The title itself, 'A Time of Innocents', is a pun. But meaning what exactly? I wonder if I'll ever figure it out on my own to my satisfaction.
"child's balloon at Christmas". Is this some English custom? I don't know what it refers to.
The first time I read Peter's story (which was two minutes after I unwrapped the book from the mailer it arrived at my door in) I thought: How utterly disgusting and how dishearteningly vague! It made no sense. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to read it again.
But I did. The next day.
And Peter's story is AMAZING. It is so deep. And true. And examining of the Horsemen's natures. And Immortality in general.
The child Immortal's fear and instincts,
Caspian's hunger and rashness,
Silas' smothering, frightening pseudo kindness,
Kronos' calculated, slow torture,
and of course, Methos' cold, hard, unfeeling mercy.
There are two halves/scenes to the story: the child alone, confused and in discovery; and then as the Horsemen arrive on the scene, interaction and the end of one given forever much too prematurely.
Does what the Horsemen do in this short piece reflect their final fates in 'Revelations'? I like to think so.
Caspian: crazy and eager: died first, by MacLeod's hand.
Silas: big and simple: tired out by swinging his axe against Methos, his friend and brother whom he trusted.
Kronos: confident and sure with his playthings: overpowered mentally and physically by Methos and MacLeod.
Methos: merciful by practicality: spared by Cassandra, broken to tears by having to kill Silas, whom he liked.
I HAD TO read this story again the next day!
My third time through: The two parts as they are divided with empty space, are the same story practically, told different ways. First the emphasis is on finding himself alone in the bloody battlefield. Second, the emphasis is on being passed from Horseman to Horseman. The first half is more emotional, no names for anything, he sees the man-horse as a single creature, and the 'Devil Heads' are indistinguishable from one another. The second half illustrates more intelligence and rationalization, and analyzing of the situation.
In both halves I see comparisons, and the child seeing "a mirror of himself" in the small broken bodies he sees around him. His reviving howl "echoed his first sound in this world". In Silas' coat, he half remembers "a time of peace and safety, another body's warmth surrounding him, nourishing him". Kronos' eye was "icy and still as a glacial fjord".
In this time of analyzation, the child first experiences fear at his continuing nightmare, then absolute horror in Caspian's hands, comfort in Silas' embrace. But then his 'hope of Paradise Found' comes crashing down with Kronos' cold, paralyzing, foreboding touch. In Methos custody, he feels NOTHING. He feels the Creature of Methos feeling Nothing. 'No anger. No hatred. No fear. No peace."
'this one, he could trust.'
BRILLIANT, Peter! So many layers. I'm still only scratching the surface of this one.
Layers, just like Immortality itself -- lives lived over and over and over, growing and maturing but repeating mistakes or goodness, or both.