Sunday, April 24, 2016

After the Rain ep33 : Houses of the Blooded


After the Rain

Episode Thirty Three

Houses of the Blooded

The Quill finds its way to Rio.  Gil is with Rio and Lyra when the Black Hand arrives to deliver the artifact.  Rio speaks to the two of them about the army she needs, to defend everything else while Dalvinosh focuses on the coming of the others.  Lyra doesn't quite understand the fear of the other Shanri.  Rio insists they need to gain soldiers from the Foxes and Serpents and so she sends Lyra to know the mind of the Serpents.  She suggests Lyra look for the heir of the three sisters.  Lyra admits the tomes of those women were last said to be in the hands of Jarik.  Rio announces she plans to take on the Serpents themselves and she tasks Gillian to focus on finding an ork army for Rio to command.

Through the loyal Jeeves, James summons Jesse.  They speak about Szas, and discuss the fact she is watching over Cherno.  He takes the tunnel beneath the Provinces to reach the city of Catan and searches for the Spider.  The Spider, it turns out, is aware of Q'naldinir and of Jalani's situation.  Szas admits she killed someone to give James the face he wears as Ash.  As they discuss things further, they speak of Jaric finally embracing the use of Sorcery, and how the last tunnel was sealed with their names and then forgotten.  With Nia and Janine solidifying their stronghold in the senate over the last generation, the role of Cherno remains uncertain.  James chooses to leave him in Q'naldinir under the pretense of allowing him to let his art evolve.

Cassalanter finds herself seated at the far end of a majestic table.  Galeo sits at the opposite end.  The two discuss things, speaking of what has transpired and even visit the Garden.  There, Galeo admits she is excited since there remains less than a year before they will finally cultivate Shanri.  Galeo is curious to how her land is now owned by Cass and she even wonders about Hero.  Cass mentions that Galeo used to be a Suaven, and that statement confuses the Dragon of the Q'naldinir.  She remembers it to have been true for a while, but that when she died in Shanri, it was the time Seran had coldly left her behind.  Galeo is beyond petty revenge, however.  She sees herself reborn with the task to do the impossible: to revive Shanri from its ashes into a perfect new image - one of course she alone can define.  The Garden is grown to be a map of Shanri itself, and when Cass points out where she knows Galeo's temple to stand, Galeo is interested.  "Could there be another me around?"  Deciding it is time to rest, she calls for her servants who then carry her away to sleep.  Cass feels this place needs a proper queen.

Days pass and in Q'naldinir, Cass sees a gathering around a woman crying for her dead child.  The people around are muttering the name, "Cherno" out of all things they could say.  But Cass realizes the term Cherno instead means "to understand by never say aloud something," in this place.  A loud sound clacks and suddenly, everyone is simply walking away.  Cass pushes her way through the gathered and finds Galeo there.  She approaches her and tells her about Cherno, a subject that Galeo seems eager to hear.  She recognizes the debt she owes Cherno and shows Cass an unrooted anhill, which is exposed but undamaged.  Using a lens, she then proceeds to burn the ants and tells Cass how this captures in a way what she seeks to do to Shanri and the ven.  Cass mentions that she thought Galeo was in her own head for a while, but Galeo admits to having no idea what she means.

Galeo, however, admits the demon in her head has gone quiet.  Cass wonders if it has transfered to her own.  When Galeo tries asking, a response comes in Galeo's own motions... motions she cannot control.  Spoken through the Invisible Tongue, her own hand tells her, "You did make her the inescapable trap."

Rio and Gil leave Dalvinosh' Province, leaving only a note for the old fool.  They separate ways in hopes of accomplishing their goals sooner.  Rio visits the Duchess Jesse, but discovers she had left in a hurry, leaving even her own Maids and Personal Guard behind.  All the vassals are rushing to pack and follow suit.

Gill returns to Warriorsett and meets with Uvanla, Lukas and Artemisia.  Uvanla notices she's acting distant, and in response she evades the question.  She makes him promise to write on his wall where he can see, "If I don't return by the end of the year, find me."  Uvanla agrees and makes her promise to tell him her secret if he does find her.  Gil turns to Lukas and Artemesia and asks them to finally share their secret.  They admit they hope to take her away from the threats surrounding the ven.  They admit they are but tulpa and have been tasked to bring the children to safety.  When asked about the original, they refuse to give clear answers.  The earlier generation, it seems, were aware of the threat of those from Q'naldinir, and have asked Madelyn Yvarai to help them close the door leading to that place.  But when they learned they had no power to do so, the older group decided to buy themselves time.  Jalani volunteered to act as an intermediary between the two, but in truth was buying time for the others to fulfill some grand master plan. Janine and Nia have been building their army of ven and ork.

Rio uncovers a tunnel that leads to Citadel and even more interestingly, the tunnel supports a rail system.  Following it, the deeper tunnels go through wider winding routes.  The first few days of journeying through them are quiet and safe.  But days later, an alarm sounds as an Ork is sighted ahead!  What was about to become a fight is abruptly halted when the Ork claims to recognize Rio.  It turns out to be one of Janine's Orks.

James welcomes Jesse and seems unhappy with all the untruth she had been surrounding him in.  He is pissed off about the use of sorcery and of the fact he feels used.  She says that Artemesia and Lukas had visited her to explain why they are young.  James wants a Bloodsword and his insistence for one worries Jesse.  James seems final in his desire to have NOTHING to do with the others.

Lukas and Artemesia inform Gil of the ven they have been gathering to hide them at the Other Shanri and replacing them with tulpa.  The tulpa have been modified to last longer, but inadvertently now seemingly age backwards.  Gil admits to them that Nia spoke of war to come when the Season of Summer arrives, and this sends them to a panic.  Lukas even considers killing himself in order to send a message back to Other Shanri, but Artemesia remembers the Merchant receipt.  The ritual of the merchant is then used to deliver the message while Gil sends Lukas on Thanos, her Ork mount, to fly away. Gil brings up the topic of Haroun and how Dalvinosh has him imprisoned, and this almost tempts Artemesia to act.  But both decide it would be best to wait for Lukas.

Galeo is upset that Cherno has not accepted her invitation to lunch.  She decides to build and perform an opera to call him out.  Cass and Galeo talk about the Totem Rex and Cass mentions her desire to meet him.  Galeo insists he does not just meet anyone and even raises the fact Cass might consider replacing Jalani as the Elk.

The Ork tells Rio that the tunnels were part of Nia and Janine's plans.  They make their way all the way to Citadel which raises their alarm at her entry.  James tells her that Jesse is no longer welcome in his castle.  James and Rio talk about the events and Jesse's staff is sent away to go after her.  He shows Rio his face, and revealing his Ash persona is gone.  James is still quite bitter of the events but he reaches an understanding with Rio.  Rio tries to assign the job of talking to Szas to James, but he instead chooses to send Rio to do it.  James chooses instead to explore the unknown tunnels with the new sword Rio gives him.  Rio leaves.

Artemesia and Gil talk, and the two discuss how the goal is to save the bloodline.  Gil negotiates to delay the journey to the end of the season, admitting she has things to do for Rio.  Artemesia speaks of the sacrifices the old generation had made and raises the point that being ven has its place in the world, regardless of how they feel about things.  Gil asks Artemesia to take Uvanla away.

Cass asks Nolwen to help her create some guards and swords and the task is accomplished with the least of effort.  Cass begins dropping hints at a Romance with Nolwen, setting herself up as someone who can be seen as reliable and beautiful.  Cass even suggests Nolwen can use this occasion to make amends with the Dragon whom he had insulted.  The two carry the conversation more, and Cass begins to seduce Nolwen to feed her more information she needs. 

Weeks pass.  Cass is alone when she notices her reflection talking to her through body language.  The movement in the reflection are motions that are empowered by the Invisible Tongue.  The voice in her head whispers taunts and lies, even making Nolwen leave.  Cass begins to speak back to the reflection, speaking aloud because she wants the words to reach the Totem Rex' ears as well.  The voice is upset with Cass' choice to not believe her words and is insulted that she refuses to see that it wants to help her.

Galeo uses the five corpses of the servants as actors for her opera.  She names one Hero, the Husband.  She seems determined to create a masterful piece.  Little does she know someone watches from his lofty throne.  And Afhil stands nearby, watching beside him.
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