by Tari Gwaemir
"I am already king."
Once, Sam Vimes made the mistake of asking Lord Vetinari about his motives.
"Motives, Commander? Why do you ask that?" Vetinari folded his long, bony hands together on his ebony desk and looked up with what would have been an inquiring expression if he hadn't already had the eyes of a man who knew the answer anyway.
"Never mind, sir," Vimes muttered. "A copper's instincts, that's all."
"Ever a cynic about human nature," Vetinari said cryptically and handed him the file on the latest riots in the Shades. Vimes bowed and turned to leave.
Just as he had reached the door, the Patrician said, "Do you know the first lesson they teach you in the Assassin's Guild? How to determine the monetary value of a human life. What is a merchant worth? What is a duke worth? What is a king worth?"
Vimes paused and looked back at the Patrician, who was now standing at the window, contemplating the slow ooze of the River Ankh below. The chaos of narrow alleyways and mismatched buildings; the crowds of humans, trolls, dwarves, zombies, werewolves, golems and many more untold sentient and not-so-sentient species navigating their way through its labyrinths.
"And then I asked myself, what is a city worth? When I found the answer, I decided to retire from the Guild."
Vimes frowned as he digested the words, then straightened. He saluted and left as quietly as he could.