Mark Reads ‘Wizards at War’: Chapter 10, Part I

In the first half of the tenth chapter of Wizards at War, the war arrives. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

I knew it was bound to happen and I STILL WASN’T READY. Part of the reason the first big fight of Wizards at War (and I’m only halfway through the chapter!!! There is probably so much more!!!) hits so hard is because it sneaks up on the reader. I figured that something would happen at the Crossings, but Duane basically goes, “MUAHAHA, HOW ABOUT A FULL ON SPACE FIGHT WITH BLASTERS BEING SHOT BY ALIENS WHO LOOK LIKE GIANT PRAYING MANTIS CREATURES?” And then we cry. And she lives.

There’s a pervasive creepiness to how chapter ten opens, given that we know just how busy the Crossings usually are. It was bad enough the last time the group was there, but I wrongly assumed that Duane was just having Sker’ret and Nita make a quick stop before they split up. However, Duane plots something much more surprising: a thrilling sequence that feels like it was ripped out of a classic science fiction novel.

Seriously! Think about it: a human and a centipede-like alien experience a vicious firefight in a massive transportation hub. There is blaster fire! Shields! Complicated computers! Of course, within the context of Young Wizards, that’s not quite what’s happening here. Can I fully explain the events in the first half of this chapter? Well… not really. See, there’s a huge mystery at the center of this attack: who are these people? We might know their species – the Tawalf – and we know that they’re often hired as mercenaries.

But that still doesn’t explain a lot about this situation. Why is the Crossings empty? I understood why travel dropped off, but Sker’ret’s discovers that after a spike, all transit disappeared. Given that there are a bunch of Tawalk present, I have to wonder: are they the reason that the Crossings are empty? Did someone hire them to patrol the place to prevent people from using it? Oh god, did they know that Nita and Sker’ret were on their way??? I DIDN’T EVEN THINK OF THAT UNTIL NOW.

Amidst all of this, though, Duane crosses a line she’d largely avoided up to this point: Nita kills other creatures. A lot of them. This isn’t without an acknowledgement in the text, though, and it’s a chilling element to the action. I made this comment on video, but I can’t recall a fight sequence like this where the main character apologizes while trying to defend their life. But doesn’t it make perfect sense for Nita to react this way? She’s a wizard. She gave an Oath to value and protect and honor Life, and now she’s been forced into a situation where she has to take it in order to keep living herself. While Nita has no time to truly deal with the trauma of taking a life, I did appreciate that Duane did gloss over this as if wasn’t a big deal.

You know what is a big deal? Sker’ret deciding that maybe he should set the Crossings for self-destruct so that it doesn’t fall into the hands of the enemy. YEAH, WHAT THE HELL. As soon as Sker’ret basically said that there was one last thing they could do, but only if they were desperate, I knew it would be awful. Yet it’s not even the most stressful thing here! There’s that giant weapon thing, which I can’t even begin to understand. What was that??? But let’s just establish that the line where Nita freaks out because she has no way to say goodbye to Kit as the most heinous thing here. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? Bravo, though, to the folks who made the splits, because that’s evil. Seriously.

I am thrilled to confirm that I will be a Guest at CrossingsCon 2017! Badges are now available, so COME HANG OUT WITH ME THIS SUMMER.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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