Chapter Eleven – Tigers
Gaelan thinks about things, filled with hope:
The fame of the warrior maids had spread throughout his world, so that they had seemed invincible. Many of his people had been kidnapped into slavery by the women of Fedor (page 113).
We have some evidence of this – the tribe the Sociopaths first stopped at refused to take them to Fedor. On the other hand, Londos, the tribe who captured Merle, obviously has no great respect for Fedor. They’re just enemies. In fact, two pages later, this is flatly contradicted – Londos has nearly defeated the Amazons any number of times, and the Amazons are currently afraid they’re going to attack.
Gaelan chats with Rolf. He tells him that the women aren’t really any more capable than the men. Rolf disagrees. Gaelan has the answer:
“Did you see how easily you put some of them on their backs?” (page 114).
He’s referring to the football game, not sex, but it’s still funny.
Gaelan, Dave, and Sarah have been talking. They think that if they can convince Rolf that he can rule, it’ll be the key to their freedom. Because if a man becomes king, then the entire mindset of the tribe will change. They won’t follow the Dark Lord anymore, they’ll turn to Goel. And they’ll suddenly all have respect for each other. And they’ll let their slaves go. All of this will just magically happen if a man is in charge. This sounds like something from The Fifth Sorceress, to be honest.
Later, Gaelan heads back inside and meets Merle. She yells at him for a bit and asks where he was. Gaelan explains. The subject of the football game comes up and he mentions that she looked pretty funny rolling around in the dirt. Merle takes a swing at him. He grabs her wrist and holds it. [!] She swings with her other hand and he catches that one as well, holding her easily. [!!] She struggles for a bit but he’s stronger than she is.
So then Merle whistles for a couple of her warriors and they haul Gaelan outside and butcher him, painfully, in front of the rest of the slaves to show them what happens when a slave assaults not only his master but the Princess and heir to the throne.
Wait – sorry, that’s what would really happen. Instead, the queen stumps in and eyes them for a moment, fairly amused. Then Merle tells Gaelan to hop along, because he’s going to get a caning. Gaelan agrees and asks the queen to excuse him. Despite the fact that he would be dead in real life, I’m starting to like this Gaelan chap.
We cut forward. Queen Faya waits for Merle to come back in and has her sit down for a mother-daughter talk. Faya talks about when she was young a lot of men wanted her because she was the queen. Only Chava saw her for who she was. Then she found a love poem that he’d written for her, and knew he was the one. Faya asks Merle if she knows that she’s never made a decision without her husband’s council. Merle says it doesn’t surprise her. Faya explains:
“It’s because he has love and gentleness. Our women have little of that. They are trained to be fierce warriors, and I think when a woman becomes a warrior, she loses something” (page 119).
See, men – they can still be warriors, because they can come home to their families and be gentle and love their children and their wife and have normal, happy relationships. Men only switch back into cold emotionless killing machines when they’re out fighting. Women lack the maturity, willpower, or ability to do this. It’s either one or the other, apparently.
Merle says that a warrior is what she’s always wanted to be. Faya says that it’s because she’s been taught that way.
“But inside there is a beautiful women who wants to be loved and to be told that she’s pretty and to be admired” (page 119).
Awww! And this makes Merle break down in tears because she realizes that all this time that’s what she really wants!
Merle asks her mom why she never told her before. Faya says she’s weak but doesn’t explain further. She says that since they don’t have gentleness, they’re not real women. It’s the men who have gentleness, like Chava, Rolf, and Gaelan, who has courage “like a steel bar”. I’m not sure how this little tribe out in the middle of nowhere has steel. But okay.
Merle doesn’t want to hear anymore. She jumps up and runs off, passing Gaelan, who isn’t angry at her, which hurts her heart. Poor baby.
We cut to the Sociopaths, slaving away in the fields. All of the sudden there’s a scream. A little girl just got carried away and eaten by a tiger. Rolf tells them that now that the tiger has the taste of human flesh, he’ll never leave. I doubt that. The tiger has eaten many things. Unless he decides that humans make easy prey, he might as well just keep on trekkin’. Rolf further explains that no single man ever goes up against the tiger – the entire village goes. Jake asks why they don’t trap him. Rolf says that they don’t know how, plus, the women would think it cowardly. Yeah, these people are idiots.
Mita the witch doctor hops around screaming about how the Sociopaths caused all of this. The village agrees. So Faya pulls a Pilate and says that they’ll sacrifice Token to appease Maug. The Sociopaths protest but it doesn’t work. So Token is dragged away and sacrificed to quickly appease Maug and get things back on the right track.
No wait. That’s what would logically happen. After all, with a giant man-eating tiger on the loose getting directions from an angry god, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to appease the god right away. So they just take Token away and throw him in prison. Yeah.
The Sociopaths decide that the only option is go kill the tiger themselves. They head in to see Faya and explain that they’ll kill Shere Khan. Faya laughs and points at the claws still attached to her tiger-skin robe. See, the tigers here are of the giant, saber-toothed variety. Almost impossible to kill, Josh thinks. But:
“If we all die saving our friend, so be it, but we claim the right, Your Majesty” (page 123).
First, what right? They have no right to do this. They’re slaves. They do what they’re told. There’s no special law that allows this this loophole. Second, what’s with ‘your majesty’? This is a very British way of referring to Kings and Queens, what is it doing out here in the middle of the jungle?
But Faya agrees. She says they can choose any weapons and Token will be free to join them. So off they head to get the tiger.
So, with a giant, man-eating tiger terrorizing the village, and your best friend tagged to be a sacrifice to appease the god, and your only hope is to kill the tiger, it would appear that you have a pretty simple modus operandi:
- Select weapons
- Create plan
- Go out and attempt to kill the tiger
Makes sense, right? Instead, the Sociopaths do none of these things. They just…sit around for a couple days. No, really.
We open the chapter with Marden and Ettore. They talk about how the queen is growing weaker all the time. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Ettore says that when Faya dies, Marden will be the queen, and she’ll be the princess. Marden says no, when the queen dies, Merle becomes the queen. I say…duh! I take it Ettore’s not playing with a full deck.
Ettore says she wishes Merle hadn’t escaped the Londos tribe. Because if Merle was dead…etc. So they talk for awhile.
A couple days later Ettore comes up with a plan. She says that if Londos attacks, even though Faya’s crippled, she’ll have herself carried into battle. Because that’s just what a battle needs: a crippled queen being carried on a litter. And Merle would never leave her mother’s side. So if they tell Ulla that a bunch of the warrior maids are sick, he’ll attack. They’ll have Merle and Faya at the front, and after they die, they’ll attack full-force, and kick Ulla’s ass. Because suddenly they’re strong enough to completely defeat him. Then Marden could rule Ulla’s land and Ettore could rule Fedor. Everybody wins!
Marden thinks for awhile and agrees. They’ll send a chick named Lika to pretend to be a traitor. Then they laugh maniacally.
We cut over to Reb and Token, who volunteered to go out and chop wood to get away from Reb’s lover. A guard accompanies them. They chop a load of wood, pile it in a cart, and head back towards the village. Reb talks about Tanisha, the girl with the hots for him:
“She doesn’t want to be a warrior,” he muttered. “She wants to be cuddled, and that’s something I can’t set out to do” (page 129).
Apparently Reb has not clued on to the fact that the majority of women like cuddling, Amazon or not. Or he might just still be in the closet.
Suddenly a tiger leaps out of the foliage. It’s enormous. The guard gets off one arrow but it doesn’t do much. She dies quickly and Reb and Token run back towards the village like bats out of hell, because when a tiger attacks, the proper thing to do is run off and leave the girl to get eaten.
These are our heroes.
Chapter Thirteen – The Lady or the Tiger
Hahahha! What a clever title! Will it have anything to do with the actual chapter? Why no, it won’t.
The tiger has killed again. Mita goes before the queen and asks for the sacrifice. Faya calls the Sociopaths and says hey! Remember, three days ago, when you promised to kill me a tiger? Pull your thumbs out of your asses and go do it!
Dave promises that they’ll kill the tiger tomorrow. They head off. Gaelan asks to come with them. Dave says no, this is something they have to do alone. Why? No real reason. Then Rolf asks to come along, and Dave says the same thing.
The Sociopaths plot together. Token says that he thinks there’s more than one tiger:
“…where there’s a male there’s a female, and where there’s a female there’s a male” (page 132).
Wrong. Tigers do not mate for life, they are strictly territorial, and they do not travel together, with the exception of a mother and her cubs. Will this well-documented scientific fact stop there from being two tigers? No, it won’t.
The (male) Sociopaths head off the next morning. There’s no real reason why Sarah and Abbey aren’t coming. Maybe they don’t care about Token. Gaelan and Merle watch them go. They share a Moment, and Merle realizes that she has feelings like everybody else. Awww.
In the jungle, they spread out. Reb makes a Civil War reference which might actually be accurate, and on they go. For some reason, they didn’t bother planning until they were actually in the jungle right at the spot where the tiger was last seen. So they make a plan which involves walking around until a tiger appears and then shooting it. Yes. And then suddenly two tigers appear and charge them. Reb shoots and hits one. Josh shoots and hits the same one. Reb shoots again and hits the tiger right in the throat, and then the tiger is on him. It knocks him down, but he rolls away, because the tiger’s fighting with an arrow in its mouth. He shoots it in the chest and it goes down. Then he turns and sees the other tiger mauling Josh. He charges it, it drops Josh, and goes for him. Reb nails it right in the open mouth, and it dies. He runs over and grabs Josh. Josh’s wounds after being “mauled” by a tiger? Four scratches across his chest that heal in a couple days and cause him no problems at all.
…I would be impressed at Reb’s tiger-killing abilities, but to be honest, killing tigers sounds like a stroll in the park. Plus, Reb instantly loses any goodwill with this gem:
“We gotta wash that out. Them tiger claws is bound to have poison in them” (page 138).
Yep. Poison. Tigers, you see, are intelligent hunters – they find poisonous tree frogs and then rub their claws across their backs, so they can kill prey easily. I mean, yes, you should wash them because claws are dirty and might cause an infection, but poison? Come on.
They bandage Reb and Josh up, chop off the tiger tails for proof, and head back to the village. Everyone is very impressed, except for Ettore and Marden, who mutter off in the corner. They would have preferred to see the Sociopaths killed. Even though Ettore still wants to get in Josh’s pants. And so they plan to make sure that some of their best archers take them out during the battle with Ulla.
That night, Josh and Dave gather all the men together for a secret meeting. Rolf appears. Josh tells him he might not want to be there. Rolf says he knows what they’re planning. Which is cool, because I don’t:
“You think it’s wrong for the women to rule the village the way they do” (page 139).
Dave agrees. He says he has nothing against Faya, but she’s sick (although there’s no evidence of this) and not able to lead anymore (although there’s no evidence of this), and Merle’s not able to lead (although there’s no evidence of this), and so sooner or later someone will kill Faya to get the throne (there is evidence of this but there’s no way for Dave to know this).
So what is their plan? What are they going to do? Nothing, really. They just sort of randomly talk about things to reinforce to the reader that women being in charge is bad:
“…your father is a very wise man. He’s not a warrior – but no one expects the king to go out and fight. He has a war chief to do that” (page 140).
In a village where the queen would go out and fight with a ruined leg, everyone would expect the king to go out and fight. If he didn’t, he’d be regarded as a weakling and probably offed by another, stronger man. This is moronic.
Josh starts talking about how Goel can train them and give them strength for battle. The men all listen eagerly. Then Josh starts explaining how things in the village need to change:
“There’s a need for gentleness and consideration of other people in this world. In our situation, you men have those qualities more than the women, but they can learn” (page 140).
After we overthrow their rule and put men in charge, of course.
See, this entire plot would only make sense if the Sociopaths did the same things were the roles reversed. If in this village, the men were the cold, heartless douchebags prone to violence and forcing their wives to obey their every whim, do you really think the grand plan would be inspiring the women to take over? It’s patently ridiculous. My guess is that at some point Morris realized how sexist this thing was and decided to try and come up with a “reason” for why the men needed to take over from the women and restore God’s natural order. And failed.
On the other hand, most of these books have plots that don’t make any sense, so it’s possible that he’s just sexist and can’t write.