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TMOHD: Chapter 16: Who Your Friends Are

 
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danlo
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 1:14 am    Post subject: TMOHD: Chapter 16: Who Your Friends Are Reply with quote

TMOHD: Chapter 16, Who Your Friends Are

Even though this chapter doesn't have Artagel or Havelock it's definately one of my favorites in the first book. It's SO cinematic, in fact it would make a great one act play all by itself. I can just see Robert De Niro (Lebbick) striking Terisa (Julianne Moore) and Marlon Brando (The Tor) besotted and howling outside King Joyse's apartments. Geraden (Heath Ledger) runs all the way from the dungeon to the King's apartments to seek Terisa's release from arrest. As frail King Joyse (played by the late Richard Harris) lays splayed out on his chair and ottoman, snoring under Havelock's hop board notes.

So then these are the players. The plot? Attempting to solve an untenable situation of a game with in game. Why did Joyse allow the Congery to translate their champion against the Fayle's advice? What does Master Eremis' arrest solve or prove? Why did Joyse make Terisa play hop board with Prince Kragen and will Terisa come clean about Myste's whereabouts?

The Tor has assumed squatting rights and seeks to serve as the King's chancelor, surely someone must take some action while Joyse allows Mordant to fall into disarray. So he sends the order that rescues Terisa from Lebbick's clutches as a hole the size of a mansion gapes amidst Orison's wall inviting the armies of Alend to walk right in.

Joyse finally wakes up and his luminous smile quickly fades to boring questions as he asks Terisa to help him solve an impossible hop board dilemma that Havelock has laid out for him. But are the questions really boring? Do they have double meanings? And are the ongoing (monotonous) hop board games actually analogous to critical real life situations occuring within and without Orison and Mordant? Joyse's game piece is cornered with no way out--does this imply some presience on his and Havelock's part? Does it imply Eremis' machinations which attempt to hamstring all Joyse's control?

Is Joyse really smarter than he appears or does he simply not care? Does he really have some inner strenght left, as he jumps out of his chair and grabs Terisa's shirt demanding Myste's whereabouts, or is he really the decrepid, doddering fool that slumps back into his chair sad and defeated?
Does he really know what he is doing and is destroying Mordant on purpose? If yes, to what ends? Is there some serious foreshadowing going on as Terisa begins the real game within a game in proposing the solution to the hop board dilemma by shaking the board into utter chaos?
Quote:
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to upset you. It's just a game."

Without warning, his eyes flashed like steel glimpsed through water. "To you, it's just a game. To me, it's the difference between life and ruin."



Do I ask too many questions? Very Happy


Last edited by danlo on Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:08 am; edited 6 times in total
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duchess of malfi
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Terisa, just by being in Mordant, certainly seems to shake loose chaos... Wink
I love the Tor in this chapter! What a cool guy! This is where he becomes one of my favorite characters... Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This chapter also strikes me a a pivot point in the book-now all the players are shaken out (as if from some huge dice-cup) and set in motion. But where is Havelock?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really liked the Tor as well! Very Happy Cool guy. I thought it was really sweet when Terisa thought Geraden abandoned her, but then helped her straight away.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it possible to conclude that Eremis can actually be blamed for anything at this point? It's very shaky...
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know that anyone could actually PROVE anything about Eremis at this point...but he still gives me the screamin' willies. Wink

And the Tor rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very Happy Cool
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate Eremis... Hated him since he first came on. Borg
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"I'm glad I did something right." His [Geraden's] smile was embarrassed and happy. "Please don't count on it. It doesn't happen that often."

"Tush, young Geraden," the Tor interposed. "You malign yourself." He drained his flagon and waved it until the Apt found a decanter and poured more wine for him. "Your difficulty is quite simple. You have not found your true abilities. As the King's chancellor, I dispense advice freely to all. Born swordsmen make very clumsy farmers, as I am sure your brother Artagel would agree. Give up Imagery. A son of the Domne should not spend his life providing jokes for Imagers."

Geraden's face darkened, not with anger, but with pain. "I would if I could." The quick distress in his voice went straight to Terisa's heart. "I'm a disappointment to my whole family. I know that. But I can't--I can not give it up."

The Tor studied his wine with the air of a man who didn't want to meet Geraden's eyes. "At least you are your father's son. Take comfort in that. He, too, is stubborn. I have heard King Joyse say that he would rather break his head on a stone wall than argue with the Domne."

Privately, Terisa thought that if Artagel had been present he would have denied being disappointed in his brother at all.

Abruptly, the King made a snorting noise. A twitch of his head dislodged the scroll, and the parchment slipped aside, curling around itself among the others on the rug. Blinking, he raised his hands to his chest and flexed them as if they had gone numb.

"The Domne," he muttered at the ceiling. "Stubborn man. Rather break my head on a stone wall."


Funny. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"My lady," he asked softly, "where is my daughter?"

So she was right. Her pulse beat faster. At last she had song somebody else wanted, something she could use. As long as she didn't betray Myste, this was her chance.

The prospect frightened her, but she clung to it with both hands. "Which daughter?" she returned despite the tremor in her voice. "You have several."

She expected indignation and anger--that was what she always expected--but King Joyse remained quiet. His expression didn't change. For a long moment, he studied her through the moisture in his eyes. Then he indicated the chair across the table from him. "My lady, will you be seated?"

At first she hesitated. Perhaps she would be stronger if she stayed on her feet. But his sadness was as persuasive as his smile. She went to the chair, pulled it away from the table to dissociate herself from hop-board, and sat down.

When she was seated, he said in the same soft, grieving tone, "My lady, my daughter Myste is gone. Where is she?'

Suddenly her tongue was so dry that she could hardly swallow. Like a frightened but stubborn child, she asked, "My lord King, shy did you let Castellan Lebbick arrest me?"

The room seemed uncomfortably warm. Again, the King's eyes gave a hint of steel. He held her gaze until she faltered and looked down. Then he breathed almost inaudibly, "My lady, do not play this game with me. It is more dangerous than you imagine."

For a few seconds while her heart hammered and her stomach knotted, she nearly backed down. She didn't have the strength to face him. Anybody was stronger than she was. As she had with Saddith, she felt that vulnerability and weakness were her only defense, her only weapon.

But backing down now wouldn't accomplish anything. The King would still want to know about his daughter. He would still demand answers. If she gave up what she wanted, she wouldn't make herself safer. And it would be more difficult for her to avoid betraying Myste.

And she was too angry to give up. Deliberately, she raised her eyes to the King's again. I don't have any choice. Geraden tried to take me back where I belong, but that mirror doesn't seem to work anymore. I have to play.

"Why did you let Castellan Lebbick arrest me?"

Something shifted in the background of King Joyse's expression, like clouds moving their shadows across a distant landscape. Without any definable change, his attention became sharper and more cautious.

"My lady"--his tone was caustic in an oddly impersonal way, as if he didn't mean it--"do you know who your friends are?'

She stared at him in surprise and bit her lip and didn't try to answer.

"Well, I don't either. Having you arrested would have been a good way to find out. It would have been very interesting to see who tried to help you, or communicate with you, or persuade me to let you go. But of course Geraden interfered. With his usual instinct for disaster. I already knew he was a friend of yours."

This reply startled her. It drew a different sketch of him--of the way his mind worked--than she was expecting: it seemed to imply that he was paying attention to what happened in Orison. "Wait a minute," she protested weakly. "Wait a minute. You mean you planned to have me arrested? It was just a ploy?"

"No, my lady." He waved one sore-knuckled finger at her. You aren't playing the game. It's my turn now. Where is my daughter?"

Terisa drew a sharp breath. For a moment, she considered trying to extort information from him without revealing anything herself. In spite of his age, hover he looked too strong fro that tactic. And it wouldn't be fair. He was Myste's father.

Carefully, she responded, "She came to see me yesterday afternoon. In my rooms. We talked for a long time."

He nodded. "I guessed that. But I don't understand it. What do you have that she wanted? What did she tell you?"

"No, my lord King. It's my turn now."

She had so many questions. Too many to remember them all at once. And she didn't want to waste an opportunity like this on the one she had blurted out a moment earlier. So she concentrated on the issue that had brought her to the King's suite--on Castellan Lebbick and his behavior.

"When I leave my rooms with someone--with Master Eremis, for example--my guards always want to know where I'm going. But w I leave with Geraden, nobody seems to care. Why is that?'

King Joyse snorted as if she had just made a particularly bad move. In the same, caustic, impersonal way, he said, "You should have figured that out for yourself. I already know Geraden is your friend."

Right. Of course. She really should have figured that out for herself. A sense of panic rose in her. She wasn't thinking quickly enough.

Impatiently, the King continued, "You were speaking of my daughter, my lady."

"Yes." She needed to be smarter. Sharper. She was tempted to turn to the Tor for help. But she could hear him breathing deeply, heavily, as though he were about to snore. Groping for inspiration, she asked, "Can more specific?'

"Certainly," he snapped. "Where is she?'

Fortunately, his tone brought back her anger. All right. If that was the way he wanted to play. "I don't actually know where she is." She made an attempt to sound sweet. "But you asked what I have that she wanted. There's an entrance to a secret passage in my wardrobe. She wanted to use it."

Again, he nodded. Apparently, Terisa was only confirming his own suspicions. "Why?"

Anger was a great help. She was being cruel to him--but only because she had been so badly treated herself. "My lord King," she said stiffly, "the first night I was here a man tried to kill me. When he was chased away, Castellan Lebbick started a search for him But you called it off." Despite her inexperience, she worked to match his tone. "Why?"

For an instant, King Joyse hesitated. The shadows shifted behind his eyes. Then he said trenchantly, "Because I didn't want him caught."

"What? Why not?"

"I didn't think he was stupid, so I didn't think he would lead Lebbick to his allies. And I didn't think he was a coward, so I didn't think he would tell me anything if Lebbick caught him. only way to learn anything about him was to leave him alone and wait for what he did next." His voice grew harsher, but it still sounded impersonal, as if his ire were calculated rather than real. "Are you satisfied, my lady?"

"Why did my daughter want to use a secret passage?"

"Because"--Terisa's anger made her stronger than she would believed possible--"she wanted leave Orison."

That struck him, hurt him. "Leave Orison?"

"She knew you would stop her if you could, so she used that passage to get down into the laborium. Then she sneaked out through the hole in the wall."

"Leave Orison?" he repeated. "Why?"

"No." She clenched her fists to make herself ignore his distress. "Why did you make me play hop-board against Prince Kragen? You did everything you could to force a war. I didn't enjoy being used like that."

So suddenly that she had no chance to defend herself, King Joyse surged out of his chair. As if he had never been weak or old in his life, he knotted his hands in front of her shirt and jerked her to her feet. "This is intolerable! She is my daughter!" His eyes ran as if he were weeping. "Her mother and one of her sisters left me. Her other sister holds me in contempt. Where did she go?"

Terisa should have broken then: she knew that about herself. She should have given up everything and betrayed Myste in simple fear. Her own anger should have evaporated.

But it didn't.

"Back to her mother," she retorted. Myste was her friend. "She wanted to be loyal. She wanted to help you. But when you insulted Prince Kragen like that, you broke her heart. She was raised to be the daughter of a king, not some petty tyrant who likes war and can't be bothered to defend his own people. She--"

Terisa stopped. His anguish stopped her. His sudden strength collapsed. He let go of her shirt. His hands dropped. His eyes squeezed shut, but tears went on spilling past his old eyelids. "If you lie to me--" he rasped far back in his throat. "If you dare lie to me--" It wasn't a threat: it was a plea. Fumbling behind him, he found the arm of his chair and braced himself on it while he sat down. His robe covered him as if he were lost inside it. "My daughter, what have I done to you?"

"Why did you do it?" Terisa asked so that his pain wouldn't tear the truth out of her. "Why did you make me play hop-board against Prince Kragen?"

"To test him," he replied like a man who had no idea what he was saying. "No other reason. How could I trust him? Alend has been Mordant's enemy for generations. He has a personal grudge against me. If his mission were honorable, he would refuse to play. He would have no reason to brook that insult to the Alend Monarch. But if he intended treachery he would acquiesce because he could not risk my displeasure--risk expulsion from Orison before his work was done." He covered his face with his hands. "Oh, my daughter."

So it was true. He knew what he was doing, what was happening around him. The thought seemed to chill her blood. Where had she gotten the idea that it was too warm in this room? She wanted to shiver violently. Ignorance or senility had nothing to do with it.

He was intentionally destroying Mordant.

And yet his distress swept her anger away. She could fear him, but she couldn't be angry at him. "I'm sorry," she said, trying to be kind. "I guess this game is a stalemate too."

Roughly, he pulled down his hands. They shook as he clasped them together in his lap. He didn't look at her. Quietly and distinctly, he said, "My lady, I suggest you give the matter more consideration before you again attempt to end a stalemate by tilting the board." Then he indicated the door with a twitch of his hand, dismissing her.

She turned to leave as if she were fleeing.

The Tor was awake. He watched the King with a look that resembled hunger. As she passed his chair, he gave her a firm nod of approval.

She had already closed the door behind her before it occurred to her to wonder how King Joyse had been able to guess that Myste had come to her for help.


Well, who was it that was guarding the door to Terisa's rooms when Myste came to visit her? Ah yes, that would be Master Quillon.
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