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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 20

And here we are. Full on love triangle.

Agents of Artifice - Chapter 20

With Jace obviously putting off concerns for the future, Kallist heads out on his own, looking for work. And who should run into him while he's out there? Liliana Vess of course. She swoops in all friendly like, throws him a couple compliments, and gets confirmation that he and Jace aren't lovers before making an excuse to leave. She disappears with the lingering sensation of her touch still on his arm.

...Later that day...

Liliana swoops in again and asks him to dinner, which Kallist gladly accepts. However he's not the best of company as all he can do it pout about how it's unfair that Jace has ruined his life, rather than enjoy the attention from a beautiful lady and share the sunset with her. She counters back that none of them want to be here so they should make the most of it. He re-counters that it must be easy for her and Jace because they're used to uprooting themselves and traveling to other worlds and why don't they just do that, and she replies that it's not that simple. (I'm assuming because the Consortium is on multiple planes... probably all the planes they're familiar with.) Kallist isn't making a very good first date (if that's what it's supposed to be) when Liliana catches sight of Jace and calls him over. Needless to say it was a very awkward meal.

...Some other day...

Jace is looking for a good meal back in good ol' Eshton's Tavern, the fine dining restaurant from before, when he spots a familiar face. Jace enjoys her startled look when he swoops in and takes the seat beside her. He wants to talk. They haven't had the chance to talk alone, without Kallist present. She agrees, but first things first, he should go and order up some food. While Jace is off getting the food, a cocky, pretentious fellow decides that what Liliana is missing in her life is a guy like him. This has happened to Liliana plenty of times, and she is not flattered. She immediately shuts down his advances, and just as he's about to make a scene his mood instantly changes. He starts apologizing for inconveniencing her which leaves Liliana utterly confused.

"It's got to be particularly awkward for your friend," he continued. "I mean, he doesn't know you very well. Would you want him to stay out of it, trusting you to handle it? Or to leap in and beat the crap out of me, even though I've got about fifty pounds on him? He's got to be frantic, trying to figure out the right choice."

She looks past the fellow to see that Jace is doing his thing (He's sure gotten good that manipulating minds.) and says that she thinks he's doing just fine.

...Some night later, maybe that very night...

The smitten Jace tosses and turns, not being able to sleep. The conversation didn't go where he'd have liked it. Everything was always about Kallist. What kinds of dangers he's been in and all that. Every story that contained the both of them always seemed to put himself in the side-kick role. He got so fed up with his restlessness that he decides he wantsto settle this issue with the man, only to find out that Kallist wasn't in his room. (Oh?) Jace lies awake until he hears the sounds of Kallist returning home alone.

...A week later...

Kallist has finally found a job and Jace is happy for him... for a minute or two... before they once again argue about the same old, same old. They both leave the apartment in a huff, and what else is there to do in the run-down district but to head on over to Eshton's. And you know who he bumps into as well as I. He sees her with a tray of food and teasingly thanks her for getting getting it for him and says how shocked he is to learn that she's a waitress in this fine establishment. They decide to eat together of course and regretfully reminisce about their lack of options. Traveling to other worlds won't do much good if they show up with no money and no connections. (...I don't know about that... if it's no better... it's at least further away from imminent death... which actually makes it better than no better...) Liliana talks about how hard it is, and then says she imagines it must be harder for him. With his unique brand of power, there is no trust. There's only knowing. And that must be a lonely place indeed. Jace protests too strongly in his head, but before he can respond, he sees Kallist appear in the doorway, clearly looking for someone. He knows when he's in the way and he gets up and leaves without a good-bye.

...Hours later...

Jace still has enigmatic Liliana Vess on his mind as he wanders through the music and dancing of some local celebration. And who should he end up seeing? Liliana Vess of course. And he's kinda glad to see that she's not dancing with anyone... until she notices him and she gives him an icy stare. That throws him off a bit and he apologizes for rudely leaving at lunch. That's all she was waiting for and she grabs his arm and pulls him to the dance floor. When it's time to catch their breath, she laughs when he admits that he's a pretty pathetic dancer but it just so happens the man on the other side of the room isn't. He once again tries to convey how sorry he was and she tells him that Kallist also left her alone at lunch (politely though) when she made it clear that he was mistaking the relationship between herself and and the swordsman. He straight out asks if they have a burgeoning relationship and of course she can't be that direct.

"Liliana smiled coyly and ordered another drink. "I don't know. Do we have one?"

He then tells her he has a gift for her, as part of his apology, and while she's used to men offering her flowers and jewels, she's taken aback when instead he offers her an envelope full of secrets. Secrets of wealthy fellows back in Dravhoc collected before he swore off blackmail. Only for emergencies, as it wouldn't be exactly safe to return to the vicinity of the central base of operation of the Consortium. She responds with a gentle kiss on the lips.

...Eventually they make it to Jace's front door...

He says that it's time for them to say good-night, but Liliana takes his hands and says this is where they'll be saying good morning and walks through the door.

...A not so good morning...

Kallist announces he's leaving. He makes enough from his job that he can afford a place on his own. Jace protests but then realizes he should just let the matter drop. He's the one that got the girl. He let's Kallist vent all he wants, which eventually cools down and even includes a thank you for saving his life.

"You're welcome, Kallist. And... I'm sorry it didn't turn out like I'd hoped."

Kallist nodded and was gone from the flat without another word, leaving Jace to stare at the blank and featureless door.

* * *

Liliana, the Tease

She certainly had the two of them eating out of her hands. And it could have gone better for Kallist if he kept his eye on the prize. Both of them even actually had similar conversations with Liliana, with the difference being that Kallist was internally focused on himself and pushing her away while Jace allowed the topic to include both Liliana and himself. Did Kallist actually sleep with Liliana that night when he came home late? That's something for only Liliana to know and us to never find out.

As a whole, I wasn't as engaged with this chapter as I have been with others. I prefer romance to be spread out over a longer period of a book, rather than a love triangle both blossom and break apart within the span of a single chapter. (The longest chapter, but still just one chapter.) However, there aren't that many chapters to go, and I'm sure there's still plenty to cover. Maybe this method was for the best. We still have to get through what exactly the bargain was between the two, a resolution between Baltrice and Jace, a resolution between Tezzeret and Jace, and possibly a resolution between Nicol Bolas and Tezzeret. Who better to keep Tezzeret out of Jace and Liliana's life than to deliver him to his most feared enemy?

1 comment:

  1. Honestly I liked the book of Alara, I'm reading very slowly and not all that comfortable. But honestly, that Lilian is this? What other book she left for me to compare it with that so what? This type of necromancer Grixis asked the people of god.