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‘On the Knees of Fate’
Guests of the King in Crace: Chapter 7, The Worm Ouroboros 74-100

Alternately titled ‘What Jove Bestows,’

Of the Two Banquet Halls that were in Carce, the Old and the New, and of the Entertainment given by King Gorice XII, in the One Hall to Lord Juss and Lord Brandoch Daha and in the other to the Prince La Fireez; and of their Leave-Taking when the banquet was done

The atmosphere of the banquet is decadent and surreal as the new king humiliates his captive guests with terminal glee. The first portion of the chapter weaves an elegant picture of a tawny haired lady, “White-skinned she was, and graceful as an antelope.”

At her feet sat a maiden with a seven-stringed lute, singing a song for which the author thoughtfully provides the lyrics. This elegant lady is one Pryzmyra , to whom joked about conflicting reports of the recent battle:

“Surely, O my Lady Prezmyra, truth masketh in many a strange disguise when she rideth rumour’s broomstick through king’s palaces.”

The focus on the feminine at the victory banquet is well-chosen for contrast and gaudily well-executed:

“The women sat on the cross-bench, and mid-most of them the Lady Prezmyra, who outwent the rest in beauty and queenliness as Venus the lesser planets of the night.”

The feast setting is crudely medieval once the lords become drunk. Toward the apex of the scene, the author leaves a hint for the reader as to his dreamy worldview:

“…howsoe’er we shape our course, cometh the poppy that abideth all of us by the harbor of oblivion hard to cleanse.”

A lord named Corsus sings:

“When all the prisons hereabout

Have justled all their prisoners out,

Because indeed they have no cause

To keepe ‘em in by common law.”

Over all, Chapter 7 is a good centerpiece, texturing the adventure setting of the striving Demons and Witches with an appreciation for their home lives and folk songs and sayings.

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