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FF Sparks (Casual)

The Power of a Thief...

Happy! I am all caught up on Thieves and Kings now, so I'm re-reading all the earlier books before reading the latest. The speech below, given to a young Rubel (the story's hero), on the power of a true thief, is an example of why I really love this story. Anyone who has never heard of it (i.e. most people) may be missing out on a wonderful story; it's a comic told from two standpoints. One is following the characters directly on a more personal level, the other is told through illustrated prose and gives it more of an epic feel, as the story is related to us as if by a narrator. It can switch styles midway through scenes, and yet it ends up working very well and giving both an epic /and/ personal feel to things. I'd re-read a couple issues a while ago, but it's been too long since I sat down and visited Oceanside, Highborn and the Sleeping Wood in any real depth. Maybe this was a little of what I needed; Rubel's innocent faith and belief in the nature of the world is refreshing, and his ability to follow his heart and help those around him is admirable, and speaks to maybe a little of what I feel like I lost.

If you are a thief, then how can you be /pure/? A pure thief is honest, and an honest man can only kill by listening to his rage. But anyone who kills in rage can only in his /dreams/ be pure! There you are with a blade, and all your mightiest adventures begging at your feet...and you are /pure/? If the intentions of a thief have so set themselves within you that they will /not/ be put aside, if you wish with all your heart to proceed with the steps of one who is pure, I will tell you this.

At the time when they are small and struggle to please their parents and older brothers and older sisters, all mortal souls struggle to be pure and good, and by this way so perceive imperfections upon the world, and they learn to despise that which causes hurt and illness of body and soul. They yearn to see such imperfections put right in their eyes! And sometimes, they set forth to do so! With noble hearts, they go! But a man or woman or child may well become tangled amongst all the many ideas and rules cast down upon them by mothers and by kings; ideas and rules abundant in the worlds into which they are born. And among such frustrations, often they sink into confusion and despair.

But a /thief/... a thief has no mother. A thief looks to no king. A thief can stand where others cannot! And this, amongst all the many powers the thinking beast can hold, is a power to be held in high respect! A true thief is intimidated neither by riches nor high office, nor by sword or broad chest! A thief who gives into fear is not a thief at all! A /true/ thief is afraid of no strength or rule, mortal or divine -- for all strengths and roles opposing a thief are but stones in his path, to be mastered or avoided, or failing that, died upon! But /never/ given in to!

Such being the nature of this power, the responsibility with which it comes is terrible and vast! Because a thief is able to listen to his heart and react always in honesty...a thief must also understand that his heart is quite blind. Good and evil are /real/ forces, boy! And while there are no rules you can follow that will take you all the way to either...following rules lets a man or woman or child act in clear conscience /regardless/ of what they do. So when a thief /breaks/ those rules; when a thief chooses his /own/ actions, any good or evil he causes is his alone to bear!

And it is thus that the battles you must truly wage are those that live and multiply in the dark regions lying between your heart and your hand -- those that lie in wait for you upon the landscape of the shadow.

Comments

That's wild, Sparks. A very interesting perspective.

Mind if I point folks at it?
Well, it's Mark Oakley's work, not mine. Feel free to point someone here if you'd like. :)

It's something told to a very young Rubel at the end of the Red Book (the first volume), and influences him to stay on the path of a true thief. It's something I really like about the story; the power of a true thief isn't something false...it's something truly feared or respected in the world of the supernatural in this story, even though most don't believe in the supernatural. But thieves can perceive magic because of what they are...but if they tell three lies, they are no longer true thieves and will never see a magic thing again. At one point, a girl calls out to a thief from the top of a tower that 'if you do not come to help me, I will throw myself from the tower' and because the thief -- the legendary thief McGi -- is a true thief, he has to make his way across the world to help her; if he allowed her to die, he would not have been following his heart and would have been untrue to himself. A thief can't do that.

Like I said, I've really missed the kingdom of Acasia, the great capital city of Highborn with Oceanside nestled below it along the waves, the Sleeping Wood... the princess' thief Rubel and his imp friend, Varkias and their adventures... the strange schemes of the 'Shadow Lady', who is Soracia, the Queen of Halves... the treachery of the witch-queen Lady Locumire, who has the young prince in her thrall and the king dying... the firey spirit of young princess Katara, fled from her brother and building an army within the haunted Sleeping Wood... how an innocent oath of Rubel's ("Now, Before and Forevermore") -- sworn from the heart with the power of a thief -- binds people together across lifetimes and alters destinies...

Yes, I really love this story, can you tell? ;)