But, things are heating up in the world of Heartless, and it's certainly getting to be an exciting read. Let me know your thoughts!
Back to Felix: It's been a little while since we had a scene from Felix's perspective. It's kind of nice to go back to him and see some of this intense action from his point of view. He's quite a young lad, but very brave, all considering. He doesn't let himself simply get pulled away with the tide of people, but breaks out and tries to find his father. Felix definitely has the makings of a true prince!
The original scene: This scene of Felix on Goldstone Hill, struggling to find his father, is almost word-for-word how I wrote it in the original draft. And that original draft was penned in a leather journal while I sat in the middle of the woods. There was a park with a lake and various walking trails near the apartment where I lived with my beloved roommate, Charity, the year after I finished at university. I liked to go walking there for inspiration most mornings and evenings. I often took my journal (shades of Una?) in case inspiration struck.
But on that particular walk, inspiration struck and hard . . . so I climbed into the dense woods off the trail, sat with my back to a tree where I was certain no one passing could spy me, and wrote Felix's adventures on Goldstone Hill.
Oddly enough, I thought it was a pretty poor piece of writing when I first penned it. I seriously thought it was unusable. But I trotted home, typed it up into the manuscript, and told myself I'd revise it someday into something decent.
I never did.
So, good, bad, or indifferent, what you see in your copy of Heartless is a slightly polished-up version of what I penned in the woods that day.
The city in flames. So not only was Oriana Palace attacked that night. Sondhold City itself is under surprise invasion. By whom? Well, it doesn't take a great deal of puzzling to work that out . . .
We must save Una. Fidel, though scarcely conscious, is obviously terrified for his daughter. I wonder if this is more than fear for her imprisonment. I wonder if Aethelbald warned him of Una's coming fate . . .
Monster! We knew the brave Sir Cat wouldn't abandon his charges to their fate. He cannot help Una at this point--we've already seen that he is no match for the Dragon--but he finds Felix on that darkened hill and leads him through the dark.
I wonder if Felix might have briefly walked a Faerie path while he followed behind Monster? I never say as much, but it's not impossible . . .
Captain Durand and the king's men. Thankfully, the armed men who find Felix and Fidel on the hillside are soldiers of Parumvir, not the Duke's men. But they do bring word that it is Duke Shippening who has attacked Sondhold, the very capital city of Parumvir! And during a time of peace, with no declaration of war! Does the duke's odiousness know no bounds?
They cannot rescue Una, trapped inside Oriana as she is. But they can get the prince and the king away to safety.
Fidel's harshness. Fidel, full of dragon smoke, is very harsh to Felix in this moment. I think the harshness is born from love; he doesn't want his son to risk his own life to save him. But it comes out rather cruel in that moment, and Felix probably doesn't understand.
Felix and Monster. Despite their uneasy friendship, Felix shows a moment of soft-heartedness by hopping off his horse and picking up Monster, carrying him away to safety.
My Personal Favorite Lines
1. His steps slowed unwillingly, for a terror hitherto unknown rose in his breast as he neared those familiar walls. It was most like fear of the dark; a fear not of what the darkness could hide, but of everything the dark represented and the very absence of light. (p. 178) I am scared of the dark myself, so I sympathize with Felix here!
2. "I'm not following you," Felix muttered. "You're blind, stupid."
"Mreaaa!" the cat squawked and sank a set of dagger-like claws into Felix's leg. (p. 181)
Questions on the Text
1. Did you guess who had attacked Sondhold the same night as the Dragon's coming? Would you have believed that Duke Shippening and the Dragon were allies?
2. Do you think Felix picked up Monster for Una's sake? Or do you think he might secretly care about the cat?
3. Favorite lines?