Lyorn Discussion–Major Spoilers

Prologue       Chapter 1      Chapter 2      Chapter 3       Chapter 4

Chapter 5       Chapter 6      Chapter 7      Chapter 8       Chapter 9

Chapter 10    Chapter 11     Chapter 12     Chapter 13    Chapter 14

Chapter 15     Chapter 16     Chapter 17     Epilogue

 

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skzb

I play the drum.

155 thoughts on “Lyorn Discussion–Major Spoilers”

  1. This had me -laughing-. And also listening to additional George Rose recordings on YouTube. Thank you.

  2. I encountered Brust as a filker on Firebird tapes before discovering the Taltos stories. This looks to be the goofy, funny, zany, occasionally edgy and absolutely unpredictable SB i so love to read. I KNOW I will be giggling; I’ll probably end up gasping, and weeping — whether or not with laughter.

  3. I only mentioned that as I thought this was the final book in the series but the door seems open for more.
    Are there more books coming?

  4. David Paul:

    There are two more to come: CHREOTHA and THE LAST CONTRACT. Steve is not sure where on Vlad’s timeline CHREOTHA will fall.

  5. Yay! It got delivered to the wrong address (thanks USPS) but luckily the person who received it drove it over and hand delivered!

    Thanks for writing!

  6. Continuity question: Didn’t Vlad teach a kid how to establish psychic communication with a stranger in an earlier book, I think it was the one where he reveals he’s figured our Keira’s secret identity?

  7. Continuity Question: Didn’t Vlad teach a kid how to archive psychic communicate in an earlier book, one where he was on the run?

  8. Huge thanks, skzb! Lyorn is wonderful, and everything I wanted for the next part of the story. It was funny, while I loved all the Theater talk(it brought back memories I hadn’t thought of in a long time)… the whole book felt like the setup sequences in a caper film like Ocean’s Eleven. All the players are getting in position, and the curtain is about to rise on the final act! I can’t wait!

    So, I am not sure I understood it perfectly, was Sethra showing everyone that the Cycle was actually broken? I loved the fact that the Sorceress and Sethra the Younger were there. Yendi is still my favorite (Lyorn not factored in yet) and I want more of them.

    I think I see where we’re headed with the Left Hand and Jenoine/Vlad and Verra… but I think there might be a bigger bad in the wings… There were a couple of moments in this book where I was pretty sure Vlad was talking about and wanting to come after a certain mustachioed author we know around here. I have suspected skzb is the real villain of the story for some time…. ;)

    Again, genuine thanks. I needed this book right now!

  9. So yesterday I worked a 13-hour day and got home to Lyorn in my mailbox, but was to tired to appreciate it. I got up at 6 AM this morning, read the prologue and began clapping in my bathroom. My wife asked me if I needed more sleep. I do, but I really needed that. Thank you for the spoiler above.

  10. I’ve just started Lyorn. I’ve reached the ninth line on page 7.
    I had to stop.
    I’ll pick it back up when I’ve recovered.
    Afterwords, just so you know, I’ll probably be reading it to my friends.
    Well, “friends” might be stretching the point. After I’m done reading it to them ;)
    If this develops into an ear worm…

  11. Lyorn spoiler- I think this is the first mention of stainless steel in/on Dragaera? I’m filing this and the appearance of beer cans in Dzur under “manufacturing questions for skzb when trapped in elevator”

    Big fun, as always! Thanks – and, in keeping with tradition, can’t wait for the next one!

  12. I always avoid spoilers. After finishing the book, I had hoped for a list of the songs at the end, and went to Facebook to complain, when I found the link to here. Considering there were only lyrics to go by, I’m pretty proud of the number I recognized – which I think was just over half.

  13. Oh boy apparently I’m going to need to figure out which songs go to which musicals, aren’t i? I’m not a theater buff, but I am a completionist. Read the intro to Day 1, Act 1, Scene 1 in the tune of “My Favorite Things” from sound of music. I’ve been nerd sniped.

  14. Amazon just delivered the book today, so I’m not reading the thread yet. I’ll come back in a few days. Is it definite that we only get two more books? There is still too much of Vlad’s story to be told. Feels like 20 books in the main series would be a great round number.

  15. I’m sure I’m wrong about this, but it feels like The Last Contract is going to have to be a big book to fire all the guns Steve’s been leaving on mantles since all the way back in Jhereg.

    Wondering if the “diseased flesh” of the world is the Left Hand, the whole Jhereg, the Cycle itself, or something I’m not clever enough to figure out.

  16. Loving Lyorn , just another amazing book in the series

    However.. hmmm . Is there a continuity.. whachamacallit when they sing about The Phoenix Guards many years before The Figment released the book with that name ( based on notes that got rejected by Lord Tri’ari and Master Vrei of the Institute? )

  17. @Henrik Jonsson

    Ah, you’re probably thinking of “The Phoenix Guards” by Paarfi of Roundwood.

    The song lyrics in Lyorn, however, are probably referring to an earlier work by Praafi of Roundtwig written in the 14th cycle, or possibly the derivative 16th cycle work by Poorfi of Squarewood, the well known serioli author.

    Or maybe the version by Parfini of Doublewood, reputed to have been written in a single monthlong fit of drunken debauchery during the late 17th cycle just to show up an ex-lover. Always look for the expurgated version of that one, as the unabridged version is a bit tedious.

    Majikjon

  18. I really loved the glimpses of everyone’s mind like the Demon and Sethra… and I really liked Verra’s explanation of why we suddenly have a new narrative perspective… but I really wish we had Cawti’s thoughts on “the demon thing” as I want to understand more if it affected her more than she thought. As much as I love Vlad’s voice, the glimpses we get from others in all the books are very important to understanding the world…

  19. Finished Lyorn last night and I am still processing it. I still don’t quite get why Vlad is worried about people who fight with sorcery when he’s walking around with Lady Teldra who is made from Spellbreaker. Obviously being worried about potential assassins they may hire is perfectly reasonable.

    As always, I read it too fast which is a testament to the enjoyment I had in reading it.

  20. When I read the epilogue I thought there’s no way that’s Slings and Arrows, but lo and behold it was! (Written by the same composer of The Drowsy Chaperone, in fact!) Nice variety of musicals represented. The only ones I didn’t recognize before reading the spoilers were Buffy and Rogers.

  21. When Vlad anticipates the actors are about to break into song, and gets a sinking feeling in his stomach…
    I know that feeling.

    The mind-to-mind communication Vlad conducted with Savn from Athyra was accomplished using witchcraft, not sorcery.

  22. Re-reading the conversation between Vlad and Verra… I REALLY want to know exactly what their relationship has been throughout history… if she is somehow his mother, I may very well eat a hat… maybe a hat made of cake or something, but still. I had that theory before this conversation, and now I’m nearly convinced… so it’s probably not true… but I still can’t help but wonder.

  23. @halplm I’ve always thought Sethra and Dolivar were lovers. I am probably very wrong there, but that’s why I’ve assume Kiera/Sethra have been watching over and in many ways protecting Vlad basically his whole life.

  24. For Reference:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa7evoSWgIY

    Matter matter matter matter matter matter

    I’ve just now finished Lyorn
    and I have a couple questions,
    And if it isn’t too presumptuous
    I’ve also some suggestions,

    You say the lady Caola
    whom first we saw appear in Dzur
    She had a sister Vlad dispatched
    with Lady Teldra but I swear,

    That Daymar first reported that the lady’s soul
    that he destroyed
    Her sister’s name was Crithnak,
    And I find that I’m a bit annoyed

    To find this inexplicable
    discordant contradiction
    (Though I’ll admit that such annoyance
    is likely just my own affliction)

    Matter matter matter matter matter matter

    I find it’s not the first time
    that Crithnak’s name has got confused,
    In fact in Dzur she’s with Triesco
    As Terion’s lover interfused,

    Yet still I can’t but wonder at
    whatever has become of her
    Did Crithnak somewhere commit
    a critical literary blunder?

    Oh I do not wish to perish
    by the tweet or by the mention,
    But for Crithnak’s sake I’d like
    a tiny bit of condescension,

    Did the Left Hand have a lottery
    In the midst of all this patter
    Of whose names that those folks oughta be
    Or p’rhaps it doesn’t matter?

    Or pr’haps it doesn’t matter?
    Yes pr’haps it doesn’t matter?
    Or pr’haps it doesn’t matter matter matter matter matter matter.

    Matter matter matter matter matter matter

    If I should be so lucky to have met a famous author
    I would celebrate the great fortune that fate upon me did confer,
    And know I should ignore a minor artisitc imperfection
    At least that’s what I tell myself, but look at my reflections,

    Oh I know such things are trivial when put next to the grand context
    And yet my stupid brain won’t let me just accept and read what’s next,
    The remnants of my sanity upon the floor are scattered
    But still I’m laughing merrily so I guess it doesn’t matter

    Matter matter matter matter matter matter

  25. Mdagikjon: Sustained applause. You win the prize. The prize is being one to invent the retcon. Let me know what you come up with.

  26. @Kragar

    I didn’t re-read any previous books before diving into Lyorn, but I seem to recall that the Left Hand had some types of loyalty rituals that they take very seriously? Perhaps there’s some sort of bond that two or more of them can form, a sort of “blood siblinghood” type thing, with or without a magical component. My impression is that the Left Hand is (as far as anyone knows) very decentralized, and this type of bond might be one of the ways in which they organize, like resistance cells or witchcraft covens.

  27. (I was going to say this first, but I think my browser ate it.)

    I saw the dedication. I never knew Mike Ford, but I saw him around the Internet, and he was jaw-droppingly good at this sort of thing. I can see my old copy of “How Much for Just the Planet?” from where I sit, and I think I’ll reread it after I finish what I’ve got open. I’ve seen a partial list of tunes, and with any luck I can figure out the rest.

    Also, it appears that one character in the book is Ilen, a Magian. Which might have some implications.

  28. @Moon Moth–

    That’s exactly what I was aiming at. Your “magical and mysterious blood siblinghood” amongst the Left Hand is a strong hypothesis, given what little we know about them. And it is cool.

    Next, I have two questions: 1) Was Montorri any good on opening night? 2) Will skzb ever introduce an Orca who is not a complete scumbag?

  29. @Kragar I thought the Ship Captain that took Vlad to Greenare was an example of a decent Orca.

  30. @skzb

    Okay, I think I have a way in which it could work.

    We know that there are factions in the Left Hand and they’re not just all one big happy sisterhood. We know the Left Hand is always inventing and experimenting with unusual and powerful magics. We know that psychics are closely related to witchcraft where witches work in circles to combine their efforts and eneries.

    We know that whoever tried to attack Vlad while Daymar was protecting him as he removed his amulet (in /Dzur/) and he did the mindscan and pulled up the name “Crithnak” was exceptionally strong psychically (to the extent Daymar literally couldn’t move a muscle afterward).

    What if Crithnak isn’t a single person? Crithnak may just be the name for a gestalt (group) identity that comprises 8 different Left Hand sorceresses, with Caola being the first one, her sister (presumably with a name starting with an “R” being another, and then Ilendra, Triesco, Hadassa, Nasista, Aelle, and Kryanna round out the collection. Their combined psychic energy would be quite potent. Just the kind of magical working someone might try to use to blow past Vlad’s defenses. The “cold rage” present in the mind was due to the fact that not only had “Crithnak” had her sister’s soul destroyed, but was now operating with only 7 members instead of the usual 8.

    When Daymar did his mindscan, he simply didn’t realize he was dealing with a group consciousness. (Daymar being a sorcerer not a witch, where combining powers is less common, as well as being a bit of a loner, would not be likely to think of such a possibility.)

    Obviously, at some point after /Dzur/ Vlad must have learned the truth about Crithnak and that it was actually Caola’s sister that died—but there’s lots of ways to account for that. Maybe Kragar had someone look into it, or maybe Daymar eventually figured it out. Several years have gone by in between Dzur and Lyorn.

    As retcons go, I think that one’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Can anyone poke holes in it? Anything I failed to account for?

    Majikjon

  31. That’s really good, Majikjon. I only came to share my reaction to the pastiches, which went very quickly in from “oh, no, he didn’t” (Prologue) to “wait, he’s not going to” (Chapter 1) to “he totally has, and I’m going to laugh through this entire book” (Chapter 2). I feel like I should do a re-read where I skip the chapter openings so I can appreciate the rest of the narrative properly. (Or maybe that wouldn’t be appreciating it properly?)

  32. While reading Lyorn, I kept thinking to myself “skzb must have had SO MUCH FUN writing this one.”

  33. Fantastic book. Continues the amazing streak of intertwining world building with compelling characters.

    Some random thoughts;

    Selfishly I like reading him in the modern incarnation but he’s been so cut off from his friends during this time. I’d love to read a few lower-stakes books set in this timeframre
    Vlad himself is almost new. His relationships with everyone are newish. Would love to marinate in that longer than the books we have left!

    Maybe a book a or short stories where people summon demon Vlad to different effect.

    After the discussion of witchcraft vs other magic in Tsalmoth gave me some new vocab for it I was disappointed that Vlad wasn’t able to make use of it here. Despite what he says I think he’s a better witch than Morrolan :p

    I was intrigued that Daymar considers his important work to be uncovering secrets of the past.

    When did Verra know the cycle was breaking/broken? And how does that intersect with her concerns in Teckla?

    The conciet of the play (musical) worked for me on so many levels I almost don’t want to comment for fear of reducing it.

    I love how the Demon feels about his chair. I wonder about his report on how the council is taking Things Are Changing. Seems like he might have his own point of view.

    I loved the refusal of the oath of the serpent

    What in the world does Zerika think happened and how does she feel about it!? More importantly, did she like the play?!?

    I liked what Kragars kid being taken did for the emotional stakes. It commented on Vlads feelings on his own kid. It subverted their usual banter. It highlighted how it’s easier to take risks for yourself then put others at risk. It underscores Vlads character development and helped set up the ending. Once that came it all the other “problems” felt different.

    I wonder what Kragars kid thinks about Vlad now (as opposed to at the start where we know).

    I loved how Nikka realized halfway through the conversation it wasn’t really about Kragar.

    I am personally in deep on thinking about AI. I don’t think there’s much authorial intent here but I couldn’t help reading it with that lens. A new, profoundly disruptive tech (spying on thought communication) plays differently depending on time scale. If you live long enough you see the world change a bunch of times etc… You can reduce the magic theater (art) to its component parts (via AI) and see it for the trick it is. BUT what is the meaning of that ? Does it mean the trick loses it’s magic?

  34. @skzb

    Now we just have to figure out who exactly Mario killed in Dzur as she was emerging from a teleport, which is how he supposedly dispatched Crithnak. It could have just been another one of the component members of the group, I suppose, save for Caola or Triesco (who we saw later in the House on Stranger’s Road).

    Majikjon

  35. Just finished my second read. I have only one quibble. The title.

    Vlad sets a trap for his antagonist through illusion, involving pretending to be in a play, er, musical?

    Chreotha.

  36. Hm so at one point our hero is in the bath and he considers the fact that his whole life (in fact several lives) he’s been manipulated and set up to be in this crucial role and he hopes he gets a chance to stick a knife in whoever’s responsible.

    The Last Contract is obviously where Vlad kills Mr Steven Brust, and then I guess just because he hates an incomplete plan, writes Chreotha himself.

  37. @barsoomcore That was what I was thinking too. I mean, if Verra has been manipulating things, that’s one thing, but how would Vlad react to the literal author of his life? It’s not the first time the question has been asked by authors… but I have to think that sequence of Vlad’s thoughts was directed @skzb… I can’t read it any other way at this point.

  38. I don’t get how people aren’t freaking out about Aliera Lavode and Telnan (or is it Zungaron?) Lavode.

    That’s not to mention certain Left Hand sorceresses aligning themselves with the Jenoine.

    Things are getting serious now. Cannot wait to see how this culminates!

  39. When I read that Sethra was getting the band back together, I had to set the book down and have a moment.

  40. @Majikjon A simpler, but probably less cool, explanation is that members of the same faction of the Left Hand call themselves sisters. So the sorceress Lady Teldra ate, Crithnak, who Mario killed, and Caola are all sisters, but aren’t sisters with Lady Tavissa from Tsalnoth or D’niella (or whatever her name is).

  41. @ Dennis

    That’s pretty much what @Kragar was suggesting. The issue I have with that is if you have a large group of very close friends that you consider “your sisters” and one of them gets killed, do you go up to that person and say “You killed my sister!” or do you rather say “You killed one of my sisters!” ? While the first formulation is plausible, the second phrasing seems more likely to me–you’re not going to formulate your accusation in a way that implies that your other “sisters” don’t exist, or aren’t important.

    I know that’s kind of a flimsy thread to hang the assumption on, but the group consciousness idea actually does fix some other problems also (e.g. accounting for how anyone can be strong enough to lay out Daymar with Psychics).

    In any case, I didn’t mean to hijack the discussion thread with this. I’ll throw my theory onto the discussion page for Crithnak on the wiki and we can go back to telling Steve how much we like Lyorn here.

  42. Back in Taltos, Aliera mournfully observed that Adron had thought the Cycle was broken, but clearly he’d been wrong since there was a reborn Phoenix on the throne. But it looks like he was right after all.

    And wherever did he get the idea that the Cycle might be broken that motivated him to make his move? Could it just possibly be Aliera’s mother?

    Of course Adron’s Disaster was the entire reason Aliera was in the Paths of the Dead. Where she encountered Kieron. Which presumably led to Devera’s being born. And then Devera went all the way back to the beginning to, among other things, recruit Dolivar.

    One begins to suspect that the Cycle being broken was a precondition for the plan that led to breaking it.

  43. Chapter 2:

    Costume Master:

    Take up your thimble and needle and thread
    Measure and cut and sew.
    They need us to make the show, my friend,
    Costumes can make the show.
    You couldn’t imagine a Tiassa in red,
    A Dzurlord with boots cut low.
    They need us to make the show, my friend,
    Costumes can make the show.

    Daro would disagree with “Tiassa in red” afair…

  44. Hee hee. I’m glad someone caught that.

    MagikJon: Hijack away; I’m loving this. And finding it useful.

  45. @skzb

    Well, okay, as a final thought, I just wanted to maybe throw at you re: the group mind idea.. It would play perfectly into the scene in Chapter 12 where D’nilla and Caola nearly come to blows…

    “Six sorceresses in Jhereg colors stood in a loose circle before D’nilla’s modest little home, arms raised, beating back the attack….”

    Surely, these ladies are the other 6 members of the gestalt, and together they form voltr– er, comprise a force powerful enough to rival the (presumably) strongest Wizard in the Left Hand in her own keep, as it were. Or at least to break her window.

  46. I have the sneaking suspicion that you structured Lyorn solely so that you could do re-writes of such ditties as I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General. And I loved it! ❤️

  47. To Dennis’ point, at the end of Dzur, Triesco says “He killed one of our sisters, and destroyed her soul. And arranged for another.”
    Also – I would like to know why, in Dzur, Sethra Lavode apparently knew who Crithnak was, but Kiera didn’t.

  48. OK, finished reading it and very happy.

    I noticed mention of an earlier case of a publisher suffering an unfortunate but entirely coincidental flood in the history book Vlad is reading. IIRC, one of the the competitors of one of Paarfi’s publishers would later suffer another unfortunate but entirely coincidental flood, as detailed in one of the ancillary bits of The Viscount Of Adrilankha.”

    Of course twice is only coincidence. Is there a third case in canon? Does Vlad have a friend who can arrange such coincidences?

  49. Majikjon says: 11 April 2024 at 2:31 pm:

    All magnificent works, but what about The Adventures Of Captain Gyorg Kethna-Handbill And Her Intrepid Jhereg Stig Amongst The Canine Cat-Centaurs Of Bengloarafurd (Volume 17)?

  50. fallingdown says: 13 April 2024 at 6:44 pm:

    I was intrigued that Daymar considers his important work to be uncovering secrets of the past.

    In case you missed it, some of his work as a “desecrator” (archeologist) appears in the short story The Desecrator, which is also where Telnan got Nightslayer.

    When did Verra know the cycle was breaking/broken? And how does that intersect with her concerns in Teckla?

    Without digging into it, I thought that in Vallista discovering that Lord Zhayin had invented architectural time travel is what told Verra that the Cycle was broken.

  51. Chapter 2:

    The fourteenth Lyorn Emperor, Valenda the Second, is one of the more facinating figures between the Dredging and the Interregnum.

    Do we know anything about the Dredging? A search of the Lyorn Records wiki shows nothing.

    Should we start making it up, so when SB contradicts us we can dismiss him because “what does he know about it?”

  52. @cptbutton

    I’m glad someone else caught this, since it is, so far as I can determine, an entirely new term we’ve not seen before, and I’m determined to get something on the Wiki about it at some point.

    The pairing of it as an historical event next to The Interregnum as key moments in Imperial History certainly tells us it was something with a more or less monumental impact on Dragaeran history.

    My best guess on limited evidence is that it refers to the creation of the Grand Canal.

  53. That was what occurred to me, as well, as the term “dredge” is pretty closely associated with canals. Perhaps historians reason that the ability to perform such a monumental task could rightly be considered the moment that the 17 houses could properly be considered an “empire.”

  54. Perhaps the Dredging of the Grand Canal was made possible because of some advancement in sorcerous technology that had lots of other important consequences, making it a easy reference for the other effects.

  55. @cptbutton Verra says she wasn’t sure until learning about the Vallista platform, which implies that she’d thought/hoped it might be the case before then. (And she talks about telling the other gods “I told you so.”

    On the other hand, she says she didn’t recognize it at the time of Adron’s Disaster. So that sets some boundaries. But what she thought as of Teckla and Phoenix is an interesting question.

    And since we know gods and demons have multiple trains of thought, it’s always possible that in addition to the aspect of Verra that set Vlad to create a distraction on the theory that the Cycle was intact, there were others hoping the Movement would show it wasn’t.

  56. @Kragar

    I think more than just the technical ability to make the canal, it’s a statement about the importance of the function the Canal served in enabling trade throughout the Empire (which, of course, is what makes it possible for there be a single united Empire, rather than a collection of rival duchies and principalities).

    The historian’s use of the phrase “from the Dredging to the Interregnum” seems to deliberately exclude the formative figures in Dragaeran history. Obviously, Valenda II isn’t going to be as fascinating a figure as Kieron the Conqueror, Drien, Zerika I, Sethra Lavode, etc. Sethra once said that of those early figures, only Zerika really knew they were building an Empire.

    Once you get past the 5th or 6th cycles, and figures like Undauntra and Lanya and Terics are in the rear-view mirror, the Grand Canal is finished and the Empire really takes on its current form. At that point, the position of Emperor becomes more of a caretaker than a dynamic leader most of the time. Which I think explains why Dragonlords are always more keen to be Warlord.

  57. @Majikjon

    Your learned treatises on Dragaeran history are a joy to read. Almost as fun as reading the works of skzb himself.

    Yes, I believe you have the right of it. “Empire in its current form” provided you are referring to the Empire as it existed before Adron’s Disaster.

  58. @Spinnystick–

    Kiera is very disciplined where it concerns knowing only what Kiera would know, and doing only what Kiera is able to do.

    Sethra is the same way.

  59. Fun book!

    And you make filking look like fun.

    O ye demons, gods, wizards, and Jenoine all,
    Ye would manage our world as a stage,
    And your plot: will we cease or continue to crawl
    Like mice on a wheel in a cage?

    I am I, Count of Szurke, yes, Vladimir Taltos.
    With a destiny I’d rather flee.
    In your scripts, I’m a character summoned and used
    As a tool that will set the world free,
    Tool that will set the world free.
    Freedom for some but not me!

  60. Some theater in-jokes I appreciated from Lyorn:

    “Dress rehearsal. Just like the performance, except no audience. Some directors like to cram it.
    We’re going to be running three days worth of show in two days.”

    (In my high school theater productions, we’d always have a “Marathon” rehearsal where we’d run the play once out of costume and then again in a final dress rehearsal back to back in a single day. Reading this bit got me nostalgic for those rehearsals, which were always a grind, but always rewarding when you got done.)

    “We’ll get through it fine,” said another Tsalmoth, and everyone looked at him.
    He turned red and said, “Crap. Sorry. I mean, we’re all going to die.” Then he stood up, walked out of the room, turned around, hit his head on the doorframe three times, the rapped on it with his knuckles like an Easterner, and came back in.

    He sat down again and everyone relaxed and I decided not to ask questions I didn’t want to know the answers to.

    (I’ve seen much stranger theater superstitions than this one.)

    “We are all going to die.”
    “That’s the spirit.”

    (‘Break a leg’)

    “…actors had a high regard for the tech crew that wasn’t entirely returned, that musical directors tended to be a bit strange, that no one in history has ever liked a producer, and that directors were not always spoken of with complete respect.”

    (Spot on, all of it)

    Everything about Vlad’s jitters before he goes onstage, needing to briefly use a bucket, realizing he can’t really even make out the audience for the lights, the pride he takes in pulling off an acceptable performance, all of this rings completely true.

  61. What inspired you to use so many third person scenes through the book? It’s certainly different from the past novels.

  62. I just finished the book and… Man. What can I say?
    It’s so great to have another Vlad novel that the excitement is overwhelming at first.
    My father recently had a serious illness and read Discworld by Terry Pratchett while recuperating. This was the second series I recommended, though now he’s recovered he doesn’t have the time to read.

    Every Vlad novel I’ve read has some bit of thought that makes me think on it awhile.
    I’ll need to reread this one to pick out what it was, because just being back in the world was so refreshing.
    A book where no one died, even temporarily. Vlad being once again confronted with who he really is over what he thinks about himself.
    The way theater (really all well made entertainment, books too obviously) changes us.

    A big reason I enjoy these books is how they not just are entertaining and engaging. But after I finish I’m always thinking of things differently. Making new associations.

    Just have to say thank you for another book.

  63. Theater kid, eh @Majikjon?

    Yeah, me too.

    Rarely did I ever wear hose under any other circumstances.

    I have been in the orchestra pit, too.

    It’s true what they say–being the villain is quite a bit more fun.

  64. I was waiting until I wanted to discuss the book before looking at this. Mistake, as there were several songs I didn’t recognize while reading the book. There are two plays and a TV series that I was completely unfamiliar with. The older the play, the more familiar the song.

  65. Matthew: That is left as an exercise for the reader. :) I will say, the clues are there, and a few people have put it together.

  66. @skzb

    “That is left as an exercise for the reader. :) I will say, the clues are there, and a few people have put it together.”

    I will say, I thought that was very well played. It doesn’t exactly break the 4th wall, but it manages to navigate its way around it.

  67. Just finished. And I’ve caught up with the posts here. These novels kick some serious ass, to be blunt. The world and the characters and the intricately designed plots, but within one volume and over the entire cycle, are simply exquisite. And the thought put into these posts reflects well on the novels.

    And now I’m going to take a moment to catch my breath.

  68. SKZB has now FORCED us to read about a MUSICAL, someone should tell him to use his powers for Good…

  69. I’m getting puzzled about the deal at the end of Hawk.

    To start with the easier one, one of the sorcerers who learned psionic eavesdropping in Hawk was a woman named Radfall who Vlad identifies as part of the Left Hand. Thus if Vlad dies, the Empire can confiscate her and her family’s and her associates’ assets at the Justicers’ discretion. That must include some people in the Left Hand and might include all of them. But someone in the Left Hand, probably Caola, tries to have Vlad killed shortly afterwards, and Caola tries again in Lyorn. Why do the powerful people in the Left Hand allow that? D’nilla tries to stop Caola, but she could have tried harder.–for instance, she could have put a Mickey in the tea she shared with Caola and had someone come in and kill Caola. She also doesn’t mention the confiscation as a reason to keep Vlad alive.

    I can think of some possibilities. Maybe Radfall isn’t really part of the Left Hand. Maybe she is, but the powerful people in the Left Hand don’t think they’re so closely associated with her that they’re in any danger. Maybe they’re not as obsessed with money as the Council is and are willing to take the risk to allow one of their own to get revenge. Something like that?

    Now the Right Hand. It’s strongly implied that a number of them are going to try to make money from psionic eavesdropping or protection against it. But if any of them mess up there’s going to be big trouble. In particular, if the sorcerers who learned it from Vlad teach anybody, they’ll be associates of that person and they’ll be guilty of eavesdropping again, and if that person messes up, the sorcerers will probably be caught. So why would the sorcerers teach anyone? The Council could be considered associates too. So considering that the Council is so afraid of confiscation that it let Vlad go, why would they let the sorcerers who initially learned eavesdropping, or anyone else they have control over, commit that crime? Are they really so confident no one will get caught? And when Vlad dies, which they’re expecting in a few decades, and they get charged, wouldn’t they like to say under the Orb that they’ve never used the technique or allowed it to be used? I’m stumped.

  70. Maybe the Right Hand thinks that, despite “put at risk Imperial security”, the Empire isn’t really that interested in prosecuting psionic eavesdropping?

  71. @Jerry Friedman

    When Vlad demonstrated the psychic eavesdropping spell for the Jhereg Council, he took several steps that presumably would not be needed when the actual Jhereg sorcerers would perform the spell later on–use of the Hawk’s egg and the ensorcelled euphonium for example.

    I expect it’s pretty much a given that when the Left Hand goes to listen in on private conversations they are going to also omit the step where Vlad arranged to have the captain of the Phoenix Guard and a battalion of his troops present to witness the crime.

  72. @Majikjon: You mean the Right Hand, right? I didn’t mention the Left Hand psi-tapping.

    What I said was “if someone messes up”. Someone picks the wrong victim for blackmail, or gets drunk and brags to his favorite mistress, or some prominent person’s secret gets known and they happen to mention to Khaavren that they have no idea how anyone could have found out. At this point Khaavren and his thirty guardsmen are going to go straight to Farthia, Illitra, and Radfall, and whether they did the psi-tapping themselves or taught someone, they’re guilty and their associates’ assets can be seized. Given the number of Jhereg who are apparently starting schemes based on psi-tapping, are the three sorcerers and their employers (who count as associates) willing to take that chance?

    That is, if they think the Empire really cares about this supposed risk to its security.

  73. Defense against psi-tapping may be the part that the Jhereg of either Hand are most concerned about.

  74. @Jerry Friedman

    My understanding was that the crime at the end of Hawk was only “committed” there by the council members. The penalty didn’t extend to future crimes without witnesses. I don’t think Radfall was included.

  75. @halplm

    The three sorcerers are the people who were actually planning to eavesdrop, so I don’t see how they can be less guilty than the three Council members.

    I’d forgotten that Radfall herself participated in the Left Hand’s attempt to murder Vlad at the very end of Hawk, when Vlad thinks he’s succeeded. Surely if the Demon hadn’t saved Vlad, Khaavren would have tried to arrest and question her–under the Orb?–and since she was near the scene of the murder, he might also have wondered what she knew about it. Maybe she was very confident about her escape plan.

  76. @Kragar

    Interesting point. Maybe most of those Jheregs planning start-ups are going to be selling countermeasures to psi-tapping. That suggests that they expect the possibility of psi-tapping to be well known soon, at least in the upper income brackets. Though the anti-mal-spell people have the difficulty that to prove that your countermeasure works, you have to teach psi-tapping to the customer or someone they trust. Are there widely trusted sorcery reviewers in the Empire?

  77. @Jerry Friedman

    I think you’re missing the point that at the meeting with Vlad in Hawk, it’s the ENTIRE Jhereg Council was caught in the act, red-handed. That’s where Vlad’s leverage comes from against them.

    Of course the Jhereg, both right and left hand, are going to use the spell in the future. Naturally, some of them are occasionally going to get busted for it. But it’s not going to be the entire top-level Jhereg Council doing it.. That would be like the heads of all five NYC crime families going in a group and and performing an assassination in front of the chief of police and his whole senior staff. It isn’t going to happen again.

    The people actually doing the dirty work of eavesdropping are going to be the low-level thugs. The Demon and his ilk aren’t going to be personally tapping communications (and if they did, they’d be sure to have an air-tight alibi).

    This is why it was so critical for Vlad to take out Terion before the meeting. Otherwise Terion probably wouldn’t have attended, and therefore wouldn’t have gotten busted, and therefore wouldn’t have been part of the deal to have his assets seized if Vlad ‘vanished’ shortly afterward–which, of course, would have left Terion in charge of the council once the other members were thrown in prison. Not an ideal outcome for Vlad.

  78. I don’t think I’m missing a point, but I may have failed to make something clear. Suppose the Empire really cares about psi-tapping. And suppose a low-level sorcerer psi-taps someone and gets busted. Where did they learn it? From someone who committed the crime of teaching it. (I’m assuming that the only way to teach it is by demonstrating it, as Vlad did, or if not, that teaching it by any method would trigger lashes and confiscation, just as merely learning it would for the three sorcerers and the three Council members.) And where did that person learn it? Ultimately, from one of the three sorcerers who learned it from Vlad. So any use of psi-tapping is going to suggest that one of those three has committed a crime, and they’ll be investigated for it.

    At some point, I suppose, some people will independently figure out how to psi-tap, but I’m thinking the events of Lyorn are too soon for that. Maybe not?

    There’s also the question of who “associates” covers.

    A few points of detail in your comment: It was not the entire Jhereg Council that was caught red-handed, just three members. (By the way, Krasno, a member of the Council, is mentioned in Chapter 8 of Hawk. He’s not in the article about the Council in the Lyorn Records. He also seems to bring the number of living Council members at that point up to six, so I wonder whether Vlad’s mistaken, or Krasno is another name for Nylanth, Poletra, or Diyann.)

    I can’t imagine an airtight alibi when people can be questioned under the Orb. Of course we don’t know the criteria are for using it to question people.

    I don’t see where prison as mentioned as part of the punishment the three Council members face. And if they were punished, it would be because Vlad was dead, so he wouldn’t care whether Terion or anyone else was in charge of the Council at that point.

  79. @Majikjon

    Now I think I see why you said the actual eavesdropping would be done by low-level people. You were correcting what I’d said to halplm about the sorcerers being as guilty as the Council members. Could be, but it doesn’t affect my point–the three sorcerers are still the ones who are going to do something, such as teach the technique to others.

    Also, I think I was wrong about the number of Council members in Hawk. Poletra or Diyannn could have been the replacement for Terion. How did I hijack this thread to talk about Hawk?

  80. @Jerry Friedman

    The low-level Jhereg gets busted eavesdropping, the Phoenix Guards ask who taught him the spell, he replies “Your mother.”

    Phoenix Guard then has to go arrest his own mother on suspicion of breaking the law.

    Suffice to say, without direct evidence or getting caught in the act, proving in a court that anyone in that meeting was culpable for any future acts of eavesdropping is likely to be very difficult. Even with questioning under the Orb–we’ve seen how Vlad got around that during the Tagichatn incident.

    We don’t really have all the details about the full makeup of the members of the Council. While the number has traditionally been 5 (according to Vlad in /Jhereg/) he’s been out of the loop for a while now (only just learning in /Dzur/ about the death of Curinthe) so things may have changed. We also don’t know much about the relative power base of each member. It’s possible the member not at the meeting represents only a very weak influence when compared to the other three.

  81. “I don’t see where prison as mentioned as part of the punishment the three Council members face. And if they were punished, it would be because Vlad was dead, so he wouldn’t care whether Terion or anyone else was in charge of the Council at that point.”

    Yes, but the point is it would give Terion every incentive to kill Vlad, and accomplish both things at the same time.

  82. @Majikjon

    What I’m thinking–assuming the Empire cares about psi-tapping–is that if a low-level Jhereg gets busted, Khaavren will try to arrest Radfall, Farthia, and Illitra, and say, “I have probable cause to believe you’ve been teaching people how to eavesdrop on psionic conversations, jeopardizing Imperial security. I have some questions for you. See that Orb up there?”

    There are other possibilities. The Imperial Guards could say that since the low-level knows the technique that originally only the three Council members and sorcerers knew, they must be associates of his or hers in one way or another, so their wealth can be confiscated. “We can also go after your family. You mentioned mothers?”

    The only way I can understand the Tadishat thing is to imagine that the Empire didn’t care about finding the murderer, since the victim was a Jhereg.

    About Terion: your argument would apply to any other Council members who weren’t at the meeting (Nylanth and Krasno?). Of course they’d risk being considered associates of the members who were there. I can see that Vlad might imagine that Terion, who already dislikes him and is trying to kill him, might be more willing to take that risk.

  83. @Jerry Friedman

    I’m beginning to think you haven’t watched nearly enough mobster movies. How would the Corleone family have handled this type of situation, do you think?

    “I have probable cause to believe you’ve been teaching people how to eavesdrop on psionic conversations.”

    Ah, but teaching someone a spell isn’t the same as actively eavesdropping on psychic communications, is it?

    Radfall: “How can I, the noble, innocent instructor be held responsible for the illicit completely-unintended way in which such the utterly harmless spell I taught was misused by the nefarious unprincipled cad that you captured? Besides, how can you prove it was me that taught him that spell, and not one of the others?”

    —-

    Advocate for the Empire: “We can also go after your family.”
    The Demon: “Oh, You think YOU can go after OUR families? How amusing.”

    “Oh, by the way, did you enjoy your niece’s recent private recital? I thought her interpretation of Beed’n’s ‘March of the Dragon Guard’ was a bit traditional, but well executed. She should watch her footing when stepping off the stage, however. She nearly had a spill, and it would have been a shame it she had injured herself. I would have a word with her governess Lewcha about it personally, if I were you.”

  84. You’re right about how many mobster movies I haven’t seen, but I’m just basing my ideas on what happened in the books.

    Poletra: “It had nothing to do with Imperial security!” He could have added, “And none of us even actively eavesdropped!”

    Vlad: “If you can convince the Justicers of that, why, I’m sure there will be no problem.”

    Council [off]: “We have to cave. We’ll keep Vlad alive at all costs, no matter how much we hate him.”

    As for how you know which sorcerer taught people the spell, that’s why you ask all of them, under the Orb.

    As for families, it’s clear, for instance in Yendi, that the Jhereg never retaliate against the Phoenix Guards for anything. The Demon seems to take it for granted that the Justicers will confiscate the assets of his family (if any) and associates. If that’s not how real or fictional mobsters act in our world, it seems to be how the Organization acts.

  85. You two may want to pop over to the Hawk discussion for further correspondence.

    Also, @Jerry Friedman, apart from your wonderful Man of La Mancha song, you are doing this all wrong.

    The point is not to present a plot summary of skzb’s work and then question if it fits logically with what we know. The point is to find out something that only seems out of whack, at first blush, but then to explain why it is, in fact, perfectly reasonable, quite logical within the context of the 17 houses, the Cycle, and Dragaeran history, and actually, when you think about it carefully enough, incredibly cool.

  86. On page 73, when Vlad is talking to Verra, she says: “[Y]es, in that long-ago lifetime, you were who I picked to arrange” the Jhereg as an “unpredictable element” in the Cycle. Then Vlad says: “I thought Devera picked me,” and Verra responds: “I stand corrected.”

    One possibility is that Verra actually did make a mistake and Vlad corrected her. But it seems unlikely, and in any event uninteresting. The other possibility is that Devera, who herself is dislocated in time, is not just Verra’s granddaughter, but Verra herself at a different part of her in her own time-dislocated life.

    Could Verra be her own grandmother?

  87. “Could Verra be her own grandmother?”

    Interesting notion. However, I highly doubt it.

    Can you imagine Devera ever allowing herself to be enslaved by Jenoine?

  88. @Greg R.

    Has anyone ever counted Devera’s finger joints?

    Did we ever see Vlad learning that Devera had picked him? That didn’t ring any bells.

    And if Devera did pick Vlad, did she pick Vlad or Dolivar? That is, who was she looking at when she made the decision?

  89. @Kragar

    You comment your way and I’ll comment mine. However, I pointed out some things that I thought needed explanation, and offered explanations, which aren’t all that cool no matter how much you think about them. If you or Majikjon or anyone else agree that they need explanation, and come up with something cooler or better in any other way, I certainly won’t object.

    The main one we’ve been talking about concerns Lyorn, because the question is why, after the Jhereg Council was so scared in Hawk when they hadn’t even tested psi-tapping, are they now letting lower-level types actually use the ability. Talking about that has required going back to Hawk, but as I see it, it belongs here.

  90. @me

    “Did we ever see Vlad learning that Devera had picked him? That didn’t ring any bells.” Never mind. According to Alexx Kay’s timeline, it’s in Vallista.

  91. “Can you imagine Devera ever allowing herself to be enslaved by Jenoine?”

    No, not really. It doesn’t feel right. But is there another explanation for that slip by Verra? It seems odd otherwise.

  92. “No, not really. It doesn’t feel right. But is there another explanation for that slip by Verra? It seems odd otherwise.”

    Verra does say it’s been a long time, even for her. Vlad has a better recollection of it because he just re-lived it a few weeks earlier and has been mulling it over ever since.

    And she’s probably not used to Vlad picking up on those kinds of subtleties. Could be she was testing him to see just how much remembered, and how far he has progressed. Her amazement at how he managed to get off the hook with The Jhereg certainly seemed sincere.

    And I completely believe her when she expresses misgivings about being able to take Lady Teldra away from Vlad.

  93. I saw it more as Verra not knowing that Vlad knew that. I doubt Devera is as independent as she thinks she is. Verra had a hand in it, even if Devera made the specific choice. So both statements are correct, Vlad’s is simply more specific. That turn of phrase, though, the whole conversation really, was much more familiar than any we have seen from her. I think with Vlad’s memory back, and the level of information he now understands, she views him as “ready”. This whole book was about Vlad accepting that. It works really well as a bridge to the endgame.

  94. @Greg R.

    I see Verra says the same two things in Vallista. In Chapter 6, when Vlad is reliving meeting her as Dolivar, she tells him, “I’ve chosen you because from the outside, you will know what is happening on the inside, and so on the inside you will work.” In Chapter 15, she says, “First of all, I didn’t pick you. Devera did. Second, it wasn’t because you’re a fool, it was because she thought you’d be willing to stand up to her grandmother when it was needed.”

    So I think you’re right to draw attention to this, but I have no suggestions about why it might be important.

  95. So, did anyone else notice when Kragar was telling Vlad about how he met Deragar’s mother, he mentioned his work history during The Interregnum.

    Specifically, he mentioned working for a Jhereg named Dofer, previously mentioned in /Vallista/ as having employed both Kragar and Sticks. (Vallista, Chapter 5)

    Dofer’s boss was a Jhereg named Halvar, who we saw in chapter 30 of /The Baron of Magister Valley/ making a deal with Daro, Countess of Whitecrest.

    “At some point, Halvar made some sort of deal with the Countess.”
    “The Countess?” I repeated, “Of Whitecrest?”
    He nodded.
    “What kind of deal?”
    “I don’t know exactly, but it doesn’t matter.”

  96. Just finished Lyorn,,, Came to leave a comment and saw all these songs listed… I recognized quite a few of these and was singing them in my head as I read the start of each chapter…

    Thank you for another great book.

  97. @Majikjon

    Devera == De Verra == The Verra

    Could SKZB be so low as to make that bad of a pun?

    All available evidence says… absolutely :)

  98. Just finished another reading of Lyorn. It strikes me that The Demon is not quite smart enough to figure out that he is a character in a sci-fi/fantasy series that is nearing its denouement, but damn near.

    And, speaking of demons, I also have a pretty good idea what Vlad’s demon-name is.

  99. I read Lyorn last week. I really enjoyed it . I loved the light and clever tone of this book. I’d say it’s right up there with a couple of others as my favorites in this series. It tied in so many different parts of the story also. It appears to be building up to a really classic battle with the Jenoine/ Left Hand and I’m happy Vlad appears to be on Verra’s side although there’s a lot I still don’t know. The most emotional part of this book was seeing Vlad and Cawti talk about him moving on and then him actually moving on with Sara. Just heart wrenching stuff.

  100. @Majikjon

    Interesting point–I’d overlooked that. Thinking of Devera inside an amulet is at least as hard for me as thinking of her as a slave to the Jenoine, but no other candidates come to mind. Of course there could be some other reason that Vlad can almost see a person there.

    Based on my knowledge of post-Interregnum fashions, I’d say that carrying one artifact with a person inside it makes a striking statement, but two is over the top.

  101. I was just wondering I have not read all the comments of others so I don’t know if this has come up. is Vlad the sun of Verra and she just has not told him. because he never met his mother she left at some point.

  102. Finished the book last week, just about done processing my thoughts. I loved it! I thought the more lighthearted tone was a nice change of pace, and as someone who’s played in a pit band before, there was a lot of smiles and reminiscences of my own time in the theater world.

    I’m curious about how Sethra and the reestablishing of the Lavodes will shape all this, especially with Vlad. I always saw Sethra as devoted to the preservation of the Empire, and therefore the orb and the Cycle by extension. The left hand want to work with the Jenoine to recreate the cycle with them at the top, and Vlad is cool tearing it all down, but Sethra? She’s probably somewhere in the middle, not wanting to destroy the cycle OR go along with the Jenoine plot. Vlads just had a whole book enjoying the reality that he has friends. What happens if his friends are on a different side of a cataclysmic struggle? I’m excited to see where this goes.

  103. Aleira was recruited to be a Lavode but Morrolan was not. Possibly for these reasons. Morrolan is going to side with Vera no matter what, I deem. That could…complicate things.

    When all your un-killable (permanently) characters are going against one another, there may not be any such thing as plot armor.

  104. > When all your un-killable (permanently) characters are going against one another, there may not be any such thing as plot armor.

    There may not be a plot armor, but they all have that common un-killable thing.
    Because they all are linked with their Great Weapons.
    Because the Great Weapon could and would preserve their partner’s soul even against Morganti. So Morrollan against Aliera – with their Blackwand and Pathfinder – would be the plain duel of two Dragonlords, one armed with the heavy hand-and-a-half sword, while the other goes with the cutlass. And re-vivation is possible if after their battle there would remain someone who can perform it.
    So that means only Daymar and the Nercomancer could technically be in danger. Well, and Verra and Devera, or course.

  105. @Kwij

    In Hawk, there was a clear sign of some kind of enmity between Iceflame and Godslayer/Lady Teldra. I agree that the possibility of conflict between Vlad and some of his friends is exciting.

    I don’t like to mention my speculations about future books because they’ll be either wrong or spoilers (and my record isn’t good), but maybe I can say that a force you haven’t mentioned might also be involved in the conflict over the Cycle.

  106. Lethra Savode — *chortle*

    Perhaps addressed elsewhere, but question for skzb if so inclined: is “Sethra” intentionally an amalgam of Set (the destroyer) and Ra? With assorted mythic overtones implied?
    (Or perhaps an allusion to Creatures of Light and Darkness?)

    Picturing D’nilla summoning Vlad, placing the Verra-geas, Lady Teldra moderating the directive (and godslayer’s destiny-imperative) since to do so otherwise would be rude (and court Vlad’s destruction, since Versa is doubtless prepared).

    D’nilla’s diseased flesh (but not the slightly less depraved Jhereg council’s?) is due for excision, methinks. I trust Vlad and friends will perform this with all the courtesy of a striking Issola.

    I also wonder as to D’nilla’s deal with the Jenoine—will she ask that only the left Hand be elevated? Would that align w/ J’s research goals? Another source of conflict with the Right, if so.
    Also, I wonder if J’s experiment can succeed if subjects are aware it’s an experiment. Probably mass amnesia (via Orb?) once control is regained? D’nilla is clearly clueless about long spoons when devil-supping.

    Steven please please work the phrase “genuine Jenoine” in somewhere (low humour but hey, we’ve already had false Jenoine!)

  107. @Derekqsays, or continuing with the musical theme,

    “You make me feel like a genuine Jenoine”

  108. “But I’m just an Easterner who used to be a Jhereg; we don’t fin metaphors, we just sell onions.”

    Heh. A punchline for a joke 40 years in the making.

  109. I have two questions about the Cycle.

    1. We are told that The Cycle was at the beginning, “perhaps, older than Time”. Yet, the houses of The Cycle did not exist until much later, during the formation of the Empire. What was The Cycle before then? Was it perhaps survival of the fittest for one of its 17 foreordained slots, where Verra managed to shove one of the contending 22 tribes out and insert the Jhereg in their place? If not, then The Cycle must have been mutable to fit the Jhereg.

    2. I had assumed that it was the Jenoine that had created The Cycle, especially since the ending of The Cycle seems to imply the final end to the machinations of the Jenoine. Is there evidence around this? Or was The Cycle created by the same hidden “Fate” character that has been secretly driving the whole narrative, and whom is soon to be revealed?

  110. > the houses of The Cycle did not exist until much later, during the formation of the Empire

    Before the Empire, there were 31 tribes. When the Empire has been gathered, 17 remains (including specially added Jhereg). So this 16 did exist, plus 15 or so annihilated or, more reasonably, assimilated. Or exiled, too – Greenaere and Elde people, as we seen them, do not have Dragaeran Houses, and it is logical to assume they came from some out-Cycled tribes…

  111. jaerraeth: thank you for your comments, and correctly reminding me that there were 31 original tribes!

    It still begs the question: what was on the face of The Cycle prior the tribes settling down to the final 17? Or did it not have a face till then??

  112. As I understand it, the Cycle has been like that, Sacred Seventeen, from the very beginning. The Jenoines planned that whole system with 17 as the key. Which means all tribes not included in the Cycle were, originally, not part of the Empire.
    Then again, original Empire – in the beginning of First Cycle – has been significantly smaller. And during its expansion all tribes outside the ogiginal borders, be they part of Sacred Seventeen or not, were forced to be ‘eaten’ by the Imperial Houses – or to flee somewhere else.
    The Cycle is the core of Jenoine engine, it cannot change. When the whole system starts changing, as Verra describes, the Cycle is ceasing to be, as Sethra shows.

  113. jaerraeth: cool answer! I was missing this content in the Lyorn Records :-)

  114. Part of it revealed only in Lyorn, so it’s not yet integrated into Lyorn Records. Same with Dragaera Timeline – AlexxKay has not added Lyorn there…

  115. @ dreyna

    I find it interesting that the physical manifestation of The Cycle ended up inside the Halls of Judgement. The creation of the Halls being one of the “Arcs” that Verra talks about to Vlad, alongside the Creation of the Cycle, and the earlier revolt against the Jenoine by they that became the gods. This could imply that the Halls of Judgement themselves may be tied to the Cycle. Perhaps Verra wouldn’t have been capable of creating the Halls without the physical Cycle to tie them to?

    It’s possible that is the reason Verra allowed the Jenoine to impose the Cycle in the first place (since this was clearly quite some time after they’d been kicked off the planet during the creation of the Greater Sea). In this sense, it’s kind of like Sauron creating the one ring–Verra used the power the Jenoine poured into establishing the Cycle, but then pulled a fast one by harnessing that power into a weapon (the Halls) to use against them. Then, as an added insult, she threw the Cycle into instability by the addition of a 17th House (via the Jazz Theory of the Cycle).

    Without the Paths, the Orb would not have survived Adron’s Disaster, and without the Orb, the Jenoine would have been able to return and claim the amorphia in the Greater Sea for themselves any time. The “price” that Verra had to pay in order to both protect the Greater Sea of Amorphia (by creating the Orb and establishing the Empire) and eventually free the Dragaerans from the stagnation of the Cycle, was that the whole process required a full Great Cycle (250k years!) to come to fruition. But in the end, it was the only way that at the end of things, the Orb would still exist, but that ultimately, the Cycle would eventually break down, leaving Dragaera protected, and finally freed from the effects of the Cycle, able to progress on a normal path of development.

    Talk about playing the long game.

    I also like to think that the sheer momentum of letting the Cycle turn for that long will serve to hasten it’s destruction now that things are coming off the rails–there’s simply so much energy of history built up behind it that the Jenoine, even as powerful as they are, are no longer strong enough to halt The Cycle’s collapse, bring it under their control and start things over again.

  116. SKZB, you must have had an absolute blast writing the lyrics that head the chapters. It’s certainly a hoot to work them out. My compliments.

  117. I think there’s a mistake with the link to Chapter 16. I’m pretty sure that should be There’s No Business Like Show Business.
    You’d never let me down, Steven.
    Loved the book. I got all the songs except the Rogers musical, Call the Understudy, and Aquarius, which still makes me mad at myself.
    That was some cliffhanger. Tell me that’s not REALLY the last book, right?

  118. There will be at least ‘The Last Contract’ that goes after Lyorn, and ‘Creotha’ that goes Verra-knows-when (either in-between Dragon and Jhereg, or after Dzur… or both).

  119. Kathy: Hee hee hee. Rickrolling for the win. And, no, not the last book. As jaerraeth said, here will be two more: Chreotha, and The Last Contract.

  120. And after that – also Demon, Serioli, and Jenoine, because why not?..
    Or some desecrator may extract the full list of 31 pre-Empire tribes, and so…

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