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.
HELLO GUYS I’M BACK! and YES I’m going to repost part 1, 2, and 3 becausee thanks to this cool person Tanvi @abitofmadnessisthekey for editing my works! I love you baby gurl!
Pairing: Assassin!Bucky x Princess!Reader
Summary: as an ex assassin Bucky is having a peaceful life, until one day he got a call from a brother of the King of England asking for help to kill the Princess of England, he swore this one will be his last mission, but could he finish the mission?
Words count: 952
Warnings: so far so good, a little fighting scene between Bucky and Steve, lol
“Hello, James Barnes”, “Who is this?” Bucky asks knitting his eyebrows together, “This is Alexander Pierce”, “King Andrew’s brother?” Bucky asks, “Yes, listen I have a job for you” Bucky knows what he means, “I’m not doing that thing anymore” Bucky speaks, which he earn the chuckles from the other side of the phone, “Don’t you think it’s rude to speak like that to royalty?” Alexander smirks, and continues “Listen Barnes, I want you to take this job and I never take no for answer, if you don’t take this job I’ll make sure you’ll spend your life in jail. I know everything about you, and how you’re the most wanted guy in America, guess that’s why you moved to England right? To delete all your tracks and live the normal life”, “And what do I get in return?” Bucky hissed, “Freedom, just like you want it” Alex knew Bucky wouldn’t turn this down, Bucky is now just a guy who is seeking for normal life.
“What do you want me to do?” Bucky asks, “The kingdom needs a new personal bodyguard for the Princess, I want you to apply for that job and be her personal bodyguard. Get to know her, be her friend and at the day she turns 19, my brother Andrew will hold a birthday ball as well as an engagement party, and that means the person who is going to be her husband will soon be the King.” Alex explains, “I don’t care about your stupid problem, just tell me what to do” Bucky demands, “Eager aren’t we? Well… at the day she turns 19 I want you to kill her, so no engagement, no wedding, I won’t out you to the police, I’ll give you 5000 pound sterling, I bet it’s enough for you to start a normal life and then I’ll get the throne” Alex chuckles, “And Barnes, I want you to start the job now”, “Okay, anything I should know about?” Bucky asks, “Just don’t get attached to the princess” and then Alex hung up the phone.
That’s how Bucky end up in a ring with Steve Rogers, which he believes is the castle guard, having hand to hand combat with him as the test. Dodging, punching, Bucky did that perfectly, “Come on Rogers, hit him!” Sam shouts from across the room, Sam Wilson is the head guard of the castle. One last punch, Bucky sent Steve flying across the room, “Okay that’s enough” Sam said, as he walked towards Steve and helped him stand, “Congratulation Mr. Barnes, you’re now the princess personal bodyguard. You’ll meet her everyday, and stay by her all the time, makes sure she is kept from harm and danger, put herself safety before anything else, protect her at all costs, the King doesn’t tolerate people who can’t protect his daughter. The last bodyguard was fired because he almost crashed the car while driving the Princess to the bookstore. So if you really want this job, you just have to protect her at anytime or anywhere, now let’s get you cleaned up to meet the King, I’ll wait for you at the meeting room” Sam tells Bucky all the details and he excuse himself to go to his room.
After cleaning up, Bucky went to the meeting room to meet the King and Sam, stopping at the door Bucky knocks and opens the door, “Come in Mr. Barnes” Sam motioned him to come in, “So this is my daughter’s new personal bodyguard, I guess Sam has told you everything including about the last bodyguard. Before we start, “What’s your name?” the King asks, “James Buchanan Barnes, most people call me Bucky” he says, “Well Bucky, welcome to the castle and believe me, she is a fun girl to hang out with, well Sam I guess you could lead Bucky to (Y/N), she is in the library now” the King said, “Come on Bucky, let’s get you to her” Bucky couldn’t wait to finish this job sooner.
Arriving at the library Bucky take a look at the girl on the stairs who is trying to reach the book from the top shelf, “That’s (y/n)” Sam says, “Should I help her? She looks a little bit struggling there.” Bucky asks, “No need, she doesn’t like new people get really near her… But if you she’s about to fall, that’s your cue to help” Sam explains, “Okay…” Bucky answers while looking at the brown hair girl in a blue mini dress, “Well then, I’ll leave you from here. If you need anything, you know where my office is. One last thing, she is in charge, everything she wants and it’s your job to fulfill that” Sam excuses himself and leave, “What the hell.” Bucky mumbles.
When Bucky turns around he saw the stairs is moving, so he ran fast and caught the Princess before she fell, Bucky groaned when his back hit the floor while the Princess landed on top of him, “I’m so sorry!” (y/n) stood up looking at Bucky with guilty eyes, “It’s fine Princess, it’s fine” Bucky stood up and took a good look at the Princess, she looked so innocent and so pure, “Umm… may I know who you are?” she asks politely, Bucky stretched his arms and speak, “James Buchanan Barnes, your new personal bodyguard, most people call me Bucky” she took his hand and shook it, “I’m (y/n), and I think I’ll go with James” she smiled and nodded at him heading towards the table to start reading. Bucky headed towards the door and stood there watching her read, sometimes Bucky would catch her staring at him, but she’d just smile and continue to read.
“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.
He shook his head pityingly. “This, more than anything else, is what I have never understood about your people. You can roll dice, and understand that the whole game may hinge on one turn of a die. You deal out cards, and say that all a man’s fortune for the night may turn upon one hand. But a man’s whole life, you sniff at, and say, what, this naught of a human, this fisherman, this carpenter, this thief, this cook, why, what can they do in the great wide world? And so you putter and sputter your lives away, like candles burning in a draft.”
“Not all men are destined for greatness,” I reminded him.
“Are you sure, Fitz? Are you sure? What good is a life lived as if it made no difference at all to the great life of the world? A sadder thing I cannot imagine. Why should not a mother say to herself, if I raise this child aright, if I love and care for her, she shall live a life that brings joy to those about her, and thus I have changed the world? Why should not the farmer that plants a seed say to his neighbor, this seed I plant today will feed someone, and that is how I change the world today?”
“This is philosophy, Fool. I have never had time to study such things.”
“No, Fitz, this is life. And no one has time not to think of such things. Each creature in the world should consider this thing, every moment of the heart’s beating. Otherwise, what is the point of arising each day?”
Okay, so everyone’s done their take on this at least once, and you know what, it’s fun to do, so I’m gonna throw out my own version of this. Here is my take on the classic 3x3 DnD Alignment Grid!
First, let’s get some key terms defined.
Lawful - To me, lawful just means that the character follows a clear and codified set of objective standards. A list of things they ideally will or won’t do, and a standard for behavior. This code can be broken, but it will feel wrong to that character, and they will be upset when they are put into a situation where they must violate one of their standards. Lawful may give too strong a sense of “Law” being the driving force. I think “Principled” would be the better choice.
Chaotic - To me, Chaotic is not ‘lol so randumb’. It’s the antithesis of Lawful. Where a lawful character has an ideal standard they strive to conform to, a chaotic character has no such high standard for themselves. They only have their goals and philosophy. In fact, a chaotic character sees standards, rules, and other strictures as impediments. Chaotics won’t break rules for the sake of breaking them, necessarily. They just don’t care for such things and aren’t going to even consider them while making their choices. They act more on primal sensation than logic, making “Instinctive” a good alternate term.
Good - I find this and its counterparts, Neutral and Evil, to be misnomers. Good isn’t always ‘goody 2-shoes’ or ‘FOR THE GREATER GOOD’. Let’s be honest, a kingdom ruled by a caste of Lawful Good Paladins isn’t going to be a very happy place for long. Additionally, a Good Paladin may not think twice about cutting down a tree, but a Good Druid might very strongly object to that, and consider it Evil… or at least worthy of a good lecture. So I think Good would better be called Selfless. A Selfless character will always make decisions with the consequences to other people or things in mind. What those other things are will vary by the character, but they all want to avoid collateral consequences that would hurt others.
Evil - Now, you might be expecting me to ask what the opposite of Selfless is and then apply it to evil, but I don’t think that fits. When I look at classic examples of Evil characters, they share basically one thing in common: they aren’t necessarily the antagonists and villains of the story, but they all strive for domination and control. Of others, of their environment, of their kingdom, of other people: They want to be in control. So I feel Dominant is the better descriptor. Their driving motive is to gain power and control for its own sake.
Neutral - Ah yes. Nestled between Selfless (Good) and Dominant (Evil) is this little slice of ambiguity that often has a horrible reputation for being mind-numbingly bland or pure off-the-wall bonkers. Both of these misrepresent what I find to be one of the more compelling alignment sets. Neutral is, again, a poor choice of word, in my opinion; especially juxtaposed against Selfless and Dominant. What are Neutral characters after? If they’re not looking out for other people (Good/Selfless) or trying to take control (Evil/Dominant), what are they doing? Well.. they’re looking after themselves, and/or after a very select and small group of people. They are Selfish. Not necessarily in the negative sense, just that their frame of reference is their own well-being. They don’t necessarily care about collateral, and they really don’t want to impose on other people either. They will act for their own satisfaction, whether that be financial, emotional, spiritual, whatever.
So, with those terms out of the way, let’s ACTUALLY do the 9 alignments and give you a taste of how I see them.
PRINCIPLED SELFLESS - (Lawful Good) This is the home of the Noble Knight, the Holy Paladin, the benevolent King, the beleaguered Town Mayor, the Hunter watching over the sleepy village during the night, the Girl who puts herself between the victim and the bully’s fist, the young patriotic Soldier on the front lines. These men and women hold themselves to a standard of action and behavior, and are always thinking about the well-being of others, even to the point of putting themselves in harms way to secure it. Whatever their source of values, it puts a high priority on defending others and they are uncomfortable with, if not downright hostile to, the idea of acting outside of their principles, as they feel that doing so may actually hurt others around them, or make them no better than the ones they’re trying to stop.
PRAGMATIC SELFLESS - (Neutral Good) This is the Town Medic, doing all they can within the limits of their knowledge, but knowing that some injuries just aren’t worth treating when supplies are limited. It hurts, but it’s necessary, and they are comfortable with shouldering that burden. It’s the Upstanding Citizen, who knows they can’t face the threat themselves, but will scramble to make sure the authorities know what’s happening. This class of character will do everything they can reasonably be expected to do to protect those around them, even bend some rules or take a blow to their principles if it means getting results. But they’re not going to overextend themselves when all that’s going to do is hurt them.
INSTINCTIVE SELFLESS - (Chaotic Good) This is woodland Ranger who poaches to feed the orphanage; the grizzled Bounty Hunter who kills his targets in cold blood to stop them from repeating their crimes; the Royal Assassin who kills the enemy general before his invasion plans come to fruition. These characters just want to help. Screw the rules, screw anything that stands between them and helping, they’re going to make sure other people are secure by any means necessary, and they will fight to correct anything they see as threatening other people, even if that threat comes from seemingly noble sources.
PRINCIPLED SELFISH - (Lawful Neutral) This is the Merchant plying his trade in the capitol; the Blacksmith who refuses to do business with cutthroats because it would spoil his reputation; the Mercenary who keeps a blacklist of persons or organizations he won’t work for. Characters in this bracket are in it for themselves, but they have standards. There’s a list of things they most definitely will not do, and are very reliable and trustworthy because of it. While this might put them in a bind, where their well-being may suffer due to their principles, they will staunchly adhere to them, or grimace bitterly if forced to cross those lines.
Like all Selfish types, it’s not that they won’t protect others or try to gain control, but they won’t do it to their own detriment.
PRAGMATIC SELFISH - (True Neutral) This classification is often misrepresented as being boring. However, characters in this bracket are purely self-driven and that means this is a very unstable alignment. Keeping a character purely Pragmatic Selfish is hard. They have to frame everything in terms of how it will benefit or hurt them. They’ll do whatever they reasonably can to promote their own well-being, and willingly swallow some bitter pills to do it, but they’re not going to stick their neck out too far. This means they’re easily pulled along into other alignments based events around them, but this also gives characters starting in this classification the largest room for growth and the coolest potential stories. Like all Selfish types, it’s not that they won’t protect others or try to gain control, but they won’t do it to their own detriment.
INSTINCTIVE SELFISH - (Chaotic Neutral) These people will do anything in service to their own well being. They don’t want control, and they don’t care about collateral, all they want is their own security and happiness. The Sellsword who will fight for whoever is the highest bidder, the citizen who refuses to share his food with his starving neighbors out of fear of starving himself, the streetrat who steals to survive, the Deserter who flees the battlefield when he realizes the battle is lost. These people have a finely honed sense of self-preservation, making them great allies if you can convince them that working with you is in their best interest. But if you haven’t fully convinced them, they will just as easily abandon you.
Like all Selfish types, it’s not that they won’t protect others or try to gain control, but they won’t do it to their own detriment.
PRINCIPLED DOMINANT - (Lawful Evil) These are your Moguls, who play by the rules as they consolidate control of a market. The Paladin who’s stopped caring about others and is only in it for the authority it brings. The mediocre King who manages to keep his people content, but really is only in it for the privileges of the Monarchy. Characters in this category relish the sense of power they have and thirst for more. But they’ve got principles, and there are lines they won’t cross. Sure, they can be controlling assholes, but they stay in line and play by the book. At least, by whatever book they’ve elected to use as their rules.
PRAGMATIC DOMINANT - (Neutral Evil) You could also call these guys ‘Lazy Dominant’. They want power, and they want to keep accumulating it for themselves more and more, but they’re not going to get over-excited about it. It’s the corrupt Sheriff who just enjoys skimming the coffers every so often, the Commander who waits for a superior to make a mistake before trying to take his seat. They’ll slowly, patiently accumulate power and influence for its own sake, using some dubious methods, but nothing so radical as to be called ‘grasping’. They’re more… opportunists than anything else.
INSTINCTIVE DOMINANT - (Chaotic Evil) These guys just like flaunting the fact they’re in control. They will get up in your face with that, and they will definitely have the power to back them up. They like seeing other people bow or kowtow to their whims, and will take ample opportunities to demonstrate their power. In short, these guys are assholes, and they love being assholes. The problem is that if they’ve been doing it for any decent length of time, it usually means they have the power to justify their power plays. And they’re always on the lookout for ways to get more power, by any means they can devise.
So, there we go, my own personal take on the old RPG meme. Is this useful, probably not. Was it fun to write? Hell yeah! And being of Principled Selfish nature, that’s all that matters to me :P
‘Yes. So have you. And you’ve been sick. And you slept quite a long time. And now you are awake and bathed and you still look terrible. But you no longer smell. It’s late afternoon now. Are there any other obvious facts you’d like to review?’
‘I dreamed about you. While I was gone.’
He gave me a dubious look. ‘Did you? How touching. I can’t say I dreamed of you.’
‘I’ve missed you,’ I said, and enjoyed the brief flash of surprise on the Fool’s face.
‘How droll.’ - pg 81, Royal Assassin
I love this scene. Fitz is all “Yay, my best friend is here, let us converse!”, and the Fool is just “Why are you still talking? I’m just here to make sure you’re still breathing. I recently insulted you multiple times. Weirdo.’