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Great Maker. People who seek morals in stories are either idealistic youngsters or pontificating prophets, yes? If the gods had wanted me to recognize the moral of a story, they would have made me either of those. Bah.

But then again, I have not believed in the existence of our gods in many a year, and the late Cartagia’s determination to join their ranks has hardly helped the matter.

Very well. There are a few maxims I have found to be true, but they hardly provide staggering insight, and I very much doubt the word “moral” is the right term. Take the accumulation of power coinciding with the loss of one’s friends, for example. Now I know exactly what certain people on this station would call the moral in this principle: not to seek power at all. Naturally, they ignore that this wonderful recipe for virtue and clean hands means that power will be grabbed by those with less scruples, such as my former associate Lord Refa or that Terran imbecile Clark. I do not see myself as the most suited of power holders, no. Nor do I see myself as the worst, or as a coward who would run away.

No, the true lesson here is another: any man can sympathize with a friend’s misfortune. It usually leaves oneself feeling generous, righteously indignant on the friend’s behalf, or, depending on the nature of the friendship in question, even a little smug. Few beings of any species I’ve met could resist the temptation of saying “I told you so”.

But to sympathize with a friend’s success without turning into a sycophant, ah, that is the true trial. And few can pass it. If you do not believe me, look at the history of your own friendships, hm?


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July 2010

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