Our assignment was to read the third and fourth issues of Fables and Reflections (issues 38 and 30… yeah, the numbers get all wacky in this book… the stories, respectively, Convergence – The Hunt, and Distant Mirrors – August). Mike and Jaybird (Mike the first, Jaybird the second) will be doing the honors this week.

Glyph’s introduction to Sandman, in three parts, here, here, and here.

Preludes and Nocturnes recaps here: Glyph and Patrick tackled the first four issues, Jaybird tackled the fifth, Glyph recapped six and seven. Mike Schilling recapped number eight.

A Doll’s House recaps here: KatherineMW took on the first two issues, then the next two issues. KatherineMW and Jason Tank then reviewed the fifth and sixth, respectively. Mike Schilling reviewed the final two issues.

Dream Country recaps here: Glyph reviewed Calliope then Jaybird and Maribou reviewed Dream of a Thousand Cats in the first review post for Dream Country. Alan Scott reviewed A Midsummer Night’s Dream then Mike Schilling reviewed Façade in the second.

Season of Mists recaps here: Jaybird reviewed the first two in this post. Jason Tank reviewed the next two here. Boegiboe reviewed the next two after that here and here. Ken reviewed the final two here.

A Game of You recaps here: Mike Schilling reviewed the first two in this post. Jason Tank and Mike Schilling tackled the next two issues here. Russell Saunders gave us the last two issues here.

Fables and Reflections recaps here: Ken and Jaybird reviewed the preview plus the first two issues here.

It’s very difficult to discuss this book without discussing the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that), if you want to discuss something with a major plot point: please rot13 it. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them.

We good? We good! Everybody who has done the reading, see you after the cut!

The Hunt:

We begin with a grandfather trying to tell his granddaughter Celeste a story, though she’d rather watch TV. He cajoles her to listen, in his kindly, grandfatherly way, by making vague threats about serious consequences. He also invokes the quaint, old-world custom of cutting people’s heads off and their hearts out, and burying the two separately. We get the impression that, even though they share speech patterns, he’s not exactly Peter Falk. But, annoying as he can be, she loves her grandfather so she agrees to listen, asking really nicely to soothe his hurt feelings.

He starts with some color about the deep, dark woods, but she interrupts, telling him to get to the plot. And this is pretty much how it goes: he tells, she interrupts, he grumbles at her and eventually continues.

It was a deep dark woods in the old country, where life was very hard. The animals are all described as “true”: true bears, and true wolves, and the people who lived there were the true folk. (That might be important: make a note of it.) The story is about a young boy named Vassily, which is also the grandfather’s name, though, as he points out, it was a common one there. One day he met a woman peddler …

Celeste interrupts to ask if she was “one of us”. No, she was a Romany. It’s one of the few interruptions that the grandfather doesn’t object to.

The woman asks for food, and Vassily brings her rabbit he’s killed. She shows him the magical treasures she has for sale. He is amazed, never having seem anything like them. At this point his father comes along, and tells the woman to leave. He warns Vassily against speaking to strangers who are not “of the people”, but Vassily hardly listens. He goes to confront the woman, telling her that his father says that all her wonders are fake. She tell him that it doesn’t matter — their value is in what people dream they are. As payment for the rabbit, she gives him a cameo of the Duke’s daughter. She also offers to tell his fortune, but when she takes his hand and looks into his system, something about him terrifies her, and she runs away. Like a rabbit. Vassily returns to the hut he shares with his father, and often looks at the cameo of the beautiful girl.

Celeste asks “What did she look like?” Like a fairy-tale princess, of course: the bluest, goldenest, whitest, and reddest of everything. This dissatisfies her, they bicker a bit, and the story continues.

Young Vassily has grown restless, so one day he packs up his meager possessions (which include a small bone carved into the shape of a small bone. A different small bone.) and goes off to seek his fortune. He comes across the peddler’s body. Her throat has been torn out, but she hasn’t been robbed. He takes her things and keeps walking, leaving the forest, until he finds an inn, where he introduces himself as a traveling peddler. The innkeeper is amazed that Vassily made it through the devilish haunted forest safely. When Vassily asks for directions to the Duke’s palace, the innkeeper remarks on what devilishly fine treasures he must have to interest a Duke. (The innkeeper says “devil” as often as an HBO character says “fish”.)

In Vassily’s room at the inn, the bed is bolted down and cannot be moved. This makes him suspicious, so he sleeps on the floor. Sure enough, in the middle of the night the innkeeper enters via a secret door and, with an axe, splits the pillow where Vassily’s head would have been. Vassily extinguishes the candle that the innkeeper had lit to search the room, and the room goes dark.

The next day, Vassily leaves the inn, taking his things and the coin he had paid for his lodging, and walks off towards the castle. He meets, of all people, Lucien, who is looking for a lost book. Vassily’s price for it is the girl.

Celeste asks whether Lucien is a fairy, and they bicker some more. We find out their ages: Celeste is 15, and her Grandfather is something north of 150. (He says it as part of a joke about believing in fairies, but he’s not joking about that.) Celeste objects that the story sounds post-modern, probably because fairies came before England but after cough drops. Once more he threatens her to be quiet and listen in his grandfatherly way, specifically that if she doesn’t, he’ll rip her throat out with his teeth. It must be one of those old-country expressions.

Meanwhile, Vassily keeps journeying towards the castle, and meets Lucien again. Lucien offers Vassily a large pile of gold, nut he’s not interested. He wants the girl. This is above Lucien’s pay grade, so he’ll need to escalate the matter. Continuing in by moonlight, Vassily smells a deer

“Smells”, not “sees”? Interesting.

and gives chase to it, but a young woman gets to it first and snaps its neck. She boasts that she outhunted him, calling him “kinsman”, as she is also one of the people, and allows him to follow here to her camp, answering his request with “If you wish”, which is not quite “As you wish.” But they’ve just met.

And who should he meet there but Baba Yaga? The Baba Yaga. She helps him to get to the Duke’s castle, accepting in payment one of the peddler woman’s treasures, the emerald heart of Kochei the Deathless, who was as as real a Slavic folk character as she is.

Now Celeste and her grandfather bicker about why Baba Yaga would accept a treasure that’s clearly a fake. He answers very much in character:

Maybe I was mistaken.
Maybe Baba Yaga was mistaken.
Or maybe the horse will learn to speak.

OK, I made that last part up. But he does say something very interesting:

You shouldn’t trust the storyteller; only trust the story.

Vassily knocks at the door of the castle and is met by a butler, who snarks about the full moon and leads Vassily downstairs. He tracks Vassily into entering a cell made of cold iron, which nullifies the powers of, umm, whatever Vassily is. And just as Vassily gives up completely, Lucien magics his way into the cell, offering Vassily his freedom for the book. Still no sale: Vassily wants the girl. In rejecting the offer, he finally says straight out (or close enough) “I am a werewolf!”

Lucien still can’t sign off on that deal, and brings Vassily to the Dreaming, where he attracts the attention of Morpheus, who wittily asks Lucien when he started bringing home strays. Morpheus is quite happy to trade the book (which turns out to be the little-known (because it was never written) comedic sequel to Marlowe’s Faust) for the girl. Next stop, her bedchamber, where she is asleep. She is as beautiful as we’d been told. Vassily’s response is to return the cameo, and tell Morpheus that he is hungry and would like to go.

Because someone like that has only one role in a story about a werewolf, and it’s not as his girlfriend.

They return to the Dreaming, where Morpheus feasts Vassily on all sorts of game. Vassily wakes up back in his home forest, where one day he turns into a wolf, finds the young woman who’d beaten him to the deer, and they fall in love, get married, and stay together until death did them part.

Celeste is very unhappy now, convinced that the whole point of the story is to make her break up with her non-the-people boyfriend. Her grandfather is no longer bickering, but truly hurt. He was trying to share something real with her, the story of how Vassily abandoned the false dream of the duke’s daughter for the true woman of his dreams, the one who beat him to the deer. Celeste’s grandmother, who’s gone now, whom she never knew. Celeste finally understands this, but too late. He simply tells her “Good night” as he leaves her room and closes her door.

Note: While it’s true that one of the central (if brief) scenes in the issue is a hunt, it’s also true that “hunt” is Yiddish for “dog” (which, as Sergeant Angua often reflects, is the correct term for a domesticated wolf.)


The boy is sixteen and he is not crying.

(The Part of Lycius was not originally played by Peter Dinklage. However, in 2013, he will be.)

We read a bit of Diary telling us that the young Lycius we see is a memory and this is a story that is remembered (with, granted, a couple of flashbacks of Augustus that we couldn’t know)… let us remember a day when Lycius went to visit Caesar Augustus. We see a cute little meeting with Livia (Caesar’s wife, thought by some to be the reason of Augustus’s death), before we see The Man Himself.

“Dwarf? Have you brought everything?” The dude is all business. We see Lycius call him “sir” a couple of times before The Man Himself corrects him. Today, The Man Himself will not be “sir”. He will, instead, be “Caius” (I thought it was “Gaius” but… I ain’t gonna correct Gaiman).

Lycius then teaches Caius “The Scaldrum Dodge”. This involves smearing soap on your skin, letting it dry, then sprinkling it with vinegar. It bubbles up and looks like your skin has been burned and ulcerated. SO THIS CALLS FOR A TRIP TO THE KITCHEN!!! I grab a bar of soap from the bathroom, wash my hands and get up a really, really good lather and let the lather dry on my left hand. I then looked through the kitchen and found some apple cider vinegar and some balsamic vinegar. The balsamic was expensive and the apple cider was cheap so I used the apple cider. I poured it on my now dried hand and… well… nothing. Bummer. (By the way, the line “Quick as boiled asparagus!” is a reference to I, Claudius. That’s one of the lines given by Augustus.)

Anyway, Caius explains to Lycius that, today, they will be a couple of beggars in the town square… and, as they walk, The Man Himself gives one of several small speeches that Gaiman crafts to explain to us that, seriously, Augustus was *ALL THAT*. “I found it in brick and I have left it clad in finest marble.” Within a couple of panels, another one. After explaining that he broke his fast with some dates, raisins, some watered wine, he was good until tonight. Lycius says what I imagine many of us would say in his sandals: golly… I thought you’d eat rich people food. That’s what *I’D* eat if I were emperor! Augustus breaks it down for him: But you are not emperor. (And an interesting followup: and, until sundown, neither am I.)

Augustus does some very interesting things in this story. He manages to come across as alternately A Great Man and, hey, just this guy. He sits and talks with Lycius as if he were talking to… well, to a peer. Sharing his opinions, listening to the opinions of Lycius. Asking questions, listening to the answers… he even says, early on in the story, “my apologies”. It’s like he’s compartmentalized one heck of a lot. Of course, in the story, he has… but this is masterfully done. Lycius explains that you never put down an empty bowl (in the restaurant, I learned to never have an empty tip jar by the register) and this segues into a discussion of actors, how Caius doesn’t like actors and legislated against them (but, today, he is one) and that segues into Lycius ribbing (!) Caius about Pylades. Caius takes this in stride and explains that Pylades was a dolt and was lucky that “I didn’t have him killed” (this is something that happened, by the way) and Lycius says another interesting thing: “I’ve heard people be rude as shit to you, you didn’t bat an eyelid.” Caius, again, explains it all: “I am a man. I matter little.”

The marketplace bustles around them and Lycius’s curiosity gets the better of him. Why are you doing this? Caius answers that he had a dream. Lycius then interrupts (!) Caius and starts babbling about a dream that he had that turned out to be folly and Caius, once again, takes this in stride and explains the universe to the guy sitting next to him. There are dreams that come through the gates of ivory and they are lies. The dreams that come through the gates of horn are true. (This is also a thing.) Lycius interrupts *AGAIN* and they start talking about Julius Caesar, the adopted father of Caesar Augustus.

The boy is twelve and he looks upon Julius Caesar. His Uncle. His Hero. His God.

The conversation wanders, as conversations do, through thoughts of family and, when a passerby says that he’s not going to help a beggar because beggars are beggers through the will of the gods… and Lycius gives the guy the finger (that hand signal goes back a loooooong way!) and notes, as we do, that he’d piss himself if he knew that he just said that to The Man Himself… ah, but Augustus is the man because he sees that, hey, the guy has a point. You can’t defy the gods… and that conversation wanders, as conversations do, to theology. Lycius expresses his doubts about the existence of the gods to The Chief Priest of the Empire and, yet again!, The Man Himself takes it in stride. He explains, gently, that not only are there gods but the gods themselves have entities to whom they must bow. Terminus, which is a very good point, and “the seven” which is… well. That’s Gaiman. Gotta remind the audience that they’re reading Sandman, I guess.

Anyway, Caius explains to Lycius the silly stories that they now make up about him that will follow once he dies and, like Julius Caesar before him, becomes a God Himself… and that, yes, these stories are very silly indeed… and yet, he’s looking forward to being a God. Lycius, still the agnostic, asks what’s the difference? I mean, Caesar Augustus rules the civilized world. He brought order to chaos. He can tell anybody to do whatever and they will do it. What do the gods have that Caesar doesn’t have right now?

Which, now that I think about it, is a very modern question that seems out of place in the mouth of someone sitting on the steps of the Temple to Mars.

Well, when Caesar is a god, he will no longer be afraid.

The old man wakes from a nightmare and calls for a storyteller. The stories allow him to sleep again.

It’s noon and everybody has gone inside. A squirt of wine to help deal with the heat and they count their coin. They’ve got four asses, a clipped dupondius (worth two asses), and a (probably counterfeit) sestercius (worth two and a half asses). So that’s eight and a half asses. Ten asses gets you a denarius (a day’s wage). So… well, they’re not doing as bad as Lycius seems to indicate.  Of course, one of those asses was his. But still. Not bad for beggin’. The day’s only halfway through!

Back to point, after Lycius says that it’s a good thing they’re not doing it for the money, he asks again why they’re doing it. (Maybe don’t interrupt the emperor once he starts to explain it to you, dude.) The emperor goes back to talking about Julius Caesar and, after he explains that, no, he hated his (adopted) father, Lycius begins to understand that he is sitting next to a man who is going to be a god. The conversation about Cicero should have anybody begin to tremble. Two breaths. In the first breath Augustus explains that Cicero was one of the greats. In the second, Augustus explains that he had Cicero killed. Then, again, The Man Himself explains everything to his companion. He is not a king. He’s just an imperator, a leader. And he leads and the people follow, as they’d follow a torch-bearing child in the catacombs. And what do imperators follow?

Their dreams.

We’re interrupted by a former slave who has made it big. He gives five asses (WOO HOO! Broke a denarius!) to the seeming beggars as the price of making them listen to his speech about, hey, he was a former slave who made it big… but the wheel of fortune turns and maybe he’ll be begging for copper asses in the marketplace someday. Walk with care… because no man knows the future.

Which brings us to what in the sam hill Imperator Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Divi Filius Augustus is doing dressed in rags, stinking of soap and vinegar in the marketplace: Augustus knows the future. How? Well, when he became chief priest, he called up all of the prophecies and saw that there were two futures. One involved Rome sputtering out and dying… one involved Rome going on forever. Roma Eterna. Ten Thousand Years. More. After reading the prophecies, he had half of the prophecies destroyed and edited the others. Of the two possible futures, he, The Man Himself, picked one of them. He talked with Julius Caesar about Julius’s dreams for Rome, of course… and then asks the question that we were asking when Lycius interrupted Caius a number of times. “Are you scared of me?” He then explains why Lycius should be terrified… but Lycius still gots to know: why are we doing this?

Caesar had a dream.

And the Dream explains it all. Augustus, back when he was merely Octavianus, idolized his uncle, his adopted father, his hero, his god… well, Augustus interrupts and realizes, oh, he’s not talking to a storyteller who he can tell what to do, he’s talking to Apollo! (Wait, not Apollo. Dream and Apollo get mixed up sometimes… the fact that Dream is the guy who has Aristeas of Marmora as his personal raven doesn’t help with that either.) Augustus wants to know what the God before him wishes… and Dream explains that he is there as a favor to Terminus, He who walks the boundaries, to give some counsel to Augustus. Since Augustus fears the gods, and since Augustus knows that the gods are watching him day and night, Dream points out that the way to avoid the gaze of the gods is as simple as ceasing to be Caesar Augustus for a day and choosing, instead, to be Caius the beggar.

And Lycius does not really understand… but he understands that he doesn’t understand. Augustus became Caius for a day, so that he might think without Julius Caesar staring over his shoulder. Caius knows that Julius set Roma Eterna in motion… and Terminus is the only god to whom Jupiter must bow.

They walk home and Augustus dismisses Lycius and tells him “you’re never going to talk about this to anybody. Keep the coins.” Caesar is back. And he washes the soap and vinegar away… and gets ready for bed.

And we see that Augustus, back when he was merely Octavianus, idolized his uncle, his adopted father, his hero, his god was raped by Julius Caesar and, in exchange, was given the world.

And we are back to where we began. The memoirs of Lycius who, after years and years, finally speaks of his day in the marketplace with Caius the beggar. He remembers the speech of the prophecies and talks about how the bounds of the empire had been set… no more expansion. Lycius notes that the successors to Augustus have been Evil, Mad, Foolish, and now, All Three. (Tiberius. Caligula. Claudius. Nero.)

And he wonders what Augustus could have been so afraid of.


Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.


  1. The Part of Lycius was not originally played by Peter Dinklage. However, in 2013, he will be.)

    That fine, just so long as Augustus can still be played by BRIAN BLESSED!

  2. “The Hunt” is good, but “August”, dark as it is, is amazing, IMO. A powerful character study with a real suckerpunch of an ending. Is there any historical basis (even just rumors or Roman graffiti of the day) to Gaiman’s scenario here, or is this strictly speculative storytelling on his part? I know that the ancients (and even more so their ruling families) sometimes had some different ideas about power and sex and family than we do.

    the way to avoid the gaze of the gods is as simple as ceasing to be Caesar Augustus for a day and choosing, instead, to be Caius the beggar.

    No politics, but an interesting comment on how the poor may be truly forgotten by everyone, even the gods.

    And no religion, but also a comment on how only those completely bereft of power and possessions (and their gods) may be truly free (in a zen/existentialist sense).

    Does Augustus destroy the Empire simply as a straight-up “fish you” to his uncle/father? Does he do so because he knows that something founded on brutality (both as he has experienced, and also as he has perpetrated) cannot be good? Did the prophecies let him know Nero wasn’t as bad as it was going to get, if Roma Eterna were allowed to come about?

    • If it’s not clear, by “Gaiman’s scenario” I mean any implication of rape or a sexual relationship btw Julius and Augustus, not the whole prophecy/Dream/beggar bit.

      • I was curious about that myself, last night, and did some research (as in, I read the wikipedia) and found this:

        “Mark Antony later charged that Octavian had earned his adoption by Caesar through sexual favours, though Suetonius, in his work Lives of the Twelve Caesars, describes Antony’s accusation as political slander.”

        And there you go. You’re now caught up to where I am.

          • Heh, no doubt (though I am sure that, when I was in Middle School, I was taught that he had the best of intentions). I wish I knew what Gaiman used to do his research, though. I suspect that his texts go deeper than the Wiki is allowed to.

          • Have you seen the pictures of the guy’s bookshelves? I doubt he needed to go to the library.

          • No, I mean “specifically which books”. I understand why he wouldn’t advertise those, of course (“Dear Sir, I read Life And Times Of Augustus and it didn’t mention anything about him pretending to be a beggar one day out of the year. Sincerely, Your Biggest Fan”), but I’m guessing that his reading list for any given issue is one that I’d fall in love with.

        • Julius Caesar was the subject of similar calumnies in his youth — as a junior ambassador to the kingdom of Bithynia, he negotiated the king naming the Republic of Rome as his heir and successor. His enemies could not believe he could have pulled such a thing off solely due to his powers of persuasion, and accused him of having surrendered himself to the king sexually as consideration for the deal.

          The calumny was not that the young Caesar had engaged in a sexual act with an older man. The calumny was that he assumed the “passive” or “womanly” role during the sex act.

          To the extent that he acknowledged the rumors at all, Caesar denied that there had been any sex at all, and I see no reason not to believe him — it’s not hard to imagine a king seeing the by then centuries-long trend of Rome expanding its sphere of overt influence through war, reading the writing on the wall, and deciding that he’d enjoy the kingship as long as he could and then leave his people the bequest of a peaceful transition to the inevitable.

          • Regions of ancient Asia Minor had some really cool names: Bithynia, Phrygia, Cappadocia, Galatia, Cilicia, Paphlagonia. It’s kind of a shame that nowadays it’s all just “Turkey”.

          • I guess you could say all those regions just got gobbled up.

          • Cappadocia still has its name (as an area of Turkey). And I’m going there in May!

      • In HBO’s Rome, Octavian’s mother advises him to cultivate his uncle Julius. He takes this to mean “talk to him and impress him”. While he’s doing that, with his mother listening outside the door, Julius has an epileptic seizure. She misinterprets the sounds he’s making and thinks her son is doing exactly what she’d really meant.

    • Well of course in reality the story doesn’t work because Rome’s greatest emperors were still in queue and on their way. The heights of the empire were achieved far beyond and past any boundaries that Augustus set. The five great emperors; Nerva, Trajan (the greatest among them), Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, wouldn’t come along until the better part of a century after Augustus. So the empire ascended quite a bit before beginning her slow descent.

      Interestingly Diamond’s Blood Germs and Steel (persuasively to my lights) argues that a single unified polity like a Roma Eterna would likely strongly impede if not outright stagnate human development so that angle of the story definitely works.

      • It feels like there’s a spark of *SOMETHING* that gets carried from Rome, to the new Church, to the Protestant Reformation, to across the Ocean to the US.

        I don’t know what to even call it but it feels like a *SOMETHING* that continues and evolves as it goes along.

  3. Jaybird,

    Regarding your experiment, are you sure you were using a bar of soap (fatty acid) instead of synthetic detergent (most likely linear alkylbenzene sulfonate)? The latter is much more common unless you are using a specialty item.

    • It was a bar of soap. I am pretty sure that it’s a soap that originally came from Whole Foods… and I don’t know if that means that it’s organic or what. It *WAS* a bar, I assure you.

    • It sounded the the soap use in Avgvstvs was clothing soap, so it would probably be harsher (i.e. more strongly basic) than soap you would use on a person.

      • For the Romans, soap was typically made from fat rendered from a sheep or a pig, wood ash, and human urine.

          • Not exactly. Soap processes usually leave soap being at least somewhat basic, but there are “neutral soaps” that aren’t acidic or basic, and they work just fine. Industrial soap, the kind you need gloves to handle (or that you use to prevent rape if you’re in Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption), is very basic, but you wouldn’t want to smear it on your skin.

            Soap works because its molecules are long strings of non-polar (hydrophobic, water-hating) molecules with a small polar (hydrophilic, water-loving) ends. The non-polar strings clump around blobs on non-polar materials (like oil), forming a sphere with only the polar tips showing. The hydrophobic parts are hidden from the water, so the whole thing behaves like it’s hydrophilic, and water will pick it up and wash it.

  4. You shouldn’t trust the storyteller; only trust the story.

    This is a koan. I was also told once, by one of my professors, that “the important parts of the story are true”. I didn’t understand that either.

    I’m getting better, though.

    • Now you’re reminding me of the Midsummer story, and what Robin said.

  5. I like The Hunt Except I can’t figure out if The People are just werewolves, or if they’re related to the Fae in some way, because vulnerability to ‘cold iron’ is supposed to be a Fae thing. (Also, I want to know what ‘true bears’ and ‘true wolves’ are. Other shapeshifters? Or just bears and wolves, with the implication that the People are ‘true people’ because ‘true’ connotes ‘untame’?)

    I like the way Gaiman works subtle (and increasingly less-subtle as the story goes on) hints about Vassily’s identity as a werewolf into the story. Such as saying that “Vassily ate lightly of the inn’s indifferent food,” and then after the innkeeper’s attack left the inn “well-fed”. (I’m not clear if we’re also intended to think that Vassily killed the gypsy woman, or if something else killed her.)

    The art for The Hunt is good as well.

    • Is there any conception of European folklore that posits all mythical beasties (including werewolves) as subsets of the Fae (the Fae being the original woodland inhabitants, before men came and pushed them out/drove them off/killed them)?

      I also think that the “true” bit works in the more common/traditional way of “here we go, grandpa’s telling stories again about the old days”.

      “Sonny, in my day, we had TRUE snowstorms, and had to walk up TRUE hills to get through them.”

      Not that there might not be more to it than that (like you say, shapeshifters, or Dire Wolves? Dire Bears?)

    • In a lot of folklore, iron is as good as silver for repelling the supernatural. Bury an iron knife under your door and witches can’t get in. Iron fences keep cemetery spirits in. And so on.

      Silver is of the moon. Iron is of the blood.

      • This nod to folklore can be seen in The Witcher. Witchers carry two swords – one made of silver, the other of meteoric iron.

        The 3rd edition of D&D plays with this too.

    • I’m fairly sure Vassily’s father killed the gypsy woman, The body wasn’t disturbed or robbed, so it had to be for personal reasons, and he’d shown that he disliked her.

  6. I took cold iron to be a substitute for silver, perhaps implying that the pop myths about werewolves were incorrect. I also thought that TRUE implied a certain attitude of superiority. Our people are the TRUE people, everyone else are lesser people. There may not be any truth to the description, more of a sense of nationality and pride.

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