We rejoin Lady Rowan and Darian four Epochs later. Neither of them are well.
I had become so induced in thought that Darian had noticed my absence from our conversation (loc. 1479).
That makes sense.
Darian wants to know when his training will begin. Rowan doesn’t want to begin the training until he’s well again. Darian doesn’t think much of that:
“She is unprotected in a dangerous land, and I certainly lack the time to laze about while the woman I yearn to protect is tracked by bounty hunters galore!”
His words of devotion cut deeply as though it were the poisonous fangs of the Great Demon Angel piercing through my flesh into my heart (loc. 1486).
I’ve never been a fan of similes. Bad similes, though, are like being repeatedly hit in the kneecaps with a tire iron. We can understand why someone would be hurt by words without involving the poisonous fangs of the Great Demon Angel.
Rowan says she’ll assign him his first task. Darian is excited. Rowan explains that his first task is…patience. Which is…kinda funny, actually. Darian is furious and shouts about it, but Rowan points out that he needs to have the patience to carefully consider situations rather than rushing in blindly. Darian doesn’t think she understands, but Rowan says she understands all too well the pain he feels, and delivers a viciously eloquent verbal curb-stomping:
“If you chose to disobey me, then leave now and save me the trouble of kicking you out because I refuse to let you walk all over me so you can go and get your sorry ass killed!” (loc. 1514)
Darian says ok, tells her to enjoy her lonely life, and leaves.
We bounce over to the All-Knowing. A pair of telepathic Japanese twins, Kore and Kora, are hanging out in Japan circa 1480. They’re targeting a fat man who is a fan of prostitutes. Kora takes control of the mind of the prostitute who smashes a porcelain kettle full of hot tea over the fat man’s face, then takes a handy katana off the wall and slices his head off. Why? It isn’t explained.
Next day they’re in the streets doing acrobatics for money until the village representative, Taki, accuses them of soliciting and confiscates their sack of money, then offers Kore the sack of money back if he lets his sister come home with her. Kore calls him a disgusting freak. Taki pulls out his katana and tries to kill him but Kore catches the blade in midair and ninjas the sword against the rep’s neck. Taki runs away.
The twins walk away and immediately run into a pale man with gold eyes and a girl with fuchsia eyes. Fuchsia. They explain they want the twins to join their “league of gifted individuals” to help the world. The twins immediately agree. And then they all teleport away.
Darian is storming away saying the word “damn” a lot, exhausted, raging against Rowan, and makes it about two miles before he passes out while hallucinating something in the sky.
Over to Blair. They’ve arrived in Caspyna. Blair tries to blend in with the crowd.
The overall style was dramatic and involved tight-fitting pants (loc. 1608).
I love this sentence so much.
Roswell is off at the tobacco shop and gives her a couple Bronsens, which I’m guessing is currency, to buy supplies, which isn’t much. Luckily, a bread vendor offers to just give her a couple of loaves since they’re ‘older’ and nobody will buy them. They look very fresh. Okay. That sounds like most peasant vendors desperate to scratch out a living. Blair heads off to the beef shop and buys a couple pounds of jerky. As she’s heading back, a woman in a clothing store offers her a nice orange dress since she’s dressed like a boy and looks “reduculous”. Jesus fuck, what is it with people just giving Blair shit for no reason?
She changes, and braids her hair, and feels pretty, and then realizes she has no idea how she’ll find Roswell. Although, based on her luck, someone will show up after sacrificing their afternoon to carry Roswell around on their shoulders, just to be polite.
Roswell is pissed that Blair is lost. Don’t let her out of your sight, dumbass.
Jafar thinks about how beautiful the world is, now that he’s out in it.
The only tip I have had on her is that a woman of her description had been seen traveling in the direction of Dibujar accompanied by a tall tanned man with long black hair (loc. 1657)
Wow. So, offscreen, Jafar has only received a single tip, which just happens to tell him precisely where HarBlair is going? That’s awfully convenient that he managed to run into someone who had happened to run into Roswell and HarBlair and was able to recognize HarBlair from his description alone.
Darian angsts. He’s starving. And he left his sword behind. And his horse. He is not very smart.
Blair enjoys the stars and thinks about how she loves Darian as the brother she never had, and if she ever meets Darian again, she hopes he will understand. That…she’s in love with her kinky werewolf master now?
Then she slips into a trance.
And…then comes one of the more surreal parts of this book, which is saying something. The title header says Media; the Future Long Ago. Clever. A girl named Maddi is getting ready for school by inserting her “antique” vampire bat earrings. Her mom yells at her:
“Hurry, you’re going to be late for your cancer, A.I.D.S, and multiple sclerosis vaccinations at the school!” (loc. 1706)
Right. Because it’s the future. Of long ago.
Maddi jumps into the transportational pod in her skintight hyperleather suit and teleports off to North President Trump High School. President…Trump.
We learn that there’s an ongoing turf war:
It was common between the Christian following, armed with guns firing silver cross bullets, and the Communist snakes with their knives (loc. 1715).
Now, I’m not a gun expert, but I feel reasonably confident saying that it would be difficult to design something that fires bullets shaped like silver crosses. Setting aside the incredibly creative gun design that would be required, things shaped like crosses aren’t particularly aerodynamic. They’re good for nailing things to, like lost dog posters, wreaths, and trendy Jewish messiahs, but not really for firing through the air.
A bullet hits her control panel and Maddi flies through time, eventually meeting a strange man. They save the world, become immortal, and now collect special people to create a league of supers to protect the world.
And we the angels have (loc. 1724).
Back to our friendly village werewolf. It’s been three hours of searching. Roswell still can’t find Blair and he’s beginning to panic a bit. Then he sees a Wanted for Murder advertisement with a picture of a beautiful woman. From context, I am assuming that the poster is of Blair. Although she hasn’t killed anyone. Then again, it might just be a lie. Although Roswell doesn’t know that, so you’d think he would wonder about whether his girlfriend is actually a murderer. (Spoiler: no)
We skip forward in time and he’s found Blair. Whew! I was getting worried there for about two pages.
Blair asks what they’re going to do after Dibujar, which Roswell hasn’t really thought about. She doesn’t want to live without a purpose but they agree to live for each other.
They stop at a tavern and eat some chicken and beer. Roswell is mildly concerned as Blair starts pounding back drinks like she’s sporking a really shitty fantasy novel. After a bit, Blair starts spouting nonsensical quotes, like that “you know you’re too stressed when the trees start chasing you, or when the sun is too loud, or when you consider brewing a necessary step in the consumption of coffee, or when you start to hear mimes.” These are all extremely original, hilarious jokes, except they’re not. Eventually Blair starts falling down, so Roswell carries her back to their room, noticing that she has considerably beefed up since the last time he carried her.
Next they’re walking and Roswell is talking about buying a horse. This topic is promptly abandoned, like most topics in this tome, and he mentions that he’s done some studying and found a term that is only used by Blair’s people: love. Blair blushes. I wish she was blushing fuchsia.
Roswell asks her about love.
“Well,” she pondered, “love in the human culture is . . . it is . . . what is love?” (loc. 1808)
“Hmm, a song perhaps to tell you of love, one my mother taught to me that spoke of love as a river that would drown the lovers; a razor that pierces deeply onto your soul. It is a hunger, an aching need that is never ending.” (loc. 1810)
To someone who has no concept of what love is, (which doesn’t really make sense, because Roswell clearly has feelings towards Blair, even if they’re only kinky lusts) that’s the worst fucking description of love.
They talk about love. It reminds Roswell of a word, Vanzetti, which basically means torture. Blair says there are different kinds of love; familial love, brotherly love, passionate love…which Roswell is familiar with. Obviously. But Blair says that love of passion rarely ends in happiness. Roswell asks why people do it if it just causes them pain.
“Because the pain just feels so good.” (loc. 1833)
Darian. Nothing happens.
Lady Rowan looks out the window and Luman Vener, which I’m guessing is a sun or moon or celestial body, and it’s red on one side. This is apparently significant. Then she collapses.
The book is calling, but who will answer? (loc. 1850)
This is how I feel every time I find a new spork-worthy book.
Back to Roswell and Blair. They’ve bought a caramel horse with a saffron mane.
…seriously? Keep in mind that this sequence is from Roswell’s point of view. A werewolf who doesn’t even understand the concept of love has the visual acuity and linguistic dexterity to identify his horse’s mane as fucking saffron?
Blair is still bubbly giggly, which makes me suspect she’s still drunk from last night, and makes me wish that I was. Blair decides they’re naming the horse Carmen, and the conversation changes from that rather peculiar name to Blair having a way with animals. Roswell points out she has a way with him. Blair says he’s not an animal. Roswell says he is. To be fair, he’s a werewolf; they’re both partially right wrong.
Time went by; the sun floated across the clouded sky. The humanity so harsh, one would say you could even cut the air itself with only a butter knife (loc. 1867).
I’m reasonably confident that’s a typo and “humanity” should be “humidity” but I really hope it’s not, because if this sentence is really about humanity so harsh you could cut it with a butter knife it is now my favorite sentence in the history of writing.