Why now? Why not? Live or die, a man and a woman need love. There is a need in the race. We need to share. To belong. Perhaps you will die before the year is out. But remember this: to have may be taken from you, to have had never. Far better to have tasted love before dying, than to die alone.
Warriors fear surrender. They are proud and defiant. They will fight to the death for what they believe in. They will struggle to conquer. Love is not about conquest. The truth is a man can only find true love when he surrenders to it. When he opens his heart to the partner of his soul and says: 'here it is! the very essence of me! It is yours to nurture or destroy.
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There is a darkness in you. In all of us, probably. Beasts we keep chained. Ordinary men have to keep the chains strong, for if we let the beast loose then society will turn upon us with fiery vengeance. Kings though... well, who is there to turn upon them? So the chains are made of straw. It is the curse of kings, Helikaon, that they can become monsters. And they invariably do.
Yours is a race whose imagination is limited to its own small appetites. Greed, lust, envy - these are the motivating forces of humankind. What redeems you is that in every man and woman there is a seed that can grow to encompass love, joy and compassion. But this seed is never allowed to prosper in fertile ground. It struggles for life among the rocks of your human soul.
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How simple love would be, Younger Brother, if we only had to bestow it on those who deserved it. Yet what would it be worth? If you gave a poor man a silver coin then that would be a gift. If you expected him to pay you back, then that would make it a loan. We do not loan our love, Lantern. We give it freely.
It seems to me, that you people spend a great deal of time talking about honour, but strip away the high sounding words and you are no different from any other race. Family? Has Priam not killed wayward sons? When a king dies do his sons not go to war with one another to succeed him? Men speak of how you reacted to your father's death. They say it was amazing, for you did not order your little brother's execution. Your race thrives on blood and death, Helikaon. Your ships raid the coasts of other nations, stealing slaves, burning and plundering. Warriors brag of how many men they have killed, and women they have raped. Almost all of your kings either seized their thrones with swords and murder, or are children of men who seized power with swords and murder. So put all this talk of honour to one side.
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One day the enemy will cross the Great Green. They will bring war and tragedy to these eastern lands. Such is the nature of vile men. Yet we cannot live in dread of them. We cannot hide behind these high walls, our hearts trembling. For that is not life. We must accept the needs and the duties of each day, and face them one at a time.
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It is hard to be angry when one has seen the sun rise, ' she said. It seems to be true, ' he admitted. 'I wonder why.' Because it makes one feel so small and insignificant. It has been rising forever and will rise forever no matter what we do or do not do. All our problems are as nothing to the sun.
We make choices everyday, some of them good, some of them bad. And if we are strong enough - we live with the consequences. To be truthful I am not entirely sure what people mean when they talk of happiness. There are moments of joy and laughter, the comfort of friendship, but enduring happiness? If it exists I have not discovered it.
Now the screams were awful to hear as men burned like candles all along the deck. Black smoke billowed over the sea. Argurios could not believe what he was watching. At least fifty helpless men were dying in agony. One man managed to free himself and leap into the sea. Amazingly, when he surfaced the flames were still consuming him. All along the beach there was silence as the stunned crowd watched the magical fires burning the galley and it's crew.
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We are tiny flames, Helikaon, and we flicker alone in the great dark for no more than a heartbeat. When we strive for wealth, glory and fame, it is meaningless. The nations we fight for will one day cease to be. Even the mountains we gaze upon will crumble to dust. To truly live we must yearn for that which does not die.
Odysseus draped the towel over his shoulders and stretched his back. "You remember practicing with wooden swords? All the moves, the blocks, the counters, getting your footwork right, learning how to be in balance always?" "Of course you were a hard master." "And you recall the first time you went into a real fight, with blood being shed and the fear of death in the air?" "I do" "The moves are the same, but the difference is wider than the Great Green. Love is like that, Helikaon. You can spend time with a whore and laugh and know great pleasure. But when love strikes- ah, the difference is awesome. You will find more joy in the touch of a hand or the sight of a smile than you could ever experience in a hundred nights of passion with anyone else. The sky will be more blue, the sun more bright. Ah, I am missing my Penelope tonight
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Is it not obvious? What is life but a betrayal? We start out young, full of hope. The sun is good, the world awaits us. But every passing year shows how small you are, how insignificant against the power of the seasons. Then you age. Your strength fails and the world laughs at you through the jeers of younger men. And you die. Alone. Unfulfilled. But sometimes... sometimes there will come a man who is not insignificant. He can change the world, rob the seasons of their power. He is the sun.
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I have discovered in my long life that there are many words and phrases which have more power than any spell of magick. The most well-known of these is, of course, I love you. But by far the most deadly is, if only. For these two words can strip a man's strength, his courage and his confidence. They become the father of regret and anguish and pain.
Our modern world, though infinitely more complex than that of ancient Greece, is also far more superficial. Where the Greeks offered simple psychological training, we live in an age of style and spin in which perceptions of good and evil slither and shift with the political view of the moment.
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It is hard to be angry when one has seen the sun rise,' she said. It seems to be true,' he admitted. 'I wonder why.' Because it makes one feel so small and insignificant. It has been rising forever and will rise forever no matter what we do or do not do. All our problems are as nothing to the sun.
Man is capable of greatness, love, nobility, compassion. Yet never forget that his capacity for evil is infinite. It is a sad truth, boy, that if you sit now and think of the worst tortures that could ever be inflicted on another human being, they will already have been practiced somewhere. If there is one sound that follows the march of humanity, it is the scream.
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Many fantasy novels - 'Lord of the Rings', for instance, or 'Lavondyss' by Robert Holdstock - are beautifully written. Geoff Ryman's 'The Child Garden' is exquisite and utterly beguiling. Mervyn Peake's 'Gormenghast' trilogy is an astonishing piece of multi-faceted storytelling. So quality of writing does not condemn the genre.
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