There’s two books which are sources for my story, from different perspectives. One of them is “The Advance Guard,” which only tells a small portion of it from an outside view. The other is “Dinétah Dragon,” which is where I get my turn to tell the tale.
Who are you?
My name is Ariel Sharpe. People who get to know me … and they are few and far between … are usually either trying to use me, or trying to help me. I think I like those who try to help much better than those who try to use, considering that people of the latter type turned me into what I am now.
I should mention a few things I’ve done in my life. I left the Navajo reservation at 18 to attend the Virginia Military Institute. After graduating from VMI I joined the Navy. While in the Navy, I went into an experimental unit, which wound up turning me into a dragon.
Where do you live?
Me and my family … my mother, close friends, husband, and daughter … we live on the Navajo land in Arizona. I’m afraid I can’t be any more specific about it, because we’re living in a state of exile from the rest of the world, just to prevent our respective powers from being used in a bad way.
Are you the hero of your own story?
I am. It’s my life’s story, after all. I’d feel pretty foolish if I wasn’t the hero of my own life.
How do you see yourself?
I’ve tried as much as possible to stay out of people’s way. I have dreams I want to pursue, but I don’t want them to come at others’ expense. I am a spiritual person. I usually find comfort in religion, although in some of my adventures with my friends I’ve had to directly confront negative aspects of it.
How do your friends see you?
My friends really tend to feel sympathy for me. Ken Sharpe, the man who found me on the street after I ran away from the experiment, was very concerned with my well-being, like a father. His son Cole had some trouble at first, because he felt that I had taken his father away from him, but soon he came around and now we couldn’t possibly be closer. The other two members of our team have differing ways of looking at me. Cyrus Salem, he’s a magic user, and he sees me as kind of a pupil, someone he can teach about the world, or how to deal with the unusual fights we wind up in. Kitty Lazarus, the other woman on the team, is a really good friend, the first I’ve been able to have real girl-talk with despite our differing personalities: she’s very much a tomboy, though she tends to lose that aspect of herself whenever Cyrus is involved.
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
I really think Don A. Martinez did a very good job. When I read his transcription of our interview, I felt all of the emotions he had elicited from me rising back to the surface. I laughed, I cried … just like I had during the interview itself. He truly did just put down what the recorder played back. I even forgave his little notes, because he’s more of a journalist, after all. I even liked the “Advance Guard” portrayal, because it was also accurate.
Do you have a hero?
I have two heroes in my life. One of them is my single Navajo mother, who raised me and taught me to be who I am. I credit much of my personality to her, and to my Aunt Irene, her best friend from down in the canyon. My other hero would be Ken Sharpe, who rescued me from the street and brought me into his new family, our family bound by duty and honor. He’s even more of a hero due to his role as the Guardsman, God’s knight-errant.
Do you have any special strengths?
The secret experiment initially linked me to a massive dragon, which the experiment named 37A. As the link became more and more prevalent, I started physically changing, growing green scaly skin and fins on my forearms. Shortly after my escape, when the experiment came looking for me, out of defensive measures I completely bonded with 37A, and she became permanently a part of me. At first I only figured out how to sprout wings from my back, but eventually I discovered that I could not only breathe fire, but if I needed to I could completely grow into a full dragon which looks like 37A, only with my hair.
Do you have any special weaknesses?
Depression and loneliness. I am very prone to both of these. Sometimes it can be triggered by little things, like comments or hurt feelings, but other times it comes on after major trauma, like Ken’s death, or the time Kitty was captured. I also have a tendency to fall so deeply into depression that I’ll try to take my own life.
What makes you happy?
Friendship, peace, and family. I’ve not been happier in my life than I have been with Cole. We have a bond, of course, through his father, but more than that we understand each other on a spiritual, soul level. I even know that I was meant to be his, because I’ve seen him in near-death visions, pleading for me to remain alive.
What makes you sad?
When my friends are hurt, or dying, this makes me very sad. My saddest memories are of the death of my college roommate, and the death of Ken. I think if I ever lost Cole, my life would truly be over, that’s how sad even the thought of his death is to me.
What, if anything, haunts you?
My visions haunt me. I’ve seen nearly the same vision, every time I’ve tried to kill myself. In the space between life and death, I’ve had various figures appear to me and tell me to live, because my living allows the existence of the love that will save a life. I’ve puzzled over this thought for years, trying to figure out what “the love that will save a life” means. Whose life? What is being loved that will save that life? I don’t know.
Have you ever failed at anything?
When I went into the Navy, it was to become a pilot. I tried and tried to get into flight school, but because I had attempted suicide while in college, I was told that my psych profile overruled any applications I put in. If only they knew that I’d wind up flying anyway … just not in a plane.
Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Two men have betrayed me in my life, one more painfully than the other. One was someone I worked with, who was my commander, and he turned on the team and on me. The other was just too painful, it was a man I’d known since I was a teenager, who I trusted and placed my undying faith in, only to have him use that faith against me and all of humanity.
Do you have any handicaps?
I suppose the biggest handicap I have is my appearance. I initially thought it was monstrous, having this scaly flesh, a red eye, and fins coming out of my forearms, but with the support and love of my friends, especially Kitty and Cole, I’ve realized that I’m not quite as monstrous as I think I am. I do, however, have a backup plan for going out in public, and that’s my Holographic Self-Image Projector, which makes me look like a normal human.
What in your past would you like to forget?
Above all, it would be a high school slumber party. There were some very hurtful things that were done to me, just because I was a loner and didn’t tend to have a lot of boyfriends. I prefer not to talk too much about it.
Who is your true love?
I think above all, it would have to be Cole. He is my soul mate. I feel like we were destined to be together, just by our both being influenced by Ken. He is the Guardsman now, in his father’s stead. In fact, Sharpe blood now runs deeply through my life, and it’s all thanks to Cole.
How do you envision your future?
I see us finding the peace we have earned, with my family by my side. I see Alanna, my daughter, living up to her birthright and becoming a Guardswoman, like her father and ancestors before her. Most of all, I see us being happy and living out our lives peacefully after all the adventure we have shared.
Where are the books available?
“The Advance Guard” and “Dinétah Dragon” are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers; digitally via Kindle, Nook, and GoodReads; and through Desert Coyote Productions, http://desertcoyote.weebly.com.