Nice spoken-word poetry from Gravedust here.

One of Phil’s and my arguments while meta-plotting this chapter and the next five was “What to do about Gravedust and Naror’Nj.”

My position was that Naror’Nj’s soul should be kept in Gravedust’s quiver as a Chekov’s arrow. I didn’t have much worked out beyond that, but if we’d gone that route, I think Gravedust would treat him the way he treated the pirate spirits in Chapters 3 and 4: perhaps debating with him a bit about the dangers of trusting humans, then shooting him as an arrow when doing so would resolve Naror’Nj’s unfinished business as neatly as possible. Maybe that would’ve meant saving Byron’s life, as a way for Naror’Nj to make peace with his daughter and her romantic choices.

I was like, “Why do we even HAVE a guy whose whole deal is that he gives ghosts catharsis via violence if we don’t let him do just that for our actually IMPORTANT dead characters?”

Phil’s take, IIRC, was that this chapter was about laying to rest not only the dead warriors but the wood elves’ isolationism, and that if Naror’Nj was any kind of going concern after it was over, that would blunt its effectiveness. And two chapters of backwards backwoodsiness may have been as much as he could stand; old-school wood elf culture was never to his taste. He did slip ol’ Naror into this funereal scene (which was at first conceived without him), a compromise I wasn’t then entirely happy with. But if reading this page means anything to me now, it’s that sooner or later, you gotta learn to let things go.