Book I: Almonihah
(There were some things that my interviewees said while we were talking that I just felt had to stay in their words. I’m going to take advantage of the beginning of each book to record some of their words)
“What’s it like being half-dragon? Hmph… well, first, it’s lonely. Not just ’cause people tend t’ meet you with weapons drawn, but because there probably aren’t any others of you. Never met another half bronze/half human, and don’t suspect I ever will. Not only that, but even two half-dragons of th’ same mix won’t be th’ same—one might have wings and th’ other a tail and no wings or something. So you have to deal with always being different than everyone else.
“Not only that, but… you’re half. You’re not full anything, you’re half dragon and half something else. Make sense? Didn’t think so… not something you can explain. It’s… you’re in between two things, but you’re not really either. Sometimes you want to be more draconic, sometimes more human, but really, you can’t be. Not really.
“It’s… hmph… the thing about dragons is that they can… sort of remember things their ancestors did. Not in full detail, but enough. ‘t’s how an orphaned hatchling can figure out how to breathe fire or whatever on its own. And my dragon half… it halfway does the same. ‘cept I’m not a full dragon. So part of me sort of remembers doing things I can’t do.
“At th’ same time… come to realize, after a while, that there’s advantages, too. I not be full dragon or full human, but I’m full Almonihah. ‘nd there’re things that Almonihah does that no human or dragon does. Something about being in between that gives me an edge in some things. Being part of both but not really part of either lets me look at both humans and dragons in a way they can’t. Can’t really explain to you what I see, ’cause you’ve got to be… outside looking in to understand.
“ ‘course, that’s just how I see it. Have to ask Garkhen what he thinks of things, ’cause he’ll probably say something different. But that’s how I see it.”
Author’s Notes: If you’ve ever read any of the Drizzt books, you’ve probably noticed how R.A. Salvatore sticks an extended quote from Drizzt at the beginning of major divisions in his books. I’ve found that I like the technique, since it gives an opportunity for Drizzt to speak in a way and about things that he couldn’t really do in the body of the narration. It also does a lot to establish Drizzt’s ‘voice’. So I decided to try the technique myself, and see how it works.
Writing for A.Z. is always hard for me, because his manner of speaking just doesn’t translate well into text. The way I’ve written might make you think he has an accent, when he doesn’t really. He just… well, he’s not talkative, first of all, so when he speaks a lot like this, he tends to pause periodically to consider how to phrase things. Second, he tends to phrase things so as to take as few words as possible to say. And third, he tends to slur together or chop off parts of the words he does use if he thinks his meaning is clear enough without them. Sometimes he even drops whole pronouns from sentences (notice all the times he should have said “I” at the beginning of one of his sentences and didn’t?). Which, added together, makes it rather difficult for me to convey his words in text.
This quote actually kind of gives some things away, because this book is, in many ways, about the evolution of Almonihah’s view of himself. There’s still a lot to tell, though, so stay tuned!