And here I thought smoking was supposed to relax you. Though I guess it can also make you paranoid.

I’ve gotta be honest here: I understand Iver wanting to tie up loose ends, but I think the mystics’ odds of displacing him after they took off were about as long as the odds of the Whigs taking over after the Civil War. Exiling yourself to think up a better solution to your tribe’s problems seems like a monk’s solution to a problem that requires a politician. They might’ve seen they were losing clout to Iver, but this move would only accelerate that loss.

I suppose they thought they’d eventually be missed when more Savasi died and no one was around to set those dead to rest? But the concerns of life are much more urgent. How long could the Savasi be expected to wait on the mystics’ vague “We’ll try to think of something better” when Iver was still among them, present, and advocating a solution they could go for right then and there?

And what would the mystics have come up with, anyway? The best idea Gravedust got was “going to Gastonia and asking for reparations.” That would’ve been an epic fail if he’d gone straight to the Heads of Houses without getting any Gastonian authority behind him. His deal with Ardaic had some obvious, serious flaws, and he only even got that deal through a series of minor miracles (save nobles’ children, ally with foreign dignitary, become hero of crack paramilitary unit). What would the other mystics have proposed? “What if we built our own mountains? We just keep digging until there’s rocks, and then put those rocks on top of other rocks…”

Gravedust does bring his tale to a skillful conclusion here. He plays on his and Magda’s shared contempt for Gastonia and its, shall we say, selective deployment of mercy.