Last time on Rise and Fall, the Male Protagonists tried and failed to receive aid from Abeke’s dad. Will they ever find this book’s McGuffin? Find out after the cut.
Conor couldn’t understand why any parent would willingly forsake a child. He knew that, as chieftain, Pojalo had many responsibilities. The welfare of Okaihee was first on his mind. But still…
Conor’s party continues their journey through the Niloan savanna after last chapter’s disastrous meeting with Pojalo. Conor spends his time worrying over Abeke and Meilin. Well, mostly Abeke. Hey, it’s a children’s book series — of course our Protagonists need to get paired off.
Eventually, the party approaches the jungle south of Okaihee. Tarik thinks that they’re on the right track, since Cabaro supposedly lives in a desert oasis south of the jungle. The party decides to stop for the day — rather timely of them, because a troop of baboons is headed straight for them! Like the lion from the last chapter, these baboons are being compelled south. Our protagonists barely manage to fend the baboons off and prevent them from stealing their talismans.
Once the baboons are gone, Irtike approaches the party. She left Okaihee against Pojalo’s orders, and wants to join our heroes on their quest. Rollan refuses to let Irtike join the party because she’ll slow them down, but Irtike argues that she has a spirit animal who grants her enhanced tracking and can sense dangers in the terrain.
Said spirit animal is a naked mole-rat, which grosses out Conor and Rollan. In addition to the aforementioned enhanced tracking and terrain-specific danger sense, it can summon other mole rats and grant its owner control over the earth. So, basically, Irtike is an overpowered mole-rat summoning earthbender. Not a bad addition to the party, I think.
Thankfully, our protagonists agree with me and let Irtike join them. She tells the party that they have to use an alternate route south, since the jungle is filled with all sorts of fatal hazards like cliffs and quicksand. But first, they’re going to find shelter.
Before venturing forth, the party decides to name Irtike’s spirit animal. Irtike claims that she’s not good at thinking up names, so Rollan dubs the mole-rat Snake Eyes.
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Abeke always spoke favorably about her family to the party (and in her POV chapters). Of course, Conor is less than impressed with how they really are. This is also a decent explanation for any inconsistencies in Pojalo’s and Soama’s characterizations throughout the series.
Conor brought both an axe and a shepherd’s crook with him on this adventure. Smart thinking there.
Irtike is the first person in Okaihee to summon a spirit animal after Abeke.
Pojalo was supposed to name Irtike’s spirit animal, but he never got around to it.
Tarik named his otter Lumeo because he was “the brightest thing in my life.” Latin apparently exists in the Spirit Animals universe, because his name is derived from lumen.
Wait … why is Tarik suddenly getting all this character development? Do you think — gasp! — that something bad might happen to him later in this book?
Naked mole-rats are now at the top of Rollan’s list of Worst Animals Ever, after walruses.
“I guess you roll the dice when you summon a spirit animal, and take what you get,” Rollan said. “Sometimes you roll snake eyes. Or, whatever kind of eyes those are.”
Next time: another Trippy Dream Sequence starring Meilin and BATTLE PANDA.