Trope-a-Day: Pose of Supplication

Pose of Supplication: Wince.  No, don’t.  Really.

Never kowtow, kneel, genuflect, otherwise grovel, or even bow deeper than, oh, 45 degrees unless you’re about to apologize in the full formal old Japanese sense of the phrase.  Keep your head up and look people in the eye, even for values of people including the Imperial Couple speaking from the Throne.

Remember always that the Imperials make something of a point about being free people, and that the runér, in particular, do not appreciate being confused for the korásan (or other rulers-not-by-unanimous-consent-of-the-citizen-shareholders).  Shows of respect are one thing.  Obeisance, on the other hand, implying submission, is an insult (because it implies that the person in question wants your submission) and not a slight one – at best, it will get you thrown out, unheard.  Especially don’t ever try this at the Court of Courts, because there it would be so great an insult as to entirely impair your chances of leaving the building alive.

(And, yes, that includes in the temples, too.  The eikones are very uninterested in your submission; they only care about your perfection.  That, and the eldrae would have no patience with gods that went around demanding all this groveling and self-abasement; much like the Vikings, they would be inclined to ask what sort of deity doesn’t want followers strong and worthy enough to stand in its presence!)

Die Standing, If You Please

“It should understand,” I spoke as if to the air, “that its cause will not be served by genuflection, or by prostration, or by obsequity, or by such other obeisance as it has been in the habit of demanding.”

“We are defeated, broken,” the chained lanect hissed back.  “The Stanturak worlds burn.  The Sargas left us with nothing that could achieve space, and the other Raidermarchers hang over us like carrion rats.  This surrender is meaningless.  What is there for us but to cry your mercy?”

“It should be aware,” I spoke again, “that to our kind, a favored enemy – unbowed or at the least unbroken – is much to be preferred over any groveler, however adept their subjection.”

The lanect made no reply.

– Crystal Spire Conversations, by Lyrisia Solanel, former Spire page