Interlude: Trust Is The Wager

“War itself has no worth, as it is a temporary state. War ends, and therefore its fundamental purpose is to shape what comes after it. It then follows that a war fought without the ambition of a planned peace is inherently a mistake.”
– Extract from the treatise “On Rule”, author unknown (widely believed to be Prince Bastien of Arans)

Yannu Marave had been taught, as a boy, to make a spectacle of honour duels. There were some who might have called such a teaching arrogant, a presumption of superiority in all matters of steel, but those people were not of the Valiant Champion’s Blood. The Lord of Alava had followed those ways as a young man, let the crowds roar with thrill and fear as he made sport of warriors. He had done this while master of the field from the first stroke to the last, and taken much too long to understand the sickness and cruelty of the act. Yet a duel fought for honour, for decision, could not be a dull affair. The resolution must be striking, the victory evident, lest other warriors wonder if their own blade would have served the cause better. And so Yannu Marave had left behind the ways of the champion, of a duellist, and instead learned the arts of killing. As his forbears had mad study of the slaying of armies and beast, he had learned to take apart men of all stripes. Warriors in plate or leather, hunters and Lanterns and even the strange-stepping slayers of the Brocelian’s outskirts. All these, and binders as well. He had learned to kill these, kill them quick and clean and without a fuss.

And so he’d opened the throat of Akil Tanja within eighteen heartbeats of their duel beginning, flicking his hooked blade free of blood and sheathing it in the same smooth gesture.

Even as the corpse of the Lord of Malaga finished tumbling backwards and life left the man’s eyes, Yannu of the Champion’s Blood had calmly asked of his fellow lords and ladies of Levant if any other wished to contest the decision to attack again after nightfall. From the corner of his eye he’d seen Aquiline Osega’s hand dip towards her own blade, her Slayer’s Blood boiling at the thought of the match that could be had there, but the young woman mastered herself. The Lady of Tartessos was a dangerous woman, for her age, and would only become more so with the passing of years. She bore watching. The Lord of Malaga’s son and heir, Razin Tanja of the Grim Binder’s Blood, was not so patient. His sword ripped free of the scabbard, cutting through the silence that’d followed Yannu’s question.

“By smoke and dust, I vow enmity between us,” the boy rasped out, his voice cadenced with old words. “’til steel has sung and shield splintered, let there be no truce nor breaking of bread by our hands. On the blood of my father, I swear the last abjuration: by my hand the earth will spit you out from your grave, denied rest in barrow and shade.”

Razin Tanja’s face was still streaked with the iron and red of his line’s facepaint, and though tall and well-formed the boy was in no state to fight the duel to the death he’s just forced. He’d taken a wound today, Yannu noted, which had torn muscle near his shoulder. The healing done had been later and lackluster. Still, a murmur of solemn respect shivered through the assembled captains and Blood of the war council. Though Razin Tanja was said to have blundered and overstepped at Sarcella, that he would be so unflinching in swearing revenge over the same man who’d flogged him was garnering respect. From his own captains most of all, Yannu thought, and that was for the best. Razin Tanja could not formally become Lord of Malaga until his foremost kin gathered to acclaim him before Gods and men: respect and prestige would be his only true claims to command of the war captains of Malaga.

“So be it,” Yannu replied, dipping his head. “When your wound is fully healed, I will meet you on duel-grounds.”

“Why wait?” Lady Aquiline mildly said, eyeing the two of them smilingly. “Send for Proceran priests and have it done and over with. Let us settle all our affairs before battle is given.”

The Lord of Alava met her gaze with clear displeasure. So clever she’d cut herself, that one, and too eager to see her last remaining rival to command of the other Dominion force dead on the ground.

“Shut your fucking mouth, girl,” Lady Itima of Vaccei said, tone conversational.

Aquiline Osena’s stare turned poisonous, when she faced the woman who’d had her two younger brothers killed. Itima was an old hand, and of the Bandit’s Blood, so she was unimpressed by the sight and spat to the side in disdain.

“Yannu, confirm that little bore from Tartessos in command of her army and let’s get this over with,” the Lady of Vaccei said, glancing at him. “The longer she talks the more I feel the urge to make another cup out of an Osena skull.”

“Remain civil, Itima,” he chided her.

“There is no civility north of Tartessos,” Lady Aquiline angrily said. “Only poison and-”

“Fewer of your siblings than there used to be, eh?” the older woman grinned.

Enough,” Razin Tanja hissed.

The two women turned to him with barely veiled surprise.

“My father lies dead on the ground, his corpse not even cold,” the boy said. “And you bicker over old feuds? I will wait until the end of this strife to exact my due from the Maraves yet you cannot even curb your viper tongues for an hour? Shame on both your lines.”

“Not yet lord,” Lady Itima drawled, “and already making enemies. Truly Akil’s boy, though with half the sense and none of the-”

“I name Aquiline Osena war leader of the southern host,” Yannu calmly interrupted. “Do any contest this?”

“Agreed,” Razin Tanja rasped.

“Agreed,” Lady Aquiline coolly said.

There was a pause.

“Agreed,” Itima Ifriqui conceded, reluctance purely for show.

They put it to the captains, afterwards, but with the Blood having spoken the matter was good as settled. Even the Malagans kept to the word of their young heir without qualms when enemies were there to see, though Yannu knew better to think Razin would not have to make private bargains with the most powerful to keep them following his orders.

“Then we are bound with common purpose of war,” the Lord of Alava said. “Let none stray until our enemy is broken.”

Already the sun was beginning to set, he thought. It would be a long night before their armies would be ready to strike at the Black Queen’s host, for soldiers were in need of healing and rest. Yet the time would come, and for the first time in many years an army of the Dominion of Levant would march out with the Peregrine among its number.

“The savages are cutting each other up,” Prince Arnaud of Cantal said with open disdain. “I believe one of their great lords was freshly butchered and even now is being set to flame.”

This small pavilion of hers, Princess Rozala thought, was near filled to the brim with royalty. She would have preferred to cut out near everyone here of the council being held, but with the situation what it was that would have been more trouble than it was worth.

“I have spoken with Lord Marave,” the Princess of Aequitan evenly said. “There was disagreement over strategy, and it was settled by an honour duel ending in death. Lord Akil Tanja was slain, and his heir Razin has taken lead of the captains of Malaga. He has been placed under command of Lady Osena, who is well-learned in the ways of war.”

“They’re Levantines,” Princess Bertille of Lange drily said. “How learned can they possibly be at anything?”

The ripple of laughter that went through the tent at the quip was enough to begin scraping at the bones of Rozala’s patience, which boded ill for the rest of this council. She was disappointed to note that the slightest trace of a smile had quirked Louis’ lips. It should not be held against him, she ultimately decided. Prince Louis Rohanon was a clever and decent man, but he’d still been raised Alamans. His ancestors had not fought a hard war to take Levant, unlike hers, or an even more brutal one to keep it. Rozala glanced at Princess Bertille and found the older woman watching her, an assessing look on her face. She was pushing, the Arlesite princess thought, to see how far she could go without being called to order. The temptation was there to immediately put her in her place – it would be as simple as ordering the other princess to take a walk, dismissing her before all the others – but Rozala knew this was not the hour for it. Bertille of Lange was useful to her, and would remain so for a long time. Best to only bare the knife when there was something to hold over her head.

“We will of course defer to your judgement in this matter, Princess Bertille,” Princess Sophie of Lyonis calmly said. “As is only natural, given your distinguished military record and extensive knowledge of the Dominion.”

The Princess of Lange reddened and Rozala Malanza had to smother a smile. Both at the harshness of the reply – Bertille had no military achievements to her name, and was not known as a great scholar – and the fact that Princess Sophie’s continued open dislike for her fellow royalty kept pushing them ever further into Rozala’s camp. Cordelia Hasenbach had picked her watcher for skill at arms and loyalty, not diplomacy. A mistake of some scale, as it turned out, for protracted campaign had tired the patience of everyone and tempers were beginning to flare more and more frequently.

“The Dominion is worrying me, all jests aside,” Prince Rodrigo of Orense spoke up. “They seem most unstable, Princess Malanza. Lord Marave’s scheme to attack the enemy camp was a failure, yet we are now expected to heed his plans once more?”

Rozala inclined her head in acknowledgement of his words, not in the least troubled by the question. After all, they’d arranged before the council for him to ask it.

“He spent only Dominion soldiery, if you’ll recall,” the Princess of Aequitan said. “Not ours. And this is not merely his own design – the Grey Pilgrim is at his side, preparing to fight the enemy we cannot.”

Even an oblique mention of the Black Queen was enough to chase any trace of mirth out of the tent. There were some here who’d not been at the Battle of the Camps, who’d not seen the crowned warlord of Callow split the clouds and drown men like flies or make sport of entire bands of heroes. There were some here who’d whispered behind closed doors that Prince Amadis Milenan and his armies had simply been cocksure and caught by surprise, and in the wake of that sloppiness tried to weave wild tales to avoid the blame. No one whispered such things anymore, Rozala thought. Not since half the people in this room had seen that spit of a girl tear out of the sky in a ripple of darkness only to nonchalantly set herself in the way of an army thousands strong without ever baring a weapon. Without raising her voice, or doing anything but smoking her eerie bone pipe and giving calm warning. Princess Rozala still thought of that afternoon, sometimes, of the death she’s seen in the other woman’s smile. It still had her shivering. The Black Queen was mad, but hers was a madness that had broken every army in her path. The Princess of Aequitan would not test her again without great care and many preparations.

“It’s still a fool’s notion, this night attack,” Princess Leonor of Valencis opined. “Chosen don’t hold ground, Princess Rozala. They can’t be relied on. When we take a swing at that palisade, the enemy will have goblins and drow waiting for us.”

Arnaud pompously cleared his throat.

“We don’t know for certain if drow see in the night, Leonor,” the Prince of Cantal chided, tone condescending. “Let us not make unwarranted assumptions.”

“They live underground, Arnaud,” Prince Louis sighed. “We can assume they see in the dark without it being unwarranted.”

“They could have very fine hearing,” Princess Bertille drawled. “Or mayhaps like bats it is their cry that is their sight.”

“Indeed, Bertille, indeed,” Prince Arnaud enthusiastically agreed. “My point exact.”

Sometimes Rozala wondered what it was like to be Arnaud Brogloise, the kind of person whose triumphant vanity would allow to take anything but the most obvious of mockeries as affirmation. It wasn’t like the Princess of Lange had even bothered with much of a pretence.

“The Chosen will be sent to match the Damned, Princess Leonor,” Princess Rozala said, dragging the conversation back to the earlier path. “We will not be relying on them for the fighting. I assure you, we have accounted for the drow.”

“That’d be why our priests have been in talks with the Lanterns for the last sennight, I take it,” Princess Leonor replied, eyes narrowing. “You won’t be saying more?”

Rozala flicked a glance at Louis.

“Lady Dartwick, the Black Queen’s spymistress, has agents in our camps,” the Prince of Creusens said. “We’ve caught and hung ten of these ‘Jacks’ already. As a result, it was decided that secrecy is to be paramount. If the enemy catches wind of our stratagems beforehand, I need not detail how much of a disaster this could become.”

“But you are aware of the details, Prince Rohanon,” Princess Leonor pressed. “And consider the notion sound?”

“I do,” Louis replied without hesitation. “Risky, but soundly planned and perhaps our only chance at winning this without tossing away fifty thousand foot taking that palisade.”

“Gods be merciful, then,” the Princess of Valencis sighed, “and ward us from the reaching claws of Below.”

“We will begin our advance two hours before dawn,” Princess Rozala informed them. “Camp fires are to be kept alight to mislead the enemy, and there will be no horns sounded for assembly. You will be all be tasked with seeing to your own soldiers, while I’ve appointed Prince Louis to command over the levies furnished by Her Serene Highness.”

“Glorious command indeed, my prince of Creusens,” Princess Bertille smirked.

The Princess of Aequitan’s eyes narrowed.

“As you’ve shown such spirit tonight, my princess of Lange, I expect you will have no trouble leading the tip of the wedge,” Rozala calmly said.

The other woman’s smirk vanished.

“There will be use for our horse then?” she said.

“We’re sending everything we have,” Princess Rozala grimly replied. “So is the Dominion. We’ll win or lose on the knife’s edge that splits night from dawn.”

Dark tidings, that, but they were Proceran and so they still toasted to the madness before dispersing to their duties.

Juniper, fresh awoken and only half-dressed, did not bother to ask Aisha if she was serious. Her Staff Tribune would not jest about such a thing, or wake her without being entirely sure it was happening.

“Their military intelligence shouldn’t be this bad,” the Marshal of Callow said.

She wordlessly leaned back to allow Aisha to tie her aketon, letting the Taghreb’s deft fingers handle the delicate clasps she could not reach. The touch was not distracting, but not enough that Juniper could not concentrate through it.

“Catherine’s readings of the Grey Pilgrim have been inaccurate before,” Staff Tribune Aisha Bishara noted. “It might be that these… goddesses from the Everdark have obscured the truths of the drow from our opponents.”

“If we’re lucky that’ll be the case,” Juniper grunted.

With the aketon properly on and no need for full armour quite yet, distance between them resumed and the Marshal of Callow’s mind turned to safer avenues than the golden glow of her old friend’s cheeks in the light of the torches.

“If we’re not lucky,” the Hellhound continued, “and that is to be our working assumption, they have a hard counter to the drow.”

“We are not without cards of our own,” Aisha reminded her.

“It’s still playing to the enemy’s tempo,” Juniper said. “I don’t like giving them what they want, Aisha, and that would be what we’re doing.”

“Should I order the Fourth Army and the assigned Legions to hold the palisades instead?” she asked.

The Hellhound breathed out, considering the lay of it. Would keeping the drow in reserve until the enemy had engaged better the situation? There was no way to tell, honestly. It’d be more prudent to bait out whatever plan the Grand Alliance had prepared early so that a defence could be mounted with it out in the open. Her warlord had made it clear that the tribes of the ‘Firstborn’ were heavies in the league of a Court’s field army, after night fell, but that kind of strength tended to be unreliable in Juniper’s opinion. She put more trust in overlapping lanes of fire and steady shield walls than in powerful but disorganized hordes.

“Keep them in reserve near the front,” Juniper finally said. “We’ll let the drow take the first crack at the enemy. But Aisha?”

Her Staff Tribune smoothly turned, eyebrow cocked.

“Sound the full muster,” the Marshal of Callow said. “Everyone in gear. This is it. I can feel it in my bones.”

Moro Ifriqui of the Brigand’s Blood, heir to Vaccei, checked on the leather strap keeping his javelins from jostling around his back with every step. It needed tightening, and though it was awkward to paw at the strap while keeping pace with the other skirmishers he forced himself anyway. Better a small embarrassment now than a mistake that might cost him his life in the heat of battle. The Vaccei warriors around him slowed when they approached the edge of the enemy’s range, where the spears of flame had been thrown at them from a great distance during the day. Knowing his role in this, Moro took the lead and bared the serrated sword that was sheathed at his hip.

“Honour to Levant,” he screamed. “Honour to the Blood. Honour to Vaccei!”

Screams repeated his words back at him, and twice more he repeated the ritual to fray the edges of fear and replace them with ardour instead. Only then did he scream for the advance, and the warriors marched into the field. Above them the Proceran priests wove miracles, globes of Light that cast down a glow over the stretch of plain leading to the palisade. Moro kept the beat of his warriors’ march steady, knowing it was not yet time for the charge proper, and as he moved forward cast wary looks at the pit traps the day’s fighting had revealed. Grimly, he thought to himself that without those being unearthed and the Proceran miracles lighting the way his charge would be little less than hurrying to honourable death. When the same massive sorcerous spears of flame that had been used during the day lit up the enemy camp, the heir to Vaccei felt a thrill of excitement and fear both running through his veins. Fear, for if he were to be touched by one of these his death would be instantaneous. Excitement, for there were no more spears now than there had been during the day and that meant…

Spread among the Vaccei warriors, the Lanterns laughingly called out their battle-hymns and jagged arcs of Light sprung upwards – fifteen, seventeen of them scything through the darkness of the night. They impacted the enemy’s sorcerous flames with a sound like claps of thunder, and though the miracles broke so did the enemy’s magic. Moro laughed, the battle-joy lending his feet wings, and picked up the pace. Behind him his warriors followed suit, the dauntless vanguard of the Dominion, and it was singing couplets from the Anthem of Smoke that the heir to Vaccei passed into the killing yard: the suspected outer range of the enemy siege engines. And it was true, for a mere two heartbeats later projectiles near invisible in the gloom began scything through the lines of his men. First the long darts and round stones of the ballistas, skewering flesh and shattering bones before a scream could even rip free of the throat.

“Scatter,” Moro yelled.

Had they been the lumbering, heavily armoured armsmen of Alava his warriors would have broken and died. But they were the followers of the Brigand’s blood, light-footed and fleet, ghosts in the dark and killers in the wet earth: the formation vanished in a heartbeat, becoming a loose mob of warriors charging forward at backbreaking pace. Moro laughed and veered wildly to the left, barely avoiding the geyser of snow and earth that was the introduction of the first enemy trebuchet. A woman behind him screamed when the large stone kept rolling and caught her, though the sickening crunch that followed told of a merciful quick death in the heartbeat that followed. The paints on his face running with sweat, Moro of the Brigand’s Blood forced his aching limbs to quicken and with another shout urged his warriors onwards. Through the first hail, and the most vicious. The enemy scorpions fired their long javelins with deadly accuracy that only cursed goblins would be able to muster in the dark, snuffing out lives wherever the whim took them. But beyond that, the warrior saw, there was open field.

At too odd an angle for the engines to be able to kill, too close to the palisade. In the glow of the Light globes he could glimpse the dry moat before the enemy’s rampart, and with a proud shout he ripped one of the javelins clear of his back. It was time to have the enemy taste Vaccei’s steel. Yet above the palisade, he saw, it was not legionaries that awaited but instead the grey-skinned devils his mother had told him were truly drow from the Everdark. Their gear was shoddy, he saw with a sneer, and would be no proof for a good javelin. Even better. One more step he took, and then a hand was laid on his shoulder from the front.

“Chno sve noc,” a guttural voice said.

Before the words were even fully spoken, his arm was gone up to the shoulder along with the javelin he’d been holding. Turned to dust, already gone in the wind. Moro opened his mouth to scream as a cold silver-blue pair of eyes contemplated him. The drow, for Ashen Gods it must be a drow, smiled and he saw a flash of obsidian before – before there was a spray of grayish blood all over him, and the creature fell split in half.

“Look alive, boy,” the Saint of Swords idly said, flicking the blood off her blade. “We’re just-”

Moro did not see her move, but suddenly her sword was angled differently and she was flying back, while a ringing sound like another blade had hit her echoed. Not, he saw with dismay, not another blade. The grey palm of a drow’s hand was extended where the Saint had stood, and slowly the creature straightened its back. The abomination was ancient, Moro realized, its skin horridly creased and its thick black veins visibly ridged. It wore a strange tunic of obsidian rings, belted at the hip, and its hair was snow-white and long.

“You again,” the Saint of Swords snarled.

The drow glanced at Moro.

“Boring,” it said in broken tradertalk. “Boring south cattle, no better Procer cattle. Run now.”

In the distance the rest of the drow began a strange ululating prayer. Rumenarumenarumena, they went, some sort of heretical hymn offered up to the sky. As the ancient drow turned its attention to Saint of Swords, Moro took the advice he’d been given.

He ran.

Sitting on a stone, legs folded, the Grey Pilgrim watched the battle and waited. For now, all was unfolding as he had foreseen.

So why, Tariq wondered, were the Ophanim murmuring so worriedly in his ear?

255 thoughts on “Interlude: Trust Is The Wager

    1. Insanenoodlyguy

      So far it looks good for Cat. Tariq thinks this is going just as planned. Normally, when you are the good guy chess master, that’s a victory, and so he’s comfortable in this.

      The problem is, he hasn’t realized how far he’s stepped into the villain narrative yet again. His side attacked during truce. His side turned down entreaties for peace, twice now. He personally broke an oath to the other side, and has helped to kidnap her father and split his body and soul. None of these things are how the hero’s roll, and his justifications just wont’ get away with it because that only works when the other side is so “evil” you have to bend the rules.

      The angels are worried because they know when the bad guy thinks it’s going just as planned is when things get real bad for the bad guy.

      Liked by 30 people

      1. antoninjohn

        Bad guy, you think Pilgrim is the bad guy. “All is unfolding as I have foreseen” ok keep copying Darth Sidious Pilgrim there is no way that could backfire on you

        Liked by 9 people

        1. “Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying!” — the Joker.

          So, Rumena versus Saint, which is basically Dragon versus Dragon — the respective power-brawlers facing off. Pilgrim is waiting on Cat, and his angels are… nervous? This is promising….

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Jarthon

            I think SoS will have a bit of an upper hand here, but it will definitely be fun to watch. My hope would be that the rest of the Mighty get involved in the same fight. Probably won’t happen, but that would be a fight on the level of Cat v Heroes at the battle of the camps.

            Liked by 4 people

      2. Halinn

        The reason that dealing with Black went so well? That’s because it was the first step of his plan, and we all know that those always succeed for the villain.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. NerfContessa

          Honestly, I would LOVE for it to. Turn out like this, though I doubt it will. He has too close a connection to Good via his whispers to make that mistake. As evil as they may be…

          Like

      3. Rook

        Most likely Sve Noc is obscuring the well from the sight of divine providence.

        There was foreshadowing there from the proceran side, where Rozala mentioned they’ll “win or lose on the knife’s edge that splits night from dawn”

        So pretty likely the ophanim understanf exactly how weak the drow are at dawn and the plan is to force dawn to break at a critical moment. It’d shatter half the Callowan army and it’d be a perfect chance to take out a lot of their heaviest hitters like Rumena.
        Only thing is the well Cat made is likely a contingency for that exact scenario. Something that forcibly creates localized night in a large area to ward off day or dawn.

        The Ophanim would and should be worried there, since it’s impossible to not notice a power source of that magnitude but it’s likely that Sve Noc’s interference won’t let them understand the nature of the well or how it’ll be used, meaning that all they know is that their foresight is currently not as reliable as it usually is.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. Part of me wonders if Pilgrim’s friends on the upperside have finally noticed that 1) Cat doesn’t have a Name, 2) the drow have been doing their own story things in isolation for so long that their plot weight tugs in non-standard directions (I doubt that the Bard has even bothered planting or updating any plot hooks in the Everdark for centuries to keep in reserve for a rainy day) and 3) that Below isn’t really invested in this particular fight (the one further north, sure — so, yoink: we’ll take that distraction, thanks… but, we didn’t need it…), since Sve Noc aren’t directly affiliated with any side but their own — and that’s basically “survival for me and mine”.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Andrew Mitchell

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’ve given me a bit to think about; especially your last point. I think we’ve already had indications that Below isn’t unified, so the question of how much much they’re invested in this fight is an interesting one.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. It’s not clear that Below “invests” in plans, or fights, at all. Above probably does (Augur, — note they apparently have a near-lock on genuine oracles, the Crusades in general), but Below seems to invest in people (of various species), and lets them make their own plans and fight their own fights.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. ______

      It’s more likely that he does know, since Cat specifically let him Behold Rumena’s fight with the Saint (that happened just after nightfall). So he has a good idea of what peak Night looks like, and probably how it operates, but since Cat started building the well way before that, all this amounted to was letting her decide when does the decisive engagement happen.

      She may now actually use her ability to control the tide of the fight to play up the “surrender” angle. Unless sun miracles outright destroy the Night in drow corpses, she can limit the effective casualties, and Kairos is still not in the picture.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. caoimhinh

        Notice how Pilgrim didn’t notice Rumena before it appeared punching Saint in the face, the Ophanim are worried now. It was stated that everything that happened in the Everdark was outside of the Angels’ vision. It seems more likely that they are reacting worriedly now because they are finally seeing the Drow in action, so the Angels have realized the Drow’s strength was beyond the expectation, otherwise they would have warned Tariq before.

        Liked by 5 people

  1. konstantinvoncarstein

    Even if the arrogance of the Proceran indispose me, they are write concerning the duels. It means that the chain of command can change in the middle of the campaign, and not even according to tactical and strategical competence. It seems pretty stupid to me

    Liked by 9 people

    1. IDKWhoitis

      It’s a way to end disagreements quickly, and prevent political bullshit at higher level decision making.

      Luckily the strongest man is smart, and is willing to listen to men smarter than him (Grey).

      Although this system could definitely fail with one incompetent musclehead.

      Liked by 6 people

        1. caoimhinh

          It happens so regularly that Yannu accurately predicted it would happen and about what the honor duel would happen.
          A twisted sense of Honor compels the lords and ladies from the Dominion to do stupid and deadly things.

          Liked by 7 people

      1. konstantinvoncarstein

        And we see it started a blood feud between 2 provinces of Levant, who probably will end in a war (if they are not all killed before the night is over)

        Liked by 5 people

        1. caoimhinh

          I bet Yannu will be killed by a Drow and bound by Razin with necromancy/bindings. Although I think he doesn’t have the Gift, or was he just not that talented? His father mentioned that as a reason for why Razin worked harder and thus was a worthier heir.

          Like

            1. caoimhinh

              Perhaps, but it’s an oath, so they might get away with it in such a case. Honor seems to dictate pretty much everything in the Dominion.
              What I actually find weird is that Razin doesn’t have the Gift, so he is no practitioner of magic of any category. His vow seemed to imply that Razin would cast the necromantic magic personally, but he would need assistance given that he can’t actually do magic.

              Like

                1. caoimhinh

                  “I swear the last abjuration: by my hand the earth will spit you out from your grave, denied rest in barrow and shade”

                  That screams Necromancy, whether as an undead or binding his soul in some other way is up to guess, but that’s definitely Necromancy.

                  Like

                  1. I am pretty sure he is being flowery about taking revenge in a regular way? I mean I don’t think Levantines practice anything they would themselves identify as necromancy.

                    Like

                    1. caoimhinh

                      Hmm, no, I don’t think so. The first part of his vow (“By smoke and dust, I vow enmity between us. ’til steel has sung and shield splintered, let there be no truce nor breaking of bread by our hands.”) is an enimity to the death and an oath to kill Yannu, the second part explicitly states his intention to bring him out of his grave to not let him rest in peace.
                      The first part is flowery language for murder, the second is flowery language for a promise of using Necromancy.
                      I don’t know about the rest of Levant, but the practitioners of Malava (soul binders) could very well be exempt from public scorn for that.
                      Remember that Razin is from the line of the Grim Binder, there’s no dishonor for him in using the arts of his ancestor, just like there’s no dishonor for those of the Brigrand’s Blood to use hidden blades and poison.

                      Another exception to the rule, like I said before, could be that he is only gonna use that necromancy on a sworn enemy with whom he had a blood feud for the killing of his father. Honor, or rather the restitution of honor, might exempt him from public scorn from other Levantines.

                      Like

      2. Qwormuli

        It’s a death sentence to an army. Dueling for honor(even not to the death) was banned by royal decree in quite a few European countries(like France, for example) for the sole reason, that it absolutely fucked their armies from top down.

        Fantastical story elements aside, it does not work, it hasn’t ever worked and it will most likely never work.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. naturalnuke

      When the society favors warriors over soldiers much less thought is put to things likes officers. They’re also better at handling it because the only strategy they have is ‘follow whoever at the top is’ and that doesn’t change even if the guy at the top does change.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Cat has remarked on that with respect to the Drow — in the Everdark they were purely warriors, with zero army discipline. I assume she’s been working on that, but I’d bet they still aren’t army regulars. That said, there’s a long scale for that sort of thing, and even the human armies here are basically feudal. They are not national armies where everyone is part of a single force sworn to Our Nation.

        Troops are loyal to their House nobles or even their own officers, rather than “The Principiate” or “The Levant”. (Cat has to worry about that too, but so far it’s mostly worked in her favor.) That means that when there’s disagreements at the top, especially on the battlefield, there’s no higher authority to pass them to. So, the beef gets settled by the principals there and then, and settled permanently.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I think Black specifically changed that particular problem in his Legions restructuring, and Cat has inherited the structure along with everyone in Callow understanding that fuck, this is the effective version, after how badly they got beaten by it.

          We are witnessing military progress right on the pages :3

          Liked by 1 person

    3. luminiousblu

      The point is to settle any dispute without any real recourse, since everyone saw you lose. Also, whoever lost is dead, so you can’t start shit during campaign to try to get back at your commander.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. luminiousblu

          Doesn’t really matter immediately, and it’s a lot less risky. Someone you humiliated in front of basically everyone who matters is going to come after you, his son may or may not.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Rogos

            Well, the Levantine way of resolving disagreements still seems idiotic. I mean, they just lost an experienced general who was also one of their most powerful binders (doubly stupid since we saw Yannu complain about Akil “pissing away” so many binders in the last chapter). And even if it had gone the other way, well, the Levantines would still have decapitated their own army by losing an even better general who is also a great warrior (though there are plenty of warriors to go around so they aren’t as much of a tactical asset / limited resource as binders or Lanterns). It’s a lose-lose situation.

            Liked by 3 people

    4. Naeddyr

      I think the Levantine Blood knows this. Notice how *political* the whole duel thing was? The first duel was the due they pay as Dominion leaders, but I think it was a kind of strange formality, because you notice how everything kind of slots into place right afterwards: the postponed duel, the choosing of the southern commander, etc. etc. They’re making the best out of a bad tradition, in a weird way.

      Liked by 4 people

            1. RanVor

              Yeah, and coincidentally he knows that he can’t beat Yannu right now. Blood feuds aren’t trivial things, and one not leading to escalation is almost unheard of.

              Liked by 3 people

            2. caoimhinh

              It has been going on for generations, and it’s not going to stop unless something big happens. Nothing short of the extinction of a whole line of the Blood or the Grey Pilgrim declaring it is going to end it (and Tariq said he won’t make that kind of call). The honour duels are so common that Yannu predicted not only that it would happen, but what the subject that would trigger the duel would be.

              Two of the Ladies have grudges with each other, Itima of the Brigand’s Blood killed two brothers of Aquiline of the Slayer’s Blood, and it was stated by the recently deceased Lord of Malaga that those two lines had a bad relationship spanning to the founding of their country.
              They have “honour wars” over this kind of things (and many others). Just because Razin (who I assume is the one you called Tanyusha, for some reason, LOL) is capable of waiting until the campaign is over to attempt his vengeance is no signal that this tradition is over. The head of a noble house killed the head of another, in a world ruled by stories like this, it only leads to a conclusion: war. Made more likely by the fact that such wars are part of the culture of their country, further strengthened by the oath that Razin just swore (It will be interesting to see if he actually binds Yannu’s soul after Yannu is killed in this campaign. Likely by a Drow, since I personally doubt Razin can kill him).

              Liked by 3 people

                1. caoimhinh

                  Indeed.
                  It is also interesting that Procer, Levant, Praes, and the Everdark (and allegedly the Rattlings, too) have suffered a lot due to the kind of wars that the epigraph warned us about: “Wars without planned peace”.

                  Liked by 1 person

              1. I think the tradition is on its way out not in the way that it’ll suddenly just stop happening, but that it’ll slowly decline in prominence, generation after generation. More limit of tolerance before declaring a blood feud, more willingness to set it aside for the moment under the circumstances, less actual viciousness and more showing-off in the process of pursuing it, eventually maybe acceptance of ritualistic outcomes other than ‘one of the two people is dead’ (surrender, injury beyond capacity to fight, etc).

                At some point during the decline likely outlawed by a ruler who sees the whole thing as stupid and disadavantageous and thinks they have enough clout to at least try to make it stick.

                Liked by 2 people

              2. Tanyusha is bc Tanja sounds like Tanya to me – a female Russian short name, see Tanya the Evil. Tanyusha is the next level of familiarity, like Bob->Bobby. I started calling Razin that since Beheld and it just stuck in my head as an affectionate nickname for him.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. caoimhinh

                  I see, hahaha.

                  Did you like Youjo Senki? It’s been a couple of months since I recommended it to you, never got around to ask if you had actually watched the anime.
                  It also has a light novel, though the updates of the translated chapters from japanese to english takes a long time and Yenpress got the rights for official translation, so they scared the free translators away.

                  Like

                  1. i remember trying the manga bc the premise interested me and quickly realizing just HOW uninterested i was in everything that it was actually about at first at least
                    like i dont care about
                    – evil protags (legit evil not like Cat or Amadeus lmao)
                    – depressing shit happening
                    – ww2 era tech

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. caoimhinh

                      😮
                      Ah, you should have tried the anime, it’s way better than the manga adaptation.
                      I would argue that Tanya isn’t so much evil as ruthless (she doesn’t commit any crimes, never harms others without a reason, and legit only wants to live comfortably without participating in the mess that Being X threw her just to make her a worshipper) and she is fighting for the good guys too (The Empire was attacked first, due to jealousy and fear from the other countries because it is too strong, and when one country wasn’t enough the others started intervening, so the entire conflict is the Empire fighting in self-defense) and the focus of the series isn’t so much in depressing shit but the battles of Tanya and in that world people fly with magic, so there’s actually very little mention of ww2 era tech.

                      But well, everyone has their taste.

                      P.S: Amadeus is way more evil than Tanya and has done way more wicked things, both in number and scale, lmao.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Hmm, I’ll try the anime maybe then.

                      Not now ‘coz I have a backlog the size of the moon already, but… noted :3

                      (Amadeus is a precious selfless puff of empathy thrown into an absolutely horrifying position, is Tanya?)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. caoimhinh

                      Kinda, there are similarities in them, but also lots of differences.
                      They are both cold rationalists and combat pragmatists in a fight against the world and do what’s required to achieve their objective. Both are madmen who won’t bow to the gods. But while Amadeus is a nationalist who picked a fight against the Gods for the sake of his homeland and is ready to selflessly die to win, Tanya is a selfish person who got dragged into her current mess simply for being an atheist who didn’t bow even after meeting ‘God’ thus was punished for it, forced to fight for her new nation and achieve victory if she wants to survive, when the only thing Tanya wants is to be left alone and live her life in piece but the God that pick a fight with her will just not let her be, throwing her into a horrifying situation after the other to try to force her to submit and pray to God.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Amadeus is a utilitarian, I’m guessing Tanya isn’t?

                      I will admit the ‘selfless’ vs ‘selfish’ part is a big point for me. I like heroes :3

                      (But yeah I’m going to watch it sometime)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. caoimhinh

                      She is kind of utilitarian in her decisions, but her life is still above everything else.
                      She is honestly not much of a good person, but she isn’t a villain either (although other countries see her as a devil of destruction), she’s an anti-hero at most, but she is an outright hero for her country (the Empire aren’t the bad guys, they are fighting in self-defense). Tanya is extremely lawful and makes a point of obedying rules, as she considers that a pillar of society.
                      Tanya is a bit similar to Cat in that while for her people and subordinates in her homeland she is a respected leader and a hero with a bit of harsh attitude who demands discipline, to the other countries she is seen as a ruthless psycopath who brings carnage to the battlefield. The perspective varies depending on what side of her gun they are XD

                      Liked by 1 person

            3. Why wait a couple of generations? They’re facing a basically apocalyptic war, and screwing it up by focusing on the leader who would happily have taken those rowdy legions and gone home, instead of the one that’s wiping out their cities for real.

              The question is, when this war is done with, will there be anything left of the Levant nobility? We already know that if there’s anything left of Procer, it won’t be by the Angels’ will; I imagine Cordelia and a few other Proceran notables might end up taking sanctuary in Callow.

              Like

              1. >We already know that if there’s anything left of Procer, it won’t be by the Angels’ will

                What? How so? Tariq certainly seemed intent on preserving Procer when he weighed in on the problem, and he’s the only Choir hero who did.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. When Saint was talking to Cordelia, she was quite clear that the plan from her side, was complete destruction and “build something better” on the rubble. Influenced by the Bard… (hmm, I wonder if Augur’s rebellion would have been Saint upsetting the applecart if the war didn’t pan out) Together with her story-fu-ups, I’m starting to wonder if SoS might have become a loose cannon on Above’s ship.

                  Liked by 1 person

              2. Kissaten

                Cordelia is told by the Augur that there will be a rebellion that will end Procer regardless of Dead King if callowans-praesi aren’t beaten in a fight, so procerans are led to believe that there’s a certain defeat in letting Black Queen go while fighting her may mean salvation. It is assumed that Augur is a pawn to Above.
                Dominion is led by Gray Pilgrim, who is also a pawn to Above. Levantines are just fanatics, nuff said. Maybe some of them may be reasoned with, but not all of them and not when GP is watching them so closely.

                Like

                1. >It is assumed that Augur is a pawn to Above.

                  Love the passive voice here. Who assumes that? On what basis?

                  Augur was likely chosen by Bard for her position because of how her prophecies are vague enough they can be interpreted to mean a lot of things with the right push – which Bard is an expert on supplying.

                  Like

                  1. Kissaten

                    Cat assumes so when she talked to Rozala last time. Tyrant thought (or lied/assumed it to push Cat in needed direction) so too when Cat talked to him.

                    Like

      1. caoimhinh

        Not political, cultural.
        The fact that it is a duel to the death is what settles this apart from the political way Proceran princes wage war in their game of “the Ebb and the Flow” between principalities. In Procer they beat the other prince’s army and the loser needs to make concessions to the winner, it is rare that they kill the princes, although that happens sometimes. Whereas in Levant everything revolves around honor, from the way they speak, the courtesies to guests from a host, the way to make war and the way they live. Honor compels them, so their duels ends in death.

        It’s simply that it has happened for so long that they are accustomed to it. Yannu accurately predicted that he would be challenged by Akil or and would have to kill him or one of his champions, either for halting the attack or for ordering an attack at night. Notice that Itima stated that the reason Aquiline wanted Razin to fight immediately against Yannu was to have Razin dead and thus her command of the southern army uncontested, so Itima prompted Yannu to declare Aquiline the commander before things could be complicated (likely with another honor duel, this time between Aquiline or her champion vs Razin or his selected champion).
        The duel between Razin and Yannu was postponed because Razin is level-headed enough that he knows now is not the moment for it, either because he knows he can’t beat Yannu yet or because he doesn’t want to further mess up the upper echelons of the chains of command. Yannu, on the other hand, simply said that he would fight Razin when Razin is in healed so it can be a proper duel of honor.

        Liked by 5 people

    5. Historical armies had rules against dueling, probably for exactly this reason.

      (Although this sometimes meant that the officers simply fought the duel in private and lied to their commander about what happened.)

      Liked by 3 people

    1. caoimhinh

      Almost every time we see Juniper’s POV there’s a bit dedicated to Aisha and how lovely she is. This is more intense and detailed when Aisha is in the room with her.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Yup.

        I only remember explicitly shippy gushing from way back when in Greenskins, but it’s also obvious from the side that they’re a lil bit married.

        Kind of want to see Aisha’s POV on the matter, I don’t think we’ve heard from her since Conspiracy

        Liked by 6 people

      2. For this chapter, I note “the Marshal of Callow’s mind turned to safer avenues than the golden glow of her old friend’s cheeks in the light of the torches.”

        Safer avenues indeed! I get that interspecies fertility isn’t an issue here, but still….

        Liked by 2 people

        1. caoimhinh

          The thing is that Juniper’s attraction towards Aisha has to battle with her Orc hunger and those two kinds of lust sometimes mix together. The most dangerous avenue of thought I remember Juniper having towards Aisha is in Kaleidoscope III:

          “The two of them were alone in the tent, at least until the rest of the general staff arrived. Juniper cast a look at the Taghreb, eyes lingering on the soft skin of her bare wrists. Such delicate appearance, for such a dangerous woman. The urge to sink her teeth into the warm veins warred with the urge to feel the softness with her own rough hands.”

          She wants to eat her in more ways than one ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Also, since Liliet mentioned the chapter “Lest Dawn Fail” (back in Book IV), I turned up some lusting after Amadeus, or at least his vicious rationality: “Had he been born of her people, Ranker would have killed anyone with the slightest claim on him and made the man her consort. There were still matrons in the Eyries that whispered he was utterly wasted on humans

          Also, <snicker> that while the dragon’s personal name is Nekheb, in the next breath it’s reintroduced as General Catastrophe. (I can’t believe I missed that first time round). And given the discussion there, his absence is probably because he has (again) flown somewhere and gone to sleep, eating anyone who tries to wake him.

          https://practicalguidetoevil.wordpress.com/2018/06/25/interlude-lest-dawn-fail/

          Liked by 2 people

      1. Daemion

        We also never saw the drow die. It might know the secret of regeneration or similar stuff to survive even lethal wounds.

        I also assume that the Lord of Silent Steps won’t attack from the front or play with its targets. It seems to be a rather competent assassin.

        Liked by 8 people

        1. konstantinvoncarstein

          Agreed on both accounts. And he seems slightly more loyal to Cat than the other drows, so it would make sense to not send him first in the meat grinder.

          Liked by 4 people

                1. mavant

                  Just for my own recollection – that’s only for Mighty, right? I vaguely think the first conversations with Ivah implied that dzulu have genders, but I’m not sure anymore.

                  Like

                  1. Ben Serreau-Raskin

                    As I recall, Mighty /is/ the closest thing they have to gender. If you’re Mighty you’re a person so no other consideration matters and if you’re not Mighty you’re meat so nothing else matters.

                    Add to that the fact that most of the current crop of Mighty (other than the old monsters like Rumena) would have grown up as Dzulu so by the time they become Mighty they’re probably used to not using what we’d recognize as gender.

                    Which makes me wonder, have we ever heard of a Mighty referred to by pronoun by anyone other than an outsider? I could easily see their sigil names function as their closest analogue to pronouns in an internal context.

                    (Speaking of Rumena, I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out what his archetype is. He’s a Pair Mei type, the peerless old martial artist who has outgrown social mores and morality. Makes him the perfect foil for the Wuxia protagonist Saint.)

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. caoimhinh

                      True. Back then Ivah said that gender pronouns are cattle-terms and the Drow are merely classified by power.
                      Notice that when Jindrich refers to Catherine in Beheld I, and when Ivah refers to Archer and even to Akua in, they use \It\ as the pronoun, even in their minds.

                      There’s also one instance of Catherine talking about a female Drow, they are called Womb-bearers, but there’s not much distinction, that Drow was Mighty and that was all that mattered.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  2. Nope, all drow are ‘it’. They have anatomy similar to humans that could be used to divide them into biological sexes, but their society doesn’t have social categories based on that.

                    The sisters are the only ones we’ve ever heard referred to with a human-like gendered pronoun.

                    Liked by 2 people

  2. Heh. The Ophanim are being worried at Tariq. This seems like a bad sign for the Alliance’s plan(s) here.

    Two hours before dawn? I mean … if they drag it out, the drow could have issues … but that requires having a way to keep things going.

    Seriously? You’re skeptical about drow being able to see in the dark? That really shouldn’t be something you should be arguing about. Even if you don’t know for sure, like was said, they live underground in a place called the Everdark – darkness or a lack of light/illumination is not a thing that’s going to hinder them enough to notice.

    RumenaRumenaRumenaRumena!
    Here’s hoping Rumena either kills Saint outright or gets out of this without risking being on the losing end of a Pattern of Three.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. IDKWhoitis

      Their plans may be exactly that, keep the fight going all morning long. I call Angelic schenaigns, like maybe Tariq was told it would be beneficial to fight during Dawn.

      Then turn up the heat right at dawn, with a potential heavy artillery or some sort of shock.

      Callow would get picked apart, as the fight gets too close for seige weapons to reliabily work.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Kissaten

        Maybe GPs plan is to get involved into the fight (like Gendalf bringing cavalry with the Dawn), and to get involved he has to see enemy’s Named intervening into the fight. Drow not being Named (and he must have assumed Rumena to be Named) at all foils that plan. Also, hopefully this kills the Saint.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. AVR

        It’s not like the Callowan Army or the Legions of Terror will vanish, and that’s slightly more numerically than the drow. Keep the humans and orcs fresh and change over in an hour and a half… even without the drow crashing at dawn it’s not a terrible strategy. Tricky to execute but they’ve got good generals.

        Probably Yannu and Tariq have some cunning plans on top of fighting at dawn but it seems the Ophanim are worried anyway.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. >Seriously? You’re skeptical about drow being able to see in the dark? That really shouldn’t be something you should be arguing about.

      I mean absollutely everyone other than personally Arnaud is thinking the same thing you are lmao

      Liked by 6 people

      1. caoimhinh

        And I would argue not even Arnaud is actually thinking that, he just say that to maintain his facade of being an idiot, which we know he is not. Everyone in Procer has been fooled by him and believes him an idiot, but he’s steadily winning influence, or at least never loses it. He even sends “cards to his bastard son” telling him about his travel and the situation in campaign, the last of that cards was shown in Fatalism III being in Cordelia’s hand and was what warned her of what the motion of an upcoming season of the Highest Assembly would be.
        So that guy is the most dangerous of the Princes of Procer, this is agreed by Catherine, Pilgrim, and Saint. It must not be forgotten that every stupid action of his is just an act.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. Rook

          Arnaud is by far the smartest person in that room, I suspect.

          If he was trying to dissuade people from the night attack, that idiotic suggestion he made is actually brilliant. It gets everyone thinking about the topic – how much of an advantage the drow have in the dark – and when they correct him they’re likely to ‘realize on their own’ how stupid it is to disregard that factor.

          At the same time, they don’t dig their heels in because it’s not someone correcting them and undermining their authority, and he doesn’t make enemies because they’re too conceited to think maybe Arnaud the “idiot” led them by the nose to that conclusion.

          Even in general, his reputation for straightforwardness and downright idiocy is a pretty safe position to be in. His enemies don’t want him out of the picture because you’d rather face stupid opponents than competent ones, and his potential allies rivals don’t want to displace him because they see an easy puppet to manipulate. If you’re competent enough to leverage that to shift public opinion without being noticed, it’s a damn good advantage.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. caoimhinh

            Indeed, that guy has kept himself as the third seat of the coalition that threatens Cordelia’s position (initially Amadis, Rozala, Arnaud and now it’s Rozala, Louis, Arnaud). He keeps himself in a comfortable position from which he is important enough to not be eliminated but not so important as to be seen as a threat. He is a master at manipulation and everyone around him thinks of him exactly what he wants them to think.

            The fact that he sent the card to his bastard son describing Amadis’ plan to make a motion in the Highest Assembly makes me think that he knew it would end up in Cordelia’s hands, which means he was conspiring against Amadis, probably because he figured Amadis would turn his back on him after becoming First Prince.
            Now Arnaud has not only participated both times in the Crusade against the Army of Callow (both times in positions were he avoids responsibility for the failure) but also has made meritorious deeds in the north against the Dead King, even making the other princes be on his debt.

            He is gathering force slowly but steadily, biding his time.

            Unless he is killed, Arnaud will be First Prince of Procer eventually, probably not right after Cordelia, but after her successor. He is a smart, cold, and very patient man, after all.

            Liked by 3 people

      1. Hopefully not, but Rumena Tombmaker is something of a well respected iconic figure amongst the drow, and has the personal might to contend with Named on an even-ish field. Plus was personally acquainted with Sve Noc before they became Sve Noc.
        It may not be particularly likely, but I don’t think we can completely rule it out.

        Point is, I’d far rather see Rumena kill Saint or beat her ass like a drum than see Saint kill Rumena.

        Liked by 5 people

          1. Saint might view Rumena as something of a rival due to being shut down hard and humiliated the way she was.
            Hard to say about Rumena, but it might (probably does, actually) consider Saint unfinished business.

            Still, as I said, the main point is, I’d rather see Rumena kill Saint, or at least thoroughly beat her ass, instead of Saint killing or beating Rumena.

            Liked by 3 people

          2. Kissaten

            If they are rivals, they will get a draw now since last time Rumena got a win. And a draw now might mean that Saint won’t be able to do whatever was expected of her in that plan of Grey Pilgrim.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. From what I understand, Step 1 *and* Step 2 are required in order to solidify a Pattern of Three. In other words, if two rivals clash and one of them wins outright, it doesn’t guarantee that the next time they meet it will be a draw. But if the next time they clash it *is* a draw, then it all but guarantees that the next time they meet whoever lost the first time has a guaranteed win (although as Cat has shown that can be subverted with the right planning, luck, and/or story mojo).

              Which means that if Rumena can’t win, it would actually be better for it to lose so long as the loss is nonfatal. Because Saint would be keen enough to turn a regular win into a lethal win, if she’s got a story-guaranteed win there’s almost no chance she wouldn’t capitalize on that for an outright kill. I would consider it plausible that if Rumena can’t finish off Saint then Cat plans to let it lose before she intervenes and saves Rumena’s life to protect it from a draw that would solidify an unfavorable Pattern of Three. Hell, Rumena’s cold-blooded and strategic enough it might actually agree to that in advance and lose on purpose if it can’t win outright.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Forgot to add – IIRC, an extant/unresolved Pattern of Three also provides the participants with some story-based shielding against external parties. Since Cat definitely wants to keep the option of killing Saint on the table, I think she’d be keen to stop a draw between Rumena and Saint for that reason as well.

                Liked by 2 people

          3. And, even if Saint thinks in the terms of rivalry, Rumena very much isn’t. Cats don’t view a pingpong ball as a rival, after all. Source of fun, yes. A challenge to get out from under the dresser, sure.

            But only another cat can be a rival. Saint is cattle. 😉

            Liked by 4 people

  3. IDKWhoitis

    Only Catherine would create a field of death where Angels fear to tread.

    I’m guessing that whoever reveals last, wins.

    We have accounted for the Goblins, Traps, Drow, Lanterns, and 90% of the named on the Alliance side.

    Only that sorcerer, Cat, and the Woe are hiding at the moment. And I have a feeling that Cat and that Sorcerer are in the same place.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. SilverDargon

    “Maybe the Drow can’t see in the dark.”

    Not going to lie, when I read that, I legitimately burst out laughing. Here I am all by myself in the dark, just giggling to myself in the corner of my room. I’m sure that if anyone came in here they’d probably think I was a bit mad. But for real-

    “Maybe the Drow can’t see in the dark.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Liked by 17 people

    1. Clint

      Even in the short term, they should all be worried about what Tyrant will do to whittle down their armies while they’re fighting each other, and even more about what Heirarch will do to the peace talks after.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. konstantinvoncarstein

      Yes, he is in charge only because he is the only competent drow general. The kabal trying to kill Catherine in Great Strycht was composed of even more powerful Drow.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Juniper: Worried that the Procerans have some counter for her having the equivalent of hundreds of Named and thousands of troops who are individually worth ten of the enemy.

    Procerans: Worried that maybe the drow have night vision.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. God, everyone keeps misinterpreting this.

      Pilgrim is the one with the counter, which most Princes and Princesses don’t know about. Arnaud is playing at being the stupidest of them, and none of them actually seriously think the drow might not have night vision.

      Liked by 7 people

    2. caoimhinh

      1) What Lilliet said.

      2) Juniper is doing the sensible thing: assuming their side isn’t lucky. Pilgrim has a counter prepared, just that it probably won’t be much effective, and Catherine also has a counter for that counter.

      3) They aren’t Named equivalent, they are equivalent to battle priests and warlocks. Only the strongest of the Sigil holders are mighty enough to be considered Named equivalent. But yeah, the Drow are going to beat up the Grand Alliance army. Hard.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. konstantinvoncarstein

        In Great Lotow (not a particularly important city), Catherine fought one of the weakest sigil-holder and barely win. She said that William could have won only with a really good story. So practically speaking, any sigil-holder worth their salt would be a Named.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. This comparison is inaccurate, IMHO, on a very basic level. It’s like comparing mages to priests, or siege engines to infantry: they’re different things to begin with.

          Named are empowered by the story and driven by the story. Their matchups are not determined by power level numbers, like, at all. There aren’t any numbers that aren’t subject to the dragon vs peasant with sword principle. Yes, power levels do come into it somewhat as part of the story, and that’s what Catherine evaluated, but…

          1 Named + 1 Named =/= 2x the power of Named. And while normally 1 rylleh + 1 rylleh = 2x the power of rylleh, there’s no guarantee the math will hold against Named on the other side. Rule of Conservation of Ninjutsu is not something that works in drow vs drow fights, but once Named enter the picture, it very much starts working.

          So the same story that would need to be very good for Wiliam to beat someone on the level of Mighty Urluk (or whatever its name was exactly), might, once it is, be also good enough for William to beat 100 people on the level of Mighty Urluk, too.

          Like

          1. konstantinvoncarstein

            By “practically”, I mean in term of firepower and destructive capabilities.
            I totally agree with you, Named have Fate influencing their actions. But Mighties against non-Named is not the same thing. And story or not, a truly overwhelming firepower or number can tip the scale. As exemples, we have all the heroes that Catherine and Black killed in Callow, and those who died attacking Keter.

            Like

            1. I mean, firepower and destructive capabilities differ from Named to Named to a ridiculous degree.

              As for heroes vs Cat and Black, don’t forget that they had quite a bit of a story at their own backs. And in Keter, too, the firepower factored into the story, not overwhelmed it. Stories bend, not break, unless people make choices incompatible with them.

              Like

            2. …all that aside, “how many non-Named can X or Y mow down” is a more fair comparison to make than “who will win between X and Y”. And even then my point is that Named work differently enough than drow that it’s still comparing ‘100’ to ‘the interval between 10 and 1000’

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Dainpdf

    It was then that Tariq knew that he had ducked up.

    Also, nice to see Razil standing up there. Cat definitely saw potential in him. Now let’s hope he doesn’t become a pebble in her boot.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. RoflCat

    Yep, Rumena definitely pick up languages just to trashtalk all of his opponents.

    I’m also 90% sure he can speak fluently, but is speaking this way just to add more savage touch to it.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. I mean when you’re 3000+ years old and you’ve lived through a couple dozen linguistic shifts or so, I figure picking up new ones becomes just something you resign yourself to doing on an irregular basis. “Ah darnit, no one’s getting my piercing witicisms anymore, time to brush up on whatever this new grammar is”.

      Liked by 11 people

        1. Valkyria

          I bet it was just like shopping for him.
          “Hmm… what to get today… seems my grammar is a little outdated… let’s pick up some fresh vocabulary on the way home!”

          Liked by 7 people

    1. Tariq just walked face first into an “all is as I have foreseen” trope against an opponent who is shielded from his piercing gaze by divine aid, who is attempting to take her father’s soul back from him and unify the land in a war against a great evil.

      Hoo boy, our poor Pilgrim really has gone full villain narrative hasn’t he?

      Liked by 15 people

  8. caoimhinh

    I agree with the extract from On Rule. There must be a clear purpose for war and it must be fought with sights on future peace, waging war just for the sake of it is stupidity and a wicked thing.

    They are fighting two hours before dawn so it will be a race against time to beat the Alliance enough so they retreat before the Drow get weakened, unless the Well of Night (proposed tentative name) can actually delay dawn or prolong the time of Night strength for the Drow.

    Heh, Rumena even knows a bit of Tradertalk? This Drow is on a quest to be able to trash talk and verbally burn people in every language, LMAO.

    No, Pilgrim, NOTHING is going as you have foreseen; it is going as WE, the readers, have foreseen, which is you getting your ass kicked and slaughter for the Grand Alliance army.
    The Angels have no vision in the Everdark, your Aspects can’t see Sve Noc, you couldn’t even detect Rumena when it was standing in front of you guarding Cat before it revealed itself to beat the Saint of Swords. What makes you think you can foresee what your patron Choir can’t, Tariq?
    Arrogance is the cause of fall for the mighty, be they Evil or Good.

    This is gonna be awesome.

    Typos found:
    -had mad study of the slaying of armies / had made study of the slaying of armies
    -You will be all be tasked / You will all be tasked
    -The touch was not distracting / The touch was distracting

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Valkyria

      While it’s true that there will be a race until dawn hits, it may be good to consider that when dawn comes, the legionairs will gain there sight back as well.
      So it’s likely the drow trying their hardest to get rid of as much enemy forces as possible (keeping in mind the limit of acceptable losses Cat set) and just before dawn they’ll be called back and switched out for human fighting forces.
      Even if the enemy isn’t 100% certain of the _dawn is the limit_ thing, Cat and Juniper are so they will have measures in place to get the most out of this situation, should the fight really be dragged out until dawn.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. caoimhinh

        True, the Drow must now act as a tactical squad or a fast assault unit. Taking down as many enemies as possible before returning to the inside of the palisade. If dawn is in 2 hours, the Drow have about one and a half hours to act.
        The problem would be that without the 50 thousand Drow, the Alliance army outnumbers the Army of Callow.
        This is of course, if the Well of Night doesn’t actually extend the duration of their effective time.
        My expectation is that the Grand Alliance army will suffer thousands of casualties and call for a retreat.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Valkyria

          I think it would’ve been nice to see how many casualties the Allience took in the last battle. They lost a ton of “special forces” and also a lot of skirmishers to the rituals, pits, goblins, etc.
          Cat’s side lost a few goblins and maybe a few knights? (not sure if you can just charge with cavalery without a single casualty though I expect them to be very small)

          Would be intresting how much superior the Allience really is in numbers.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. caoimhinh

            The casualties should have been minimal. The alliance advanced slowly using their priests to find the traps and open a path in the northern army and using the binders and their constructs for the same in the southern army.
            We only got the casualties from the southern army, around 1000 soldiers and 30 binders. It seems like there wasn’t much of a fight in the north either because Moro (who is from the northern army) mentioned that the range of the siege engines was suspected (not confirmed) so the northern army advance didn’t reach the range of the siege engines during their previous fight, which also means that there were no legionaries dead. It seems Yannu halted them and ordered to fall back as soon as a safe path to the palisade was found.

            Liked by 2 people

  9. Andrew Mitchell

    So, a lot of us here have recognised Pilgrim’s “everything is going as I have foreseen” as flagging that things AREN’T going to go the way he thinks. I’m cheering for that too, and I’ll enjoy it when I see it.

    I’d also like to point out an area that gives me cause to think he’s still got a chance to realise his mistake in time to mitigate the looming CATastrophe. The closing sentence is what’s worrying me:

    “So why, Tariq wondered, were the Ophanim murmuring so worriedly in his ear?”

    If Tariq REALLY thinks about this, it looks to me that he’s got the chance to turn things around.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Valkyria

      What I think about that is that the Pilgrim might be too focused on his way being the only right path. He believes himself in the right way more often than not and I think Cat’s using that to blindside him.
      I’m not saying he’s stupid because, duh, he is not. None this stupid could stay alive this long.
      IMO the Pilgrim is too deadlocked in his own Name and Role, too see the broader picture for exactly what it is.
      Also, Cat’s been a thorn in his side for quite some time now so no matter how much serene wise old mystery man he is, he is also bent on fitting her into his plans to make the world like it should be.
      I’m saying that I’m not entirely sure that the Pilgrim hasn’t lost a lot of reason focusing too much on a singe stone in his way.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. caoimhinh

      And still, he’s screwed because he isn’t supposed to enter the fray before Catherine does, but with the Drow kicking the Alliance army’s collective ass he is going to have to reconsider his approach.
      It might even be Tariq who calls for their armies to halt the attack and retreat (thus mitigating the damage from the CATastrophe), and maybe bet it all in his encounter with Catherine in Arcadia, which in turn will make the allied army’s command to fall into Rozala’s hands, given the repeated blunders of the Dominion lords’ plans (I’m also guessing Yannu will die in this fight, although he is an interesting character).

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Tom

    Hoping for a Jindrich perspective in the next interlude 🙂 though since the Saint and Pilgrim are both occupied I’m not sure he’ll have anything to get really angry about… And there’s no towers nearby to rip up and use as a mace either 😦 maybe Robber can help him come up with something.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. A drow famous for going berserk, being Rumena’s main competition and essentially transforming into an armored giant. He was a tentative ally of Cats becuase he hated Rumena. Rumena mentioned he was the only other Drow that remembered the time before Sve Noc in their city, he was just a child then though.

        As far as I know, he probably died when Winter went out of control. The only confirmed survivors of named Drow (as in we know their names not Named) are Ivah, The lord of Shallow Graves and Rumena I think?

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Ultimate_procrastinator

          If I recall correctly, we had a Jindrich perspective in the interlude when Cat rescued Abigail’s army. He had a great deal of respect for Robber’s ability to mouth off at everyone, and took Cat’s advice on madmen making miracles very seriously.

          Liked by 7 people

          1. You are correct. I thought that was the Lord of Shallow Graves because he acted nothing like you’d expect from a berserker.

            Apparently he is called Lord Soln, not sure how I mixed up those names.

            I really hope we get some perspectives from the surviving Peerage.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. caoimhinh

              You really should go back and read those chapters again to check the Drow names, most are hard to remember since they aren’t mentioned often.
              Soln is a different Drow, one of the nine members of the Peerage that swore oaths to Catherine in Great Lotow, whereas Jindrich is (as was pointed by Ultimate_procrastinator above) the berserker that made an alliance with Cat when she was in Great Strycht and was the Drow POV we had in Interlude: Beheld I.

              In case you are curious, according to Book 4 chapter 69, the nine original members of the Peerage are: Ivah, Soln, Slaus, Sagas, Nodoi, Vasyl, Losle, Zarkan, and Kanya. But others were added when she reached Great Strycht and some died during the battles there.

              Liked by 4 people

  11. Surprised nobody mentioned this but the chapter title is the reference to the last line in The Girl Who Climbed The Tower: trust is the wager that takes your life.

    Might refer to the armies in general since both put their trust in their leaders. I was thinking it could also be Pilgrim and his dependence on Ophanim but his significance to Levant makes it unlikely he will be killed. Probably not Cat, dying the fourth time would be in poor taste.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. caoimhinh

      Thanks!
      So we have one from The Tyranny of the Sun (West, ever pursuing), one from In Dread Crowned (Graves we have yet to fill), and now one from The Girl Who Climbed The Tower (Trust is the wager).
      Which song would be next? Maybe the Chant of the Dead, that old Kharsum song? If so, then the chapter is likely to be called ‘Come to Die’. Hmm, ominous.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We’ve already had one named that, we’re most definitely not going to have a redux here without a stronger thematic tie. It’d be another line from the song.

          Like

  12. Okay, so my guess is Pilgrim is trying to bait the drow out. That’s why he chose to fight over the night so the drow would feel overconfident and head out. Then, when they’re all good and engaged, he makes the sun to weaken them and attacks with priests and Lanterns. He probably isn’t accounting the well that’s been made to counter the sun.

    Second, as much as I’m looking forward to the fight between Rumena and Saint, I don’t think Rumena will win it. Either he’s not gonna try or he will but won’t succeed. Catherine has been praying every night to the staff that isn’t the staff but a sword, and sword that isn’t the sword but a prayer, all to kill Saint. I doubt that action will just fall through. Unless Rumena has her staff.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. konstantinvoncarstein

      It will probably end in a draw, or he will retreat to let Catherine handle it.

      And what could the staff do? A super-Night-death-ray seems a bit too unoriginal to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jason Ipswitch

        My guess is that it’s going to be enough of an obvious super-potent sword and/or metaphysical weapon to get Saint to try her usual headlong “I kill it /I cut it” tactic, when will in turn end up feeding her directly to Sve Noc. Forewarned and prepared, the goddesses who ascended with Night and devoured Winter will finish Saint utterly before she even knows what’s happening, and give her a fate far beyond Pilgrim’s ability to resurrect her from.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Douglas Johnston

        She mentioned that shes using miracles for support instead of attack now, right? Maybe she’s using it to buff Rumena for his fight with Saint

        Like

    2. Agent J

      Honestly, that prayerswordstaff is way too epic to waste on Saint. I mean, when Kairos asked Cat who it was meant for, how do you think he’d have reacted if she said it was to rid herself of some low grade bully? Disappointed, I say.

      I hope Rumena kills the dim brute and Cat gets to use her sword on the god they dug out of the lake instead. Let her earn the epithet “the Godbutcher”. Much better than “the Saintslayer”.

      Catherine Fucking Foundling, the Black Queen of Callow, the Arch-Heretic in the East, the First Under the Night, the Lakeomancer, the Godbutcher.

      Why yes, that is her legal middle name.

      Liked by 4 people

  13. Valkyria

    I can’t keep the image out of my head since that Princess said it:

    Rumena screeching like a bat while fighting with the saint.
    “Skreee-skreee- I will find you unworthy cattle- skree-skreee-skreee!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. erebus42

    Awsome, and as always the procerans are such pricks. They really should be grateful for the Empire because without it they’d probably be the ones getting saddled with all the villainous roles.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. mindsword2

    Hmm. Worst case scenario time.

    Could this battle be considered a competition between GP and Cat? if so, a draw here will give him his free win down the line.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Aotrs Commander

    So, remind me in any other context where the leaders of one side are all law-aiding and professional and the other are fractious, argumentive and playing for power who will kill each other for honour duels (LITERALLY in the middle of a major battle engagement, the lull between day and night clash is still the same battle), which one would be wearing the white hat…?

    ‘Cos I don’t think in any other context, it’s the latter…

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Aotrs Commander

    Oh yeah, also… What part of “night attack” includes “hey, let’s light ourselves up so that we can see, so that even the HUMANS who do’t have night vision have a load of nicely lit silhouettes to shoot at!”

    The point of a night attack is to NOT BE SEEN while you creep up on the enemy. Giving away you’re making a night attack by stomping in with all the light sources (highlight your clerics for sniper fire, no really, that can’t possible go wrong) is defeating the ENTIRE POINT.

    LICHEMASTER, these people are stupid.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. My bet is the priests are going to try and summon dawn like an hour early. They will have limited power without the pilgrim so they can’t be too ambitious in their miracle.
    This will be easily undone by their Well of Night, forcing the Pilgrim to throw his weight in behind the miracle to save their army.
    This will let Cat pull off whatever shenanigans shes aiming for.
    Then Portal f*ckery will occur and reset the board.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Xinci

    Truly what a waste, Akil could have been just as important as saint for actually locking away Dead King.
    A weakpoint of the Blood system vs the Night definitely seems to be conservation of the power potentially lost in internal strife. They can bind their enemies but every Levantine death weakens their system(Even if strife does give some form of offering to the Gods Above which may help the Levantines or Good’s greater system).
    Interesting that Rumena went against Saint alone I would think a pack of Drow in the dark would work better but the Longstriders are unfortunately dead or depowered. I do suppose they arent supposed to kill her so fairs fair.
    Was still nice to see the levantines in battle. Though specialized and thus fragile alone they could be so much better together. Like a heroic band but with each member a army, working like limbs for their goal. Its really too bad that kind of story isnt around at the moment.
    So the Lanterns and Priest probably were informed or felt the changes in Creation due to the Night at some point and were holsinf meetinfs over it. So I wonder if those orbs of light will effect Drow negatively or they will use other tricks. Also interesting to see the Lanterns tricks. Did they learn after their previous “hunt” and adapt similar tactics from the Light?

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Xinci

        The most powerful,experienced and influential binder of souls. Didnt matter if he was Named.He would be invaluable for sectioning off and imprisoning the parts of the Dead Kings soul Saint cuts off.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Xinci

            Somewhat, as her ablity to bind kind of relies on her being in a position of power. Diabolist make deals,contracts and bindings but not like a Binder. Diabolist disnt deal with kepping souls whole.Not mentioning some of the issues with usimg her like that while cooperating with the Alliance.

            Liked by 1 person

  20. Shoddi

    “Forward, the Light as aide!”
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not though the soldier knew
    A possible blunder by Yannu;
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Drow
    Strode the Levantines.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. All this discussion about Story coming to a head between Black Queen & Gray Pilgrim got me thinking: Isn’t the original wager between Above & Below about the degree to which mortals should be ruled? Above favors a hands-off guidance approach, while Below thinks they need ‘direct supervision’, as it were. I wonder if the Pantheon is subject to the ‘grooves in the road of fate creating Roles/Names’ principle. Like the purpose of the original bet has been lost to the eons, and now they are simply vying for traditional Good & Evil principles.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That sounds typically right, but the prologue isn’t so clear: “The Gods disagreed on the nature of things: some believed their children should be guided to greater things, while others believed that they must rule over the creatures they had made. So, we are told, were born Good and Evil.”. Based on this, it seems that Above wants to encourage mortals to evolve naturally (guidance), while Below wants strict adherence (rule).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The point of the prologue is ambiguity.
          Nobody has clean hands or a monopoly on rightness or on good or evil.
          The labels are just PR. And the guys who actively direct their agents in a loosely concerted strategy have better PR than the ones who don’t care about what those who follow their beliefs do or how they follow their beliefs.

          The Heavens have demonstrated that they require their selected Named obey their directives, and if you’re linked to a Choir, you’re liable to be micromanaged in pursuit of their interests.

          Below doesn’t micromanage their Named. Below gets reached out to be people, they don’t force their message or influence on people.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Kissaten

          Above wants to rule, therefore they get to decide what’s called what, even before the battle’s done. They are the Good guys, their enemies are Evil guys, and we know who always wins.
          Below doesn’t care for names, they let their champions to strive for whatever greatness they want, be it Massacre, Irritant or Benevolent. So they get to be the losing side, but oh how glorious their loss would be.

          Like

          1. Something to keep in mind: while both Above and Below were sitting back and waiting for the drow to implode/ get wrecked by the neighbours… The sisters were trying to turn into hands-on, ruling, local, fuck-up-reversing goddesses.

            In short, Below peaced out because turning Godkinglet to shake one’s fist at the heavens before your fantasmagorical end (however long that takes) might be their thing, but just sucking at “self-cannibalising survival, governance and generally trying to steer clear of others until the books get balanced” ain’t. Yet Above didn’t adopt them, mainly because they didn’t try to redeem themselves using the correct obsequious paperwork… Which likely nobody thought to tempt them with. Because Evil is Evil is Evil and Good doesn’t negotiate with…. well, anybody. 😛

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Look to their servants, nations and the names that serve them to see the nature of Above and Below.

              Above: Kings who rule by divine decree or inheritance and Priests who deny other powers and return things to normal. Angels that control people. Good nations are all about humans being judged by gods and knowing their place. Peasants and kings till you die and your children assume your role.

              Below: Tyrants that seize power and Warlocks that unlock secrets. Demons are dangerous tools who only come when summoned, not meddlers like Angels. Evil Nation’s are all about people judging each other, either through voting or meritocracy.

              Liked by 2 people

  22. StarlightGlimmer

    Good must lose to Evil at first before Good finally triumphs. The earlier Evil defeats good, the less unnecessary suffering. And I hate unnecessary suffering.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. kotekj

    So, this was bothering me since the meeting with GP… but he’s trying to force Cat into a story of 3, yes?…. can’t Rum and SoS supercede that? If Rum forces a draw here, as his “win” against her earlier wouldn’t that supercede Cat and GPs and render it null?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Andrew Mitchell

      Probably not IMO. For a couple of reasons.

      1. There are factors that may be a barrier to Rumera and the Saint establishing a story pattern. There’s the question of whether Drow can actually be a major actor in a story given they haven’t interacted with the rest of creation for so long they may not have worn any grooves in creation to fit a story. In addition, some commenters have mentioned that there needs to be a rivalry for a pattern of three an questioned whether Drow can actually have that rivalry with “cattle”.

      2. If Rumera and the Saint do get into a pattern of three that would be their own story and I think that means it’s separate to and different from the pattern between Cat and the Grey Pilgrim.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Andrew Mitchell

            Not just understandable but, I would argue, in fact they are an essential element of EE’s story-telling. When I try to imagine what this story would be like without the POV’s of Hakram, Vivienne, Juniper, Cordelia, Tariq, etc. I see a story I would have stopped reading a long time ago.

            Like

Leave a Reply to Someguy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s