By John Crowley
Painter is a leo - half guy, half lion - the results of one in every of man's genetic experiments, a robust, appealing, enigmatic creature deemed a 'failure' to be be hunted down. yet Painter has merits during this international of small bickering country states and political lodging and compromise: his personal energy and integrity, and the guile of Reynard, one other of man's experiments, a sophisticated and powerful intriguer, a king-maker...
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You have done enough damage to the earth and to yourselves. Your immense, battling ingenuity: turn it inward, make yourselves scarce, you can do that. Leave the earth alone: all its miracles happen when you're not looking. Build a mountain and you can all be troll-kings. The earth will blossom in thanks for it. A half century and more had passed since Candy's death, but there was as yet only one of the thousand mountains, or badger setts, or coral reefs that Candy had imagined men withdrawing into for the earth's sake and for their own salvation.
It had never ranked high in the last century's ephemeral vacation places: no real mountains to ski in the cruel winters, and an unlovely, barren upland in summer. Yet, by count, its swamps and variegated woods, its rocky fields and dense meadows harbored more varieties of life than did most equivalent cuts of earth. And it belonged to no one but them. Meric was no outdoorsman. It was a skill few in the Mountain possessed, though many held it up as an ideal; it was thought to require a special kind of careful expertise, like surgery.
Would it have to be always his alone? Tears started in his eyes. No! He had to start for the house now, before they saw him, saw his horse, He pulled up on the lawn before the white-stained perch where Hawk stood, preening himself, calm, In the growing twilight he looked huge; his great barred breast smooth and soft as a place to rest a baby's head. How do you bear each day? Sten thought. How do you bear not being free? Teach me. How do you be leashed? Teach me. "Sten will stay quietly on that estate," Reynard said to Painter.
Beasts by John Crowley