Dragonspell Chapter 2

When last we left Broccoli… I mean Kale, she was NOT getting raped by grawligs because this is poorly-written Christian fiction and apparently nobody ever gets raped or even threatened by it. Bad guys “play with” the good guys.

Old leaves, moldy and partially decomposed, softened the ground beneath Kale. Her nose wrinkled against the musty smell.

This is actually a pretty nice bit of description. Treasure it in your heart, because it’ll be the last one for a LONG time.

 
Her stomach wanted to heave. The putrid smell of rotting garbage tormented her.

“Go away, putrid smell of rotting garbage! You torment me so!”

Also, a minute ago she was smelling dead leaves and now suddenly she smells garbage? They… don’t tend to smell much alike.

 
A hard lump pressed against her rib cage. The egg! The rock-hard egg was still intact.

Oh goody. Because I care deeply. This also raises two questions:

  1. How is a baby whatever supposed to get out of an egg that’s hard as a rock? Eggs tend to be breakable because they, y’know, have baby creatures that eventually want out. Does it have a diamond egg tooth?
  2. How come the egg didn’t break her ribs if it’s like a rock and she got thrown on it?

Kale tried to sit. Bindings around her wrists and ankles stopped her. Grawligs!

… because only grawligs tie people up. Life lesson in GenericFantasyland.

Anyway she reminisces about the G-rated, mild torment of the previous chapter, aka the grawligs’ rowdy game which basically involved them tossing her around like a volleyball. This is pretty sad for minions of generic evil. You’d expect them to eat her or rape her or torture her or at least beat her up.

Apparently she’s lying… somewhere near a campfire where they’ve apparently decided to crash. Evidently they’re not in a hurry to do… whatever it is they’re doing, because they decided to stop dinner and a nice night in the woods.

 
Two females turned spits, roasting what looked like large deer.

… and since this is a Christian fantasy series, the brutish primitive ogres will be wearing modest scoop-necked blouses. No boobies in Christian fantasy, even ugly orc boobies.

A group lounged almost in a pile under trees across the clearing. They made loud rhythmic noises Kale assumed must be a song.

“… kumbayah, my Lord, kumbayah…” “One hundred bottles of disgusting grawlig alcohol on the cave wall, one hundred bottles…”

 
No one seemed to be interested in the captive trussed up and lying under a bush.

“WAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! Nobody pays any attention to meeeeeeeee…”

Kale observes (through slitted eyes) that even her guards aren’t really paying attention to her, possibly because she’s really weak and pathetic, and there are enough of them that they could catch her immediately. Or because they are conveniently stupid for the sake of plot convenience. I wonder which.

 
They picked over a knee-high pile of dirty mushrooms, popping them into their drooling mouths, smacking their lips as they chomped on the treats.

… okay wait, where did they get a “knee-high” pile of mushrooms? Is there a convenient grocery store nearby with plenty of mushrooms in stock, or do several hundred mushrooms just happen to grow nearby?

And why do I find myself suspecting that Paul is a fan of pepperoni if her Generic Minions of Evil are big fans of mushrooms?

 
The repulsive smell of the grawligs could not be shut out so easily.

So how come you literally jumped in their stinky laps, dumbass?

So she starts thinking about all the rumors about the grawligs, including that they are dumb and vicious (but not as dumb as her), clumsy, claustrophobic (huh? Is this a plot point?) and OH YEAH they conveniently don’t tie their captives up very well. So she wriggles out of the cloths they’ve tied her up with and OH HOW CONVENIENT the guards don’t seem to be watching her.

Seriously, can’t Broccoli even PRETEND to work at escaping?

And their convenient stupidity continues as she escapes, since their karaoke renditions of the Beatles’ greatest hits cover up the fact that she’s making a lot of noise.

 
On the other side of low bushes she found herself against boulders, part of the mountain looming over the smaller hills.

…. wait, what is going on here? A minute ago she was in a forest, then she was apparently in some sort of hedge, and now BOOM she’s right up against a mountain. Is there any logic to this arrangement at all? Usually forests don’t go right smack up against the mountains! And where are these smaller hills?!

We then get a very boring description of Kale meandering along at a VERY slow pace, which doesn’t exactly scream “terror of being played with and/or eaten” to me. Anyway the grawligs finally figure out that she’s escaped and start making a LOT of noise… and apparently not pursuing her at all.

Then the Magic Of Convenience pops up again and Kale falls into a hole under a boulder and into a convenient hiding place. Oh lookie! A cave! And grawligs just happen to be afraid of places like this, so they won’t actually come down. Which doesn’t stop them from starting a cheerleading section.

 
They chanted, “Stupid o’rant. Stupid o’rant. We smelled you.”

  1. This might be a little more effective if we knew what the hell an o’rant was.
  2. Also, “We smelled you” is not very intimidating.
  3. Do these morons know more than six words? This would be somewhat scarier if they were saying something more… menacing.


Something something about man-flesh.

So then a whole bunch of grawligs sit in front of the cave and chant, but don’t actually do anything. These may be the least effective Minions Of Minor Evil ever, and I’ve read a lot of bad fantasy. Hell, those pig-orcs from Sleeping Beauty were more effective than this, and they didn’t know how aging or linear time worked.

And rather than try to go deeper into the cave and maybe find an exit, Kale just sits down, fondles her egg and falls asleep.

 
At first the egg inside lay cold and unresponsive. Gradually, it grew warm.

Bet it hatches before she gets out of the cave or something of the sort. Of course that’s assuming that whatever’s inside hasn’t died yet because it was COLD before…

So like I said, she falls asleep despite all the big gross monsters having a singalong right outside the cave yelling at her. They could have lassoed her and dragged her out while she was sleeping, but of course the grawligs are too dumb to think of that because the heroine is too dumb to actually escape.

She wakes up during the daytime with the sun shining, and rather than either going away or devising a way of dragging her out of the cave, the grawligs decided to take naps in front of the cave. Can we all agree that our heroine is as smart as the Minions of Evil?

Kale could see a large hairless ear and part of the loose lips of the beast.

… and which beast is that? We still don’t even know what they look like, really.

And since our heroine can’t blow her nose without the universe arranging itself to help her out (heroines with determination and skill are SO last week!), she notices that there’s a giant hole that she can escape through, AND a a rough staircase made of boulders that just happens to lead up to it. Conveniently, the grawligs haven’t NOTICED this even though you’d think that they’d look around for just such an entrance.

Maybe these ridiculous coincidences are Ms. Paul’s way of trying to show that God takes care of people or something like that. “If you’re a Designated Good Person who is also a Christian (duh), then God will rearrange the universe so nothing bad will ever happen to you even if you have rotten eggs for brains.” Problem is, this sort of simplistic religious viewpoint isn’t actually supported by reality and probably has made some people LOSE their faith when God DOESN’T do painstakingly arrange things so their life is all happiness, light and puppies.

It also teaches people that God is going to bail you out of every bad situation, including the ones you get into by being a moron. I’d be more impressed by Kale if she had to climb up a rock wall or chip a hole in the wall, thus supporting the idea that “God helps those who help themselves” – which is what I’ve always been taught. In other words, if you become a hardcore junkie don’t get mad at God when you lose your house, your job and go through withdrawal.

She looked up and studied the hole she hoped to use for her escape. Since the ceiling of the cave sloped upward, it would be a long climb compared to the slide last night.

… but who cares? There’s a convenient stair made out of boulders.

 
Tucking her treasure inside the neck of her blouse, she started climbing.

Either she has an incredibly big-necked blouse, or she has a very tiny egg.

So she tiptoes up the convenient staircase which just happens to be nicely stable for her. But then she realizes that warm air is coming out of a narrow side-passage that she failed to notice before. And suddenly she gets totally distracted by the warm air current… which is presumably important and significant.

 
Contrasted with the chill air surrounding her, it felt like a breath from the mouth of a huge animal.

But don’t worry, it isn’t. It’s just…

What am I doing? I don’t want to go in there. I want to get away from the grawligs.

“… which is why I’ve been sitting on my ass for most of this chapter.”

So she fights the compulsion to crawl into a long dark tunnel filled with warm moist air… uh, this is getting a little Freudian for me. So she crawls out of the tiny dark hole into the sunlight…. er, anyway, she creeps out of the cave and discovers that only some of the grawligs are sleeping around the cave she fell into. Apparently she expects all of the grawligs to just hang around and wait for her to come out, because she starts getting paranoid about where the rest of the gang are.

 
She surveyed the surrounding area, first the low ground ahead. Then she turned and peered above her. The best route of escape lay over the rocks going west.

“Let’s see, shall I go rambling back in the direction of the Camp of Generic Savagery that I just escaped from, or shall I head in the opposite direction? Decisions! Decisions! I wish I were still a slave!”

The grawligs might sleep for some time. They had feasted late and probably guzzled brillum, a brewed ale that none of the seven high races would consume.

  1. How very nice that they don’t have designated guards.
  2. Most ales are brewed, not just yucky evil ones.
  3. Why don’t Minions of Evil ever have refined tastes? Why are they always happy to eat crap?
  4. And why won’t the seven high races drink brillum? Are they just snobs or is there a reason we’re not being told?

And rather than making a getaway, our heroine brilliantly decides to go back DOWN the hole and crawl into the Freudian tunnel with its thick, moist air and its sweet fragrance. Ewwww, is it going to get slimy? Anyway, she belatedly realizes that oh dearie me, she seems to be getting magically pulled into the Freudian Cave and simply cannot resist. Yeah, the weird sexual imagery is getting stronger. And of course our dim heroine ALMOST got away from it, but she just HAD to go crawling into the Freudian Tunnel.

So she fervently hopes that she’ll collapse and be unable to move, so she’ll die. What a positive proactive heroine we have. Thankfully, the stupid chapter ends there.

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