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Preview — The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Read between November 04 - December 07, 2016
Watching them together, moving gracefully through the throng, it would be easy to believe they owned the place, or were perhaps thinking of buying it to use as a summer home. Only old nobility move with that easy arrogance, knowing deep in their guts that everything in the world exists only to make them happy.
A small, cool hand brushed the side of my face. “It’s okay,” she said quietly. “Come here.” I began to cry quietly, and she gently uncurled the tight knot of me until my head lay in her lap. She murmured, brushing my hair away from my forehead, her hands cool against my hot face. “I know,” she said sadly. “It’s bad sometimes, isn’t it?”
What were their signs? Thunder. The darkening of the moon. One story even mentioned rainbows. Who would write that? Why make a child terrified of rainbows?
“Doesn’t matter,” Elodin said in an offhand way. “Kvothe is crap at Interesting Fact.” I scowled as loudly as I could.
“No,” the innkeeper said, his voice surprisingly firm. He held up his glass. “To old friends who deserved better than they got.”
“His theories about perception as an active force were interesting,” I admitted. “But he writes like he’s afraid someone might actually understand him.”
almost as if she were surprised to see him sitting there. No, it was almost as if up until that point, he’d just been occupying space around her, like a piece of furniture. But this time when she looked at him, she took all of him in. His sandy hair, the line of his jaw, the span of his shoulders beneath his shirt. This time when she looked, she actually saw him. Let me say this. It was worth the whole awful, irritating time spent searching the Archives just to watch that moment happen. It was worth blood and the fear of death to see her fall in love with him. Just a little. Just the first ...more
“Do all the women in the world secretly know each other?” Sim asked. “Because that would explain a lot.”
Tests were fine and good. Tests were important. Tests were like rehearsal. But all that really matters is what happens when the audience is watching. This is a truth all troupers know.
“It is an edge,” he said at last. “It is a high place with a chance of falling. Things are more easily seen from edges. Danger rouses the sleeping mind. It makes some things clear. Seeing things is a part of being a namer.” “What about falling?” I asked. “If you fall, you fall.” Elodin shrugged. “Sometimes falling teaches us things too. In dreams you often fall before you wake.”
You’re there to curry favor. That’s the high-stakes game. Besides, fortune follows favor, as they say. If you get one, you’ll have the other. It’s like what Teccam wrote, ‘The cost of a loaf is a simple thing, and so a loaf is often sought …’” “‘… but some things are past valuing: laughter, land, and love are never bought,’”
I am no stranger to hunger. I know the countless hollow shapes it takes inside you.
I walked across the polished marble floor and sat on a red velvet lounging couch. I idly wondered how exactly one was supposed to lounge. I couldn’t remember ever doing it myself. After a moment’s consideration, I decided lounging was probably similar to relaxing, but with more money in your pocket.
And what are you doing here? Enjoying good conversation, of course. Meeting interesting people.
“Tak reflects the subtle turning of the world. It is a mirror we hold to life. No one wins a dance, boy. The point of dancing is the motion that a body makes. A well-played game of tak reveals the moving of a mind. There is a beauty to these things for those with eyes to see it.”
He put his hand on his own belly. “Ha ha ha,” he said, pressing in with his hand to show me the motion of his stomach. Then his expression changed to sad. “Huh huh huh,” he heaved with exaggerated sobs, pressing his stomach again. “Same place. Not healthy to push down.”
“Not pointless,” I protested. “It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.”
blade. “This is an old, old piece of forest. You don’t see the blade anywhere near where folk have settled. We’re off the edge of the map here.” “We’re hardly on the edge of the map,” I said. “We know exactly where we are.” Marten snorted. “Maps don’t just have outside edges. They have inside edges. Holes. Folk like to pretend they know everything about the world. Rich folk especially. Maps are great for that.
Hespe reluctantly put the pieces of her scowl away.
I felt as if this was the only time in my life I had been fully awake. Everything looked clear and sharp, as if I was seeing with a new set of eyes. As if I wasn’t bothering with my eyes at all, and was looking at the world directly with my mind. The sleeping mind, some piece of me realized faintly. No longer sleeping, I thought and smiled.
The breathing kiss. The feather kiss. The climbing kiss. So many different types of kissing. Too many to remember. Almost. There was drawing water from the well. The fluttering hand. Birdsong at morning. Circling the moon. Playing ivy. The harrowed hare. Just the names would fill a book. But this, I suppose, is not the place for such things. Alas, then, for the world.
Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, loved, and finely played, to have at last her own true music made.
Meanwhile, Dedan and Hespe occupied the small exclusive world new lovers make for themselves. They were a delight to watch.
“You touch eyes too much.” He widened his eyes and stared pointedly into my own, unblinking. “Also, your words are good, but simple.”
Over the next couple of days I came to think of that odd mental state as Spinning Leaf.
Shehyn came toward me slowly, making Hands like Knives. I countered with Catching Rain. Then I made Climbing Iron and Fast Inward, but could not touch her. She quickened slightly, made Turning Breath and Striking Forward at the same time. I stopped one with Fan Water, but couldn’t escape the other. She touched me below my ribs then on my temple, softly as you would press a finger to someone’s lips. Nothing I tried had any effect on her. I made Thrown Lightning, but she simply stepped away, not even bothering to counter. Once or twice I felt the brush of cloth against my hands as I came close ...more
It’s not a path, but it helps choose a path. It’s the simplest way, but it is not easy to see. Honestly, you people sound like drunk cartographers.”
She held up a finger. “But only a fool claims there is no such thing as love. When you see two young ones staring at each other with dewy eyes, there it is. So thick you can spread it on your bread and eat it. When you see a mother with her child, you see love. When you feel it roil in your belly, you know what it is. Even if you cannot give voice to it in words.”
Vashet smirked a bit at this, and made a gesture to the windswept landscape. “Does this seem to be a place that concerns itself overmuch with the turning of the world?”
“This anger is not a feeling. It is …” She hesitated, frowning prettily. “It is a desire. It is a making. It is a wanting of life.” Penthe looked around, then focused on the grass around us. “Anger is what makes the grass press up through the ground to reach the sun,” she said. “All things that live have anger. It is the fire in them that makes them want to move and grow and do and make.”
“It must be hard to be a man,” she said softly. “A woman knows she is part of the world. We are full of life. A woman is the flower and the fruit. We move through time as part of our children. But a man …” She turned her head and looked up at me with gentle pity in her eyes. “You are an empty branch. You know when you die, you will leave nothing of any import behind.”
“Teccam said the same thing: no man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet introspection.”
I looked around and saw the same anger lurking in the faces of all the men who stood there. It was the sort of anger that comes to a slow boil inside the hearts of good men who want justice, and finding it out of their grasp, decide vengeance is the next best thing.
Jason eyed me nervously as I held the wood tight to his arm, but it took Gran less than three minutes to bind up the splint with an air of bored competence. Watching her work, I decided she was worth more than half the students I could name in the Medica.
While I was no longer in desperate need of money, I missed the work. There is something deeply satisfying in shaping something with your hands. Proper artificing is like a song made solid. It is an act of creation.
Next I found a quiet café and ordered drinking chocolate with a glass of water. I arranged the paper on the table and brought out pen and ink from my shaed. Then I wrote in an elegant, fluid script: