Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28: A Night in the Lonesome October-fest

Chapter 28 fills in a couple of the remaining blanks, as Bubo tells Snuff what he had learned of the Game when pretending to be a player.
And he proceeded to tell me the story of how a number of the proper people are attracted to the proper place in the proper year on a night in the lonesome October when the moon shines full on Halloween and the way may be opened for the return of the Elder Gods to Earth, and of how some of these people would assist in the opening of the way for them while others would strive to keep the way closed. For ages, the closers have won, often just barely, and there were stories of a shadowy man, half-mad, a killer, a wanderer, and his dog, who always showed up to attempt the closing. Some said that he was Cain himself, doomed to walk the Earth, marked; others said he'd a pact with one of the Elders who secretly wished to thwart the others; none really knew. And the people would acquire certain tools and other objects of power, meet together at the designated spot and attempt to work their wills. The winners walked away, the losers suffered for their presumption by a reaction from the cosmic principles involved in the attempt. Then he named the players and their tools, adding an awareness of the calculation, of divinations, of magical attacks and defenses.

My friend Frederick says that he thinks that Snuff isn't Jack's first familiar, that another died in some earlier game. That seems right to me somehow, the idea that Snuff is old, but Jack is older.

The chapter ends with the pair discussing this Game and Games gone by.
"I trust your instincts. We must be ready for anything. Too bad about Jill and Graymalk." 
"I've decided I will stay friends with them to the end," I said. 
He squeezed my shoulder. 
"As you would." 
"It's not like Dijon, is it?" I asked. 
"No. Many odd things have happened this time around," he said. "Stiff upper lip, friend." 
"That's how I smile," I said.

I like that passage, and the trust, respect and friendship that Jack and Snuff share, which Zelazny gets across with just a few lines.

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