The very brief but packed and tragic Act 5.
Chapter 37 (Skull header: Gideon — 9th House skull with a mandible and aviators, and the IX crossed out)
“’Okay,’ said Gideon. ‘Okay. Get up’” (p. 435). Gideon is with Harrow, talking and moving her through the next steps in the battle: make sure Camilla is safe, “take down” the bone construct, pick up the sword, and prepare herself to fight Cytherea. We barely notice the fight, though, because the real action is between Gideon, insisting that Harrow absorb her soul, and Harrow, horrified beyond comprehension. Harrow is the bystander in the swordfight. When Cytherea asks, “How do you feel, little sister?” it’s “Harrowhark’s mouth [that] said, ‘Ready for round three,’ and, ‘or round four. I think I lost track’” (p. 437), which is pure Gideon, and a repetition of her words in the Act 4 fight scene.
Cytherea is already dying from the augmented cancer, and (apparently) the narrator breaks in once again (first time was the point-of-view shift at the end of Chapter 32): “Cytherea the First vomited a long stream of black blood. There was no fear in her now. There was only anticipation verging on panicked excitement, like a girl waiting for her birthday party” (p. 438) — Eventually we’ll meet another girl waiting for her birthday party; the parallels are striking. As Harrow drives the sword home, “Cytherea the First sighed in no little relief. Then she toppled over, and she died” (p. 439). The referent is unclear; it could be that Cytherea is not afraid, but it could also be Harrow feels no fear now because Gideon is in/with her. It is, however, pretty clear that, after Harrow nudges along the acceleration of Cytherea’s cancer, Cytherea is actively dying, which makes the stabbing a mercy killing.
Harrow drops the sword, pulls Gideon’s body off the spikes, and sits beside her in the sun.
- “’There’s my sword,’ Gideon said. ‘Pick it up — pick it up and stop looking at me, dick. Don’t. Don’t you dare look at me’” (p. 436). Gideon is trying to get Harrow to focus because Cytherea is still a threat.
- “They were cheek to cheek: Gideon’s arm and Harrow’s arm entwined, holding the sword aloft, letting the steel catch the light. . . . Harrow looked back at Gideon, and Gideon’s eyes, as they always did, startled her; their deep, chromatic amber, the startling hot gold of freshly-brewed tea. She winked” (p. 436). I want to quote this whole chapter, because it’s so powerful and so heartbreaking.
- “Harrow said, with some difficulty: ‘I cannot conceive of a universe without you in it’” (p. 437). Make a note of this.
- Also, you’ve got to love the response, “Yes, you can, it’s just less great and less hot.”
- Gideon tells Harrow she’s basically a hallucination “produced by your brain chemistry while coping with the massive trauma of splicing in my brain chemistry” (p. 437). I don’t believe this for a second, but it’s a thing that Harrow has to believe in the moment.
- Why don’t I believe it? Because back in Chapter 34, Ianthe has an extended argument with dead Naberius about who’s in charge of her body, and Naberius fights her all the way.
- “Harrow could touch what Palamedes had done; nudge it; knock it out of Cytherea’s grip.
- ‘There,’ said Gideon, in Harrow’s ear, her voice softer now. ‘Thanks, Palamedes.’
- ‘Sextus was a marvel,’ admitted Harrow.
- ‘Too bad you didn’t marry him. You’re both into old dead chicks’ (p.438).
- Harrow has gone from fearing a “grey house” to calling Palamedes a marvel. If I’m not mistaken, this is unalloyed admiration from a woman who left the Ninth House determined to beat all her rivals. Quite an evolution for Harrow.
- Lovely final words between the two: “The weight of Gideon’s arms on Harrow’s forearms was getting more ephemeral, harder to perceive than the remembrance of an old fever. Her voice was in her ear, but it was very far away….’One flesh, one end,’ said Gideon, and it was a murmur now, on the very edge of hearing.
- Harrow said, ‘Don’t leave me.’
- ‘The land that shall receive thee dying, in the same will I die: and there will I be buried. The Lord do so and so to me, and add more also, if aught but death part me and thee,’ said Gideon. ‘See you on the flip side, sugarlips” (p. 438).
- The italicized passage is from the book of Ruth, and is Ruth’s pledge to her mother-in-law Naomi. It’s one of a number of passages that have been repurposed over time to mean something it most definitely originally did not mean what we take it to mean today (the Mizpah from the book of Joshua is another that comes to mind). Today the passage from Ruth is, I’ve been told, fairly common in the vows when lesbian couples marry.
- Although I don’t recall Ruth calling Naomi “sugarlips.’”
- The mix of funny and heartbreaking is what we’ve come to recognize as trademark Gideon.
- “Beside her, Gideon lay smiling a small, tight, ready smile, stretched out beneath a blue and foreign sky” (p. 439)
- Here endeth the Lyctor trials.
Epilogue (Skull header: First House)
Harrow wakes in deep space and meets God, a.k.a. the Emperor, who tells her he can’t restore Gideon’s life, and he needs her to help him in his war. Most of his Lyctors are gone. Harrow learns that Ianthe has survived, minus an arm, and that Camilla Hect, Judith Deuteros, and Coronabeth Tridentarius are missing. Also, Gideon’s body has vanished. Harrow agrees to serve as a lyctor, and God calls her “Harrowhark the First.”
- “’Had there been any less need you would be sitting back home in Drearburh, living a long and quiet life with nothing to worry or hurt you, and your cavalier would still be alive. But there are things out there that even death cannot keep down. I have been fighting them since the Resurrection. I can’t fight them by myself.’
- Harrow said, ‘But you’re God.’
- And God said, ‘And I am not enough’” (p. 441)
- First off, let’s remember that Drearburh was hardly a garden spot in which to live a long and quiet life.
- “Things out there that even death cannot keep down”? Related to the Resurrection. Why do I think the Resurrection was not an entirely positive event?
- In the Epilogue, God is presented as an unpompous, infinitely gentle and patient being. He speaks kindly of Cytherea, and remorsefully about what happened at Canaan House.
- “It wasn’t meant to happen like this. I intended for the new Lyctors to become Lyctors after thinking and contemplating and genuinely understanding their sacrifice — an act of bravery, not an act of fear and desperation. Nobody was meant to lose their lives unwillingly at Canaan House” (pp. 441-442).
- You know what would have helped with this?
- Why did all the necromancer/cavalier pairs immediately assume that there was one grand prize that couldn’t be shared? If God wanted them all to become lyctors after study and contemplation, and then intended they would all work together for the next 10,000 years, why set them up as rivals from the start?
- Remember that the building itself had elements from different ages mashed together. Someone had to strip all the notes from the lab facilities and place the keys to the original lyctor apartments in place. The whole test was set up.
- These two bullet points have occurred to me this time through: what was the purpose? In case you couldn’t tell, I have questions.
- If Cytherea hadn’t intervened, imagine how it would have gone. Which necromancers, do you think, knowing they would have to murder their cavaliers — the people most intimately joined to them with the “One flesh, one end” vow — would have gone through with it? Who would have refused?
- God says, “The loneliness of deep space takes its toll on anyone, and the necrosaints have all put up with it for longer than anybody should ever be asked to bear anything. That’s why I wanted only those who had discovered the cost and were willing to pay it in the full knowledge of what it would entail” (p. 442).
- He asks this decision be made by people of the average age of 24. The Fourth House is 13 and 14, the Sixth are both 20, the Ninth are 17 and 19. Abigail, Magnus and Protesilaus skew the numbers all the way up to 24. Let us talk about putting this kind of a decision on to the shoulders of a teenager.
- God tells Harrow she isn’t the first to become a Lyctor under duress. Therein lies a tale.
- God can’t go down to Canaan House. Harrow asks him why not, since that seemed to be the whole of Cytherea’s plan. “The Emperor said, ‘I saved the world once — but not for me” (p. 443).
- Notice he doesn’t answer her question.
- Notice also the ref to The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Frodo’s last speech to Sam: “I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them” (p. 309).
- He promises to renew the Ninth House. He asks her to help him hold on to the universe for a little while longer. Or she can go home to the Ninth (p. 443).
- Remember the choice he offers her.
- “If she saw herself in a mirror, she might fight herself: if she saw herself in a mirror, she might find a trace of Gideon Nav, or worse — she might not find anything, she might find nothing at all” (p. 444). This is a gut-level description of grief, your fear that the death of someone you love might have irrevocably marked you or, worse, that it might not have.
Whew! What a ride! With the introduction of God and the warning of “things out there that even death cannot keep down,” the universe is about to get a lot bigger.
There’s a wealth of extra material in the e-book version of Gideon, and next week I plan to spend some time summarizing the parts that are important going forward. Also next week, I want to talk about a short story that Muir published at Tor.com, “The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex,” set in the Sixth House and featuring Camilla and Palamedes, ages 13. You’ll like it, and it has application in the Locked Tomb series. So go read a fun short story!
Now, about all those pins….
Here is a list of things I suggested we pay attention to. Let’s see how many have been resolved.
- Gideon’s mother arrived at the Ninth brain dead. No one knows who Gideon is.
- Themes: inherited trauma, children paying for the sins/deeds of their parents.
- What happened to the other 200 children?
- This we know: they were murdered to make Harrow.
- Theme of delusion: do people see only what they want to see?
- Yes. The Ninth thinks Harrow’s parents are still alive, Gideon thinks Dulcinea is a half-step from death, everyone thinks Coronabeth is a necromancer. Let’s see if this one will continue to develop.
- Harrow says in Chapter 3 that Lyctorhood is her “chance for intercession.”
- We know now that she knows the survival of the House rests with her. And she also needs intercession for the crime of her conception.
- “Die in a fire, Nonagesimus.” (p. 47)
- Aiglamene: “Things are changing. I used to think we were waiting for something...and now I think we’re just waiting to die.” (p. 55) — How old is she, anyway?
- “You’ll do what I say, or I’ll mix bone meal in with your breakfast and punch my way through your gut.” (p. 60)
- Canaan House: “a House both long dead and unkillable. A sleeping throne. Far away its king and emperor sat on his seat of office and waited, a sentinel protecting his home but never able to return to it” (p. 66) — Why can he not return? “’It’s a grave’ said Harrowhark” (p. 68).
- The Third brings three people, not two: “Only trouble at the end of the line,” [Teacher] said, “and a trouble confined to them” (p. 74).
- Why trouble? Three can’t make a lyctor. One is going to be left out.
- The common prayer: “Let the King Undying, ransomer of death, scourge of death, vindicator of death, look upon the Nine Houses and hear their thanks. Let the whole of everywhere entrust themselves to him. Let those across the river pledge beyond the tomb to the adept divine, the first among necromancers. Thanks be to the Ninefold Resurrection. Thanks be to the Lyctor divinely ordained. He is Emperor and he became God; he is God, and he became Emperor” (p. 81) So many things to notice!
- The Eight Houses worship the Emperor; the Ninth House worships the Tomb.
- First mention of “across the river.” The river will feature prominently, very soon.
- The Ninefold Resurrection: we still don’t know what it is, but it sounds important.
- Echoes of “He was God, and became Man.”
- Teacher gives the assignment, and says that Lyctors were not born immortal, but were “given eternal life” (p. 83, my emphasis). “I see no reason not to hope that I may behold eight new Lyctors by the end of this, joined together with their cavaliers, heir to a joy and power that has sung through ten thousand years.” (84)
- Did you, like me, miss the significance of this the first time through?
- The mysterious hallway and door: the animal head is a ruminant’s, and I suspect it’s a cow (for reasons that won’t be apparent until Nona the Ninth but, when you see it, you’ll see it) (p. 96).
- Dulcinea: “You’re not the first Ninth nun I’ve ever met” (p. 105).
- So. Many. Clues. That Dulcinea is not who she claims to be.
- Dulcinea when Gideon takes off her glasses: “The eyes narrowed with intent, and for a moment the face was all business. There was something swift and cool in the blueness of those eyes, some deep intelligence, some sheer shameless depth and breadth of looking…. ’Lipochrome… recessive” (pp. 105-106).
- ”Dulcinea” recognizes Gideon and knows who she is. We don’t, but she does. And it’s her eyes that give it away. Tuck this in the back of your mind.
- Protesilaus returns and says, “It’s shut.” What’s shut?
- The lock to the Seventh House necro/cav rooms is filled with regenerating bone, which Harrow and Palamedes will eventually remove.
- Also, when you reread Gideon, the fact that Protesilaus arrives dead will leap out at you. Repeatedly.
- Palamedes: “Either this entire building was scavenged from a garbage hopper, or I am being systematically lied to on a molecular level” (p. 132). We haven’t made enough of the fact that something is weirdly askew at Canaan House. Palamedes is able to date materials that lie next to each other and are separated by thousands of years. Why has the house been set up this way?
- “’Down there resides the sum of all necromantic transgression,’ she said, in the singsong way of a child repeating a poem. ‘The unperceivable howl of ten thousand million unfed ghosts who will hear each echoed footstep as defilement….” (p. 151).
- I didn’t highlight this the first time through, but I should have. A couple things to notice:
- Teacher describes the facility as a place where “necromantic transgression” took place. We know this is where the lyctor trials were developed. Is that the transgression?
- Ten thousand million is ten billion. That’s a lot of ghosts. Remember Harrow’s comment: “It’s a grave”? And Isaac’s comment that the facility is mega-haunted? Why are there so many ghosts in Canaan House?
- Dulcinea tells Gideon, “I liked that dinner….It was useful” (p. 176).
- Useful because she realized that Abigail is a historian, and a threat, leading to the first set of murders.
- Palamedes interrupts their conversation to bring Dulcinea a cup of tea.
- Gideon realizes that something is up between the two of them, but Dulcinea appears to be unaware of it.
- Is this a test? I think it is, for reasons I’ll explain next week.
- Somewhere (again I failed to note it — sorry) Gideon and Harrow discuss Gideon’s two-handed sword, and Harrow says, “I never liked that sword. I always felt like it was judging me.” Yet another thing to pay attention to.
- The scene where the necromancers try to recall Magnus and Abigail’s ghosts, in retrospect, is filled with tells:
- Coronabeth doesn’t break a sweat! How awesome a necromancer is she?
- Ianthe eats parts of Naberius to augment her power. Does she already know what lyctorhood is?
- Teacher about Silas: “He cannot empty anybody here, lest they become a nest for something else!” (p. 191). Teacher was right.
- “The First House was no longer a beautiful and empty shell, buffeted by the erosion of time. Now it seemed more like the blocked-up labyrinths beneath the Ninth House, kept sealed in case something became restless. When she was young she used to have nightmares about being on the wrong side of the door of the Locked Tomb. Especially after what Harrow had done” (p. 202).
- It’ll help to remember that there are labyrinths beneath the Ninth House, and that things there are restless.
- What does it mean to be on the wrong side of the Locked Tomb door? We still don’t know.
- “Especially after what Harrow had done.” She opened the Tomb. Gideon’s nightmares are worse than her memories, and that’s saying something.
- The group photo where all the faces have been scribbled out.
- Cytherea at work. She doesn’t want anyone to recognize anyone.
- Our first “ONE FLESH, ONE END,” on a book flyleaf, signed G&P. Who are G & P?
- The note that Gideon finds: “ut we all know the sad + trying realit / is that this will remain incomplete t / the last. He can’t fix my deficiencies her / ease give Gideon my congratulations, howev” (p. 210). Someone wrote it 10,000 years ago. It’s going to be important.
- “Gideon . . .you’re so young. Don’t give yourself away. Do you know it’s not worth it . . . none of this is worth it, at all. It’s cruel. It’s so cruel. You are so young — and vital — and alive. Gideon, you’re all right . . . remember this, and don’t let anyone do it to you ever again. I’m sorry. We take so much. I’m so sorry” (p. 226).
- This is not Dulcinea talking, it’s Cytherea. “We take so much.” Understatement. It’s also the reason I think at the end of this act, Cytherea has no intention of killing Gideon; she knows a lot more about Gideon than we do.
- Palamedes to Judith: “Captain, God help you when you understand. My only consolation is that you won’t be able to put any responsibility on my head” (p. 241).
- Between his refusal to do the siphoning challenge and this conversation, Palamedes has figured out the lyctoral process and wants nothing to do it.
- Teacher: “Oh, Emperor of the Nine Houses, Necrolord Prime, God who became man and man who became God — we have loved you these long days. The sixteen gave themselves freely to you. Lord, let nothing happen that you did not anticipate” (p. 239).
- Reads differently now, doesn’t it?
- The megatheorem idea, from Palamedes: “The tasks and challenges — the theories underpinning them — they’re really not that disparate” (p. 303). And they all add up to a single master theory of lyctorhood, one he rejects because it’s horrible.
- We know how that worked out — Palamedes was right.
- The megatheorem’s correctness doesn’t, however, negate Harrow’s secret power source idea: “These experiments all demand a continuous flow of thanergy. They’ve hidden that source somewhere in the facility, and that’s the true prize” (p. 303).
- Her point is that there simply isn’t enough energy, either life or death energy, to power these spells, so the power source must be elsewhere. This is still hanging out there.
- Here’s another element: Palamedes: “No ghost remnants, nothing — this is impossible, you understand, it meant the spirit had somehow been removed entirely...The skeletons aren’t reanimations, Ninth, they’re revenants: ghosts inhabiting a physical shell… They are autonomously powering themselves. It debunks every piece of thanergy theory I ever learned.” (p. 366). So where is the energy coming from?
- Again, Palamedes: “The problem with necromancy...is that the acts themselves, if understood, aren’t difficult to do. But maintaining anything . . . we’re glass cannons. Our military survives because we have hundreds of thousands of heavily armed men and women with big swords… Thanergy’s transient. A necromancer’s biggest threat is honestly themselves“ (pp. 367-8). Something provides the power for all the spells that make Canaan House run, but the power source issue is still unsolved.
- Silas tells Gideon that her mother had the same color hair; Silas was more interested in her mother than in her. “You were an accidental inclusion. Glaurica confused the erroneous with the useful. But ghosts always do” (p. 318). Gideon’s striking red hair came from her mother. Glaurica’s role in marrying into the Ninth is still mysterious: what was she doing there when her House believed the Ninth was an abomination and heresy?
- “ Just hours before, she’d wrestled Harrow down in the dirt, and Harrow had scratched until she’d had half of Gideon’s face beneath her fingernails” (p. 333).
- Gideon asks Harrow what’s behind the door of the Tomb: “There’s a blood ward bypass on the doors which will only respond for the Necromancer Divine, but I knew there had to be an exploit...” (p. 357). Usually I would retire this pinned item, but it’s still not clear, so this one will stay up.
- “Suddenly, the dying necromancer seemed enormously old; not with wrinkles, but with the sheer dignity and quiet with which she sat there, totally serene” (p. 339).
- She should be dignified — she’s 10,000 years old! The text just screams “clue!” every time Dulcinea appears, but we see what we expect to see and discount the evidence that’s there.
- “Captain Deuteros cleared her throat over the fresh internecine squabbling. ‘Does anyone else want to take this opportunity to admit that they’re already dead, or a flesh construct, or other relevant object? Anyone?’ …. Teacher in the doorway with his hands folded before his gaudy rainbow sash. Nobody had heard him enter. ‘Maybe later, Lady Judith,’ he said” (pp. 342-343).
- Cytherea says to Palamedes: “Who knows what that soul melange was ever thinking?” (p. 402)
- The note, “CONFIRMED INDEPENDENTLY / HIGHLIGHTED BEST OPTION / ASK E.J.G. /YRS, ANASTASIA. / P.S. GIVE ME BACK MY CALIPERS / I NEED THEM” (p. 368).
- Harrow and Palamedes realize that Teacher is a construct. A construct (a puppet) needs a puppeteer, but no one appears to be controlling him. Just what is Teacher? Harrow says later that he’s a prototype, but for what?
- Judith: “Nobody should ever have to watch their cavalier die” (p. 374).
- The Sixth, Eighth and Ninth agree that half the ashes from the incinerator are from Protesilaus. They don’t know who belonged to the other half.
- Who lived in the room with the stopped-up lock? Cytherea and Loveday her cavalier. Who wrote YOU LIED TO US? Cytherea did. To whom is it addressed? Just guessing here, but I’ll bet it was to the one person she was trying to lure back to Canaan House — God. God lied.
- In Ianthe’s triumphant speech after absorbing Naberius, she tells the survivors: “I knew the energy transferral didn’t add up. None of the thanergy signatures in this building added up . . . until I realised we were being lied to. What the Lyctors of old were trying to tell us. You see, my field has always been energy transferral . . . large-scale energy transferral. Resurrection theory (p. 382). So resurrection is about the transfer of energy. ““I studied what happened when the Lord our Kindly God took our dead and dying Houses and brought them back to life, all those years ago… what price he would have had to pay. What displacement, the soul of a planet? What happens when a planet dies?”
- Ianthe: “I’m interested in the place between death and life . . . the place between release and disappearance. The place over the river. The displacement . . . where the soul goes when we knock it about . . . where the things are that eat us” (p. 382).
- Eight steps: preserve the cavalier’s soul, analyze it, absorb it, fix it in place, incorporate it, consume the flesh, reconstruct the spirit/flesh relationship, get the juice flowing.
- God will talk about the Eight-fold word. This is it.
- Colum Asht is possessed by something: “He now moved like there were six people inside him, and none of those six people had ever been inside a human being before” (pp. 391-392). The mouths for eyes, the long tongue; it’s horrible.
- “My name is Cytherea the First. . . Lyctor of the Great Resurrection, the seventh saint to serve the King Undying. I am a necromancer and I am a cavalier. I am the vengeance of the ten billion. I have come back home to kill the Emperor and burn his Houses” (p. 405).
- Camilla asks Gideon if Palamedes said anything and Gideon chickens out, telling her that he loved her. “What? No, he didn’t,” she answers. “Okay, no, sorry. He said — he said you knew what to do?”
- Cytherea to Gideon: “You don’t even know what you are to me . . . You’re not going to die here, Gideon. And if you ask me to let you live you might not have to die at all” (p. 424).
- House of the Emperor, his servants, and his Lyctors. Lyctors: immortal. Potential is unclear.
- Seat: Canaan House, where they can’t return. The reason is a unclear.
- Skull: no adornment.
- Planet: Earth
- Colors: white and scarlet, martial. Home of the Cohort, God’s armies.
- Characteristics: discipline
- Necro: Judith Deuteros, age 22, (Judith beheaded Holofernes), cavalier: Marta Dyas, age 27, (Marta=martial).
- Specialty: Spirit magic, use of thanergy in battle. They siphon their enemies to strengthen their cavaliers.
- Skull: A Spartan-style helmet
- Planet: Mars
- Colors: Violet?
- Characteristics: wealth and flash
- Necro: Ianthe and Coronabeth Tridentarius, princesses of Ida, both age 21, cavalier: Naberius Tern, age 23, Resurrection-pure line.
- Specialty: Spirit magic, “animaphilia” — lover of the soul
- Skull: Jewels in the eyeholes.
- Colors: Blue
- Characteristics: courage
- Necro: Isaac Tettares, Baron of Tisis, age 13, (Biblical Isaac foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice, Gideon Isaac foreshadows Gideon’s sacrifice), Resurrection-pure line; cavalier: Jeannemary Chateur, knight of Tisis, age 14 (ref to Jeanne d’Arc), Resurrection-pure line.
- Specialty: Spirit magic? It’s unclear, but Abigail Pent was training Isaac, so it’s logical.
- Skull: Wears a laurel wreath
- Notes: The Fourth supplies soldiers and necromancers to the Cohort. The Fourth has large families, since so many die in battle. The Fourth is first on the ground in war.
- Colors: nothing formal, but sensible brown works.
- Characteristics: Intelligence. Temporal power.
- Necro: Abigail Pent, age 37, Koniortos Court cavalier: Magnus Quinn, age 38. Husband and wife.
- Specialty: Sprit magic, speaking to the dead. Abigail is a famed historian.
- Skull: Wears a decorated headband, possibly a crown of thorns (h/t Ahianne).
- Notes: “Koniortos” = “dust” (h/t BMScott).
- Colors: gray
- Characteristics: scholarship, rare book librarian and conservatorship skills, medical expertise
- Necro: Palamedes Sextus, master warden, age 20, (Palamedes: genius Greek soldier in the Trojan War), cavalier: Camilla Hect, age 20. Second cousins.
- Specialty: Flesh magic, emphasis on science and magic.
- Skull: Clutches a scroll in its teeth.
- Planet: Mercury
- Notes: the Sixth House developed the process of cramming numerous souls into a body. Purpose and application still unclear.
- Colors: seafoam green
- Characteristics: love of beauty, especially the fleeting type. Fans of the beautiful death and heirs with hereditary cancer.
- Necro: Dulcinea Septimus, duchess of Rhodes, age 27 (Don Quixote’s nonexistent beloved); cavalier: Protesilaus Ebdoma, military veteran and famed fighter, age 39 (Protesilaus: the first Greek to die in the Trojan war). Rhodes: island in the Aegean, site of the Colossus, visited by both Herod the Great and the Apostle Paul.
- Lyctor: Cytherea and Loveday
- Specialty: flesh magic, with emphasis on the “beguiling corpse.”
- Skull: A rose in one eyehole.
- Colors: White
- Characteristics: orthodox purity, dogmatism, “White Templars,” the “Forgiving House”
- Necro: Silas Octakiseron, age 16; cavalier: Colum Asht, age 32, 34, or 37. (Colum: dove, a sacrificial animal)
- Specialty: spirit magic, focus on soul siphoning. Also hypocrisy.
- Skull: Blindfolded, denoting blind loyalty.
- Colors: black
- Characteristics: devotion to the Locked Tomb.
- Necro: Harrowhark Nonagesimus, age 17 (the Harrowing of Hell — Jesus’ liberation of souls during the three days he descended into hell, and hark! a doleful sound); cavalier: Gideon Nav, age 19 (Gideon: an Israelite prophet, military triumph of a small force over a larger one).
- Specialty: bone magic.
- Skull: lacking a mandible.
- Planet: Pluto.
Gideon the Ninth, Act 4, part 2
Gideon the Ninth, Act 4, part 1
Gideon the Ninth, Act 3
Gideon the Ninth, Act 2
Gideon the Ninth, Act 1
Introduction to The Locked Tomb
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