Welcome back to the group read of Tamsyn Muir’s The Locked Tomb series. We’re breaking for a week to do a little backfill before diving into Nona
the Ninth to take in two short pieces that were published in the e-reader and paperback versions of Harrow, one of which was subsequently published on the Locked Tomb publisher Tor’s website: As Yet Unsent and Blood of Eden Memorandum for Record.
When Harrow was published, the third and final volume was supposed to be Alecto the Ninth. That didn’t happen. The novel that became Nona was supposed to be Act 1 of Alecto but, after 130,000 words, Muir realized it was its own novel, and stands as such. We’ll have to wait for Alecto to end the story, and that’s October 10 of this year. We have a little under six months to wait.
The two short works we’re looking at this week provide information that will be vital in interpreting Alecto, and some of it is useful for Nona, so I want to cover them. They’re not long, but including them now (and a few other bits I wasn’t comfortable sharing before now because they were spoilery) will make it easier to catch the nuances and some of the character motivations that happen in the background.
Half of Nona is easier to read than the previous books in that the Point of View voice is a child who holds nothing back. This half of Nona is harder to parse because it’s a child who’s telling the story and who doesn’t entirely understand what’s going on around her. Also, she’s compartmentalized some of her knowledge from herself. That’s the minus side of the equation. The plus side is that the character is an absolute delight. We just don’t know who she is, although a discerning reader will figure it out pretty quick. And you all are nothing if not discerning.
The Other half of Nona is told in a dreamtime, or a memory, and it’s not entirely certain whose memory it is (well, it becomes clear but . . . spoilers). It’s also the most welcome info dump in sff history.
As ever, and in both halves of the novel, the viewpoint characters are the ones who know the least in their situations. All those careful reading skills you’ve been honing through Gideon and Harrow will pay off here.
Knowing all this, let’s dive in —
As Yet unsent
This is a report cum diary that Judith writes in code and hides in a “subdermal implant under Cohort procedures,” created during “Hostage Doctrine Phase Three: the period of captivity.” Some of these reports flesh out what happened between the murders in Canaan House and the episode where Harrow meets Camilla and the others on the planet she kills. It also gives us context going forward into Nona.
The first entry is dated five months after the events at Canaan House, and Judith is able to make a report because they’ve been moved from a ship to a planet, one with vegetation and animal life (necromancers starve in space, remember?). When we last saw Judith, she hadn’t been faring too well, having been stabbed through the gut with a huge bone shard and having a withered arm. Now she’s been stabilized with artificial organs, her arm apparently healed, the surgery having been done on a “steal planet,” one that the Nine Houses would euphemistically say has been “shepherded,” meaning it’s been killed. Throughout her account, she adopts the tone of an impersonal intelligence agent, but her authentic voice seeps through here and there.
Much of the diary centers around three major topics: the relationships among the captives, the condition of “the corpse,” and Blood of Eden.
First, let’s deal with the corpse: of course, it’s Gideon. And it won’t rot. Predators and scavengers won’t go near it. It’s a challenge for BoE, who leave it in the hot jungle, stick it under water, vary all kinds of conditions, but the body remains pristine. God’s daughter, don’t ya know?
- Coronabeth has taken Gideon’s rapier for herself, which Judith disapproves but Corona says she doesn’t think Gideon would mind.
- Corona says, “The Ninth was sweet. She was never anything but nice to me . . . She was yummy, too. Fantastic body. Makes a beautiful corpse.” Judith merely says, “She looks like someone who died fighting.”
- Camilla convinced Blood of Eden to bring Gideon’s body with them from Canaan House. “She never explained herself fully to me. Some business about a note.”
- If you recall from Gideon, Gideon gives Palamedes the Lyctor note that mentions her name, the one she took from the Second’s secret quarters. Palamedes must have told Camilla.
In Judith’s interpretation, Blood of Eden is taking advantage of an unjustified resentment among the colonized population by stoking their emotional upset.
- “Their main grievance is the resettlements. They are outraged that thanergenic conversion of a planet makes it no longer habitable for its previous organic life.”
- Hmm. They’re upset that their planets are being killed. Imagine that.
- Most of the BoE soldiers they deal with fought at Lemuria, which the Empire calls New Rho.
- Lemuria is the name zoologist Philip Sclater gave to a mythical country that suffered the same fate as the equally-mythical Atlantis.
- The “we’re killing it slowly” argument is the same one that Harrow used with John, that because the conversion takes place over generations, it can’t be called an offense or a crime. As it turns out, the victims of that conversion have opinions about that.
- Judith also argues with Coronabeth that the inhabitants are moved to a new planet with “full economic support” from the Empire, so it’s okay. (We’ll see in Nona how well that’s worked out.)
- “Their other line of attack is the business contracts.” The colonists have been bound by legal documents that end with the death of the Emperor. Who doesn’t die.
- The Nine Houses have lawyered up all the way to binding arbitration and non-compete clauses, all to mask the utter inhumanity of the way they treat people who are not them.
- They don’t treat their own people all that well, either.
- The command structure of Blood of Eden mystifies Judith, who has never seen consultation and consensus. She thinks that cell commander We Suffer is weak and allows insubordination, which tells us everything we need to know about the rigid chain of command (professional and personal) Judith has always lived under.
Judith’s intel on the three captives takes up much of the narrative.
Judith thinks that Camilla’s fatal flaw is that she loved Palamedes and that relationship has proven to be such a weakness that BoE exploits her ruthlessly, with Camilla refusing to re-examine her feelings enough to recognize the security risk to the Nine Houses. Judith also won’t believe the “source gram” that Camilla confirms contains six thousand year-old information about the Sixth House; nor does she understand that there’s a “break clause” at work.
- Camilla was “nonverbal” for the first month of captivity.
- The Source Gram is a communication that contains old information that only the Sixth House would know. Camilla insists that Palamedes would want her to investigate it.
- She forces Judith to stretch and exercise, so she’ll recover enough to be able to walk.
- Judith: “In many ways, [Camilla] was wasted on cavaliership to the Master Warden . . . “ (whom Judith did not like).
- Judith is at least smart enough not to say that to Camilla’s face.
Corona has been converted to BoE’s side. Entirely (maybe? — more about this below). Judith believes that she was converted first because “she has enough education and intellectual interest to latch on to their talking points, but no firsthand knowledge of what service is like.”
- She tells Judith that the Empire’s economic and military strategies are wasteful and don’t make sense. This accords with what we know of John’s “bewildering cartography, this invasion force,” as Augustine calls it, that he’s preparing for something else that he hasn’t told anyone about yet.
- Coronabeth “said what would be most economically productive was intermingling with these people, allowing immigration and absorption into the Nine Houses, that shepherd planets got more costly the further the Houses extended themselves, and that instead of creating long-lasting industry we were doing little more than slash-and-burn trading. Scattershot, she said. Notwithstanding the moral issue.”
- She’s right. We’ll see in Nona the effects of the Houses’ policies.
- “She said she had groomed herself for something and all it had done was make her unfit for the purpose. What purpose?”
- We don’t know.
- I have thoughts, though. I think Coronabeth had always planned to be Ianthe’s cavalier. Ianthe chose Naberius instead, because Corona is the only person in the world Ianthe loves as much as she loves herself, and she wouldn’t kill her. Corona, however, sees only Ianthe’s rejection, and turns on her.
- Whether that “turn” is genuine or permanent remains to be seen.
- Is it perhaps part of Ianthe’s grand plan?
- Camilla believes the Tridentarius twins both pretending to be necromancers was Ianthe’s idea, but Judith, who has known them for 12 years, says, “Coronabeth Tridentarius has never been party to anything she did not want to do, and never successfully carried out a plan she didn’t think up first.”
- When we stop to think about the twins and their motivations, it’s good to keep all this in mind.
- Camilla says Coronabeth is a good shot.
- Judith asks Corona if she’s attracted to Camilla, and she answers no, “one half plus one half is only ever half.”
- Two broken people can’t make a whole. We know about Camilla’s half, but who is Corona’s? Is it Ianthe, or is it Judith?
Judith fluctuates between marinating in her failure as a soldier and holding out against conversion.
- She was an admiral’s daughter, born to the military, and has never known anything else.
- She was in love with Marta Dyas, who rejected her. Judith thinks that made her a better soldier.
- She’s still loves Marta, who was, to her, perfect in every way.
- I can’t tell what’s sadder: that Judith tells the story about her feelings for Marta to Camilla or that she does it so she can tell Camilla how compromised over Palamedes she is.
- “I said, You’re obsessed with those bones and they are going to kill you. All for an empty remembrance of someone who should have taught you the danger of obsession.” [Do you see any relation to Ianthe saying love is acquisitive and Magnus telling Harrow that holding on to the possessions of love is the refusal to let go?]
- “Eventually she said, At least when the Warden acts like he knows everything, he generally does.”
- “I tried to tell her that what she had just said was indicative of everything that was going wrong, referring to him in the present tense . . .”
- Judith didn’t get the memo that Palamedes might not have a body, but he isn’t dead.
- She prides herself on being stronger than the average necromancer, and is proud that she could run a kilometer in 10 minutes (which is about average for a novice runner).
- She’s horrified that Blood of Eden has the stele-equipped Gorgon-class ship, and is so weakened that she’s dizzy. BoE tries to make her operate it, and Camilla gets a shout-out for coolness under fire.
- “You think you live behind a shield and then it comes to light that you have been cowering in a fog . . .”
- Self-awareness comes hard to some of these characters. This line reminds me of Harrow.
- “I asked the princess and Camilla Hect to kill me before Blood of Eden can do worse. Camilla said no. The princess said she would think about it.” This is quite funny.
- Marta “used to say that my greatest virtue was that I would always recognise when I was wrong, and my greatest flaw was an inability to communicate that recognition to others.”
Coronabeth and Judith
- “We had an argument.” It sums up their relationship, each vainly trying to move the other.
- Corona has converted to the BoE cause. Judith tells her that BoE hates them on principle and will never make peace with them, and Corona says, “Don’t talk to me about this one yet, Judith. I’m still fighting myself. Wait and see who wins.”
- Growing up, Coronabeth and Ianthe were allowed to invite only one child each to their birthday party. Ianthe always picked the person Naberius hated most at the time, and Corona always invited Judith.
- She tells that adorable story about pretending to be hurt at age 8.
- Judith remembers that Corona would send her flowers whenever she was promoted.
- The shipside flowers were obviously made by her personally.
- Corona: “Won’t you say one real thing to me? Won’t you show me one single solitary human thing? Or are you going to die talking to me like it’s just another party you wish was over already? . . . Ianthe always said we were born cursed.”
- It’s obvious that Corona loves Judith, and always has.
- Is it because Judith was the one person who was never wowed by Corona’s attentions? Is Coronabeth determined to win over someone she doesn’t impress?
- Corona asks Judith to take her as her cavalier, since Marta is dead. “My own necromancer wouldn’t have me. Won’t you let me be your cavalier? Here, now, at the end of the world? Save me, Jody. Bind me to you, or who knows where I will go? What throne will I mount, if you don’t bind me down?”
- This speech is loaded.
- Corona confirms that Ianthe was her necromancer.
- This plea: bind me to you, or who knows where I will go?
- What throne will I mount, if you don’t bind me down?
- She’s begging Judith for commitment — begging.
- Judith says that she committed herself to Marta “with the best and most pure of intentions.”
- “Why would I ever knowingly take Coronabeth Tridentarius’s, having desired her already for twelve long, stupid, fruitless years?
- Damn. Judith has loved Coronabeth for 12 years; Corona has loved her, and neither can break through. What throne will Coronabeth mount now?
“There is no way in this universe or in the universe contained within the River . . .”
- Interesting way to put it. I don’t think we’ve seen a reference to a universe inside the River before.
The Lyctor who heals Judith: Mercymorn. How can we tell? The extra exclamation points are a dead giveaway.
- To Mercy, Judith is just a thing (note: Judith is one of her own people):
- “The ship will move if you put this thing in the station controls.”
- “Keep this thing clean and don’t expose it to people. Make sure you wipe down its surfaces.”
- Just in case you had been feeling any sympathy for Mercymorn, this should end that.
- BoE asks for the location of the “anchor,” and she says, “I’ve given you the blasted co-ordinates, haven’t I? It won’t be in the ship’s stellar registry, so you’ll have to do the input work yourself. And you must follow the route I’ve given you afterward. You understand that if the stele is discovered by God, this is all over.”
- Where are they planning to go? What secret place that’s not on a ship’s registry?
- “I’ve facilitated your extraction mission and that is frankly as far as I am willing to go . . .”
- The extraction mission was presumably from Canaan House. There’s no other way Blood of Eden could have gotten in and out virtually under the Cohort’s noses.
- “Now show me this wretched body. I don’t believe this story for a second. What you’ve done is accidentally kept it airtight . . .”
- Hello, Gideon. Remember when Mercy tells her, “When they showed me the body I didn’t check the eyes . . .”
- “I think they just clone you all out of the same vat!!’ I’m not sure who this reference tells more on — the Houses or Blood of Eden, but I lean toward the Houses.
All told, poor poor Judith. She finally gives up on the record, after she realizes that BoE is working with a Lyctor.
The events in “As Yet Unsent” take place before Harrow meets Camilla, Corona, and Judith on the planet. Judith has recovered enough by then to be on crutches.
Blood of eden memorandum for record
This short work provides rules for engagement in battle with the Nine Houses and contains the sum of what Blood of Eden knows about necromancy. Most of it will figure in Alecto, and I’m tempted to reprise it when we finally read Alecto together. But what will be useful for Nona is treated here.
The Memorandum is addressed to three companies, or wings, of Blood of Eden: Tartessus Wing, Merv Wing, and Suva Wing. In Nona, of the three, we see only Merv Wing and Ctesiphon Wing, which has custody of Camilla, Coronabeth, Judith, and Gideon’s body, and is under the command of We Suffer. Because we’re all about the Classics (and the Kiwis) in this universe, it’s worth noting that Tartessus Wing is named for a region in southwest Spain that was called Tarshish in the Bible, Merv Wing for an ancient city in Turkmenistan, Suva Wing for the capital of Fiji, and Ctesiphon Wing for an ancient city in Iraq. Pro tip: when in doubt, look it up.
The fact that the Memorandum is addressed to these Wings means that these three companies are expected to go to battle against the Houses, as opposed to Ctesiphon Wing, which appears to have a more strategic mission, and there will be more about this in Nona.
The Memo outlines two basic objectives for the upcoming battles: to maximize long-term damage to the Empire, and to minimize BoE casualties. To that end, the companies are ordered to look first for a necromancer and take that person out first, because BoE recognizes that necromancers can draw strength from the deaths around them. The Memo spends a lot of time outlining what BoE believes are necromantic powers and what’s mythology. Some of it is amusing; much of the humor fades, though, in recognition of how grim their situation is and how overmatched the BoE soldiers have been. Their overriding standing order is: when in doubt, don’t engage.
As we head into Nona I have a couple of questions, and I’ll bet you have a few, too. I’ll go first:
What is John up to? He’s been sending his Lyctors against the Resurrection Beasts for all these thousands of years, although he’s not afraid of them, and they’re not a threat to him. He’s the one who’s told them that the RBs are after them because they committed the ultimate necromantic sin in taking in their cavaliers’ souls. But we have his word for this — only his. And he’s a liar. He admitted, for instance, that Anastasia cracked the code on perfect Lyctorhood but botched the process because she couldn’t fully ingest Samael, so he killed Samael to save her. Does anyone really believe this? (I don’t. I think it’s far more likely that he didn’t want perfect Lyctorhood solved and interrupted the procedure. Why would Anastasia fully ingest Samael if Samael was going to survive?)
If both the Resurrection Beasts and Blood of Eden are side quests, what’s the main objective?
It also seems like, while all the Lyctors have been consorting with the enemy in one scheme or another, John has been cooking up his own plans, and they involve setting up a new crop of Lyctors. He didn’t intend for things to go sideways at Canaan House: ideally, he would have had eight new Lyctors to train and to dazzle. Remember, until Mercymorn showed up on Erebos, John had no intention of returning to the Mithraeum, which is where Mercy needed him to be, since she had given BoE their coordinates. During Cytherea’s funeral, John suddenly shifts lines of reminiscences and questions, throwing Mercy and Augustine off balance — I suspect he was trying to catch them in lies. It feels very much like he’s wrapping up one phase of his existence and getting ready to start again.
Finally, when we first read Gideon, there’s no indication that either Ianthe or Coronabeth are going to be major characters, unless you’ve read the “A Little Explanation of Naming Systems” that is included in the e-reader and maybe (?) the paperback. If you read it, you would expect something from them. Here’s the note I did not include until now:
In the original, Ianthe and Corona were “Cainabeth and Abella,” a feat of naming so unsubtle that I might as well have just gone with “Goodtwin” and “Badtwin.” And it’s not even accurate! It should be Badtwin and Lessbadtwin.
For those who zoned out in Genesis, Cain and Abel are the sons of Adam and Eve. Both make sacrifices to God. Cain’s sacrifice is rejected, while Abel’s is found pleasant in God’s eyes. Cain gets mad and murders his brother. If the parallel holds, Ianthe’s sacrifice is pleasing to God, while Coronabeth’s is not. How will Coronabeth react?
Make of that what you will. I think it’s portentous, and it makes me wonder about the schemes that the two are cooking up separately and (maybe) together.
One final note: On Reddit and elsewhere, it’s common for the Emperor Undying to be called Jod — a portmanteau of “John” and “God.” It’s imaginative and clever. On the plus side, it acknowledges both parts of John’s nature, his human frailty and his astonishing powers. And it beats the [insert appropriate noun here] out of calling him God. I understand why people use it.
For myself, I will stick with “John.” Why? Because he is a character. He calls himself God Capital G but, in doing so, he claims for himself a title he doesn’t deserve. Undoubtedly he named himself before resurrecting his first followers, and it feels . . . prejudicial? gaslit? complicit? . . . to go along with acknowledging divinity for a character who combines the majesty of Chris Pratt’s Starlord and Elon Musk’s magnanimity.
This is a weird sticking point, sure, but the point is that John is a character. While mythology (and fantasy) are full of gods (small g gods), outside of Milton, God does not operate as a character, not even in Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens. In literature “God” and even “god” operates as a force, a mostly-unknowable force (and here the Marvel universe has done a serious disservice in robbing deity of its awe-factor. The movies are fun, but really . . . they’re not literature). Therefore, “Jod” is a good compromise, recognizing his power without succumbing to the temptation of assuming infallibility, while “John” emphasizes his humanity and fallibility, as well as his responsibility for his actions. He’s done terrible things, made horrific choices, justified the unjustifiable, and cracked some seriously bad jokes. “John” is a man — just a man — and I want to keep him that way.
Courtesy of Reading the End. Occasionally I will note a reference they don’t have.
Here is a list of things I suggested we pay attention to. Since the list is long, I’ve removed items that have been resolved.
GIDEON THE NINTH
- “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) P.S.: Aiglamene gave Gideon the sword and encouraged her to go to Canaan House.
- “’Down there resides the sum of all necromantic transgression . . . The unperceivable howl of ten thousand million unfed ghosts who will hear each echoed footstep as defilement….” (p. 151).
- The 10,000 year-old 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).
- It’s from Anastasia to Pyrrha, about her failure to become a Lyctor.
- 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). I’m about to retire this pin: what’s important is that Anastasia “got” perfect Lyctorhood, and John ruined the attempt. E.J.G.: Emperor John Gaius.
- Ianthe: “I’m interested in the place between death and life . . . where the things are that eat us” (p. 382).
- Colum Asht is possessed by something with mouths for eyes, a long blue tongue.
- God: “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’” (p. 441).
- God can’t go down Canaan House. He says, ‘I saved the world once — but not for me” (p. 443).
APPENDICES OF GIDEON THE NINTH
- Thanergenic planets: are powered by thanergy. Only the Nine Houses are thanergenic.
- Thanergy planets: are planets in the process of being killed by necromancy. Every part of the Empire outside the Nine Houses is made of thanergy planets, whose inhabitants are colonized, but aren’t citizens. On thanergy planets the life is slowly mutating and dying off.
THE MYSTERIOUS STUDY OF DOCTOR SEX
- Dulcinea writes a letter to “My dearest pals...” Either to Palamedes or to him and Camilla both.
- The Lyctoral letter: Darling girl,
Tomorrow you will become a Lyctor and finally go where I can’t follow. I want you to keep this letter when you are far away and think of me and want me and can’t have me, and know that no matter how far you travel, nor how long the years feel, the one thing that never stays entombed is
HARROW THE NINTH
- The Mithraeum. The bovine skulls in Canaan House. Also Sprach Zarathustra.
- Harrow: “Beloved dead...let me live long enough to die at your feet.”
- John: “I mastered Death; I wish I’d done the smarter thing and mastered Time.”
- From “The Little Mermaid”: the chance to live as a human, also the bit about sharing souls.
- Harrow was the 311th direct descendent of the Tomb keeper, and the 87th Nona.
- John says there’s a hiccup with FTL travel in that it destroys something to do with time and distance.
- John has been fighting with Blood of Eden for 5,000 years. He’s been searching for another enemy for 10,000, but we don’t know who.
- Ianthe: “I always take the smartest option first . . .” Pair this with Harrow’s opinion that Ianthe dismisses as unimportant everything she isn’t interested it.
- Palamedes cracked the question of perfect Lyctorhood. Everyone else has done it wrong (except John).
- Something has gone wrong with the River.
- John says his work is “not yet finished.”
- A.L.: The First, Alecto. Who/what is she? She’s John’s cavalier. He can’t kill her.
- Why did John lie to his Lyctors and induce them them to kill their cavaliers?
- Gideon tells Ianthe that Harrow has already opened the Tomb. Never forget that Ianthe has her own plans, and they involve Harrow staying alive . . . among other things.
- Two words: Ass jokes.
- Wake, Gideon’s mother, is the charismatic commander of Blood of Eden, now deified by BoE.
- “Space was being cleared for a new character” (p. 464).
- Mercy says that the Resurrection Beasts were coming for Alecto.
- Augustine begs John to stop his 10,000 year old mission. “Nobody has to be punished anymore for what happened to humanity” (p. 483).
- Pyrrha wishes that Augustine had given them the packet.
- House of the Emperor, his servants, and his Lyctors.
- Seat: Once Canaan House, now the Mithraeum.
- Skull: no adornment.
- Planet: Earth
- Primary: John Gaius (gold eyes), aka God; his cavalier: Alecto (black eyes).
- 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).
- Lyctor: Ortus, saint of Duty (brown eyes); his cavalier: Pyrrha Dve (green eyes).
- Canaan House trial: Projection and winnowing (the big bone construct). Pyrrha invented it.
- Pyrrha was a “bombshell” (John) and a “stone-cold fox” (Augustine).
- 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 (purple eyes), cavalier: Naberius Tern, age 23 (blue eyes).
- Lyctor: Cyrus; his cavalier: Valancy Trinit.
- Cyrus drew the sixth Resurrection beast into a black hole.
- Valency thinks that “one flesh, one end” sounds like instructions for a sex toy.
- Specialty: Spirit magic, “animaphilia” — lover of the soul
- Skull: Jewels in the eyeholes.
- Planet: by the process of deduction: Neptune. It’s beautiful. It’s also the RB Number Seven.
- Colors: Blue
- Characteristics: courage
- Necro: Isaac Tettares, Baron of Tisis, age 13; cavalier: Jeannemary Chateur, knight of Tisis, age 14.
- Lyctor: Ulysses; his cavalier: Titania Tetra.
- Augustine calls Ulysses “a madman” who incited “the sexy parties.”
- Specialty: Spirit magic? It’s unclear, but Abigail Pent was training Isaac, so it’s logical.
- Skull: Wears a laurel wreath
- Planet: Saturn? (h/t RunawayRose)
- 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.
- Lyctor: Augustine, saint of Patience; his cavalier: Alfred Quinque (eyes gray).
- Alfred, with Christabel, coin the phrase “one flesh, one end.”
- Second disciple in the Resurrection.
- Alfred “led astray” by Cristabel.
- Specialty: Spirit magic, speaking to the dead. Abigail is a famed historian.
- Skull: Wears a decorated headband, possibly a crown of thorns (h/t Ahianne).
- Planet: Jupiter
- 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.
- Lyctor: Cassiopeia; her cavalier: Nigella Shodash.
- Cassiopeia developed the magma metaphor to explain travel in the River.
- She led a Resurrection Beast into the River and was ripped apart by ghosts in seven minutes.
- Described by John as “brilliant and sensible and careful.” (HtN, p. 97). And a good cook. And an easy drunk. Protective of and/or jealous around Nigella.
- Nigella: “prettier” than Pyrrha Dve.
- 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; cavalier: Protesilaus Ebdoma, 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, Saint; her cavalier: Loveday Heptane (blue eyes).
- Cytherea was one of the 2nd generation Lyctors.
- Loveday was fiercely protective of Cytherea, and the rest at Canaan House disliked her.
- Second generation of disciples, the last to arrive at Canaan House.
- Specialty: flesh magic, with emphasis on beauty.
- Skull: A rose in one eyehole.
- Planet: Venus.
- Colors: White
- Characteristics: orthodox purity, dogmatism, “White Templars,” the “Forgiving House”
- Necro: Silas Octakiseron, age 16; cavalier: Colum Asht, age 32, 34, or 37.
- Lyctor: Mercymorn, saint of Joy; her cavalier: Cristabel Oct (grayish hazel eyes).
- With Alfred, Cristabel coined the phrase “one flesh, one end.”
- First of the disciples after the Resurrection.
- Augustine calls Cristabel “a fanatic and an idiot,” and blames her for “leading Alfred astray.”
- There’s some relationship between the Eighth House and the stoma, a place that God cannot comprehend. Augustine says the House “sucks at it . . . like a teat.” Likely has a relationship with soul siphoning.
- The entropy and siphoning challenge at Canaan House: Mercy designed it.
- Specialty: spirit magic, focus on soul siphoning. Also hypocrisy.
- Skull: Blindfolded, denoting blind loyalty.
- Planet: Uranus (of course). It’s a pale planet.
- Colors: black
- Characteristics: devotion to the Locked Tomb.
- Necro: Harrowhark Nonagesimus, age 17; cavalier: Gideon Nav, age 19.
- Not-a-Lyctor: Anastasia; her cavalier: Samael Novenary.
- Specialty: bone magic.
- Skull: lacking a mandible.
- Planet: Pluto.
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