McKiernan thankfully thankfully doesn't show the surgery. Instead we have Samurai Chick and Yngli coming back from picking flowers. In the snow. Why is there snow? Why are there flowers? Okay, let me explain this: why has the rain not washed away the snow, and why has the cold not withered the flowers?
They're also splattered with mud, even though it's... freezing. And raining. And all they did was pick flowers. Uh, that WAS all they did, right?
Yngli also gets the best line in the book thus far by charging into the bar and yelling, "Hoy, everyone, we're back wi' our bouquet." Sigh, a shame that we'll probably never see this guy again.
Arin is sewing Egil's sword cut shut, which she DON'T LOOK IT'S YUCKY EW STOP had to cut open again so it would heal properly. These raiders REALLY suck at basic medicine. Even little kids know that you're supposed to squeeze your cuts shut. So she orders them to"separate the flowers from the snow. Tryg, put a kettle over the charcoal. We'll use pure melt to make the tea."
- Why use melted snow for your tea if it takes longer to get hot?
- Why bother separating the flowers from the snow if you're gonna melt the snow and then put the flowers in again?
And since we're in a bar, there's a few paragraphs devoted to Yngli having a drink. He gives one to Aiko, but who knows if she drinks it. For some reason, drinking brandy makes everybody else laugh.... I think they've all gone way over the legal limit already.
So once everybody's done cracking up, Yngli asks how things are with the HALF-DEAD GUY WHO JUST HAD SURGERY IN THE MIDDLE OF A BAR. Yeah, apparently nobody paid much attention to that. Anyway, he apparently woke up and went nuts as soon as he got touched by that burning knife, and who can blame him? Then Arin poured brandy down his throat (which for some reason nobody did BEFORE the surgery) and soothed him with elf songs, which apparently do whatever the singer wants.
Lots of booze. Sounds like a good idea.
"Adon's blood, Yngli, look at him: he's happy as a clam, drunk as he is, or would be if he were awake."
He can't be much drunker than the guys at this bar. Actually he may be slightly less drunk.
"I think not," said Thar, shaking his head. "Were he awake he'd be in pain, no matter th' brandy."
I smell a nurturing-angel scene up ahead.
Arin finally finishes sewing up Egil's face, and says, "Thar, wouldst thou bandage this man's hurts?" Uh, isn't that what you were doing, lady? Anyway, Thar gushes about her awesome sewing skills OH GROSS STOP IT PLEASE and starts bandaging most of Egil's head.
And while Arin is washing her hands, it also turns out that Thar has ABSOLUTELY NO PAINKILLERS AT ALL. This guy's a pretty useless doctor - he plays second fiddle in surgery, he hasn't got any anesthetics or painkillers, and the best thing he's able to do is BANDAGE. Instead, Arin's going to have to TEACH him how to make painkillers... ugh, I'm starting to suspect that this chick is an Elf Sue even among the inherently Suey elves.
So Arin starts making tea with water and flower petals. Uh, I'm not a medical professional... or an elf... but shouldn't that actually be the leaves? I mean the only real purpose of petals is to draw attention to the reproductive parts of the flower.
A sweet fragrance wafted up from the jug, heartening all those nearby.
Yes, it's the tea fragrance. It has nothing to do with the large amounts of alcohol they've already drunk.
So anyway she starts feeding Egil the magic petal tea, then lets Thar do that because frankly he's useless.
Arin turned to Orri. "Captain."
"The wounds of thine other men—"
"Ar, nothin' as bad as Egil's, them what wasn't killed outright. We patched up most aboard."
"They'll probably die of septicemia in a day or two, because medically speaking we suck."
Thar looked up from his task. "Ye've done enough, Lady. I'll see to their scratches."
Yep, these guys are going to die.
And then for some reason Arin asks if Egil has a wife, fiancee or girlfriend, and Orri thinks that's hilarious.
"Nay, Lady. He be free wi' th' women, and they be free wi' him."
I think we're supposed to be charmed or impressed by this, but honestly I don't know why I would be.
So rather than asking if he has any relatives like, say, parents or siblings or even cousins, Arin just decides that hey, no girlfriend means nobody to take care of his ouchie-booboos. I guess she thinks that only sexually-interested women can possibly take care of someone.
So she orders them to bring Egil to HER place... which is actually a hotel.And to top off the weirdness of this exchange, Arin starts drinking the petal tea herself. I don't know why.
"We cannot afford to lose him," added the Dylvana.
"Because everybody attractive in this series NEEDS a love interest." "Then where's mine?" "Sit tight. He'll show up."
And then we get even more castration humor, with Yngli sorta hitting on Aiko and Aiko saying that she'll attack him with her sword if he tries, followed by Yngli clutching his crotch again. Har har. Is this gag going to end soon? I don't find castration humor funny in the slightest.
So while all the men drink a lot, Arin has them carry Egil off to her hotel or whatever. But wait! There is a dramatic problem: they now have TWO one-eyed men instead of just one. Aiko is all "Team Egil! Team Egil!" but Arin insists that Alos might be "the one." And where has Alos gone during the last two chapters? Why, he's done what comedic alcoholics do: crawled under a table, puked on himself and fell asleep.
So what does Arin wanna do? Bring him along to their hotel! Aiko is completely grossed out by this, and who can blame her? The guy's covered in puke.
Arin settled her cloak about her shoulders. "Then we will have to bathe him."
"And by 'we,' of course I mean YOU."
"Huah!" Aiko shook her head. "Scour him, you mean. And pumice his teeth and mint his breath and burn his clothes as well."
... I've never used a pumice stone on my teeth, but I'm pretty sure you would be toothless pretty soon if you used them. I mean what does he have on his teeth, barnacles?
Arin tells Aiko to quit being such a bitch, and that since the guy has only one eye they have to figure out whether he is "the one." I really, really hope this involves the Matrix in some way. So Aiko drags Alos out from under the table and puts him on her shoulders.
And with Orri and his raiders looking on in wonder, she followed Arin across the floor and out into the dank night,
"Wow! I never saw one woman follow another across the floor like that! And following her into the dank night... wow!"
... why are they so surprised? In all their travels, they've never seen a woman use the fireman carry? Especially on a shriveled little old man?
a thin thread of vomit-tainted drool dribbling from Alos's slack jaw and leaving a wet trail behind.
It's like McKiernan thinks we won't buy that Alos is disgusting unless he reminds us ALL THE TIME.