Chapter Eighty-Three – The Calm Before the Storm
Maya and Joey arrive at the farmhouse. Turns out the keepers have a present for Maya, even though they didn’t know she was coming.
He had an absolutely gorgeous, beige white dog on a leash. “This is Tootsie! She is a golden retriever.” (page 766)
Wonderful, another dog for Maya to accidentally poison. And Tootsie? What an absolutely idiotic name for a dog.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s no such thing as being a beige white dog. They’re two different colors.
Maya is delighted, of course. So is Tootsie.
It seemed that Tootsie had a smile on her face when she wagged her tail.
“The instinct of this dog tells her that you are a dog lover,” Joey said (page 767).
First of all, dogs can’t smile. This is also irrelevant, Tesch. We get that dogs are happy when they wag their tails, so just tell us that. It accomplishes the exact same thing in half the space and has the added benefit of making your writing twice as good while making you NOT sound like an idiot.
Second…I can’t picture a fifteen-year-old saying that second sentence. Actually, I can’t picture anyone saying that sentence. It’s atrociously written, and it’s also completely irrelevant. It tells us nothing.
They go out to feed the unicorns some apples and nothing happens for a few pages. Eventually the dragons show up, bringing the news that – well, nothing is going on. Nothing continues to happen for a few more pages and the chapter ends.
Chapter Eighty-Four – Decisions in the Making
I think one of my major complaints about Gold of Ophir is that it is just so bland. Nothing really happens in it. There are a few WTF moments, but there aren’t many completely batshit insane moments, at least since the first few chapters. I’ve probably spent more time on this book than Gloria herself spent writing it, and I honestly can’t remember half of what happens. It’s just a blur. And that’s a pity, because as a sporker, it’s those moments of true insanity that we live for.
Fortunately, these next few chapters kinda makes up for the past 700 pages of general nonsense.
It’s time for the trial of all the rebels. There isn’t enough space in the actual judgment hall, so they have it outdoors in a square between barracks. All the prisoners are hauled in in chains, along with Ginger and the two nurses who attempted to kill Prince Michael.
Judge Kingston is presiding with a few other judges with Maya and Joey and the senators sitting nearby. A chap called Mr. Skinner is the prosecutor, and he calls Ginger, who has apparently turned state’s evidence, to the stand.
Ginger starts explaining that she’s actually a nice person and Candice (General Felipe’s wife) lured her in and then threatened her after things started getting dark. She also explains that it was obvious Felipe wanted to eliminate the royal family and use the gold of Ophir to buy votes in the Senate to work his way into the throne.
General Felipe yelled out, “How can you believe such a slut?” (page 776)
Judge Kingston orders Felipe to shut up and demands that Ginger give him specifics. Ginger explains that she paid assassins to try and kill Maya and Joey and the governor Fernando Dela Concho. She and Candice also rented out the lighthouse and turned the lights off on the days the fake gold ships were coming. You know, I find it difficult to believe you can just rent out a lighthouse that has such a critically important function.
Next, they call up the two survivors of the shipwreck, who explain that their ships sank and as they were heading to shore, a bunch of soldiers came out and murdered all of them. Judge Kingston is pleased with this:
“In the name of the Queen of Maradonia, we thank you for your clear and honest statement.” (page 781)
Uh. Precisely why do they just assume these two guys are being honest? I mean, they don’t have any physical evidence or corroborating witnesses for any of this. Shouldn’t these judges be listening to all the evidence before pronouncing certain people honest?
It gets worse:
“You will be reimbursed for your time and are free to go back to Arkadia. We have a letter for you… a letter of recommendation to deliver to the governor of the district of Arkadia, Fernando Dela Concho. The governor will certainly offer you a work place.” (page 782)
So let’s get this straight: These guys are testifying for the government…and the government is paying them for their time and giving them a letter of recommendation that will guarantee them successful jobs for the rest of their lives? And just announcing this at the trial?
I mean, we know that the accused are guilty as sin, but they aren’t even pretending this is a fair trial.
Skinner then hauls up the two nurses, who explain that their lives were threatened by people who worked for General Felipe if they didn’t kill Prince Michael and they had no choice. Kingston isn’t buying that, though:
“What about, maybe, telling King Genarius or at that time, Princess Maya about the threat?” the judge asked sarcastically, “Did this thought ever strike your mind?” (page 782)
I actually quite like this bit. There’s nothing better than a sarcastic judge calling people on their bullshit. Of course, it falls apart when Kingston sentences them both to fifteen years hard labor. I mean, these two tried to smother the baby prince! I think death is letting them off lightly. It would be something else if Tesch added that the average life expectancy at this labor camp was five years. Oh well.
And that is the end of the witnesses.
“The evidence is damning! The defense has no arguments and basically nothing to say!” (page 783)
Although to be fair, you really haven’t given them a chance to defend themselves and they don’t have counsel for their defense.
Finally they call up General Felipe and Skinner asks him if he did all of the things he was accused of. Felipe says that he is innocent, but all of the officers around him are guilty.
The followers of General Felipe were deeply disappointed by his speech, got angry and began vehemently to protest (page 785).
Yeah. That was the extent of General Felipe’s plan to defend himself. To try and shift the blame to his five officers. The five people in the world with intimate knowledge of all of his misdeeds and who are therefore most capable of fingering him.
General Felipe is a fucking idiot.
After order is restored, the judge bangs his gavel and says that it’s obvious they’re all guilty due to the overwhelming evidence that wasn’t presented in court and the accused had no way of knowing about or offering any defense for. And so the judges withdraw to decide on their fate.
The penalty for treason is either drowning or beheading. They decide that Felipe and his five officers will all be drowned, and the insurgents who were captured will all be beheaded. However, Maya and Joey haven’t been saying anything through all this and the judges ask them their opinion.
Queen Maya began to cry, holding Joey’s hands and uttered, “I have seen so much blood recently!” (page 787)
Yes. And you personally caused a lot of that bloodshed. How does that make you feel?
“I lost my pure and innocent mind during our journey through this country and the people even call me the Warrior Queen. Who will give me my harmless, innocent, and inoffensive mind back?” (page 787)
Maya goes off to meditate and then Libertine shows up to dispense some helpful advice. The dove explains, through a number of Christian metaphors, that Maya needs more of the Kingdom of Light in her heart so streams of living water flow from her soul and stuff. She advises Maya to offer all the bad guys the chance to repent from their wrongdoing. So Maya goes back in and says that she wants to talk to the prisoners before they announce judgment. The judges agree, so they go out. Maya gets up and asks the crowd of around 90 criminals if any of them want to repent. Let’s keep in mind that all of them are guilty of treason, the penalty of which is death. Not prison time. Death. In addition, they’ve already been pronounced guilty and now they’re just waiting to have their heads lopped off. And now the one person in the world who could possibly let them off the hook is asking them if anyone wants to repent from their crimes.
I don’t think I’m really off-target here in suspecting that between 95-100% of them would instantly fall to their knees and repent of their wrongdoing and beg for clemency. And…do they?
A storm of laughter echoed through the open square and one of the prisoners yelled, “Look…The Child Queen of Maradonia shows some feelings!” (page 790)
Some other things are shouted, but then a 15-year old kid named Jumah comes out and says that he was tricked into fighting with them but realizes that he was wrong and that the insurgents are actually the bad guys. Maya thanks him and asks him to stand off to the side. Nobody else comes forward because apparently they all have a death wish.
Kingston gets up and says that Felipe and his five officers will be drowned, Ginger has to be a servant for the rest of her life, the nurses get the aforementioned 15 years of hard labor (because apparently attempting to murder the prince isn’t treason, while taking over a building because your superiors ordered you to is treason), Jumah is free but will be in the army, and everyone else will get their heads chopped off.
Solid plan, you dumbfucks.
Chapter Eighty-Five – The Last Wish
Barnabas, the leader of the insurgents, gets up and points out that it’s customary that prisoners sentenced to death get a last wish. Judge Kingston agrees but says it’s impossible to ask eighty different prisoners for a last wish. Uh…no, it’s not. It would take about half an hour or so, with a few people assigned to ask questions. I understand that it might be mildly inconvenient, but for Roach’s sake, either just turn them down or go with it. You’re going to be killing them, they might as well get a last meal.
Instead of calling Kingston on this bullshit, Barnabas agrees to ask for just one wish for everyone. Kingston agrees, but points out that he can’t ask for ridiculous shit like everyone not being executed. Also, he really has to ask Maya, since she’s the Queen and in charge of handing out last wishes.
Joey cautions Maya and says that granting a last wish is probably a bad idea, but Maya disagrees and tells Barnabas that he gets a last wish.
Barnabas bowed down and continued, “I wish that all my men stand in one straight line, one after the other, and that Queen Maya of Maradonia would come and personally behead me. If my headless body will still walk and passes one of my companions, this person shall be liberated and shall go free, wherever this person wants to go!”
Queen Maya did not like that wish, but because of the promise and the witnesses around, she was not able to change the status. She bit her lip and said, “So be it!” (page 797)
The stupidity pains me.
Okay. First off, Kingston just got through specifically stating they can’t use their last wish to try to get out of being executed. So Maya has an out for not honoring that utterly ridiculous wish. And she doesn’t. For…some reason.
Of course, the obvious implication is that since Maya agreed to the wish because she had to, if Barnabas had just wished for Maya to let everyone go, she would have been required too. So Barnabas is an idiot as well.
On other hand, maybe Tesch is trying to say that Barnabas found a way to craftily word his wish to get people out of their execution without saying what Judge Kingston said wasn’t allowed. So in that case, Barnabas is still a fucking idiot for not choosing a statement that would allow all of his men to get off.
For that matter, why the hell would Barnabas choose something as utterly ridiculous as hoping his corpse maintains a sense of direction and basic motor functions after getting his head chopped off?
The men line up. Maya grabs her sword and chops Barnabas’ head off because we all know how easy it is for 16-year-old girls to swing a broadsword and cleanly sever muscle and spinal column in a single blow. And, unsurprisingly, the corpse starts running, and makes it past nine people before falling over. Science!
One of the men who gets a free get out of losing your head card is Leon Felipe, General Felipe’s son. General Felipe yells to his son that he loves him and to please finish what he started, which seems like a pretty effective way of damning your son and making him a marked man for the rest of his life. The nine men are freed.
Maya thinks back to Libertine’s words:
‘Maya, I warn you… Have no mercy for the people who don’t repent or the Land of Maradonia, your land, will suffer one day again…tremendously.’ (page 800)
I’m guessing this decision is going to come back and bite them in the ass. Nice going, Maya.
Tesch throws in a ‘And so it was….’ and that is that. Felipe and his officers are loaded with chains, taken down to the dock, and shoved into the drink and drowned. Maya and Joey decide to leave because they really don’t want to watch 72 men have their heads chopped off in a row. I agree. It’s much easier to just order other people to carry out your dirty work.
A dragon shows up, bringing news that the Rawkens have attacked Tyronia and killed a few dragons. King Apollyon has also made a treaty with the Lord over all the pirate ships, so now he has a way of reaching Tyronia.
Joey asks Maya if she remembers the ruler of Karthago – Queen Dido. Apparently Karthago has a huge navy of 350 vessels and trained sailors who are called…. Marines! Holy shit, what a coincidence!
Maya asks Joey if he wants to accompany him to Karthago.
“Maya…You are very smart! You understood in a second that this visit could be in the interests of both our countries. To make a trip to Karthago and get a treaty with the Karthaginians is the answer!” (page 804).
No. Sending an ambassador to make a treaty while you deal with problems on the home front is the answer.
Maya is on board, of course, so Joey closes the book out with yet another ridiculous cliché:
“I don’t know about you, but I learned during this trial: FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!” (page 804)
And that’s it. The end. The climax of this book, right there.
What an utterly pointless book.