Even with full foreknowledge of where things were headed, this chapter was a pretty bracing slap in the face. There’s not a lot of analysis to be done because it pretty much speaks for itself – chaos, destruction, death, and betrayal. While this sort of thing is certainly historically accurate, the stylistic change for the series could hardly be more stark.
As expected, the Halgal’s position on the high ground gave them a huge advantage in attacking Karluk’s village. The battle was short and bloody, with the villagers in full retreat, and while they managed to lure the invaders into a trap, the outcome seems inevitable. And it seems Amira’s father is intent on wiping out every villager – “No survivors!” is his battle cry. The unexpected turn comes when the Batan betrays their supposed ally, proving even more treacherous than we already knew they were. This is obviously an opportunity to kill two birds – and two clans – with one stone, and take more land and property for himself.
If there’s a key to all this, it’s Azel. He knew full well that a deal with the devil would only end in disaster, though I suspect it came sooner than he expected. There’s so much panic and disorder that it’s impossible to say who’s been cut down, though I didn’t recognize anyone in Karluk’s immediate family, and Azel is definitely alive. He’s going to take some kind of countermeasures now, of a certainly – but just what he can do against the Batan’s firepower I’m really sure. And I continue to believe his primary interest is in saving himself and his family, not Karluk and his.