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You are losing my sympathies, Mortimer… How could you be so rude? Just a man that wants to see hs family and make masks again. And you call him peasant?

Well he has a valid point. It is generally in the hands of a people to affect change in their nation and/or culture, and Fortimer seems to be the only person so far that sees the ritual requiring the (seemingly unnecessary and arbitrary) death of an individual as something that needs changing. But yes, a bit of sympathy might be in order and he should take responsibility for his actions, as the hunting party haven’t made the connection that it is their traditions that have forced them to chase Fortimer, not necessarily his actions. Taking responsibility would actually further the point he’s trying to make a lot more than acting like a snobby noble.

You are giving Mortimer waaaay too much credit. We’ve never seen him give a fig for cultural change or social justice. He’s afraid of dying, which is a legit fear, but appears to have been too much of a coward to have actually tried to change tradition – he just hid from it.

And we don’t even know enough about the way the culture of the 500 Kingdoms works to judge if that tradition is actually worthwhile. There’s a reason the term ‘scapegoat’ has existed for at least a couple of thousand years – it’s possible that having a small number of ritualized killings by an avatar of Death actually reduces or even eliminates significant interpersonal violence.

If you could choose between a society where the peace was kept by multiple, sometimes unscrupulous police and soldiers vs one where a single uncorruptable Death walked the land, taking only a very few souls but bleeding off the impulse to violence in almost everyone else – which would you pick?

True, Fortimer is a coward and may not be interested in societal change at all, but he still seems to be the only person of his culture so far that even considers the possibility. And true, it may well be that the reason none of the other citizens of the Kingdoms we’ve met so far haven’t complained about the system is because it actually does work.

We’ve seen that there are guards and criminals so Death must not completely eliminate crime, but assuming that Death’s role actually does have an effect on keeping the peace and preventing more bloodshed, then that is a tricky question you pose. There is guaranteed to be bloodshed in either case, but a system kept in check by laws and authorities still leaves people with the choice to obey or not, even though many will still disobey and make choices that harm others. With what the Kingdoms’ system seems to be, there may be less overall bloodshed and suffering, but there’s also no question that there will be blood spilled. So which is better, a system where technically no one gets hurt if everyone complies (even though practically that will never happen), or a system where some are guaranteed to die with no reason given to significantly reduce violence caused by people’s choices.

I guess my initial thought is that the first is preferable as it keeps the blood on the hands of the guilty, whereas the other puts it on the hands of every citizen, as they condone the practice by tolerating it. The one sits better with the classic idea of justice, though the other may make more sense pragmatically. Questions, questions 🙂

Such as; “If the 500 Kingdoms don’t rebel against it- then they have accepted it if not tacitly agreed to it.” At least by the majority, they will never All agree to it, there’s still the 2% evil/crazy rule. I don’t mind that Fortimer is selfish about his own death, I find his whining distasteful. But he DOES seem to be well educated, and so perhaps it is best if he stay with Nova and Father, and tutor Nova in the ways of the soft muscled folk.

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