Apparently the “Archive” is the most important building in the kingdom. Dragons collect data to store it in the building’s core for Reasons that may or may not become clear. Inside, there’s millions or circular dishes filled with gooey black orbs that look like “sugary tar” (seriously) and they hold megabytes of data. Wow. You’d think in this incredible society they’d be using gigabytes, or maybe even terabytes. Apparently not.
The orbs all looked like giant caviar, dripping with dark fluids from their supple surfaces as if to contain embryos and cerebral nutrition within shelled walls and savory, salty substance. And assuredly, they were just as tasty as they appeared (page 34).
Hundreds of dragons are dropping off their bits of gathered intelligence that they have gathered. Meanwhile, Dennagon is hurrying along and hating everyone.
Feeling sick at having to remain with all of his low-life colleagues (page 34).
Knowing the author is an Asian supremacist makes me wonder just how much of himself he’s channeling into his protagonist.
Apparently, these orbs of knowledge are actually intended to be eaten. Dennagon thinks about how he used to sample them a lot, and they were delicious.
He knew they tasted like the finest bloody meat whilst sending surges of orgasmic information to one’s head (page 35).
In this world, this is fairly normal, but Dennagon is an abstainer. He feels that something about the orbs is not quite right and has been starving himself for a few years now and living off animals.
Another dragon, Thargon, bumps into him. A few other sentries gather round and make fun of him and the fact that he’s an idiot. Dennagon points out that he collects more knowledge in a day than they do in a year. This is a bit insulting, so the other dragons grab their weapons. Dennagon draws his sword and says they’re welcome to attack any time.
The brutish comportment of his antagonistic colleagues lessened at the sight of his weapon (page 36).
Attempting to maintain their masculinity, they shirked, hiding their cowardice behind euphemistic visages (page 36).
Thargon spit out reptilian slaver (page 36)
Fuck?? Seriously? Euphemistic visages? That doesn’t make any fucking sense!
It’s almost as if Eng decided he was going to try and write an entire novel in the style of The Eye of Argon. And succeeded.
Thargon tells Dennagon he’ll never amount to anything and then chows down on an orb. The information inside – “physical laws, astronomical constants and chronological facts” are absorbed into his memory. Hopefully they aren’t all incorrect, like Eng’s understanding of the concept of force.
Dennagon heads in to where the dragon king is waiting, a bit nervous, since he’s late. The king takes the form of a black shadow that is “spiraling above the throne in an omnipotent dance of conflagrations that echoed the mystery of a thousand riddles” (page 38). The king is named Drekkenoth – oh hey, that possibly bad guy from the prologue – who launches into some helpful “As you know, Bob” exposition. We learn that the world is getting fucked up, sapiens are roaming the land and destroying things, and their only hope is to gather all of the planet’s knowledge before man destroys it. Interesting. Just a few pages ago there was a reference to Planck’s constant, which was discovered in 1900 by a man. I take it, then, that this story is set after 1900, and that men have existed and therefore discovered Planck’s constant, but something happened and now men have lost all their knowledge and have turned back into rather stupid knights while dragons are the most technologically advanced creatures on the planet? Which would explain why they’re standing by and letting man destroy the planet? Either way, none of this makes any fucking sense, and I don’t have a lot of faith in Eng to provide a plausible explanation before the book ends.
Drekkenoth says Dennagon is their greatest warrior.
“Of this I am aware,” replied Dennagon humbly (page 38).
I don’t think you know what the word “humble” actually means.
Drekkenoth asks why Dennagon doesn’t hang out in their wisdom circle. Blah blah, apparently there isn’t much time left in the world, and totality is coming, which means the world will merge into a single unification and stuff. Dennagon says they should attack the sapiens head-on. Drekkenoth points out the sapiens aren’t human anymore – they have powerful souls, and if the dragons attack the sapiens will bring about a powerful metaphor for death. This thesaurus abuse is starting to drive me crazy.
Drekkenoth lapses into meditation which Dennagon takes as his cue to leave. As he leaves, the other dragons notice him.
They ceased their incessant persiflage as he moved by, only to hurtle jeers at his ascetic disposition (page 41).
There are times when chapters of a spork refuse to give me a particularly idiotic phrase to use as a section title, and there are times when a chapter gives me far too many.
Fortunately, the dragon’s incessant persiflage doesn’t bother Dennagon at all:
They didn’t matter in the slightest, their somas as phantasms piffle in the wind (page 41).
That is a real sentence.
We cut forward and there’s an entire paragraph of intense thesaurus abuse that tells us that nothing is happening. Here’s a sample sentence: Yet, even as the water bore its own sapphire tint, it had islands embedded upon its vistas to break the smooth uniformity that existed not in the universe (page 42). Or, in other words, the ocean has islands. It’s super-helpful information.
Dennagon dreams about Shevinoth, first king of the dragons, flying around the moon, in considerably more pretentious prose than what I just used. In the dream, Shevinoth lands on the moon and pulls out a glowing sword and starts digging a hole in the surface. He doesn’t get anywhere. Eventually Shevinoth looks at Dennagon and asks “What is art?” Then there’s a huge explosion which burns Shevinoth up. Well, that was a useful dream sequence. Maybe later there’ll be a scene where Dennagon is forced to fight the True Reality of Art and we’ll realize this scene was Foreshadowing, but I doubt it.
Dennagon wakes up, covered in sweat. Sure, reptiles don’t sweat, but he’s a dragon, so that doesn’t really matter. He spends a few moment thinking deeply about irrelevant things.
We cut forward. Dennagon takes a stroll. There is a great deal of thesaurus abuse. Eventually he gets to a secret place and starts digging until he unearths a bunch of fossils! Which I guess he hides here, buried beneath layers of dirt and rocks. Because that’s not going to break anything. They’re not dragon fossils. From the description, I’m guessing dinosaurs.
There’s another, stranger one, that is made out of highly advanced technology. Dennagon spends some time assembling it.
The finished piece was a creature of metal and circuits, dented at the edges, but whole nonetheless (page 49).
Dennagon thinks it’s strange, because he can’t think of a reason to explain such highly advanced machinery that’s so old.
Not knowing everything makes Dennagon think about the Lexicon. Supposedly, if he touches the Lexicon, he’ll become all-knowing and all-wise and have the mind of a god, which sounds awfully convenient. I wonder if it’s going to happen at some point in this book?
Suddenly, there’s a rather large explosion. Dennagon realizes that a battle has begun, because it would have taken an army of magicians to create said explosion. While that might be true, isn’t it equally plausible that an army of magicians have just placed a sneak attack against them and then casually went home, since the text doesn’t describe a battle commencing?
The conflagration boiled up from the ground like the expanding sac of a red-warm embryo (page 51).
There are explosions of radioactive emissions, even though nobody but an omniscient narrator would be able to say whether the materials were radioactive at this juncture. Dennagon looks out and the smoke and flying debris and clouds of dust is so thick that he can’t see anything. He immediately determines that it must be an enemy attacking and decides he’s going to fuck them up.