And welcome to this chapter read-a-long from chapters 46 to chapter 64! The Trouble with Peace was an absolutely fantastic book and I’ve tried to remain as accurate as possible to the summary of events that go on. But the entire novel is fantastic, and I’ve really enjoyed the Trouble with Peace. It lends so well with the third book, which is releasing today! So go buy it now! Also, I’ll be reviewing book 3 as well! Without further ado, let’s begin! Thank you to Will at Gollancz for providing me a review copy to read and review this. You can also find my review here of Book 2!
Chapter 45: Some Men Can’t Help Themselves
Broad is a man that misses war, having served in the trenches of Styria, a man that has had more brutal scrapes before the events of this Age of Madness that he is currently finding himself in as he serves Lady Savine. He has yet to keep his promise to his wife, Liddy, to not get involved in any more disputes. But a soldier is always a soldier. Some soldiers can’t resist the temptation of war, and therefore, if they can’t fit into civilian life, war is a natural fit for them. They ambush a large armoured caravan that escorts the Bank Manager of the Valbeck Branch of Valint and Bank. Dragging the bank manager out, Judge takes the case chained to his wrist. As she has the key, Gunnar cuts off his hand and soon his arm. This chapter juxtaposes Broad’s reluctance, as a husband and a father, to serve Lady Savine to get Judge on their side. He is constantly balancing his emotions, wondering whether he is doing the right thing. His family is most important to him. He promised Liddy that they would have a new life, a life devoid of war and conflict. There is great writing and marvellous moments of tension and anticipation. Broad kills the Bank Manager, with Judge burning the papers so she can inherit what her people want. Broad goes back to agree with Savine over the deal, as Judge grins and says that Broad will be back because he’s a bull, it’s in his nature.
Chapter 46: A Meeting with Destiny
Rikke is charismatic and is often persuading her people to join her. She is the Dogman’s daughter but she refers that this conflict has divided her people over the Union and North. They are stuck, and helping Leo’s Rebellion may give her people that freedom.
Stour Nightfall is planning his attack on the Union, while the Skarling Hall would be deprived of its best to defend. The Union has been getting the better of better men than Stour Nightfall. The influence of Bayaz is astounding. In The North, her father’s death forced Rikke to grow up and take charge. The Dogman’s little girl must sacrifice an eye to reclaim control over the maddening magic of the Long Eye, but prove herself a more talented schemer than her old man by far. She agrees to join Leo’s scheme, or so it seems.
Calder has depended on him while Stour is a man of ambition, a man that wants fame and glory. By attacking the Union, to unite the North, but who can say that it will be successful? Calder does not approve of his son’s rule, but he appeals to Clover to advise and protect his son. For he has precious time left in this world, and his son will carry his legacy. The King of the Union, Orso, is struggling to hold his army together as he doesn’t know how to organise it. But as the King, he must see the rebellion stamped out before they add more fuel to the fire. After all, for Orso, like any monarch, being a King is all about appearances. While Orso sends letters demanding those members of the Open Council loyal to him must come to the aid of his army, he also promised them the estates of the rebels. But how far is that a true promise only one can imagine? His generals advise caution. While Hoff cautions about attacking head early, General Forest is firmly convinced that they can destroy the rebels first before they pick up rebellions. Vick the Inquisitor suggests convincing Brock that the King’s armies are dispersed, stretched out. The King’s Own doubt their loyalty and the King himself has fled for Gurkhul with his standard-bearer. Which is a brilliant piece of advice.
In Northern Midderland, Leo deep down understands that leading an army is not a piece of cake, but he will rise to the challenge. To be seen as a potential contender to King Orso. The confinement of bureaucratic politics, stuffy chairs, and the tradition of rules and manners has made his mind gone stale. By taking command of the army, Leo believes he is one step closer to becoming a prominent leader and not shackled to the chains of confinement of the political arena that he has had to habit with for the rest of his life. War, blood, and glory interest him more than politics. His own sexuality conflicted with Leo when he saw Jurand and Glaward together in bed. By preventing them to accompany him to Midderland, he has pushed experience and skill out of the successful campaign that he needs to wage against the Union.
Chapter 47: Storms
Savine rages at the fates for cursing the progress of her army. Rain impedes the ability of the army to cross, and King Orso is being favoured by the weather himself. Much like Napoleon had to deal with when his army could not attack the day before Waterloo because the rain had made the ground muddy and impeded his cannons. The forces become so desperate that wagons are halted in quagmires, soldiers toil being unhappy, and their officer’s cry doesn’t ease the mood. Of course, a pregnant Savine at this very moment in a horrendous military campaign is perhaps at her most vulnerable. Riding in foul weather with an army marching beside her side isn’t recommended. She’s insufferable in pain and has pissed herself more times than she shows. One of the most ironic and humorous aspects of this chapter was the contrast of a miserable Savine that did not lover her husband bearing his child, being miserable in rain, while for Leo, campaigning in horrible rain is perfectly fine for him! It is by far one of the worst storms the army has suffered, with Rikke nowhere to be found. However, helps comes at the opportune moment! With the Lords of the Open Council arriving, Savine balks at the sight of Lord Isher, knowing full well that Isher can manipulate Leo if he wants to. Leo is a good man, but he doesn’t have the brains to think for himself yet. Stour, meanwhile, is somewhere to the east, but his ships have also been drifting away with this horrible storm. Leo is insistent that the army must move so he can capture Orso’s forces quickly.
There is this quote that I agree with:
”In war, plans and reality barely noticed each other in passing. Panicked guesswork was the best one could hope for. The sheer scale of it. Thousands of men. Tons of supplies. Oceans of misinformation hiding infinitesimal grains of truth. Savine was used to taking charge, but how could anyone take charge of this?”
Leo is missing Jurand, who can organise the logistics of the campaign in a much-needed way. For historical comparison, Napoleon had relied on Marshall Berthier to handle the logistics, relay his orders, and ensure that the French army was supplied in every battle that Napoleon fought in. After the assassination of Berthier in 1809, Napoleon struggled to maintain the same semblance of orders that he once held, which often lead to errors and miscommunication. Jurand, however, is not in this campaign and Leo cannot see the stupidity of his mistake, which makes Savine wonder whether she married an idiot or a truly brave idiot who is ready to die in the face of death itself.
Broad interrupts the meeting to inform them that the Breakers and the Burners, groups hostile to the Union will join Leo’s Rebellion. Savine, relieved hopes that these groups can pin down the King’s Own, prevent reinforcements and wage guerilla warfare which will cause Leo not to lose any unnecessary means of men. But things don’t often go according to plan in war.
Chapter 48: Liar Liar
Liar Liar is an excellent chapter on how to introduce a character such as Victarine Dan Teufel. As a character, she distinguishes what is the truth and what is a lie and has been practising lying from a young age. With painstaking practice, she’s become the best liar. Vick lost her family to the camps in Angland from a young age, dragging her from her bed. She masked her emotions, grew a bitter heart, and saw the world as a means of survival. Vick enters Leo Von Brock’s camp, showing no emotion even when she sees Savine, her former employer, who remarks that her father was more loyal than she was. She has entered the young lion’s den after all. Vick crafted a tale of Orso’s forces being split, the King’s own scattered, and Leo Von Brock openly and stupidly blurted out how many men he had. Savine did not prevent him from shutting his mouth. You don’t tell the enemy how many numbers you have, that is easily guessed or not. It doomed the revolt I felt at this point once Leo opened his mouth.
Chapter 49: You asked for Killers
Leo Von Brock learns just how fragile the alliance is with the Wolf of the North, as he discovers Clover’s crew having massacred Union peasants in Midderland. While Dancer and Prettyboy sob at the massacre, Leo confronts the Wolf and orders him to deliver justice. The Wolf responds back with a measured response that Clover will deal justice. This just goes to show that the rebellion itself is built on a shaky foundation like a house of cards ready to collapse at the first gust of wind.
Chapter 50: Good Ground
We start with Orso, clearly overlooking an ancient mill, gently turned. Green pastures are everywhere. It is a moment of peace, of reflection. Until General Forest rudely interrupts his thoughts on how the ground is perfect for a battle. As a historical comparison, Wellington was a master in choosing battlegrounds that favoured him. Most evidently at Salamanca when he faced the French army. Moving back to this point, it made me chuckle when the General shattered the King’s thoughts. While they meet the very enthusiastic mayor of Stoffenbeck, it would be quite a reaction to seeing what will happen when the King informs him they will use his city and the pastures surrounding it as a battlefield. While the battle inspection continues, the Lords of the Open Council, Stenner, Crant and Ingenbeck arrive with a thousand men. Preparations are being made for the oncoming battle. Inquisitor Teufel arrives to inform the King that Brock has brought the lie while her wife still doubts the validity of her tale. Orso wished that he would have many Vick Dan Teufels, for they would ease his work as King. But Orso is informed of the Breakers rebelling, but for him, he now has to face 17,000 rebellion noblemen, disgruntled Angalnders and slavering Northmen. The King is informed that he has only 12,000 men at his disposal as compared to the 20,000 that Leo Von Brock commands. It is not a united army under Brock’s Leadership, however. Quite the odds. Orso promotes Forest to the Closed Council, ordering him to take command of the right-wing. Arch lector Pike (which is an outstanding name for a character by the way) is promoted to take the left wing and fortify the position with cannon. The drums of war are being sounded on Orso’s side. I have to give credit to Orso while he may prefer a gentle life. When the situation calls for it, he does what a King must do in wartime. Orso demands his staff to invite Leo to talk, where he plans something more sinister.
Chapter 51: Bad Ground
Throughout every chapter I read of this novel, I am amazed at how Joe can write a scene that contrasts so well with the story he’s creating. On one end, you have Orso becoming competent with a good general choosing the perfect ground for a battlefield, yet you have Leo who is going to fail because he is not taking the proper steps needed. I don’t need to predict that his whole character exudes confidence and arrogance. He is experienced in warfare, but I feel emotions can sometimes get in the way when you are leading an army of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. I’ll give Leo some credit. While he is dashing, charismatic, military-experienced, he’s not also a fool. He understands the loyalty of his forces towards him, and he doesn’t trust many of them. There is discord within his army and that is not good for any army at all. Leo has been having more problems with the Great wolf than often. I am ending up sympathising more on Orso’s side than Leo.
Corporal Tunny invites Leo to meet with the King. While this goes on, many of the lords grumble for an attack, which although it looks like an advantage at the first sign, the hill has already been fortified and Leo is no fool. He won’t attack until most of his forces are ready, with Stour’s forces being delayed by one to two hours. During this moment, he regretted not bringing Jurand, but because of his perversity, Leo could not allow it. I feel Leo was being a hypocrite here. I believe Leo is coming to the realisation that while quick decisions in battle can be taken in the heat of the moment, he never fully understood the consequences, and that is something akin to Marshall Ney of Napoleon’s army. Ney was a brilliant commander in the heat of action, but to manage entire armies wasn’t that great. Leo matures, doubting whether what he’s doing will really benefit the people of the Union, reflecting upon his mother’s words. But like I’ve said before, he’s gone too far to back down now. He must free the Union and its people from the tyranny of the Closed Council. I am ending up sympathising more on Orso’s side than Leo.
Chapter 52: High Ground
In the north, Rikke and her forces sneak through the city of Carleon, the capital of the Stour Nightfall. Rikke is planning something else. Uffrith Carl’s however, seem to be causing some mischief. Rikke informs the Nail that the bulk of Stour’s Nightfall forces have gone to help Lord Brock. She is betraying Leo by not helping him in Midderland. Annoyed, but hurt that she is not helping the friend she once had. But she forces herself not to think of that. She’s delighted that when Stour returns, he will be shocked. Rikke wants to find Black Calder, discovering that he has gone to the north of High Valleys to discuss options with other chieftains maybe, to hold Stour’s aggressiveness. Brodd Silent has been made in charge for the time being with three dozen men. Stour’s Kingdom is going to be stolen right under his nose and there’s nothing he can do about it now.
Chapter 53: Common Ground
Handshakes between leaders act as a potential contender for the realm of politics. Kings, Emperors and Politicians do handshakes to exert power amongst each other, including the awkward introductions that Orso takes when he meets Leo. By giving Leo’s hand a bone-crushing squeeze, that makes the Young Lion wince. A minor victory, but a good omen. This chapter is a chapter of barbs and twists, of back-handed and sarcastic remarks thrown at each other’s side. Leo doesn’t want to replace the King, but Orso sharply responds that if he didn’t want that happening in the first place, invading Midderland to avoid a battle is a bit of a poor excuse. While Brocks defends his actions, arguing that when Scale Ironhand attacked the Protectorate, he jumped to the Dogman’s defence and saved it. Arguing that when he fought, Midderland did not provide the aid they needed and demanded more taxation from his people.
Accusing the King of sitting on his fat arse. While this is an emotionally charged speech, Leo has sprung himself into the trap of Orso’s mind. Orso questions the fact that Brock did not approach him to discuss this issue while he had to deal with the Breakers in Valbeck, and he acknowledges that the Closed Council and his father did not help Brock. The meeting eventually boils down to this: Brock wants the Closed Council dismissed and replaced with men that he wants, but he doesn’t want to dispose of the King. Yet he assembles an army to invade Midderland to demand that same thing. If I were Orso, raising arms against the state, or the King himself, is an act of rebellion. However, one could take the Magna Carta, for example, where the barons of England demanded that King John submits to their demands for reform.
Except in this situation, Orso is not stupid either and can take on the high emotions of Lord Brock. What made me chuckle the most was when Orso simply stated that they’d just choose themselves, with Brock screaming like a child talking about patriotism. Orso reminds him it was Bayaz that founded the Union. Leo finds himself out of options to respond, for he is no philosopher. They go to have dinner, but Leo realises the bitter truth: He is a poor diplomat compared to Orso, while his respect for him increases. However, Leo feels he is stumbling into a path, not listening to his mother and not taking Jurand and Savine with him. It reveals a sinister truth when Orso spills out that he proposed to Savinne, but she refused to become a Queen, and therefore, marrying Leo.
Chapter 54: Doubts and Desires
Leo confronts Savine with his doubts, wondering whether if he truly made a mistake. While Savine reassures him, inside she is raging that Leo is revealing his flaws as a leader, for if revealed to the whole of Leo’s army, it would be a disaster. But the narrator is often biased towards Savine in my opinion, showing just how true the extent of her manipulation is and how she has Leo wrapped around her finger. When Leo questions the truth, Savine prevents him for a time with an excuse to make herself the Queen, promising Uffirth to Stour, promising the Closed Council to Isher. She had warned Leo not to underestimate Orso, and this was the result. A questioning Leo wonders what his goal is now in reality, for he knows he doesn’t know who his friends and enemies are. The fundamental question is: Leo wonders once again whether his mother was right no. Is he a warrior but no general?
Can he not lead troops onto the battlefield as a competent commander does, and can he inspire loyalty in the ones he trusts but has driven away? Savine rallies Leo not to abandon the cause. The two make love. But she makes one thing clear in her mind. Her baby will be the heir to the throne of the Union, and if that meant the loss of Orso, her father and Rikke, so it would have to be. Vick sees Arch Lector Pike showing mercy upon a boy that was caught doing a mistake, remarking that she expected something harsher. Pike responds that reputations rarely fit people, and that is true to an extent, for they are costumes like disguises we put on ourselves. The Order like the Inquisition has saved people’s lives before, and as Pike remarks, a little mercy should be shown so long as no one sees. Some deep thinking there indeed. Everyone around both sides is preparing for battle. Orso reflecting on his weight gain while remarking in envy of how Brock has never had to deal with the pain of being overweight, while more reinforcements arrive.
Broad sharpens his weapons, talking with his comrades, and doesn’t like to get attached to weapons. While Stour Nightfall sulks, Clover finds because he finds the Union isn’t that civilised as he thought, from getting his boots soaked, to have the cold attack his feet. Stour finds that more reinforcements have joined Orso’s forces and are regretting allying with Brock, because they haven’t held their end of the bargain so far, also believing Rikke is in Uffirth when the truth is more dangerous. Leo realises quickly that buying into Teufel’s lies cost him a lot, and Orso took advantage of that and drove a wedge between him and his wife. Leo orders the army to attack and commands Isher to get men on the bluff in force, ready to attack Stoffenbeck from the West. The time is dire. Leo plans a three-pronged attack with the Open Council attacking first, then breaking Orso’s centre so that the Open Council can outflank him once done, and just before they attack the centre, Stour will hit them at the left. Leo is taking command now, cold rational logic over-taking him. He commands Stour has to heed his plan, knowing full well that Stour won’t like it.
Chapter 55: Fools Errand
Orso stands at the parapet of Stoffenbeck’s clock tower, standing in his magnificent armour, overlooking the two armies that face each other. He wonders that no matter how much he helped the people of Angland, they still have risen against him. Orso wonders, not, for the first time, how he made so enormous in a brief space of time. He made the Young Lion and Stour Nightfall, once bitter enemies to join forces against him. A curious wonder, if one may think that for a second. Tunny informs that his father’s mistakes and his son inheriting them was not a problem that could be solved overnight, for wars against the snakes of Talin, Black Dow and Uthman-Ul-Dosht are wars that happened quite a while ago, and people remember.
The Open Council begins their attack, but instead of performing the attack as planned, they become fully embroiled in the flank of Orso’s army, becoming heavily engaged. Savine watches with desperation as the plan seems not to go to fruition at all, giving Orso more chance for victory. The chaos of battle hampers Leo Von Brock with unclear messages and finds out that someone tampered the bridges with. Lady Savine meanwhile can’t act, even though she is heavily pregnant. Pike’s cannon fire on the bridges needed for Brock’s forces to cross upon. Stour on the left flank, observes the carnage, and orders an attack on the hill, disobeying the Young Lion’s orders, and completely ignoring Whitewater. Clover remarks to Whitewater that after this charge, he won’t have to deal with Stour the idiot anymore. Leo stares in amazement and wonders deeply: How the hell did such a brilliant plan go to rot and ash? Leo charges the centre in order to rally his army, taking his horse, waving to Savine and charging in a blaze of glory.
Chapter 56: The Little People
This was a whooping chapter full of action, gore, and misery. Confusion and chaos, blood and loss. The men of the Union against the men of Angland. Brock’s forces charging into Orso’s centre. The stink of Gurkish fire trailing throughout the battlefield. The screams of crying and anguish all upon this once peaceful land. Cannons roaring with fire belching like great dragons. One of the best things about this chapter was how Joe went into detail about other soldiers, their point of view, and how some of them had been clerks, just drafted into the Gurkish Legion like Suval had been, for example. He was not fit for the battlefield, as many soldiers in WW1 weren’t either. The battle is a mess for Leo’s forces on the right flank, with the Gurkish Legion of Barezin taking many losses. This civil war is horrible indeed. Hildi is sent by Orso to Lord Marshall Forest to carry his message to ask for support, meanwhile honestly admitting to herself that she loves Orso like a brother, but not as a lover. While Orso demands the support, Forest reveals he just sent a messenger asking for support from Orso’s side and he advises her to run away from the battle. Marshall Forest plays the long con that generals have played throughout history, never showing fear and doubt, keeping a stoic and calm face while rallying his men to hold against the Young Lion’s forces.
Chapter 57: Cold Blood
The onslaught of the Northmen, the men from Hell, seems to send shockwaves amongst Orso’s major centre, not to mention the fact that Leo is leading the charge. However, Orso is finding war a natural calling, remaining calm while artillery fire attacks his staff. Orso seems to enjoy war. He’s not finding fear as he expected the battle to be, for his breakfasts were more of a disaster than war is. While the Northmen batter his line from the golden wheat fields to the east, the brutal fighting with the Open Council and the Anglanders making their way to his division as fierce fighting melee happens, even as the rebels are firing back with their own cannons, Orso is not retreating. He is not letting the panic of past events take over him. His staff advise him to withdraw, but he refuses. He is informed that the centre remained firm, but the Anglanders keep on coming. Orso orders a gradual withdraw into Stoffenbeck to form another perimeter, also disappointed when he hears Forest’s pleas for more help. Asking about Marshall Ruckstard, Gorst informs him that no sign of him has been seen yet. At that moment defeat seems to take over his army, but good news arrives with Marshall Ruckstard arriving at the moment just as Marshall Blucher had arrived in the nick of time to save Wellington’s army at Waterloo. While Savine stares in disbelief, she knows that Leo’s army can still win the battle, as they withdraw. Finally, her ambitions may come true and she may become the Queen. But I would not trust ambition at this very moment. However, realisation dawns upon her when she sees Ruckstard’s forces arriving on the battlefield, trying to run towards the cannon. She says something before the force of nature snatches her off her feet and slams into the ground! She had never countered that Orso would gain reinforcements.
Chapter 58: Heroics
Leo rages at the fact that the Open Council’s forces have crumbled after they had been close to the main right flank of Orso. Meanwhile, the Anglanders fight tooth and nail against the Union forces, but it is a foregone conclusion. With Leo and Savine not counting on Orso for reinforcements, Leo is on a dangerous road here. It would be better to withdraw, as Antaup says. Leo struggles to comprehend the fact that even if they withdrew, Orso would gather more reinforcements than he could muster himself. Leo Von Brock orders a desperate cavalry charge as a tremendous battle begins. He leads the Knights of Angland as they break into the square at the heart of the city of Stoffenbeck, cutting the King’s lines in half, however, they are trapped in the streets to see barricades with sharpened stakes, spearmen at the ready. Broad arrives in time to save Brock, but Brock refuses. The Young Lion’s glorious charge flopped like Ney’s cavalry charge at Waterloo. Clover convinces Stour to retreat and to abandon the Young Lion, which either way doesn’t show any way for Stour to gain any glory. Stour is walking into a trap of his own making as well as he doesn’t know Rikke is in his capital. Stour withdraws back to the north. The most poignant moment was when Leo, injured and bruised, tried to clutch the flag of the lion-head pommel and Gorst flicked it aside with his boot. A disgusting failure of a rebellion for Leo Von Brock.
Chapter 59: Just Talk
Rikke bribes the garrison of Carleon to open the gates, while Silent tries to oppose Rikke and the Nail, but in reality, it’s a weak defence that won’t hold for long. The garrison throws Silent off the wall and agrees to open the gates. She enters the Skarling’s Hall, for cold, hard men. The place where Bethod had seized the North, and where Black Calder had ordered a hundred killings, backstabbing and whatnot. The Nail remarks his father had died in what was a cage for him. Rikke and Nail form good chemistry with each other. They are expecting Stour to arrive soon, and Rikke betrayed Leo by stealing, as the Nail points out, his ally’s land, and warned Orso before anything. Rikke is right when she says that inheriting the throne is nothing special. Staying in it is the hardest part. Something which Orso has been doing for pretty much most of the novel as King of the Union!
Chapter 60: The New Harvest
With the chaos of battle over, Orso oversees the extent of damage upon the battle, corpses upon corpses, corpse gatherers late at night, taking bodies and piling them into carts. Crows, scavengers, the lot of them have descended upon the battlefield, and it makes an industry. Orso remarks all struggles produced a pile of corpses. And that war is, and it will always be that way. Stoffenbeck is completely ruined, for a lot of re-construction will have to take place. Rucksted remarks over the impact of cannon that could take another man whole. I wonder if the Aztecs felt the same way when they faced the Spaniards. Orso remarks that all the carnage could have been resolved had he handed over the crown, but then he didn’t enjoy wearing it much, much to the disapproval of his entourage. Of course, Bayaz always keeps a watch.
Orso is quite tired, while issuing orders of fines, paroles, and forced labour as suggested by Pike. This was a civil war, after all. Orso is now clear of one thing: he will do anything, and everything, to keep the Union for a while, even if he must go down the darkest of routes to keep it that way. Orso is learning how to become a leader. The King inspects the leaders of the Open Council and wearily sighs as Pike mentions they must be hanged. Some beg, some try to curry favour, while Lady Wetterlant shouts in fury while Lord Isher has escaped. Orso then inspects Leo Von Brock, feeling sadness at his opponent, for he is now a man that is ruined, brought from glory to ruin. Orso talks openly and honestly with Brock, questioning that whether any of this was worth it. Savine has been reported missing, but eventually, she will be found. Brock tries to beg for Savine’s safety, but Orso is having none of it, knowing full well the extent of her ambitions, acting crueller towards Brock.
Chapter 61: The Truth
The truth shall set you free, they say, but it can bloody hurt when that happens for the first time. Zuri tends to Savine’s injuries for the time being, while Broad comes to help her go to the roads, make for the coast and head to Angland. But Savine refuses, demanding that she go back to Stoffenbeck to surrender to save her husband’s life, telling Broad to go back to May and Liddy and by the Gods, Broad needs to go back to his family, however both Zuri and Broad stick with Savine, adamant to be loyal to her. All of her ambitions, her hopes, her dreams are crushed, for she will have to pay the price for what she has done. Treason and crimes against the King of the Union, Orso. The confrontation between Orso and Savine is quite hostile at first, with Orso commanding more power than he’s really ever had before. Orso reveals he had received a letter of the Open Council conspiring to steal her throne, and Savine instantly guesses that it was really Rikke, coming up with excuses for Orso’s question. Orso isn’t buying his excuses. He questions why she chose Leo Von Brock over him. While he states he loves her, she reveals she is his half-sister, begging for mercy for her husband. Orso sits there, thunderous with rage, while the guards drag Savine out, screaming and crying.
Chapter 62: The Names
Stour finally arrives back at his capital, hoping to reclaim his prestige once more, and pondering on Rikke’s prediction that he’d die in water. He isn’t defeated yet, for he is planning his revenge. Clover betrays Stour, with Stour declaring him a traitor. Clover reminds him that Stour had no mercy killing his uncle, and Clover did what Stour wanted, not what he needed to do. Clover and the Nail meet, and Stour discovers Rikke was behind all of this. The Nail punches Stour as the bedraggled King of the North taunts him about how he killed his father. The Nail tortures Stour as they drag him away.
Chapter 63: A Footnote to History
Leo has indeed become a footnote to history, with all the men and women that had served with him. His pride cost him many things. Including his arrogance. Including his fate. A leader? Never? Lord Governor? Highly unlikely. He gave up his power when he betrayed the King. He watches the inspection of the hanging of his lords that had served with him. Leo realises in the end, he became the villain. The people he followed turned away, and all claims to being a hero vanish. Orso changes his order to life imprisonment in a moment of shock and surprise to everyone.
Chapter 64: Loyalties and Sympathies
Vick is in Valbeck, talking with Arch Lector Pike. The Arch Lector is not a person that is prone to the ways of communication, but he manages to see beyond Vick’s mask. The Arch Lector reveals his past and understands what Vick went through. As they go to the main square, she is surrounded by armed men. Pike reveals that Judge and Superior Risinau has been working for him all along and that he is the weaver, and that the Breakers have a new cause. Vick can be a part of it, or else. Soon, they will overthrow Orso’s corrupt regime anyway. Vick reluctantly agrees as the bank of Vailnt and Balk burns with Pike wanting a new realm, a new order.