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AMRT Chapter 32: The Benefit Of Sons

 
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 6:41 pm    Post subject: AMRT Chapter 32: The Benefit Of Sons Reply with quote

Hi folks! I'm honored to be part of the discussions of this underappreciated SRD work.

(I was finishing my dissection Friday night just as the Watch crashed. Good thing I saved my work! Shocked)

This chapter is a calm, sane experience after the intense adrenaline rush of the previous one. We--and Terisa--are given a temporary respite from all the crazy intrigue and danger of Orison.

Master Quillon: killed helping Terisa. Castellan Lebbick: ready to kill her himself. Master Gilbur: almost does kill her. Except...somehow Terisa managed to translate herself into a mirror, out of Gilbur's reach.

Now there is only peace and darkness as the translation whisks Terisa away to sleep. After a time, she wakes up and realizes she is no longer in the bowels of Orison, but in a completely different place.

She is in the Closed Fist, the secret playground of Geraden's childhood in the Care of Domne. Somehow, she has translated herself using flat glass without losing her mind.

Also at the Fist is Geraden, who has been waiting for Terisa. They have a joyful reunion, but Terisa then sees that something has changed in Geraden: the boy is gone, replaced by a man who seems almost like a stranger to her. The "metal of Geraden's character had been tempered by bitterness, polished by dismay."

Geraden thinks Eremis was able to force Nyle to go along with his schemes by threatening harm to Nyle's family. Eremis must have a mirror that shows the Care of Domne, allowing him to terrorize the Care by sending through any monstrosities he chooses. Terisa is alarmed by this, and thinks Eremis may attack any time now, since he knows she likely escaped to the Closed Fist. She tells Geraden about the day he tried to return her to her world, how she wound up at the Fist instead of her apartment or the champion's world. She had told Eremis that bit of information, but had withheld it from Geraden. Now it comes back to haunt her.

She tells him about Nyle's supposed corpse found in Eremis's suite, and how she thinks he is still alive. Terisa asks Geraden how he intends to fight Eremis with Nyle still in his clutches, but he shocks her by replying he isn't going to fight. Instead, he plans to stay here and defend his home. He knows he is truly an Imager now, so he's going to make a mirror and "kill any son of a whore who comes here and tries to hurt my family." Terisa tries to argue that the people of Orison need to be warned about Eremis, but Geraden dismisses the idea, saying that before he could even get halfway there, Eremis would have wrought Orison's ruin already. Geraden wants Terisa to stay with him to help defend the Care. He tells her "you can do the same thing with flat glass that I do with a normal mirror. Together we're two of the most powerful people in Mordant. All we need is practice." Needing rest and time to think, Terisa acquiesces to Geraden. They go off to meet his family in Houseldon, the central village and seat of the Care.

At the house of the Domne, we first meet Quiss, wife of Tholden--one of the Domne's sons. Quiss had "the bosom of Mother Earth and the shoulders of a stonemason" with "corn silk hair and sky blue eyes." A formidable woman. Smile Yet she warmly welcomes Terisa in and offers clean clothes and a bath to our frazzled heroine. Quiss, you're awesome! All hail Quiss!

Then at last we meet the Domne, a man whose reputation as a great friend of King Joyse precedes him. In the first book, we got a sense of the tremendous respect everyone had for the Domne by the amount of trust they placed in his sons. So who is this mysterious man? The Domne is "a tall man, as lean and curved as an axe handle. He had Geraden's face, and Artagel's, and Nyle's, but more in some way, as if they were attractive yet inaccurate copies of him."

Whereas the other lords are military men used to politics and battle (except the foppish Armigite), the Domne seems to be a simple, unpretentious man who simply happens to be the father of a wonderful and generous family. Terisa immediately likes him. He is a polar opposite of her own father.

Leading Terisa to her bath, Quiss remarks that Geraden "never mentioned that you could have any man you wanted." Quiss's reference to Terisa's attractiveness is her oblique way of asking for Terisa's faithfulness to Geraden despite the opportunities her beauty presents to other men. Terisa avows her loyalty to Geraden, making Quiss very glad. Terisa is grateful to be in a place "where the people around her were moved by simple things like family and friendship and wool, rather than by treachery, ambition, and revenge."

I call the second part of this chapter "My Lunch With The Domne":

Terisa meets to eat with the Domne, who has a companion this time: his son Tholden, heir to the Domne's place, and a great bear of a man. Both men want to know what has caused Geraden to change into the closed, humorless man he is now, and they are hoping Terisa can tell them. She wants to pour out her thoughts, but feels it's not her place to speak for Geraden about something so personal.

However, Terisa speaks her mind concerning Eremis. She tells them she thinks Geraden underestimates how dangerous Eremis is, that the Master may strike at the Care sooner rather than later to prevent Geraden attacking him first. This worries Tholden: how do simple farmer folk defend against attacks of Imagery?

Later, alone with Terisa, the Domne asks her thoughts on Nyle, and it leads to this observation: "Families. They are endlessly interesting. Elega and her father. Geraden and Nyle. Sometimes I think the fate of the world depends on how people feel about their families."

He asks Terisa about her own family. Because of the Domne's relaxed manner, Terisa is able to answer his questions despite the discomfort she always feels when talking about her parents. Her description of her father as someone who is only after money, social standing and political influence leads the Domne to joke that she has already met High King Festten. But her next reply stops him cold: "When I did something my father didn't like, he used to lock me in a closet until I got scared enough to stop crying."

His sympathy for Terisa moves The Domne to express his own frustration at King Joyse. He spends the rest of his chat with Terisa explaining how he and Joyse became friends. The Domne believes he provides a balance for the King. Because Joyse is a large-scale thinker who is always out there saving the world, he doesn't have time to stop and smell the roses; so he needs someone like The Domne who can counter with a smaller scale perspective, a person who doesn't lose sight of the importance of family and community in the face of war and world-shaking events. The Domne sees how potentially dangerous it is to want to "save the world" because if you have all that power but still can't save the things and people you love, then you just end up clinging to your power because that's all you have left. The last thing the Domne wants is to see Joyse turn into a tyrant.

The Domne mentions the King's radiant smile, a recurring motif in the story. He tells Terisa the King is still his friend and won't turn his back on him, despite everything that has happened. If Joyse can't even rely on his old friend, then perhaps the King truly is lost.

In her own way, Terisa at last decides she won't betray the King either.

So ends Chapter Thirty-Two.

I guess the intent of Terisa's visit to the Care of Domne is to show her and us what King Joyse is fighting for. To steal a line from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Care of Domne is also "something precious in danger of being lost." Since the Care has no military force, it truly is defenseless, notwithstanding the presence of Terisa and Geraden. So perhaps King Joyse feels more responsible for the Domne's realm than anyone else's. The Care of Domne is the innocent Eden of Mordant...is Orison like a city of sin, then? It's a home for politics, sexual favors and back-stabbing power struggles, that's for sure. But that's how things get done in the "real" world, right?

Sorry if my summary seems a bit long, but almost every chapter of Mordant's Need is HUGE and full of meaty information. No empty calories here! Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite the comprehensive summary MM! If I were forced to pick my Care of residency it would surely be Domne! Sort of the Switzerland of Mordant. And what a change of venue! The Closed Fist: so beautiful. Now we're really outside! This is where the entire work seems to truly take off running!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, isn't it nice to be outside? Smile

And isn't it good to be with people who aren't in a constant state of plotting, backstabbing, and betrayals? Laughing Laughing Laughing

This chapter is a very refreshing breath of fresh air after our time in the dungeons of Orison. Smile

You did a great job, MM. Very Happy I will come back with more after I reread the chapter tomorrow. Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work MM!!
I agree, this chapter is a breathe of fresh air, in more ways than one.
To be outside of Orisonis surely a relief, both to Terisa & ME! Bing trapped in a cell was kind of a tough read at times, but once she translates herself to The Closed Fist, the tension really eases.

The Domne's family is loud & bustling with energy & life & sounds & smells - seemingly unfamiliar to Terisa. Quiss treats her as a long lost sister & immediately sweeps her into the loving chaos of Houseldon.

I love the description SRD gives this place - not dead & unused like Orison, but alive, full of children and people.

Quiss is a great character here - she really seems to ground the story. I guess she really sums Geraden's family up for me, maybe even more than The Domne.....
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quiss really is a great character, isn't she? She's like an earth-mother goddess type... Smile The sort of woman who brings home with her wherever she goes. (Of course she must be pretty sexy as well, or her hub wouldn't have made all of those kids with her Wink )

The part where Terisa talks about her father with the Domne always makes me cry. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad It's an important moment for her,(spoiler is for The One Tree, in case someone hasn't read that yet) Spoiler:
...like when Linden tells TC about her mother...
...you've got to admit a problem before you can heal/fix it... Smile Terisa has been growing and healing ever since she came to Mordant. Admitting the horrors of her past life, and getting some compassion from the Domne will certainly help in this process. Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just really like the confidence that Terisa displays in Domne. Half of it is probably as much exhaustion as anything else, but the way she talks to the Domne shows how far she's come--she's honext and open with him all the way. And I love the Domne's reaction to what Terisa tells him about her father's treatment of her: the throwing of the cane is a marvelous moment. No pity there at all--because the Domne knows that Terisa doesn't need it.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I truly enjoy the anecdote about Joyse that the Domne tells Terisa.

Quote:
Terisa thought that perhaps King Joyse and his old friend had more in common than the Domne appeared to realize. Problems should be solved by those who see them. But she preferred the Domne's way of doing it. Controlling her tendency to get angry whenever she thought about the King, she inquired, "Then why are you friends?"

"I'm not sure I can explain it," he said musingly. "We need each other.

"When I first met him--when he chased away the minor Cadwal prince who had been using the Care of Domne as his personal vassalage for the better part of a decade and set us free--I hadn't thought to refuse anything. I had as much fire in my blood as any young man who had just been released from a servitude he hated, and I seem to recall that I was perfectly willing to start learning how to use a sword.

"But when I actually met him--

"Terisa, that smile of his went right through my heart. As if it came down to me from the sky, I knew that I loved him. And I knew that the Care of Domne was never going to be what I wanted it to be if he didn't protect it. And I know that he needed something from me--something he wasn't going to be able to get from anybody else."

"Like what?"

"Balance," replied the Domne distinctly. "He needed balance. He wanted to save the world. Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? Men who want to save the world--and who make a few mistakes--become tyrants. The things they really want and love slip out of their fingers, and they end up clinging to the power because it's all they have left. The possibility was written all over him. He was the brightest and keenest man I had ever met--the kind of man who just naturally makes you want to lie down in the dirt for him--and I simply couldn't bear the idea that he might go too far and turn all the good in him rotten.

"It all came to me in a burst, like a sunrise. And it terrified me, because if I refused him he might just ride away and leave the Care of Domne to fend for itself. But it was necessary. We needed each other.

"He rode into Houseldon, as bright as a new day, but I stood my ground as if I had the right to it. 'Well, my lord Domne,' he said with that smile, wringing my heart because until he came I'd never believed that I would be lord of my own land, 'you're free. At least for a while. How many men can you give me?'

"'None, my lord King,' I said.

"'What, none?' He stopped smiling. I seem to remember he put his hand on his sword.

"I was terrified, but I said, 'This is the foaling season. I need every man I have.'

"He was angry, furious. But he was also perplexed. 'Let me understand you,' he said. 'Domne has been butchered back and forth between Alend and Cadwal for generations. You've been a vassal yourself your entire life until today. And all you care about is your sheep?'

"I swear to you, Terisa, his anger nearly blinded me. And I was getting a crick in my neck from staring up at him. 'I didn't say that, my lord King,' I replied. 'You asked how many men I can send away to be killed in your wars. The answer is, none. I need help with my foals.'

"He really has very little sense of humor. But he has a wonderful sense of joy. Or had. Instead of splitting my head open, he started to laugh.

"That night, we had one of the best feasts I've ever attended. I thought he was going to laugh for days. He kept saying, 'Sheep. Sheep,' and falling out of his chair.

"We've been friends ever since."

Terisa was surprised to find that she felt like crying. She knew what King Joyse's smile was like. From the first, she had wanted to like him, please him; she had wanted to serve him. The Domne reminded her of that--and of the fact that it was impossible. King Joyse himself had made it impossible.

In a soft voice, she asked, "And now? Are you still friends now?" After what he did to Nyle and Geraden and his own daughters? After what he's doing to the Congery and Mordant?

Slowly, the Domne turned his head, shifted his gaze from the window to look at her. His eyes seemed partially blind--adjusted to the brightness outside and unable to make her out clearly.

"He isn't responsible for Nyle's choices. He isn't even responsible for Castellan Lebbick's sanity. Both of them could have trusted him. At the same time, he went to a lot of trouble to keep you and Geraden as safe as he could.

"He's still my friend, Terisa. We need each other. Do you really want me to turn my back on him?"

After a while, she found that she was able to say, "No." In spite of her anger, she had no intention of turning her own back on the King.


As for Quiss, she's no world-shaker like Terisa, but I consider her the strongest female character in Mordant's Need. She shoulders a lot of responsibility. Matrixman wrote, "I guess the intent of Terisa's visit to the Care of Domne is to show her and us what King Joyse is fighting for." And Quiss and the Domne represent that value very well.
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