The Screwtape Missives, Part V

by Viscount Sir Galen of Bristol

©2004, Paul T. Mitchell,
This work may not be reproduced in any form, written or electronic, without the permission of the author.

My Dear Wormwood,

Your report on your patient’s first tournament was most satisfactory. Congratulations are clearly in order.

First, his conduct towards the young lady he brought with him was ideal. He alternated between neglect and mistreatment of her, while constantly reminding her that he would be fighting for “her honor” in the list (as though her absence would have made a difference to him!). Our colleague, Sochaze, helped you a bit here, by preventing the young girl from wondering what sort of representative for her honor your man could be.

All Friday night, from arrival, to set-up, to the alcohol he pressed upon her (while himself over-indulging) to their retirement together (when he pressed himself upon her) to his neglectful treatment of her through most of Saturday was very well done.

Nor did you neglect the casual discourtesies. The snide remark to the overworked list mistress, the complaints to the inspecting marshal, the public correction of the herald who mispronounced his name, even the threatening tone to the small child who crossed his path while he was in armor. Wormwood, I do detect the first glimmerings of style in your work!

Best of all, of course, was his conduct on the field. You did perfectly in bringing him to the point of losing his temper over what he thought was his opponent’s refusal to call good blows. He never suspected you had distracted him from throwing them properly. He felt perfectly justified in shrugging off the blow that dented his helm, and actually believed his victory honorably won.

Then, when his second-round opponent struck his biceps, you encouraged him to let the pain blind him to anything but rage. Without calling the blow, he simply went berserk, ignoring blows raining on his helm and legs, until the blow to his belly that doubled him over. As he left the field, he attended well to your voice repeating how terribly wronged he had been.

Finally, when he ignored Count Gray’s blow to his leg in the third round, and the Count delivered him a blow to the temple that staggered him, his pride (inflamed by you) led him to think how awful it was that knights should so abuse newer fighters.

Although it must have seemed anti-climactic to you, his obnoxious behaviour for the rest of the event was also smoothly handled. Well done! At this rate, he’ll be solidly yours in a short time indeed.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

Continue to The Screwtape Missives, Part VI

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