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Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 15:49:07 -0600
From: "Charles Reed" 
Subject: (urth) Quetal and the Eden Story

James Wynn wrote:

>Crush concedes:
>Sadistic, yes. But not in that way. I can hardly argue with the author. And
>with this light thrown on the subject, I cannot divine any consistent
>narrative value to Quetzal's story of A-man and Wo-man.

Oh, but there is narrative value: it casts the the inhumi in a new light 
that allows us to understand them better.  This might be a little over 
the top, and might seem like I'm taking myself a bit too seriously, but 
I was feeling a little creative, so I thought I'd have a go at writing 
something fun:

In the beginning were the inhumi, who were as the beasts of the field: 
mindless and ignorant, even of the darkness in which they dwelt.  And 
they were content, walking in their gardens in the midst of Creation.  

And it came to pass that one of the inhumi, forever known to the rest of 
his race as Father Quetzal, partook of the fruit swirling inside the 
limbs of a strange two-legged creature, and his eyes were opened and 
filled with the light of knowledge.  And Quetzal shouted with joy for 
all the wisdom he had gained.  

Yet even as his shout died upon the fields and forests of Creation, he 
felt his wisdom diminish, slipping away as blood through a vein.  And he 
knew with the certainty of the setting sun that he must eat without end 
of the miraculous fruit if he would not fall back among the darkness and 
the beasts.  

Then did he weep bitter tears, for himself and for all of his race still 
living in the darkness.  But when his tears dried, he looked upon 
Creation and lo, he was become as subtle as a serpent, cunning and ruthless.

Then did he lure others of his race to the miraculous tree whose 
branches sagged with the fruit of knowledge.  And they did climb the 
tree and feast, but they did not forget the ignorance from whence they 

Therefore did they strive unceasing, seeking always for a way to carry 
the fruit back to their homes in the midst of Creation, that they might 
reap it like grain and grow ever stronger in the light of their 
knowledge and wisdom.

Notice that I've allowed Quetzal to become the serpent, which is the 
"character" in the A-man and Wo-man story Quetzal seems to be 
identifying with.  The above is certainly a bit of a stretch, but I 
think it sort-of hangs together, both with the Eden story and with what 
we know about the inhumi.

Here's the non-poetic version:
1. Whorl arrives in system, sends down a lander to Green.

2. Neighbors make sure the inhumi feed on the colonists so that they 
might judge the colonists' worth.  Note that the Neighbors play no part 
in the above story, because the inhumi are ignorant of their presence.

3. Quetzal was one of the inhumi who fed on the colonists and boarded 
the lander before it took off on its return voyage to the Whorl.

4. Quetzal arrives on the Whorl, eventually learns of the Plan of Pas 
and that it is no longer being carried out.

5. Quetzal uses every trick he knows to carry out the Plan of Pas.

In a sense, Quetzal is sort-of a twisted Moses figure:  leading his 
people on the Whorl (who aren't really "his people" at all) to the 
promised land of Green -- but the promised land is not the land of milk 
and honey for the humans, it is the land of milk and honey (i.e., 
renewable sources of intelligence) for the inhumi.

It's also a very interesting parallel (if you buy into my theory) that 
Quetzal has gone to Whorl to bring back food and wisdom (human blood) 
for his people, and that Horn has gone to the Whorl for much the same 
reasons. (food = pure corn, wisdom = Silk).





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