Last time on The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa arrived in Brisadulce, ate breakfast, and got a new maid who is totally spying on her. How will she adjust to her new home? Find out after the cut.
Part 1: Message on a Messenger Pigeon
After breakfast, Hector tells Elisa that a) she can go anywhere in the palace and Brisadulce, as long as Ximena is with her, and b) he’s going to give her a tour of the palace in an hour. So before the tour, Elisa runs back to her suite and writes the following letter to Alodia:
Ximena and I arrived safely in Brisadulce. I’m sorry to report that we lost Aneaxi to a jungle infection.
I need your counsel. Alejandro does not wish to acknowledge me as his wife. He says the time is not right. He also does not wish to reveal that I bear the Godstone. Did you know this would happen? Should I continue to trust him?
I am sending a more detailed letter by post, but I don’t expect it to reach you for some time. Please respond with your thoughts soon.
Give my love to Papá.
Now, why did I decide to write that all down? Well, Elisa wrote all this in Lengua Classica (which is pseudo-Portuguese), and eventually we’ll learn enough about the language to translate this letter. And by “eventually,” I mean in three chapters. Granted, we’ll only learn about a minor lexical change, but it’s a start. We won’t get into the nuts and bolts of it until much later in the book.
Anyway, Elisa gives three copies of the above letter to Ximena so she can send them via messenger pigeon. In case you were wondering, those messenger pigeons that Alodia gave Elisa survived the trip to Brisadulce. While Ximena is away, Elisa wonders if God really does answer her prayers. She knows that her Godstone responds when she prays, but not all the things she prays for happen. Now Elisa wonders if she should attribute her survival in the jungle to God or to Alejandro’s soldiers.
Elisa prays for a sign from God, and all she gets is the usual warm tingly feeling from her stone. Is it really a sign from God? Elisa is starting to doubt it.
Part 2: My Name Is Hector, and This Is My Story
After telling Cosmé to fetch some potted plants and chairs for her suite, Elisa takes Hector’s tour of the palace. Ximena tags along, of course.
The tour winds through a bunch of rooms in the palace, like the reception hall and the armory and ballroom and the library, but it’s all glossed over. What’s really important is what Hector shows off in the portrait hall: a painting of Alejandro’s father, King Nicolao. Of course, this is actually a springboard for Hector’s backstory.
It turns out that Hector was assigned as Alejandro’s page at the age of twelve. Hector became close friends with Alejandro, and was eventually assigned to the royal guard.
Hector then shows Elisa a portrait of Rosaura, Alejandro’s first wife. Elisa realizes that there’s no way Alejandro could ever love her because Rosaura was really beautiful and totally not fat. So she has Hector escort her to the kitchen so she can pig out on scones.
Part 3: Take Me to the Church
After pigging out on scones, Elisa is escorted to the monastery. There, she is introduced to Father Nicandro, the head priest of the monastery.
Now, Nicandro was totally expecting Ximena’s arrival at the monastery. The two have a hushed conversation about how Elisa is safer in Joya d’Arena because the people aren’t as religious. Also, Elisa overhears that Ximena is actually her guardian, and not just her nurse. So that kind of explains why Ximena totally stabbed that Perdito in the throat earlier.
Elisa eventually has enough of people talking about her as if she’s not there, so she butts in and introduces herself. Nicandro and Elisa quickly bond, since Elisa shows an interest in comparing translations of
The Art of War Belleza Guerra.
Part 4: Promises
Once back in her suite, Elisa takes a bath. Ximena promises not to kill Nicandro.
Oh! And Cosmé got lots of potted plants.
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Wondering how Nicolao died? Well, he got ARROW’D during a battle with Invierne.
There are hints that Nicandro can sense Elisa’s Godstone. Maybe he can Detect Magic?
All the foodstuffs mentioned in this chapter:
- Honey and coconut scones
Crazy Theory Time!
So, this chapter contains an interesting quote, courtesy of Nicandro:
“Welcome to the Monastery-at-Brisadulce! Ours is the first, you know. Built only a few years after God carried our ancestors from the dying world in his righteous right hand.”
Now, I’m of the opinion that all legends mentioned in a fantasy book are true unless otherwise debunked. So I’m going to assume that, in this book, humanity’s ancestors were somehow saved and brought to this world. The question is, what exactly happened? I’ve got a few theories:
First Theory: Colonists from the Earth That Was
Let’s say that our Earth suffers from a major catastrophe of some sort. Nuclear war, environmental collapse – it doesn’t matter. So, humanity builds a spaceship – let’s call it the Righteous Right Hand – and sends it off to a habitable planet. And let’s say that that spaceship is filled with Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking colonists. The ship arrives on the planet, and humanity builds a new civilization. This sort of explains the Spanish place names, the pseudo-Catholic religion, and the Portuguese-based “old tongue”.
Second Theory: The Ark in Space
Again, there is a major catastrophe on Earth. A segment of humanity – all of which speaks Spanish and Portuguese – waits out the disaster on a space station. Eventually they recolonize the surface.
Third Theory: A Better Life Underground
Same as the above theory, except humanity hides out underground.
We’re not going to get many more hints about this potential post-apocalyptic background for a few more chapters. And I’m sure that at least one of these will be debunked by the next book. If you got another crazy theory, post it in the comments.
Next time: Alejandro gives Elisa a quest. Elisa tries to learn one thing, but discovers something unexpected.