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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Purifying Fire - Chapter 17

Back on Regatha, Chandra has some decisions to make.

The Purifying Fire - Chapter 17

While Walbert's desire to capture Chandra are quite clear, she wants to know two things. Why try to cut a deal with the Western Wood and Keral Keep if he already had Gideon chasing after her? and why was he so sure that she'd even return to the plane of Regatha?

The answer to the first is simple enough. Walbert assumes that Gideon has been killed at the hands of Chandra. As for the second question...

"I don't know." Gideon’s expression was impossible to read as he met her gaze in the shadows of the hut. "But you did come back, didn't you? And he knew you would."

"If Walbert thinks I killed you, then he must also think I'm very dangerous."

"You are very dangerous," Gideon said. He didn't sound like he was joking.

Chandra says that Walbert is much worse than she is because he's using other people to capture her without regard for their lives. Namely the woodlanders. Gideon counters by reminding her of all the people she killed in the Sanctum of Stars. Before the argument can get out of hand, Samir returns with some food.

They eat, but things still need to be settled. Gideon says he's going to head back to Zinara after the meal, and Samir is happy to guide him until he can meet up with some of his allies. Chandra makes it clear that she won't be going with him, and Gideon is actually perfectly fine with that. In fact he promises that no one will ever know of Samir's aid to her, or that Chandra was ever here. He tells her that she should just leave right now.

Samir leaves to give them some space to talk. Gideon tells her he will stick to his promise, but he won't betray his duty.

"What duty?" She frowned. "What does any of this have to do with you? You're not from here. You've been here even less time that I have!"
"The Order of Heliud isn't limited to just one plane, Chandra," he said. "Walbert's Order is... a local unit, you might say, of something much bigger. Something that extends across other planes of the Multiverse."

His duty is whatever is needed of him, and the purpose of the organization is to bring harmony, protection, and law to the multiverse.

Well... that answers how Walbert knows about planeswalkers. Gideon confirms that she's right, but most people in the Order don't have that information. Only Walbert and his designated successor has that knowledge.

(Tiptoeing around naming who that successor is? You know what that means. Gideon's the successor.)

There's a silence between them after Chandra makes it clear that she will not run from her home and Keral Keep, and Gideon makes it clear that he will not budge one step more than he's already stated. And even despite this rage and distance between them, they still have a moment as they stare into each others eyes before they say good-bye. Saving each other's lives on Diraden has made it hard for Chandra to hold on to pure hate for him.

...That night on the way to Keral Keep...

While Samir says he won't openly betray the wishes of the council, both she and Mother Luti are his friends and he wants to do what he can for her. He hands her a scroll to deliver to Mother Luti, but he can't continue further. He tells her that she should be able to make it back before sunrise, but she has to be careful to avoid the Orders' patrols on the mountain.

It turns out the problem isn't the soldiers, but rather it's the glowing white orb made from the Order's magic that accompanies them. Chandra is spotted before too long with the orb clearly pointing her out in the darkness. She kills one guard, and allows the second to run after realizing he's just a frightened boy, but the damage is done. The scuffle has alerted her presence to even more soldiers, so she  makes her way up an old path that she hopes they won't find.

...A few days later...

Keral Keep is under siege. While they have plenty of water, rationing supplies will only take them so far.

Mother Luti tells Chandra that a message came in the night, sent by arrow through one of the Keep's windows. She says that Walbert is demanding they turn her over, but that is something she won't allow.

"It's very interesting," Luti said pensively.

"What’s interesting?"

"Walbert was convinced you would come back, and you did," the mother mage mused. "Now he's evidently convinced you won't leave... and, indeed, you won't."

That was almost enough to convince Chandra that maybe she should leave Regatha... but Walbert would still punish Keral Keep even if she did run, so she might as well stay.

As for the information that Chandra brought back about the scroll. Mother Luti decides that it's best that Brother Sergil and all the monks never learn about some artifact of immense power that's on the plane of Zendikar. She decides that it's best to just allow the monks to study the copies they already do have until they get bored, and in fact, if Chandra decides to still go after it herself, that she never even let Mother Luti herself know about it. Some things are best never known.

...In the middle of the night...

Chandra wakes from a nightmare . The same nightmare of death and sorrow, and this time she actually understands why she's having it. The Keralians can't be punished for her actions. They're innocent. She has to do something.

Chandra knew she couldn’t live with something like that happening twice. Indeed, she couldn’t even live with what had happened - she was always running away from it.

Ever since returning Keral Keep, Chandra's had a hard time looking anyone in the eye. She's had a hard time feeling anything but guilt. But now she knows what she needs to do.

Chandra gets up writes a brief message at her desk, then wakes Brannon up. She tells him to bring his bow and arrow with him, because she knows he's been practicing. She has a message to send.

...Two days later...

Gideon appears. Chandra's surprised that he came specifically, but isn't surprised that he'd come unarmed and alone despite tensions between the groups. He tells her that Walbert agrees to her terms. When Mother Luti asks what those are, Chandra says she agreed to turn herself in if Keral Keep is left alone. They get to remain independent, with no rules from the Order that they have to abide by. Nothing like the woodlanders have agreed to. Chandra doesn't know if she can trust Walbert, but she trusts Gideon when he tells her that Walbert will honor the terms.

Brannon comes out of hiding and demands to go with her, and Chandra has to tell him that it's not to be. He wouldn't like it at the Temple. This is her choice alone to make. When he asks her when she'll be coming back, she tells him honestly that she doesn't think it'll be anytime soon.

* * *

Brannon and Chandra

That was kind of cruel to have the one person that looks up to you above everyone else... the one who's been training his archery skills in part because he wants to be useful and wants you to be proud of him... the one who thought he was putting those skills to use in a top secret mission in the middle of the night... only to have it turn out he is the one that sent the message to have you be taken away from his life forever.

That's some good looking out for the kid, Chandra.

Walbert and Chandra

Why is Walbert so certain she would return, and wouldn't leave. That's just so strange. At this point, with Jace never being mentioned, and with only three chapters left, it's hard to image that he left some kind of implanted compulsion in her mind. In fact, knowing that the Order is an multi-planar organization and knowing Jace's background, it's hard to imagine that they're working together. Is it just an actual prophecy that makes Walbert so sure?

Zendikar and Chandra

Speaking of there only being three chapters left... I guess we're not going to Zendikar in this book. There's probably a chapter of travel to Zinara, a chapter were Chandra and Walbert talk and he reveals the destiny he sees for her and/or himself, and then the final confrontation. With the book starting off with the scroll and the book taking up so much time focusing on it... at this point I'm not hopeful that it will have anything to do with the ending besides conveniently being located on another plane so it would have to be Gideon that goes after her.

1 comment:

  1. The book came out before Zendikar, so there aren't any spoilers, which means no Zendikar in this book. The webcomics pick up where it leaves off, though.