prodigalwatcher: (What You Have To Do)
53 - "A good fort needs a gap. The enemy must be lured in. So we can attack them. If we only defend, we lose the war." - 'Seven Samurai'

For a man who seemed at best to tolerate my presence despite being consistently and vocally disappointed in me on every level, my father's voice seemed to come to mind with a peculiar regularity. As I sat gazing into a campfire on a world that was not my own in a dimension that was just as alien, I could hear Father's stentorian tones from decades past, as he tutored me in the subtleties of chess.

"You'll never win playing like that, boy. You have spent more than two thirds of your turns avoiding me, moving your pieces-- even your pawns-- out of harm's way. You've done everything you can to keep me from taking even a single one of your men, and by doing so have left yourself completely vulnerable. Chess is war, Wesley, as the Watchers battle against the darkness is war. You cannot fear sacrifice. Sacrifice is necessary to victory."

Father spent the next nine months trouncing me, twice a day. Eventually, I learned my lesson. I could not at the same time preserve my men at the same time I was doing what was necessary to win. It began with the first, painful sacrifice of a pawn, and then more. I didn't triumph, but I lasted longer than I had been before. As ever, I turned to books. I studied every text and article I could find on the subject of chess. I pored over transcripts of the great matches.

It was five years from when we first began to play that I won my first match against my father. He had nodded and made a quiet sound of satisfaction before leaving the table. We played only a half dozen times after that, to this day.

Father's lesson went unused, except in games against other Watchers, until I had come to Pylea. The rebels gave me command of their forces, and were trusting me to lead them to victory.

I would give it to them, even if they did not realise the cost.

"I'm only gonna say this once. The guys you send to create those diversions are gonna die."

"Yes they are. You try not to get anybody killed you wind up getting everybody killed."


(336, not counting direct quotes)

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Wesley Wyndam-Pryce

February 2014

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