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▶  More from Fiction Before the Rising Sun
‘If Poison Had a Face’
Impressions of Chapter 28 of Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer
Reading from pages 169-173 of Shadow & Claw
Severian has miraculously survived a duel that had been arranged as an execution and awakens in the rest area of a military hospital and is asked to leave as soon as able to avoid upsetting the ordinary patients. He is soon set up with work by a ranking military justice official, who is in need of an executioner to carry out the sentence upon a mass murderer. He finds casual conversation with the soldiery problematic:
“…I felt, as we always feel when there is a whole sector or our lives that cannot bear the light, that no matter how far the last question had been from one of the forbidden subjects, the next would pierce to the heart of it.”
The conduct of his duel is fleshed out for him by Dorcas, who he also questions about the obviously duplicitous Agia, providing some keen insights into aggressively manipulative women, that is the surest sign that Dorcas is a resurrected soul and not simply a kind and loyal girl—though her actual living memories remain lost to her.
Diction of note
-destrier, war steed
-cynocephalus, a dog-headed ape [perhaps a baboon]
Ire and Ice: Winter and A White Christmas
prev:  ‘The Sanguinary Field’     ‹  before the rising sun  ›     next:  ‘In the Sight of the Pancreator’
the world is our widow
your trojan whorse
when you're food
winter of a fighting life
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