Liane the Wayfarer

I recently read the first of the Dying Earth books and was much delighted by the inventiveness of these short stories, with so many colorful characters…

Of course Cudgel the Clever is the most well-known, but here’s another, at least as unforgettable in my opinion:

Liane the Wayfarer

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Art: Konstantin Koborov

You could easily  be deceived by his looks, this guy is, in fact, a bonafide murderhobo!

I mean, beside being an overconfident jerk…

  • He tortures a couple (killing the woman in the process) so he can get a lead on some sort of bounty-hunting.
  • He wants to steal an object (one half of a tapestry), just so he can have his way with a beautiful woman.
  • He must hide his identity in a city, less his own nefarious reputation brings him unwanted attention.
  • He kills a helpful old man in cold-blood after questioning him ’cause there’s a slight chance, very hypothetically, that he serves someone he wants to steal from!

6 thoughts on “Liane the Wayfarer

  1. You are of course correct in your character assessment of liane. But look from another point of view. How often these days do we see a beautiful, unattached girl alone in semi wilderness? In the times of liane, a rare treat indeed. No matter how any of us would have ultimately behaved, the initial reations of liane would have been there somewhere. She used all this to set him up for death for her means. An equal list to the one you provided about liane could be made for the witch girl.

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    • Well, for the sake of argument… The witch has some kind of nefarious deal with a mysterious entity (Chun the Inevitable) and she do sends young foolish men to their deaths (for undisclosed reasons though). Liane is probably more skillful and dangerous than most, and we know, totally deserving (in a folktale morality way) of such a fate

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      • Substitue ‘unsuspecting’ for ‘foolish’ in your reply and we are in closer agreement. I would argue however that the witch is at least equally deserving (as you would have it) of death.

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      • I readily cede on “unsuspecting”. As for how deserving of death the witch is… we just can’t know, can we? I think judging her by her deeds is not enough and we know nothing of her motives…
        Oh, and by the way DK, thanks for commenting, it’s not like I have a crowd over here… I appreciate it!

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  2. Do you suspect Lianne and Cudgel are related ? Of course Lianne isn’t as intelligent as Cudgel , who drinks all night with a peasant and parts the next morning with an invitation to return , while Lianne is a true psychopath , unable to conceive of anyone except himself .While Cudgel the Clever is a more interesting character , as you never know what he’s capable of , Lianne is nothing but a thief , murdering anybody he thinks he can best . Cudgel was the central character in a short story written by another author, where he winds up thinking he’s a bird . Wish I could remember who wrote it . Always good to find a fellow Jack Vance fan .

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  3. I don’t know, they certainly share some traits, they’re both unburdened opportunists at their core. And Cudgel isn’t as clever as he thinks he is as he gets in all kind of troubles through his own fault. But unlike Liane, he’s not a killer.

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