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Friday, August 12, 2011

Guildpact - Chapter 8

Kos and company run into trouble while Teysa shows us why she was the one chosen to be baroness.

Guildpact - Chapter 8

The Utvara Flats are not to be traveled lightly. The Husk is not to be traveled at all, but if you do for Krokt's sake stick to the roads.
-M. Pivlichinos, Utvara: A Visitor's Guide (10004 Z.C.)

2 CIZARM 10012 Z.C.

Deep below the towers of the Orzhov mansion district, the Obzedat is in conference. Their newest member is still on probation and they remind him should he fail, his death will be permanent.

"You wanted a secret pact. It is secret. Our hot-tempered ally is content that things are going as they should. My niece is more than capable enough to manage, and she won't get in the way when the agreement is fulfilled."

"Her mind is not her own."

"Untrue. She just doesn't know what she doesn't need to know."

"The repercussions will extend to your entire family if we default on this agreement. The dragon drives a hard bargain, even with us."


...Out in the Husk...

Fully covered in prospector suits, Pivlic and Kos ride forth upon their trusty dromads , armed with sword and bam-sticks, and flanked by the thrulls Bephel and Elbeph, they go on their mission to rescue the courier.

Kos pretends like this isn't even his job, but he's glad that Teysa ordered them out here. He wasn't sure what she was up to but he couldn't let a potential massacre happen. He doesn't pretend that he's happy to have the thrulls along however. And with a few masked words exchanged with Pivlic it becomes clear that they're not just there for support, but they certainly have some kind mental connection to their master, and they work as her eyes and ears.

But it's not the thrulls they have to worry about. Or the kuga plague. Or the Gruul. They weren't close enough to the Cauldron yet to have to worry about Hauc's weirds, drake, or other defenses mistaking them for intruders. And it wasn't the Husk itself full of sinkholes and unstable towering piles of metal and scrap. Husk territory was prospector territory, people looking to discover their fortunes in the vast underground labryinth. Prospectors are extremely protective of their claims, and unlucky for the two of them, the first prospectors they come across happen to be ogre prospectors.

One of the ogres spots them, raises his halberd and roars. Reasoning with them was out of the question, and the dromads weren't really built to go backwards, so it's time to run.

...Back at the Imp Wing...

Teysa asks Melisk if she thinks they can succeed, and he repeats what we already know. Pivlic seems competent, Agrus Kos is a famous wojek, and they have the Grugg brothers as backup besides. She had doubts though. He was so old. But however it happened, she hoped it happened soon. The Cauldron was important if she was going to get this place up and running by the time the year was up. She did have some assassins on reserve, but they weren't going to be used until the courier was safely away. Then those Gruul would pay.

Melisk spouts off some other noise, and Teysa decides she doesn't want to listen. There's something about Melisk's tone that isn't quite right. Or she's just fed up having spent weeks upon weeks in his company and she just needs to get out and get some air. Despite his protests to at least take her last thrull with her as a bodyguard if she doesn't want him along, she commands him to finish up some necessary paperwork while she takes a stroll and explores her valley.

...Out on the Husk...

Kos and Pivlic ride their dromads right past one of the ogres, barely getting on by unscathed. Kos can keep his head fine, but his dromad on the other hand isn't quite as comfortable around raging ogres as he is, and he zooms on ahead.

He manages to get the panicked dromad to stop and realizes that Pivlic isn't with him. He had to go back and get the imp, but he couldn't do it with his stupid helmet on. He if took it off. The meds that all Utvarans took would only protect him for day. All he had to do was get this over with by then.

He turns around and one of the ogre's had Pivlic by the head. The ogre gets halfway through yelling that he's forgotten something when she realizes she's yelling at Agrus Kos.

Wait a second. It's Garulsz! (The bar owner of one of Kos' favorite bars.)

...At the house of Dr. Nebun...

"What brings you here, Baroness?" Dr. Nebun asked. "I would think you would know better than to show up uninvited at the Combine laboratory."

"And I would think that you - ow - that you would know better than to leave an Orzhov baroness hanging upside down any longer than you have to!"


Dr. Nebun then orders his frog Uvlung to let her down. and she proceeds to show off that her cane is more than just a walking aid. She then tells the little froggie:

"I am the Baroness Teysa Karlov. I am announcing my presence. I will not announce it again, so consider me permanently announced. Then what just happened won't happen to you anymore. Do you understand?"

With that settled, Dr. Nebun gives her a tour of his lab, and then proceeds to impress her by correctly guessing that she's there on personal business and not the official business they talked about the day before. He understands that her limb is a sign that she has the Orzhov blood. She explains that the perks of having such blood is often directly proportionate to how bad their deformities are. Her fits of narcolepsy tend to come in spurts, and then disappear for months or years at a time. Her medicine is gone, and he'll sell some to her at fair market value.

But the ever efficient Teysa can't help but put some work in while she's here, it can't all just be about her. While he gave her a tour of his lab, she drew a verity circle right under his nose. He confesses that this isn't his main lab, and his abilities are great enough that he's design viruses that have killed thousands.

She soon realizes she asked him the wrong questions last time. She asked him if he could make progress on a cure for the kuga within the week. If he could find a cure. This time she asks him if he already has.

The answer is yes.

* * *


She is awesome. I'm really loving this take no nonsense attitude of hers. I daresay that I'm liking her a lot better than Kos. He was fairly unique in terms of fantasy novel heroes, but there is only so much you can take of an old man full of regrets. In this book he's even lost some of that sense of purpose he had in Book One. Teysa on the other hand is still full of energy and ambition.

With that said, she needs to hurry up and realize that Melisk is Black. (Man, this can come out racist, but you know what I mean!) Just as much as she's out for herself, she needs to realize Melisk has ambitions on his own that may not be to her liking.


That was a great intro to the chapter. Herndorn really got me wondering what is this deal is all about that they've struck with Niv-Mizzet. I hadn't really expected him to play much of a role in this book, but I'm glad that's not so.  In fact, this whole chapter had some really great dialogue all around.


I didn't expect Garulsz to show up either, although I'm less excited about this. She didn't really do much last time and made, next to no impression on me. Maybe Herndon can change that this second go around.

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