First, the narrative that I'm providing here is actually split into two parts, the first of which should have gone with Page65 but which I didn't provide last Spring. The second goes with this page.
Two days later at the Hall of Judgment, the Outer Courtyard is filled with forty-dozen armed and armored figures that shift and grumble their way into rough lines. The broken sunlight rebounds from a lake of roving stars over the dirt and cobblestones as hastily polished shield rims and spear tips lean and sway in the cool air. The nagging barks of sergeants carry over the walls and echo faintly throughout the building proper, filling the grounds with a cloud of unease that has outlived the evaporated morning dew. An array of curses punctuates the commands, drawing a net of confusion and subtle desperation over the assembly by its needlessness; the lines seem ever-determined to challenge the integrity of their shape, but for every shiver there is a quick self-correction and return to the strength and stillness that marks the soldiers' goal.
"It could be far worse," a voice speaks in an upper room overlooking the Outer Courtyard.
Luther ignores Captain Tarkin's comment, continuing his quiet stare out the window for several more slow breaths before speaking. "I think it was a mistake to sound the Muster," he says without turning from the glass. "I'm afraid we'll regret it."
Behind him, the Captain of Dernhem's City Guard shifts loudly in his seat. "Then we're even," the gruff voice sneers. "I think it was a mistake to give the Scholar leave to stay down there, guarded or not."
The chair creaks again. "Besides," Tarkin continues, "you'd reconsider your opinion about the Muster if you knew what I do."
"It's doubtful," said Luther Vandermoor. "The Regiment can't help in this. Not really. You've called together a group of conflict-eager lads and lackeys trained only to apply force to an already boiling kettle." He paused for effect. "They're likely to knock it over."
Tarkin snorts. "I didn't summon them to help in this. I brought them here to prepare them for what's bound to happen when the Heads of Drea Aliandis' family learn that their esteemed daughter has disappeared."
I think the hall of Judgment is overdue for it's appointment with the Window-washer's Guild, there's a bit of a smudge in upper right one there...
Jokes aside, I do like both the angle/details on this one here (and a change of setting for a couple of pages from the dark underground is a nice refresher to the fact that there is a world beyond the cellar), and the tension building in the narrative plot. Indeed, the city does seem to be in need of a little martial law until the Magistrate is found or a suitable substitute can fill in.
I like the architecture! Kind of an early Romanesque feel to it. I don't think I saw any flying buttresses on the previous page, at any rate...
My first thought (before reading the narrative) was, "Who is that ball-gagged figure at the top window?"
At this point I'm just going to name Luther "The guy who took over driving the cart." His innate ability to get his female cohorts captured is astonishing. I can only assume he will later overcome Maladyne by taping a job offer to her forehead causing bonds materialize about her at the mere possibility she would accept. He's not steering her towards Harbinger either. He's going for the nearest blacksmith, because the only way he can up his efficiency is if he starts forging the shackles himself.
Of course, this makes him everyone's favorite person in the series, and we wish him only the best of fortune.
Callista does seem to be the stories Teflon Lady, even more than Elina. She's interesting because she seems to have a deeper connection to the plot and the backstory than most of the others. She's also interesting because it seems like 'Kelli' would turn on her former employers in a heartbeat (and who would blame her) or any one else. I wonder if she was caught during the search for Drea or if she is still wandering naked in the Undercellar somewhere or trying to put as much distance between Dernhem and herself as possible. Either way there are some interesting possibilities with her. Hopefully we find out a little more over the course of Bookbinding.
Either way, it seems like Elina's luck is finally running out. That rope hanging from the ceiling and a bookcase full of enchanted books seem like really large Chekov Guns just waiting to go off. But I can't wait to see how it all plays out, she's got a naked conga line to join.
Well, it was kinda just dangling there. It's conceivable that it's the sort of thing Jervil found to be a festive decoration. But that seems unlikely.
Although, with everything Elina has been through and what she saw in her vision one would hope that she was smart enough to keep a wary eye on that sort of thing. So how the she ends up on the wrong end of it is a question I think we are all looking forward to seeing answered.
So, Elina is still in the Undercellar with the mirror of doom and who knows what else and she only has some redshirts to guard her. Sounds like a Luther idea.
I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong for her now.