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Lord Covenant the Despiser
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:42 pm    Post subject: Lord Covenant the Despiser Reply with quote

[If I might be allowed to paraphrase] At the end of The Last Dark, Covenant becomes capable of saving the World from the Worm because he has incorporated Lord Foul into himself. This is a metaphor a person accepting and making use of one's "inner despiser" (e.g. dark side, evil desires, destructive inclinations, etc.) in order to reach one's full potential.

My question is this: During the Last Chronicles, prior to Foul's incorporation, does Covenant demonstrate that he's making use of his inner despiser?

Some candidates that I can think of:
    Dead Covenant possesses Anele. It struck me right off, as I read Runes, that this was rather evil of Covenant. Covenant believes possession is evil. Possessing Anele puts him in the same company as Lord Foul and Kastenessen. Not to mention Ravers.

    Dead Covenant manipulates Linden. As Timewarden, Covenant was particularly cold-blooded in steering Linden to Andelain and the Worm. Such far-sighted choice-predicting manipulation is the providence of Lord Foul. Although, to be fair, the Dead have done so as well (e.g. Vain). Still, he understood that Linden would suffer for it.

    Covenant causing Elena's death. We know he didn't plan it, but he agrees that he's at fault.

    Covenant kills Joan with the krill. I point this out because Covenant has always been clear on his position on killing. Not to mention that this is his wife. (He also attacks Roger with the krill, with the intent to at least maim.) He even admits that the act has a selfish component: "One of us has to die. One of us has to live."

    Covenant mowing down the Cavewights with his ur-Sword. Again, Covenant has always been against slaughter. And he knows the Cavewights have only been Foul's gullible pawns.
Are there other candidates?

I just want to note that just because "it had to be done", just because necessity demanded it, doesn't mean Covenant is not tapping into his inner despiser. It only means that tapping into his inner despiser was called for. Killing in self defense still requires calling upon your inner killer.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:36 pm    Post subject: Lord Covenant the Despiser Reply with quote

It was obvious to me that SRD inverted/recanted his previously held 'good cannot be accomplished through evil means' philosophy, and aside from the specific examples you've provided with Covenant, Linden also displayed a willingness to utilize 'means' which were at times indistinguishable from despite.

It may be worth pointing out that Covenant had previously displayed some of these traits, attempting to use that latent dark, destructive side for his own benefit; e.g. manipulating Elena to take his position as the Land's hero - he's just gotten better at it over the millennia!

while the example I used from book 2 backfired on Covenant badly, all of his morally ambiguous choices in the LC bore fruit.

If Foul had really been smart he'd have embraced his inner Covenant a looong time ago ..
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Lord Covenant the Despiser Reply with quote

SleeplessOne wrote:

If Foul had really been smart he'd have embraced his inner Covenant a looong time ago ..


Now, imagine the consequences if She had embraced her inner Linden... Crazy
All life upon the Land would have been washed away by a flood of Bane-tears ere the awakening of the Worm!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Lord Covenant the Despiser Reply with quote

Frostheart Grueburn wrote:
SleeplessOne wrote:

If Foul had really been smart he'd have embraced his inner Covenant a looong time ago ..


Now, imagine the consequences if She had embraced her inner Linden... Crazy
All life upon the Land would have been washed away by a flood of Bane-tears ere the awakening of the Worm!


.. fate writ in salty tear water
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Lord Covenant the Despiser Reply with quote

SleeplessOne wrote:
It was obvious to me that SRD inverted/recanted his previously held 'good cannot be accomplished through evil means' philosophy

You know, I almost threw that bit into my base post, but then thought it might dilute the point. But, yes, "Can good be accomplished through evil means" is a recurring theme in the Last Chronicles that is certainly, in hindsight, connected to the concept of harnessing one's inner despiser.

Its a bit hard to examine thoroughly, because people sort of automatically assume that an act which is necessitated to achieve a greater good isn't actually an evil act. (Which I -did- throw into my base post.)

SleeplessOne wrote:
It may be worth pointing out that Covenant had previously displayed some of these traits, attempting to use that latent dark, destructive side for his own benefit; e.g. manipulating Elena to take his position as the Land's hero - he's just gotten better at it over the millennia!

Well, that's an important point, isn't it? Knowing when to use your destructive side and when not to! It's not always good. But, importantly, it's not always bad, either. The hard part is sorting all that out.

There's an arc here. First you learn that letting your destructive side lose is bad. But -then- you learn that keeping it bottled up entirely isn't good either. And it reaches a conclusion when you can balance them both.

Covenant can certainly be seen to have traveled that arc. Several times, in different ways, if you think about it.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting... you can see throughout the books how the viewpoint changes.

At the end of the first Chronicles we find the idea that the Land will be be served through peace.

Quote:


"I am Mhoram son of Variol, High Lord by the choice of the Council. I declare that from this day forth we will not devote ourselves to any Lore which precludes Peace. We will gain lore of our own-we will strive and quest and learn until we have found a lore in which the Oath of Peace and the preservation of the Land live together. Hear me, you people! We will serve Earthfriendship in a new way."

As he finished, he lifted the krill and tossed it high into the air. It arced glinting through the sunlight, struck water in the center of Glimmermere. When it splashed the potent water, it flared once, sent a burn of white glory into the depths of the lake. Then it was gone forever.


It doesn't take long for TC to find out in the Second Chronicles that Peace would not be enough. By the end of the Second Chronicles he knew the answer but had no way to 'fix' it without LF realizing that he and TC were one. We have 'surrender' but only on one side.

Quote:
He and I are one. But he doesn't seem to know that. Or maybe he hates it too much to admit it. Evil can't exist unless the capacity to stand against it also exists. And you and I are the Land--in a manner of speaking, anyway. He's one side of us. That's his paradox. He's one side of us. We're one side of him. When he killed me, he was really trying to kill the other half of himself. He just made me stronger. As long as I accepted him--or accepted myself, my own power, didn't try to do to him what he wanted to do to me--he couldn't get past me.


Since nothing was really fixed in the 2nd Chrons, it left the door open for the Last Chronicles, TC has to find a way for LF to realize that they (TC and LF) are one and to accept that. TC as the book progresses shows that he has realized that it will require some 'evil' deeds to achieve good and as he did those things, he was actually accepting the evil part of himself. By the end of the book he and LF are more alike than different in so many ways and there is the dual surrender to incorporate both good and evil into one, the Land is truly healed.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoulBiter,

SoulBiter wrote:
TC has to find a way for LF to realize that they (TC and LF) are one and to accept that.

This makes me want to harken back to a very old interview question.

Quote:
Do you see The First Chronicles as being the external battle and The Second Chronicles as being the internal battle, with The Land being both internal and external?

I see The Land as being the reflection of an internal struggle. I think that's what Fantasy is: turning an internal struggle inside out, and dramatizing it as if it were external. The two stories together are a kind of moral hierarchy: the first one is relatively simple concerned with muscle; the second is a test of sacrifice in relationships - Covenant can't save The Land alone in The Second Chronicles , and neither can Linden Avery. It takes what they can both give, and what they can both give up, to save The Land. I believe there is another test that which if I ever get to it I will try to explore: I guess superficially you might call it the test of acceptance, but it's a sequence: you can't get to the second stage unless you have done the first. That's how I look at it. [link]

The "test of acceptance" can only refer to Covenant accepting Foul, and Foul accepting Covenant. Dramatizing this as an external struggle, Covenant accepts that he needs Foul, Foul accepts that he needs Covenant, and then Covenant literally 'accepts' Foul into himself. The internal struggle is to 'accept' that you need, and need to use, your destructive side. (Is this a play on words with the word 'accept'? Not sure.)

I want to make a clear distinction here, because when the Second Chronicles ends, Covenant has accepted that he and Foul are two sides of the same coin. Heck, at the end of the first Chronicles, he's accepted that he and Foul are similar. So, then, we have to carefully delineate what is accepted during a "test of acceptance".

The "test of sacrifice in relationships" Donaldson explains. "It takes what they can both give, and what they can both give up, to save The Land." Dramatizing this as an external struggle, Covevant gives up his life to Lord Foul. Surrender. Doing so, he frees Linden to do what he could not. Meanwhile, Linden gives up her designs on the ring, so that Covenant can do what she could not. The internal struggle is to surrender the need to do everything yourself. Covenant needs Linden, Linden needs Covenant, neither can resolve their struggle alone, and neither can completely pass the burden to another either.

So, yes, surrender is part of this.

The most important question, I think, is: how does the last stage, the test of acceptance, require that the earlier stage, the test of sacrifice, be completed first?

So I think the 'test of acceptance' might be a lot more than I originally thought. I think it has as much to do with Covenant, Linden, and Jeremiah accepting that they need each other, that they are not complete without each other, that they are here together because they are all integral with each other. 'Wholeness' comes at several levels simultaneously: Covenant and Foul become a whole, but Covenant, Linden, and Jeremiah are also a whole. When they realize this, they can restore the shattered world into a whole.

Now, I think, it makes more sense as the progression Donaldson outlines.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, that last post was a bit rambling and disconnected.

I will just say that I think that there are several progressions that can be found through the three Chronicles. And I think that the attitude towards one inner despiser is one of these things.

In the first Chronicles, the point seems to be that it is important to recognize that it's there, so that one can keep it from getting loose.
    This is metaphored by Covenant's learned acceptance of his responsibility for Lord Foul, which he initially denies. And, of course, Lord Foul cannot be stopped until this is recognized.

    The Hile Troy foil exemplifies the danger of not recognizing an inner despiser. While the Mhoram story with the Ritual of Desecration helps show how to balance acting on one's passions without letting destructive forces loose.
I find the Second Chronicles harder to quantify. But when I think about it, it seems that it's about recognizing when it's impossible to contain the inner despiser, and which point you need to pull back and find a way to do things a different way.
    The venom that Covenant succumbs to makes his destructive side impossible to deny but devastating to unleash. The answer, when Covenant finally finds it, is to withdraw - give up power and leave it to others to save the Land.

    Linden shares a similar journey, because fully using her percipience before she fully recognizes her potential for evil would only unleash her inner despiser. She needs to hold back as well.

    Both of them, by relying on each other, taking and giving, find other ways to resolve their dilemmas. Once the situation is changed, their destructive potential can be safely unleashed: Foul wieids the ring; Linden possesses the Land.
(Yes, this is a bit unsatisfactory, but I think it's going the right way and I need to polish it more.)

The Final Chronicles has the final answer, of course. Recognizing the worth and utility of your inner despiser, and learning how to use it properly.
    Of course, the metaphor is Covenant consuming Lord Foul, and then being able to remake the world. However, there are (as this post was originally about) other signs that Covenant was more engaged with his destructive potential, and finding ways to make it useful.

    Linden is on a similar journey, except (again) her story is about coming to terms with having unleashed her inner despiser, recognizing that it was proper. From unleashing pure destruction against the Cavewights to waking the Worm, you can live with the consequences of having let destructive forces loose. I see this as a complimentary story-line.
What I like about this theory is that there's a clear progression in wisdom: recognition but denying the inner despiser; re-aiming the inner despiser when it cannot be denied; incorporating rather than denying the inner despiser. I may be naive, but that sounds good.

Of course, there's a lot more to this.

But back to Soulbiter's point, now there is a framework to tie in the method of Foul's demise. Which, frankly, you need to be able to do, else the theory isn't quite right.
    In the first Chronicles, one's inner despiser must be recognized but denied, and so Covenant recognizes his responsibility and then "denies" Foul by beating him down.

    In the Second Chronicles, if you can't stop your inner despiser then let it loose on your own terms, and so Covenant finds a way to give Foul the power he desires but arranges that it will work in Covenant's favor, and not Foul's.

    In the Last Chronicles, you need to incorporate your inner despiser and use it for good, and so Covenant internalizes Lord Foul and then uses their joint power to save the world.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Post WF.

Its good to see the progression in the books as well as the symbolism. Not just with TC but also with LF..... Both were on a journey of self discovery. But you bring up a good point and an astute observation with Linden and Jeremiah as they had similar journeys to make.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+
Quote:
SleeplessOne wrote:
It was obvious to me that SRD inverted/recanted his previously held 'good cannot be accomplished through evil means' philosophy …


SoulBiter wrote:
TC as the book progresses shows that he has realized that it will require some 'evil' deeds to achieve good and as he did those things, he was actually accepting the evil part of himself. By the end of the book he and LF are more alike than different in so many ways and there is the dual surrender to incorporate both good and evil into one, the Land is truly healed.

Assuming that I'm reading y'all aright (and making due allowances for the possibility that I'm not), I think that this is a grave misreading of the entirety of the Chrons' arc.

I don't have more to say about this right this sec (I'll prolly make a post in The Entire Chrons forum at some point), but this seems to bypass the tension inherent in the mystery which SRD has been exploring for over 30+ years.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:
, I think that this is a grave misreading of the entirety of the Chrons' arc.


I'm interested in seeing that post. I don't think the preceding is a total misreading...but I have several problems with it.
I'll wait to see what you have to say...peeps have heard my blather enough for now.
But, a couple hints on my directions:

Who, exactly, says "good cannot be accomplished by evil means," and under what circumstances? [Does SRD really mean that? is it a theme/statement/point we're supposed to agree with?]

At the end, LF has NOT accepted ANYTHING. He's not a Doberman on a leash...he's a rabid wolf in a cage.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:57 am    Post subject: Lord Covenant the Despiser Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Wosbald wrote:
, I think that this is a grave misreading of the entirety of the Chrons' arc.


I'm interested in seeing that post. I don't think the preceding is a total misreading...but I have several problems with it.
I'll wait to see what you have to say...peeps have heard my blather enough for now.
But, a couple hints on my directions:

Who, exactly, says "good cannot be accomplished by evil means," and under what circumstances? [Does SRD really mean that? is it a theme/statement/point we're supposed to agree with?]At the end, LF has NOT accepted ANYTHING. He's not a Doberman on a leash...he's a rabid wolf in a cage.


I'm pretty sure the seeds of "good cannot be accomplished by evil means" goes right back to the first chrons; I can recall Mhoram rejoicing in Covenant's decision to turn his back on the Land in order to save the snakebitten girl.
At the time Mhoram argues that no evil will come from Covenant's decision to help the girl at the expense of the Land as his choice is fundamentally 'good'.

I realise that the argument that 'no evil will come from noble choices' is kind of a mirror of what we're talking about; but, also, Linden prioritising Jeremiah's rescue over the fate of the Land in the LC's echoes Covenant's decision in 1C.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"Down at the bottom, your accusation against Linden is, ‘Good cannot be accomplished by evil means.’ Breaking Laws is an evil means. Concealing her intentions is an evil means. So of course she has to be stopped. You couldn't block the Fall she used to get to Revelstone. You couldn't make her tell the truth about what she wanted in Andelain. You couldn't get past Stave and Mahrtiir and the Ranyhyn when you realized what she had in mind. But I should have let you stop her when she first resurrected me.

"Well, sure," he went on before the Humbled could respond. "That makes sense. There’s only one problem. There are always evil means. Nobody is ever as pure as you want them to be. You aren't. I’m not. We all have some kind of darkness in us. So the only way to avoid evil means is to do nothing. And the only way to do nothing - to be innocent - is to be powerless," which in effect was what the Masters had chosen for the Land. "If you have power, any kind of power at all, it always finds a way to express itself. Somehow.

"That much, at least, I understand." Covenant kept his gaze on the horizon, surveying reminders of devastation. "The first time I came to the Land, I almost turned myself inside out trying to be innocent." After what he had done to Lena - The memory still made him cringe. "What I finally accepted wasn't being weak, and it sure as hell wasn't the consequences of my actions. What I accepted was evil means. Guilt. The crime of power."

The only way to avoid evil means is to do nothing. The Crime of Power. Is there any reason to doubt the wisdom of Covenant's position here?

Note the examples Covenant provides for explaining what he means by 'evil means'.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Lord Covenant the Despiser Reply with quote

SleeplessOne wrote:
accomplished by evil means" goes right back to the first chrons;


Heh...good answer, but not how I meant the question. Could be how I phrased it, my bad.
I didn't mean literally who said it, I meant who said it, what was the context, and was SRD claiming/intending that the character was right, the statement was TRUE?
And I think the answer to that is clearly no.
[WF's quote is right on target, but it's not the only example].

Also...you reversed it...Wink [or mhoram did]. What you cited isn't about good from evil means...it's about his faith that permanent evil/harm will not arise out of good intentions.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Choices like that.

In White Gold Wielder was wrote:
"I was wrong," he said to the empty dark. Perhaps no one heard him over the muffled sound of the runners in the snow. He did not want anyone to hear him. He was not speaking to be heard. He only wanted to fight off sleep, stay away from dreams. "I should've listened to Mhoram."

The memory was like a dream: it had the strange immanence of dreaming. But he clung to it because it was more tolerable than Hamako's death.

When High Lord Mhoram had tried to summon him to the Land for the last battle against Lord Foul, he, Covenant, had resisted the call. In his own world, a small girl had just been bitten by a timber-rattler — a lost child who needed his help. He had refused Mhoram and the Land in order to aid that girl.

And Mhoram had replied, Unbeliever, I release you. You turn from us to save life in your own world. We will not be undone by such motives. And if darkness should fall upon us, still the beauty of the Land endures—for you will not forget. Go in Peace.

"I should've understood," Covenant went on, addressing no one but the cold stars. "I should've given Seadreamer some kind of caamora. Should've found some way to save Hamako. Forget the risk. Mhoram took a terrible risk when he let me go. But anything worth saving won't be destroyed by choices like that."

Only by one who is compelled by rage, and contemptuous of consequence.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
At once stentorian and kindly, Berek continued, "Only the great of heart may despair greatly." His voice seemed to echo back from the lost stars. "You are loved and treasured, not for the outcome of your extremity, but rather for the open passion by which you were swayed to Desecration. That same quality warranted the Vow of the Haruchai. It was not false."

In moments, the first High Lord had passed Linden as he and his descendants gathered before Kevin. "Doubtless such passion may cause immeasurable pain. But it has not released the Despiser. It cannot. Mistaken though it may be, no act of love and horror - or indeed of self-repudiation - is potent to grant the Despiser his desires." Together, Berek, Damelon, and Loric drew near enough to touch the Landwaster. "He may be freed only by one who is compelled by rage, and contemptuous of consequence."

Fervid with apprehension, Kevin faced his progenitors. The krill glared argent in his eyes.

"High Lord Kevin son of Loric," concluded Berek. "Others may have fallen - or risen - to that extreme. You have not. You did not. None here can assert with certainty that they would not have done as you did in your place."

"That is sooth, my son," Loric murmured roughly, "a word of truth in this fate-ridden time. If I did not speak often or plainly enough of my own encounters with despair, or of the occasions on which I trembled at the very threshold of Desecration, then was I a poor father indeed, and your reproaches must be for me rather than for yourself."

When he heard his father, something within Kevin broke. Linden saw the chains which had bound his spirit snap as he opened himself to Loric's embrace.

(It seems to me that Berek was speaking about Linden as he was speaking about Kevin. Not for the outcome of your extremity - this ties back to not judging actions by the outcome, which we discussed in the "RE-READING THE ENTIRE CHRONICLES" thread.)
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

I think you're on the right track here, wayfriend. You certainly seem to be resonating with the gist of my reading.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some two or three cents (for the Trinity! blasphemy quota for the day met--chaching!): on the other hand, what is it about the Despiser as the Despiser that helps Covenant save the world? It's true that Foul learned a lot about the nature of creation as part of his endeavors to destroy it, and this learning is what Covenant incorporates of his merger with Foul into the knowledge Linden and Jeremiah have in order to the world's reconstruction. But any sufficiently creation-knowledgeable being could have, in principle, provided Covenant with the relevant information, no?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm tempted to ask what other candidates were available for the job?

But my answer would be, Foul knew a lot about how to put the world together because he had studied how to take it apart for so very long. Destruction is the other face of Creation, and all that.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
The Despiser had striven for eons to escape his prison. His knowledge of the created world was both vast and intricate.

I don't think, for example, that SWMNBN had such knowledge. She was a basket-case. (Sorry, SWMNBN fans, but it's true!)

Personally, I consider it one of the genius bits of the Last Chronicles, that Foul would be the perfect guy to help save the world, given the chance.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Within the narrative, no one could have done it but the Despiser. But as far as we read a deeper, err, message (if SRD is going the message route?) into all this, a theory or meditation on the relationship between good and evil, well, what is it about evil that gives us knowledge of how to recreate?

Also, the Worm (rampant entropy?), not Despite, in this tale is Destruction. One wonders why Covenant didn't try to "read" the Worm's mind to figure out how it was decimating the Arch, or some such thing...
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

But my answer would be, Foul knew a lot about how to put the world together because he had studied how to take it apart for so very long. Destruction is the other face of Creation, and all that.

Makes sense. One could make a very strong argument that a necessary pillar/basis of any and all knowledge is the imposition of pain/harm/stress, and yes, destruction.

The funny thing about LF [apparently he was::
"Blinded by Despite
raged up with SHE-goose
in the Arch of Gold that's White...
SHE got down, but she never got touched..."

Anyway, all LF had to do was go to sleep and WAIT.
The world would have rotted, died, been eaten, and he'd have been free...eventually. I mean...if you are really immortal, even eons are simple instants.

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