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Trying to avoid spoilers - what do we think happened to Dirk at the end of Dying of the Light? If you had told me what the final scene was, I would have told you immediately what happened. However, reading it, it sure seems like Dirk expects a different outcome. Anyone see something I missed?

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Following Dirk's thought processes we know "It will be easy", "Take one blow and give one, that's all." but also "He was very frightened" which suggests he does indeed fear for his life.

We know that duels are sometimes, but not always, fatal. I think much will depend on the mood of Bretan Braith. We know Bretan Braith wanted Dirk and Jaan to die when he burned down Kryne Lamiya, but that was largely because of Dirk dodging the duel. Braith has a chance to kill Dirk before the duel commences but instead returns his pistol to the holster. The Code Duello is all important to him.

The result is left deliberately ambiguous, however for a moment Dirk thinks Bretan Braith is the shadowy bargeman, a figure who haunts Dirk and possibly represents his impending death. On the other hand maybe the bargeman represents Dirk's mortal fears and by facing that fear other outcomes are possible.

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  • Or, said the other way: it is intentionally left ambiguous. The final answer is: Dirk went to face his opponent in a duel.
    – jo1storm
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 12:01

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