In the second part of the thirteenth chapter of Wizards at War, Nita has a tough conversation with Memeki. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I feel like part of this chapter is just gonna be me screaming, “EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING AT ONCE OH MY GOD.” Let’s talk about why.
You know, I hadn’t even considered that the Champion would be affected by the Pullulus, but it makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? They might not be a wizard, per se, but they’ve got wizardly powers, and that counts. Right? Regardless, it’s not exactly the most comforting thing; the Champion didn’t even sense the warriors that were on their way to get Memeki. I know Kit worried about being petty or insulting while talking to Ronan, but this is a scary situation. What else is he supposed to think? It’s fair for him to worry about whether or not the Champion can still help. Because if they can’t? They have to plan for that.
I kind of love that Kit tries for the briefest moment to address her presence, and it’s pointless. Look, she’s here, she’s got a badass weapon, ACCEPT IT. Oh my god, she gets her own mochteroof, too. I CAN’T WAIT.
So, Nita was gone for a lot of the initial action here in the Yaldiv homeworld. She missed the trip into the city hive, and she missed meeting Memeki. Thus, I adored that Duane didn’t ignore this! When Nita reunites with the others, it’s at the tail end of a huge battle. After that’s over, she… well, the best way I can put it is that she checks in with everyone! She talks with Spot about his visit to the mobiles’ home, and she also tries to fill in gaps in her information with Ronan. Well, she also warns him to stop moping, which was GREAT. I understood why he felt that way, given his conversation with Kit, but the guy is more than capable as a wizard. He was delivered a setback, but, as Nita points out, the Powers wouldn’t have put him there if they didn’t believe he could get this done.
But I’m gonna be real with y’all: it’s Nita’s scene with Memeki that takes center stage in this part of the chapter. WHO KNEW THAT JUST TALKING COULD BE SO INTENSE? It helps that the subject – Memeki’s awakening into something – is intense just by its very nature. This is the first time that Memeki herself admits that she is aware of Hesper, though she doesn’t have the words to name it as such. She says:
“I know now who’s afraid,” Memeki said. “It’s the creature that speaks through the King. It’s my enemy… and my other self.”
Nita swallowed as she felt the sudden surge of power inside the voice. “And it’s inside me,” Memeki said. “I never really knew that until now.”
It’s a chilling moment, but it’s only the first of a number of epiphanies or shocking moments. Like how Memeki reveals that the incoming batch of hatchlings she’s caring for WILL EAT HER UPON BEING BORN. Or how about Memeki telling Nita that she understands loss and mortality because she “felt” the love that Nita had for her mother. WHAT THE FUCK, THAT WHOLE SEQUENCE WAS GUT-WRENCHING. What kind of Mother would not die for her children? Except that the King and the Great One asks for that sacrifice immediately upon the children’s birth, and it’s just so unendingly tragic, y’all.
That’s the point, though: there’s another way. For Memeki’s entire life, she’s never had another choice. This is precisely what Nita focuses on, and she is angry about it. Why shouldn’t she be??? She is describing the beauty of autonomy and choice and agency to someone who was always denied it, who was tricked into thinking that being a Yaldah was an honor, not a brutality. That is what’s so insidious and evil about the Lone One, that subtle means of twisting life and love into something monstrous, but getting a being to believe it’s still the way life works. It’s how love is expressed.
For what it’s worth, I understood Nita’s anger, but I also worried that she was pushing Memeki really hard to “answer” the voice within her. It was an important step in this whole process! But it became clear to me that Nita realized she couldn’t do the work for Memeki. This choice had to be her own, and that includes her figuring out how she is supposed to answer the voice.
Ugh, what is she going to do? What is she supposed to do? What happens if she answers the voice and says yes? Does she transform??? I DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW, AND OF COURSE THIS IS WHERE THIS PART ENDS. Damn it!
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