You can read this chapter of The Mechanical Crown over on Wattpad.
This is another case of me having to remember Who Knows What. With the action accelerating it would have been very easy for me to write this chapter without Holst referencing her previous encounter with Kraisa. It’s the kind of connective tissue which I might ordinarily work into subsequent drafts, but in the case of a serialised story I’m not afforded that opportunity.
From a plot perspective I’d planned for this to be a Holst POV chapter for a while, but it wasn’t until I got to the writing of it that I remembered to give it the correct context. Holst has a deep, nasty trauma associated with Kraisa and the sight of her armour: this chapter is where we acknowledge that but also make the point that Holst is a) clever and strategic and b) hard as nails. She’s terrified of Kraisa, sure, but she’s not going to let that interfere with her duties. She has a clarity of thinking even under extreme duress: that’s probably why she survived that first attack on the Black Scree. She’s also restrained enough to recognise that a direct engagement of Kraisa would be a bad move: she could slice through the Mountain Breaker like Captain Marvel cutting up Thanos’ ship.
We also have the unexpected return of Eris, who as one of the few named Avii is a useful story conduit. We also get to glimpse his POV on what’s happening, and how he’s still not really accepted that Tarn is Tarn – still referring to her as Aera.
The chapter breaks in Arc 7 are being used to break up the beat-by-beat plot points, with the shifting perspectives providing a way to keep the story interesting. With Big Finales there’s always a risk that it descends into a series of Things That Happen, without retaining much in the way of character or thematic relevance. The constantly shifting POV is proving a very useful tool for keeping the story fresh and always keeping the focus on character rather than raw plot.