Chapter Twenty-Seven – Decisions
Let’s get this sporkage show back on the road again with chapter 27: EVEN MORE FILLER!!!
Comm: Noooo, not even more filler!
Paolini: Hmm, what’s that? Did you say filler? Ok then!
Comm: Aargh, no! No more filler!
Paolini: How about pages upon pages of people talking?
“Explain it to me again,” said Nasuada.
“You know; so the readers can hear it this time.”
Either that, or Nasuada REALLY shouldn’t be the one leading the Varden if she needs ‘let’s use the secret tunnels, hurr durr’ explained three times. No, really.
So the group of people consist of Nasuada, Eragon, Jeod, Jormundur, Arya, Orik, King Orrin and Saphira (at least through Eragon’s bond, anyway). There’s also Angela, though right now she’s eavesdropping on the secret meeting.
Who here cares about dwarven politics? In case you can’t get enough of it after being deluged with it during Brisingr, Jeod explains that ages ago Queen Forna (whom I’m assuming is a dwarf) sent an emissary called Erst Greybeard to what would become Dras Leona.
“And why did she send him?” asked Nasuada while she toyed with the fringe of her sleeve.
Look, sweetheart, if you actually want all this stuff to sink in after the THIRD TIME stop fucking fidgeting and just listen. Oh, and Paolini? STOP TRYING SO HARD TO DECORATE DIALOGUE LIKE THIS. It is completely unneeded and totally comes across as a poor attempt at adding action to a completely boring scene. Fact is if you can’t come up with actions during dialogue that make sense, find another way to weave in the information and scrap the dialogue. Or at least trim it down.
Greybeard was sent to the human city to help its king, Radgar, get it built and in doing so gain a strong ally during the clan wars. Only thing is Forna was killed and Greybeard had to hurry back to the Beor Mountains to defend his clan. But not before he had begun drawing up plans for a sewer system (wow, so Eragon’s gonna have to tramp through waste before launching his secret attack? Awesome…)
But then Jeod says that Dras-Leona doesn’t have a sewer system in place even though there’s records of subterranean work. So yeah.
“I happened to be perusing The Acts of Taradas and Other Mysteries of Occult Phenomena as Recorded Throughout the Ages of Men, Dwarves, and the Most Ancient Elves when—”
“It is a work filled with mistakes,” said Arya. She stood by the left side of the table, leaning on both hands over a map of the city. “The author knew little of my people, and what he did not know, he invented.”
“That may be,” said Jeod, “but he knew a great deal about humans, and it is humans we are interested in.”
Oh SNAP!! XD
Jeod furthers this with more proof of the existence of tunnels by reading out an account of people hearing strange sounds and smelling things and whatnot, but attributing it to ghosts. Hmm. Who you gonna call, Dras-Leona?
Orrin plays devil’s advocate and pooh-poohs all the speculation. Jeod defends himself then there’s talk of going and investigating.
Orik cleared his throat, then said, “The earth here is soft and claylike, with a fair bit of silt layered throughout it—horrible for tunneling. If Erst had any sense, he wouldn’t have planned to have one large channel carry away the city’s waste; he would have laid down several smaller passageways, to reduce the likelihood of a cave-in. I’d guess that none of them would be wider than a yard or so.”
“Too narrow for more than a single man to pass through at a time,” said Jeod.
“Too narrow for more than a single knurla,” added Orik.
I’m a dwarf, so I automatically know what the dirt’s like in the area.
Nasuada returned to her seat and stared at the map with unfocused eyes, as if she were gazing at something far away.
Um… Sure you had enough sleep, there, Nasuada? Anyway so she does a bit of thinking aloud.
“What have you in mind?” asked King Orrin in a tone of caution.
“Something bold; something … unexpected.”
Eragon snorted softly. “Perhaps you should consult Roran, then.”
“I have no need of Roran’s help in devising my plans, Eragon.” Nasuada fell silent again…
Bit of a knee jerk reaction considering the guy managed to take Aroughs practically on his own, but whatever. And hey, Nasuada’s plan turns out to be pretty frogging similar: send a small party to open the gates from the inside.
Eragon volunteers straight away and Nasuada agrees. And since we need a variety of races in your standard fantasy RPG quest, Arya volunteers too. I’m surprised Orik didn’t put his hand up as well. There’s talk and argument about how many magicians to take along, and from which group. Angela chooses this point to appear, spouting some nonsense about organs (why do characters from your standard medieval fantasy setting know about gall bladders, anyway?) and asks to come along. When asked why, it’s because Angela has a vendetta against the priests of Helgrind and wants to cause some ‘mischief’. What, is she going to make them chirp like birds too? Sigh…
There’s talk of bringing Elva, too.
“Last we spoke, she made her position clear enough. I’ll not go bowing and scraping to her in an attempt to convince her otherwise.”
“I’ll talk with her,” said Eragon. “I’m the one she’s angry with, and I’m the one who should ask her.” Nasuada plucked at the fringe of her golden dress. She rolled several strands between her fingers, then abruptly said, “Do as you wish. I dislike the thought of sending a child—even one as gifted as Elva—into battle. However, I suppose she is more than capable of protecting herself.”
“As long as the pain of those around her doesn’t overwhelm her,” said Angela. “The last few battles have left her curled in a ball, barely able to move or breathe.” Nasuada stilled her fingers and peered at Eragon with a serious expression. “She’s unpredictable. If she does choose to go along, be careful of her, Eragon.”
“I will,” he promised.
YOU SUCK AT BEING CAREFUL!
Anyway at this stage Eragon gets bored because now they’re talking logistics and all Sociopath Stu wants to do is hack and slash. Oh, and because Paolini – thank all that is holy in this world – didn’t feel like writing all that down, too.
He talks instead to Saphira who obviously only has just been remembered by Paolini. Saphira completely goes along with the plan because she’s a card-board cutout with an informed attribute of hating it when Eragon is away from her. Doesn’t sound too dragonish and proud to me when she whines about it but doesn’t overly protest. Then she mentions that a ‘wing-breaking storm is coming’ and that she’s going to hunt. Sounds like a great plan there, Saphira!
Eragon turns his attention back onto the physical conversation, and that’s what ends the chapter.