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AMRT Chapter 39: The Final Piece Of Bait

 
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:47 am    Post subject: AMRT Chapter 39: The Final Piece Of Bait Reply with quote

It's morning in the Alend camp, and Terisa & Geraden find themselves being offered baths, food and clean clothes. Kragen wants the two presentable for his audience with King Joyse. Quite a remarkable turn of events for our heroes, considering the danger of entering the Alend camp the previous day.

Terisa is embarrassed about her drunken display the night before. She's worried that Geraden might be cross with her, but he kids her with easy humour to show no harm was done.

At breakfast, talk turns to Master Eremis. Geraden is worried about the mirror Eremis has pointed at the road leading to Orison--the one the Master used to attack the Perdon when the lord came to demand Joyse's help. With that mirror, Eremis would be forewarned of Terisa & Geraden's arrival in Orison--but at least he would be scratching his head over Kragen's presence with them, according to Terisa. She feels an angry satisfaction at the thought of confusing Eremis:

Quote:
It did her good to be angry. Facing down Castellan Lebbick--or the Tor and Artagel, who had turned against her--would be hard enough. But confronting Master Eremis would be worse. The more she loved Geraden, the more her skin crawled at the memory of the things Master Eremis had done to her.


Later, the two present themselves before Prince Kragen, but Elega is nowhere in sight. Kragen explains that the Alend Monarch has hidden her in an undisclosed location; even the Prince doesn't know where Elega is being held, therefore that knowledge cannot be forced from him by King Joyse's men or his Imagers.

Geraden brings to Kragen's attention his concern about Eremis's mirror showing the road to Orison. Kragen responds that his siege forces have been using that road all this time without incident. If Eremis is in league with Cadwal against Alend (and Mordant), why hasn't he done something to hurt Kragen's forces? With Orison's gates almost ready to fall, Kragen has seen no sign of interference from Eremis.

What an awkward situation for Geraden: there he is, calmly discussing the state of an Alend siege against Orison--where he belongs! And there's the Alend Prince going, Yeah, we've had basically free reign. We should be breaking down your gates and occupying your castle very soon now. Have a nice day to you too. Nah, he's an all right guy. Smile

As Kragen's horses and honour guard come forward, we get this funny moment:

Quote:
In a moment, Terisa found herself being offered a charger so big that she couldn't see over its back. Oh, shit, she muttered to herself. That was one thing she had learned in Mordant, anyway: after some practice, she was now able to say oh, shit without sounding like she expected to have her mouth washed out with soap. If she fell off that beast, she might take days to hit the ground.


Ha ha! Terisa's battle of wits with horses continues.

Upon reaching the gates of Orison under a flag of truce, Kragen's company is met by Castellan Lebbick and his men. Geraden tells Lebbick he must believe his and Terisa's innocence in this whole plot against Mordant, but Lebbick shoots back that he's now the only person in Orison who does believe them. Everyone else still sees Eremis as the hero, and no one believes the Castellan, because they think he's gone insane, after what he did to Saddith.

The Prince has no time for Lebbick's problems, and demands audience with Joyse. Kragen also tells Lebbick to inform the King of Elega's situation as political hostage. With trademark sarcasm, the Castellan acquiesces and leads Kragen's party back into Orison.

Inside, they are met by Artagel. With happy hugs, he tells Terisa and Geraden that Lebbick isn't the only one who believes their innocence. He lets them go to see the King, and walks away...limping and swordless. This brings Geraden to tears, and Terisa wonders if Artagel has been permanently crippled by his injuries. Then a tense standoff occurs when Lebbick orders that Kragen's men must remain at the gates. Cooler heads prevail, though, and they are able to move on into the castle.

The corridors of Orison are deserted as the Castellan leads the way to the thronehall. He explains that he imposed a curfew to get everyone out of the way, since it had looked like today would be the day Kragen's forces would smash through the gates.

The halls aren't entirely empty, however: Terisa hears menacing whispers from the shadows which steadily become bold shouts. "Killer!" "Butcher!"

Lebbick explains to no one in particular, "They don't mean you. They mean me." Terisa & Geraden now have a sense of how deep people's animosity toward Lebbick is.

At the thronehall, a small gathering is already assembled. Some of Lebbick's captains, Artagel among them. Some of Joyse's counselors. The Tor is present as well--at least in body, if not in spirit:

Quote:
To the right of the throne sat the Tor, sprawling his bulk over at least two chairs. To all appearances, he hadn't changed his robe since Terisa had last seen him: it was crumpled and filthy, so badly stained that it looked like it would never come clean. The dull red in his eyes and the way his flesh sagged from the bones of his face gave the impression that he was drunk. If he recognized either Terisa or Geraden, he didn't show it.

As if to avoid him--as if he stank or had lost continence--everyone else was seated on the left.


Poor man. How is it that one of the great allies of the King is reduced to this? Seeing him like this, you can't help but think that maybe it's not the Tor that stinks, but the King's crazy strategy.

The other people there are Masters, Barsonage among them. But Terisa doesn't see Adept Havelock. Or Eremis...to her relief.

Prince Kragen and the Castellan have another charming little exchange, until King Joyse interrupts the conversation, having suddenly appeared beside his throne from a hidden door. He still seems the frail old man as Terisa remembered seeing him last, except that now his beard has been trimmed. The sight of him provokes a complex reaction from Terisa: she is glad to see him again, because the special quality of his personality always hints at heroic ideals that speak to her heart; but she is also distressed, because his physical and perhaps mental frailty has cost him his ability to act on those ideals:

Quote:
There on his throne, with Mordant in shambles, and Eremis poised to strike the last, crushing blow, he was too close to his grave--the burial ground as much of his spirit as of his decaying frame. She understood why Geraden loved him. Oh, she understood. Everything in her chest ached because he wasn't equal to the love people gave him anymore.

Somebody else would have to save Orison and Mordant.


Starting the proceedings, Joyse brusquely tells Kragen to get on with his message. The Prince does so, though under considerable strain and frustration, because of a King that seems more interested in mocking him than accepting his sincerity. He tells Joyse he has important news given to him by Terisa & Geraden--an "astonishing range of threats" to lay before the King. Then Kragen comes to the central matter of the Congery: he repeats his warning that the Alend Monarch will not allow the Congery to fall to Cadwal, thereby bringing ruin to both Alend and Mordant.

Then Master Barsonage eloquently answers the Prince:

Quote:
Do you think we will calmly resign ourselves to High King Festten when Mordant collapses?

You say you must keep the Congery from falling into Cadwal's hands, and that is a worthy endeavor, I am sure. But the assumptions on which your actions are based is that the Congery is a thing, not men--that we do not choose, or believe, or have worth as men.


Kragen is just as eloquent, replying that he will not leave Alend's future in the hands of men so confused that they thought translating an uncontrollable champion was a sensible course of action.

This is all old news to Joyse, however. He requires something else from Kragen:

Quote:
It's time for the truth. Tell me about your threats. Tell me what Terisa and Geraden know. Tell me why you stopped beating on my gates. Tell me now.


Joyse wants Kragen to reveal himself in some way...perhaps his true loyalties? his true character? his real agenda?

After a very tense silence from everyone, Kragen speaks. Ooh yeah, he speaks all right. He lets it all out in glorious, mad-as-hell-and-I'm-not-going-to-take-it-anymore fashion:

Quote:
"I will not suffer this senseless treatment. I will not trade my only hopes to a King so contemptible that he respects no one else." Despite his efforts to speak quietly, his voice grew thick with passion until he was nearly shouting. "The lady Elega persuaded me to come. Apt Geraden and the lady Terisa persuaded me. They are all deluded by the idea that their lord remains possessed of some vestige of wisdom--or of courage--or of bare decency."

"Do you hear me, Joyse?" Prince Kragen raged. "You are deaf to everything else. You are deaf to the misery of your people, locked in a useless siege--caught in Cadwal's path--slaughtered by renegade Imagers. You are deaf to the simplest requirements of kingship, the wisdom and the necessity of dealing fairly with other monarchs. You are deaf to love, deaf to the loyalty which destroys your friends and family."


With his speech, Terisa sees all hope for Mordant going down the drain before her eyes. Curiously, King Joyse doesn't seem to share her sense of doom:

Quote:
"Enough, my lord Prince." King Joyse raised one hand. "I have heard you." Now he didn't sound querulous. And he didn't sound angry. He sounded oddly like a man who was experiencing a personal vindication. "You have said enough."


However, Kragen is at the end of his patience playing the King's game and turns to leave without revealing the news he had brought. He pulls Terisa and Geraden after him, but they break free and Geraden shouts:

Quote:
My lord King--! Houseldon is destroyed. Sternwall is falling. The people of Fayle are butchered by ghouls. Your people, my lord King, everywhere!


Goaded by the King, who is now on his feet and suddenly tall with authority, Terisa adds perhaps meekly, "And the Queen is gone. She's been abducted."

Joyse demands to know who took her, but everything starts happening too fast for Terisa (and me!). She spots movement on the balcony, sees one of the King's archers doubling over, but Joyse is shaking her too hard for her to focus.

Geraden yells out that the Queen was taken by Alends. Joyse drops Terisa (ker plop!) and "his sword came into his hands swiftly, catching the light like a whip of fire." Hey, what happened to the frail old man? Wink

Terisa sees more archers going down on the balcony, but the rest are too busy watching the scene below to realize what's happening to their numbers.

Joyse and Kragen confront each other with their blades, but Geraden puts himself between them to tell his King he thinks the kidnappers were merely dressed like Alends, and that Torrent has gone after the Queen and left a trail for help to follow. Prince Kragen lowers his blade and asserts his innocence to King Joyse:

Quote:
My lord King, I spit on the men who did this to you. And I spit on the cheap ploy which made them appear Alend. I would rather die than become a man who can only gain his ends by violence against women.


Well, this fellow keeps getting better! Prince Charming's got nothin' on him!

Unfortunately, Kragen goes down cold after getting "charmed" across the back of his neck by Artagel, who doesn't realize the Alend contender is in fact innocent. At the same time, Lebbick roars:

"GART!"

The High King's Monomach has arrived with his Apts to have some fun. Now all hell really breaks loose, on the floor and on the balcony.

Artagel has helped himself to Prince Kragen's sword but moves stiffly. Terisa sees him and sees his hesitation: he wants to go after Gart, but fears to, because he knows he's no match for the Monomach. Terisa herself seems frozen in place, unable to move out of danger, until...she feels a touch of cold as thin as a feather and as sharp as steel slide straight through the center of her abdomen.

She dives out of the way and runs to Geraden and the group of Imagers, who without mirrors are useless in a fight. Then Terisa sees Master Gilbur and Master Eremis appear where she had been standing. Both also look ready to have some fun, and Eremis has a mirror in his hands.

Up on the balcony, the Castellan and his men catch up with bad boy Gart and his Apts. Normally, you don't pick a fight with the High King's Monomach, but Lebbick is in his element and attacks Gart ferociously:

Quote:
...he was happy at last, nearly ecstatic at the chance to fight back without restraint. Savage joy lit his face as he held Gart's attack.


On the floor, Artagel opposes Master Gilbur, who is set on killing the helpless, unconscious Kragen. In a move that would have made pro wrestlers proud, "Mad Dog" Gilbur shows off his strength and throws a whole bench at "Action Hero" Artagel. Er, Artagel is hit but avoids being crushed by the bench, and soon his blade finds Gilbur's throat.

Eremis, meanwhile, targets Terisa and Geraden. From his glass he unleashes a creature that attacks a nearby Imager. Geraden responds by throwing a knife at Eremis, which ends up shattering the Master's glass.

Then Orison's reinforcements burst into the room, but they're blocked from Terisa and Geraden by Eremis, who is not just a Master of Imagery, but a master of the sword as well.

At the other side of the room, Artagel asserts his sword mastery over Gilbur, having made the Master weaponless and helpless. Artagel could have sliced off Gilbur's head if he wanted.

Up above, Gart has his hands full with Lebbick, whose "fury appeared almost equal to Gart's skill." Then, realizing he's running out of time, Gart leaps over the balcony, his training saving him from being killed in the fall. Lebbick tries to do the same stunt, but lands badly with broken bones.

Gart goes to attack Artagel, who barely avoids being shish kebabed. With that distraction, Gilbur quickly recovers and knocks out Artagel with his powerful fists. Gart and Gilbur could have disposed of Kragen then, but their priority now is to help their partner in crime, Eremis.

Eremis wants to kill Geraden right there and then, but something dangerous in Geraden's gaze makes him hesitate. The Master goes instead to grab his prize: Terisa. But out of nowhere the massive bulk of the Tor slams into Eremis, forcing him back. Gart then stuns the Tor with a kick and prepares to behead the old lord, while Gilbur knocks out another son of the Domne, Geraden.

But Gart is prevented from killing the Tor by Castellan Lebbick, who, broken bones and all, has somehow come up to the Monomach. Gart whirls, and stabs the Castellan right in his heart:

Quote:
"Bastard," he breathed between gouts of blood as if he were talking to someone else, not Gart at all. "Now I'm free. You can't hurt me anymore."

Slowly, as if performing at last the only graceful action of his life, he slid backward off Gart's sword.

In that way, Lebbick finished mourning for his wife.


The chapter ends with Eremis and his gang finally getting their hands on Terisa, and she can't break free of them. Eremis makes "a strange, familiar gesture," and then he, Terisa, Gart and Gilbur are translated out of the thronehall of Orison.

Quote:
In the resulting confusion, a long time passed before anyone noticed that King Joyse had also disappeared.



Sorry if my summary ran long. I got caught up in the action! I've never done a chapter that had such a complex, intense action sequence like the thronehall scene here, and I wanted to see if I could sum it up coherently. If I've failed, well, at least I had fun doing it.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You did not fail. Smile You did a great job!!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

There are so many great bits in this chapter!

Kragen raking Joyse over the coals -- Go Kragen! Go Kragen!

The wounded Artagel still managing to kick some serious butt. Go Artagel! Go Artagel!

The Tor saving Terisa -- Go Tor! Go Tor!!

And most of all, Lebbick, who finds an end to his suffering, serving and saving others with his last few breaths. (bows head)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

duchess of malfi wrote:
You did not fail. Smile You did a great job!!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

There are so many great bits in this chapter!

Kragen raking Joyse over the coals -- Go Kragen! Go Kragen!

The wounded Artagel still managing to kick some serious butt. Go Artagel! Go Artagel!

The Tor saving Terisa -- Go Tor! Go Tor!!

And most of all, Lebbick, who finds an end to his suffering, serving and saving others with his last few breaths. (bows head)


heh, I could not have said much more... this was simply excellent... I felt so sorry for Lebbick "Now you can't hurt me anymore" Crying or Very sad

Very sad... and the Tor coming down on Eremis!!! WOW! I cheered out loud at that! Mr. Green

Terisa.... being taken... very sad Sad

My respect for Kragen went up very much in the is chapter... To be honest, I didn't much like him... but he was simply excellent here. I actually started trusting him as a character here. Smile

And i loved it when Geraden destroyed Eremis mirror... thereby, also, destroying the insufferable glee on Eremis' face.

Artagel... Cutting at Gilburs neck... that I enjoyed... I hate Gilbur so much... and am glad to see that he suffers. Razz

I love it when Lebbick shouts

Quote:
Gart!


Very cool. Lots of action... I enjoyed this chapter very much... And I loved the romance between Terisa and Geraden at the beginning of the chapter:

Quote:
"Thanks" she let go of him to wipe her nose, "Some day I'll do something nice for you"
It suprised her to see that he was leering "if we had time, I'd get you do to it right now"
That brought a smile out of her "no you wouldn't", she was definitly feeling better, "i stink like a pig, I think I have croakroaches in my hair"
He stuck out his tongue in mock disgust.


^^^^ Sorry if that's not exact, I don't have the book with me, purely from memory.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome dissection, MM! I think this battle scene is one of my favorites in either book--everything happening all at once, and Lebbick's unbelievable catharsis. The fact that SRD did it without confusion--and that MM's summary was just as clear!--is really a tribute to (both their) skill.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job MM!!!!
This really is, as Myste said, a fine piece of SRD's writing.
This is one of those chapters that take s about 5 minutes to read (seemingly) because of the great action & flow of ideas.
I also felt relief for Lebbick - he finally is released from his own 'hell' and can't be hurt further.
I did feel a bit of frustration with Kragen, Artagel & Geraden being knocked out & Eremis, Gilbur & Gart escaping with Terisa - it seemed like the time they would finally kick some butt.......no we'll have to see what happens next.....
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Prince Kragen surveyed the hall; he scanned the balconies. The corner of his moustache lifted as if he were sneering. When he had completed his study of the king's defenses, he said clearly, "Remarkable. Is this the best audience King Joyse can produce? If an ambassador came to the Alend Monarch, at least a hundred nobles would commemorate the occasion, regardless of the hour--ar the urgency." A moment later, however, he remarked politely, "Most impressive, Castellan. For the first time, I truly believe that you do not intend to harm us. You would not need so many men--and so many witnesses--to procure our deaths.
"What do you intend? Where is King Joyse?"

Castellan Lebbick remained sitting. In a voice which resembled his laugh, he barked, "Norge!"

Slowly, almost casually, one of the captains stood and came to attention. He saluted the Castellan calmly. In fact, everything about him seemed calm. He sounded like he was talking in his sleep.

"My lord Castellan?"

"Norge, where is King Joyse?" demanded Lebbick.

Norge shrugged comfortably. "I spoke to him myself, my lord Castellan. I told him what you said. I even told him what the Prince said. He said, 'Then you'd better get the audience hall ready.'"

Apparently, the captain didn't think any other comment was necessary. He sat down.


And Norge the phlegmatic is introduced in the story.
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