Though usually only my critics get to see this stuff, I thought it'd be nice to do a comparison between the 2nd draft version and the 3rd draft version. But first, the bit that came before any of the eight revisions: Foreword, by an anonymous Keeper. In the original this section was written by a Keeper, Daelus was of course named Daneel, and much time is spent summarizing Thief: The Dark Project. Now, here's the 2nd draft version...
Their numbers are as unknown as their intentions and origins. Even the title ‘Delegate’ is based on cryptic passages in old tomes. It is suspected that many pivotal events within The City for the past one hundred years could be linked to them, and that some important historical figures were actually Delegates themselves. Nothing is conclusive. There can be no conspiracy when the agents, by their very nature, do not conspire.
Five months prior to this day, and twenty nine days after the passing of The Trickster (see any and all annals concerning ‘The Dark Project’ for further information on this and related events), a suspected Delegate arrived in The City. The nature of his arrival within our borders was not uncommon; hence this event was not recorded, only researched in retrospect.
His name, Daelus Thresh, was discovered after months of delving through ancient texts. It had been written that he was a man possessing a shattered past welded back together by force of consciousness, with scars of great power and conflicting magical energies still burning at the torn edges of his psyche. His every action mirrored the duality of his nature, a subconscious schism which divided one path into two, yet with the conscious illusion of being one. He believed that his use of alternate identities was of his own free will; it was however a fact of his existence which ran deeper than he could fathom, an aspect of himself which he was unable to escape.
Like all Delegates, he came from another place; a place hidden from us. He was not the first of them, and not the last; but held an important distinction amongst them, for he would bring with him a shard of this other place into our own land, and from this shard his journey upon branching, twisting paths would begin. It was both arrogance and naiveté that allowed this Delegate to do what no reasonable practitioner of bizarre arts would dare to in all but the greatest of privacies. He conducted a ceremony which caused a structure to spring forth from the mountainside to the north of The City.
It was written that the Delegates, as their first rule, were not to make contact with one another. By this act, in all likelihood, soon every Delegate in The City would become abundantly aware of him, just as we were made aware. How this has affected their plans remains to be seen, but it is an important sign: secrecy is becoming a lower priority in comparison to other goals.
Now the tower stands as if it always had, and the people of The City seem to have accepted it as such; a startlingly appropriate metaphor for the man himself who, in this short time, has dug himself deeply into our society.
Though it's not stated, and Keepers are not in COT-R, it's still written with the idea that it's being spoken (or written) by a Keeper doing a report. Some have suggested that this entire passage ought to be dropped, as a story like this doesn't really seem suited to such a dry expositional opening. Well, it hasn't been dropped, but it's been rewritten in such a way that I think suits the story much better.
I had been obsessed with them since the moment I came to this land. Some unsubstantiated notion hidden deep within my clouded and damaged memories propelled me to pursue them, study them, and know them. In time I gave in completely to this desire, discarding all semblance of a life in the pursuit of this coveted knowledge.
They called themselves Delegates. In spite of my amassed discoveries, their numbers remained hidden as did their true intentions and origins. Though they all were perfectly unique, they held one important aspect in common. Their every action mirrored the duality of their nature, a subconscious schism between obedience and rebellion which divided one path into two, yet with the conscious illusion of being one. They believed that this was of their own free will; it was however a fact of their existence which ran deeper than they each could fathom, an aspect of themselves which they were all unable to escape.
Within that context they seemed to operate under two principal rules: achieve great power, and make no contact with one another. I found that many pivotal events within the past century could be linked to them, and some historical figures were actually Delegates themselves. Though they excelled at the fist rule, it seemed at the second they were less successful.
Five months prior to this day a Delegate arrived in The City. I did not notice it at the time, for the daily comings and goings of people through the sprawling, nameless metropolis were countless. There was however something specific which drew my attention to him, as well as the attention possibly of all other Delegates.
It was both arrogance and naiveté that allowed this man to do what no reasonable practitioner of bizarre arts would dare to do in all but the greatest of privacies. He conducted a ceremony which caused a structure, in all likelihood a shard of the Delegate’s own land, to spring forth from the mountainside to the north of The City. While it was possible that in some lands a deed such as this could be considered commonplace, in the world of The City it bespoke powerful and dangerous sorcery.
I soon discovered his name, Daelus Thresh, and that somehow I remembered him. I knew him, though I could not understand how. What relic of my shattered past did he represent? Could I weld the memory back together through sheer will of consciousness alone? That recollection, that spark of self awareness was what propelled me to focus all of my energy on mending the torn, burnt edges of my psyche. My obsession grew tenfold. My resolve became absolute. I would know.
Regardless of my own personal investment, what this departure from discretion meant for their plans remained to be seen. It was an important sign: secrecy is becoming a lower priority to them in comparison to other goals.
Though the rewrite of this was inspired by the passage at the very end of the story where I decided, finally, who this section is spoken by, the key term here is in the second-to-last paragraph. Personal Investment. A dusty exposition by an unknown scholar was no way to introduce the book. A passionate recounting of an obsession suits it much better.
Several bits of this which had been devoted to Daelus are now no longer pertaining to him. The first, dealing with the duality of nature, I felt was more appropriately applied to ALL of the Delegates. I also decided to go ahead and actually explain what the hell this is getting at – the idea that the Delegates are both compulsively loyal to their masters and must rebel against them. The other bit is the part about the torn burnt psyche, which now more appropriately pertain to the speaker himself.
Finally, I nixed the reference to Thief: The Dark Project because I felt that it was simply irrelevant to the speaker and would only confuse readers who aren’t familiar with the games. Fans of Thief will get an idea of where all of this takes place in the timeline later on.