In the first part of the thirteenth chapter of Wizards at War, Kit learns more of Memeki and Ponch, and then EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT ONCE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I’m splitting this up to talk about it because HELP.
Ah, the moment of calm before the chaos. Perhaps “calm” is a strange word to describe this because the stories that Memeki and Ponch swap aren’t exactly that pleasant. But as Kit listens in on the two of them, he learns the truth about the Choice that dogs made long ago, as well as gains an insight into the twisted sort of history that’s been fed to the Yaldiv.
I’ll start there because I wonder: do other Yaldiv get fed a different story? For example, is the story that the Yaldah hear different than what the warriors hear? Or is it a universal bit of brainwashing and conditioning? I suppose that’s irrelevant in the end because the importance of this scene is that it establishes how different Memeki is. She grew up with a very confusing experience: in her youth, her “blood” told her the real story of what happened to the Yaldiv, how they used to live in a much more mutually beneficial society. As is usually the case, the Lone One tempted them and… they rejected It.
See, that part surprised me. I had assumed that the Yaldiv had just straight-up turned to the “dark” side upon being offered the Choice to. How else could their world become so hopelessly “lost,” you know? But I forgot just how petty and vindictive the Lone One could be. The Lone One RAINED DOWN FIRE ON THE PLANET TO MURDER THOSE WHO REJECTED THEM. Like… what the hell??? I know that I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was very surprised by this. From that, the Lone One then orchestrated a lie: the Yaldiv have been told that there never was a war, that the “Great One” was always King, and that that only War that matters is against the Others.
It’s so creepy, obviously, but I can see how something like that goes unquestioned. Plus, Memeki reveals a significant cultural tradition that prevents people from speaking their mind: the Warriors get first serving of any Yaldiv who misspeaks. Like, they eat them. FIRST. Can you even imagine a world that brutal, where you’re eaten if you don’t stay in line?
So it’s no wonder that Memeki is scared. It’s no wonder that she’s never shared all the strange things she’s experienced or thought about! But Ponch has this incredibly ability to make people comfortable and calm, and you can see it all over the opening of this chapter. I mean, he had to have been to coax her to come along with him to meet his friends. But let’s talk about Ponch, who might very well be this:
“For Life’s sake, therefore, some of Its power will still descend to you. In every generation will be whelped among you some of those able to sing the Speech that every creature hears.”
So… that’s Ponch, right? He’s gotta be one of those special dogs! Anyway, I’m fascinated by the fact that the Dogs chose to reject the Lone One, but also defer to humans, and for that, they were… well, is punished the right word? I got the sense that the Powers were disappointed with their decision not to seek their own path, which is why no more wizardry passed down to them except for a few exceptions. I can’t recall ever hearing about a Choice ending up like this!
Anyway, in the midst of this lovely conversation, the Yaldiv attack, and that is such an understatement, y’all. Somehow, something drew those warriors to the cave, and I am interested in learning what that was. Can they, like, sense when someone is thinking as an individual??? I don’t know, y’all. But the fight that unfolds in that cave was 1) unsettling, because I don’t do well with swarming bugs, and 2) really disturbing because DEATH. It is so rare for wizards to kill anything, and so many Yaldiv die in that cave. I mean, that’s a great way to convey that the stakes have changed, isn’t it? These wizards are willing to extinguish life in order to ultimately save it. THE RULES HAVE CHANGED.
I mostly can’t wait for the next section because CARMELA, by the way.
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