I'm going to try to answer all your questions down below! But if I forgot one of you, do forgive me and feel free to repeat your question in the comments.
now we learn where Monster disappeared to after seeing Felix and Fidel safely
into Dompstead. Somewhere deep in the Wood Between, he brings word to Prince
Aethelbald of the doings in Oriana. And the poor cat apologizes for not saving
Una! Really, what on earth could he have done against the Dragon? But after
five-plus years of guarding Una, it must be very hard on Monster to see the
doom they've been fearing all along fall at last. So Aethelbald sends Monster
back to Goldstone Hill to watch Oriana and learn what he can.
Una's dream. Una has a
strange dream-vision of herself on an empty plain, and she sees a tall,
faceless figure striding toward her. "My love!" she cries . . . and
then sees that the figure carries a sword in his hand. A sword intended for
thrush's song. For
the first time in a while, the wood thrush returns to the story. In the midst
of ash and nightmares, it sings to Una, falling upon her with a ray of clean,
brilliant sunlight. A momentary relief from the darkness the Dragon has
brought, but a true relief. A ministering voice in her torment.
once more Una whispers, "He will come." Whispering the lines of a
strange song to herself, she insists that "He will come." But who
does she mean?
Felix on the
North Road. Felix
does not want to be sent away when
his father and sister are still in danger. Trying to muster what manly command
he can, he tries to stop Captain Janus and turn their party around. But, sadly,
he's only a prince in name at the moment. So poor Felix is forced to continue
on in company with these men who are practically strangers, on a road he does
not know, to an uncertain safety.
suddenly, they realize that they are being pursued . . . .
Captain Janus. Here I included
a little literary joke. Possibly not a very good one, but it tickled me at
the time. Janus is the two-faced Roman god, and I thought it would be funny to
name this character Janus since he proves to be two-faced in a way himself. Not that the real Captain
Janus is a traitor. Indeed, the real Janus was killed at some point and time we
do not know. But this Captain Janus
turns out to be a servant of the Dragon, and is definitely two-faced!
a little joke for those who get it. Maybe a bit of a stretch . . . .
Felix flees into
Goldstone Wood along
with Captain Janus and soon becomes lost, separated from everyone else. The
wood grows thickly here, making it difficult for Felix to flee, and he is
constantly extracting himself from various bramble snarls. This tends to be my
experience with forests. In most novels and movies, fleeing through a forest is
a much simpler and more dramatic matter. In reality, there's an awful lot of
undergrowth to contend with! And at night, without a light-source, there's only
so much you can do about it. Felix is probably as irritated as he is scared at
then, he hears Captain Janus calling.
The sword trick.
knew Felix would have to have a chance to show off the fencing skills he
learned from Prince Aethelbald. I mean, this is fiction. Things have to come back
when Captain Janus--or whoever this traitor is--reveals his true colors, Felix
suddenly finds himself fighting for his life! Not against a servant of the duke
as Felix first assumes, but against an honest-to-goodness dragon!
Dragon King was true to his word (this time) and sent "one of his
own" to help the duke track down Prince Felix.
Poison. Felix manages to
fend off his attacker at first, surprising "Janus" with unexpected
skill. But then the dragon leaps upon him, clawing into his shoulder, filling
our favorite young prince with poison. All would be up for Felix if not for . .
Our hero. Hoorah! Prince
Aethelbald returns! And obviously has some sort of history with this dragon,
who flees the moment he recognizes the Prince of Farthestshore.
1. If there was one
thing Felix had learned in all his years as Prince of Parumvir, it was that
being a prince brought no advantages whatsoever. (p. 204)
Questions on the
1. In Una's dream
or the armed figure on the empty plain, do you think she sees Prince Lionheart or
2. I'm fighting a
cold, so I'm having trouble thinking up a good question, so I'll just skip here
to, "Favorite lines?"
1. "Is there a chance the duke reforms later on?" -- Beka
Not even a little one! But then, would we really want a character so odious to reform? Really?
2. "Speaking of literary nods, I think I saw one toward the end of Heartless, but should I wait to reveal what I think until we get there?" -- Jennette
No, I'm super curious now! What literary nod did you spy?
3. "Could the Dragon have gotten into Oriana's Palace if Una hadn't invited him in?" -- Meredith
I think he could have. He did get into the Eldest's House in Veiled Rose without an invitation. I think he simply wanted to prove his strength by making Una invite him.
4. "I was wondering, though this has to do with Veiled Rose. What happened to the
ring Lionheart gave to Rose Red to show that she was in his service when he was
about to leave to his exile? I'm just curious, and I completely understand if
you did not wish to answer. Thank you so much." -- AC
Good question! You know, I don't think I ever dealt with that. I saw that ring as merely serving one purpose--verifying Rose Red's role as Lionheart's servant--and when that purpose failed her with the Baron of Middlecrescent, it ceased to be important. Now I kind of wish I'd used it for more than that! Perhaps as a parallel to Una's ring . . . . But, sadly, I never even thought of that. Sorry to disappoint. Maybe I'll bring it back in a later book, now that you've put the idea in my head.
5. "And how do you pronounce Leonard, by the way. LEO-nard, or LEN-ARD?" -- Rebekah
I've always pronounced it "Len-ard," but "Leo-nard" probably makes more sense considering "Leo" was his childhood nickname. So I officially give you permission to pronounce it however you see fit!
6. "In this chapter Una is called Princess Tidbit. Does this name and your Friday's
posts have any connection?" -- Caitlyn
Actually, no. I never even thought of that! But it's a cute idea, so maybe I'll pretend they are connected . . . . I think I just like the word "tidbit." It's a fun word to say! And it's particularly funny to think of my vast and monstrous Dragon using that word. *shiver*
7. "I think Ralph Fiennes could play this character [the Dragon] well, although someone younger
might be better. What do you all think?" -- Meredith
Oooh, I think that would be an excellent casting choice! Well done, Meredith!
8. "I just noticed this, but does the fact that Janus is the two-faced Roman god of
the gates have anything to do with Captain Janus' identity?" -- Anna C.
I think I might have answered this one in the text above! Good job spotting it though, Anna. Clever!
9. "I've always wondered if there was an inner reason why almost EVERYONE in
Parumvir has Latin names? Una, Felix, Fidel, Janus... to name a few." -- Rebekah
Good question! The reason for this is to create a sense of national continuity. Just like all the names in Beauclair are French-based, and all the names in Southlands are . . . whatever those are. English-based, I suppose. I don't invent my own languages, so I try to find other means to keep a sense of continuity within the various cultures I've created. In Noorhitam, the various people-groups have Malaysian, Cambodian, and Thai-based names. And even the goblins of Arpiar have Armenian-based names.
"Parumvir" itself is based on the Latin words for "small" and "man," the importance of which will be revealed in a later book . . . .
I chose Latin-based names for Parumvir purely because "Una" is Latin. Una was the princess in the classic St. George and the Dragon story, where she, like my Una, represented the church (though in a very different manner). I wanted to catch onto that literary symbol and representation. Plus I really just love the name! In fact, if my husband and I are ever blessed with a daughter, we've already decided that she will be "Una." It's just so pretty and has so many lovely, classical connotations!