Second Son Read Along: Chapter 22

Second Son Read Along

How’s it going? I hope that the slower pace is helping and not hindering your enjoyment of the story. I am really enjoying going through this and discussing it with y’all! Thanks to everyone who has read along and left comments or answered questions. Remember, if you have any questions about anything with regards to the book please feel free to ask!

On his own again

Here we find out that Brant stayed with Euphie and Barr for a couple of seasons and now that the weather is warming up he is back on the road and on his own again. The old restlessness has him in its clutches and he is suddenly uneasy, remembering that he has enemies who wish  him dead. Of course, they have no way of finding him, but that doesn’t make him any less itchy to get back out on the road.

Along the way, Brant picks up the hobby of cartography, as well as odd jobs here and there. Rumors of a sorceress attract his attention and he decides to go investigate… because this is his friend’s kingdom, after all, and if the sorceress means trouble for Arnaud, Brant will endeavor to stop her. Eventually, his travels lead him to an old forest. The forest speaks to him, much as the one on Emnolae did, though this time we are privy to both sides of the conversation, and points him on towards his goal.

I’ve always loved forests. We had one in our back yard when I was little, though eventually it got turned into a subdivision. But there was also a nice big forest in the park across the street, and I spent many happy hours as a child using dead branches to build forts with my brothers and friends. There’s just something magical about forests. So of course they had to feature in my stories. I don’t know that I had the talent to truly capture the essence of that wonder, that deep, dark magical nature of old trees and the song the wind plays through their branches, a song that… if you listen hard enough… you can ALMOST catch the words to. But I tried. I think my love of forests kind of began when my dad read me The Hobbit and I delved into Mirkwood with Bilbo and the dwarves. I know Mirkwood was a twisted and evil forest… but there was just something about it that called to me. Whenever we went hiking in the woods, we always pretended we were in Mirkwood.

But when he finds the sorceress, she is not what he expected. It is, in fact, Calyssia, and for the first time in years, Brant pours out his closely-guarded story to another living being. In return, Calyssia offers him a place in her cove and to teach him what she can… but she warns him not to get too comfortable, hinting that his restless nature will not allow him to settle down just yet.

Back at the palace…

Arnaud seems to have managed to find a fairly good balance in his daily life and is at peace with the whole business of being the king.

But of course… there’s the small matter of that girl he danced with on the night of his coronation. And I think it’s about time for him to find out her name… don’t you? On his solitary rides through the forest near the palace, he’s heard the lovely voice of a young woman singing multiple times, but he’s never managed to actually find her (probably because he never thought to look up into the trees), but today he is determined to find her, and he eventually does.

Discussion Questions:

1. Do you enjoy being in a forest?

2. What did you think of the story of Rahnieal and the inclusion of the actual song lyrics here?

3. Anything you particularly enjoyed about this chapter?

~ jenelle


Nancy Jean Walker

1. Yes! Love being in a forest (if I’m not lost!) ;)
2. I liked the story and the song and that Arnaud knew it–it was one of his favorites! I liked how it endeared him to Zara.
3. I liked how gently the relationship between Arnaud and Zara is blossoming. :)


1. hehe, love the caveat of not being lost. I don’t mind being slightly lost in a small forest. But I don’t think I’d want to be very lost in a big forest!
2-3. Yay!

Sarah Pennington

1. I like being in a forest, yes. Though I prefer to be in ones that aren’t populated by innumerable small annoying gnats. :P
2. The story is very myth-like. But the scene — my first thought was that you were referencing Tolkien. It is a very Tolkien-ish meeting.
3. Tolkien references. :)


1. Totally agree about the small annoying gnats also swarms of starving mosquitoes and black-flies. Not that I’m speaking from experience… or that when I came back from camp one year my mom actually took me to the doctor and asked him how concerned she should be about malaria.

2. I was trying to riff on Tolkien a little bit. I’ve always loved the way he incorporated stories and songs within his story-world. I’m glad that came through!!

Jill Stengl

1. I love being in a forest. So many happy memories of tent camping with my family as a child. I loved how you animated this one.
2. I enjoyed the myth and your song lyrics. :-)
3. My favorite part was your descriptions of the barriers to the Cove. Some beautiful and mystic writing there!


1. Forests are so cool. Spent a lot of time tromping around in them as a kid. And I always loved the idea of it being somehow alive… in a sentient sort of way, as opposed to just alive in that the trees and things are alive and growing.
2 – 3. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed them!


I love hearing from you, dear Reader!