Due: 23/05 (Y9 & Y10) 24/05 (Y8) (Issued: 19/05)
Title: Paper One
Answer all questions in this section.
You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on this section.
- Read again lines 1-4.
List four things from this part of the source about the chains. (4 marks)
- Look in detail at lines 11-20 of the source
How does the writer use language here to describe the Spine Adept?
You could include the writer’s choice of:
- Words and phrases
- Language features and techniques
- Sentence forms (8 marks)
- You now need to think about the whole of the source.
How has the writer structured the text to interest you as a reader?
You could write about:
- what the writer focuses your attention on at the beginning
- how and why the writer changes this focus as the source develops
- any other structural features that interest you. (8 marks)
- Focus this part of your answer on the first part of the source, from line 23 to line 36.
A student, having read this section of the text, said “This part of the text, where Scrimlock observes the Spine, reveals his worry and concern”.
To what extent do you agree?
In your response, you could:
- Consider your own impressions of Scrimlock’s reaction in these lines
- Evaluate how the writer reveals Scrimlock’s anxieties
- Support your opinions with quotations from the text. (20 marks)
Scar Night (by Alan Campbell)
The city of Deepgate hangs suspended by giant chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss where the dread god Ulcis, ‘hoarder of souls’, is said to reside. Above the unfathomable darkness, it is Scar Night and the rogue angel, Carnival, is seeking souls. Except, tonight, the Church’s Assassins guild has finally trapped her.
Chains snarled the courtyard behind the derelict cannon foundry in Applecross: spears of chain radiating at every angle, secured into walls with rusted hooks and pins, and knitted together like a madwoman’s puzzle. In the centre, Barraby’s watchtower stood ensnared. Smoke unfurled from its ruined summit and blew west across the city under a million winter stars.
Huffing and gasping, Presbyter Scrimlock climbed through the chains. His lantern swung, knocked against links and welds and God knows what, threw shadows like lattices of cracks across the gleaming cobbles. When he looked up, he saw squares and triangles full of stars. His sandals slipped as though on melted glass. The chains, where he touched them, were wet. And when he finally reached the Spine Adept waiting by the watchtower door he saw why.
‘Blood,’ the Presbyter whispered, horrified. He rubbed feverishly at his cassock, but the gore would not shift.
The Spine Adept, skin stretched so tight over his muscles he seemed cadaverous, turned lifeless eyes on the priest. ‘From the dead,’ he explained. ‘She ejects them from the tower. Will not suffer them there inside with her.’ He tilted his head to one side.
Below the chains numerous Spine bodies lay in a shapeless mound, their leather armour glistening like venom.
‘Ulcis have mercy,’ Scrimlock said. ‘How many has she killed?’
Scrimlock drew a breath. The night tasted dank and rusty, like the air in a dungeon. ‘You’re making it worse,’ he complained. ‘Can’t you see that? You’re feeding her fury.’
‘We have injured her,’ the Adept said. His expression remained unreadable, but he pressed a pale hand against the watchtower door brace, as if to reinforce it.
‘What?’ The Presbyter’s heart leapt. ‘You’ve injured her? That’s . . . How could you possibly . . .’
‘She heals quickly.’ The Adept looked up. ‘Now we must hurry.’
Scrimlock followed the man’s gaze, and for a moment wondered what he was looking at. Then he spotted them: silhouettes against the glittering night, lean figures scaling the chains, moving quickly and silently to the watchtower’s single window. More Spine than Scrimlock had ever seen together. There had to be fifty, sixty. How was it possible he’d failed to notice them before?
‘Every single Adept answered the summons.’
‘All of them?’ Scrimlock hissed, lowering his voice. ‘Insanity! If she escapes . . .’ He wrung his hands. The Church could not afford to lose so many of its assassins.
‘She cannot escape. The window is too narrow for her wings; the roof is sealed, the door barricaded.’
Scrimlock glanced at the watchtower door. The iron brace looked solid enough to thwart an army. That still did not give him peace of mind. He looked for reassurance in the Adept’s eyes, but of course there was nothing there: only a profound emptiness the priest felt in his marrow. Could they have injured her? And what would be the cost to the Church? What revenge would she seek? God help him, this was too much.
‘I will not sanction this,’ he protested. He waved a hand at the heap of dead bodies, at the blood still leaking onto the cobbles. ‘Ulcis will not accept these opened corpses; every one of them is damned.