Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Paks--chapter 25

So Paks and co finally make it to one of the Honeycat's main citis, Silibi. Or something like that.

We get a summery of the siege that manages to be exciting at the same time. It takes two days for Paks and the others to sneak a siege engine up to the walls in the dead of night (it's a different engine each night. The effects of rain on a battle field are pretty interesting). The bad guys are lobbing fire at them during the day. They can't see shit at night, which is good because neither can Paks. Finally they get everything in place and make the assault.

Paks fights very well, but gets clobbered on the head by something that severely dents her helmet. Then she gets hit in the arm and leg. There's a spectacular light show as "clerics", a word that has not appeared before, fight each other. Paks only finds this out later, at the med tent, where she passes out as soon as they get her helmet off. The docs are worried, but not overmuch once she wakes up.

She recovers enough to go back to battle the next day, though the doctors make her wear a larger helmet, at least. She gets advice from the others, discovers that there are "clerics" everywhere, and then gets her first good look at a paladin of Gird. And of course, he's a knight in glittering mail riding a literal white horse across the battlefield with light streaming from his upraised and powerful fist, and Paks has never seen anything so awesome in her life. And she fantasizes for a second that maybe she could be in that glittering outfit, on that magnificent horse. And then chastises herself for being silly and goes back to real fighting.

Finally, the Phelani and the other Companies make an assault on the defender's temple, which is when folk from every religion mentioned so far turn up and stand shoulder to shoulder and start doing battle with people who, quiet honestly, look like they were rejected from a death rock band for being "too metal". Paks' own fight gets closer and closer to the paladin, and finally she finds herself in place just when the bad guy makes a swing the paladin can't counter. Paks steps in, raises her sword, there's a great flash of light, her sword shatters, she falls into the bad guy because she's blinded (and probably still concussed) and she passes out while someone kicks her (probably because someone kicks her because concussion)

The surgeons take care of her in the tents. I have to assume most of the fighting is over, because the High Marshal of Gird is there, rather than at the front lines. He starts peppering Paks with questions about what she believes, and specifically why she's resisted the attempts to convert her to Gird. She says one, she can't believe a man can become a god, two, she doesn't think that a God that likes fighting will be protecting much, and three...the two best girdsmen she knew, Canna and Effa, are both dead from wounds gained in battle when they damn well ought to have been protected. What kind of God does that?

The High Marshal corrects her with his version of the story of Gird: That he was a farmer who taught other farmers how to fight, they overturned their ruler at the time, and instead of becoming a king Gird made his followers take care of the helpless instead. He fought the forces of darkness and was taken up in a cloud of glory, and the Girdsmen reguard him as a saint, not a god. Then he explains that the axemen Paks clashed with was a preist of Liart--a god that thrives on torment--and that his weapon was enchanted, and that Paks damn well ought to be dead right now, so it's very interesting that her medallion of Gird flared up at just the right moment to save her ass, given that she doesn't believe in him AT ALL.

Paks agrees, less because that's interesting to her and more because she's concussed with a burned arm and an awful lot of primitive painkillers in her system.

The Marshal withdraws and Paks goes back to a monitored sleep.

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