The Watch is just another gang.
Carcer Dun to Sam Vimes, "A Near Vimes Experience"
Carcer unleashes a dragon upon the city of Ankh-Morpork and desperately seeks the sword Gawain in order to control it. He and Sam Vimes were once members of a gang together. He urged Vimes not to join the City Watch, telling him that it was just another gang and he had saved him from the streets. When Sam declared that he was arresting Carcer, Carcer shot at him with a crossbow. Captain John Keel took the shot instead and died, leaving Vimes as captain of the City Watch. Vimes then pursued Dun to a precipice, where Dun shouted for Vimes to arrest him. Vimes, however, hesitated and Dun fell, seemingly to his death.
20 years later, Carcer Dun reappears. To Vimes's shock and confusion, he appears exactly as he did twenty years previously.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The hunt for the sword[edit | edit source]
Carcer Dun, with the aid of a group of goblins and Wonse, steals a book from the Unseen University and uses it to summon the Noble Dragon. The dragon quickly begins wreaking devastation upon the city of Ankh-Morpork, but Carcer is unable to control it. He is confronted by Sam Vimes and the City Watch and manages to escape, with Sergeant Detritus killed in the melee. Carcer then learns that he needs the sword Gawain in order to control the dragon. However, rather than seek it out himself, he decides to let the Watch do it for him, having Wonse enact a spell which allows him to spy on the Watch's captain, Sam Vimes, remotely.
The Watch succeed in claiming the sword and discover it to be a sentient artifact that prefers to go by the name of "Wayne." They also discover that the sword is actually only one of several items required in order to control the power of the dragon. Sam Vimes decides that the sword is too dangerous to remain in existence and decides to deposit it inside a lake capable of destroying such magical objects. Though he states that he is going alone, he is nevertheless accompanied by both [[Lady Sybil Ramkin (The Watch) Lady Sybil Ramkin]] and Constable Cheery. The group succeeds in reaching the lake despite their own arguments and being beset by troubling visions, but when Vimes tries to toss the sword into the lake, he is rebuffed by the Lady of the Lake. A giant hand, the Lady tosses the sword back, rejecting the idea that it should be destroyed. Before Vimes can decide what to do next, however, Dun, Wonse and a large group of goblins arrives. Dun and his group seize the sword and Vimes and the others, despite receiving assistance from Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson and Corporal Angua von Uberwald, are forced to flee.
The search for the artefacts[edit | edit source]
With the sword in hand, Dun puts into motion the next portion of his plan to obtain what he needs to control the dragon. He confronts Cheery, Ironfoundersson and Uberwald, who have traveled to the Mines of Tak based on a clue from the sword Gawain regarding something called "the Dark in the Dark." He captures Ironfoundersson, believing him to be the final artefact. Wonse explains that centuries ago, a sorcerer tried to create peace by sharing the means to control a noble dragon, a Grimoire for Unseen University, a sword forged from Octiron for the assassins and a crown forged from the same for the miners. Dun presents Ironfoundersson with said crown, the inscription of which reads: "Iron in the sword, iron in its bearer. Iron in the crown, iron in its wearer. They shine and shimmer in noon's first ray. Command the dragon, and burn the day." Wonse explains that they believe that the sorcerer's final act was to put octiron in the blood of the last king. "And you're a descendant of that king," Dun explains.
Ultimately, however, it transpires that Dun was mistaken and that Ironfounderrson does not, in fact, have any octiron in his blood. As Cheery, Uberward and Ironfounderrson are busy discovering this, Dun and Wonse meet with the members of a mysterious council, who tell them that they have been trying to destroy Vimes for an eternity, but that everywhere across the multiverse, he rises, falls in love, and gives people hope. Wonse says that there must be somewhere that this isn't the case, but a voice responds that nowhere in the multiverse is there a place where Sam Vimes murders Lady Sybil Ramkin. Another calls it the greatest anomaly in all of reality and Wonse suggests that they break that anomaly. "What are you doing?" Dun asks her. She directs the council to find the worst version of Sam Vimes and they'll make him murder Sybil Ramkin. They agree to her suggestion.
The alternate Vimes[edit | edit source]
The plan is placed in motion and the worst Captain Vimes is yanked from prison in his dimension and pulled into this dimension, while the Captain Vimes of this dimension is sent to take his place. While the original Vimes is left to try to figure out his situation, Dun and Wonse inform the alternate Vimes of the score: that in this dimension he is captain of the Watch and therefore the officers of the Watch will do what he says. Dun discusses the situation with Wonse, calling the alternate Vimes a bit pathetic and revealing to her that he's learned that Ironfounderrson is not, in fact, the third artefact and that the council members think that it may, in fact, be Lady Ramkin. He tells her that they don't need to know whether Ramkin is the third artefact, they just need Vimes to kill her. She asks what will happen if the alternate Vimes doesn't succeed and he points out that the whole thing was her idea. She replies that she's survived as long as she has by having as many levers of power as possible. They take the alternate Vimes to Ramkin's mansion, where they tell him that he must kill Ramkin in order to avoid being sent back to his own dimension. He admits that he's been in out and of the Tanty prison for twenty years, but says that killing is wrong. Dun tells him that there is only survival.
As they continue to talk, the alternate Vimes reveals how things happened between himself and the Dun of his universe. He tells Dun that what he's doing is the second time that he's saved him. In his dimension, his Dun had pulled him up from the roof of Unseen University and then arrested him. The two of them had been in a gang and he had sent Dun into the Watch House to free their friends and kill Captain Keel. Dun would not do so, and Vimes, angry, had a crossbow on him, but couldn't go through with it. Dun locked him away and Keel made him sergeant. Dun then later succeeded him as captain. He tells Dun that he was a good and kind captain. Dun pulls out a knife, telling him that if he wants to be free, he has to go through with it.
The alternate Vimes confronts Lady Ramkin, while at the same time the original Sam Vimes confronts the Ramkin of Tandy, who is a prison warden. Both believe their only way out is to commit the act of murder, but at the same time, neither can actually commit to the deed. The two both drop their weapons and the magic breaks, with each of them returning to their own respective universes. For The Watch, however, it is already too late, as Wonse snatched Vimes's badge, his blood on it. It turns out that Vimes is actually the final artefact and his blood contains the octiron needed for the spell. Back in their lair, Wonse and Dun cast the magic: "Command the dragon and burn the day."
Erased[edit | edit source]
With everything he needed, Dun prepared to summon the Noble Dragon, but Wonse began expressing doubts. She told him that she no longer believed that what they were going to do would bring about a better world. She told him that the good of Sam Vimes was something that endured throughout the multiverse and that she was worried that them breaking the pattern even just once would cause it to break everywhere. He told it her that it was too late, but she asked if it really was, asking why the Observers couldn't simply erase the Watch if they could erase him. He told her that he would lose everything if the Watch survived, but she countered that was exactly what everyone else would lose if they fell. He asked why he should sacrifice himself, just so that everyone else could carry on. She told him he could be a hero, but, tired of her quibbling, he stabbed her, leaving her for dead, but telling her he wouldn't forget her.
Vimes discovered Wonse, dying, and brought her back to the Watch House for treatment. In return, she directed the group to Carcer Dun, who began carrying out the plan to summon the Dragon. As he did so, the sword Gawain told him that he had some demands, but Dun replied that he was in no position to make demands. Dun summoned the dragon, but it quickly became clear that something was off. Gawain declared that the spell had backfired and the dragon was, in fact, "quite pissed off." Roaring and bellowing, the dragon breathed fire straight at Dun, who was clearly not in control.
Vimes confronted a badly burned Dun, who told him that the dragon had eaten all of the artifacts and was now going to burn them all. "You lose today, Sam," he told him. Vimes brought him back to the Watch House as a prisoner and he stated that he didn't care what was going to happen to the city, that he was always going to be the villain of the story. He said that the fact he was still breathing and still there meant that everything the Watch and Vimes stood for ended that day. In the end, however, the Watch succeeded in stopping the threat of the Noble Dragon. Wonse came and found him in his prison cell, telling him that she would never forget him and watching as he simply faded from existence in a puff of black smoke. She then discovered that nobody but her and the Observers recalled that Carcer Dun had ever even existed and that now everyone believed that the crimes committed by Dun had been, instead, committed by her.