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From: Matthew Malthouse <matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk>
Subject: Re: (urth) Terminus Est
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 00:59:08 

Robert Borski wrote:
> Anybody have any notions how Terminus Est came into the possession of
> Palaemon? The sword, after all, is no mere carnificial sword, but a
> valuable weapon, owing to its smithing by Jovinian (Agilus claims it's
> worth a villa). But Palaemon is a mere torturer and the guild itself
> appears to be in rather dire finances; Gurloes must doctor the books in
> order to receive more operating capital and half of all apprentices die,
> suggesting the Matachin Tower is anything but the Mariott Urth. One also
> wonders why Palaemon hasn't attempted to sell the sword before, since it
> would obviously help replenish the guild's coffers. He apparently doesn't
> use it himself (or else Severian probably would have mentioned this) and he
> can't have received Terminus Est as an heirloom; torturers have no
> families. And is it likely he could ever have earned enough as a torturer
> to purchase such a prize, even if we include the years he spent in exile?
> It seems as well an unlikely gratuity for services well rendered. So how
> did he acquire it?
> Thoughts, opinions, conjectures? (I'll spare you mine, not wanting to incur
> the ire of this list's megatherians.)

My first thought - not much helpful - is that it is cearly an executioner's
blade and has little other practical use. So a carnifex, or by extention
Torturer, as that it what they are often seen as outside the Citadel, would be
the hands in which one would expect to find such a thing. Similarly Palaemon
may not have thought that aa apropriate buyer could be found.

We really don't know that much about Palaemon's time outside the Citadel. Were
it a gift it seems a likely one from a figure such as the Archon of Thrax or
another noble to whom it would be a trifle,  Were it bought it might be that
the seller simply didn't know the value of what he was selling.  Did Palaemon
even? He certainly treasures it, but that doesn't mean that he knew it's
monetary value - if Agilus wasn't lying.


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