In the first half of the seventh chapter of A Wizard Alone, Kit and Ponch find Darryl in the strangest of places. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I WAS NOT READY FOR HOW INTENSE THIS WOULD BE. Dreams now seem to be the key to Darryl’s worlds… sort of? Whereas Nita intentionally used her dreaming to contact Darryl and speak with him, Kit does it accidentally. As far as I can tell, that is. I assume that he and Ponch fell asleep after getting back from the methane world, and then somehow ended up in Darryl’s newest creation: the worst jungle of all time. It’s here that Kit finally has his first face-to-face interaction with Darryl, and… MY BRAIN IS A MESS.
Duane does a fantastic job rendering this environment so that it can best unnerve the reader. Everything about this jungle just feels wrong. There’s the evidence of the jungle creatures’ “messy eating habits”; there’s the pervasive humidity, the stench of rot; there’s the fungi and moss that grows everywhere, including off the creepers; and there’s the horrific screeching from some unseen thing that gets closer, louder, harsher… IT IS A LOT TO DEAL WITH.
But the mechanics of this dream make it even scarier because for the first time in this series, I truly felt like Kit didn’t have access to his wizardry, at least not in any traditional sense. He couldn’t access his otherspace pocket and didn’t have the magical leash with him. Yeah, he probably could have done any number of wizardries, but right from the start, this felt off. Limited. Wrong. That wrongness pervades the setting, Kit’s feelings, the visuals… it’s everywhere, like I said, and it made me incredibly nervous. Plus… dude, if your wizardry-enchanced dog is telling you to leave because they’ve got a bad feeling about everything, you fucking leave.
Kit doesn’t, and that’s sort of the whole point. By the halfway point in this chapter, something has happened to Kit, and I think you can track that right back to that moment where he ignores Ponch’s request to go back home. The Lone One’s power has crept into his heart, hasn’t it? Why else would he lose motivation? Why else would he make so many foolish mistakes?
What I most want to talk about, though, is what Darryl tells Kit, because HE SAID SO MUCH IN A VERY SHORT LENGTH OF TIME. LET’S DISCUSS.
“There are still things I have to do here, and in the other here’s I’ve made.”
How many places has Darryl made??? Countless? Or does he make a new one after the Lone One has been fooled by the previous one?
“It doesn’t matter whether–“ He stopped, scowling, as if searching for words: as if something was trying to keep him from finding them.
Given what Kit feels at the end of the first half of this chapter, I suspect that Darryl fought the Lone One’s influence at this moment, and that was the “barrier” he pushed through that Duane refers to. But there are a number of barriers Darryl refers to in this conversation. He insists that he can’t leave until he fulfills a promise, then goes on to describe how “bad” things got for him, when “it started getting so hard to heart things.”
My guess is that the Silence is Darryl’s version of the Manual… or something? Or the Powers? Look, they gave him the Oath, so it has to be a manual, right??? I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that as Darryl recites the Oath, Kit more aggressively forgets it and what his purpose as a wizard is. For some reason, Darryl says this:
“What you’re doing, believe me, I get it. It’s really great. But you’re here the wrong way, the dangerous way. You’re a link. If you stay much longer, it’ll get so the link can’t be broken. You’ll keep getting sucked back into the trap I’ve set–“
The “trap” bit wasn’t surprising; we’d known that this was what Darryl did in each of those worlds. But why is visiting in dreams wrong? What does he mean by a “link”? A link to the outside world? Does he have to be truly alone in these worlds?
“I know you, I know what you’re becoming.”
WHAT THE FUCK. HOW DOES DARRYL KNOW PONCH? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Oh my god, this book is too much.
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