Am I Blogging Now?

A blog about writing, reading, art, and history

Wit and Wisdom of Queen Viarra

A few pieces of wisdom from Queen Viarraluca, title character from my novel-in-progress, First Empress:

“You aren’t going to weasel your way out of this. If you haven’t figured that out yet, you’re denser than I thought—and trust me that I believe you quite dense. Tell your tetrarchs and council that the terms of this alliance are completely unacceptable. It is an arrogant attempt at bald-faced extortion and my people will not be harassed in this manner.”

“You’ve tried this line of reasoning already. When you start repeating your arguments it means you’ve run out of them.”

“When fighting with short swords, it’s important to remember that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

“Mother had an edge like obsidian. Chip it and it just gets sharper.”

“Adopting a pacifistic stance is only ever viewed as a sign of weakness—as an unwillingness to fight for your people. It disheartens allies and encourages enemies. You have to bring these ideas to the people, show them what can be gained by working beside and cooperating with someone they’ve been enemies with for three hundred years.”

“In Captain Vola’s culture both men and women learn to ride in combat. In fact, they’re required to kill an enemy in battle and present the severed head as proof as part of their passage to adulthood. Barbaric? Perhaps. But requiring women to ride more than doubles the size of their armies.”

“Every culture adapts to whatever suits its people, their environment, and their place within the world’s framework. History teaches us that cultures who cannot adapt die out to make way for those who can. Our culture is not as stable as we like to pretend; I want to make sure we learn to adapt before it’s too late.”

“No, you can’t explain. Every lying word you speak in useless explanation is another second you get to spend alive. You don’t get that right.”

“I apologize that I must deprive you of your husband. I want you to know that I harbor no ill will to you or your children. If you choose to stay in the city, I am willing to offer you your husband’s seat on the council, as well as my protection from any reprisals that may come because of his part in the plot against me. However, if you no longer feel safe, I have a ship standing by to take you and your children to be with your family at first light.”

“I gave consideration to reconciling with the traitors only long enough to weigh its disadvantages. I don’t know how things work in your part of the world, but in my part of the world, mercy is only ever seen as a sign of cowardice. Yes, I could have publicly forgiven the conspirators, but they would not have understood why—nor would my people. They would see it as weakness on my part, assuming that I lack the stomach to right the wrongs against me or defend myself from an obvious threat.”

“There are people who want me dead for no other reason than they’d rather be in charge themselves. Every decision I make, no matter how fair and just, will result in someone I’ve never met praying nightly to the gods for my death simply because I did not decide in their favor. If any of these people believed they could destroy me, they would not hesitate to do so. There is an aphorism in warfare that ‘true safety lies not in counting on your enemy not to attack, but in making your position unassailable.’ This applies in politics as well as combat. By destroying the men behind the attempt on my life, it discourages others who may want me dead from making similar attempts.”

“The saying that ‘history is written by the winners,’ is a load of shit popularized by rabble-rousers angry that someone they disagree with had their own version, but who are too lazy to do their own research, or by envious political opponents of a popular monarch. The truth is, dear Zahnia, that there exist many excellent accounts by historians who fought on the losing side of a war or whose people were subjugated by a hostile invader. But I find that the most reliable histories are the ones written by the bystanders—by people watching a battle from the sidelines or traveling through a country on business: observers with no personal stake it what is going on.”

“Decorum has its place, but anywhere else it goes, it’s more of a hindrance than anything.”

“I can’t claim all of the credit, though everyone insists on giving it to me.”

“I’m not getting in the ‘last word’—I’m getting in the next word. It’s not my fault you lack the wit to get in one after that.”


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