So here we see a weakness in the alternating Amara/Nolan chapters, as this is technically a Nolan chapter but almost all of it is just direct observations of what he’s seeing through Amara’s eyes. Nolan’s chapters are getting shorter and shorter due to the fact that essentially nothing is happening in his plotline at the moment; it’s clear his family situation is going to boil over in some catastrophic way, but the narrative is basically spinning its wheels until that happens.
Anyway, Cilla’s been locked in a cell across from Amara, with a guard to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself and activate the curse. Before they have time to try anything Ruudde yanks Amara off for a chat. He speaks in a suspiciously modern-Earth dialect, referring to Amara as “kid” and using the word “nope”.
“Nope. The girl you know is just a regular girl,” Ruudde said. “And it’s not you I want to talk to, Amara. Sit the hell down.”
Yeah so Ruudde knows about Nolan, who somewhat validates his POV status by taking over Amara’s body to communicate one on one with Ruudde.
“Apparently you kids know more than you’ve been letting on. Yes, I’m like you. I enjoy Ruudde’s body, but it’s not my own.”
I CALLED THIS AGES AGO
(Although I should point out that my speculation that all mages get their powers from being otherbound is apparently not correct)
So most of the ministers are otherbound but not all. The ones who aren’t don’t know anything about it. Apparently being otherbound grants healing powers every time, and Ruudde speculates that the Earth-side people are just born with the powers.
I already knew I healed every body I was in, but when
I started doing heavy spells without paying any kind of physical
toll, I realized the possibilities. I located other travelers and found
mage bodies for them to use. You know the rest. You know we
have power. Magical, political, financial. Name your price.”
Looks like Nolan can switch bodies, if the others can.
(Speculation: the only way to switch bodies is if the previous one dies)
“People want Cilla dead. You know that. And, no, those mages
are not working for us. We want to keep Cilla alive—or the girl we
call Cilla, anyway—but she’s too easy a target if we keep her in a
static location like the palace.”
The mystery deepens!
Well actually it becomes slightly less deep. It shallows. Ruudde refuses to elaborate any more, despite Nolan’s repeated requests.
Ruudde reveals that it wasn’t him who cursed Cilla and makes an offer to Nolan: make Amara and Cilla go back to Jorn by any means necessary, and he’ll be given anything he wants in return. He even offers to make Jorn call off the torture antics, which was apparently not originally part of their plans. He also asks why Nolan doesn’t just take over Amara’s body permanently, as he and the other ministers apparently did to their hosts, apparently without consent.
Eventually Nolan retreats, deciding that he’s going to let Amara decide on how to respond to Ruudde’s request, but she’s way too pissed off so Ruudde decides to just stick her in a cell.
So now Amara and Cilla are both locked up, but don’t worry! Ruudde gives them nice cells and has servants bring them stuff, such as
They escorted her to a bath and gave her clean clothes and brand-new horse-fuzz boots
THAT SOUNDS FUZZY 😀
Amara speculates that Ruudde is trying to bribe her into going back to Jorn. Presumably all the horse fuzz will make up for the years of child abuse.
They needed her. No, they needed Nolan. Amara was just—a vessel. Something to lug around and damage and repair and then damage all over again. If she broke beyond fixing, no problem. They could replace her.
They have the magic, they can yeah
Amara cuts herself a few times to spite Nolan and he eventually retreats, which just makes her realize how much non-healing injuries suck.
The cuts kept bleeding. A steady trickle. She wiped it away and
more blood dripped out.
Amara you should stop doing that 😦
After a few days Jorn swans in being all Jorny-y.
He passed her cell on his way to Cilla’s and looked almost surprised to see Amara there. He said one thing and one thing only: “Nolan, is it? I tried to warn you.”
Go fuck yourself Jorn.
Cilla is refusing to eat, and the ministers can’t be having that (we still don’t know why) so Jorn tries to get Amara to coax her into eating her food. It doesn’t work very well, as it seems that the revelation of Cilla’s un-princess-itude has hit her hard.
Cilla didn’t know about Ruudde’s threats. Staying wasn’t an
option. Sooner or later, Nolan would cave, or Ruudde would
run out of patience.
EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE