CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-EIGHT
Fourteen more chapters to go! The Great Work is almost complete (until the third books comes out).
Kvothe has five hours to kill before meeting the Mayor again. I can’t help but notice that a lot of these books seem to consist of Kvothe having [X] hours to kill before something happens.
He goes to Denna’s last known location on the off chance she’s still there (she isn’t).
“Ah,” he said, giving me a knowing look. “The girl. Her name Dinay?”
I nodded, knowing Denna changed her name as often as some other women changed their hair.
If one of Denna’s jilted paramours came after her- and she must be fairly sure this is a real possibility, given her habit of constantly moving around- I’m fairly certain they could track her down with a fake name that obvious. It’s kind of like Kvothe using the alias Kote, you’d think at least one person would be like “hey have you ever noticed that you look a lot like Kvothe, and also your name is suspiciously similar to his, and also you’ve got this weird sword hanging up on the wall that no one’s ever seen before, and you know all this stuff about medicine and crap that an Inkeeper probably wouldn’t, and you seemed to know what was going on when that possessed dude showed up at the Inn last night?”
Except no, the ordinary people in Kvotheland exist solely to a) irrationally praise Kvothe, b) irrationally hate Kvothe or c) irrationally trundle off and spread wild rumours whenever Kvothe so much as farts in an impressive manner.
As it turns out Denna left a note, predictably apologising for their last encounter even though that was totally Kvothe’s fault. She’s gone off on an errand for her patron for a few months, but this was before Kvothe went off galavanting so she could be back soon. Be still, my heart.
I can’t help but notice that Kvothe is still not as concerned as I’d expect about the whole “Denna is getting beaten up by her patron” thing. In fact Kvothe seems to have a curious blank spot regarding the patron in general, as he seems to have more or less given up trying to find out who he is. He was all into doing that before he found out about the abuse and when he didn’t have any moral justification to violate Denna’s privacy like that, but now that he’s got an actual imperative to hunt the guy down and put a stop to it the matter seems to have slipped from his mind. I guess we couldn’t have Kvothe actually do anything exciting, now could we.
Back at the Mayor’s pad, he initially assumed Kvothe was exaggerating about the number of bandits him and the mercenaries killed and that their leader was invincible, because I guess the Mayor isn’t a credulous jackass like everyone else. Kvothe manages to convince him in the end.
Meluan (the Mayor’s main squeeze, in case you’ve forgotten) arrives, apparently with a question she wants to ask Kvothe.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-NINE
Are we going to find out more about that door thing? Because I stopped caring about that about fifty chapter ago.
Meluan and her elegant neck come in, accompanied by two serving boys with a big chest which is presumably filled with tic-tacs or something.
“I am pleased to have the chance to meet with you again … my lady?” I made the last a question as I wasn’t sure how to address her. The Lackless lands used to be a full earldom, but that was before the bloodless rebellion
Her marriage to Alveron complicated things too, as I wasn’t sure if there was a female counterpart to the title of Maershon.
The title of what?
Meluan considers herself to owe Kvothe a great debt for helping the Mayor to woo her (I kind of expected her to be pissed when she learned all those songs and stuff were written by someone else but whatever). It turns out the chest is lockless (do you see) and she opens it by means of trickery.
The open lid revealed another chest, smaller and flatter. It was the size of a bread box, and its flat brass lockplate held a keyhole that was not keyhole shaped, but a simple circle instead. Meluan drew something from a chain around her neck.
Is this Kvothe’s mystery chest that Bast was looking at earlier? Because I’ve been on the edge of my fucking seat about that, let me tell you.
The second chest contains a dark wooden box, which I guess is where the tic-tacs are. Meluan claims that they don’t know how to open it or what’s inside. I’ve never gotten this business with unbreakable doors or whatever, presumably it’s not indestructible. Hell it’s made of wood, just get a really sharp saw or something and cut it open.
There are faint carvings around the lid of the mystery box.
“It might be a Yllish story knot.”
A what now?
Apparently the box is three thousand years old (Kvothe correctly guesses this based on absolutely nothing, as far as I can tell). Can any wood experts in the audience tell me if this is feasible? It also has iron and copper in it or something. Again, I have no idea how Kvothe can tell that just by looking at it.
The Mayor quite sensibly suggests just cutting the box open, which horrifies Meluan as it’s apparently “the very root of their family”. It’s been around for three thousand years, someone would have gotten curious and just smashed the damn thing by now.
Shall we meet tomorrow to discuss the Amyr? Second bell?”
I had risen to my feet with the Maer. “If it please your grace, I have another matter that warrants some discussion.”
No fuck you, Amyr time.
Anyway Kvothe wants to tell the Mayor about him killing the Bandit Bros and Meluan is like “yeah kill more Edema Ruh” and Kvothe is like “wait they weren’t actually” and she’s like “totally were lol” and in the end Kvothe announces that he is in fact one of the white red-haired wealthy entertainers, that most persecuted and down-trodden of minorities.
Needless to say Meluan doesn’t take this well, and the Mayor is pretty peeved after Kvothe makes some intemperate remarks because Kvothe is an arrogant manchild who doesn’t know when to shut the fuck up.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FORTY
The next day Kvothe gets a letter from the Mayor saying that the Mayor is totally cool with Kvothe’s Wagonness but for Meluan’s sake he wants Kvothe to leave the city (bet you wished you had asked about the Amyr now huh). He also gives him three letters as rewards for all of his services, none of which give Kvothe permission to snoop around libraries looking for plot relevant information.
Second, a letter of credit enabling you to draw on my coffers for the payment of your tuition at the University.
Thank sweet merciful Christ, finally.
I am rapidly losing interest in this plotline so in summary: Meluan sends Kvothe a wooden ring which Bredon tells him is super bad news because it means meluan hates him a whole lot. Kvothe gives all the rings he’s been sent back but Stapes insists he keeps the bone ring that he gave Kvothe five hundred years ago.
Kvothe dawdles in his rooms, feeling cheated that the Mayor didn’t give him a full patronage. I can’t remember why that’s important.
Lastly I belted on Caesura and worked my shaed into a long cape. Those two items reassured me that my time in Vintas had not been entirely wasted
I beg to differ, Kvothe.
Kvothe ambles around getting into shenanigans for awhile before making his way to the docks to return to wizard school.
It strikes me that you could excise the entirety of the bandit/Felurian/Adem sections from this story and apart from Kvothe’s fancy cloak and his sword these last few Vintas chapters would slot onto the end of the previous ones effortlessly. The Lethani appears to have made no lasting impression on Kvothe, all of the characters introduced in this part have been unceremoniously left behind and Kvothe’s character hasn’t changed at all. Even murdering all those people doesn’t seem to have affected him for more than a few days. The only thing of real note that happened was the Wagon Bros incident, which just served to cause the Vintas arc to wrap up slightly earlier than it would have otherwise and provided yet another arbitrary road-block to Kvothe finding out more about the Chandrian.
It’s becoming more and more obvious that Rothfuss really had astonishingly little in the way of an actual plot when he wrote these books. There is clearly some important piece of information or guidance that Kvothe is going to find to point him toward actually advancing the story, but that can’t just be allowed to happen because this has to be a trilogy of brick-sized fantasy tomes and so the plot must be constantly dangled in front of Kvothe’s nose and then pulled away at the last second.