The Healthy Dead quotes

A few fantastic quotes from “The Healthy Dead”, the last of Erikson’s novellas. Next is the review of all three.

‘Ah, Mister Reese, I gather you still do not understand the threat this king poses to such creatures as you and I.’
‘Well, frankly, no, I don’t, Master. As you say.’
‘I must perforce make the linkage plain, of sufficient simplicity to permit your uneducated mind to grasp all manners of significance. Desire for goodness, Mister Reese, leads to earnestness. Earnestness in turn leads to sanctimonious selfrighteousness, which breeds intolerance, upon which harsh judgment quickly follows, yielding dire punishment, inflicting general terror and paranoia, eventually culminating in revolt, leading to chaos, then dissolution, and thus, the end of civilisation.’ He slowly turned, looked down upon Emancipor. ‘And we are creatures dependent upon civilisation. It is the only environment in which we can thrive.’
Emancipor frowned. ‘The desire for goodness leads to the end of civilisation?’
‘Precisely, Mister Reese.’
‘But if the principal aim is to achieve good living and health among the populace, what is the harm in that?’
Bauchelain sighed. ‘Very well, I shall try again. Good living and health, as you say, yielding well being. But well being is a contextual notion, a relative notion. Perceived benefits are measured by way of contrast. In any case, the result is smugness, and from that an overwhelming desire to deliver conformity among those perceived as less pure, less fortunate–the unenlightened, if you will. But conformity leads to ennui, and then indifference. From indifference, Mister Reese, dissolution follows as a natural course, and with it, once again, the end of civilisation.’
‘All right all right, Master, we are faced with the noble task of confounding the end of civilisation.’
‘Well said, Mister Reese. I admit I find the ethical aspects of our mission surprisingly… refreshing.’

The man’s voice came closer. ‘Situation? Situations are frowned upon, Storkul Purge. Even a low-ranking Well Knight such as you must know this.’
‘I endeavour to promulgate conformity at every turn, Oh Purest of the Paladins.’
‘And well you should, lest by your actions you prove singular or, Lady forgive us, unique. You do not deem yourself unique, do you, Storkul Purge?’
Her voice was suddenly small. ‘Of course not. The purity of my innate mediocrity is absolute, Purest. Of that I can assure you.’

Emancipor winced, overwhelmed by a flood of guilt. ‘Can there be no second chance, Paladin?’
‘Ah, you are a saint indeed, to voice such sentiment. The answer is no, there cannot. The very notion of fallibility was invented to absolve mortals of responsibility. We can be perfect, and you can see true perfection walking here at your side.’
‘You have achieved perfection?’
‘I have. I am. And to dispute that truth is to reveal your own imperfection.’

‘It would seem,’ Bauchelain said as he led the others through the gateway, ‘that much of the present fabric of comportment has frayed in your city, King Necrotus, nay, torn asunder, and none of it through my doing. I am pleased to discover said evidence of my own cherished beliefs.’
‘What?’ Storkul Purge demanded drunkenly, ‘are you talking ’bout?’
‘Why to transform the metaphor, that piety is but the thinnest patina, fashioned sufficiently opaque to disguise the true nature of our kin, yet brittle thin nonetheless.’

The subsequent explosion was heard and felt by every citizen of Quaint, and those crews out in the bay, throwing four-finned fish from their nets, looked up in time to see the skyward pitching fireball and at least three oxen cart-wheeling above the city, before the monument of Singe dropped from sight and flames lit the dust clouds a gaudy orange.

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