Study Guide

Alanna: The First Adventure Chapter 4

By Tamora Pierce

Chapter 4

Death in the Palace

  • Duke Gareth is obligated to give Alanna a long lecture about why starting fights is bad, but Alanna can tell that he's secretly pleased that she schooled the bully.
  • Alanna realizes that this is how the Code of Chivalry (a.k.a. the set of rules knights and nobles must follow) works: everyone's just playing a role. She knows that the Duke is lecturing her not because he's mad at her, but because he has to, so she doesn't feel that bad about herself.
  • Gary, Alex, and Raoul are promoted to squires, so Alanna and Jonathan (still pages) spend more time studying together and becoming friends.
  • That spring, the Sweating Fever strikes the city, and lots of people in the palace fall ill. Sir Myles (who's also the court drunk) jokes that there's too much alcohol in him for sickness.
  • Before she knows it, Alanna's friends start getting sick. She considers using her Gift to heal them, but she's still afraid of her own magic.
  • But then her friend Francis dies, and Alanna feels horrendously guilty for not helping. When Jonathan gets it too, Alanna decides to use her Gift to heal him.
  • The Chief Healer, Duke Baird, is too exhausted by all the other deaths to do much for Jonathan. Alanna calls on Sir Myles (who has enough status to throw around) to help her out. Myles clears everyone out of the room, and Alanna starts trying to heal Jonathan.
  • Alanna uses a bunch of natural remedies Maude had taught her, with Myles and Coram helping her. But trying to battle the fever drains Alanna, too, and she becomes terribly fatigued.
  • The King and Queen show up to check on their son, and the King demands to know why Alan concealed his Gift from everyone at the palace so far.
  • Here's why, according to Alanna: her mother died in childbirth, even though the Gift should've been able to save her. After that, Dad bitterly declared that neither he nor his children would ever use their Gifts again. The kids secretly trained with Maude, but that was it.
  • The King is satisfied with this answer. It turns out that Jonathan also has the gift, so the king resolves to make sure that noble boys with the Gift are properly trained from now on—if Jonathan survives this.
  • After the King and Queen leave, Jonathan gets worse, and Alanna has no choice but to use her Gift to try to save his life.
  • She uses a spell to ask for help from the Great Mother Goddess, and her magic flares up in a purple flame that burns her whole body. A terrible voice instructs Alanna to call Jonathan back.
  • Alanna is transported to a dark place where she sees the Dark God (the personification of Death) holding Jonathan.
  • Whoa, that escalated quickly.
  • Alanna has the presence of mind to ask Death to give Jonathan back, and Death relents. Alanna brings Jonathan back to the world of the living.
  • Both Alanna and Jonathan return to consciousness in the room, and the violet-glowing power leaves Alanna. She knows that Jonathan will be fine, and she collapses into a faint.

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