If you don’t remember her (I didn’t) she was a friend of Lady Rowan’s. She and Thea are at the pad of someone named Pallas. They’re all pleased to see each other and they all know why they’ve gathered there, which is nice. I don’t know why they are there. I have no idea why these characters exist.
That’s usually a bad sign.
They talk. We learn things:
- They should see Xanthippe
- The book has been awoken
- There needs to have been an heir
- There’s confusion about a bloodline?
Pallas explains she recently met a nice young chap and a pregnant girl named Harlow Grimm, which makes Thea spit out her tea. We learn that “Pallas” is also Master Smith from previously in the book. That might explain why I can’t keep track of anyone because they all keep changing names.
Pro tip: if you’re thinking about randomly changing the names of your characters throughout the story, don’t. If you think it’s really clever, still don’t. And if you absolutely HAVE to, you should make it abundantly clear to the reader exactly who the character is.
They talk some more about the eye color of random characters and then the scene ends. So that chapter was pointless. I didn’t learn anything, I didn’t gain a deeper understanding of the story.
“Good morning, beautiful.” The words slipped of my tongue like turpentine, earning me a glare of uncertain hate before breakfast (loc. 2852).
A) When do words slip off a tongue like turpentine? Does the author have experience drinking turpentine? 2) Why is the glare of hate uncertain? He raped Harlow, there’s nothing to be uncertain about.
They eat breakfast and Jafar pulls out a map. He suspects Elves live in the West because nobody else lives there, which doesn’t really make sense, but okay. They talk and it’s not really clear but they decide to head west. Harlow has a good question:
“Will you be able enough to protect the baby and I from all predators we may face, human or demon?”
“I would sacrifice myself a hundred times if only to save you but once.” (loc. 2865)
Sacrificing yourself doesn’t mean a whole lot if he can’t actually protect you. We have no evidence of Jafar being even remotely competent with any sort of weapon. Why would she trust him to be able to defend her while out in the wild? We already know there are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of this world.
He staggers along painfully and arrives at a cliff. It’s too wide to jump, unless he transforms. He tries to transform but he can’t. A disembodied voice yells at him and says obviously he can’t transform, since it’s a test of his mind and moral fiber. Apparently he’s being expected to moral fiber his way over a seventy-foot chasm.
The voice asks him if he wants to send a message to Harlow. Roswell is excited and launches into a paragraph full of gushing superlatives until the voice interrupts and tell him he has a three-word limit due to “inter-dimensional communications”. Okay, that’s legitimately funny. Roswell says “I will return”. The voice then explains that he has three more tasks and he has to pass two of them. A bridge of steel then appears over the chasm. O….kay. And how was that a test of his mind? Being able to come up with a three-word message for Harlow?
Xanthippe is having bad dreams in his cave. He has an original copy of The Bible. An original copy? So…a King James? The Douay-Rheims translation? The one written by Jesus?
Xanthippe begins singing an Elvin ballad. If I read it out loud it sounds kinda like a cat ran across a keyboard. Observe (translations in parenthesis):
“Kobe defett, amm noten libere, (My ??? do not fret)
Sev tos uka, (I am here)
Tamme nec rekee. (You can bet)
Ne nec eaana macc fel teeda be fel cludee? (Are can listening to the beauty in the sky?)
Ne nec hetaana fel malodaa be fel fless? (Are can watching the ??? in the wind?)
Fel fuess nec lash a hoosh yammach velcera, (The gales can come and sweep us away)
Mame notter lashera, (But no matter)
Ho apet eral vuuce ne Hacet, teeb defett sev duelash puuttno. (So long as we are together, with ??? I become fatter)
Sev defett herkee herferlp. (I ??? thee ???)
Sev defett harkee yectt. (I ??? thee firm)
Sev defett harkee bebendde. (I ??? thee inflexible)
Sev defett harkee put. (I ??? thee fluid)
Sev defett harkee be fel vurel. (I ??? thee in the dark)
Sev defett harkee be fel veluminate. (I ??? thee in the light)
Hoo blub. (Under water)
Whoosh fel illes. (Over the mountain[s])
Notter lashera veew golle, (No matter our place)
So apet eral ere shuo tamme a sev.” (Ho [sic] long as there is you and I) (loc. 2976)
Note that in the text it’s just cat ran over keyboard. In the back of the book there’s an English-Elvish dictionary and an Elvish-English dictionary, which I used to translate it, which wasn’t hard, since Elvish doesn’t have its own sentence structure and grammatical rules, it’s literally just a word-for-word substitution with English because that is how languages work.
Originally when I was translating it I was growing frustrated because there was no translation for the word “defett” (hence the ???) so I decided to just assume it meant “fuck” which turned it from being a rather boring ballad to a hilariously obscene ballad. Afterwards, though, I did a search of my e-book and discovered that “defett” actually means “love”, which I couldn’t find because it was hidden in the L section of the Elvish-English dictionary. Odd. You’d think that for the Elvish-English section it would be under D for defett or that it would be under the L section in the English-Elvish section but that’s a no on both counts.
“Hoo blub.” (loc. 2976).
He’s still tripping balls and we don’t learn anything. He might be trying to take a book. Or he might be tripping balls.
He wanders along until he finds a couple of doors and a frog. The frog explains that one door leads to the next trial and one leads to a horrible death. Roswell can ask only one question, but the frog always lies.
Roswell picks up the frog.
“Hey, only my girlfriend can touch me there,” he croaked (loc. 3035).
Great. Now I’m thinking of frog sex. Goddamnit, Breeanna.
Roswell opens the left door and throws the frog inside. A moment later there’s a loud explosion. Roswell decides to choose the other door. He goes inside and a pillar falls on his head. Then a voice says come to his chamber for his final task.
These tasks do not seem particularly hard. Couldn’t we at least have gotten something like this:
Harlow is now very pregnant, hair an inch or so longer, helping Jafar set up their camp. Suddenly she sees a letter that it’s appeared out of nowhere, the ink still fresh, addressed to her. She asks Jafar, who has no idea where it came from. Inside there are three words: “I will return.” She doesn’t know what it means but starts crying anyway, which makes sense because she’s pregnant. She then lies to Jafar and says it’s nothing, she must have picked it up in town. Jafar is upset because he can see right through her flimsy attempt at retconning fifteen seconds ago, and says that they’ve reached the stage where they could be truthful with each other. Which is fair, it’s not like one of them raped the other one.
Anyway, Harlow cries, and Jafar hugs and rocks her. Hooray!
He’s upset. He walks up the stairs from his cave and steps past the demolished boulder and stars at the first light that he’s seen in five thousand years. You might think that his eyes might take at least a few minutes to adjust but you’d be wrong. He spreads his angel wings and starts flying while searching for other angels. Eventually he finds Thea and Pallas, who explain that the book has been stolen. There are a few typos, and they head off to do something.
Jafar is hovering.
“Good morning, Harlow. How are you today? Are you well? Would you like something to eat or drink? You look cold. Would you care for my overcoat? How about I—” (loc. 3128).
It’s weird how radical this transformation has been, isn’t it? Without any inciting incident or any emotional breakthrough.
Harlow is hungry, so she grabs her bow. There’s a few missing words which makes for an incredibly confusing sentence, so that’s another few drinks. Then this:
My eyes flashed open in a split second I pulled an arrow while nearly simultaneously stinging it, pulling it back, and letting it fly from my fingertips (loc. 3139).
I have no idea what the fuck that means.
A turkey falls off a tree. Jafar goes to pull the arrow out of it and screams “Bitch!” because he’s blaming Harlow for some reason, and even though he’s repentant and Loves her now, he still calls her a bitch when he’s angry. Turns out the arrow severely burned his hand. Harlow grabs the arrow, because that’s a smart thing to do, but it’s cold to her touch. Okay, so Harlow has the ability to accidentally magically heat up arrows in flight even though there is really no benefit to doing this whatsoever, but they will only burn other people who touch them, not her?
They eat turkey and all is good. Suddenly four figures appear from the darkness. Jafar grabs a Katana and stands in front of her.
That’s . . . so heroic, I thought (loc. 3160).
He’s still a rapist.
Jafar threatens the strangers:
“Don’t come any closer. I am highly lethal.” (loc. 3165)
One of the strangers explains that they need Harlow’s help. She is the only who can defeat Avery-Oliver, whoever the fuck that is, before he destroys the world.
Harlow asks what happens if she refuses. Um…they kind of just said. HE DESTROYS THE FUCKING WORLD. You really shouldn’t be thinking about whether or not you’re going to refuse, you should be trying to determine whether you can trust their judgment on whether the world will really be destroyed. Priorities, people.
The man explains that a creature was released from his prison under the earth, who I take it is Xanthippe. Xanthippe, supposedly, will grant a wish to the blood of whoever freed him. Avery Oliver was the one who freed him, and Harlow is his descendant. Therefore, Harlow needs to wish the Fel Nerr Zu San Vech book of spells out of existence.
Wow. This is…amazing. We’re finally starting to figure out who the fuck all these characters are and what their endless prattlings were about. Sure, it doesn’t make sense. After all, if Avery Oliver is still alive (as he must be, since he is going to destroy the world) wouldn’t Xanthippe give the wish to him, rather than his descendant?
We also learn that the guy talking is married to a woman named Ever Pine, an elf, who is Harlow’s ancestor. Ever Pine is a queen, which means Harlow…is of noble blood.
Well. Of course. Normal people can’t accomplish jack shit. It all depends on who your parents were, that’s what makes you special.
Anyway, Harlow wants a wish. They agree. Harlow says she wants them to take her to the Elves. They agree. One of the strangers reveals herself as Master Smith, who asks about Roswell. Harlow explains that he’s dead, and a Dramatic Single Tear slips down her cheek.