Inheritance Chapter 42

This chapter is called “the torment of uncertainty”. Wow, Chris. You are getting really good at finding new ways to describe your writing. For example, I’m tormented by the uncertainty of whether or not you’re an incompetent, an idiot or just perfectly insulated from criticism.

Let’s play the scenario game. Say you’re transitioning to a different character in a new chapter. She’s just been kidnapped by the bad guy, as villains are wont to do when they see a woman in a dress, and knocked out. Because you’ve just drastically shifted perspective and place you need to set the tone right off.

Do you A; begin by focusing on the story from her point of view and going so far as to describe her panic at waking up? Not to mention the disorienting feeling from taking a whack to the brainpan. Or do you B; discuss boring details around the character to establish the place and treat the human emotions as secondary things not worth mentioning? Or do you eschew all that and send in a chorus line of Nader clones to sing the Applbee’s menu at the audience for six hours?

If you chose B, welcome to the blog Chris! For everyone else, here are the two lines Chris used to open this chapter.

Nasuada opened her eyes.

Tiles covered the dark, vaulted ceiling, and upon the tiles were painted angular patterns of red, blue, and gold: a complex matrix of lines that trapped her gaze for a mindless while.

Good, we need to establish that she woke up, just as Chris always does. Then we get details of the ceiling which will prove to be vital to the chapter on the whole. No doubt Nasuada will knock on of those tiles loose, break it and cut her bonds before making good her escape. Right, Chris? No? Oh, well at least that’ll be part of a tapestry of information that will flesh out this world and make it a richer experience. That sentence got harder to type as I laughed.

The room is octagonal and mostly dark. Also, Nasuada is laying on the ground and it’s hard and cold. Why don’t kidnappers ever have things like beds or a prison cell to keep their victims in? I’d think that Murtagh would want her safe and comfortable as long as he’s keeping her alive. If the goal is to broker a treaty of sorts. Handing over a “beloved” leader like Nasuada in less than mint condition might piss the Varden off.

Nasuada realizes she’s wearing only her shift because, again, the bad guys are idiots. Then she remembers how she got in the prison. Again, Chris is starting to learn the value in skipping details we don’t need.

The memories returned all at once, without sense or order: an unwelcome cavalcade that thundered into her mind with a force almost physical in its intensity.

Hey, I didn’t say it made the story any less stupid. Instead, he’s just exchanged one bit of stupidity for another. It’s okay, Chris, we don’t need to be told that the rush of memories was “almost physical”. Feel free to speak in metaphor. Those that can’t follow along need to learn someday.

About an hour later, or so it feels, Nasuada then realizes she’s chained to the slab she’s on. The manacles are padded though and her head is bound with leather. And why is she just now noticing? Have you ever woken up tangled in your bedsheets? It’s positively maddening. You come to and you can’t move freely and end up struggling, always ineffectually, with a twisted bit of woven cotton. No one wakes up and thinks; ‘Hmm, sunlight coming in through the window, alarm clock going off. It’s Monday so I probably have to bring lunch and it’s my laundry day so I’d better get that done. Whelp, time to get up…oh my god! I’m tangled in my bed sheets! Ahhh!’ Being unable to move is the first thing that would grab your attention.

Nasuada feels depressed and imagines that this I how she’ll die as she struggles pointlessly against her bonds. This from the brilliant and powerful leader of the Varden. No, if Gabby wanted you dead you’d already be dead. Then she starts moping about all the things she doesn’t have and how she has no legacy and blah blah blah. Oh, and she mentions that all those oaths of fealty are worth less than a “mummer’s promise”. Why a traveling group of seasonal performer’s promises are valued below the standard is anyone’s guess. Maybe Chris wanted to say gypsy but didn’t want to imply that one of his characters was a racist.

More weeping about how she’s the last of her line and how she should have had kids beforehand. The reasoning given is because she’s not leaving a legacy behind. Look, Chris. I know you’re scared of death. It’s so transparent in your writings that I fully expect to one day read how you’re opting to be cryogenically frozen when you die. But not everyone cares about their legacy and what they’re leaving behind. Believe it or not, some people don’t care about continuing their bloodline. Why couldn’t Nasuada be content knowing that she set the Varden in motion and orchestrating Gabby’s downfall? But Chris’s characters either need to live forever or, if they can’t, accept second prize and breed like rabbits.

Then Nasuada decides she’s still got her mind free from control so she has one last task, to resist interrogation. She thinks about all the stuff she knows which could be used against the Varden which she’s determined to not give away.

Instead, she picked a handful of thoughts and memories that seemed benign and strove to ignore the rest—strove to convince herself that everything she was, and had ever been, consisted of only those few elements.

Strove, eh? Nice to see you still can’t let that word go, Chris. After all her preparation, I’m willing to bet that there won’t be any interrogation. But she does rail on and on about this “technique” she’s employing. Have there been enough people that were unsuccessfully interrogated by Gabby’s crew that they can develop a technique? Ignoring that, Nasuada finishes her mental prep and says a prayer.

Gokukara, give me the strength to endure the trials before me. Watch over your little owlet, and should I die, carry me safely from this place … carry me safely to the fields of my father.

Well what do you know, an actual named member of Alagaёsia’s pantheon. That brings the grand total so far up to two. Glad to see you’re really flexing your mental muscles there, Chris. Nasauda then looks around some more and decides that she’s at the capital because it’s only logical that they’d take here there. Right, except diving into the Varden camp to snatch the leader wasn’t a logical move so I’d say betting on that horse is a surefire way to go broke.

Nasuada then considers that she could be somewhere else, being as she’s never been to Ura’baen. She might not even be anywhere as a “skilled magician” could simply make her think everything around her was real. I’m glad that you saw Inception while you were writing this, Chris. Nasuada says that the moment she was taken from the camp that the world became a lie and she can’t trust anyone.

Right, except that she wasn’t conscious when that happened. Murtagh clubbed her with the pommel before they took off. As far as she knows, she’s actually imprisoned in Dras-Leona and the Varden have been crushed. Or maybe she’s dead and this is how the afterlife starts?

Now we settle in for the real action. Nasuada waits, she feels hunger and thirst, she waits some more and she tires. She debates whether or not she should sleep and then does. Then an ugly guy comes in, he has a big head that narrows in the middle and protruding teeth that make him look like he has a muzzle. Hmm, I wonder if he’s evil? Hey Chris, maybe next time you can have him wear a belt made of infant skulls just so we’re clear?

He puts the tray he brought down and starts letting Nasuada out of the manacles. Now, being as she’s probably surrounded by enemy guards, near Murtagh and Thorn, it might be best to wait and see. The bad guys probably didn’t send in some guy to let her out if they thought she’d get away. And Nasuada, being the astute tactical genius that she is, immediately attacks the fat man.

Nasuada “flattens her hand into a blade”—aka the karate chop—and tries to hit him. The jailer stops both her arms and isn’t bothered when she tries to bite him. She tries to kick and gets slapped for her efforts. He then drags her to a privy and back to the slab where he locks her back up and feeds her. All the while she’s ranting about how they could help each other and Gabby isn’t all knowing and blah blah blah.

Nasuada assures us she knows how persuasive she can be and keeps arguing in some vague way with him. He just keeps feeding her and she realizes that she’s basically furniture to him. She’s horrified and determined to find a way out.

The jailer leaves and Nasuada goes to sleep while staring at the ceiling. Jailer comes back again and Nasuada feels ashamed that she’s glad to see him. Then she stares at his nails and says that, aside from elves, she never saw a man with such clean and trimmed nails. Then she shakes her head and says she doesn’t know any elves.

I see what you’re doing here, Chris. You’re trying to have Nasuada section off part of her mind to protect herself. You know, the same thing Richard did in Wizards First Rule when he was captured by the bad guy. The problem here is I don’t believe Nasuada has that kind of mental control. To be fair, I didn’t believe Richard did either. At the very least it should take more than just deciding, just once, to forget about her life up until then.

Now Nasuada speculates about his fingernails. Gee, what could it mean. She’s known all sorts of people with weird hobbies in spite of how much they like drinking and boning so what does it mean? She wonders some more while she gets fed again and then decides to compliment his nails, saying they’re very shiny. He turns around and smiles at her.

She suppressed a shudder; he looked as if he were about to bite the head off a chicken.

How very nice of Nasuada. He can’t really help the way he looks, jerk. She says that pride and vanity are something she can exploit and now she has the tiniest of finger holds to climb up out of her prison. Good, we wouldn’t want the protagonists to be stuck for more than a few days, maybe a week at the outside. Otherwise we might see that their backbone consists of taffy.

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5 Responses to Inheritance Chapter 42

  1. Oculus_Reparo says:

    *Singing* Mum-mers, tramps, and thieves, we heard it from the people of the–
    Nope, I doubt that would have sold quite so well.

  2. Strove. This season’s Strode.

    Maybe Galbatorix has the support he does because he promised that ugly people would never be mistreated in his empire?

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