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From: "Mitchell A. Bailey" <MAB@lindau.net>
Subject: (urth) The Power Behind the Phoenix Throne I
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 17:29:22 

Of everything which has been said thus far about Father Inire, it
strikes me that the most germaine point  has thus far been missed.

Father Inire is not merely an incidental, eccentric appurtenance to the
Autarchy. I have come to believe that Inire had a mission to define and
shape the very nature of Autarchy, which he did. The Commonwealth as a
state is practically identical with the millenia-long stewardship of
Inire. I think that an important key to understanding Inire is an
understanding of the nature and purpose of the Autarchy, his special

His name, per Lexicon Urthus, means “to enter” or “to begin” and is
related to a term for the commencement of a reign. The Autarchy began
and effectively ended with Inire. Did the Monarch Typhon engage the
services of Inire? Somehow I doubt it seriously, although I believe
there is one instance in which Inire might conceivably have  influenced
Typhon. Who was the first Autarch to take on Inire as vizier? Why, the
first Autarch, Ymar! Who was the last true Autarch? Severian! Who was
the last Autarch to have been served by Inire? Severian, evidently.
Valeria apparently lost the services of Inire, and - therefore? - was
perceived to have lacked the credentials of a true Autarch.

Inire is credited with “many marvels”: his specula, the Autarch’s House
Absolute and its Second house, the Botanic Gardens, all of which have
peculiar spatial and temporal properties. There are some other “marvels”
I think we can also attribute to Inire: certain facilities in the
Citadel such as the Atrium of Time, and the implied hyperspatial
connection between the Citadel and the distant House Absolute which
allows such as Rundesind to walk back and forth as if they were adjacent
hallways. Then there is the presence of the Cumaean (for whom, it is
said, the Botanic Gardens were built) and her kind, and by extension the
sisterhood of witches. These again seem to have power over time and
distance. Many of Inire’s “marvels” seems to be characterized by the
manipulation or transcendance of time and/or space.

Another related province of Inire’s was the preservation of (and/or
access to) the past. The Curators Guild seem to be Inire’s agency. It is
populated with special operatives such as Rundesind who take orders from
Inire and have the run of the House Absolute and the Citadel. Note that
the Curators are also the custodians of the Botanic Gardens and the
Library. They wear Inire’s color, gray. Typhon is generally identified
as that ruler credited in legend with establishing the archive which
became the Library; I have to wonder if Inire didn’t somehow contrive to
inspire that idea.

I don’t think I am out of line to suggest that it was probably Inire who
introduced what is perhaps the defining characteristic of Autarchy: that
practice of transference of memories, via the autarchial pharmacon and
eating of the living forebrain of the predecessor, in an unbroken
succession by each incumbent. It seems clear that the monarchs prior to
Ymar had no such rite for continuity. 

It would appear that Inire expended much time, effort, and energy to
ensure that this chain of Autarchs was never broken in all the centuries
of the office, while the incumbent retained the necessary freedom and
opportunity to act and to take risks. One need look no further than the
episode wherein Severian and the dying Autarch were captured by the
Ascians and the Vodalarii to see how precarious this succession could
be. This continuity and accumulation of diverse wisdom and experience
might well be the key to the Autarchy’s purpose and Severian’s eventual
success in bringing the New Sun. 

Once in BNS we get to see actual words of Inire addressed to the
Autarch, which might offer a clue regarding Inire’s motivations and
allegiance. First he calls the Autarch by several titles denoting
identity with solar deity. It seems to be axiomatic that the New Sun is
expected to emerge from the Autarchy and nowhere else. Father Inire
expresses his reverence to his Autarch not as his superior or as head of
state, but as the New Sun to come, no less. 

He goes on to lament that his “cousins” help only reluctantly and do not
seem to regard Urth, still less the Commonwealth and its Autarch, as
worthy of special consideration. It was Inire’s job to plead on behalf
of Urth to seemingly indifferent ears until the Epitome was prepared.

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

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