Billy Joe

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&A #21: (First published to Facebook November 12, 2011)

QUESTION 1: Why is there a portrait of Pritkin as a young man on Ida Larsen’s website? It is awesome, but is there a short story planned for it?

Ida Larsen, for those who don’t know, is the artist who did the character portraits on my website. Her art can be found at her personal website (http://www.ida-larsen-art.com) and at her Etsy store (http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mizzdraconia). Go take a look if you get some time–she’s really talented!

In answer to your question, the portrait wasn’t of Pritkin, but of Rosier, his father. It isn’t on my website yet because I need to decide between several versions. But I’m posting a small pic of what the finished piece will look like on FB later today, so you’ll have an idea.

As far as the story thing goes, I make it a habit these days not to announce any future stories, but simply to post them when they’re finished and I like them. It seems to work better for me that way.

QUESTION 2: It seems like Billy the ghost is slowly throughout the books receiving smaller role/participation. Is Billy (and ghosts) going to be removed?

Actually, Billy has about the same part that he ever did. The difference is that the books are longer now, so it looks like there’s less of him. Touch the Dark, for example, was 107,000 words, while Hunt the Moon was 142,500, and Billy played an important role in it. But he wasn’t in every scene because a) he wasn’t needed and b) it was made clear from TTD that Billy has his own ghostly life going on. At the beginning of that book, if you recall, Cassie was mad as hell because Billy was loafed off somewhere while she was almost being assassinated. And it was stated that this was not particularly unusual for him.

On that subject, I’ve never liked books in which every character’s life seems to revolve around that of the heroine’s. You get the idea sometimes that they don’t breathe unless she says it’s okay, and that they only really live when in her presence. I’ve read a few series that were so much this way that I actually expected to have the ending being her waking up in a mental ward, with the whole thing a hallucination. Because real people do not hang on someone’s every word and action like that. Real people have their own lives and agendas, and I wanted my world to feel real. So characters come and go as they do in real life, and you don’t (at least, I sincerely hope you don’t) get the idea that Cassie is the center of everyone’s universe.

QUESTION 3: It’s repeated throughout the series that the fey are really fond of children, but in Midnight’s Daughter, Dory mentions that Benny’s mother had tried to eat him, which doesn’t really sound too loving. So was that a generalisation that doesn’t apply to all types of fey, or was Benny’s mother the exception to the rule?

That was a reference to the standard troll mythology, namely that they’re a race of cannibalistic giants (or dwarves, depending on the legend and/or type of troll) with a particular fondness for babies. Grýla, for example, is a female troll in Scandinavian lore who eats wicked children. However, no, it isn’t standard in my universe, in which trolls, like any species that wants to survive, take good care of their offspring.

QUESTION 4: I was just wondering what’s Dory’s scent, well gun power for sure but what else?

Dory doesn’t have a distinct scent, other than “human.” It’s one reason she’s so deadly to vampires; they can’t scent her as something Other. As far as the gunpowder thing goes, Dory uses guns when appropriate, but often they aren’t for the type of things she fights. Plus, vamps can smell them, and they’re loud even with so-called silencers, which really only bring the decibel level down to non-deafening for humans. It still brings vamps running, though, and nobody likes to have to deal with back up. Dory prefers knives—silent, deadly and scent-free.

QUESTION 5: What are Cyrus & Sebastian’s wolf names? Does Cyrus know what Lia is and if so, for how long?

Cyrus was stripped of his clan name when he was kicked out (since vargulfs aren’t really considered people). However, it used to be Quick Foot because of his speed when in wolf form. Sebastian was known as Son of the Storm, because his father’s name was Storm Rider. But he took a new name, Pathfinder, when he became clan leader, because that was what he hoped to do—to find a path through the constant squabbling of the clans to a better future.

Q&A #3 (First published to Facebook May 13, 2011)

Q&A #3:

QUESTION 1: I was reading Touch The Dark and was wondering when Billy Joe gets car keys and a few tops for Cassie to break out of MAGIC, how does he get the stuff in? There was a charm on the window and, though I may be wrong, they weren’t able to get the window open. So how does Billy Joe carry objects through walls? Can he? Or do the wards just open for him because they don’t notice him as present because he’s a ghost? Or did they perhaps just open the window and the question is moot?

Billy left everything outside until they managed to remove the charm from the window. It’s page 102-103 in my version of the text.

QUESTION 2: The same thing happened again in TTD when Cassie sent Billy to get the Tears of Apollo and I though it would’ve taken up too much energy to open doors. Maybe when he zones in on Cassie (or rather his talisman) and he almost shifts to her, he can take objects along too?

Billy didn’t have to pass through doors in order to get Cassie the item in question. Doors would do little good against the kind of threats MAGIC faced, so it rarely relied on them. The barriers he encountered were wards (obstacles made of magical energy), which only kept out what they’d been “programmed” to view as a threat. Benign items like a vial of a non-lethal substance didn’t fall into that category, and neither did Billy Joe, which they simply couldn’t detect at all.

QUESTION 3: Is Cassie ever going to do magic like Pritkin? She does know a word of power and Pritkin did mention that she has the potential (because he did used it in Curse the Dawn).

I try not to do spoilers. But in Hunt the Moon, I think you will see Cassie show more of her true potential.

QUESTION 4: Did you intend for Pritkin as a love interest from the first book or did he develop on his own as the story progressed?

Love interest? Why, what do you mean? Isn’t he just her bodyguard?

QUESTION 5: In Touch the Dark, Cassie in Chapter 5 is having her energy ”drained into a sort of metaphysical holding pot, and warded it with some of his own so she couldn’t access it until he released her”. Who did this? Which vamp is Billy referring to? Why did it suddenly bust now and not before?

Mircea tried to put a lock down on Cassie’s power, because although she didn’t know she could shift at this point, he did. The Pythian power was already leaking to her, and the senate didn’t want her using her new abilities to elude them. Of course, they didn’t count on Billy, who broke through the barrier when he tried to feed, and got the rush of his life!