The Three-Faced God never existed
We know from Seeker's Mask
that the occasions in God Stalk
when the God seemed to take control of Ishtier and speak through her were faked by the Arrin-Ken. What if that was true all along?
Way back on the first world in the Chain, the Arrin-Ken discovered that Perimal Darkling was about to eat their world. They knew it would take something with the power of a god to stop it, but they didn't have one on hand. So they recruited the Highborn, Kendar, and Builders, created the Kencyrath, and told them "We're on a mission from God", and faked miracles to convince them. The Arrin-Ken knew that they'd have to retreat through multiple worlds until they found an ally powerful enough to defeat Perimal Darkling.
Eventually the Kencyrath got sufficiently fed up with the long retreat that some of them were ready to rebel; enter Gerridon and Jamethiel I. But here the Arrin-Ken got lucky: the next world they escaped to was the one they were looking for all the time. The four native gods of Rathillien, coupled with the power of the Arrin-Ken and the hypothetical Tyr-Ridan, might be powerful enough to end the war.
When the Arrin-ken supposedly got fed up with the Highborn squabbling among themselves and left in a snit, that wasn't the real reason; they just took advantage of it as a convenient excuse to leave. The real reason they hid themselves away was to make sure the rest of the Kencyrath were stranded on Rathillien and couldn't leave for another world if things started going pear-shaped. (They may have arranged for the Builders to be wiped out for the same reason.)
In the meantime, the Arrin-Ken are waiting for the Tyr-Ridan to show up and start kicking Darkling arse. Things were delayed more than they expected when the Dark Judge lost his marbles and started killing potential Tyr-Ridans before they could fully develop their powers. But now, finally, a suitable set of candidates are all alive at the same time: Jamethiel II, Torisen, and Kindrie.
The purpose of the Tyr-Ridan isn't to serve their God.
It's to create Him.
The Builders were the Secret Architects
Ok, bad pun aside, there's a strong fan-theory on the Yahoo Group that the Builders
, the "4th race", manufactured the idea of the Three-Faced God to manipulate the rest. They're the most mysterious of the races, always having already been to the world and constructed the temples ahead of the rest of the Kencyr. They're shown to have access to powerful magics to manipulate skills and memories, as shown by their relationship to the Grindark. Quite possibly, with the Builders wiped out (assuming they are), the Kencyr God is legitimately dead.
The Kencyr are spreading the infection
Perimal Darkling is an infection being spread from world to world by the Kencyrath, unknowingly. It couldn't get to the next world without their help.
Years ago I came up with something like a blend of the above three entries. In this the Builders are the culprits, who accidentally poked a hole in their universe, letting Perimal Darkling in. They fled, forming the Kencyrath to be their rearguard. God didn't show up at the initial battle because God didn't exist. It's the Builders who help the darkness spread — their temples are like magical reactors, converting native divine energy into the power the Kencyr use, and this process weakens the native defenses. This is why the Host has lost 100 worlds in 30,000 years (300 each average), yet stayed on Rathilien for 3000, despite being much weaker — Rathilien itself is stronger, as the Builders didn't finish their work.
Gerridon's Fall and that of the Builders, both 3000 years ago, are causally connected, though it could go either way — maybe Gerridon fell and sabotaged the Builders somehow, or maybe they got themselves killed, the Book panicked and told Gerridon, and he Fell out of desperation or in reaction to learning it was all a hoax.
The Arrin-ken are probably at least somewhat aware, thus the fake God-Voice.
But as Tai-Tastigon taught us, belief shapes the temple power, and the Kencyrath have believed in an aloof apocalyptic god for 30,000 years, and there's 100 worlds of temples out there in the darkness. Surprise!
Guess who does exist now...
I'm pretty sure this isn't what Pat has in mind — she told me it might make for a nice conspiracy theory for some Kencyr to believe — but damned if I've come up with any ideas that fit the 'facts' better.
Kendar and Rathillien
The Highborn aren't adaptable; they seek, instead, to subdue Rathillien and reshape it to their will. The Kendar, however, adapt. Already, Kendar families who've birthed generation after generation serving with the Southern Host in Kothifir are turning black; Brier Iron-Thorn is supposed to be the color of dark, polished wood, and Torisen comments on that. The adaptation is much beyond skin color. Brier's mother still lives under the (mostly dry) Great Salt Sea which swallowed her up; Torisen's or Jame's experiences of being helped by someone under there aren't delusions. The Kendar's abilities may be, in the end, one of the critical points in the overall plot; they're much more than the simple muscle that the Highborn think they are. Jame doesn't, notably.
Seriously, look at this book cover
. Does this not look like they had Tom Baker pose for it?
Negalent Nerves-on-Edge (a deceased Knorth highborn whose death banner is mentioned in Bound in Blood) died from someone using the same senetha nosebleed curse Adiraina laid on Jame shortly after the mention
Seen on the Kencyr mailing list; some fans think that they weren't mentioned so close together out of mere coincidence
The curses on Jame, Tori, and Kindrie are a necessary step in them becoming able to fill their roles as Tyr-Ridan.
Tori was cursed and cast out by Ganth, his father: "Faithless, honorless, I curse you and cast you out. Blood and Bone, you are no child of mine." His role as Creator is to build a new
Kencyrath — a task that can be interpreted as a breaking of faith with the old ways. He needs to be able to work from outside of the current system to build a new one, and his position of leader of the new Kencyr will be independent of the fact that he's the son of the previous Knorth Highlord.
Jame was cursed by Brenwyr: "Roofless and rootless, blood and bone, curst be and cast out." Her role as destroyer stretches across all of the Kencyr ways — she can't settle down or get comfortable in any one spot or role. She needs to be able to see the current system from an outsider's point of view in order to see what is broken and needs to be destroyed.
Kindrie is an inversion: he isn't ready to become the Preserver until he's out from under the 'curse' of illegitimacy that made him an outcast to all the houses. Having already seen and personally experienced the damage and harm the current arrangement can cause, he's in the best position to see what needs to be preserved in the new Kencyrath.
The important part of it for all three is that they have been placed outside of the narrow bond of loyalty to their own house that drives the decisions and actions of so many other of the Kencyr. Because of this, they can weigh their choices and acts in terms of all
of the Three people, not simply the House of Knorth.
Jame and Kindrie will cure the Dark Judge's injuries.
Jame is now a good friend to not one but two water gods: Gorgo and the Eaten One. The two together will put out the fires that endlessly burn the Dark Judge's skin, and then Kindrie will do something no other healer in the Kencyrath has ever done and restore his eyes. This literal miracle will establish their bona fides as the Tyr-Ridan. Then (as Immilai prophesied) Jame will call the Arrin-Ken back to the Kencyrath in preparation for the final conflict with Perimal and Gerridon.
Jame's true soul image is the entire city of Tai-Tastigon
We don't know Jame's true soul image, but soul images seem to tend towards places where the owner feels safe or at home. Tai-Tastigon is one of the only places Jame has felt welcome, and earned a respected position in society. Tai-Tastigon is a dangerous maze; there are people whose entire profession it is to guide others around sections of the city, and there was mention of one man who tied himself to his front doorknob in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid getting lost.
Jame memorized the city's entire layout back when she was an apprentice thief. Anyone attempting to force entry into Jame's mindscape would get thoroughly lost.
Finally, having a prominent city for/in her soul might strengthen the ties between the Kencyr, as represented by Jame, and Rathillien, the last and latest world the Kencyr have invaded.
Bane didn't actually die on the Mercy Seat
The author had to ask the readers whether she'd stated it outright
, which suggests that he may not be intended to have died. Jame points out that warriors who have their souls removed are very hard to kill and says that most of them self-immolate at end rather than succumb to their wounds. What if they aren't just very hard to kill, but actually impossible to kill off completely? Even if Bane was flayed on the Mercy Seat (something implied but never confirmed outright), might not his bones be trying to slowly knit themselves together even as his disembodied soul is following Jame to protect the Book?
Tori, Kindrie, and Jame will become the Three-Faced God
Time flows in odd ways in the Master's House. (As we had occasion to see in Sea of Time
.) When and if Tori, Kindrie, and Jame take up their destiny as Tyr-ridan, they will somehow end up all the way back in time, claw the chain of creation out of Perimal Darkling, and set everything in motion to lead, eventually, to themselves. Time loop, self-fulfilling prophecy, whatever.
Hey, it could happen.