Chapter 12 – The Boy In The Window
Just in case you were wondering, this chapter doesn’t really involve or focus on the boy in the window.
Therapass is spouting off cryptic nonsense, which Savage probably thought made the scene more dramatic and tense, but really just makes it clear that this book suffers from a bad case of the cliches.
Master Therapass looked like a madman. Muttering to himself, he paced back and forth across the room, his fingers combing grooves through his long beard. “They can’t be here… Yet clearly… If anything happens to him… All my fault…”
It’s kind of odd in the middle of a character’s hysteria to point out that he’s combing grooves through his beard. It just strikes me as an odd way to phrase it- “running his fingers through his beard” would be better. I also like how he’s apparently babbling about what’s wrong but is somehow magically not saying anything that could possibly let Kyja know exactly what he’s panicking about. For all she knows, he’s just gone crazy.
Kyja asks him in a remarkably calm tone of voice what’s wrong. He asks her if she’s ever seen the boy before, and she says that she thought so for a minute, but she doesn’t really recognize him. She tries to remember exactly what she felt, and comes to the conclusion that she feels as though she’s dreamed about him before. She then asks him if it’s possible she made him up in her head. But no, she hasn’t. The boy is, according to Therapass, “very real.” He mutters to himself about how he “should have predicted that” and that the boy was reaching out and Kyja was the most logical choice…. I think it’s meant to be suspenseful.
All at once, Master Therapass took Kyja by the arm and began pulling her toward the door. “If they’ve found him, they’re bound to come looking for you as well. Of course they’ll check the city first. But once they find you’ve left, they’ll spread out. They could even be here now.”
Kyja asks him who he’s talking about. Good question, Kyja. Don’t expect any answers though, as there’s no time to explain.
The old man gave her a measuring look before taking her hand. “There’s no time to explain now. You must leave immediately. Do not tell anyone where you are going, except for Bella. She will give you food enough to last several days. Take one of Farmer Goodnuff’s horses- you’d be questioned if I provided you with a mount from the tower- and ride out of town as far and fast as you can. I’ll catch up with you when I’m able.”
Therapass is doing a brilliant job of fulfilling his role as the cryptic old mentor.
He tells her to keep the necklace that he gave her, the one that has the design that matches the mark on Marcus’s shoulder. Why he thinks she’d get rid of it, I have no idea. And with that, poor Kyja is sent running off without any more information. Riph Raph is commanded by Therapass to fly above the city and keep an eye out for danger, implying that Riph Raph has some sense of what this “danger” is.
As she’s going to find the cook, Kyja briefly wonders if Therapass is just being a coward and there really is no danger, but then she remembers how everyone defers to him and decides he’s no coward, and that there must be a good reason for her to run. It seems like every doubt the characters have about other people in this book is put to rest in just a few short sentences. Personally I think it would make it more interesting if she didn’t fully believe Therapass.
Kyja finds Bella, who gives her a “bulging grain sack” that I assume has food in it. Wanting to know what the hell is going on, Kyja tries to ask Bella questions but Bella cuts her off, telling her that there are “too many big ears and even bigger mouths in this kitchen.” Then she and Kyja go through a hallway that Kyja never knew existed before.
They exit the passage into a fenced yard where the tower’s livestock are kept. The tone of the writing is supposed to be tense as they try to avoid being seen by anyone, but it’s kind of hard to take it seriously when Bella has to tell a turkey to “hush [its] beak, or [it’ll] be on the dinner menu tonight.” Passing through the yard, they go through an orchard and then through a hedge maze.
“Here,” Bella said, pulling a dark, gray scarf from her apron pocket. “Tie this around your head and keep it on until you get out of town. Master Therapass wanted me to remind you not to talk to anyone, and to stay out of sight as much as possible.”
I have a problem with this. These people that are apparently after Kyja must know what she looks like if she has to disguise herself. The problem with that is, how do they have any idea what she looks like? Have they been spying on her for a long time? If so, why are they only now coming after her? I don’t think Savage intends to answer that question, but it still bothers me that we’re supposed to accept that somehow this unnamed danger can find Kyja that easily (unless they can somehow sense her or something.)
“If you run into trouble, send that skyte of yours with a message and I’ll-” Bella’s words died in her mouth as she and Kyja rounded the corner. Not more than twenty yards away, where the path met the road, two dozen of the royal guards marched in formation. In the center of the formation was the High Lord himself, riding on a tall black stallion side-by-side with a man Kyja had never seen.
Before Bella could push Kyja behind her thick body, the stranger looked in their direction, and Kyja felt sure his dark eyes marked her.
Stranger who has dark eyes and “marks” her with his gaze? He must be a baddie. The chapter ends there, on yet another cliff-hanger. Surprised? I didn’t think so.