11 – 38

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Behind Glory’s property stood a stable with a walled yard attached, its gated drive leading onto a little side street shared with her next door neighbor, opening onto the street proper. The stableyard was crowded to the point of bustling, now, as the entire household sorted themselves into the two enchanted carriages waiting at idle, their enchantments powered up to warm them before embarking. Both Glory and Vandro drove late-model Falconers, though hers was a smaller, sportier model without as much passenger space. Layla’s horses were carefully bedded down in warm stalls; though Glory herself did not keep animals, she maintained facilities for guests who did.

“Interesting girl, that one,” Vandro mused, watching Jasmine talking quietly with Schwartz and Glory by the door of the other carriage, the girl apparently showing them how to work one of those disruptor staves she’d brought back from the Temple of Avei along with her witch friend. “Got brains and muscle, but clearly isn’t the ringleader of this little pack. Doesn’t wanna put herself forward. No, I’d peg little Miss Tallie in that role—or she will be, when she grows into that bluster of hers. Frankly, those two are the only ones I mark as having a future in the Guild. The boys are sadly unremarkable.”

Wilberforce, sitting beside him on the carriage’s driver bench, cleared his throat softly, directing his face toward Grip, who lounged by the gates, watching him watch Jasmine. Vandro gave her a grin and a wave; she made no response to this, and after a moment pointedly turned her head away.

“I trust, sir,” the Butler said softly, “that you noted Miss Tallie’s remark about the Avenist Eserite mother.”

“Mmm.” Vandro took a swig from a silver hip flask, smiling to himself. “Now, we know damn well from our research that Keys doesn’t have a daughter—or at least, not one that she raised. That business with House Takhvaneh ’bout twenty years back, though… Everybody figured she nixed the pregnancy first chance, but Jasmine’s the right age, and I’d believe from her looks she’s a half-elf. Thrown away by her shiftless mother as a baby, just now trying to reconnect… Why, there’s just all kinds of ways for that to go badly, eh? Especially with the right encouragement.”

“Conversations between her friends have hinted at an Avenist upbringing,” Wilberforce noted. “A possible motivation for Locke to seek out the Sisterhood as she has.”

“I didn’t miss that either, old friend. Keys, it would seem, wants this a lot more than the girl does. How delightfully fraught with possibility.”

“There is also the fact,” Wilberforce added dryly, “on a less optimistic note, that you tend to get along poorly with Avenists.”

“Yes, I’m afraid you’re right,” Vandro said with a sigh. “Well, hell, I’m not too old to make a few compromises. These kids are a lot more interesting than the momentary convenience I thought they were at first. We’ll have to work on cultivating ’em. Assuming, that is,” he added cheerfully, “we don’t all get murdered by dwarves tonight.”

“Hey, uh, Jasmine?”

She paused, having been about to climb into the carriage after making her farewells to Tallie, Ross, and Darius, who now strode up front to join Grip at Vandro’s carriage. The larger and more powerful of the two, it had been designated to carry more of the group. Schwartz was hovering by the rear fender of their own ride, looking nervous.

“Are you all right?” she asked, then winced. “Well, I mean, apart form the obvious. Believe me, there’s no shame in being apprehensive about something like this.”

He actually barked an incredulous little laugh, while Meesie squeaked reproachfully at her. “Oh, no, nothing like… Well, actually, I am quite nervous, that’s true. After Athan’Khar, though, this really isn’t so bad as all that.”

“Athan—wow.” Jasmine blinked. “You’ll really have to tell me that story someday.”

“Actually, I think I really will,” he replied, his expression growing grimmer. “That’s where I first met Bishop Syrinx…among other things. Look, that’s what I actually wanted to talk about, uh, Jasmine. I haven’t found a moment to grab your ear since the temple, and something about that Grip woman makes me think sharing possibly personal information in her hearing isn’t the best idea…”

“You’ve got good instincts,” she said with a sigh.

“It’s just…” Schwartz awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. Meesie stood up to tug on his ear and point at Jasmine, squeaking encouragingly. “Well, frankly, I think you were a little too hard on Principia. She means well, and that thing with the Bishop… Well, trust me, she is fully entitled to feel hostile. I don’t think you quite appreciate just how…” He paused and swallowed heavily. “Just what Basra Syrinx is like.”

“I have some ideas in that direction, in fact,” Jasmine said quietly, nudging the carriage door fully shut. “That was the whole point of that, Schwartz.”

He blinked. “I, uh…how so?”

“Of the two of them, Syrinx is the one who worries me,” she said seriously. “Locke is…well, she has more than her share of faults, but I know pretty well what they are, and she’s not a danger except to people who deserve it. It was Syrinx I needed to land on to bring her in line. And if I’d done that while going easy on Locke, Syrinx would have made her pay for it later, when I wasn’t there to see. She would almost have to, given the way she thinks. I tried to put them on equal footing to protect Locke, and I’m trusting her to be clever enough to have picked up on that.”

“Oh.” He blinked again, twice. “Oh, I see. Well, um… I quite frankly would never have thought of that.”

Jasmine shook her head. “Neither would I, not so long ago. We really do need to have some longer conversations about this, Schwartz.”

“Right, yes,” he agreed. “But…clearly not tonight.”

She smiled, opening the carriage door. “We’ll just add that to our reasons to be certain to survive, eh?”

After she had climbed in and shut the door behind her, he shook his head and began clambering up to the top of the carriage. “Well, I thought I had plenty of those, but I suppose a bit more can’t hurt.”

Meesie ran a complete lap around the top of his head, chattering her agreement.

Night and the snowstorm had reduced the streets of Tiraas to a lamp-lit netherworld; even more windows than usual blazed with light, as if those within sought to fight back the cold by sheer volume of fairy lamps. Outside, however, the city was nearly desolate compared to its usual level of activity. Pedestrians were almost nonexistent, the few other carriages about moving slowly and cautiously in the snow. Twice on their way to the west gate, they passed carriages that had skidded off the road and collided with lamp posts, one having demolished a row of mailboxes in the process. In both cases, military police and the presumed owners of the vehicles were standing by them, competing to look more put out. Compared to the mess Tiraas usually faced in the winter, this storm was downright gentle; there was little wind and no ice, just thick snowflakes continually tumbling down. After hours of this, though, the snow was accumulating to a difficult depth.

“This could be trouble,” Glory murmured, shifting the curtain with one finger to study the passing scenery. “I expected more activity on the streets than this. If we are caught in an area where there is no one to see…”

“Tiraas is the heart of the Empire,” Jasmine said. “The Tiraan Empire is the predominant nation in the world. The center of human civilization never sleeps. And this city of all places is used to snow; everyone was just unprepared by the mild winter. It won’t be shut down that thoroughly. Look, there are people around, even if only a few, and the police are patrolling more than usual. As long as we don’t venture into side streets like they caught us in last time, it should be fine.”

“This is a main street, right?” Rasha asked nervously. “The one going right from Imperial Square to the west gate?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Glory with a smile. “If Tiraas is the Empire’s heart, this is one of its arteries. Jasmine is probably right; I just can’t help feeling a little nervous. I’m accustomed to sitting in the center of my web and letting the trouble come to me.”

“I am sorry to involve you in all this,” Jasmine said quietly.

“I’m not,” Glory replied without hesitation, absently squeezing Rasha’s shoulder. “This needs to be done, and anyway, I clearly needed to be shaken out of my routine. It’s a terrible sin for an Eserite to grow complacent.”

“They still back there?” Rasha asked tersely.

Jasmine, who was sitting on the front bench facing backward, nodded, her eyes flicking to the rear window. “Still keeping pace.”

“Uh oh,” Glory said suddenly, again looking past the curtain. Layla, Rasha, and Jasmine all crowded over to see.

Another carriage had suddenly pulled up out of an intersection and was keeping pace alongside them, not quite close enough to be menacing. Its driver’s bench had its windscreen and canvas top raised, but as they stared, one of its side windows swung open, revealing the face of a female dwarf, who gave them a pleasant smile and casually held up a wand.

Glory pulled back the curtain entirely, smiled back with equal politeness, and lifted her hand to deliver an obscene gesture. Rasha barely suppressed an outburst of nervous laughter.

“They’re too good to make a mistake like this,” Jasmine murmured. “If they didn’t ambush us before we got out of your neighborhood, they won’t here. We’re obviously making for the gates; much more opportunity outside the city.”

“Unless they know it’s a trap, of course,” said Layla. To the annoyance of virtually everyone, the young noblewoman seemed to find this whole affair to be splendid fun.

“And that’s where our current measures—ah, there we go,” Jasmine said in satisfaction as the current measures went into effect.

Up ahead, one of the doors of Vandro’s carriage had swung open, and Tallie leaped out, catching the lip of the roof with one hand and nimbly swinging herself up top, clearly not encumbered by the full-length battlestaff she carried. There, she dropped to a crouch, aimed the staff directly at the new carriage, and lit up behind a sphere of blue light which sparkled continuously as snowflakes pelted it.

Snow wasn’t as bad as rain, but a personal shielding charm wouldn’t hold up long in this weather. As the seconds passed, it became increasingly clear that what protected her was not an ordinary shielding charm.

Enchanted carriages could be outfitted with much larger and more potent power crystals than they needed, which then could be keyed to any number of enchanted devices carried within range of the carriage itself—such as energy shields. This was military gear, and while its use in civilian carriages was not a criminal offense, it definitely violated the enchanted vehicle safety codes, not to mention any insurance policies on the vehicle in question.

Quite coincidentally, both Vandro and Glory’s personal carriages had these devices installed and ready to run. The carriages themselves, unfortunately, could not be shielded, as for some reason that interfered with the enchantments powering their wheels; even Tallie’s bubble hovered closer to her than normal, to keep it out of range of any important systems it might damage.

Beside their own carriage, there suddenly paced a glowing red lion nearly as large as an ox. Meesie turned her maned head to growl at the dwarves, loud enough to be plainly audible in both vehicles even over the hum of their wheel charms and the sounds of slush being crushed beneath them. Though they couldn’t see it, Schwartz up top would be doing something to show off his magic, too.

The carriage immediately veered to put a lane’s worth of space between them, and fell back to drive parallel to its counterpart a few yards behind.

“Yeah, you’d better run,” Layla said, grinning.

Jasmine gave her a quelling look, which she appeared not to notice, before replying. “If they attack us now, where the police will intervene, we win—they set that up themselves by facing down the Guild the way they have. They’re not backing off because they’re afraid, Layla; they’re encouraging us to stand down our defenses and not attract the military police. No, this is how all cons are structured. You have to present the mark with the opportunity to put one over on you. We’ve made it plain we’re ready for a fight; they don’t know just how ready we are. They think we are riding into their trap, and once we do, we’ll spring ours.”

“And…just how many cons have you run?” Layla asked pointedly.

Jasmine grimaced. “Uh, this will be my first.”

“I see,” the aristocrat muttered. “Well, I suppose our lives are a sufficient stake. Doesn’t the Guild traditionally start apprentices off stealing, I don’t know, pocket change? Fruit from street vendors? Candy from babies?”

“It’s a good grift, regardless,” Glory said firmly. “No plan survives contact with reality, but we are well-prepared to improvise. That is the important thing.”

“I see the gates up ahead,” Rasha reported. “And Tallie’s shield is off again. Just the two carriages after us, still…”

“The gate guards may stop us,” Layla said, frowning.

Glory smiled. “The gate guards aren’t going to intervene as long as Meesie is back to mouse shape and Tallie isn’t showing off a shield that works better than it should in the snow. The sheer amount of traffic in and out of this city inevitably makes it impossible to scrutinize anyone too closely.”

“Traffic’s pretty light,” Rasha said, frowning nervously.

“But habits endure,” said Glory. “Anyway, if we are stopped, we have our cover story. Two wealthy dilettantes and their entourages repairing to our estates in Madouris after a most unsettling encounter with dwarven toughs. Shock, dismay, and so on. Still, I’m quite certain they won’t trouble us. Both these carriages are, if I say so myself, distinctive…”

“Wait, what about highway patrols?” Layla interrupted, watching the gates draw closer ahead. Traffic had, in fact, thickened, though that only meant there were four other carriages visible, none driving close enough together to force anyone to slow down in the snow. “Surely roads are heavily monitored this close to the capital…”

“Actually,” Glory said with a smile, “the capital itself is directly administered by the Silver Throne, but the lands outside it are part of Tiraan Province, governed by House Madouri. Among the new Duchess’s reforms has been the dismissal of most of her father’s rangers and public guardsmen, whose primary skill was taking bribes.”

“Oh, splendid,” Layla huffed, folding her arms. “Then we shall only meet bandits. Well, I’m sure we can handle those.”

“There are no bandits in Tiraan Province,” Glory said, now openly amused. “While the new Madouri guard corps is being trained to her more stringent standards, Duchess Ravana has made a standing contract with the Thieves’ Guild chapter in Madouris. Guild thieves who apprehend highwaymen will be compensated equally to the value of whatever was stolen, plus a bounty, and she prefers that the courts not be burdened with prosecuting such scoundrels when their heads will suffice to prove the cessation of their activities.”

“That,” Jasmine said with a grimace, “is just begging for the worst kind of abuse.”

“For a run-of-the-mill criminal cartel, perhaps,” Glory replied, shrugging placidly. “The Guild acts out of principle, however, and the Duchess has played to that perfectly. Boss Tricks has made it very clear that her offer is not to be abused in any way. Between that and Ravana making sure this arrangement is an open secret in the province, the highways around Tiraas are actually safer than under the old Duke’s administration.”

“She sounds quite the charmer,” Layla said, looking pointedly at Jasmine, who made no reply.

The gate guards did not even flag them to slow. Apparently, two luxury carriages (one with significant physical damage) with armed individuals sitting on top did not warrant closer inspection, a fact upon which Layla commented with some asperity as they eased carefully onto the bridge across the canyon.

“Well,” Glory said idly, “some of us have standing arrangements with gate guards, as I was trying to say earlier. Any Eserite who moves in circles of a certain class, really. I would be astonished if Webs weren’t fully paid up with the local constabulary. He does so love spending his money on bribes.”

“I guess if the dwarves really wanted to put us neatly out of the picture,” Rasha murmured, gazing out the window at the dizzying drop into blackness just beyond the bridge rails, “this would be the place.”

“Oh, what a lovely thought,” Layla exclaimed. “Really, thanks ever so.”

“You have to climb to get off the side of this bridge,” Jasmine said with a smile. “And those walls are more than sturdy enough to absorb collisions.”

“It ends up being tested more often than you’d think,” Glory added. “In fact, the Emperor is rumored to be drawing up legislation governing the use of enchanted carriages, requiring one to pass tests and obtain a license to drive.”

“That sounds like an entirely superfluous administrative burden,” Layla sniffed.

Beyond the bridge was another walled and gated town guarding the approach to Tiraas, and beyond that, the Imperial highway extending forward into snowy darkness. The road forked just beyond the outer gates, heading westward toward Viridill and north to Madouris. The provincial capital was a proverbial stone’s throw from Tiraas itself; each city was visible from atop the other’s walls. From the ground, however, in the dark and in the snow, with a stretch of forest bracketing the road ahead, there was no evidence of civilization once the outlying farms and shops petered off into the dimness.

Both carriages accelerated as they eased past the last fairy lamps into the tree-lined woods, trusting their wheel enchantments to keep them grounded. A few ruts had been carved through the white blanket ahead by other vehicles, but no effort had yet been made to clear the road, and they threw up sprays of snow to both sides as they went.

Behind them, there were now three carriages pursuing. Two were cheap Dawnco sedans of the type which had intercepted them in the city, while another stood taller and more squared in shape; it was hard to tell from ahead, with its lamps shining directly in the eyes of anyone looking back, but it appeared to be a delivery truck.

“I really hope your other allies got themselves into position,” Layla said tersely. “Otherwise our evening is going to be rather more brief than we had hoped.”

“They wouldn’t let me down,” Jasmine murmured, her eyes glued to the pursuing vehicles. “Any of them. They know where to go. We just have to hold long enough to get there.”

Suddenly the lights grew brighter. The two sedans separated to both sides and sped up to a truly reckless velocity, clearly moving forward in an attempt to flank the Eserite convoy, while the truck kept its position at the rear.

Rasha grunted, lifting one of the gold-wrapped disruptors. “And here they come.”

“Well, they have us outnumbered and alone, with no witnesses or support,” Glory said calmly, settling back into her seat, her calm smile illuminated by the flash of hostile carriage lamps accelerating forward. “Those poor bastards.”

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40 thoughts on “11 – 38

  1. Several things about this make me unhappy. It’s really short, for one, and I don’t generally like cliffhangers. It’s a device I feel some serials lean on too heavily to keep people coming back every time; I’m of the opinion that people should want to come back because the story is good enough for them to be invested in without being manipulated. But that’s a soapbox for another time.

    Book 11 was actually more heavily planned out in advance than most of them are, and what we’re seeing here is partly the result of my careful plans going awry. Authors talk about characters not behaving themselves, which is something I’ve never been able to relate to until quite recently. My characters damn well do as they’re told. Except for Darius Sakhavenid, who, as he developed, flatly refused to be the villain I’d put him there to be. The more I wrote him and explored his background and motivations, the more he grew into a basically decent guy caught in Circumstances.

    That has been a problem because his betrayal of the group drove a good bit of the plot in the last part of the book. It didn’t happen, and I’ve been cobbling stuff together by the seat of my pants to compensate. We’re now a point where everything’s pretty much back according to plan, but among the casualties has been a bit of narrative flow.

    So, in other words, short chapter.

    I’m sorry for being generally uncommunicative the last few weeks. It’s been a period of emotionally very low energy for me, prompted in part by the constant discomfort verging on pain of the chunk of plastic I had in lieu of three front teeth. This morning was my last appointment at the dentist, where I got the actual crowns up on, and everything is just so much better. I’m allowed to bite stuff again, these fit wonderfully and don’t hurt at all, and hell, my smile looks better than it ever, ever has.

    I appreciate so much that you all came to my rescue. I truly don’t know how I would get by without my readers. If I don’t talk much for a while, it’s not personal; sometimes I’m just in phases where I don’t have much to offer beyond getting the chapter cranked out. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

    Everybody please have a safe and healthy weekend, and I’ll see you the usual time on Monday!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I’d not worry too much about the cliffhanger, mate. A natural stopping point is a place to pause, after all.

      Tenterhooks and crampons notwithstanding. XD

      And, about the mouth: not having chronic pain is quite the relief, no? Betcha you find more than your jaw on an even keel after this. 😉


    2. I completely understand what you mean about characters writing themselves. Did you know that when Tolkien was writing The Lord of the Rings, he never originally intended for Aragorn to be there? He wrote, “An unusual character has shown up in the Inn at Bree–lean, dark, and by some called Strider; and no matter how hard I try I simply cannot seem to get rid of him.” Back then, “Strider” wasn’t a Ranger, future king, or even a man–he was a long-lost cousin of Frodo’s named Peregrin Took!

      So yeah. And I have to say that I love the way Darius turned out.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. You set it up well, I was waiting for sly mentions of darius lagging behind or leaving a room, things later to tie into giving messages. I guess even he has a line he won’t cross.


    4. I guess Darius was supposed to spy for the Dwarves and because he didn’t, you came up with the magical tracking? Hey, that’s a bonus. Excellent world building right there.

      Darius might even end up with Tallie now, which would be hilarious. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love the direction Triss is moving in, integrating her two sides to become a better paladin. Become a better person really. Honestly, I hated her in the beginning, but she is rapidly becoming worthy of Gabriel. Yes, I ship that, I ship that hard.

    Short chapters are better than no chapters, and the occasional cliffhanger is good for the heart. Or so I’ve heard. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    On a different subject: is there any way we could get a page set up with descriptions of the gods? No spoilers, just a brief rundown of who they are and what they stand for?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Webs, Wilberforce… bad idea. Really bad idea. Hugely bad idea. :/

    It’s one thing unknowingly sticking your nose into a Hand of Avei’s personal business. But, you’re dealing with two paladin Crowbloods. Bad, bad, bad juju. I’m quite looking forward to how bad. XD

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I believe the idea was planted when Darling, Joe, and Ingvar we’re in that place learning about Transcendence Fields, and how gods used Paladins to anchor them from becoming exactly what people thought they we’re. Paladins don’t have to be publicly declared, and I assume Eserion would be even less public than normal.


      2. Arguably, Principia is Esrion’s paladin, though not publicly declared as such, as a way for him to ground himself.


      3. IIRC Darling deduces who the Hand of Esserion is, but it isn’t confirmed to us. Considering Prin was the subject of, quite frankly, gushing praise when the Guild discovered her hidden files, she’s a pretty good candidate for it.

        One wonders whether the Gods can choose a Hand without letting them know… If any god can pull that off, it would be Esserion, though :))


      4. Just because the discussion is there, and the theory hasn’t been fronted, I would suggest considering Style as Eserion’s paladin. She’s core in both upper management on the guild and the training of apprentices, has influence far beyond anything that would be expected of the standing bodyguard of the Boss, but is never questioned. As was said only a few chapters ago, Tricks does nothing without running it past Style. Being a paladin is more than *just* embodying an ideal, and Sweet would be no less amused by this revelation, considering how close they undoubtedly were when he was boss.


      5. I still don’t think that Prin is actually a Hand or a Paladin. She might be the Chosen of Eserion, or the Avatar, or some other word, but those first two have very specific in-universe connotations.

        The chapter where it is hinted at, Bishop Darling along with Joe and Ingvar learn that the gods can be shaped by their worshipers, so some of them designate one or more individuals to act as an anchor of sorts. These people have a heightened relationship with the god, and are both more influenced by and influential to them.

        But being chosen as one of those anchors does not necessarily make you a Paladin. It is hinted at the Vesk secretly has multiple “super bards” running around who are very much keyed in to the narrative nature of the world, and that that is how he maintains his nature. It isn’t unreasonable for Eserion to do the same thing, and just because it is hinted at the Prin is one of those anchors does not mean that she is the only one.


      6. In my opinion, the main evidence for Principia being a Hand of Eserion is her brilliant, impossible con on the Guild itself. Darling said he has no idea how she did it, by all rights it shouldn’t have been possible because so many things had to go exactly right for it work.

        If Prin had the help of Eserion himself for it though, it suddendly becomes possible.


      7. @KageLupus I think a lot of people have considered paladins and the mortals Gods tie their personalities to synonymous. And it’s not crazy to think that maybe Prin has some magic abilities to help pull cons like how Triss has access to unique divine magic, given how well Prin is able to pull off cons.


      8. We don’t know that at all. Readers took an idea that may very well be true, and have been going on the assumption that it IS true for so long (and with so much hope!) that commentors often state it as fact now. I suspect Webb has secretly made it canon by now if it wasn’t already.

        But don’t think you missed any big reveal, this is just a case of mixing up headcanon with reality. Which seems like not a big deal, it would be kind of cute, except willful ignorance is a very dangerous toy to play with, as Mr. Trump is currently demonstrating.


      9. Something to keep in mind: think back to the surprising history of the Silver Huntresses that Triss ran into during the whole chaos-skull arc. Before Avei started choosing a single Hand to head what morphed into the Legions, she had those dedicated women to keep her grounded. 🙂

        But, she stopped linking to several people at once in favour of concentrating on one at a time — much in the way Omnu does. Vesk still distributes his links, and it’s plainly stated that Naiya has her dryads and kitsune. Vidius may have picked up her discarded Valkyries to link through, though… and, now has Gabe, after years of not openly having any Hands at all. And, the reason why many orcs had to die before Arachne could finish Khar off was basucally because he linked to a whole bunch of them, if not all of them. :/

        Eserion? Well… Mr Sneaky Pants most likely doesn’t have all his eggs in one basket, but Prin probably is in charge of a couple. 😉

        One goddess to ask questions about is Izara, though — how she goes about backups is anybody’s guess, but I suspect most in her cult have some link. Like poor Shaarth did, much to his sorrow when that got used against him. <_<


      10. @Euodiachloris:
        It has never been said anywhere that the Silver Huntresses were pre-cursors to the paladins. As I understand it, they were marked with a special tattoo but otherwise weren’t special. They were a tool Avei used at the time and stopped doing so when society changed. In D&D terms they were rangers.
        Arachne spoke of paladins to a Silver Huntress, so they had to have existed at the same time.
        Considering the history of the gods, it makes sense for them to have had paladins right from the very start, since Naiya was already on her third generation of her version and they knew about it (Vidius brought back the valkyries).

        It was also said in the story that there were more than one paladin at a time. For example, during the Stand at Stavulheim, there were two Hands of Avei fighting against an army of Orcs. Other remarks all over the story point towards there often being several Hands at the same time. (If I was Avei I’d always have at least two. You know, cause they are hands?^^)

        Arachne didn’t kill Khar or practiced genocide vs. the Orcs… that was the Empire, which employed the equivalent of a nuclear bomb on their land and wiped everything from existence.

        @The Warren Peace NFL Report:

        It was heavily implied in the story and is more likely to be true than not. It’s not headcanon, it’s simply not verified yet. It would be really nice if you could stop being dismissive and condescending, I’ve noticed that in many of your comments and it kinda ruins the mood here. 🙂


  4. >“I really hope your other allies got themselves into position,” Layla said tersely. “Otherwise our evening is going to be rather more brief than we had hoped.”

    >“They wouldn’t let me down,” Jasmine murmured, her eyes glued to the pursuing vehicles. “Any of them. They know where to go. We just have to hold long enough to get there.”

    Please be the other Unseen University classmates. It has been way too long since we have seen them and their shenanigans.


      1. When you are talking about those guys, you can’t ever be sure wherever they had enough time to do something or not. For example, if Trissiny sent a message to them via Mary the Crow from Glory’s house, and they later asked Tellwyrn to teleport them to a desired location, they could easilly already be on the scene.


      2. I agree with M. You can’t really judge a plot hole like that at until the ambush actually happens. For all we know at this point maybe the ambush even fails because they didn’t have enough time to set up.


  5. I finally catched up!
    I hope de get to learn the reason behind the dwarfs interesa in the experimental staves. I’m also really looking forward to some insights in the dwarven kingdoms(some book taking place there).
    I guess Triss won’t be anyones apprentice un the end 😦


    1. Dwarves are inherently dependant on divine magic in this universe. Many are able to use it without going through a god, like everybody else is.

      So, THESE dwarves either A) want to make sure the rug never gets pulled out from under them, or B) they want the staves to use against other dwarves, possibly against the very font they all draw from. (Conspiracy specultion time:) If the dwarves dug too deep and instead of a Balrog, they unearthed the body of an elder god. That would explain where their unique divine magic originates (all that power’s got to go somewhere). AND, these particular dwarves want to study the disruptors to apply whatever principle they use on a slightly larger scale…they want to neutralize the god corpse! Truly world shaking! Thier success could be the final cause of a great doom!

      WHY would these dwarves want to do such a thing, you ask? Because they’re the “have-nots” of the 5 kingdoms, and the “haves” have been all snooty towards them. It’s a very Eserite motivation, which is quite ironic, and Grip will never stop laughing when she learns.

      That’s how MY story would go. Webb’s story might be different (but I’m going to get effing wasted partying with Grip if isn’t! )


      1. I don’t think dwarves depend on divine magic. They can use it without having a connection to a god but that’s it. They won’t keel over without it.


  6. I personally think Tricks is the paladin or chosen of Eserion. He says outright that he speaks way more with Eserion than Sweet ever did. That would make sense if he was designated as his Hand and Sweet would find that endlessly amusing. It could be that the head is always the hand and he’s keeping it under his hat.


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