Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 47: What Would You Give

Chapter 47 begins with everyone writhing around in pain from Cel’s power forcing all their old wounds to reopen and bleed out. While all her men are screaming out in pain, Cel grabs Merry by her wrist and yanks her to him.

“Draw your sword,” he hissed in my face. “Let me disarm you in front of them all, and drive it into that fertile womb of yours. Did you know that’s why my mother turned against me? She made me take those human doctors’ tests and found that I couldn’t father children. That’s when she called you home.” He traced his free hand up the side of my neck, until he entwined his fingers in my hair. He stopped just short of where the crown still burned with its darkling flame on my head.
He let go of my wrist, and put his other hand on the other side of my face. He turned me to face him and cradled me oh so gently between his hands. “Draw your sword, Merry. Draw it, and let them see how weak you truly are.” He whispered it against my face as he came in for a kiss.

Oh good, we’re back to incest.

As Cel is distracted by the kiss, Merry is able to put both her hands on his bare arms. Whoops!

He drew back from me, taking my hands in his. He smiled, and his eyes were completely mad. “I’m going to kill you now.”
“I know,” I said, and I used the hands of blood and flesh together. Where Holly and Ash and I had used them to heal, now I used them to destroy. I drove the hand of blood into him, not in search of wounds, but in search of blood. I used the hand of flesh to cut and tear his body from the inside out. As the hands of power had flowed over the battlefield in a wave of cleansing blood and smoothing flesh, now they filled this one man.
Cel’s eyes went wide. “You can’t,” he whispered.
“I can,” I said, and I flexed that power, flexed it like a giant’s fist that I’d shoved deep into his body, then I opened that fist. One moment Cel was there, eyes wide, hands in mine, the next he wasn’t. Blood smacked into me, and thicker things hit my face. There was a sharp pain in my cheek, and I was left standing alone, covered in blood and thicker things. I scraped what was left of my cousin off my face so I could see, and found that it was his teeth in my cheek, blown there by the force of magic. I pulled them out, and promised myself a tetanus shot, and antibiotics if I could have them while pregnant. I promised myself a lot of things as I stood there, shaking.

God, could you imagine this scene in the hands of a better writer? I will give LKH credit in that she’s AMAZING at creating these utter scenes of horror and gore. She just can’t describe them worth a damn.

So Cel’s dead, and Merry’s men all stand up, no longer suffering the pain from Cel’s power. They surround Merry, and Doyle pulls her into a kiss. When they part, Doyle comes away wearing a crown. The Crown of Thorn and Silver, I guess, but they never actually describe the importance of this crown. We’re apparently just supposed to know why it’s a named item and important.

The stag makes a sound, and they all rush over to it. It’s dying, and Merry starts freaking out. She starts pleading for Frost to come back to her, that she doesn’t want to rule anything without him by her side. Then the scent of roses fills the air, and rose petals begin falling from the sky, which is the typical sign that the Goddess is going to intervene and everything will be just fine. Merry suddenly hears a voice call out to her.

“What would you give for the Killing Frost?”
“Would you give the crown upon your head?” the voice asked.
“Yes,” I said.
Mistral said, “Meredith.” But the other men said nothing. Mistral hadn’t been with us from the beginning, so he didn’t understand.
“And you, Darkness, would you give up your crown?”
Doyle took my hand in his, and said, “To have my right hand at my side again, I would.”
“So be it,” the voice said.

And so the chapter ends with Frost bursting forth from the hole in the stag’s side, and all of Merry’s men help to pull him out. As much as I want to like this scene, I just can’t help but imagine

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