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AMRT Chapter 41: The Uses Of Talent

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:48 am    Post subject: AMRT Chapter 41: The Uses Of Talent Reply with quote

In the previous chapter, Captain Norge and the Tor were left picking up the pieces in Orison's audience hall, but at least it seemed they had finally gained a much-needed alliance with Prince Kragen. (Hooray!!!)

From the audience hall, we go to Master Barsonage's quarters, where a dazed Geraden is recovering his wits. Then he remembers: Eremis has Terisa! It's intolerable to him that she should be completely at the mercy of Master Eremis. He half-coherently tries to storm out of Barsonage's place, babbling about going to help Terisa. When Barsonage asks him how, Geraden babbles on about using his mirror to translate Terisa back from Esmerel, Eremis's home in the Care of Tor. But Barsonage stops Geraden in his tracks as he sadly explains that the kind of help Geraden wants to give Terisa will be quite impossible...because Geraden's mirror had been smashed along with others in the course of the riot against Castellan Lebbick a few days ago. Barsonage blames himself for not having had the foresight to provide special protection for Geraden's mirror, because of a failure to appreciate the depth of Geraden's talent.

As the Master's words sink in, Geraden almost slips into another daze as he realizes it will take at least another day to make a new mirror. Barsonage drones on, trying to explain--or defend--himself: he describes how confused matters were in Orison, with evidence at first seemingly painting Terisa & Geraden as Orison's enemies. But Lebbick then began insisting on their innocence, even though he had himself witnessed the lady Terisa's "alliance" with Master Gilbur. He had insisted it, even when everyone else except for his own men had turned against him. Not only that, but Lebbick had also begun insisting in private that Eremis--the "savior" of Orison--was the guilty party. How was the Congery to interpret all of this? Terisa's display of power--as well as Geraden's--had given the Congery a renewed sense of purpose, but how should its collective power be applied? To ward against Terisa, or to support her? Had she come to save or destroy Mordant? ("Save or damn?" Wink ) Consumed by such questions, Master Barsonage had not thought about the safety of the mirrors, because "men who covet the power of Imagery do not destroy mirrors."

Geraden hardly listens as he is consumed by his own self-questioning:

Everything he had ever done had gone wrong. Wasn't that true? For all practical purposes, he had brought Terisa here simply so that Master Eremis could have her at the peak of his power, at the moment of her greatest vulnerability. What a triumph. The climax of a brilliant life.

Geraden then gets a grip on himself and asks Barsonage about the reasons behind the riot against Lebbick--an unthinkable event under ordinary circumstances. Barsonage's answers lead back to Eremis and his manipulation of Saddith. The Master goes on to explain how Artagel had spoken to him and made a persuasive case for Eremis's guilt. But without proof, Barsonage could not speak against Eremis. So when Eremis had come to Barsonage the day after the riot seeking to resume his duties in the Congery, Barsonage had to appear as though he still trusted Eremis, while striving to protect the Congery from any further betrayal by Eremis. It was a fine line Barsonage walked, but he succeeded:

I concealed the Congery's true work from Master Eremis. I lied to him about it. I allowed him to see no sign of if, play no part in it. He does not know how well prepared we are to assist in the defense of Orison.

What a cool cat Barsonage is. Cool

Geraden asks him what kind of lie he told Eremis. With a smile--"a grin so sharp it seemed almost bloodthirsty"--Barsonage replies that he told Eremis the Congery had dedicated its resources to finding out how Mordant's enemies are able to use flat mirrors without going mad.

However, when Barsonage mentions the theory Eremis proposed to explain how flat mirrors could be safely used, it sends Geraden into another tailspin...because it was the same theory that he and Terisa had been mulling over. So it must be wrong. Eremis was just toying with all of them. The Master was too far ahead in the "elaborate and insidious" game he was playing.

Geraden's thoughts race as he goes back to the riot against Lebbick:

Eremis wanted to preserve Orison for Cadwal. And no man could defend the castle better than Lebbick. And yet Eremis had sent his own lover to get nearly beaten to death, simply to generate a grievance against Lebbick, simply to make a riot possible, simply to make it possible for a riot to enter the laborium, so that Geraden's mirror could be destroyed. All that risk for nothing except to dispose of Geraden's only weapon.

Were Eremis and Gilbur and Vagel really that badly afraid of him?

They must know his talent and fear it tremendously, even as Geraden is in the dark about it himself. Then the flow of his thoughts is rewarded with an intuitive leap, as one name suddenly springs into Geraden's mind: Havelock. The Adept had that storeroom of mirrors in the depths of Orison--mirrors which had helped Terisa escape from Master Gilbur, and which could now help Geraden find Terisa.


Upon reaching Adept Havelock's room of mirrors, Master Barsonage and Geraden see one striking change from previous visits: the room is astonishingly tidy and clean. And so is the Adept himself, once they spot him busy in a corner with a featherduster. Okay, you definitely know something is going on when Havelock starts dressing in clean clothes! Shocked

After introductions are made in the, er, distinctive Havelock way, Geraden gets down to business and goes to stand before the nearest full-length flat mirror. He has no clue how Terisa works with flat glass, but he's going to give it a try anyway. The mirror shows an Image of a great sand dune ("almost certainly somewhere in Cadwal"), but Geraden closes his eyes to it and in his mind starts constructing an Image of Esmerel. To be able to choose the Image you want in a mirror, rather than have the mirror define the Image for you: that's what Terisa and Geraden can do, and that's what Eremis and his gang are afraid of.

After recreating Esmerel in his mind's eye, Geraden opens his eyes, and sees nothing but the sand dune in the flat mirror. He is severely disappointed, and can't understand the excitement of his companions...until he turns and sees the building of Esmerel staring back at him from a curved mirror that stood beside the flat glass he was working with. Geraden realizes then that flat glass is Terisa's talent. His talent is shifting Images in curved mirrors.

Adjusting the focus of his Image, Geraden explores the interior of Esmerel, fervently trying to find any sign of where Terisa might be. He sees mud tracks on the floor, and bloodstains, but no one around. Then he comes to a wide staircase going down.That must be it: Eremis must be keeping Terisa in the cellars--Esmerel's equivalent of a dungeon.

Geraden shifts the Image down the staircase, but he is so absorbed in his search for Terisa that he forgets something important: the light grows dimmer the farther he goes down the stairs, until it is pitch black. Eremis must have extinguished all sources of light here as a clever way of defeating just the kind of ploy Geraden was attempting:

He had no answer to that defense. By that one stroke, any attempt to rescue Terisa was instantly and effectively prevented. He couldn't help her if he couldn't find her--and how could he find her if he couldn't see her?

Still, Geraden wants to continue down the stairs, but Barsonage stops him: "No! You cannot focus an Image you cannot see."

Desperate to find Terisa, Geraden recklessly tries to step through the mirror to go after her himself. Barsonage pulls him back so hard he crashes onto the floor. Before Geraden can get back up, Havelock sits on him and tries to explain a few things:

Listen to me, you fool! Your power sustains the shift! When you translate yourself, that glass will revert to its natural Image. You'll be cut off!--you and the lady Terisa both! You'll both be lost!

Geraden finally heaves Havelock aside. In extreme frustration and needing to vent it somehow, Geraden punches Barsonage in the chest. The formidably sized Master almost takes a step backward from the blow. Wink

We end with Geraden howling at the mirror: "Eremis! Don't touch her!"
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duchess of malfi
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MM said:
Upon reaching Adept Havelock's room of mirrors, Master Barsonage and Geraden see one striking change from previous visits: the room is astonishingly tidy and clean. And so is the Adept himself, once they spot him busy in a corner with a featherduster. Okay, you definitely know something is going on when Havelock starts dressing in clean clothes!

After introductions are made in the, er, distinctive Havelock way

LOL!!! Well done!!! Laughing Laughing Laughing

My heart really goes out to Geraden in this chapter. His frantic fear for Terisa and over what might be happening to her while he is (more or less) helpless to aid her is very well written by SRD. Smile
Love as thou wilt.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is another chapter where I really appreciate Master Barsonage. He's solid, like his wonderful hand-made furniture. He's a little slow, like a tree--it takes him a while to register and comprehend change. But he's an intelligent guy, when all's said and done, and he's very fair. And when he does finally decide to do something, he does it, without hesitation, because he knows it's right.
Halfway down the stairs Is the stair where I sit. There isn't any other stair quite like it. I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top; So this is the stair where I always stop.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Put that way, Barsonage sounds a bit like Norge...(it's here that I can definetely see De Niro playing him) what Care is he from again? Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great chapter, in which we finally see that Geraden can deliberately manipulate the images of mirrors (Curved ones, anyway) at will to see whatever scene he wishes (their have been plenty of hints of that, from the moment he translated Teresa, but this is the first solid confirmation, I think). The only part of this chapter that makes me uncomfortable is when Geraden accuses Barsonage of stupidity in not understanding the point of Saddith being sent to Lebbick's bed. Sure, Geraden is upset because Teresa has been captured, but this accusation against Barsonage is unfounded. Master Barsonage has managed to significantly undermine Eremis' plotting by concealing the Congery's true work. Barsonage deserves better than this from Geraden.
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