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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dissension - Chapter 7

It's time to start that trial, as well as check in with some old friends.

Dissension - Chapter 7

The Boros Legion shall be the enforcer of the law. The Selesnya Conclave shall be the living spirit of the law. The Orzhov Syndicate shall be a check on the law's reach and protect the rights of citizens to challenge any charge in a court of Ravnican law. The Azorius Senate shall be the ultimate interpreter of the law and site in judgment on all court proceedings.
-Guildpact Article I, Section 2

31 CIZARM 10012 Z.C.

The trial will soon begin. Teysa Karlov had been able to invoke an old statute for the trial to be held in a very special manner. There will be no telepathic judge determining the outcome, and there will be no prosecutor. Teysa would still speak in Feather's defense, but the judges will be three sages of three separate Guilds.

First is the loxodon Kel, considered to be a Selesnyan Living Saint, much like Bayul before him. The second is acting guildmaster of the Boros Legion, Commander-General Nodov. The third and final judge is the Grand Arbiter Augustin IV himself. He will listen to the other two, but in the end it is he that will make the final judgment. While he's only held the position for a few decades, Teysa has known him to be fair, if unpredictable, and almost impossible to deceive.

The only other people in the room are Feather, the accused, Teysa's thrulls Phleeb and Elbeph acting as her assistants, the bailiff, and clerk. Azorius ministers are allowed in the room but are all spelled to silence. In fact the whole room is silent as the eyeless Augustin IV takes a few minutes to face the angel, then he signals the bailiff to declare the special tribunal assembled.

Augustin IV signals everyone to be seated and speaks:

"This hearing," the Grand Arbiter continued, "is met and formally called to order. The senatorial stenographer will mark for the record that this tribunal has assembled in full accordance with the Guildpact and all related statues and articles. Mark also for the record that Pierakor Az Vinrenn D'rav, angel of the Boros Legion, also known as Constable Feather of the League of Wojek, does stand accused of the following crimes. Bailiff, you will read the charges."

Teysa says her client pleads innocent and they currently have no witnesses other than Feather herself. (But of course she reserves the right to summon some later on should the need arise.) Feather takes the stand, and the Commander-General requests the right to the first question.

"Nodov pushed himself up from his seat and leaned forward on the lectern. "My first question pertains to the charges, Legionary," he said, "and what the charges do and do not spell out for us. Where, in particular, did these events take place? Give us all some context." He pointed a finger at Feather and demanded, "Where did the angels go?"

With just one exception, Feather believes all the angels are dead.

...On the road between Utvara and the City of Ravnica...

Fonn wakes battered and alone, still alive and on the road. As her head clears, panic sinks in as she sees blood and body parts everywhere. It doesn't take too long before she is certain the parts don't belong to Myc or any of the other recruits. The dromands and Tharmoq are a different matter. Fonn listens to the song of the Conclave and picks out her son's chord. He's still alive. And likely the others as well. She just need to find them.

Fonn takes a look around to find she isn't alone. A crowd had formed too scared to approach her, afraid she was dead or perhaps was a zombie by the amount  of blood on her. She tries to get as much useful information from them that she can but all they can tell her is that they've seen that fog before. They say the Rakdos summon it and bad things happen. And there have been been lots of rats recently, in fact several of the civilians pets are currently missing.

Fonn isn't sure if that has any connection with the case that was in Pijha's hands, but it might. The demon Rakdos is known by many names including the Defiler, the Enslaver, the Demon-God, and more obscurely, the Rat-King.

Fonn's furious when the villagers provide no other information and begin asking if they are allowed to take the meat. Dromad and wolf meat will feed them for several weeks. She barely gets her rage under control. Thormaq and the dromads deserve better for faithful service, but in the end she lets them have it. Myc is still alive and he needs to be saved.

She feels her son's song heading back towards the city, but she'll never catch up on foot. She touches a rare and expensive gem on her neck and calls out to Jarad who has a matching pair. The stones were bought when Myc had been born and they kept them after the divorce in case of emergencies. Jarad is furious that she let their son get taken, but he'll meet up with her as soon as possible. She can meet up with Jarad if she meets him halfway and she sets off down the road.

...Back in Utvara...

It's Pivlic's turn to groggily wake up. (Oh these heroes of ours, they sure do like to fall unconscious.) A goblin's voice calls out to him. Crix... no Crixizix. What had happened again? Oh, that's right. He had secured some important documents and was headed to his personal zepplid when a column fell on top of him. He calls out to the goblin and says he's still alive. She goes for help and he hopes she gets help fast, his injuries were more than minor.

...Further down the road towards the City of Ravnica...

Groggy wake up time part three. Myc finds himself in a cage in the Rakdos caravan that had been approaching them before the fog hit. Self-mutilation and self-cannibalization were sacred Rakdos traditions and a man with no lips, cheeks, or eyelids was snarling and laughing at him is the first thing he sees outside his cage. A Rakdos priest hisses at the man, Z'reddok, and commands him to to heel like a dog. None of the prisoners are for him. They're being taken to Lyzolda.

Prisoners, plural, so that means Mys isn't the only one left alive. Myc calls out in the Silhana language which all recruits are to know the basics of. Lily, Aklechin, and Orval are all alive. The chatter ends when the priest declares that not all of them are needed, and the one to talk the most will be fed to Z'reddock.

Myc searches for his mother's song and feels her coming for him. He just hopes she gets here in time.

* * *

Oh. My. Krokt.

I have to mention this. I've left it out of all the chapters before this but this Krokt that everyone keeps on swearing with/at/to is quite prominent throughout this book. "Krokt!" this and "Krokt-forsaken!" that. I swear by Krokt that it's distracting.

I understand that sometimes a word needs to be made up to use as a curse word to keep the things PG. The problem isn't the word itself. The problem is that there seems to be no distinction as to who uses it. It seems like people from every Guild uses it as a curse word despite them having their own gods. And still that's not the worst part.

The worst part is that it is showing up in what feels like every single section of every single chapter of this book, by both new characters and old (Fonn, Pivlic, Wenslauv, Jarad, Crix, you name it), yet this is the first time in the trilogy where where it's been brought up! If this is such a common swear word that it's simply Ravnican rather than keeping to the culture of one or two Guilds, which is quite possible considering the close relationships and proximity they to each other, then why has this never shown up before?


Do I need to say it again? This is one of my favorite parts of Herndon's style. I love reading the way he adds a Ravnican flavor to mundane situations, and that's what we're getting with the trial. I am very glad this isn't just about giant monster versus giant monster and that the nephilim are mostly background at this point. Will the trial end just as the evacuation begins? Or will the trial have to be cut short?

Sure Fonn and Jarad have to save their son, and sure the nephilim will have to be dealt with by the end of the book, not to mention the League of Evil that is Mormir Vig and company (That's a lot of storylines Herdon has to juggle), but right now I just want to go back to the trial and/or see what it is that's going to happen to Kos. He doesn't seem like he has much free will to do anything at the moment, so how is he going to factor into the chaos to come?

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