Agag, Agog, Aghast: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 11 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for Flight (parts 1-8) in The Ruins of Ambrai. Our heroes are on the run with our villains in hot pursuit! Ali might not be a Collan stan, but she might be founding People for the Ethical Treatment of Collan’s Brain. The cat is a ladder, the cactus is a doom circle, and we yearn for a boy damsel.

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0:00:10 Introduction and welcome

Ali: Welcome to the Hot Nuance Book Club, a podcast in which a novelist, a screenwriter, and a podcaster walk into a book, diving into its craft and impact in their mission to bring nuance back. I’m Ali, and I’m a screenwriter, most recently for Rugrats on Paramount Plus. I also am the co-host of Wheel Takes Podcast, a first time reader podcast going through the Wheel of Time and The Hunger Games Right now. And yeah, I’ll figure out how to end that at some point.

Aradia: I am Aradia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, currently wrapping up Crossroads of Twilight, as well as a podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media.

Bree: And I am Bree, one half of the bestselling romance sci fi fantasy author Kit Rocha. And I’m begging you to preorder my November book, Consort of Fire, because if I get lots of preorders –

Ali: Do it!

Bree: I get to have more books and more contracts. And I’m currently writing all these sequel bait-y characters that I want to write books about.

Ali: Do it, read it. Do it, you cowards.

Aradia: Order it.

Bree: (menaicing) Read it.

Ali: Currently, we are nuancing our way through the Ruins of Ambrai. So if you haven’t read that yet, go do that. What are you doing here? And come back when you have. For the rest of you, let’s break it down now. In Bree’s time travel machine. Bree!

0:01:30 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: Let us jump into the mostly reliable time travel adventure machine, where we are zooming back to 1994. (swooshing sound)

Last episode, I asked what sort of trade things might have been going on. Might have sparked Melanie Rawn’s small trade web rant about the Waste. I can’t believe I missed this one, since it’s kind of significant. 1994 NAFTA was enacted.

Aradia: Hmmm.

Ali: Oh!

Bree: So there was a lot of trade debate going on while she was writing this book, I’m sure. So, you know, leading up to that. So maybe that was something that she was thinking about, something that was, on the old noggin.

Aradia: Interesting.

Ali: The world informs art, art informs the world, you know what I mean? It’s that beautiful cyclical relationship that I love.

Bree: Yeah. And NAFTA is a pretty big deal.

Ali: Kinda kind of a big deal.

Aradia: A little bit.

Bree: Kind of big deal.

Ali: Just a smidge.

Bree: Looking over to science, the first gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease was discovered in 1994, and they wouldn’t find another one until 2009.

Aradia: Wow.

Bree: Yeah. And on February 4th, Harry Styles was born.

Ali: Oh hey!

Bree: I’m like, I’m a little too old to know exactly what a Harry Styles is, but I believe that he is connected to One Direction, which was just like all of what Wattpad was fanfic for for a while. So that is all I know about Harry Styles, but I feel like that’s important. No Harry Styles fans in the chat?

Aradia: I am aware that he exists. That’s about the extent of my knowledge.

Ali: I mean, I’m a Harry Styles fan. I think I’m a casual Harry Styles fan, because I feel like there are – I like his music.

Aradia: Oh right, I’m an anti fan. Every time his music comes on, I actively don’t like it and skip it, that’s who he is.

Ali: Really?

Aradia: He’s one of the artists I actually don’t like, which is weirdly rare for me.

Bree: I don’t even know, like any of his music. What’s the most famous song that he has done?

Ali: (sings) Watermelon Sugar.

Bree: Any famous song.

Ali: Watermelon Sugar High. Watermelon Sugar High. You know it! You absolutely know it.

Bree: That’s a song?

Ali: Oh my – Yeah, you abso –

Bree: Not clicking.

Ali: You absolutely know this song, there’s no way to, it is in every commercial. It is everywhere. No?

Bree: But the words are really watermelon sugar high.

Ali: Yeah. But he says it really fast. It’s one of the songs of the summer. It’s the summer song. You have watermelon, you listen to Watermelon Sugar High. What is that song called? (sings) Baby, It’s a sign of the times. There’s that one. There’s. There’s tons. He’s prolific. He’s everywhere.

Bree: I’m going to have to go, like, see all of my exposure to, like, music since I don’t do radios and stuff and I’m not really a music person, is soundtracks.

Ali: Yeah, a lot of people know him because he made conservatives mad by being a straight man who wears a dress, or they know him from One Direction. That’s kind of like a lot of people’s reference.

Bree: I mean, I approve of making conservatives mad over fashion choices, so good for you, boy. Okay. And in 1994, Melanie Rawn revealed herself as an assassin, who was here to chew gum and kill all of her characters. And she is all out of gum, guys.

0:05:01 Flight chapter 1

Bree: So welcome to Flight, part three of the Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn. So, how are we feeling?

Aradia: Excited. I’m excited. A lot of action. But, I’m a sad.

Bree: Aradia sad. She lost her favorite kidnapers this week. You know, we went all in on the justifiable kidnapping of Collan Rosvenir last week, except for Ali. Ali, how are you feeling? The kidnappers got murdered.

Ali: Well, okay. I have complex feelings about the kidnappers getting murdered, because on the one hand, they keep doing my boy Collan a head injury. He’s starting to really rival Elayne Trakand in Wheel of Time. And I just can’t think that that would be good for him. So I kind of think, you know, you kidnap people, you can’t be surprised when bad things happen to you. But at the same time, uh, I suppose they were the good ones, even though they’re doing bad things.

Aradia: Mm hmm.

Ali: I just don’t want to come on here and say I’m pro kidnapping, as a former teacher, because I’m not!

Bree: No, firm anti kidnapping.

Ali: And I don’t approve of their methods. I don’t approve of the methods of the kidnapping.

Ali: These are the two things that are true. I did think at first that they killed Collan.

Bree: You did briefly.

Ali: I messaged you. I was concerned. I was like, did they just kill my boy Collan? Hilarious, if true. If I’m like, I don’t understand why Collan is a focus, and it’s just for him to die the moment that he – That’s the first one I thought.

Bree: Anonymously die.

Ali: I thought Melanie Rawn just flipped me off. I really did. Because the last thing I heard you say was, Melanie Rawn is like George R.R. Martin before it was cool. She just kills off everybody. So I was like, Did she just, like, do my boy Collan like this? And I was concerned. I was shaken to my boots. I was agag, agog, aghast at this, but it ended up not being real.

Bree: Okay, let’s start it, because this was in part one, where – I did tell Aradia that – we were going right into Glenin’s point of view. And Glenin is tied up on the bed, invisible, mad.

Aradia: She’s so pissed.

Bree: So how do you guys feel about Glenin’s current -?

Ali: You know, as someone who is such a try hard, as a person, but is also constantly failing because I’m also a people pleaser and I just cannot be everything, but I’m trying to be everything – I related to Glenin really hard in this moment, where she’s like, No one can know about this, especially my parents. I was like, Preach, girl. She was like, Failure, not an option.

Bree: She was like, I’m not going back there until I have succeeded three times to make up for it.

Ali: Glenin is me, but a fascist, and without a sense of humor. Do you know what I mean? Without self-awareness. I understand Glenin.

Bree: So, her first thing is, she will not even frown. Okay, she’ll frown, but that’s all. She’s not going to, like, yell. Not even in her own mind. She’s not going to swear, because she doesn’t think that vulgar language is like – it’s indicative of poor vocabulary.

Ali: Well, that’s where we fucking differ.

Aradia: Yeah, absolutely fucking wrong.

Ali: That’s absolutely fucking wrong. And also, wow, you’re not going to yell at yourself in your mind? That sounds healthy.

Bree: She is simultaneously being the most understated person and the most melodramatic person I can imagine. Like at the same time.

Ali: She’s such a mood.

Bree: Because this is some high melodrama in her head.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. She’s so. So over the top.

Ali: The face when you let your sister go and kill a bunch of people, but fuck it up at the end. Because she comes in with this melodramatic moment and then Sarra’s like, I understand your entire plan. So she doesn’t even get her villain monologue, right? Because Sarra does it for her, which is rude of Sarra, but also such a sister move. Do you know what I mean? She’s like, Oh, just let me have my monologue! And then Sarra, like a sister, fucks up her entire plan that she had just, had Sarra layout for her, and now she’s tied to the bed and totally embarrassed. Do you know what? I feel like Glenin has been wronged in some way. You know what? In her villainy heart, she was having a moment and that was very much taken away from her, very much interrupted.

Bree: What a bratty little sister move.

Aradia: That’s the real reason why she kills the random dude. It’s not to keep herself secret and safe, but just to vent off some of her anger at this whole situation.

Ali: Sarra is classically middle childing it, am I right?

Bree: Yes. Yeah.

Ali: Yeah. I just think, you know, Glenin had her moment stolen the entire time. She’s peeved, but is going through some healthy, I’m not going to yell at myself for this, I’m just going to course correct. And I’m like, How do you do that? How do you not yell at yourself in your brain when you make a mistake?

Aradia: Yeah I would like to learn that. I do admire that.

Bree: Glenin does have superb self confidence.

Ali: Yeah. If Glenin were not a fascist, she would be goals.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: So, they come in and discover the bodies, and she’s like – you know, she has her little invisibility spells, so she is just still there in the tangle of blankets, hoping nobody notices.

Ali: That’s the funniest part, is she’s just tied to the bed. Everyone’s like throwing up around her and she’s just sitting there like, this is so embarrassing.

Aradia: It’s so funny, the physical comedy of it, despite the bodies, is incredible.

Ali: Yeah, if you’re her, this is so funny. If you are everyone else, this is horrific and bad. From her perspective, fucking hilarious. She girlbossed too close to the sun.

Bree: Yeah. She’s very affronted that someone did this dishonorable thing to poor Mai’s face. Because how dare you defame, defile an Ambrai corpse? But then she’s like, Eh,I mean, she’s also got some Desse blood in her, so.

Aradia: Yeah, she would have locked her in a breeding cabinet.

Ali: Yeah, that’s a good point, Aradia! Yeah. She was going to lock her in a breeding cabinet and then kill her. But if you touch her face when she’s dead, when she’s not even around to give a shit.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah.

Ali: That’s where we draw the line.

Aradia: That’s the true sin.

Bree: Only Glenin gets to defile Ambrais, okay. That’s her right as First Daughter.

Ali: Excuse me, her dad also has a history of defiling Ambrais. But only Ambrais get to defile Ambrais. If Sarra had done it? No issue.

Bree: Apparently so! She reminds herself that Mai is not just an Ambrai. She’s also related to Gorynel Desse. So like, Oh, well, you know. And like, I love this thing here. Like, notice how deftly she just dodges responsibility for Mai’s death. She’s just like, it’s not my responsibility or my fault she died, you know?

Aradia: Yeah. Mai literally sacrificed herself to stop you, Glenin. It is your fault.

Ali: It is your fault.

Bree: So, yeah. So basically, Glenin, they carry out – you know, Glenin wants to, like, tell them who this is, but can’t without revealing yourself, which would be extremely awkward. You know, What are you doing tied to a bed in the whorehouse with the dead people? Like, awkward.

Ali: That’s just another Tuesday, am I right?

Bree: Yeah. She eventually gets untied, and then she’s, like, sort of comforting herself that, you know, Glenin lost. But Sarra didn’t win either like, you know. The Mages may have gone back, but Sarra knows she’s going to be hunted. And also here Glenin reveals something to us, which is that, “From dawn this morning until every Mage Guardian was accounted for, the enemy would be sought out where they lived and worked and especially where they might attempt to escape justice.” So basically something has happened and the official hunt for Mages is now on.

Aradia: Yeah, they’re out in the open now.

Bree: They’re looking, they’re parking at all the Ladders. They’re ready to start gathering them up.

Ali: I’m going with a Glenin growth arc. I think that’s happening.

Bree: You think it’s happening?

Ali: Here’s why. I think we’re going very power of sisterhood in this book series. Right? So it feels antithetical to have Glenin just blow up – I think it’s possible she could do her growth arc, but also die.

Aradia: Mm hmm.

Ali: I’m foreseeing that, like I’m foreseeing a light switch when she realizes they’re both her sisters, and that it’s like sisterhood against a toxic father. And I love that for them.

Bree: I’m going to bring this up since we’re talking about the themes. Aradia, would you like to share with the class what you figured out about the fanfic origins of this book?

Ali: Mm!

Aradia: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I finally figured out that this was Star Wars. Magic siblings with dying magicians. I figured it out.

Ali: Space wizards.

Bree: Yes.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: So basically, from where we’re looking at right now, when I mentioned that Glenin was the addition, the main family here, we’ve got a mom, princess sort of mom, and a magic dad who turned to the dark side. And we’ve got a younger daughter, Sarra, who went off to be fostered by more princessy people, and a younger, gender flipped Luke, son, who went off to the desert to be watched over by a crazy old man in the cave, while he came of age with his awesome magic powers.

So Cailet is Luke, and Sarra is Leia, and Auvry Feiran – as you guys said in one of the earlier episodes – Anakin Skywalker vibes. The funny thing is, she wrote this book long before the prequels happened. She wrote this book in 1994. So the fact that the prequels actually like – everything from Maichin dying of sadness at what happened, and then all of the Auvry stuff just being so Anakin – she wrote this before the prequels. So I don’t know, did George Lucas pick this up and go, Ooh, there’s good ideas here!

Ali: And there’s warming yourself by cutting open a thing, and –

Aradia: Oh yeah, yeah!

Bree: Oh God.

Aradia: Yeah. Ew, ew. And it totally did make me think of that scene in the movie.

Ali: Right?

Bree: Like the gratuitous plunging your hands in the body of an animal, thing, yeah?

Ali: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Warm yourself up in the grossest way possible.

Aradia: Yeah. So. So the theme here is definitely that fascism is going to almost win. And then a plucky band of motley heroes is going to definitely save the day. If we’re following the Star Wars broad arc, then we have to – Fascism has to get much darker before the dawn.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: And this is the thing, Glenin is the wild card, because Glenin is the introduction here. Glenin is the, What if Darth Vader took a kid with him to raise, who would have to come back and face off against Luke and Leia?

Ali: Kylo Ren, she’s like Kylo Ren, right? Kind of?

Bree: Oooh. I mean. A little bit?

Aradia: I don’t know. I haven’t kept up with the franchise.

Bree: I’m going to not say about anything that might happen in book two.

Ali: I’m just familiar with the memes.

Aradia: Fair enough.

Bree: I’m just going to say, this book is weirdly prescient for both the prequels and some of the sequels. It’s kind of odd, like how much she really, you know, kind of predicted where the prequels were going to go with this whole thing.

Ali: Detective Rawn.

Bree: So, and I think that when you think about Ambrai being destroyed, it’s sort of like Alderaan. So there’s lots of interesting stuff as we go forward. But I think there’s your question, we definitely have an idea of family magic and connections through between Luke and Leia. So the question is going to be, how did she decide she wanted that theme to play out with Glenin. And I think that there’s a lot of options there.

Aradia: Yeah. With Glenin as the wildcard, we can’t predict what will happen.

Ali: I think that’s why I’m like, Yes, growth arc, girlboss! Or are we like, Oh no.

Bree: Star Wars loves the redeemed villain.

Ali: Who doesn’t? That’s everyone’s favorite. Everyone’s favorite character is the one that is morally gray and/or does a flippy flop back to the good. We hate a good character that goes bad. That becomes our least favorite character, or a woman who seems nice but sucks real bad. Like a certain Umbridge. We take umbrage with that.

Aradia: Yes.

Ali: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We hate a woman who should be motherly and sweet, but actually sucks real bad. We hate that the most.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s real hard to root for that.

Ali: That’s why people hate her more than Voldemort. They hate her more than Voldemort.

Bree: Listen, Murder Punch Card Lady. Didn’t she have those vibes?

Aradia: Very.

Ali: She did.

Bree: She was all sweet little old lady, who’s actually a murderer.

Ali: We hate mean grandmas. We hate them, because they’re against expectation.

Bree: Glenin here is, as Ali pointed out, she’s like, Where can I go get Sarra, or Taig, or Gorynel Desse, or all of them? Just, you know. She says, “Anniyas would never have said or; Anniyas would have said and.” So she’s like, I got to go get them all, get them all, solve all the problems, prove that I am the bestest.

Aradia: Yeah. She got to show her mother in law.

Ali: This is a one way trip to burn out, girly.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: Get a new piece of magic. Glenin has a secret weapon in her arsenal. So we’ve met the velvet Ladder.

Aradia: Oh, my God. This was so cool. Just fucking pop out a Ladder wherever you go. Like a frickin mosquito tent, or like a, you know, one of those little, like, camping toilet things. It’s so cute.

Ali: Wait, it’s called the Velvet Ladder. And then they named the kitten Velvet.

Aradia: (gasps) I didn’t even catch that.

Bree: They did.

Ali: What’s up with that?

Aradia: The cat is a Ladder.

Ali: The cat is a Ladder (laughs).

Bree: Glenin can fast travel now, that is the implications of this.

Aradia: She can be everywhere. Anywhere.

Ali: All at once. That’s good.

Bree: And here’s where Ali thought Collan died. Melanie Rawn loves a redheaded bower lad, so a redheaded bower lad comes strolling back in.

Ali: That confused the shit out of me.

Aradia: Yeah, I had to read it a couple of times to be like, This is a bower lad. This isn’t Collan. This is a bower lad, right? I definitely reread it a couple times to make sure.

Ali: I’ll be honest. I forget whatever the fuck a bower lad is. What’s a bower lad?

Aradia: It’s one of the sex toys for rent.

Bree: Sex worker.

Aradia: Sex worker!

Ali: Oh, right!

Bree: The bower is the brothel.

Ali: I forgot they call them that. Okay. I just called them the sex workers and moved on. Okay, Bower lad. Okay. No, wait! That sucks.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: I just thought he was a random NPC.

Aradia: Well, he is just a random NPC, who’s a sex worker.

Ali: But now he’s got a past. Now he’s got an occupation!

Bree: We’re questionable on kidnaping, but we are a hard no on killing random sex workers.

Aradia: Absolutely.

Ali: I always – if I know even like I shred about – like I don’t care, NPCs to me, I’m like, eh. But I know anything about their life that fleshes them out as a person? Instantly it’s tragic.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Well, his career was cut short by Glenin doing a Mage globe to the brain.

Bree: Yeah, Glenin absolutely blows him up, and kind of messily, too, because her magic is getting a little, like, wobbly.

Ali: It’s called burnout, sis.

Aradia: She needs a long rest.

Bree: Yeah. So she jumps on that Ladder, the blinking Ward jumps up. She’s out of there.

Aradia: I am so worried for what the fact that she has a Ladder in her pocket basically means for our heroes.

Ali: That’s bad news bears.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Sarra’s gut is not ready for this.

Aradia: No, no, no.

0:22:46 Music break, Flight chapter 2

Bree: We’re jumping onto part two. We are back with Sarra, who is on the run, literally kind of, on the run. What do you guys think of that? She’s in a carriage.

Aradia: Way too many people stuffed into a carriage being rattled around like peas in a pod is a difficult time to have conversations and apply medical care, but that’s what they’re doing.

Ali: Okay. The woman who goes into labor and just has to stay in that fucking carriage, she has earned a Nobel Peace Prize because if that happened to me, I would not be as chill as she is being.

Aradia: She is being very chill. And then –

Ali: And her husband’s dead? Nobel Peace Prize.

Aradia: Yeah. She’s an absolute monk.

Ali: What a legend. She’s just handling that. And I’m like, How long has this woman been in labor? It’s been like three days.

Aradia: It’s like, off and on. And then she’s just holding it off by sheer willpower because women can do that, apparently? And I’m just like, okay.

Ali: No they can’t!

Bree: Yeah, she’s there – Basically, the implication is, she’s gone – this is in a couple of parts. Yeah. She’s like, you know, perhaps having some Braxton Hicks maybe, you know, some early labor. And she’s just like, No, I’m not having this baby.

Ali: Okay.

Bree: And that does happen. You do have contractions that, like, stall out and stuff. The number of times we tried to take poor Donna to the hospital – although sometimes they stall out because things are bad. Like Donna just happened to have, like, a frickin 12 pound baby in there.

Ali: Jesus. Absolute God.

Aradia: That’s a lot of baby.

Ali: What?

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: All right. Nobel Peace Prize for Donna as well.

Bree: He wasn’t quite 12 pounds, but he was almost. Donna is also, like, five foot two. Okay, So, like –

Aradia: Oh. Oh!

Ali: Nobel Peace Prize is on the way for Donna.

Bree: The math was not mathing.

Ali: Did she have gestational diabetes? This is – I shouldn’t ask this question because it’s a medical question.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: She did have gestational diabetes.

Bree: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think this is – Yes. And like, this is the thing like, you know, hopefully Donna will not mind, because the story is all over the internet. She has told it before because it was so outrageous, because it was one where her doctor was just ignoring her. And she kept saying to him, Tthis baby is too big. This baby needs to come out, like, I am in labor. And her labor kept stalling because the kid was too big to drop. He literally could not get out. And so we finally took her to their practice and said, Give us a different doctor, or we’re just staying here until someone delivers this baby. So the doctor was like, Whatever, and gave Donna to his partner.

And his partner was this woman who was also like five two. And she came in and she looked at Donna, and they pulled her back for an ultrasound and they couldn’t fit the frickin baby into the thing that estimates weight?

Aradia: Oh, my God.

Ali: That is a nightmare!

Bree: And she was like, you are having a C-section tomorrow at 8 a.m., before something happens and you sue us and take our practice!

Ali: Fuck yeah!

Aradia: That is just wild.

Bree: It was just lawsuit, lawsuit.

Ali: Lawsuit.

Bree: Because people don’t listen to –

Ali: To women.

Bree: To women, about their bodies. He was like, You’re just a hysterical first time mother who’s just freaking out. She was like, I’m so uncomfortable. I’m miserable. I can’t exist like this. And he’s just like, You’re just overreacting. Go home.

Aradia: It’s like we’re reduced to our ability to reproduce and then not even listened to when we try to do it.

Ali: It’s fucking crazy.

Aradia: Like, for fuck’s sake. Yeah.

Bree: Anyway, Nobel Peace Prize for Donna. Yeah.

Ali: Nobel Peace Prize for Donna. That’s the biggest baby I’ve ever heard of.

Bree: This baby was like, hospital famous. Everybody was coming. He didn’t fit into the clothes they had for babies, like, the little baby shirt. It was like rolling up his little chest, and people were coming. Nurses were coming from other departments. Everyone was, like, talking about the giant baby. It was quite a –

Ali: Well, yeah, that’s gestational diabetes. That’s what I learned from my mother in law, cause I heard of someone in my life who had an 11 pound baby, and I was like, Holy fuck! And she goes, Ope! Gestational diabetes will get you every time, with those big babies. Yeah, but that’s fucking crazy. So just little Donna with the big baby.

Bree: Okay, let’s. Let’s not get too far ahead with the pregnancy, though. Pregnancy stories.

Ali: I just. Women. Oh, Jesus. Women. Anyway.

Bree: Yeah. So there are no pregnant women in this carriage. There is one old man who’s not feeling great, and that’s Tamos, the guy who did the Mage globe, and apparently Glenin gave him a backlash whoopin. His magic is sort of hurt. He seems pretty miserable. And then the Captal does something. What do you guys think about – we have apparently now learned that the Captal knows shit.

So do you guys have any, like, thoughts on why – like, you know, what’s going on with the Captal? Why is defending the Captal at all costs like the most important thing that could happen?

Aradia: Well, what I thought was, why are all of the knowledge eggs in one person basket? Like if all this knowledge he has is so important that everyone has to drop everything to save him, maybe you should have multiple people knowing this stuff, which then begs the question of like –

Ali: Well, we can’t drop everything to save seven people. That’s a fucking lot. We have jobs.

Aradia: So that makes me wonder, like, is there a reason why the knowledge can only be held in one mind? Or are the Mage Captals just really jealous of their power? Or is it really hard to learn everything? Like it’s cool he’s got all this stuff. But my first thought was like, why only the Captal?

Ali: It’s like a big super secret.

Bree: It seems inefficient, like what happens if you don’t get to this guy in time? What would happen if Glenin just took off with the Mage Captal? Would they just lose all of that information?

Ali: Well, they don’t have the brain, all of the brain parts everywhere at the same time, it’s like the royal family. They just split up the brain parts.

Bree: I mean, well, if you could at least reassemble them. But they came so close to losing whatever is in his head. So it seems like that’s a bad system.

Ali: No, that would have been super bad, apparently. But what does he know? That’s what I want to know. What does he know that we don’t know.

Bree: That is the question.

Ali: Is it like, stuff about the Wraith things, the Raven beasts?

Aradia: Yeah, maybe?

Ali: Is it stuff about their origins? Are they space colonizers? Did they do little war crimes? What happened?

Bree: I mean, if you think about – you remember how Alin learned about Ladders?

Aradia: Right. No, where they just shoved all the info into his head, without regard.

Bree: We know it is possible to scoop somebody’s brain out and shove it into someone else’s head. So in a world where that is possible, what might the Captal know? I mean, what might he not know?

Ali: Oh, no.

Bree: Oh, no?

Ali: Is it even that person like, did they, it it, is this the same brain in every Captal?

Aradia: Oh!

Bree: I don’t know.

Ali: It’s just like a vessel. The body’s just like a vessel.

Bree: You think it might just be like –

Aradia: You mean Alin’s like a Ladder Captal?

Bree: You think they might be, like, downloading?

Ali: That’s bad.

Bree: That is a crazy thought. Like, is this an ancient Captal who’s just been body hopping since the beginning?

Ali: I’m saying, I mean, that’s on the table. They’re just protecting this one brain.

Bree: There’s a lot of stuff going on.

Ali: Thousands of years. They’re just protecting the same brain. Can a brain even hold that much info?

Bree: So they’ve definitely indicated that people think that this guy is like sort of a doddering, ineffective, whiny butthead. And the previous Captal we know was the – Yeah, they think he is, everybody talks about how he’s whiny and, you know, annoying. And the previous Captal was –

Ali: You would be too if you had downloaded thousands of years of information into your brain!

Bree: No, but think about it. The previous Captal had a very different personality, is what I’m going.

Ali: Oh, that’s true.

Bree: The Garvedian woman was, like, loud and brash and like, you know, really aggressive. She’s the one who went to the Council and was literally like, Fuck you and fuck all of your family and fuck your friend.

Ali: I liked her.

Bree: And fuck your cats.

Ali: I loved her.

Bree: Yeah, she definitely seems very different. So if they are downloading, I don’t know if the personality is coming with them, or changing, or if this is an act. Maybe this guy could just be flying under the radar. Maybe he’s got some Fuck you and your cat spirit inside?

Ali: I don’t know. That’s odd. Well, let’s think about Star Wars. Let’s think a moment about Star Wars. Is it the Force, do they have the Force?

Bree: Well?

Ali: I’ve got to think about this.

Bree: I mean, I guess, who would be the equivalent to this? This is sort of like a Yoda situation.

Ali: Is kind of like a Yoda situation!

Bree: This is the leader of the Mage Guardians. I guess, like as far as we know, that’s sort of what’s going on there.

Aradia: Yeah. It does seem like the closest to it.

Ali: Unrelated, but I would understand if everyone would sacrifice themselves for that baby Yoda. The way that I would die for that little puppet is very real. I would die for that little puppet.

Bree: Who wouldn’t. Amazing. Yeah, I don’t know. So, anything else in this part, you guys, did anything else jump out about you? The carriage? Val’s driving the carriage.

Aradia: I just want to kind of reiterate that the Wraithenbeast plan is like, a thing. Like, magic’s going to vanish. Like now it begins. We’re actually going to execute the plan that, like, we’ve talked about before, but now it’s going to happen. And the Wraithenbeasts are, like, going to be coming soon or something.

Ali: Now, I’m torturing myself about this Captal thing. Like, what is going on with the Captal?

Bree: I feel like there’s something going on.

Aradia: I think it’s just that he is a knowledge dump.

Bree: Or I’m making you torture yourself for no reason. I mean, I could be doing that, too.

Aradia: I think he’s just just a person who has all the books memorized and he’s like a living library. And like, you got to train someone to get the download of the knowledge or something, and they really should do that more often, I think. I think they should have more backups.

Ali: They should absolutely have a backup. How much of an idiot do you feel when you go to the Apple Store when you didn’t backup your computer? You feel like a dumbass, and you’ve had an issue. This isn’t based on a true story that happened. I constantly forget to back up my shit. So maybe they’re just all ADHD. Make me.

0:34:20 Music break, Flight chapter 3

Bree: Part three. We start in a coffee shop. That kind of made me want coffee, even though this coffee shop is deliberately described as terrible.

Aradia: But I love the aesthetic. Everything is in exclamation points. It feels very like 1880s, very old timey.

Bree: “Sweet! Fresh! Wholesome! Rock Sugar! Cinnamon Sticks! Chocolate Drops! Raspberry Sugar!”

Aradia: Almond Surprise!

Bree: Yeah. I would love some coffee. So Sarra is drinking terrible coffee. Curdled cream. Elomar is hacking at a pile of crystallized violets, But Sarra is reading the newspaper. So what happened in the newspaper, y’all?

Ali: Oh, I know! There was a big fight between one of the Weavers and a Mageborn, right? There was some kind of conflict.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: The Malerris was killed by the Mageborn, but then the crowd beat the Mageborn to death, which feels like an overreaction considering he killed a space fascist. But then they utilize that story in a sensationalized way to make the Mageborns look like shit, so that they could justify rounding up the Mageborns and imprisoning them. Because they’re like, killing off their school or their home base, and like occasionally killing them, is not doing the job. We’ve got to round them all up and put them in prison. And to that I say, if you find yourself saying about a group of people, We should round them up and put them in prison. You are probably the bad guy. Reevaluate your stance.

Bree: That is generally a good thing. And yes, this sounds sort of like what happened to them. But it’s not. It’s, two Mages had a duel for some reason in the street, and Sarra thinks the Lord of Malerris, the Weaver, like, sort of blew themselves up on purpose in a way that would, like, do as much collateral damage as possible. Because basically this is like a setup. This is them somehow instigating this fight with this Mageborn deliberately to give them the chance to lock everything down.

Ali: To turn public perception against them.

Bree: Yes. Yes.

Ali: Damn.

Bree: So, yeah, that’s what Sarra is reading out of this anyway. The Malerris, you know, basically set this whole thing up, so that Anniyas would finally have an excuse to round up all the Mageborns. And that is what they are now doing. Mageborns have to be taken into custody.

Ali: Damn. Well, as we know, Sarra’s gut is always right. And until it’s not.

Bree: Until it’s not!

Ali: Yeah. Because occasionally she is wrong. But most of the time, so I’m assuming that she’s correct in this.

Bree: So. So this is the thing, she’s contrasting what she knows with what she doesn’t know. And what she knows is that the newspaper is saying that fleets have been sent to Roseguard, her home, to deal with the Mage sympathizers there. But she doesn’t know what’s going on at her home. She knows that Glenin said that she was sending a boat full of people, so her whole home, her foster family, all the people that she’s ever known – she doesn’t know that Gorynel Desse came and did his thing where he rounds up people and spirits them away at the last minute. So she already dealt with Ambrai burning to the ground, and now her foster home.

Aradia: Oh no. And it’s not going great for them because Collan’s with them and – it’s not because Collan is with them, but like.

Ali: You really sounded like it was because Collan was with them. I was like, I mean, valid.

Aradia: Yeah, It’s just, she’s so worried and she’s right to be worried, and it’s a bummer.

Ali: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, she’s just like, Can someone stop burning down my houses, please? It’s unnecessary. And it’s a little triggering, to be honest.

Aradia: And they talk about how, like, now all the Mage people are going to be using Ladders to try to flee the persecution. And because the Malerrisi know all the Ladders, they’re just going to be running right out of the frying pan into the fire when they use the Ladders. And so not only are the Ladders close to them as the super Rising people, it’s close to everyone fleeing persecution, from this like, pogrom, basically.

Ali: Awesome. That’s what we want. We want no way out. In addition to all of this other stuff. That’s super rad.

Aradia: Yeah. So she’s worried about getting to Cailet and saving her.

Bree: Yeah. And Alin and Val are trying to sort of cheer her up, because she is clearly in a trauma moment. So they’re like, making jokes, jokes about how they just, like, walked in and, you know, got some horses because Lilen Ostin is still the real power in the Waste, you know. So they’re trying to cheer her up. And basically Sarra is not being cheered up. And we’re witnessing what Aradia pointed out last time, where she didn’t love the dynamic, where Sarra needs to be made angry so that she can get yelled at. But this time there’s an actual quote that she thinks; “Splendid. The only time I’m usefully Mageborn is when I’m furious. What a comfort.” And I was like, Nyneave, is that you?

Aradia: I know, right? Exactly.

Ali: Literally! Oh, hey, Nyneave, how are you doing?

Bree: Yeah, yeah. So we’ve got a nineties theme here, where women can only access their power through rage.

Ali: Relatable.

Bree: And that’s interesting to me because, I’m not sure how I feel about that? Like, I’m not – I feel like on the one hand, like, you know, hysterical women is like, generally seen as a negative thing. But there is a time where I’m like, Yes, reward women for rage, give us power. I don’t like that we can only access it when we’re mad. But I mean, I like the idea of a women’s rage having power, because we’re not exactly encouraged to get mad.

Aradia: Right. Right. And it’s especially – given that it’s 1994 and, you know, Robert Jordan has got Nyneave, up through book three or whatever of Wheel of Time, well-established with her rage block and all of that. And like, yeah, there’s worse messaging, like messaging that you have to always be in control, and you have to be calm, and emotions ruin your power, is definitely a worse message. But having your power locked behind only anger and having to have other people trigger that anger is like, I feel like we could do better. And we do as we get out of 1994 onwards. But this feels very correct for the nineties.

Ali: I mean, is it linked at all, do we think, to like, Riot Girl shit and the embracing of women not being these happy, peppy, upbeat housewives all the time?

Bree: It feels a little closer here, because there’s no that – Sarra doesn’t have the counterprogramming that Nyneave has, where she’s supposed to think of herself as a submissive flower opening. She’s not being told deliberately that getting mad is the opposite of women’s power. Only sunlight on the river and floating and submission is women’s power. That? RJ, Baby, no.

Ali: That’s some bullshit. Some bullshit.

Aradia: Well, because this isn’t being written by a man, so it’s a little better.

Ali: I mean, in the nineties, who was from the South. No shade towards the South..? Sorry, Bree.

Bree: Listen, listen, White folks who grew up here have their baggage to deal with, and I did not grow up here. But like, I think the thing that I learned that I didn’t know before – So I have lots of prejudices about the South. The thing that I didn’t realize is, the South is both the white people who have baggage to unpack and the black people who made the civil rights movement happen.

Ali: Very real.

Bree: And you can’t erase them. When you talk about the South and rural South, like especially, you can’t – you’ve got to like not just flatten that to white people, because they are a huge part, like 30, 40% like some places, you know, and like in cities, like there are cities that are like 80, 90% black people and like Birmingham, man, civil rights cradle, of the civil rights movement. You can’t erase what they did and that they own the South just as much as the white people. So that is my little Southern rant, that I learned. Right? Because when I first moved here, my husband, – he was my boyfriend at the time – he worked at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute as an intern. And so I actually spent a lot of time, like, waiting for him, picking him up from work, visiting there. And I learned how little people who are raised outside of the South really know about what was going on. And I was like, Goddamn!

Ali: Goddamn.

Bree: This is an amazing void in my education on everything that I thought happened.

Ali: No, it’s super real.

Bree: Yay! Education and civil rights!

Ali: Yeah. But that being said, being a white man from the South can come with its baggage, like you said.

Bree: Yeah, there’s some stuff here you know you gotta deal with for sure. I don’t love that she needs someone else to trigger this anger, I feel. But, you know, on the other hand, men yelling at me makes me angry, too. So. So go off, Sarra.

Ali: Well, that is. That’s. That’s valid. That’s very real. It’s funny to me that she needs someone to yell at her to access her anger, because I’m like, I could probably access my anger just thinking really hard about things to be angry about. So. (laughs)

Aradia: Well, in fairness, she’s having a very traumatized moment. And this is the quick fix.

Ali: True. Yeah.

Bree: Yeah. They’re basically like, we’re going to poke you.

Aradia: But yeah, I mean, and also she’s young and just learning this about herself so, like she can grow through it and out of it, as she, you know, gains maturity and age.

Ali: There also is the message, maybe we shouldn’t immediately yell at someone going through trauma?

Aradia: Whaaaaaaat?

Bree: What, they did get rewarded for it, because she has this fabulous line. “I know what she knows and she knows that I know it. Either of us, or both of us, or neither of us will go to Longriding. If neither go, Taig is unwarned and uncaptured. If I go, he’s warned; if she goes, he’s captured. She can’t afford to let me warn him. I can’t afford to let her capture him. Therefore, both of us will go to Longriding.” She’s like, There’s my logic!

Ali: There it is.

Aradia: Boom, boom, boom.

Bree: Congratulations.

Ali: And then my favorite thing is somebody’s like, I don’t understand it. She’s like, Explain it to him! And kicks the horse.

Aradia: It is a good exit.

Ali: That is a good exit. She and Glenin both have that flair for the dramatic.

Bree: Yeah. This is to Val. And she even thinks that this is her repayment for all of the convoluted answers he’s given her to what time it is.

Aradia: Fair.

Bree: And then she’s like, Yeah, boom. Here’s some logic. Enjoy it. And then she’s off because she’s going to go get Cailet, man.

Aradia: Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Ali: But he’s really asking for clarification as a spy, smuggling this information to someone, he needs to have the accurate information. I’m just kidding. But also, maybe I’m not. I’m kidding unless I’m right.

Bree: Unless you’re right, and then you’re not kidding.

Ali: And then I’m not kidding.

0:46:34 Music break, Flight chapter 4

Bree: So we jump right to Glenin, who proves Sarra right by yelling, I want to go to Longriding right now, because she wants to go to Longriding.

Aradia: Because she knows that they know that she knows that they know that she knows.

Ali: So you’re telling me the sex worker place is not at Longriding? Missed Opportunity.

Aradia: (laughs) Excellent.

Bree: Oh, wow. I’m sure they have one, but, you know. Longriding, yeah. The missed opportunity.

Ali: There’s a missed opportunity here.

Bree: Longriding stables.

Ali: Respectfully, Melanie.

Bree: So we meet the Fifth Lord here, who is telling her that she cannot travel into an acid storm.

Ali: And why not?

Bree: And she does not like being told No. She’s like, Men cannot tell me what to do, fuck off.

Aradia: He’s like, It will melt your flesh off your bones and scramble your magic. You literally cannot go.

Ali: I do feel like the words Acid Storm –

Bree: Oh, but he doesn’t tell her that, his wife has to come in and like, point that part out because he’s just like, No. And Glenin’s like, I do what I want, bitch. So like, makes me wonder if he was, like, hoping she’d do it and die.

Aradia: Oh, I hadn’t even thought of that.

Bree: Because he wasn’t telling her why. But his wife comes in and is like, Yes, we can’t forget how important Lady Glenin is.

Aradia: Which like, the lady title is like a thing? It’s like a mocking thing, which is interesting.

Bree: Yes. Like she wonders if Saris is mocking her, because nobody else calls her Lady Glenin.

Ali: I did think that was a really good 1 for 1. The, I won’t believe you until your spouse comes in to tell me the same information, and then I will accept that at face value because they are the dominant gender in this situation.

Aradia: That is a good 1 to 1.

Ali: Yeah, that was real, and kind of triggering, to be honest.

Bree: Yeah. Very subtle. Very real. So true. And then they just like, you know, sit around kind of bad mouthing him after he leaves. Saris apparently doesn’t love her husband either.

Aradia: I am hoping for a really intense friendship between these two with, like, serious competitive sexual tension, because, like –

Bree: I mean, I kind of ship it.

Aradia: I like her. I like this lady. She seems like a bitch. And freakin Glenin deserves that. Glenin deserves someone who can actually, like, spar at her level. And I really want them to, like, be a little cohort with, like, a bit of sexual tension that never gets acknowledged because that would be too many gay people for the nineties. In this book.

Ali: You get two.

Aradia: Exactly.

Ali: And they’re boys.

Bree: Also, also, I don’t know if it’s clear to you guys yet, or if you’ve remembered, Doriaz, so Saris’s husband, is Red Flag Tutor’s brother.

Aradia: Yes, yes, I remembered that. The name Doriaz is notable.

Bree: So Glenin’s got a little bit of a like thing with Saris’s son, where it’s like this whole, you know, that’s the son of the, you know, brother, the nephew of my love.

Aradia: I hadn’t picked up on that.

Ali: Oh!

Bree: I may be jumping the gun a little bit on that.

Ali: No, I don’t think you are.

Bree: I thought that was a thing here. Let me see. “One wishes for a knife”, is what Saris says about her husband. And he’s basically like, Yeah, he’s murdered a lot of Mages lately. It gets him all uppity. And they’re commenting on the fact that he said, My son. My son and I usually spend this hour together, and you’re not supposed to say that if you’re a dude.

Aradia: Right. He’s too possessive of his child.

Bree: Yeah, he’s claiming ownership over this boy.

Ali: Can’t have that. That’s funny. I wouldn’t think about that.

Bree: We have a little discussion here. Saris is the one who sort of upsets the plan to go to Longriding. Did you guys notice anything else other than the desperate need for these two to form a sexual or tense friendship?

Aradia: I noticed that Anniyas is is described as having more magic than we’ve been led to believe, that she gets away with just calling it luck.

Ali: She has more? Oh, I misread that.

Aradia: Yeah, because Saris sells Glenin, like, Oh, by the way, you’re stronger than Anniyas. Did you know that? And Glenin says, She so rarely uses it, I suppose luck suffices. So Anniyas is very much an onion of just layers upon layers upon layers. I noticed that.

Ali: I am ready for Anniyas to rock our world in terms of her power. It’s got to come out at some point, right? We can’t be teasing all of this and not see it manifest. Right?

Bree: It definitely like – we’ve got some more information here. So, have you guys got any reconsidering thoughts on Anniyas’s relationship to the Weavers, because they’re definitely – Saris here is not speaking terribly respectfully of her.

Ali: Well, no. Annayis is totally fucked. The Weavers are going to kill this lady.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: But I hope she has a hell of a last stand.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And, like, really puts them to the test. Yeah. I feel like Saris is feeling Glenin out for an alliance with – like a coup within a coup within a coup. Right? Where Anniyas is, like, the front. and then there’s the Lords, and then there’s going to be these two with the unrequited sexual tension that I’m just head canoning is going to be there. I think that’s what’s maybe going to happen, because they’re going to be like, Hey, so we really want to do a fascism. But it looks like all of our allies are trying to do a patriarchy at the same time? And we don’t like that. We want to be lady fascists. So, with no men anywhere.

Ali: I mean, I’m glad somebody’s saying it. I’m glad somebody is aware of what’s going on, that we’re just reinventing patriarchy. But I felt like, what was I going to say? So before I say this, I like my mother in law. We’re really good friends. But I mean, who better to approach someone about like, fun-sassinating a person, to be like, How much do you like your mother in law?

Bree: I mean, that’s the approach.

Ali: I mean, if you’re on Reddit, there’s a whole subreddit about terrible mother in laws. So.

Aradia: Yeah, I love my mother in law, but yeah, I’ve heard that that is a rare and lucky thing.

Ali: I mean, though, literally, I’m having my in-laws come to stay with us for two weeks in September. And I was talking to several people, like at different times about this. And each time they looked at me very seriously and we’re like, And how do you feel about that?

Aradia: Mm hmm.

Ali: Is that okay with you? And I’m like, Yeah, they’re great. They’re super helpful around the house. They play with the dog. They help, you know, they help us with things. They’re really great. We’re going to go do Pilates together. They’ll be super fun. And they’re like, Oh, okay. And they looked at me like I had three heads. So many people hate their in-laws. It’s really wild. I do not have problematic in-laws, but yeah, I think it’s so funny. So I’m like, you know, historically, the person to best approach about taking out a person is maybe the daughter in law.

Bree: Especially in a relationship like this.

Aradia: Right, yeah.

Ali: Right. You’re like, So how attached are you to this old lady who probably drives you wild? She probably boundary stomps all over you.

Bree: (sings) Not very.

Aradia: Yeah. So they basically decide that after Longriding, Sarra and Co are going to go to … Malerris Castle? Is that kind of what Glenin figures out?

Bree: Okay, so here’s what you – what are you thinking, like if you think about this, she’s thinking that they need their version of the Malerris Castle, a place that, to all outward appearances, is dead and abandoned long ago. Do you think that they’re thinking the Malerris Castle? She’s definitely got a idea. So I guess you guys have to decide if you think you know what it is.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s not actually Malerris Castle. That would be silly.

Ali: But they need a home base. But they did say. Oh, but isn’t their home base going to be Ambrai?

Aradia: That was my assumption, is if they’re going to hop back to like the Octagon Court or something like that.

Ali: Because they’re like, it’s the last place they’ll think we’ll go.

Bree: To a place that to all outward appearances, that’s dead and long abandoned, right? That seems to be what she’s thinking.

Aradia: And she’s supposed to step into her power as an Ambrai. Right. That’s part of Sarra’s whole shtick, is at some point she’s going to get to unveil that she’s really Ambrai. So what better place to do that from, than the ashes of Ambrai, like a Phoenix.

Ali: Ooh.

Bree: Yeah, ooh, I love that.

Ali: Ca-caw!

Aradia: Oh, I do love the line where they’re like, Oh, my God, we have to think like men, this is disgusting. Because they’re trying to anticipate Gorynel Desse, and they’re like, It’s terrible enough to think of how a rebel would think, but to think like a man, I am dirted. It’s so funny!

Ali: They’re so impenetrable. It’s not like they’re – ugh.

Bree: Glenin’s like, I doubt that they have minds.

Aradia: Yeah, right. Like, it’s just so funny.

Ali: We’re all human beings.

Bree: The worst thinking about thinking like Gorynel Desse – I mean, I feel like we could all think as Gorynel Desse: Find the nearest child. Delete their memories. Carve some rock.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s very simple. Has nothing to do with being a man.

Ali: Show up at the most dramatically interesting time.

Aradia: Yeah. Step out from behind a curtain.

Ali: Like, how dramatic can my entrance be?

Bree: Find the nearest hot 70 year old woman?

Ali: Exactly.

Bree: You’ve got to put a septuagenarian in there, though, because he likes the ladies. So, got to find some hot older ladies for him.

Aradia: Yeah. You need age appropriate distractions for Gorynel Desse.

Ali: Listen though. Women live longer than men. Right? So, like, if he just hit up the local nursing home, he might make out like a bandit.

Bree: Respect for Gorynel Desse and the age appropriate relationships, right?

Ali: I’m just saying.

Bree: So, that’s the one thing we don’t have to roast him on this week. So, how about we get to the next chapter and roast him for –

Aradia: My heart!

0:57:43 Music break, Flight chapter 5

Bree: What’s the first line of the next chapter?

Aradia: “It wasn’t until Verald Jescarin was dead that Collan realized he’d lost a friend.” I am deceased! I am so sad.

Ali: Fuck!

Aradia: I had to read it, like, three times to be like, You didn’t just kill him. You didn’t just. You didn’t. You did- Melanie. Melanie! And then I remembered that you said that she was George R.R. Martin before he was George R.R. Martin-ing. And, yeah, that was – That was very sad. I liked him. He was fine. Even if he did give Collan a concussion last time.

Ali: Deserved.

Bree: Yeah. Flower Boy, R.I.P.. And they’re just joking about it. Collan’s like, rubbing his head like, You had to hit me that hard, I suppose. And Verald says, Your skull is rumored to be thick!, and then he gets stabbed in the chest and is dead.

Ali: We have one of those classic, ha ha – whoa!, moments.

Bree: Yeah. Oh.

Aradia: Yeah, devastating.

Bree: Yes, absolutely. And like, Council Guards just surge out of the snowy forest and Collan starts murdering.

Ali: You know how you get over a murder? Do more murder. That’s how society heals.

Bree: That is Collan’s method, apparently.

Aradia: Very healthy.

Bree: So basically, all the older boys in the farmhouse come running out. I have to say, I’m, like, a little disappointed. I feel like this is one of those, Melanie Rawn just didn’t think about it too deeply, because, like –

Ali: Why didn’t the girls come?

Bree: Yeah, Tarise is a frickin spy. Like, Rising Spy. And she’s never learned to use a sword and, like, why isn’t Agatine doing fencing classes, while Orlin is, like, taking care of the kids, and raising the boys? Like, you know, I’m a little disappointed.

Ali: (sings) Nobody. What the fuck?

Bree: These two younger sons even have, like, sword training. What?

Aradia: Not a fan of that. That feels too, too classically tropey. It’s not one on one. It’s one on zero. 1 to 1, 1 to 0.

Bree: And even if we’re going with, this is a revolution family, so we raised the kids to be fighters, Mom, why are you not a fighter? Because clearly, clearly –

Ali: Yeah, why isn’t mom out here fighting?

Bree: Agatine could be a badass.

Aradia: If they were revolutionaries and everyone would be sword fighters rather than just the women. That would be the proper revolutionary strategies. Oh, we also allow the men to learn.

Ali: That’s also the smartest thing. I mean, just use your fuckin brain.

Aradia: Yuh!

Ali: If a revolution is happening, then we should teach every member of the family how to defend themselves. Am I wrong?

Aradia: If you’re going to sign up for the scary danger parts, you should probably have the skills.

Ali: That’s what drives me crazy in, like, you know, in a lot of fantasy shows. It’s like, the women are like, I don’t know how to hold a sword! I’m like, Do you not know the world you’re living in? Did your parents not teach you how to hold a sword? That’s stupid. That’s a stupid parenting move. Because, like, just because a woman sits in a castle doesn’t mean the castle can’t get sieged. Excuse!

Aradia: Happens all the time.

Ali: It drives me absolutely batty.

Bree: So. Yeah, and not great. I don’t love it, but it is so, it is so easy. And I posted this on the Discord when it happened. A couple of weeks ago, I was writing a scene where I had some people who had to – little random NPC villagers who had to be ready to jump in – and I made the blacksmith and the guy with the pitchfork both men, and I was like, Well, why did I do that? And I did that.

Ali: Ugh!

Bree: Because hat’s just sort of like what I see NPC people being, right? It’s just, when you reach into the box of your pop culture notice, you know, and pull out a blacksmith. It’s almost always a guy. So I went back and I made the blacksmith a woman, you know, and I changed that. But it’s so easy to do.

Ali: I hate how often I default to men, for like everything, in everything. Where I’m like, Oh, I need a computer scientist character. Man. Oh, I need a NASA guy. Man. Like, I’m just – it’s constant. It’s constant.

Bree: Yup.

Ali: It’s like the fact that you have to go, like, Let me re-imagine this. I had a playwriting professor where we were talking and I was like, Oh, I’m thinking like, it’s about a boy. And he goes, Why not a girl? A girl could do the same things. And I was like, Oh, I just like, didn’t think about it. And he was like, My advice, if it doesn’t matter, make it a girl.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Mmhm.

Ali: In everything. And I was like, Okay. But it has to be so purposeful every time. And that makes me batty. I hate it every day. I’m like, Why are the magic users usually women? Why are the healers usually women, why are the, you know, fighters, usually men? All that stuff makes me batty.

Bree: And once again, when we call Robert Jordan out for this, it’s not because we think he’s maliciously doing it. It’s because it just is a frickin uphill battle, no matter who you are and in what time you are.

Ali: It’s so pervasive. Which is why, when I get on my AI soapbox, I’m like, AI just regurgitates. And there was this TikTok the other day, where somebody just plugged in, autistic person. Like, show me pictures of autistic people, right. And it was just a sad looking white man, over and over and over again. And it’s like, AI is always going to, because it’s designed to, regurgitate back to us our like, implicit biases and sometimes even amplify them. So when we’re like, Oh, well, they could make art. Well, the art that they’re going to make is going to be the summation of the worst of our basic impulses. It’s not going to innovate, into what we could do. Because it’s not trained to do that. And it and it’s feeding on the things that we’ve already made. So it’s just going to regurgitate the shit that we are honestly over, at this point.

Aradia: And it’s like, I’m not a creative in the way that you two are, but I know that when I’m watching stuff, I know what I’m surprised by. When I’m reading, I notice when I’m surprised by a choice, which points up all the choices I wasn’t surprised by, right? So it’s like, as consumers of art, you have to really notice what is and isn’t surprising, and then interrogate why. Be like, Wow, that’s such an interesting choice! Why is that interesting? Like, that’s the question that those of us who aren’t writers can ask ourselves is, Why did that thing catch my attention, and why did the ten doctors before the black woman or whatever, you know, interesting character, like, why did those other ones not ping on my radar, Why does this one feel different? Yeah, then you look at AI stuff and you’re like, This is not surprising.

Ali: Right.

Aradia: And it’s like, okay, that’s one of the red flags, is that it’s not innovating anything that makes you think.

Bree: Yeah, the forced diversity thing is just, you’ve started including people who aren’t invisible to me. And you know, because background neutrality is what these people are and the default is not great.

Ali: No.

Bree: But let’s not go too far afield, because we’ve just murdered Verald.

Aradia: Yeah, Verald, like, is dead.

Ali: RIP Verald.

Aradia: RIP Verald, and like, his poor wife, his poor wife.

Ali: She’s going through the longest labor ever. And, not only that, but her husband’s dead. I mean, what a what a fucking week.

Bree: And Gorynel Desse was, like, off, wandering around, apparently.

Aradia: Yeah, what the fuck is with Gorynel Desse? In and out. In and out.

Ali: That’s why I’m saying.

Bree: He was not here.

Ali: I’m saying, he’s suspicious.

Bree: Yeah, he went ahead to, like, check the next Ladder and to basically secure it.

Ali: A likely story.

Bree: And he left Wards and he thought those would protect people.

Ali: A likely story.

Bree: But the Wards actually – because there was a Malerris around, the Wards brought them to him. So, Gorynel Desse. How are you feeling about your Gorynel Desse traitor theory?

Ali: I feel pretty good about it, to be honest. I’m feeling pretty good about it. I feel like he should have known that.

Bree: They are just like, Where were you? And he’s like, Not where I should have been, obviously.

Ali: Have we not been having fucking Malerrisi killing Mages for like 20 years at this point? Have we not learned anything about what they might be drawn to by now?

Aradia: No, we don’t learn, anything.

Ali: I think that’s fucking crap. I think we – I’m full – I think Gorynel Desse is full of it. And I am suspicious.

Aradia: He’s got something going on. I don’t know what, but he’s got something going on.

Ali: He just happened to be gone when they attacked. Really?

Bree: That is what’s happened. That’s his claim. His claim is that he set Wards, but they had a Lord of Malerris with them and they found them. He’s kind of like, he has – there’s a few weird things he says in here. One is, that when he asks how many of these people Collan killed, Collan’s like, Nine or ten. And he goes, Respectable. Not unworthy.

Ali: Of what? Is what I’m saying.

Bree: It’s a weird statement, right?

Ali: Why do we care about Collan? And then he has the line about the fifth sword or whatever, like that’s supposed to mean anything.

Aradia: Yeah, one of the Fifty Swords?

Ali: What does that mean?

Bree: Right after this he also says, “Geridon’s Stones, you’re even more stubborn than your—” And he gets cut off.

Aradia: Aha!

Ali: Your what.

Aradia: What is happening.

Bree: So, those two statements back to back. Yeah. It seems like Gorynel Desse is saying, Your skill with the sword is worthy of somebody’s legacy. You’re as stubborn, you’re more stubborn than your family member?

Ali: Mother, Father? Sibling?

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: I would love it if his mother was like, some badass sword lady. I got to say.

Ali: I want it. Melanie, make it happen. But, okay, here’s the thing. Wait. I remember what joke I was going to make, that I forgot about. Okay, So, because I was like, Well, what if Collan is Gorynel Desse’s kid? Whoa, First of all. Second, why would he know his mother?

Bree: I mean, Gorynel Desse does seem to be leaving them around.

Ali: Why does he know his mother? So, like, all this stuff, I’m just suspicious, because we know Gorynel Desse fucks. We know this.

Bree: All the time, everywhere.

Ali: And that might be a family connection, because we know Mai or May, or whatever, was related to him. So, like, that could be where the family thing comes in. But I also thought it was funny that Glenin thought of Mai and was like, Oh, she was an Ambrai, how dare? Then she goes, Oh, but she was also related to Gorynel Desse, so. And I was like, Yeah, you’re related to multiple people, Glenin. That’s how families work. You also are not fully Ambrai. I need you to know that and acknowledge it. Silly, silly lady.

Bree: No, no, well, she might, because she does love her Feiran ancestry at this point.

Ali: But she’s conveniently forgot about the fact that people have multiple ancestors.

Aradia: Shocking. We’re not all purebreds. What?

Ali: Yup.

Bree: Sela is lying on the cot. Her water hasn’t broken, but she is having labor pains. Not great. We find out that taking a pregnant woman through a Ladder isn’t great.

Ali: I think we’ve heard that before.

Aradia: Somehow they know that the baby’s going to be Mageborn. So that adds another layer to it.

Bree: Yeah. The son says there’s no magic in their line.

Ali: Oh, so then how do we know the kids kid’s going to be Mageborn?

Aradia: They just say it’s going to happen.

Bree: That’s the question, right?

Ali: Suspicious!

Bree: Riddon, which is one of the Slegin boys, says “There’s no magic in the Trayos or Jescarin lines that I’ve ever heard of.” And Agatine’s like, Oh yes, you’re right. And Orlin’s like. Of course, but they don’t look at each other or Gorynel Desse deaths and it’s very like placating. So that’s intensely suspicious.

Ali: Who did she fuck?

Bree: Collan is looking at the two of them, like, Oh, Jesus Christ, they know something and that baby is going to have magic.

Ali: (sings) I know something you don’t.

Aradia: So, like, bringing her through the Ladder pregnant, with Mage baby, is just all kinds of complicated. And I’m like, Just give her a fucking place to hang out so she can have this damn baby. Stop traveling.

Ali: Seriously.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Seriously. I mean, they’ve traveled through that Ladder like, 45 times with her.

Aradia: And so they decide they’re going to go to Ryka Court, for some reason of, it’s too obvious to be a good idea, therefore, it’s a good idea.

Ali: They keep saying that, but that’s what they said last time. And Glenin showed up then.

Aradia: Right? I don’t trust it.

Ali: I yeah I think that Glenin is on to the, Oh, go where they least suspect. I think she’s proven that she’s on to that plan. I don’t know why we decided that’s a good plan to implement again, Sarra. Your gut jumping did not help last time.

Bree: Well, this is Gorynel Desse’s choice. And Collan’s like, what the fuck? What? No. But Gorynel Desse said something that’s weird, which is –

Aradia: No he doesn’t. It’s very in-character.

Bree: “No, you don’t know what you’re talking about. The child will be Mageborn. And safe-born.” Like, what do you – how do you know this, Gorynel Desse?

Ali: It’s almost as if it’s woven.

Aradia: (gasps)

Bree: (gasps) Oh, the Weavers weave as the Weavers weave?

Aradia: Because he’s actually a fucking spy, Weaver, bastard.

Ali: A fucking spy. That’s why I’m fucking saying.

Aradia: Yeah, this is good evidence for the theory. It really is. And then he fucking, like, mind grabs Collan, because Collan is not having any of his bullshit. And he’s like, I don’t have time for this, And frickin steals his, his willingness to comply. And is like, You’re going to agree with me now.

Bree: It does seem like that. It’s just, he’s staring into these green eyes, and feels himself nod, and he wonders what he’s agreeing to.

Ali: I. Don’t. Like that!

Bree: People for the Ethical Treatment of Collan’s Brain, just at this point.

Ali: I’m no Collan stan, but what the fuck.

Aradia: You are kind of a Collan stan a little bit.

Bree: Collan needs some stans to protect him.

Ali: No, I’m not a Collan stan. I don’t even like this guy. But I just feel like, so passionate about the fact that he’s been fucked over every goddamn turn. Every goddamn turn! He was a fucking slave! And now we’re going to mind enslave him? We’re just going to retraumatize the already traumatized boy? I am against it.

Bree: I did warn you guys, that the roasting of Gorynel Desse was only just beginning.

Ali: Gorynel Spy!

Aradia: Yeah, it’s like, yeah, this is, this is perhaps my least favorite thing. He’s like, mind wiping and like, you know, controlling Collan, just because it’s too inconvenient to convince him. I just, I’m really disappointed.

Ali: Who does that sound like?

Aradia: Yeah, right.

Ali: Glenin. That sounds like something Glenin would do. Who is the good one in this relationship? That sounds like such a Glenin move.

Bree: I think that is something Melanie Rawn wanted us asking ourselves, honestly. I think that she likes to live a little bit in the morally gray. Gorynel Desse is definitely either a bad guy who has moments of good or a good guy who needs some serious Come to Jesus right now.

Ali: Oh, it’s a necessary evil. Do we not hear ourselves saying that it’s evil?

Aradia: Mhmm.

Ali: Perhaps that means we should reevaluate whether it’s necessary, whereas it’s probably not. I don’t like this, at all.

Bree: Oay, Gorsha, my problematic fave. I’m telling you guys, he’s suffering. He’s suffering this read through. Going slow, I’m just like, Oh, baby. Oh, Gorynel Desse. You are a problem.

Ali: He is committing casual war crimes. Casual everything.

Bree: So much. So much.

Aradia: Yeah. They leave a pile of ashes behind, just like we leave a pile of roast ashes behind, whenever Gorynel Desse comes up. They leave a smoking Ladder, we leave a smoking memory of Gorsha in Bree’s memory.

Ali: It’s been a pleasure to fuck him up for you.

1:14:50 Music break, Flight chapter 6

Bree: That comes well into part six, where Glenin and Auvry are hanging out at the smoking ruins. Glenin’s, like, kicking stones from Verald’s pyre. Basically mad.

Aradia: It’s a father daughter date. You know, they’re out, just checkin out the crimes that they’ve induced, you know, it’s a good bonding moment.

Bree: Yeah, apparently a Malerris sensed the Wards, and they went with the Council Guard, but Auvry didn’t go with them, and didn’t bring Glenin. And Glenin’s really mad about this. But Auvry does not want Glenin facing Gorynel Desse.

Ali: Gorynel spy.

Bree: Any thoughts on this?

Aradia: Who he’s still fond of? He keeps calling him Gorsha. Like there are some complex loyalties here.

Bree: Yeah, like I do.

Ali: (yells) He keeps calling him Gorsha! I pulled the microphone away. But, I was going to scream about this. I’m scaring the dog. He keeps calling him Gorsha. Why is he calling him Gorsha?

Aradia: Yeah. There’s some sus things.

Bree: Glenin wonders the same thing. That’s an intimate, diminutive, like, you know, fun thing that you call someone that you care about.

Ali: Not to mention that he has been at this court before. More than once.

Aradia: Probably banged half the women in the court.

Ali: He got Sarra and her mom out of the court, which makes me believe, okay, he was involved somehow, right? Because I feel like the dad, I feel like the dad was like, Get my wife and kid out of there, because I don’t I don’t want to actually kill my whole family, just like most of them.

Aradia: Just the in-laws.

Ali: Again, with the in-laws.

Bree: Here’s what he told Sarra, five year old Sarra. Or what five year old Sarra told him, and he was like, Goddamn, your reads are very strangely accurate for a child. Which was that he got her away because Auvry couldn’t know about Cailet, the pregnancy. That is what Gorynell agreed with Sarra, was the reason that he did it. So that Auvry was not responsible for that. It was Maichin, and wanting to get away, so that Auvry didn’t know she was pregnant.

Ali: A likely story. A likely story that comes from him.

Bree: Ali trusts no one.

Ali: Oh no, I trust some people. I trust Sarra. She seems on the up and up. I trust Cailet. She seems okay. Collan seems adequate. Maybe kind of a dumb ass. But I do think that we shouldn’t keep giving him brain damage. And if that makes me a Collan stan, I guess the bar is incredibly low for what a stan is. Ugh, they have been out here defending this crusty man.

Aradia: It’s just you’re so invested in figuring out where he fits in. I figure that’s because you like him.

Ali: I have no fucking – Well, it’s because it doesn’t make sense! Why are we not focusing on Alin or Val? Like these men make more sense. They’re more involved. Alin’s got the special powers. Alin should be the third –

Aradia: Yeah, Collan sticks out here.

Ali: The third, fourth important kid. It’s so weird! So then I thought Melanie was making fun of me, right? By deliberately killing Collan. And I was like, You know what, Melanie? I respect that.

Bree: That would be a baller move.

Ali: I really was shaken by that.

Bree: It would be also like, just so on brand, you know, for gender flipped. Just, oh, yeah, I thought that this female character was going to be important, but she turned into a tree, or I killed her.

Ali: But she was just fuel for a man’s plot line. Like, same shit. Same shit, different day, right?

Bree: There is a series that I broke up with – a famous fantasy series from this period – where I was so excited that there was a girl in the party, and she literally turned into a tree. And I was like, I am never reading another book you write, bro, because you took my girl and you turned her into a fucking tree. Can’t I have one goddamn thing.

Ali: You Philoctetes nymph turd!

Bree: Yeah, turned her into a tree.

Ali: Okay, but here’s the thing. We also haven’t seen any, like, damsel in distress men in this. We’ve only seen women held hostage. Have you also noticed that?

Aradia: That’s a good point.

Ali: Where is the, I’m holding this young, vulnerable man who can’t defend himself?

Aradia: I mean, that was kind of Collan’s back story, with Scraller, a little bit.

Ali: Yeah, but it’s not being used against the protagonist, it’s a back story.

Aradia: Yeah. We haven’t really had many people in the damsel in distress position at all.

Ali: But Mai!

Aradia: Well yeah. But she was also a spy. I mean.

Ali: Yeah. She put herself at risk.

Bree: It’s interesting though because I feel like it, it plays less damsel in distress with me, because it’s like, all women.

Ali: Sure.

Aradia: Because like, she was kidnaped by another woman, and the savior was another woman. And then she made the agency choice, to, you know, take everyone out.

Ali: So I’m just saying, if we’re full 1 to 1ing it.

Bree: No, you’re right. We need a damsel. Somebody needs –

Ali: Where is my boy damsel?

Bree: We need to put Collan in a tower somewhere.

Aradia: But Glenin and Auvry are very, just evil. And that’s basically all that happens in this part. It’s just they’re like, Mwahaha, we need to go be evil elsewhere.

Bree: Yeah, Glenin’s having more, like, ideas. She’s like, you know, they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to find him at Ryka Court. Auvry does not want Glenin to face against Gorsha, because basically he says that Gorynel Desse will murder the shit out of her. That she’s underestimating him, that he is strong and he is deadly. And unlike Tamos and all of these other Mage Guardians who have all these, like, weird ethics, Gorynel Desse is low on the ethical scale. And would murder –

Ali: And Auvry thinks that? Auvry thinks that Gorynel is low on the ethical scale? Okay, well.

Bree: He didn’t say that precisely, but less likely to hold back on using deadly magic.

Ali: First of all, kettle, this is the pot. You’re black. But second of all, the evidence is stacking.

Bree: Okay. So basically Auvry is trying to figure out how they’re going to, like, watch every Ladder to try to catch Gorynel Desse. Glenin gets yet another – this section is just her having fabulous realizations and then not telling us what they are, as we switch point of views. And so she’s got another brilliant idea and she’s not telling us, she’ll tell Auvry offscreen.

Ali: But, but I want to know the idea.

Bree: Well, I guess we’re going to have to find out what it is, in the next section where –

Ali: No.

1:22:10 Music break, Flight chapter 7

Bree: Collan and his little party are trooping off to Ryka Court. They take a pit stop in an abandoned house. Collan finds a puppy and a kitten and then gives them to the kids, which is probably the nicest, cutest thing that’s happened.

Ali: Okay, I’mma just say, Stop leaving your pets behind when you move, you fucks. What the hell?

Bree: They didn’t move. They got rounded up and arrested.

Ali: Oh.

Bree: Because this house has a Council ribbon on it, basically saying that there were Rising sympathizers there. Because it gets a little snarky because someone tells Collan that a prominent family secretly connected to the Rising used to live there. And Collan’s like, obviously not so secret. And the sassy maid looks like she’s going to murder him, so he decides to be quiet.

Ali: Oh, okay. Well, the statement stands.

Bree: So they got arrested and hauled off to jail.

Ali: Statement stands for anyone listening.

Bree: Yes. In general, it’s a good thing. So Collan steals these abandoned pets and gives them to the kids.

Ali: Yay!

Bree: So at least the kids have a puppy and a cute little kitten, named Velvet. Portentously or otherwise.

Aradia: Yes. Yes. Velvet, like the Ladder, because this cat is actually a Ladder base.

Bree: (gasps) Yes. Cat’s a Ladder.

Ali: I mean, it’s –

Bree: Cat’s an ancient Mage.

Aradia: If the cat curls up into that tight little ball that cats do, then you can Ladder from wherever that spot is.

Ali: A doughnut? If they doughnut?

Bree: That would be amazing. So they spend a couple of days in this house, but they have to move on because they’re basically running out of food. And so they kind of make it to Ryka Court. And here’s where I have to say, I do not think this is the brilliantest idea. Not just because it’s Ryka Court, but they immediately go to the Minister of Mines, which is Orlen Renne’s brother, but not a secret brother. Like, everybody knows that this is his brother. So I feel like, maybe when it comes to like, secret places to go, that was not the top list.

Aradia: Yeah, not very secret, to quote Collan.

Ali: And whose idea was it to go see Orlin Renne’s brother? Whose idea?

Bree: Well, here’s the thing. Orlin Renne’s brother is also Gorynel Desse’s son.

Ali: Oh.

Bree: And we found that out, we found out that Telo was Gorynel Desse’s son, one of the many kids he has scattered about this world.

Ali: I feel like Gorynel Desse needs to register how many kids he actually has, because God forbid they hook up. You know what I mean? We need an app.

Bree: He is starting to create a problem.

Ali: Well, I mean, there’s like those scary fertility doctors that like, put their stuff instead of, you know, real dad’s stuff?. And they’ve created a huge problem, where it’s like, way more people out there that are related and don’t know it than there should be, in these tiny ass around.

Aradia: Yeah. All fertility doctors are bastards.

Bree: Yeah. Like pods of, like hundreds of siblings I have wandered adjacent to TikTok, fertility, sibling pod TikTok, and the stories are bananas.

Aradia: Yeah. There’s a whole Behind the Bastards about it.

Ali: Scary!

Bree: Talk about an unregulated field. Anyway, Gorynel Desse having lots of kids. So for some reason they pop up into Telo’s office, like this is not going to all go badly. And we get a few minutes of very cute flirting. Telo saying that Orlin looks like hell, and then hitting on his wife gently, like, you know.

Aradia: Right. Yeah.

Bree: Basically still trying to convince me I married the wrong brother. And Telomir says something very portentous right before it all goes to hell. Which is, “Is that Collan? Yes, I see it must be. Well, well, well”. So, Gorynel Desse’s son knows about Collan, and Collan’s like, “Well-well-well what?” Like, everybody knows about Collan.

Aradia: Yeah, except for us!

Bree: You don’t know about Collan, Ali, but everybody else knows about Collan.

Aradia: Everyone in these damn books, except for Collan and Ali and me, know what’s happening with Collan.

Ali: Would they care to share with the class?

Bree: Well, Collan’s about to ask and they get into a fight about knocking Telomir, cause they’re like, Okay, you got to knock me out so that you can leave me behind and I’ll be above suspicion, which like, No. No, you dumb ass.

Aradia: Right? You have to come.

Bree: That’s – nobody’s going to believe that your brother just came through, knocked you out, and fled. So they’re, like, fighting about whether he’s coming with them. And someone said, “Is it safe anywhere, Father—for any of us?” – And Auvry Feiran says, No.

Aradia: Shit.

Ali: Damn.

Bree: So, a day for dramatic entrances.

Ali: This family and their dramatic ass entrances.

Aradia: Yeah, clearly they got it from their dad. Also Maichen made a pretty dramatic exit, actually. Maybe it’s just a whole family trait.

Ali: I’m still going with, Collan’s related.

Bree: So here’s the thing. “He had the impression of another massively tall man, and angry lightning that flashed from a pair of glowing spheres”. And then everything’s just chaos. He can’t – his head hurts. Everything is flashing lights. He’s getting dragged somewhere. People are crying and, yeah. What do you guys think? The murdering is happening again.

Aradia: I was very confused. I did not understand what was happening. And then suddenly he’s somewhere warm and soft and safe. Like a paragraph later. I was very perplexed.

Ali: Yeah, because he was not really sure what was happening. And then he was out of there.

Bree: Yeah, they dragged him through a Ladder.

Ali: Because Collan is some kind of privilege that I still don’t understand. Why are they all fixated on this boy when Alin is the special snowflake?

Aradia: But like, what happens, right, is that Auvry shows up and stabs three people, and then gets away. Is that basically what happens?

Bree: Basically, he shows up and starts a fight.

Ali: Okay, Objectively kind of lame to get stabbed by a wizard. Do you know what I mean?

Bree: Yeah. And so, like, I don’t actually know if they got stabbed, they might have gotten like, magic blown up. Because he shows up and starts, like, attacking them and then Gorynel Desse immediately starts doing magic, like crazy magic, exploding everywhere. What is part of what made everybody else so confused?´. And so we don’t really know exactly what happened except that they were fighting. And somehow he killed Agatine and Orlin and Elom, which is one of their sons. And so the other three boys got away, and they got Sela and Tamsa away. And Tarise and her horse boyfriend – or horse husband – and like, so yeah, the adults though, they’ve lost Agatine and Orlin now, which is very sad. Or less so if you’re Ali and you’re still a little sore about the kidnaping.

Ali: I’m just saying, for good guys, they’re not acting like good guys.

Bree: I’m joking! Definitely this has been a weird forced march for Collan, it’s interesting that we’re in his point of view. And so, like, his point of view is very reluctant, going along with these good guys, which does not make them seem good. And they may not be. He’s one of our point of view characters.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: You know, who knows, here?

Alis: Sus. Sketch. Odd.

Bree: So Collan demands what happened for the third time, he just keeps interrupting, saying, Battle globes can do that. You probably don’t remember much. It was a brave effort. And that them fighting bought some time, but you can’t really use steel against magic, unless you have one of the Fifty Swords. And the Fifty Swords is one of those things that gives Collan a headache.

Ali: Oh, really?

Aradia: Yeah, it triggers a headache.

Ali: What’s up with that?

Aradia: And then he fucking says the name Falundir, like on purpose, and makes more headache for himself. And I’m just, I’m so confused.

Ali: And he’s like, Sleep it off, Collan. Like it’s Collan’s fault that Collan has a headache.

1:31:12 Music break, Flight chapter 8

Bree: Okay, so we end with Collan drifting down into darkness. And I thought about making this our cliffhanger. We’ve just murdered a bunch of people. Collan’s passing out for the 19th time, but I wanted to get one more little section in here, which is mostly, you know, just Sarra and Val and Elo and Alin, galloping. They, like, were rushing to Longriding to get to Cailet. They got caught in an acid storm.

Ali: Yeah, the acid storm we’ve heard so much about.

Bree: Yeah, she’s not loving her first example of this. This is definitely scary as hell. She keeps worrying that the roof is going to leak. They tell her that there are no leaky roofs in the Waste, people would starve before the roofs leak. Which puts Sarra to sleep with, like, visions of civil engineering dancing in her head because this is who she is.

Aradia: I love that.

Bree: She’s like, I’m just going to think about more things I’m going to fix when I’m in charge of everything. The one thing I do appreciate about Sarra, is that even though she wants power, she is obsessed with just like how she’s going to fix everything for everybody.

Aradia: She’s very idealistic.

Bree: She does want service. She wants the responsibility of making people’s lives better. Sarra definitely – Glenin and Sarra both want power, but I feel like Sarra is less, You should all have to do what I want, and more, The people who want power should be doing things for you and they’re not. And that’s bad. We should change that.

Ali: Right? And that’s real of her.

Bree: She’s like, there should be tax money going to this and there should be a fund for coastal cities victimized by hurricanes. And while I’m at it, let’s fix the dikes.

Ali: This is all solid in terms of ideas.

Bree: Yeah, she’s pragmatic. So did anything else pop up to you guys? We’ve got some more Wraithenbeast dreams.

Aradia: The dreams were very interesting because she knows them to be semi prophetic, at least, and not entirely out of her imagination. So, like the details about the Wraithenbeasts and Glenin’s position in making this war happen, I thought was all very interesting.

Bree: So she’s having this dream about a plane of black glass that stretches forever. And she sees Glenin there, and then a girl appears, and it is Cailet. And so basically, you know, very much poor Sarra. She’s torn between this sister who has betrayed her and the one who doesn’t even know her. So, she’s woken up, the acid storm is still howling, but apparently she was freaking out in her dream. So they have woken her up.

Aradia: And I guess she actually says that this is specifically a fear dream and not a prophetic dream. So I was 180 on that.

Bree: That well, she does call it still portentous – portentous, pretentious dreams.

Aradia: She calls it pretentious and says it’s fear based. But it seemed very allegorical to me. I thought that there was meaning in it.

Bree: Yeah. I mean, it did seem like there was something going on there.

Ali: Definitely.

Bree: So they try to convince themselves that maybe Glenin will be stupid enough to use the Ladder into the acid storm, which is a little funny because she almost did. And basically we get another reference. We’ve had many references to the six foot spiny sword cactus.

Aradia: This cactus, I love this cactus.

Bree: This legendary cactus.

Aradia: That’s grown into a circle. So you like show up in freaking doom circle of cactus arms. That’s brilliant.

Bree: And was there anything else you guys wanted to hit on with this? A lot of it is just thinking about, you know, there’s little bits about the Waste, there’s fun, interesting, you know, geography and like architecture stuff. Apparently unlike the Ostinhold ugly jumbled house, this one is very pretty and elegant. Lots of towers.

Aradia: And it’s the first time she’s been back to this place in a long time. So there’s a lot of like, weird deja vu kind of feelings.

Bree: Well, this is in Ostinhold, though. This is Longriding. So this is a different house.

Aradia: Oh, Okay. So she’s contrasting them. Right.

Bree: But she had been there, but 18 years ago, because 18 years ago is when they fled from Ambrai, they went through this house, this Ladder. I don’t think the cactus had grown into the circle yet then.

Aradia: Yeah, cactus was probably a bit smaller then.

Ali: A smidge.

Bree: So basically they knock on the door, and there it is.

Ali and Aradia: Aww.

Bree: This is the moment that Sarra has been waiting for since she, like, ended every single chapter that we’ve had with her saying that she needs to get to Cailet – and here is Cailet.

Ali: And then they’re like, Psych!

Aradia: So this moment, like I’ve been expecting an eye contact explosion for a long time. Here it is – not how I expected, but it’s happening.

Bree: Here’s what you expected from Glenin.

Aradia: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Ali: Yeah. And everything goes to shit.

Aradia: Yeah, I didn’t quite understand it, but it was definitely a problem for everybody. It’s like there’s this blast of magic that hits every magic user in a different way or something.

Bree: It’s basically just like unchecked power.

Ali: The power of sisterhood.

Bree: She looks at her. Yeah. And it does seem to be because there’s no way that Cailet can remember her, because she was a baby. But like Sarra thinks she does, like that they’re sisters. And then Cailet, just like, her magic just explodes. And all of the Mages around there, who aren’t Warded like Sarra, start to fall over, because it’s just like power smashing into them, running wild, lashing out and mindless fury, is how it’s described. Because her magic has basically been – Gorynel Desse has spent years trying to like, push it back in and Ward it and keep it contained, this wild, wild magic. And it’s finally like, I’ve had enough.

Ali: Ugh! This man making these decisions for these women, that I don’t ultimately think are helping them, honestly. Sarra was useless against Glenin.

Bree: So basically Taig grabs Cailet and starts running, trying to get her far enough away, so that the rest of them can get to the Ladder. Because if they could get to the Ladder, they will not be under the influence of her magic.

Ali: Fuck everyone else though.

Bree: Yeah, well, the other people won’t be hurt by it.

Ali: Okay.

Bree: Only the Mages are like suspect. It’s basically like she’s beating the crap out of their Mage senses. So if you’re sensitive to Mage power, it’s like you’re in a hurricane. But if you’re not a Mage, you can’t feel anything at all. So Val manages to, like, get Alin up to the Ladder. Sarra helps Elo. We meet the cactus!

Aradia: The cactus.

Bree: I love the cactus, I really do. And they manage to get through, to Ambrai. And Sarra gets to have a very embarrassing moment.

Aradia: Oh yeah. She puts her foot square in her mouth.

Ali: Oh, Sarra.

Bree: (has started to sound hoarse for a while) Does anyone else want to describe it, I’m starting to lose my voice. Who wants to sum it up?

Aradia: So basically they pop through, into this study basically. And there’s this very interesting looking man who just doesn’t say anything, as Sarra is like, you know, demanding answers repeatedly. Like, Oh, you’ve taken a vow of silence, so I suggest you break it because this is really important! Then Elomar’s like, Sarra? Sarra. Sarra, this is literally Falundir. So. Oh, yeah, awkward.

Bree: She has met the most famous bard ever, who cannot talk to her.

Aradia: Right? He famously has been silenced.

Bree: Yes. Val actually is the one who introduces – He says, he introduces him to her first, which is very rude because she’s supposed to be the more important one.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: But Val is like, Nope, nope. So he says, this is Sarra Liwellin. And Falundir looks at her and she gets the feeling that he knows that that’s not her name.

Ali: He definitely does.

Bree: He says you have the rare honor of being in the presence of Bard Falundir.

Aradia: And then that’s where we end. We finally know that Falundir is still alive, still kicking, still part of the plot somehow. And that’s where we end our episode for this week. And that was exciting and a good cliffhanger.

Ali: A great cliffhanger. Someone picked well.

Bree: Also, both parties are now in Ambrai.

Aradia: Oooh. Maybe they’ll meet.

Bree: They’re in different parts of Ambrai, but – one of them is in the Mage academy, and one of them is in – I’m not sure where the other one is, but they’re both – So Collan’s group is in one part of Ambrai, and they’re in another part. So our parties are getting closer together.

Ali: Drama. You mean, going where Glenin will least suspect didn’t work?

Aradia: Glenin will expect it. She’s too smart. That’s the problem.

Ali: Glenin is so smart. Ugh. Just silliness.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: Trying to out guess her has not been going great for anybody at this point.

1:40:45 Wrap up and character In Memoriam

Bree: Any other thoughts, you guys? What do you think about this? Do we need a moment of silence for who we’ve lost this week? We’re going to have to start doing one at the end of every episode.

Ali: Oh, God. Are you serious?

Bree: I don’t know if it’s that bad. I haven’t counted, but I don’t know.

Ali: Moment of silence for Collan. Just kidding.

Aradia: For fake Collan. Faux Collan.

Bree: Last week we lost Mai. And a couple other Prentices and stuff. This week we lost faux Collan. So we loved you even though we didn’t know you existed until Ali thought you were Collan.

Ali: Yeah, but now I have a whole backstory in my head about, you know.

Bree: Yeah. And so we miss you greatly. Verald, our flower boy, first seen in our very first episode.

Ali: Oh, yeah.

Aradia: That was way back when.

Bree: We first met him, when, you know, he’s from Collan’s thing. So, a legend. Also, Agatine and Orlin. Same. We met them at the little party.

Ali: Agatine and Orlin. That is devastating.

Bree: Yeah. You may have been like kidnappers, but you also, you know, were decent people probably.

Aradia: And it was Sarra’s foster family.

Ali: That’s the big one.

Aradia: Sarra’s now lost two families in this bullshit.

Ali: Sarra is traumatized.

Bree: And their son, the girl crazy son. The one who was crazy about girls, who loved Collan’s stories about girls. We have lost him as well.

Aradia: So rough.

Bree: He was only 19, I believe.

Ali: Ugh! Fuck! Wait, how did they die again?

Aradia: Auvry showed up, and went stabby stab, and blowing –

Ali: Oh, they killed the, oh, got it.

Bree: We don’t know, because nobody will tell Collan how they died. Just, Auvry killed them.

Ali: So that.

Bree: With magic or swords or both.

Ali: Ugh! This episode had a high body count.

Bree: Yeah. So it’s been a rough week.

Aradia: Yeah. And Gorynel Dessej ust did not endear himself to us, despite the fact that he showed up repeatedly.

Ali: Consistently now.

Bree: No, no, he’s not covering himself in glory.

Ali: Or I’m just mean. One of the two.

Aradia: And I’m very interested to see what kind of rebellious things Glenin does. She definitely seems to be dissatisfied with her status quo, even within her fascist friend group. So I’m interested to see where that goes. I mean, Flight definitely – I feel like the pace is a lot faster than what it’s been. Betrayals was a slow burn, but I feel like we’ve had a lot of action in this episode, and I expect that Flight will continue to be flighty.

Ali: You could almost say it’s flying.

Aradia: You could almost say that.

Bree: We are definitely starting to move here.

Ali: We go. I’m ready for it.

Bree: Shit’s popping off. So next week, you guys, we are reading Flights, parts 9 through 16. So that’s a little chunk. Some of them go fast, though, because some of these parts, we’re going to have to start reading more, because they just kind of – they’re picking up the pace. There’s a lot going on.

Ali: All right. We’re clippin.

Bree: And so here we go. I hope everybody in the chat can like, you know, I mean, I guess we’d love some eulogies for our lost friends. Roast Gorynel Desse.

Ali: Pour one out.

Aradia: Yeah, who are you most sad to have lost?

Ali: Oh, yeah, that’s a good question. Who are you saddest about?

Bree: Which one made you the most sad? That’s who I would like to know. I think that’s it. Ali, you want to take us out?

Ali: Absolutely, I do. Thank you so much for listening. If you want to keep gabbing with us, our social media and contact details are in the episode description. Until next time, have a very nuanced day!

Aradia: Bye.

Ali: Bye.

Bree: Bye!