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‘Into the House of Darkness’
The Murther of Gallandus by Corsus, Chapter 18, The Worm Ouroborus

Of the Uprising of the Wars of King Gorice XII in Demonland; wherein is seen how in an Old man of War Stiffnekedness and Tyranny may overlive Good Generalship, and how a Great King’s Displeasure dureth Only so long as It agreeth with his Policy

“The feat was three parts done, and the thralls poured fourth unto the King…”

The tyranny of life is illuminated as glaringly apparent in such passages of this fantasy even as such thralldom as the postmodern debt slave reading it is forever obscured and veiled by the deeper fantasy of our lives.

A first ship had come bearing tides of victory from Lord Corsus.

“But Gorice the King sat dark among them as a cliff of serpentine that frowns above dancing surges of a springtide summer sea.”

Then a second ship came bearing Lord Gro, the goblin exile and close servant to the King. Gro tells a tale of excessive slaughter and cruelty which steels enemy resistance and then of Corsus not only blundering tactically but turning on and murdering his ablest lieutenant.

The author paints word pictures of war that suggest a deep imprint, such as, “…brought to misery in her most sharp condition.”

The Homeric strains of Eddison’s tale are here most strongly embodied in the person of Gro, rising as a Nestor-like figure before the king and heroes whom he is fated to advise. Throughout the tale of woeful ineptitude and rampant cruelty King Gorice broods, listening in beetle-bowed silence, his eyes smoldering like hell-fire below their hairy eves, painting a picture of a King smoldering with impatience at the distance at which he must exercise his command. The clearing of the King’s smoldering thoughts are treated in terms of daylight breaking through clouds and his actions provide an example of a high-functioning feudal hierarchy.

A Well of Heroes

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