ARC: TWP Chapter 17

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TheCulminatingApe

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« on: October 14, 2018, 07:25:43 pm »
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In terror, all men throw up their hands and turn aside their faces.  Remember, Tratta, always preserve the face!  For that is where you are.
- THROSEANIS, TRIAMIS IMPERATOR

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The Poet will yield up his stylus only when the Geometer can explain how Life can at once a point and a line.  How can all time, all creation, come to the now?  Make no mistake: this moment, the instant of this very breath, is the frail thread from which all creation hangs.
that men dare to be thoughtless...
- TERES ANSANSIOUS, THE CITY OF MEN
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2018, 07:10:54 pm »
Kellhus tells Esmenet that the Padirajah will try to use the desert as Skauras tried to use the Sempis.

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The Great Names, of course, were undeterred.  They planned to march along the coastal hills followed by the Imperial Fleet, which would provide them with all the water they would need.
  Certainty.

He 'inadvertently' touches her breast.  She starts checking him out.  Serwe tells her that she would share him.  Esmi still thinks about Akka.

Kellhus brings Proyas to the camp. 
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At first Esmenet kept her gaze averted, worried Proyas might guess the intensity of her hatred if he glimpsed her eyes.  How couldn't she hate him?  He'd not only refused to help Achamian, he'd refused to allow Xinemus to help as well, and had divested the Marshal of his rank and station when he insisted.  But something in his voice, a high-born desperation, perhaps, made her watchful.  He seemed  uncomfortable - even forlorn - as he took his place beside Kellhus at the fire, so much so that she found her dislike faltering.  He too had loved Achamian once.  Xinemus had told her as much.
Perhaps that's why he suffered.  Perhaps he wasn't so unlike her.

Why does she think Xinemus was sacked, when in fact he resigned?

She asks about Cnaiur.
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..."He finds it unbearable, I think..."
"As a Scylvendi among Inrithi?"
Proyas shook his head, set his empty bowl curiously close to his right foot.
"Liking us," he said
Presumably Cnaiur has regained some part of his sanity after the previous two chapters.

Esmenet is not at ease with herself
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Shame.
Everywhere she went.  It was her characteristic stink.
"I'm sorry," she said to the two of them.
What was she doing here?  What could she offer other than humiliation?  She was polluted - polluted!  And she stayed with Kellhus?  With Kellhus?  What kind of fool was she?  She couldn't change who she was, no sooner than she could wash the tattoo from the back of her hand!  The seed she could rinse away, but not the sin!  Not the sin!
And he was... He was...
"I'm sorry", she sobbed.  "I'm sorry!"
Esmenet fled the fire, crawled into the solitary darkness of her tent.  Of his tent!  Akka's!
Kellhus came to her not long after, and she cursed herself for hoping he would.

They talk long into the night.  Her father slept with her and pimped her to his friends. 
She pimped her own daughter.  I never picked up on this before.

Kellhus hugs her and gets a hard on.

Proyas gets a letter from Maithanet, which asks him to assist Drusas Achamian.
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And what was he to do with such a request, now that it was too late?
Now that Achamian was gone.
I killed him...
And Proyas suddenly realised that he'd used his old teacher as a marker, as a measure of his own piety.  What greater evidence could there be of righteousness than the willingness to sacrifice a loved one?  Wasn't this the lesson of Angeshrael on Mount Kinsureah?  And what better way t sacrifice a loved one than by hating?
Or delivering him to his enemies...

...All men were not equal.  Certainly the Gods favoured whom they would, but there was more.  Actions determined the worth of any pulse.  Life was the God's question to men, and actions were their answers. And like all answers they were either right or wrong, blessed or cursed.  Achamian had condemned himself, had damned himself by his own actions!  And so had the whore... This wasn't the judgement of Nersei Proyas, this was the judgement of the Tusk, of the Latter Prophet!
Inri Sejenus...
Then why this shame?  This anguish?  Why this relentless, heart-mauling doubt?
Doubt.  In a sense, that had been Achamain's single lesson.  Gemoetry, logic, history, mathematics using Nilnameshi numbers, even philosophy! - all these things were dross, Achamian would argue, in the face of doubt.  Doubt had made them, and doubt would unmake them.
Doubt, he would say, set men free... Doubt, not truth!
Beliefs were the foundation of actions.  Those who believed without doubting, he would say, acted without thinking.  And those who acted without thinking were enslaved.
That was what Achamian would say...

..."Ask yourself, Prosha... What if the choice isn't between certainties, between this faith and that, but between faith and doubt?.  Between renouncing the mystery and embracing it?"...
..."Have you looked around you, Prosha?  Pay attention, boy.  Watch and tell me how many men, out of weakness, lapse into the practice of doubt.  Listen to those around you, and tell me what you see...
He did exactly as Achamian had asked.  For several days, he watched and listened.  He saw much hesitation, but he wasn't so foolish as to confuse that with doubt.  He heard the caste-nobles squabble and the hereditary priests complain.  He eavesdropped on the soldiers and the knights.  He observed embassy after embassy posture before his father, making claim after florid claim.  He listened to the slaves joke as they laundered, or bicker as they ate.  And in the midst of innumerable words Achamian had made so familiar, so commonplace... The words Proyas himself found so difficult!  And even then, they belonged most to those Proyas considered wise, even-handed, compassionate, and least to those he thought stupid or malicious.
"I don't know"
Why were thees words so difficult?
"Because men want to murder," Achamian had explained afterward. "Because men want their gold and their glory.  Because they want beliefs that answer to their fears, their hatreds and their hungers."
Proyas could remember the heart-pounding wonder, the exhilaration of straying...
"Akka?"  He took a deep, daring breath.  "Are you saying the Tusk lies?"
A look of dread.  "I don't know"

Akka is banished from Aoknyssus for this - the end of his tutoring of Proyas, and he knew it would happen.
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He wanted me to be free.
And Proyas had given him away, thinking only of rewards.
The thought was too much to bear.

Kellhus knows that Esmi 'sees' him.  His senior disciples, the Zaudunyani (the Tribe of Truth) have gathered at his fire.
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...Beliefs alone didn't control the actions of men.  There was also desire, and these men, his apostles, must shine with that desire.
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...He could tolerate no posturing among them.. It was the utter absence of presumption that made his company so utterly unique, that made their hearts leap and their stomachs giddy at the prospect of seeing him.  The weight of sin was found in secrecy and condemnation.  Strip these away, deny men their deceptions and their judgements, and their self-sense of shame and worthlessness simply vanished.
They felt greater in his presence, both pure and chosen
Presumably - they - includes Esmenet.

Flashback to Ishual and the Unmasking Room, where many men are shackled to boards.  They have no faces - the skin has been peeled away by wires.  Their larynxes have been removed.  Every permutation of human passion is displayed in the room.  The Dunyain use neuropuncture to maintain particular expressions.
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Kellhus felt the childishness of his own horror fade in understanding.  He looked to either side, saw the specimens curving out of sight, rows of white eyes set in shining red musculatures.  They were only defectives - nothing more...
The deep inhumanity of the Dunyain  is laid bare before us - foreshadowing the Whale Mothers.  The peeled away faces seem to echo the Consult Skin-Spies as well.

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For all her native gifts, Esmenet remained a world-born woman.  And for all world-born men and women, two souls shared the same body, face and eyes.  The animal and the intellect.  Everyone was two.
Defective.
One Esmenet had already renounced Drusas Achamian.  The other would soon follow.
 
Everyone has two souls!  Should this be taken as fact?  And what are Esmi's 'native gifts'?

The Holy War is leaving Shigek.  Esmi subconsciously says goodbye to Akka.
Kellhus asks her if she has every wondered why the Gods hold men higher than women.
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"... is it", he continued, "because men are granted more than women in this world?"
She stared, her thoughts spinning.  She breathed deeply, set her palms carefully upon her knees.  "You're saying women are... are actually equal?"

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"Men", Kellhus said, "cannot dominate their hunger, so they dominate, domesticate, the objects of their hunger.  Be it cattle..."
"Or women", she said breathlessly.
The air prickled with understanding.
"When one race", Kellhus continued, "is tributary to another, as the Cepalorans are to the Nansur, whose tongue do both races speak?"
"The tongue of the conqueror."
"And whose tongue do you speak?"
She swallowes.  "The tongue of men".
With every blink, it seemed, she saw man after man, arched over her like dogs...
"You see yourself", Kellhus said, "as men see you.  You fear growing old, because men hunger for girls.  You dress shamelessly, because men hunger for your skin.  You cringe when you speak, because men hunger for your silence.  You pander.  You posture.  You primp and preen.  You twist your thought and warp your heart.  You break and remake, cut and cut and cut, all you might answer in your conqueror's tongue!"...
..." You say, 'Let me shame myself for you.  let me suffer you!  I beg you, please!"...
..."And secretly, you ask yourself, 'What could be unthinkable when I'm already damned?  What act lies beyond me, when I have no dignity?'"
"What love lies beyond sacrifice?"
And she sells her daughter to the slavers.

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...she'd spoken and he had heard.  She remembered drifting in his confidence, in his poetry, in his godlike knowledge of what was right and true...
In his absolution.
"You are forgiven, Esmenet"
Who are you to forgive?
"Mimara."

They make love, and
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No one would call her harlot any more
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.