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From: "Talarican" <exultnttalarican@mindspring.com>
Subject: (urth) Lives and Times of the Master Torturers II
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 13:42:43 

The Palaemon Elevated After Restoration/Young Prodigy Gurloes Scenario

Malrubius as remembered by Severian is described as seeming quite old, but
he was also very ill with something that suspiciously resembles tuberculosis
or lung cancer (Citadel ). We assume he is elderly at the time of his death,
but he could indeed have been no more than middle aged and racked with
disease. Sev did not state exactly how old he was when Malrubius died, but
indications are that Sev was well along with what we would think of as
primary school but not yet a teenager. As of  1 p.s. Sev  stated he had been
dead "several" years. And we are told Malrubius died when Sev was a young
boy, well before his term as captain. So it seems safe to hypothesize that
Malrubius died around 11 p.s., give or take a couple of years. Palaemon
apparently succeeded Malrubius as the sole master of apprentices when
Malrubius took to his deathbed.

Palaemon is described in terms which we generally understand to mean he is
quite elderly and has been so for as long as Sev can remember. In Palaemon's
life of course is found that wonderful puzzling data point indicating that
around 30 p.s. he was a hale and healthy journeyman in his prime if not
young, exiled for who-knows-what, who whipped the young Winnoc. If we figure
"journeyman" Palaemon could have been as old as sixty when he flogged
Winnoc, he would be a bit less than eighty when Malrubius died and ninety at
the time he gave Terminus Est to the disgraced Severian. Sometime in the
decade between Winnoc's flogging and Severian's birth, Palaemon was
readmitted to the bosom of his guild brothers and elevated to mastership.
Quite a turnabout in attitude, wouldn't you say? Also, his eyesight
deteriorated or was damaged during that period. (aside - like Ultan, could
he have sacrificed his eyesight with too much reading?) But so far, no
particular problem with the timeline.

Trying to fit Gurloes into this scheme without making him absurdly young
becomes a problem. Severian states that Gurloes has been a master at least
since Sev's birth. LU presumes that Gurloes is about sixty in 0 a.s., and
that is quite reasonable if it is axiomatic that master torturers are never
elevated younger than forty, and Gurloes had been a master at least all of
Sev's life. The only hint offered of Gurloes' age is that statement he made
"It was much harder, believe me, forty years ago..." (Shadow VII). LU seems
to interpret this as saying Gurloes was Sev's age, eighteenish , forty years
previously, making him sixtyish when Sev is exiled.

The problem that arises is that Palaemon plainly indicates Gurloes was once
one of his pupils "Since Gurloes rose to journeyman I have had no better
scholar"(Shadow XIV). This implies that Palaemon was a master teaching
apprentices at the time Gurloes was nineteen or twenty. Well, Gurloes would
have to be no older than forty-something in p.s. 1, if Palaemon was not
elevated and appointed a teacher of apprentices until after the unspecified
time he returned from exile, perhaps a year or two after he whipped Winnoc.
In that scenario Gurloes could not have been much older than around twenty
seven when Sev was born; therefore we would have to conclude that Gurloes
was elevated as a quite young man.  This is a stretch, but, considering what
I will propose to be the probable state of the guild at the time, maybe not
impossible. Palaemon hinted that Gurloes was something of a prodigy.

We might speculate we can fudge a bit, invoking Sev's questionable memory,
that Gurloes might not have been elevated until Sev was, say, about five
years old, prior to which I doubt most children would be aware of rank.
However, Gurloes' elevation would have occasioned a 'lofty' feast,
presumably the only such occasion within young Sev's lifetime had such
occurred. It is unlikely he would have forgotten or misunderstood the
dignificance; to impress such memory and sense of significance is indeed the
purpose and function of such ceremonies.

Furthermore, we must now reconcile the fact that Palaemon was not appointed
Master of Apprentices until Malrubius took sick, about the time Sev was
seven or eight perhaps, by which time Gurloes must already long since have
been elevated to master. Clearly, Palaemon was Gurloes' tutor in some
capacity other than that of Master of Apprentices.

Evidently Palaemon must have been a co-teacher along with Malrubius at least
since his return. Since Sev plainly remembers Malrubius as the tutor of the
younger lads, himself included, perhaps Palaemon specialized in teaching
more advanced and arcane topics to the older apprentices and interested
journeymen for so long as Malrubius was well enough to teach the young'uns.
When Malrubius took to his bed, Palaemon simply assumed responsibility for
the younger apprentices' primary education as well, there being no one else.

The other effect Palaemon's exile had on the timeline is more subtle, but
profound in its ramifications to the chronology. It puts a huge immovable
datum in the chronology which definitely fixes Palaemon's situation at that
time, with the implication that certain other events definitely took place
before or after that point. It requires we assume Palaemon was either
rehabilitated, elevated to master, and taught apprentice Gurloes during that
decade between Winnoc's whipping and Severian's birth, or else that Palaemon
had already been a master, and Gurloes' tutor, prior to his disgrace. In the
latter case, Winnoc's statement that Palaemon identified himself as a
journeyman needs an explaination.

Whether or not Malrubius ever headed the guild before Sev's birth, it seems
likely there were one or more other masters Severian never knew, never named
in the text, still living during that decade between Palaemon's exile and
Sev's birth. We can safely conjecture that any masters other than Malrubius
at that time probably were already elderly and/or ill while Palaemon was
still in exile, and felt the approach of death. They may have decided to
embark on a desperate strategy to perpetuate the guild. They probably
considered candidates for mastership from among younger if promising
journeymen, and brothers with unorthodox, checkered pasts who in times past
would have been unthinkable as masters, if not pariahs forever.

Finding evidently no promising candidates in the Matachin Tower pool of
journeymen of that time, they recall Palaemon from his exile intending to
rehabilitate him and eventually elevate him to master, though not to place
him in the chain of command. Palaemon evidently had been a scholar from
youth. Since Malrubius was already the tutor of the young apprentices,
Palaemon must have specialized in research and the guild equivalent of
higher education. In due time Palaemon takes charge of an exceptionally apt
apprentice named Gurloes until he is masked some seven to two years prior to
Sev's birth, c.25 p.s. in the LU convention. In this scenario, he would have
been around forty-five in 1 p.s. when Gurloes made that reference to his own
boyhood forty years previously. So (to disagree in this instance with the LU
version) the time Gurloes had in mind with that statement would not have
been his own senior year as an apprentice, but his early childhood.

Years pass and any masters other than chronically ill Malrubius and aging
Palaemon are dead or dying. Neither probably has the temperament or stamina
to take on the responsibility of the headship of the guild, and of course
Palaemon remains under a cloud. The masters again decide that the survival
of the guild requires an even more serious break with tradition and
protocol. They promote the talented but eccentric and very young journeyman
Gurloes not only to mastership, but to be groomed to quickly assume the
headship of the guild. Soon afterward, all masters other than Gurloes,
Malrubius, and Palaemon are dead, and infant Severian comes into the hands
of the guild.

Chronology of the 3 guild masters

c. 90? p.s. birth of Palaemon ( & Malrubius?)

c. 70? p.s. Palaemon (and Malrubius?) masked.

c. 70? p.s. Autarch Maruthas closes the roads "that was when  I [Palaemon]
was your [Severian's, in 1 p.s.] age"

c. 44 p.s. latest probable date of Gurloes' birth

c. 40 p.s. as Gurloes remembers, "things were harder, much harder, forty
years ago".  Gurloes is a small child at this time, one of the little
apprentices proud to run up and down steps on errands for the brothers.

c.35? p.s. Malrubius elevated to master

c. 32? p.s. senior Journeyman Palaemon exiled for unspecified offences
against the guild.

c. 30 p.s. Journeyman Palaemon flogs Winnoc, tells him he is exiled from the
guild for an unspecified offense.

c. 27?  To preserve the guild(?), Malrubius and unnamed elderly dying
masters decide to recall Palaemon. Palaemon reinstated in Matachin Tower,
elevated to master, assumes responsibility to  teach older apprentices and
does research.

c. 27?  Promising senior apprentice Gurloes cranks the generator under
Palaemon's tutelage

c. 25?  Gurloes masked

c. 21? p.s. ?Last master, other than Malrubius and Palaemon, dying. In an
act of sheer desperation on the guild's part, Gurloes elevated to master in
his twenties, and installed as head of the guild.?

c. 20 p.s. Severian born.

c. 11? p.s.  Malrubius dies, after being bedridden with a long illness.
Palaemon becomes master of apprentices.

2 p.s., summer and fall  Severian nearly drowns, saves Vodalus in the
necropolis, encounters Triskele, Valeria, Thecla, Rundesind, Ultan, etc

2 p.s. spring  Drotte and Roche masked. Severian becomes captain of

1 p.s.   Severian masked, proceeds to screw up royally

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

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