The Gradual Week 9
- Sandro continues his journey south toward Temmil. He's in a mental fog for the first part of it, his mind occupied by thoughts of his brother. He breaks his stay in the Salay group, but when some Glaundians occupy the apartment beneath him, he nervously moves on, concerned about the warrant for his arrest. He stops using the adepts, and his time detriment grows.
- He arrives at Hakerline Promise, the island opposite Temmil. Kan, the adept, appears at his shoulder and demands 60 thalers. She seems not to know him, but he's glad to see her. Her manner is stiff, but after he pays she examines his stave and relaxes. She tells him he currently has a 12 hour detriment, but if he steps foot on Hakerline, it can get much worse quickly. To prevent this, she would need to be with him at all times. Hakerline lies in a gradual vortex within a gradual vortex. She then describes how her parent met while in town and then settled on the island, This is her home island. There is some mumbo jumbo about tour operators and licenses, but she explains Sandro isn't eligible for a license because he was born on the mainland. Hence the stave. His stave reveals a lot about him to her - not just his travels, but also that he's a musician who plays piano and violin, and a fair bit about his brother.
- Sandro stays on the boat and observes the shore from the railing. Kan returns and tells him he must remain on the boat tonight, or they will 'lose him'. The gradual is too steep on the island, and besides he doesn't have a license - no entry without a license. If he tries to land tonight, they will take his stave and either inter him or put him back on the boat. Tomorrow he can land - the other adept, Renettia, will fix things.
- Sandro is left alone on the ship that afternoon. There's nothing to eat or drink, so he braves a short trip to a kiosk on the shore for food and water bottles. Back on the ship, he wanders the deck playing violin, reconnecting with his music. Later, he examines himself in a mirror and is surprised to see how fit he has become. shedding 20 years seemingly. Is this the effect of the gradual, or the change in lifestyle? He tries to sleep, but it's too hot, so he opens the porthole - but then it's too loud. He hears music, dull and repetitive pop music. He recognizes his own melody, made dull.
- In the morning, Sandro goes on deck early. Kan returns with Renettia - there are complications. He will not only need Kan's service on Hakerline Promise, but also Renettia's for the trip to Temmil. That island also has a strong gradual, but it's the reverse of Hakerline's - the two offset each other. The 'options' that Renettia presents don't really seem like options, so he submits again. They go ashore and he takes more money from his account, then pays Renttia the 100 Hakerline talents she requests.
- They drive on Hakerline and arrive in a village. Sandro is told not to leave the car, but he's thirsty and crosses the square to get a drink from a fountain. As he does so, things change dramatically - the car disappears and one of the old men in the square has collapsed. Sandro walks back to the car, and things return to normal. Kan reiterates that he shouldn't leave the car without them. However, they've found a safe restaurant for lunch.
- Even if you doubt that the adepts can somehow help people negotiate time, there's no doubt they are adept at making things more confusing, amiright?
- Sandro's comment on hearing his own music, distorted, seems key: "Whoever was playing it, whoever was on the record, had turned it into something bland and loud and rhythmic, had made it cheap and repetitive, made it obvious and moronic, but it was still mine. The army had made my brother into a soulless soldier, but he was still mine." What do you think Priest means by this?
- The episode with the mirror reminded me of something Sandro said in the opening chapter: "Time is a gradual process - like ageing, you do not notice it happening."