Vlad will join the LavodesThink about it. Sethra wants to bring the group back. She already has Telnan, who says she only picked him up because of his Great Weapon. After a certain comment in Issola from Sethra ("This is the sort of thing Vlad is trained for..."), when you consider that Vlad now has Godslayer, it seems likely that she'll be using him at the very least as a "Lavode Irregular."
- It doesn't hurt that if you look back, you'll see that while that comment probably referred to his specific reincarnations (the process isn't at all random), there's a double meaning there: a lot of Vlad's early training in life came from Kiera, who is Sethra.
- Indeed, Sethra might well have adopted the identity of Kiera because she expected the founder of the Jhereg to be reincarnated right around the onset of the second Great Cycle, and wanted to find and work with him once he did reappear. She may not have known he'd be reborn an Easterner instead of a Dragaeran, so launched this endeavor before the Interregnum; she got his future House right, though.
- This could be another reason Aliera devotes so much of her time to genetic research.
Devera is HaruhiThey're both dark-haired, they're everywhere, and rules of physics/time/space do weird things around them. And it might explain why Haruhi is really-a-god-except-not.
The e'Driens are descended from the house of KunouThe resemblance between Morrolan e'Drien and Tatewaki Kunou is obvious - they're tall, dark-haired, sword-wielding, ruthless, Sesquipedally Loquacious, and arrogant enough for five aristocrats. Then we have the fact that Drien is said to have changed sex about midway through hir career, suggesting that s/he may in fact have been Ranma. (For details about the temporal mechanics of all this, ask the Necromancer.)
How Kragar got kicked out of the house of DragonHe himself gives an explanation about not being able to command troops, but it's been noted that in the book Dragon, there are plenty of common Dragon foot soldiers, which makes this explanation somewhat dubious. It's also odd that Aliera seems to have a personal dislike of him, which would suggest he was someone she knew before the events of Five Hundred Years After, but this doesn't seem to fit the chronology. I know one theory is that he is actually a half-breed, since as noted, that seems to get you kicked out of the House, whereas evil deeds rarely seem to. Personally, I wonder if he acted in cowardice on the battlefield and got tons of troops slaughtered because of this. Another explanation might have something to do with the Jhereg-Dragon war, but seeing how Mario and Kragar are allies, it doesn't seem likely they were on opposite sides in this.
- One amusing possibility would be if Kragar used to be a Phoenix Guard (!), and led the search party that Aliera tricked into overlooking Mario's hiding place in Five Hundred Years After. He gets blamed for Mario's escape and sacked for it, so leaves the city in a huff with a grudge against Adron's daughter. Later, having taken up with the Jhereg in order to survive during the Interregnum, he actually meets Mario in person; by that point, he's no longer mad at the assassin — he'd have been killed in the Disaster if he hadn't been sacked, after all — and the two ironically bond over having narrowly missed each other at the time. Kragar's grudge against Aliera lingers because he'd thought she'd been killed until recently, so never had cause to try to forgive her for making him look incompetent; Aliera, in turn, remembers how his report of their encounter got her arrested for treason, so returns his resentment. As for the lack of any mention of Kragar (or whatever his name was then) in Five Hundred Years After ... well, would you expect any of the surviving witnesses whom Paarfi consulted about these events to have noticed he was there?
Vlad will destroy the CycleMay have been foreshadowed in Taltos. And can you think of any better Crowning Moment of Awesome on which to end the series?
- That seems to fit with Brust's political views.
- While definitely a nice thought, it's probably ruled out by the fact that the Paarfli books are "written" after the Vlad series and the Cycle is alive and well (although you do get the impression that things are a bit more equitable by then- which is why there's some much emphasis on the "good old days")
- Alternately, Zerika might subvert the expected course of the Cycle by abdicating as Empress, then — since she'll no longer have her hands tied by imperial politics — unilaterally throw open the House of the Phoenix to Easterners. As the sole member of her House, she'd have as much right to decide this as the Jhereg Council ever did, and she's already mentioned that abdication is a reborn Phoenix's means of remaining reborn, not decadent. So her bestowal of an Imperial title to Vlad would be foreshadowing for a much greater shift in Easterners' status within the Empire, that would simultaneously save her House from extinction and make reparations for how she'd had to repress Easterners during her reign.
- Given that Vlad's first incarnation managed to shoehorn an extra wedge into the Cycle, and that Vlad's negotiation skills and powers are becoming legendary, it would be kinda disappointing if his obviously highly fated Easterner incarnation didn't do something at least that momentous. Perhaps rather than destroying the Cycle, he just manages to get the Easterners their own slot, solving the ongoing 'Conquer the East' problem and the Kelly/Cawti problem in one go. If he can solve the Jenoine Impending Invasion problem and the Phoenix Nearly Extinct problem at the same time, so much the better.
- What, like the Empire would quit trying to conquer the East just because its Easterner residents' social status improves? Funny, being dominated by the same species never stops it and Elde Island from picking fights with one another...
Vlad is still/again Aliera's brotherVerra is awfully tolerant of his snarkiness. Near the end of Phoenix, when he tells her he doesn't want anything more to do with her, the goddess replies, "I won't hold you to that. You don't even know who you are yet." Vlad has little or no memory of his mother, and his father seldom if ever talked about her. Aliera, of course, has no idea of this, and it'll shock her every bit as much as it will Vlad. Devera knows, naturally. Sethra might suspect.
- Also, this is why Vlad is able to leave the Paths of the Dead in Taltos. It's got nothing to do with him being an Easterner; it's because his blood, too, is the blood of a god.
- Jossed by Jhegaala, in which Vlad meets his mother's Easterner relatives, and his subtle, but real physical resemblance to them is pointed out.
Kragar is Mario's sonMario is Dragarea's greatest assassin, and having a skill like near-invisibility would go a long way to explaining how he got so good. Plus, it was revealed that Kragar is Mario's contact person, and who would Mario trust more than his own son?
- That would go well with the "half-breed" theory and also explain why Aliera hates Kragar so much.
- This troper officially subscribes to this theory! It all fits, and doesn't have the age problem of the theory that says Kragar IS Mario.
The Valabar that Paarfi knows is VladOn the surface, the Paarfi books give the impression that Vlad didn't really accomplish anything/ the Cycle hasn't really changed, and Paarfi certainly never mentions Vlad by name. However, I just had the theory that like Laszlo (think that's the right name), Vlad will be one of those humans who has enough magic power to have a lifespan comparable to a Dragon. And owning that restaurant would probably be his favorite choice if he's ever allowed a peaceful retirement.
- At least partially jossed by Tiassa, which includes portions where Paarfi writes about Vlad himself, although this might still be possible down the road.
All Great Weapons contain Dragaeran SoulsNot sure if this was ever explicit, but I've come across this argument elsewhere. Drien, as noted above, was a Gender Bender, and Morrolan's Great Weapon is of ambiguously gendered. And, Godslayer and Aliera's soul pre-resurrection show how souls can be used to form this weapon type. A related theory I've come across is the idea that Telnan's sword contains Tazendra's soul, given their similarity in personality- and it would also explain how Sethra found him/why she took him on, since Tazendra was a Lavode.
- Morrolan's Great Weapon is Blackwand, who is distinctly female. Pathfinder is ambiguous. I do like the idea that "Nightstalker" is Tazendra, but I don't recall if she was killed with a morganti weapon, which from the admittedly limited evidence, would seem to be a requirement
- Tazendra was killed by grievous wounds inflicted by sorcery. Though the possibility exists that being in single combat with a Jenoine at the time would affect that sort of thing, neither the narrative nor Sethra, who probably would have the best guess out of anyone, give any hint that her soul was affected by all of this. She was at least commended to Deathgate, which generally requires a soul to accomplish. I personally prefer the theory that Telnan is Tazendra reincarnated.
- Jossed by "The Desecrator", which is set ~230 years after Tazendra's death. Telnan mentions having had a sword custom-made for himself 200 years earlier in that short story, so unless he'd had that done when he was about playgroup age by Dragaeran standards, he was already alive when Tazendra died.
- Pathfinder's lack of a gender might imply that it contains two souls, or portions of two, that weren't the same sex. Perhaps it was used to kill two people with one blow when it was first endowed with power, or perhaps it was originally female but absorbed some aspects of Napper's soul when it was trapped inside Barrit's broadsword and preempted the encasing weapon's attempt to eat Napper.
Related to the guess above, Loraan (you remember him, from Taltos) was trying to make Godslayer.Think about it (end of Issola spoiler) Making Godslayer, Vlad used Spellbreaker, a powerful Morganti dagger, and Lady Teldra's soul. Now, where did we get Spellbreaker? From Loraan's keep. A wizard like him undoubtedly has access to a powerful Morganti weapon or 50, and why did we go there in the first place? To rescue Aliera's soul, the vital ingredient! Sorry about the huge spoiler, but... it is a huge spoiler! Still, there's nothing against it!!
- Not unlikely, considering Vlad himself saw a big rune-carved sword in the storeroom outside Loraan's workshop, ready and waiting for whatever enchantments it might receive. Three guesses what the Athyra had intended to do with that.
- Moreover, given that Loraan was working with allies of the Jenoine in The Paths of the Dead, it makes one suspect he'd gotten Spellbreaker from them. If they know that Godslayer is predicted to destroy Verra, then they may have put Loraan up to it in the first place. Which raises the unpleasant possibility that the Jenoine got exactly the outcome they wanted from Issola, after all...
The blood in the vial was Vlad'sVlad is destined for greatness (or at least usefulness) and it would be a real Mind Screw.
- To explain this a little further, Vlad will at some point ascend to become a god. Verra and Sethra planed for this to happen and gave him his own blood to help Morrolan. He wasn't allowed to leave the paths of the dead because he was an easterner, but because he will be at some point be one of the gods. Vlad can't remember because of Verras manipulations of his memories.
- Alternately, it was Vlad's perfectly-normal Easterner blood in the vial, which in itself was sufficient to allow Morrolan to escape the Paths via Loophole Abuse. They could have simply transfused some of his blood into Morrolan directly, without any need for the vial he'd been given, but Devera knows the spell Vlad utilized to summon the vial will prove crucial for some future purpose, so took the blood sample back in time and asked Kiera to entrust it to him. Calling it "the blood of a goddess", rather than admitting it's ordinary Easterner-blood, merely ensured he'd invent a witchcraft-spell he'll need later on.
Vlad is the great-grandson of Zerika and the WarlockMy guess is that Zerika and the Warlock had a child, which is either Noish-pa, his wife or one of the parents of Vlads mother. Because of this bloodconnection Vlad was able to be born with a soul that was previosly in a dragaeraen (is that the right word?) body. It is never stated that both species can't have children and even then the Warlock could have tried some witchcraft or Sethra, Verra or one of the other gods could have intervened to save the House of the Phoenix.
- Aliera does say that Dragaerans and Easterners can't interbreed, when she explains the origins of the Houses to Vlad in Jhereg.
Vlad is a Brain in a VatThe reason he could leave the Paths of the Dead is never fully explained, so perhaps he never did. Sometime while he was in the Paths, Vlad was brought between the "real" world and a simulation. His entire life after leaving the Paths has been a lie crafted carefully to basically keep him occupied. While replicating reality somewhat, this world is tailor-made for Vlad, explaining some improbable coincidences later in his life.
- So does this mean that Loiosh's brain is also in a vat that's connected to Vlad's?
One of the extinct original tribes of Dragaerans was the Tribe of the Norska.The Tribe of the Dragon wiped them out in instinctive self-defense, because norska eat dragons.
The House of the Yendi doesn't actually exist as a distinct bloodline.The original Tribe of Yendi died out hundreds of thousands of years ago, or perhaps never existed in the first place. Rather, the Yendi arose because various Manipulative Bastard members of other Houses/Tribes collectively conned their way into a place in the Cycle, adopting alternate identities as "Yendi" and establishing the ruse of an additional House. The Sorceress in Green looks like an Athyra because she is an Athyra, albeit an extra-sneaky one who opted to forsake her birth House to live as a "Yendi". Those "Yendi" who have no distinctive House features, such as Pel, are cross-breed descendents of such hoaxers. Any reputed "Yendi genes" that someone like Aliera might search for are merely normal genes for being a Magnificent Bastard, not Jenoine-imbued snake genes. This makes it easier to explain how a House with as little overt authority as the so-called "Yendi" could seize power when their turn of the Cycle comes up: they don't. They just wait for a Chreotha who's sufficiently sneaky to meet their standards cons his or her way onto the throne, then "out" them as a "Yendi" and claim the accolades for having the Cycle turn in their "House's" favor. Likewise, the House of the Orca take power when an Orca who leads an alternate life as a "Yendi" maneuvers his or herself into position to claim the Orb, then admits to being an Orca and declares the Cycle to have turned, the better to profit financially from an Orca administration.
Dragaerans and Easterners have only two bones in each finger.We know Verra has an "extra" joint in each finger according to Vlad. We also know that Verra used to be a slave of the Jenoine, who mucked around with Easterners' genetic code to imbue psychic abilities into most and Dragaeran traits into some. Finally, it's implied that the Easterners, themselves, are the descendents of human colonists from Earth: a place that Verra may be familiar with, as she knows a lot about the documents from which Kelly learned his political theories and has a carving of an elephant on her door. So maybe Verra isn't actually from some unfamiliar world, but rather, was a normal human from Earth before the Jenoine enslaved her. Her "extra" finger joints are actually identical to our own; her hands only look odd to Vlad because he himself, and other human-derived inhabitants of Dragaera, had their number of phalanges reduced via Jenoine genetic manipulation. We don't know where the Jenoine obtained the genes with which to imbue psychic abilities into their subjects, so maybe those came from another species (Serioli?) with only two bones per finger. Verra having been a normal Earth human would also, incidentally, explain why Aliera is so short: however tall her mom's avatar as a deity might appear, Verra's actual genes are still those of us Puny Humans.
Vlad Norathar has Franz's soul.In Teckla, Vlad speculates that Franz's ghost was hanging around because there weren't any pregnant Easterners nearby, so his soul couldn't yet find refuge in an unborn child. By Phoenix, Cawti is pregnant, and still hanging around with Kelly's group. Although the revolutionaries had relocated their HQ several times in the interim, it's likely that they brought their possessions with them, including the knife that was used to murder Franz: the object to which his ghost seems to have been tied, as it'd manifested in Kelly's office where the murder weapon was stored, not at the front door where he'd been stabbed. So what are the odds that ghost-Franz found refuge in Cawti's unborn son, when she took charge of Kelly's office after she was let loose from prison and began crusading for her associates' release?
Paarfi didn't tell the truth about Mario's means of disabling the Orb in Five Hundred Years After.In the climax of that book, Mario's use of a massive burst of stored elder-sorcery energy allowed him to disable the Orb and attack Tortaalik I. If such a method could, indeed, disable the Orb, publishing an accurate account of this method for everyone to see would surely constitute treason against the Imperium, as it'd reveal a fatal weakness in one of the Empire's most vital protections! Moreover, it's likely that he obtained information on the events leading up to Adron's Disaster from Sethra Lavode, who certainly wouldn't reveal such a vulnerability in the Orb's capabilities to a pompous blabbermouth like Paarfi. So either Sethra misled him about how Mario did it, or Paarfi had no clue how it was done and just made up something that sounded plausible.
Aibynn is Illista's nephew.Vlad thinks Aibynn looks a bit like a Phoenix when they first meet. Aibynn doesn't seem to have any close friends or relatives on Greenaere, as nobody else seems to have been dragged in for interrogation after Vlad assassinated the island's king: something the heir to Greenaere's throne seems to have been outraged enough to do. Aibynn, himself, is so nonplussed about leaving the island forever that he probably didn't leave anyone close to him behind. We know that Illista had a brother, Allistar, who was exiled to Elde with her in The Phoenix Guards, yet he seems to have vanished without a trace by The Paths of the Dead. Rather than resign himself to obscurity, it's possible that Allistar tried to marry and/or sleep his way to the top of Elde Island society, only to get himself killed in a duel for impregnating the wrong noblewoman. (Elde Islanders have no sorcery, and the siblings were stripped of their access to it when they were exiled, even before the Orb was lost. So, no magical birth control.) Unwilling to suffer the social stigma of having a bastard child, the mother went "on vacation" to Greenaere to give birth, then gave her son up for adoption. In a grudging nod to his half-Phoenix parentage, she gave him a name that begins with "A", like his father's.
The Jenoine's real intentions from IssolaSiccing Vlad on Verra was a long shot to begin with; if it worked, it would've been a bonus, but it wasn't their main goal in kidnapping Aliera and Morrolan. Their real plan was much more radical: they wanted to have Vlad re-assemble Godslayer with a Jenoine soul inside it. Great Weapons are the greatest obstacles to the Jenoine, and subverting the purpose of the strongest of them all would surely be worth a Jenoine life or two. That's why the second battle in the Jenoine world went the way it did, with the one fighting Verra putting its back to Vlad, so he could stab it with the Morganti dagger and trigger its fusion with Spellbreaker. Had Vlad's instincts not made him hesitate, and instead resort to activating the amorphia, that's what would have happened; instead, his attempted use of Elder Sorcery got all four Jenoine alarmed, because if he'd messed up he could've vaporized Spellbreaker and destroyed their chances of ever seeing Godslayer, Verra's prophesied bane, reborn. As for the one who stabbed Teldra at the end, it was hoping Vlad would be pissed off enough to draw the Morganti blade from her body and attack it, not try to salvage whatever he could of Teldra's soul in the middle of a battle.
The sequence of Houses in the Cycle was dictated by politics in Kieron's day, not by any cosmological significance.Only later, as history marched on and the gods found it a convenient excuse for Because Destiny Says So, did the pattern take on a higher meaning. In truth, the sequence was decided as follows:
- 1) Phoenix - Because Zerika the First created the Orb, which made the Empire logistically feasible, and was a much more acceptable initial choice than Kieron, who'd made a lot of enemies during his conquests. Besides, Kieron would've wanted to be Warlord, not Emperor.
- 2) Dragon - Because Kieron's leadership was largely responsible for there being an Empire.
- 3) Lyorn - Because the House's bureaucrats played a crucial role in establishing the mechanisms of Imperium and laying the groundwork for the Empire's the social order.
- 4) Tiassa - Because most of the ideas for how to organize Imperial society and government came from Tiassa.
- 5) Hawk - Because their intellectuals helped the Lyorn and Tiassa determine which of those ideas were workable.
- 6) Dzur - Because hotheaded Dzur heroes, while they'd played a key role in Kieron's armies and thus couldn't be put off for long, couldn't rule too soon after the Dragons without asking for trouble. Also, a Dragon-to-Dzur transition wouldn't have left very many Imperial citizens alive, for them to govern.
- 7) Issola - Because their diplomacy was just as vital to establishing the Empire as military force or organizational skills, although they were too polite to insist on an earlier position.
- 8) Tsalmoth - Because, while not all that important to the Empire's founding, they just kept on pressing their request to appear early in the sequence.
- 9) Vallista - Because building the Empire's infrastructure rated at least a middle place in the Cycle.
- 10) Jhereg - Because Dolivar's and Kieron's enmity was such that, while they couldn't be denied a place in the Cycle, it was generally agreed that they needed to be positioned as far from the Dragons as possible.
- 11) Iorich - Because nobody trusted Dolivar's Jhereg, and even then they realized the justice-minded Iorich would need to clean up their administration's mess.
- 12) Chreotha - Because they weren't all that important to the Empire's founding either, so were given a mid-to-late slot by default.
- 13) Yendi - Because nobody trusted them enough to want them ruling any time soon, ostensibly; in truth, because they liked the idea of conning the clever Chreotha out of power, and figured they'd be secretly running everything behind the throne all along, so who cares if they have to wait a while to do so openly?
- 14) Orca - Because Kieron and Zerika were still mad at them for being late with reinforcements, and stuck them with a very late place in the Cycle as payback. Let them see what it's like to wait and wait and wait.
- 15) Teckla - Because there were too darned many of them to leave them out altogether, so they got as late a slot as possible. Hey, at least that way, none of the folks who planned this would live long enough to have to endure a Teckla administration.
- 16) Jhegaala - Because, as the one House without a Hat, they couldn't stop bickering over which position to request, so never actually submitted a petition for a slot and got stuck almost dead last.
- 17) Athyra - Because they were so caught up in exploring the potential of this nifty new Orb-powered magic called "sorcery" that they didn't want the distraction of having to rule anybody, so specifically requested the final spot.
Devera will never grow up to be an adult Dragaeran.Though present in every book, Devera has only appeared in two forms: a little Dragaeran girl and (for Issola) as a Jenoine-chomping dragon. You'd think that, given her apparent ability to appear freely in the past, present, or future, she'd show up as an adult woman at some point, not just a little girl. While it's possible that she might just lose the interest and/or ability to time travel as she gets older, it seems unlikely that the offspring of Dragons or the granddaughter of the goddess of caprice would ever forfeit the opportunity to do something she enjoys so much. Either Devera will become an un-aging goddess while she's still physically a child, or she'll become something else entirely (might her dragon-shape have been her permanent future form, not just a battle-transformation?), or else she's going to die young.
Morrolan has the potential to call up amorphia, he just hasn't tried it in front of Vlad yet.Aliera claimed that only the e'Kieron line of Dragons can employ amorphia in the fashion that she or her father did, and that the ability is genetic. While his e'Drien lineage wouldn't allow for that ability, Morrolan's mother was an e'Kieron, so he may have inherited the power to do so after all. Aliera might have checked her cousin's genotype and judged him incapable, but given how few amorphia-wielders she'd ever have had the chance to check for such genes, she could be mistaken about which alleles correlate with the ability to manipulate chaos.
Noish-pa's given name is also Vladimir.Vlad's father was so determined to assimilate into Dragaeran culture, he'd surely have preferred to give his son a Dragaeran name. That his son's name is "Vladimir" suggests that Vlad's mother came up with an argument that was stronger than his father's wannabe agenda, and the argument that Noish-pa deserved the honor of having his firstborn and only grandson named for him would be very strong indeed.
Sethra Lavode isn't actually a crossbreed.She's really a Yendi who looks like a Dragon-Dzur crossbreed. Think about it: the multi-level plotting and manipulation, the false identities, the obviously-fabricated lineage ... Pel's got nothing on her for mystery.
The giant non-venomous jhereg are the original (pre-Jenoine) species.Aliera mentioned that the Jenoine found a way to contain human-level intelligence in a brain the size of a rednut. She never specified whether the brains of the animals which were experimented on were originally that little, so it's entirely possible that the Jenoine not only make the jhereg intelligent, but that they also pushed the envelop for minimal brain size by breeding them to be smaller with every generation. Adding venom was a side project. After the Jenoine were driven away, their mini-jhereg creations escaped and spread, displacing their bigger, stupider predecessors through superior cunning and a poisonous defensive bite.
Paarfi's description of Aerich's encounter with Paresh differs from Paresh's for a good reason.Aerich was an honorable and decent man, who wouldn't want a poor refugee who'd plainly already lost so much to be condemned for lashing out at a noble, particularly if he assumed Paresh had been acting out of panic and grief rather than outrage. Nor would he credence the idea that a Teckla, even one who'd picked up a fair bit of sorcery, could be enough of a threat to merit reporting to the Empire for trespassing in a vacant castle. He didn't exactly lie about what happened, but he downplayed the tone of their encounter ("No one was there, save a single Teckla. He was not welcoming.") when he spoke or wrote about the event. Paarfi's own social prejudices then colored how he interpreted Aerich's minimal remarks on the subject.
The "color" of the House of the Yendi is clear/colorless for more than one reason.While it certainly serves each individual Yendi's purposes to be exempt from social pressure to favor any one set of House colors, it may also be a reference to the very first command that each and every Yendi Heir is liable to issue, upon ascending to the Imperial Throne. Namely, to have the outgoing Court Wizard turn the Orb invisible until such time as the Orca take possession of it, as no Yendi would ever consent to accept the wretched thing if it's going to accurately broadcast their emotional state for all to see.
Vlad will eventually be acknowledged as a wizard.To be a "wizard", in Brust's Verse, means that one can combine multiple magical disciplines to achieve effects that no single one can accomplish. Vlad demonstrates in Taltos that he can re-create a sorcerous effect (teleporting an object) with witchcraft, and uses a sorcery rune to do it. He's repeatedly teamed up with Daymar to pinpoint someone's location by using witchcraft to forge a link between an object and its previous wielder, than let the Hawklord nail down where that link leads; so far Vlad hasn't done this solo, but he learned more about psychic energies in Hawk that suggests he possibly could do it without help if Daymar wasn't available. In Hawk itself, he invents a way to eavesdrop on psychic communication - something that isn't considered possible - by combining his understanding of witchcraft, psychics and sorcery. By the stock definition of wizardry Telnan gives in Dzur, Vlad should already qualify as a wizard by now ... and that's before he's had cause to try adding his soul-borne talent for working with amorphia (i.e. Elder Sorcery) into the mix.