These chapters are called ‘the trial of long knives’ and ‘winged tidings’.
“But we are your people!”
Fadawar, a tall, high-nosed, black-skinned man, spoke with the same heavy emphasis and altered vowels Nasuada remembered hearing during her childhood in Farthen Dûr, when emissaries from her father’s tribe would arrive and she would sit on Ajihad’s lap and doze while they talked and smoked cardus weed.
Right off the bat we have such a wonderful gem. I see Chris just realized that Aji and Nasuada were the only people with skin darker than bleached ivory. Which was always funny because they were basically the token nod to diversity before Chris started extolling the virtues of alabaster skin and pointy ears. Now he’s decided to explain that, no, Aji was not a reverse albino with very dominant genes.
In that one paragraph Chris offers a quick explanation that tells us about Aji’s origins. And Chris, being Chris, not only ham hands that worse than a golem made of pork but also brings up some rather unfortunate implications. Let me see if I’ve got this straight, Chris. Ajihad lived in a ‘tribe’ and liked to sit around smoking ‘cardus weed’? The less said about that, the better. Oh and they’re taller than most men. Good job, Chris, you’ve managed to make this more offensive.
On a note that doesn’t sound like it was delivered by brick thrown through a window, Nasuada made all her bodyguards swear oaths to her in the ‘ancient language’. Wait, how does that work? I thought that magic only worked if you could use it? If anyone can swear in the ‘ancient language’ they can touch magic then, right? Doesn’t that mean that anyone can use just a little magic?
There’s a ripple in the bodyguard market though. Nasuada’s “people” are throwing a fit because she won’t give them high positions in the Varden. The head guy, who was her mother’s cousin, challenges her to a duel to settle the matter and if she wins she gets control of the tribe.
Nasuada takes off her dress and summons a couple of witnesses to watch as she stabs king moron, Fadawar, to death. A couple people try to talk them out of it but it’s one of those honor things. The four warriors behind Faddy pull out some drums and start beating them. Then someone tosses them two knives and they get started.
Being as this is Chris I shouldn’t have expected an actual fight. Ever the eternal optimist, I was immediately disappointed when they started cutting themselves on the forearms. Wait, shouldn’t they be listening to The Cure or Good Charlotte instead of drums while they do this? They get to eight before he gives in and Nasuada is the winner. Huzzah, good times had by all.
Trianna, being the evil and untrustworthy magician that she is, shows up and offers to heal Nasuada. Apparently there’s a clause which says you have to let the cuts heal ‘naturally’ or else the other person becomes the winner. Then Trianna offers to dull the pain which Nasuada refuses again.
I can see why Nasuada is so very distrustful of Trianna. The way the magician is constantly hiding in her tent and scheming against her. Not once has she ever done anything that hasn’t ended up being a hindrance to the Varden. She’s so vile I can practically feel the poison soaking through the book and into my skin from her.
Nasuada wakes up, I’ve given up keeping count. Let’s just take it as red that Chris has still not figured out how to transition without somebody waking up and seeing the brand new day. Unless it’s just later in the same day and Chris figures it’s time to break for a drink and some more “inspiration”, read: TV.
People are talking at Nasuada and patting her on the back for being so wonderful and strong and just great. What the hell is Chris’s problem? Why does everyone have to stop and offer constant praise to his characters for doing the most trivial thing? ‘I brought in the mail!’ ‘Oh wow, you really are talented and great. I just can’t imagine someone doing it better than that. They’re going to have to rewrite the standards by which all mail retrieval is judged.’
It’s like Chris doesn’t understand that not everything you do gets recognition, even when you go above and beyond. That’s how life goes in the adult world. I’m guessing that’s a direct product of his childhood. He’s so used to getting pats on the head every time he managed to get the Velcro straps on his shoes apart that he thinks that’s what his characters need.
What about the doubt that leaders face from their constituents? What about the criticism? Nasuada just risked losing control of the Varden because she just had to play some stupid honor game. I would have beaten Fadawar around the tent with a bat while patiently explaining that, however we’re related, that we aren’t living in a tribal society and as such I don’t have to play into his game. However, if he wants to continue collecting plunder from the Imperials, and just maybe would like me to stop beating him, then he’d best shut his mouth and fall in line. Of course I model my management style off of Al Capone’s.
Anywho, Nasuada sends everyone away and Alia, I mean Elva, comes out of hiding. Chris reminds us how Eragon’s enchantment of temporary inconvenience, I mean curse, works and how mature and cynical she is. You mean cynical enough to realize her creator stole her wholesale? No? Not quite that cynical then. Oh and Elva foresaw that Nasuada would lose so she lied and said Nasuada would win and that made it happen. Hurray for the flexible prophecy.
Nasuada sends for Angela to treat her cuts and magnanimously says Fadawar can keep his current position. Oh yeah, there’s a quick way to ensure he’s embittered. It’s not like he’ll be reminded everyday that he’s only chief because he was given the position. Surely an honor bound tribe would never wheedle their leader over it. Oh, and how is it fair to have Angela tend to her wounds? I though they had to heal “naturally”?
Angela and Nasuada banter with Elva keeping their conversation on track. Why yes, the dialogue is a bit like rinsing your mouth out with vinegar after having your wisdom teeth pulled, why do you ask? Eragon chooses then to show up and everyone wanders outside to watch Saphira come in for a landing.
And while Saphira circles overhead, checks for clearance and finally lands, Arya and Nasuada have a conversation. Someone must have mentioned Nasuada’s deed on their wall because she already knows all about it and, just like everyone else, gives her a biscuit and asks who’s-a-good-girl while scratching her behind the ears.
After a lengthy taxi to the gate, Saphira lands. everyone’s shocked that Eragon is still Behind Enemy Lines and they decide to go after him. Nasuada is jealous of Katrina and starts wondering if King Orrin would like to play shake the royals with her.
Then Arya decides she’ll be the one who’ll go retrieve Eragon Wilson because she’s used to being hunted. Yes, I imagine spending years dodging Chris’s horny groping fingers has taught her a couple of things about giving the slip to stalkers, if only so they’ll be distracted when they stop to smell it. Why Arya needs to go get Eragon when they have air support that should be able to home in on Eragon like teenage girls to Justin Bieber’s virginity is beyond me.
Trianna: Oh, Nasuada, you’re hurt! Please, allow me to heal these cuts for you.
Nasuada: ACK! NO! No, please, just… no. It… um… it would be cheating if I got it healed with magic.
Trianna: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. Would you like me to dull to the pain for you? Is that okay?
Nasuada: No, it’s not. You shouldn’t use any magic on my wounds.
Trianna: All right, I understand. Is it okay if I clean and dress your wound without magic, though? Surely it’s all right if I prevent an infection.
Nasuada: Ummm…. Gotta go! I’ll see you later! Or… never!
Trianna: Oh dear, I’ve offended her cultural pride. I’m so rude. Later I should beg her to forgive me.
Angela: Hey Nasuada, what’s up? Want me to heal your arm?
Nasuada: Oh god, YES. It hurts so bad. And then Trianna held me up with her evil voodoo-juju stuff, trying to mess with my wound. Who knows what she might have done to me?!?
Angela: You’re right to stay away from her. That girl is bad news. Now hold still while I apply the leeches…
Ha! That’s pretty much how I pictured it.