The winners can be seen on the Contest page of the website, and all entries are now available on the blog. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!
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Lots of amazing entries have been coming in for the Design-A-Cover-For-Cassie Contest, so I thought I’d share. It’s always fun to see everyone’s creativity, and all the VERY different views of Cassie out there! The contest continues until the 25th, when I’ll update this post with any further entries. I’ll announce the winners on Halloween (of course!) So, in no particular order, the entries are:
1. In HtM Cassie is shocked (overwhelmed? I’m not quite sure the emotion) when Mircea says that he loves her. “Except that no one had ever said that to me before. Not Eugenie, not even Rafe… No one at all.” My Spanish is rusty but doesn’t Tomas tell her before their interlude in Fairy in CbS ” Te amo, Cassie. Te querre pare siempre.” Cassie thinks “I don’t speak Spanish, but I got the idea. Once I’d have given a lot to hear those words, in any language…” My questions: Did Cassie forget about Tomas? Did she think he wasn’t serious?
Cassie said she’d have given a lot to hear those words because, at that point in the past, she might have believed them! But by the time he does say them, Tomas had spied on her, deceived her, and conspired with her enemies and almost gotten her killed! So no, she didn’t believe him. Would you have?
2. In TtD it is explained that “You can shield with anything as long as it has meaning for you: rock, metal, water , even air. It’s simply a way of visualizing and manipulating your power… The mage’s wards were strong, but of a fairly normal type: like me, he imagined a wall, only his was wood and mine has always been fire.” “I don’t usually feel my wards. The technique is so ingrained that it’s like walking upright: it’s hard when you’re nine months old, but by the time you’re an adult, you don’t have to think to cross a room.” In TtS, the witches are besides themselves that Cassie doesn’t have shields and can’t even do a simple protection spell. I’m confused. What is the difference between wards, shields, and simple protection spells?
Cassie has the rudimentary shields she learned as a child, but she doesn’t use them much. They might help with rudimentary magic users, but those aren’t the type she faces on a regular basis. Someone isn’t trying to mug her. Spartoi, ancient gods and demon lords are regularly trying to kill her, and baby shields won’t help against those kinds of threats. So all she’d do by employing them would be to drain energy she needs for channeling the pythian power, which as Pritkin noted, was easily her best defense.
As far as the witches are concerned, remember that Cassie was at home. She was tired (her mother’s seidr spell was seriously sapping her strength) and she was surrounded by her vampire bodyguards. Why would she waste energy shielding under those circumstances? Especially since, even if she’d had really good shields, it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Remember, she wasn’t just dealing with three witches; she was facing three coven leaders. I don’t know if you’ve read “The Gauntlet” or not, but it’s a freebie on my site that gives you a good idea of exactly what someone has to go through to get that title. But even if you haven’t, do you recall the three of them tearing through a whole phalanx of dark circle mages just a little while later? Cassie would not have been able to shield against them even if she’d tried. And Caleb knew that. Which was why he was a little . . . stressed. He didn’t know what they were doing there, but he didn’t like them touching the pythia.
As far as your last question goes, the different sorts of wards are explained in detail near the beginning of Touch the Dark so I won’t go into it now. Except to say that shields are the type of ward that provides protection (instead of sounding an alarm or influencing a mood, etc.) A protection spell, on the other hand, isn’t a shield. It’s a spell designed, for ex., to shock anyone who gets within a certain radius of you. It can be used along with shields as an added deterrent. At least, it can be if you know how.
3. I’m also curious about the trace charms that have been put on Cassie. I get that they tell someone where she is but do they tell them when she is? If Cassie travels back to, say, 1880 London, does the trace charms just inform the one that put it on Cassie that she is in London, or is she just untraceable? Do they work when she travels to Fairy or the Hell worlds? How often do they have to be renewed? If Cassie was better at warding/shielding, would they still be able to be placed on her?
If she leaves earth or goes back in time, she becomes untraceable.
4. I’m a little confused about the Mircea scene, was he fantasizing and she saw it? Did he notice what was happening at the time?
I assume you mean the shower scene? If so, yes, they were both fantasizing, among other things, at the same time. That, plus Mircea’s mental abilities, plus the seidr communication spell that Cassie didn’t know she had, was enough to open up a mental pathway between them. And to seriously freak Mircea out, who was already trying to process having a goddess as a girlfriend, only to discover that she can now roam around in his thoughts at will—which no one is supposed to be able to do! So he shut the link down hard, and was avoiding Cassie until he could figure out what to do about this new complication.
5. There are a handful of times in Hunt the Moon when Mircea seems to be responding to what Cassie is thinking. At one point, Cassie thinks, ‘Who the hell knew that a heel could be an erogenous zone?’ and Mircea responds “Anything can be, if you never get a chance to see it.” Earlier in that book, Cassie is looking at her mom, beautiful and delicate and poised, and thinks, ‘She looked nothing at all like me,’ and Mircea says, “I don’t agree.” There’s also that time in Curse the Dawn when she’s panicking over the state of Rafe and Mircea not only hears her panicked thoughts from some distance, he manages to speak back to her mind.
Can he regularly read her mind? Or does he just pick up a few things when her guard is down and she’s projecting her thoughts? I’m curious about this b/c I’m wondering if he’s ‘heard’ her think things and not let her know what he’s heard. Maybe, I thought, it happens more often than we realise because he’s too sly to respond to her every time. If so, Mircea could know lots of stuff that Cassie doesn’t realise he knows, and it would be interesting to guess what those might be.
This is edging up onto spoiler territory, but I think it’s been established pretty well that Mircea can read most people. It’s also been hinted at that he can pick up surface thoughts from Cassie, sort of the way Billy Joe does when he ghosts through a human. But the books make it clear that either Mircea can’t or won’t go further than that where Cassie is concerned. If he could, he wouldn’t need to have Marlowe trying to find out about Pritkin; he’d already know.
6. The next question is related: in CtD, he’s in NY and calls her at one point, anxious, because for a few moments, he can’t feel her.
I frowned at the phone. “You’re in New York. How are you supposed to feel me?”
“Through the bond.”
“We have a bond?”
A sigh. “Of course we have a bond, dulceaţă. You are my wife.”
Is that bond from him biting her? I recall that Tony bit her, twice, to maintain a link to her, but she doesn’t think it had the same effect it would have on other humans, and theorises that her relationship with ghosts — Billy, especially — interferes with the vampire link. So how does Mircea have such a strong bond that he can feel her from such a distance? Is this also why Mircea can sometimes read her thoughts?
Tony wasn’t a) a first-level master, b) a powerful mentalist, or c) linked to Cassie by a marriage bond. Tony’s bite was the same one vamps give to humans to turn them, but not taken to completion (which might not have been possible anyway, given Cassie’s genetics, but that’s another issue). Mircea’s was not. Mircea wasn’t trying to turn her; he was trying to do exactly what he did—to put the claim on her that masters use to bind humans to their families whom they don’t want to turn. I explained about this in an earlier Q&A, if you want details. That bond isn’t as strong of a link as the one with a vampire servant, but it’s not hay, either. And the stronger the vampire, the stronger the bond.
7. After reading Tempt the Stars, I still haven’t figured out exactly where we are in the Timeline. I know it was mentioned that Lia De Croissets series (which I just finished purchasing and reading the short stories after 8 years of avidly reading the Cassie Palmer series!) and the story about Tomas are ahead of Cassie’s and Dory’s series’ and possibly taking place in or around October. If that’s the case, are Cassie’s and Dory’s series’ taking place in mid or late-August or sometime in September? And although I don’t expect to get an exact answer I was wondering if their worlds will coalesce within the next couple books or if that’s something we should wait a while on.
Mid to late August for both. Tempt the Stars overlaps the first half of Fury’s Kiss, which is why Mircea isn’t in it much. He was quite busy in New York at the time all this is happening in Vegas. Mircea was in my outline for this book a great deal more, but I had to halve the outline because of length—Penguin would not be happy with an 800 page novel! So you’ll see him in Reap the Wind, which comprises the second half of this plotline.