be a man. I could be talking about heroines, too. Everything I said applies there as well. And there’s no saying that you don’t have two heroes together or two heroines. Or two friends. Or six friends for that matter. But, especially for romance, a hero needs to care about more than himself. Otherwise, he’s a jerk.
Dante: [laughs] Tell us how you really feel. You know I never did anything I didn’t want to do. I don’t think I qualify.
Roxell: Like getting arrested as a deserter and taken back to the capital?
Dante: I knew you’d think of something.
Roxell: Or taking a crowd of freed slaves to safe haven?
Dante: That turned out to be a shortcut.
Roxell: You fulfilled the wish of that innkeeper that summoned you. You’re not going to tell me you would have done it without me being at risk, that you wanted to.
Dante: No, no I can’t say I would have.
Roxell: And all because you treasure me. That’s my hero. Yeah, you can be ruthless but on my behalf, which works out just fine. And you take such good care of Gus and Lucky, too.
Dante: I do not. We just have an understanding. And Lucky got into my good graces when I realized he’d go after the balls of anyone who threatened you.
Roxell: So, I guess that makes Lucky a hero, too. And Gus, as well.
[Gus rises, affronted, stuck up his matted tail and proceeds to ignore Roxell.]
Dante: You can’t go calling everyone a hero. He’s a cat, a really mangy one.
Roxell: It’s who you are that makes someone a hero, even if they never wanted to be, not what. [Brightly] So, that’s all we have time for today. I hope we’ve helped you in determining hero material when you see it.
Dante: [rolls eyes]
Dante da Silva, Roxell, Lucky and Gus can be found in Tarot Queen.
Click the image to get it for just $2.99!
Stephanie Barr is the author of Tarot Queen, Curse of the Jenri, Beast Within, Nine Lives, Saving Tessa and two anthologies of other science fiction/fantasy short stories (and a book of poetry) with more on the way. When she isn’t writing, she is working her day job as a rocket scientist, keeping tabs on her three kids (single mother) and contemplating more relationship advice which she hands out despite her two failed marriages.
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