Down at the bottom, I've answered all the accumulated reader questions! Thank you for your patience, dear readers. And do keep on asking questions as you have them. I will do my utmost to answer them all before the end of this read-along.
Una returns to
demonstrates her inner warrior maiden in this chapter. Granted, Una herself is
not the spunky type of heroine one expects to find in books like this. She's a
princess, and she's very girly. But when the sea sprite tells her that
"the dragon must die" before she can free, she sets out at once to
confront the Dragon who turned her. She does have courage, for all she makes
mistakes! She is ready and willing to face her foe or to die in the attempt.
For today I will
also see Una facing her foe using the fire he unleashed inside her. She knows
it is wrong, that it is slowly consuming her. But she does not believe there is
any other hope of victory. So she decides that, rather than forsake the fire,
she will accept for now and use it to fight the Dragon. She believes she needs
to indulge in the fury, the jealousy, the rage inside her so that her fire will
be hot enough for the task before her. She even gulps down great breaths of the
Dragon's own poisonous fumes, hoping they will feed her own fire.
Hello, my child.
though he expected her all along, the Dragon welcomes Una back to her father's
house and the ruin waiting there.
trying to make his way through Oriana and find his imprisoned father. He has
Monster's help, such as it is . . . probably more help than Felix realizes! And
he sees the duke's men carrying his father's treasures up from the storeroom.
He also overhears the mutterings of some of Shippening's men. They are
speculating that the Dragon intends to take all the treasure, leaving the Duke
of Shippening in charge an angry, penniless kingdom.
Called to the
the men carrying the treasures are ordered out to the courtyard, leaving Felix
a clear path to the dungeons. Unaware of what is transpiring outside, Felix
hurries with Monster down the dark staircase, calling tentatively for King
Fidel as he goes.
when he finds his father he realizes that he forgot a rather important detail .
. . the keys to the cell! Poor Felix.
Surround her! Once
Shippening's men realize Una is there, they are quickly ordered to surround
her. That's quite the startling image, that quiet girl, pale, covered in
scales, standing surrounded by burly soldiers, hemmed in by their weapons. But
she keeps her head bowed and does not look at them.
duke is pleased enough to see her. As he says, her looks haven't improved much,
but he doesn't care. He'll marry her anyway and claim the throne.
Una discourages all these ideas with a single look. He sees the fire inside
her, and it's enough to make him scream and back away hastily!
Too Honest. The Dragon tells
Una that she does not have skill of most of his children, the skill to disguise
her true nature. Even now, in her human form, she looks more dragon than human,
covered all over with scales as she is. She'll not be able to walk disguised in
the mortal world this way.
drew an excellent fan art picture depicting this little moment, which I wanted
to share with you! Sadly, blogspot is being a bit of a bear about pictures at the moment . . . But you can go over to this page and see it down at the bottom! It's called, "You Are Too Honest."
An order. Una surprises
all those present when she tells the Duke of Shippening--without breaking the
Dragon's gaze--to leave her father's house at once. She is so terrifying, that
the duke, trembling, turns to the dragon for support.
Dragon, however, merely laughs. Then he tells Una that she will carry her
father's treasures back to the Village of Dragons for the Hoard.
You will not
enter my father's house again. Una comes now to the moment for which
she has prepared herself, for which she has made her fire build. She, still
wearing her frail human shape, tells the Dragon she will not permit him to
touch her father's things again.
when the Dragon yet again laughs, she drops all her human shape and, in the
form of a dragon, attacks him. Her fire is so hot that the stone steps of the
palace melt under her blaze. The Dragon himself is engulfed, disappearing in
flames and smoke. Even the screams of the Shippening soldiers cannot be heard
over the roar of Una's furnace. She is a true dragon in this moment.
Not enough. None of this is
enough. The Dragon laughs and, with a sweep of his arm, waves aside the smoke, revealing
himself unharmed. Then, still in human shape, his mouth drops open, and he
fires a blast of flame at Una that strikes her like a mace and chain. The fire
grows and grows, and soon even her dragon scales begin to melt away so that the
soft flesh beneath burns.
she can do now is try to escape . . . and find some quiet place to die.
Dragon calls behind her: "I'll find you later and gnaw your bones, my
child! I'll gnaw and burn your bones!"
1. She found
herself thankful once more that she had no heart, for it would have broken in
two at the sight.
2. The fire grew as
she neared the ruins of her city. Many of the buildings still stood, but they
were darkened with ash, standing like lost orphans amid the wreckage. (p. 326)
3. "My, but
you're an ugly thing, like a lizard you are! But you'll do, little princess.
Now I'll send your father to join your dead brother, and with you as my wife,
no one will contest my claim to the throne!" (p. 330)
to me, as we agreed!"
Dragon turned his slow smile back down upon the girl. "Your last brave
suitor is most ardent. At least one of them still wants you, little
sister!" he roared, snarling down on her smoldering frame. "You
thought to kill your king, your Father? I gave
you your fire! Do you think you can use my own flame against me?" (p. 332)
Questions on the
1. Why do you think
Una does not succeed in her battle with the Dragon? Do you think she ever had a
chance? Do you respect her any more for making this attempt?
2. Favorite lines?
1. When Aethelbald is asking,where are you to Una, does he really not know where
she is? -- Jennette
I think when Una here's the voice asking "Where are you?" it's not so much about her physical location. Una herself is becoming lost more and more in the fires of the dragon, losing her name, etc. So I think the voice asking "Where are you?" is asking her where she, Una, is vanishing to. It's more for her sake than for his. He obviously knew where to find her right away. Make sense?
2. Is Starflower's home the Southlands back 1600(?) years ago? -- Jennette
Yes it is! Connected to the Continenet by a thin isthmus and everything. Was merely The Land back then, or the Hidden Land. By Dragonwitch it is being called "the South Land" by northerners. And that eventually morphed into the name Southlands it has 1600 years later. Good spot! You'll see many references to Starflower and her story in Veiled Rose, which is set primarily in Southlands. Starflower has become quite a legend by then!
3. In "Starflower" the names of Etanun and Akilun do not seem to be spoken without
spite and disdain. Yet here in Parumvir, hundreds of years later, they watch
over the fortress.
What happened that redeemed the honor of the names of the
Brothers Ashiun? Hmmm...looking forward to finding out...even if I'm crying at
the end of it. -- Hannah
Yeah . . . I'm afraid you will have to wait to find out about that! :) But, like Rebekah pointed out in the comments, most of what we hear about the Brothers Ashiun in Starflower is from Eanrin's perspective. And he has a very narrow perspective on them! But don't worry, Dragonwitch is going to clear up a lot of things for you, I do believe.
4. Colds are such nuisances, aren't they? -- Meredith
YES!!!!!!! ;) But I am beginning to feel bit better, thank you, everyone! Still not tip-top shape. After I finish this write up, I'm going to take some meds and then a nice long nap while my sweet guy is out grocery shopping. So still on the mend, but definitely on an upswing, not a downswing.
5. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do this, but I want to ask the other readers a
question. I'm curious, what animal do you think Diarmid used to be? Like
Eanrin's a cat. Personally, I think he's a cat too. -- Maiden G.
This is a great question, so I'm going to answer it here. And feel free to speculate as well, other readers!
I think Diarmid is a cat like Eanrin, and here is why . . . We learn later on in the series that Diarmid is Eanrin's "nephew." But we also learn that the immortal folk of Rudiobus are most of them so old and ageless that they don't remember who their parents are. Eanrin can't remember if he even has parents! So that makes it a bit difficult for him to know who is nephew is either. Except, I think the Rudiobans who take on similar animal forms probably band together in "family" circles. Thus, I think Diarmid was also a cat like Eanrin, and therefore was considered Eanrin's "nephew," not because of any specific blood-ties, but simply because that's how they would group their "families." Does that make sense?
But, I haven't actually said as much in any of the books thus far. So it's still an open question! And if someone provides me with a good argument for why Diarmid might be something other than a cat, well, I might just have to write that into the series instead . . . .