In the second part of the thirteenth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, both Nita and Kit make decisions that will have lasting outcomes. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent, manipulation of a minor.
EVERYTHING IS MESSED UP, HELP ME.
Look how much changed in like… twenty pages!!!! I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS. And once you combine this with Nita’s journey in the first part of this chapter, it’s clear to see how Duane eases Nita into this decision rather than rushing through it. She is not nearly as impulsive of a character as Dairine or Kit is, and it’s probably one of the reasons Khretef manipulated Kit over everyone else. But before I get to that part and SCREAM AT ALL OF YOU, I did want to talk about how Nita comes to intervene the way that she does. Initially, she’s not even thinking about tapping into Kit’s thoughts, but then Darryl reveals that he also got a visit from Tom that went… well, slightly better than Kit’s visit did. While Darryl is restricted to group trips to Mars, he’s not grounded to Earth, and Nita knows how gutting this is for Kit.
Yet LITERALLY NO ONE EVER was prepared for Kit’s reaction to Nita, which might very well go down as one of the meanest reactions in the whole series. To call it an overreaction isn’t even doing this justice. Not only does Kit direct all his anger on frustration on someone who wasn’t responsible for what happened to him, but he acts incredibly unlike himself in the process. Even for someone who does get frustrated! Look how quickly he brings up Aurilelde, insults Nita in the process, then tries to turn the entire thing around so it sounds like the real problem is Nita worrying about him.
It’s this moment that first nudges Nita to do the very thing she chose not to do earlier. However, the “persona analysis” of Aurilelde is the shove off the cliff. Why?
She peered more closely at the particular structure she thought she recognized, an intricately knotted string of Speech-characters. Look at that, it looks just like–
–just like the one in my signature–
It isn’t a coincidence. SOMEONE DESIGNED AURILELDE SO THAT SHE’D BE COMPATIBLE WITH KIT BECAUSE NITA IS COMPATIBLE WITH HIM AND THEN USED IT TO TRAP HIM ON MARS. It’s just!!!!! SO UNBELIEVABLY CREEPY! Like, I already thought this was pretty bad, but it was this (combined with the horror of the next scene) that made it unable for me to ignore that someone was doing this to TEENAGERS. Minors!!! Someone – probably Khretef – had no problem manipulating a KID.
So yes, Nita makes a choice that may come to make Kit very angry at her. The “final reckoning” that Bobo warns her about might also be horrific and awful. Yet Nita does it, aware of the risk that it presents, because she knows that Kit is being tricked. He’s being manipulated, and if she doesn’t do something, it might be too late. That doesn’t mean Duane will ignore the ramifications of this act, though, and this chapter establishes that Nita knows there will be a cost to what she does.
I don’t think I’ve appreciated the alternate POV format of these books as much as I do right here. Because we immediately jump into Kit’s head and get an unnerving look at how much Khretef is affecting him. It’s horrifying, and even if I have been yelling at Kit to STOP and DON’T and NO over and over again, I mostly feeling an overwhelming sadness for him. Every time he gets close to questioning what’s happening to him, he’s drawn away from that epiphany, and I can’t help but think that’s Khretef deliberately steering Kit away from the truth.
Kit knows something is wrong! His instinct tells him he shouldn’t have been angry at Nita, that what he’s about to do is a bad decision, and that the guilt he’s feeling is going to get much, much worse. Yet his connection to Aurilelde – WHICH IS MOSTLY A FABRICATION!!! – is what pulls him away over and over again.
Y’all, I’ve ran out of words that mean creepy. Unnerving. Disturbing. IT’S SO WRONG, and it is absolutely something that is contributing to entropy and the Lone One, even if Khretef truly didn’t intend for this to be that way. Maybe he really does just want to bring his people back and this seemed to be the best chance of that happening. KIT IS SO YOUNG, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?? Granted, I wouldn’t suggest that emotionally manipulating an adult is a better option, but still!!!
Seriously, look at the text again. As Kit sneaks to Carmela’s room, he starts asking himself really important questions. What happened to those three hours? Why did he black out after picking up the Shard? Why was the world’s kernel so important to Khretef? And then, it’s all gone. All his concerns are swept away, not just by the difficulty of getting into his sister’s room, but by this compulsion he has to rescue these people, you know? Kit truly believes he is the only person who can save the Shamaska-Eilitt race! Even when his manual prevents him from crossing through Carmela’s gate, he doesn’t see this as a giant flashing neon sign from the universe that he shouldn’t do what he’s about to do. Instead, it is an unfortunate annoyance, one he plans around, one that Khretef pushes him past, one that he is probably going to regret.
THIS IS TOO MUCH.
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