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I know I'm far behind, but I thought I'd pipe in anyway!

- This chapter gives us some of the first significant insights into the Kreelan Empress. What were your impressions of her?
She seems like she has a lot of burdens to bear, with the knowledge of thousands of generations of Empresses past, but she seems to accept her role with dignity and grace. She doesn't let the power go to her head and seems to value her sister's input greatly.

- Did you think it was wise for Esah-Zhurah to confide in the old armorer, Pan'ne-Sharakh?
I think so. I mean, what could she do, tattle to the Empress? ;D I suppose she could have, but she saw promise in Reza back when others still called him "animal." I felt that she would be sympathetic (as much as a Kreelan can be) toward Esah-Zhurah's and Reza's predicament. She also has the knowledge of age, so it seems natural that she would be able to offer advice or help in some way.

- What were your thoughts as you read what happened between Esah-Zhurah and Reza at the grotto during their free time before their final Challenge?
The scene with the ritual (and its aftermath ;)) was very powerful and emotional!

- Okay, raise your hand if you would've just run like heck from what appears in this chapter! <I have both hands up>
Oh, yeah. I don't think I could take on a genoth (or that I would have the guts -no pun intended!- to pry out its eyestones).

- Were you surprised at what Esah-Zhurah asks of Tesh-Dar, in order to give Reza a fair chance in the Challenge? And what did you think of what happened to Esah-Zhurah on the Kalai-Il?
Not at all. It's clear that they would do anything for each other, including risking death. They have done it before and they would do it again. The irrational side of me was hoping that the Priestess would go easy on her, but the rational side of me knew it wouldn't be possible. Especially with the peers watching... she has a rep to protect, after all. 8)

- We also get a very significant glimpse of the power of the Empress in this chapter after Esah-Zhurah's punishment is given. What did you think of this?
I was surprised, actually. I knew the Empress must have great power but I assumed Time and Death were beyond even her power. I was wrong. :D

- Okay, what did you think of Reza's final Challenge??
To me, his disappearance seemed a little unfair, but I did not think that the Kreelans would see it that way. The Ancient Ones wanted Reza to win, and I doubt any Kreelan would even think to go against Their wishes.

- What did you think of the time Reza and Esah-Zhurah spent at the temple of the Desh-Ka?
It totally reminded me of Narnia! The kids go into the wardrobe, months pass, they come back and it's only been like five minutes in real time. Lol! I figured Esah-Zhurah would emerge with white hair and ebony talons, but the green eyes and crimson talons (Christmas Kreelan? LOL) were definitely a surprise, since I don't think it was mentioned before that the Keel-Tath was the only one who ever had red talons.

- Were you surprised at what happens at the end of the chapter? And what do you think *did* happen??
I am very upset with Reza right now! Honor, schmonor, what about everything Esah-Zhurah has done for him? She's risked her life and her honor to help him survive, and he's worked so hard to get where he is--freakin' priest of the Desh-Ka!--and he's going to throw it all away for a life he barely remembers? And what about the Prophecy? Maybe there's a hidden part that says something like this is supposed to happen? I understand that he must feel conflicted and obviously isn't taking the decision lightly, but still! Grr! And if I were Esah-Zhurah, I would feel so betrayed. I am happy that the Kreelans still look upon him with honor, though. That would be horrible if he changed his mind and had to earn their respect all over again! Since he disappeared like he did in the Final Challenge, I guess the Ancient Ones took him somewhere to be among humans.

- And if you were in Reza's place, what do you think you would have done??
I would have stayed. I love someone as much as Esah-Zhurah and Reza love each other, and I can't imagine my life on any planet without him :)
 

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Interesting... can't wait to read on!  ;D
 
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