The Fifth Elephant

Terry Pratchett

A few days ago Sam Vimes was a copper. An important copper, true - chief of police - but still, at his core, a policeman. But today he is an ambassador - to the mysterious, fat-rich country of Uberwald. Today Sam Vimes is also a man on the run.

Vimes had once discussed the Ephebian idea of ‘democracy’ with Carrot, and had been rather interested in the idea that everyone had a vote until he found out that while he, Vimes, would have a vote, there was no way in the rules that anyone could prevent Nobby Nobs from having one as well. Vimes could see the flaw there straight away.

He took his hands off the oars and pulled in the mooring rope. If I make a couple of loops, he thought, I can strap the axe onto my back. He had a mental picture of what could happen to a man who plunged into the cauldron below a waterfall with a sharp piece of metal attached to his body.
GOOD MORNING.
Vimes blinked. A tall dark robed figure was now sitting in the boat.
‘Are you Death?’
IT’S THE SCYTHE, ISN’T IT? PEOPLE ALWAYS NOTICE THE SCYTHE.
‘I’m going to die?’
POSSIBLY.
‘Possibly? You turn up when people are possibly going to die?’
OH YES. IT’S QUITE THE NEW THING. IT’S BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE.
‘What’s that?’
I’M NOT SURE.
‘That’s very helpful.’