Chapter 51: Overlooked

“It is ever the temptation of chroniclers to ascribe great failures to a single turning point, a flaw revealed or enemy virtue displayed. This simplification of history ignores the starker truth of all great enterprises, that in the end though all leaders are captains of a ship they rule neither wind nor tide. Failure and victory are the collection of choices small and great, shaped by perspectives of the myriad making them.”
-Extract from ‘The Ruin of Empire, or, a Call to Reform of the Highest Assembly’, by Princess Eliza of Salamans

The fairy gate had opened half a mile away from the outskirts of Dormer, and that was where the two thousand legionaries of the Fifteenth made camp. It had taken us a week of marching through Arcadia to cross what was essentially the full breadth of Callow, not a fae in sight. I was still only beginning to grasp the full implications of what the boon I’d obtained from the fae royals meant for warfare in Calernia. So far I’d only used the fairy gates to move quicker within the bounds of Callow, but that was a self-imposed limitation. With Hierophant to chart me a path, I could feasibly muster an army in Marchford and have it pop out in front of the Principate’s capital bristling with steel. Keeping an army in the middle of enemy territory supplied without turning to banditry would be near impossible, but what did it matter? I could leave the same way I’d come when my foodstuffs ran out. If the Red Flower Vales could be kept in Imperial hands, I could strike at Proceran territory with impunity while the First Princes’ army were stuck besieging one of the most heavily fortified borders on the continent.

It was enough to have me shiver. There was precedent for the kind of power I wielded as the last Duchess of Winter, villains and heroes alike that had shown a capacity for destruction just as great. The gates, though? I couldn’t think of one.

The Fifteenth had returned midmorning to Creation and I’d wasted no time in arranging matters with General Istrid. Juniper’s mother had always been my favourite of the Praesi commanders in Callow. Within moments of our first meeting, two years ago, she’d expressed the opinion that Governor Mazus had been in need of a good hanging. Always a way to get on my good side, that. She wasn’t much like her daughter, aside from the rough manners that were so common with orcs. If anything, she reminded me of Nauk – or the other way around, since I’d become acquainted with her first. She rode out to meet me on one of the great wolves that her people used as mounts, meeting me halfway to Holden. She gave warm welcome, though not without some grousing.

“You sent us across the country from the real fight, Squire,” she growled after clapping my back.

Before I’d stolen my mantle, Named or not it would have jostled me. The woman had ferocious strength still, for one in her fifties.

“Needed you to herd them towards me, general,” I replied. “Otherwise the front would have spilled across the south, and there was no putting that genie back in the lamp when it got loose.”

“Sacker says the same thing,” General Istrid said, visibly disgruntled. “A real shame. I won’t ever get a good crack at the fairies, with that peace you shoved down their throats. At least we get a turn in the dance with the Diabolist.”

“I won’t say she’s more dangerous than a pair of literal gods,” I said, “but we’re in for a rough month. You heard about the necromantic ritual?”

The exact nature of Still Water was still under Imperial seal, so the official story was that Akua had used some kind of ancient ritual to turn the entire city into undead. Considering the trove of horrors that still lay dormant in the Wasteland no one had questioned it too much, but I was aware it was only a matter of time until the truth of it trickled out.

“They’re supposed to be high-grade undead, right?” she growled. “That’s fucked. Skeletons and zombies need a necromancer guiding them to be a threat, but a hundred thousand bloody ghouls aren’t something to sneer at.”

“My caster tells me they’re closer to the kind of undead the Dead King uses for officers,” I told her. “We’re calling them wights.”

“The highborn twit should have paid closer attention to her history lessons,” the orc laughed. “We proved that dead men and household troops are no match for Legion steel when we put the Empress on the throne.”

There was truth in that, I felt, but also dangerous assumption. As far as I knew there’d been no battle of the scale of the one looming ahead during the Praesi civil war. Akua would have at a hundred thousand wights and six thousand living under her command, by our estimates, and the forces I was gathering would be a little over sixty thousand. Even during the Conquest armies that size hadn’t been fielded in the same theatre, and for good reason. It was going to evaporate at least half the Imperial treasury to keep that many people fed and armed, and the aftermath was likely to turn a chunk of the Empires’ breadbasket into wasteland. Nations fought with smaller hosts for a reason, even when they could muster great ones. The ride to Holden was spent recounting the Arcadian campaign at the general’s demand, until I stood in council with the other two generals in the city. Orim the Grim and General Sacker were significantly less friendly in the manners, though never actually impolite. Sacker did have that sharp goblin sardonic turn of phrase, but refrained from verbally pulling my pigtails the way she had on our first meeting.

I’d risen in rank quite a bit since then.

General Istrid had begun preparations for a march the moment my mages had scried hers, and I was rather pleased to hear the twelve thousand legionaries would be ready to leave come dawn. There was a certain pleasure to working with veterans knowing their way around a war. The Fifteenth’s officers were getting there, but my legion was not a well-oiled machine yet. Part of that was on me, I knew. Even after the brutal casualties we’d taken in Arcadia and Dormer, the Fifteenth was still twice the size of any other legion and severely lacking mages. It was a rare month I did not thank the Gods for granting me both Ratface and the inclination to not look too closely at how he kept us supplied. Even Juniper had ceased slapping his fingers when he bent the rules a little, using the fact I’d effectively suborned the Guild of Smugglers to him as an excuse to wash her hands of the matter. It was not the place of an Imperial general, she said, to meddle in civil affairs. A little rich of her to say considering Marshal Ranker used to run Denier through the governor, but in theory it was supposed to be true.

I rode back to camp a few hours before sundown, declining the offer of a roof over my head in the city in favour of sticking with my men. I was still chewing on the conversation I’d had with Juniper before leaving. That Hune had made the right call, even if it had seen one of the few people I considered a friend halfway to the grave. Even if it had led to the Gallowborne being all but wiped out. The ogre legate was the only one of my senior officers I’d never truly reached out to. I hadn’t made a lot of mystery about that, it must be said. When I’d first crossed the Empress by resurrecting a knightly order, she’d not been one of the people I gathered to tell. The Hellhound had objected back then as well, though I’d dismissed her words by saying I did not trust her the way I did others. Nauk, I recalled grimly, had been the very example I used. It might have been a mistake, I now thought. By visibly keeping Hune out of my ‘inner circle’ even though she was the second highest officer in the Fifteenth, I was making a self-fulfilling prophecy. Trust freely granted, in my experience, had a way of making people trustworthy. Of making them want to live up to that trust. I’d never attempted that with the legate.

It might not be too late to rectify that mistake, though. I still didn’t like the call she’d made, I admitted to myself. But it was a dislike that was borne of reasons personal. I do not have a monopoly on ruthlessness employed to save lives. I’d raised the Fifteenth out of people I knew, had shared struggles with, and they had since the beginning been given a measure of my trust. Hakram, Nauk, Ratface, Pickler, Robber. Even Juniper and Aisha, who had been opponents in the College but ones I respected. Hune had been brought in at the Hellhound’s word and so never fully welcomed into that fold. It was part of a larger flaw in the way I did things, one the Empress had already warned me against: I rarely gave power to those I did not personally know and like. It was telling, perhaps, that Anne Kendal and Juniper were respectively the effective ruler of Callow and the commander of the largest military force within its borders. But I could not continue along these lines if I wanted my homeland to ever climb out of the hole. No matter how skilled the few I fully trusted were, they were not enough to form the ruling class of an entire kingdom. I shook myself out of the thoughts and sought Hune instead of continuing down the spiral and of excuses and recriminations.

The ogre wasn’t with her officers. I found her at the edge of the camp, tucked away between two low hills and kneeling on the ground. Even like that she still towered several feet above me. I remained at a distance, though when I saw her lips move I sharpened my hearing to listen in. I’d had a casual disregard for other people’s privacy even before I began employing spies. Pouring wine into a wooden bowl, she murmured to herself.

“O Faceless Gods, I give you thanks,” the legate said. “For crossing survived and refuge found, for the breaking of the chains of men.”

Breaking a small loaf of black bread with fingers large as sausages, Hune crushed it into crumbs she dispersed next to the bowl. Crossing survived, huh. I knew ogres were not native to Calernia. They’d been brought over as slaves by the Miezans, and ended up joining the Dread Empire when the first Maleficent founded it in exchange for land to live on.

“Neither poor nor rich, neither free nor bound,” she murmured. “For the promise made to our ancestors, I offer bread and wine.”

My brows creased when I saw the crumbs rot and the wine turn to vinegar. Hune was not a mage. No ogres were, they could not be born with the gift. This was the closest to the miraculous powers wielded by priests I had seen on the Empire’s side. I knew there were cults in the Empire that sacrificed to the Gods Below in exchange for powers, but I’d never actually seen the Hellgods extend their hand to Creation before. It was chilling to watch, light as their touch had been. A reminder there’s more than one side of the old war looking at us. The ogre emptied the bowl onto the grass and brushed her hands clean, picking up the empty wineskin before rising back to her feet. She did not seem all that surprised to see me. Ogres, as far as I knew, did not have senses better than a human’s. She might just have been expecting me. Reaching me in a few strides, Hune lowered her massive torso in a bow.

“Lady Squire,” she said.

“Legate,” I replied. “Didn’t take you for the pious type.”

Her face did not react, neither irritated nor amused.

“I am not Praesi,” she said. “My people have their own ways.”

“So I see,” I said. “I’ll admit to some ignorance on the subject. Never found a lot of books written about ogres the way there are about orcs and goblins.”

Hune studied me calmly.

“We are not numerous enough to merit scholarly attention,” she said. “Are you seeking reports, ma’am? I gave instruction to my commanders to have them prepared, but I remember the details if you would prefer them spoken.”

“No, your officers already have me in the loop,” I awkwardly said. “They’re, uh, quite thorough. The precision of it will shave a few hours off Ratface’s workload when we link up.”

“I am sure your words will please them,” the ogre said. “How may I offer service?”

I was honestly unsure if she was politely putting me off or not. There’d been some people currying favour with me when the Fifteenth was founded, before Juniper had put her foot down. Even after, though, it was rare for people not to lean into an opportunity to talk with me when they could. I left matters of promotion to the Hellhound without meddling, but I was still arguably one of the ten most influential people within the Empire. I was a little at a loss at how to deal with whatever this was. I wondered if the Empress had felt the same, when she’d summoned me to the Tower for audience and I’d bluntly pushed through the small talk.

“Sit with me for a while,” I finally said. “If you’ve no pressing duties.”

“I can spare some time,” Hune said, her tone hinting at neither displeasure nor expectation.

I ended up with my legs going down the slope, thinking of how ridiculous we must look from a distance. Even with my plate making me seem larger, it would take ten of me put together to even remotely rival the legate in mass. I ran a hand through my hair, wondering exactly how I should go about this. It’d been easier, with the others.

“Are we to revise the command decisions I made in Dormer, my lady?” the ogre broke in while I was still debating.

Ah. She’d picked up on that, had she. Hard to play coy about displeasure when mine literally lowered the temperature.

“No,” I said. “It’s been pointed out to me that my objections were personal. Childish, arguably. I apologize for how I acted.”

“You were not impolite or unprofessional,” the legate said. “Even if you had been, you are Named. It is your prerogative to speak as you wish.”

“Doesn’t mean I should,” I replied. “So have the apology anyway.”

“There is nothing to forgive,” Hune said calmly. “Was there anything else?”

I turned to her and studied her face. There was something brutish about the ogres looked, the way their features were slightly broader than a human’s would be if they were the same size. It made them look a little slow, but there was nothing dim about those deep and dark-set eyes meeting mine.

“You don’t like me very much, do you Hune?” I asked.

The ogre’s face shuttered.

“I am an officer in the Legions of Terror, under your command,” she said. “If my demeanour offended you in any way, I apologize and stand willing for any punishment you deem fit.”

Catherine Foundling, I thought ruefully, charmer of the year.

“It’s not a crime to dislike me,” I said. “And I’m not offended. I’m honestly surprised at how well along I’ve gotten with the people around me. I wasn’t exactly the most popular girl at the orphanage.”

“You are apprentice to the Carrion Lord, named Vicequeen of Callow by Her Dread Majesty,” the ogre said woodenly. “Praises are your due.”

“I’m not all that interested in praises,” I said. “But I’d like to know what… this is about.”

I waved my hand vaguely. There was a flicker of irritation in her eyes, but I couldn’t call it a victory. It was too shallow. The kind of irritation you had for a fly buzzing in your ear, not something I could use to bridge a gap.

“Ma’am, I am your subordinate,” Hune said. “This is unnecessary.”

And that was the heart of it, wasn’t it? I didn’t consider my people to be subordinates, or at least not just that. They were the people I drank and laughed with, the people I shared a fire with. There’d been less of that since I’d begun gathering Named around me, it was true. But I’d not allowed those relationships to go fallow either.

“I ask more of my officers than others do of their own,” I said. “I try to give more as well.”

“We,” the ogre said bluntly, “are not equals. You hold power of life and death over everyone in the Empire, save a hallowed few. This pretence, my lady, is tedious.”

“So this is about power,” I said.

The sigh the legate let out was cavernous. I was pretty sure a single one of her lungs was the size of my entire torso. Should have done this when it was dark out, I mused half-seriously. Seems to work better that way.

“Is this an order?” Hune asked.

I nodded. I would have preferred not to make it one, but evidently that wasn’t an option.

“Then with your permission, I will speak frankly,” the legate said. “You are dangerous.”

“Usually when people call me that they mean it as a compliment,” I said. “I’m getting the feeling that’s not the case here.”

“The treaty with the Tower that granted us the Hall of Skulls and adjacent lands comes with mandatory service in the Legions,” the ogre said. “There has not been a war since the Declaration where my people did not fight and die.”

“I’m not unfamiliar with being on the wrong side of Praesi rule,” I said.

“With all due respect, ma’am, that is untrue,” Hune said. “You were born in the wealthiest city of the Empire’s breadbasket and raised by an institution whose education is on par with that of lesser nobility.”

“The orphanage saw lean month toos, Hune,” I said. “We had Governor Mazus running the city for years before he got the noose.”

“Every month, one of my people is murdered and drained of blood after coming too close to a lord’s border,” Hune said. “When the Green Stretch has a bad year, families sign themselves into servitude to avoid shortages. The Reforms barely lowered the amount of warriors that must be provided for service. We are strong enough to be of use and too few to be worth appeasing. Callowans hang when they rebel or resist, ma’am. We earn death by existing.”

“That can be changed,” I said. “Hune, none of this is set in stone. It’s not inevitable. It only works as long as we let it.”

“And speaking words such as these, you have raised a host that answers to you before the Tower,” the ogre said. “You promised freedom to the greenskins, insurgence to the many colours of men. And yet two things you have brought in fact: ever greater titles to you, and war wherever you tread.”

“Because it’s working,” I replied bluntly. “There’s opposition because we’re gaining ground. We push hard enough and it’ll break. We’re not going against infinite strength. At some point they have to bend or lose.”

“That may be,” Hune said. “Perhaps you will deliver all you have sworn. But you are not the first silvertongued monster birthed by Praes. We have seen them come and go, and what has changed? In the end all of them smile, and ask us to die in their wars.”

“I’m not asking you to die,” I said. “I’m asking you to fight. If not for me, then at least for something you want. To do more than just… linger.”

“We fought heroes,” the legate said. “Then devils. Then the courts of the fae. Now we march against a madwoman of the old way. What meaning have any of these to me? I took oath, and will serve in the Fifteenth until I die or my term ends. But you ask me to bleed for strangers and thank you for it. That is not the due of a soldier. It is the due of a servant.”

“I don’t want servants, Hune,” I said sharply. “I want comrades.”

“Servants are what you have, my lady,” the ogre said. “Your causes are their causes. You are Named, and so this is only natural. But I took oath to the Legions of Terror and not the army of House Foundling.”

“I’m not asking you to commit treason,” I said.

“We are riding with knights,” she replied bluntly. “Half the Fifteenth is Callowan. You strong-armed the Dread Empress into naming you ruler of this land. Do not misunderstand me, Lady Foundling, I wish you well in these ventures. The world may be better for your victory, should it come.”

Her dark eyes narrowed.

“But I will not die for another woman’s dream,” Hune said.

Slowly, she rose to her feet.

“I apologize for any offence I have given,” the ogre said. “May I be dismissed?”

I bit my tongue and nodded. I watched the legate stride away and passed a hand through my hair.

So much for mending that bridge.

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42 thoughts on “Chapter 51: Overlooked

    1. stevenneiman

      Named, especially Named whose Role or Aspects involve command, seem to have an effect similar to Girl Genius’ Sparks, in that they bring out the minion side of others whenever they do something they need help with something. But, it seems that just like Sparks, not everyone has enough of that side to be affected that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dainpdf

        From someone who is not caught up in her. Villains and heroes of her type (commander types, that is) seem to always gather retinue of, well, servants. Too often to be a coincidence.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Metrux

      Actually, I think she literally spelled it out that she is not afiliated with Cat, but with the Tower… So… It wouldn’t even be betrayal…

      Like

  1. Engineer

    Ha! Those SW zombies are on par with The Dead King’s officers! So my zombie army invasion plan IS feasible! Just need to figure out a way to make a volatile version of SW. Then I will reach my ultimate goal: THRILLER DANCE PARTY ON A CONTINENTAL SCALE! MUHUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

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  2. soonnanandnaanssoon

    Considering how Hune’s weight to the story is (and has been) foreshadowed to be greater in the future, am I the only one who pronounces her name like June/dune? Or does everyone else pronounce it hoo-neh?

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  3. I hate to say it, but Hune makes a lot of good points. Catherine definitely has a sort of Taylor Hebert flavor to her in that she talks a really good game but her actions don’t seem to actually show that. For everything she says about protecting her people from abuses of power, and building a world based on institutions and not Named everything she does ends up with dead Callowans and more power to herself and the Woe. Sure the argument can be made that she’s doing positive political/bureaucratic stuff offscreen that’s improving peoples lives or that she’ll get to her long term goals once she’s amassed enough power, but those both feel pretty thin

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Daemion

      That’s the problem when you try to change things through force. Anything gained by force requires an increasingly greater force to keep stable. You can’t simply change people, they have to want it and even then it takes time. Generations, usually.

      You can’t sit two life long enemies at a table and tell them they are friends now.

      So to even get a chance to change things, Cat had to use her Name, she had to apply force in various ways and now she has to keep doing it just to keep things on track. If she ever stops or if she dies, everything will fall apart and go back to the way it was before.
      Her hope is that once she achieves her vaguely defined goal everyone will see that things are better and accept the change. This assumes people are rational and interested in the greater good over personal advantages.

      Realistically, to make this work Cat needs to be a constant influence on the Empire for at least 2 generations and everything needs to happen as planned. Same as Black did before her.

      It’s only human to think that way. I think Cat realized her mistakes and her naivety. She knows she has to change the way she operates because right now it’s not sustainable.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. RoflCat

        Maybe she’ll basically lose ‘everything’ she hold at one point.

        Her power as a Named.
        Her status as vicequeen/Squire.
        Her allies in the Legion.

        Like say if Bard pull whatever thing she did that made herself into the new person, but on Cat this time.
        So she’ll become a nobody.
        No Carrion Lord to take intrigue in her and gave her the shortcut to power.
        No Hellhound to make her army into the force it is.
        No Woe to assist her.

        She will only have normal, every day people to work with.
        In a way it’s a massive downgrade of her power, but on the other hand if she can change things while having no power, it’ll be a testament to her will.

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    2. mordered

      I think that Cat’s motives matter very little. The goal of a squire is to become greater and rise above the status. Amassing power is a part of her name. Cat’s also not being honest with herself, it is not just what she can do with the power it is power itself that she enjoys. Having it makes her want more (which is the evil side of Squire playing its hand), she just justifies it all by saying it is for the greater good. Worst thing is is that she truly believes she is good.

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    3. Dainpdf

      She has a lot of Taylor in her. They’re both very good at telling themselves that, while the cost of their actions to others is great, they are for the greater good.
      Being Named seems to be halfway to being Fae: once one’s Name has inroads, it’s hard to get out of the grooves.

      Like

    4. nipi

      I wonder if Cats secrets will come to light at some point. I mean even if it was out of ignorance having taken a bad gamble with the souls of all in Callow is bound to cause some spectacular fallout should it come to light. I can see her going down a dark path to keep that secret. Then again only the Woes and fae were witness to that.

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    5. Zach

      Catherine herself even realizes this to some extent; as she pointed out, none of this current conflict would have occurred if not for her voluntary decision to let Lone Swordsman live. So far the net result of her actions is a massive negative, and all her actions since that point have merely been mitigating the damage of events she set into action through a bad choice.

      Basically she’s acting under the assumption that her gaining power is intrinsically a result that will lead towards the greater good and must be pursued at nearly all costs. Your comparison with Taylor is very apt, because both characters are control freaks who are incapable of trusting anyone other than themselves (and the handful of people they trust) with power. You see this in her comments about Democracy a couple chapters back.

      Honestly, I have trouble seeing Catherine ending up as a positive influence on the world unless she significantly changes the core of who she is (which is kinda unlikely due to the nature of Named, who – as Empress said – are basically snapshots of the people they were when they first transitioned into their Names).

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  4. danh3107

    It must be rough being born to a race who has never known true freedom in their racial memory. They are mighty, and intelligent if Hune is a good example, but they’re made to be subservient to men and women smaller than their arm.

    Brilliantly conveyed erratic, brilliant

    Liked by 4 people

    1. AshSlanabrezgov

      And I really don’t.

      It would be mindless cut-and-paste from Slavic folklore. And I like Erraticerratta’s PGTE exactly because it is anything BUT mindless cut-and paste from anywhere.

      Also this world doesn’t look like it has requirements for Slavic culture – you need at least one Great river flowing between Easter-style culture and Western-style culture and lots of forests to produce one.

      From geography and Eastern-style culture of Praes we can excule impossible combinations – and only place where we have something that could fit prerequisites is Callow and Marchford but although they have some shades in a cultural sence, we have Callow’s language, tales, names and religion that doesn’t fit.

      So, Baba Yaga would be out of place. -_- Also, in this setting you don’t need her, really. You already have a lot of Heroes and Villains and Demigods and Gods who have the same specialisation.

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    1. Dainpdf

      I assume he has way over 100000 of them. He has an entire kingdom, after all. And then he has a bunch of devils, plus the tide of lower tier undead, and maybe some higher tier officers, even.

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      1. nipi

        Id expect at least a 1 000 000 regular undead to a 100 000 officers. I just dont see anyone ever testing the Dead Kings domain if he has multiple millions of undead soldiers on top of all the other horrors. Hed be too powerful considering the sizes of the armies we have seen thus far.

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  5. Skycom

    Hmm a difficult situation, but not impossible. My understanding is that Hune thinks that Catherine is acting as a chancellor amassing power to take the throne. The easiest way to clear up that misunderstanding would be to simply have Hune in the room the next time Catherine talks to the dread empress, to see how totally outclassed Catherine is as a manipulator.

    Catherine is a reformer not a revolutionary, if only because Black and Malicia are so reasonable. With the high lords neutralized, there shouldn’t be anything internally stopping Catherine, Malicia, Black from making those reforms. Except Blacks possible current insanity.

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    1. Zach

      The problem with this point of view is that Black and Malicia only pursue reforms because they happen to be the best way to maintain power and ultimately defeat Procer in the future. They (or at least Black) have no desire to make life better for anyone, and they wouldn’t be pursuing these reforms if the result wasn’t in their interest.

      Hune isn’t necessarily doubting Catherine has good intentions, but she doubts that she will actually have a positive impact in the long run. And she isn’t wrong to do so; Catherine’s impact so far has been extremely negative for most people outside of her inner circle (and Hune is basically a view into this less biased perspective). The current conflict was only possible due to Catherine’s actions, as she herself admitted some chapters back. So there is no reason for Hune to have any faith that Catherine’s actions are actually for the Greater Good, regardless of her intentions (and she’s right to doubt the inspirational words of a Named).

      I would be strongly mindful of a Taylor Hebert-esque unreliable narrator situation when it comes to viewing Catherine is a positive figure.

      Like

  6. Nguyen Hong Hai

    And as bad as Ogrekinds get now, it used to be worse, really not understand how the old Praesi managed to do anything without causing mass rebellions or widespread famines.

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    1. Dainpdf

      Who says they didn’t? I assume that their mastery of Horrible Sorcery was way more effective at putting those down (since there were no Heroes involved) than at invading Callow.

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  7. With the Truebloods pretty much extinct, once Diabolist is disposed of what exactly is stopping Black and Malicia from instituting all the things they wanted to, but couldn’t get away with before? Diabolist seems like the last remaining bit of internal dissent in the Empire.

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  8. Not really related to anything in this chapter, but I’ve got a theory that Cat’s going to have masego build an escapement into her Winter power. Since there’s no way to reasonable stop Diabolist from Claiming it (we’ve seen her do it with fae royalty already) the best option seems like it would be to let her take it, but have a spell woven in that makes it inherently unstable so it blows up in her face

    Like

  9. I do think she advanced her relationship with Hune, i specially liked her line about dying for other people’s dreams, but she got it wrong, is not that Cat is imposing her dream but rather she is making it so it fits inside or around other’s.

    Like

  10. AVR

    Typos

    of Imperial general,
    of an Imperial general,

    ogrewasn’t
    ogre wasn’t

    due of servant.”
    due of a servant.”

    Do no misunderstand
    Do not misunderstand

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    1. Akua would have at a hundred thousand wights and six thousand living under her command
      Either remove “at” or change it to “about”

      sought Hune instead of continuing down the spiral and of excuses and recriminations.
      Remove the second “and” (should be “down the spiral of excuses”)

      The orphanage saw lean month toos, Hune
      Change “month toos” to “months too”

      Like

  11. Perihelion

    ….without turning to banditry? You mean…..foraging? Armies used to do that all the time. It’s standard operating procedure. Except of course you call it plundering, which, as a military action was entirely legal, at least in the invading country.

    In fact, armies didn’t even bother with supply trains at all until late in the 16th century when they started to get so big (like, upwards of 100k big) that looting wasn’t viable anymore.

    I’m not sure why the *Legions of Terror* would bother with any kind of supply train at all to be entirely honest (with the exception of munitions I suppose). Unless they intend to mobilize an entire city or something.

    Like

  12. callmesteve

    She raises a point.
    What part of her precautions and actions are truly helping, and which ones are mistakes and things she was forced into by her alleged allies?

    Perhaps one day it will work, but as even she said, if anything happens to her, it all goes in the crapper. And she’s the only one who cares.

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