ARC: TWP Chapter 22

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TheCulminatingApe

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« on: November 04, 2018, 07:51:43 pm »
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For all things there is a toll.  We pay in breaths, and out purse is soon empty.
- SONGS 57:3, THE CHRONICLE OF THE TUSK

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Like many old tyrants, I dote upon my grandchildren.  I delight in their tantrums, their squealing laughter, their peculiar fancies.  I willfully spoil them with honey sticks.  And I find myself wondering at their blessed ignorance of the world and its million grinning teeth.  Should I, like my grandfather, knock such childishness form them?  Or should I indulge their delusions?  Even now, as death's shadowy pickets gather about me,  I ask, Why should innocence answer to the world?  Perhaps the world should answer to innocence...
Yes, I rather like that. I tire of bearing the blame
- STAJANNAS II, RUMINATIONS
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 03:52:00 pm »
The Padirajah's forces have surrounded Caraskand. The Holy War is trapped.
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Celebration had turned to terror and disbelief.  They were imprisoned in a city that had already been besieged for weeks.

The Fanim have 130,000 men, and 100 mastodons.

Proyas is questioning what is happening.
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...Like a wronged child, his thoughts had stamped about the fact of his piety.  Who among the Great Names had toiled as he'd toiled?  Who'd burned more sacrifices, intoned more prayers?  But now he no longer dared ask these questions.
Thoughts of Achamian and Xinemus had seen to that.

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"We're cursed," he murmured.  "They're right... The God does punish us!"
What are you saying?"
"That maybe Conphas and the others are right about him!"
The brutal face hardened into a scowl.  "Him?"
"Kellhus"...

Cnaiur tells him to go to Kellhus, but to
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secure your heart

Kellhus tells him it is Proyas who betrayed Achamian, and to open his heart.  He realises Cnaiur has warned Proyas.

In the city, the plague dies away, to be replaced by starvation, accompanied by new diseases.  The Great Names continue to turn away from Kellhus. 

The baby (Cnaiur's son) is to be named Moenghus, after Kellhus' father.  We are reminded that the King of Atrithau is called Aethelarius. Kellhus can explain this away to Serwe quite easily.

Two of the Zaudunyani sit on the walls talking about the baby.  Cnaiur is listening and demands to know the child's name, the tell him and resume their conversation - as instructed.

Kellhus seeks a path.
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No matter how many times he submitted to the rigours of the Probability Trance, all the lines were extinguished, either by disaster or by the weight of excessive permutations.  The variables were too many, the possibilities too precipitous.

There are nine Nascenti, the senior disciples of the Warrior Prophet.  They consecrate Judges and lay the foundations of the Ministrate.  Kellhus is already looking beyond the Holy War.  Can we assume from this he has already decided to do away with his father?

He tells them Esmi is in charge if anything should happen.

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Her skin tingled.  The Thanes of the Warrior-Prophet watched her, and she looked through their faces, glimpsed their yearning hearts.  To think!  So many deluded souls, living illusory lives in unreal worlds!  So many!  It both boggled her and broke her heart.
And at the same time, it was her triumph.
Something absolute
Her heart fluttered, pinioned by Kellhus' shining gaze.  She felt at once smoke and naked flesh - something seen through and something desired.
There's more then me... More than this - yes!
"Tell us, Esmi," Kellhus hissed through Serwe's mouth.  "Tell us what you see!"
There's more than them.
"We must take the knife to them," she said, speaking as she knew her Master would have her speak.  "We must show them the demons in their midst"
So much more!.
The Warrior-Prophet smiled with he own lips.
"We must kill them", her voice said.

'Sarcellus' heads through the streets towards Conphas' HQ.  It is accosted by the Zaudunyani.
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"Ah," Sarcellus said, suddenly understanding.  "You belong to him... What is it you call yourselves?"
"Zaudunyani." The man smiled, and for a moment, it seemed the most terrifying smile Sarcellus had ever witnessed: pale lips pressed into a thin, passionless line.

They are not afraid.  They try to set it alight.  They miss and one of their own burns instead, but he grabs the skin-spy, and it howls.

Martemus is in Conphas' chambers - to assassinate.  He strikes, but is decapitated in the act.  'Sarcellus' lives - but flees before Conphas can see his burnt skin-spy face.

Nansur troops are out looking to harm the Zaudunyani.  They do not succeed.

'Sarcellus' finds the Synthese, now revealed as
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The shell of the Old Father... Aurang, Great General of the World-Breaker, ancient prince of the Inchoroi
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"The Holy War is doomed.  We must deal with the Cishaurim some other way..."  Again, the eyes clicked shut.  "You must ensure this Kellhus dies with the Men of the Tusk.  He must not escape."

'Sarcellus' and Conphas are with Proyas.  They have news of Atrithau.  King Aethelarius has no living heirs - Kellhus is an imposter.  Cnaiur is summoned.
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Working his jaw, Cnaiur glared at the Shrial Knight, wondering what could cause such a strange disposition of burns across a man's face.  He thought of the Battle of Anwurat, of the relish with with which he'd driven his knife into Kelhus' chest - or the thing that had looked like him.  He thought of Serwe gasping beneath him, and a pang watered his eyes.  Only she knew his heart.  Only she understood when he awoke weeping...
Serwe, first wife of his heart.
I will have her! someone within him wept.  She belongs to me.
So beautiful... My proof!
Suddenly everything seemed to slump, as though the world itself had been soaked in numbers in numbness and lead.  And he realised - without anguish, without heartbreak - that Anasurimbor Moenghus was beyond him.  Despite all his hate, all his tooth-gnashing fury, the blood trail he followed ended here... In a city.
We're dead.  All of us...
If Caraskand was to be their tomb, he would see certain blood spilled first.

He confirms Kellhus is the Prince of Nothing.

Saubon warns Kellhus, who knows he will not do anything to help.
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"Silence-silence-silence!  They told me you would do this!  They warned me!"
"Indeed.  They warned you against the truth.  Against wandering into the nets of the Warrior-Prophet".
"How can you know this?" Saubon cried, overcome be incredulous woe.  "How?"
"Because it's Truth."
"The fie on it"  Fie on the truth!"
"And what of you immortal soul?"
"Then let it be damned!" he roared, leaping to his feet.  "I embrace it - embrace it all"  Damnation in this life!  Damnation in all others!.  Torment heaped upon torment!  I would bear all to be King for a day!  I would see you broken and blooded if that meant I could own this throne!  I would see the God's own eyes plucked out".
Does this explain why sorceror's persevere with their magic?  Scarlet Spires in particular?

The Great Names have summoned Kellhus to parley.  Esmi knows it is a trap.  Serwe cannot even conceive it.

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Sometimes, Esmi, we must cross death to reach our destination"...
... Was this what Inri Sejenus had said to his nameless lover?  That loss could somehow secure glory?
But this is madness
"The Shortest Path," she said, horrified by the teary-eyed contemptuousness of her tone.
But the blond-bearded face smiled.
"Yes," the Warrior-Prophet said.  "The Logos"

Gotian denounces Kellhus.  He is to be scourged in the manner decreed by Scripture.
Kellhus tells them all that they fear his growing power.
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"No."  His flashing eyes found them among the masses:Saubon, Proyas, Conphas, and the others.  "You fear that as my power waxes, yours will wane.  You do what you do not in the name of the God, but
in the name of avarice.  You wouldn't tolerate even the God to possess you Holy War.  And yet, in each of you hearts there is an itch, an anguished question that I alone can see: What if he truly is the Prophet?  What doom awaits us then?"
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"You turn to fury in the absence of certainty,"  he continued sadly.  "I only ask you this:  What moves your soul?  What moves you to condemn me?  It is indeed the God?  The God strides with certainty, with glory, through the hearts of men! Does the God so stride through you?  Does the God so stride through you?
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Bit then a Shrial Knight, the one named Sarcellus, whose face alone remained pious and devoid of hesitation, answered the Warrior-Prophet in a loud clear voice.
"All things both sacred and vile," the Knight-Commander said, quoting the Tusk, "Speak to the hearts of Men, and holding out their hands to darkness, they name it light"
The Warrior-Prophet stared at him sharply, and quoted in turn: "Hearken Truth, for it strides fiercely among you, and will not be denied".
Possessed of beatific calm, Sarcellus answered: "Fear him, for he is the deceiver, the Lie made Flesh, come among you to foul the waters of your heart."
And the Warrior-Prophet smiled sadly.  "Lie made flesh, Sarcellus?"  Serwe watched his eyes search the crowds, then settle on the nearby Scylvendi.  "Lie made flesh," he repeted staring into the fiend's embattled face.  "The hunt need not end... Remember this when you recall the secret of battle.  You still command the ears of the Great."
"False Prophet," Sarcellus continued.  "Prince of nothing"

The Shrial Knights attack the Zaudunyani.  Cnaiur saves Serwe.  Gotian commands them to stop.
He repeats that Kellhus will be scoured according to scripture.
They take the baby from Serwe. 
'Sarcellus' kills her.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 06:40:18 pm by TheCulminatingApe »
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2018, 06:42:13 pm »
'Sarcellus' finds the Synthese, now revealed as
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The shell of the Old Father... Aurang, Great General of the World-Breaker, ancient prince of the Inchoroi
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"The Holy War is doomed.  We must deal with the Cishaurim some other way..."  Again, the eyes clicked shut.  "You must ensure this Kellhus dies with the Men of the Tusk.  He must not escape."

Strange that they do not seem to be able to make any connection between the Cishaurim being able to see the skin-spies (not sure that we've learnt this yet), and Kellhus doing the same.  The Consult, for all their power are not especially bright.
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2018, 06:47:36 pm »
Kellhus seeks a path.
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No matter how many times he submitted to the rigours of the Probability Trance, all the lines were extinguished, either by disaster or by the weight of excessive permutations.  The variables were too many, the possibilities too precipitous.

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Sometimes, Esmi, we must cross death to reach our destination"...
... Was this what Inri Sejenus had said to his nameless lover?  That loss could somehow secure glory?
But this is madness
"The Shortest Path," she said, horrified by the teary-eyed contemptuousness of her tone.
But the blond-bearded face smiled.
"Yes," the Warrior-Prophet said.  "The Logos"

They take the baby from Serwe. 
'Sarcellus' kills her.

Kellhus has already foreseen his 'dead wife' back in Hinnereth (Chapter 9).  If that wasn't in relation to him being scourged, then what was it in relation to?
(click to show/hide)
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.