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The Haruchai and The Bane Fire.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:01 pm    Post subject: The Haruchai and The Bane Fire. Reply with quote

Now I'm working a little bit from memory here, but IIRC the Haruchai, not having heard anything from the Land in an extended period, sent some representatives down from the mountains to check out all was well and say 'hello'. These failed to return and so a larger group was sent. Again the questors failed to report back and so increasingly large parties were sent in order to see what was going on. What was going on was that the Clave was imposing a BaneFire powered 'geas' upon them as a result of which they allowed themselves [without resistance], to be placed into cells from which they were taken and 'shed' into the fire at periodic intervals.

When Kasreyn of the Gyre tried a similar trick they shrugged of his atempt as if it were nothing. Is this reflective of a difference in a) the relative power of the Clave as opposed to Kasreyn, b) the fact that perhaps the Clave's power was 'earth-power' based where Kasreyns might not have been or c) some other reason alltogether.

Also, the Haruchai, who were notorious for taking even the slightest failing on their own part deeply to heart, never seemed to turn a hair that they had been overpowered in their hundreds by the Clave without so much as a fist being raised. How do we explain this indifference in the light of their usual breast-beating over such failures.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Haruchai that accompanied the Search had experienced that imposition, but that was different in form from Kasreyn's. In his case, his subjects were not accustomed to mind to mind communication, and so had no native ability to sense whether thoughts were their own, or came from the outside, and therefore were unable defend against any thoughts he sent through his ocular.

The Haruchai not only had their native communications, but also their experience of the Banefire to draw from. I suspect Kasreyn's methods were at least different in scale, if not in kind, and thus easier to resist, than the Banefire which was backed by the blood of thousands, as well as guided by the combined will of a number of Riders (not to mention a Raver...).
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps their failure was part of the reason they ended up becoming Masters.
It's how they work---get embarrassed, learn the wrong lesson, take extreme action.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:22 am    Post subject: Re: The Haruchai and The Bane Fire. Reply with quote

I've only just reached the end of Part I of The Last Dark, but on page 251, (Chapter 11) there is an interesting passage in relation to your idea about the Haruchai taking things to heart.

peter wrote:
Also, the Haruchai, who were notorious for taking even the slightest failing on their own part deeply to heart, never seemed to turn a hair that they had been overpowered in their hundreds by the Clave without so much as a fist being raised. How do we explain this indifference in the light of their usual breast-beating over such failures.


Maybe the Haruchai chose willingly to go to the dungeons of Revelstone.
It wouldn't surprise me if this were so. They have always taken extreme measures upholding their vow of service.

This would also echo the Giants going willingly to their deaths.
In respect to Covenant freeing/redeeming the Haruchai, The Wounded Land ended in similar circumstances with the bonfire at Coercri!
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think of it this way:

In the end, Kasreyn's geas was merely coercion. Very, very powerful coercion, yes. But in the end, it required bending the victim's will. The Haruchai could not be coerced in this way. Perhaps because Kasreyn had no experience with a will so strong.

So: "I heard, but did not choose to listen."

The Clave, on the other hand, used possession. Possession isn't bending someone's will, it is taking someone's will away. It's the difference between making a pilot fly a plane somewhere, and removing the pilot and flying the plane yourself.

The merewives, also, used coercion. But it was coercion in the guise of desire. The Haruchai succumbed to this desire, and for this they were embarrassed. Because it was only coercion, and they felt that they should have resisted if they were more perfect. But they were not so embarrassed by the Clave's possession. It galled them, but they were not humiliated by it, because it wasn't something that they could resist with a stronger will.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But remember that the Clave could tap directly into the power of the Banefire - perhaps it's just the sheer enormity of the power from the Banefire that would make it so much stronger than the coercion of kasreyn?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
I think of it this way:

In the end, Kasreyn's geas was merely coercion. Very, very powerful coercion, yes. But in the end, it required bending the victim's will. The Haruchai could not be coerced in this way. Perhaps because Kasreyn had no experience with a will so strong.

So: "I heard, but did not choose to listen."

The Clave, on the other hand, used possession. Possession isn't bending someone's will, it is taking someone's will away. It's the difference between making a pilot fly a plane somewhere, and removing the pilot and flying the plane yourself.

The merewives, also, used coercion. But it was coercion in the guise of desire. The Haruchai succumbed to this desire, and for this they were embarrassed. Because it was only coercion, and they felt that they should have resisted if they were more perfect. But they were not so embarrassed by the Clave's possession. It galled them, but they were not humiliated by it, because it wasn't something that they could resist with a stronger will.


This makes a lot of sense to me. Remember that the Clave were led by a Raver. It makes sense that a being would use the power at his disposal in a way that he was intimately familiar with.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

michaelm wrote:
But remember that the Clave could tap directly into the power of the Banefire - perhaps it's just the sheer enormity of the power from the Banefire that would make it so much stronger than the coercion of kasreyn?

To me, the Banefire seems similar to the use of fragments of the Illearth stone. Ravers could not possess Giant's or Haruchai normally, but with the additional strength of the Stone, or the Banefire, it could be done.

Perhaps, yes, Kasreyn was merely much weaker comparitively. But there is a noticible difference between Kasreyn and the Banefire. Linden was ruled by both, and so we have her descriptions:

Of Kasreyn: All her turmoil became calm. She realized at once that she had no cause for anxiety, no reason to distrust him. His left eye held the answer to everything. Her last, most visceral protests faded into relief as the geas of his will came over her, lifted the words he wanted out of her.

Of the Banefire: Her will was taken from her altogether. Coercion sprang from the blaze, seized possession of her soul. All choice left her. At his word, she mounted Santonin's Courser. The shred of her which remained watched Sunder and Hollian as they also obeyed.

Clearly, on the one hand, we have something enticing her to act in a way she otherwise would not, while on the other hand, she ceases to act altogether, her actions chosen by another.

dlbpharmd wrote:
Remember that the Clave were led by a Raver. It makes sense that a being would use the power at his disposal in a way that he was intimately familiar with.

Indeed. And I don't think it was an accident that the Clave could enslave the Haruchai so well. I think the Clave designed this aspect of the Banefire for just this purpose. They knew it was only a matter of time until the Haruchai showed up.

So I think another factor is that the Banefire was designed particularly for the Haruchai, while Kasreyn had no clue about them.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some excellent posts. It is also interesting to view the Sunbane as not merely compelling the Land to its will, but possessing it completely.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think IrrationalSanity and Michael are most likely correct: the single most important issue (re: Banefire vs Kasreyn) is one of magnitude of the powers involved. A difference in amount or scale, rather than type. If there is a difference of type, I'm not convinced that it has been correctly identified here, nor that it would matter if it were identified. The sheer magnitude of the Banefire seems to be the sufficient criterion.

There is no clear distinction between possession and magical coercion, both which affect one's will. And "coercion" and "possession" are both used in the same sentence describing the Banefire above, with no distinction being made between them by the author. While Kasreyn did not literally possess Linden, neither did the Raver possess her while the Clave Rider coerced her using his Banefire-powered magic. But even if she had been possessed (in either case), how is this qualitatively different from a magical coercion which eliminates or dominates one's will? Both are "from the inside," as opposed to the types of coercion available to non-magical beings (e.g. physical force or torture). And the distinction between (a) "enticing her to act in a way she otherwise would not" vs (b) "her actions chosen by another" isn't significantly different, at least not in the actual examples to which these descriptions are (mis)applied, since her will is being overridden in each case, as though it ceases to exist. Besides, (a) isn't an accurate description of what Kasreyn does. She wasn't merely enticed to choose actions she otherwise wouldn't choose. It was coercion. In both cases her will is replaced or overruled by the will of another person. Enticing someone to do something is more like persuasion, getting them to choose it for you. Linden did not choose to say the words Kasreyn wanted, they were "lifted" from her.

I think "entice" would apply more accurately to the Merewives' effect on the Haruchai, since they aroused desire rather than overriding will. And in that case, the distinction being built here to explain the reason why Banefire can affect Haruchai more than Kasreyn's magic is contradicted, since the Haruchai clearly succumb to enticement, and do not require possession to be beaten. In this case (re: Merewives vs Banefire/Kasreyn), magnitude of the power involved doesn't seem as important as the type of enticement the Merewives present: one specifically targeting a Haruchai "weakness," i.e. their "hot blood" and passion for their wives.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a pretty good argument, Z.
But I wonder if there is still a distinction...and I haven't thought it through in detail, just an impression...[and related to other stuff previous peeps]...
Akin to the difference between an infection...for which we have an immune system, part of what we are fighting something invading...and some "poisons." [like heavy metals or chemicals]...things that undermine the basis.

Or standing on the shore confronting pirates, vs. confronting tidal wave.

I don't know...but if you are drinking water full of microbes, that's one thing...but if a lot of it is suddenly H202 instead of H20---it's a different thing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still, on the one hand, Linden was made to desire what Kasreyn desired, while on the other hand, Linden had no desire to go with the Rider to Revelstone.

Linden acted as the Kemper wished, because the Kemper made her wish it herself. Linden acted as the Rider wished because she had no control over her own actions.

So I see differerences.

If you judge it by the final result, 'coercion' applies to both. But the coercion seems to have come about in different ways. One was through changing Linden's desire -- perhaps 'seduction' would be a better term. The other was removing her ability to choose her own actions, while someone else chose them instead - and I think 'possession' is the right term here because it matches what the Ravers do so precisely.

These differences may have nothing to do with why Kasreyn failed with the Haruchai and the Clave did not. I just think that they do, because of the merewives.

The difference between the Kasreyn and the merewives is that the merewives knew how to touch the Haruchai's desires where Kasreyn could not. There weren't necessarily stronger, or doing something different. It's that the merewives happened upon the right button to push, the Haruchai Achilles Heel - lust.

And that's precisely why the Haruchai considered themselves unworthy with the merewives - because they should have eluded the merewives as easily as they eluded Kasreyn. They could have "heard, but did not chose to listen". But they did not. "In our hearts we knew it for delusion as we harkened to it." They "chose to listen". They let the merewives sway their desires. They were 'seduced'.

With the Banefire, they were merely over-powered, over-mastered. They lost the fight. This is tolerable, because it's not unworth. They did not fail to do their best.

There must be something different between the merewives and the Clave, because the former induced a withdrawal from service, a declaration of unworth, whereas the latter did not. So it follows that there must be some different forms of coercion, ones which the Haruchai feel they ought not to be susceptible to, and other ones which they readily admit that they are susceptible to.

The notion that Kasreyn and the merewives work similary makes it all fit together. With one, they chose not to listen. With the other, they harkened to it -- they chose to listen. So certainly 'not listening' is the ward for both of them.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A further note about the magnitude of the Banefire's power. When Covenant confronts Gibbon in WGW, we learn that the power of the Banefire was great enough to resist any assault that was not strong enough to destroy the Arch of Time, which is why Covenant had to withdraw from the battle with Gibbon.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Still, on the one hand, Linden was made to desire what Kasreyn desired, while on the other hand, Linden had no desire to go with the Rider to Revelstone.

Linden acted as the Kemper wished, because the Kemper made her wish it herself. Linden acted as the Rider wished because she had no control over her own actions.

So I see differerences.
You might be right. Honestly, I don't remember all the details. I was basing my specific points on your quotes. I didn't see (nor do I remember) anything about the Kasreyn making Linden desire what he desired. Based on the quotes above, he seemed to have robbed her of fears and/or resistance (not the same as supplying her with desires) by giving her a false peace, a false absence of concern ... sort of like an imposed passivity. "[T]he geas of his will came over her" sounds nothing at all like making her desire something. As a matter of fact, according to Wiktionary:

Quote:
geas
1.(Gaelic mythology) A vow or obligation placed upon a person.
2.A curse.
3.A mystical compulsion.


I think the last definition fits here best. Oddly enough, this Wiktionary entry uses another Donaldson quote to illustrate the word's usage:

Quote:
1980 - Stephen Donaldson, The Wounded Land, page 162, The memory came upon him like a geas, overwhelming his revulsion, numbing his heart.
Even though it's used in a different context, it's still one of robbing a person of emotion, e.g. "numbing his heart," and thereby overcoming one's resistance, e.g. "overwhelming his revulsion." This is consistent with the usage above, All her turmoil became calm. She realized at once that she had no cause for anxiety, no reason to distrust him. Similarly, her resistance was overcome by "numbing" her turmoil/anxiety, leaving her no cause to resist. This is entirely different from the energizing, animating seduction of the Merewives ... or any other "causing one to desire."

wayfriend wrote:

If you judge it by the final result, 'coercion' applies to both. But the coercion seems to have come about in different ways. One was through changing Linden's desire -- perhaps 'seduction' would be a better term. The other was removing her ability to choose her own actions, while someone else chose them instead - and I think 'possession' is the right term here because it matches what the Ravers do so precisely.
I recognize the distinction, or at least I understand the one you're trying to make. I just think it applies to Merewives more than Kasreyn.

Regardless of which of us is right, it would make no sense to say that Haruchai could resist Kasreyn (as opposed to Banefire) because his power was not possession but instead 'seduction,' when the Banefire was not possession either.

wayfriend wrote:
The difference between the Kasreyn and the merewives is that the merewives knew how to touch the Haruchai's desires where Kasreyn could not. There weren't necessarily stronger, or doing something different. It's that the merewives happened upon the right button to push, the Haruchai Achilles Heel - lust.
That sounds plausible as far as the Merewives go. But just because the Haruchai chose not to listen to Kasreyn doesn't prove that what they were refusing was seduction rather than compulsion. For instance, a Drill Sgt. could be yelling at you to do pushups, while a whore could be plying you for an illicit business transaction, and yet you can chose to ignore (or not listen to) either one. That fact--your ability to ignore either one--doesn't make what they're both doing seduction. Neither does the fact that the whore is obviously better at seduction.

I see how you can force your theory to fit--or at least not contradict--the evidence. I just don't see the evidence supporting your theory, nor eliminating other theories. From what we've examined so far, the evidence also fits the theory of Banefire/Kasreyn being compulsive in nature, and the Merewives being seductive in nature, and the Haruchai succumbing to the stronger compulsion (but not the weaker) and the right kind of seduction.

If you could provide a quote that describes Kasreyn's geas as a kind of seduction, that would work strongly in your favor. Like I said, you might be right.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great series of posts! There is a fundamental difference between the geas of Kasreyn and the possesion by the Raver in that the one is acompanied by the overiding sense of calmness with [from the quote] the required words being 'lifted' from the victim; in the other case they are wrenched from the screaming soul of the possesed - but I agree with Z., both amount to 'coercion'.

I don't think however the haruchai were coerced at all by the Merewives. I think these fatal sirens so intimately understood the Haruchai's capacity for desire that they were able to exert an uncontrollable temptation over the H, rather than an unresistable coercion. The H went willingly to the Merevives, and willingly they returned to them.

But am I correct [or alone] in thinking there is perhaps more to the H's lack of response to the ease with which they were entrapped by the Banefire. Vizidor's suggestion that perhaps they even went willingly to the banefire revolts me, but is the sort of extreme thing the H were capable of and I wonder if there is not more to this rapidly recounted episode than we give credit for.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider also, that once the Haruchai were given the understanding that allowed them to break the hold of the Merewives (by Linden, of all people), that also gave Cail the ability to resist the Banefire as well.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IrrationalSanity wrote:
Consider also, that once the Haruchai were given the understanding that allowed them to break the hold of the Merewives (by Linden, of all people), that also gave Cail the ability to resist the Banefire as well.
Whoa, I don't remember that at all. I remember Linden threatening to break Cail's arm, and that brought him out of the "spell" of the Merewives, or something. But I don't remember this giving him the power to resist the Banefire. If so--if the lessons of resisting Merewives provides insight into the Banefire--then these two examples (which we've all agreed are of different types) aren't of different types after all. Resisting "possession" or compulsion shouldn't be like resisting temptation. So does that mean the Banefire isn't a type of compulsion, but instead temptation? And its power over the Haruchai isn't one of sheer magnitude?

Very interesting.

Peter, your point about the Haruchai's lack of reaction to their own imprisonment via the Banefire is interesting, but I'm not sure there's anything there other than the author having his hands full and didn't think it was important enough (to the story) to mention. Perhaps they have deep shame indeed over this fact, and we just didn't get a chance to see it, because it wasn't relevant to LA & TC. Or because it would provide a spoiler to the Last Chronicles (i.e. Masters). At the time they were freed, there was certainly much more to focus on. Being self-absorbed with shame might have made the Haruchai seem petty.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
But am I correct [or alone] in thinking there is perhaps more to the H's lack of response to the ease with which they were entrapped by the Banefire.

The Haruchai willingly followed the merewives. Once they had recovered, this is what bothered them. "Our given fidelity we betrayed at the behest of a delusion." They had promised to serve Covenant ... but then willingly set that aside.

They didn't willingly submit to the Banefire. It mastered them nonetheless. But there was no betrayal of their fidelity, because they did not choose to succumb to it.

And so I think that this is the basis for the Haruchai "non-concern" where the Banefire is concerned. There's nothing that mars their integrity in it.

They do, however, give it due respect. In WGW, they maintained a good distance from Revelstone to stay out of possession-range, until Covenant returned. So I don't see any sign of intentionally submitting themselves to it. Once they were aware of it, they avoided it. So it seems most plausible that they were originally caught by it because they were unaware.

IrrationalSanity wrote:
Consider also, that once the Haruchai were given the understanding that allowed them to break the hold of the Merewives (by Linden, of all people), that also gave Cail the ability to resist the Banefire as well.

Indeed. I was thinking about that as well. The threat of harm seems to invoke a need for self-protection which overcomes any barriers which otherwise prevent a person from acting. Self-protection is instinctual; people flinch to defend themselves before they even think. It's an action that comes from somewhere deeper and more primitive than the will.

As I see it, the merewives spell consisted of two parts. The siren call was the first; the second was the trance state. Apparently the victims live in a pleasant dream while the real world ceases to be important. I think this is a second aspect because at first victims are free to act, during which time they leap into the sea to be with the objects of their desire, but then later they lose the ability to act so that they can, presumably, drown.

I think the threat of harm addresses this second portion. It breaks some sort of barrier that keeps the victim separated from the real world. It brings them back in contact with their senses and their ability to act. An involuntary "flinch" which the spell cannot suppress. And once the connection is restored, the spell is broken.

So I see this applying to possession by the Banefire in a similar way. Under it's influence, the victim loses their ability to act; they become observers trapped within their own body, while their body is controlled by another. So, again, it's some sort of barrier that prevents action. The threat of harm creates a reaction which overcomes this barrier. An involuntary "flinch" which even the Banefire possession cannot suppress. Once the connection is made, the spell breaks.

When Linden breaks Covenant free from the passivity of the Elohim, she does it a similar way. She creates a connection. She finds something that Covenant will respond to, something that speaks so deeply that his response cannot be suppressed. When she touched him, the gap was bridged. He responds, and the connection is made. And once the connection is made, the spell is broken.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:

But am I correct [or alone] in thinking there is perhaps more to the H's lack of response to the ease with which they were entrapped by the Banefire. Vizidor's suggestion that perhaps they even went willingly to the banefire revolts me, but is the sort of extreme thing the H were capable of and I wonder if there is not more to this rapidly recounted episode than we give credit for.


I didn't suggest that the Haruchai went willingly to the Banefire. I said that they maybe went willingly to the dungeons of Revelstone. A subtle difference that was lost in trying to be concise.
I'll reiterate those ideas.

Having read something concerning a characteristic difference between Covenant and the Haruchai (in chapter 11 of The Last Dark), I was interested in knowing what exactly this coercion might be.

In The Wounded Land, comparing the actions of the Haruchai with the extravagance of the Seareach Giants lead me to an awareness of a story pattern I hadn't previously seen.

Covenant was coerced into an act of self-sacrifice, by taking Joan's place! Can the same be said of the Haruchai? Maybe.

My understanding of this is that the Bloodguard are the Haruchai army - not the sum total of the Haruchai nation. Therefore it was the Haruchai army that submitted to the will of the Clave.

Why?
To participate in the bringing of Covenant to the Land, the only way that was open to them, through self-sacrifice.

But how was this done? And what exactly was the force of coercion imposed upon them?
Someone mentioned that the Haruchai can be swayed by lust.
I refuse to believe this. I have to give them more credit than that - sevenfold.

Perhaps it's their way so as not to be overwhelmed by lust - there is hope in contradiction.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vizidor wrote:
Someone mentioned that the Haruchai can be swayed by lust.
I refuse to believe this. I have to give them more credit than that - sevenfold.

If you are referring to someone in this thread, then I think you mean me.

I base that opinion on this passage:
In The One Tree was wrote:
"Ur-Lord." Brinn did not look away. He hardly blinked. Yet the unwonted implication of softness in his tone was unmistakable. "In the song of the merewives we heard the fire of our yearning for that which we have left behind. Assuredly we were deluded - but the delusion was sweet. Mountains sprang about us. The air became the keen breath which the peaks exhale from their snows. And upon the slopes moved the women who call to us in their longing for fire and seed and offspring." For a moment, he broke into the tonal tongue of the Haruchai; and that language seemed to transform his visage, giving him an aspect of poetry. "Therefore did we leap to answer, disregarding all service and safety. The limbs of our women are brown from sun and birth. But there is also a whiteness as acute as the ice which bleeds from the rock of mountains, and it burns as the purest snow burns in the most high tor, the most wind-flogged col. For that whiteness, we gave ourselves to the Dancers of the Sea."

That's lust, no? If not, well, that's what I was referring to when I said that the merewives were able to touch the Haruchai's desires.
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