Last time on The Crown of Embers, Elisa learned how to cast Heal, and discovered another Generic Fantasy Prophecy. Will she ever get around to fulfilling these prophecies? Find out after the cut.
But I don’t have time to think about it, for the day of the Deliverance Gala dawns hot and bright and busy. Everyone hurries through preparations sheened with a layer of sweat. I spend the morning approving last-minute changes to the menu and guest lists and practicing the blessing I will recite at the ball. That afternoon, I tell Mara and Ximena about healing Hector, though I leave out the most pertinent detail. Ximena is beside herself with excitement that I have found a way to tap into the Godstone’s power.
It’s time for a very special Deliverance Gala recap! Though the typical Very Special Episode stuff doesn’t happen until the next chapter, but still. It’s a holiday special.
The Deliverance Gala is basically Christmas, except it celebrates God’s salvation of mankind from the “dying world” instead of the birth of a religious figure. And since this is a fantasy Christmas, we get gift hauls. Let’s see what everyone gets:
- Mara: a spice pouch filled with marjoram, cinnamon, and saffron.
- Ximena: a 200-year-old illuminated copy of The Common Man’s Guide to Service.
- Hector: a silver brooch (all the other Royal Guards got one, too).
- Elisa: a white gold crown studded with dead Godstones. And no, it’s not on fire.
After everyone gets into their Pimped-Out Outfits, it’s time for the ball! Elisa sits in a special hand-shaped throne, recites a blessing, and then the party is on!
There’s a lot of dancing at the ball, of course. Elisa first dances with Rosario, only because he wants to get away from a girl. Then she dances a bolero with Hector. Here’s some mood music:
Elisa and Hector discuss potential suitors during their dance. Elisa is interested in Tristán, though she knows that the Quorum probably won’t approve of him. Hector seems to approve of her choice, which disappoints Elisa.
Tristán then dances with Elisa, and talks about how he got into religion after his father’s death. He wants to build a monastery at Selvarica, but he hasn’t been able to attract a priest. This baffles Tristán, because who wouldn’t want to move to his little tropical paradise territory? Elisa mentions possibly visiting Selvarica during her upcoming royal tour of the nation, and jokes about making outrageous travel arrangements.
After the dance, Elisa watches Hector dance with other women, prompting her to go into an OH WOE IS ME NOBODY WILL EVER FIND ME ATTRACTIVE mood. She then endures dances with Liano and Eduardo. After those dances, Elisa and Hector hang out and watch Mara dance with Belén. Suddenly, Liano starts making a beeline for Elisa, so Elisa and Hector run out of the ballroom to avoid him….
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Elisa admits that she’s in love with someone, but she will marry for the good of the kingdom.
In case you haven’t noticed, Elisa gets the titular crown in this chapter. Why did all the foreign editions assume that it was literally on fire?
Elisa’s crown is a gift from Ximena, Mara, and the Royal Guards. They paid for it by selling all the gifts from Elisa’s suitors, and some donations from the Royal Guards.
Guitars vihuelas aren’t the only Renaissance-era instruments in this series. There are dulciáns (early bassoons) at the ball, too. Kinda ruins my image of mariachi bands at all the balls, though.
Night bloomers (a fictional plant, as we’ll learn in the next chapter) grow in the palace gardens. They will be Very Important later in the book.
Elisa’s special throne is the Hand of God, which was sculpted by Lutián of the Rocks, a Chosen One. Completing the throne was his act of service, and he died immediately after finishing it.
Everyone thinks that Rosario will be a better king than Alejandro.
There’s so many Pimped-Out Outfits in this chapter that they get their own section today:
- Elisa: aquamarine satin gown with floor-length chiffon halter, curled hair in an updo, and eyeliner. She’s also wearing a leather corset under the dress, for security reasons.
- Hector: red cloak, loose white blouse, tight black breeches, sword belt, and a silver brooch. He also didn’t comb his hair back today.
- Mara: light yellow gown with train.
All the foodstuffs mentioned in this chapter:
- Chilled wine
Crazy Theory Time!
Elisa’s blessing contains a reference to God saving mankind from the “dying world”:
In you our ancestors put their trust,
They cried out and you delivered them.
Yea, from the dying world they were saved;
In you they trusted and were not put to shame.
Bless us, O God, as we remember your hand;
Your righteous right hand endures forever.
Next time: Elisa learns a secret about Tristán.