In the first half of the second chapter of “On Ordeal: Mamvish,” THIS WAS UNEXPECTED, AND EVEN SAYING THAT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
HOLY SHIT, MAMVISH’S STORY IS ALREADY THE MOST RIDICULOUS OF THEM ALL AND I FEEL LIKE I BARELY GOT STARTED. Just… okay, let me jump into this, y’all. Because now I’m understanding why the second chapter is named “The Quest.” If there’s an Ordeal hidden within this, I haven’t figured out how Duane will bring it about. Instead, the pacing picks up for this story as we follow Vish on… look, saying it’s a “journey” doesn’t give the scope that is necessary. FIVE YEARS PASS IN JUST THE FIRST HALF OF THIS STORY. Five!!! And in those five years, we see just how dedicated Vish is in achieving her goal of setting the world right.
I still don’t know what that means or entails—we’re missing the logistics—but let’s talk about those five years.
WALKING. SHE WALKS AND BARELY EATS FOR A GODDAMN YEAR. She was just born! Let’s simmer in that knowledge right now, y’all. She is born, she consumes those who sacrificed themselves to gain their knowledge and their voices, and then she just immediately sets out to make the world aright. NONE OF US MEASURE UP TO THE GOODNESS OF MAMVISH. I was busy filling diapers and crying and being the worst, and I was certainly not on some epic quest to right all the wrongs of my entire world. Entire world, y’all. Not just her immediate one. THE WHOLE DAMN THING.
After a year (!!!!), she finally makes it to the Tauwff gathering place that one of the memories guides her to. It’s called Bethesath and it’s a “million lengths” away. A million. I’m repeating this both for dramatic effect and to try and accept the sheer absurdity of her commitment: A MILLION. And y’all, this is child’s play compared to where this story goes because Vish sees what she wants, what she needs, and what must happen. And then she plots for a few days, and then she goes after it. Look, I didn’t figure out what she was doing once she got to Bethesath; I was thinking that maybe she was just going to get… advice??? I DON’T KNOW WHY I THOUGHT THIS WHEN I ALREADY KNEW HOW SHIT WORKED ON THIS PLANET. I mean, I picked up on the unnerving detail of Tarsheh’s technique. Anyone whom he invited back to his cave never came back out. He preyed on the vulnerable and the desperate. HE WAS TERRIBLE. And never, in a million years, did I ever expect that one-year old Mamvish would do this:
And while Tarsheh was still laughing at her and just starting to bend down over her with his mouth wide open and showing every tooth, from her coiled-down crouch Vish sprang up at him and fastened her jaws into his neck just under the jaw.
She kills Tarsheh with one bite. She then consumes him in three days. SHE DOES THIS ALL WHILE ONLY BEING ONE-YEAR OLD.
I’m in awe. AND I’M NOT EVEN REMOTELY DONE.
Years Two, Three, Four, and Five
I am amused and entertained by the fact that even though Mamvish consumed Tarsheh and honored him with the proper Protocols, he is STILL angry and spiteful of her even while he is nothing but a voice in her head. Like, I almost admire that level of petty, y’all. I also think it’s just fascinating as a worldbuilding detail. Who says these voices have to agree with the person who consumed them?
From this point, FOUR YEARS pass, and in those four years, Mamvish does not stray from her mission. She might be discouraged at times, and Duane doesn’t avoid those disappointments. Mavish wants to change the cultural fabric of her entire world; that’s not going to be easy, and she’s going to find detractors everywhere. This is the way her world is, right? Why change it?
Yet she doesn’t back down. She tracks a Tauwff rumored to be the fastest Tauwff ever, all because she believes that this wisdom will help her in her journey. The scene where she meets Firtuth and tells her what she’s trying to do is really sweet, a perfect contrast to the more violent sequence with Tarsheh. Firtuth recognizes the value in Mamvish’s quest, and she wants to be part of it. But what’s the plan for it? When does Mamvish stop questing and start changing?
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