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Seventh Decimate Discussion SPOILERS
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mmm.. disappointing.. this is the second ho him .. Ive read regarding this .. still new to me series. I will likely still get around to reading it some time.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read it twice now, and throughly enjoyed it.

As i was reading it, I kept wondering if by chance of could take place in the Land's world.
I know that SRD would not have done so; but so far there's no reason for it NOT to be!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What makes you suspicious that it might be?

I found the guns-and-magic milieu to be more like The Dark Tower than the Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a response, years and YEARS ago in the Gradual Interview.
Someone had asked why there was no technology after thousands of years of Land history.
Donaldson responded something like, with Earthpower being so predominate, there was no need of technology.

So though I am 100% sure he wouldn't have set this story in that earth, it did give me cause to think about that statement.

As soon as guns were invented, or really, s soon as they were used to kill a magister, all magic in the realms of Bellegerin and Amika went away. So because they had now attained a technology -one invented only for killing- their access to theurogy was gone
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reread Seventh Decimate a few weeks ago, and I must say, I enjoyed it more the second time. I also empathized with Prince Bifalt more this time through - or rather, I found the story more balanced in his favour.

The first time I read Seventh Decimate, Bifalt just seemed impossibly unwilling to see past his own parochialism in the face of amazing, world-expanding revelations. The Magisters of the Last Repository seemed arrogant, but ultimately well-meaning, and motivated by a higher cause.

This last read through, I could better see how Bifalt's behaviour is both a product of his upbringing, and a product of his focus on fulfilling his mission. You can fault him for putting his mission above more important concerns, but given that choice, his actions become understandable.

I also thought that his skepticism of the Magister's motives might have had more substance than just being the result of a prejudice against theurgy or xenophobic paranoia. His suspicions of their willingness to sacrifice Bellinger's people for the "greater good", for example, may have been closer to the mark than I'd realized on first reading.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My reaction to SRD's viewpoint characters is often mixed as far as liking them on the first read, and sometimes even after a re-e-read I remain ambivalent about them. For me, Prince Bifalt was no exception as I found him small-minded, humorless, and haughty--such as when Prince Bifalt hits one of his loyal followers for wanting to know if being saved by the sorcerers make him their ally. Yet his motives are more understandable with a re-read, when I slow down my eagerness to zoom through the pages just a bit to notice more details about the story. The Prince is honest, and unwavering in his dedication to save Belleger. And he can admit when he's wrong. These traits--which somehow didn't stay with my memory from a first-time reading--have me admiring Bifalt more than I did at first.

In Part Two of Seventh Decimate was wrote:
Prince Bifalt's response was direct. Without warning, he punched Elgart in the face.

The guardsman hit the ground like a man flung against a wall.

Before he could rise, the Prince stood over him. Ignoring Klamath, who had drawn back a step and covered his mouth, the King's son held up his fist, ready to strike again.

"Now here me, Elgart," he rasped at the rage on the fallen man's visage. "Hear me well, Klamath.

"I am Bellegerin. I would die for my king, or for my homeland, or for either of you. I am not a traitor. I will not fail my father.

"And sorcery is an abomination." He had flames in him. They demanded an outlet. "It is as dishonorable as treason. Magisters in safety butcher men in peril. It makes them arrogant. It makes them despicable. Look at Slack and see the truth." He thought of his father flayed by pain and helplessness; dependent on theurgists who were his only defense, although they could not save his realm. "If I had the power to end all sorcery with a word, I would do it.

"Your accusation is offensive. I repudiate it. I am not allied with sorcerers. I do not serve them."

Then he made an effort to master himself. Opening his hands, he showed his palms to Elgart, a gesture of placation.

"Also there is this. What possible purpose would an alliance with sorcerers serve? If it does not help us against Amika, what is the use of it? Have they or I gone to such lengths to cause the deaths of a few guardsman? Or perhaps to feed a few Amikans? Do you suppose I led you here to watch you die? For what? If I am in league with sorcerers, both they and I are insane, and everything we have done is stark madness."

When the Prince saw Elgart's anger fade, he stepped back. Speaking now as much to the broiling heat as to his men, he said grimly,
"I have indeed been chosen by some sorcerer. Or sorcerers. I have been protected just as you claim. And I have heard a voice in my mind, asking if I am ready. I do not know how it was done, or why. We all know the limitations of Magisters. I have never heard of one who could cast his awareness or his power farther than he could see. But this I swear.

"I am not ready. I was selected without my knowledge"--he brandished his fists as he shouted--"and without my consent!"

He let his cry fade into the desert air. When it was gone, he continued more quietly, "I have promised myself I will give them the reward they deserve. But I fear I will not be able to keep my word. I am only one man. How can I want your deaths? I need you. If I had sorcerers for allies, sorcerers with incomparable strengths, our comrades would still be with us, Camwish and Vinsid and Captain Swalish and Nowel, all of them. I would know Slack's secrets. And I would defy any Magister who tried to make me his servant."

There he fell silent, waiting to hear how his men would respond.

"Well, Highness," murmured Elgart before Klamath spoke. Watching the Prince closely, he clambered to his feet. With one hand, he rubbed his bruised cheek. "I am answered.

"I am a divided man." He rubbed at his scar. "Anyone can see it. Despair and urgency. Curiosity and anger. Also I am quick. Too quick at times. I often speak faster than I think. My accusation was stupid. I regret it."

Prince Bifalt nodded. "I have no use for secrets," he repeated. "Not in this extremity." With a gesture, he indicated the wasteland. "Now you know mine. I do not fault you for your doubts."

"Yet yours is a heavy fist," replied Elgart, grinning.

The Prince faced him without flinching. "My burden is heavy, It wearies me. It infuriates me. I know who I am. I know I have been chosen. But I do not know why."

"You are the King's eldest son," ventured Elgart. "King Abbator's heir. If you cannot do what these sorcerers want, no one can."

"Yes," snorted Prince Bifalt. "Of course. But why was I singled out privately? Why does the voice speak only in the silence of my mind? Why did these sorcerers not make their wishes known to my father?"

Elgart seemed to stare with one side of his face, scowl with the other. "I have no answer, Highness. What do you fear?"

Through his teeth, the Prince said, "I can only think of one explanation. I am my father's son and heir, yes. No one else can do as much harm to Belleger. No one else can do more to assure Amika's victory. If this was not the reason I was chosen, there was no need to summon me in secret."

"Highness?" asked Klamath weakly. "Harm to Belleger? How?"

Prince Bifalt did not respond. He kept his attention focused on Elgart.

Now Elgart's whole face scowled. "And you are sure these sorcerers are from the library?"

"It is their Repository," retorted the Prince. Magister Altimar had said so. "Where else can they be from? There is nowhere else."

After a long moment, Elgart nodded. "As you say, Highness."

At last, Prince Bifalt turned to Klamath.

"Highness--" began Klamath. Then he stopped clearly bewildered. Taking his time, he admitted, "I did not know what Elgart knew. I do not understand it. How can you harm Belleger? In this desert?" Then he took a deep breath, released it in a sigh. "But you are my prince. My king is your father. That I understand. While I live, I will follow you. What else can I do?"

With a quick glance at Elgart, the rifleman risked adding, "Only, Highness--if I may ask--? Do not strike Elgart again. He is my comrade. I serve you, and he is my friend. I cannot choose between you."

The Prince disguised a smile. "I will not. I was wrong. We are Bellegerin. We must not fight each other. And if I do--if I forget myself--Elgart may return my blow. If he does, he will have cause, or he will not. In either event, you may find choosing is not so difficult."

For Prince Bifalt, Klamath's frown of consternation was oddly comforting--as was Elgart's sour laughter. Bellegerin veterans, both of them. His people. He might have picked other men to accompany him in this desert, but he could not have picked better.

With his darkest secret spoken, he was able to walk for another league across the plain before heat and thirst drove every other thought from his mind.


Last edited by Cord Hurn on Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hunchback Jack wrote:
The first time I read Seventh Decimate, Bifalt just seemed impossibly unwilling to see past his own parochialism in the face of amazing, world-expanding revelations. The Magisters of the Last Repository seemed arrogant, but ultimately well-meaning, and motivated by a higher cause.

This last read through, I could better see how Bifalt's behaviour is both a product of his upbringing, and a product of his focus on fulfilling his mission. You can fault him for putting his mission above more important concerns, but given that choice, his actions become understandable.


I think that is very well put, Hunchback Jack. I don't really like Bifalt's parochialism, but a re-read makes his attitude more comprehensible to me.

In Part Three of Seventh Decimate was wrote:
During his quest, Prince Bifalt had learned that sorcery exceeded his conception of it. The voice in his mind, and the saving of his life, had told him as much. And in Set Ungabwey's caravan, he had discovered that the world itself was far larger than he could have realized. Now, wounded and bitter, he found that he could not accept further expansion. If the world were too large to be understood, it made Belleger too small to be valued. Of necessity, he closed his mind to the implications, Rather than struggle to imagine realms a year and oceans distant, he clung to his purpose.
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