Mighty battles! Revolution! Death! War! (and his sons Terror and Panic, and daughter Clancy).
The oldest and most inscrutable empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes. Warlords are struggling for power. War (and Clancy) are spreading throughout the ancient cities.
And all that stands in the way of terrible doom for everyone is: Rincewind the Wizard, who can't even spell the word 'wizard'...
Cohen the barbarian hero, five foot tall in his surgical sandals, who has had a lifetime's experience of not dying...
...and a very special butterfly.
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'This is not one of those birds the Agatean Empire uses for its message services. It is a well-know fact that we have no contact with that mysterious land. And this bird is not the first to arrive here for many years, and it did not bring a strange and puzzling message. Do I make myself clear?'
Somewhere in the world, he reasoned, there was someone who was on the other end of the see-saw, a kind of mirror Rincewind whose life was a successsion of wonderful events. He hoped to meet him one day, preferably while holding some sort of weapon.
Rincewind sometimes thought that his life was punctuated by awakenings. They were not always rude ones. Sometimes they were merely impolite. A very few - one or two, perhaps - had been quite nice, especially on the island. The sun had come up in its humdrum fashion, the waves had washed the beach in quite a boring way, and on several occasions he'd managed to erupt from unconciousness without his habitual small scream.
But the funny thing - he mused, as the Horde watched Caleb's painful attempts at conversation with a representative of half the world's humanity - was that although they were as far away as possible from the kind of people he normally mixed with in staffrooms, or possibly because they were as far away as possible from the kind of people he normally mixed with in staffrooms, he actually liked them.
'I knew it would be you doing the charades,' said Twoflower, sticking his hands under the wizard's shoulders and hauling.
'You got the "Wind" syllable?' said Rincewind. 'That was very hard to do, by remote control.'
'Oh, none of us got that,' said Twoflower, 'but when it did "ohshitohshitohshit I'm going to die" everyone got that first go.'