Well, at least we got it out of the way early.
Also, when Althalus goes down to breakfast and announces that they will all be meeting with Emmy in Goddess Form, Leitha looks into Althalus's head and sees what Dweia looks like.
“Oh, dear,” Leitha said, biting her lip.
“What’s wrong?” Andine asked.
“Is that what she really looks like?” Leitha demanded of Althalus.
“It’s probably fairly close. I have a very good eye for details.”
“Oh, dear,” Leitha said again.
“What is it, Leitha?” Andine looked puzzled.
“We’re crows now, Andine.”Yep, because that's what women care about. Immortal Goddess who is already taken=fuck, she's prettier than me.
Dweia then explains why she and Daeva are fighting. And yeah, it's mostly her and Daeva. Apparently Dewios said "fuck this shit" and booked. He, BTW, is the creator god. Daeva is pissed because Dewios keeps changing things, and Dweia doesn't give a fuck about change because she just mothers everything, and yes, that is her full purpose for being. She mothers things. She is the goddess mother. She loves everything.
Yeah. Eris, Goddess of Discord, this chick ain't.
So Dweia then goes over all of Ghend's henchmen, which we've already met, telling Team Althalus who they are and where they come from, and I can sort this all out right now in a list of who vs. who:
That's not that hard. And definately not worth this many pages, as it kind of posts a "THESE GUYS GET KILLED BY THESE OTHER GUYS" sign over the heads of each of the pairings. Also: Gelta.
This is the description of Gelta:
“She’s as big as any man, and far more savage. She’s a homely woman with a pockmarked face and a big nose. She grew up in the company of her father’s warriors, so she thinks more like a man than a woman. She waded through blood to reach her throne, and any man who made an issue of her gender didn’t live long enough to see the sun go down.”...and the problem is?
Seriously. You have to come up with a description of a nasty awful evil evil woman and this is it? A woman who says "Fuck that shit" to the divide between men and women? And her opponent is I'm-getting-crushed-by-mansplaining Andine? Who is pretty and desirable and annoying as fuck just so we could have Slap-Slap-Kiss and not, you know, actual human relationships? Dave. WHY?
...the sad thing is? I still love this book. I can't defend it. I'm not going to bother.
Eliar then interrupts the meeting AND the narrative for the ten thousandth time so that he can go get food. Andine starts laughing. I do not get a good feeling from this.
End of chapter.
Next chapter: Andine starts feeding Eliar in the middle of the story.
This is supposed to be their romantic development. Andine slipping him scraps of food the way you'd give the ends of a hot dog to your puppy to make them shut up and stop eating your feet. This is romantic.
...no. No it's not.
Meanwhile we are STILL rehashing stuff we talked about several chapters ago. DUDE: "AND THEY EXPLAINED EVERYTHING" is sometimes ALL THE EXPOSITION YOU NEED.
And hey, this book hasn't swiveled around and shot itself in the face yet. Want to change that?
Remember how Emmy and Althalus just HAD to leave the house? They had to leave it so bad that Emmy HAD to rape her way into Althalus's mind? Because he'd been sitting on important information for two thousand years and they were out of time to continue his training?
Gher asks Althalus why the days aren't getting any shorter, given that they've been there for months. Al's reply?
“I don’t either—not entirely, anyway. She’s tampering with time. Most probably what’s happening is that we’re living the same day over and over again—except that different things happen each time we go through that day.”BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT....*looks back up at the Gelta paragraph* Yeah. I give up.
Leitha learns how to shut off her gift. She also learns that shutting off her gift is the worst thing she could ever do to herself because minds are so quiet. So instead she learns how to moderate her gift so she's not in other people's minds all the time. And somehow this is done by pointing it at things like it's a laser pointer.
I have no idea, but it pays off later.
Gher reveals that he's noticed Leitha's "browsing" and he's been dodging her. Somehow. This impresses Dweia.
Eliar starts to interrupt and Andine feeds him.
Dweia has one-on-ones with all the other members of the Team. It doesn't develop much until she gets to Eliar. She tells him that it's time to learn how to "use" the house the way Althalus "uses" the Book and the Knife. Because we only have five Deus-Ex-Machinas in this book, it's high time we had another DEM to play with. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time to meet THE biggest DEM in the entire novel:
When I say that the House is everywhere, I really mean everywhere. When Deiwos first made it, this room was all there was, and he went out from here to make everywhere else, and he made a door to each of those places. That’s why the House kept growing, and that’s why the doors—not the rooms—are important. Let me give you an example. If Andine wanted to stop by her throne room to speak with her High Chamberlain, Lord Dhakan, she could saddle her horse, ride on down through Kagwher, slip past Kanthon, and eventually reach Osthos. There’s another way, though. She could go down the hallway that leads to the south, open a certain door right here in this House, and step through that door into her throne room.”The house can also time-travel. So basically, Althalus gets the TARDIS. Unlimited money, a magical book that will do fucking anything, a pet Goddess who doubles as a smoking hot girlfriend, a knife that will steal your friends' free will, and the fucking TARDIS. Damn it, the freaking Doctor had to make do with the good old call box and a sonic screwdriver.
However, the House does give us the set-up for one of the best lines I've ever read in anything:
“You’d better close the door, Eliar,” Dweia suggested. “It’s letting in the time.”And hey, it's time for us to start working up Gher as the second biggest DEM in the book. Eliar and Dweia start discussing how the House can control time, and Gher jumps into the conversation, eventually theorizing that space and time are the same damn thing. Basically, this kid has every physics book ever jammed into his head (as translated by David and Leigh Eddings, of course) Dweia is even more disturbed:
Dweia drew in a sharp breath. “Who have you been talking with, Gher?” she demanded. “Where did you get that idea?”
“It just came to me, I guess. When you said ‘space’ instead of ‘distance,’ several things sort of clicked together. Did I say something I wasn’t supposed to say, Emmy? I’m sorry if it upset you.”
“It didn’t upset me, Gher. It just surprised me, that’s all. The unity of space and time is something very few people have realized yet.”
So yeah. Gher is their "Get out of 'we're fucked' free" card. Which happens surprisingly often, given that Al's got six DEMs to play with. And I do have to give Al this much: Everything he's got (With the exceptions of Gher and the Money Pit) the other side has too. And they almost manage to fuck Team Al up more than once. You know. The same way Podunk Shitstain's football team almost manages to beat the State Champions when their quarterback's out sick and the offense is hungover.
Team Althalus marvel at Gher for a little while, and then they make him take a bath.
End of chapter.