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II

THE ENEMY [Terminology]

'Some people have to go straight to the ending before they even understand the beginning.' House Strategist Entarodora [[w:c:factionparadox:The Book of the War (novel) |[src]]]

Those "lesser species" involved in the War often find the whole conflict difficult to understand, for the simple reason that the two principal Warring sides seem so badly-defined. On one side are the Great Houses, who might be considered the truly conservative forces of creation, occupying a position outside of normal-time and attempting to maintain a status quo which has existed since the beginning of the Spiral Politic itself. But on the other side... who? Many observers find it strange that the Houses themselves don't refer to their enemy by name, generally just using the term "enemy" and expecting everybody else to take the meaning as read. Indeed, the Houses themselves have only recently begun to understand what the term means, and it wasn't until the debacle of the Faraway Declaration (only thirty-five years before the beginning of the War) that they even formally acknowledged the existence of a rival power.

The enemy

THE ENEMY

Contrary to popular folklore, this isn't because the Houses' agents have a superstitious fear of mentioning the name and nor is it because the enemy has wiped its name from history altogether, although that does seem a viable War tactic and the enemy is known to retro-erase crucial information about its methods when necessary. In truth the Great Houses do have a name for the opposition, but it's rarely used because... it's simply inadequate. The enemy isn't a single species, or e ven a distinct political faction. Though it has a leader — or at least a "head," or a "founder" — to focus on the leader would be pointless. The enemy is a process. To understand the enemy it's necessary to understand how that process works, and a simple one-word name would only encourage the Houses to concentrate on the much less important details of, say, the enemy's physical appearance (they can barely grasp their opponents' operating principles at the best of times). To put it simply: the important thing isn't who the enemy is, but why it is.

To fully understand the nature of the enemy, it's vital to understand the context in which it exists. See also the Churchill Index; Immaculata Formosii; the Gods of the Ainu; "Miss Hiroshima"; Mohandassa; Sixth Wave Defections; S'tanim; and Violent Unknown Events.

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