Book 3, Chapter 34
A 'Chain of Events.' Let us meditate on that image for a moment. A chain of events, where one event leads to the next, and that one leads to the next, on and on. But events do not work that way. One event, one action, one choice, can lead to many more events spiraling out from there, making the 'chain' appear more like a net, or a web.
Still, the image does hold for many uses, where we trace back one step at a time to an instigating cause. And the image of a chain, or a net, does function metaphorically in other ways. Like chains, or nets, events can lift us up. They can also restrain us, bind us, imprison us, hold us back, limit us to a specific area. They can help anchor us to safety. They can be fine and delicate, almost ornamental or even unobtrusive, or stout and strong, made of thick links that bear titanic forces. And, with the proper effort
They can be broken.
Their effects can be halted, through recognition and choice. A blood feud can be stopped, with the chain of tit-for-tat injury and death ended. A system of injustice can be shattered and rebuilt with an eye for greater goodness. A legacy of brutality can be overcome.
A new chain can be forged, one attached to a hoist to raise, instead of a shackle to bind.
Fyrir Hiccup House Haddock VI, Collected Public Sermons & Private Contemplations
Tropes that appear in this chapter:
- Content Warnings:Chapter Trigger Warnings: Explicit Mention of Non-Con, Explicit Depiction of Illness, Explicit Depicition of Murder
- Death by Adaptation: Kül Bilgä Tengri Khan dies in 1043 at least twenty five years before he died in real life.note
- Laser-Guided Karma: Years ago, a merchant's brother picked a fight with Drago because he was an ableist and Drago was crippled. Drago rightfully defended himself, but the merchant told Drago's boss that if he keeps Drago around, he will stop dealing with him, forcing his boss to abandon Drago in the middle of the desert for dead. It took years, but this resulted in a chain of events that led to Drago taming dragons and turning the Pechenegs into a major power that conquered the merchant's homeland. After finding the merchant again, Drago makes sure Khursa learns what happened and he promptly punishes the merchant by confiscating his family's properties and sentencing them to death by being abandoned in the desert the way they intended for Drago to die.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: When Mac Bethad's men kill one of Mildew's contacts and burn his tavern, one of them has the foresight to splash ale in his face, making it look like an alcohol-induced accident.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: William Iron-Arm says that he is one of twelve sons.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Kurya treats his conquered people well, telling his friend that needless tyranny will only provoke resentment and their new vassals will try something at the first opportunity in spite of their dragons, while citing Drago giving them dragons due to the kindness he was shown as proof that kindness is rewarded.
- The Reveal: We find out what the disease that's been going around Berk is. It's the hundred-days cough aka whooping cough.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: The lord of the city of Qocho thought that he would be safe behind his cities walls against the dragon riding Pechenegs.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After dealing with all of Mildew's contingency letters, and weighing how much more use they can get out of him, Mac Bethad decides that it's best they finally rid themselves of the old man.