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As one recent study of past rivalries has noted, great powers with extended economic and military interests must frequently grapple with two major challenges: First, they offer many points for enemies to threaten and attack, and second, their capacity to project military strength is eroded the further the contested zone is from the core of their power.

Raison d’Etat: Richelieu’s Grand Strategy During the Thirty Years’ War

With its dispersed holdings, Spain was heavily reliant on the lines of communication that formed the connective tissue of its sprawling empire — whether by sea, or by land, via the so-called Spanish road that ran from the Netherlands through the Italian peninsula. The providence of God, who desires to keep everything in balance, has ensured that France, thanks to its geographical position, should separate the states of Spain and weaken them by dividing them. Richelieu did not confine his strategy of great power competition to the continental theater, however. Through dexterous and continuous diplomacy, he therefore sought to forestall the advent of a formalized military alliance between Vienna and Madrid.

At the same time, Richelieu worked to accentuate internal frictions within both Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, supporting secessionist movements in Portugal and Catalonia, and quietly stoking the resentment of liberty-starved prince-electors in Germany. Some of these studies, which engage in a dispassionate, multilevel analysis of the respective competitive advantages and disadvantages of different European powers, apply the same level of analytical rigor that one would expect from the best of contemporary net assessments.

Both in his actions as bishop and in his theological writings, he had repeatedly argued that Protestants should be converted by the power of reason and dialectical discussion, rather than force of arms. French absolutist thinkers fretted over the subversive appeal and longstanding popularity of Calvinist republicanism, which they perceived as profoundly antipathetic to monarchic government, among the higher echelons of the French nobility.

That same year, he issued a much-decried edict against dueling. While this measure may seem almost quaint to a modern reader, it was in fact hugely significant. He appreciated its age-old emphasis on courage and personal sacrifice, but also criticized its tendency toward erratic emotionalism, along with its vainglorious and self-destructive tendencies. As the monarchy cemented control, it also found itself embroiled in a series of foreign policy crises, whose management by Richelieu and his allies spurred fierce domestic controversy.

All the while, he sought, with the help of his extensive network of foreign envoys and spies, to maintain as many diplomatic channels as possible and to avert any precipitate escalation to a full-spectrum and system-wide war with a unified Habsburg foe. Richelieu consistently emphasized the importance of prevailing, first and foremost, in the diplomatic arena — at the lavish royal courts and stuffy religious conclaves where the fate of European politics was truly decided. In Testament Politique , he opines that the ability to. As the Duke of Rohan later noted, the Franco-Spanish rivalry had become the structuring force across Christendom.

For close to a century, since the early s, France and Spain had jostled for control over the portes or gateways that provided staging points into their respective heartlands and over the military corridors that allowed each state to safely siphon funding and troops toward their junior partners and proxies.

The Valtellina had long constituted a territorial flashpoint. Ruled by a league of Swiss Protestant lords, the Grisons, the Valtellina was of critical importance to both France and Spain. For Spain, the winding mountain passes provided one of the main land routes through which it could bolster its military presence in the Spanish Netherlands, and, if the need ever arose, provide the Holy Roman Empire with reinforcements.

For Richelieu and his disciples, the prospect of Spanish dominion over the Valtellina was therefore an alarming one, adding to longstanding French fears of encirclement by combined Habsburg forces. Furthermore, were France to find itself suddenly locked out of the Valtellina, it would no longer be able to rapidly supplement the martial efforts of its own traditional allies on the Italian peninsula, such as Venice. The dispute over control of the Valtellina was driven both by concerns over military response times and logistical supply, and by status considerations and alliance politics.

In , Madrid shrewdly sought to capitalize on the momentary chaos triggered by a revolt of the Catholic subjects of the Grisons by erecting a chain of military bases along the Valtellina. Two years later, its garrisons facing expulsion by allied forces of France, Venice and Savoy, Spain reluctantly agreed to let its soldiers be replaced by papal troops. For Richelieu, however, this settlement remained inadequate, as the Vatican had allowed Spain to continue to use the Valtellina as one of its prime military thoroughfares.

A few months after becoming chief minister, Richelieu sought to rebalance the situation by conducting secret negotiations with Savoyard and Swiss allies, catching Spain off guard. A small force of French and Swiss troops flowed into the Valtellina and unceremoniously expelled its papal custodians. This last endeavor ultimately proved unsuccessful, with Madrid succeeding in breaking through a French naval interception force in the Mediterranean and relieving Genoa by sea. France and Spain subsequently entered lengthy negotiations, which ultimately led to the signing of the Treaty of Monzon in The treaty restored control of the Valtellina to the Grisons, while enshrining and protecting the exercise of Catholicism in the valley.

All fortifications were levelled and papal troops were once again dispatched to preserve the peace. Most importantly, the treaty granted equal rights of transit to both Spain and France, thus reinstating — at least in the military sphere — the old status quo. Barely a year later, another crisis flared up in northern Italy. This minor dynastic squabble quickly took on geopolitical significance. The duchy of Mantua and its dependency of Monferrato were fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire, strategically located along the Po river, abutting the Spanish duchy of Milan.

Following the death of Duke Vincent II of Mantua in , who had failed to produce a son and heir, the duchy was claimed by his closest male relative, the flamboyant French noble Charles de Nevers. De Nevers, in a typical display of impetuosity, preemptively took possession of the duchy without consulting Vienna, as feudal protocol would have dictated.

The troublesome de Nevers was ultimately granted his imperial investiture and the right to rule over his now-ravaged duchy, albeit at the price of territorial concessions. More importantly for Richelieu, the conflict imposed significant financial costs on both Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, strained relations between the two partners, and forced them to divert large numbers of troops away from more critical theaters of operation for extended periods. Meanwhile, the imperial troops Olivares had been hoping would join his prosecution of the Dutch, and who were also much needed in Germany to stave off the advance of the Swedes, were instead channeled southward, toward Mantua, where they were decimated by plague.

While the rulers of the major powers may have wished to construct their political strategies in the clear light of state interest and international Realpolitik, they were frequently confronted by lesser territories whose juridical status and succession arrangements were often diffuse or ambiguous, and whose rulers were explicitly determined to assert and defend their rights as sovereigns.

Richelieu was well aware of the risks of entanglement and entrapment inherent to asymmetric alliance structures. The unexpected ramifications of the Mantuan succession crisis undoubtedly helped shape some of his more interesting — and still resonant — reflections on the challenges of alliance management. He argues this is for two reasons:.

The first is based is on the weakness of unions, which are never too secure when headed by central sovereigns. The second consists in the fact that lesser princes are often as careful and diligent in involving great kings in important commitments as they are feeble in aiding them, although they are fully obligated to do so. Despite these wry observations on the fickleness of security partners, Richelieu put alliance politics at the very center of his grand strategy, seeking to develop, in parallel, two separate German and Italian leagues.

The Italian league, with Savoy and Venice at its core, was designed to exert a slow stranglehold over Spanish possessions in Naples and Milan. This cynical policy could be implemented, the sly monk argued in a memorandum to the king, in a relatively straightforward fashion, by simply continuing the centuries-old French tradition of mediation in German affairs. Weakening the Viennese Habsburgs also provided France with greater latitude to exert control over the lands circling its eastern periphery, in particular the duchy of Lorraine.

He was also far less canny at steering a middle course than, for instance, the dukes of Savoy in Italy, whose adroit manipulation of the Franco-Spanish rivalry forced grudging admiration in both Paris and Madrid. Charles IV eventually abdicated and fled overseas and Lothringian lords were forced to swear oaths of loyalty to the French crown. These garrisoned protectorates were viewed by the chief minister as serving a dual function — both as watchtowers and as potential staging areas for future military interventions.

Managing such a disparate array of security partners with competing territorial and confessional agendas eventually proved almost impossible, leading a reluctant Richelieu to privilege the preservation of the alliance with Sweden over that with Bavaria. When France first signed the Treaty of Barwalde with Sweden in , promising one million livres per annum over the course of five years in exchange for Stockholm maintaining a fully equipped army of 30, infantry and 6, cavalry in Germany, Richelieu was enthusiastic. He waxed lyrical about the martial prowess of Gustavus Adolphus, the Swedish king, comparing him to Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great.

Throughout his political life, Richelieu was constantly reminded of both the tenuousness of his position and his own mortality. An unpopular man working for a sickly king, the chief minister was the target of countless foreign plots and elaborate court machinations. Much of the resentment directed at him stemmed from his domestic policies: his blunt and wide-ranging efforts to centralize power, increase taxation, and rein in the nobility, along with his habit of supplanting old court favorites with his own sprawling networks of clientele.

The most vivid and substantive debates, however, centered on issues of foreign policy. Furthermore, some argued, why not choose to align with the Habsburgs? Would that not bring about a much-needed peace, advance the cause of international Catholicism, and be preferable to funding the systematic, continent-wide slaughter of co-religionists by foreign heretics? It took over six years for the chief minister to quash this fierce internal opposition and it was only after the famous Day of the Dupes in November — when he dramatically prevailed over both the queen mother and his two main political opponents, the Marillac brothers — that he achieved unvarnished royal support for his agenda.

Even after , Richelieu still had to contend with the periodic opposition to his policies and fretted that the spiritual and impressionable Louis XIII might find himself persuaded by a member of his entourage to jettison his Protestant allies. Beyond the ornate antechambers and soaring palace walls, the future of French grand strategy was being debated in another wider and more untamed space — in the pages of the political pamphlets and news gazettes that had become a ubiquitous feature of early 17th-century France.

The ideological counteroffensive launched by the bons politiques was equally robust, clearly articulated, and often remarkably well-timed. These day-to-day propaganda efforts were accompanied by a more ambitious and externally-oriented policy of cultural grandeur, whereby the industrious cleric sought to transform Paris into the artistic and academic capital of Europe — a city which would eventually outshine Madrid, Vienna, and maybe even Rome. Louis XIII was a traditionalist with a deep attachment to chivalric values and ancient courtly rites.

The flamboyant manner in which war was declared war on Spain — with a mounted herald delivering the message before the Hallegate of Brussels after having been announced by trumpet — was characteristic of the French monarch. For years he had been champing at the bit, urging Richelieu to move from la guerre couverte to la guerre ouverte. The chief minister had consistently counseled patience, pleading with his sovereign to delay a full declaration of war as long as possible.

By the spring of , however, it was clear to Richelieu that this strategy, which had served France so well over the past decade, could no longer continue. It was therefore necessary, argued Olivares, to seek an early end to the conflict by striking hard and fast. Throughout the religious wars of the previous half-century, French royal forces rarely exceeded 16, men. When larger hosts were assembled, they were frequently composed primarily of foreign mercenaries, sometimes reaching up to 70 percent of the total number, rather than troops levied on French soil.

Although the decision to go to war was made as early as April, he waited until France had fully cemented its renewed alliances with both the United Provinces and Sweden before dispatching the herald to Brussels. Indeed, for Olivares and his indignant acolytes, France — with its heady ambitions, exceptionalist ethos, litany of grievances, and overall truculence — was the revisionist power and great disruptor of the status quo. From the very get-go, therefore, the conflict was not framed as a mere tussle over territory and resources, but rather as a paradigm-defining battle for leadership legitimacy and shaping the international order.

Richelieu hoped that Ferdinand II, already consumed with the difficult internal negotiations leading up to the Peace of Prague, would be reluctant to lend imperial military strength to the fight against France. This last-ditch attempt at alliance decoupling, however, proved unsuccessful. After a promising initial victory over an outnumbered Spanish force at the battle of Aveins, French forces, suffering from hunger and afflicted with typhus, encountered a series of military setbacks.

In the summer of , a joint Habsburg force led by Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand the governor of the Spanish Netherlands and younger brother of King Philip IV conducted a major counter-attack into French territory. The invading force met unexpectedly feeble resistance as it ravaged Picardy and Champagne and swept through a series of northern forts. An unnerved Parisian populace directed its seething resentment at the unpopular chief minister and called for his ouster.

The shaken cardinal tendered his resignation and nervously awaited his fall from grace. But although the king may have been occasionally frustrated with his adviser, he was astute enough to realize that there was no individual better suited to the position of chief minister, or more dedicated to the advancement of French prestige and interests. Cantering through the cobbled streets of Paris, the monarch, who had always fancied himself as something of an Arthurian warrior-king, called upon every man capable of bearing arms to join him in expelling the hated foreigners from French territory.

In reality, however, the panic of the French royal court — while understandable — was unjustified. From that point, the Franco-Habsburg conflict slipped into a numbing see-saw of partial gains mitigated by temporary losses, a war of attrition that severely strained the resources, stability, and organizational capacity of the French state.

The challenges associated with coordinating the simultaneous operations of multiple armies over vast distances at a time when communications were both rudimentary and easily subject to delay or disruption were daunting. While military dispatches to Flanders or Italy would take perhaps 12 to 16 days when sent overland from France, they could take almost three months to arrive by sea from Spain. As a result, notes J. The cardinal therefore often encouraged commanders to operate under their own initiative and to exercise their own judgment — provided they were not brash — as to when to seize opportunities to push into enemy territory.

Indeed, Richelieu could be a singularly demanding overseer, demanding thick stacks of detailed correspondence on every aspect of the war effort and meting out severe punishment in response to perceived cowardice or military shortcomings. As contemporary scholars in the field of security studies have noted, regimes facing significant internal threats frequently adopt sub-optimal organizational practices, basing their promotion patterns on political loyalty rather than on combat prowess. And at times, the canny clergyman managed to have it both ways, by preemptively absorbing promising commanders within his own networks of clientage, thus ensuring their future loyalty.

A degree of local autonomy and decentralization remained necessary, given the bureaucratic limitations of the early 17th-century French state, and French nobles or bishops could thus continue to raise troops on their own account. The levied soldiers, however, remained under the proprietorship of the French monarchy, which stubbornly refused to take the easier — but in its eyes riskier — path of formalized military delegation.

The decision to empower and deploy additional numbers of intendants was part of a broader move toward greater bureaucratic control over every aspect of the French war effort, from taxation to infrastructure development. One should guard oneself, however, from overstating their ability to enact immediate change and override the decisions and policies undertaken by powerful local commanders. In some cases, this dual command structure acted as an impediment to military effectiveness when royal intendants butted heads with the commanders of their assigned military units.

In other cases, however, the relationship could prove to be far more harmonious and productive. Military correspondence, after all, flowed in both directions, through a revamped network of dedicated postal relays that aimed to reduce some of the delays in communication. Intendants funneled reams of vital information back to the state center, keeping Richelieu and the secretariat of war somewhat better apprised of the manifold challenges plaguing the efforts of their frontline commanders.

Revision History

Although France, unlike Spain, benefited from interior lines of communication, the distances remained vast and the terrain nearly impassable in many parts of the country, with thick forests, underdeveloped roads, and large, rugged mountainous regions. Even before the war, in , Richelieu grumblingly queried whether. There is a kingdom in the world that can regularly pay two or three armies at once … I would like to be told whether reason does not require that one better fund an army operating on enemy territory against powerful forces against whom it has been tried in combat, and where expenses and incommodities are indeterminate, rather than one that remains within the kingdom out of precaution of the harm that could befall it.

This complaint pointed to one of the core quandaries confronted by the resource-hungry French armies. When French troops were deployed abroad, particularly across the Rhine, their numbers often began to melt away as soldiers fled the unfamiliar and hostile German landscapes and streamed back to their villages and homesteads.

This helps explain why it was deemed preferable to wage war with foreign mercenaries deep within imperial territory, while using national troops for operations in France or within its near abroad. For much of this period, the French monarchy teetered on the edge of financial collapse, staggering from one socio-economic crisis to another and racking up sizable debts to financiers who charged exorbitant rates.

Unlike his Spanish rival, Richelieu could not rely on the riches from a sprawling network of overseas colonies, nor, for the reasons described above, could he hope to transfer the costs of military operations onto despoiled tracts of enemy territory. In this, Richelieu was mostly successful, with some estimates showing that the income of the French crown doubled in real terms over the course of his tenure.

Throughout the war, the country was gripped by a series of rural uprisings, with some — such as the massive croquant revolt of or the rebellion of the Va-Nu-Pieds in Normandy in — requiring the temporary redirection of thousands of French troops away from the frontlines.

Others had chosen to pursue military careers in exile, with all the attendant variations in training, tactics, and doctrine. In other instances, however, Richelieu was clearly at pains to find enough commanders with the kind of experience needed for the most important theater of operations — the northeastern frontier. This was not only where Madrid chose to concentrate most of its elite units, it was also where the nature of the terrain as evidenced during the Habsburg advance to Corbie in made large-scale enemy encroachments both most likely and difficult to counter.

Inevitably, there were fierce debates in Paris over the distribution of finite military resources and the use of the handful of talented generals, as well as over how to prioritize the different military theaters. Perhaps they really are a murderer's, but I forget. In the Hollywood version Colin Clive who had played the scientist in the classic Frankenstein of was cast as Steve Orlac, a famous concert pianist. Peter Lorre plays Dr Gogol, who is in love with Orlac's wife, Yvonne, an actress in Grand Guignol theatre Lowry may have taken his heroine's name from this movie.

Gogol forces his attentions on the young wife, who rejects him and faints at his grotesque behaviour. Orlac loses his hands in a railroad accident, and Yvonne reluctantly turns to Gogol, the world's greatest surgeon, for assistance. A murderer named Rollo has been guillotined that day, and Gogol grafts Rollo's hands onto Orlac. Eventually, Gogol is revealed as the murderer; Stephen kills him in a struggle, and the two are reunited.

Baldwin buys back his soul at the cost of his own life and shoots his mirror image, thereby killing himself in a displaced form of suicide. Robert Wiene , a German film director who achieved international recognition with Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari Unfortunately, he is remembered more for his support of Hitler and his starring role in the viciously anti-Semitic film Jud Suss in the war years.

To David Markson [31 Oct. The Ufa in effect controlled the German film industry and produced most of the important expressionist films in the s, but later it lost most of its best actors and directors to Hollywood. With the rise of Nazism, the Ufa was brought increasingly under state control, and it had ceased to exist by the end of World War Il. Conrad Veidt , a famous German character actor, equally impressive as hero or villain.

In the Volcano [], the Consul "remembered Sir Thomas Browne having said of tavern music, a hieroglyphical and shadowed lesson of the whole world. By protesting too much at the proof stage [28 Oct. Albert Erskine assured him that his fears were unnecessary, but Lowry was being evasive: the borrowing relates equally to the opening of the novel where Dr Vigil offers a light to Laruelle [see 6.

Lowry was perhaps rightly uneasy about "phrases in Wild Palms adhering to [his] subconscious like flies to flypaper". The novel portrays an adulterous love ending in tragedy; the man who "fumbled a match" is Rittenmeyer, the abandoned husband trim, with "impeccable" hair. The verb chingar means "to fuck" or "to rape", and its various forms can be used in a variety of ways as expletives or terms of abuse. Sr Bustamente's use of the words anticipates that of one part of the crowd about the dying Indian []. Sr Bustamente's odd anglicization of Sp. For so long as he is in evils he desire them.

And as man cannot shun the evils in his own strength he must be looking to God. But as your friend had no strength to be looking to God I think he look to hell instead. I think he liked it" [UBC , 11]. In another statement: "But best of all he liked the death and mescal.

When he haved death and mescal then he is flying. But he is flying like an angel, not like an eagle, but like a devil" [UBC , 15]. As Asals notes [ Making , ], Lowry later dismissed this as "Swedenborg stuff", but it gives weight to "flying" [see Laruelle hesitates, possibly because he subconsciously recalls his words of one year ago: "If I ever start to drink that stuff, Geoffrey, you'll know I'm done for" [see All three instances of this highly significant word were surprisingly late additions to the manuscripts.

It has only returned. In earlier drafts, Sr Bustamente was even more philosophical: "they return, they begin all over again. It is the return eternal.

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  • Six Romances and Songs. No. 5. No Response, or Word, or Greeting.
  • La Tigra.
  • Character Index A-Z.

All these ideas for Lowry were exemplified by the cinema, as Paul Tiessen suggests [Woodcock, ]:. That the present cannot escape the past, that the impotence of man's present merges with the guilt of his past, is symbolically best expressed in a cinematic style where the circularity of the form, imitating the circular motion of the reel, can manipulate the overlapping and merging of time. The Spanish Civil War began with the landing of Foreign Legion troops in Spain on 19 July and ensuing revolts of sympathy by army garrisons in Seville and Andalusia.

It had ended early in ; the newsreels which Sr Bustamente is showing are out of date. A one-sheet is a single advertising poster, 28" by 42"; a three-sheet is a poster equivalent to three one-sheets so-called because it is folded twice, dividing the sheet into three parts. Her brief film career lasted from to her first film was Aus erster Ehe , , which makes the mention of her here slightly anachronistic. Beans, usually of the pinto variety, dried or boiled with onion, pepper, garlic and chili; a very basic dish.

An allusion to the old belief that this is bad luck; Laruelle is sensitive to the sinister qualities of the scene [see The precise hour of the Consul's death, one year earlier. Ominous shades of that are present in the shape of pariah dogs; the torch-lit shadows hinting at a spiritually inverted world; the reference to autoridades , or officials; and the salida , or exit sign at the rear. Restaurants in Cuernavaca. The Gambrinus named after the mighty German brewery, itself named for the patron saint of brewers at Morelos has long disappeared the building now houses the Bellas Artes Institute.

It was once the scene of a violent quarrel between Lowry and Aiken, described in the latter's Ushant [], concerning the son's need to devour his spiritual father. The most significant single moment in Mexico's history. Lowry was working from an actual calendar, which has not been located, for marginal notes [UBC , 14] urge "check by original", and the text says the calendar is "in the form of a chromos":.

After months of fierce fighting, the city fell on 21 August He was rewarded with the title of Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, but not with that of viceroy, which he believed he deserved After an abortive expedition to Honduras he returned to his palace and hacienda in Cuernavaca, spending his last two decades in Mexico and Spain in largely frustrating civil disputes. Moctezuma II , was Aztec emperor from and undisputed ruler over wide territories in Central Mexico and some thirty million subjects.

His death signalled outright hostilities between the Spaniards and the Aztecs, culminating in the total destruction of the latter's civilization. The Aztec capital on an island in Lake Texcoco, founded about [see From humble beginnings among the swamps and reeds it rose to become a magnificent city of some sixty thousand houses, with gleaming white stucco buildings, canals and dikes, clean wide streets, busy market places, fountains, palaces, pyramids and temples, floating gardens chinampas to sustain a population of perhaps ,, and long causeways and aqueducts linking the island to the mainland: a civilization easily the equal of anything in Europe at the time, despite its emphasis upon militarism and human sacrifice.

The final Spaniard assault on the city reduced it literally to rubble, and after the Aztec defeat the Spaniards completed the destruction, creating a new Mexico City from its ruins. The two saluted each other, gifts were exchanged, and Moctezuma welcomed the Spaniards into his capital, which they were to destroy within two years. The place of the meeting the corner of Salvador and Pino Suarez is now marked by the sixteenth-century Hospital of Jesus of Nazareth.

As Walker suggests [], the "relatively innocuous bit of nationalistic bravado" becomes in relation to the far-reaching Conquest motif of Under the Volcano "an ironic portent of considerable magnitude. The book had been lent to Laruelle some eighteen months earlier to help him research a film based on the Faustus story, and was never returned. The plants seem innocent in themselves, but, as the Consul's "diabolical look" implies, each possesses additional alchemical or mystical significance:.

The flower of Venus, but with the cross the rose upon the rood of time the symbol of the Rosicrucians, the mystical order founded in the 15th century by Christian Rosenkreuz and introduced to England by Robert Fludd and Thomas Vaughan. Pliny's molybdaena , or leadwort; so-called because of the bluish lead-like colour of its spikes of flowers.

Lead is the metal of Saturn, the softest and lowliest of metals, the base metal for attempted transmutations to a higher form. Otherwise Hoya , a genus of tropical climbing plants of the milkweed family, with shiny green leaves and a large waxy white flower which the Consul rather unfairly describes in terms of a used condom. Ceration Gk. Compare, too, the cargo of the S. Samaritan [ The original Faust seems to have been a wandering conjurer living in Germany about , who has come to symbolize man's aspiring quest for forbidden knowledge. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus , by Christopher Marlowe , is a drama in blank verse and prose taking the legend for its subject matter.

Faustus, weary of the sciences and master of permitted knowledge, turns to magic and summons up the figure of Mephistophilis with whom he makes a pact to sell his soul in return for twenty-four years of unlimited pleasure and power. This is granted him, and Faustus indulges himself, but as time runs out, he begins to despair. Torn between good and evil, his familiars offering the choice of salvation or despair, Faustus agonizes, unable to turn to the salvation apparently held out to him.

At the crucial moment, Mephistophilis sends him a vision of Helen of Troy "the face that launched a thousand ships" , and Faustus succumbs. In a final hour of intense despair, he contemplates his fate before being dragged off, screaming, to hell. Doctor Faustus is Lowry's single most important source for Under the Volcano. Parallels between Faustus and the Consul are frequently iterated; the action of the novel closely imitates that of the play; the dilemma of the choice between salvation and despair is central to both dramas; and both work within the bounds of a tightly moralistic structure only to penetrate disturbingly into the complexities of human motivation.

In the Volcano [] Laruelle was more explicit about his intentions:. Yes, supposing Doctor, that all the suffering and chaos and conflict of the present were suddenly to take human form. And to become conscious of itself! That is the impression I would want to give of my man: a man to whom, like Jesus, the great betrayal of the human spirit would appear in the guise of a private, anguishing betrayal. And you would realize somehow too that this character of mine was yet aware of all the agonies with which the human lot would become presently involved.

And now that I think of it, Doctor, it does almost seem possible that it already happened! Supposing that all these horrors of today before they became a part of our lives had suddenly convulsed upon themselves to create a soul, and then that soul had sought a body, and the only body it had found sufficiently photophobic for its purposes was the Consul's.

Leon Trotsky , the name assumed by Lev Davidovich Bronstein, the Russian politician of Jewish origin second only to Lenin as the outstanding architect of the Russian Revolution. Despite some differences of opinion with Lenin, he joined the Bolsheviks in , taking an active part in the Revolution and then as Commissar for war directing the Red Army in the ensuing civil war.

This murder, which Lowry would have been aware of when writing but which had not in yet come to pass, casts a shadow of tragic inevitability over the novel, particularly in the final chapter when the Consul is "identified" as Trotsky. A typical cantina might have a heavy metal door that can be rolled up when the cantina is open and affords security when it is shut; and within that a much lighter and shorter door to screen drinkers from the street. From It. In Mexican Spanish the phrase has the connotation of one who is a little odd, a screwball.

At various points in the early drafts the Consul had been conceived of as American. Remarkable for its use of light and shadows, the film depicts six persons in a trance, watching their shadows act out their passions, before they awake from their collective nightmare [Kracauer, ]. Nor does the Consul have socks on [46], when Yvonne first sees him. Although there are physical and medical reasons for the Consul's painfully swollen feet, this disorder in his dress reflects his psychic state, as Kilgallin suggests [], citing W. Turner's The Duchess of Popocatepetl : "Education In other words it is simply a question of when to take off and put on your socks" [].

The Consul comments [62] on Jacques's weak stomach for drink; this change in his drinking habits is one small indication that Laruelle is being depicted as a miniature Consul figure [see This identification is made by the Consul himself in such a way as to suggest that something of himself "for obscure purposes of his own" is passing into Jacques.

The coming storm reminds Laruelle not only of his own zacuali , the strange tower on his house in the Calle Nicaragua [see It is found in the histories of the Toltecs that this age and first world, as they call it, lasted years; that men were destroyed by tremendous rains and lightning from the sky, and even all the land, without the exception of anything, and the highest mountains, were covered up and submerged in water fifteen cubits caxtolmolati ; and here they added other fables of how men came to multiply from the few who escaped from this destruction in a "toplipetlocali;" that this word nearly signifies a close chest; and how, after men had multiplied, they erected a very high "zacuali," which is today a tower of great height, in order to take refuge in it should the second world age be destroyed.

Presently their languages were confused, and, not being able to understand each other, they went to different parts of the earth. According to Prescott [Appendix I, ], two persons survived this deluge: Coxcox and his wife [see Their many children remained dumb until a dove gave them the gift of languages, but these differed so much that the children could not understand one another hence the associations with Noah and Deucalion, but also with the Tower of Babel [see In the Volcano [17], Laruelle was more explicit about the zacuali, which he claimed was built after the Deluge to prevent the destruction of the "second world"; he linked the tower explicitly to his own house, expressing more clearly his fears that with the outbreak of war the world might be on its way to destruction and his house, an inadequate refuge.

Albert Erskine queried this word [28 Aug. And as for his film, it would probably never be made at all" [UBC , ; Volcano , 17]. The process of revision moved from this grand design to out-do Eisenstein, to Laruelle's dreadful dream in the first chapter of the Volcano , then to a more complex sense of the novel as a film unfolding in the dark cinema of his mind.

The Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, turned into doves after their deaths, then placed by Zeus among the stars, where they form part of the constellation of Taurus. There is a traditional association of the Pleiades with beneficent spring showers and autumn storms in Mexico, more or less coinciding with the beginning and end of the rainy season , but, in addition, as R. Allen notes, the Pleiades "are intimately connected with the tradition of the flood found among so many and widely separated nations" [ Stars and their Names , ].

The culmination of a constellation is simply the moment at which it reaches its highest point in the sky, but Lowry's capitals and the general sense of threat which Laruelle expresses point to something more than a vague fear of flooding. Prescott says that this was done when the Pleiades approached the zenith, that is, in late December during the five unlucky days of Uayeb the month the Consul likes best [see This seems to be what Laruelle is referring to, yet Lowry has used Prescott to get the best of both worlds: to suggest the "sacrifice" of Geoffrey during the unlucky month of Uayeb , while retaining the consistency of his action in November.

Above all, he is anticipating the death of Yvonne [], who senses herself like one of the daughter of Atlas being gathered up towards the Pleiades. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. The psalm is one of total faith, jubilation, and exaltation, praising the excellence of the Lord, who has set his glory above the heavens; the reference here is magnificently ironic in the context of the second flood and the Night of the culmination of the Pleiades. Lowry quotes almost directly from John Kenneth Turner's bitter indictment of that era, Barbarous Mexico []:.

Nearly every small town along the Mexican border harbors a personage who enjoys the title of Mexican consul. Consuls are found in villages hundreds of miles from the Mexican border. Such consuls are not consuls at all. They are spies, persecutors, bribers. Turner notes [], that Douglas, Arizona, was a major centre for Mexican liberals living in the United States and tells how in the machinations of such "consuls" resulted in large groups of Mexican liberals being arrested and many returned to Mexico on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Details from Turner are the product of later revisions [UBC , 6ff], and hint at what might be a plausible mystery, Geoffrey's role as a spy. On 24 January it was bold enough to hold a public meeting, but the audience was infiltrated by soldiers and police, who, on a given signal, rose up in protest, disrupted the meeting, and arrested the organizers for disturbing the peace [Turner, Barbarous Mexico , ]. For his work in the reform movement and his ideas upon federation, Arriaga is known as "the Father of the Constitution".

His career to had been a mixture of brilliance and opportunism; he had supported in turn Madero, Huerta, Zapata, and Carranza, switching sides at precisely the right moment to save his skin and further his career. He was reputedly one of the richest men in Mexico. Compromise was eventually achieved, but one immediate effect was that diplomatic relationships between Mexico and England worsened until in April they were severed, remaining so for three years. Geoffrey Firmin's consulate is therefore closed, and he has been technically out of a job for some months, which raises the question of why he has stayed on in Quauhnahuac.

Given the confused political situation existing in Mexico at the end of , the charges of spying made against him are not altogether ridiculous, and even if they are unfounded, a deliberate ambiguity clouds the Consul's motives for staying on in Mexico for Lowry's original intentions in this matter, see In an important sense, the severing of relations is also a metaphor for the Consul's broken marriage; as Geoffrey makes clear in his letter [36], both publicly and privately he is adrift.

The pun arises from the similarity of Sp. How real the Consul's fears of being "around the town pursued by other spiders" are is an open question [see Asals [ Making , ] picks up a further reference to Barbarous Mexico [], taking the hint, " Just start something and then try to get away There is no getting away in Mexico; every alley is guarded as well as every street When you cross the border they take your name and business and address, and before you've reached the capital they know whether you've told the truth or not.

They know what you're here for and have decided what they're going to do about it. Any impulse the reader might have to dismiss such speculations as fantasy is belied in Chapter XII by the fact that "they" seem to know quite a bit about Hugh Firmin, and may have decided what "they" are going to do about it. As Hugh had done [96], for the kind of dubious political reasons that would be of great interest to right-wing sympathizers.

More correctly, Sp. The word is an important motif throughout the novel, the Consul ultimately finding the paradise of his despair in the dark sanctuary of the Farolito []. It is the quality displayed [] by the one-legged beggar who puts a coin into the legless beggar's hand, and by the potter, the old woman and the fiddler to the poor Consul at the end of the novel, when he in his turn is taken by the police. The name assumed by Wilhelm Apollinaris Kostrowitzky , French poet of Polish extraction born in Rome, who joined up in and fought bravely at the Front, revelling in the military life.

His best work is contained in the two volumes Alcools and Calligrammes , the cubist and surrealist qualities of which placed him at the head of the avant-garde movement. The ship's name grimly incongruous, considering its mission suggests the parable of the good Samaritan [see It has been argued [Dodson, 25] that the Consul is of "an impossibly tender age to have been commander of a gunboat" on page 16 he is described as aged fifteen in , which would make him about twenty-one at the presumed time of the incident.

Manuscript notes [TM VI, 45] show that Lowry was aware of the problem, which he again has resolved by deliberately creating a mystery: on the one hand, with the accelerated promotion and appointment possible by privilege in the British wartime navy to say nothing of Geoffrey's undoubted abilities , Geoffrey's rank is not impossible; on the other, especially since the incident is seen only from the point of view of Laruelle, whose knowledge is equally limited, there remains a strong possibility that the Consul has fabricated or exaggerated his involvement or responsibility.

We can never know, but the curiosity aroused by the desire to find out gives the incident great emotional intensity and ensures the reader's engagement with the Consul's guilt from the outset. Ronald Binns [ MLN 8, 6] has tracked down the probable historical source of the Samaritan incident: the so-called "Baralong incident" of 19 August , after the capture of the British ship, the Nicosian , by the German submarine U A British Q-ship, the Baralong , appeared flying the American flag, let fall its false sides, and sank the submarine.

The master, Lieutenant-Commander Godfrey Herbert whose name and rank is similar to Geoffrey's , ordered his crew to give no quarter, and twelve German sailors were shot. There was no court-martial, nor any suggestion of officers being put in the furnace, but the incident aroused great resentment among the Germans. Russell Lowry [ MLN 8, 7] dates Lowry's visit to a Q-ship in Liverpool docks as or ; the Lowry brothers saw a dummy run of the Q-ship drill, dropping the false bulkheads, exposing a gun, and firing a blank round.

The Bungo Strait separates Kyushu from Shikoku, and the "various interesting islands" are scattered over an area south of Japan, their interest for Lowry as much a function of their names as their location:. Also known as Sofu-gan , or Rica de Oro , or Black Rock; in the Izu-shichito group; a remarkable pillar of black rock sticking some feet out of the water and said to resemble from a distance a ship in full sail. The pillar was discovered, and so named, by Captain John Meares on 9 April, In Genesis , as Lot and his wife flee Sodom and Gomorrah, the wife disobeys God's instructions not to look back and is turned into a pillar of salt.

The name Arzobispo was often applied to the group as a whole. A former name of Iwo-jima , the largest of the Volcano Islands, known for its large volcano and extensive sulphur mines. In March it would be the scene of a bloody and decisive battle between American marines and Japanese forces. The Volcano Islands Kazan-retto are an mile chain of volcanic islands some miles southwest of the Bonin Islands, named by Bernard de Torres in for the large volcano on the central island. Lowry may have used the name of the group for one island, but he may have been aware from the Admiralty Pilots that between and many ships had reported sighting a mysterious Volcano Island.

It is possible that an island or islands had emerged as a result of volcanic activity, only to disappear again. The Euphrosyne , in , reported a rock, "looking like a ship under sail," at lat. The cargo carried by the S. Samaritan , though valuable to the British wartime economy, possesses undefined alchemical significance: quicksilver, or mercury, is a vital element in all alchemical practice; Wolfram, or tungsten, is linked with antimony through the well-known Currus Triumphalis Antimonii of Basil Valentine Leipzig, , in which antimony is described as the lupus metallorum , the wolf of metals also known as the grey wolf , because it "devours" that is, unites with all metals except gold.

The unstated emphasis on mercury, sulphur and salt suggests what the Triumphal Chariot of Antimony calls the three great principles of health, corresponding to the Three Principles of Paracelsus, whose secret purpose "was to analyse, rectify, integrate, the human spirit; and to produce the perfect man" [A. Waite, The Secret Tradition in Alchemy , 3].

I must get it clear Does it matter? Yet he remained unconcerned as to what a Q-boat was doing off Japan. The D. A novel by Joseph Conrad , telling of a young Englishman, Jim, who signs on as chief mate of the Patna , an old steamer "eaten up with rust worse than a condemned water-tank" carrying a load of pilgrims to Mecca. In mid-ocean, on a still night, the Patna hits something, and in the ensuing moment of crisis Jim jumps overboard and abandons ship along with two or three others. The Patna somehow staggers into port, and in the following enquiry Jim loses both his certificate and his personal sense of honour.

Thereafter he wanders the ports of the East trying to escape both his past and his guilt. He finally settles in Patusan, a remote district of Borneo, where his courage and integrity earn him the title of Tuan Jim, or Lord Jim, and at last he finds the chance to die bravely and expiate his guilt and sense of shame. Although the Consul denies that any stigma is attached to him over the Samaritan affair, his sense of guilt is remarkably like Jim's; the mystery at the beginning of each novel is similar what did the Patna hit, what happened to the German officers?

Founded in as a daily, the Paris-Soir was in the s the leading evening paper of Paris, with a circulation of some two million. Brash and sensationalist, it thrived on the kind of scandal implicit in the Consul's court-martial. The paper would be suppressed by the Vichy government in following its refusal to submit to censorship. Lowry's oblique way of reminding the reader, Markson suggests [], that the Germans were shortly to go round doing precisely that to others.

An alcoholic liquor distilled from the juice of the agave cactus [see From Marlowe's Doctor Faustus , during Faustus's long last speech before the clock strikes twelve. Laruelle, shaken, senses the immediate relation of the lines to Geoffrey's fatal descent into the barranca. The figure of Prometheus, bringer of light; the emblem set into the cover of Modern Library editions such as the Eight Famous Elizabethan Plays [see Intaglio is the process in printing as in die stamping and gravure in which a plate is used to incise an image below the surface.

The Egyptian god Thoth, the god of learning, inventor of hieroglyphics and scribe of the gods, often depicted with the head of an ibis: he was the universal demiurge, "the divine ibis who hatched the world-egg at Hermopolis Magna" [ Larousse Mythology , 27]. In Cabbalistic and hermetic tradition he was regarded as the first of magicians. In Under the Volcano he is further manifested in the figure of the public scribe [53] and the corporal inscribing something in copperplate handwriting [].

Although unidentified, this phrase is present from the outset, as it was in the typescript of In Ballast to the White Sea , and clearly derives from something Lowry was reading before he went to Mexico Ouspensky and Charles Fort are likely sources. The exact phrase is used by Geoffrey at a moment of crisis [], when the world about him seems very much a projection of his abnormal inner self.

Like his creator, the Consul fully accepts the Swedenborgian notion that every phenomenon in the natural world has its counterpart in the spiritual one and that "the rhyming of the natural with the spiritual enables man to communicate with the heavenly mysteries, the celestial machinery" [Kilgallin, 46]; or, as here, the infernal machinery. See also Sortes plural of L. The words of Shakespeare, like the books of the Bible, are commonly used in such prediction.

Enter Wagner, solus. Laruelle opens the book at random, but his first two selections are from Doctor Faustus : the first from the beginning of Sc. The Dutch-English pidgin may be translated: "I'll tell you what, Hans; this ship that is come from Candia, is quite full, by God's sacrament, of sugar, civet, almonds, cambric, and all things, a thousand, thousand, things.

The speech is that of a Dutch skipper who plays a minor role in the play. Laruelle could not have chosen a more resonant passage. The lines form part of the Epilogue to Doctor Faustus , spoken by the Chorus after Faustus has been dragged off to hell. They shake Laruelle because they seem so directly appropriate to the Consul: another cruelly cut down before his great gifts have been realized and who had dared to practise "more than heavenly power permits"; that is, one who had travelled beyond the realms of most men, but whose knowledge and learning had been directed ultimately towards self-destruction.

Sr Bustamente had earlier said [UBC , 69]: "Your amigo dice it is sad when you think how poor your friend might have flourished like a tree in the springtime. The British text reads, incorrectly, "meaningless writing". A spinet from Giovanni Spinetti, its inventor is a small kind of harpsicord with a single keyboard. The Consul thinks [] of a similar dreadful night awaiting him, again with demonic orchestras, snatches of fearful sleep, imaginary parties arriving, and the terrible music of the dark's spinets. Lowry points out [ SL , ] an echo of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse , which he said he had not then read, but whose central symbol, the Lighthouse, seems related to his own Farolito.

The effect of such echoes is to bind the first chapter tightly to the last, asserting not only the continuity of the experience but also the cyclic form of the novel. In Hamlet [I. The bird of dawning singeth all night long: And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad; The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm; So hallow'd and so gracious is the time. Mine too? In fact, it is from The Unvanquished.

After the family mules are stolen, Bayard Sartoris and Ringo trail the Yankee thieves, and sleep beneath a bridge. Awakening, they stare at each other "in the pale jonquil-colored light". In the language of flowers, the jonquil asks, "return my affection". Oaxaca, capital of the state of the same name, some three hundred miles south of Cuernavaca, was Lowry's private City of Dreadful Night, to which he returned after his first wife had left him.

His experiences there imbued it with a sense of horror, as he indicated to James Stern in [ SL , 29]:. I was thrown, for a time, in Mexico, as a spy, into durance vile, by some fascistas in Oaxaca by mistake; they were after another man. How it arose was: he was a friend of mine, very sober and a communist, and they could not believe, because he was sober, that he was an agitator and therefore thought he must be me, who was not sober, but, nevertheless, not an agitator, not a communist. I subsequently found it difficult to explain why I had absolutely had to be drawing a map of the Sierra Madre in tequila on the bar counter sole reason was, I liked the shape of them.

Jan left me some months before, so I had no alibi. On Christmas Day they let out all the prisoners except me. Myself, I had the Oaxaquenian third degree for turkey. Hissed they as Time would say , "You say you a wrider but we read all your wridings and dey don't make sense. You no wrider, you an espider and we shoota de espiders in Mejico. It was in one sense a relief but in another a disappointment when Lowry returned in to find that Oaxaca had lost all its sinister horror.

Ramsey suggests [46] that this incident shows the beneficial effects of alcohol, which if rightly directed rather than abused may possess the power to save life. Lowry may have derived the incident from a similar one involving an asphyxiated baby in Aiken's Blue Voyage [49], where a dream suddenly turns into a nightmare. In Dark as the Grave the Francia is called La Luna , as if to underline the mutability of such happiness. Part 1 [] describes Hyperion's suffering as he interprets the omens about him, shuddering:.

Not at dog's howl, or gloom-bird's hated screech, Or the familiar visiting of one Upon the first toll of his passing bell, Or prophesyings of the midnight lamp; But horrors, portion'd to a giant nerve, Oft made Hyperion ache. Lowry was obscurely intrigued that Keats had mentioned a vulture in the opening of this poem. In the Francia, Lowry really did see a vulture on his washbasin, and heard the "noise of slaughtering" of two little fawns dragged through the barroom into the kitchen.


The obvious echo here is of Hamlet [III. This detail dates the letter as having been written in March [see Cervantes, innkeeper and cockfighter, whose name incongruously echoes that of the author of Don Quixote , comes from Tlaxcala, Mexico's smallest state [see Like the "obscene concourse" of birds [see The cantina acts as a beacon to the Consul throughout the novel [see Described [] as "raw alcohol in steaming herb tea".

Lowry comments in Dark as the Grave [76]: "Ochas is boiled orange leaves and should be drunk hot with raw alcohol put into it. But mescal put into it is still more exciting. William Blake , poet, engraver, artist, and mystic, best known for his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience , but also writer of a number of more obscure prophetic books, the best known of which is The Marriage of Heaven and Hell , to which the Consul is alluding.

Encoded Mid-Golden Age, allegedly written by someone named Plutarch, a historian who in turn is writing about someone named Fabius Maximus. But who were they? When did they live? In what kind of warfare was this 'Fabian Strategy' applied? It apparently involves attrition tactics and avoiding direct conflict until an enemy makes a mistake.

I think Where are you going? The preferred weapon of seasoned marksmen, the Scout Rifle is a single-shot precision firearm. Favoring accuracy above all else, the Scout Rifle packs increased stopping power to counter its low rate of fire. Few weapons are balanced this precisely. Once you get a feel for the Multi-Tool it will sit weightlessly in your hand. Firing it will feel less like an action and more like an extension of your will.

The weapon gathers data on the target from the impact and spall of solid body shots, setting up a devastating final hit. Here am I, with the power to craft from my enemy's darkest secrets a weapon that could wound them at their core! So what stays my hand? When I behold the interiority of these cold, cold fragments, I see blind, squirming creatures. Every wound they give, they feel also upon themselves. Every bite they tear from the Light only deepens, never fills, the raging emptiness behind their terrible mouths.

The voices are as loud as ever. My nightmares just as bitter. My coal-black hatred burns as hot. But I feel something else now. Could it be I refuse it. I will build this weapon. Like many weapons of the Dark Age, the Jade Rabbit was created from hastily reassembled—and often poorly understood—Golden Age technology: in this case, kinetic low-atmosphere propulsion systems in use on Luna settlements.

Even the weapon's casing is cut from the plasteel bulwarks of the First Light installation. City foundries produce a wide variety of weapons in an attempt to anticipate Guardians' ever-changing needs on the battlefield. But no Guardian can carry all guns at all times. Enter the Boolean Gemini. Designed by a think tank of Guardians and foundry representatives, the Gemini was designed to be two guns in one, with a flexible design that allows Guardians to toggle between distinct combat styles for maximum efficiency. What brings you here? For a Warlock.

And how are you finding the work? It goes and comes. Memory ain't what it was. Well, then, I suspect you'll find some of my recent research quite interesting. The Pulse Rifle is designed for precision fire and tight shot grouping. Three-round bursts provide added punch with reduced recoil compared to fully automatic weapons. Skilled shooters often walk the burst from the target's center of mass onto the head.

There must be a structured, mechanical explanation for this weapon's hunger for combat. There must be. But none has been found. Only rumors tell of the mad Guardian who fashioned this butcher's tool. But its power is undeniable, and fear is a formidable weapon. Novarro's timeline analysis indicates the weapon is the fabled Exo Stranger's Rifle, enhanced at a future point in this continuity and then sent back to this present. Deliah's timeline analysis indicates the weapon was built by Praedyth, who based it on his own version of the Exo Stranger's Rifle, and then set it adrift in a time ripple.

Hari's timeline analysis indicates the weapon was built by beings of unidentifiable origin, and arrived here by pure accident. Inachis's timeline analysis indicates the weapon originates from Earth, late Golden Age, and will eventually be lost to time ripples once again, where its systems will degrade and be replaced until our recent past acquires it as the Exo Stranger's Rifle. As for me I think it's safe to say the weapon is proving far more fun than we could have hoped. Sturdy and reliable, Hand Cannons have long been a preferred tool for self-defense.

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Their low rate of fire and modest accuracy is more than made up for by their ease of handling and superior stopping power. The Hawkmoon is a true gunslinger's weapon - a smooth sidearm that makes every bullet count The Last Word is a romantic weapon, a throwback to simpler times when steady aim and large rounds were enough to dispense justice in the wilds of a lawless frontier.

Of course, some might say that time has come again. I'm writing this from memory - some mine, but not all. The facts won't sync with the reality, but they'll be close, and there's no one to say otherwise, so for all intents and purposes, this will be the history of a settlement we called Palamon and the horrors that followed an all too brief peace.

I remember home, and stories of a paradise we'd all get to see some day - of a City, "shining even in the night. We'd settled in the heart of a range that stretched the horizon. Wooded mountains that shot with purpose toward the sky. Winters were harsh, but the trees and peaks hid us from the world. We talked about moving on, sometimes, striking out for the City. But it was just a longing. Drifters came and went. On occasion they would stay, but rarely. We had no real government, but there was rule of law. Basic tenets agreed upon by all and eventually overseen by Magistrate Loken. And there you have it I was young, so I barely understood.

I remember Loken as a hardworking man who just became broken. Mostly I think he was sad. Sad and frightened. As his fingers tightened on Palamon, people left. Those who stayed saw our days became grey. Loken's protection - from the Fallen, from ourselves - became dictatorial. Looking back, I think maybe Loken had just lost too much - of himself, his family. But everyone lost something. And some of us had nothing to begin with.

My only memory of my parents is a haze, like a daydream, and a small light, like the spark of their souls. It's not anything I dwell on. They left me early, taken by Dregs. Palamon raised me from there. The family I call my own - called my own - cared for me as if I was their natural born son. And life was good. Being the only life I knew, my judgment is skewed, and it wasn't easy - pocked by loss as it was - but I would call it good.

Until, of course, it wasn't. Until two men entered my world. One a light. The other the darkest shadow I would ever know. The man I would come to know as Jaren Ward, my third father and quite possibly my closest friend, came to Palamon from the south. I was just a boy, but I'll never forget his silhouette on the empty trail as he made his slow walk into town. I'd never seen anything like him. Maybe none of us had. He'd said he was only passing through, and I believed him - still do, but life can get in the way of intent, and often does. I can picture that day with near perfect clarity.

Of all the details though - every nuance, every moment - the memory that sticks in my mind is the iron on Jaren's hip. A cannon that looked both pristine and lived in. Like a relic of every battle he'd ever fought, hung low at his waist - a trophy and a warning. This man was dangerous, but there was a light about him - a pureness to his weight - that seemed to hint that his ire was something earned, not carelessly given. I'd been the first to see him as he approached, but soon most of Palamon had turned out to greet him. My father held me back as everyone stood in silence. Jaren didn't make a sound behind his sleek racer's helmet.

He looked just like the heroes in the stories, and to this day I'm not sure one way or the other if the silence between the town's people and the adventurer was born of fear or respect. I like to think the latter, but any truth I try to place on the moment would be of my own making. As we waited for Magistrate Loken to arrive and make an official greeting, my patience got the best of me. I shook free of my father's heavy hand and made the short sprint across the court, stopping a few paces from where this new curiosity stood - a man unlike any other. I stared up at him and he lowered his attention to me, his eyes hidden behind the thick tinted visor of his headgear.

My sight quickly fell to his sidearm. I was transfixed by it. I imagined all the places that weapon had been. All of the wonders it had seen. The horrors it had endured. My imagination darted from one heroic act to the next. I barely registered when he began to kneel, holding out the iron as if an offering. But my eyes locked onto the piece, mesmerized. I recall turning back to my father and seeing the looks on the faces of everyone I knew.

There was worry there - my father slowly shaking his head as if pleading with me to ignore the gift. I turned back to the man I would come to know as Jaren Ward, the finest Hunter this system may ever know and one of the greatest Guardians to ever defend the Traveler's Light And I took the weapon in my hand. Not to use. But to observe. To imagine.

To feel its weight and know its truth. That was the first time I held "Last Word," but, unfortunately, not the last. It was the fourth night of the seventh moon. Nine rises since any sign. Trail wasn't cold, but lukewarm would've been an exaggeration. Jaren had us hold by a ravine. The heavy wood along the cliffs' edge caught the wind, holding back the cold and the rush of water muffled our conversation. We'd seen dual Skiffs hanging low as they cut through the valley. Wasn't known Fallen territory, but anymore that's a dangerous assumption.

There were six of us then. Three less than two moons prior, but still, one more than when we'd first turned our backs to Palamon's ash. We took a rotation for watch during the night. Movement was kept to a minimum and communication was down to hand signals and simple gestures. We could hold our own in a fight, but only the dead went looking for one—a hard truth that cut in direct opposition to our reasons for being so far from anything resembling civilization, much less our safety.

Chapter 1 Index

The Skiffs had spooked Kressler and Nada, and, in truth, me as well. But, looking back, I think we were all just grasping for any good reason to turn back. Not because we would—turn back—but because it seemed to be our only real hope, and I think we all knew it. Where we were headed—into the unknown. And following the footsteps we were.

It all just started to feel like a never-ending dead end after a while. Jaren never wavered though. Not once. At least not to any noticeable degree. It was his drive, his conviction, that kept us going. And—it's hard to think on—but if I'm honest, it was his death that rekindled my own fire. A fire that was all but exhausted on that cold night. He seemed confident we were close. But more than confident—sure.

He seemed sure. No one else felt it—our own confidence, and any enthusiasm we'd had was set to wither soon as Brevin, Trenn and Mel were gunned down. The Ghost—Jaren's Ghost—never said a word to any of us. Just hung there. Always alert. Always judging. Not us, per se, but the moment. Any moment. I never got the sense it thought of us as lesser. More that it was guarded, wary. We knew it could speak. We'd overheard them a few times.

Just brief words, and no one ever pressed the subject. From time to time I caught its gaze lingering on me, but always assumed the attention was a result of the bond Jaren and I had. He was a father to me. At the time I didn't know why he'd singled me out as someone to care for. Someone to protect. After all the loss, I welcomed it, but looking back—taking in the arm's length at which he kept the others—I guess I should've known, or at least suspected there was more to it. We all woke that night, closer to morning than the previous day.

A crack of gunfire split through the wood. Then more. Far off, but near enough to pump the blood. A familiar ring. His best friend. Then another. A single shot, an unmistakable echo calling through the night. Hushed, cutting. One shot, dark and infernal. Followed by silence. We crouched low and quiet. Jaren was gone. Off on his own. Maybe we were closer than we'd allowed ourselves to believe. Too close.

He'd gone to face death alone. I couldn't admit it—not at the time—but he thought he was protecting us. After such a long road—years on its heels, a trail littered with suffering and fire—maybe he just couldn't take the thought of anymore dead "kids," as he called us. The echoes faded and we all held still. No way to track the direction. No sense in rushing blind. What was done was done.

The cadence of the shots fired told a story none of us cared to hear. And somewhere in the world, close enough for us to bear absent witness but far enough to be a dream, Jaren Ward lay dead or dying. And there was nothing to be done. Hours passed. An eternity. We held our spot, but as the sun rose the others began to fade back into the world. Without Jaren there was nothing holding us together. No driving force. Vengeance had grown stale as a motivator. Fear and a longing to see more suns rise drove a wedge between duty and desire.

By midday I was alone. I couldn't leave. Either I would find Jaren and set him at ease, or the other would find me and that would be a fitting end. Death marching on. But then, a motion. Quick and darting. My muscles tensed and my hand shot to the grip of my leadslinger. Then a confirmation of the horrible truth I had already accepted, as Jaren's Ghost came to a halt a few paces in front of me. I exhaled and slumped forward. Still standing, but broken. The tiny Light looked me over with a curious tilt to its axis, then shot a beam of light over my body.

Scanning me as it had done the very first time we met. I looked up. Staring into its singular glowing eye. And it spoke Palamon was ash. I was only a boy — my face caked in soot, snot and sorrow. But I was a fool. Jaren, and the others, only a handful, but still our best hunters, our hardest hearts, had left three suns prior.

Tracking Fallen, after the bandits had caused a stir. The stranger — the other — arrived the following day. He rarely spoke. Took a room. Took our hospitality. But the stranger was cold. Damaged, I thought. Only a child, I knew the monsters of our world to walk like men, but they were not. They were something alien. Four-armed and savage. The stranger was polite, but solemn. I took him for a sad, broken man, and he was. As with Jaren, father made an effort to keep me away from the stranger. As the silhouette approached, fear held tight.

The dark figure towered over me. Looking into me — through me. He smiled. My knees weak. All lost. Then, he turned and walked away. Leaving ruin and a heartbroken, terrified boy in his wake without a second glance. We stood silent, the sun high. Seconds passed, feeling more like hours. He looked different. He seemed, now, to be weightless — effortless in an existence that would crush a man burdened by conscience. My gaze remained locked as I felt a heat rising inside of me. The other spoke That was a gift. Centered in my chest. I felt like a coward the day Jaren Ward died and for many cycles after.

But here, I felt only the fire of my Light. The other probed For this day. Given up The fire burned in me. The other continued This is truly an end Reflex and purpose merged with anger, clarity and an overwhelming need for just that Two shots. Two bullets engulfed in an angry glow. The other fell. I walked to his corpse. He never raised his cursed Thorn — the jagged gun with the festering sickness. I looked down at the dead man who had caused so much death. My shooter still embraced by the dancing flames of my Light.

A sadness came over me. I thought back to my earliest days. Of Palamon. Of Jaren. Not mine. Augmented through dark practices, Thorn was once a hero's weapon. Its jagged frame hints at a sinister truth: a powerful connection to the unutterable sorceries of the Hive. The legend of Thorn is bound to the rise and fall of Dredgen Yor, a Guardian whose name is remembered with disgust and shame. The weapon was thought destroyed The noble man stood. And the people looked to him. For he was a beacon - hope given form, yet still only a man.

And within that truth there was great promise. If one man could stand against the night, then so too could anyone - everyone. In his strong hand the man held a Rose. And his aura burned bright. When the man journeyed on, the people remembered. In his wake hope spread. But the man had a secret fear. His thoughts were dark. A sadness crept from the depths of his being. He had been a hero for so long, but pride had led him down sorrow's road. Slowly the shadows' whisper became a voice, a dark call, offering glories enough to make even the brightest Light wander.

He knew he was fading, yet he still yearned. On his last day he sat and watched the sun fall. His final thoughts, pure of mind, if not body, held to a fleeting hope - though they would suffer for the man he would become, the people would remember him as he had been. And so the noble man hid himself beneath a darkness no flesh should touch, and gave up his mortal self to claim a new birthright. Whether this was choice, or destiny, is a truth known only to fate. In that cool evening air, as dusk was devoured by night, the noble man ceased to exist. In his place another stood.

Same meat. Same bone. But so very different. The first and only of his family. The sole forbearer and last descendent of the name Yor. In his first moments as a new being, he looked down at his Rose and realized for the first time that it held no petals: only the jagged purpose of angry thorns. TYPE: Transcript. Three [3] unidentified [u. Made it. Helluva touch you got then. You a 'smith? Now, about that piece. You been? With that attitude. The way you're just dismissin' us like you we're nothing You ain't near as rock solid as you figure.

Fact is, special's only special 'til it's not. Was only making conversation. But experience has its advantages. You keep it up, we'll see just how loud you like to get. Guess he knows his place, boys. Or just thick?

Richelieu’s Vision

This world? Can't help, but. I give 'em. The picture perfect bandit. And right now No listen A Guardian, right? Maybe this is what "good" looks like. You see it. Jagged, like thorns. Ever opened your eyes and realized the horror wasn't a dream? The terror wasn't gone? It's foolish, I know Maybe we could survive. You can be other.