Sunday, December 29, 2013

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 4, Part Four

And we area already finishing up our fourth week of this read-along. I don't know about you, but the time has simply flown by for me! And we're getting pretty near the end of the book, though we'll be continuing into January for a little bit afterwards.

Our winner for this last week's giveaway was . . . .

Congratulations! Send me your mailing address (, and I will get your winnings in the mail promptly . . . just in time for the new year. :)

And now, we will continue on with our story.


Chapter 4

Poor Beana: Poor Beana continues to wait at the gate of the Eldest’s House, surrounded by thick dragon poison. You can see that she is beginning to despair . . . though she has not given into despair just yet! But how hard it is to accomplish this one task that her Lord has set for her: to wait.

Sometimes waiting is the hardest task of all.

Portrait of the Panther Master: It’s interesting to catch this glimpse of the man who was Maid Starflower’s father. I had fun slipping in a little hint about him, since he was another character I had written about long before tackling Veiled Rose. He featured as a major character in the short story version of Starflower I wrote back during my college days, so I knew pretty well who he was and what his role would be.

Rose Red likes his portrait, which also gives the reader an indication of what sort of character the Panther Master will play in his later story. Notice, though, how historically inaccurate the painting is! This certainly wasn’t painted during his lifetime, and is nothing more than a fanciful envisioning of who he might have been. But there is still some truth in the image. The scars under his robes, for instance, scars revealed in the light of Asha.

His gaze shifted: The text says that, while it may have been a play of the light, it seemed as though the painting of the Panther Master turned and looked right at Rose Red. I wonder . . . since she is in the Netherworld as well as the Eldest’s House, is it not possible that the real Panther Master may have looked at her through the painting? A chilling thought, but not beyond the realm of possibility in this realm so full of eerie possibilities . . .

“Why are you coming for me?” After traveling across many leagues of terrifying Netherworld (while simultaneously never leaving the Eldest’s House), Rose Red finally catches a glimpse of Lady Daylily, whom she’s been pursuing.

But Lady Daylily does not want to be pursued. “You should let me die, goat girl,” she says (p. 277). “I would if I were you.”

Daylily has breathed in so much more dragon poison than anyone else we have yet seen. More even than Una breathed, I think, since Una did not travel down into the Netherworld and the heart of the Dragon’s country. Daylily has lost her desire even to live.

Dare I say, Daylily may have lost her sanity. And if she has, who could blame her? Who could even be surprised?

She also gives Rose Red the cryptic warning: “If you should succeed, you will one day wish you had not.” (p. 277)

I think Daylily knows something dreadful is happening inside her, in her very spirit. And she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. But if she is rescued, she knows that she will hurt people, Rose Red specifically. Perhaps her plea for Rose Red to leave is not a suicidal one. Perhaps, somehow, she thinks she is protecting Rose Red . . .

The lingering smell of a dragon’s dead carcass. This is the first hint of the next person Rose Red will meet on her journey. As I said, I gave her three “tests” as it were before she could reach the Village of Dragons. Three figures out of Southland’s history who have been mentioned before, who would be known and vivid sources of terror to young Rose Red.

She is about to meet one more awful by far than the Wolf Lord himself.

The appearance of the Dragonwitch: Writing this scene was an interesting moment for me. While I had been creating story ideas about the Dragonwitch—detailed notes, lines of poetry, references in other stories—for quite a number of years, this was the very first scene I wrote where she actually appeared on the page, as a speaking character.

It was a bit intimidating!

I mean, this character is vitally important to the series. She is even referenced in Moonblood (which, technically, was written before this version of Veiled Rose) when Vahe compares the Bane of Corrilond to the Dragonwitch. I hoped to someday write a full novel about her. But how to present her in such a way that does not reveal too much of her backstory but simultaneously sticks in the reader’s mind?

It was a bit of a challenge. But one I enjoyed.

I started out by focusing on the Dragonwitch’s appearance. I knew already how she would die, for the scene of her death was the first idea I ever had about this character. I knew she had drowned, but that she had drowned while in the midst of one of her very greatest flaming moments. I also knew that she was a dragon who could no longer take dragon form, who could no longer fly.

So writing her appearance was fairly easy. But the rest was a little more difficult. I had to feel my way along carefully throughout the dialogue so as not to give away anything too important. Nothing about Etanun. Nothing about Etalpalli. Only a hint about the Wolf Lord, father of her sons.

The Dragonwitch’s sons: Do you know, I had forgotten that the Dragonwitch referred to them as her sons in this story? I was thinking about them recently and wondering if they might be a boy and a girl, since they are described as basically sexless in Starflower. But now I’ll need to remember . . . they are sons, definitely sons.

A suffering ghost: The Dragonwitch still smolders from her final fire, her hair burning away only to be replaced by more burning hair. But it is not the actual Dragonwitch who burns . . . this is only her ghostly form. Like the Wolf Lord a few chapters before, she suffers from wounds which can never be healed.

“We can be strong, can’t we child?” Oddly, the Dragonwitch seems to feel a kind of kinship, a kind of sympathy with Rose Red. A frightening thought!

“But you were forgotten.” At the time I wrote this story, I had not actually come up with any other name for the Dragonwitch beyond her title. So this moment between Rose Red and the Dragonwitch was a very easy and honest one to write. Whoever she had been before no longer existed at all.

And it took some digging on my part to discover who she had been, for even I have difficulty seeing her as anything but the Dragonwitch.

Questions on the text:

1. Why do you think the Dragonwitch seems to feel a sort of kinship to Rose Red?  (Readers of Moonblood, consider Rose Red’s future role . . . do you think the Dragonwitch might recognize something in Rose Red that is very similar to herself?)

2. If you’re familiar with the Dragonwitch’s full story from Starflower and Dragonwitch, what similarities do Rose Red and the Dragonwitch share?

3. Why do you think the Dragonwitch calls devotion “evil stuff”? What is it about devotion that is enslaving?

4. Who do you find more frightening, the Wolf Lord or the Dragonwitch?

5. Any favorite lines?


Allison wants to know: "My question is... what originally caused or inspired you to create the tale of Etanun, Akilun, Halisa, and Asha?"

You know, I don't fully remember. If I remember correctly, the first story I told about them was inspired by one of Norse legend of Yggdrasil, the world tree. In that story, Yggdrasil was suffering because a dragon was poisoning it from below. (Though I cannot for the life of me remember more specifics about that legend just now!) Anyway, I loved the idea, and started developing my own thoughts . . . which include two brave brothers, venturing down in to the Realm of the Dead to put a stop to a sly dragon who was poisoning the world (or some important piece of the world which I no longer remember) from below. Those two brothers were Etanun and Akilun, and they bore the Asha Lantern and the sword, Halisa. I did a pretty large colored-pencil illustration of the scene back in high school.

My "little" brother, Peter, modeling to show size proportion.
In the picture, you see a dark cavern with a river rushing through it (an early version of the Final Water, I think). The two brothers, one golden-haired and carrying the lantern, the other raven-haired and brandishing the sword, approach the river . . . and across the rushing water looms a red dragon, peering out of a cavern. The heat of its breath turns the rock and river beneath its mouth flame-colored.

And the dragon looks a bit like a rooster. Sadly, most of my dragons for many years there tended to look like roosters. My father used to tease as I worked so hard to develop fierce-looking dragons and they always--always--looked like roosters!

But anyway, that was the first story I began to write about the Brothers Ashiun, but they've developed a great deal since then.

Anonymous wants to know: "In Moonblood (SPOILER) Lionheart is talking about paths and quests, and Eanrin says, "That is a quest. Not a path. Don't confuse the two." Or something like that. It also says he looked sad or something while saying that. That was also right after Sun Eagle's phantom wafted past them and gave Lionheart the rope. Please tell me, with all the hints your dropping, was that foreshadowing for Shadow Hand, or some other book?"

I don't know if Eanrin's comment about paths and quests is necessarily a foreshadowing for Shadow Hand . . . though Faerie Paths and their dangers are a significant facet of that novel, for sure! However, the look Eanrin gives Sun Eagle . . . and the encounter as a whole in which the phantom presses the beads into Lionheart's hands and urges him to give them to Starflower . . . oh, yes. All of that is heavy foreshadowing of things to come in Shadow Hand.

Caitlyn wants to know: "What would you name the Parts of the book if you could?"

Oh, I don't know. I never thought about it! I suppose "The Hunt," "The Monster," "The Dragon," "The Journey," "The Aftermath." Or something like that. I probably would put more thought into it if I was serious about giving Part-names, but those are what I pulled off the top of my head! :)

Caitlyn also wants to know: "In Chapter 1 of Part 4 it says the Duchy of Shippening, is this a typo?"

No. The Duke of Shippening governs the Duchy of Shippening. A duchy is a territory governed by a duke or duchess, also known as a dukedom.

Caitlyn also wants to know: "What colors do you see Daylily wearing? Redheads tend to wear colors that match their hair."

I picture her wearing a lot of greens, rich browns, and pale blues. And golds, I believe I describe her as wearing golds in one of the books. Possibly Moonblood during her betrothal feast?

Furthermore, Caitlyn wants to know: "The sylph granted a wish to Leo, but never gave one. Will we see the sylph and Leo's wish in another book?"

Absolutely! You may or may not be seeing the answer to this question in a very near book . . . ;)

Caitlyn also wants to know: "In the last post you said something about the Duke of Shippening's guest. Did you mean the two characters met before? Does this book take place before Heartless, even though there is a crossover?"

If you're referring to Captain Sunan and the Duke, yes, they probably did meet upon other occasions. Sunan is a respected merchant traveling to and from Shippening on a regular basis. He probably has dined with the duke before.

Much of this book does take place before Heartless. The scene at the duke's table is approximately four years before Heartless. It catches up with Heartless quite late in the story.

Caitlyn also wonders: "How did you come up with Fireword for a sword name?"

I wanted a name that could stand in for a Southland's version of "Truth," without actually having the word "truth" in it, since that struck me as cheesy. Fireword fitted the bill. Of course, the sword's real name is Halisa, but it has come to be called Fireword in the Near World and even among Faerie folk as time goes on.

Heather wants to know: "Have you ever seen Tammy and the Bachelor? (It's an old movie) I saw the movie again recently and it reminded me of a few characters from Veiled Rose. Pete reminded me of Leo, Tammy of Rosie, and Barbara of Daylily. Tammy even had a goat! And lived by herself with her grandfather!"

Oh, what a funny connection! You know, I have seen that movie, though it's been quite a long while. Maybe there was an unconscious influence???


Hannah said...

Ooooooo, I love the picture of Etanun and Akilun! The patience it must have taken to create such detail in the rocks and the lighting! Do you still picture Etanun raven-haired, and Akilun golden-haired? I thought in your recent sketches, it was close to the opposite.

1. Whoa, I hadn't thought about that similarity before. The Dragonwitch was once a young fairy queen herself.

2. Well, I can't help but notice how differently they handle their love interests. Rosie was willing to let him go, whereas Ytotia preferred to burn the world and him in it if she couldn't have him.

3. Hmm, I wonder if she remembers what Etanun did at the last? Certainly, she has seen great acts of devotion throughout her horrible life. She has seen how it requires self-sacrifice. But how sad that she doesn't know the reward of such devotion.

4. The Dragonwitch. Infinitely more.

You would not believe the ways I was coming up with to avoid Ytotia ending up here in the Netherworld, though I knew it was impossible, since here she is.

Anonymous said...

1. They are both Faery. I have not read Moonblood.

2. I have not read Starflower or Dragonwitch.

3. It comes to your thoughts first. You could become consumed with how to please the person.

4. The Dragonwitch is more frightening.

5. "I promised Lionheart I'd care for his family. That means you too, m'lady." -pg. 277

The light of the lantern danced and changed as she moved, and became men, women, and children; they became birds and horses and trees; they became winds and waters, mountains and skies. All pictures made of light, moving through the darkness with hope and beauty. The Dragonwitch saw none of it. -pg. 282



Is the door in the cliff on top of the cliff, or is Rose Red looking down to the side?

Anonymous said...


Can fan art be taken pictures of real places that might resemble things in the book, or does it have to be drawn?


Christa McKane said...

Hey Anne Elisabeth,
I just looked up about that Norse dragon on Wikipedia. It says the name of the dragon is "Niohoggr" (or Nidhogg) and it actually gnaws at one of the three roots of Yggdrasill.

Unknown said...

4. I think I find the dragonwitch to be more frightening of the two.

5. A woman, or at least, what had once been a woman. She was tall and thin and walked as though she had been beautiful at one time and had yet to acknowledge that she was beautiful no longer. Her skin was burned black and gray all over, and the ends of her hair smoldered like dying matchsticks.

Anonymous said...


1.I think that she probably feels that she is a faerie royalty.

2.Being a faerie royalty and having a loved one fall in love with a mortal instead of the(not that I think that Leo relay loves her.)

4.I found the dragonwitch was more terrifying, I actually liked the wolf lord then.

Anonymous said...


What are the names of the black dogs

What is the name of the black dog that Imrelda likes.

Anonymous said...

1. Perhaps the Dragonwitch thinks Rose Red has misplaced her devotion like she believed she once did.

2. I can't think of any similarity between Rosie and the Dragonwitch other than the fact that they are both Faerie queens.

3. The Dragonwitch was once devoted to Etanun and felt betrayed when he fell in love with another. Maybe that's why she believes that devotion is "evil stuff".

4. The Dragonwitch. Besides the Dragon and his sister, I can't think of anyone more frightening than her.

- Heather

Ruth said...

4.Deffinetly the Dragonwitch.

Meredith said...

3. I think the Dragonwitch knows that devotion can cause heartache, especially if you are fixated on the wrong thing.

4. That's a very hard question. I feel such empathy for both of them. Rhi Sora breaks my heart. I'm obviously in the minority here, but I guess if I was forced to choose, I'd have to say the Wolf Lord is the most frightening to me. His oppression of the women, his self-appointed role as a high priest and his possessive "love" for Starflower still has the capacity to haunt me.

Kira Thomas said...

1. Perhaps because she can tell that Rosie is a Faerie Queen, who is unaware of who she is and is in love with a Southlander man.

2. Ah... See the above answer?

3. True devotion always causes hurt.

4. That's probably the most difficult question yet. I pity both, especially reading this part of Veiled Rose. If I had to choose, I would probably say that the Wolf Lord is the most frightening, but neither of them really scare me. They're both so empty. So pitiful.

5.The Dragonwitch saw none of it. She did not move until Rose Red stood at the little door in the cliffside and put her hand to the knob once more. Then she said, “You walk freely into Death’s arms. Why?” Rose Red made no answer. The poor, dead monster could not understand. She turned the knob and stepped through into the inky blackness beyond, taking the light with her. The door shut behind her.

Anna said...

1. Well...they're both Faerie people. And they're both royalty. Maybe somehow the Dragonwitch thinks that maybe the same thing will happen to Rosie that happened to her. Maybe she draws comfort in that fact that she wouldn't be the only one.

2. I haven't read Dragonwitch, though I'm DYING to!!

3. You're bound to someone--devoted to them. You can't exactly walk out without becoming "un-devoted" to them. Maybe? :)

4. Dragonwitch. I just felt back for the Wolf Lord. :'(