Dust of Dreams was not a part of the original lineup. Benilo was but a blink in Duality and 2 pages in Hedda’s Sword. But I realized I needed a spacer book that got Verdeen through the military academy before she’d be ready to go, and so I put out a call to readers as to whom they’d like to see more of.
Benilo was the answer.
It shouldn’t have surprised me. His onstage time was brief, but memorable. I certainly liked him – a big-hearted healer w/a touch of mischief/humor and a ton of compassion. But a whole book? Hmm…
Whom to pair him with? What to work on? The elves’ greatest enemies are probably the goblins. So what if Benilo has to go help a child? A goblin child? (The whole see-enemy-as-person thing.) Nonono, what if he has to help someone else help the child? Benilo’s a spirit healer, so I didn’t want it to be a physicial problem – Dara did enough of that in Duality. What if the goblin child had nightmares…nightmares that were manifesting themselves in the real world and influencing everyone else around him?
Enter Pryseis. A dream faerie. (DUH – took me long enough on this one!) SHE’s the one moved to help the goblin child first. Only one problem – faeries are isolationists. They never leave their mountaintop, are in fact TRAPPED on their mountaintop by their biological need for a pool of eternal life, that keeps them young and strong forever. So she only has a week to help the child and get back before she’s in dire straits. There’s my ticking clock…and conflict w/her people, who forbid her to go. She’s never been off the mountain, and she’s going to need help.
Dream faerie…spirit healer… They connect in a dream. There’s no way Benilo’s going to let her go alone. And so the partnership/quest is born.