Hi, Tor.com! Long time no see! It turns out one’s computer dying a swift and utterly unexpected death can put a crimper in your posting schedule! And in your budget, but that’s neither here nor there.
In any case, I am back at last, with a new RROK post. Orange you glad? I am!
This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel 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 68, “The Lion’s Den”, and Chapter 69, “The Wayward Son.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.
Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!
Chapter 68: The Lion’s Den (Talon’s story)
[In which Kihrin just wants to BE ALONE and PLAY HIS MUSIC, GOD.]
[Thurvishar:] “…an interesting quirk of the Arena is that it is beyond all divination, all clairvoyance. If a wizard can prevent sound from escaping—a simple trick I assure you—there is no force in all the universe than can discern the dialog of a conversation held within its borders. It really is a shame I couldn’t provoke you into a duel, or that you are too young to be considered a fair opponent. What an interesting talk we might have had.”
So… all that business with the poker game and the duel was Thurvy trying to have a private chat with Kihrin? How Byzantine of him.
But then, if you’re trying to hide a conversation from the likes of Relos Var (or Gadrith, or etc.), I suppose there’s no such thing as too much paranoia.
The rest of the chapter involved Kihrin playing the harp for a superhorse (Jorat firebloods apparently being A Cut Above your regular horse), which was fun, and Kihrin being disbelieved by Therin, which was less fun. I have to share Kihrin’s frustration here: why set him to spy on Darzin if you’re not going to believe what he reports to you? Seriously counter-productive, man.
Working against his own interests, though, seems to be Therin’s specialty, as far as I can tell. He’s a frustrating character in general – as are most people whose intelligence is at war with their biases. There’s nothing so galling as watching someone who ought to be smart enough to know better fall prey to their own preconceived notions. Therin’s inability to shake his view of Kihrin as dishonest gutter trash probably will prove to be his undoing.
I say “probably” because at this point I might as well go ahead and admit that I really don’t remember much at all of how this book ends, and that therefore this is only technically still a “reread”. I may have read it before, but functionally this is a “read”. I think it’s fine either way (in fact I probably should have just made it a “read” in the first place, and very well might do so for the next book), but just so you know.
Anyway, the upshot is that Therin is having so much trouble believing Kihrin’s claim that Thurvishar is really Emperor Sandus’s son that he barely pays attention to the part where Kihrin is warning him that Darzin and Thurvy are about to get busy raising a demon in Therin’s own basement. Which you’d think would be SOMEWHAT CONCERNING to any rational person.
But the D’mons as a group, sadly, seem to be rather short on “rational persons”, so here we are.
Chapter 69: The Wayward Son (Kihrin’s story)
[In which some things are cleared up, and some things really aren’t.]
“I flicked my thumb and forefinger at the gaesh around my neck. “I know how someone acts when they’ve been gaeshed. I would bet you whatever price you named Gadrith has a trinket somewhere on him which contains a sliver of Thurvishar’s soul. That’s why Gadrith never bothered to lie to Thurvishar about his real parentage; he knew Thurvishar would never be able to tell anyone. Thurvishar may be the D’Lorus Lord Heir and he may be an amazing wizard, but he’s still a slave. Just as much as any of the other people I named.”
Ohhhhhhh. Okay, yeah, definitely did not remember this at all. Very interesting. That does explain a great deal about Thurvishar’s apparent contradictory actions.
Also, Kihrin may claim he could tell from Thurvy’s behavior that he was gaeshed, but he apparently didn’t catch on to that immediately, since I’m pretty sure the scene we just read in the last chapter indicates that Kihrin has no idea. So he must have figured this out at some later point we haven’t reached in the flashback chapters yet. Fair enough.
But whatever with all that, because Teraeth apparently has some expositional grenades to lob, and boy howdy does he:
“I remember when the Eight Immortals showed up and asked for volunteers: four souls willing to help fulfill the prophecies. But there was a price. They had to be willing to leave paradise, to be reborn to all the pain, hardship, and suffering of the living world. And do you know who the first volunteer was? Without a second’s hesitation?”
He chuckled. “No. You.”
Way to bury the lede on this friendship/courtship, dude! Sheesh. And yeah, “courtship”, inept as it may be, because I don’t buy Teraeth’s claim that he only also volunteered to get one up on Kihrin for a moment. Sure, honey, whatever you say.
My conviction that he is in loooooove with Kihrin is only slightly shaken by Teraeth’s offhand comment about his wife coming along too, which, what? Who is she? Do we find out who she is later? Is she that Jorat woman I verrrry vaguely remember from the part where Kihrin’s in Demonland? Not sure. Guess I’ll find out.
Teraeth’s statement that Kihrin’s soul was not enjoying paradise is interesting in light of what the dragon said about Kihrin being the lesser half of the soul he shares with Vol Kalroth. Maybe you can’t enjoy heaven if 60% of you is busy being negative space in a ruin? Who knows. I mean, hopefully the author knows, but I sure don’t.
Last but not least, this plan Kihrin has cooked up to be bait for Darzin so that Teraeth can follow him to Gadrith and Sandus can execute them both is definitely foolproof and cannot possibly go horribly wrong! Ayup.
And that’s what I got for this, kids! You’re the apple of my eye, the lot of ya. See you next week!