Readers' Questions about Restoration

I love answering questions about my books. Here are questions that readers have asked me about Restoration in person or via email.

Restoration is the third and final Book of the Rai-kirah. I tried to tie up all the threads and leave enough evidence that readers could figure out the things I didn't tell. But when you're so close to the story, it's hard to catch everything. And I have some VERY perceptive and curious readers! So here are the answers to the questions you've been asking.

Warning! Certain SPOILERS if you have not read Revelation or Restoration!

New Questions

Thanks to Stanka from Slovenia for these new questions!

NEW! I don't understand how locking Kerouan up in Tyrrad Nor was connected to splitting Ezzarians and the rai-kirah. Were the rekkonarre so afraid of locked-up Kerouan that they wanted to banish their demonic side?

Exactly. After Kerouan tried to kill all the humans, Valdis and the last of the Madonai knew something had to be done. Because of their love for Kerouan, they could not bear to kill him, so they imprisoned him. Kasparian, hating the humans and the rekkonarre, chose to share Kerouan's imprisonment. Vyx and twelve other Madonai chose to create the black wall, an unbreakable barrier to keep Kerouan controlled. Valdis, in mercy for his beloved father and at the suggestion of Verdonne, left Kerouan the ability to "participate" in the world by reading dreams. A big mistake.

Through the years, Valdis found himself wanting to be more lenient with his father, and found others forgetting the terrible crime. He actually destroyed his own memory of his father to prevent any softening on his part. And then came the prophecy. The winged man freeing Kerouan to complete his work. That's when Valdis and other rekkonarre decided to leave Kir'Navarrin and destroy the Madonai part of themselves -- with unintended consequences.

NEW! The rai-kirah obvious didn't exist before, did they? Were they as long living as Madonai or even immortal? I mean, the Nevai in Kir'Vagonath remembered just small part of their former life, where they have physical forms--this was obvious when they were still joined with Ezzarians -– in the rekkonarre, more than 1000 years ago.

That's right. The rai-kirah--the demons--were the Madonai part of the rekkonarre. Immortal. But as they didn't have their bodies, and they had very little of their memories.

NEW! I would like to know what happened when Valdis and Vyx erased their memories. I understand they lived together for some time of forgotten; then what? What happened in those 1000 years? How is that we found Vyx living among the rai-kirah? Does he still have the power of a Madonai even if he doesn't remember he is one at that time?

Vyx was devoted to Valdis. This is why he didn't mate with a human and thus fall prey to the disease that killed the rest of the Madonai. I think Vyx knew he was a Madonai up until the time of the split. He didn't know what the split enchantment would do to him. Essentially it did the same as to the others...left him without a body and without a memory. But he remembered more than other rai-kirah, and had instincts that took him to Seyonne.

NEW! And when Vyx leads Nevai and other rai-kirah to Kir'Navarrin, does he begin to remember?

Vyx does remember things when he goes back to Kir'Navarrin - most especially about his vow to come back and take his place in the wall.

NEW! What happened with Vyx? Was his energy spent and was he destroyed after he managed as the last Madonai (besides Kerouan and Kasparian) to keep the walls of Tyrrad Nor standing?

At the end of Revelation, Vyx returned to Kir'Navarrin and took his place in the wall. Verdonne says that he held it together for almost a year, but that the wall was failing again until Seyonne/Denas came to Kerouan. Vyx's existence end with the final crumbling of the black wall.

NEW! How come Valdis somehow reincarnates in Ezzarian sorcerer after 1000 years?

Because Valdis and Denas are one and the same. Denas is the most powerful of the rai-kirah, and the most motivated to return to Kir'Navarrin--though he doesn't understand why. He and Vyx instigate the plot to entrap Seyonne. That's why Seyonne becomes Valdis.

NEW! Verdonne was made immortal. So, why was she seen only a few times, as a mysterious woman in green and first spoke to Valdis / Seyonne only to persuade him to become a Madonai so as to to destroy Kerouan? Didn't she recognize / know of Seyonne before?

Verdonne's power is very limited. And what power she had she bound to the gamarand wood in the same way Vyx and the others became a part of the wall. She chose to become another barrier to protect the world from Kerouan. It is only in her function as a "protective spirit" that she is able to come to Seyonne.

NEW! An interesting thing is this melydda. Madonai had it, so rekkonarre had it also, but the Ezzarian as "only" human had it also. Then there were the rai-kirah, who had some different magical power...

Melydda is really the physical manifestation of the Ezzarians' Madonai "genes". The rai-kirah had the non-physical magic.

NEW! I know the rekkonarre are suppose to be the future and the rai-kirah are only imperfect beings like Ezzarians, nevertheless I still hope Denas gets some future.

Denas's only future is as an integrated part of Seyonne.

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The Book, the Writing, and the Cover

Now for the philosophical nitty-gritty of the matter. Carol, I'm curious, how long did it take you to straighten the story of Restoration out in your head and/or on paper?

Most of a year!

I'm interested to know how difficult you found it to keep the descriptions of Seyonne's thoughts separate from those of Denas. Seyonne keeps trying to block Denas out, and it works mostly until he enters Kir'Navarrin, as Vyx predicted. But the merger of the two consciousnesses would still be made confusing to the reader if the author didn't know how to distinguish them. You did an excellent job, and I wanted to know if you ever got frustrated with it? I laughed a bit at the part where Seyonne cursed himself for "stupidly" separating Denas's subconscious and memories from his own, because the thought occurred to me that you were perhaps thinking the same thing?

I never got "frustrated". But it was a hard piece of writing. I so much wanted to do a good job of it. It would have been a lot simpler just to say "ok, Seyonne is just Seyonne" or "Seyonne is now Denas," separating their thoughts and telling the reader when he switched from one to the other. But I thought it was much more intriguing and "realistic" (if you can imagine that!) if the personalities were truly "mingled" and so the thoughts would be intertwined. I honestly had Seyonne get frustrated with it to help explain to readers what I was trying to do!!

We were talking about the significance of names in Lit the other day, and how Dickens and some of those others put clues about their characters in the names. Someone on the yahoo group mentioned the etymology of "Verdonne," (verde meaning green) and you said it was intentional. I also read on your website that the ties of your words/names to a Welsh dialect was purposeful as well. Now, knowing nothing of Welsh or similar languages myself, I was wondering if there were further meanings behind the names you chose for your characters? If so...what are they?

Not all the names and languages have special significance. Some are just because I like them and they sound right. Lydia, for example, sounds regal to me. Ysanne sounds mythic. Derzhi and Ezzarian just came out of nowhere. They sounded right for the cultures I envisioned. As for the two BIG names...

I chose Aleksander first. I was looking in a name book, hunting something Russian or Ukrainian (obviously I had this in mind as I chose other Derzhi names) and when I glimpsed “Alexander,” I knew it was right. I really like the name. It evokes Alexander the Great. And the meaning is -get this-defender of man. I chose an alternate spelling to get away from Alexander the Great just a bit.

For Seyonne, I was searching for something with a softer, more romantic feel to it. I was looking in Celtic/Welsh/Gaelic names and came across the Welsh form of John-Sion. John means variously "God is gracious" or "gift from God". That seemed appropriate to my Warden. But I didn't want to pronounce it like "Sean" or "SEE on" or any other possible pronunciation, and truly the sound was more important to me than the meaning. So I decided that the way I would like his name to SOUND, was "say OWN". And then I spelled it as close to that as looked reasonable.

In creating your languages for the Ezzarians and Rai-kirah, did you just think up phrases randomly as you went along, or had you planned an entire dictionary ahead of time? Would you be able to speak your own language(s) off the top of your head, or was your thought process something in-between?

Truly, not being a linguist like Tolkien, I could not begin to write a speakable language. I just make up words and phrases as I go. I do try to make some sensible correspondence between what I want the phrase to mean and the words I provide. And if gire means "heir" in one place, then it has to mean the same thing in another place, and "heiress" must be some variant of gire.

Only one thing that has nagged at me about all three books.....the covers. Why have the artists chosen to ignore Seyonne's ethnicity? Throughout all three books, Ezzarians are described as having copper, or bronze skin, dark, slightly slanted eyes, and are usually of 'slender' build. Why then, on Restoration (despite being a nice cover) do we have Arnold Schwarzneggers slightly tanned brother? Seyonne has been a slave for sixteen years, then spent the last few years in hiding, tortured by his demon joining, living a hand to mouth existence. What time did he find to drop in at the gym to get a body like that?

Unfortunately I have no say in the covers other than suggesting possibilities of the "incident" to appear on it. (Didn't even have that with Transformation.) I regret the lack of the ethnic depiction also. Seyonne is immensely strong, but not a body builder. Aleksander is more likely to have the sculpted physique and is a warrior not a boy.

But I have come to accept that cover art is "marketing." I tell myself that it really doesn't matter if the characters don't look like themselves as long as the artwork is compelling. Both the Restoration and Revelation artwork imparts a mood that is more accurate than the faces or bodies. A perceptive reader wrote me that Seyonne looked different--more menacing-- on the Restoration cover. That something about the relationship had changed. And so it was! I will continue to sweat covers...

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Seyonne and Aleksander

Okay, this struck me as innately strange: Why was Seyonne NAKED when he transformed into his "Madonai" form? Was it necessary? Had he just not learned to shape himself clothes in this new way yet? I found it unearthly difficult to imagine him flying into battle-action against Gennod with...certain areas exposed to the wind. *ehem* I mean, for all the beauty of Nature and her gifts, I couldn't help shaking my head with a slight chuckle.

This was a necessary manifestation of his change. His fundamental nature was being altered into something not human, a being of power. (I still have trouble thinking of angels, for example, as beings with clothes!) Yes, he could have shaped clothes after he gained control of his power. But another indication of this fundamental change was that he didn’t really care anymore - shy, modest Seyonne! As for difficulty…remember, all the original Olympics were done in the nude!

Can just anyone become a Madonai or is Seyonne the only one?

Seyonne's transformation to a Madonai was a specific enchantment worked by Kerouan and Kasparian, and was made possible by Seyonne's very special dual nature. Seyonne's own desires and power played into it very heavily also. Perhaps he could have done as he said, made his own son a Madonai some day, but perhaps not.

Now, how did Seyonne get to Kir’Navarrin to rescue Drych--transported through a different type of portal, sort of?

Seyonne traveled through Drych's dream. Nyel knew that Seyonne’s compassion was his weakness. He exploited it by homing in on the captive young Warden’s dream.

NEW! When you wrote the dialogue for Seyonne, Aleksander, et al, did you imagine them having accents?

The people in these books don't all speak the same language, therefore they would likely have accents relative to each other. But Aseol is the common language of the Empire, and most races have been assimilated long enough to speak it. Those Ezzarians who have not lived in the Empire as Searchers or Comforters are more provincial, so perhaps they have more of an accent when they speak Aseol. But Seyonne has lived with the Derzhi for half his life. If he ever had an accent, I think it is gone. I didn't imagine the sound of their language as any particular one from our world (British or Russian etc.)

Seyonne spoke to Farrol well enough when he thought they were in trouble in Parassa. Didn't Seyonne realize right away that he was becoming something without a soul?

No, he didn't realize it. He believed he could control what was happening. After so much physical and emotional pain, he was hungry for "detachment". Only when he realized the terrible results of his detachment--either Farrol or Kiril and his men were going to die--did he realize the extent of his own corruption. Then Seyonne repudiated his bargain with Nyel while trying to save Farrol's life.

Did Seyonne really have to become Madonai to stop his madness?

He had to stop Nyel. He looked at his options in his discussion with Verdonne and his thoughts afterward. He saw no way to refuse the change and prevent Nyel growing strong enough to break the wall and destroy humankind.

Why did you make Seyonne a soulless monster?

Well, he really wasn't a soulless monster. That's why Nyel's plan didn't work. By the time Seyonne told Nyel that he would "go all the way" and finish his change, he had already planned his own death. He did not want to risk living with such power, because he knew it would destroy him, and thus destroy the world. In the end it was his own core of compassion and love that enabled him to hold back and let Aleksander strike him. Of course, we are all glad that Aleksander got interrupted!

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Other Characters

I was surprised at the way Vallyne reacted when Seyonne showed up in Kir’Navarrin. I didn't expect it.

She didn't expect it either - which was the point! She had a hard time maintaining her anger.

Poor Drych. I thought he was a lot younger than twenty-three. Wasn’t he a young teenager in Revelation?

Although some of the other boys in Catrin's training room were much younger, the first time we meet Drych in Revelation, Drych was getting close to his Warden’s testing, normally between twenty and twenty-one. (Seyonne was very unusual when he became a Warden at age seventeen.) And a LOT of time has passed. Revelation began when Evan was born. Restoration begins when he is two years old. And then Seyonne and Aleksander are stuck in Drafa and on the run for months. It is late summer when Seyonne goes to Kir'Navarrin to rescue Drych.

How did Gordain lose his leg?

Gordain lost his leg in one of Blaise's raids before Seyonne ever met him.

Why are the namhir so obvious? I'm guessing its a traditional thing, to wear the braid on the left side of the head, but isn't it a dead give-away? Wouldn't anybody who knew anything of the Derhzi start running if they saw such a thing? Its like advertising "HELLO, I'm an assassin!!!"

Hey, if you're good enough...people aren't supposed to see you! But if they do, they know they're in trouble. And since a namhir is committed to kill the person or die, and there are three of them, they don't worry too much. I don't think namhirra are used for just anything. Mostly Derzhi take care of their own combats of honor. Namhirra would be saved for special circumstances like a kanavar.

I nearly had a fit when Aleksander asked if Seyonne's "slave ears" were deaf. Why would Aleksander after all that time refer to Seyonne's ears as that of slaves? Am I missing something here?

When Aleksander refers to Seyonne's "slave ears" he meant "why aren't you listening with the same moral judgment you had when you were a slave". In other words, "are you deaf? This guy is beating his kid and talking about selling her. You wouldn't let ME get away with that." Seyonne, of course, knows that Vanko is just using whatever he can to save his children. (It was a bit obscure, I'll admit :-)

Why was Elinor so mean to Seyonne?

Elinor was under a lot of stress until the end! She thought Seyonne had tried to kill Evan when he was born. She thought he might be going to take the child away from her, and that he was a brutal warrior who didn't care whom he hurt. She learned better.

Was the dream of the mother in the desert Elinor’s? If so, why?

Yes. Nyel wanted to drive a wedge between Seyonne and all his human friends.

Why did W'Assani and M'Alver have to die?

This was war. People die.

I was surprised that people like Talar didn't fuss tremendously when Fiona returned to carry out her role as the new Queen. There were still some Ezzarians that were quite strict with the old ways such as Talar. Or were they more open to this idea of bringing Fiona back after Ysanne died? Perhaps her death opened up their eyes? I just find it hard to believe that Fiona is suddenly re-accepted by the same Ezzarians (that condemned Seyonne) without a fight. Or perhaps there was a fight...

Talar may have objected. But the Ezzarians were in a terrible state. In shock. In despair. Defeated. But they were still devoted to their mission. At the core, they were trying to do what was right. After Ysanne dies, they learned Drych's story that Seyonne was still himself. That he had saved Drych's life and tried to save the others. That changed everything. That's why Catrin came looking for Fiona, so that the Ezzarians could listen to her again. And on her own, she came looking for Seyonne. I never said Fiona's lot was easy!

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Mysteries and Conspiracy

How could you do it-killing Sovari and Malver and W’Assanni so quickly? Did you just want to get rid of them? And it was not even in battle or anything.

As I'm sure you can guess, I certainly didn't just want to get rid of them quickly. This was an emotional turning point of the story, for both Seyonne and Aleksander. There was no way to make it easy. And an heroic or grandiose death would not have had the same impact.

How come the archers hit only Malver and W’Assanni and not our heroes?

As to how the archers hit two of them and missed the others, I never said. Mostly because I was guiding their hands! But remember, it was also night. The fact that they hit anyone was probably the amazing part. I would not be surprised if Seyonne had some residual protection - his superior instincts, for example. And Aleksander had superior instincts also. That is, once the first arrow hit, Seyonne and Aleksander made themselves very small in a sense.

The power of dreams, how does it work? A Madonai can reach someone while he is sleeping, but can only pass into that person's world when he's awake. How does he know when his dreamer is awake?

The dream traveler can participate in the dream - as Seyonne did with Feyd - following him down into the mine, or with Drych, helping him hold onto the cliff. When he is ready to “step through”, he wakes the dreamer up-gives him a shake from the inside out, so to speak.

I get the "physical expression of his power," that was easy enough to understand, but what is it that Nyel can't do? He can reach dreams...but can't pass through them? And that's why they needed Kasparian, because he still has the power to pass through, but not the power to do the initial reaching into the dreams?

Nyel cannot initiate ANY enchantment. Theoretically, he can only read dreams (that's what his jailer intended). We learn that he can also manipulate them as he has done with Seyonne. But he cannot travel through them, as Seyonne was able to travel into Kir'Vagonoth through Drych's dream.

How did Admet know about Seyonne's son? That mystery was never solved.

I don't think I ever spelled it out. Admet was Blaise's and Farrol's trusted friend and worked very closely with Elinor. But I think it most likely that Gorrid told him. Gorrid had been with Blaise longer than Admet had and was more likely to know the secret of Evan's parentage. Gorrid shared Admet's hatred of the Derzhi. It just happened that Gorrid was an honorable man when it came down to it. He could put aside his personal bias for the good of the whole. Admet was blinded by his hatred.

Why was Kasparian killing all the rai-kirah?

Kasparian was draining the rai-kirah of power to give to Nyel. This is why the wall was crumbling and Seyonne had to act.

Why were the Thrid, Manganar, and Suzai nobility waiting for Aleksander? Why would they accept him as their leader--the Aveddi--so easily?

In the days before the Empire, the Derzhi of Azhakstan were the defenders of all the other kingdoms, the leaders, the strongest, the protectors of all these peoples. The Aveddi or Firstborn of the Desert was their name for the Derzhi King of Azhakstan in his traditional role - ie. NOT the role of conquering emperor. So the role of Aveddi was just waiting for the right Derzhi to come along to claim it. Blaise had come to see Aleksander's special nature, his potential greatness - and he also knew what the exiles were waiting for. He was the catalyst in this relationship.

As a Madonai, did Vyx choose to go with the rai-kirah the way Kasparian chose to accompany Nyel? And if so, why?

I never spelled out Vyx's story. I think this is one little piece that might make a story on its own some day, so I won't elaborate too much. I think for now it is sufficient to say that he was devoted to Valdis, his attelle. He had escaped the doom of the Madonai because of his preoccupation with Valdis, and all of his actions in those days were to protect and preserve the son of Kerouan.

Why wasn't Seyonne allowed to talk with anyone while he visited the world through dreams? And why did he obey Nyel when he told him that he couldn't speak to anyone?

Nyel wanted to drive a wedge between Seyonne/Valdis and humans, especially Aleksander. He despised humans and resented Seyonne's concern with them. He thought that if he could isolate Seyonne, make him see humans objectively and unemotionally, then Seyonne would eventually see their flaws and destroy them.

Seyonne obeyed because Nyel made it a requirement of Seyonne's change to become a Madonai. He didn't agree with it, but believed he should keep to his bargain. After a while, the detachment that Nyel desired (and that Seyonne himself desired!) had its effects, driving Seyonne apart from his human side. With the best of intentions (gaining enough power to "make things right") he had become the thing he abhorred.

How would Nyel have destroyed the world if Seyonne hadn't followed through with the prophesy?

I think Nyel--Kerouan--would have eventually destroyed the wall and his prison. Once unleashed, he might have continued with what he was doing to humans the first time. Just killing them all.

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The Ending and Beyond

How is Seyonne supposed to get up to Tyrrad Nor to talk to Kasparian since he can't fly anymore? The tower crumbled, and it's supposed to be the gateway, so how's anyone supposed to get up there?

Actually I figured that Blaise could take Seyonne to visit Kasparian, if Seyonne does not regain his melydda. Blaise would have to open the portal at the pillars anyway.

Will Seyonne ever get his power back?

I'm not sure whether Seyonne will or won't recover his melydda, but I think, in the end, it's ok with him either way. Not easy, but ok. He has changed a great deal since the beginning of Transformation.

Did you intend a dark ending?

I don't see it as a dark ending at all. Seyonne does not have magical power...but he is ok with it. You can't have cataclysmic events without paying a price. It would be totally out of all reality (even in a fantasy story) to have everything turn out perfect. This was a terrible war of long standing, and it could not be fixed without cost. I like to think that everyone left living was better off than they would have been without Seyonne's generous gift of himself. And that he, too, came out all to the good: a wife and healthy son he loves deeply, a friend of the heart who has found his proper place in the world, his own people extracted from a brutal war that they didn't understand, lots of good things that he was willing to give more than his own power to make happen. I think he sleeps well at night.

What happened with Vallyne?

Vallyne remained in Kir'Vagonoth by her own choice. She loved Denas. When he chose to join with Seyonne, she decided that she would remain in Kir'Vagonoth so she could always remember him. If she had gone to Kir'Navarrin and regained her own memories, then she might have lost her memories of their love in Kir’Vagonoth. And she would never be able to see Seyonne without thinking of Denas. She was also one of the most powerful of the Nevai, and therefore felt a responsibility to help control the mad Gastai.

What happened to all of the rai-kirah?

Some of the rai-kirah continued to live in Kir'Navarrin, shaping bodies and making a life for themselves. Some were tired. The rai-kirah were forces of nature that were really supposed to be part of something else, not living on their own. Maintaining a semblance of life, even in beautiful surroundings with the enhanced sensory experiences of Kir'Navarrin was exhausting. Eventually some gave it up. Their "death" was returning to the gamarand wood and yielding their life essence, making the wood more beautiful and enchanted than it already was. They are a part of life and will always be. Very few, if any, joined with Ezzarians. As Seyonne learned, that was too difficult a thing for both parties after living separately for so long.

The TRUE rai-kirah, of course, the "children of joy" are the joined Ezzarians. They will continue to live in the human world and enrich it. The split of the Ezzarians from the demons was an aberration. By the end of Restoration, this aberration, caused by the Nameless God, is healed. Ezzarian children are born whole - that is, with their demon nature intact as they were meant to be. Nyel is dead so he can't mess them up any more. The remnants of the split, the unjoined Ezzarians and the demons will be gone in a few generations.

Are you planning to write another book in the Rai-kirah series?

Well, actually I don't plan to write an follow-on to Restoration if I can resist it. I'm glad that you would like one! But I truly feel I've wrung these guys out, much as I enjoy writing about them.

Send me any other questions you might have.

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