Chapter 14:

Well, this is a short chapter, so maybe we’ll get a little less pain this time.

When we last left Romilly, she was being escorted to the REEL KEENG’s camp by Jandria. So they arrive and there’s some description of the camp, complete with a half-page devoted to nothing but a Sister giving a group of unshaven men lessons in unarmed combat and repeatedly trouncing them. This is of note, when you consider that the king’s tent and cookhouse are only given one short sentence each.

In any case, Jandria approaches the center of the camp with Romilly in tow and asks for Orain. So Orain comes along, and there’s some chatter between the three of them, which basically amounts to:

-They have a magician/psioncist (depending on your choice of phlebotinum) to handle the birds, but still need Romilly to train him.
-More whining about the horrors of nuclear war, which the REEL KEENG is obviously against and will only use if used against him.
-And of course, she’s reintroduced to the birds, which none but she and Orain can handle, and of course, she makes no secret about the fact that she taught him everything he knows…

So…ugh. I don’t want to think about it any more. No one can handle the horse except Romilly! No one can handle the bird expect Romilly! She’s just THAT special!

Argleblargh. So she goes and meets the magician who’s supposed to be handling the birds, and who is it but HER OWN BROTHER? WOW! I mean, what were the chances?

“Ruyven! Oh, I should have known, when they said it was a laranzu from Tramontana—Ruyven, don’t you know me?”

She was laughing and crying at once, and Ruyven stared down at her, his mouth hanging open.

“Romy,” he said at last. “Sister, you are the last person in the world I would have expected to see here!” (Pg. 667)

Fine, we already have so many coincidences, what’s another one to the list? Then of course, everyone is there so they can reinforce how great and amazing Romilly is:

“So; [sic] you know these birds? So far I have seen none but Lord Orain who could handle them…”

“I taught him what he knows of sentry-birds,” Romilly said, and went to the perches, holding out her hand; with her free hand she jerked the knot loose, and Prudence made a quick little hop to sit on her wrist. (Pg. 668)

Oh, but the pain continues:

And that made her think, with sudden pain, of Preciosa. She had had no sight of the hawk since they came into this drylands country. But then, Preciosa had left her before they came to the glaciers, and rejoined her again when she had returned to the green hills. It might be that Preciosa would return to her, some day… (Pg. 668-669)

Oh, who are you kidding? Of course she’ll turn up when it’s convenient for her to do so and not get in the way, because that’s what animal companions do. Everyone in this story, be they human or animal, are defined solely by the way they relate to Romilly, and I find that absolutely disgusting. One person judging the morality and worth of the whole world. Whoo-ee.

So the morning passes by and it’s time for lunch. Romilly has lunch with the other Sisters in the camp, and then goes Orain to see about the terms of her stay with the REEL KEENG’s camp. Her brother is talking to Orain about the birds, and introduces her to Orain, but Romilly states that they already know each other. Ruyven and Orain then finish up their conversation, and apparently not paying attention to Romilly is a huge crime, as when they’re done with the conversation Orain tries to speak with Romilly, but she’s all pissed:

He looked down at her, and for a moment there was a trace of the old warmth in his voice, “will you fly them for Carolin, then, my girl?”

So when he wants something from me, he can be halfway civil, even to a woman? Anger made her voice cold. She said, “As for that, vai dom, you must ask my superiors in the Sisterhood; I am apprentice [sic], and my will does not rule what I may do.”

“Oh, I think Jandria will not make trouble about that,” Orain said, smiling. “The sisterhood will lend you to us, I have no doubt at all.”

Romilly bowed without answering. But she thought, no if I have anything to say about it. (Pg. 670)

Ruyven is no longer the brother I knew; we can be friendly now but the old closeness is gone forever. I had hoped he would understand me, the conflicts that drove me from Falconsward—they are like his own. Once he could see me simply as Romilly, not as his little sister. Now—now all he sees is that I have become a Swordswoman, hawkmistress…no more than that.

Even when I lost Falconsward, father, mother, home—I thought that when I again met with Ruyven we would be as we were when we were children. Now Ruyven too is forever gone from me. (Pg. 671)

Yes, my friends. Such huge judgements—all because they didn’t drop whatever they were doing at the moment and fawn over her. I can see where the GREAT and MIGHTY MZB is trying to come from—that they should have been consulting Romilly about the birds, since she was the most experienced of them all, but of course, she’s a WOMAN and is being oppressed by THE EVIL PATRIARCHY ILLUMINATI, which all men are a part of. Well, damnit, I want my patriarchy illuminati card, and free dental while I’m at it. Oppressing women is hard work, you know.

Let’s have a similar scenario:

You are working on a project team for your company. One day, you drop in unannounced to your manager’s office on business, but he is speaking to another member of your project team about her thoughts on how the project is going on. As someone who’s worked on the project for longer, you think you have a better idea of the project’s progress, but the manager asks you to take a seat to one side and wait for them to be done.

Would you think this is a mortal insult to you, and that by extent he hates you because you’re a member of , and so hates all members of said group? Now, can you see how ridiculous this is? Romilly expects her brother and Orain to drop everything they’re doing to pay attention to her, but is completely blind to the demand that she’s making of them—that they drop their conversation to pay attention to her. It’s rude and presumptious at best. What we have here, too, is a fundemental attribution error—that Ruyven and Orain ignore her because they look down on women, and not because of a train of thought that should be finished before moving on, or that it’s just rude to butt in on someone else’s conversation. The fact that Romilly makes such a harsh judgement after one perceived slight only strengthens my belief that she’s just acting like a spoiled twat.

But hey, she’s the ultimate moral arbitrator of the world and can do no wrong.


After this, Romilly goes back to the Sisterhood hostel and buggers out with the horses, and repeats this for several days. We get two pages of completely pointless, urple prose which can be summarised as such:

“Romilly and the horses are one and with love and whatnot shit.” Let’s see some of the worst examples:

Touch after touch, a hug around a sleek neck or a stroking of a velvety nose, and each moment of rapport building her awareness high, higher yet, till she was dizzied with it, with the sense of racing in the sun, the awareness of running at full stretch on four legs, not two, the mastery of the burden of the rider with its own delight, and somewhere at the back of her mind Romilly felt as if each of these beasts bearing its rider knew something on the inward rightness of the Bearer of Burdens who, said in the writings of the sainted Valentine, bore alone the weight of the world. She was each horse in turn, knowing its rebellions, its discipline and submission, the sense of working in perfect unity with what was allotted to it. (Pg. 672)

She did not know whether she climbed into the saddle or accepted the grateful weight on her own back. Part of her was sunk joyously into her own body awareness, but that was all swallowed up in the larger consciousness of striding free, racing with the wind…so balanced, so fused into the horse that for a long time she was hardly aware of which was herself, which Sunstar. Yet for all the blurring she felt she had never been so precisely and wholly herself, flooded with a kind of reality she had never known. The heat of the sun, sweat streaming down her flanks, her exquisite leaning to balance from above the weight she felt from below, from within. Time seemed divided into infinitesimal fragments, to each of which she gave its true weight, with no thought of past or future, all fathered up into the absolute present. (Pg. 673)

As you can imagine, I gave this pile of trash one glance and skipped over it. Of course, we can’t let this go unnoticed, so someone comes along to praise her:

“How beautiful he is—is that the black stallion they told me about? Is he too fierce, will they have to turn him out to stud again?” Then alerted by something in Romilly’s face, she asked, “You—you’ve been riding him?”

“He is as gentle as a child,” said Romilly absently. “He loves me, but a child could ride him now.” (Pg. 673)

Unfortunately, one day she’s told by one of the sisters to gather her things, and she’s to go out because she’s to be travelling with the REEL KEENG’s camp. So she realises she has to hand Sunstar over to the REEL KEENG, and it’s all very sad, but it’s not, because this relation was hardly really developed.

The contact between them needed no words; it meant nothing to Sunstar, who knew nothing of kings, and Romilly knew that while he might, and probably would, come to love and trust Carolin, no other would ever ride Sunstar with that same sense of close oneness with the horse. Suddenly, she felt sorry for Carolin. The beautiful black stallion might be his. But she, Romilly, would always own him in both their hearts. (pg. 675)

Blargh. Bye.

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  1. Anonymous45 on 26 March 2010, 20:24 said:

    Something I don’t get is why there is no evidence Romilly’s family is searching for her?
    If you were a serf/peasant in Czarist Russia and you ran away from your landlord, he would literally hunt you down with dogs, like an animal. And you would be searched for for up to 15 years. For a SERF.

    And here is a woman that can be married off to make alliances+bring money. And also a memeber of the family. Much more valuable than a serf. And nothing.

  2. Charlotte on 26 March 2010, 23:22 said:

    Glad you are continuing these- very entertaining and somewhat of an object lesson, as always.

  3. Danielle on 27 March 2010, 18:03 said:

    Bleh. Since I’m out of brain bleach, I’m going to spend time with my favorite crazy tree hugging feminist hippie and hope it helps.

    Ahhhh, Poison Ivy…when will you show up and knock some sense into these people?

  4. falconempress on 28 March 2010, 06:09 said:

    Ahhhh, Poison Ivy…when will you show up and knock some sense into these people?

    Nah, that would be too awesome and therefore unacceptable in Hawkmistress!

  5. Tim on 10 May 2012, 13:21 said:

    Just to point out the obvious question; why do they even have these birds if they didn’t have anyone who could handle them? Do they also have cages of Tasmanian Devils and venomous scorpions and pissed-off bears in case someone wanders by who can train them, too?