Chapter Twelve – The Magic Medallion
The next morning Token and Reb talk. Token continues to express his doubts and Reb continues to ignore everything he says. Admittedly, none of Token’s arguments are particularly convincing, and given Reb’s rapid personality shift, it’s pretty clear that he’s under some form of mind control.
It’s also worth noting that every time Morris mentions Token he also mentions that he’s black. Generally a reference to his black skin, dark skin, etc…or sometimes he just points out that he’s black. It’s almost as if Morris is afraid we’ll forget.
Token starts cleaning the dishes. Why they have dishes, I don’t know. But he points out that Reb doesn’t know if Mogen came from Goel. And Reb replies with the stupidest quote I’ve ever heard, if it wasn’t for the fact that he was under mind control:
“Of course she did! She told me right off that Goel sent her” (page 114).
No she didn’t, and that means exactly jack. But then Reb pulls out the medallion and it sparkles. Token comes over and looks at the sign, and then says that it’s not the sign of Goel. Before, when he saw it, he couldn’t recognize it, and we’ve never heard mention of the sign of Goel before, so Token has no way of knowing whether it is or not. Not to mention that Mogen specifically said it was the secret sign of Goel. But Reb simply continues to ignore him, and they get on their horses and head off.
At noon Token wants to stop to rest because he’s tired. Reb isn’t. Token says he should think of the horses. So Reb agrees and then mocks Token while Tokes makes lunch. And here would be a really good time for Token to sit Reb down and have a heart-to-heart talk with him, explaining how he’s been acting differently since he put the medallion on and how he’s afraid the medallion is having adverse effects on Reb’s personality, and, in general, fulfilling the duties for which Elendar sent him along. Instead, he does nothing. And will continue to do nothing, and, in fact, be completely useless for the duration of this journey.
After a bit Token lays down for a nap and we randomly switch back to Reb’s POV as he takes a walk. Suddenly Mogen appears from the underbrush. Reb tries to wake Token up to prove that she’s here, but Mogen put Token into an enchanted sleep because she wanted to talk to Reb alone. Wink, wink, nudge nudge.
Reb thinks for a bit about how hot she is, and there’s some awkward bits where it talks about how she makes him ‘excited’. And then she kisses him. On the lips. Hmmm. So Sarah couldn’t lose her lip-kiss virginity to a random shmuck, but Reb could. Indicating that Morris believes in different standards for men and woman. Wait…you mean he’s sexist? Wow, I never saw that coming.
Mogen tells him that when he faces enemies, he shouldn’t trust in his own strength, but instead, in the medallion. She tells him a certain phrase that he should say. Then she vanishes.
Later, they’re riding along, and suddenly three knights appear over a hill before them. They tell Reb to tell them who he is, and then they’re going to take him captive. Which seems an awfully stupid thing to shout at someone when they’re halfway across a field from you and would thus have a running start, but okay.
Reb swallowed hard. He knew that any one of them would be more than a match for him, but he could not back down. There was something in him that would not be still (page 118).
Which is fine, except for literally one page ago we were inside Reb’s head where he was feeling strong and powerful, like he could take on anyone in the kingdom. Obviously this is while Reb is being controlled, but it doesn’t explain why he has these sudden moments of lucidity – unless it’s Morris trying to ratchet up the nonexistent tension with no regard for realism or consistency. Which, of course, happens at least once a chapter.
Reb tells them he’s come for Elaine. And the knights charge. Token turns to run, but Reb whips out his medallion and shouts out his phrase. Instantly the knights go flying off their horses and the horses bolt. Reb freaks out a bit, afraid that the knights are dead. In the first book we learned that Reb has no qualms about killing people who happened to inconvenience him, and certainly no qualms with killing his enemies. Why would he suddenly care if some random knights, who are certainly his enemies and trying to kill him, end up dead? It shouldn’t be a side effect of the mind control…
So Reb yells out the phrase again. The knights are terrified, and run off. Token asks Reb what’s going on. Reb says that he has skills. His eyes glow strangely and he’s smiling evilly – indicating that we must have switched back into Token’s POV. Token says he wants to leave. Reb says he’s going after Elaine and takes off. Token talks to himself for about a paragraph of extremely unconvincing dialogue – let alone talking-to-yourself dialogue – and follows.
We then cut over to Elaine’s POV. She’s sitting in a room. Sir Baloc comes in and asks her if she’s willing to agree to marry him. Why he’s asking her this I don’t know, because he doesn’t need anyone’s permission to marry her, least of all hers. Elaine, of course, refuses, and tells him to take her home. Sir Baloc tells her that there’s no chance of that, and then explains that Sir Reb has come to fight him. He gloats for a bit, talks about how he’s going to cut Reb’s head off, and then drags her outside as bait. He then leaves her outside of his castle, unguarded, while he climbs on his horse and heads off to fight Reb. Does Elaine seize her chance and run off into the forest? Of course not. Instead, she watches. Baloc charges. Reb holds up something shiny and shouts. Baloc turns and gallops away in the opposite direction. Then Reb rides up, smirking, and asks if she’s alright.
Wow. That was anticlimactic.
We then cut to their arrival back at Camelot. Everyone’s celebrating. Elendar, however, asks Token how this happened. Token explains. Elendar is worried. Token asks if the medallion came from Goel.
“No, never from Goel. He doesn’t use magic” (page 122).
Except for teleporting around, unlocking doors, putting spells on guards so they don’t notice people walking past him, and things of that nature. But alright. They know that it’s from the Dark Lord. They know that the medallion is Evil. They know it’s having an adverse effect on Reb. Knowing these things, it seems like the next logical step would be to confront Reb, explain the situation, and dispose of the medallion. Or, if that seems unlikely, why not sneak into his bedchamber and steal it off him in the middle of the night? In fact, really the only wrong way to deal with this situation is to sit back and do nothing at all.
Which is, of course, exactly what they’ll do.
Chapter Thirteen – The Curse of the Dragon
The Sociopaths sit together and talk about how Reb is different. They’re standing next to the jousting field, where Reb has just beaten another of the king’s best knights. There’s no mention of him shouting spells, so I guess it must be because he’s That Speshul.
We then learn that Token hasn’t told any of the other Sociopaths anything that happened. Because Elendar swore him to silence. And the stupidity makes me want to reach through the pages and strangle Morris in the past when he wrote this drivel. There is absolutely no reason for Elendar to swear Token to silence, and there are a number of very good reasons why he should let the rest of the Sociopaths know what the hell is going on so they can, I dunno, figure out a way to get Reb from under the Dark Lord’s power? This could possibly, possibly make sense if Elendar had an elaborate plan up his sleeve to fix things and didn’t want the rest of the Sociopaths putting Reb on his guard – but he doesn’t. So it’s yet another cheap plot contrivance to keep the Sociopaths from actually having to fix something themselves.
Here, Josh actually has a note of wisdom and a really good quote:
“I know Reb has been a little hard too get along with, but most of us would be if we’d gotten the kind of attention that he’s gotten” (page 124).
This is an excellent quote because it’s so true, and fully demonstrates everything that is completely and utterly wrong about this book. However, the full meaning won’t become apparent until later, so just file this one away for now.
We jump to Elaine and Reb. They flirt. Reb talks about kicking the ass of anyone the Dark Lord might send. Elaine asks him what happened, and Reb doesn’t want to talk about it, because Mogen has been secretly visiting him and telling him not to talk about what they did together. And yes, that’s the exact phrasing used. Elaine has a moment where she thinks about how different Reb is. But she doesn’t bother talking to him about it, either. Instead she goes off to find Elendar.
We cut to Melchior. He’s snoozing happily away when someone appears out of thin air. So he grabs his sword.
Flipping it out of its sheath (page 125).
I’m not sure how you ‘flip’ a sword out of its sheath, but maybe it’s a new-fangled invention.
The figure explains that he’s from the Dark Lord. And he grabs Melchior by the shoulders and everything goes dark.
Melchior comes to in a dark cavern. The figure explains that he’s going to show Melchior how they’re going to destroy Camelot. They walk along until they reach a giant pit. At the bottom is a dragon. It’s not, actually, just a giant monster that looks and acts like a dragon. So, it’s a dragon.
The figures gives Melchior a black wand and tells Melchior that he can use it to control the dragon. And tells him to get cracking.
We cut over to a quiet little peasant village. It’s called Denmore. Children are playing. Women are washing clothes at the well. Suddenly a dragon attacks and slaughters everyone with his poisonous breath. Then he takes off.
The village clerk comes out from beneath a log. Because that’s exactly what every medieval village has – a clerk. He shouts at no one in particular to bring him his horse, which is strange, seeing that pretty much everyone else is dead, his horse is probably dead or miles away, and those who are alive have much more pressing things to do than fetch him his horse. But he says – again, to no one in particular – that he needs to go to the king, and let him know that evil is loose in Camelot. It’s very dramatic.