A chapter titled “Capelin Beach” follows. It begins with a brief comment about the Wit before moving into the party’s progress. It is not pleasant; the Fool is particularly annoying under the effects of elfbark. Kettle again assumes authority over Fitz and seeing to his mental stability.
When, at one point, the party stops, Nighteyes relates to Fitz that Kettricken has spoken to him through the Wit. After, the Fool makes conversation with Fitz, asking after Molly. Fitz notes a town near where she currently lives, after which the Fool seems to pass out; Fitz takes it for a game and stalks off. It soon after emerges that it was no game; the Fool was asleep and, when roused, was addled. Starling asks Fitz about the matter, and Fitz notes his conversation with the Fool. Nighteyes comments thereupon through the Wit, and Fitz realizes some of the import of what the Fool had said to him many times before.
Fitz makes to confer with the Fool again, laying out something like a final will and testament. The conversation reveals that the Fool had not been the earlier interlocutor, at least not consciously; he reports having been somewhat distant from what he thought a speech in dream. Nighteyes opines on the connection among them and makes a suggestion that the Fool answers, confirming the strength of the bond.
There is perhaps something elegaic in Fitz’s recognition of the carpe diem principle. He knows at this point that his survival is not expected–not that he has necessarily been expected to survive a great many things previously, and irrespective of the fact he has been dead. The realization or reminder throws into stark relief the times he had pushed things aside in favor of tending to them tomorrow, not from simple procrastination, but because he allowed other things to matter more in the moment. Admittedly, there were many times his task at hand demanded full and immediate attention, but it was not always so, not by any means.
Rereading once again overly affectively, I have to consider the times I have made similar decisions. I have been better about it than I might have been, I know, and I have been better about it than many in my positions have been, but I have not seldom set aside time with family in favor of working time or in favor of some other kind of activity. And if it has been the case many times that my presence made things far less enjoyable than they might otherwise have been–I am curmudgeonly, and it has been remarked that “nobody can have a bad time like Geoff can”–it has also been the case many times that I have not bothered to try. More and more, I regret it, as I do many things. Nor do I expect that I am alone in that regret.