The following chapter, “Obliteration,” opens with a selection from an account of the battle in Bingtown Harbor before turning to Fitz returning to his room in Lord Golden’s suite to find an argument between Golden and Laurel in progress. He halts rather than intruding, overhears the message Laurel has for him, and enters to confer with the Fool after Laurel stalks off. He also notes a need to go into town to offer a series of apologies, and the Fool notes such arrangements as he has made as they confer about Fitz’s meeting with Kettricken. He also stalks off to his own private room, leaving Fitz-as-Badgerlock to go about his day.
When Badgerlock meets Laurel in the stables, she takes him to what had been Burrich’s residence in them–and Fitz’s, early on–to confer privately about news she has received from her Old Blood kin of Piebald machinations at work in Buckkeep. The remaining Piebalds, following the maimed and convalescing Laudwine, thirst for power and revenge; Badgerlock glosses his own recent local encounter with the group, and he wonders if Chade can be of any help to Laurel and her kin. They part amicably, understanding one another in that regard.
After, Badgerlock takes his time getting to Jinna’s, purchasing gifts for her and waiting as she conducts her business before being taken inside. And in the wake of his going in, Fitz thinks of Molly, as he had not in some time, noting his lack of connections that had been highlighted by the conference with Kettricken. The two talk about Jinna’s magic and what it shows her of Badgerlock, and her cat interrupts rudely as talk turns to Hap and his dissolution. Badgerlock’s lack of knowledge becomes evident, and he makes off awkwardly to see to his foster-son.
Hap complains of the apprentice-work to which he is put, Badgerlock reminding him that such work is only to be expected. It falls on deaf ears, as do Badgerlock’s concerns about Hap’s infatuation with Svanja, a local girl.
After, Badgerlock returns to Buckkeep Castle, where a summons to Chade awaits. It gives him cover to return to his hut near Forge, and he speeds thence as best he may. He finds that it has been visited, likely by a neighbor, and he notes the thefts as he culls his work. Some things, he retains; most go into a fire. Taking with him pots of preserved herbs, he leaves the rest to burn, uncertain of what might have escaped him.
I will say that Fitz is not the only one who looks back over the writing they’ve done and has thoughts of burning it all. I feel the temptation myself, even now, even about the things I’ve managed to shepherd into publication and which I know have received some approval. (I’ve been cited a few times. It’s nice.) And there have been times, indeed, when I’ve succumbed to the temptation, purging papers and files and things that I have had–and there have been times I’ve regretted doing so, largely because events occurred afterward that would’ve been easier for me to address had I had what I had thrown away.
At the same time, there is only so much baggage from the past a person can carry around. I know that from experience, too. So I can’t say that Fitz has the wrong of it to burn it away…