Authors: Mary Weber
2. Going off the previous question, it seems like the current culture we live in often revels in bullying and tearing others down (especially online). Have you encountered this? What do you believe is the cause? How could our world benefit from extended acts of compassion?
3. That said, there are also sometimes people in life who aren't the safest for our hearts to allow too close. Is there someone in your world who might not be the safest in their treatment or influence of you? Is there a safe person you know whom you can talk to about them and how they make you feel?
, Nym continually faces the reality that (1) she shouldn't actually exist, and (2) she should never have survived. And yet she did for a reason. Do you believe this is true for everyoneâthat, no matter how seemingly insignificant or great we feel we are, we each exist for a purpose? In your own life, what might that purpose be? Do you believe some people's purposes are greater than others, or do we all contribute a powerful part? Do you believe impacting just one person around you can have a bigger effect than being “famous” or “well known for your contributions”?
5. At one point, while Nym is in Cashlin, Queen Laiha indicates how the dark power Nym previously ingested still resides within Nym's blood. “You feel it,” she says. “Because the choices we make have lasting consequences.” Do you agree with this? What kind of choices in your own life have had (or could have) intense consequences? And what future decisions could bring about positive results for your life?
6. What do you think of the queen's statement: “No one escapes this life, nor do they escape war, unscathed”? Is it possible to grow stronger or become better because of those things? What would a person need in order to do so?
(book one in the trilogy), Nym wanted nothing to do with saving Faelen. Partly because she saw herself as more destructive than the danger coming at them, and partly because the people needing saving were the same who'd enslaved her. However, by the end of
, Nym sacrifices her life for those very people. What do you think brought about that heart change? What types of challenges or altered perspective might lead someone to defend a person who has wronged them?
8. At the start of the trilogy Nym privately struggled with self-loathing, fear, and self-harm. As she grew in appreciating herself and her abilities, as well as in developing healthy relationships, her confidence increased, as did her capacity to overcome cutting. Are her insecurities or struggles anything you or someone you know can relate to? Are there things that have helped you, or perhaps actually made it harder? If so, do you have a safe person in your life to talk to about them? There are incredible resources and hope available to anyone struggling with depression or self-harm, including To Write Love on Her Arms (http://www.TWLOHA.com). Just please reach out. I promise you are never alone.
Standing with you and cheering you on, because you are so extraordinarily precious.
A gift for you, my preciouses . . .
HERE'S A STORY WHISPERED OVER THE HEARTH-STONES
of certain Faelen hovels on storm-squallish nights. When small children have curled up against the legs of their papas and the mums hold scalding mugs of tea. A legend that long predates Draewulf's own hideous history.
A legend about the bolcranes of Litchfell Forest.
“Won't the storm upset the bolcranes, Papa?” the son asks.
“Bah. The monsters are always upset. That is why they are monsters.”
The father adjusts his legs as his little girl wilts beneath her blanket. “Will the monsters come here though?”
He smiles and leans down to ruffle her curled locks. “Not tonight, love.”
“What do they look like?” Her brother's face flickers eager in the firelight.
“Like giant lizards,” Papa says after a moment, glancing at their mum. “Black and oily and bigger than a horse, with scales for skin, strong poison for spit, and teeth as sharp as a sea dragon's.”
“Are they so upset because they're so ugly?”
“Some believe so.”
The mum clicks her tongue and sets down the mugs of tea. “Tell it to them right or not at all, 'enry.”
He grins, then takes a swig of the steaming green liquid. “I am tellin' it right. The travellers say the bolcranes used to be beautiful beings. But they became powerful and twisted, so their souls turned from light to dark, and then so did their bodies. Although . . .” He leans down to the children. “I've heard if you listen close to the hissing breath of the beasts, you can still hear their voices. Asking for more power an' crying in grief at their cursed state.” He sits back and takes another sip. “Or maybe it's hateful tears for what they've become.”
The boy child's eyes widen larger than hornet eggs. “Was it the Creator who cursed them?”
“Your mum believes so.” Papa looks up and winks at the woman, and is met with a biscuit in the face. He laughs and grabs it from where it dropped. “Well, at least the heathens from Cashlin do. They believe there was a great fallin' out, and the Creator banned the monsters from the Valley of Origin and forced them into Litchfell Forest to live. That's why they despise us Faelenians so much.”
The father breaks the biscuit and passes pieces to the children. “But it's not true. The ancient spindle trees, which have watched the beasts roam and devour, claim it was the beasts who rejected the Creator. That their craving for more power was insatiable, and thus they cursed
“Is that why they have to live in Litchfell now?” the girl asks around a mouthful of bread.
After pulling the girl onto his lap, Papa dusts the crumbs off her cheek. “That, or they've simply forgotten how to live outside of it.”
“But what were the beautiful beings before they turned to bolcranes?”
“The strongest UathÃºils,” the father murmurs.
A rattle of shutters from the thrashing storm makes both children jump and the room falls quiet, until a moment later when the little girl looks up into her father's face.
“When they figure out how to be free of the forest, will they come for
then?” she asks.
PHOTO BY SARAH KATHLEEN PHOTOGRAPHY
ARY WEBER IS A RIDICULOUSLY
uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings '80s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband, who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking LA bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.
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