Nemesis


Bad Horse

“I’m an easy thing to hurt yourself against.”

– Uisgebaugh, Blood and Iron (Elizabeth Bear)

I joke with an old friend (that is, a friend of long acquaintance, not one of advanced years. She is STILL twenty-nine, some-fucking-how) about being her “sexy nemesis,” because I don’t pull any rhetorical punches in our friendship, and gleefully fuck with her when I think she’s getting too complacent.

This is my standard modus operandi in many things; my younger, more pretentious self wrote a first-person essay from Satan’s POV about trafficking in doubt, for instance. Be that as it may, presenting a challenge, an obstacle, or a target is something I tend to do whether I mean to or not.

I am, underneath it all, an enabler – in both the positive and negative connotations that entails, I suppose. If someone tells me they’re considering something, and I don’t think it’s harmful or stupid, I’ll encourage them to do it using whatever tools fall readily to hand, whether it’s encouragement, taunting, teasing, or some combination of things. But, almost without exception, I’ll probably adopt some of that goal myself, and enfold it into my own constellation of motivations.

But, back to the opening quote, spoken to the protagonist, Seeker, by a creature she has captured and bound, the man-eating faerie steed she nicknamed “Whiskey.” The tension between them – two fully-cognizant individuals, regardless of their respective roles and relationship – is always palpable. He may be bound as her minion, but he challenges her control (both over him, and herself) at every turn. There is no comfort when they interact, and no assurance of victory despite her fraying self-discipline.

If you suggest that you want something, don’t be surprised if I keep trying to make you get it. I’m precisely the same sort of bastard Whiskey is in many respects.

If you’re not being challenged, you’re not going to grow and adapt and become stronger. With that challenge comes risk: risk of injury, sure, but also risk of failure… and the risk of accomplishment.

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