Chapter Seventy-Four – The Gambler Aurek

That’s an…interesting picture.

King Abbadon’s army is getting ever closer to the city of Selinka.

It was absolutely forbidden for the fairies to use supernatural powers against flesh and blood in fear of a deadly intervention from the king of light except thunder and lightning and the sound of rushing waters (page 600).

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. We had a scene not too long ago, 240 pages to be exact, where the fairies used supernatural powers against Maya and Joey and their army. Luckily, most of the army had bathed in the Deus ex Machina lake and were indestructible, but a few people were fried to ashes. Why didn’t the king of light intervene then? And why would he intervene now? This doesn’t make any sense. Neither does allowing them to use lightning. So, you can’t use your supernatural powers…except to call down bolts of lightning to magically destroy your enemies? Okay then.

Tesch tells us that Abbadon’s army is shooting hundreds of thousands of arrows over the walls and the defenders are shooting hundreds of thousands of arrows in return. I don’t even want to think about how obscenely expensive all those arrows are.

The war meanders for a few paragraphs until Abbadon realizes the city is quite well-defended and it will be difficult to take it. He remembers what Apollyon said about finding a traitor within the city.

We cut over to a chap named Aurek, who is, as the chapter title suggests, a gambler.

Aurek was a very handsome man but he was a player, a gambler, very slick and he loved music, wine and the women. He was always funny. He loved the women and the women loved him (page 601).

I’m picturing a twelve-year-old Gloria Tesch typing phrases like ‘he loved the women’, and it just makes me uncomfortable.

Aurek is the nephew of the unusual-bearded General Brody. They are tight because Aurek brings Brody some of his girlfriends as ‘companions’. In the Firefly sense, no doubt. Brody’s favorite is a wench named Florie. However, Florie is cold-hearted and crafty and really only has eyes for Aurek.

Every day Aurek stands on the city walls thinking about how to squeeze some money out of the war. That sounds like an excellent way to get shot. But Aurek decides to sell out the city. So he chats with Florie. Florie wants to get married to Aurek and have them become King and Queen of Maradonia, which Aurek thinks is a fantastic idea. He hatches a plan: He’ll send Florie in to flirt with Brody and present a plan to him: lower Aurek over the city walls in a basket! Aurek says they’ll tell Brody it’s so he can spy on Abbadon while under the pretense of asking Abbadon for peace terms. However, he’ll actually be selling Selinka out to Abbadon! It’s brilliant!

It’s fucking moronic.

First of all, why would they expect Brody to agree to this? Brody isn’t in charge. Doesn’t a peace ambassador need to be cleared through, I dunno, the KING? And if he’s sending out spies, shouldn’t he at least be clearing this through superiors?

Second, why does Aurek want to involve Brody anyway? Doesn’t he have any evil compatriots who will lower him over the walls?

Third, there’s an excellent chance that, if Aurek was really going spying, he’d be executed on the spot. Brody would know this and not want to let his nephew go.

Fourth, the city is completely surrounded. And the walls are lined with soldiers. How, precisely, are they going to lower him surreptitiously over the walls?

Anyway, Florie thinks this idea is brilliant. She sluts herself up and they head in to chat up Brody:

As usual Aurek greeted, hugged, and kissed his uncle Brody on his hairy cheek.

“Hmm…and whom did you bring for me this time you naughty boy?” (page 609)

I’m getting some odd vibes here. That might just be me though.

Florie and Brody talk and Brody is convinced that Aurek will be okay spying on the enemy, even though he isn’t a trained observer and is, in fact, a gambler, an alcoholic, and a whoremonger. Brody gets a couple of trusted men and sends them off to lower Aurek over the wall.

However, things aren’t sitting quite right with Brody:

The General looked at Florie and said, “I really do not know what’s going on here. I have a strange feeling but let me ask you a question: Florie, do you really like me or do you despise me deep down in your heart?” (page 611).

If you have to ask, you’re doing it wrong.

Florie reassures Brody that she thinks he’s the cat’s pajamas and then roofies his drink. It kicks in and Brody realizes what happened. He tries to get up but falls over, cracking his head on the edge of the table and instantly dies.

Drinks: 33

Chapter Seventy-Five – No Prisoners

Aurek strolls over to the army and is promptly apprehended and frisked. He says he has a message for Abbadon so the guards take him over to Abbadon’s tent. Aurek launches into a prepared speech about how Brody is old, AstroJesus is old, and Maradonia needs new leadership.

Abbadon points out that he can read Aurek like a book and knows precisely what he wants. He also can apparently see Aurek’s and Florie’s thoughts.

“You must understand,” Abbadon continued, “ ‘Evil recognizes evil as well as goodness recognizes goodness’.” (page 616)

I really hate the openly evil trope, where characters freely acknowledge that they’re evil. It’s completely outside human nature. Everyone is the hero of their own story. Truly evil people almost never recognize or understand who they really are – they believe that they are good, or at the very least make excuses for what they do.

Abbadon reveals that Brody is dead, which horrifies Aurek. Abbadon asks Aurek if he came to tell Abbadon that he should sneak back into Selinka wearing Aurek’s clothes, which sounds like a terrible idea, but it’s true. Abbadon then asks if Florie knows where AstroJesus lives. Aurek replies to the affirmative, which might not have been the smartest response. Abbadon then points out that Aurek would be arrested for treason, which is true…if people knew he was a traitor.

“Who can trust you? Many people love treason and treachery, but they hate the traitors. Do you not know that?” (page 617).

I guess it depends on which side you’re on, but that might be true. Generally speaking, if the traitor is betraying people to your advantage, you’re pretty stoked about the entire thing. Although it is true that you would never really be able to trust the traitor himself.

Abbadon snaps his fingers and some guards come in. He has them strip Aurek down to his boxers and drag him off to the executioner, who promptly chops off Aurek’s head.

The executioner looked at the headless body of Aurek and said, “I assume that this man did not know that we don’t keep prisoners.” (page 618)

Not going to lie, I burst out laughing at that line, and it was because it’s genuinely funny. Either that or the vodka.

We cut over to Maya and Joey, who have received a message from General Genarius. They take off on horseback and get back inside Selinka. Despite the fact that the city is completely surrounded by Abbadon’s troops. They’re able to just waltz through. Without any explanation whatsoever.

Back to Abbadon, who is dressed in Aurek’s clothes. He hops in the basket and tugs the rope and is pulled up to the top. He’s wearing a hood over his face which of course fools everyone. The guards take him back to Brody’s chamber where he meets up with Florie.

When Abbadon pulled his hood a little further back, Florie said, “It is strange…. you look like Aurek but you smell like burned rubber. Your eyes are also different and your voice does not sound like Aurek’s voice and…. your behavior is… I don’t know how I should say it. Who are you?” (page 621)

Abbadon tells her to keep quiet and Florie immediately accepts this and leads him to AstroJesus’ pad. A misspelling of the word ‘shining’ as ‘shinning’ later, guards break into Brody’s room and find him dead. They send a message to General Genarius and explain that Florie spent the night with him and also that Aurek left the city via basket and then returned. Genarius questions one of the guards, who says that when Aurek came back his voice was different and he smelled like sulfur and burnt rubber. And yet they did not find this even remotely fucking unusual. At. All.

Genarius thinks about this for about fifteen seconds and comes to the conclusion that Abbadon is posing as Aurek. He has someone saddle his horse, arms himself, and takes off for AstroJesus’ pad, at roughly the same time that Abbadon and Florie arrive. Abbadon then asks her if she knows who she is. Florie says that he’s a magician working for Abbadon. Abbadon laughs and reveals his face to her.

When Florie looked at the ‘Face of Evil’ her heart died within her and she fell down at the gate of King Astrodoulos and became stiff and cold like a stone (page 624).

Drinks: 16

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Comment

  1. TakuGifian on 23 February 2011, 07:10 said:

    shinning

    Ssh! Do you want to get sued?

    I’m blaming your laughter on the vodka.

  2. Sweguy on 23 February 2011, 08:02 said:

    Haha, loved that last sentence! xD Epic

  3. Flavia on 23 February 2011, 16:31 said:

    I love how spontaneously people die in this book.

  4. swenson on 23 February 2011, 16:59 said:

    No, no, I found it kinda funny too. I doubt it’s intentional, of course.

    Anyway, I’m fairly certain the end is moar Biblical plagiarism. Immediately I thought of the story of Ananias and Sapphira (not the Saphira you’re thinking of, although that thought always makes me giggle at the worst moments, as the original story is quite serious). The wording isn’t exactly the same and the context is completely different, but Sapphira is described as falling “down straightway at [Peter’s] feet, and yielded up the ghost”. (KJV, other versions differ slightly but all have her immediately falling down at his feet and dying)

  5. Deborah on 23 February 2011, 17:02 said:

    And being lowered over the city wall in a basket is what the people in Damascus did for Saul (later Paul).

  6. swenson on 23 February 2011, 17:03 said:

    Wait! I found it! As expected, of course it’s a Bible reference! It’s a reference to the death of Nabal. Before he was king, David was basically hiding out in the wilderness from King Saul. One day his whole group came to Nabal, who was a massive jerk to them and wouldn’t offer them hospitality, even though they’d been polite and considerate and even helped protect his men. Knowing Nabal was wrong, his wife Abigail went behind his back to feed David and his men. The next morning, Nabal died:

    “But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.” (KJV again, if you’re interested)

    Interestingly, he doesn’t die for 10 days after. Yet another case of Miz Tesch only reading the source material superficially?

  7. Kilgore on 23 February 2011, 17:46 said:

    _As usual Aurek greeted, hugged, and kissed his uncle Brody on his hairy cheek.
    “Hmm…and whom did you bring for me this time you naughty boy?” (page 609)_

    O_o . . . I’m laughing and cringing at the same time.

    It’s not a pleasant feeling.

  8. Lord Bob Bree on 23 February 2011, 20:56 said:

    “Genarius questions one of the guards, who says that when Aurek came back his voice was different and he smelled like sulfur and burnt rubber. And yet they did not find this even remotely fucking unusual. At. All.”

    Welp, you know what they say: the clothes make the man.

  9. meaningless prose on 23 February 2011, 21:17 said:

    How exactly do they know what rubber is or how it smells burnt?
    Is it shown in use? do they have rubber trees?
    Or is this something they know of because ms. Tesch knows what it is/smells like.

  10. Licht on 24 February 2011, 02:14 said:

    Something like that just had to be stolen from the bible…
    Good Goddess of writing!
    I won’t say anything about the moral I got from this…No. Really.

    Ahm, besides… Florie wants to become Queen of Maradonia? How would she become queen if her husband-to-be was nothing than a traitor selling out his city? He wouldn’t become king, methinks.

    And what is it with “burned rubber” all the time?
    Does she have a fetish there or a trauma or something?
    It made sense when they actually burned rubber, Maya and Joey’s shoes, but it doesn’t make much sense there. In fact, a burned man’s clothes would hardly smell like burned rubber – despite, you know, if it were Barbie/Ken.

  11. TakuGifian on 24 February 2011, 07:11 said:

    Does anyone else feel that this kind of thing is Not Appropriate for a young teen to be reading, let alone writing about? I mean, on second read-through, it’s really quite disturbing. I am disturbed, and seriously squicked out. Some of those lines are bordering on explicit, and make some heavy innuendis toward incest. Not Appropriate for your target audience, Tesch. Or yourself.

  12. Licht on 24 February 2011, 17:51 said:

    Which lines?

  13. meaningless prose on 24 February 2011, 22:34 said:

    Actually, for YA it’s rather tame, I am less familiar with MG, so it does straddle the line, imo.

  14. LoneWolf on 25 February 2011, 12:20 said:

    Oh, “liking treason but hating traitors” is a common motive. Executing a traitor who had already served his purpose is a common trope.

    And if Abbadon’s ‘Face of Evil’ so horrible to see, why everyone else was able to see it without dying? Or is his ‘Face of Evil’ a specific grimace he makes when he wants to kill people with the sight of himself?

  15. Deborah on 25 February 2011, 15:14 said:

    What IS it with all these people who keep falling down dead?

  16. Erin on 25 February 2011, 18:25 said:

    I love that one of the powers they’re allowed to use is “The sound of rushing waters”. Not rushing water itself, but the sound of it. It makes me picture Maya and Joey being killed with a CD of relaxing nature sounds.

  17. Licht on 25 February 2011, 18:31 said:

    With a CD of relaxing nature sounds AND Abbadon making a ‘Face of Evil’ grimace ;D

  18. Danielle on 25 February 2011, 19:01 said:

    With a CD of relaxing nature sounds AND Abbadon making a ‘Face of Evil’ grimace ;D

    Now I have a picture of a CD of relaxing nature sounds with Abaddon’s “Face of Evil” grimace on the front cover. The liner notes say “With thanks to Mother Earth.”

  19. Licht on 25 February 2011, 20:33 said:

    Artist: ACOE (Apollyon’s Club of Evil)
    Album: Face of Evil Grimace [Explicit LP Version]
    Genres: Electro Pop, Death Metal, Alternative
    Label: Waterpark Records

    01. This TOTALLY Different World
    02. We Are The Aliens
    03. Tarnkappe
    04. Herds of Dolphins
    05. Holster
    06. Pool of Blood
    07. The Powers of Evil (Believe in Teamwork)
    08. Burning Snowflakes
    09. Human Sacrifice Offering
    10. Big Bertha on Patrol (feat. Ravens)
    11. And So It Was
    12. The Encouragers
    13. Libertine
    14. Conquer Myself (feat. Hoppy & Sagitta)
    15. Food Affects Your Mood
    16. Mother Earth Song (iTunes Bonus Track)

  20. Kilgore on 25 February 2011, 22:22 said:

    You owe me a new monitor Licht :D

  21. Erin on 25 February 2011, 23:00 said:

    I’m laughing myself to tears here, Licht. Throw in a track called Feeding the Unicorns With Our Hands and I’ll take ten copies. :D
    However, that reminds me. Whatever happeneed to Hoppy? Has he just been silently chilling in Joey’s pocket?

  22. Danielle on 26 February 2011, 11:42 said:

    I think I just convinced my family I’m crazy, I laughed so hard! Maradonia would be much improved if Tesch turned it into a musical. With those songs.

  23. NinjaCat on 26 February 2011, 12:14 said:

    Hoppy, yes, and the dog Maya gets in chapter 35. What the heck happened to them? I’ll have to go back and check.

    Here’s a tip, Tesch. Either keep your characters throughout the entire story, or make up a reason to get rid of them for awhile if not needed. Letting them disappear is just lazy. It’s not hard. “Hoppy decided to leave Maya and Joey because if they carried him any farther it would take him ages to get home” See? Not hard at all.

    On the plus side, this makes my story look so much better in comparison. :)

  24. Danielle on 27 February 2011, 01:18 said:

    Hold on, Licht, I just realized…. what about poison???

  25. moondevourer on 27 February 2011, 13:56 said:

    Holy crap, Dani, you’re right! We forgot about poison! D:

  26. Licht on 27 February 2011, 18:53 said:

    @Kilgore: I’m a poor girl…Can only offer cookies ;)

    XD Damn! What About Poison! Single bonus track, perhaps?
    Feeding Unicorns with our own Hands shall be the next album ;D

    And if you rather prefer slightly pornographic country music I’d like to recommend “Hot Mac and The Griffin’s Piss”. Just go and listen to their newest single “Magic Staff” feat. Mord Sith; They’re everything you need to get your girl/boyfriend going. ;)

  27. Kilgore on 28 February 2011, 13:55 said:

    Okay, I’ll take your cookies. ;)

  28. Deborah on 8 March 2011, 17:38 said:

    We are the aliens, my friend. . . and we’ll keep on annoying you. . . till the end. . . .

  29. Prince o' Tea on 1 April 2011, 20:30 said:

    “but what about poison?” “AND YES BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DOVES?!?!”

    Seems like Florie was barking up the wrong tree, both times. That “naughty little boy” seems to have an unusual beard fetish, if you get what I mean…

  30. DarrylWolf on 1 April 2013, 21:14 said:

    “Face of Evil”! Is it that horrible Zelda game made by Phillips?

  31. lilyWhite on 2 April 2013, 16:15 said:

    JOIN ME, MAYA, AND I WILL MAKE YOUR FACE THE GREATEST IN MARADONIA! OR ELSE YOU WILL DIE!

  32. Zach Johansen on 5 November 2015, 14:13 said:

    “It is written: only Maya and Joey can defeat… Abbadon.”

    “Great, I’ll grab my stuff!”