CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE
Interlude—Din of Whispering
Back for another session with the three assketeers, I see.
Bast is all stricken because Kvothe said Voldemort’s name. I mean, the Chandrian’s names.
“And why is that?” Kvothe prompted in his best teacher’s voice. “Because some things can tell when their names are spoken,” Bast swallowed. “They can tell where they’re spoken.”
No wait, I was right the first time.
It turns out that they can in fact track people who say their names- that’s how they found Kvothe’s troupe- but not just from saying it once.
“No. Names are the key. Real names. Deep names.
So here’s an issue that hasn’t been addressed yet- what is the deal with all of this “true name” business? Apart from ripping off Earthsea, I mean. If I remember correctly in those books the thing with the DEEP NAMES was an integral part of how the world worked, but here it just sort of comes up for no apparent reason.
Besides, if what you say about the Cthaeh is true, then things will end in tears no matter what I do. Isn’t that right?
Wait, seriously? That’s actually going to affect the plot? It was so goofy and stupid I just assumed it would be a throwaway encounter. There’s some more blathering and Chronicler was at wizard school and knows the name of iron? Did they say that in the first book? I totally forgot. Anyway back to the story.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY
Wine and Water
Kvothe gets to do sex with Penthe one more time and then mercifully, finally leaves the Adem.
Still, it felt good to be back on the road again, heading toward Alveron and Denna.
Hey Kvothe I wonder how many times Denna has been beaten up while you were dicking around having sex with fairies and ninjas? Also what about that whole rivalry with Carceret, that seemed like it was going somewhere.
After a few days on the road Kvothe wanders across some Wagon Bros. Still amazed he never actually went looking for any of them after his family was killed.
After a brief bit of tension where they draw swords and threaten to kill Kvothe until he reassures them that he’s a Wagon Bro as well.
I laughed too. “One family.”
“One family.” He shook my hand
One family! Unless your parents and everyone you’ve ever known is brutally murdered before your eyes, in which case no point looking for us to take care of you I guess, just fuck off to a big scary city somewhere.
Naturally the scene that follows this is twee as all fuck, and I am quickly finding myself praying for another Chandrian attack.
This is a good opportunity to take a look at how weird the names in these books are- the Wagon Bros Kvothe meets have names like Tim, Anne and Otto, then you’ve got names like Alleg and Kete (both of which are apparently actual surnames) and then…. Kvothe. His name sticks out completely like a sore thumb but no one ever seems to notice.
“Excellent,” I said after tasting it, seating myself on a convenient stump. He tipped an imaginary hat. “Thank you. We were lucky enough to nick it on our way through Levinshir a couple days ago.
So the Wagon Bros do steal stuff? I don’t see why they’d need to since they’re apparently all extremely well-off compared to the townsfolk they’re entertaining.
The other Wagon Bros ask Kvothe if he’ll travel with them and he explains that he needs to get back quickly (that months-long detour in Ninjaland was fine, but now it’s urgent) and says he’ll make a decision in the morning.
“Honestly, Anne,” Alleg asked after his second bowl. “Did you lift a little pepper back in Levinshir?”
Why are you stealing shit you have enough money for expensive musical instruments
Also why hasn’t Kvothe ever mentioned this before now?
I’m going to stop typing in italics now
There’s a whole lot of joking and laughing and and one of the Wagon Bros goes off and starts vomiting mysteriously, then
Kete returned a minute later, leading a pair of lovely young girls. One had a lean body and face, with straight, black hair cut short like a boy’s. The other was more generously rounded, with curling golden hair. Both wore hopeless expressions and looked to be about sixteen.
“Meet Krin and Ellie,” Kete said, gesturing to the girls.
Alleg smiled. “They are one of the ways in which Levinshir was generous to us. Tonight, one of them will be keeping you warm. My gift to you, as the new member in our family.”
I looked from one to the other. “That’s a hard choice. Let me think on it a little while.”
“Girls,” Alleg chided. “Don’t you know that things will get better as soon as you start cooperating?” Ellie took another slow bite, then stopped. Krin stared into the fire, her back stiff, her expression hard.
“Don’t,” I urged. “They’ll eat when they get hungry enough.” Alleg looked up at me curiously. “I know what I’m talking about. Give them something to drink instead.”
Kete sniffed in agreement. “Little bitch came at me when I untied her for her bath,” she said, brushing her hair away from the side of her face to reveal scratch marks. “Almost took out my damn eye.”
“Did a runner, too,” Anne said, still scowling. “I’ve had to start doping her at night.”
Okay, okay hold up.
What the fuck is going on here?
Reading ahead, Kvothe non-lethally poisoned the food and the ale the Wagon Bros were partaking…. before he knew the two girls were there. How did he formulate the plan to save them if he didn’t even know they were there? Or did he just poison all the Wagon Bros for the hell of it and it surreptitiously turned out to be useful? Do Wagon Bros usually engage in human trafficking? I mean they must, or they wouldn’t assume Kvothe would be okay with it. Why is Kvothe acting so condescending to the “girls” and treating them like children when they’re at most like two years younger than him?
Wait, where did he get the poison from? When did he put it in the food? Did he do it before he arrived, and the description we got of his arrival just didn’t mention it to facilitate the surprise?
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE
Black by Moonlight
Okay whatever. I actually thought for a second we were going to get a big twist where the Wagon Bro culture was all fucked up and Kvothe just hasn’t mentioned it before now, but nope he’s here to ride in and save the two “girls” from their captors.
I reached out to brush a strand of hair from Krin’s cheek. To my surprise, she opened her eyes and stared at me. Not the marble stare she had given me before, she looked at me with the dark eyes of a young Denna.
Isn’t Denna like seventeen as well? Was there a massive time skip while I wasn’t looking?
Kvothe gives the two some herbs to send them to sleep then prepares to unleash the fury on the Wagon Bros. Boy it’s a good thing there are no children in the camp or this might have gotten awkward!
Kvothe uses a combination of his sick-wicked sword skills and magic to kill everyone in the camp, most of whom are unarmed and cut down while trying to flee. Kvothe, our noble hero. But he does get stabbed in the stomach for his trouble.
What exactly is the point of this scene? To show that Kvothe is some sort of stone-cold badass? Because he isn’t. That’s totally incongruous with how his character has been portrayed up till now.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO
The Broken Circle
Turns out Felurian’s cloak blocked most of the damage from the stab wound so hooray, Kvothe will live.
He makes a metal brand in the shape of a broken circle and burns it into the back of the hand of each member of the corpse pile he made the previous night. This is to send a message that they broke the rules of their culture, although the Wagon Bros are so rare it’s likely a non-Bro will just come across them and be like “those wagon people are fucking crazy”.
Oh and remember all those questions I asked up there about how the rest of the Wagon Bros must do this stuff too or they wouldn’t assume Kvothe would be comfortable with the whole sex-slave thing? Well turns out they were probably just thieves who murdered the wagon’s original owners. Except they acted exactly like Wagon Bros and knew all of the Bro customs well enough to fool Kvothe, soooo
These were not Wagon Bros. But they made themselves out to be. They did things no Bro would do, so I am making sure the world knows they were not part of our family.
I guess this is the No True Bro fallacy.
Turns out one of the thieves isn’t quite dead so Kvothe tortures him a bit for information.
“Ruh bastard,” he cursed at me with blunt defiance.
Wait, what? What’s that? Ambiguity? Moral complexity? PFFFT nah let’s just have the bad guys be really super evil all the time.
Kvothe offers one of the not-girls the brand and she sticks it into the dude’s chest. I’ll give her a pass on doing this, but not Kvothe.
And then the chapter ends well that was a fucking pointless bit of grimdark nonsense