The Gradual Week 6
- Sandro is on Muriseay, having escaped Glaund. We learn a little about the island. He's settled in knows he will soon leave, as this isn't where he wants to say. But he's happy for now, and won't rush to leave. The rigmarole of island travel daunts him.
- Sandro describes his departure from Glaund. On Ristor, the first island after leaving Glaund, one of the young people approaches him and offers to sell him a stave. He already has one, so she tells him it will soon be expired and offers to renew it. He declines. A port official tells him it will not soon expire.
- Sandro arrives on Muriseay and is met by his friend Denn Mytrie, who drives him to a small town on the coast. They see a ship off shore - a Glaundian troop ship - and Sandro is reminded of his brother. Mytrie tells him something about the R&R camps on the islands, and about deserters. The conversation then turns to And Ante; Mytrie doesn't remember working with him - doesn't know him. He's surprised to hear about the plagiarism, says it's typical behavior for people on the island of Temmil.
- In the city, Sandro vainly searches the database of known deserters/refugees for a sign of his brother. Later, he explores options for exploring the islands and books himself a 5-island excursion on the Serquian.
- Sandro heads to the harbour in the morning, where he one again sees the same young woman (among others) outside the shelterate building. He rushes past and enters. At the customs desk, he's told he needs a visa to leave Muriseay, which he doesn't have. And his stave is almost expired. The agent tops up the stave for free, but is told that it's 'blank, and he shouldn't risk anymore travel until the gradual has been marked'. He'll need this if he's going to travel about the islands without a visa. He's told to talk to the 'adepts' to learn more. Outside, he speaks to one of the young people - a man, an 'adept'. The adept seems to know a lot about him, including his past itinerary and his name. He warns not to travel east due to the 'steep gradual'. He examines Sandro's stave, says there's a 17-day detriment since Riston. He scores the stave with his chisel to record the detriment, then asks for 50 thalers to remove it. He says it will prevent the big loss of time he experienced after his island tour. Sandro reluctantly hands over the money.
- The adept leads Sandro to a small boat and they zoom out of the harbour and over to a shoreline. They move back and forth, then land. On land, they move back a forth again, then hail a taxi which winds its way about. The adept refuses to explain things to Sandro, who is not happy about it. Eventually they return to the harbour, and Sandro seems to have regained some of the lost time. The Serquian, which he thought had left, is still there. He enters the building again and the agent tells him the boat already left. He presents his staff, and the machine beeps - a new itinerary is printed, and he's told his boat will leave in a few minutes.
- The book has certainly taken another turn this section. We are learning much more about the time differences, the young people, and the stave. But many more questions are raised than answered. No doubt as a reader, you are feeling some emotions at this point. What are they?
- What was all that business in the boat and taxi with the adept?
- Is this the book's scherzo movement?