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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Purifying Fire - Chapter 4


The Purifying Fire - Chapter 4

Chandra is back and Keral Keep, and Mother Luti isn't happy.

"The possible benefit of eliminating one ghost warden from the forest cannot balance the catastrophe of burning down the forest."

More admonishments had followed. "Playing with fire is bad for those who burn themselves," said Luti quoting some sage or another. "But for the rest of us it is a great pleasure. I want you to be able to experience this pleasure as I do, Chandra, but until you learn to control your impulses, you will continue to burn yourself and those around you."

Chandra returns to her room and debates with herself about the rightness of her actions. Maybe killing one ghost warden among many wasn't as bad compared to the damage she's done to the forest. But to let it spy on her and just get away with it was out of the question! Maybe she should have burned down the plains instead.

She notices arguing right outside her room and realizes that someone is coming in. Two someones actually. Two goblins . She's so confused that she speaks out when maybe she should have feigned sleep. Her shock leads to to shock on their part that they've been discovered and one of them is startled into stepping on the other's foot which leads to a fight amongst themselves.

Chandra interrupts them with a blast of fire, a fight that includes strangling and eye gouging ensues. A superheated punch holds the one on top of her at bay when Brother Sergil and other Kerlians come to check on the commotion. She yells at them to chase the one that fled.

The goblin still with her can't take the heat so gets up and runs and so she chases after it. Brannon spots her outside and says he wants to help but she orders him to stay back. When she catches up to the goblin and surrounds it with a wall of fire that closes in on him no matter where he runs, and then it's over.

Mother Luti appears and give Chandra a talking to.

"You've seen one, you've seen ’em all, I guess."

"I wish you'd take this seriously, Chandra," Luti said. "But if you don't think they were personal enemies of yours, and considering we haven't had a goblin attack here in many years … I think we can guess who sent them."

"Who sent …" Chandra realized what she meant. "You mean the oufes? They can sure carry a grudge for little guys."

"Yes," Luti said. "Even though it was, of course, only a small portion of the forest."

...Five Days Later...

Samir has come with news. The ouphes are pissed off at Chandra, and no amount of reasoning will convince them that she was trying to defend them all against the ghost wardens. They will not take away their bounty on Chandra. Only death will suffice for her destruction of the forest. Thankfully, their bounty isn't enough to attract quality assassins.

Samir thinks he still has a chance to appeal to them, to convince them that if this continues an innocent may die. Mother Luti's solution to buy Samir some time to convince them relay a message to the ouphes that Chandra has been sent away as punishment.

But the attention of the oufes isn't the only the only attention she's attracted because of her actions in the forest. Walbert himself has sent message to Keral Keep, a message talking about peace and harmony, but with a clear undertone that leads to his unchallenged rule over all of Regatha.

Chandra asks why they can't just destroy his purifying fire, but Mother Luti points out the obvious that it's hidden in an unknown location underneath the Temple of Heliud and likely highly guarded. As for Mother Luti's reaction to Walbert's letter.

"Well, if I may paraphrase the great Jaya Ballard : others have criticized destruction, and you know what? They're all dead."

Chandra apologizes for all the trouble she's caused, but Mother Luti let's her know that if Walbert hadn't found this excuse, he would have found another. While the monastery stands, there is a power that can challenge his.

"So it's not the oufes you were worried about, after all," Chandra said.

"Oh, I'm worried about them, too," Luti said. "Never underestimate just how vengeful an oufe can be."

* * *

Walbert III

At this point it's quite clear that Walbert is going to be the main villain of this book, and the story of the scroll is transitioning to be the secondary story. While Jace is a challenge for her and a challenge against her actions, Walbert is an actual threat to the lives of herself and to those she cares about.

Chandra, The Innocent

It is quite strange reading about a protagonist like Chandra. She doesn't think, she just does things. The only thing that keeps her from seeming to lack any sense of responsibility is having Brannon around who is even more wide-eyed than she is, and as someone she wants to keep protected.

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