This is a different kind of Hrathen chapter. With it, I wanted to set the tone for the final section of the book. Only about 15% of the novel remains, and things are going to change for the last bit. You may have noticed a slight tone shift in this chapter–I made it a little darker, filling it with death imagery. (Incense, ash, darkness, Svrakiss.) I wanted to subtly get across that things are growing more dim for Hrathen and Arelon.
Originally, this scene happened outside, at the Mad Prince’s pyre. I liked the death imagery there a little better–Dilaf sifting through the ashes of a funeral pyre made for a very interesting image. However, the visuals in this newer version have their own advantages. I was able to use the lantern to half-light Dilaf’s, and the smells from the tent make a nice sensual addition to the section.
This scene ends with a question. Hopefully, the reader is reminded that we haven’t really seen anything from Dilaf in the last few triads. Hrathen has been in control ever since he left Elantris, and what we’ve seen of Dilaf has been cursory and ignorable, for the most part.
Now, however, he’s back. His low profile in the last chapters was intentional. My hope is that the reader will hit the last few lines of this chapter and think “Oh, wait. I’ve been ignoring Dilaf lately. That’s not a good thing. . . .” In other words, I want them to feel like Hrathen does. He’s suddenly realized that he’s let a foe slip under his notice for a time, and now he’s worried about what Dilaf has been planning.