They tell the story around campfires. In great halls. In kitchens. And in taverns. In the skies, on the desert plains, and in the howling mountains. They tell the stories to little girls and little boys. They tell the stories to future kings and queens. They tell the story of a ragtag band of misfits, mercenaries, thieves, and assassins. Of royal born and street urchins who fought side by side. They tell the story of the Queen who was promised.
They tell the legend of a mystical queen who could burn the world with her flames. Who had scars on her back and hands from her time as a slave. Who lived a double life as an assassin but came back for her people. Who banished the dark queen and brought back the light.
They tell the story of a long-awaited king who had powers the likes of which had not been seen for over a decade. Who defeated his predecessor and saved his subjects. Who was just and merciful and who had a penchant for knowledge. Who had once worn a collar around his neck and who had a phantom haunt him from the moment it came off.
They tell the story of a rejected lord who was once a guard. Who was the most loyal friend a man could ask for. Who believed in right and wrong. Who went on the run but stayed to help the people. Who went to the south unable to walk and returned with an army.
They tell the story of a warrior prince who was the fiercest in all the lands. Who once was the lackey of the dark queen but was the first to leave her side. Who had ice and wind running through his veins. And who wore the story of his shame for all the world to see.
They tell the story of a deadly queen who drank the blood of men. Who was spared by her enemy and waged war against her family. Who guided her people to peace and into a new age. And who united two races who wared for over a century.
They tell the stories of the women. Beauties and fighters. One who could change her skin like some put on a different outfit. One who always aimed her arrow straight and true. One who was saved by a queen in an alleyway and in turn saved another and then another and then another. One who was a beacon for her people from the moment she was born until the moment her life was snuffed out. One who ended the suffering of many and who saved thousands. One who trecked across the continent to find her lost queen and never gave up hope. And one who gave her life for a better world.
They tell the stories of the men. Legends and tall tales. Men who were the fiercest warriors in all the lands. Who once served the dark queen but left her for a brighter flame. A man who let the world think the worst of him, but always stood by his family. A man who rode the skies like some men walk the earth. A man who gave his life and heart for a woman he never indeed knew. But loved none the less.
They tell the stories of these men and women. These kings and queens. These gods and goddesses. They whisper them as the candlesticks melt into nothing. They chant them as rain stomps on the roofs. They murmur them on days when the winds are so loud they rattle the worlds. They recount them on nights when the snow is so thick you can’t even see your hand in front of you. They recite these stories on the killing fields bathed in blood. They quote these stories in books and by word of mouth to anyone who will listen. They hiss these stories in lands whose names have been forgotten. They proclaim these stories to their children and their children and their children. They remember the stories of Aelin Ashryver Galathynius and the sacrifices she made until night descends upon the realms.
The same angry cold twisted and churned inside me, building to an unbearable pressure. They had no right to do this to me. I had not been born to be their tool. I had a right to live my life freely, to be who I was born to be. Did they think they could bend me to their will, use me however they would, and I would never retaliate? No. A time would come. My time would come.
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb.
What does this paragraph sound like? It doesn’t sound like the hero’s narrative, does it… it sounds like a villain’s origin story, almost. That’s where you’d expect to find it. And it isn’t; it belongs to the hero, who will always remain loyal to the “they” he refers to.
I find this so interesting because that’s Fitz’s driving, normally unspoken force, isn’t it? It’s the fundamental thing that disjoints him from Kettricken and Verity and Dutiful and Burrich almost everyone else. Kettricken, Verity and Dutiful were all raised with not just the expectations of their rank, but also the privileges and supports; Burrich considers his life at Buckkeep a vast improvement on his childhood, and gave his loyalty to Chivalry as a much older person. So none of them entirely understand why Fitz is so “difficult”, so resistant to almost everything.
He’s torn - he’s a good person, he cares about his family and his people, he wants to help them. But he also has an impressively strong understanding of morality, and he knows what is being done to him is wrong. Except if he breaks out of it, he harms people. So he suppresses that inner, moral voice; he doesn’t feel that he has another option. Every time he tries to break away he is (often forceably) dragged back in.
And the rest of the family wonders why he’s like this and never truly understands.
This was ooc while explaining an item in the shop, but still funny:
GM: It’s a Cloak of Concealment stolen from the royal assassins. Y'know, the same black cloak Renael (a major npc) wears.
Druid: I take Renael’s cloak from him.
GM: Huh? No, I meant like the same KIND OF cloak as his, not–
Druid: I take Renael’s cloak right off his back.
GM: That’s not what I meant and you know it!
Druid: It’s mine now.
“Shrewd sat before his hearth in a cushioned chair. Despite myself, my heart sank at how wasted he had become. …A small table at his elbow supported a censer, and Smoke rose from it. The fumes already made a bluish haze about the rafters. The Fool sprawled disconsolately at his feet.” - Robin Hobb, Royal Assassin
I still think one of the funniest parts of Royal Assassin is how badly Fitz’s attempt to sabotage the union with Celerity went. He’s all: Well I don’t want to outright insult them, but I have no interest in marrying her. I know! I’ll write back a letter that makes me look like a common oarsman, an oaf, a coward, and an invalid. Her father will probably forbid her to even mention my name after this! Only for her father to be all my, what a fine young man to be so candid, and certainly not a braggart! Fitz just stuck there like well. shit. the one goddamn time I want someone to think poorly of me. why. the fuck is this shit.