[LMB] Piotr's Dagger

markus baur baur at chello.at
Mon Aug 29 15:17:40 BST 2016

thank you this very nice and interesting reflection on Pjotr and his 



Am 29.08.2016 um 04:59 schrieb pouncer at aol.com:
> Corrina Lawson writes:
>> Piotr is interesting
> I suggest the adjective "painful"  instead
>> to think about in general because we see him only
>> after he's suffered all the tragedies in his life,
>> and only through Cordelia or Miles' eyes.
>> He lost his Olivia (who seemingly meant as much to him as
>> Cordelia means to Aral) and that was one tragedy too much ...
> The second before last one, I think.  He did not, then,
> collapse, he reacted: bringing down Yuri and installing
> Ezar. Imposing ANOTHER, interal, war on his poor
> recovering homeland (at age 40) before it has quite recovered
> from the Ceta invasion (at age 20) AND Dorca's war (at age 10)
> to consolidate the disjunct Counts. Choosing Aral's side in
> the Pretender's War (at age 80) must have been nearly as
> crushing.
> Consider.
> Negri's lightflyer, delivering Gregor, arrived DURING THE
> ARGUMENT where Aral has learned Piotr did, as feared, attempt
> again to kill his own grandson; and Piotr has learned that
> Aral has, completely unexpectedly, set up a trap if the Great
> General tried to use his "go anywhere and do anything" card.
> (Piotr had already tried bribes, threats, and orders on Vaagan;
> that day he had settled on doing the job himself.) Now Negri
> has delivered an even greater card into his hand -- the Emperor
> himself. And Aral reinforces the deal: giving Cordelia and
> Bothari into Piotr's care and direction.  We have Cordelia's
> viewpoint -- a not-very-Shakespearean one -- who can't even
> begin to see the tragedy-in-the-making shape up. Aral may have
> "trusted beyond reason" once again; or maybe he was just too
> busy to break a lifelong habit of trust and mutual loyalty. But can
> we imagine the situation from inside Piotr's head?
> Look there at Bothari.  A new father in his own right; of the baby
> Elena. By all accounts the child is perfect. By what inhuman power
> has a prole and bastard and (admittedly useful) mental defective like
> Bothari brought forth a perfect child?  Not the first to do so.
> The boy Gregor, now. Another, apparently, perfect one -- from
> the crazed bloodlines of Yuri the mad murderer, Ezar the Imperial
> Despot, and Serg the Pervert. Has the purity of Kareen's bloodline
> truly purged the problem from the Vorbarra line?  Is it even possible
> that a new start, from Vordarian and Kareen, might be MORE of a
> risk than this, seemingly, perfect child? No man can say. Or could
> have said; a few years back. This Vaagen and Henri pair, chattering
> on last week and ignoring hints, both seemed to believe their new
> Galactic machines could calculate such risks.  Filter mutations and
> taints and bad blood from the seed before conception; or copy
> ("clone" was the word they used) known good children to be "replicated"
> (another fancy word) Failing all that, they could repair damage in
> the metal eggs they clutched. Except, of course, when thy couldn't.
> Perhaps it was so. Perhaps the Bothari child proved it. Galactic
> godlings -- playing with life itself.  They makes my mere meddling
> with Empires and dynasties pale in comparison. Or, *snort* Vordarian's.
> The young fart has no practice in this game. Too young to remember
> Mad Yuri's War. The lesson _I_ learned, a generation before that,
> taking the Countship was I could not hold my own seat, much
> less affect the Empire, without embracing the Galactic changes. He
> attempts to roll back not only Aral's changes, but mine.  Verminous
> Vidal, head in the muck. Lucky for the loyalists.  What would I
> do, or a Galactic-minded supporter do, were such a man on the Pretender's
> side? Taking the capital, any territory, does him little good. I
> wonder if he knows that?  It is a war for loyalties. Men's minds.
> And women's. I wonder if the Vermin has realized THAT?  There's the
> Betan frill.  What would she do if her precious Vaagen or Henri relay
> the Pretender's ransom demand for her half-hatched mutant? What would
> she NOT do? But, speculating on the mind of any woman, much less a
> Galactic -- pointless.
> But I must consider, what I will do, should such a demand be relayed to me.
> The Vermin may not realize just dumping the yolk from its eggshell
> would be more a service than a threat to House Vorkosigan. Were I
> tempted at all to deal with traitors, I might even ...  But let us
> not jump to temptations; sufficient for the day are the seductions
> thereof.
> What seductions, on that day, would a clever man offer me? What is
> the Galactic goodie from some Beta Colony cookie jar that would
> tempt me to abandon this perfect boy in my lap? Another perfect
> child? An heir for Aral, some compromise with Cordelia, a "clone"?
> Could it be possible? Some "genetic" copy of the child Aral and
> Cordelia conceived -- but without the "terror-genic" (remembered
> correctly? If not, apt malaprop) damage.  A clean copy of a
> blotted page. Is that seduction enough, old man?  Let the demons inside
> your head, who sound so much like your own voice, offer you another.
> Shall we screen the sleeping boy sharing your saddle for
> the mysterious mental mutations that his sire and ancestors
> bore? Shall we then clone his cells, cleanse any discovered taint,
> and print another clean copy of THAT page?  We need not even
> destroy this warm and breathing boy, the way we would dump
> Cordelia's damaged chicklet from the shell. By your leave and
> cooperation, we might just ensure a blood-cursed child NEVER
> sits the camp-stool. A Lord, not Emperor, Gregor can grow happily
> while his Galactically-Blessed twin-and-younger brother is guided
> to maturity by his mother Kareen and the experienced Emperor-maker
> General Piotr and the far-sighted, Galactically-Aware, Count Vordarian,
> during an only-slightly-longer-than-anticipated Regency?
> The current young Regent, of course, so prone already to abuses of
> authority such as revoking well-earned security clearances, would be
> corrected for his errors, and relieved of future Imperial
> responsibilities. But perhaps he might take over the duties --
> burdens -- of the Countship, while you, old man, could retire into
> only the one job of watching  -- and rarely correcting - the Emperor's
> new Regent Vordarian for excess. An auditor's role, belike. There is,
> no doubt, precedent. Perhaps, you might even select a successor for
> the Countship of the Vordarian District, so to shape the direction and
> policy of the Council of Counts as well as the Execution of Imperial
> duties.
> Do you suppose yourself already too old to take that simple role --
> you now riding out to make a war of empire as if you were only 40?
> Do you suppose the Galactic godlings who can shape the births of
> children would fail to deliver you, in an alternative future of peace,
> two decades more of life in which you offer Barrayar your wisdom?
> Is the risk you would die of age in such an uncompleted mission so
> much greater than the risk to your own life in this coming war?
> What of Aral's life, and wife, and your Armsmen, and all your
> allied Counts and followers, in a protracted war?  If embracing
> Vaagen's Betan technology could AVOID Aral's war, in the way
> embracing Xav's Betan technology WON Dorca's wars -- wouldn't you?
> Shouldn't you?
> Is it so unlikely you could live, in peace, to see your century ended
> with healthy grandchildren, and a greatful adult Emperor, at your
> bedside?
> Left to the mind of Vidal Vordarian, damned unlikely, yes.
> But from the mind, and Voice, of a Vorkosigan, into an appropriate ear?
> Am I considering the response to a temptation or God Help Me am I
> strategizing my own damnation? Could this be the solution to all our
> problems -- or
> Is this a dagger I see before me?
> Tragedy.

markus baur                     SCA: markus von brixlegg
schluesselgasse 3/5             tel: +43 - (0)1 - 50 40 662
a-1040 wien                     email: baur at chello.at
austria/europe                  icbm: 48°11'39"N; 16°22'06"E

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