[LMB] TSK - How to Kill a Flying Malice

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 9 14:34:10 BST 2019

Fawn believes she can turn a knife into a crossbow bolt - she watched
Dag and knows which part of the knife is important. Fawn watches
everything. All the time. And then she thinks about it - ruthlessly.

I also love the way she points out that if it doesn't work, well, it was only
Crane. More importantly, she points out that they have a knife, so they
have to try. This shouldn't be a farmer job, but they're farmers with
armed walnuts, and a knife, and the know-how. So it's their job.

She still has her steel knife with her; Dag gave it to her, and keeps it razor
sharp. He insists she wears it all the time. Ah, romance.

They find the human captives, and some mud-bats (which aren't coping
well with their size), and some mud-men. Given the timeline, it's likely that
they were taken from the other malice - I didn't realise that malices could
hijack mudmen from each other, but it makes sense. Must be darn confusing
for the mudmen, though.

What will the malice do next? Good question. There's nothing and nobody
else around to take. It'll have to march its captives along the trail. It's
almost funny - the giant bat taking them all on a road trip to find someone
to invade and capture. Rather embarrassing, really.

Dead bodies - are they being saved for food? Or will the mudmen chow
down on something fresher? Uncomfortable thoughts. Things are pretty
bleak at this point.

And then the malice turns up. And all those previous bleak thoughts are
put into perspective.

But the malice flies higher, and their friends start towards them. Finch
helpfully points out that all they have to do is de-walnut them. Berry's
prepared to fight, Whit has the crossbow, so Fawn elects herself as batbait.

And against all the odds, Whit fires true and it's done. One thing with
malice-killing, it's all or nothing. And that one hit solves a whole lot of
problems very fast. Well, except the problem that Fawn has gone dark.

Dag finds a dying masterless mudbat - so he knows the malice is dead.
That solves a lot of problems and worries. Dag takes some time to tell
Pakko his life story. Well, it'll take his mind off the broken back. May not
be as comforting as Dag hopes, of course.

Tavia has dragged poor Arkady up a mountain - the man is never going
to be the same again. Not necessarily a bad thing (I wonder if training
for future makers will include some time in the field?) Calla and Indigo
are there too; Calla had enough power and training to shield against the
malice, and get Indigo out.

Lots of catching up, who went where, then some Pakko repairs. Dag's
desperate to find Fawn, but again you do the job you've got and depend
on your team to do theirs.

Healing Pakko is just as magic as anything the malice does, but it's
on the right side. Power is just power, it's what you do with it that counts.

Dag won't wait for help. He is the help. He has to find Fawn. The marriage-
cord doesn't feel right. It's a pity those things can't carry more information.

Dag has no scruples: he lets Owlet scream the rest of them crazy, then
Indigo gets him down the mountain. His vile horse has turned up, minus
anything useful of course.

Finally he finds the group.

The next scene deserves its own post.

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