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.

One Response to Q and A #64

  • Aoki09 says:

    Ok, I am a little behind, just finished reading Reap the Wind but I am having a wonderful time on this roller coaster ride of story lines with the Cassie line, Dory line and the short stories all weaving in and out! Just one tiny thing though… so Cassie is a fan or at least is familiar with of the Die Hard movies, notably the first one as indicated in the short story about the time loop but she doesn’t know the best sci-fi movie ever, Blade Runner! Maybe this would be a great opportunity for Pritkin (who is going to be a movie snob and will be able quote line for line the BR movie) to have a beer and pizza movie night with Cassie and introduce her to Rutgar Hauer, Harrison Ford, Darryl Hannah and of course the guy who plays the replicant Leon who then goes on to play the military guy in the Fifth Element which is a sci-fi version of a Die Hard movie featuring Bruce Willis! See! It all connects! 🤓 Anyways… just having a great time reading the books, thanks!

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