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Quiss and the other innocents of Mordant
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terisa became very perceptive (*) but isn't she underestimating the Domnes here? If they could bridge the divide with Nyle once they understood everything, how couldn't they heal Geraden no matter how awkwardly the truth was told?


(*) actually Terisa was always exceptionally perceptive. She just didn't know how to act on her perceptions.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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"My lady Terisa of Morgan, this is the Domne."

Through the gloom, Terisa saw that the Domne was a tall man, as lean and curved as an axe handle. He had Geraden's face, and Aratagel's, and Nyle's, but more so in someway, as if they were attractive yet inaccurate copies of him. The Hair on his head was thick, but he had no beard. The silver streaks at his temples were the only obvious signs of his age. Perhaps because the light was weak, he didn't appear to be more than half as old as King Joyse.

The leg propped on the stool was plump with bandages. He had a pair of canes nearby, but he made no attempt to rise when Quiss introduced him. Instead, he said, "My lady," in a voice as warm as a hug, "you're welcome in Houseldon--and in my house. If we could do it, we would put on a feast for you, a celebration. But I'm afraid we're a little too busy. Geraden seems to think we might be attacked. That doesn't happen every day, and we may have to brace ourselves.



The Domne's description was interesting. While Joyce and Tor's (and Alend and Cadwal Monarchs) bodies are wrecks, Domne looks very well preserved. A testament to his loving, peaceful acceptance of the world and its people. He's criticized for his refusal to fight but he's probably the better man for that and his life, family and very body give testament to that.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Terisa became very perceptive (*) but isn't she underestimating the Domnes here? If they could bridge the divide with Nyle once they understood everything, how couldn't they heal Geraden no matter how awkwardly the truth was told?


(*) actually Terisa was always exceptionally perceptive. She just didn't know how to act on her perceptions.


Terisa may indeed be underestimating the Domne's ability to heal Geraden's spirit. Nevertheless she may be right in her thinking that Geraden should tell his family what's bothering rather than a third party (Terisa) doing so, as Geraden talking about it may speed up his healing process. Having said that, I'm admitting to just guessing, as I am no trained psychologist.

You are right that Terisa is perceptive, SS, and it's a quality that makes her a good viewpoint character, despite her blunders and lack of self-assurance.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Quote:
"My lady Terisa of Morgan, this is the Domne."

Through the gloom, Terisa saw that the Domne was a tall man, as lean and curved as an axe handle. He had Geraden's face, and Aratagel's, and Nyle's, but more so in someway, as if they were attractive yet inaccurate copies of him. The Hair on his head was thick, but he had no beard. The silver streaks at his temples were the only obvious signs of his age. Perhaps because the light was weak, he didn't appear to be more than half as old as King Joyse.

The leg propped on the stool was plump with bandages. He had a pair of canes nearby, but he made no attempt to rise when Quiss introduced him. Instead, he said, "My lady," in a voice as warm as a hug, "you're welcome in Houseldon--and in my house. If we could do it, we would put on a feast for you, a celebration. But I'm afraid we're a little too busy. Geraden seems to think we might be attacked. That doesn't happen every day, and we may have to brace ourselves.



The Domne's description was interesting. While Joyce and Tor's (and Alend and Cadwal Monarchs) bodies are wrecks, Domne looks very well preserved. A testament to his loving, peaceful acceptance of the world and its people. He's criticized for his refusal to fight but he's probably the better man for that and his life, family and very body give testament to that.


The Domne's spirit does seem to be preserving his body, and there's no doubt he loves life. It may be that this refusal to fight against enemies, and instead concentrating on all the things he is for, is what is sustaining him. Tholden might well not end up being the Domne for many more years.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
If they could bridge the divide with Nyle once they understood everything, how couldn't they heal Geraden no matter how awkwardly the truth was told?


Concerning Nyle, it would seem that his own family's treatment of him only served to increase his discontent:

In The Mirror Of Her Dreams Chapter 20 was wrote:
"Then--" Artagel stared at the ceiling while the lines in his face got deeper, cut by what he remembered. "Then he told me how much he admired me. I was his hero--I was always his hero. The first thing he could remember about his own life was wanting to be like me. But he just didn't have the balance, or the reflexes. And his muscles refused to develop the right kind of strength for a longsword.

"And everybody in the family seemed to be content with him the way he was, when the way he was wasn't what he wanted. Having his parent and his brothers content with him did nothing except make his heart ache. Nobody expected him to be good at anything. They were proud of me. And they were ambitious for you. They wanted you to marry Elega and become a great Imager. But nobody wanted anything from him. Or for him."

Swallowing hard, Artagel stopped.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Terisas was moderately hungry, but she couldn't force herself to tackle all that food. These people were seriously considering the necessity of hiding their women and children in a beer cellar while Houseldon was destroyed. Facing Tholden, she said, "Ask me something. Let me help."

Tholden met her gaze squarely. "When Geraden got here yesterday, he thought we were going to be attacked almost immediately. Now he says we've got time to plan our defense. As long as you're here, he thinks Master Eremis doesn't have any reason to attack us right away. What do you think?"

Without hesitation, she said, "I think he's wrong."

The Domne cocked an eyebrow. His mouth full of yams, he asked, "Why?"

"I don't think he realizes how dangerous he is. Or how dangerous Eremis thinks he is. Eremis has been working hard for a long time now to keep him from understanding his own talent. And he's tried to have him killed. I don't think Eremis will believe he's safe until Geraden is dead."

"That's speculation," murmured Tholden.

"This isn't." Terisa spoke with the confidence of a woman who had been able to outthink Castellan Lebbick. "Eremis can't possibly know how Geraden's feeling. And he can't possibly know there aren't any mirrors here. Now that Geraden knows what his talent is, Eremis has to be afraid of being attacked himself.

"And that's not all. Geraden thinks Eremis will postpone attacking Houseldon until after he's done with Orison. But the last thing he was doing in Orison was refilling the reservoir. That doesn't sound like a man with a trap ready to spring. It sounds like a man who wants to help Orison fight off Prince Kragen until Cadwal is in position.

"If I'm right, Eremis has time to strike at you right now.

"And he knows I'm here." This had to be said, although it was difficult for her. The Domne and his son needed to know the extent of their danger. "Master Gilbur saw the mirror change. He knows I've discovered my talent, too. He knows I can go anywhere in Mordant--or Cadwal or Alend, for that matter--if I just know what it looks like. If I just know how to visualize it. I couls show up in his rooms some night when he's asleep and nail him to the bed.

"He's not just afraid of Geraden. He's afraid of me."

He needs to be afraid of me. I'm going to make him afraid of me. Somehow.

The Domne continued to eat without any obvious concern; but Tholden watched Terisa with growing chagrin on his face. When she was done, he muttered as if no one were listening to him, "Sheepdung. I'm not used to this myself. I'm not Artagel--I never wanted to be a soldier. What am I supposed to do?"

The Domne put down his knife and fork. "What are you doing?"

Tholden made a dismissive gesture. "You know what. Wester is sending farmers and their families here as fast as he can talk them into it. Every empty hogshead and barrel we've got is being filled with water and positioned around the stockade, in case of fire. Every pitchfork and scythe and axe in Houseldon is being sharpened." Shortly, a frantic look came into his eyes, and his hands knotted on the table in front of him; but he kept his voice steady. "Banquettes are being knocked together inside the wall, so that anyone with a bow will have a place to stand. Minick--and Geraden, I hope--are laying out lines of retreat. They're trying to explain to the men with bows how to retreat--how to use the houses for cover, how to set ambushes.

"What good is that going to do against Imagery?"

Listening to him, Terisa understood how he felt.

The Domne was undismayed, however. "Who knows?" he said calmly. "I don't. I can't see the future.

"But I can see you're the right man for the job. You've already thought of things that wouldn't have occurred to me. You'll think of more. If Artagel were here, he wouldn't be able to defend Houseldon any better."

Tholden wasn't convinced. With a sour snort, he asked, "Is this what you call selling your soul at the word of one of your sons?"

At that, the Domne sat up straighter in his chair; his eyes flashed. "Tholden, I know you think you're a grown man, but you still aren't too old to be punished for disrespect. Maybe I'm only your father, and half crippled as well, but I'm still man enough to prune your apricots within an inch of their lives. Consider that before you risk being pert with me."

Involuntarily, Tholden smiled. His beard rustled on his chest. Nevertheless his eyes remained full of trouble, and his smile didn't last long. Too worried to sit where he was, he pushed himself up from the table. "Excuse me, Terisa," he murmured. "I'm afraid you'll have to eat lunch without my help. I've lost my appetite."

With the hunched gait of a man who was accustomed to ducking under doorways and low ceiling, he left the house.

The Domne watched him go and sighed. "You don't know it, Terisa," he commented after Tholden was gone, "but those are the saddest words anyone has said in my house for a long time. 'I've lost my appetite.' I hope you aren't planning to tell me the same thing."

Terisa meant to say, Yes. The pile of food on the platter daunted her. The size and consequences of the danger she and Geraden had brought to Houseldon daunted her. Yet the way the Domne looked at her seemed so warm and companionable, so willing to accept whatever she represented, that when she opened her mouth the word which came out was, "No."

He smiled approvingly as she lifted her fork to sample Quiss' panbread and gravy.

For several minutes while she ate a little of everything on the platter, he sat in silence, gazing out into the sunshine through the nearest window. She had the impression that he was waiting for her to finsh; but he didn't seem impatient. In fact, he appeared quite content to look out on the street and nod amiably at anyone who caught his eye. If war was coming to Houseldon, it didn't show on the face of the Domne. Geaden had said of him, The things he values most don't need to be fought for because they can't be hurt. Yet Terisa wasn't sure that was accurate. Despite his look of contentment, she thought he cared deeply about a number of things which could be hurt very easily.


I do think the Domne is putting on a brave, optimistic front, as Terisa suspects. Inside, I think he is almost as worried as Tholden, but he is enough at peace with himself to accept that they are doing as much as can be done for defense at the moment. And of course, his confidence in Tholden turns out not to be misplaced.

Wester is sending farmers and their families here as fast as he can talk them into it. This is the only part of Tholden's actions that I tend to question. Would it not be better to keep people away from Houseldon if they don't live there?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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At that, the Domne sat up straighter in his chair; his eyes flashed. "Tholden, I know you think you're a grown man, but you still aren't too old to be punished for disrespect. Maybe I'm only your father, and half crippled as well, but I'm still man enough to prune your apricots within an inch of their lives. Consider that before you risk being pert with me."


That made me chuckle. Is this a metaphor for something else or is Tholden's orchard truly in danger of overpruning? (always hated city workers who come to trim trees and vegetation 'just a little bit' to protect a power line or the like and leave behind nothing but barren trunks. Maybe Donaldson had similar traumatic experience?)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, I always took it literally myself. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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When she put down her utensils to indicate that she was done, he glanced over at her, then returned his gaze to the window. In a relaxed way, as if he were continuing an earlier conversation, he asked, "What was your impression of Nyle?"

Her stomach knotted around the food she had just eaten. Cautiously, she countered, "What did Geraden tell you?"

The Domne's manner disarmed anxiety. "That you think Nyle is still alive. That this Master Eremis still wants to use him against us. That's not what I want to know. What did you think of him? How is he?"

Because the answer was painful, she said shortly, "He's miserable."

"Ah," sighed the Domne as if he had both expected and feared her reply.

This time, she let herself say, "I don't blame him. Everything he believed that got him into trouble--everything about King Joyse and Orison and Elega and Prince Kragen--it was all plausible. King Joyse has been working for years, setting himself up to be betrayed. Nyle was just unlucky enough to fall into the trap--the same trap Elega fell into herself. He believed what his King wanted him to believe."

Ignoring the Domne's reputation as one of the King's dearest friends, she went on. "He's really just a victim. Eremis probably would never have been able to get his hands on Nyle if Nyle hadn't been stuck in the dungeon with nowhere to turn for hope."

If anything she said offended the Domne, however, he didn't show it. "Families," he murmured mildly. "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.

"What sort of family do you come from, Terisa? Did you have sisters? Not six sisters, by any chance?"

The idea was so absurd that she almost laughed aloud. "No, Da. I was an only child."

He looked at her again, more sharply this time. "Do you mean to say that after you your parents were able to restrain their enthusiasm for children? Were you that bad? Or were you so good that any other child would be a disappointment?"

"No," she answered as candidly as she could. "I was an accident. My father sure didn't have time for children. And he didn't want my mother to have time either."

"'Didn't have time'?" Abruptly, the Domne pushed his sore leg off the stool. Grimacing, he shifted the position of the stool so that he could face her more directly, then heaved his leg back onto it. Propped straight with his elbows on the table, he asked, "What vital and consuming work did your father do, that he 'didn't have time for children'?"

Unsure of where the discussion was headed--and uncomfortable because she was always uncomfortable when she talked about her parents--Terisa replied briefly, "He made money."

Odd how both she and the Domne were speaking of her father in the past tense. But she thought about him in the past, as part of something which wasn't true anymore.

"For what purpose?" inquired the Domne.

She shrugged. "To make more money. I don't think he had any other reason for doing it. He did it because that was what he was good at." She thought about conversations she had overheard from the dining room while she sat out of sight on the stairs, listening when her parents thought she had gone to bed. "Money was the best way to get things that weren't his. Social standing. Political influence." Then she remembered some of the valets her father had hired. "Muscle."

"He made money because he believed if you can do that you can buy everything else."

"Very strange," pronounced the Domne. "He would have flourished in Cadwal.

"And what did your mother do while your father made money?"

With an understated vehemence which unsettled her, Terisa said, "I think she practiced."

"'Practiced'?"

"Being ornamental. So my father could show her off whenever he was in the mood."

"'Women should be seen and not heard'?" The Domne couldn't restrain a burst of laughter. "That explains where you got your beauty. Terisa, I don't know how to tell you this--but I think you've already met High King Festten. Even though you wouldn't recognize him if you saw him."

Terisa tried to smile, but she didn't succeed.

The Domne studied her; sunlight from the windows reflected in his eyes. "However, that raises a fascinating question. How did you get here from there? How did the daughter of parents like that become the kind of woman my youngest son--perhaps my best son--would kill for?"

She wanted to answer him. At the same time, she wanted to stop talking about her parents. Roughly, she told him something that she hadn't revealed to anyone else in Mordant, not even to Geraden.

"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."

For a long moment, the Domne stared at her without expression, as if the energy of life had been wiped off his face. Then, slowly, carefully, he turned away. He took his leg from the stool in order to put it back in its former position, toward the window. He settled himself again with his leg up and his spine stretched against the back of the chair; he might have been getting comfortable for a nap.

After that, one at a time, he picked up his canes and flung them out the window. The first sailed clear; the second clattered against the frame and fell just outside.

So fiercely that she winced, he whispered, "What are you doing to me, Joyse? Everybody who is worth anything in your entire kingdom is being hurt, and I'm sitting here crippled. What are you doing?"

There was nothing she could say. Geraden had surely told his father what she knew about the King's intentions. There was nothing else.

Briefly, the Domne put his hands over his face, and his shoulders clenched. Almost at once, however, he rubbed his cheeks briskly, as if he were scrubbing passion off his features; with a long slow exhalation, he let his anger go.


This passage is interesting to me for a number of reasons, chief among them the revelation that the Domne isn't as nearly as calm and content as he appears to be; he simply has a strong personal discipline. I take note that Terisa is able to face a lot of truths about herself and how she has been raised, but she can't forgive her parents, ever. The Domne is shocked by what she tells him her, but people like Terisa's parents are like people he has known in his world, that much is clear. He can see without further explanation why Terisa would not want to be anything like her parents.

Everybody who is worth anything in your entire kingdom is being hurt. True enough, and that remark reinforces the point of this thread, I think. The people of Mordant are given a realistic face in Mordant's Need, thanks to the many richly detailed supporting characters.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Quote:
At that, the Domne sat up straighter in his chair; his eyes flashed. "Tholden, I know you think you're a grown man, but you still aren't too old to be punished for disrespect. Maybe I'm only your father, and half crippled as well, but I'm still man enough to prune your apricots within an inch of their lives. Consider that before you risk being pert with me."


That made me chuckle. Is this a metaphor for something else or is Tholden's orchard truly in danger of overpruning? (always hated city workers who come to trim trees and vegetation 'just a little bit' to protect a power line or the like and leave behind nothing but barren trunks. Maybe Donaldson had similar traumatic experience?)


I took this remark figuratively, as in the Domne wasn't weak enough to spank Tholden for pertness. But maybe pruning Tholden's apricot trees would be sufficient punishment for Tholden after all--I never thought of this passage in that way, before! Laughing
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