In the second half of the second chapter of “On Ordeal: Mamvish,” MAMVISH IS A BADASS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
You know, I’ve warmed up to this story. It’s so fucking weird, but I can see why the opening was as slow and detailed as it was. There’s a lot of information that Duane had to give us about this specific world, much of which operates in ways that aren’t exactly familiar to the reader. Plus, I’m getting this sense that this is a grand tale, a fantastical epic about one hero’s journey over the course of DECADES to fix her world. It’s very different from Roshaun’s tale, and I appreciate that.
And let’s be real: I wasn’t ready for where this would go.
So let’s talk about how THIRTEEN YEARS pass at the opening of this section, and that time is spent with the same sort of commitment from Mamvish that we saw before. No matter the setbacks or the monotony, she continues to venture around her world, gaining knowledge, making other Tauwff younger, and approaching her mission with positivity and hope. So, when she hears tales of Ashmesh, a massive, ancient Tauwff who claims to be the bravest and wisest of his kind, she knows she has to get to him. And that’s the pattern we’ve seen over this story! Mamvish is motivated, and that singular motivation has gotten her real far.
This is no exception, though the means by which she does it this time were new. It took the advice of her Sacrificer for Mamvish to realize that she had to approach this differently than her other encounters:
Only on the last night before Vish made her way up over the edge of the plateau did she whisper from behind Vish’s eyes, Where wiles and guiles may struggle or fail, persistence oft cracks the egg. And Vish dug deep under stone that night and turned the Sacrificer’s words over in her mind.
What’s interesting to me about this is that in a general sense, Mamvish already knew this. I’d say that her eighteen years of traveling, she’s been persistent. It perfectly describes this journey! As I mentioned before, nothing and no one has ever stopped her from trying to change the world. But persistence has a different meaning in this sequence because Mamvish uses it to wear down Ashmesh. Ashmesh is… wow, he’s very full of himself, isn’t he? (Oh god, that’s technically a pun, isn’t it?) How exactly does Mamvish get what she needs from someone who is clever enough to see pretty much every plan she might have for attacking him?
She doesn’t attack him at all. Instead, urged on by her Sacrificer’s advice, she appeals to his desire to inflate his own ego, which means that she just gets him to talk.
Y’all, I’m sure come of you have met a person who just loves talking about themselves. Maybe Ashmesh is an exaggerated version of that, but I still found this satisfying because she basically let Ashmesh talk himself to death. Yes, that’s a simplification, but IT’S PRETTY MUCH WHAT HAPPENS. She gets Ashmesh talking about his conquests and successes, and at the end of every story, she asks him to let her consume him so his journey can continue for longer than it would if he just died on his own. And over time, that resistance to the idea wears down until he willingly gives himself over.
Yet that’s not even the biggest moment here! I actually think it’s this sequence:
But after having heard about her quest every day in fairly broad terms every day for three days running, he now began to question her more closely about it, attempting to get Vish to explain to him exactly what “putting the world right” meant.
WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN WONDERING! I mean, I get why she wasn’t seriously considering this. Her goals up to now had been pretty straightforward: consume all the strongest, smartest, wisest, and bravest Tauwff. And after Ashmesh, I figured she would keep doing that… but to what point? When have you consumed enough? Is there a point where she feels she’s finally ready? It seems like Ashmesh has pushed to her to accepting that she’s got to change her journey, and that means: WIZARDS. IT IS TIME FOR WIZARDS OH MY GOD. I just love how different this aspect is also very different from Roshaun’s story. At this moment in the story, this is the first mention of wizardry on the planet, so it’s not like she knew it existed and was working towards it. The obvious question I have is: How the hell does she get it? I can’t imagine she’ll just eat someone and get the power of wizardry. So the Powers will grant it to her… but HOW????
I can’t wait to find out.
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