“There is no struggle too vast, no odds too overwhelming, for even should we fail - should we fall - we will know that we have lived.”
“Survivors do not mourn together. They each mourn alone, even when in the same place. Grief is the most solitary of all feelings. Grief isolates, and every ritual, every gesture, every embrace, is a hopeless effort to break through that isolation.
None of it works. The forms crumble and dissolve.
To face death is to stand alone.”
“The soul knows no greater anguish than to take a breath that begins with love and ends with grief.”
“No tyrant could thrive where every subject said no. The tyrant thrives when the first fucking fool salutes.”
“He was a man who would never ask for sympathy. He was a man who sought only to do what was right. Such people appear in the world, every world, now and then, like a single refrain of some blessed song, a fragment caught on the spur of an otherwise raging cacophony.
Imagine a world without such souls.
Yes, it should have been harder to do.”
“Evil is nothing but a word, an objectification where no objectification is necessary. Cast aside this notion of some external agency as the source of inconceivable inhumanity - the sad truth is our possession of an innate proclivity towards indifference, towards deliberate denial of mercy, towards disengaging all that is moral within us.
But if that is too dire , let's call it evil. And paint it with fire and venom.”
“Now, invite me in, before I lose my temperature.’
‘Temper, you mean.’
‘No, temperature. It’s getting chilly.”
“People don’t change to suit their god; they change their god to suit them.”
“It is because we understand you, Toblakai, that we do not set the Hounds upon you. You bear your destiny like a standard, a grisly one, true, but then, its only distinction is in being obvious. Did you know that we too left civilization behind? The scribblers were closing in on all sides, you see. The clerks with their purple tongues and darting eyes, their shuffling feet and sloped shoulders, their bloodless lists. Oh, measure it all out! Acceptable levels of misery and suffering!’ The cane swung down, thumped hard on the ground. ‘Acceptable? Who the fuck says any level is acceptable? What sort of mind thinks that?’
Karsa grinned. ‘Why, a civilized one.’
‘Indeed!’ Shadowthrone turned to Cotillion. ‘And you doubted this one!”
“The first law of the multitude is conformity. Civilization is the mechanism of controlling and maintaining that multitude. The more civilized a nation, the more conformed its population, until that civilization’s last age arrives, when multiplicity wages war with conformity. The former grows ever wilder, ever more dysfunctional in its extremities; whilst the latter seeks to increase its measure of control, until such efforts acquire diabolical tyranny.”
“The world, someone once said, gives back what is given. In abundance. But then, as Kallor would point out, someone was always saying something. Until he got fed up and had them executed.”
“The miracle of hindsight is how it transforms great military geniuses of the past into incompetent idiots, and incompetent idiots of the present into great military geniuses. There is the door, and be sure to take all your pompous second-guessing delusions with you…’
On the occasion of the conquest of
Falari's Grand Council
(the Trial of Crust)”
“History meant nothing, because the only continuity was human stupidity.”
“If need be, the round man can prove a most blunt barrier.
Just ask the man with the hammer.”
“Among the Rhivi of North Genabackis, there was a saying. A man who stirs awake the serpent is a man without fear. A man without fear has forgotten the rules of life.
Silanah heard their songs and prayers.
And she watched.
Sometimes mortals did indeed forget. Sometimes, mortals needed… reminding.”
“Ah, Meese has brought us her finest goblets! A moment, whilst Kruppe sweeps out cobwebs, insect husks and other assorted proofs of said goblets' treasured value.”
“Memory did not let go; it remained the net dragged in one's wake, with all sorts of strange things snarled in the knotted strands.”
“Many children, early on, acquire a love of places they have never been. Often, such wonder is summarily crushed on the crawl through the sludge of murky, confused adolescence on to the flat, cracked pan of adulthood with its airless vistas ever lurking beyond the horizon. Oh, well, sometimes such gifts of curiosity, delight and adventure do indeed survive the stationary trek, said victims ending up as artists, scholars, inventors and other criminals bent on confounding the commonplace and the platitudes of peaceful living. But never mind them for now, since, for all their flailing subversions, nothing really ever changes unless in service to convenience.”
“To live a hard life was to make solid and impregnable every way in, until no openings remained and the soul hid in darkness, and no one else could hear its screams, its railing at injustice, its long, agonizing stretches of sadness. Hardness without created hardness within.
Sadness was, she well knew, not something that could be cured. It was not, in fact, a failing, not a flaw, not an illness of spirit. Sadness was never without reason, and to assert that it marked some kind of dysfunction did little more than prove ignorance or, worse, cowardly evasiveness in the one making the assertion. As if happiness was the only legitimate way of being. As if those failing at it needed to be locked away, made soporific with medications; as if the causes of sadness were merely traps and pitfalls in the proper climb to blissful contentment, things to be edged round or bridged, or leapt across on wings of false elation.
Scillara knew better. She had faced her own sadness often enough. Even when she discovered her first means of escaping it, in durhang, she’d known that such an escape was simply a flight from feelings that existed legitimately. She’d just been unable to permit herself any sympathy for such feelings, because to do so was to surrender to their truth.
Sadness belonged. As rightful as joy, love, grief and fear. All conditions of being.
Too often people mistook the sadness in others for self-pity, and in so doing revealed their own hardness of spirit, and more than a little malice.”
“Nimander wondered if he had discovered the face of the one true god. Naught else but time, this ever changing and yet changeless tyrant against whom no creature could win. Before whom even trees, stone and air must one day bow. There would be a last dawn, a last sunset, each kneeling in final surrender. Yes, time was indeed god, playing the same games with lowly insects as it did with mountains and the fools who would carve fastnesses into them. At peace with every scale, pleased by the rapid patter of a rat’s heart and the slow sighing of devouring wind against stone. Content with a star’s burgeoning light and the swift death of a raindrop on a desert floor.”
“You will find the strength within you, Endest Silann. Of that I have no doubt.'
'As shall I.' And with that the Son of Darkness reached out, reclaimed the sword Dragnipur. With familiar ease he slid the weapon into the scabbard on his back. He faced Endest and smiled as if the burden he had just accepted yet again could not drive others to their knees – gods, ascendants, the proud and the arrogant, all to their knees. Rake's legs did not buckle, did not even so much as tremble. He stood tall, unbowed, and in the smile he offered Endest Silann there was a certainty of purpose, so silent, so indomitable, so utterly appalling that Endest felt his heart clench, as if moments from rupturing.
And his Lord stepped close then, and with one hand brushed the wetness from one cheek.”
“When next you see Anomander, tell him this from me: he chose wisely. Each time, he chose wisely. Tell him, then, that of all whom I ever met, there is but one who has earned my respect, and he is that one.”
“The soul knows no greater anguish than to take a breath that begins with love and ends with grief. But there are other anguishes, many others. They unfold as they will, and to dwell within them is to understand nothing.”
“Fanaticism was so popular. There had to be a reason for that, didn’t there? Some vast reward to the end of thinking, some great bliss to the blessing of idiocy.”
“I admit,’ said Spite, ‘to a certain melancholy when visiting vibrant cities, as is this Darujhistan. A long life teaches one just how ephemeral is such thriving glory. Why, I have come again upon cities I knew well in the age of their greatness, only to find crumbled walls, dust and desolation.’
Cutter bared his teeth and said, ‘Darujhistan has stood for two thousand years and it will stand for another two thousand-even longer.’
Spite nodded. ’Precisely.”
“Grief isolates, and every ritual, every gesture, every embrace, is a hopeless effort to break through that isolation. None of it works. The forms crumble and dissolve. To face death is to stand alone.”
“This one,' said the hooded man, 'resists sorcery, Cotillion. Though his blood is old, I wonder, will all mortals one day be like him? An end to miracles. Nothing but dull, banal existence, nothing but mundane absence of wonder.' The cane jabbed. 'A world of bureaucrats. Mealy-minded, sour-faced and miserable as a reunion of clerks. In such a world, Cotillion, not even the gods will visit. Except in pilgrimage to depression.”
“She had begun to understand how priesthoods were born, the necessity of sanctioned forms, rules and prohibitions, the moral filter defined by accepted notions of justice. And yet, she could also see how profoundly dangerous such an institution could become, as arbiters of morality, as dispensers of that justice. Faces like hooded vultures, guarding the door to the court, choosing who gets inside and who doesn’t. How soon before the first bag of silver changes hands? How soon before the first reprehensible criminal buys passage into the arms of the blind, unquestioning Redeemer? She could fashion such a church, could formalize the cult into a religion, and she could impose a harsh, unwavering sense of justice. But what of the next generation of priests and priestesses? And the one after that, and the next one? How long before the hard rules make that church a self-righteous, power-mongering tyranny? How long before corruption arrives, when the hidden heart of the religion is the simple fact that the Redeemer embraces everyone who comes before him? A fact virtually guaranteed to breed cynicism in the priesthood, and from such cynicism secular acquisitiveness would be inevitable. This loss was not just a loss of faith in the Redeemer. It was a loss of faith in religion itself.”
“witness two scenes. In one, an angry, bitter man beats another man to death in an alley in the Gadrobi District. In the other, a man of vast wealth conspires with equally wealthy compatriots to raise yet again the price of grain, making the cost of simple bread so prohibitive that families starve, are led into lives of crime, and die young. Are both acts of violence?”
“A bludgeon of wives (surely that must be the plural assignation)!”
“Pity the child for his loss. He truly wanted his laser gun to kill the Minotaur, believed that it would, even. Each time an act of hope fails, the capacity for experiencing hope itself diminishes. The child will be lucky if he reaches adulthood with even a shred of faith intact.”
“Not yet," Shryne said, as if to himself "Then you're his apprentice?" His eyes darted right and left, searching for some means of escape. "Is Sidious also in league with Emperor Palpatine?" Vader fell silent for a moment, making up his mind about something. "Lord Sidious is the Emperor.”
“You think you're lost but you're not lost on your own. You're not alone. I will stand by you, I will help you through when you’ve done all you can do. If you can’t cope, I will dry your eyes. I will fight your fight, I will hold you tight and I won't let go. —Rascal Flatts”
“Flora’s heart, the lonely, many-armed squid of it, flipped and flailed inside her.”
“I've always been your friend, Alexa. Now go. I will try to kill you as unsuccessfully as I can.”
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