Chapter Fourteen – Lesson for a Princess
The Sociopaths are local celebrities and the witch doctor has become a laughingstock. And Rolf is quiet and bitter. Chava goes to talk to him. Chava knows better to ask directly if Rolf is caught up in the “movement” of the men. So apparently everyone in the village knows the men are plotting something but nobody cares enough to do something. And Chava’s afraid it’s going to come to bloodshed.
They “talk”, offscreen. Rolf asks what to do. As a reader, we have no idea what he’s asking because we have no idea what’s going on. What are the men planning? What does Rolf want to do? What does he think is going to happen? None of this is ever explained, and Chava doesn’t give him any clear answer.
Later, Abbey and Gaelan talk. Abbey says that Merle is not as tough as she acts, and that she knows that he likes her. Gaelan protests but finally admits that underneath her gold bikini, Merle has a fine body. Or something like that. Abbey says that she has a sweetness buried down below, under all the fighting and killing, and she was just brought up that way. She needs someone to tell her some things. Like poetry. Gaelan says there’s no way in hell he’s going to quote poetry or tell Merle she’s a nice person.
But the next day he goes up to talk to her. He starts talking about the Sociopaths’ adventure in Winged Raiders, because there’s few ways to impress a girl better than telling them about someone else’s adventure. Finally he says she’s not as hard as she pretends to be. She has a gentleness in her. Merle says that gentleness is a weakness. Gaelan says that her father is gentle and he’s not weak. And finally he tells her that she’s really pretty and underneath the warrior, she’s kind inside. She turns pale. He saunters off.
We skip over to Merle’s POV. She’s stunned. Then she realizes that she feels great and that she’s blushing furiously. Wow. That was a quick transformation. From Xena, Warrior Princess to middle school in three seconds flat. I guess Morris is right and women really shouldn’t be warriors.
Merle goes in and talks to Faya. Faya tells her she’s becoming a woman and it’s good for her. And then Merle goes off and finds Sarah and asks her if anyone’s ever told her she was pretty. Sarah replies that Josh and a few others have. They talk. Sarah instantly deduces that Merle doesn’t really want to be a warrior princess anymore, she wants a guy to take care of her and whisper sweet nothings into her ear. Soon they’re giggling together. Afterwards, Sarah gives her a hug and a kiss (on the cheek, you pervs, although the thought of girl-on-girl action, even if only one of them is in a Princess Leia gold bikini, is pretty awesome. Such things are rare in Christian literature).
The next morning Merle wakes up, probably after having dreams where Gaelan brought home a deer after she spent the day vacuuming and baking and doing another titillating household chores, and hears shouts of “Ulla is coming!” She runs out to find her mother. Yes, it’s two chapters from the end of the book, and you know what that means: a fight scene!
Chapter Fifteen – Battle Cry
Marden and Ettore stand together and carefully go over their plans again, just in case someone needed to overhear them. Like a dumb reader. Then they laugh maniacally. Really.
Inside, Chava tries to talk Faya out of going. She refuses. They go outside and she starts a prepared speech, and suddenly Rolf appears, clad in armor, and says he’s going to go and fight with her, and the rest of the men will go as well. Marden tries to shout them down. Rolf says he can fight just as well as she can and he’ll prove it, if she wants to try him. Now, considering Marden’s been fighting and training for her entire life and Rolf has had little more that casual sparring with his sister, I highly doubt he could actually beat her. Anyway. A bunch of men come out to join him, as does Gaelan, and say they’ll fight as well. Faya says sure.
Incidentally, this is the only reference to the men’s “plan” that will be made. Demanding to fight alongside the women if some neighboring tribe decided to attack. Which doesn’t really fit in with any of the rumblings of anarchy that I was getting from Dave’s little meetings, but like I said, this book doesn’t make sense.
The Sociopaths march out with them. They divide the men into three groups, with Dave, Reb, and Josh in charge of each group:
The tall Sleepers towered above the others, so that they were easy to see (page 154).
This was mentioned before a couple of times, but basically, what Morris is trying to say is that in the space of maybe three or four generations, the men are genetically altered to be smaller than the women. This is of course pure bullshit. The men get plenty of exercise. They’re obviously quite strong. There is no earthly reason for all the men of the entire tribe to be undersized when they’ve been breeding with tall women, just because the women are the dominant gender. Not even radiation will explain this.
Suddenly they see Ulla approaching. And Merle realizes they aren’t well protected. She calls Dave and asks him to come help. Dave, Gaelan, and a group of men go and form a circle around the queen’s littler. Ulla attacks. They fight for awhile and then Fedor wins. Yes. Exactly like that.
During the battle Merle was about to die and then Gaelan saved her life. She was wounded, and now he takes off his shirt and makes a bandage. He picks her up and she puts her head against his bare, sweaty, heaving chest, and asks him to take her home.
That night, after the party, Chava and Faya talks. He says that he thinks things are going to change a lot in Fedor. Faya says it’s high time. Oh my goodness, what could that mean???
Chapter Sixteen – Long Live the King!
Oh. That’s what it means. Way to ruin any surprise, Morris.
Marden is angry and furious but hasn’t given up yet. Important? Not really.
Queen Faya calls an assembly. She gives a speech. She says that she can no longer rule them. Why? No real reason. She blathers on for a bit, and then gets to the point:
“But now that I grow older I begin to see that there is something wrong with a system that makes warriors out of women. From this day forth you will have a king” (page 160).
That’s right! There’s something WRONG with it! What is it? Well, she never says. It’s not really important. It’s just wrong. Everyone knows that. Men are supposed to rule and women are supposed to serve. This is common knowledge, right?
Naturally, everyone is mad. Faya says that Chava will now be king, and her son, Rolf, will be heir to the throne. Then Marden pipes up and says that they’ll fight before they have a king. Suddenly a bunch of men leap out with swords and surround her. See, Chava knew all along that she was a scumbag and prepared accordingly.
Chava gets up and says that everyone needs to work together and the Sociopaths will teach them the way of love and of Goel and Maug will be banished. Everyone cheers, even a few of the women.
Later, Gaelan comes up to Merle and gives her a bouquet of flowers. He asks her to take a walk down by the river.
The Sociopaths hang around for a couple more weeks, teaching everyone how to be good, follow Goel, and how to act in a male-dominated world. Then they pack up and get ready to leave. They say goodbye to everyone, including Gaelan and Merle. Gaelan says “We’ll meet again.”
[Note from the future: They don’t. In the last book, when the Amazons do make another appearance, it’s “King Gavin and Queen Merle”, indicating that Chava and Rolf both died, Merle assumed the throne in some part, her relationship with Gaelan failed, and she hooked up with a chap named Gavin. Hardly encouraging.]
Later that night the Sociopaths make camp next to a river. Dave asks Abbey to go for a walk. They walk. Abbey tells Dave she was wrong about women needing to boss men around. Dave says that he was wrong, men shouldn’t boss women around either. Instead, they need to work together! Yay!
They look into each other’s eyes, and then Dave’s voice gets husky. In Morrisland, the only time your voice gets husky is if you’re sharing a Moment with your One True Love, or if you’re about to kiss them.
[Dave] bent his head and kissed her.
Josh and Sarah had been sitting in the shadows on the riverbank when Dave and Abbey approached. They turned their heads away as the two kissed, and when Dave and Abbey got up and left, Sarah said “We’re nothing but accidental Peeping Toms” (page 164).
Reading between the lines, I’m guessing that a lot more went on than just kissing. Anyway. They talk for a bit, and then Josh tells Sarah that he wrote a poem for her. Sarah is delighted. Josh tells it to her. It’s very bad. Afterwards, Sarah sighs and puts her head on his shoulder and tells him that it was the most beautiful poem she’s ever heard.
“I’ve got lots more poems in me.” He pulled her closer. “Here’s another one…” (page 165).
Maybe my mind just resides in the gutter, but that just sounds filthy.