The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Reading The Ruin of Kings: Chapter 13

Life is quite absurd, Tor.com, but a new RROK post isn’t! That’s not a lie in any way, shape, or form! Really!

This blog series will be covering the first 17 chapters of the forthcoming novel The Ruin of Kings, first of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.

Today’s post will be covering Chapter 13, “The Determined Wizard,” which is available for your reading delectation right here.

Read it? Great! Then click on to find out what I thought!

Amusing Chapter Title is Amusing: Well, yes, I suppose “chasing down and sinking every ship available with its own personalized kraken just to find one dude” counts as being “determined,” technically. I would have gone with “batshit crazy” and also “about a 9.5 on my Callous Evilosity Meter,” myself, but that’s why they don’t let me name chapters, I bet.

Kihrin on Tyentso, the ship’s witch:

I liked her.

Yes, she was the one responsible for summoning the succubus who gaeshed me, but only under Juval’s orders. She had been my single and only ally on board The Misery. Her spells were the only reason I’d survived Delon’s attentions.

…Attentions? Wow, I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means. Well, maybe not; maybe Delon just beat him up a lot or something?

I would like to note that you know things are dark when mere physical abuse is the happy possibility in a situation. That’s like musical numbers on Golgotha level, right there.

Anyway, I have to say, Kihrin’s much more forgiving of Tyentso than I would be. I don’t think any liking I had for any person, even if they patched me up after… attentions… would survive them enslaving my soul, orders or no orders. Call me picky, but that’s a bridge too far on the “do I like you, check yes or no” scale. Then again, clearly Kihrin’s scale of Minimum Amount of Kindness People Have to Show Me Before I Like Them is by necessity skewed to hell and back. Wow but this kid’s had a shit life.

In any case, it must be admitted that Tyentso does show herself in this chapter to be a character with common sense, at least, which is a rarer quality in life (fictional or otherwise) than you might believe possible. (Although, not getting many points for involuntary dolphin drafting, I must say.) And she’s also a fair bit more powerful than the title of “witch” might generally imply. (Outside of Harry Potter, I’m more used to “witch” being used to indicate a female magic user of rather low status or power, while more powerful specimens get fancier names like “sorceress” or so on. But, naturally, everybody’s got their own version of witches. It’s not totally clear yet where ROK’s witches usually fall in the spectrum, but everyone’s surprise at Tyentso’s mad (maybe) kraken-killin’ skillz seems to imply that the general SF usage of the term is not far off here.)

That said, apparently Tyentso is strictly bush league compared to the other players on the current field:

“[Relos Var is] only the most powerful wizard in the whole world, inches from being a god. If all he’s waiting on is our location before he strikes, then she’s damn well right—we don’t dare destroy that monster.”

I turned to Khaemezra. “But he’d still have to deal with you. He obviously doesn’t think he can take you. You stared him down. He’s scared of you.”

Tyentso stopped moving. Hells, she might have stopped breathing. She looked at Khaemezra as if she were a rearing cobra.

If Relos Var is so powerful that he’s “inches from being a god”, and he’s scared of Khaemezra… well, then. Her next statement about having made the rules of the (possibly Celestial) Concord kind of clinches the obvious conclusion here. Is it possible that instead of being “on a first-name basis” with the Goddess of Death, she’s, like, actually the Goddess of Death?

Whoa. Big leagues, indeed. And more intriguing than ever, if true, is the question of why the Goddess of Death herself would have a personal investment in keeping Kihrin’s sorry ass alive. For its self-contradictory values, if nothing else. DYSWIDT, huh?


And there we go, eh? Will our heroes (or, okay, not really heroes, actually most of them are fairly terrible people but anyway) survive sailing the Maw and escape the kraken? I feel like they will, but I feel like it’ll also be exciting! Come back next week and see!

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