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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v019.n018
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 23:34:10 

From Robert Borski
>This one's for alga, because I miss her.

Well, I suppose flattery will coax me out of sulkdom for a moment. First,
Mr. B., unlike prion, who is almost your equal in groundless invention, I
must say that I think your recent geneological ventures go beyond the
far-fetched into the realm where undines swim among the stars.

Second, no, I don't think for a moment that the archives/library is guarded
by taluses, I think it is "guarded" by librarians, of whom the latest
guardian is Ultan, who, I need hardly remind you all, is a tribute to
Borges. And if you doubt that for a moment, please pick up a copy of the
splendid new fiction omnibus and compare Cyriaca's style in telling this
tale to that of Borges in many stories. I put "guarded" in quotes, because
the library is only a legend to everyone but neighbors and the House
Absolute, and would hardly need military protection.

Sev says that he knows more of it (the library) than she because, unlike
her, he has been there. But he has not before heard its history. What has
the Claw to do with that? And I would propose Ymar to have started the
library, not Typhon--there are hints in that direction but not the other.

And the giant mechanical soldiers which recognize either a true
autarch--even to come--or a true Concilliator (or do you argue that they are
taluses?), guard Mt. Typhon. This seems to me simply a remote project that
ran out of funds and political interest and has been forgotten. An
interestingly similar picture of an abandoned early space project in (I
think) Arizona ran in today's NY Times. Cf (and not by Wolfean accident)
Ozymandius. The Saltus mine is something else again. If you really do lure
me back, I'm only going to demand that you stay on track. Do you really want


>At the ridotto being held by Abdiesus, Cyriaca, on her way to seducing
>Severian, relates a longish tale about the Ages of Myth and Monarch
>respectively (SWORD, Chap. 6). I'm going to skip most of it, but you should
>probably read the chapter in its entirety. At any rate, to pick up the
>story near the end: "When morning came, [the autarch of the time] ordered
>that the torches not be kindled, but that there should be a great vault
>built to house all the volumes and scrolls the white-robed men had
>gathered. For he thought that if the new empire he had planned should fail
>him at last, he would retire to that vault and enter the worlds that, in
>imitation of the ancients, he was determined to cast aside.
>"His empire did fail him, as it had to...But he did not retire as he had
>planned into that vault and the curtain wall he had caused to be built
>around it, for when once the wild things have been put behind a man for
>good and all, they are trap-wise and cannot be recaptured.
>"Nevertheless, it is said that before all he gathered was sealed away, he
>set a guardian over it. And when that guardian's time on Urth was done, he
>found another, and he another, so that they continue ever faithful to the
>demands of that autarch..."
>Cyriaca, earlier, has called this vault "the lost archives" and when she
>finishes her tale, Sev says, "It is a wonderful story. I think that perhaps
>*I know more of it than you, but I have never heard* it before."
>This is because he's just realized the Claw has reawakened the guardian of
>the lost archives.
>Still not good enough? Well, when Sev loops back in time and becomes the
>Conciliator in URTH, he's told that the Saltus mine is brand new. And when
>he's atop Mount Typhon earlier in SWORD, he can't get over how unrutted the
>roads are, despite the heavy traffic they would have had to bear; they're
>also too steep in places for regular carts and barrows. And while Cyriaca
>never identifies the monarch of the tale, it's fairly obvious he's
>Typhon--so we can pretty much guess the nature of the guardian.
>In other words, whichever one of you first guessed taluses, you're right.

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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