I know at times some of you like to read for the word play and the “beauty” of the story. And I apologize to the newest readers as we both know this is certainly not the most beautiful of chapters as written.
I freely admit that the “style” of a segment is deeply influenced in my mind by the character being featured and the topic itself. I come from a roleplay background and I think of myself as collaborating with a character to push us through the story. The Count and I have a comfortable rapport — he, as one of the most deeply thinking characters but neurotic, get along quite well with each other. The prose he gets is pretty fun. (Frankly, I love working with him because he is also a would-be storyteller and doesn’t really know it yet.) Elisa and Edmund have fairly “pragmatic” text in comparison. Elanore just has fun and doesn’t deeply plot hence her diminished role so far.
So this chapter… there’s nothing very lyrical about shadows — whether they be the Unthings, the spectre of death, witches at work, or the “unseen hand moving about.” I’m afraid that the grim topics of illness, near death, and death don’t lend themselves to anything poetic — particularly not in the hands of these “voices” presenting themselves in “Shadows.”
In addition to a thematic changeroo, I’ve also done a structural experiment here by offering you varied quick changes in perspectives like in Chapter 1. Sometimes when you need to weave things together, you have to change up the pattern. I suppose I’m tugging at certain threads that I want to twist back together before I send us off into a turning point (or two).
Knowing me, you should be warned that the last time I said this for volume one I still had four months until I got there and felt I could write the ending. HAHAHAHA.
One note about ravens — I picked them instead of many of their blackbird cousins because they have an observed relationship with wolves in nature. (Google it!) However while we saw a great many “birds of indiscriminate nature” (i.e., blackbirds) in book 1, there was no evidence of any collaboration between wolves and birds and it was because it was broken. Whether there is any hope for a relationship, I suppose we shall see.
Now on to Gareth. Dear Gareth…
Gareth is /was a character that I have not played with much openly. In a way, I feel I should have used him earlier because his perspective is unique and contrary to the others among the Wolframs. But he is late to the game just as he was late to the first volume. When we first heard of him by name in “Red Riding Hood,” really it was incidental. . We know he wandered in quite late to the Wolfram estate to avoid the Unthings and comes from the west. In this case, he comes from somewhere between the River and the ocean seas where our troublesome “Oberon” likes to frequent.
He is often in the background in various settings where the wolves are gathered. He is described as one of the two leaders of smaller packs (see Chapter 3, Part D). He and his distant cousin, the “Silver Wolf,” are not like the other Wolves you have met for the most part in that they have little shared experiences with our current Wolf lord. (And to be fair, that is Wolfram’s fault really for being such an aloof punk.)
Gareth is /has always been far more “elfy” than any of his other cousins. There are far more weird things in his back history but it felt too out of context to introduce these tidbits.
Astute readers may remember I hinted that there was another wolf who might have a real chance at unseating the Count (from the eyes of others) and this would be he. But how Gareth feels and how he has acted until he got to this location, I won’t talk about for now. I think he has many layers to scratch at and I hope they will come out in any side, follow-up stories, or in that “third book” I joke about on this site’s supporting pages. (It’s not a joke. I just don’t know if Gareth will go along with my evil plans for him.)
Anyways, future speculation is just that. (I need to stop while I’m behind.)
Among the interesting things in my mind was the idea that he knew of Selva when the selection of the Count’s mate was decided– and he knows very well the unromantic debate that led to thrusting her onto the Count.
But there also is/was a personal connection and I would say that he did not vouch for her when it came down to casting ballots. I’ll leave it at that. SPECULATE AWAY.