[LMB] The Assassins of Thasalon - Chapter 4

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 22 08:38:13 BST 2021

Dubro - I really like him - seems to have absorbed as much from his dog-demon
as the demon has learned from him; he got rid of the rats in the palace kitchens
just the way his dog cleared out the wife's pantry, and now he's a favourite there.

Pen feeds the prisoner, and questions her gently (and tricks her a bit,
his god would be proud.) He gets her name - Alixtra - and her son's
name - Kittio. Five years old. She knows absolutely nothing about demons,
about being a sorcerer, about the most basic skills. Penric tells her about
the years of training that a sorcerer needs (it's a bit of an irony that all three
of the sorcerers present got their demons before the had any training.)

Pen gets the name of the sorcerer - Tronio. He's not a nice person.

She wants to know why he keeps asking questions, since (she thinks)
Rach told him everything. And here's what sums Pen up perfectly:
"I thought you already knew everything."
"Knowledge is not the same thing as understanding. I have a profound
need to understand. Everything."
...Oh yes, that's  Penric.

We get the whole story - a widowed mother, trying to support her child,
small pilfering out of desperation (and it's not fair that single maids live
in and eat at the house, while she has to rent a place and feed herself
and her child. She needed a union.) Pen is surprised that she's literate -
it's not standard in the villages or working class. That must make it so
much more difficult for rural people who catch a demon - they have
a huge amount of education to catch up on. Or, maybe, it helps the demon
learn too?

They cut your hand off for stealing. But only for the fifth offence.

Apart from that, a maid fired for stealing doesn't have a lot of career
choices left. And if she goes to jail...her son has nobody. So she had
no choice to but agree, and didn't know what she was agreeing to.
Then after the first death there was no way out for her, at all. And
where could she have gone for help? Methani was the government,
Tronio was the Temple.

"A saint of my order would have been the best bet."
"Your order has saints?"

Tronio is pilfering demons from the Temple. An interesting embezzlement.
(How? Does he carry them out under his cloak?)

And just when you thought Methani and Tronio couldn't get any
worse... if she failed to kill Adelis, her son would be castrated and
sold as a slave. And such boy slaves, pretty little boys... not a good
live ahead for him. No wonder she's almost paralysed with despair.

She's down there in that stone hole in the ground for hours, days.
With nothing to do or think about but her impending execution
and her son's fate. Even if they don't mutilate and sell him, what
will happen to an unwanted little orphan? Plus she's got a wild
animal in her head, crazed with fear. She must be exhausted, and
barely sane at this point.

This is a very unhappy chapter.

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