|"Do not mistake me for my mask. You see the light dappling on the water and forget the deep, cold dark beneath." - Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind|
I often get asked where Bast's name comes from. Because it's too difficult to get into for casual conversation, I usually answer with a dismissive, "It's a character in a book I like," an answer that's true enough, but I thought I'd explain fully why I chose his name.
First things first, if you're a fan of the fantasy literature genre (fantasy as in swords and dragons, not sexual fantasy... you kinky thing, you...) and you haven't read Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind, you are missing out on a beautiful piece of story-telling. Get thee to a Barnes and Noble or the Amazon store and get a copy. I'll see you in a week or two, if you don't perish of sleep loss from staying up all night for just one more page.
In The Name of the Wind, a tepid innkeeper tends his hostel, assisted by his mischievous, black-haired apprentice Bastas. Of course, as is the way of fantasy novels, the mild-mannered innkeeper is hiding something sinister, and his charming assistant is really the Prince of the Fae, masquerading as a human to stay close to his not-so-mild-mannered-after-all companion.
Before I met my kismet in a certain Craigslist ad, I already had a wee bit of a crush on the Bastas in NOTW. Okay, that's probably pretty mild; I'm kind of in love with him. Don't judge.
I mean, what's not to love about a dashing, handsome, clever prince posing as a human to hide his magical origins? Right?
Anyway, when I first saw, in person, the dog that would become my Bast, he took my breath away in a literal sense. I remember seeing him leap out of the truck that brought him to me, all legs and elbows. His uncanny grace at only 9 months old, his brilliant orange stare, the way his gaze was just a little too sharp to be what I was used to from a dog.
I saw him and thought, "Yes... Now I understand. Here is a creature that takes on the mask of something familiar, something more comfortable for humans to see, but it slips from time to time and in between the lines, you can see the depths it hides."
What I said aloud was, "Oh, holy shit."
I am indeed a poet.
I hope it's not too pretentious, but I wanted to include one of my favorite paragraphs from Name of the Wind, the one I thought of when I saw that graceful, breath-taking halfling stride into my life. I hope that, for those who know and love my Bastas, you'll see why my half-fae prince couldn't have had any other name.
Bast leaned closer until their faces were mere inches apart, his eyes white as opal, white as a full-bellied moon. "You are an educated man. You know there are no such things as demons," Bast smiled a terrible smile. "There is only my kind." Bast leaned closer still, Chronicler smelled flowers on his breath. "You are not wise enough to fear me as I should be feared.
"You do not know the first note of the music that moves me."