Last time on The Crown of Embers, Elisa started planning an epic quest for the gates of life, and watched her kitchen staff’s public punishment. Will more exciting things happen? Find out after the cut.
Hector returns to my suite with the unsurprising news that the Invierno was reluctant to answer my summons and had to be arrested. I take just enough time to lose my crown and change into a simpler gown before rushing out again. I’m glad for the haste – it gives me little opportunity to dwell on the flogging.
While Elisa was watching her kitchen staff get flogged, Hector brought Storm to the palace and stuck him in the prison. Now that the public flogging is over, Elisa gathers a party – Hector, Ximena, Alentín, and Rosario – and ventures forth to the top floor of the palace’s prison tower for a little chat with Storm.
Storm is none too pleased that he was dragged off to the palace prison, especially since Invierno assassins will probably find and kill him soon. After a quick round of introductions, Elisa offers to let Storm go if he gives her information on the gates of life.
Conveniently, Storm has plenty to tell about the gates of life. Apparently they’re in a location across the sea that only Chosen Ones can reach, and beyond the gates is something called the zafira. The zafira is the magic the flows beneath the earth, and animagi (and Chosen Ones) can easily access the magic if they pass through the gates of life. Inviernos have known about the zafira, but haven’t been able to access it for a thousand years. They’ve been trying to obtain port rights from Joya d’Arena and Orovalle so they can find it.
Satisfied with this intel, Elisa lets Storm go, but not before Rosario tells him that he’s a bad man. Storm argues that he always tries to do what is right, though.
After cheering Rosario up with promises of pie, Elisa and Hector leave for more combat tutorial fun. Hector decides to overload Elisa with the full tutorial: blocking with body parts, exploiting enemy pressure points, calisthenics, elbowing, and headbutting. But then Hector admits that he’s doing all this because he still feels guilty over not protecting Elisa during the assassination attempt in the catacombs. He asks Elisa to fire him, but she refuses because she trusts him and doesn’t want to look weak.
Elisa ends up getting a tutorial on stretching, but she can’t relax because she’s too focused on how Hector smells and feels. I think I smell an obligatory YA romance brewing.
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
A female prisoner spits on Elisa when she makes her way through the prison. She is quickly scolded by a male prisoner, who thanks Elisa for defeating the Inviernos during the siege.
Lots of blue-colored magic stuff in this series so far. We have Godstones (which are blue), those blue-glowing scorpions from earlier, and now the zafira (which loosely translates to sapphire; see below).
Elisa is worried that Rosario is emotionally scarred from watching Alejandro die. Hector reveals that the same thing happened to Alejandro.
Elisa’s not-so-Pimped-Out training outfit: soft breeches, a loose blouse, and leather boots.
All the foodstuffs mentioned in this chapter:
- Coconut pie (Rosario’s post-expedition treat)
It’s Translation Time!
Translations of Spanish / Spanish-influenced words in this chapter:
- Zafira = from Spanish zafiro or Portuguese safira = sapphire (see my notes above)
Advanced Translation Time!
Ximena threatens Storm to divulge more information on the zafira in Lengua Classica:
Lo que es essa zafira? Si você né nos dizem, vamos dexay-lo iqui para apodrecer ou ser issassinado, lo que ocorrer primeiro.
Notice that I didn’t bother translating zafira. I’ll explain why in a couple of chapters.
Next time: Mara gives Elisa a tutorial on intimacy. Elisa and Hector are waylaid by enemies in an unexpected place.