Here’s an odd question that deserves some thought. Zoey and slaves have been talking badly about Stark lately. Mostly they’ve focused on how he’s forcibly drinking blood from girls and “strutting about like he’s all that.” I suppose this is to setup what a tortured monster he is and how conflicted he’s going to be now that he’s turned back to the good side.
But why has Stark only been drinking from girls? Surely there are plenty of guys wandering around along and easy prey. I would assume the vampiric mind control would still work on guys even if it’s another guy drinking blood. Plus I would think it would show just how hungry Stark is if he were indiscriminately noshing on anyone he could get his hands on. Maybe PCK is worried that Stark will catch the gay.
Zoey shows up to horse class late. I refuse to refer to it as “equestrian studies” because Zoey studies nothing. It’s just an excuse for PCK to have their avatar pet a horsie. It also gives them an excuse to trot out horse whisperer shit which they do right away. Lenobia points Zoey to a stall to muck out and then tells her that the mare loves her. Zoey asks if she can talk to horses and Lenobia says not exactly.
“Not in words. Horses communicate in feelings. They are passionate, loyal beings with hearts big enough to hold the world.”
Which is why they’d kick someone in the face, because they’ve got big hearts. Zoey says she always thought so too then Lenobia says that Kalona has to be killed. Zoey says that the “abruptness” of her statement shakes her to the core. Zoey looks around for ravens and Lenobia, knowing exactly what Zoey’s doing, says that horses hate them as much as cats do. She also says not to worry about other students because they’re all busy, repeating that Kalona must be killed. Zoey says that he’s immortal.
Lenobia shook back her long, thick hair and began to pace from one side of the stall to another. “But we must defeat him. He lures our people away from Nyx.”
I know I’ve drawn parallels with this to other religious fiction and that only lends credence to the hypothesis, but have I mentioned how creepy this is? Everyone wants to stop Kalona but not because he’s a rapist who is exercising mind control over people. They only want to stop him because he’s taking followers from the one true god. And while the ends will mean a better world in universe, it’s not because the protagonist stands for justice. Zoey says that she knows, even though she’s only been back a day she’s seen how bad it is.
Wait, she’s only been gone a day. Kalona’s only been free for a couple of days so far. That’s enough to give you an impression but not really grasp the depth of his evil. Zoey then says that Neferet is in on all of it too and Lenobia has a thought on that.
“Neferet is worse than any of them,” she said bitterly. “She who should be most faithful to Nyx has betrayed her utterly.”
Again, not because she’s killed people or anything but because she worships the wrong god. Lenobia says she’s going to pledge her loyalty to a new priest and Zoey prostests it can’t be her because she’s not even an adult. Lenobia says she’s been chosen and that’s good enough for her. Then Zoey wants to know why Lenobia hasn’t been corrupted by Kalona and she just says that part of her could see what he truly was. Zoey mentally protests that she’s only seventeen and can’t save the world before the Unicus must be fed.
“You aren’t simply a fledgling. Listen within, child, and know that where that still, small voice leads you, we will follow,” Lenobia said in a voice that reminded me of my Goddess.
Then Zoey smells a meadow and remembers one of the poems from earlier. They read it again and start talking about what it could mean. Zoey manages to deduce, finally, that maybe earth could be the secret to defeating him. Then they talk about how the five not quite elements in the poem—night, spirit, blood, humanity and earth for a change—are capitalized and might be people who represent those things. Helen Keller discovering water has a name, it ain’t.
Zoey then painfully goes through the process of puzzling out who they all are. Stevie is blood, Angela is Spirit, Aphro is humanity, and grandma is Earth. This leads to a paragraph where Zoey tells us that the “worldview” of the Cherokee iw much different from “today’s worldview” which is all about using, abusing and owning the earth. I don’t know which is more insulting, that PCK would say only the Cherokee could have a worldview like that or that the Cherokee couldn’t have any differing worldviews.
Now Zoey has to figure out who is representing night but nothing is coming to her. Lenobia says that, if she just thinks about it, she’ll realize who Nyx has chosen to represent night. Maybe it’s Erik as his last name is night? Maybe these five which will put Kalona to sleep are all destined to be brought together by Zoey who will serve as the catalyst. After all, it’s not like everything can always revolve around her, right? Just kidding, we all know it’s Zoey.
“Of course it is you,” Lenobia said. “The poem states it perfectly, ‘Night leads to Spirit.’ None of us would have ever looked to the Benedictine Abbey or its prioress to fill in the pieces of the poetic puzzle, but you led us straight to it.”
Because if no one else can solve a puzzle which wouldn’t stump a toddler, they should probably be put in charge. Zoey says they all have to go to the abbey. Lenobia doesn’t seem to agree and says that the school is their home.
I met her eyes. “Sometimes the people closest to you betray you, and your home isn’t a place you can be happy anymore. It’s hard, but it’s true.”
“You sound very wise for your years, Priestess.”
Oh yes, very wise indeed. That’s the kind of brilliance that could only come from years of experience…watching movies and after school specials. PCK tries to convince us that Zoey really is wise because she says she’s a product of a divorce and “crappy step parenting”. It’s amazing she made it out of there, what with how Stepdad used to tie her to the front of the truck and drive her through a cornfield when she misbehaved. This is the same stepdad who bought her a vintage Beetle and paid gas an insurance as well as her cell phone bill and the only thing she had to tolerate from his was his fundamentalism. Thousands of people put up with that every day and they just call it normal life.
Lenobia says they need to get the message out to Zoey’s friends and that they can meet in the stables. She also says that if Neferet find out that “it will go badly for us”. It will go badly? As if is hasn’t gone badly so far? Zoey just says she knows and tells herself “ah hell”. I guess Zoey hadn’t considered getting caught by the primary antagonist until Lenobia mentioned it.