Champions, you guys are the best! Royal Magic recently hit 80 reviews, so let’s party with the next extra: a short story called Welcome Home. (Click here for the PDF!) Thank you to everyone who submitted a review. I appreciate your support and feedback as it helps me a lot as an author, and also helps potential readers make informed decisions. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And now, on to the blog post!
I wrote Red Rope of Fate, because I wanted to create a lighthearted adventure/romance that focused on the relationship between elves and humans. When I started thinking about Royal Magic years ago, I wanted to keep that as the focus, but I also recognized that this sequel would give me the chance to show there are different types of heroes/heroines, and different ways people can be heroic.
This has always been a passion of mine, and you can see it in my Timeless Fairy Tale world. But the Elves of Lessa books are special because they take place in the same country–in the same city–and feature familiar characters and focuses on the same problem. (Answer: the relationship between Calnor and Lessa) It’s that familiarity and shared goal that really highlights how the main couples are so different and yet both do great things for their country.
In Red Rope of Fate Arion and Tari blow open the doors of communication. In bridging the expansive language gap, they bring huge medical and agricultural improvements to Calnor. Additionally, they break a long held taboo in their marriage as previously an elf/human relationship was off limits. Just by existing with their magical bond and Tari’s ability to speak both languages fluently, they tie their countries closer together and become legends. But that magical bond also limits their influence because many assume their relationship is an exception to the regular rules due to their “special-ness.”
Gwendafyn and Benjimir are the exact opposite. Their relationship is not fated, magical, or thrilling. Both of them, however, were in positions of influence before they were married. The power of their relationship comes from how normal they are, from people witnessing how hard Gwendafyn struggles to master Calnoric, and seeing how they embrace their differences and work together. As a result, Ben and Fyn bring more of a cultural revolution because they prove to their citizens that they don’t need a mythical/magical connection in order befriend/love one another. They normalize it.
As the series progresses you will continue to see how the relationship between humans and elves shifts–and why it’s so important that it does shift. (Which is about as close of a hint as you’re going to get that the High Elves will return…)
But putting the ways they affect their nation aside, Arion, Tari, and Gwendafyn and Benjimir have very different personal roles as well. As shown in Royal Magic, Gwendafyn becomes something of a champion or defender of Calnor, while Benjimir steps into a leadership role in the army. Meanwhile, Tari and Arion continue their role as influencers and begin more readily moving around Calnor.
What might not be apparent is how the two couples help each other. Gwenafyn’s ability to fight was not spurned or even balked at because of Tari’s role as an Evening Star. Even if most people don’t know that Tari is capable of deadly magic, it is known she’s capable of returning insults, sarcasm, and getting angry. (Something that previously might have upset people in both Calnor and Lessa, but since she is the hailed hero fluent in both languages she’s easily forgiven.)
On the other hand, Arion and Tari travel more after Gwendafyn marries Benjimir because Ben’s indulgence in Fyn’s adventurous nature. (After all, if he–as a prince–doesn’t refuse his lovely bride, who can? The only one with the power to do so is King Petyrr and everyone knows he would never tell his daughter-in-law no.)
So not only do the couples change their cultures in different ways, but because of the fact that there are now two very prominent elf/human couples, they make headway for each other, opening up even more doors of possibilities as a result.
With that reflection in mind, it’s time for me to start collecting questions for the Benjimir/Gwendafyn interview I’ll post when Royal Magic reaches approximately 110 reviews! Post your questions in the comments down below, and I’ll try to feature as many as possible in an “interview” with Benjimir and Gwendafyn! (And who knows, Tari and Arion might show up for a moment or two as well!) Thanks for reading, Champions, and enjoy the short!
Tari-did you ever show the Honor Guard what Evening Stars are capable of with your fighting skills? What were their reaction? Did Thad and Evelyn ever start courting or have future plans for marriage? If there is a war with another country would Tari as a Evening Star be able to fight since it would not be humans from Calnor?
Fyn-what happened with Talon? Do you or your father keep track of what is happening to your aunt since she is now exiled?
Kitty, you did a wonderful job! I could see a possibility for a third book when the high elves coming back. No pressure or anything. 🙂
For Ben and Fyn: Where did you find Wulf and what does he think of being a personal body guard?
For Fyn: Is your magic a different kind of magic from a regular evening star’s or is your magic more of a result of an unconscious choice?
Will there be a book about Seer Ringali and who he marries? I can hardly imagine what kind of woman falls in love with him.
Thank you so much!
Seer Ringali is married and has kids, but I wouldn’t mind a throwback in time short story that shows their courtship, either!
I second the motion!
Kitty, I really love your books! You have an amazing talent! In the first book, I didn’t like Ben at all, but Royal Magic … it was great! I loved how Ben and Fyn interacted and how their relationship developed.
Here my questions:
Fyn: When was the first time you held a sword and how did you feel? Where or whom did you get it from? Have you ever gotten your swords back?
Why did you think that Ben still loved your sister, when he acted (by his standards) affactionate towards you?
Have you thought about kids? How many would you like to have?
Ben: What are the things you hate and love most about Fyn?
In the past why have you never tried to tell Yvrea about your feelings (or that you hate your nickname)?
How many countries have you visited during your temporary punishment?
How many swords does Fyn have? How many of these are presents from you?
Have you been to Lessa yet? How was it?
Tari: If you had a girl what would you name her and who would be godfather/godmother since you wouldn’t want it to be Seer Ringali?
Why did you forgive Ben so fast?
What were your first thoughts about Seer Ringali? Why did he take you as the next Ringali? Can you tell us something about his family?
Arion: Why was your family treated badly at court? Just because the queen didn’t like your sister?
When did you forgive Ben? How was your first ride together?
How did/do you feel about Seer Ringalis treatment/behavoir towards you? Did that change when you and Tari married? What was his wedding gift? Have you used the High Elf sword Tari gave you? In what situation?
Why and when did you choose a military career?
Thank you so much 🙂
Ooh, those are really good questions!
Here’s a question for Tari that’s really more of an invitation to rant: Remember on that first trip to the Sacred Woods when the bandits jumped out at the whole procession, and at least one of them directly aimed for you? WHO ATTACKS A PREGNANT WOMAN? xD;;
I definitely want to know what was up with the ‘three miracles and a unicorn’ thing. Also, what’s the plan on kids? I for one would love to see bunches of adorable half-elf kids running around.
With wooden swords! Shepherded by Seer Ringali!
Here’s a question for Ben: On the horse ride two weeks after your marriage, you were starting to relax until Fyn said that forging swords might be fun to learn but that she was more interested in the art of using one. Why did you draw back at that point, given that you later revealed that you didn’t mind that she likes to learn swordplay?
I don’t have any questions, but I wanted to say that I appreciated your explanation (in the book) of the separation between Lessa and Calnor and how that had become so entrenched that no one was truly trying to bridge it. It made sense, because after the first one I was left wondering why they didn’t tackle the language barrier by sending human and elf children to play together and be taught by members of the other race when they were very small, therefore allowing them to learn both languages at once, when it’s easy. And I suppose there are other possible solutions that could be proposed. But your explanations within the book made sense–how each nation was afraid to impose on the other too much, and so the status quo was accepted, with no one outside of the translator circles making any genuine attempt to overcome the separation.
I enjoyed the sequel very much, and I was glad to see Benjamir, who was really not a villain so much as a self-centered twerp, find his redemption.
Did you ever get your original swords back from Jubilee after your aunt was exiled? I know your grandfather’s sword specifically must have meant a lot to you.
Fyn, why couldn’t your mother be more present in your life in Jubilee? Doesn’t she have a say in anything? How long does it take to travel between Jubilee and Haven?
Oh, and I’ve been wondering, just in general: do High Elf swords have special abilities? Like, conducting and directing Elf Magic extra well?
And whatever happened to the swords Lorius took from Fyn? Does Fyn ever get them back? I know she has Ben’s sword now, of course, but still. Those were awesome swords and probably had special abilities, and she clearly needs them for her collection 😉
What gave you the courage to hold on to who you were when your Aunt was trying to change everything about you?
You never hid who you were with Fyn, why did you trust her? Was it instinctual or apathy?
All of these are great questions.
Here is one for Ben and Celrin: Why did you two wait so long to defend Fyn when Lorius was attacking her after the big battle? Were you each waiting for the other? Especially after Ben swore he would protect her from Lorius if she so much as breathed poison in Fyn’s ear. And then to have Lorius commit a full frontal assault on Fyn in front of both of them and both of them being so slow to react. Why?
Why does Lorius hate Fyn so much? Does she have magic too and hate herself for it? And then did she recognize the same tings in Fyn and so do every thing to try to crush it out of her as it was crushed out of Lorius? Does the fact that Fyn has the same dark hair and fiery temperament as the High elves have any significance?
For Ben; how did you and Arion mend your relationship?
I’m curious to know who figured out Tari’s pregnancy first. Was it the pregnant woman herself interpreting recent symptoms or the loving husband who can read her emotions? And if Tari did know first, how did she tell Arion?
Ah, and an actual question for the interview:
Why, even when Fyn first arrived at the palace, did she not have at least an elivsh attendant, like Tari does (Evlawyn)? Especially given that her Calnoric had to be learned the hard way, wouldn’t it be convenient to have a personal assistant who spoke her language? (I understand why she might have only human aides after marrying.)
Question for Fyn: What makes the magic of elf enchanters, who work with the human wizards in the Nodusigm ceremonies, different from what you and Tari can each do?
Ooh, and how does the human magic work, since it’s different from Elf magic?
How did Nodusigm even get set up, if the elves and men of Calnor couldnt communicate? How was Lessa able to ask for help, and why did Calnor take pity on the Lesser Elves, when they could not communicate nor receive anything in return for their help?
And (for Kitty and/or Tari): how many children does Seer Ringali have and what are their names? And what is his wife like? She’d have to be a pretty cool/special/awesome woman to be married to him. Will we ever get to meet her, Kitty?
Oh, I second the questions about Seer Ringali and meeting his wife/family! I’ve wondered about them :-).
My questions for Benjamir are:
Why did it take you so long to identify/understand the twinge that you felt when Avril laughed at Fyn’s garbled Calnoric attempt? Do you ever think that if Fyn asks your father for anything and he says no, what would it be about/for?
If you had to choose between a real animal pet present from Ben, would you choose a snow cat like Tari or a wolf like Ben originally offered? Do you plan to be on the front lines when the High Elves return; how does Ben feel about it?
What did you mean by ‘taking three miracles and a unicorn to get your swords’?
Would you explain the twinge you felt when Avril laughed at Fyn’s garbled Calnoric?
For Ben: What was your internal reaction of Fyn showing up in that Calnorian dress for the first time? Have you ever sparred with Fyn before and if so, what was the result? What was your first impression upon seeing Aunt Lorius?
For Fyn: How did you deal with Talon? How do you know Tari?
How has your evaluation of your father’s cunning changed since you’ve returned from exile?
What plans do you have for the defense of Calnor? Have you included plans for working with the Evening Stars upon the return of the High elves? What are they?
There are times when a military leader must balance the probable death of a few resulting in the successful defense of many. I can see you accepting this for yourself, but would you ever accept this for Fyn?
What would you say to other elves who show signs of High Elf magic?
I can’t really think of a question at this time, but I’m really hoping for a future short about that first trip to hunt bandits that Arion and Ben took? I really want to see how their relationship changed since I don’t imagine Arion was quick to forget and forgive. I have to say, I love, love, LOVE seeing the three patrol leaders again, and getting to see Tari’s snow cat all grown up, and seeing more of Seer Ringthali! I did not think it possible, but I may like this book better than the first and I REALLY hope you will return to this world again soon.
Thank you for another great short! I love revisiting characters when books have finished.
This one isn’t actually a question for your interview (unless persons we don’t anticipate were to show up, I guess), but it is something I’d be very interested in hearing/seeing–King Celrin (and possibly his wife’s) understanding of Gwendafyn’s situation with her aunt. As a parent, it baffled me that they could be unaware enough of her aunt’s abuse (because that’s clearly not just what it was, but what it had been for quite a long time) to allow it to continue. I understand that they were gone a great deal…but that much? And perhaps Celrin didn’t quite realize the sort of person his sister was, due to the same separation in their childhoods from traditional roles…but I would really like a glimpse in his head, of how much he suspected, what he thought he was DOING letting her be treated like that, or perhaps when he realized how much worse it was (because I think it must have been before Lorious’ final booting). Sorry, that got long…I’ve just been thinking about it, and I’m curious!
Yeah, I was wondering about that too, actually. I mean, yes, Lorius is his sister…but Fyn is his DAUGHTER. And it’s clear he loves and supports her, and empathizes with her, even though he doesnt completely get it.
Yes, I think that’s part of what I find confusing–whenever he’s applied to, or has reason to act on her behalf, he’s clearly on the side of “I want my daughter to be happy and respected.” He works with a king and friend he can barely communicate with to help arrange things to bring her a kind of happily ever after she doesn’t think she can have…but why the late change? Why didn’t he do something to at least curb the misery her aunt was inflicting earlier? There HAD to be things he could do, up to and including chewing her out for preemptively taking swords (thus, assuming his decision) and making her give them back, if not things prior to the book’s timeline…yet he doesn’t. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t understand her love of swords, it’s clear he loves her, so why so little action on something that she’s already promised to keep hiding (at that time)? It’s a weird sort of mish-mash of loving parent and oblivious-to-the-point-of-trauma-for-my-child and I’d be very interested to see in his head or into a conversation between himself and his wife about it.
I will quote fyn here ” What is he upto?”. Would you please comment on your odd behaviour at the feast?
How do you manage your mother?
Which person do you love the most in your family (excluding fyn, obviously)?
Have you ever trained with Ben? Do you plan to?
Thank you for the short story! 🙂 it’s so nice to have another glimpse at the life of our beloved characters ❤️ I have a question for all of them (including Arion and Tari): what do you love the most about your husband/wife and what don’t you like at all?