In “Peace” Weer has Gold where he wants him. He has figured out Gold has been forging texts that have become historical documents. Gold dispatches his daughter out to seduce him. He puts his will against Weer’s own. What does Weer do? Refuse her and stand intact before Gold? No, he relents to Gold’s designs for him, and lets himself be seduced by his daughter. Any advantage he had over Gold is gone. He almost seemed eager for some excuse to surrender them, and would have settled for less than he got.

In “WizardKnight” Able has powers galore and is allowed to remain on Mythgarthr so long as he doesn’t use his god-powers. What does he do? He uses them, and so the Valfather dispatches himself to fetch him back. Able has shamed himself, has lost any real positioning he had vis-a-vis the Valfather, but since he uses his powers to heal his friends, including ultimately restoring an eye to one of his earliest and most loyal friends, Pouk, his relenting makes him seem like a woman who can’t really be faulted because she is built to heal those most dependent on her. It’s no wonder the Valfather smiles when he catches him. He likes the alpha male feeling that comes when a “wife” behaves this way — flawed, but loveable for those flaws.

In “Return to the Whorl” Horn relents very quickly to Hari Mau’s determination to take him back with him to Goan so he could judge them. He shames himself by making a quite pitiful search for Silk, even as he was, he believed, very close to being in Silk’s immediate proximity. All Hari Mau had to say was, “I want you,” and Horn said, ok… but not before I donate one of my eyes to my good friend Pig. Horn gives to others, depriving himself, and then surrenders to the strong pursuing male, in a typically feminine fashion.

In “Free, Live Free” Ben Free informs a younger version of himself that he was going to have to seek out and find the various members of the “triumverate” because they would risk themselves to help save him one day. Free pursues them, and they are forced to accept the possible shame in being so unlike what they each insist they are — masterly — for each one being so easily baited and caught. They relent, they surrender, to this truth. They surrender to their alpha-male pursuer, Ben Free, in feminine fashion.

In “Evil Guest” Cassie is pursued by a female assassin who tries to shame her as a fat cow and who threatens to shoot out one of Cassie’s eyes if she doesn’t relent. What does Cassie do? Relent? No, Cassie does not relent.

What had been offered her? More or less what happens to all these other characters when they relented. This doesn’t work for Weer, or quite work — he gets something, but it’s mostly a tension-free subsequent engagement with Gold where he has better chance to enjoy the tea and cookies offered him… which might actually have been something — no, but Able gets dispatched to spend an idyllic time with his lover, where they play like puppies and whatnot, Horn is dispatched to a grand palace in Goan where he has so much spendour he assumes — probably rightly — his readers big-time envy him, and the triumverate in “Free, Live Free” are released to become their best selves/are enchanced.

Cassie would have some version of this if she’d relented. But Cassie did not relent.

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