Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 7: The Hunt, Continued.

Chapter 7 begins inside the Seelie mound. They’re back inside the great hall where, in the previous book, they were holding a press conference before Merry was taken to the hospital. Remember, only a few hours had passed since the events at the end of the last book and this, though it’s never actually made clear how much time had passed until this chapter.

The entire hunt starts passing through the sithen, and some of the Seelie guards start shooting arrows at them as they pass. The magic of the hunt causes the arrows to turn away before approaching, though. As the hunt gets closer to the guards, the sithen’s ceiling opens, and the monsters of the sluagh appear. The guards start running, or fall to the grounds, their minds and wills broken. Nothing is stopping this hunt from happening, it seems.

Except one of the Seelie warriors pulls out an iron sword and manages to injure one of the hounds. As the hound falls, the warrior, who Merry notes is named Dacey the Golden, gets sucked up into the hunt, forced to replace the hound he fell. Other Seelie guards, realizing that cold iron is the only thing to injure the members of the hunt, start slicing and dicing with iron swords, only to be pulled into the hunt as well.

The hunt makes their way to the Seelie throne room, but they’re stopped in the antechamber outside it.

A great oak spread up and up, toward a ceiling that spilled into a distant sparkle of sky, like a piece of daylight forever stored in the limbs of the great tree. You knew you were underground, but there were glimpses of blue sky and clouds forever caught in the tree’s upper limbs. It was like the things you see from the corners of your eyes. If you look directly at them, they aren’t there, but yet you see them. The sky was like that, almost there. The trunk of the tree was large enough that it was quite a feat to walk around it to get to the huge jeweled doors of the throne room. But it was just a tree, so what made it the last defense?

They start spilling into the room and the room expands into a huge field, with the tree at the far end of it. Sholto yells at them all to ride for the tree, as everything else was just an illusion. They get closer and one of the hunt’s horses hits the tree, and the room reappears. They’re all stopped just outside the doors to the throne room. Merry asks the Goddess what she should do, and she’s inspired to press her bloody hand against the door. She announces that she’s calling “kin slayer” on her cousin Cair, and the chapter ends with the doors opening.

Yet another super short chapter. Combining chapters 6 & 7 would easily have met the length of ONE of the previous chapters, and I do not think that combining them would have done anything to negatively affect the narrative. The story would have flowed much better had they been combined as well.

Sigh.

IMPORTANT

On February 23, Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by a father/son duo for the “crime” of jogging while black. The events were caught on film.

Georgia does not have any sort of laws to prevent hate crimes in the state. Please sign the Georgia Hate Crime Bill petition to encourage the state legislature to introduce one.

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