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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Purifying Fire - Chapter 12

Things just keep on getting worse.

The Purifying Fire - Chapter 12

After washing up after the meal, Falia insists that Jurl can't be trusted and he needs to be locked up in the old livestock shed. Jurl makes quite a scene and Gideon has to wrestle him into the cage. Jurl shoots angry glares at Chandra and tells her that they're going to eat him, but she tells him he's just being silly.

"Stranger," Jurl said bitterly. "Stupid."

"I consider the source," Chandra said, "and feel unmoved by the insult."

When Chandra gets back to Falia's hut, she isn't surprised that the girl has used the excuse of wanting to take care of his minor scratches from Jurl to get him to take off his shirt. At least when Falia offers to comb his hair Gideon has the sense to turn her down and tell her that he's quite used to doing that himself, but he thanks her for the offer.

Falia insists Gideon sleep in her bedroll while she goes and gets another for herself., and Chandra takes the opportunity tell Gideon of her disapproval of Falia's attempts to seduce him. He tells her that Falia is likely older than either of them and her age is maintained thanks to whatever blood magic is performed to make her the wise woman. With that said, he picks up his bedroll and sets it up so that he's flanked between Chandra and wall before Falia returns.

...Later that night...

Chandra dreams of fires of sorrow and regret once again. A dream version of Gideon tells her that he doesn't want to kill innocents, and the stench of burning flesh fills the air causing her to vomit. Chandra thinks she hears her name being called, but a sword slices her throat and she wakes up.

Gideon's there beside her and he takes her in his arms and tells her she was only having a nightmare. She clings to him, while at the same time thinking that the way he has his hand on her cheek should be offensive but she actually finds it quite comforting. She's embarrassed by her own sobbing, and she tries to focus on her own breathing to calm herself down. When Gideon makes a joke that sleeping on a belly full of grub soup might not have been the best idea, he manages to get a laugh out of her.

When Gideon asks her if she wants to talk about her dream, she says no, and instead she'd rather talk about what they're going to do. They know more about Valrev and this plane, but she doesn't feel that they're any closer to escaping. They run through unlikely ideas and then settle on just trying to get more info from Jurl when it's a more proper time to wake up. Maybe that will give them some new ideas.

Gideon suggests they sleep, but Chandra says she's not sleepy. In the silence he asks her to tell him about her mother. He says she called out to her in her sleep. As a response Chandra breaks free from his strong embrace.

She started to speak, then changed her mind. Anything she might say now would reveal too much - even if only how forbidden the subject was.

Gideon apologizes and says he shouldn't have brought it up. Chandra says that he was right that they should get some sleep. They both get back into their bedrolls, and Chandra tries to clear her mind.

...After waking...

Chandra wakes to find that Gideon's gotten up ahead of her. Falia tells her that he's talking with some of her people to get more information on the fog riders. It's best not to waste any time so Chandra makes herself useful and goes to Jurl's cage and do what she and Gideon talked about before they slept.

But he's not there.

Falia walks in and tells her that Jurl hasn't escaped. Goblins are good eating. He's being skinned and roasted as they speak. Chandra's appalled, but she's also not sure if Falia's in the wrong. Jurl really was a treacherous thing that maybe did deserve to die. She just doesn't like that she turned him into a helpless and caged victim.

Then Chandra hears a steady, rhythmic booming. Fog riders are coming. Falia tells her that they're coming to take her to Prince Valrev. One of the last things Jurl did to try to save his own life was to spill all of Chandra's secrets. The prince likes special things, and delivering a fire mage like herself means Falia will be greatly rewarded.

"So you're one of the takers," Chandra said, calling on her fury, calling on fire... and scarcely even able to feel her chilled blood warm a little bit.
"This is Diraden." The girl's voice was flat. "Everyone is a taker. Some of us are just better at it than others."

Chandra hits the girl with the palm of her hand, knocking her off her feet. She demands to know where Gideon is, and Falia said she spoke the truth earlier. Falia says that when he returns she'll tell him that she's been taken by the fog riders, then he'll have no more reason to leave. He'll forget all about her because she's nothing. Gideon will be all hers.

The riders appear and circle the fire mage. Chandra succumbs to panic for only a moment and then regains her wits. By this time the villagers are all in the streets watching what's going on, and Chandra feigns confusion, so when Falia gives the order to seize her, she's able to take one of the villagers off guard and steal a torch from him. She takes it and lights two of the nearby huts on fire. Chandra then scoops up one of the dropped spears as the villagers try to save the home and she skewers one of the fog riders. When she fights off another fog rider with her torch, to turns to find the speared rider removing the weapon from his gut. The last thing that runs through her mind as she watches him swing the spear handle towards her head is that Gideon didn't tell her that blood drinkers can't be killed with blades.

* * *

Just Call Them Vampires

The elves aren't being called forest dwellers and it's perfectly fine. We don't need these vampires to be called blood drinkers. Chandra might not have a name for them but Gideon knows what they are so she should have picked up the proper term from him. It just feels unnecessary.


Not unexpected that she betrayed them. I wasn't positive that was going to happen, but the fact that she seemed too innocent and that her powers are delivered through a blood ritual were certainly some signs that betrayal might be on the way.

A little forced

Do I give this attraction between Gideon and Chandra a pass? I'm sure neither of them are used to be stuck anywhere, and this plane of eternal darkness not only keeps them from being able to planeswalk, but from using any mana at all. Maybe it makes sense that they'd seek comfort in each other, but I can't help but feel like it feels just a tad forced to me.

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