Chapter Fifty-five – Queen Aquamarisha & Fayina
That is one of the most deformed unicorns I have ever seen. What happened to its back leg? Also, this picture doesn’t actually occur in this chapter.
Libertine and her fellow doves land on the pool that is holding the captured mermaids. Tesch notes that they are being held hostage, which makes me wonder if she knows what the word ‘hostage’ means. There hasn’t been any sign throughout this book that the merfolk are at war with Abbadon, or are even opposed to anything he’s doing. If they’re really being held hostage, it’s usually to try and influence the merfolk or to make demands.
Libertine flies down and lands on Aquamarisha’s shoulder and tells her everything that has happened to Maya and Joey….which doesn’t sound like information that you should really be giving to someone who is currently being held hostage by your mortal enemy. Aquamarisha is delighted and tells the rest of the mermaids who are similarly delighted. Libertine then explains that Maya and Joey have been given God-like Mary Sue powers and will probably be arriving to rescue them any day now. Which, again is information that probably shouldn’t be given to people – sorry, mermaids – that at any moment Abbadon might decide to torture for information. Anyway. Aquamarisha is….encouraged. Very encouraged:
“Libertine, you don’t know how encouraging your information is…for all of us. We have heard the good news and we all receive it. Yes, yes…Libertine, we receive this encouragement. We receive it because we can feel it in the tips of our fishtails that our days of captivity are numbered.” (page 408).
If you cut all of the completely useless sentences out of this book, and reformatted it with proper margins and font sizes….it would be about 20,000 words long.
Libertine asks where the unicorns are being held, which leads to a page of exposition. Some of the highlights:
“The unicorns are the greatest weakness of Apollyon. He loves them more then his own sons Abbadon and Plouton. The unicorns are his greatest possession. He even feeds them sometimes with his own hands.” (page 409)
So let me get this straight…Tesch’s Dark Lord has a Club of Evil, believes in the Power of Teamwork, and his greatest love is taking care of his pet unicorns? If Tesch was setting this up as some sort of subversion…that would actually be pretty cool. Also, it’s supposed to be ‘than’, not ‘then’.
Aquamarisha exposits that there’s a giant cave beneath the castle and that is where the unicorns are kept, for some reason. Inside there are caves that lead into the underworld and into the halls where Giants and Titans live. At day the unicorns are let out to graze in the meadows but they are always heavily guarded.
Aquamarisha then does an about face from her previous rambling on how she was receiving the encouragement from the doves:
“Help might be on the way, Libertine, but this help will never reach us. Let us face the facts; we are captives at this place along with our friends, the unicorns. Who can liberate us from this region of wickedness?” (page 410)
This is what an editor is for, Tesch. Finding areas where characters suddenly go from saying one thing to saying the complete opposite in the space of a page and a half. Hell, that’s what proofreading is for.
Aquamarisha explains that the new leader of the unicorns is called Fayina and if she sees anyone mistreating a unicorn, she gores them. Apollyon finds this hilarious and doesn’t put a stop to it, which I guess is suitably evil, even though it’s hard not to see Fayina’s side of it: if you mistreat a unicorn, you’re running a risk of getting gored to death.
Libertine asks what color Fayina’s fur is. Technically this isn’t incorrect usage of the word, it still sounds extremely wrong to the ear when referring to horses (or unicorns). Coat would be much better, or even hair. Aquamarisha says that Fayina is yellow and white with a red mane and tail, and has red dots on both cheeks. So…she looks like a clown. Okay then.
Tesch throws in ANOTHER And so it was… as Libertine flies around to find the unicorns. She eventually finds TWO THOUSAND unicorns in a valley. I think a herd that size would be pretty hard to miss. And it’s not really economically viable to keep a herd of two thousand unicorns as personal pets, but hey, what do I know?
Libertine finds Fayina and explains that they are being held captive. Fayina doesn’t believe this, and points out that they are perfectly free. Libertine convinces Fayina that she’s actually a captive by pointing out that the unicorns are completely surrounded by armed guards. Yeah…Fayina is an idiot. Libertine tells Fayina to act normally and she’ll get more info when the time comes. And the chapter, finally, mercifully, comes to an end.
Chapter Fifty-Six – General Council of the Titans
So, Apollyon is having a council and feast. Arabella, one of his spies, is waiting to meet with him, but the Hoodmen, who are apparently organizing things, won’t give her a chance to do so. Honestly, if I were Apollyon, the first thing I would do after disbanding the Club of Evil would be to tell everyone that my spies are able to talk to me at all times. After all, that’s why I have spies, to find information for me, right?
Anyway, this, of course, is the exact same chapter as the prologue. I’ve already gone over it in-depth, but I’m sure you (like me) have forgotten everything that happened that long ago, so briefly: some dwarfs teleport into the room, Apollyon comes in, introduces the spirits, Arabella is miffed because she’s ignored, Apollyon explains that Abbadon just got his ass kicked by Maya and Joey, he then explains about the special powers of the pool of blood, Remmilos is pissed off and says that maybe they need a change in leadership, so Apollyon fries him into a piece of toast. Then he says that he’ll tell them a secret (and this is where the prologue ended).
Looking back, I really have absolutely no idea why Tesch chose this scene as the prologue. Usually writers do it so you wonder what’s going on and start reading eagerly and once you finally get to that scene you’re like “Ah, now that makes sense, interesting!” Whereas here I’m like “Ah, I have no idea why Tesch chose that scene as the prologue, that was a stupid choice.”
Anyway, Apollyon has an explanation for what’s going on:
“Our own powers are the reasons why my son, Abbadon and his excellent army has lost the fight against the enemies…because we…the ‘Empire of the Underworld’…we have made the assembly of the enemy with our powers immune! Do you understand?” (page 426).
No. I really don’t. I have no idea what the fuck this means.
“Let me say it again…Our powers have made the assembly of the enemy immune…, immune against ourselves and against our jurisdiction!” (page 426).
I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
So Apollyon names Abbadon his heir and decides to give him some more powers. Apollyon’s other son, Plouton, is not pleased by this turn of events. Remmilos’ brothers notice this. Foreshadowing! Apollyon dubs Abbadon King of Terra Mili. I wasn’t aware you could just dub someone King, but hey, this is Maradonia. Apollyon gives Abbadon a magic sword that was apparently invented by Remmilos, who also invented the Key to the Underworld. I’m not certain if Tesch is saying that the sword is the Key to the Underworld, or Remmilos also invented the Key. That’s mostly just poor writing, though.
Apollyon moves on to talking about how they need to kill AstroJesus and his Achilles’ shoulder:
“…by transcendental meditation and concentration on this particular point, I could see some kind of vulnerability on his right shoulder… I don’t know exactly why, but I assume that an obstacle…maybe a leaf from a tree, fell on his shoulder before he dived into the ‘Pool of Blood’.” (page 429)
Apollyon tells everyone that after AstroJesus is dead they need to kill Genarius because he’s a genius as well. And finally someone gets up and asks if they can ask King Abbadon a question. Apollyon says yes. So the chap asks Abbadon exactly how they are going to get into the city and defeat the army.
Abbadon explains that the Titans have developed a new secret weapon that is called the ‘Schwarz Pulver’. Which, as moronic as that sounds, is basically German for ‘black powder’. So, gunpowder. And basically they’re going to pull a Saruman on Maradonia’s Helm’s Deep. Next:
“When we have found a person, who is willing to help us to overcome the system we will promise this person the ‘Triple P’, which means, as most of you know, ‘properties, powers and provisions’.” (page 432).
Right. After they’ve blown a hole in the wall, why don’t they just walk in and kill everyone? Apollyon explains that AstroJesus is friends with Livius, who is one of the four awesome creatures that serves Roach, and if they use their supernatural weapons against them, Livius will come in and stop them. BUT if they can convince someone to turn traitor and then kill everyone without using supernatural weapons, Livius…for some unknown reason…can’t interfere.
First, this is moronic, but whatever. Second: that time when Maya and Joey were getting barbecued, the creatures showed up to rescue them…except the bad guys weren’t using their magical powers then, they just basically tricked Maya and Joey into agreeing to let themselves to burned alive. And then of course later the bad guys used magical powers to fry the ten warriors who were too stupid to leave…and Roach’s minions didn’t show up then. So essentially this entire concept is moronic and only exists as a plot contrivance.
Everyone argues for a bit. Apollyon unrolls an ordinance survey map that is on a 1:100,000 map scale – yes, Tesch specifically points this out – and they start planning, which basically involves dividing the army into groups and attacking from different directions. Wow. That’s a brilliant plan.
Apollyon repeats his spiel about how they know there aren’t aliens. It’s the same spiel from earlier in the book. Literally. Word for word. Tesch just copy and pasted the paragraph. Then we get this:
Uranimos, one of the commanders of the air said, “These ships are only for us and for our own transportation because we are not omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent, which means that we don’t have all the powers, we do not know everything and we cannot be at two places at the same time.” (page 436)
No shit, Sherlock? Listen, Tesch, if you’re using words big enough that the character who says them feels the need to throw in a As You Know, Bob immediately afterwards, that’s a pretty good sign that they shouldn’t be in your book in the first place.
Everyone argues for a little bit longer, and eventually Apollyon starts screaming at everyone to shut up and listen to him. They are all appropriately cowed and agree to his plan and give him a big cheer…and then this happens:
King Apollyon stood up from his seat and said, “We want to finish this great meeting with our ‘Mother Earth Song’.” (page 437).
Did he seriously just say they should sing a Mother Earth Song? Apollyon’s Club of Evil, that believes in teamwork and keeps unicorns as pets, has a Mother Earth Song? My mind is struggling to comprehend this. What is Tesch trying to say here? Has she even given this any thought at all? I cannot begin to fathom the thought process that would lead her to the conclusion that this was a good idea.
But they all start singing their favorite chorus. How do I know it’s their favorite chorus? Tesch tells us:
So all of them started to sing their favorite chorus:
Mother earth.., mother earth.., we bless you….we adore you…we give you thanks….you are our mother….you nurture us and you provide for us…. Mother earth.., mother earth.., we bless you…, we adore you…, and we give you thanks… (page 438).
This is going on the back of the increasingly crowded T-shirt. And yes…all of the periods and comma placements are exactly as depicted in the book.
They sing this chorus sixteen times. SIXTEEN FUCKING TIMES. Eventually Apollyon’s voice gives out and the meeting disperses. Tesch throws in another And so it was… and tells us that Libertine was there watching and she dispatches a message off to AstroJesus.