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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

robou

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Chapter III: Part II



The boy sat back, looking at the man with a cocked head, intrigued but deeply confused. He glanced at the notes laid out on the desk before him and chewed the end of his pencil. ‘I don’t understand, professor.’ He frowned, shook his head, and looked back up. ‘How can you separate the two concepts from one another? Surely fate and destiny are the same thing?’ The boy’s voice sounded genuinely upset at the misunderstanding. The old man, with wispy grey hair, sat for a moment in silence in his chair. He removed his spectacles and gave them a quick clean before standing up and walking over to the boy. Felipe was, by far, his most intelligent pupil, and never liked the awkward moments when he could not understand a concept. But he was always eager to ask questions, and displayed a knowledge base far beyond expectations. The old gentleman smiled to himself.

‘They are similar, Felipe, but you must see the differences.’ He paused while the boy readied himself for an explanation with a shuffle in his seat. ‘Fate is something we cannot control. Destiny is something we can seize, based on our decisions and actions.’ He waited for Felipe to scribble something down, but the boy continued his patient wait for further information. The old man was initially slightly taken aback, but continued. ‘Fate, as it were, is predestined. It is ascribed to us with no room for free will. It is merely an end with no means.’ Felipe was beginning to nod to himself, and the professor, sensing success, continued.

‘Let us take an example, Felipe. Take a man who fate has ascribed to him that he must die at a particular time. Through some kind of fortune, he comes to discover he is going to die, and attempts to escape it by running away. Yet, in his attempt, he is killed by bandits, highwaymen or some kind of accident. Can you see why this is fate?’ He looked to the boy who sat silently stroking a non-existent beard. Something clicked.

‘He has no free will, professor. Regardless of his choices of where he goes or what he does, he dies.’ Felipe pouted to himself sombrely. The professor smiled gleefully at the success of his explanation.

‘Exactly, Felipe! The man could not escape death, even though he wanted to’ he launched forward enthusiastically. ‘This is fate. But do not be solemn, my dear boy. Fate is not what commands men’s lives. Can you discern how we can know this?’ The boy immediately shook his head vehemently. The professor walked towards the window and looked out for a few seconds. He held an arm aloft towards the outside.

‘God assures us so.’ He beckoned Felipe from his seat. The boy came eagerly and stood next to the old man, looking out of the window. ‘We were created, in his infinite wisdom, endowed with free will…’

‘…and free will is not compatible with fate’ Felipe interrupted his tutor and gave a cheeky smirk. The professor was taken aback, but eventually smiled back at his pupil and nodded in approval. One day, he knew, the pupil would outwit the master.

‘So, instead, we must look to destiny to explain the route of a man’s life. Destiny is an end with means. These means are yours, and others’, actions. It is as light as a feather, and would vanish as quickly as you could whisper it’ he said softly while twinkling his fingers in the golden rays of the morning sun that glinted off the roofs of Salamanca. ‘You must be decisive in your decisions before it does vanish!’ He clenched his fingers together as if to grab at the flitting rays of light.

‘But surely, sir, our actions affect others too?’ Felipe looked back up at his tutor thoughtfully. The old man ruffled his hair and nodded gravely.

‘Yes, Felipe, they do; particularly for those who are in a position of power. So we must also be careful in our decisions, as well as decisive. It is only the greatest of men that ever are able to figure a balance between the two and forge a great destiny for themselves in the world.’ The old professor sighed and looked longingly out the window at nothing in particular. He thought of the little, innocent boy standing next to him. It was not his place to say it, but the boy had far too much potential for it not to be said. He fought with himself for a while, and the young boy continued looking up at him for answers with deep eyes. He resigned himself to saying what had to be said.

‘Spain is a sleeping tiger, Felipe. It is a land of opportunity for those who can seek it.’ With urgent hands, he beckoned for the boy to look out again over the city, with its majestic spires and its walls. ‘When the time comes, and you will know when it does, seize the moment, Felipe. Make the right choices. Find the balance. Seize it, and you can change the world. You can rewrite history as we know it. It is up to you to write it in the stars!’

 
Last edited:

Tapscott

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I just found this as I was crusing through a bunch of different AAR forums. I'm glad I did! Consider me subscribed good sir!
 

robw963

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Careful yet decisive. I struggle with those two seemingly contradictory things everyday and yet, you're not only mentioning it through your characters but actually putting it into practice in your writing style. This is a really enjoyable read robou. I love all your little embellishments, these are easy (and entertaining) to read but I also know they are hard to conjure and pull off well in a fluid writing style. You do a great job with it. I'm excited to see how a resurrection of the Spanish Empire will come about. I hope you find the time and motivation to keep things moving forward. Slow or not, you have me interested and subscribed! (pshaw...and they say good writing is dying on this forum).
 

robou

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To All: I'll aim to have Part III out by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. Until then, enjoy! Hope no one minded the philosophy lesson. ;)

Tapscott: I am glad that you are enjoying it. Welcome to the Merry Band!

robw963: It is, as ever, a deep pleasure to have you along rob! Thats a very complimentary comment to, so thank you. I can definitely feel my writing has come a long way since I started, and I have this set style which people seem to enjoy. And it will continue to develop further with comments like yours. It really means a lot to me!
 

unmerged(62170)

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Oh now this is lovely stuff. Narrative AARs can be quite a gamble but as usual robou you excel. Subscribed, forward for the revolution!
 

robou

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Glad to have you along Gonzo! I apologise for the delay, I have been very poorly this week. But I will have an updated done by Sunday!
 

robou

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Further apologies. Haven't been very well, and that plus uni work has stopped me writing. Should be able to get something done this weekend though :)
 

comagoosie

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Maybe you can help me understand the last line, I bolded the parts I'm specifically confused with.
‘Spain is a sleeping tiger, Felipe. It is a land of opportunity for those who can seek it.’ With urgent hands, he beckoned for the boy to look out again over the city, with its majestic spires and its walls. ‘When the time comes, and you will know when it does, seize the moment, Felipe. Make the right choices. Find the balance. Seize it, and you can change the world. You can rewrite history as we know it. It is up to you to write it in the stars!’
I feel like the last line contradicts what the professor had said previously. It gives the allusion that Felipe does in fact have free will. That it is his choice to change the world or not. Is this not a contradiction of "free will is not compatible with fate"? Or does the professor not believe in fate?

You might say philosophy was never my strong suite ;)
 

robou

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Maybe you can help me understand the last line, I bolded the parts I'm specifically confused with.

I feel like the last line contradicts what the professor had said previously. It gives the allusion that Felipe does in fact have free will. That it is his choice to change the world or not. Is this not a contradiction of "free will is not compatible with fate"? Or does the professor not believe in fate?

You might say philosophy was never my strong suite ;)
The professor does not believe in fate. He is trying to convince Felipe that the boy can change the world if he wants to. Instead, he believes in destiny. This is due to his religious convictions that God created man endowed with free will.
 

unmerged(24320)

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i'm in ! !

looking for more ! !
 

robou

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So, this may well be the slowest updating AAR ever, but it is not yet dead. I have been very ill these past few months, but am now back and ready to start writing. I will stop promising updates since that clearly doesn't seem to get me anywhere, but I'll churn one out for this in the next few days.