A chapter titled “Farrow” follows, opening with an extended rumination on Lady Patience and her assumption of power in Buckkeep. It moves to Fitz and Nighteyes’ progression towards Regal as Fitz considers Will’s interference and likely motivations. The two take stock of their condition and position as they enter the unfamiliar topography of the Inland Duchies.
Fitz reaches out to Molly through the Skill, seeing Burrich attending to her and attracting Verity’s own Skilled attention. Verity warns him away from such actions, and Fitz wakes to take from a dwindling supply of elfbark. Nighteyes chides him, and they sleep.
As they continue the next day, Fitz recounts his affection for Nighteyes, as well as an exchange in which he considers parity among animals. And an account of the intervening travel follows, glossing over weeks and miles passed by the pair as they move closer to where Regal has enthroned himself.
As they do, the holwing of nearby wolves compels Nighteyes, and he departs from Fitz for a time to pursue wolfly interests. Fitz is struck by the departure, and he watches from afar through the Wit as Nighteyes seeks out the pack–but he presses on, even so. And in the dreams that follow, he sees the continued depredations of the Red-Ship Raiders, considering how Verity and the late Shrewd must see and have seen the same things.
Fitz continues toward Regal, slowly adjusting to not having Nighteyes at his side. Through Sleet, he receives a message from Holly and Black Rolf. Regal has begun hunting Old Blood deliberately; Fitz begins to consider how he will carry out his self-appointed task of killing Regal.
Although the issue comes up in several other places in the series, the notion of posthumanism seems particularly prominent in the present chapter. Such thinkers as Ron Brooks might have more to say on the matter; again, I have stepped away from academe, and my own interests did not lie in such fields. But I do find the explicit rumination about the relative privileging of particular narratives based on species–and the repudiation of hierarchical relationships within those narratives–to be…worth thinking through. Given the propensity of speculative and fantastic fiction to work as metaphor or analogy, the applications of such rumination to dynamics of privileging race/ethnicity, gender, and the like emerge fairly plainly. My own inadequacy is such that I cannot sufficiently explicate the matter, not as it deserves, not in this medium (partly because my research apparatus is greatly diminished–along with the demand that I conduct research). But it is something to which I might return sometime.
I’ll have to do a lot more reading of a lot more things before I can do so, though.