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From: "Mitchell A. Bailey" <MAB@lindau.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: The Power Behind the Phoenix Throne
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 12:34:11 

Roy C. Lackey wrote:
Thanks, Roy
> >>and as a bonus vanquish the “megatherian” enemies of mankind and escape
> the icy fate of a prematurely dying sun.<<... 
>     If you are referring to Robert's Undines, at least one of them survives
> the flood.
Well, of course the 'megatherians' I had in mind were really Erebus,
Abaia, et al, themselves more so than their creatures. 

"Vanquish" need not necessarily mean slay, anyway. Their opposition to
the New Sun has, in the end, been defeated. If that doesn't kill them,
they'll just have to deal with it.

In fact, like some other Urthlings (and Severian!) I seriously wonder
how the New Sun is in fact detrimental to the 'megatherians'. It has
been suggested that they derive their power from the Sun; possibly on
Ushas they would have more power available. And I hardly think they

(or, conversely, as has been suggested and noted in the N&A of LexUrth,
they are responsible for whatever hyperdimensional "sun tap" was
sickening the Sun to begin with, in which case the remaining Megas on
Ushas are a bunch of hurtin' puppies)

> >>It is easy to see an emissary of the Hierogrammates on a mission here,
> taking a very personal interest in the fate of the peoples of Urth.<<
>     No argument; just curious: Just _what is_ Inire's interest in Urth? Why
> should _he_ care? ...

Good point. My nebulous idea was basically that he was appointed (by
Tzadkiel?) for this mission. And perhaps his capacity for empathy for
the Urth peoples, and his thaumaturgy,  qualifies him.

> And how/why is it that he is exempt from the short lifetime of others of his
> kind?...

I wondered that too, but it seems to be the case. Over the millenium of
the Age of the Autarchs, any way you cut it, he has lived several
centuries or more. Even if he can duck into some kind of stasis every so
often when he's 'off duty', his lifetime on Urth would still
subjectively have to add up to centuries over the course of his

It appears to me that not all the Hierodules are of the same race from
which Famulimus and Barbatus come. Wolfe seems to indicate that
different races have different functions. The Cumaean obviously is alien
and is as different from F&B as she is from us, and very ancient to
boot. It would appear that Inire, who clearly has lived a millenium by
Sev's time (or by Ymar's time, if you subscribe to the time-in-reverse
model) is by all of the evidence not of F&B's race and is not
necessarily limited to a lifespan of about 20 years. Ossipago is
considered to be a Hierodule, and it's an automaton! Apparently
'Hierodule'  "holy slave" is a distinction of allegiance and purpose,
not of species identity.

>     If the Hieros put the hoodoo on Urth's sun -- in this cosmic game of
> crime and punishment -- then the punishment is merely symbolic, at least for
> the overwhelming majority of mankind, who are scattered on untold numbers of
> planets throughout the universe. Urth, as the birthplace of mankind, becomes
> a scapegoat for the rest of the species, which makes the drowning of Urth's
> denizens all the more pointless, since they are no more "guilty" than all
> the other people on all the other worlds, who escape the wrath of the Hieros
> unscathed.

Now that's a great point, and a topic worthy a series of monographs in
itself. Let me throw out a few ideas on this:

1) How do we know the other human colonists are not 'punished' in some
fashion, or have their own peculiar challenges? We don't get to observe
2) Wolfe suggests (in the Saltus mine, on the Ship) that the descendants
of human colonists have altered in the intervening millenia. They could
be so far sundered as to not share responsibility with Urth.
3) It is strongly suggested that the "hoodoo on the Sun" was the result
of the sins of imperialistic expansionist Earth colonists in the Age of
Myth, but I don't claim to know whether it was implemented by deliberate
action on the part of the Hieros, or simply a "reap what you sow"
natural consequence, e.g. the sin made it possible for the megas to
inflict this on Urth for their own selfish purposes.
4) I suppose you could put a "sin makes redemption possible" sort of
summation on the whole situation. Urth, having been the birthplace of
the sinful imperialists, with the coming of the New Sun becomes Ushas,
the birthplace of the regenerated harmonious green humankind who won't
even hurt a plant. Once Ushas is established, I suppose it is possible
the blessings could be distributed from there to the rest of the human

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

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