Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Redemption of Althalus chapter 39-40

Okay, book news: Everything sucks.

Alright, that's a small exaggeration. I've actually been stalling (Duh) to give the last chunk of Dragon Breath time to cool off, give me time to save money, and to work on the artwork I promised donators. Mostly the artwork. I've also been trying to finish the last Gray Prince story, and that got hopelessly bogged down, and by the time I fixed it again, everything sucked.

Also the job change happened. For the better, and it's an awesome job, but it's still a job.

You can tell me later how you want me to make up for it.

Also, here's the artwork. It's about halfway done.

It's cropped down, and I'm fighting on the shading for Shalthessa's feathers (Why the fuck did I give dragons feathers? Why did I think that was a good idea? FEATHERS. I WILL BE DREAMING ABOUT THEM) but I've never been so happy with shading on a human. Or hair. I think I'd like to paint Joey about another six bazillion times, if this is how she's gonna come out every time.

I haven't decided if this part of book one would actually flow quite so...um...peacefully. The scene should be rather obvious to those of you who've read DBPT1, and Joey's...well...JOEY. But it's an image that lodged in my head for a while, so...*shrugs*

I am not a perfect artist, there are an approximate seven bazillion problems with this, but this is probably the best thing I've done EVER.

But fuck feathers. Seriously.

(I mean for fuck's sake, I wrote a motherfucking tutorial on making feathers. It's the most popular thing I've got on DA. THE LITTLE FUCKERS SHOULD BE EASY. WHY. ARE. THEY. NOT. EASY.)

Okay, on to the flog (There should only be two or three more posts of this and then I'm doing Anita Blake, I promise)

So when we last left Althalus he was trying to con the leader of the Brown Robes (now known as Brown Guy) into...something. What, exactly, is never made clear because Dweia has Brown Guy dreaming about hell now. Because it's driven him insane. ...Because she can, I guess.

Seriously. It kind of makes him impossible to work with and I think you kind of needed him for...something.

It turns out that having a major member of the religion go absolutely bugfuck during a peasant rebellion isn't the brightest idea Team Al has ever had. The other two branches of this religion have to act, so they're probably going to show up over the next couple of days...and while Bheid's former boss, Black Guy has no fucking clue what's going on, White Guy from the kingdom of killer shepherds knows damn well that Althalus and company aren't exactly on the up and up here. Given that Brown Guy has completely lost his shit, the other two orders might try to take the Brown Robes over for good...which would probably cause a religious civil war that would make the currant war look like babies playing with toy soldiers...which would suit Ghend, Argan and Daeva just fine.

In other words, Oops.

They decide the best thing to do is have the shit hit the fan now, before Argan starts making peasants set things on fire. They push Brown Guy into doing something...um...pretty fucking pointless.

“The restoration of the altar sort of leaps to mind. Back in the good old days, my altar was sheathed in gold. The Brown Robes peeled the sheathing off when they usurped my temple. If I planted the notion of putting it back into Aleikon’s mind . . .” She left it hanging.
At any rate, they get the leaders of the religion down, and they use the House to speed things up a bit.

When they get there, Althalus promptly starts fucking with them because he wouldn't be Althalus if he didn't. Eventually, they all gather in the Brown Robes' main room, where White Guy and Black Guy do everything short of threaten to pull Al's head off and shit down his neck if he doesn't start explaining what the blue hell is going on here.

At which point Dweia steps in.

Then one wall of Aleikon’s high-vaulted library was no longer there. Where the wall had been was the perfect face of Dweia: calm, beautiful, and so enormous that Althalus flinched back in near panic. Her perfect arms were crossed on what had been the floor, and her chin was resting pensively on those arms. “I sometimes forget how small you people are,” she murmured. “So tiny, so imperfect.” She reached out with one vast hand and gently picked up the rigid body of Exarch Emdahl and placed him on the palm of her other hand. Then she took up Yeudon and stood him beside Emdahl. “Does this put things in perspective for you gentlemen?” she asked.

The assorted Robes decide the smartest thing they can do is cooperate. They go into the house and accomplish...um, exactly nothing except basic nerve settling. Then Dweia decides to break out her own prophetic dream. And...uh...I think Eddings was shooting for utterly fucking incomprehensible because that's what he accomplished.

The vast temple in Maghu seemed deserted, and then two cleaning ladies with brooms and mops and dust rags entered. They wore aprons, and their hair was protected by kerchiefs. And as they entered, the song of the Knife serenaded them. One scrubwoman was pale blond Leitha, and the other was perfect Dweia. And pale Leitha, weeping, did seat herself upon the stones of the temple floor, and she took up a garment of finest weave. Still sobbing, she tore one sleeve from the garment and cast it up into the silent air, and the Knife cried out also as the sleeve vanished in the air...And then did (Dweia) cast the fruit of her brushing into the air, and it was even as dust. Then caused she that window that men call Bheid to be opened. And behold, a great wind did issue forth from the window Bheid. And the Knife sang, and the dust was there no more. And then the Goddess looked about with calm satisfaction. “And now,” she spake, “my temple is once more immaculate and undefiled.”

Gang, this makes the book of Ezekiel look calm, well adjusted and sane, and that's the part of the bible with the Wheels within Wheels and the four headed six-winged angels...basically the Glenn Beck to Revelation of John's Fox News.

Of course, it's like that because it is all SYMBOLISM and using SYMBOLISM avoids the danger of a paradox...somehow. Basically Dweia prophet dreams=good, Daeva prophet dreams=bad. Somehow.

In the morning, everybody troops up to the Windows to get a look at Argan's speech making skills...which IRL would fall flat on its face but in the book are treated as charged up works of fine art. The three Robe Guys spend a lot of time staring at each other and muttering "We're fucked" under their breath, because there's an awful lot of people behind Argan and the red robes.

And then Black Guy decides that the absolute best thing he can do, under the circumstances, is borrow a couple sheets from Althalus's book and con the Brown Guy into giving up his order and dropping off the face of the planet, because he fucked up that bad.

“Emdahl views this current unrest in Perquaine as a golden opportunity, dear,” Leitha explained. “The Brown Robe order’s totally corrupt, and Emdahl has a sort of grand plan to jerk the Brown Robe power base right out from under Aleikon. Without the support of the nobility of Perquaine, the Brown Robes are likely to be reduced to a mendicant order, begging at the roadside.”
"Dear" is no longer looking like a word.

Eventually White Guy clues in and they both start railroading Brown Guy into the desired position. Finally they decide that they need a whole new order of clergy who will wear a whole new shade of robe--because color coding your priests is the only way to go, I guess--and they'll use this new group to smash Argan's Red Robes because this is totally doable.

Oh, and Bheid is going to be the leader of the new Robes.

This does not go over well.

“Absolutely out of the question,” Bheid announced quite firmly. “I’m not even a priest anymore.” “The vow is permanent,” Emdahl rasped. “You can’t give it and then take it back.” “I murdered a man, my Exarch,” Bheid said in a flat, emotionless voice. “You did what?” “I drove a sword through a man in Arya Andine’s throne room. I am damned.” “Well, now,” Aleikon said, his plump face suddenly creased with a broad smile. “That changes everything, doesn’t it, Emdahl? I guess I won’t be leaving Maghu after all.”
Black Guy thinks about this for approximately two seconds, and then holds a mock trial for Bheid, in which they convict him of murder and sentence him to poverty and penance as the leader of the Gray Robe order, leaving both Bheid and Brown Guy sputtering over in their respective corners.

Althalus takes Brown Guy and some of his supporters through the house under the guise of protecting them from their political enemies, and dumps them on a mostly deserted island on the other side of the world.

Argan, his peasant army and Ghend's mind-reader Koman approach the temple. Leitha is hanging around inside the temple because Prophetic Dream Says So, and Bheid and Eliar are waiting outside for Argan to show up and give his little speech.

Bheid has Eliar show off his knife, and all of Argan's red robes turn into random demons before vanishing in puffs of brimstone. So basically it's a Chick Tract. Argan and Koman run into the temple, which is also somehow one of the Doors from the House. Bheid gives a speech that sounds exactly like all of Argan's, right down to the planted shills. But I guess shills are okay when you're the good guys.

Still, they could probably find a few people who understand what subtly means:

“It’s Exarch Bheid!” a disguised Grey Robe priest declared. “He’s the holiest man alive.”
 “Listen to him!” another cried. “The Grey Robes are the only friends we have!”


Inside the temple, Leitha faces off with Koman. Dude has no idea what's going on and he tries to sneak into her thoughts...and she starts shutting his mind-reading ability down, somehow, using what she learned from the book. Apparently this is the worst thing you can do to a mind-reader and she's very repentant and remorseful while she slowly and deliberately drives another human being insane.

Meanwhile Dweia just plain fucking evaporates Argan because fuck that remorse shit.

Bheid opens a window. That's his entire purpose for being in the temple.

 Have I mentioned yet that this entire scene is written in Eddings' patented "Lyrical Not Poetry" style?

And Koman screamed as even greater emptiness did settle around him. And he fell to the floor of the holy temple of the Goddess Dweia, and clung he in terror-stricken desperation to the thought of she who even now closed each door that had always stood open for him.
 And the soul of Althalus was wrenched with pity. 
I beseech thee, my beloved father, pale Leitha’s thought cried out in anguish, bend not thy despite upon me for this cruelty. The cruelty is not mine, but is that of necessity. And Althalus hardened his heart toward hapless Koman and stood sternly by as pale Leitha did perform the final act compelled of her by stern necessity.
NOTHING else in the book (other than the dreams) is like this. WHY is it like this? Oh, and as for the evaporation of Argan...yeah.

And the glittering motes of that which had been Argan were swept away in that great wind, leaving behind only the faint echoes of his despairing scream to mingle with the song of the Knife. And the face of Divine Dweia was filled with satisfaction, and spake she. “And now is my temple once more immaculate.” And the song of the Knife soared in indescribable beauty as it sang its blessing upon the holy place.
The good guys. They disintegrate their enemies with great satisfaction.

End of chapter.


  1. You can tell me later how you want me to make up for it.

    Dance! Dance for us! Mwu-ha-hah!



    How's the new job?