Richard leaves Denna’s chambers and is almost immediately jumped by Constance, which doesn’t make sense because Rahl’s spell is supposed to make all of his enemies see him as an ally. He’s about to unleash The Magic but remembers at the last minute that this isn’t a good idea around Mord Sith, and instead uses Denna’s Agiel, which he’s now wearing around his neck (go back to our previous post for a reminder of what they look like, then picture someone wearing one around their neck).
“Promise made . . .” he sneered.
“No . . . please . . . don’t.”
Richard twisted the Agiel as he had seen Denna do to the Queen. Constance flinched, and went limp inhis grip. Blood ran from her ears. He let her lifeless body slip to the ground.
Richard also said this before he maimed the Princess, so I guess it’s meant to be his badass catch-phrase. And hey, I wonder why Denna is a poor broken child who deserves pity, but Constance doesn’t get the same moral absolution for her actions? Ah, because she’s a man-hater who doesn’t have sex with Richard.
Richard leaves, the guards obligingly giving him a horse and some directions. They warn him not to go near Rahl’s pet dragon.
The whole thing didn’t make any sense. Why would Rahl use the night stone to trap Zedd, if Zedd was the traitor? And why would he send men after Kahlan, if she was the one? Yet Shota had said each would try to kill him.
MAYBE SHE WAS LYING
But what if Zedd was betraying them, and the only way to save Kahlan would be to kill his old friend? Or what if it was the other way around?
Richard engaging in his favourite past-time of thinking about murdering his friends.
After riding for ages without stopping (horses operate like cars with infinite fuel in this world, remember) Richard comes to the fork in the road that Rahl’s dragon lives near and decides to borrow it. But then it eats his horse and generally acts badass, at least until it starts talking.
“What have we here?” came a decidedly female voice. “A tasty treat?”
The rumbling died out and the head returned, the eyebrows bunching up in an angry frown
By “eyebrows” I’m going to assume Goodkind means “parts of the face that sort of operate like eyebrows” instead of, you know, actual eyebrows.
Richard manages to avoid being eaten by complimenting the dragon on hos beautiful she is (really) and strikes up a conversation in which she reveals her name is Scarlet and Rahl is controlling her by keeping her egg hostage (we got a glimpse of this egg a while back, surrounded by Gars). After another tediously long back and forth conversation that goes on for pages and pages, Richard and Scarlet strike up a bargain whereby she’ll fly him around looking for his friends if he gets her egg back.
Hey speaking of which, what are those friends up to? Well Zedd is getting pulled into the Underworld due to Rahl tossing the Night Stone in there earlier. Luckily he tells Kahlan to Confessor him and this brings him back because reasons, without rendering him Confessored long-term. Kahlan naturally fears that the presence of the night stone in the underworld means Richard is dead, which means it’s time for her to cry and be comforted by a man again.
I’ve said this before, but I feel like I need to repeat it: there’s nothing wrong with any character of any gender needing to be comforted by any other character of any gender, but when every single non-evil woman in the book has had extended crying scenes in which a big strong man wipes their tears away, and when they seem to do little else, I think my exasperation is understandable.
Chase, Zedd, Brophy and Kahlan (and I guess Rachel is there too but she doesn’t get a mention) vow to get the box to safety and then sceddadle over to D’Hara to yoink Richard from Rahl’s palace once Rahl is dead. Airtight plan. Absolutely nothing’s going to go wrong with that.
Richard and Scarlet fly to where Scarlet’s egg is being held, but there are way too many Gars to deal with. Richard suggests running into a nearby cave that loops to where the egg is, then grabbing it and returning to Scarlet before the Gars have a chance to react.
“Shouldn’t we discuss if it’s a good idea? Maybe we could think of something better. I’ve also heard
there might be something in the cave.”
Scarlet brought her angry eye closer to him. “Something in the cave?” She snaked her head around to the opening and sent a horrific blast of fire into the darkness. Her head came back. “Now there’s nothing in the cave. Go get my egg.”
I like Scarlet.
Richard heads into the cave, which is “miles long” and is going to take him the better part of a night to get through because absolutely everything needs to be padded to hell and back. Eventually, near the end, he reaches a tiny hole he has to crawl through. I don’t generally suffer from claustrophobia (heights are more my thing), but the idea of getting physically stuck in a constricting place and being unable to escape utterly terrifies me, so this section is pretty nerve wracking.
Just when he’s almost completely stuck something starts slithering up his trouser leg. Again, this part is pretty tense and actually gripping, far more so than any of the fights Richard has gotten himself into so far.eventually he manages to squeeze through the hole, but whatever it is that has leg sinks claws into his flesh and dangles him over a chamber where he”s dropped his sword.
Another appendage slipped up the other pant leg, feeling his calf muscle with its hard tip
There is a veritable galaxy of obvious jokes I could make about this scene. I am endeavoring not to make them.
Richard struggles free of the whatever and stabs it in the eye, sending it packing, in a fight scene that feels extra wooden and lifeless after the previous Richard-in-a-hole bit. He comes to the mouth of the cave only for the Gar’s blood flies to swarm to the wound on his leg, so he cuts his bloody trouser leg into strips and uses them to bait the blood flies away from the egg, then uses the bird man’s whistle to summon birds that eat the flies. I have to say I do like how quite often in this book Richard and co have to solve problems by means other than just cutting people’s heads off. The Sword of Truth makes Richard unstoppable against more or less any single opponent, but the book does quite a good job of showing that he’s not invincible and can’t take on huge groups of enemies alone. Even though this scene reads like something from a point and click puzzle game it’s a lot more entertaining to read than yet another fight scene.
As it turns out the plan only partially works, but Scarlet comes swooping down and snatches Richard and the egg up before he can get overwhelmed by Gars. She flies him up to a secret hideout and after praising Richard for being awesome at length (for which she loses 80 coolness points) it’s time to go find the others!