Liturgy of Blood, Chapters 1–7

Chapters 1 through 7 cover the first day of Akabaieth's visit. Akabaieth, Kashin, Vinsah, Albert, and Egland are introduced. Akabaieth explains the various politics of the Ecclesian church, his own past, and his plans for the visit and his tour of the continent. Various members of the Keep share their reactions to Akabaieth's visit among each other. Charles and Kimberly spend a romantic evening together. Wessex fears something in the woods, which Phil agrees to keep secret.


Chapter 1

Duke Thomas had known of the Patriarch's arrival for over a month. It would be the first time in generations that a Patriarch visited the Midlands. Due to the Midlands's distrust of the Ecclesia, Thomas kept it a secret from everyone but Malisa, Thalberg, Hough, Raven, and Lothar of the Ellcaran Diocese. Most of the Keep was still settling down from the Autumnal Equinox Festival, finishing their last month of duties before winter.

On the day that the Patriarch was expected to arrive, Lothar arrives that morning and asks the guards when to expect the Patriarch. Word quickly spreads throughout the Keep, and everyone quickly scrambles to prepare for the Patriarch's visit.

Raven had been quietly preparing for the Patriarch's visit so that Lothanasi do not cause mischief. Still, many of them complain to Raven and Merai, with some vowing to stay within their homes. Others treat it as an excuse to celebrate, others choose to do nothing special.

Gregor the baker is among those Lothanasi eager to impress someone as esteemed as the Patriarch, and forces his apprentice Brennar to scrub the bakery floor until it shines. Kimberly and Bernadette are working in the kitchen, cooking for a great feast to welcome Akabaieth, discussing between them how momentous this visit is. Malqure, the Keep's archivist, brings out antiques to decorate the hallways, fussing as some are inevitably shattered. Thomas is being groomed by Malisa in appearance and on proper etiquette, while Thomas worries over preparations around the Keep. The Timber Crew is repairing and whitewashing houses under Tathom's stern eye. Yonson wants to ride Larssen in his giraffe form to make a big impression on the Patriach. Murikeer, afraid of crowds and the Ecclesian leader, plans to spend the next few days in the library, much to Llyn's exasperation.

Misha has received a personal apology from the Duke for his not being informed. While he is now cleaning the Long House with Caroline and Charles and a few other Longs, most of the Longs are out south safeguarding the Patriarch's passage. Finbar, who is the farthest south, waits until midday until he sees them arrive. Just as he does, a man sneaks up behind him and introduces himself as Kashin, one of the Patriarch's attendants. He explains that the Patriarch would like an animal morph to meet and talk with for the remainder of his ride to Metamor. Finbar is so shocked he drops his javelin, which Kashin smoothly catches and hands back. Neither Finbar, Kashin, nor the next Long up notice a dark-cloaked man watching them nearby.

As the Pontiff arrives, Charles and Misha and Caroline and Llyn are all together in the town square. The Pontiff's carriage opens up, and all of the Keepers kneel; the knights dismount to do so. The Patriarch steps out for the Duke to kiss his hand, and quietly asks them all to rise. The Duke welcomes him officially to Metamor Keep, and offers him to join them in his palanquin. The Patriarch says that he first wishes to meet everyone in the crowd. Thomas is pleased to hear it.

The Patriarch speaks a few word to each person. Charles is so awestruck to shake the Patriarch's hand and introduce himself, he misses the praise he is given for his writing. One of the Yeshuel introduces himself to Charles and, in the language of Charles's homeland, notes the oddity of finding "one of your kind" up North. He departs, promising they will meet again. Charles is mystified.

The Patriarch rejoins the Duke, with his aides and Yeshuel, to ride the palanquin. Before he boards, he blesses the crowd with a sign of the cross, as the crowd cheers and the trumpets blare.

Chapter 2

As they ride, Thomas apologizes for the extravagance, and for giving into pressure to make his entry a public affair. The Patriarch says that he is used to people being excited by his appearances, and asks that since they are in private, that he be called Akabaieth. He dislikes people who insist on honorifics in his daily life, as they are a sign of a person who has lost touch of their responsibilities, to Thomas's great relief and to Vinsah's horror.

Akabaieth realizes he forgot to introduce his companions, and introduces the Bishop Vinsah, who acts as his attendent and secretary, and his two Yeshuel Kashin and Iosef, his bodyguards and friends.

A long silence follows, and Thomas asks why he has come to Metamor Keep, as it is the ancient seat of the Lothanasi, and remains dominated by Lothanasi. Akabaieth says that is precisely why he came; by coming and speaking to the heart of the Lothanasi, he hopes the Lothanasi will better appreciate his message of peace between Followers and Lothanasi — not just in Metamor, but in the whole continent. He also wanted to make amends for his past, and lastly he also wanted to see the famous "Jewel of the North" before he died.

Thomas says that they've only just now recovered from the Battle of Three Gates, and can do little to manage the south. Malisa reports that, aside from a minor raid on Mycransburg, there has been no major activity south of the Dike in 4 months.

Thalberg asks what his plans are, after the banquet tonight (which Akabaieth is embarrassed to attend). Akabaieth says that he get to know Metamor over his 3 days here, and will give a public speech on his last night. Tonight, though, he and his men will rest from their journey. He asks that his men, many of whom have never travelled outside of Pyralis, be given access to all of Metamor's magical wonder.

Malisa points out that most Ecclesians don't approve of magic. Akabaieth sadly agrees, noting that his priests have focused too much on those who abuse their power, but Yesulam now believes that magic is a natural talent from Eli, and a tool like any other. Times must change, and he senses great danger coming. Vinsah is very uncomfortable by these apparently personal confessions.

Thomas asks Akabaieth for news on state of the world; they only get occasional updates from Whales. To Thomas's surprise, Akabaieth is excited about Whales, especially when he hears the prince of Whales lives in Metamor and will be attending their banquet. Akabaieth explains that Whales was his homeland, to the Metamorians' collective shock. Akabaieth promises to elaborate at the banquet.

Akabaieth tells them about various degrees of unrest in Pyralis and their neighbors in the Southlands, but little firm reasons why. Thomas asks if the Marquis du Tournemire is involved, though it is clear Akabaieth has paid him little attention.

The two sovereigns notice the crowds have followed, and bemoan their shared loss of anonymity. They arrive at their destination, and Akabaieth steps out to mingle some more with the people. Thomas shakes a pallbearer's hand, to his surprise, and follows Akabaieth into the crowd.

Chapter 3

As a Flatlander, knight of Yesulam Sir Albert Bryonoth cannot help but marvel at Duke Thomas's physique, and laughs at the thought of breaking him into his father's herd. His friend and fellow knight Sir Yacoub Egland notices and teases his Flatlander friend about always thinking of horses.

They ride to a stable, where two knights errant greet them — Sir Andrew Maugnard, and Sir Erick Saulius. It is revealed that Saulius is also a Flatlander, and is the source of his unusual speech pattern. The knights bond as they explain their heraldry and colors.

Saulius asks where the Patriarch's other knights are. Egland jokes that they are admiring Metamor, and asks where the other knights of Metamor are. Saulius and Andre explain that they are not part of Thomas's Knights of the Red Stallion, and thus not obligated to greet the Patriarch; they would much rather meet other knights.

After more discussion that includes Andre's species, and the snows at Metamor, Egland suggests they spend the evening at a respectable alehouse. Saulius suggests the Deaf Mule, and Albert is ready to go, but Andre suggests they wait for the Patriarch's other knights to arrive. Albert is abashed and agrees, but is pleased to have made some friends.

Chapter 4

As it becomes clear that the Patriarch will make no further public appearances that night, Charles visits Kimberly with a bouquet of roses from the greenhouse. Kimberly had already cleaned her room, and will have a couple hours free before she and the kitchen staff clean up the Patriarch's feast. Charles invites her for some bread and a visit to the Western gardens, to her delight.

At the bakery, Brennar and Charles talk a bit about the Patriarch and their evening plans. Brennar mentions that Charles has been seen visiting the Lothanasi temple every so often, and jokes if he's thinking of converting. Charles laughs and says it's just some favors from Raven. Gregor comes out and addresses them as heathens, which Charles laughs at. He buys two cinammon rolls.

In the garden, Kimberly admits she's worried for his safety with the Long Scouts. Charles reads for her a poem expressing his love to her from afar, that she will always be with him to guide his spirit back to Metamor. They tearfully embrace.

Chapter 5

As Thomas finishes preparations for the feast, Hough gives Akabaieth a tour of the Keep. As he leads them to the chapel, he asks what the other bishops think of his visit, and is shocked that some accuse Akabaieth of being a false Patriarch. Vinsah admits that until he saw Metamor firsthand, he too thought the journey was foolish, but he trusted in the Patriarch. They discuss Metamor's contentious reputation among the Southern bishops, and how fortunate Hough is to have become a child, rather than a woman or animal morph.

After some discussion of Metamor's parish, Akabaieth asks how the chapel itself was built. This leads to a discussion of Madog and Kyia. Vinsah scoffs when he hears the Lightbringers claim Kyia as their own, and Akabaieth rebukes. He is intrigued by Kyia's equal treatment of faith, but has no time to study her further. They step into the chapel, awed by what they see.

Meanwhile, as Thomas and Thalberg are discussing arrangements, Kee delivers two messages. First, Phil will be late arriving from Lorland due to business. This is no problem; Thalberg can delay the dinner by an hour if need be. The second message is that Zhypar, Headmaster of the Writer's Guild, has declined the invitation and in fact locked himself in his Guild office. This shocks Thalberg, as Zhypar is a Follower too, and didn't appear in the entry. Kee says that Zhypar sounded well and had locked himself in his Guild office. Thomas decides to visit him personally.

Zhypar lets Thomas in. He is unkempt and knocks over his inkwell. He tries saying he is not presentable to attend the feast, but Thomas tells him he has plenty of time with the delay. Zhypar angrily says he doesn't care to see the Patriarch and folds his arms. Thomas reminds him of his duties, and asks not to make him order him. Zhypar openly contemplates making himself sick, and Thomas angrily orders him as his Duke and leaves. Zhypar turns back to his papers, glad to see that the ink has obscured what he wrote.

Chapter 6

Wessex rides with Phil to Metamor as the sun sets, with Rupert driving. The past month has been busy for him, and he has had little time to cast an augury on Loriod's clothing. He has just successfully brought Macaban back to morph form; Phil and Wessex discuss the implications, such as more traps on Lorlands, and the possibility that Zagrosek has more power than Nasoj. Wessex notes that Zagrosek's methods differ from Nasoj's; Zagrosek uses the Underworld. No one knows what the Underworld is, but neither the Lothanasi nor the Followers claim it as their own.

As they crest the hills to Metamor, Wessex sees falling leaves in the woods forming 2 familiar faces in the woods. He asks the carriage be stopped, for Zagrosek is in the woods. He races forward until he is grabbed by Rupert, as Phil watches in terror from the carriage. There seems to be no one in the woods, but Wessex wants to use Rupert's bag of anti-magic powder to track down Zagrosek's magic. Phil thinks it is a trap and starts to panic, and Rupert refuses to leave Phil alone by the carriage, soo Wessex takes the bag from Rupert and cautiously opens it as he enters the forest.

As Phil watches Wessex, he finally gets the courage to join Rupert, who then join Wessex in the woods. To his relief, Wessex hands the bag to Rupert, who lets out a few grains of powder just before the woods. The grains float and suddenly drop to a pile of leaves; magic has been cast here. Phil suggests they take the leaves and present them to Thomas. Wessex insists that Zagrosek is too dangerous to tell Thomas, that whatever scouts he sends would only die at Zagrosek's hands. Wessex will investigate the leaves himself, and makes Phil promise not to tell Thomas. They return to the carriage, where Phil releases his repressed fears by vomiting on the carriage.

Meanwhile, in the city of Bozojo, at the Lake's Head Inn, the innkeeper Benlan Rais watches a lone cloaked stranger casually eating dinner from the back of the hall. Another patron, a braggart called Greylin, is getting very drunk, so Benlan tells his serving boy to water his ale down. The stranger is suddenly beside him to thank him for the meal, and discreetly ask if he can give him information he needs. Benlan stalls a bit to ascertain his motives, to the stranger's approval. Greylin staggers up, believing they are talking about him, and swings a fist at the stranger. The stranger quickly immobilizes him, and Benlan briefly sees his face as something inhuman. The stranger (which is strongly implied to be Andares) suggests they go somewhere private, and Benlan agrees, as his serving boys handle Greylin.

Chapter 7

Phil arrives just before the banquet has to begin. As the first course of fresh bread and cream cheese is served, the Duke introduces Akabaieth to Phil. Phil is surprised to hear Akabaieth is from Whales, and asks he came to be Patriarch. Akabaieth asks first how the Prince of Whales ended up in Metamor. Phil briefly explains that not only is he the King's adopted son, but also the Fleet's Master of the Fire. Akabaieth then begins explaining his own childhood: he had grown up in Whales with the name Apadares, and dreamed of becoming a naval officer for Whales. His father was an ambassador to Breckaris, and wanted Apadares to take up diplomacy like him. Though his father took him to Breckaris, Apadares continued to study knot-tying and sailing techniques. When he came of age, he filled out an application and forged his father's signature. His father discovered it, and made him burn the application. Knowing his father was secular, Apadares changed his name to Akabaieth and joined the Ecclesian priesthood, solely to spite him. Though a committed priest who rose quickly in the ranks, he committed terrible deeds that he still repents for.

The rest of the dinner party, especially Vinsah, are shocked by his admission. Akabaieth says there is no shame in telling his faults to his countrymen. He wishes he could set foot on a ship of Whales again — Phil says he is expecting a Whalish ship in Menth in just over a week, and could arrange it. Akabaieth is happy to change his travel plans to do so.

The next course is a salad and apple cider. Thomas recommends the cider to him. Akabaieth asks for some, and then asks the servant who pours it for her name. Kimberly stutters her name in surprise. Akabaieth then asks Kashin to take the pitcher, and if he could have Phil's unused goblet. He bids Kashin to pour a drink, and then gives it to Kimberly as thanks for her work. The other servants stare as she drinks; she formally thanks him, and Akabaieth tells her to call him by name, that it is an honor to meet someone as beautiful as her. Thomas and Phil are awed by Akabaieth's humility as Kimberly lightly walks away. Akabaieth shares a story about another noble he visited who couldn't name his own servants. Thomas praises Akabaieth for exhibiting true nobility.

Akabaieth asks who their other guests are. Thalberg begins by introducing Lord and Lady Barnhardt, seated by Zhypar. Akabaieth asks what an "amphibian" is, and Thalberg explains that Lord Barnhardt must immerse himself in water every day for his skin. Kashin chuckles and whispers something to Vinsah, who is immediately embarrassed. Kashin explains aloud the curious sexual habits of amphibians, which Thalberg joins in, embarrassing Akabaieth, to the rest of the table's amusement.

As the introductions are finished, Thomas asks why Akabaieth has not pointed out their non-human appearances. Akabaieth says that he has always seen them as human, and wishes fewer people in his parishes saw them as demons. Thomas asks why his view is not made official. Akabaieth explains that politics with the bishops of Yesulam prevents him; he hopes his tour of the continent will help in that.

Thomas then asks how he managed to keep his journey to Metamor a secret for several months. Vinsah explains they stayed in the wilderness, sending only a few into town for resupply. Kashin says bandits and rogue armies were no problem, as their caravans were well-armed and displayed the banners of Pyralis, and neither Sathmore nor the Midlands desires starting a war with them.

Thomas asks how long Kashin has served the Patriarch. Kashin explains that as a Yeshuel, he has been chosen to serve the Patriarch since he was conceived. Akabaieth helps to explain the role of the Yeshuel to be his bodyguards, a great honor, but they are not forced to do so. Phil's fiancee Clover asks if there are female Yeshuel, and Akabaieth matter-of-factly replies every child a Patriarch has blessed has been born male.

Thomas compliments Akabaieth on his strange positive influence on the world, to which Phil agrees. An entertainer enters to play a song, a marten named Dream, who plays a beautiful Pyralian hymn for them. Everyone is delighted, though the Yeshuel show suspicion. Dream says he'd been to Pyralis once or twice, then changes to his next song, a Midlands hymn.

Thalberg eagerly announces the next course, fish and fish eggs. Vinsah blushes.

The Procession

  • Despite Akabaieth's wish for a private entry, various dignitaries appear in the Killing Fields just outside the city to meet him:
    • Yonson is in his full ambassador garb, astride a partially shifted Larssen. Larssen is in giraffe form, but only as large as a draft horse. He wears a specially made saddle from the armor. Yonson also bears his own meter-high banners.
    • As is custom, the Duke rides in his personal 8-seated carriage aboard a palanquin with 4 staves, their ferrules tipped in gold. 12 large servants carry it. It is half-open on two sides, with two benches facing each other. There are damask cushions on the bench. The bench is divided by armrests for the middle seat, which are decorated by ivory carvings of animals.
    • Notably absent is Phil, still attending business at Lorland.
  • When they approach Metamor, 6 knights ride in front on horseback, leading a group of footmen, a silver and platinum gilded carriage driven by a Yeshuel, a second group of footmen, and the remaining 2 knights. Akabaieth, his 3 aides, and 1 of his Yeshuel are riding the carriage, while Kashin sneaks out to catch Finbar by surprise.
    • When they arrive in the courtyard, the 4 Yeshuel disembark. The carriage roof is unfolded, and the carriage itself is tilted so that the Patriarch is in full view.
    • While the Patriarch meets the Keepers, 2 Yeshuel stay by his side. 1 speaks privately to Thomas and Thalberg; the 4th, Kashin, stares at Charles. After Akabaieth passes him, Kashin privately speaks to Charles.
  • Thomas and Akabaieth board the palanquin facing each other. Thalberg sits on Thomas's left, and Malisa and Hough to Thomas's right. Kashin and Iosef sit on Akabaieth's sides; Vinsah also sits with them.
    • The Duke's Red Stallions ride in the front of the palanquin; Akabaieth's knights ride to the rear.

The Nightmare

  • Wessex had a nightmare of Jessica being sacrificed in a circle, with a knife hanging over her heart and 9 figures dancing around them. This ritual terrifies him even more than the Symphony.
    • Each person in the circle had a sculpture in front of them matching a chevron from Loriod's censer.
      • The 4th figure is Wessex himself, wearing "the mask of death".

The Dinner

  • Akabaieth sits at one end of the table, next to Vinsah, Kashin, and Iosef. They sit near Phil and Clover. Iosef sits next to Lord Barnhardt and Lady Barnhardt; Zhypar sits next to her. Other guests include the mayors of Euper and Mycransburg, their army commanders, and other civil leaders. Thalberg and Thomas sit at the end opposite Akabaieth.
    • Most nobles were unable to attend, due to the need for secrecy for his visit.
  • The first course is fresh bread with cream cheese.
  • The second course is a salad made of lettuce, cabbage, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cross-cut cucumbers, length-cut zucchini, egg whites and crushed yolk, all served on a gold platter, with chunky white sauce on the side. Apple cider is also served.
    • Phil and Clover have a lot of this, though avoid the egg whites. Phil also avoids apple cider, as it upsets his stomach.
    • Kashin is seemingly unfamiliar with zucchini or the sauce, but likes it, though with some amusement.
    • Thomas does not have any salad, instead drinking apple cider.
  • The first entertainer (Dream Serpent) arrives to perform some music, a popular Pyralian hymn, followed by a native Midlands song.
  • The third course consists of fish and fish eggs.

Story Connections

  • Kimberly's favorite garden, the "Western Garden" with the rock, is likely the same garden from Evening Stroll.
  • Kimberly mentions the dinner with Loriod from Eating at the Duke's Table. Because Charles is no longer Headmaster of the Writer's Guild, he is no longer being invited to state feasts.
  • Phil's backstory, and how he came to be both heir to Whales and Master of the Fire, is abbreviated from Winds of Destiny.
  • Wessex says he used the same technique to restore Phil in Keeping the Lamp Lit, to restore Macaban.
  • The negative reaction of Ecclesians to Metamor was foreshadowed in Perceptions of Evil and Ward.
  • Thalberg says Zhypar has caused trouble in Metamor before. However, in most interactions with Thalberg and the Duke, Zhypar has been helpful.
    • He could be referring to Zhypar's fight with Rickkter in A Place Where There Is No Darkness, which exacerbated Rickkter's condition and nearly killed him.
    • He could be referring to Charles's increasing discomfort around him, leading to his official retirement in Stepping Up To Destiny.
  • Akabaieth's positions on nobles who love their titles more than their duties are echoed from Brian Avery in Stepping Up To Destiny.
  • The "four months" corresponds to early June; the "serious activity" mentioned likely refers to the attack on Glen Avery in Declarations of Allegiance.
    • The raid on Mycransburg was not seen directly, but was mentioned in Oren's Trial.
  • Charles has been visiting the Lothanasi temple every couple weeks for some favors from raven, which is elaborated on in Intersecting Correspondence.
  • Misha mentions Caroline's injuries from a month ago; see Casualties of War.
  • Macaban was turned into a donkey in Legacies.

Points of Interest

  • Wessex saw 3 faces in the forest: Zagrosek and Matthias, and a third face which is familiar but he can't place.
  • Phil offers a meeting in 2 days to discuss ways he can help Akabaieth's journey.
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