Part 14: Meet Mieli
I have a question.
Do you actually know where Mieli is? I mean, can you pinpoint her?
Not really. Just a feeling.
So how do we know the cave was necessary?
Um...we don't. But, you know, we're searching. We have to search places. That was a place.
All I'm saying is I'll be quite annoyed if you had me go in there and do all that and it turns out she's in a tree by the entrance somewhere.
I'm sure it...
Alright. Let's say that happens. Tell me this view isn't worth it.
This view isn't worth it.
What? I can lie.
This is it, my friend. Take a good, long look. This is what you're fighting for.
...no it isn't.
You said it yourself. This'll be gone soon. I might be the last person who ever stands here.
So write it down. That's what the book's for.
Yeah. "Cliff, sunset, nice view." Somehow, I don't think my version would be the same.
I'm not a writer. I don't have the words to do the whole world justice.
Nobody does. That's why you pick the things that matter to you.
You're never gonna write something perfect. There'll always be flaws, there'll always be parts that people see and think "This should be different." There'll always be ugliness. But you can still have cliffs. And sunsets. And really, really nice views.
I think I'd like to come back here some time.
What the hell is...?
Human! You tread on dwarven holy ground!
oh dear god it's like a million fish died in a sulphur mine
Look, calm down. I'm just passing through. I didn't know-
No words! None! Never again will your kind desecrate dwarfland! So Rudrud commands, so shall it be!
...I'd be happy to leave if you'd just let me.
if you're gonna fight can you make it quick 'cause i'm gonna stop breathing now, holy dick
squeak squeak, do i hear backpedalling
What changed your mind?
Your fight. Your stance. You do not carry yourself with lies. You do not strike with spite.
i noticed, could you tell your flesh to quiet down please
Why have you come? Not safe to wander here.
I suppose I'm looking for a forest spirit. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?
Spirit? Not heard of such things.
They're like, um...
What are they?
holding breath, improvise
They're like...ghosts? They float around and talk to you. And you can't see them. And they're kind of bossy and annoying.
There is a place where the forest speaks clearest. You seek that?
Maybe. Sounds promising, at least.
Path leads back to the low grounds. But, can't go on foot. Learn to fly first.
That might take a while.
Rudrud will show you.
Take this hammer.
Okay. This is heavy.
Scan it with the book and make a copy. If it comes from the book, you can use it. We've been over this.
I thought that was just swords?
No. Of course it's not just swords. All weapons are ideas.
What does that have to do with anything?
I explained this! Were you even listening?!
You just said the book gave me "magic swords that made me the best at swording."
You know what, fine. That's what it is. The hammers are magic too. Everything you take out of the book is magic and you will be the best at it. Swords, hammers, fucking whatever. You are master of the pages and all they produce.
...why are you shouting at me?
Spin in place, gather as much momentum as possible and use it to throw myself forward. It seemed too ridiculous, and with the book-borne hammer light as a puff pastry in my hand, I hadn't the slightest confidence that it would work.
Which is why I was quite surprised when it did.
AHHH! AAHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Perfect. You learn with speed.
Now walk the southern path and find the greatest of trees. There is what you seek. Rudrud bids you well.
Human. You have stopped. Why do you continue screaming.
Though the fight with Rudrud hardly taxed me, it called attention to the toll taken by the long walk and the trials in Kalcazoth. I decided to take a breather in a nearby cave.
As it turned out, it was occupied.
Oh. Sorry, I didn't realise...
The human. Please, it is well. Be welcome.
I am Gim. Saw you fight Father.
Father? You mean Rudrud?
I'm not seeing the resemblance. Not smelling it either.
Um, sorry about that. He didn't give me much choice.
Why sorry? Only nature. He attacks, you defend. Nature is not sorry.
Yeah, but he's still your dad. I wouldn't like seeing my parents get...
It can't be easy seeing your parents get hurt.
Only hurt pride. Pride needed hurting.
...something tells me you aren't too happy with him.
Hah. You see better than he.
Don't like here. Tired of it, bored. Wanted to see...ah, human places. Cities. Father wouldn't allow. Too much pride.
That's too bad. Maybe when you grow up?
Hey, he's a dwarf. You never know.
It can't be all bad here, though. Look at the view you have.
From the cliff. It's amazing.
Why? Live here. Look from cliff every day. Don't see anything.
Do you know how to write?
Some. Father teaches.
So if you were going to write about the view here, how would you describe it?
That's it? Just "big"?
What else to say?
Plenty. You just haven't thought about it before.
Give it a try. You might start seeing it differently.
What's the hold-up? You've got this down, right?
It's a bit different when there's actually a pit.
I bet you wish you could fly for real.
Kind of like I'm doing.
See, I can just float right over like this.
So. How's things on your side of the chasm? 'Cause I gotta tell you, it's pretty great over here.
I'll slap you.
Not from there you won't.
Okay. Alright. Going to be sick now.
Not on the book, man! Nobody wants to live in a puke world!
This is it. She's in here.
...is that her?
Really? Already? Seems awfully soon.
I was thinking that myself! I figured it was just me.
Awfully soon for what?
The end. Normally it takes longer for the book to hit the "fuck you all" switch. You guys must really have ballsed it up this time.
Anyway. Mieli, this is Yumil. Yumil, Mieli.
Nice to meet you.
You too. Er, I hope this isn't a rude question, but why are your legs all chained up?
Uh. Sorry. He didn't bring it up until just now.
These are shackles. They keep me bound to the book, make sure I don't go anywhere. And that I do what I'm supposed to when the time comes.
How come you asked about hers but not mine?
I...just thought those were your arms. I didn't realise.
No. I've got hands in here.
God knows when I last saw them.
We all have them. The shackles. And we all prefer not to think about them.
No, it's okay! You weren't to know. Just keep it in mind when you meet the rest of us.
So how are you adjusting? Still a bit overwhelmed, I imagine.
He killed a chimera to get here, didn't even sweat. The other day he was scared of a goblin. I'd say he's adjusting fine.
He seems harmless enough.
Yeah? Check outside. The corpse trail disagrees.
You know what I mean. He seems nice. Down to earth.
Not going to go mad with power.
More or less.
It's pretty sad when that's become your standard for "nice."
Did he get the sword thing?
Of course he didn't get it. Nobody does. If the book chooses people based on certain qualities, "Will not get the sword thing" is number one.
It's really not that complicated.
Maybe you just don't explain it properly.
You're about to cross a line, woman.