Fhiad leaves the court and walks through the halls of the castle as he reflects on the circumstances that have brought him to Faloren. Guerig, the king’s secretary and acting regent, enthusiastically granted Fhiad permission not only to study the castle, but also to live there while supposedly doing research on the building’s architecture. Fhiad curses himself for being drawn into a complicated situation, but he has few resources and fewer choices. As he wanders, Fhiad’s thoughts reveal that he did indeed once study architecture, and that Faloren Castle is an architectural monstrosity whose continued existence almost certainly relies on powerful magic.
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An Unfound Door is written in limited third-person perspective, and this is the first chapter that focuses on Fhiad. As the B Story character, Fhiad represents the “upside-down world” of Act Two, which begins when the A Story character’s status quo is disrupted. Fhiad is the catalyst for this disruption, but his arc is also a mirror of Agnes’s character development. Fhiad and Agnes ultimately want the same thing – the power to choose the direction of their own lives – but their initial motivations and goals are drastically different.
Fhiad may have told Agnes that he intends to destroy Faloren, but what he truly wants is to understand what happened to him. He’s suffering from severe trauma that he hasn’t been able to process, and he alternates between distraction and intense anger. He attempts to distract himself from his grief by tasking himself with a quest. Meanwhile, his anger has no outlet save for Agnes, who became his target simply because she’s the only living person he knows. Fhiad is doing his best to survive, but he’s a hot mess.
More than anything, this chapter establishes how and why Fhiad is now living in Faloren Castle. It also provides a second perspective on the characters and setting.
What the reader is able to see through Fhiad’s eyes are two things that Agnes takes for granted. First, Agnes is subtly shunned by the members of her court; and second, Faloren Castle is impossibly large and labyrinthine. These two observations help justify the “fun and games” portion of Act Two, which will involve Agnes and Fhiad hunting for a hidden relic. In other words, Fhiad’s observations hint that Agnes is free to search the castle precisely because she doesn’t have many social obligations, and that her search is going to be interesting because it isn’t going to be easy.
Something else Fhiad has noticed is that there’s something suspicious about Agnes’s cousin Galien. This is fair, as Galien is hiding a number of unpleasant secrets. Still, Galien is no more a villain than Fhiad is. An Unfound Door is a “gothic fantasy mystery,” which means that everyone has secrets. This is why, at this point in the story, the main task of the characters is to learn how to communicate with each other.