He thought of the heroes that peppered his history textbooks. Most of the stories were complete nonsense, he knew, but even so! Had not King Shadow Hand bargained away his own two hands to a powerful Faerie queen for the sake of protecting his kingdom? Had not the child Sight-of-Day stood up in the face of the Dragonwitch even when those around her surrendered? Had not Maid Starflower--the nation's most famous and beloved heroine, for whom half the girls were named to this day--had she not done battle with the dreadful Wolf Lord and, well, if not lived to tell the tale, at the very least lived on in reverent memory? (p.22)
Lots of S's! And I might have to touch on those other two a bit by the end of this post. However, we'll start with a closer examination of the Starflower legend for now since it is mentioned the most frequently throughout the course of Veiled Rose.
Little hints about this story are dropped here and there. From the beginning, we know that Starflower, the heroine of that tale, faced the Wolf Lord. The rest of the story we have to pick up as we go along. For instance, when Rose Red is making her dreadful journey into the Netherworld, she comes to the dreadful Place of the Teeth.
Rose Red stared. She knew the story behind the Place of the Teeth, a secret hollow somewhere on the slopes of Bald Mountain to which no one ever ventured anymore. It was a site of sacrifice . . . For here, in ancient days, the warlike elders had sacrificed ewe lambs to appease the Beast that was their god.
And here too it was that Maid Starflower had been bound and left under the cold light of the moon. (p. 257)
The Wolf Lord, then, is most likely the "Beast" mentioned in Rose Red's thoughts, a creature who makes itself into a god. A god who demands, upon occasion, human sacrifice. What a dreadful monster! And what a dreadful fate for that famous heroine.
But she must have faced the creature bravely to have gone down in legend as she has. There is even an enormous fountain built in her honor in the front courtyard of the Eldest's House.
It was two stories tall, a fantastic piece of workmanship carved in white marble, portraying Southlands' most famous historic heroine, Maid Starflower, Panther Master's daughter, wearing very little, truth be told. A tiny stone bird sat on one shoulder, a classic icon in every depiction of the maid, the meaning of which everyone had long since forgotten. The maid herself stood with one arm raised above her head, the other flung out before her as though to ward off the monstrous wolf that stood opposite her, baring its marble teeth. (p. 163)
She did not face the Wolf Lord alone, then. Just as Rose Red hears the song of the wood thrush, her Imaginary Friend, even while traveling into the depths of the Netherworld, so Maid Starflower knew the company and help of the same.
But I hate to give away anything! Allow me merely to point out what has already been said, and you may draw your own conclusions. That, or wait for the release of Starflower later this year!
As to the other legends . . . We get very little information about the child Sight-of-Day, even less about King Shadow Hand. We know Sight-of-Day faced the Dragonwitch, that awful creature we met soon after the Wolf Lord down in the Netherworld. A dragon without her dragon form, who did not die in fire but rather drowned. From the Legend of Ashiun, as related by Lionheart at the beginning of this novel, we know the Dragonwitch had three lives, two which she lost two the Faerie knight, Etanun. Perhaps the child Sight-of-Day was involved in her third and final death?
As to King Shadow Hand. I have very little I can say about that! Except that the working title of the book I am currently drafting is Shadow Hand. And the Faerie queen with whom he bargained is someone you have already glimpsed in Heartless. As a matter fact, you've already met Shadow Hand as well . . . but you'll never guess who!
I love enigmatic clues, don't you?
Looking forward to sharing more stories with you, dear readers!