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Chapter Four

Summary Edit

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Alone (and in her underwear), April finds herself standing outside the Journeyman Inn in Marcuria. There's a party going on inside - she goes in and finds the innkeeper, Benrime Salmin, who tells her it's the Feast of the Balance. Coming out of the back room is a strange creature who speaks in backwards grammar. He introduces himself as Abnaxus of the Venar; he claims to know April already. His people see the past, present and future all at once, and apparently they've already agreed to meet. After this, he leaves and April goes to sleep beside the fire.

In the morning, Benrime lets April work in the Inn to earn some money and a new set of clothes. Suitably clad, April goes to meet Abnaxus, and asks about her quest. He can only tell her a little about the Draic Kin, and suggests she talk to Tobias about the Stone Disk and about getting back home. She finds Tobias at the Temple, but he tells her he can't help her Shift home and she should go to the Enclave Library to read about the Kin.

April goes to the Enclave and meets Minstrum Yerin, who is happy to provide her with the books she wants. She finds that the pieces of the Stone Disk were divided amongst the magical races of Arcadia, who are listed in the book she finds. Beyond that, she can't find much. She goes to meet Brian Westhouse - who is greatly amused at her shifting-in-her-underwear story - and, in answer to her questions, tells her that if she's looking for stories about the Kin, he once heard about a race of winged people who live for storytelling. April goes back to the Enclave and comes up with a name: the island of Alais.

Knowing one person with a ship, she goes to the docks to speak to Captain Horatio Nebevay. April asks if he will take her to Alais, but he refuses. One, he doesn't take women aboard. Two, he doesn't have a navigator. Three, an Alchemist called Roper Klacks has put a spell on the winds and he can't sail. April walks down the docks and meets an old sailor, Umber Ianos. It turns out Nebevay owes Ianos a favour. Ianos tells April that he lost his bird 'Bird' at the game of cups in the marketplace, and if she gets his bird back, he'll cash in his favour with Nebevay and make him take her aboard.

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April tries her luck at cups and, with the help of a magnetised screwdriver, manages to win a pocket calculator. The Cups Handler, seeing his livelihood threatened by the screwdriver, swaps it in return for Bird. However, Bird is none too pleased about being returned to Ianos, because he keeps him in a chest. April decides to rename him Crow, but has to return him to his owner. Ianos keeps his word, and Nebevay grudgingly agrees to take her. But it's immaterial because he still doesn't have a navigator, and the winds are still under Klacks' control. April decides to travel north and face this Alchemist.

She heads out of the city towards Riverwood when, to her surprise, Crow lands beside her. He escaped Ianos, and he wants to join her. April agrees - when she plays her flute, Crow will know she needs him and fly down to her.

April keeps going into Riverwood, but is hampered by a bridge that appears to have been deliberately sabotaged (the edges of the planks are charred). While she's looking for another way across, she meets Ben-Bandu, a Banda who is wandering in the forest. He asks if she's seen his brother. A lot of Banda have gone missing recently, and they think something sinister is living in the woods. April promises to look out for him, and retraces her steps to look for an alternative road.

At the crossroads, she meets an old woman who says she has twisssted her ankle and needsss April'sss help. April offers to take her home, and they head through the woods together to the old woman's rather scary house. Once inside, the old woman leaves to look for berriesss, leaving April alone. She soon realises this 'old woman' isn't really an old woman at all - there are bones and scary-looking culinary equipment lying around. She's also spooked by the sounds of something struggling in the cupboard, but she bravely pries it open with a broom, releasing Bandu-Uta, Ben-Bandu's missing brother. He tells her the old woman is a monster called the Gribbler who eats Banda and they have to leave before she gets back.

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April helps Bandu-Uta to escape, but as soon as she helps him through a broken window, he runs off without unlocking the door. The Gribbler returns, furious at April for helping her dinner escape, and attacks her. Thanks to some shoddy architecture, April manages to knock the Gribbler onto her own fire. Outside, she is greeted by Ben-Bandu, who was warned by his brother and came to help her. The Banda are overjoyed at the death of the Gribbler and invite her back to their village. When she arrives, April speaks to the Banda Elder and is told to sleep in the sacred Spirit Dig.

In the middle of the night, April wakes up to find a presence in the Spirit Dig. It is a shadowy April, who scorns April herself and her quest. She mocks her, saying it's all down to April's issues with her father. April cries at her to shut up, only to be comforted when the spectre changes to Charlie. He tells her she isn't alone, that the Mother and 'Cortez the Red' are watching over her. He also tells her that the real Charlie is in love with her. The next morning, he says, April should tell the Elder she's had a 'Bak-Baar' and her new name is 'April Bandu-Embata'. At last, April goes back to sleep.


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Themes & References Edit

The 'monsters' this title refers to are both literal and ephemeral. April must face an actual monster in the form of the Gribbler, a Banda-eating creature who lives in a house built into the side of an earth bank. Later, April must face a second 'monster', also underground; this is the 'shadow April' of the Bak-Baar she has in the Banda's Spirit Dig, who tells her the 'bad' side of the truth. Although 'shadow April' cannot physically hurt her, April finds facing her much more upsetting than the Gribbler.

In 'hero's journey' scenarios, the hero must face and defeat monsters which often represent elements of his psyche - destructive influences or even repressed memories. April has many bad memories of her past and her family, which she faces at different stages in the game - the 'monsters' in this chapter refer to that. However, once these monsters have been defeated, the hero is rewarded with their 'treasure' - either literal treasure that the monster was guarding, or psychological 'treasure' in the form of a revelation or the easing of psychological pain.

In this case, April's defeat of the Gribbler earns her the respect of the Banda. Her facing of 'shadow April' leads to the appearance of Charlie who tells her the 'good' truth and gives her a Banda name, 'April Bandu-Embata'. The gaining of a new name is traditional in tribal cultures after the ordeal of a vision quest, which usually involves facing such trials as these. April's new name means 'the little one who seeks and finds', which is appropriate after what she has endured during the night and her gaining of the Banda Stone the next morning.

While in the Journeyman at night, April references one of the 'Spanish Inquisition' sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus when she exclaims "Oh, no, it's...the comfy chair!". She also quotes the opening line of Shakespeare's Henry V: "O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention!" (I, Prologue: 1-2)

Chapters in The Longest Journey
Prologue: A Lion is in the Streets | Penumbra | Through the Looking Glass | Friends and Enemies | Monsters | There and Back Again | The Chaos Storm | A Deep Blue Mirror | Reunification | Shadows | Rebirth | Kin | Dreamland | The Longest Journey | Epilogue: Threads

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