Earwa > The Darkness That Comes Before

Inrau and the Cants of Compulsion

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So I’m listening to the audiobook version of TDTCB and it’s brought up something I remember wondering over on my first read.

When Inrau first comes to meet Akka at the tavern, is he under the influence of a Cant of Compulsion? The whole sequence he’s in a dreamlike state, and describes “Words that battered whatever will remained to him. Words that walked with his limbs.”

And when he arrives “light spilling from his working mouth. Flakes of sun in his eyes.”

When Akka stops everything seems to come back into focus. All the evidence points at a Cant.

Now here’s my confusion.

1) He later rules out Compelling Inrau as it would leave him with the Mark, and would out him to the Thousand Temples.

2) Wouldn’t Sarcellus and the Shrial Knights noticed him Canting?

The audio book must be different. I've read TDTCB 7 times and cannot recall any of that happening to Inrau in the meeting at the bar/pub.

I checked my paper copies after reading, both Orbit and Penguin editions and it’s there.

It’s easy missed, I believe it’s the second time we ever see sorcery in the series after the Nonman showdown in the prologue. I totally glossed over it on my first read, before we know much about the metaphysics.

Oh maybe its because Akka is ready to use sorcery on the Shrial Knights, he thinks his cover is blown. He never used it on Inrau, and never would.

It’s before that encounter.

I’ve seen it’s been discussed on the reddit reread.

I’m torn somewhere between only continued use of Compulsion leaves the Mark, or that Akka is lying to himself.

I’m 100% sure Inrau is Compelled to come to the initial meeting. Full section attached.

“In his dream, Inrau walked through canyons of burnt brick, through faces and figures illuminated by rags of torchlight. And he heard a voice from nowhere, crying through his bones, across every finger’s-breadth of his skin, speaking words like the shadows of fists striking just beyond the corner of his eyes. Words that battered whatever will remained to him. Words that walked with his limbs.

He glimpsed the sagging facade of a tavern, then a low, golden-dim enclosure of smoke, tables, and overhead beams. The entrance enveloped him. The rising ground tipped forward, directed him toward a malevolent blackness in the far corner of the room. It too enveloped him—another entrance. Everything rushed into the bearded man, his head slack against the chapped stucco, his face on a lazy, upward angle, but tight with some forbidden ecstasy—light spilling from his working mouth. Flakes of sun in his eyes.

Achamian . . .

Then the impossible mutter trailed into the rumble of patrons. The murky interior of the tavern became sturdy and mundane. The nightmarish angles squared. The play of light and shadow became crisp.

“What are you doing here?” Inrau sputtered, struggling to clear his thoughts.”


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