Chapter Sixty – Brotherly Love
And at long last we’re back to the prologue. Remember that, 600 pages ago, where Plouton and the Titans are planning to chain Abbadon up and have the vultures feed on his liver? Well, we’re back to that point. The chapter is actually rewritten a bit, for reasons that escape me.
Chapter Sixty-One – Intruders
We’re back to Genarius, who is stressed out and filled with angst. Mostly about his son Michael, because he still doesn’t know whether Michael is alive or dead. Way to go, Maya.
He hasn’t been eating or sleeping, but eventually he falls asleep and starts dreaming of his dead wife, Lady Ruchi. They’re chilling out in a sunny field with their kids, and then a storm rolls in and Genarius has to fight his way through some fog while holding the hand of Prince Michael. It’s very dramatic in the way dreams tend to be, which is to say it’s not dramatic at all because it’s a fucking dream.
He wakes up and hears sword-fighting, so he heads towards the noise and finds a couple bodies on the floor. His servant, Parnell, explains that two men tried to steal the Henrietta Mirror, which, as you probably don’t remember, was given to Genarius by AstroJesus. They killed one of the thieves but the other one got away.
“It was dark in the house and I did not want to wake you because of your grief, although we had thieves in the house that entered through an open window.” (page 616)
Okay. Let me get this straight. At this point, Parnell doesn’t know why armed men have broken into the palace. They might be thieves, or, you know, they could be assassins from the massively powerful kingdom that desperately wants King Genarius dead. However, Parnell doesn’t bother waking Genarius up to warn him, or even posting extra guards around his bedchambers, because he knows that Genarius hasn’t been sleeping well recently.
Anyway, before the other thief escaped Parnell chopped his ear off, and also got a good look at the man: Leon Felipe, son of General Felipe!!! Holy shit!!!
Genarius falls to his knees and angsts, and Parnell runs to his side.
Genarius sighed, “Parnell you are a good servant and a good friend. You always comforted me in my most horrendous times of need.” (page 618)
If you know what I mean.
Chapter Sixty-Two – Plouton & Abbadon
Hey, that’s cool, we might actually get some scenes involving the main villains of this series. And we’re only 75% of the way through the book. That’s not bad.
Abbadon is making fun of Plouton for his total bungling of the Oceanside job:
“I tell you… You have a heavy attitude problem.” (page 619)
Abbadon recaps, over two pages, everything that happened at the beginning of the book in Oceanside, and finally they get down to business: specifically, what they’re worried about. Abbadon is worried about the Empire’s expansion politics. No, seriously. He explains their worst nightmare: Maya and Joey put their Tarnkappes on, get aboard dragons, and fly over to the Mountain Peak Glacier Castle, which is the Empire’s stronghold. Joey pulls out the Key and proceeds to blast the shit out of the castle, destroying their stronghold and everyone within and dealing the Empire a crippling blow from which it will never recover. Then Maya and Joey will fly home and have dinner. I’m not sure how relevant the dinner is, but Abbadon specifically brought it up, so I’m guessing it will actually be crucial to the plot.
This is actually pretty interesting. I honestly had no idea the Key was that powerful, but okay, it’s that powerful. Which makes me wonder…why hasn’t Joey used it in this way? I mean, you’re sorta kinda at war with these people. Why hasn’t he flown over and destroyed them yet? What’s he waiting for?
Then again, if he had, the book would be over. So. Rule of Stupid.
Plouton says that they need to work as a team. Because, as we all know, The Powers of Evil Believe in Teamwork:
“I believe it is in the best interest for all of us that we are not fighting and playing the blame game concerning the failures in the past.” (page 624)
As hilarious as this sounds, let’s keep in mind that Plouton is not being serious – he’s plotting to kidnap his brother, chain him to a rock, and have vultures eat his liver for the foreseeable future. It’s almost as if he’s actually Evil.
Plouton explains that on the Rock of Mukane, he’s made a discovery that will help them enter Tyronia and kill Joey. Abbadon is agreeable, so they head that way.
Chapter Sixty-Three – Rock of Mukane
Abbadon and Plouton hike up the mountain and walk along for awhile. Abbadon has a bad feeling, but Plouton reassures him that there is a “big surprise” waiting. Sure enough, there is! Abbadon runs into Orphilios and Marcarios, who shackle him up and chain him to the Rock of Mukane. They explain to Abbadon that they’re doing this for revenge for their brother Remmilos and peace out. Then the vultures show up and start nomming on Abbadon’s liver. He screams a lot.
Tesch is really bad at subverting expectations. I’ve been waiting for this scene for 620 pages now. I was really hoping I’d see something different…maybe Abbadon has been expecting this betrayal and he kills the Titans and chains Plouton to the rock to become patè instead? Anything would be better than this, really. There’s nothing more boring than to have characters plan out exactly how something will go and then have it work exactly according to plan.
Chapter Sixty-Four – A New Breed
And we’re back with Bertha, the raven, and her sisters, who are chilling out at Lupus Ville, where a lot of hawks live. Turns out Bertha is in love with one of the hawks. Her sister, Beebe, explains in a long paragraph that typically hawks would just eat ravens, but they’re very big ravens, so instead the hawks treat them with respect. Tesch throws in a ‘And so it was…’ and things get interesting.
Bertha and her two sisters became very good friends with several male hawks.
Soon the air sparkled around them, and the three sisters were sitting on three different nests, filled with eggs (page 633).
Hang on a second.
‘VERY GOOD FRIENDS’??? WITH SEVERAL MALE HAWKS???
Ye gods and things on toast, I think I just read a sex scene. A Gloria Tesch sex scene. A Gloria Tesch interspecies sex scene.
Seriously, though, the euphemism here is brilliant. “Soon the air sparkled around them”? One of the best sexual euphemisms I’ve ever read, and I run a site called Conjugal Felicity. I can only guess how this will be used later in the series:
Joey looked deep into the mermaid’s eyes, and inhaled her deep, fishy scent. She smiled at him. Soon the air sparkled around them, and Joey realized he’d become a man.
Or maybe this:
Maya stroked Captain Henry’s muscular forearms. “Oh Henry,” she whispered into his ear, “this would be illegal back home, but there’s no such thing as the age of consent here in Maradonia. Take me!”
The air sparkled around them.
Two and a half weeks later, Maya began to wonder how she would break the news to Joey that she was late, along with what being late meant…
Bertha has thirteen eggs of her own. Now, I’m not an expert on ravens, but I do know that they don’t lay thirteen fucking eggs and raise thirteen chicks at a time. Then again, I’m pretty sure it’s not physically possible for a raven/hawk crossbreed to exist, so what do I know?
They hatch and immediately attack Bertha, thinking she’s food. Bertha is surprised by this, but loves them anyway, and dubs the new species ‘The Rawkens’. Because…well, why not?
Chapter Sixty-Five – The Shierling Becher
We’re back to Genarius, who is slowly wasting away, refusing to eat or talk to anyone. Finally he starts thinking about suicide by drinking the juice of the hemlock, poured into the Shierling Becher, which is a type of goblet, I think. I’m not sure why Genarius needs to commit suicide by drinking from a specific goblet, but okay.
Finally he can’t take it any longer. He goes down to one of the basements where they store poison, finds some hemlock, pours it into the Shierling Becher cup, and chugs it. Then he heads back to his chamber and waits to die. After a bit, Maya and Prince Michael show up. Genarius explains that he just drank hemlock and will be expiring shortly.
“If I would have known that my son would still be alive I would not have taken the Shierling Becher with the juice of the hemlock plant. Why did you not send me a carrier pigeon with the message that my son, Prince Michael, is alive and well?”
“King Genarius… I did… didn’t you receive my message? I have seen the carrier pigeon with my own eyes depart from Villusio Island” (page 640-641).
Nicely done, Maya. How fucking stupid are you? You have A FUCKING DRAGON! Why are you relying on a carrier pigeon to deliver your messages? For that matter, why didn’t you just deliver Prince Michael back to his father in the first place? It’s what, a few hours round-trip, tops?
I am honestly starting to suspect that Maya did all this deliberately to get Genarius to kill himself. You’ll find out why in a moment.
Maya and Genarius chat about faith, and finally Genarius sends for paper, pencils, and his servants. Interesting, I didn’t know Maradonia had invented pencils.
Genarius tells Maya that his Tarnkappe and the Henrietta Mirror should be given to Michael when he’s of age. And he’s giving Maya his sword Titus, because she’s now the Queen of Maradonia, and will need to rule until Michael comes of age at 25.
Genarius fills out his will, tells Maya to rule the land of Maradonia with an iron fist and to show Maradonia’s enemies no mercy, plays with Michael for a bit, and dies.
Huh. So, through a direct decision by Maya, Genarius dies, and Maya ends up as queen of Maradonia. That’s not suspicious at all.
Chapter Sixty-Six – Rawkens
We’re back with the raven mothers, who are surprised that their demon children are trying to kill them. Except for Bertha, who explains that the children will calm down if they’re spoken to. However, the other ravens are too nervous to get close to their children, and apparently they’re incapable of shouting from a safe distance…say, two feet away. Bertha shouts and gets all the hatchlings’ attention and explains that she’s their commander, serving under Apollyon, and that they must never go against their own family. All of the newly hatched Rawkens understand this and calm down.
Bertha names the strongest and biggest of the hatchlings ‘Brawn Brandon’, which is a brilliantly inventive name, and heads off to find some food. In the space of a page, the Rawkens grow up, become extremely fierce, and finally Bertha takes them to visit Apollyon, who’s chilling out waiting for Plouton and Abbadon to get back. Apollyon has a funny feeling that something might be going on with Abbadon.
Bertha introduces Apollyon to his new army and Apollyon is very pleased and congratulates Bertha. He then asks them if they’ve seen his sons. Turns out Bertha’s sister, Dodoo, saw them at the harbor near Lupus Ville. Apollyon asks them to keep their eyes open.
King Apollyon still wondered about the voyage of his two sons, who left the palace for a secret purpose without his knowledge.
But then he thought about his new weapon, the Rawkens, and a cruel dark grin flitted over his face (page 654).