Q&A’s

Q and A #64

The last Q&A was supposed to be it for a while, but a few additional questions came in. Actually, more than a few, but the others were spoiler-ish, and I try to avoid those. So, here it is–the last Q&A for Ride the Storm–I swear! Enjoy, lol!

 

1. Love your Q/As; thank you! Belated (and long) question (sorry). Totally understand if you don’t have time to answer or if it’s spoiler-y. Sooooo… Pythias should be able to see variations of outcomes and/or “ask” their power for “advice” about courses of action, which poor Cassie is having a very difficult, frustrating time with doing and getting responses. However, the other Pythias chasing Cassie (and Rosier) presumably don’t have the same problem because they’ve been trained well. Gertie, and maybe Lydia being her mentor and thereby supportive, is clearly very firmly in the belief she’s always right (plus Cassie is creating a lot of, or being a part of much mayhem, and in the company of a demon lord, so you can’t entirely blame Gertie for her ire or belief Cassie is up to no good). That said, at the big showdown of Jo vs Cassie (or before)—which is Pythia and which is rogue?—aren’t or don’t any of the other Pythias wonder/question their power about what would happen if Cassie disappears (is killed/executed)? I figure a pretty apocalyptic vision would likely present itself, wouldn’t it? Or had Gertie and/or Lydia pretty much convinced them all of her/their POV? (Aside: Really liked the idea/reality of “contingency acolytes,” especially when Jonas was blindsided, too.)

Two part answer:

A. Pythias have two ways of seeing into the future: visions and the short term projection you saw Cassie do in this book a couple of times. The former are a problem, being hard to interpret and also not being the kind of thing you can just order up. You might want a vision about this weird chick who is determinedly bringing a demon lord through time, but you might get one about a traffic accident in Chicago. It’s just not an exact science. The short term projection, likewise, gives you the possibilities branching off from your timeline for the next five or ten minutes, maybe fifteen if you’re really lucky. It would not help in this case, either, because Ares’ return did not fall within that time frame.

B. However, you don’t need all that. The easy answer is that the power knew that helping Cassie in this instance would lose them the war.

The pythias could have asked the power about Cassie, and probably did. Gertie probably did, more than once. They got nothing back. Because the power knew that Cassie needed to have that fight with Jo. That’s one reason it called the pythias away, while she was in the Badlands. Yes, they were needed to hold up Ares, but they also couldn’t be allowed to rescue her. Getting thrown out of time by Jo led to Cassie meeting Apollo’s ghost, which she needed in order to have any chance to win. It also led her to possess the fey commander, and as a direct result of that, she was able to influence the battle and to get the shield down that was protecting the device. There was no other way she could have done either of those things. So “helping” Cassie by allowing the other pythias to get a clear image of her honesty would have cost them the war.

 

2. Why was Mircea able to confuse Ares on the drag (if it was Ares)?

It was Ares, yes.

To explain how Mircea was able to confuse him, you have to recall that seidr was designed by the gods to be a communications spell for their use. It wasn’t intended for anyone else. It wasn’t even thought that anyone else could use it, because of the power drain. But, when calling locally, so to speak, as Aeslinn did on the battle field in order to command his troops, a powerful fey lord can manage it. Or a powerful pythia, hijacking a spell to run amuck. 🙂

However, when used to communicate between worlds, it’s a different story. It takes a huge amount of power. Of course, if two gods are speaking together, each fueling half of the link, it’s not so bad. But when Ares had to bear the burden alone, it limited him, which is why Mircea was able to confuse him in the battle on the drag. It helped that Mircea is a master mentalist, of course, and they were battling in his preferred arena–never a good idea. But Ares would have swamped him easily if he’d been there in person.

Unfortunately for Ares, he wasn’t.

 

3. I love Casanova, but he wasn’t in this book at all. Will he be back?

Casanova asks me to tell you that he is gratified to finally find someone with some discernment. Far too many people spend their time drooling over that muscle bound mage, or that smooth, shifty vampire. He’s even heard of people admiring Marco–Marco! A brick wall in vampire form! When the obvious choice is right here. It’s ridiculous.

So, yes, he will be back; in fact, he never left. But there is so much work to be done, and god knows nobody else does anything around here but him. Did you know the Drag is missing? Someone has to fix that. And, for once, it’s going to be someone with some taste. Like you. <3

 

4. I still don’t understand about Ares. Why is killing him in the 6th century not going to destroy the time line?

Because Ares is outside of earth’s time line for almost all of Ride the Storm. He is in the time line occupied by the gods’ realm for all but the last bit of the book. He’s been there since Artemis banished all the gods back to their realm in ancient times. He has not been able to return to earth since then.

He has, however, been able to influence things here somewhat, for example with his Spartoi (demigod children left behind when Artemis banished the gods, because the banishment spell didn’t apply to demigods), through the suit of armor and accompanying arms that he possessed while still here on earth, and through the seidr spell. But he himself has not been here. He is still in the realm of the gods.

And when is he in that timeline? In what we’re going to call the present day. Time has, after all, been passing there just like on earth. Not in exactly the same way (as with faerie, there are always discrepancies) but close enough. So, if he’s in the present in his timeline, how does he get to the 6th century in ours?

Think of our two timelines as a hotel hallway. There are doors on either side, and each side of the hall is a different time stream. There’s also a hallway of non-time in between. Now, Ares is behind one of the doors on his side of the hall, one labeled “present day”. But that is present day in his timeline, not ours. He wants to be on the other side of the hall, preferably inside a door labeled “6th century” for reasons I explain in the next question. But for now, just picture him on one side of the hall, with a cell phone with wonky service, trying to call a room across the hall to tell them to open a door for him. Okay?

Now. he has to have someone open that door. He doesn’t have the key, much less a master key to open any door like, say, a pythia would have. He is powerful but not omnipotent. He has his skills, but he also has plenty of things he cannot do, one of which is to manipulate time. So he can open none of those doors for himself.

He also can’t just blast through the wall like Jo and fey are trying to do, because Artemis’ spell is too strong for the gods to penetrate it from the outside. But inside of the spell is a different story. It wasn’t designed to keep things in, but rather to keep them out, so it is more vulnerable on our side. Someone with enough power, say four god-forged weapons and everything Aeslinn can muster, might be able to open a crack in that 6th century door, and a crack is all Ares needs. He’ll do the rest.

So, someone on our side opens the door. And when they do, that one is the only one Ares can move through. He can’t shift through time; he can’t even go running around non-time because he isn’t a necromancer with a pet ghost. Ares is an immensely powerful being, but he can’t do everything and anything. Until that door is open, he isn’t going anywhere.

To sum up, Ares did not change time because he wasn’t here to change it. He was in his time line (in his room fiddling with his cell phone) until Jo and the fey cracked that door, and then he jumped across the hall and died trying to muscle the rest of the way through it. He never had a chance to change anything, except through the limited means I mentioned above, which he did while in his own timeline before he transitioned into ours. Does that make sense?

 

5. So why the sixth century? Why not just go back before there was a barrier at all?

A) Because Ares wanted to have it all. Going back to ancient times meant that the other gods would be there, too, because they hadn’t yet been banished. He would have had to share. He doesn’t share well.

But coming back in the 6th century meant that the gods are gone, except for a weakened Artemis who he could deal with at his leisure. In the present day, there are many more powerful forces ready to oppose him, and he while he’s pretty sure he could beat them, look at what happened to Artemis when she became overconfident. He won’t have an army with him when he returns, because the other gods would notice him assembling an army and want to know what he’s up to. If he’s going to rule it all alone, he has to win it all alone, and that means fighting in a time that gives him an advantage. And that means the sweet spot between when the gods were kicked out and the present day. Specifically, it means a time when his fey allies have painstakingly assembled the means to bring him back: the 6th century.

B) How is Jo, who has to open that door, remember, supposed to get back to ancient times? She’d need a river of Tears (which she doesn’t have) and a decade or so to slowly work her way back there with danger at every stop. Or else she’d have to spend a lot of time in the Badlands, and remember what happened to Cassie in the Badlands? It’s a dangerous place.

But let’s say she gets back to the ancient world. What is she going to do for power? How is she supposed to open that door? She wouldn’t have that suit of armor then. And if she makes a plea to the gods, trying to tell them what’s coming, Artemis will kill her. Or one of them will kill her, thinking she’s an upstart human trying to sow division in their ranks. They weren’t exactly known for taking advice from humans, were the ancient gods. And as stated above, Ares doesn’t want to come back then anyway.

Q and A #63

1. How can two gods be killed back in time and not upset the timeline? Apollo had a lot to do with Cassie’s story. Doesn’t killing him in the past ruin the current timeline?

I’ve gotten several versions of this, so let me see if I can clarify what happened. Two gods died on that battlefield in the 6th century. Let’s look at each of them.

First, Apollo, since you asked about him specifically. Apollo had been flushed into the badlands at the end of Curse the Dawn, a place that is outside any time stream. When Cassie encounters him there, after Jo throws her spirit outside time, he’s already dead. It’s his ghost she encounters, not him. He’s there because everything in CTD already happened.

Think of the Badlands as a room with many doors opening into it. Cassie entered through one marked “6th century”, because that’s where she was when she was pushed outside time. Apollo was already there, having entered through another door marked “Present Day”, or whatever day it was when he died at the end of CTD. They met up in that “room” outside time, then again during the battle, when Cassie opened the door marked “6th century” and let him out. He entered the 6th century then and was killed, but at that point, he’d already done everything leading up to CTD. So nothing in the timeline changed because Apollo’s ghost was destroyed.

Secondly, Ares. He wasn’t in earth’s timeline at all, had never been since Artemis threw him and the other gods out. He had been in the realm of the gods ever since, trying to find a way to get back. And making mischief as best he could from another realm.

He’s still there in this book, waiting for Jo and the fey to open a door through Artemis’ barrier into our world. That door was opened in the sixth century, because it would make his takeover easier since he was coming alone, without an army to back him up, but it could have been anywhere. Ares stepping through the door (or trying to) into the sixth century didn’t change what he’d already done in his timeline to affect Cassie’s story. And because he died still trying to get through that door, he didn’t affect anything here on earth afterwards, either.

But wait, you’ll say. What about that big battle? Wouldn’t something like THAT affect time?

Well, sure, if it hadn’t already been fought. Remember, the reason the fey could tell Jo what to do to bring Ares back was because they’d already tried it. There had been a battle in the 6th century to begin with, only they hadn’t had the final piece of the puzzle. They hadn’t had Caedmon’s staff. That’s what all that running around in Reap the Wind was about: them trying to get the staff and failing. Without it, they still had the battle, not originally knowing that three pieces wouldn’t have enough power to do the job. But they failed to bring through a god and basically got their butts kicked. But in Ride the Storm, they succeeded.

Cassie, therefore, wasn’t changing time by what she did during the battle. She was keeping it from being changed. Originally, the bad guys had lacked one of the pieces of that god-forged suit of armor, and the spell wouldn’t work without all four. She was trying to make sure that they were still missing a piece, even after Nimue ended up with the staff. That was why she wanted Pritkin to steal Excalibur for her, because it was one of the four, and if the other side lost it, the spell wouldn’t work. But she failed, and with all four pieces, the other side was in danger of changing the timeline, because that’s not the way it originally went. So, when she couldn’t stop them one way, she did it another, by utilizing Apollo’s ghost.

So, yes, two gods died in the 6th century. But neither was supposed to be there in the first place, so time was healed. Make sense?

 

2. In Lover´s Knot Marlowe said that the Pythia told him to save Anthony. Will it happen in Cassie #9? I kept waiting for it in RtS.

No. Cassie, as pythia, occasionally gets insight into things, and will tell whichever group in the supernatural community she thinks it will help. This is normal pythia stuff. That story is over, and I wouldn’t want to bore you by rehashing it.

 

3. Will we somehow see Dorina´s attack on Cassie through Dory´s eyes? Or will she have no idea, since Dorina did it? 

 No, Dory doesn’t know that happened.

 

4. Was Ares really destroyed forever by Arthur´s blow, or can he somehow nurture himself (as a ghost, the way Apollo tried to do)?

Ares and Apollo are both very dead.

 

5. Should we worry about long-lasting effects of Pritkin’s starvation diet on his health or power level, or has the fact that he fed on the Pythian power remedied all his problems? If I remember correctly, Artemis was dying due to underfeeding. But she was also much older, much more starved, and not even partially human, so her situation might be a lot different than poor Pritkin’s.

Pritkin may have some issues from having his powers back online, so to speak. But, no, his human half kept him from starving to death. So that’s not going to be one of them.

 

6. Rosier mentioned that back in Middle-Ages, he was going by Myrddin, and yet Morgaine addressed him as Rosier. Was Myrddin his ‘camouflage’, the humble advisor he pretended to be to gain Uther’s favor? Or does Rosier think of himself as having many names, kinda like King Arthur (or even Pritkin!), and Rosier is his demon name?

Rosier has had many names through the years, but Rosier was his first, and is the one he identifies most closely with. Morgaine, of course, sussed out who he really was, while they were together. So that is the name she used.

 

So, those are all the questions I’ve received about RTS that I can answer. If yours wasn’t answered, it was probably because it was asking about future storylines or things that will be discussed in future books. I try really hard to avoid spoilers, because it minimizes other people’s enjoyment of the books. I hope you understand, and I hope you had fun with these Q&As!

Q and A #62

So, this group of questions came in, some of which had a somewhat . . . combative . . . air about them. Since I, of course, love all my readers, I would never even think of answering them in a similar style. So I’ve let Ray do it. He’s from the Dorina Basarab series, but he reads Cassie novels because he has good taste. Warning: He also has a foul mouth. I apologize in advance. He was the only person I could get since he doesn’t have a job right now and . . . I’m sorry.

Okay, take it away, Ray!

1) What happens to Sam and Daisy, are they stuck in the past?

Yeah, sure. ‘Cause leaving Daisy the Crazy in the 6th century couldn’t possibly fuck anything up, right? Cassie borrowed her from her father, and when we borrow something, what do we do? Well, I mean, I usually hide out somewhere and hope people forget about it, ’cause thanks to my asshole ex-master burning down my club, I have, like, negative money right now. And Dory is broker than I am. But, you know. Most people.

2) Why is Cassie able to understand mouthed words with the translation spell now? She was pretty sure she couldn’t before.

Page number. Or a quote. Anything. Not gonna spend two hours looking up a vague reference. I got shit to do here.

3) When Pritkin is cursed in TtS, he seems dead. Cassie says he has no heartbeat or other sign of life. Later we’re told that he is in a sort of stasis, so he can revive when the counter spell is cast. Yet at the end of RtS his beard has grown. Was that since the counter spell?

Sure. Let’s go with that.

4) When P was cursed, Rosier blamed Cassie for getting P killed and grabbed Pritkin’s body. Then Cassie & Caleb were shifted back to Earth. No one knew P would/ could be revived. A few Earth hours later the counter spell was given. It was just hours on Earth, but how long in hell? What had R done with the body?

Rosier kept the body in place while he argued with the demon council over the counter spell. If there was even a chance to revive his son, he wanted it. And he got it, thanks to the council watching Cassie, and seeing something they didn’t expect from the freaking daughter of Artemis.

5) Did Rosier bring P’s body then and give it to Caleb? How likely is that?

Whaddya mean, how likely is that? You bein’ sassy? ‘Cause it sounds like you bein’ sassy. So, okay, smarty pants, what do you think he shoulda done? Let’s look at the options, shall we?

So you’re Rosier. You’re gonna be away for an unknown amount of time, because Cassie is a disaster, so who knows what’s gonna happen on this supposed simple mission back through time. You fear for your life, you really do. But there’s nobody else willing to do this for your kid, so it’s gotta be you. But that leaves Pritkin . . . where, exactly?

Stupid Option #1: You take him back to your court. Only . . . some of your asshole nobles already tried to kill him in the past and probably still want to. They want the head honcho position if they ever manage to off you, so getting rid of this weirdly powerful thing you made while he can’t defend himself? Pie, baby. Delicious, delicious pie.

Pritkin wouldn’t have lasted a day.

Stupid Option #2: Leave the body at your other court in the Shadowland, where plenty of demons would also like to see your kid dead, or drain him of whatever life he has left. Cause, like in stupid option #1, you don’t know who all of Pritkin’s enemies are, do ya? But you know he has them, on the council as well as Joe demon in the street, and without you there watching him, you really think your pansy ass guards are gonna keep a member of council out if they want in? They just killed him once, you gonna trust them after that?

Oh, you are? Well good thing you weren’t calling the shots, huh?

Stupid Option 3: Try to hide him on earth somewhere, or on some other world, without telling anybody. But then, who you gonna get to guard him? I mean, you gotta have a guard, right? A dingo ate a baby once; you gonna leave your baby inside a cave or something and hope nothing eats him? Or you gonna leave him with a guard you aren’t sure you can trust?

Only Smart Option: Give the body into the safekeeping of Pritkin’s good buddy Caleb, who has no reason to hurt him, and who most of your court don’t even know exists. He can hide it out on earth until you get back.

6) I feel like reality changed on us. Now Pritkin was only in a coma? Really?

Really? Really? You talkin’ to me? I SAID, ARE YOU TALKIN’ TO ME?

Anyway, she said it was like a coma. She was making a simile. A comparison. A this-crazy-magic-thing-is-sort-of-like-this-other-thing-we-have-in-reality-so-maybe-it-will-help-you-understand-better. But, hey, fuck her, right? I told her she should stop answering questions, or at least start charging. Like, a buck a question. Or ten bucks for stupid questions. So, she owes me a hundred bucks. Hey, Karen, you owe me a hundred bucks!

7) And what kept him alive for a week?

He wasn’t alive, he wasn’t dead. He was something in between. He was cursed. Kind of like I feel right now.

8) When was the counterspell cast? After Ares was sent back but before the Pythias took his memory?

Ares wasn’t sent back, Ares was destroyed. Dead. Bought the farm. Erased, exterminated, pegged out, wearing a pine overcoat, ashes to ashes, doing the permanent graveyard shift, gone forever, torn apart by his own magic, RIP. And, yeah, as soon as the threat that was going to kill them all, counter spell or no, was dealt with, Cassie told Pritkin to read the freaking paper. Does everything have to be on the page?

9) Why does Rosier only call Pritkin “Emrys,” the name his mother gave him, instead of “Myrrdin,” the name he gave him? Also how did he find out about the name Morgaine gave him if he never met her again after she gave birth to Pritkin and was hustled back to Faerie?

That was explained in the book. Did you read the book? Rosier was furious with Morgaine, and hurting from her supposed death. It affected him more than he expected, ’cause he thought he was a callous motherfucker who’d just been using her, but he’d spent a lotta time teaching her magic, and he’d fallen harder than he’d thought. So then it hit him—really hit him, you know? And only made him angrier, ’cause for a guy who dealt in emotion, he never really learned how to process any. So, yeah, not gonna call the kid by the name his dead mom picked out. But later, after he calmed down, he reconsidered. He actually says this to Cassie.

As for the other, there were a ton of fey with Nimue. Don’t you think one of them might have mentioned it? He was the father, after all. Even the fey would figure he ought to know his son’s name. Geez.

10) My theory for how Mircea figured out Pritkin’s identity: the white and gold paper on the book. White and gold are the colors that all the servants at Rosier’s wore so that says to me they are his “house colors.” Mircea puts it all together after the battle on the carpets with the Allu in Tempt the Stars. Rosier and Pritkin are seen together, the look damn near identical. They talk about Rosier calling the demon council and the Allu ignoring Rosier, a demon lord. Rosier refers to Pritkin as his son at least once in that scene as well. Mircea has knowledge of the battle as we saw in TtS. There could have easily been video and audio feed of it both magical and non. It wouldn’t take much for him to enquire who and what kind of demon Rosier is. Then it all falls into place. Am I remotely on the right track?

No.

Now, if you guys will excuse me, I got a C note to collect.

Just FYI: In case anyone is pissed off at Ray, the lovely lady who sent in these questions saw the answers in advance and thought they were funny. She gave her permission for this post to be made. So there.

Q and A #61

Spoiler warning if you haven’t read Ride the Storm. Although, if you haven’t, why haven’t you? Go, run to the bookstore! Now! Now!

Ahem.

So.

1) Why does Cassie call Pritkin’s smile evil at the end?

Because they’ve been dodging around this thing they have, and there’s no way to really do that anymore. He doesn’t have anything hanging over his head, no parole, no exile, no anything. He can have a life now, for the first time in a century, and she is fair game. It’s on.

2) Gertie! I hate Gertie! Why Gertie?

Gertie would like to remind you that, without her selfless adherence to duty, Cassie would not have had the hellhound to help her in her first big battle (she would never have met it), or the key to what Jo was up to (she never would have figured it out if Gertie hadn’t thrown her in jail), or enough time to eek out a victory in the final battle (Gertie, and the posse she assembled, is what held up Ares for so long). So Gertie helped, even if she didn’t mean to!

3) Did you have a favorite character from the Arthurian legend that you really wanted to bring into Cassieverse?

Morgaine. 😀

4) Does Cassie regret being with Pritkin? She acted a little skittish when he said he remembered everything.

She isn’t skittish, she’s nervous. This is a huge change for her and she hasn’t really had time to absorb that yet. Plus it just seems so strange to have Pritkin back. It’s what she was working toward all this time, but had almost come to believe she would never see. So she almost doesn’t know what to feel here. Also, see question 1. You’d be nervous, too.

5) From Chile, your characters are so beautiful and charming, and the plot is excellent, have you ever think in product a movie or a TV series from Cassie Palmer stories? I’ll love to see that. Excuse me for my bad English.

Your English is very good! And yes, there was a group interested back in 2011, but the cost would have been prohibitive. Magical effects are expensive! I don’t even want to think what Game of Thrones spent on those dragons this year (although it was worth every penny imo). But, yeah, a Cassie Palmer show wouldn’t be cheap.

6) Why is Cassie described as having curly hair in the books but always has straight hair on the covers?

Lol! Because my publishers have an irrational dislike for curly hair! Honestly, that’s kind of the truth. Marketing comes up with this stuff, and decided on a straight haired model, I have no idea why. Personally, I think Cassie’s out of control hair is a good representation for her life right now, but that’s just me.

7) Have you ALWAYS known about Pritkin’s origin from the day you began writing the story (in your mind or on paper), or is that something that formed organically with time?

I always knew the major arc of the story, just not all the connective details. I usually tell people that my writing style is kind of like the old colonial (US) way of making a road. They didn’t have the money to build proper roads everywhere, so they would go through the forest every few years and mark up trees here and there with red paint. Travelers could see the marks and know that they were still going in the right direction. I also have markers I use to keep a story on track, big character/plot points that need to be in there, and which I have to know ahead of time. But all the stuff in between them is organic. I can’t tell you a good story if I know every bit of it already myself. Then I lose interest, as it feels done to me.

8) Will there be a short story/novella to expand on what happened between the defeat of Ares and Cassie waking up at Dante’s? Or will this be explained in the next book?

I’m not sure what you want to know. What would you like to have explained?

9) Okay, I realise this is a super weird question, but I’ve been having a bit of a debate with other fans about how far Pritkin’s sex ban extended. When they said ‘all kinds of sex’, did that include, uh, self-gratification?

No, there was no ban on masturbation. But you have to remember that, to an incubus, and therefore to the incubus part of Pritkin, sex is food. It’s a pathway into another person’s life energy, the same way blood is for a vampire. But you can’t feed from yourself. So masturbation would basically be torture for Pritkin. He’s already starving, he gets set up in anticipation of a meal, and then . . . nothing.

10) My question is about the demon “sex.” It said Pritkin sent all he could back. So does one person end with all of the energy normally or do they have control?

No, it’s normally a mutual feeding, but the incident at the end of RTS wasn’t normal. Pritkin had gone without for so long, and his incubus was so starved, that it generated more power than usual (and it usually generates a lot). It fed on the pythian power and multiplied it, to the point where he couldn’t absorb any more. They were both about to be burnt up if something wasn’t done with it, but Pritkin was too groggy from everything that had happened to him–remember, he’d literally just been reintegrated–that it was up to Cassie to figure out what to do. And she did. 

11) Since Cassie is half goddess does she need to feed that side of her by consuming demon energy, much as Pritkin must feed his demon incubus side? Does it affect her control of the pythian power?

She doesn’t need to, no. There’s no part of her that’s starving as Pritkin’s incubus side was. But she can use it, as her mother did, as demonstrated at the end of RTS. Her heritage was one reason she wasn’t destroyed in that situation, as Pritkin’s wife had been. It’s also why she doesn’t look about sixty right now.

The pythian power usually “uses up” pythias, because of the strain it puts on them. They age faster and die sooner than most magical humans, living lives that are roughly half as long (depending on how much power they use during their tenure in office). But Cassie, other than for being exhausted, has shown no signs of advanced aging, despite using more power in the last few months than most pythias do in a lifetime. So her mother’s genes do come in handy at times.

Q and A #60

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read Ride the Storm, you really want to stay away from this one until you have. Just sayin’.

Also, I have more questions that I didn’t get to include here, because it was getting long. So I’ll do another Q&A next week. If you want to ask anything, get it in by Sunday August 20th. Thanks!


1. What is the meaning of Mircea’s gift at the end of the book and why is Cassie furious at him?

He gave her a copy of La Morte D’Arthur. It’s a book all about Camelot. He also sent it to Pritkin’s room, to make it extra clear that he’s figured out who Pritkin is. He’s basically trading his silence for Cassie’s help with Elena.

2. How did Mircea figure out who Pritkin is?

That was actually on the page in the book. But it’s subtle. I’ll let you have the fun of figuring it out for yourself.

3. After reading RtS I’m very curious about wand lore in the Cassieverse. Like how do you make a wand? How do they work? Can anyone use them or just coven witches? I’d just love to hear more about how they work.

Anyone can make one, but they’re only useful if you happen to be a coven witch. They help to focus and direct free floating magical energy, the “wild magic,” of earth. It’s a system based on fey magic (which uses the elements in much the same way) and wouldn’t help a Circle mage at all.

How to make a wand: first, find a tree that originated in faerie, like the alder or the yew, because they’re better conductors. Then cut a piece down to the size and shape you want. Most people are going to want it long enough that, should the worst happen, you have a little buffer between the end of the wand and your hand. Not that that usually helps all that much . . . .

Anyway, once you have the wand, the witch (or wizard) projects some of their magic through the wood, to the tip, like bait on the end of a fishing line. Magic calls to magic, so it attracts the wild magic in the area, allowing them to piggyback a spell onto it. This allows them to cast very powerful spells without using up a lot of their own magic. It’s why the covens, despite being outnumbered, managed to hold off the Circle for so long. They use only a tiny amount of magic in comparison, because it’s just the seed for the wild magic to glom onto. They thus don’t get tired as easily as the Circle, and can throw a lot more magic into a fight than they themselves are capable of making.

Of course, there is a downside: wild magic is dangerous, and can get out of hand easily if you don’t know what you’re doing. The covens also never developed all the special potions and talismans the Circle uses (which also capture wild magic, but do so slowly and in controlled conditions) because they didn’t think they needed them. They seemed so slow, after all, compared to the thrill of using wild magic. And by the time they figured out that, hey, this stuff is kind of useful in battle, they were well behind the Circle in magical “tech”. They still are. But you really wouldn’t want to duel a coven witch! (Hint: if you ever do, try to kill her fast. She will outlast you).

Anyway, you can also add magic runes to your wand, to help you weave particular types of spells more easily, customizing them as you would put apps on a phone. Or just dress them up to look prettier. But you don’t need all that. A basic wand is just a lightning rod for magic, that’s it.

4) When the Pythias wiped Pritkin’s memory, did they wipe the whole of those few days when he met Cassie or just his memories of Cassie? And when he met her again, back in TtD, did he ever have a sense of déjà vu or feel like maybe he knew her?

He had a few moments of déjà vu, but that was because of what happened in Paris (see Embrace the Night) and Amsterdam (see Reap the Wind). He didn’t remember anything about Cassie in Wales because the pythias wiped everything. They also sent him on a quest for some old spells in Ynys Môn (Anglesea) to keep him occupied for a while. By the time he got back, past Rosier was waiting to take him to hell, so he never got a clear picture of what happened at Caerleon. Just that there was some kind of cataclysm involving the fey that shattered the city. And, by then, Arthur was off battling Saxons, the people were at war along with Arthur or scattered, and then Pritkin himself was gone.

5) At one stage, when Cassie goes back to Wales, she thinks that she wants a holiday on a beach with a hot guy and someone says ‘which one?’, which totally cracked me up, but I was wondering, who actually said that?

Rosier.

6) I noticed that a lot of chapters started with Cassie waking up. Is there any kind of symbolism to that, like maybe ‘waking up’ as a metaphor for having a realisation or an epiphany? Or am I just overthinking things horribly, lol.

By the time we get to Ride the Storm, Cassie is utterly exhausted. By the middle of the book, the Tears aren’t even working anymore to enhance her stamina, because she doesn’t have any stamina. She’s at the end of her rope, and her body is using any and every chance for a rest. Kind of like soldiers on a battlefield can sleep in almost any conditions, because they don’t know when they’ll get a chance again.

7) I keep thinking about the runes Pritkin “paints” on Cassie. If they are not protection runes what are they?

As stated in RTS, they are to help him maintain control. When the incubus magic begins to get out of hand, they put speedbumps or brakes on it. He didn’t want a repeat of what happened with his wife.

8) So, while Cassie was trying to rescue Pritkin’s soul, his body was just hanging around in the present. Was his body in some kind of stasis? I mean, did he need to be fed and stuff?

His body worked as normal, there was just nobody home. The beard he grew while Cassie was running around was testament to that. Think of it like being in a coma, only if Cassie wasn’t successful, he would never have woken up and eventually died.

9) Pritkin said he remembered everything. Will he remember his mother?

Pritkin already knew Morgaine (as an acquaintance, not that she was his mother). Most people didn’t know that, with the exception of a close knit group around Nimue. Pritkin just knew her as the king’s sister with frighteningly powerful magic. Now, he’ll know she was more than that, because the witches told him. But he doesn’t have any memories of being with her as her son to recall (he was too young when she gave him to Rosier).

10) How much time does it take for a book to get to our hands after you’ve started writing?

That depends on my publishers. Sometimes six months, sometimes a year. It just depends on when they have an opening in their schedule.

What other books/novellas can readers look forward to in the near future?

Shadow’s Bane, the fourth Dory novel, is being turned in this month (yay!) As soon as I have a firm pub date, I’ll let you know. The ninth Cassie is up next. I also have part of a Lia novel done, if I ever get a chance to finish it. And then, of course, there’s the Dory novella “Dragon’s Claw” already announced, that I’ll be wedging in there somewhere.

Q and A #59

Question 1: Reading about Anthony and Cleo’s history made me wonder about historical events. Masks was great that way, with many historical figures making an appearance, and for example the fall of Constantinople referenced along with “disputed territories” and “rebels” by the Consul. It brings up, how much were world history events influenced by supernaturals in your universe?

A fair amount. If you’re the minority, what the majority of a society decides to do is probably going to have an impact, giving you reason to try to influence it to benefit you, if you can. That was why Marlowe was made, if you’ll recall. But your success is going to vary, especially when something involves a huge movement of people into new areas, as the Ottoman expansion did.

Question 2: Radu’s been said to be mooching off big brother; why didn’t he make more vampires after Louis-Cesare? Mental unsuitability, lack of interest, personal issues, etc…? Isn’t he as a servantless emancipated master highly unusual, and even vulnerable/potential liability to Mircea and the Senate?

Radu is protected by big brother Mircea, yes, meaning that nobody in their right minds messes with Radu. And Mircea is generous, so ‘Du has all the money he can spend as well as servants, status, and basically all the things that a large family can provide. Of course, to be fair to him, so do all masters who choose to stay and serve their old mentors rather than breaking away to form their own courts. Most of them do make Children, too, but Radu was forbidden from that until recently in order not to screw up the timeline. It gave him a chance to learn that the families you make and are afterwards responsible for come with some definite advantages, but also with considerable liabilities at times. Radu found that he liked the freedom of not being responsible for a huge household himself.

As far as mooching is concerned, however, most vamps wouldn’t see it that way. Staying and serving your senator brother would likely be seen as somewhat selfless, as you’re forfeiting your own court and relegating yourself to a life forever in his shadow. Masters who choose to stay with their own master after they are powerful enough to leave are given a certain degree of respect for that, especially upper level ones. Plus, having Radu free to concentrate on senate business has yielded a lot of advantages for them (Radu is a bit of a scientific genius, in his own way). Dory didn’t really get all of that, as Dory — the perpetual outsider — doesn’t always understand as much about vamp society as she thinks she does. But one of the reasons Mircea is so powerful is that there are two, not one, Basarab brothers working together. And having one seriously underestimated by vamp society is exactly the way they like it.

Question 3: Is the Danieli who was killed (presumably?) in the FK coup the Danieli from Masks or a different person?

Different person. It’s a common name.

Question 4: Will Dmitri feature more in the books, or can you tell us what caused the animosity between him and Mircea in CbS?

I don’t do spoilers. But the animosity started with a woman who preferred Mircea, and snowballed from there.

Question 5: Some of the series’ masters showed signs of moving / holding objects with their will. Is telekinesis another common power to develop amongst vamps like the ability to mind-speak with each other?

It’s not common. It does sometime come with the mental trait, however. You saw Mircea slam Pritkin against a wall without laying a hand on him in TTD, and hold him there. It was an early hint of Mircea’s mental adroitness.

Question 6: You answered once that vampires only need to use the bathroom if they consume a lot of human food. Does hair and nail growth for example happen for vampires after blood consumption, only on demand, or not at all?

Vampires have virtually complete control over their bodies after death, once they figure out how that works. Marti shaved the newbies in Masks because it was easier than teaching them, and because many are often less than successful with it at first, still thinking too much like a human. Baby vamps who try to configure their bodies sometimes end up looking a little . . . odd. Wild eyebrows, for instance, or too prominent eyes. One tried to increase his stature and ended up with gorilla arms. And even the older ones don’t always get the knack of it. It’s why many vamps just appear to change their looks with a glamourie, or go to a bokor who has more skill with that sort of thing, if they want the vamp version of plastic surgery. Having said that, however, after a few decades they usually figure out that their hair doesn’t grow, for example, unless they want it to. Same as you already learned about breathing/heartbeat/etc.

Question 7: Aaaaand finally… – I’m sorry but I have to ask – *using my best imitation of a Stark voice* Brace yourself… you know it’s coming…: are there any news of the Dory shorts? There’s been people on the forums anxiously looking for preorder links, I volunteered to ask. 😀

I would have posted them for preorder already, but Amazon won’t let me. They want the entire, edited version of the stories before they’ll put something on preorder, which makes no sense to me. If I had the final form of the shorts already, why wouldn’t I just post them both now? Why make people wait? I didn’t know this when I promised the preorders before, but I do now. So let’s revise this: you’ll be able to purchase the stories in April and July respectively.

Q and A #58

1) When Cassie was in Hell and the Senate showed up, were they all there or just the Consul, Marlowe, and Mircea? Did Jules come with them? Will we get to see what they thought of the scene between Cassie and Mircea?

They were all there because they were linked into Mircea’s mind, in a sort of conference call. They do this fairly regularly (remember when you see old vamps spacing out? They’re probably talking to somebody) because the senate is often spread out all over the place. Getting them all together in one place on a regular basis would be a royal pain, so they don’t. But they do have to meet, so it’s done mentally.

So they were already linked in, so to speak, when Mircea opened up the seidr link with Cassie. He’d expected to see her suite in Vegas, and for the senate to be able to talk her into the whole army thing (which was why they also brought Jules with them). But instead they plopped down in the middle of hell. Fun times!

2) The other thing I was curious about was when Mircea pulled power from the guards. Because Rico is emancipated, like Radu, shouldn’t he have been awake still? Even if he was off duty at the time, wouldn’t he have felt it and known to go to the suite to help? Also, is Rico the only one of Cassie’s guards that is emancipated?

Okay, now I’m confused. First, Ricu was already in the suite. Cassie saw him on the floor, unconscious, when she woke up. So he didn’t have to come from anywhere.

Second, emancipated doesn’t mean a master can’t drain you. Emancipated means that he can’t control you, i.e. force you to do things you may not want to do, at least not without more effort than it’s worth. But the blood bond is still there — it is always there — and he can use it if he must. It’s one reason Tony is hiding out in faerie, because if he was in this world, Mircea could damage him and, if he’s still third level, possibly drain him dry.

Third, a master doesn’t just drain his family indiscriminately, even under duress. That could leave some of them vulnerable to the sun or enemies after most of their power suddenly goes bye-bye. And for a man as obsessed by family as Mircea is, do you really think he would leave his people somewhere to die? So a master controls who he drains and who he doesn’t. Rico and the others were in a secure area, inside some of the strongest wards known to man, and facing no threat. Taking power from them was a no brainer. In fact, they were the perfect people to pick, since they could just hunker down in the fortress of Dante’s, like Mircea is always trying to get Cassie to do, until they recovered.

Radu, on the other hand, was in a different situation. Kit was a friend, but he wasn’t family, and in a crisis, you want a family member there to take care of you. Which, if you’ll recall, is exactly what Radu did. In Fury’s Kiss, Mircea was too far gone even to feed there at the end, until Radu (with some help from Dory) fed him the old fashioned way (which requires basically no effort from the receiver). Radu gave him enough blood to get him back to himself slightly, and then Mircea pulled the rest from whatever family still had any left to give. He could have drained Radu then as well, but Dory and Louis-Cesare were hurt, and Radu was the only one speaking/acting for the family. And Mircea wanted at least one Basarab left on his feet!

3) I’m confused about how the acolytes actually die. Agnes had to step in with Myra, to make sure she didn’t just possess someone else when her physical body died, so can’t the acolytes do the same thing and find a new host?

Myra was Agnes’ heir, not just an acolyte. The heir controls a great deal more power than the acolytes, and thus has more abilities open to her. She basically has all the skills of a pythia, just not all of the power yet. The acolytes do not.

4) Are the two acolytes Cassie supposedly killed actually dead (the one she shifted out the window and the one at the end with the bottle of Tears)? Also, how is the Circle holding the acolyte that was captured when they can shift out of the Traps and pretty much anything, assuming their training was better than Cassie’s? Isn’t that the reason the Pythia has reign over punishments concerning her Court, because no-one else is equipped to do so, considering their powers?

The duel ended pretty definitely, wouldn’t you say? And falling three stories onto cobblestones isn’t usually considered fun.

As to your other question, there are a number of ways of holding onto a badly behaving acolyte. First, they aren’t demigoddesses, so whether they would be able to do Cassie’s trick with the magical traps is debatable. But even if so, to hold them safely for a short period of time, all you’d have to do is drug them, and not even into unconsciousness. Too woozy to think straight takes shifting off the table, much less anything else. Of course, holding an acolyte for the long term would be a lot more problematic for the Circle. But then, it wouldn’t be the Circle doing it.

5) Finally, I’ve been wondering about Cassie’s heritage for a while. How much is her aging and lifespan affected by her mother being a Goddess and will the Pythian power have the same aging effect on Cassie as other Pythias because of this? Can the other clairvoyants actually see ghosts or is this something Cassie got from her parents?

Traditionally, demigods had a wide range of powers and life spans, so it is difficult to say what Cassie’s might be. Especially since Artemis didn’t have any other children to use as a comparison. But, certainly, Cassie did get some things from her heritage. She’s been on the job less than four months, and had no readily available teacher, but she’s already learned to use the Pythian power like a pro. Immanent death is a good motivator!

As far as clairvoyants and what they see, it depends on the clairvoyant. Remember Billy’s hat in Reap the Wind? The little clairvoyant who took it could see and hear him, although not all have that skill. However, the initiates that make it to the Pythian Court are the best and most talented around, so it’s safe to say that plenty of them can see Billy just fine.

But as for Cassie, her abilities go beyond seeing and talking to ghosts. She acts more like she IS one, in a human body, which is a necromancer trait. It allows her to slip her skin for possessions much easier than most people, and to trade energy with Billy Joe. Or to possess huge golems and go on a rampage. 🙂

Hope that helps!

Q and A #57

Major spoilers for Reap the Wind below. You have been warned!

1) Rosier all but told Cassie that his son’s mother had a fair share of fey blood. Will we learn more about her parentage and maybe even meet some of Pritkin’s extended relations?

I don’t do spoilers normally, but I don’t think it really is one in this case since it was hinted at broadly enough in RTW. Yes, you find out about Pritkin’s mother in RTS.

2) Rhea is Agnes’ daughter, does that mean Agnes had her when she was about 60? I guess since mages get much older than normal humans they probably also stay fertile for longer. Did she only get to look so much older and more frail in recent years because of the poisoning then?

Mages normally live more than double the average human lifespan (roughly 200 years) so sixty to them would not be sixty to us, more like late twenties. And Agnes is never described in the books as looking elderly. She looked middle age because the Pythian office is tough on people. And of course, yes, by the time Cassie meets her she doesn’t look well because she is dying.

3) Little hairy nuggets with big noses… I’m picturing an entire village of Captain Cavemans. Did you make them up or are you describing a known mythical creature?

Forest trolls. They’re a thing. 🙂

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4) What enables Cassie to shift a null? Tami caused problems for her power once, is there a way to dampen that effect?

Nulls exert a passive dampening effect naturally, although they can rein it in somewhat. But the majority of the time, their power is like any other witch’s, except that it works in the reverse. In other words, they have to make an effort to counter major magic, which is what Cassie’s is. But, of course, Cassie had to learn that, which she hadn’t done by Embrace the Night (which is what I’m assuming you’re referring to).

5) We have not seen modern day Pritkin pull any major glamors (1790s was the last I recall). If he could rely on his incubus side again or more, would large scale glamors be back on the table or are they simply not useful in his modern fight repertoire?

They would be very useful. But without his incubus side, they are too expensive magically. What you saw him do in Wales is NOT in the repertoire of the average mage, or even above average ones.

6) Once upon a time there was a question in the Q&A about what Mircea’s thoughts were regarding Pritkin. The answer was something like a nuisance that did the job he was given. Now in RTW Cassie had quite vivid dreams about who she thought was Pritkin, even calling his name once, which I think Mircea couldn’t help but notice. If he knows that another man (who is working closely with her) is starring in her dreams does that change his view of the mage? Would he feel threatened by that or take it in stride. I imagine the answer might be slightly different now than she was then…

I think Mircea made it clear in RTW that he isn’t happy about Pritkin being in Cassie’s service. But, at the moment, Pritkin isn’t there to be a problem. He’s lost, and the vampires would all probably prefer him to stay that way.

Mircea, however, views Pritkin as less of an issue than the consul. She is suspicious of his growing power base, and that includes Cassie. So, as I said recently in another Q&A, that puts Mircea in a difficult position. On the one hand, he’s expected to keep Cassie under control for the senate,
and willing to oblige them as needed. But, on the other, he’s being kept from spending much time with her, and thereby deepening their relationship, both because of legitimate senate needs (like filling their empty seats) and because of the consul’s active opposition. She wants Cassie under control, but under her control, not Mircea’s. And she has reason to know first-hand just how charming he can be if he gets the chance.

7) I was a bit embarrassed when my Romanian colleague told me about her then-boyfriend ‘Mirsha’ and I suddenly saw his name written down (she was showing me something of her phone) and it read: Mircea. Until then I had always pronounced it Mir-tseh-ah/Mir-zee-ah or something like that in my head. So could you maybe write the pronunciation in the Q&A section?

I’ve already done that in a previous q&a. But for anyone who missed it, it’s pronounced Meercha.

8) Will Lia de Croissets ever meet any of the main characters from the books (in the books)? Or is that a spoiler?

That would be a spoiler. However, I can say that you may see Lia in some upcoming novellas.

9) What happened to Bezio after Masks? Will he be mentioned in the books again?

If I get a chance to do Bones, the follow up to Masks, then yes. Otherwise, probably not.

10) The vampire Senate distrusts the Circle and their mages (and there is a whole lot of prejudice and resentment on both sides) but I wonder, what do the vampires, especially Mircea and Marlowe (since he had personal experiences with the Coven back in Britain) think about Coven witches and their magic? I’m not talking about their (political) power, since the Circle doesn’t let them get any, but about the Coven members themselves? Circle mage = unreasonable, manipulating, power-hungry psychos, Coven witch?

Coven witch=irrelevant. The vampires don’t think of them much at all. There’s really no separating the power and the person for vamps. It’s how their whole system is organized. As Mircea told Cassie in RTW, the covens are broken into factions with no common leader like the Circle has, so their power is minimal. And little power to a vampire means you are irrelevant.

Hope that helps! 🙂

Q and A #56

Q&A #56

Some more questions in today. Most are Reap the Wind specific, so please keep it in mind if you haven’t read the book.

1. Just finished reading Reap the Wind and am now over-bubbling with anticipation for Ride the Storm. Reap the Wind was a humongous book!! It was awesomely long!! Which I loved, loved, loved. And the Dory crossover again but from Cassie’s POV – so exciting. Loved it all.

I got to thinking about the powers of the vampires though and was wondering, if one first-level master vampire is the equivalent of a bunch of armies and the power decreases from there depending on what level master you are, the how the heck have the mages managed to fight them off all these years and not let them take over? The poor mages never seem to win any of the battles between them and vampires (or is that just because we see more from the vampires POVs?)

Well, first, because masters are scarce. Like, really scarce. You don’t see that so much in my books, because they are dealing with Mircea’s family and the senate, etc. But there aren’t many masters around at all, which is why Mircea wanted Cassie’s help in building him an army. Mages outnumber vamps, but they really outnumber masters. So, while a mage versus a master vamp would be toast, a mage versus a regular old run of the mill vamp . . . well, that’s a very different thing. Plus, kill enough run of the mill vamps, and you start to cut at their masters’ power base.

And, second, because mages are tricky. They are constantly coming up with new spells, etc. to balance the scales with the senate. And they’ve pretty much done so, at least to the point that neither side is willing to risk war.

2. In comparison to a first-level master, how powerful is modern day Pritkin? He was stopped in one of the earlier books by a bunch of masters when he tried to kill Cassie but there seemed to be a big scuffle before they could restrain him.

Pritkin gave up a huge amount of power when he lost his incubus abilities. But even without them, he was still a very strong war mage, still knew a lot about three different magical systems (demon, fey and human) and had a great deal of knowledge gained from hundreds of years of study and experience. All of which explains why the senate had trouble with him in TTD. Well, that and the fact that they were trying to restrain him without killing him (and thus coming into conflict with the Circle), and without giving anything away about their abilities that he couldn’t already have known. That put the brakes on some things that would have ended that fight really fast.

3. Would he be as powerful as a first-level master if he could use his incubus powers as well as his mage powers?

It would depend on the master.

4. Could he take on a bunch of first-level masters?

Again, which ones? And are they all fighting together? And what do you mean by take on? Immobilizing them, shielding against them, hiding from them would all be pretty easy with his incubus powers restored. You saw him elude an entire battlaion of fey in Reap the Wind, and that’s not easy. Killing them, however . . . well, killing first level masters is crazy difficult, plus most of the ones available are on his side! For those who aren’t . . . let’s say it would be a hell of a fight.

5. Is he secretly more bad-assed than any of them? Will Cassie ever rescue his soul?! Okay, you don’t have to answer that last one.

Lol! He’s certainly far more formidable with his power fully online, so to speak, than with it hobbled. But that’s the thing, and the point Artemis was making to Cassie in their conversation in Tempt the Stars: Pritkin doesn’t really know what he can do/who he is. He’s never had a chance to find out. He shut out the demon side of him early, after his first trip into hell seriously traumatized him, and has never really explored that side of himself since. Just passively, his incubus abilities gave him a good deal of extra strength. But what else can they do? And what can they do combined with the other strains of magic in his genetics? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t really even know much about his ancestry, at this point. So the answer to your question is still up in the air. But one thing is certain: he couldn’t grow or explore with Rosier’s prohibition on him, which basically left him in a state of suspended animation for a century. If it ever gets lifted . . . well, then we’ll have to see. 🙂

Q and A #55

Again, there are spoilers below. Proceed at your own risk.

1) I’m still a bit confused with all the fey names and allegiances but was Artemis on the Aesir or Vanir side?

The Vanir. Remember her forest in Tempt the Stars? One of the Æsir could not have grown that.

2) Getting kinda confused by the various houses and clans of the Fey. Would it be possible to briefly explain who’s who? I just can’t keep them straight.

Pritkin did a pretty good job of outlining the three main clans (of the light fey) in Reap the Wind, but I’ll summarize what the books have said so far:

Alorestri: They live mainly in the forests and like to wear green (as camouflage.) Came to be known to humans as the Green Fey as a result. The more correct term, and the one used in faerie, is Water Lords.

Basic characteristics: Forest dwelling, water bending, Excalibur giving group who like human women, like them really, really well, in fact, because they’re constantly fighting the dark fey and need warriors. Known to be slavers, mainly of human women, they are therefore the most common group of light fey seen on earth. Also ruled by a woman, known as the Lady of Lakes and Oceans.

Svarestri: They are known in faerie as the Earth Lords, because of their affinity for that element. They used to worship the Æsir, the gods of battle (Thor/Apollo, Tyr/Ares and Odin/Zeus) and were gifted by them with an ability with lightning, thunder, storms, etc. You have seen them use both in the Dory books.

Their royal livery is black, therefore they came to be known as the Black Fey to humans, not that they meet many as they rarely come to earth. They do trade with humans though (hence the portal you saw in RTW) mainly for food as they live in an inhospitable, cold, rocky land so are constantly
trading/raiding for food. But human traders have to come to them. They detest earth as a corrupt, polluted land and refuse to intermarry with humans.

They have the purest form of fey blood as a result. Ruled by Aeslinn, Æsubrand’s father.

Blarestri: The name means Blue Fey, both because the royal colors are blue and gold and because of where they live, which is high in the mountains. They worship the Vanir, the old fertility gods, and therefore have an affinity with growing things as well as with their favorite element of air. They are known in Faerie as the Sky Lords.

They are the strongest clan among the fey, and the current rulers. Their king is Caedmon, who had a son named Heidar with a human woman a century or so ago. But as half human, Heidar can never succeed to the throne. Heidar’s wife is part human, too (Claire) but also part dark fey, and has slightly more
than half fey blood. As a result, their son is more than half fey, allowing him to be the heir to the Blarestri throne. His name is Aiden, and he is currently watching SpongeBob in Brooklyn.

3) (This one came in late, to my email address, but it went so well with the overall subject that I added it).

I have noticed a significant change—and from what I know so far, incompatibility—between the light-fey magic systems, and their distinctions with respect to Svarestri vs. Blarestri, in RtW and the Dory(/Claire) books. It was Æsubrand who wielded the winds, not just earth. The Svarestri controlled THE elements, with most having ability in one or a few. Æsubrand was particularly gifted, both in strength and being able to command all four elements. What happened?

a) You must keep in mind what the fey had originally, and what they received from the gods they worshipped, when they became their followers. All fey can command the elements to a degree, but different clans tend to specialize. The Svarestri were always Earth Lords; their clan just developed a special affinity for that element. But the Aesir (gods like Zeus of the thunderbolt fame) also gave them ability with storms, the Aesir’s favorite weapon.

b) Aesubrand is a mutt, being a hybrid of different kinds of fey. Caedmon’s sister Effridis (of the Blarestri royal line) married Aeslinn of the Svarestri to end a war, and became Aesubrand’s mother. Plus various Water Lords turn up in both his family lines. He therefore has attributes of many clans, not just one. It was the reason he was thought to be the perfect heir to unite all faerie. There was also another reason Aeslinn wanted a son who was master of all the elements, but that will have to wait as it’s a spoiler. 🙂

4) Early on in Reap the Wind (I think somewhere in chapter 12), Marco says to Cassie: “Four months ago you were answering phones and making copies at a travel agency.” Has it really only been 4 months since book 1 or did I misread that?

Yes. In fact, it’s not quite four yet. This has all been one long summer.

You know Cassie constantly thinks of herself as ignorant or not-as-good-as-Agnes, but in reality, she has picked up things lightning fast.

5) The only political body that seems to take Cassie seriously in RtW is the demon council. They listen to her about the acolytes and she even asks them to help in the battle at the end. Why is their attitude different from the Senate and the Circle?

Remember how Artemis used Cassie’s desire to save Pritkin (in Tempt the Stars) to get in front of the demon council? And remember how she acted once there? A lot of people seem to have missed the fact that she was a total condescending bitch in that scene. I guess they put it down to the arrogance of the goddess, as Rosier would put it. But there was a bit more to it than that.

Judging by Artemis’ comments, it was clear that she was not there for Pritkin. He’d been the excuse to get Cassie to do what she wanted, but Artemis’s reason for wanting to talk to the council herself wasn’t mainly to help him. It wasn’t even to warn them about Ares, which Cassie could have done as easily, like she could have pushed the idea of an alliance. Artemis didn’t need to be there so much for what she had to say but for how she said it.

The council was used to being the chief power in this realm. Neither the Senate nor the Circle could remotely match them, or their sphere of influence, which was definitely not restricted to one little world. They were used to being feared, respected, and kowtowed to. They were used to being the last word on anything they deigned to concern themselves with. They were used to being top dog.

And yet, in a matter of minutes, Artemis had destroyed all that, had them all but wetting themselves, because they suddenly remembered what it felt like to be the underdog. So small, so inconsequential, so powerless that she laughed at them, a dead goddess laughed at them repeatedly, and mocked the very thought that their so-called power could stand against any of her kind, much less the god of war. They were given a sudden, vivid reminder of the old days, vivid enough that they (after a brief period of all-out panic) went running to ally themselves with the daughter of their greatest enemy, because she was literally the only chance they had.

Why does the council support Cassie? Because they take her, and their situation, seriously. They were alive at the time of the last war—many of them, anyway—and they just got slapped across the face with a reminder of exactly how bad things were. Unlike the vamps and mages, who are still coming around, still playing power games, still vying with each other for influence, the Council is gearing up for all-out war.

And Cassie is the best ally they’ve got.

6) Why has Cassie never asked Mircea about the pictures she keeps finding?

The same reason he hasn’t asked her about the picture of her and Pritkin in the newspaper. They really do have two relationships; Mircea wasn’t wrong about that. And they’re in the middle of a crisis. Risking their political relationship over a problem in their personal one wouldn’t make a lot of sense right now.