ARC: TWP Chapter 13

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TheCulminatingApe

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« on: October 14, 2018, 07:13:11 pm »
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Men are forever pointing at others, which is why I always follow the knuckle and not the nail
- ONTILLAS, ON THE FOLLY OF MEN

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A day with no noon,
A year with no fall,
Love is forever new,
Or love is not at all
- ANONYMOUS "ODE TO THE LOSS OF LOSSES"
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 07:34:38 pm »
Esmi is awakened by Kellhus, who tells her in a 'hollow' voice that the Spires have burnt the Library.

Why does Kellhus wake her, and not Serwe?  Suspicious that a man would do this, and all the more reason to think that Kellhus is involved with the whole thing.

Xinemus is trying to get Proyas to do something about Akka.
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Something about Xinemus' expression struck Proyas to the marrow.

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...What was the life of one man - a blasphemer no less - compared with that need?  The God demanded sacrifices...

Xin wants Proyas to make the Spires think he will stop at nothing to get Akka back - even open war.  But he has already threatened them with this.

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..."After all these years, you still don't understand, do you?"
"What's there to understand?" Proyas cried.  "How many times must we have this conversation?  Achamian is Unclean! Unclean!"  A heady sense of conviction seized him, an an incontestable making certain, as though knowing possessed its own fury.  "If blasphemers kill blasphemers, then we're saved oil and wood.
Proyas - you dickhead.

Xinemus resigns.

He is talking with Esmi.  She suggests Proyas might need a woman.  She will stay where she is whilst the Holy War moves on.
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..."What if e comes back and can't find me?"...
...She lingered in the gap where her joy had been...

Xin is going to search for Akka.

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Helplessness.  If women were hope's oldest companions, it was due to helplessness.  Certainly women often exercised dreadful power over a single hearth, but the world between hearths belonged to men.  And it was into this world that Achamian had disappeared: the cold darkness between firepits.
All she could do was wait...
...Waiting.  This was what tradition said a woman should do.  To wait at the hearth's edge.  To peer and peer and yet always be stared down.  To haggle endlessly with nothing.  To think without hope of insight.  To repeat words said and words implied.  To chase hints into incantations, as though by their tumbling precision and the sheer pitch of pain the movements of her soul might seize the world at some deeper level, and force it to yield.
As the days passed, it seemed she'd become a still point in the ponderous wheel of events, the only structure to remain after the floodwaters retreated.  The tents and pavilions fell like shrouds unfurled across the dead.  The vast baggage trains were loaded.  Armoured men on horse chopped to and fro from the horizon, bearing arcane missive, onerous commands.  Great columns were formed up across the pasture, and with shouts and hymns, they passed away.
Like a season.
And Esmenet sat alone in the midst of their absence...
 

She can imagine Akka sitting there.  She thinks about her dead daughter.  She thinks about drowning herself.  But she knows how to wait.

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Cnaiur knows that the Fanim intend to reclaim the north bank of Shigek.  The Inrithi do not believe him.  They think God is on their side - but so do the Fanim.

Captives from across the river confirm that Skauras is assembling a great host from out of the south.  The Holy War has to cross the river as soon as possible.

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"To think", Proyas confided to him afterward, "that I thought you no more than an effective ruse to employ against the Emperor.  Now you're our general in all but name.  You realise that?"

Cnaiur's nights  - without Serwe - are difficult. 
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He never pitched his tent on the same ground...
.  He thinks of Anissi
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... the first wife of his heart...
and their daughter, Sanathi.  He thinks of Proyas.

On the 'worst' nights, he stabs holes in the round with his knife and then fucks them.  Shades of the Consult 'rutting with their knifes' from an earlier chapter.

On the 'best' nights he rides to the nearest village, where he roars at people to
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"Murder me and it stops!"
.  He takes what 'compensation' he can.
Compensation for what?  This seems to suggest he is raping and/ or killing the villagers.

He finds the best point to cross the river, at the tidal marshes near the fortress of Anwurat.  Conphas agrees with him, which sways the debate.  Cnaiur imagines cutting his throat.

He deduces that Skauras
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...not only liked to trick and deceive, he liked to show, to prove...
For Skauras, the imminent battle would be more than a contest, it would be a demonstration...

He tries to get Proyas to make sure that the Scarlet Spires accompany the host.
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...There must be something you can offer".
The Prince smiled mirthlessly.  "Or someone," he said with uncommon grief.

He crosses the river with Proyas and Kellhus.
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Cnaiur had watched the Dunyain's influence grow.  He'd watched as he gradually bridled all those about Xinemus' fire, working their hearts the way saddle makers worked leather, tanning, gouging, shaping.  He'd watched as he lured more and more Men of the Tusk with the grain of his deceit.  He'd watched him yoke thousands - thousands! with simple words and bottomless looks.  He'd watched him minister to Serwe...
He'd watched until he could bear watching no more.
Cnaiur had always known Kellhus' capabilities, had always known the Holy War would yield to him.  But knowing and witnessing were two different things.  He cared nothing for the Inrithi.  And yet, he found himself fearing for them - fearing, even as he scorned them!  How they fell over themselves, fawning, wheedling, grovelling.  How they degraded themselves, youthful fools and inveterate warriors alike.  Imploring looks and beseeching impressions.  Oh, Kellhus... Oh, Kellhus... Staggering drunks!  Unmanly ingrates!  How easily they surrendered.
And none more so than Serwe.  To watch her succumb, again and again. To see his hand drift deep between Dunyain thighs...
Fickle, treacherous, whorish bitch!  How many times must he strike her?  How many times must he take her?  How many times must he stare, dumbfounded by her beauty?

He recognises himself, and what was done to him by Moenghus.

Proyas asks him what the Scylvendi believe.
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"I believe that your ancestors killed my God.  I believe your race bears the blood-guilt of that crime".
His voice didn't quaver.  His expression didn't break.  But as always, he could hear the infernal chorus.
"So you worship vengeance..."
"I worship vengeance"
"And that's why the Scylvendi call themselves the People of War".
"Yes.  To war is to avenge".
The proper answer.  So why the throng of questions.
"To take back what has been taken," Proyas said, his eyes at once troubled and bright.  "Like our Holy War for Shimeh".
"No", Cnaiur replied.  "To murder the taker".

Caniur is proclaimed Battlemaster.  He thinks that Proyas
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could be my son
.

Kellhus turns up.  If Cnaiur will teach him 'war, he will give him Serwe.
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The sword fell with a clang to Cnaiur's feet.  For an instant, it seemed he gagged on ice.
"Why," he spat contemptuously, "would I want your pregnant whore?
"She's your prize," Kellhus said.  She bears your child."
Why did he long for her so?  She was a vain, shallow waif - nothing more!  Cnaiur had seen the way Kellhus used her, the way he dressed her.  He'd heard the words he bid her speak.  No tool was too small for a Dunyain, no word too plain, no blink too brief.  He'd utilise the chisel of her beauty, the hammer of her peach...  Cnaiur had seen this!
So how could he contemplate...
All I have is war.
The Meneanor crashed and surged across the beaches.  The wind smelled ofbrine.  Cnaiur stared at the Dunyain for what seemed a thousand heartbeat.  Then at lats he nodded even though he knew he relinquished the last remnant of his hold on the abomination.  After this he would have nothing left but the word of a Dunyain...
He would have nothing.
But when he closed his eyes he saw her, felt her soft and supple, crushed beneath his frame.  She was his proof!
Tomorrow, after worship...
He would take what compensation he could
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 07:58:54 pm by TheCulminatingApe »
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.