This chapter has been a long time coming. Although, having said that, there was a time when I didn’t plan for Guijus to be part of the attacking Treydolain forces – instead he’d have remained back at the palace and would have played a far more passive role. In that version of the story he might not even have been alive by the time we made it back there.
Having him come along for the battle was not only a better move for his character and the story, it also enabled this chapter to happen, with Kirya and her father reuniting after a long time, in not-ideal circumstances.
This is the second of the ‘aftermath’ chapters. Last time we had Tranton and Roldan, this time we’ve got Kirya and Guijus. There’s one more to come, which also acts as the finale for the entire arc, before we then return for Arc 7. With this one we get a very different tone to the one in the pub – there’s far less hope with Guijus.
Kirya here is trying to be cold and dispassionate, but is finding that a difficult line to tread. In truth, her warmth is part of her strength.
An important aspect of this chapter is the glimpse we get of Guijus’ rationale for what’s been going on. How much he believes and how much he’s fabricated for self-justification is up for debate, but it’s a reminder that he’s been operating in an alternate universe of his own making, influenced by dishonest advisers and, of course, the presence of Kraisa. The point is to emphasise the fluidity of truth, and how easily it can be altered by whoever is in charge – to the point where they believe their own lies.
This being a Kirya-narrated chapter, we also get to see her stepping up and taking charge, in a way she’s not always been able to. This is where she really steps out from the shadow of her father and family – not out of rebelliousness, as in the past, but because she has a clear purpose. Given that we’re about to go into Arc 7, that’s good timing.