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The Open Council, voting for our next king. A few hundred self-serving halfwits who can’t be trusted to vote for their own lunch without guidance.

Arch Lector Sult

Questions is the forty-sixth chapter in Before They Are Hanged.

Chapter Summary Edit

Glokta is woken from a dream about Shickel, by Vitari. He has been summoned by Arch Lector Sult. Vitari leads Glokta into the Agriont, and then into the palace. The pair are admitted by the Knights of the Body into the royal family's wing.

Vitari motions him down a corridor where a sobbing guard and three troubled men are standing; Chamberlain Hoff, Lord Marshal Varuz, and High Justice Marovia. All of them seem shaken as they move aside to allow the Inquisitor inside. The chamber is opulent, even for the palace. In the centre of the room stands Sult, frowning at the floor which Glokta observes is covered in blood. The corpse on the floor has a gaping wound on one arm and its throat mauled, as though they were bitten. Crown Prince Reynault has been murdered.1 Sult reveals the true problem; the King has no siblings and with now no heirs, when he dies his successor will be elected in the Open Council,2 a body that does not hold the Inquisition in high regard.3 Recognizing their vulnerability, Sult orders Glokta to find the Prince’s murderer immediately.

Examining the body, Glokta sees an Eater’s handiwork; or at least the killer meant it to seem that way. He notices a piece of cloth clutched in Raynault’s hand, a square of white cloth and gold thread. Glokta recognizes it; a clue too obvious to ignore or to trust.

In the interrogation room, Glokta confronts Ambassador Tulkis with the crime.4 Tulkis denies his involvement, claiming the schism between the Emperor and the Prophet has led to this attempt to frame him. Glokta still demands he sign a confession. Tulkis refuses, knowing it would lead to war. However, Glokta surmises that if Tulkis really were an Eater he would never have allowed himself to be captured. Knowing the man before him is guilty of nothing, Glokta retires to speak with Sult. Sult laughs off his reservations and demands he just get a confession. Someone must pay for the murder and swiftly.

After obtaining the signature, Glokta asks Severard to find the Knight of the Body who was guarding the Prince’s chambers during the murderer. The truth is something Glokta cannot ignore.5

Characters Edit

Introduced Appeared Mentioned
Sand dan Glokta Prince Raynault King Guslav the Fifth
Practical Shylo Vitari Ambassador Tulkis Uthman-ul-Dosht
Arch Lector Sult Practical Severard Khalul
Chamberlain Hoff High Justice Marovia
Lord Marshal Varuz

Locations and Terms Edit

Adua The Union Agriont Knights of the Body Open Council Inquisition
Closed Council Eaters

References Edit

  1. Was Prince Raynault killed because he would actually have been too good of a king?
  2. The election rules are basically as follows. The Open Council is made up of the nobles from each of the territories of The Union. Each member of the council has one vote. Theoretically anyone in The Union can stand, who can realistically garner the support of enough nobles. Members of the Closed Council cannot stand to ensure impartiality, and do not seem to have a vote themselves. This doesn't stop the Closed Council from "influencing" nobles to vote for their preferred candidate; and their preference is a weak candidate so they can maintain their power.
  3. The Inquisition is disliked by the Open Council because many of the nobles lost money in the desolation of the Guild of Mercers.
  4. This is a nicely constructed conundrum, with enormous consequences and no easy solution. If The Union hadn't killed the Ambassador would the war with the Gurkish have happened, and would the schism between the Emperor and Khalul have widened. The crime isn't investigated properly due to the need for political expediency. Sult doesn't really care about the truth or is too busy trying to rig the election to give it a second thought. Other than Glokta, the only other person who might care who the real culprit is, is Marovia, but given the confession he can do little.
  5. Despite Glokta's flaws - he tortures, he's self-pitying - his desire to know the truth, is something that makes him rather laudable.


Chapters in The First Law
The Blade Itself

Part 1

Prologue: The End ▪ 1. The Survivors ▪ 2. Questions ▪ 3. No Choice at All ▪ 4. Playing With Knives ▪ 5. Teeth and Fingers ▪ 6. The Wide and Barren North ▪ 7. Fencing Practice ▪ 8. The Morning Ritual ▪ 9. First of the Magi ▪ 10. The Good Man ▪ 11. On the List ▪ 12. An Offer and a Gift ▪ 13. The King of the Northmen ▪ 14. A Road Between Two Dentists ▪ 15. Flatheads ▪ 16. The Course of True Love ▪ 15. How Dogs are Trained ▪ 16. Tea and Vengeance
The Blade Itself

Part 2

▪ 17. What Freedom Looks Like ▪ 18. The King’s Justice ▪ 19. Means of Escape ▪ 20. Three Signs ▪ 21. The Theatrical Outfitter’s ▪ 22. Barbarians at the Gate ▪ 23. Next ▪ 24. Better than Death ▪ 25. Sore Thumb ▪ 26. Questions ▪ 27. Nobility ▪ 28. Dark Work ▪ 29. Words and Dust ▪ 30. The Remarkable Talents of Brother Longfoot ▪ 31. Her Kind Fight Everything ▪ 32. She Loves Me ... Not ▪ 33. The Seed ▪ 34. Never Bet Against a Magus ▪ 35. The Ideal Audience ▪ 36. The House of the Maker ▪ 37. Nobody’s Dog ▪ 38. Each Man Worships Himself ▪ 39. Old Friends ▪ 40. Back to the Mud ▪ 41. Misery ▪ 42. The Bloody-Nine ▪ 43. The Tools we Have
Before They Are Hanged

Part 1

▪ 1. The Great Leveler ▪ 2. Best Laid Plans ▪ 3. Questions ▪ 4. The Wounds of the Past ▪ 5. The Condition of the Defences ▪ 6. The Thing About Trust ▪ 7. Allies ▪ 8. Campfire Politics ▪ 9. Small Crimes ▪ 10. Rain ▪ 11. Bloody Company ▪ 12. Long Shadows ▪ 13. And next… My Gold ▪ 14. Fear ▪ 15. One Hundred Words ▪ 16. The Blind Lead the Blind ▪ 17. Prince Ladisla’s Stratagem ▪ 18. Until Sunset ▪ 19. Long Odds ▪ 20. The Road to Victory ▪ 21. Necessary Evils ▪ 22. Among the Stones ▪ 23. The Fruits of Boldness ▪ 24. One for Dinner ▪ 25. One of Them
Before They Are Hanged

Part 2

▪ 26. Heading North ▪ 27. Scant Mercy ▪ 28. So This is Pain ▪ 29. One Step at a Time ▪ 30. The Rest is Wasted Breath ▪ 31. A Matter of Time ▪ 32. Scars ▪ 33. Furious ▪ 34. To the Last Man ▪ 35. Jewel of Cities ▪ 36. Luck ▪ 37. Beneath the Ruins ▪ 38. No Good for Each Other ▪ 39. The Hero’s Welcome ▪ 40. Cold Comfort ▪ 41. The High Places ▪ 42. Coming Over ▪ 43. Cheap at the Price ▪ 44. To the Edge of the World ▪ 45. Before the Storm ▪ 46. Questions ▪ 47. Holding the Line ▪ 48. A Fitting Punishment ▪ 49. The Abode of Stones ▪ 50. Back to the Mud
Last Argument of Kings

Part 1

▪ 1. The Poison Trade ▪ 2. Being Chief ▪ 3. This Noble Business ▪ 4. The New Man ▪ 5. Feeding Time ▪ 6. So Much In Common ▪ 7. Honesty ▪ 8. Ghosts ▪ 9. Bad Debts ▪ 10. A Ragged Multitude ▪ 11. Beloved Of The Moon ▪ 12. Flowers And Plaudits ▪ 13. Too Many Knives ▪ 14. Best Of Enemies ▪ 15. Fortunes Of War ▪ 16. The Kingmaker ▪ 17. The Trap ▪ 18. Horrible Old Men ▪ 19. Prepared For The Worst ▪ 20. The Habit Of Command ▪ 21. The First Day ▪ 22. Such Sweet Sorrow ▪ 23. Picked Up A Shadow ▪ 24. Questions ▪ 25. The Fourth Day ▪ 26. The Perfect Couple ▪ 27. The Seventh Day ▪ 28. Too Many Masters ▪ 29. Sweet Victory ▪ 30. Rude Awakenings
Last Argument of Kings

Part 2

▪ 31. The Number Of The Dead ▪ 32. Leaves On The Water ▪ 33. Authority ▪ 34. The Circle ▪ 35. Greater Good ▪ 36. Skarling’s Chair ▪ 37. Leadership ▪ 38. A Rock And A Hard Place ▪ 39. Charity ▪ 40. Better Left Buried ▪ 41. Tomorrow’s Hero ▪ 42. Nightfall ▪ 43. Questions ▪ 44. The Day Of Judgement ▪ 45. Sacrifices ▪ 46. Open The Box ▪ 47. Dark Paths ▪ 48. Reckoning ▪ 49. After The Rains ▪ 50. Answers ▪ 51. The Wounded ▪ 52. Patriotic Duties ▪ 53. The First Law ▪ 54. Tea And Threats ▪ 55. Behind The Throne ▪ 56. Good Men, Evil Men ▪ 57. Not What You Wanted ▪ 58. Loose Ends ▪ 59. The Beginning
Best Served Cold ▪ 1. Benna Murcatto Saves a Life ▪ 2. PART I: TALINS ▪ 3. Talins Chapters 1 ▪ 4. Talins Chapters 2 ▪ 5. Talins Chapters 3 ▪ 6. PART II: WESTPORT ▪ 7. Westport Chapters 1 ▪ 8. Westport Chapters 2 ▪ 9. Westport Chapters 3 ▪ 10. Westport Chapters 4 ▪ 11. PART III: SIPANI ▪ 12. Sipani Chapters 1 ▪ 13. Sipani Chapters 2 ▪ 14. Sipani Chapters 3 ▪ 15. Sipani Chapters 4 ▪ 16. PART IV: VISSERINE ▪ 17. Visserine Chapters 1 ▪ 18. Visserine Chapters 2 ▪ 19. Visserine Chapters 3 ▪ 20. Visserine Chapters 4 ▪ 21. Visserine Chapters 5 ▪ 22. Visserine Chapters 6 ▪ 23. PART V: PURANTI ▪ 24. Puranti Chapters 1 ▪ 25. Puranti Chapters 2 ▪ 26. Puranti Chapters 3 ▪ 27. Puranti Chapters 4 ▪ 28. Puranti Chapters 5 ▪ 29. PART VI: OSPRIA ▪ 30. Ospria Chapters 1 ▪ 31. Ospria Chapters 2 ▪ 32. Ospria Chapters 3 ▪ 33. Ospria Chapters 4 ▪ 34. PART VII: TALINS ▪ 35. Talins Again Chapters 1 ▪ 36. Talins Again Chapters 2 ▪ 37. Talins Again Chapters 3 ▪ 38. Talins Again Chapters 4 ▪ 39. Talins Again Chapters 5

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