Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why Is That So Good, Part 4 - "REVENGE!"

I'm kind of on a Roger Zelazny kick right now, so I'll keep going with one of his lesser-known works, Jack of Shadows. I won't go into detail, except to say that the anti-hero, Jack, is a thief who has made a lot of magical enemies, including his mortal foe, the Lord of Bats. Since "darksiders" like Jack and Bats have a knack for returning from the dead, the Lord of Bats has decided to lock up Jack for eternity. After finding a way to escape from the escape-proof prison, Jack pauses in his flight to deliver a little revenge speech. Now, bear in mind that Zelazny held a master's degree in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama - a genre that abounded in bloody tales of revenge. You might say he was a revenge professional.

"You are henceforth and forever an outcast, Jack. Count no darksider as friend."

"I never have."
"The Compact and its agent, the Book of Ells, is the one thing we all respect - always have respected -despite all other differences, Jack. You will be bounded now to your ultimate destruction."

"I almost was, here, by you. This way, I am able to bid you good-bye."

"I will banish the presence you have summoned and extinguish the fire you have caused. Then I will raise half a world against you. Never again will you know a moment's rest. Your ending will not be a happy one."

"You slew me once, you took my woman and warped her will, you made me your prisoner, wore me around your neck, set your Borshin upon me. Know that when we meet again, I will not be the one who is tortured and bounded into madness. I have a long list, and you head it."

"We will meet again, Shadowjack - perhaps even in a matter of moments. Then you can forget about your list."

"Oh, your mention of lists reminded me of something. Are you not curious as to whose name I effaced when I entered my own into the Book of Ells?"

"What name was it?"

"Strangely enough, it was your name. You should really get out more often, you know. If you had, you would have noticed the chill, inspected the Shield and read in the Book. Then you would have been on Shield duty and I would not have become your prisoner. All of this unpleasantness could have been avoided. There is a moral there somewhere. Get more exercise and fresh air-that may be it."

"In that case, you would have been the Baron's, or back in Glyve."

"A moot point," said Jack, glancing over his shoulder. "That tapestry is going pretty well now, so I can be moving along. In, say - perhaps a season, perhaps less - who knows? - whenever you finish your Shield duty- you will doubtless seek me. Do not be discouraged if you do not succeed at once. Persist. When I am ready, we will meet. I will take Evene back from you. I will take High Dudgeon away from you. I will destroy your bats. I will see you wander from offal to the grave and back again, many times. Goodbye, for now."

I know this works for me.

Does it work for you? And why?

Let me know.

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