And now DAMMIT we're back with Alos and his booze. Come on, how is the flashback supposed to build up any kind of momentum when it keeps being interrupted by storytime?!
Alos shivered and gulped down his glass of wine. He turned his face toward Arin. "This talk of Wizards and of Foul Folk, I don't like it."
"Can you tell us the story about Frodo and the Ring instead?"
Arin asks if Alos has some kind of problem with the Foul Folk and/or Mages, and Alos… I think he has a flashback, which we aren't really privy to. Ooooh, character development. Theoretically.
He looked at her, pain on his face, as if struggling to release even a single word . . . and in that moment there came a tap at the door.
smiled his gap-toothed brown-stained grin and said, "Let's have some more wine, eh?"
ENOUGH WITH THE BOOZE. We get it! Alos is a lush! People on their third liver don't focus on booze this much! He has to occasionally think about SOMETHING else!
So while Aiko is demanding some Antabuse from the servants, Arin gives Alos more booze. She also notices that Egil is distracted by something, but he doesn't say what. Wow, for a character development chapter, this really isn't telling us much.
"Oh my!" exclaimed the serving girl,
Obvious joke here.
catching her breath at the sight of the yellow warrior, crockery rattling on the tray. "I've come wi' th' noon meal, m'Lady."
"No food! Just bring more ale!"
"Shut up, Alos."
And really, McKiernan needs to stop with the descriptions of Aiko. We know she's Asian, so we don't need the borderline-racist descriptions of her, okay?
"I would hear more of this tale of yours for I am curious as to what brought you to Mørkfjord. But first I would see"—he canted his head toward the bathing room and privy—"if I can make it in there and back on my own. And then let's eat; I'm famished."
Yes, you're so incredibly anxious to hear more of the story… except you want to pee and have lunch first.
We never actually find out if he pees (thank God) since McKiernan never mentions it. I don't really get why Arin doesn't tell them the story WHILE they eat instead of after, too.
The noon meal done, Egil leaned back against propped pillows and said, "Now tell us more of your story, Lady Engel, for—"
Aiko growled and started to stand, but Arin held out a staying hand toward the warrior woman,
OH SHUT UP. I don't even know why Aiko is so offended by any kind of implied intimacy between Arin and anyone else. I mean, they don't even know each other that well, and the only reason Aiko is coming along with Arin (spoilers!) is because of a prophecy.
Frankly, it sometimes comes across as Aiko having a big ol' lesbian crush on Arin. Which, given the later events for Aiko, is probably not what McKiernan was thinking.
Egil laughed, then sobered. "I'm sorry. I gave my word. And I have broken it twice in this day alone. It's just that ... just that"—he took a deep breath and then plunged on—"you are my engel, Lady Arin."
Well, he just used this up:
But of course, that comment gives Arin a case of the butterflies, although I'm too busy thinking of the size difference problems when they do eventually get together. Cuz come on, nobody in these stories says that to anyone other than their Wun Troo Luv. That's how it works.
"Well now, the meal is finished. Pour me an ale, Alos, and pour one for yourself."
"I said pour ME a… dammit Alos, how did you drink both of them in two seconds?!"
"Why did you come to Mørkfjord? Too, where are your Elven companions? —Nothing ill has befallen them, has it?"
"Well, no. Except for that whole disaster at Comic-Con. So much blood…"
Arin turned away from the hearth and glanced at Aiko.
… what's up with that weird reaction? We later find out that the other Elves just went home. Why are they acting like something bad DID happen?!
"Tell us, too, of your visit with Wizards and of their sorcerous ways."
"Well, they're REALLY fond of pulling scarves out of whatever you're eating…"
This freaks out Alos, who promptly drops the pitcher of ale that he was probably chugging from. Then he and Egil start chugging the booze and… well, the chapter ends. Resume the flashback!