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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@charter.net>
Subject: (whorl) The Night Chough (Redux, Rebuttal)
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 13:01:53 

Winged Falcon writing:

<On the subject of Oreb and the Night Chough, I'm with Alga all the way.
Clearly Scylla is speaking through Oreb as Mr. Borski says, but these are
just as clearly isolated incidents.  All that is established in the story is
something we knew before:  namely, that Oreb is sometimes ridden by a god.
That god, in my opinion, is not always Scylla.  In fact, I defy anyone to
prove to me that Scylla has ever ridden Oreb before the occasions in this
story, or after it.>

Well again I strongly disagree. Besides the two incidents I've already
mentioned (the dream at the end of OBW where "an angry and vindictive Scylla
talked like Oreb" and the "undulant arms" of dwarfish Oreb during Green Trip
II), I believe there's yet one other incident that shows Scylla is
attempting to contact Horn/Silk through Incanto. This one comes at the end
of Incanto's most vivid dream about Scylla yet (IGJ, 58-9). States Incanto:

At the end of each verse I read, I watched [Scylla] straining against the
page with all ten arms. Very faintly I could hear her cry, "Help! Help!" And
then "Beware! Beware!" like the bird in Inclito's Mother's story. I woke
up--or thought I did--but the printed Scylla was still with me, crying out,
"Help me! Help me!"

The bird in Inclito's Mother's story belongs to a tall man and is deemed a
familiare, just as Oreb has been earlier, with the tall man clearly being
either Silk or Horn (Inclito's mother may be doing the same sort of memory
doctoring as all those old duffers on Urth who claimed to be pals with

My problem with the one-time only approach that you and alga advocate is
this: it does not account for why Scylla is riding Oreb during the events
that transpire in "The Night Chough." Is it chance? Caprice? Ennui? An
accident? Surely, Starling does not seem the sort of individual that would
draw the interest of Scalding Scylla? Oh thou inscrutable gods!

Then again, look at the story's first four sentences, paying special
attention to the third.


Silk was gone, the black bird reminded itself. There was no point in
thinking about him.

No, it itself had gone.

Which was the same.


Given that we know Oreb has been absent from Horn and Gaon for over a year,
I believe this is what Wolfe means by "it itself had gone," signifying
Oreb's temporary abandoning of Horn--perhaps to look for someone that might
more readily resemble Silk. Where better to look than the city named after
Silk's homebase on the Whorl, New Viron (which makes you right after all,
mantis). Here Oreb is ridden by Scylla not because she's looking for cheap
thrills or doing the Nevermore schtick from Poe, but because she's looking
for Silk through Oreb, "which was the same."

Cavilers, beware: with one more volume to come, I believe a lot of you are
going to have to eat some major chough--er, crow.

Then again, if I'm the one who winds up eating a bunch of feathers, perhaps
I'll just fall that much more slowly next time I stumble.

Robert Borski

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