This is a short chapter but there is a lot going on. It took me weeks :) to figure out this chapter and how it would fit into the entire story (which I know is complicated and has a lot of characters - This has been the general criticism for those who have read the book. That is why, in part, I have decided to start the blog - in hopes of explaining things....kind of a silly thing to do but I have enjoyed the process thus far.
In Chapter 23, Nibel again hears from Varina. The dwarf rushes to find Toad to tell him what the amulet has told him. So this is the first thing that happens. Nibel, as the reader might have already figured out, really can't do a lot without Toad. He has amassed a great deal of wealth and power but without others (to order around and such :) he is actually quite powerless. One can read between the lines as to how this might pertain to those - down through history - who have commanded great power.
Anyway, Nibel then begins to set in motion a new plan. The plan, of course, is quite sinister and as such, Nibel lays the seeds for his own destruction. What the dwarf has in mind, is to find the Shadowling, then find Charlie and somehow wrestle the cloak away from young Hunter and back into the hands of the Shadowling (who will need the cloak if he is to live in the World of the Humans) Nibel, of course, will expect a favor from the Shadowling for this undertaking (that being help in finding the 8 Laws of Understanding.
Things start to unravel quite quickly for Nibel. Dromian, his Crackle spy, refuses to go on any further missions. The spy reminds Nibel that his three riders have been poisoned by the drink Nibel gave them. This doesn't seem to bother the dwarf in the least bit (although it should) Dromian reminds Nibel that the riders are "suffering" because of the poison, which again does not bother the dwarf.
After Dromian is finished with Nibel and flies away, Toad gives Nibel a look of - perhaps confusion and distain. Nibel responds:
"Now don't you start in on me as well!" barked Nibel. "This is no time for you to begin developing a conscience like the foolish Crackle. You know full well why we're doing all of this, why we built our fair city, why all the experiments and, most importantly, why we want the diary and perhaps one day have the Laws. We don't need the bird. I never needed her. Do you...understand me, my little Toadling?"
(I am going to continue this conversation regarding Chapter 23 on the next post - there are just too many delight tid bits to talk about :) In particular, is the question as to why the dwarf had gone to all the trouble to do the things that were quoted I the above paragraph) This is question !!!