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Deal 1228: Two haiku

orange root replete with
flavor either cooked and raw
bred as king’s tribute

wicker man woven
bird’s nest of pain and torture
defiance of kings

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Deal 1226: Sticks and stones

Court is not a place for the thin-skinned. While the insults and slights are less likely to be stated bluntly, loud, and clear, they are there beneath the surface as every courtier jockeys for position and favor. To an outsider, this makes court seem like a pointless waste of time and resources. To an insider it is their lifeblood.

He was atypical for a courtier. Whip-thin, tall, and nimble. They called him Stick, but not usually to his face. He was sharp in more ways than one, and was more willing than most to follow up on threats with a visit to a back alley.

Today, Stick was holding court of his own, facing down the leading lawyer over a few beers. Their respective circles of sycophants were keeping the combatants well supplied while the debate ranged freely.

Stick was adamant that free will was behind everything that could be seen happening. Even things that would normally be ascribed to fate. His sparring partner was far more receptive to a fatalistic view. He held that free will was merely an illusion used by men to assuage their egos when choices went badly. That the criminals that made his living for him were fated to break laws, and what little free will they possessed was only good for choosing which laws they would break.

The discussion lasted until closing, and then spilled over into the streets.

And call it fate. Call it free will. Or call it narrative necessity as you will. But Stick had had enough of the snide remarks by this point, and he and his retinue neatly cut the lawyer free of the crowd and herded him into the alley. Where they thrashed him to within an inch of his life.

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Deal 1164: Spied

Busybodies are found everywhere. At work, their snooping is usually discovered early on and they can be redirected into useful tasks. In neighborhoods they can fuel petty complaints and start feuds. On an international scale, they can bring down nations.

Spies are professional busybodies. Sneaking around, prying into all media looking for anything out of place.

Handled with skill, their presence can defer or even delay a war and they can last for years.

Years holding a secret that could destroy them and all that they love if it were told.

As these years pass, I want you to peer into the abyss. Sometimes the abyss peers back at you.