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Friday, May 27, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 7



Short chapter, but a big one. Considering what just happened in Chapter 6 , it would have been disappointing had it not been. Looks like my joke about tea time between Liliana Vess and Semner wasn't wildly far off.


Agents of Artifice - Chapter 7

For a few moments, Liliana and Semner simply stare out the doorway that "Kallist" ran through before coming back to the situation at hand. Liliana gives him a look, and Semner confidently lays out the new situation. He's killed "Jace", his job is done. There's no need for any more fighting. They can both go their separate ways, no harm, no foul. Liliana begs to differ, but not for the obvious reasons.

"'She can go but kill him'?" Liliana parroted back his order from days ago. "What were you thinking?"

Semner's orders were to let both of them live, and not have Kallist killed. He yells back that those orders were crazy talk considering Kallist's reputation, then it hits him that she knows what his orders were. He asks how, and she calls him an idiot for not being able to figure it out which only enrages him further. Semner decides maybe the killing isn't done just quite yet and is sure he can take her for before she has a chance to summon anything.

That might be true, so what's Liliana's reply?

She doesn't summon anything. There are plenty of corpses at hand. She animates the bodies right there in the room and before he knows it, zombie "Jace" and another sneak up from behind and grab on to his calves and dig deep. Fingers slide into flesh separating muscle from bone. They continue their fun as Semner screams until the moment he passes out from the pain. And then Semner is no more.

She stepped across the blood-drenched carpet, her boots squelching with every stride. Gently she knelt beside the body of Kallist - the real Kallist, not the man with whom she'd spent so many months, complicit in his efforts to deceive himself - and squeezed his shoulder.

"I'm sorry it had to happen this way. You didn't deserve this." It was a whisper, and barely that. But it was all she felt entitled to offer.

Then her thoughts turn to the man who ran screaming from the room. The man who is actually Jace. She was the one that actually hit him with a spell that knocked him flat on his back. And now she wanted to just run to him and comfort him through this time of terrible pain. But instead she summons a specter and orders it to follow him and keep out of sight and just make sure nothing happens to him until he's fully recovered. If he survives what's going on inside him.

* * *


Back to the Prologue

I was tricked! Knowing that the book would center around Jace Beleren, Liliana Vess, and Tezzeret the Seeker had me thinking the two unnamed figures were Liliana and Tezzeret. It had to be right, right? They were talking about a third, mental mage. But that assumption had me fooled. Looks like it was Liliana and Jace talking, and third they referred to was actually Kallist.

The plan was to trick the Consortium into thinking that Jace was dead. Jace switches bodies with his friend, while both not realizing the transfer took place. Then for six months they wait and make the deception seem real before Liliana hires Semner to kill the fake. (Do I have this right? Or am I as stupid as Liliana felt Semner was.)

Or maybe... since the Consortium needs to believe that Jace is dead, maybe they did the hiring of Semner, with Liliana falsely cooperating with them and she's the one that's going to go back to them and make the report and show them the body, since there are now no other survivors that can report back that the mission was "successful".


Questions

So what happens now? "Jace" is dead. Half of the bargain in the Prologue has been fulfilled, that must mean it's time for the other to return the favor, to complete the bargain. (A bargain that involved purposefully sacrificing their friend, those cold-hearted bastards who are our heroes of this story.)

Something else to think about, the talk in the Prologue made it seem like they were only allies that held each other at arm's length, yet here it's apparent that Liliana has feelings for Mr. Beleren. We'll have to just wait and see if that makes sense in the end.


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