Chapter Three – Another Dungeon
I’m guessing they’re not well-received. But hey, I could be wrong.
They ride for hours. Getting more and more tired. The Sociopaths are exhausted. Josh asks Sir Gwin how much farther it is, and the knight is concerned for his well-being. He says he’s sorry he has to put them through this. See, Sir Gwin is a Good Guy, and as such, since the Sociopaths are Good, he’s nice to them, even though he thinks they might be spies.
But soon they come up to the castle. There’s a weird bit of description as Morris says that it looks like castellated towers. Castellated means it was built like a castle. So the castle has towers that are built like a castle. That’s good to know.
They go over the drawbridge and Sir Gwin heads off to see if the king will see them. Jake starts to say something and Sir Elbert, who’s bitter, tells him to shut up. They wait for awhile, and Token and Reb begin talking about the castle. Token has a gem:
“…I used to read stories about King Arthur. I always liked the pictures of the castles…” (page 26).
I bet he did. Pictures were always my favorite part too, although I admit that was back when I was five.
Sir Elbert talks for a bit about how they know what to do with spies and as medieval threats go, it’s pretty lame. I’m guessing that being disemboweled would be a decent threat, along with the pretty obvious gang-rapes for the girls, before being killed. I am surprised, though, that none of these knights stop and think for a moment what a group of seven kids between the ages of twelve and fifteen are doing riding openly through their land, and who, exactly, would be using them as spies? Aren’t spies supposed to, I dunno, blend in and not be noticed?
Finally Sir Gwin returns. He explains that the king and the royal family are off on a visit to another castle, and until the king gets back, they’ll have to cool their heels in the dungeon. So I guess that while he’s away, the king doesn’t leave someone in charge with the authority to make decisions and stuff like that. Pity. At any rate, Jake is outraged. And Jake apparently doesn’t know jack shit about medieval life:
“Why, you can’t throw us into the dungeon – we’re not criminals! I demand to see someone in authority!” (page 27).
And then, Sir Gwin smashed his gauntleted fist into Jake’s mouth, sending a spray of blood and teeth flying across the courtyard. No, wait.
Actually he smiles [!] and tells Jake that he has spirit [!!] and that he likes that [!!!] and then has Sir Elbert and the other guards haul them off to the dungeon.
We then flash forward two days. The boys have their own cell in the dungeon, which, for a medieval dungeon, is pretty nice. There’s a barred window with sunlight coming through, where they can watch men practicing swordplay, jousting, and stuff like that. And they have a pitcher of water…and cups…and table…and there was some paper lying around so Reb has made cards that they’re playing with. In fact, it’s probably better than most of the other places they’ve been kept, since they’re getting three square meals a day.
Dave tells Josh that they need to get out of there. Josh has a wonderfully sarcastic reply about how he never thought of that, and then Reb gets a stupid quote:
“I thought I could bust out of just about any pokey in the world. But there’s only that one door, barred and locked, and two guards there all the time” (page 28).
Yes, Reb. Actually, most jails have locked doors, and there are generally guards as well. The point is that you break out anyway. Besides, aren’t you 14? How many times have you been to juvie hall, anyway?
Sir Gwin has been coming by every morning and each time Josh has been demanding that they be put in better quarters. Apparently Josh hasn’t mastered the fact that when you’re being kept in a dungeon by people who can, if they want to, simply kill you, you don’t make demands. But Sir Gwin comes by again and Jake takes the opportunity to continue to act like a moron:
“Sir Gwin, I’d planned to be a lawyer back in the old days. That’s what my father was. He saw to it that people who were falsely accused got free from the law – and that’s what I intend to do right now!” (page 29).
So Jake’s father was a defense lawyer. Which means that a large part of his job was putting rapists, murderers, and other criminal scum back on the street. Sounds good. Sir Gwin, however, nods and tells him to proceed. And Jake comes up with this gem:
“I’m telling you that we are not going to stay in this filthy cell any longer. I’m not going to put up with it!” (page 29)
Or…you’ll do what? Stomp your feet and throw a temper tantrum like a five-year-old who doesn’t get his way?
Sir Gwin points out that they have the dungeon cleaned each morning [!] and get fresh food and water. And because this is Morrisland, I’m guessing they don’t even have an overflowing bucket in the corner to use as a toilet. He further points out that they have several other dungeons that would make Jake cry like a little girl. Jake, however, demands to see whoever is in charge of the entire castle. Sir Gwin says that that would be Melwitz, who, if he knew they were there, would have them all roasting over a slow fire. So, in other words, the king does leave someone in charge while he’s gone, but this person does not know when his knights bring back a group of seven suspected spies from a ranging, and said knights don’t bother to tell him what’s going on. I’m starting to understand why this kingdom is in dire straits.
However, Sir Gwin continues, he’s decided to let them have some more outdoor exercise. And he tells them to follow him, and he’s going to show them around Camelot. So, they’re letting suspected spies out of the dungeon for exercise and they’re going to show them around the inside of their castle. I’m really starting to understand why this kingdom is in dire straits.
They meet up with the girls and go to watch some knights practice tilting. Josh mentions that he’s seen it on TV. Sir Gwin is puzzled, because he has no idea what TV is. Now, Gwin’s a young chap, probably in his thirties, so he wasn’t around before the war, but his parents sure were, and I find it hard to believe that they never mentioned television. Or…anything, really. You’d think in a few places there would be records of stuff. But not in Morrisland.
They watch the jousting and Reb is very interested and mentions he’d like to try that. File that one under ‘obvious foreshadowing’.
Later, in their cell, someone comes to see them. An old guy, wearing a simple robe. So far in the series, everyone who wears a simple robe has been overwhelmingly good. Let’s see if this holds, up, shall we?
He introduces himself as Elendar, which is two letters different from Elendil, so it’s probably a coincidence. And his gaze has the unsettling effect of going right through whoever he looks at. And Dave asks an…interesting…question:
“Are you come from the king?” (page 34)
That is actually what it says.
Elendar explains that he is the seer of the king. And he asks to know their names and everything about them. Jake continues to be angry and have the tag ‘demanded’ after all his dialogue. But Elendar says that King Dion doesn’t trust strangers and if he’s not satisfied, he’ll probably put them on the rack. Well, that’s certainly comforting.
Josh launches into a long history where he explains everything that has happened to them. When he’s done, Elendar mentions that he’s a servant of Goel himself, and he also knows that they’re telling the truth, because he has grown extremely skilled at reading faces. Elendar says that the king will be back and they’ll see him tomorrow. Dave asks about Camelot, and Elendar has an interesting quote:
“King Dion’s father had trouble with his mind, perhaps – but when he built the kingdom, at least he copied a fairly good model” (page 36).
Wait – Dion’s father was the crazy one? So then he named his son Dion as well, and this new king Dion is the current king? Morris isn’t clear.
However, judging by the next chapter, I’d say Elendar’s full of it. Dion is about sixty or seventy years old in the next chapter. That timeline makes sense – Dion is about twenty and in college during the nuclear war, present day is fifty years later. Either way, it’s a mistake, and further evidence that Morris doesn’t proofread his books. And on that encouraging note, the chapter ends.