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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 11

Flashback Part 4! Jace and Kallist, Ronia estate, GO!

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 11

Of course it wasn't actually Ronia Hesset in the bed. The whole break-in was too easy. It was a set up. When asked if "she's" guilty, Jace can sadly reply that she probably is. The "probably" and not definitely coming from the mind reader is because she's gone so far as to have this elaborate setup to avoid assassination, so she's probably involved. At least she's not there so he doesn't have to witness her death himself.

Kallist defers to Jace on what to do next, and with no telling where Ronia is, it's best to escape. They run, and Kallist shows off his skills and manages to take on two guards at once with a flurry of movement and strikes. Then, at the final exit from the estate, the pair spot quite a few guards. Way too many for them to handle. Jace questions his partner if he thinks he could recall Ronia in his mind, asks permission to read to read it. Then Jace conjures up a Ronia illusion in an upper balcony that screams for help from her guards. Half the guards leave to help their "employer" and Jace and Kallist advance on the rest.


Jace was hoping that was the end of it on his part, however he was wrong. It's time to play the role of secretary, sitting next to each employee as the come in for an interview by Paldor while in truth reading each and every one of their minds. Reading so many in such a short time is a feat that Jace couldn't believe possible of his abilities, and it certainly is something he is able to do thanks to the training sessions with Tezzeret that have been few and far between. But as an hour comes to a close, Jace finds their traitor, the one that warned Ronia to be on guard, and he sends the signal to Paldor and the man is taken to the discipline chamber. Jace's exhaustion is so clear that Paldor can see it on his face, and he orders Jace to go and get a drink.

...At an inn, hours later...

Jace is drunk. It turns out pointing out a person to be tortured and likely murdered isn't to his liking. (Aww... what a softie.) But he knows leaving is impossible and he is actually enjoying the gain in knowledge and growth in his abilities. The conflict has to get easier right?

A bag of gold if flopped down on the table in front of him. Paldor has come to deliver his bonus... and a few words.

Paldor locked eyes with Jace, and even through his growing stupor, the mage felt the sudden urge to recoil. "Now here's the bad news. You do not impress me. You're supposed to be this great and powerful mind-reader, and maybe you are, at that. But you're weak. you're squeamish. The Consortium employs the best, and frankly, I'm not sure you remotely qualify. If your powers weren't so bloody rare, I'd already be looking to replace your sorry ass."

Jace is given the rest of the week off to clear his head. And it better be clear. Paldor leaves, and the question is...what to do? He can't just leave, and he better find a way to spend his bonus. It's expected of him and would look suspicious of him otherwise.

...Later in the house of Emmara...

The elven friend of Jace is happy to open up a package from her dear friend. A large crate filled with expensive fruit that are out of season and happen to be to her liking. She has a smile for his thoughtfulness, but concern that he's joined the Consortium and worry if he's alright.

...Back at base...

With mental duties out for the week, it's time to take up Kallist's offer to learn the sword. Everyone gathers around to watch the newb get beat, but like a good teacher, Kallist makes sure to explain where and how he can improve. By the end of the hour, while he certainly is no expert swordsman, Jace does feel like he's made some progress, and what else can you ask for? (Besides summoning an illusion at the close of the session to finally get a strike in on his teacher and knock him off his feet of course.)

"Same time tomorrow?" Jace asked him.

"Kallist rubbed his aching stomach and grinned a nasty grin. "You couldn't pay me to miss it."

* * *

The Good

Well, most of it is good (Not great or excellent mind you, but certainly a quality that's worth reading and owning), but I want to point out one thing in particular. Maybe I've seen too much bad TV, but during the escape, I was worried that Jace was going to disguise himself as Ronia, walk out to distract the guards, and then Kallist attacks them from behind. Jace wanted to know if Kallist could remember not just how she looked, but her mannerisms and voice as well. That route would have been embarrassing and pretty stupid frankly. Thankfully he projected an image instead that was far enough away that the illusion couldn't be under close scrutiny.

The Bad

Every once in a while Marmell will throw in terms that break the fourth wall and take me out of the story for a bit. For instance, during the fight with the guards, Kallist was hit in the groin and he "folded like an origami stork". The term origami is known in the Magic multiverse? I don't think so. And even if it is, is a stork going to be the first thing that comes to mind? No. These are real world terms.

Another example would be right in Chapter 10, when Marmell wrote the term, "gargoyle guano". I might say at least half-assed it by using the term "gargoyle" to keep it at least somewhat a believable term, but he should never have been search for alliteration for the word "guano" anyway. I don't know about you, but I was introduced to "guano" from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls with Jim Carrey. Putting in cue for readers to remember a Jim Carrey movie isn't exactly the best idea when you want your readers to be in the moment.

The (Not) Ugly

Emarra was brought up again. And even given the last name of Tandris. I wasn't expect our lovely elf to return. It was a brief glimpse, but I take it this wasn't her last appearance and she'll be having a larger role than I expected.


  1. Hello. Well i goint to the point. We are a Mexican fansub, and our job is pass diferents types of Comics/Novels from other lenguages into Spanish. I so interesed in take a PDF from Agents of Artifice, i dont get it in any place! and will be of so much much help if you can pass us the book, in PDF or Word. Thank for your time and ill wait that you can help us.

  2. Sorry, I can't help you there. I do not have a PDF of the book, nor would I had any out if I did. I'm always wondering how much of a book is ok to quote for these reviews, I certainly wouldn't be comfortable giving away the entire PDF. Good luck though. The concept of doing translations for more people to enjoy fiction is something I can appreciate.