Thank God, we FINALLY get back to this friggin' overlong flashback. Basically Arin and her buddies go riding back through Darda Galion, and there's lots of nature and it's pretty and blah blah blah.
The hush of the soaring Eldwood stole over Arin even as she rode, and she nodded in a doze and lost track of time in the timeless twilight.
She fell asleep on her horse?! Because.... that's what it sounds like.
So nature is pretty and wonderful, there are trees everywhere, and the argent songbirds sang their melodies of dawn and dusk and caroled beauty throughout the land, filling the forest with song. And everybody who was sleeping in threw shoes out the window to shut the damn birds up.
Even McKiernan seems to have gotten tired of the constant slow-moving travelogues, so he hastily tells us that they went back the way they came. They stopped briefly at the march-ward camp so Silverleaf could get all the warders mad about the nine trees... meaning they'll probably be too distracted to do their job effectively. YAY.
So in a few lines, McKiernan summarizes that they went on a bunch of ferries, crossed rivers, rode places, and the weather is overall pretty rotten. I am grateful that he skipped all this, because it bores me silly.
And just as eve drew nigh they sighted in midriver the grey stone towers of Caer Lindor glowing orange in the setting sun.
And their spirits soared, for therein were many delicious Lindt chocolates.
And because I'm pissy, I'm going to point out that "Caer" is a Welsh word, and "Lindor" is not.
They crossed the western pontoon bridge to come to that fortress isle, a legacy of the Elven Wars of Succession, a relic of the elder days,
... from a day that the author is not going to talk about because it's not part of his overall plot arc, even though some of his stories totally have nothing to do with it either.
when neither man nor Fey nor Dwarf nor Mage nor aught other bestrode the world of Mithgar, and only the Elves walked the land, and they yet filled with madness.
- Because if you have any kind of conflict and get involved in killing anyone for ANY reason, you must be insane. Makes perfect sense.
- Actually, these elves seem to be kind of racist. They have no problem with killing people of other species, but think it's a sign of insanity to kill someone of your OWN race. What total douchebags.
- And Elves aren't even from Mithgar. Shouldn't they have been walking the High Plane's land?
- And wait... Fey and Mages not being there, I understand, since they are from other worlds. But when were the humans and dwarves made? WHO made them? Why did it take so long after the Elves for that to happen?
- Also, does it sound a lot like McKiernan's Elves are (as well as ripping off Tolkien's) ripping off the Vulcans?
But those days were long past and the Elves now sane,
Except for the pon farr.
yet the huge, square fortress still remained.
Wait, so the Elves use a WELSH word? Because it's not just a word that exists in two languages but has two different meanings... this is EXACTLY what "Caer" means in Welsh. It means "castle" or "fort."
So the Elves go to Welsh Castle of Delicious Chocolate Truffles, and they cause even more trouble by telling the local garrison "Oh by the way, the Spawn just chopped down a bunch of those trees that we inexplicably love more than our friends and family. So, how's stuff around these parts?"
But don't worry! Their moods are kept light because of two Warrows!
Just what this book was missing. JOY.
"On our way to look at the Avagon," said Tindel, the tall one, standing some three feet three, simply towering over Brink by a full two inches.
That's like saying a three-year-old towers over a two-and-a-half year old. Yes, one is taller and the height difference is more significant... but it's still pretty small.
So what are the Warrows here to do? Basically bicker for several minutes about how they want to ship out on a trading ship... and they can't agree on what position they want to have. Cuz yeah, it's not like the CAPTAIN will get to decide what they're best suited for - they get to decide themselves.
And so it went between these two, squabbling, the best of friends.
And the Elves smiled at their antics.
"Isn't it so charming how these two never shut the fuck up? We're so charmed by this!"
So anyway, they leave the next day... and what a surprise, they encounter the Warrows AGAIN.
they saw the Waerlinga readying to cast off their cargo-laden float.
... they're heading down a long river to the sea... on a FLOAT? That doesn't seem.... very wise.
Arin takes the opportunity to tell the little dunces that Bellon Falls is down the river, about twenty leagues from where this river joins another river.
Brink scratched his head. "Twenty leagues? Sixty miles?"
Okay, who let these idiots out of the village? They aren't even solid on DISTANCE. And they want to sail on a SHIP?
"Where the Argon flows over the Great Escarpment. It plummets a thousand feet into the Cauldron below."
You know, I would expect that a waterfall THAT HIGH would be pretty well known. I mean, that's a pretty tall waterfall, and it's part of a MAJOR RIVER.
The Warrows are shocked by this, because apparently one of the evil Rivermen sold them a map WITHOUT this information on it. So... do the Rivermen leave it off the maps just to be assholes? Because I can't see this happening by accident. And yes, I know that it's been established that the Rivermen are supposed to wreck boats for salvage... but a THOUSAND FEET? Would there be anything worth having after they went over the falls?!
Arin's eyes flew wide in astonishment. Imagine these two setting out on a float trip without knowing the perils of the river before them.
I'm imagining it. And it makes my head ache.
So the Warrows go back to the castle, and the Elves go wandering off into the woods.
And as they entered the timberland, Arin wondered what unexpected rapids and cataracts sheer and unknown perils lay on her own path ahead.
If only the immortal Elves who travel all over the place had... oh, I dunno, MADE MAPS.
And no, there was NOT a real purpose to this whole chapter. It's basically about the Warrows bickering and being dumbasses, while the Elves marvel at them for... I dunno, being Hobbit Sues. But hey, at least the Warrows will be important and vital characters in the rest of the book!
Oh wait, we never see them again.