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Terry Pratchett

“Fortune favours the brave, sir," said Carrot cheerfully.

"Good. Good. Pleased to hear it, captain. What is her position vis a vis heavily armed, well prepared and excessively manned armies?"

"Oh, no–one's ever heard of Fortune favouring them, sir."

"According to General Tacticus, it's because they favour themselves," said Vimes. He opened the battered book. Bits of paper and string indicated his many bookmarks. "In fact, men, the general has this to say about ensuring against defeat when outnumbered, out–weaponed and outpositioned. It is..." he turned the page, "'Don't Have a Battle.'"

"Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins. He pointed to the yellow horizon.

"See all that stuff in the air?" he said. "What do you think that is?"

"Mist?" said Vimes.

"Hah, yes. Klatchian mist! It's a sandstorm! The sand blows about all the time. Vicious stuff. If you want to sharpen your sword, just hold it up in the air."

"Oh."

"And it's just as well because otherwise you'd see Mount Gebra. And below it is what they call the Fist of Gebra. It's a town but there's a bloody great fort, walls thirty feet thick. 's like a big city all by itself. 's got room inside for thousands of armed men, war elephants, battle camels, everything. And if you saw that, you'd want me to turn round right now. Whats your famous general got to say about it, eh?"

"I think I saw something..." said Vimes. He flicked to another page. "Ah, yes, he says, 'After the first battle of Sto Lat, I formulated a policy which has stood me in good stead in other battles. It is this: if the enemy has an impregnable stronghold, see he stays there.'"

"That's a lot of help," said Jenkins.

Vimes slipped the book into a pocket.

"So, Constable Visit, there's a god on our side, is there?"

"Certainly, sir."

"But probably also a god on their side as well?"

"Very likely, sir. There's a god on every side."

"Let's hope they balance out, then.”


Terry Pratchett, Jingo
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Jingo (Discworld, #21) Jingo by Terry Pratchett
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