Chapter Five – Caverns of Doom
The Sociopaths are miserable. And in the realm of absolutely idiotic, stupid, nonsensical, and just plain ill-advised quotes, this one ranks near the top.
…Jake remarked, “I might as well tell you, [Token]. I’m in a blue funk” (page 53).
Or, in other words:
You know Josh? One of our best friends, the smartest and most likeable one of the group, the guy that we’ve spent time with every single day for the past two years? He’s gone. If he’s lucky he’s dead, and if he’s unlucky he’s being tortured. And now here we are, almost certainly screwed. And since you probably can’t figure that out, from, say, the expression on my face, or just the general atmosphere, or maybe even just using logic, I’m going to tell you. I’m depressed about this.
Abbey and Sarah walk along. Sarah is horribly depressed. It’s actually an extremely human emotion, which I’m vaguely surprised that she has, considering how little the death of her parents bothered her.
Sarah’s leg, which took an arrow, is getting inflamed, so Abbey puts some antiseptic on it. It’s a good thing they carry bottles of antiseptic in this post-apocalyptic, medieval world.
Beorn can tell that they’re being followed. He talks with Dave about it, and suddenly they see the sun reflect off metal. They head back to the group and tell them that they have to leave. Glori kicks up a fuss and says that Sarah can’t travel, Goel put her in charge, and if Beorn doesn’t like it then he can leave. But they keep going, and awhile later they veer off the main trail. Beorn says that he knows this part of the trail, and it’s a dead end. Glori says she knows a way out. So on they go for another hour until their trail ends at a solid cliff of rock. Wow. Glori is now 0 for 3 in her leadership. I wonder if she’s possibly evil?
They realize that by now if they head back to the main trail, they’ll run right into their pursuers. But suddenly Beorn has an idea. Instead of going over the mountain, they could go under it! They could go…THROUGH THE MINES OF MORIA!
Well. The ‘Caverns of Doom’, as Morris calls it. But it was the home of the dwarfs way back when, until evil was awakened and drove them out. Now it’s extremely dangerous but they could, if they’re lucky, make it through. They put it to a vote, and the Sociopaths vote to go through Doom. Beorn leads them to the hidden entrance – behind a balanced rock – and in they go.
The ground is smooth and there are many forks going this way and that way but even though Beorn has only been through here once, many years ago, he remembers all the right ways.
Reb has a delightful quote:
Then he reached forward and tapped [Token] on the shoulder. “Don’t you get lost. With your coloration it would be easy, and we’d never find you” (page 61).
HA HAH AHAHA THAT’S HILARIOUS because he’s black, see?
Awhile later they come to another fork in the paths – one leading up, one leading down. Beorn says that the one leading up will take them to the surface, but that’s where the Dark Lord’s men will be waiting for them, expecting them to come out. Beorn suggests that they keep going down and come out at another spot. Glori disagrees and says that going down is dangerous and they need to get out. Finally they put it to a vote. Beorn has saved their lives twice and never led them wrong. Glori got Josh captured, led them into a dead end, and has not made a single good decision the entire journey. Who do you think they’ll follow? Why, Glori, of course. Because they’re sick of the darkness. And they “have” to have light.
Eh. They deserve to die.
Chapter Six – A Fearful Loss
The Sociopaths head upwards. They come across a chasm of a depth immeasurable. Reb, who has evidently never read Lord of the Rings, drops a rock down it.
There is only a single tiny bridge crossing the chasm. They can only cross in single file. I wonder why that sounds so familiar. But they cross and head up towards the entrance. Glori smugly comments about how she was right to come up this way, and ignoring Beorn’s warning, they all head out into the sunlight where they enjoy it for approximately two and a half seconds before the Sanhedrin attack, which makes Glori 0 for 4. They run back into the cavern. Beorn, Reb, Dave, and Jake stand at the entryway to hold the Sanhedrin off for a bit while Token and the girls head down the cavern. They kill a few of them, and then go back down and cross the bridge. Beorn chops through the timbers holding the bridge together. Wait, that thing was made of wood? I’m not sure I would trust something that’s been down here for Goel knows how long, rotting. The bridge falls, cutting off the pursuit.
And suddenly Token collapses. He has an arrow sticking out of his side. Blood gushes everywhere. He takes Reb’s hands and mutters some last words about staying the course and trusting in Goel…and then he dies. Yes. One of the Sociopaths is dead. Why? Well, because everyone died in The Last Battle, of course.
They find a small alcove and stick his body in it. Everyone says goodbye and Beorn covers it up with rocks and on they go.
For those counting – Glori’s lost them Josh and Token, she’s led them straight into the Sanhedrin twice, into a dead end once, and every single decision she has made has proved wrong.
Chapter Seven – The Centaurs
They walk through Moria for awhile and finally get out at the other opening, feeling safe and secure since the Sanhedrin has been cut off at the chasm. Well, not really. The Sanhedrin could walk back up to the opening where they came in and then come around the outside of the mountain to this opening as well, couldn’t they?
They walk along for a bit. Jake notices that Reb is trailing behind. He slows down and they walk along for a bit. Finally Reb says that it feels like he’s lost an arm. He and Token have been together for so long that they even thought alike.
Jake knew better than to speak of their loss again (page 72).
Because the best way to deal with painful losses is by ignoring them. At any rate, this is the last mention Token’s death will get. They’re all over it.
A short while later they see a bunch of centaurs galloping towards them.
Abbey whispered, “I knew we were coming to the Land of the Centaurs, but I guess I never really expected that they’d look like that” (page 72).
The centaurs, of course, look exactly like any picture or drawing of a centaur that you’ve ever seen. They gallop up and surround them. Glori says that they’ve come in peace, and these are the Sociopaths, sent by Goel. The leader is named – of course – Moonwise. He looks at all of them, and says he’ll take them to their chief. Everyone mounts up except for Beorn, who says – of course – that dwarfs do not ride. A centaur picks him up and puts him on his back and says that when he’s in centaur-land, he does what the centaurs say.
They arrive at Centaurville and meet the chief, Aramore. He ushers them in to their vegetarian banquet, where the Sociopaths repeat more lines of wonderment about centaur living that are lifted word-for-word from C.S. Lewis. Afterwards, Aramore looks at their wounds, which he treats with athelas. Or at least their functional equivalent. They sleep, and the next day, after bathing and having their hair done, they meet up with the Aramore, who asks who their leader is.
It was finally Dave who said slowly, “Our leader, Joshua, has been captured – so until Goel appoints one of us, you can speak to me. I am the oldest but not necessarily the wisest” (page 79).
That he can say that shows truly incredible maturity, indicative of some character development that we haven’t actually seen. At any rate, a better response would be “Until Goel appoints a leader, you can speak to all of us”. Or Sarah, since she’s the second-best option after Josh.
Anyway. Dave says that Goel has asked the centaurs to join him in the fight against the Dark Lord. Aramore thinks for a bit and calls a short recess where he chats with some of the other centaurs and then comes back and says that they’ll come. Like I said. Carrier pigeons.
Later, they talk to Aramore, who talks about how they are reaching the end of Nuworld as they know it. Something is going to break. Either Goel will win or the Dark Lord will assume complete control. Ooo….suspense. He also says there’s something not quite right about their company. You know. The agent of the Dark Lord. Sure would be helpful if these centaurs, who can see into the hearts and minds of men, could give them some odds on whether it’s Beorn or Glori.