I can't stand rocking when I'm in this place
Because I feel disgrace because you're all in my face
But make no mistake and switch off my channel
I'm Buddy Rich when I go off the handle
-- Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"
It's probably very disappointing to anyone who still expects life
to work like fiction. The story *should* be something like this:
Our hero is good at heart but has some deep flaw that prevents him
from being all he could be. Something very bad happens, he sees his life
from a totally different point of view, and returns a new man.
Sympathetic to those who suffer as he once suffered, he renounces his old
ways and beds the pretty girl.
What really happens:
Our hero, basically a bastard with an honor code and a smart
mouth, is used to being fairly high on the cosmic food chain, and keeps
trying to climb higher, causing all around psychic damage in the process.
Hero gets exposed to his limitations, sees the world from a new point of
view much lower on the food chain, and decides it sucks to be there.
Hero, with help of friends, recovers original status, seeks vengeance, and
emerges from the experience with a grudge and less respect for ordinary
people than he had before. He beds the pretty girl, but he was going to
do that anyway.
Way off the base myth I'm working from. I'd feel guilty, but why
lie to myself?
Ariana and Laughter both would prefer it if I allowed Arthur to
live. Ariana will try to protect him; Laughter, for no reason I can see,
has better sense. Protecting him? Hah. She has an unreliable husband
and numerous children. Benedict will sooner or later be attentive to
other matters. And then I will move. Until then, I wait and build my
assets. They have to protect him forever. I have to get to him once.
Ariana thinks I will cause a war with Rebma. I worry about that,
I admit. I must wait until my son is old enough to take care of himself
before I can send myself to war. But that isn't what she meant. She
thinks I ought to have the best interests of the realm at heart.
What has the realm given me? Random has never realized that
loyalty goes both ways. I've bled my share for the realm, and I have long
since tired of his scorn. If what I need conflicts with the needs of
Amber, Amber had better sweeten the deal for me, or prepare to stop me.
I've fought for them against Chaos, let them fight for me for a change.
And of all the nations we could war with, Rebma is as good as any.
Chaos at least brought many of my loved ones into the world. Rebma is a
social sinkhole that produces casual nudity and people who think that "I'm
a spy" is a witticism.
It would be all one to me if Random just used the Jewel of
Judgment to turn water pressure on down there.
And, to top it all off, it's Moire's damn fault if she goes to
war. Arthur may be hers, but neither he nor she has taken any
responsibility for his actions. If she wanted to protect him, she should
have kept him from stealing my body. To rail against his death now is as
foolish as.... railing against lightning, after it struck someone raising
a flag in a thunderstorm. Nietzsche said it best: "You have made danger
your vocation, and you have died of your vocation. For that I will bury
you with my own hands."
But first, we have to retrieve the Jewel from the Primal Plane of
Magic, or some such. Another place I'd as soon see get the ax. I
distrust magic; it makes the calculus of risk incalculable. With a sword,
you at least have to put in the training commensurate to the degree of
excellence you seek to achieve. In effect, you work for a living. But my
experience has been that sorcery bestows its power as it will.
No matter. Bart, whatever his problems, is a competent sorcerer,
and any one of us is a match for several of the locals. I do not envision
an easy time of it. I envision a bloodbath. And I am eager to get on
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