Chapters 32 and 33
In Chapter 32, Matthew whisks Diana from Sept-Tours to Madison. The timing of this chapter must be aided by a combination of time changes, literary efficiency, and magic, because I frankly don’t buy the time lapse here. I don’t know how everything–from Satu to the oubliette to Diana recovering to getting to Madison–happens in less than 48 hours. However. I am gliding past it because I don’t actually care unless I think about it too long. Accordingly, to Madison we go.
“Do you know what a gambit is, Diana?”
“Vaguely. It’s from chess.”
“That’s right,” he replied. “A gambit lures your opponent into a sense of false safety. You make a deliberate sacrifice in order to gain a greater advantage.”
“Gambit” comes from the ancient Italian “gambetto,” which means “to trip.” There are a series of famous gambits in chess – the King’s Gambit, the Queen’s Gambit, and Evans Gambit, to name a few. If you offer a gambit and your opponent takes your chess piece, it’s said to be “accepted.” If your opponent does not take the bait, it’s “declined.” As Baldwin says, the idea is to lure your opponent into a compromising position by allowing them to think that they’ve gained something from their countermove. If you aren’t paying attention, you can land in big trouble–i.e., lose many pieces and compromise your king–very quickly. I am only a middling chess player, so I cannot go much farther into the discussion of strategy before I am woefully outclassed. If, however, you’re a better player than I am, the Chess Website would be happy to help you.
“You said you wouldn’t obey my orders. After La Pierre, you might have reconsidered.”
Baldwin stared at the white rectangle. His face twisted sourly before falling into lines of resignation. Taking the envelope, he bowed his head and said, “Je suis votre commande, seigneur.”
In ADOW, Deb introduces the idea of the Knights of Lazarus, a (largely) vampiric chivalric order established by Philippe de Clermont at the time of the Crusades. These orders largely developed in order to protect pilgrims; many adopted monastic rules and formed communities to assist the sick and injured. In history, the three most famous chivalric orders are the Knights Templar, the Knights of Saint John of Malta, and the Teutonic Knights. The Knights of Saint John of Malta and the Teutonic Order are still active; the Knights Templar have (theoretically) been resurrected, but it would appear that they spend a great deal of time combating the myth that they are a secret society or that they have any association to the Priory of Scion. Thanks, Dan Brown. Conspiracy theories about chivalric orders are everywhere; so are articles debunking them.
Matthew pulled in to the driveway, which was pitted with ice-crusted potholes. The Range Rover rumbled its way over them, and he parked next to Sarah’s beat-up, once-purple car. A new crop of bumper stickers adorned the back.
You, too, can plaster your car with a sticker that reads MY OTHER CAR IS A BROOM, or I’M PAGAN AND I VOTE, or WICCAN ARMY. On the left, we have a farmhouse purportedly located in upstate New York. The village of Madison actually exists–to get there, you could go through Syracuse, or drive west from Albany.
“Lily of the valley,” Matthew commented, his nostrils flaring at all the new scents.
Lily of the valley is a low-growing perennial with a delicate, clean scent. It’s an antidote to some poisons, but it can also cause death if ingested in large quantities. Lily of the valley signifies chastity, humility, purity, and “the return of happiness.” It is the birth flower for those born in the month of May. If you’d like, you can buy Rebecca Bishop’s perfume, Diorissimo, which has a “gentle” lily of the valley scent that is “like a dewy, spring morning in the woods.”
When next we meet, we’ll breeze through Chapters 33-36 and do a great deal of buzzing about families, present and future.
Until then, you can find us at @chamomilenclove or firstname.lastname@example.org.