“There's no such thing as civilization. The word just means the art of living in cities.”
“When I said I wanted to die in my sleep, I meant I wanted to be stepped on by an elephant while making love.”
“I have always found that hell is other people.”
“While it shows the gods as no better than the rest of us," she said, "at least, it shows them as no worse. See here the sources of human morality.”
“Excuse me, please. You do not understand. You do not really understand who it was we talked with in the tent that night. He may have seemed an ordinary man to you – a handicapped one, at that. But this is not so. I fear Benedict. He is the Master of Arms for Amber. Can you conceive of a millennium? A thousand years? Several of them? Can you understand a man who, for almost every day of a lifetime like that, has spent some time dwelling with weapons, tactics, strategy? All that there is of military science thunders in his head. He has often journeyed from shadow to shadow, witnessing variation after variation on the same battle, with but slightly altered circumstances, in order to test his theories of warfare. He has commanded armies so vast that you could watch them march by day after day and see no end to the columns. Although he is inconvenienced by the loss of his arm, I would not wish to fight with him either with weapons or barehanded. It is fortunate that he has no designs upon the throne, or he would be occupying it right now. If he were, I believe that I would give up at this moment and pay him homage. I fear Benedict.”
“I sucked on a blade of grass and watched the millwheel turn. I was lying on my stomach on the stream's opposite bank, my head propped in my hands. There was a tiny rainbow in the mist above the froth and boil at the foot of the waterfall, and an occasional droplet found its way to me. The steady splashing and the sound of the wheel drowned out all other noises in the wood. The mill was deserted today, and I contemplated it because I had not seen its like in ages. Watching the wheel and listening to the water were more than just relaxing. It was somewhat hypnotic. …
My head nodding with each creak of the wheel, I forced everything else from my mind and set about remembering the necessary texture of the sand, its coloration, the temperature, the winds, the touch of salt in the air, the clouds...
I slept then and I dreamed, but not of the place that I sought.
I regarded a big roulette wheel, and we were all of us on it-my brothers, my sisters, myself, and others whom I knew or had known-rising and falling, each with his allotted section. We were all shouting for it to stop for us and wailing as we passed the top and headed down once more. The wheel had begun to slow and I was on the rise. A fair-haired youth hung upside down before me, shouting pleas and warnings that were drowned in the cacophony of voices. His face darkened, writhed, became a horrible thing to behold, and I slashed at the cord that bound his ankle and he fell from sight. The wheel slowed even more as I neared the top, and I saw Lorraine then. She was gesturing, beckoning frantically, and calling my name. I leaned toward her, seeing her clearly, wanting her, wanting to help her. But as the wheel continued its turning she passed from my sight. “Corwin!”
I tried to ignore her cry, for I was almost to the top. It came again, but I tensed myself and prepared to spring upward. If it did not stop for me, I was going to try gimmicking the damned thing, even though falling off would mean my total ruin. I readied myself for the leap. Another click... “Corwin!”
It receded, returned, faded, and I was looking toward the water wheel again with my name echoing in my ears and mingling, merging, fading into the sound of the stream.
It plunged for over a thousand feet: a mighty cataract that smote the gray river like an anvil. The currents were rapid and strong, bearing bubbles and flecks of foam a great distance before they finally dissolved. Across from us, perhaps half a mile distant, partly screened by rainbow and mist, like an island slapped by a Titan, a gigantic wheel slowly rotated, ponderous and gleaming. High overhead, enormous birds rode like drifting crucifixes the currents of the air.
We stood there for a fairly long while. Conversation was impossible, which was just as well. After a time, when she turned from it to look at me, narrow-eyed, speculative, I nodded and gestured with my eyes toward the wood. Turning then, we made our way back in the direction from which we had come.
Our return was the same process in reverse, and I managed it with greater ease. When conversation became possible once more, Dara still kept her silence, apparently realizing by then that I was a part of the process of change going on around us.
It was not until we stood beside our own stream once more, watching the small mill wheel in its turning, that she spoke.”
“And sweets to the sweet," I replied, then spoke the word that completed the spell, dropping a load of manure upon him.”
“Every problem has a better solution when you start thinking about it differently than the normal way.”
“She knew it was the right decision, even though she was still scared. Doing nothing would achieve nothing.”
“Language is the instrument in all cases and can language be trusted?
If it were not for language, could we lie?”
“She raced for him, propelled by the strength of a thousand regrets.”
“Poor boy," the libertine then said, "he builds machines to count the infinite, and we have terrified him with the eternal silence of too many infinities. Voila, the end of a fine vocation.”
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