The Great Hunt - Prologue [#100Days, Day 35]

The Man Who Calls Himself Bors

    The prologues in this series are fantastic; full of details that confuse at first, then smack you in the face later on in the series.  This one is particularly sinister - providing a glimpse of the magnitude of the host of Darkfriends in the world.  Every country and every affiliation are represented.  This prologues also provides an active example of OODA Loops operating against each other.  Bors makes great effort to disguise everything about himself:

... The bulky folds of his cloak hid the stoop he used to disguise his height, and bred confusion as to whether he was thin or thick.  He was not the only one there enveloped in a tailor's span of cloth.
    Silently he watched his companions.  Patience had marked much of his life.  Always, if he waited and watched long enough, someone made a mistake. 
The Great Hunt, p. xiv

    Bors marks details among the rest of his companions, putting together a remarkable background on many of them with just meager clues.  He is focused entirely on observing quietly.

    Idly he wondered whether the servants would have to be disposed of after this meeting.  Servants hear everything.  As the serving girl straightened from her bow, his eye caught hers above that sweet smile.  Blank eyes.  Empty eyes.  A doll's eyes.  Eyes more dead than death.
    He shivered as she moved gracefully away, and raised the goblet to his lips before he caught himself.  It was not what had been done to the girl that chilled him.  Rather, every time he thought he detected a weakness in those he now served, he found himself preceded, the supposed weakness cut out with a ruthless precision that left him amazed.  And worried.  The first rule of his life had always been to search for weakness, for every weakness was a chink where he could probe and pry and influence.  If his current masters, his masters for the moment, had no weakness. ...
The Great Hunt, p. xiv

    While Bors is outmaneuvering his fellow Darkfriends, he finds himself outflanked in turn.  He finds his actions and decisions being dictated for him, instead of directing the course of the interaction to his own ends.  In his frustration he makes mistakes: nearly sipping the (poisoned?) wine and forgetting to continue his stooped disguise.  Bors finds himself falling for the very tricks he himself uses - patient observation followed by swift action.

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