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The Tor
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2022 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are welcome, samrw3!

The following passage is one I've previously posted (in the King Joyse thread), but fits in nicely in this thread at this time. The Tor and Castellan Lebbick visit King Juyse before he is ready to retire for the night, and the King and Lebbick discuss how the Alends will start the next day's siege. Lebbick and Joyse both agree catapults will be used, and Joyse seems satisfied to leave it at that and bid them good night.

In Chapter 28 of the Mordant Need's story, in A Man Rides Through, entitled "A Day Of Trouble", was wrote:
"My lord King." It was the Tor who spoke.

The King raised his eyebrows tiredly. "Was there something else?"

"Yes," the Tor said sharply before Castellan Lebbick could break in. "Yes, my lord King. Lebbick has put the lady Terisa of Morgan in the dungeon. He struck her. He means to question her with pain. And he may"--the Tor looked at Lebbick and fought to contain his anger--"may have other intentions as well.

"He must be stopped."

The Castellan started to protest, then caught himself. To his astonishment, King Joyse was glaring at the Tor as if the old lord had begun to stink in some way.

"What difference does it make to you, my lord Tor?" retorted the King. "Nyle was killed. Maybe you didn't realize that. The son of the Domne, my lord Tor--the son of a friend." He spoke as if he had forgotten why the old lord had come to Orison in the first place. "Lebbick is just doing his job."

In response, the Tor's expression turned to nausea; his mouth opened and closed stupidly. He was so appalled that a moment passed before he was able to breathe; then he said as if he were suppressing an attack of apoplexy, "Do I understand you, my lord King?" His lips stretched tight, baring his wine-stained teeth. "Does Castellan Lebbick have your permission to torture and rape the lady Terisa of Morgan?"

A muscle in King Joyse's cheek twitched. Suddenly, his eyes were no longer watery: they flashed blue fire. "That's enough!" Echoes of the man he used to be rang off the walls as he articulated distinctly, "You fat, old, useless sot, you've interfered with me enough. I'm sick of your self-righteousness. I'm sick of being judged. Castellan Lebbick has my permission to do his job."

Behind his constant scowl. inside his clenched heart, Lebbick felt like cheering.



This passage in the Mordant's Need story delivers my strongest empathetic moment with the Tor. No way that the Tor deserves this kind of treatment from the King. I say this because the Tor's trying to save Terisa from an extremely cruel and uncalled-for treatment, he has been Joyse's ally for longer than anybody, he came to his king while heavy with the loss of his eldest son, and his desire for retributive action against renegade Imagery by his king has been rebuffed.

Quote:
The Tor's face swelled purple; his eyes bulged. His fists came up trembling, as if he were in the throes of a seizure--as if he had finally been provoked to strike his King. When he lowered them again, the act cost him a supreme effort. As the blood left his face, his skin became waxen.

"I do not believe you. You are my King. My friend." His voice rattled in his throat; his gaze was no longer focused on anything. "I, too, have lost a son. I will not believe you.

"Be warned, Castellan. You will suffer for it if you believe him."

His flesh seemed to slump on his bones as he moved away and went slowly down the stairs, carrying himself as if his years had caught up with him without warning and made him frail.



It is well that the Tor keeps himself and his anger under control after rude awakening Joyse has just given him, so that Lebbick doesn't get the pleasure of arresting him. But in a way, it's also not well he keeps it bottled up, because in search of relief he begins to turn too many wine bottles up. Cheers Sob Faint
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2022 7:57 am    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

Terisa has been lying on her cot for a while when the Tor's voice appears out of the dark. The Tor at his most heartrending emotional state so far, in the story--and I think that's really saying something considering he entered the story bearing his dead son in his arms! He was in deep shock then, but he's now been crying himself raw, to the point that his chest rattle as with some profound and clinging kind of emotional exhaustion.

Here, he's filled with sorrow and dread, foreseeing horror for both Terisa and King Joyse as a result of her steadfastness to Geraden.

In Chapter 29 of AMRT, entitled "Terisa Has Visitors", was wrote:
"My lady."

She couldn't see who spoke. Nevertheless his voice didn't frighten her; so after a while she was able to raise her head.

The Tor stood at the door of her cell. His voice shook as he murmured again, "My lady." His fat fists gripped the bars of the door as if he were the one who had been locked up--as if he were imprisoned and she were free. Dully, she noticed the lamplit tears spreading across his cheeks.

"My lady, help me."

His appeal reached her. He was her friend, one of the few people in Orison who seemed to wish her well. He had saved her from the Castellan. More than once. Biting back a groan, she shifted onto her hands and knees. Then she got her feet under her and tottered upright.

Swaying and afraid that she might faint, she moved closer to the door. For the moment, that was the best she could do.

"My lady, you must help me." The old lord's voice shook, not because he was urgent, but because he was fighting grief. "King Joyse has given Lebbick permission to do anything he wants to you."

She didn't understand. Like the Castellan's kiss, this was incomprehensible. Somehow, she found herself sitting on the floor again, hunched forward so that her graceless and untended hair hid her face. Permission to do anything. King Joyse had smiled at her, and his smile was wonderful, a sunrise that could have lit the dark of her life. She could have loved that smile, as she loved Geraden. But it was all a lie. Anything he wants to you. It was all a lie, and there was no hope left.

"Please," the Tor breathed in supplication. "My lady Terisa." He was barely able to contain his distress. "In the name of everything you respect--everything you would find good and worthy about him, if he had not fallen so far below himself. Tell us where Geraden has gone."

Involuntarily, her head jerked up. Her eyes were full of shadows. You, too? Nausea closed around her stomach. You've turned against him, too? She couldn't reply: there weren't any words. If she tried to say anything, she would start to cry herself. Or throw up. Not you, too.

"You will not hurt him, my lady." The Tor was pleading. He was an old man and carried every pound of his weight as if it were burdensome. "I care nothing for his guilt. If he lives, he is far from here, safe from Lebbick's outrage. We are besieged. Lebbick cannot pursue him. And no one else can use his glass. It will cost him nothing if you speak.

"But King Joyse--" The lord's throat closed convulsively. When he was able to speak again, his voice rattled in his chest like a hint of mortality. "King Joyse has trusted the Castellan too long. And he is no longer himself. He does not understand the permission he has given. He does not know that Lebbick is mad.

"My lady, he is my friend. I have served him with my life, and with the lives of all my Care, for decades. Now he is not what he was. I acknowledge that. At one time, he was the hero of all Mordant. Now it is the best he can do to defend Orison intelligently.

"But he has only become smaller, my lady, not less good. He means well. I swear to you on my heart that he means well.

"If you defy Lebbick, the Castellan will do his worst. And when King Joyse understands what his permission has done to you, he will lose the little of himself that remains.

"Help me, my lady. Save him. Tell us where Geraden has gone, so that Lebbick will have no excuse to hurt you."


Here the Tor's logic is as solid as his frame. His concern, empathy, and honesty are memorably conveyed in that passage.

Terisa knows already that Lebbick can't get to Geraden where he's gone (the Closed Fist within the Care of Domne), but just can't see betraying him in any way. I thought her offering Lebbick the alternative to tell him everything else she knows about to truly be one of her smartest moments so far. (And besides, all that other information she has is more likely to be of use to Lebbick.)

I'd have found it hard to refuse the Tor's request, or to refute his argument. Especially considering that he has repeatedly proven that he is a friend to her on par with Geraden.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2022 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ironically, the Tor actually respects Terisa's decision to stand by Geraden and not betray his location, to a point. He declares that he tried to find other ways to prevent Lebbick from torturing her for refusing to betray Geraden. But his inability to find any other way to stop Lebbick from committing atrocities upon Terisa's person--atrocities which will end up costing the mind and soul of his friend the King when the King finds out about them--forces him to come to Terisa and push for her to reveal where Geraden is.

Quote:
Terisa couldn't focus her eyes. All she seemed to see was the light reflecting on his cheeks. He was asking her to rescue herself. After all, he was right: If she revealed where Geraden was, the Castellan would have no more excuse to harm her. And in the process King Joyse would be saved from doing something cruel. And the Tor himself-- the only one of the three she cared about-- might be able to stop crying.

With more strength than she knew she had, she got to her feet. "King Joyse is your friend." To herself, she sounded dry and unmoved, vaguely heartless. "Geraden is mine." Then, trying to ease the old man's distress, she murmured, "I'm sorry."

"'Sorry'?" His voice broke momentarily. "Why are you sorry? You will suffer--and perhaps you will die--out of loyalty to a man who has killed his own brother, and it will do him no good. Perhaps he will never know that you have done it. You will endure the worst Lebbick can do to you and accomplish nothing." His hands struggled with the bars. "You have no cause to be sorry. In all Orison, you alone will pay a higher price for your loyalty than King Joyse will.

"No, my lady. The sorrow is mine." The rattle in the Tor's chest made every word he said painful to hear. "It is mine. You will meet your agony heroically, and you will either speak or hold still, as you are able. But I am left to watch my friend bring to ruin everything he loves.

"I did not come to you with this at once. Do not think that. Since King Joyse gave his orders, I have been in torment, wracking my heart for the means to persuade him, move him--to understand him. I have begged at his door. I have bullied servants and guards. Do not think that I bring my pain to you lightly.

"But I have nowhere else to turn.

"My lady, your loyalty is too expensive.

"Whatever I have done, I have done in my King's name. He is all that remains to me. I beg of you--do not let him destroy himself."

"No." Terisa couldn't bear the sight any longer, so she turned her back on the Tor's dismay. "Geraden is innocent. Eremis set this all up." She spoke as if she were reciting a litany, fitting of faith together in an effort to build conviction. "He faked Nyle's death to make Gerden look bad, because he knew Nyle was never going to support his accusations against Geraden. If the King lets me be hurt"--a moment of dizziness swirled through her, and she nearly fell--"he's going to have to live with the consequences. Geraden is innocent."

"No, my lady," the Tor repeated; but now she heard something new in his voice--a different kind of distress, almost a note of horror. "In this you are wrong. I care nothing for Gerden's guilt. I have said that. Only the King matters to me. But you have placed your trust in someone evil."

She stood still, her pulse loud in her ears and doubt gathering in her gut.

"Nyle is unquestionably dead." The lord sounded as sick as she felt. "I have seen his body myself."

Unquestionably dead. That made her move. Groping, she found her way to the cot. It smelled of stale straw and old damp, but she sat down on it gratefully. Then she closed her eyes. She had to have a little rest. In a minute or two, when her heart had stopped quaking, she would answer the Tor. Surely she would be able to think of an answer? Surely Geraden was innocent?

But a moment later the thought that Nyle really had been murdered cut through her, and everything inside her seemed to spill away. Unconscious of what she was doing, she stretched out on the cot and covered her face with her hands.

Eventually, the Tor gave up and left, but she didn't hear him go.


The Tor certainly has done enough for Terisa in the past to inspire her to trust his testimony. But the idea that Nyle is really dead, really murdered, threatens to shake the foundation of faith she has in Geraden. It's a conundrum Terisa can't solve without more information, more rest, and perhaps more reflection.

While it would have been courteous for her to respond to the Tor, even with something as simple as saying "I'll think about what you said", I can see why she didn't, here. The Tor's last assertion necessitates Terisa making a complete realignment of her belief system, and she cannot accomplish such a thought process in a mere moment's time.

All the same, I feel sad for the Tor that his current grief will get no relief.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2022 1:06 am    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

The next time we see the Tor is when Eremis is nosing around the King's tower of personal rooms in Orison, seeking news, and finds the Tor snoring on the floor in a public room near the King's rooms. Eremis considers killing the Tor and slipping out, but decides the idea is no fun because he wouldn't have enough time to humiliate the Tor first.

In "Poised for Victory", the thirty-seventh chapter of A Man Rides Through, was wrote:
If the Tor was occasionally to be found in the waiting room alone and drunk and asleep, then it was possible that he might also occasionally be found there alone and drunk and awake. Awake enough to talk--and too drunk to be cautious.

Master Eremis believed that opportunities were like women: they came to men who knew how to court them.

As a rule, he was given more to flashes of inspiration than to steady labor. That was why he--and Vagel as well--needed Master Gilbur. Nevertheless he began courting this opportunity assiduously. He made sure that he passed through the waiting room more often than any other man in Orison.

Today, on his way to talk with Master Barsonage, his diligence reaped its just reward. The Tor was sitting on one of the deserted benches, so drunk that he could hardly find his head with both hands. His eyes were red and miserable, self-abused, and he exuded a sour smell of old sweat and acid vomit. What was left of his hair straggled into his face.


The Tor is in an even sadder state than when we first saw him with his son's body.

Quote:
Clearly, the long, strange wait while Prince Kragen sat outside Orison and did nothing had begun to bear fruit. A riot against Castellan Lebbick, what a shame. Mirrors broke in the laborium. And the King's oldest friend reduce to this, drinking himself to death in full view of anyone who bothered to notice.

It was odd and wonderful that the man who bothered to notice wasn't the King at all, wasn't the one at whom display was directed. Instead he was Master Eremis.

"My lord Tor," the Master said amiably. "This is fortuitous."

Slowly, as if he were bringing long forgotten muscles into service, the Tor raised his head; he peered at Eremis through a haze of drink. With no discernible self-awareness, he belched.

Then he said in a surprisingly clear voice, "Got any wine?"

Master Eremis smiled across his teeth. "I have wished to speak with you, my lord. Great events transpire in Orison."

The old lord considered this assertion soddenly. After a moment, he dropped his head; it lolled on his neck. Nevertheless when he spoke every word was as distinct as a piece of glass: broken and precise, like augury.

"Too far to get. Too many stairs."

He belched again, aimlessly.

"We have had a riot against the good Castellan," explained Master Eremis. "And it may have been premeditated. While the guards were distracted by the riot, several of the Congery's mirrors were destroyed."

The Tor's head continued rolling back and forth, back and forth, as if he were rocking himself to sleep.

"And now, like a man who knows what happens within our walls, Prince Kragen attacks at last--although I must confess that I am less impressed by the audacity of his assault than by its circumspection."

And may the attacks continue, the Master wished, daring fate to deny him. They are an admirable distraction.

Simply because he was so willing to pursue his aims even if everything went against him, he felt confident that fate would in fact heed his desires.

The Tor met Master Eremis' remarks with a snort; he might have been starting into a snore. A quiver ran through him then, however, and he blinked his bloodshot eyes. "Wine," he pronounced, as if he expected a cask to appear magically before him.


The Tor has now emotionally hit rock bottom in this story, is inside a despairing abyss. And he has nobody to talk with to alleviate his misery, except Eremis. This doesn't turn out to be as bad as it could be for Mordant's need, most fortunately. The Tor gives little strategic information, and delivers Eremis an unsettling shock with what he knows about King Joyse's recent actions.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2022 7:56 pm    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

Master Eremis is sure that King Joyse only pretended to condone Lebbick torturing Terisa, when he knows Joyse is trying to act as if he doesn't know what he's doing. He still remembers when Terisa opened his eyes to Joyse's game of pretending to be self-destructive. So, Eremis knows now that Joyse would not abandon an obvious ally like Terisa to torture.

The Tor continues to show that is deepest passion and concern are for those around him, not himself. He's ready to destroy himself if he can no longer be a positive force for the people and principles he cares about.

Quote:
Master Eremis had difficulty restraining a laugh. True, some of King Joyse's supporters were proving to be more resourceful than Eremis could have predicted. Others, however, only saved themselves from appearing pathetic by being ridiculous.

"What do you make of it all, my lord Tor?" he asked in kind good humor. "Where are the forces of Cadwal? Where is the Perdon? How has Prince Kragen dared to let us endure against him so long?"

Without looking up, the Tor countered absentmindedly, "Did I tell you my son was killed?"

"It seems clear, does it not"--at the moment, Eremis was delighted that he hadn't knifed the old lord--"that the Prince and his illustrious father know something we do not." This conversation was too much fun to be missed. "They would not have wasted so much as a day in hesitation, unless they had reason to believe that High King Festten would not arrive against them. What conclusions do you draw, my lord?"

The Tor appeared to suffer from the delusion that he was actually participating in the discussion. "Did I tell you," he replied, "that he gave Lebbick permission to torture her?"

That was an interesting revelation; but Master Eremis could guess its import too easily to pursue it. Instead, he inquired, "What conclusions can you draw? There are only two. The first is that Festten and Margonal are in alliance--and Festten trusts Margonal enough to give him time to capture the Congery for himself. And if you are able to believe that, I fear we have nothing more to say to each other."

"Torture her," repeated the Tor, "despite her obvious decency--and her proven desire to help him."

"The second," continued Master Eremis, grinning, "is that the Prince has cut us off from information which he himself possesses--from the knowledge that we are not indeed threatened by Cadwal at all. High King Festten has other intentions. He has mustered his army, not against us and Alend, but to wage another war entirely. And if you are able to believe that, I fear you have nothing left to say to anyone."

"I begged her." Fat tears rolled down the old lord's aggrieved cheeks. "I should have begged him, of course, but he was past hearing me. I begged her. Betray Geraden. So that he would not be responsible for what Lebbick would do. So that he would not have her on his conscience." He seemed unaware that he was weeping. His ability to speak so exactly when he was barely sober enough to keep his eyes from crossing was delightful, even entertaining, like a trick done by a mountebank. "But she is the only loyal heart left in Mordant. She would not betray Geraden, even to save herself from Lebbick."

Master Eremis was so pleased that he could hardly contain his relish. Because his exuberance absolutely had to have some outlet, he spun the ends of his chausible like pinwheels.


I think its the Tor's passion for justice that gives him enough strength to control his speech even when he can barely control the rest of his face. His need to name what's bothering him carries him through a drunken fog to shine a bright pinpointing light on what's really bothering him.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2022 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Eremis wants to use the Tor as an unwitting spy for him against King Joyse.

Quote:
"My lord Tor," he asked nonchalantly, coming at last to the point, "what has he been doing all this time, while his people riot, and mirrors are shattered, and women are maimed and murdered? What has good King Joyse been doing?"

As if the word had been surprised out of him, the Tor replied, "Practicing."

"Practicing?" A brief giggle burst from the Master: he couldn't hold it down. "What, hop-board? Still? Has he not given up that folly yet?"

The old lord shook his head, as morose as cold potatoes and congealed gravy.

"Swordsmanship."

That stopped Master Eremis' mirth: it made him stare involuntarily, as if the Tor had somehow, miraculously, opened a pit of vipers at his feet--or had told him a joke so funny that he couldn't believe it, couldn't laugh at it until he had thought about it for a while. Swordsmanship? At his age? Was he strong enough to do as much as lift a longsword?

"My lord Tor," Eremis said casually to conceal the intensity of his attention, "you jest with me. Our brave King cannot swing a sword. He can barely stand without assistance."

Abruptly, with an effort which seemed to make his whole body gurgle, the Tor heaved himself to his feet. He hadn't looked at Master Eremis since the start of the conversation. Dully, as if he was losing his gift for enunciation, he announced, "Got to have wine."

With his hams rolling unsteadily under him, he lurched away.

Master Eremis was about to spring after him, pull him back, wrench an explanation out of him, when the true point of the joke struck home. King Joyse intended to fight--and he was years or even decades past the time when he was strong enough to do so. That shed a new light on everything--on every sign that the King knew what he was doing, that he did what he did out of deliberate policy rather than petulant foolishness. He intended to fight because he didn't know or couldn't admit he no longer had the strength. He wasn't self-destructive or apathetic: he was just blind to age and time. He risked his kingdom in an effort to prove himself still capable of saving it.

That was a rich jest, too rich for any coarse display of mirth. Instead of laughing aloud, Eremis whistled cheerfully through his teeth as he continued on his way to see Master Barsonage.


The Tor's behavior makes it clear he's utterly serious in what he's saying, though he clearly has less enthusiasm for convincing Eremis than he had for stating his regret he couldn't protect Terisa. Eremis receives a shock at learning the King intends to fight, but luckily for the kingdom of Mordant it doesn't stop him from continuing to underestimate the King.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2022 5:12 am    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

We don't see the Tor again until Prince Kragen is admitted into Orison's audience hall a second time, something the Prince decides to request of King Joyse after he has heard Tersa & Geraden's news of Queen Madin's abduction. The Tor does not seem to have gotten any better in condition than when last we saw him.

In the 39th chapter of A Man Rides Through, entitled, "The Final Piece of Bait", was wrote:
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 he was drunk. If he recognized either Terisa or Graden, he didn't show it.


The Tor was upset that the King risked Terisa's life at the hands of Lebbick, but that doesn't account for why we see him this way at this time. The overriding issue for the Tor must therefore still be trying to save King Joyse from the disastrous consequences of his (Joyse's) decisions, and his condition shows he has had no success at that whatsoever in recent weeks.

Quote:
Unexpectedly, the Tor let out a snorting noise like a snore. His eyes seemed to be falling closed; his head began to loll on his thick neck.


It is ironic that the Tor's caring so much about what goes on in Mordant has him drinking himself into such a stupor that he appears to not care at all what goes on around him at this moment. Cheers Screwy

Quote:
The Tor snorted again, softly, and opened one eye. "So Terisa and Geraden are traitors after all," he rumbled. He was lost in a world of wine. "How sad." At once, he closed his eye again, dismissing whatever happened around him.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2022 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's when the noise level in the audience hall goes up, caused by the arrival by Imagery of Gart, his Apts, Eremis, and Gilbur, that gets the Tor involved in matters.

Quote:
Laconic in the tumult, Norge demanded reinforcements. Two of the captains headed out the hall to rally Orison; the rest of Lebbick's men followed him toward the stairwell to the balcony.

The noise awakened the Tor. He opened his eyes with a snuffle and gazed around blearily.


Recall that the Tor has heard Terisa say repeatedly (to King Joyse in the King's apartments, and directly to him when in the dungeon) that Master Eremis is a liar and is allied with the enemies of Mordant. I must say, once the Tor sees for himself that Terisa was telling the truth all along about Eremis, he wastes little time in going after Eremis.

Quote:
Together, Gilbur and Gart raced to help Eremis.

He was fighting for his life.

No one had opposed his advance on the Masters, on Terisa and Geraden. The Masters were as useless and cowardly as he had always believed them to be; they wouldn't be worth the trouble of killing. Even Master Barsonage wasn't worth killing.

Geraden, on the other hand--

But at the last moment, Master Eremis had paused. He saw something in Geraden's eyes--an unexpected threat; some kind of fatal promise.

It caused the Master to check his swing.

Terisa didn't look dangerous. She didn't even look desirable. She had turned inward with her back against the wall as if she were trying to faint.

Eremis raised his sword to fend Geraden away while he grabbed at her.

Suddenly, a mountain of flesh slapped against him with such force that he nearly went sprawling.

The Tor--! Eremis got his blade up just in time to keep the fat, old lord from splitting his head open.

Considering the Tor's skill and age and drunkenness, his sword might as well have been a cudgel. Nevertheless it had weight behind it, and a mad, blubbering fury. Master Eremis parried as hard as he could, and again, and again ; yet he was driven backward. He would have to disembowel that old slob to stop him.

"My lord!" Geraden yelled. "Look out!"

The Tor didn't seem to hear the warning. He was still swinging his sword like a club when Gart kicked him in the stomach hard enough to rupture his guts.

Retching, he collapsed to his knees and presented his exposed neck to Gart's blade.


Very heroic moment for the Tor. Gart is now ready to remove the Tor's head while he can't defend himself, but Norge's reinforcements are coming at him quickly. Once the Castellan is also nearby to threaten him, Gart has just enough time to dispatch the Castellan before he MUST get translated away, and not enough time to walk a step or two over to behead the Tor.

It's gratifying that the Tor is determined when once again conscious to ensure that Lebbick's sacrifice for him was not in vain.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2022 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Tor is able to see that one of the reasons the audience hall was attacked at the particular time it was is because the enemies of Mordant absolutely DO NOT WANT Mordant to have an alliance with Alend. He is smart to push for it, because the King isn't around to undermine his efforts, and because Mordant and Alend cannot continue to waste resources and lives when they have foes that want them all dead or subjugated. Even though the alliance he seeks proves elusive for a while, his overtures to the Prince still stop all hostile actions between Mordant and Alend very quickly.

In chapter 40 of AMRT, entitled "The Lord of Last Resort", was wrote:
Pain pushed against the back of the Tor's throat, and his stomach knotted; but he clung to the cold stone with his hands and knees, kept his balance. When that captain, what was his name? Norge, when Norge came to him and tried to help him erect, he managed somehow to knot his fat fist in the captain's mail and pull him down, so that Norge had to meet him face-to-face.

"The King--" he gasped. His voice was a sick whisper, lost in the hurt clench of his abdomen.

"Gone, my lord Tor. I've sent men to look for him, but I don't expect any results."

"Why not?"

Norge shrugged. "Men who vanish like that usually don't want to be found."

His immunity to distress was remarkable. Peering into the captain's face, the Tor began remember him better. It was possible that Castellan Lebbick had promoted Norge simply because Norge was the only man under him who never flinched.

A man like that was hard to talk to. What did he care about? What were his convictions, his commitments?

"Help me up." The Tor made no effort to move. The pain squeezed his voice to a husk. "I will take his place."

The Tor wasn't trying to stand, and Norge didn't try to lift him. Instead, the captain asked calmly, "You, my lord?"

"Me." For all the strength the Tor could muster, he might as well have been whispering deliberately. Maybe Gart really had ruptured something vital.
"Who else? I am the King's oldest friend. Apart from Adept Havelock--and you will not offer him the rule of Orison and Mordant."

No question about it: the hurt in his bowels was going to be stupendous. Already it seemed to cut off his supply of air. Sweat or tears ran from him as if he were a sodden towel being twisted. There were too many candles glaring in his eyes. Yet he kept his grip on the captain.

"And I am the only lord here. King Joyse suffered me to remain when the others rode away. I have acted as his chancellor and advisor. Something must be done about the panic. Power must be assumed by someone who will believed. Who else would you have?

"Who else is there?"

Norge blinked at this question as if he didn't think it was worth answering.

"I have no hereditary claim, no official standing." The Tor wanted to wail or weep, but he couldn't get that much voice past the pain. "But if you support me in this, Castellan Lebbick's second, a man with the King's guard behind him--" A gasp came up from his kneecaps, nearly blinding him. "If you support me, I will be accepted."

"My lord Tor," the captain remarked dispassionately, "even if I support you, you'll scarcely be able to stand." After a moment, he added, "If I can say so without offense, my lord, you aren't the king I would have chosen."

"A fat old man sodden with wine and unable to stand." It was embarrassing to be in tears at a time like this, but the Tor's hurt had to have some outlet. "I understand. Do you?"

"My lord"--Norge's calm was maddening, really--"you need a physician. Let people in better condition worry about Orison."

"Fool," the lord moaned. "You do not understand." Pulling on Norge's mail, heaving against the pain, he got one leg under him; that enabled him to shift his other hand from the floor to Norge's shoulder. He felt like he had Eremis' fruitbat gnawing on his guts. Nevertheless he panted through his tears and sweat, "Someone must take command. Orison must be led. And I am here. Prince Kragen is here. For the first time, we know our enemies. We must not miss this opportunity."

"Opportunity?" Norge asked noncommittally.

Oh, for the strength to scream! The Tor's stomach and throat seemed to be filling up with blood. "An alliance with Alend," he croaked out. "Against Cadwal. A chance to end this siege and fight."

The captain said nothing; his reaction was unreadable.

"Norge." Peering through a blur of pain, the lord leaned closer to whisper straight into the captain's face. "If I can make an alliance with Prince Kragen, will you support me?"

Norge spent an astonishing amount of time lost in thought. He took forever to arrive at a decision. Or maybe he just seemed to take forever.
Then he said, "All right, my lord Tor," as if he had never hesitated in his life.


And the agreement between the Tor and Norge starts to bear fruit within moments, as the Prince is able to be convinced the offer of alliance is sincere because they let him keep his sword.

Quote:
Prince Kragen was rousing, no question about it. Artagel still sprawled on the floor as if Master Gilbur had broken his neck; but the Prince was crawling stupidly toward his sword.

A guard who didn't know any better and probably hated Alends stepped forward to kick the sword out of Kragen's reach.

"Stop," coughed the Tor.

Norge ordered the guard to stop.

Still barely conscious, Prince Kragen got a hand on his sword and at once began climbing to his feet.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2022 9:51 pm    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

It's after Terisa escapes from Eremis, and she and Geraden and Master Barsonage meet with the Tor, that the Tor's plan to defend Mordant REALLY starts to take shape
Quote:
There sat the Tor, slumping over his great belly as if he were barely able to keep himself from oozing out of the position he had assumed.

"The alternatives you propose," the old lord was saying as if he were in a kind of pain which had nothing to do with Prince Kragen, "are intolerable." He had a hand over his face. "I will not permit you to occupy Orison, making us little more than a hostage population. I do not call that an alliance."

"And I do not call it an alliance to wait outside in danger while you sit here in safety," retorted the Prince hotly. "If--no, when High King Festten marches against us--we will be helpless while you remain secure, watching the outcome. We must be allowed to enter Orison. I will not remain where I am, waiting for King Joyse to return--if he ever does return--and tell me his pleasure--if his pleasure involves anything more productive than a game of hop-board."

The Tor didn't look strong enough to raise his head. "I understand your dilemma, my lord Prince. Of course I do. But you cannot believe Orison's people--or Orison's defenders--will sit quietly on their hams while Alend takes power over them. I have already said I will open the gates to you if you--"

"No!" Prince Kragen barked. "Do you take me for a fool? I have no intention of making Orison's people hostage. I will grant them precisely as much freedom and respect as the necessary crowding of so many bodies permits. But I will not submit my forces to your authority."

Orison's captains muttered restively. Some of them were viscerally incensed at the idea of an alliance with Alend. And some of them had noticed Geraden and Master Barsonage--had noticed Terisa--

"My lords!" Geraden cut in sharply. His voice carried potential authority across the room; and a thrill prickled suddenly down Terisa's back. "There's no need to argue about waiting. We're done waiting. It's time to march!"

The Tor snatched his hand down from his face, peered bleary pain and desire at Terisa and Geraden. Artagel wheeled with joy catching fire across his features. Norge turned more cautiously; but Prince Kragen spun like Artagel, his swarthy face congested with conflicting needs.

"Terisa! My lady!" Artagel crowed. "Geraden!" By the stars, you did it!" As if he had never been injured in his life, he caught Geraden in an exuberant bearhug, lifted him off his feet, then dropped him to snatch up Terisa's hand and kiss it hugely. "Everytime I see you, you're even more wonderful!"

She wanted to hug him, but she was distracted; there were too many other things going on. The captains were shouting encouragement to each other, or demanding silence. And the Tor had risen to his feet. Unsteadily, almost inaudibly, he murmured her name, Geraden's. "You are indeed wondrous." He spoke huskily, as if he were dragging his voice along the bottom of a cave. "There must be hope for us after all, if such blows can be struck against our enemies."

Prince Kragen was right behind Artagel; he grabbed Geraden by the shoulders when Artagel dropped him. "How did you do it?" the Prince demanded. "How did you rescue her? What has changed? Where is King Joyse? Did you say march?"

Somehow, Norge made himself heard through the hubbub. His laconic tone sounded so incongruous that it had to be heeded.

"You got away, my lady. What did you learn from him?"

"What did you do to him?"

In the stark silence which followed, a moment passed before she understood the point of his question.

With her chin jutting unconsciously, she met the hot and eager and worried stares of the men around her. "I didn't do anything to him." I didn't kill him. I didn't even hurt him. "But I learned enough."

Too quickly for anyone to interrupt her, she added, "Before Gilbur killed him, I had a long talk with Master Quillon. He told me what King Joyse has been doing all this time. Why he's been acting like such a passive fool. What he wanted to accomplish. Geraden is right. It's time to march."


It's heartening that the Tor soon becomes very persuaded to attack Esmerel as soon as possible. All his doubts about what to do have melted away. Too bad that rupture from Gart's kick guarantees the Tor's health will never be the same. Crying or Very sad

Quote:
Urgently, Terisa pushed against Artigel and Prince Kragen, hurried to the lord. "Get him some wine!" she called. Oh, shit. He's having a heart attack,

"My lord Tor. Are you all right?"

His hands fluttered against the arms of the chair. For a moment, he gagged as if he were choking; under his lowered eyelids his eyes rolled wildly. Then, however, he took a breath that made all his fat quiver. He raised one hand to his chest, knotted it in his robe; and his head lifted as if he were pulling it up by main strength.

"Do not be alarmed, my lady," he wheezed thinly. "The difficulty is that I have pawned all I am for him. I have made myself contemptible for the belief that my King would at last prove worthy of service." With remarkable celerity, one of the captains brought forward a flagon of wine. The Tor accepted it and gulped a drink. Then torment clenched his features. "Did you truly mean to suggest that he has been acting according to a plan--that the things he has done have had a purpose?"

"Yes," she avowed at once, despite the fact that at that moment she would cheerfully have wrung King Joyse's neck. "He didn't know you would come here. You heard him say you defy prediction." The explanation Master Quillon had given her wasn't good enough to justify the cost King Joyse had exacted from men like Castellan Lebbick and the Tor, from his daughters, from Geraden and everybody else who loved him. "His plans didn't include you. He didn't mean to hurt you." For the time being, she supported the King, not because she approved of what he had done, but because but because he had left her no alternative.

"All this time, he's been working to save Mordant."


It's like the Tor has to take another hard blow, in realizing the King was acting deliberately but never trusted his old friend with the secret of that.

But after the sting of it has faded, he sees it offers great hope, that the King knows what he's doing and is the same hero he once knew.
Hail King Big Wave
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terisa and Geraden have just stunned everybody in the room by stating that Mordant's army must march to Esmerel to confront Eremis. The Tor, meanwhile, must first come to grips with the false image of his friend Jouse that he's had in his head the last few weeks.

Quote:
The old lord's mind was running in a completely different direction, however. "That explains it then," he rumbled.

He braced himself upright with an arm on one side, an elbow on the other. Canted in this posture as if his weight were about to overturn the chair, he muttered, "That is why he told Lebbick to do whatever he wanted to her. He had to appear weak-- had to seem like he had lost his reason. He had to persuade me. If I had failed to believe him, I could have betrayed him to Eremis.

"At the same time, he sent Master Quillon to remove her from the dungeon, so that no one would suffer from his feigned weakness--so that Lebbick would not have a crime on his heart--so that she would not be harmed.

"At last I understand."

The Tor looked like a man whose hands had just been released from thumbscrews.


Then what Geraden says about Nyle still being alive and held captive at Esmerel begins to penetrate the minds of his audience including the mind of the Tor. The Tor announces they will march to Esmerel effective the next day.

It is then that Prince Kragen vehemently objects, insisting that it is best for Alend and Mordant to make an alliance to stay in Orison, and if the armies of Mordant and Alend are forced to abandon Orison to Cadwal and flee for Alend, that the Fayle, Termigan, and perhaps even the Armigite have their armies join them and fight Cadwal hard for every inch of ground that they take.

Terisa and Geraden point out the problem with that plan of Kragen's, that Images can be made by their enemies of various places within Orison and people could face serious slaughter before they ever are able to retreat from Orison (before Cadwal's army reaches Orison, even).

Prince Kragen seems to be somewhat persuaded, but notes that "if it is madness to remain here, it is not therefore sane to march against Esmerel." After Esmerel is described by Artagel as a trap for whichever army arrives second, Prince Kragen becomes more passionate that Eremis is hoping they will march to Esmerel.

Geraden counters that King Joyse can spring traps inside the traps of his enemies, and says they can do the same thing by being stronger than Eremis expects. He gets into specifics about his and Terisa's abilities with mirrors, and Barsonage supports this. Master Barsonage further notes that the Congery is ready to do battle in a way Eremis does not expect, and that they can supply the armies of Mordant and Alend by translating supplies to them.

Prince Kragen still thinks having faith in the wisdom of marching to Esmerel is asking too much, but the Tor has heard enough. He repeats the order to Castellan Norge that they will march tomorrow at dawn.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Tor orders Norge to return the Prince safely and politely to his father Margonal's camp outside of Orison. But Artagel has another idea.

In chapter 43 of the Mordant's Need story, entitled "The Only Reasonable Thing to Do", was wrote:
"Wait a minute." Artagel wore his battle grin. He was unarmed, but at the moment he didn't look like he needed a weapon. "You're talking about marching into the teeth of the siege. Is that wise, my lord Tor? Shouldn't we keep Prince Kragen with us? A hostage of our own? If we let him go, he can cut us down as soon as we ride out of here."

"No," the Tor said at once. The flatness in his tone was turning to nausea. "That the Alend Contender will not do. He knows where we go, and why. He may well resume his attack on Orison when we are gone. For that reason, we will leave two thousand men behind us, and someone reliable to lead them. But he will not harm or hinder us."

Terisa wanted to ask, Are you sure? The mix of emotions on Prince Kragen's face was too complex to give her much confidence. Maybe that was what he planned: a killing attack as soon as the guard left Orison? Unexpectedly, however, the Prince's excitement seemed to gain the upper hand for a moment.

"Thank you, my lord Tor." He spoke softly; yet his voice carried a hint of trumpets. "Rely on my respect. If my father's friends were as honorable as King Joyse's, Alend would have no need of Contenders to win the Seat."

Kragen turned to go. Norge sent two captains to accompany him until more guards could be mustered. Nevertheless Terisa didn't see his departure. She was busy trying to catch the Tor's great weight as it tumbled to the floor.

The old lord had fainted.


But the Tor accomplished much by staying conscious the last few hours, despite his severe pain. He has restored order to Orison, made a plan to face Mordant's enemies, and even made a gesture magnanimous enough to earn more of the Prince's respect and make himself and Mordant safer with Alend. Considering the chaos and pain the Tor faced upon first taking control of Orison, he has done very well with his circumstances.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 4:54 pm    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

The Tor makes the right call, putting someone with both charisma and battle credibility like Artagel in charge of Orison. It's too bad it's hard for Artagel to see it that way.


In chapter 44, called "Men Go Forth", was wrote:
There were four men already in the room: the Tor himself, Castellan Norge, Master Barsonage, and Artagel. Norge stood with his back to one wall, casually at attention: he looked like a man who never needed sleep because he was always napping. In contrast, Master Barsonage seemed to be actually wringing his hands; he faced the Tor and Artagel alternately with a discomfited expression, as if he wanted to intervene but didn't know what to say.

The Tor and Artagel confronted each other like combatants. The old lord thrust his belly forward assertively; his cheeks were red with wine or exertion. Artagel stood in a fighter's balanced stance, his hands ready to go for either his longsword or his dagger.

As Terisa and Geraden entered the room, Artagel turned toward them. His grin twisted her stomach. He looked primed for battle, as fatal as his weapons--and yet in some way lost, like a man who needed help he wasn't going to get against impossible odds.

"Just in time," he said, denying the Tor the bare courtesy of a chance to speak first. "My lord Tor is a bit confused this morning. He doesn't realize I'm your bodyguard. You better tell him. I'm your personal bodyguard."

Master Barsonage cast an unhappy look at Terisa and Geraden, then retreated to give them room in front of the Tor and Artagel.

"Artagel," the Tor rumbled to them as if he were on the verge of an outburst, "refuses a direct command. He refuses to obey me."

Terisa looked at Geraden, baffled by the hostility in the room and the knot in her stomach. Geraden's gaze shifted to Artagel, then back to the Tor. "Don't tell me, my lord Tor," he said with a bitterness of his own. "Let me guess. You want him to stay here."

"I want him"--the Tor contained himself with difficulty--"to rule Orison in my absence."

Rule Orison--?

Artagel snarled an obscenity. "It comes to the same thing. He thinks I'm a cripple."

Terisa stared at him, at the Tor; she was simultaneously surprised, relieved, and appalled. The idea of putting Artagel in charge of Orison had never occurred to her.

"No!" the Tor retorted, almost retching, "It does not come to the same thing. I do not ask you to remain behind because you are unfit to go. I command you to stay here because you are needed!

"I must leave Orison with less than two thousand men to defend it. And I have no alliance with the Alend Monarch. He will let us depart, of that I am sure. But when we are gone, he will not hesitate to renew his siege. Prince Kragen considers this castle to be the best safety available.

"If Orison is not defended--well defended--it will be lost."

Artagel was in no condition for fighting. And yet the cost of having to stay behind--the price he would pay for remaining in Orison while Mordant's fate was decided without him--would be severe.



Making sure to preserve a home base for the army to return to is stil l an important job, particularly when that home base remains under siege. Who better than Artagel to be resourceful with everybody left in Orison?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2022 1:59 pm    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

The Tor lays out his reasoning for having Artagel remain in Orison.

Quote:
"After King Joyse," the Tor concluded, "you are the only man who can hope to hold these walls against the Alend army."

"How?" Artagel snapped back. "I don't have any authority. I don't even belong to the guard. I've never been able to take orders. How do you expect me to give them?"

"By being who you are," the Tor answered heavily. "The best-liked man in Orison."

The old lord was right, Terisa thought. The guards would fight to the death for Artagel, of course. But so would half the population of the castle. He was the best swordsman in Mordant; his feats were legendary. And he was a son of the Domne. By simple likability, he might be able to rule Orison even more effectively than Castellan Lebbick.

Cursing, Artagel returned to his brother. "Tell him," he demanded. "I'm going with you. You need me. When you go up against Eremis, you'll need somebody to watch your back. I want--"

The look on Geraden's face stopped him.

"You want to try Gart again," Geraden said softly, "is that it?"

Anger and distress pulled Artagel's expression in several directions at once.

"With muscles in your side that haven't finished healing?" Geraden continued: soft; relentless. "You want to tackle a man who's already beaten you twice, when you can't even lift that sword without a twinge?"

Artagel flinched in helpless fury or frustration; he took a step backward. "I'm coming with you somehow," he said between his teeth. "I won't stay here."

"Yes, you will," rasped the Tor. "You may succeed in refusing to obey me, but I assure you that you will stay here."

Artagel flung a glare like a challenge at the old lord. "Are you going to make me, my lord Tor?"

"No, Artagel, I will not 'make' you. Norge will do that. He will support me in this."

From his place against the wall, the new Castellan nodded amiably. His bland calm was more convincing than a shout.

"Your choices," the Tor finished, "are to remain in command of Orison--or to remain in the dungeon."

Artagel studied the Tor and Norge; he directed a last appeal at Geraden.


This passage shows that the Tor's confidence in Norge's support of his decisions is now absolute, enabling him to threaten the best-liked person in Orison, if he so chooses. Artagel is clearly convinced he'll be made to stay.


Quote:
In response, Geraden muttered miserably, "Don't you understand, you halfwit? You're too valuable to waste on a senseless contest with Gart. The Tor wants you to do the hardest job there is. King Joyse needs someplace to come back to. If everything else fails, he needs a castle and some men for the last defense of Mordant. He needs someone to give him that. He can't do it for himself. He needs someone like you, who can make old men and serving girls and children fight for him just by smiling at them."

For a moment, Terisa feared that Artagel would break out in protest, do something wild. He was a fighter, by temperament and training unsuited to sit still for sieges. But then his face took on a smile she had never seen before--a grimace bloodier and more bitter than his fighting grin; a look that chilled her heart.

To Norge, he said, "I want Lebbick's mail--I want all the things he was wearing when Gart got him. I want his insignia--his sash and that headband. The more blood on them, the better. Anybody who looks at me is by the stars going to know what I stand for."

Norge glanced at the Tor. The Tor nodded; his eyes were glazed with pain. Phlegmatically, Norge said, "Come," and left the wall.

Artagel didn't look at either Geraden or Terisa as he followed the new Castellan out of the room.


The Tor has no objections about how Artagel wants to look, as long as it makes Artagel fulfill the role the Tor has planned for him.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2023 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And now, the Tor makes his biggest strategic blunder, insisting Terisa stay within Orison out of a misplaced sense of honor. Terisa handles herself so very well here, effectively getting the message to the Tor that he's not being reasonable in the most reasonably-sounding way possible. Geraden and Master Barsonage follow up sounding reasonable and sure, knowing it hurts the Tor to be defied in such a desperate time. [Edit: Which is to say, that it softens the blow to the Tor's confidence, the way Terisa, Geraden, and Barsonage handle their disagreement with the Tor.]

Quote:
"You also, my lady," the Tor said as if he had boulders rolling around in his gut, "will remain here."

What--?

She looked around her. Geraden was gaping at the old lord, frankly dumbfounded. Master Barsonage's expression was white with consternation.

She had heard right. The Tor intended to leave her in Orison.

Which was why Ribuld hadn't brought any protective clothing or weapons for her. And why he had evaded her eyes, her inquiries. Of course.

Unexpectedly calm, she faced the lord. Her gaze was steady; even her pulse didn't flutter. Geraden started to speak for her; but when he noticed her demeanor, he bit his mouth closed.
"My lord Tor," she said gently, as if he were as mad as Havelock, unable to be questioned, "you don't want me to go with you."

The tone of her reaction seemed to weaken his resolve. Speaking loudly in an apparent effort to shore up his position, he retorted, "you are a woman."

Because he had raised his voice, she lowered hers. "And that makes a difference to you."

"I am the lord of the Care of Tor." His face grew redder, goaded toward passion by the fact that she wasn't yelling at him. "And I am the King's Chancellor in Orison. His honor is in my hands, as is my own. You are a woman."

Deliberately rejecting sarcasm, she replied quietly, "Please be plain, my lord Tor. I want to understand you."

As if she were driving him to distraction, he shouted, "By the heavens my lady, I do not take women into battle!"

In spite of her determination to be kind, Terisa smiled. "Then don't think of me as a woman, my lord. Think of me as an Imager. Ask Master Barsonage. He offered to make me a Master. I'm not going with you. I'm going with the Congery."

The Tor took a deep breath, preparing to bellow.

At once, Master Barsonage put in, "My lady Terisa is quite correct, my lord Tor," speaking in the most placating voice he could manage. "You have not forgotten that she is an Imager--in effect, a member of the Congery. It is possible that she is the most powerful Imager we have ever known. I do not believe that we can confront Master Eremis and Master Gilbur and the arch-Imager Vagel without her."

Livid with anger--or perhaps with the pain of holding his belly upright--the Tor demanded, "Do you defy me, mediator?"

Master Barsonage spread his hands. "Of course not, my lord Tor. I merely observe the lady Terisa is a question that belongs to the Congery. Regardless of the role we assign to her in the support of Orison and Mordant, she casts no aspersion on your honor--or the King's." Carefully, Geraden commented, "And King Joyse doesn't hesitate to use women when he needs them. Adept Havelock told us last night that King Joyse knew years ago the lady Elega and Prince Kragen would become lovers. He consented to his own betrayal--he practically drove her into the Prince's arms. I don't think the Prince would ever have let me and Terisa into Orison if she hadn't been there. And she may do other things for us yet.

"My lord Tor, we need Terisa with us."

The Tor looked back and forth between Master Barsonage and Geraden, his eyes swollen and baleful as a pig's. His face was crimson with stress.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2023 1:37 pm    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

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Nevertheless he acquiesced.

Slowly, he slumped into a chair; his hands made weak gestures of dismissal. Terisa had to remind herself that she wasn't his only--or even his primary--reason for appearing so defeated. "Leave me," he muttered. "We march at full dawn. I must have a moment's peace."

But Master Barsonage moved to leave, and Geraden put a hand on her arm, urging her toward the door. "Come on," he breathed, "before he changes his mind."

Dumbly, she accompanied Geraden and the mediator.

Outside, trying to articulate her own sorrow, she said, "Gart must have hurt him pretty badly. He doesn't look like he can stay on his feet much longer."

Away from the Tor, Geraden's expression turned bleak, unconsoled. "That doesn't matter. King Joyse hurt him worse than Gart did. To Master Barsonage, he explained, "Artagel told us the Tor spent most of the time we were away getting blind drunk."

The mediator nodded grimly.

"What's holding him together," Geraden continued, "is feeling needed. As long as he knows he's necessary, he can stand being kicked. That's why it hurts him so much when we argue with him--even when he's wrong. He hasn't got the strength or the resolution or the hope left to survive doubting himself."

Terisa hugged Geraden's hand where it held her arm; she was grateful that he understood.


He hasn't got the strength or the resolution or the hope left to survive doubting himself. I recall the first time I read to this point in Mordant's Need, I didn't understand the Tor's behavior, so this was an explanation that clicked with me, made him comprehensible. Made it so that I could still feel good about the Tor's good heart, y'know?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2023 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this scene, the beginning of the march to Esmerel, the Tor surpasses himself: forever puts behind his (still very recent) drunkenness and transcends the effect of his unintimidating personal appearance. His "good heart" I mentioned in the previous post is the reason, I believe, that he shores up every listener's courage, strengthens listener's faith.

Quote:
Slowly, accompanied by his personal guard--the men who had come with him from his Care--as well as by Castellan Norge and Artagel, he rode to the gates so that when they were raised he would be the first to face the Alend army, the first to face the march. For some reason, his black cloak and hood--the mourning garb which he had worn to bring his son to Orison--made him appear smaller. Or maybe her horseback perspective deemphasized his bulk. He didn't look large enough to take King Joyse's place, imposing enough to threaten King Joyse's enemies.

Yet when he lifted his voice he lifted her heart as well, like the remembered call of horns.

"It is a dangerous thing we do." Somehow, the old lord made his words carry across the courtyard, made them echo around the face of Orison. "Barely six thousand of us go to meet Cadwal and vile Imagery on the ground they have chosen for battle. And we will have the Alend army at our backs--if I cannot persuade the Alend Monarch to see reason at last. An attempt may be made to take Orison in our absence. King Joyse is not with us, and the power against us is staggering.

"It is a dangerous thing we do.

"But it is the best we can.

"The Congery rides with us. We have powers which our enemies cannot suspect. Artagel will preserve Orison for us--and High King Festten is weaker than he knows, helpless to supply his forces by any means that cannot be cut off. King Joyse has planned and labored for years to reach this moment. It will not fail.

"It is a dangerous and desirable thing we do. I am proud to take part in it."

The Tor signaled with one hand. At once, the castle's trumpeter blew a fanfare which echoed against the walls, rang into the sky. Groaning, the great winches began to crank the gate open.

While the gate went up, the Tor pulled his charger around to face the opening and the future as if he had never been afraid in his life.

Artagel withdrew. Castellan Norge called the guard to order.

When the gate was up, the trumpeter sounded another fanfare.

With the Congery and six thousand men behind him, the Tor rode out of Orison.




While the gate went up, the Tor pulled his charger around to face the opening and the future as if he had never been afraid in his life. Nice picture of the Tor facing his destiny, and a nice dramatic rhythm to SRD's written sentence.

High King Festten is weaker than he knows, helpless to supply his forces by any means that cannot be cut off I find this interesting, because although I have read Mordant's Need six times (and thinking about reading it again this year), I don't recall this point of cutting Festten off from his supply line to Cadwal being a strategy the defenders of Mordant ever pursue. I believe the possibility of that being done is brought up only her, and the idea never revisited in the story.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2023 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the point of supplies is to mark the contrast between the armies, and imply without explicitly saying the miracle of supply chain that the Congery has wrought. "We have this power that no army in history has ever had!"
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2023 6:14 pm    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

IrrationalSanity wrote:
I think the point of supplies is to mark the contrast between the armies, and imply without explicitly saying the miracle of supply chain that the Congery has wrought. "We have this power that no army in history has ever had!"



This is a very good point, a reminder that their ability to supply their army is far superior to anything Cadwal can do.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2023 6:16 pm    Post subject: The Tor Reply with quote

For those KW readers whose recall of what happens next in the MN story is now fuzzy at best, I offer the following summary paragraphs.

After the Tor's speech and the army starting to move out, Artagel is getting ready to return to Orison and has his horse pass by Terisa's to tell her he'd told everybody she could shift Eremis' mirrors so they're no longer a threat. He advises her to keep it to herself if that wasn't true.

Then Terisa realizes a mirror belonging to either Vagel or Gilbur shows the crossroads outside Orison in its Image. The same crossroads that the Tor and the army and Congery are heading towards. And she sees that Prince Kragen is coming with his soldiers to greet the Tor. And she remembers seeing slaughtering black dots that were translated on the Perdon's men that killed them. She can foresee all of them getting slaughtered by those black dots. She warns Artagel of the danger, and he rides to stop them all, including Kragen, from getting to the crossroads. Terisa follows, and Geraden and Ribuld ride after them.

Terisa explains to the Tor and all others within hearing that she proposes shifting the mirror that shows the crossroads. To do this, she has to show up in the threatening mirror's Image, figure out what the mirror's Image is showing in terms of direction and figures within, and turn the Image opaque while creatures appear from that mirror. Doing such an Image shift to a mirror while it is still translating physical creatures like the black dots should break the mirror. Artagel volunteers to move Terisa around so the black dots can't get her, and the Tor and Norge agree to send soldiers to combat the dots until Terisa can break the enemy mirror. Geraden protest he should be there with her, and Terisa counters that Mordant can't afford to lose both of them. As she, Artagel, and the soldiers ride towards the crossroads, she orders Ribuld to restrain Geraden from coming, and he obeys.

Terisa soon gets the sensation of a translation happening, that touch of cold as thin as a feather and a sharp as steel sliding straight through the center of \her abdomen feeling. The touch of cold isn't momentary as usual this time, but continuous. The attack of the black dots begins, and Prince Kragen send some of his soldiers to aid in protecting Teisa and Artagel. As she is thrown about by Artagel, she realizes after a few moments that the dots are coming from somewhere upward, falling on them at a diagonal angle. She imagines herself and all around her being attacked by the black dots as seen from that angle, turns the mirror opaque. Suddenly the touch of cold sensation stops, and two severed halves of black dots drop to the ground. The attack is over.

Artagel and she are alright, but they have lost ten soldiers to the dots, three m=Mordants and seven Alends. Prince Kragen complains to Terisa that her experiment was expensive, and Artagel retorts the enemy Imagers will now fear attack them directly with a mirror. Artagel is so upset with the Prince's complaint that he almost forgets to add, "my lord Prince". Then the Tor, Norge, the army of Mordant, and the Congery ride forward to the intersection.

Quote:
The Tor and Norge and their escort were the first riders to arrive from Orison. The Tor didn't dismount--maybe he couldn't, and still be sure of being able to get back up on his horse. But he addressed her in a voice she remembered, a voice with cunning and resolution hidden in its subterranean rumble.

"My lady Terisa of Morgan, it would have been a grave mistake if I had required you to remain behind."


This is probably my favorite line of dialogue in the entire Mordant's Need story. I needed to be shown Terisa can make an offensive move with mirrors against the enemy, and it feels good to see the Tor's confidence so manifestly boosted, here.
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