Untamed Chapter 25:
Zoey goes to speak to Shekinah and somehow winds up alone in the night (well, Nala is there too for some reason), surrounded by Raven Mockers.
I understood why they were called mockers of ravens because, even though you could easily mistake them for regular birds, if you listened just a little more carefully, you heard in their suspiciously mundane call the echo of death and fear and madness.
Hmmm that sound. It’s so…so mundane that I don’t trust it. OH FUCK I CAN HEAR DEATH AND ALSO FEAR AND MADNESS AND OTHER THINGS THAT DO NOT ACTUALLY SPECIFICALLY MAKE SOUNDS ARAGHHH!!!
The ravens smell terrible, like “old meat and pus.” Unlike the echo of death and fear and madness that you can allegedly hear in the ravens’ cries, at least the ravens actually smell like things that have smells. Well done, Casts.
Even though these creatures sound like they would be very beautiful, they aren’t.
Its horrible wings displacing freezing, putrid air, it came at me. I could see it—I could see the man’s eyes within the mutated bird’s face . . . and arms . . . the arms of a man with twisted, grotesque hands held up in the shape of ragged, dirty claws. The creature opened its hooked beak and shrieked at me, forked tongue extended.
Its horrible wings unfurled on either side of me, holding me there. I felt it lean into my back in a mockery of an embrace.
Why must the Raven Mockers make a mockery out of everything?? It’s not right.
Just when it seems like all hope is lost and that we might be losing our beloved hero, Zoey think-asks spirit for help. Suddenly, she can hear Damien in her mind! Then Damien sends wind to save Zoey! I’m confused, if Zoey was able to ask spirit for help…why couldn’t she just cut out the middle-man and ask wind to come to her rescue?
Zoey thinks about how great it is that her friends like her again, and suddenly everything is better thanks to the power of friendship and also wind.
Spirits or monstrous birds or minions of Neferet’s twisted desires—it didn’t really matter. I knew something that would handle all those things.
Again, that something is friendship (and wind).
I quickly oriented myself, facing the direction I knew was east. Then I raised both my arms over my head, closed my eyes, and blocked out the evil mockery of twisted bird calls. “Wind! Blow hard—blow strong—blow true—and show these creatures what it is to attack someone who is beloved of a Goddess!”
I had thought that Damien sent wind to get rid of the birds, so I’m not sure why Zoey then also has to confirm to wind that the plan is to blow the birds away. I think burning them would have been more effective given birds are probably well practiced at flying under windy circumstances.
It doesn’t even make sense how the wind gets rid of the creatures:
The wind lifted it up and away and threw it against the stone wall that ringed the school grounds. It crumpled and then seemed to dissolve into the ground, completely disappearing.
And then the others just get blown away too, or something.
I was feeling shaky and ultrasensitive, and when my gut told me I really shouldn’t be seen right now, I called spirit to me as I entered the quieting school building, and through it covered myself in silence and shadow.
I’m glad that whenever it’s not clear what is going to happen next, Zoey’s gut lets us know exactly how things are supposed to play out and that it has definitely read Harry Potter.
When Zoey gets to the Council Chamber, she overhears Shekinah and Neferet talking. In addition to Zoey’s gut telling her whatever she needs to do next, Neferet is always conveniently having easily overheard conversations, so we can get a sense of some of her evil schemes.
In this case, she tells Shekinah that she thinks Zoey is evil. She basically says that Zoey is a slut who has sex with lots of men and mostly gets them killed. Like she claims Zoey had sex with and killed those two high school football players that were kidnapped/murdered by the red fledglings. She also claims that Zoey and Professor Nolan were super tight and she also got Nolan killed.
Shekinah is super skeptical of Neferet’s ‘revelations’, but her reasons for being skeptical are kind of dumb:
“Zoey! But she is the most gifted fledgling in history. Not only has no other fledging ever wielded the power of all five elements, but no other fledgling has ever been surrounded by so many gifted peers. Each of her closest friends can manifest one of the elements. How could she possibly be so gifted and be hiding evil?” Shekinah said.
Can you imagine if we replaced ‘wield[ing] the power of all five elements’ with ‘epic math skills’? “Mark couldn’t possibly be a serial killer, he’s the most gifted math student I’ve ever seen! And all of his friends are really good at solving different kinds of math problems. He’s definitely not hiding any evil.”
Don’t give up on Shekinah yet, she makes a really good point about Loren/Zoey when Neferet brings him into it.
“And I have reason to believe Zoey had become Loren Blake’s lover just before he, too, was murdered. Actually, I’m sure the two of them had Imprinted.” Neferet broke off, sobbing brokenly.
“Why did you not report any of this to the Council?” Shekinah asked sternly.
“What was I supposed to say? I think this most gifted of all fledglings has allied herself with evil? How could I bring such a charge against a young girl with no more proof than coincidence, supposition, and a feeling?”
Well, that was exactly what she was doing right now!
“But Neferet, if a fledgling gets involved with a professor, it is the High Priestess’s duty to put a stop to it, and to report it to the Council.”
Even Zoey had a good point here. Neferet is so bad at being a villain. She can’t even come up with a good explanation for the why the fuck she didn’t report Loren/Zoey. SO SUSPICIOUS. I feel like this should be grounds to fire Neferet, if that’s a thing that happens to high priestesses? They move on pretty quickly from this issue, but I really am glad it was at least sort of addressed.
Shekinah asks if Neferet has tried reading Zoey and her friends’ minds. Neferet explains she can’t read Zoey’s mind, and that her friends haven’t shown her anything suspicious…yet.
I heard Shekinah’s sigh. “It is good that I am staying on here for the rest of this semester. I, too, will watch and listen around Zoey and the other fledglings. There is always a chance, and a very good one at that, that Zoey only seems in the middle of these events because she is, indeed, a very powerfully gifted young woman. She might not be causing the events, but might have been put here by Nyx to help thwart evil that is not of her making.”
Shekinah makes a lot of sense. I just wish she’d straight up roll her eyes at Neferet at this point. Instead, she calmly listens as Neferet warns her to be careful of any favours Zoey asks of her. But – oh! – Zoey is just coming to ask if Grandma can come stay with her! SHIT. Zoey wonders how Neferet even knew Grandma was on her way. I bet it was those fucking Raven Mockers.
Epic stupidity ensues as Zoey’s friends find a way to show up in this chapter:
Suddenly, a huge commotion from outside drowned Shekinah’s response. I was listening from the hall, so it was easy for me to drift over to one of the large curtained windows. Because it was night, the drapes were open and I looked down on the front grounds of the school. What I saw made me press my hand against my mouth to keep from cracking up.
Duchess was barking her head off as she raced after a snarling, hissing, yowling white ball of Maleficent. Aphrodite was chasing after the dog, screaming for her to “Come! Stay! Be good, damnit!” Damien was close behind her, flailing his arms and yelling, “Duchess! Come!” All of a sudden the Twins’ cat, the huge and very stuck-up Beelzebub, joined in the chase, only he was tearing around after Duchess.
“Ohmygod! Beelzebub! Honey!” Shaunee ran into my view, yelling at the top of her very healthy lungs.
“Beelzebub! Duchess! Stop!” Erin wailed, right behind her twin.
…Why? Just why? Couldn’t someone outside have just broken a glass or something. That would have been a much more compelling distraction given this diversion wasn’t even intentionally orchestrated by Zoey’s friends.
Darius bursts into the room and tells Neferet that she’s needed outside to stop the altercation. So maybe this was planned? I can’t remember if last chapter Zoey told her friends to create a diversion? Again, this is a stupid one. Why does Neferet need to get involved with calming down two cats and a dog?
I noticed that through all of it I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Jack.
Talk about an excellent diversion!
No! No I will not because this was not one. And this was a diversion for Jack to set up the nanny cam in the morgue? But if Darius already knew Neferet was having an important meeting with Shekinah, wasn’t that a diversion enough?