It’s Day 4, 48 hours until the Tomb opens.
There’s a long history in Classical literature, beginning, as far as we know, with Greek tragedy, of giving away the end before the play starts. This is the nature of tragedy: relieving the audience of suspense: if you know in advance that Oedipus is going to end up ruined or Antigone is going to die, you can sit back and appreciate, not what happens, but how and why it happens. You don’t have to root for the character, or hope that this time it’ll be different — this time, our hero is going to defy the odds and win. Therefore, you experience what Aristotle called catharsis, that is, feeling all the pity and the terror of the hero’s circumstances, in all its fullness, and thereby be cleansed of it, your understanding of suffering deepened.
Throughout the history of theatre up to and including the Renaissance, this general axiom of tragedy held. Shakespeare gives it a nod, as in Romeo and Juliet, when in the Prologue, the Chorus tells the audience that the death of the two lovers will end a feud. There is no hope that Romeo will arrive late at the tomb and find Juliet awake — instead we watch and weep.
It’s not melodrama — it’s exactly the opposite. In melodrama you focus less on the how and why and more on the what; you get emotionally wrapped up in the will they? or won’t they? instead of looking past the events to their causes and the forces that drive the action.
This is the tradition that Muir draws on. We know the Tomb is going to open. Now we watch the how and why; we consider the motivations that drive all the characters to act as they act. For instance, how involved is Blood of Eden in opening the Tomb? Why would anyone want it open? (That’s easy: everyone knows that the Death of God is in there.) Who wants to keep it closed? (That too is easy: John has gone to great lengths to keep the Tomb impregnable but, for all his efforts, the Tomb is going to open). What is to be gained or lost, and all those other big questions that we have pending — that’s what we focus on.
Day 4 is heavy on action. We’ve spent a lot of time on the build-up, so for this day we’ll have fewer pins and less explanation. You don’t need it. Without further ado:
Chapter 17 Header: a green shoot
Nona wakes and, for the first time, Camilla isn’t there to record her dream. Throughout this section, Camilla is preoccupied about Pyrrha’s disappearance; her inattentiveness leads to some dire consequences. First up, Nona remembers how she wanted to tell Palamedes that she had gone to the broadcast, but Palamedes is so focused on Pyrrha that he doesn’t give her an opening. When she wakes she tries to record her dream but mixes up the buttons and listens in on a conversation between Cam and Pal about Blood of Eden’s objectives and their longing for each other, before the tape gives way to one of Nona’s early dreams. She’s struggling to communicate, but clearly the dream is still the dream of the pool.
At breakfast, Camilla tells Nona that Pyrrha had to have made an on-the-spot decision about where she was going, because she left her guns behind. They’re going to the spaceport, but first Camilla agrees to go to school so that Nona can say goodbye. As they leave the building, it’s obvious that everyone else in the complex is also getting ready to leave, and the streets are under military guard.
The kids, but for Born in the Morning, have gathered at school — the only stable place they know — and Angel arrives. Camilla thanks her for looking after Nona, and the Angel tells her to come upstairs and they’ll talk. She starts to advise the kids about surviving in the coming days, and how to make rational decisions about survival. She gives them a map to show them what places to avoid and where to be safer, and she talks about what they can expect from the Houses. Born in the Morning shows up and all the kids swear their loyalty to each other.
It’s a longer-than-usual chapter and there’s some stuff here that isn’t self-evident, so here goes:
- Pyrrha took off at least an hour before the broadcast was announced, so that wasn’t what motivated her (p. 228). Nona reminds Palamedes about the shuttle, and it clicks for him — she took off because of the shuttle.
- The recording: Blood of Eden wants Nona to be Harrowhark, but neither Camilla nor Palamedes know why. Palamedes thought they kept Judith alive to make a Lyctor of her, but “I’m not so sure. I think I buy Corona’s story that she’s the getaway vehicle” (p. 230). They need her to operate the stele. “But it’s Harrowhark they want — or at least, it’s Harrow that We Suffer wants . . . Everything comes back to the Tomb” (p. 230).
- There are two operational plans (that we know about): use of the stolen ship with a stele to attack somewhere in the Houses, and the chance to turn Harrow into a weapon against John.
- Camilla and Palamedes argue about their relationship: P: “Here I am, installed in your body, mere minutes from chewing up your soul … Camilla, I can’t bear this. I’m eating your life” . . . C: “I’ve carried you, Warden. And I’ve carried your memory … I’d rather carry you . . .Love and freedom don’t coexist, Warden” . . . P: “This is all there is to love? Simply by being in your life, I have added indelibly to its weight?” . . . C: “Yes” (p. 230).
- Notice that Camilla always calls Palamedes by his title, Warden? She might call him Palamedes to a third party, but never to his face. Just notice the pattern.
- When he says, “I adore you, Scholar,” she answers, “Indubitably, Warden” (p. 230). Which is one of the first things we hear Camilla say in Gideon, p. 131.
- They wonder whether “Nona’s actually — a completed merger? One we will never actually be able to unpick, a successful soul gestalt?” (p. 231).
- They are thinking of trying what John said couldn’t be done, but something they know (from Pyrrha’s example) is possible: separating the souls of necromancer and cavalier.
- Then there is something else that’s possible: a true merger of two souls that can’t be undone.
- Camilla tells her that, after today, she probably won’t see her friends again. “She was glum, but she had been expecting it” (p. 234).
- I’ve mentioned before that Nona is changing, but those changes are starting to accelerate.
- We also have to wonder what else Nona hasn’t been telling herself.
- She heard Varun make “a low, voiceless moan — a wanting sound — but quiet, on the edge of hearing” and she asks for help, then adds “Don’t do anything weird, okay? I’m having enough trouble right now” (p. 234).
- Everyone is preparing to run. “There was something electric in the air, as though the city were tensed and waiting for a loud noise” (p. 234). Militia is on patrol and tempers are high. We learn later in this section that the Building is a Blood of Eden safe house, so the residents know what to expect if they stay — interrogation, torture, and execution.
- Nona feels “fragile” and is on the edge of a tantrum, but pulls herself back (p. 237). This becomes important later — she’s on a short fuse.
- When Beautiful Ruby disrespects her mother for saying she’ll accept House rule again, Hot Sauce calls her mother “weak,” but the Angel explains to them that individual situations and loyalties are complicated because people have to care for others and make compromises to keep their loved ones safe: “Don’t care about what people say … care about what people do” (p. 239). She warns them against doctrinal thinking: “If you think in black and white your brain can’t be agile” (p. 240)
- They talk about Lemuria, where the Angel was born and was part of the third society to be settled on the thanergy planet. The Angel was a zoo director when the mutation tipping point came: “The Houses pulled support, said they’d prep us for an early move, but they left minimal forces in the barracks. We dug up old caches of materiel and used them. On the mutants from the sea, on the animals as they changed, on one another, on the Houses when they saw what we’d got our hands on and came back to take control. Blood of Eden was there too, you know. And in the end the Houses won and most of us surrendered and we were moved” (p. 240).
- This is pretty much exactly what’s happening on New Rho, with the addition of a Resurrection Beast.
- “There’s still a facility on Lemuria . . . for geopolymer refining . . . Microsilicates, zeolites. Industrial sands” (p. 240).
- When the Angel asks why Southgate would be a good refuge, and Nona gives a strategically sophisticated answer (p. 242). This is one of the things that Nona knows but doesn’t admit.
- The Angel advocates for a “middle ground” because there are too many unknowns. They don’t think necromancers will land because of Varun, and “they may simply shell the place if things get too bad . . . Lots of people are about to start streaming out, and it’s in the Houses’ best interest that the population stays in one place, and stays put” (p. 244). This is a strategic intel mindset, and tells us a lot about the Angel’s perspective.
- They start to close up the school. Aim tells Nona “I have a lot of bosses . . . Millions” (p. 246).
- She sees the drawing that Nona made and stops dead. “She said, ‘Sure,’ as though everything were normal and she hadn’t acted like she had been knifed” (p. 246).
- Hot Sauce: “Edenites go through people like water” (p. 248). Hot Sauce and the others in the gang are more radical than Blood of Eden.
Chapter 18 Header: Eighth House skull.
While they’re clearing up the classroom, “Camilla” trips and touches Aim. Aim asks Nona how she knew to draw a “cradle creature.” Aim explains that she’s only ever seen a picture in a politically active archaeological group. “Camilla” asks if she had ever been treated by necromancers and Aim almost panics. Noodle does. Aim puts Noodle in the kitchen and all but begs Nona to go with him, but Nona remains. Aim accuses Palamedes of being a Lyctor, and he swears on Camilla’s life that he is not. Hot Sauce enters the room just as Nona is shot.
She regains consciousness to hear Pash trying to cancel an order to Merv Wing. Pash and the Angel argue over her extraction. They decide to fight, but first Pash wants to make sure Nona and Camilla are dead. Nona sits up and Pash shoots her again. Camilla comes around. Aim tries to call Merv Wing off and warns them if they come upstair they’ll be killed. Camilla prepares to help them defend themselves, and Aim admits she called for them to killed. Nona goes to the generator room to make sure Hot Sauce is safe. Hot Sauce is panicked and asks if she “made it up” and Nona plays along. The Angel retrieves them and they return to the classroom, where Hot Sauce realizes that Nona was indeed shot in the head. She pulls her gun and shoots her again.
- Some on the internet theorize that the cradle creature is an elephant, but no one knows.
- Palamedes has heard the term “cradle creature” before (p. 251).
- Palamedes asks if Aim has gotten an implant from a House necromancer (p. 252). It sounds like something he’s familiar with. Aim’s reaction startles Nona: “She suddenly seemed older and more shrunken — rather than tiny and buoyant, tiny and withered” (p. 252).
- Each knows the other now — the game is up (whatever that game is).
- Noodle recognizes it, too.
- She returns from the kitchen “still looking grey and haggard but more resolute and settled” (p. 252). This is because she’s given the extermination order.
- “Nona sat herself down in one of the big puddles of blue light, enjoying the sensation of it and absolutely nothing else that was going on” (p. 253).
- Aim tells Pash they’ll take Hot Sauce and get out of the building before Merv Wing comes in because she’ll be killed (p. 256).
- Aim didn’t know that Camilla and Nona were part of Troia Cell. She didn’t know that Nona lived in the safe house. Pash didn’t realize that Nona was in school, either.
- “Aunty always told me it was ninety percent superstition and ten percent for the fun of it” (p. 258) with respect to shooting people.
- “’Pash shot us!’ she wailed. ‘And my teacher! Palamedes was talking to the Angel and someone shot us through the window and now the carpet’s gross! This is the worst day of school ever!” (p. 259).
- Even with everything falling apart, there is no way this will ever not be funny.
- “We’ve got my dog in here! No, we will not put on a gas mask, this is a coup — Fine. If you come up those stairs the lifeguard will shoot you” (p. 260).
- Noodle is more important than we suspect, I think.
- Merv Wing is going to try to capture Aim.
- Merv Wing would have murdered Hot Sauce to avoid leaving witnesses.
- “She and Hot Sauce held hands all the way down the corridor. She thought Hot Sauce looked at her a little strangely” (p. 266). She knows. The question is, how much of a child soldier is she? Answer: in the short run, she’s enough of a child soldier to shoot someone she loves as a sister in the head, close up and personal.
John 5: 1
In this dreamtime, everything John wants is at hand, so when he wants a can of gas to torch a car with, he can put his hands on one. Earlier in the dream sequences, she would have to prompt him with questions to get him to talk; now, however, he’s on a roll and, in fact, “he wasn’t really talking to her. He was talking at her” (p. 27).
At this point, his grievances are piling up and the group tries to figure out how to make the world pay attention when other people are invested in discrediting them. They enter into an agreement to have John remotely puppet a dead world leader and take payment in several billion dollars and a suitcase nuke.
- John is still determined to save the planet, not abandon it, which is what the trillionaires want to do.
- P— (Pyrrha) advises they get something they can use as leverage: “If they want to make you into a bad wizard, be a bad wizard. We can write the history books to say you were a good wizard . . . They’re not going to listen because we talk nicely, they’re going to listen because we scare the shit out of them” (p. 271).
- NCEA Level 2 is Catholic School accreditation and the equivalent of a high school diploma.
- The “big black car with a bunch of suits in it” (p. 271) is an organization willing to pay enormous bucks for John to puppet their leader. They decided to consider the money their funding to start up their cryo project again.
- When they realize it’s the head of a major country, despite the risks, they go ahead with the puppet plan (p. 273).
- The country is one that has nuclear weapons, which narrows the field considerably.
- Meanwhile, they discover that the FTL project has been internationally green-lighted, which just infuriates John. “Everyone showed us what looked like evidence to them, and when we argued back they reminded us that cows had best friends and complex social relationships” (p. 273).
- John’s anger and outrage, his grievance and resentment, are starting to pile up. On top of it, he takes bad press and shitposting personally. Muir doesn’t come out and say it, but it’s clear from John’s actions and words that he’s thin-skinned.
Chapter 19 Header: the Tomb with chains broken
Nona wakes up shackled and restrained, and has a tantrum. She tears her body apart breaking the bonds and breaking out of the room. BoE soldiers shoot her and she she just gets madder. Someone drops a hood over her head and swaddles her. She hears herself say, “Fool. You’re killing her” (p. 278).
Nona’s tantrums are really something.
- “Her sight and her sound and her smell came back all at once, but her memories stayed weirdly distant, like they were shuffling their feet behind a doorway, waiting to announce a surprise party” (p. 275).
- At least part of Nona is still anticipating her birthday.
- She doesn’t remember her first tantrum, but it frightened Pyrrha, who “had been laughing with her mouth, but not with her eyes: her eyes had been very brown and distant and uneasy, as though this tantrum had reminded Pyrrha of something her brain didn’t want to bring back” (p. 275).
- Remember that the Lyctors prevailed on John to put Alecto down because of her anger and her inability to act human.
- “The ocean made her stop being angry, and had a prolonged effect” (p. 276).
- Salt water. Nona is a “green thing” and a “salt water creature.” Salt water has a sacramental quality.
- Her anger is a super power: she screams “until her throat broke and healed and broke again and she was screaming blood as well as sound. This was her warning to everyone else” (p. 276).
- The scream is a warning that it’s about to get worse.
- “Nona’s anger gave her the power to not listen” to pain or to any restraint.
- She tears her body apart to get free. Make a note of that.
- When she breaks the door, they shoot her and all the manage to do is make her madder.
- One fool shoots her again and she screams at them, making them drop their gun and cover their ears, “and she opened her mouth to remember her teeth” (p. 277).
- So . . . did she rip his face off? Maybe?
- “When it all went dark, her body seemed to remember that she had used something up inside her, something enormous, and she started to tremble . . . she heard her mouth say, savage and distinct and cool despite the trembles: ‘Fool. You’re killing her.’ But she was only talking to herself, after all” (p. 278).
- Who is talking, and to whom? Many readers think this is Alecto talking to the part of herself that is Nona.
John continues down his path of trying to change to public’s mind and failing in the face of his adversaries’ lies, threats, and disinformation. John realizes that the trillionaires are deceiving the public, holding out the promise of survival but with no intention of fulfilling it — they aren’t building a fleet of ships, just enough to save themselves and abandon everyone else. He drops the scientific persona and announces that he’s a necromancer.
- She isn’t used to having a body, and “quite often forgot how to breathe, or swallow, and she would choke on her own saliva until the fright passed and the body remembered for her” (p. 279).
- The group considers the nuke to be leverage, never to be used in reality.
- C— (Cassiopeia) asks, “Are we more invested in proving this new plan is bullshit, or in saving you? I was like, It’s both. C— was like, It can’t be both. Pick one and stick to it. Decide what you give a fuck about. He said, I found that the problem with being the death man is you stop giving much of a fuck” (p. 279).
- More evidence that John has lost the thread.
- It doesn’t help that he’s right — the trillionaires are preparing to abandon the earth and the population, and they plan to leave, saying they want to have the “second wave [of departures] ready before our next round of climate starvation” (p. 280).
- He realizes there won’t be a second wave, because there won’t be any ships: “I was good at long distance by then, I’d had to practise. I got eyes and ears on the plant that was meant to be the main building site and I immediately saw that it wasn’t to spec” (p. 281).
- What’s it going to be: is he going to save the earth or punish the trillionaires?
- “I’d tried to make out like everything I was doing had principles I was probably going to write papers on later. I dropped all that, because turns out nobody wants papers, nobody wants principles. They want the magic bullet. They just want to be saved” (p. 282).
- John had pretended to have principles and planned to write papers on his theories. Then he gives up on pretense and announces his power and authority. This proves that John is as much a poseur as the trillionaires he despises.
We’ve reached the end of the fourth day. Slowly Nona has been changing from the six month old we met four days ago. Someone else is emerging.
Day five is unbelievably long and significant. I’m about as up to writing it all in one week as you are up to reading it in one sitting. So let’s break it up. Next week we’ll cover Chapters 20-25, and that will be plenty.
The memes are fewer in Nona, and there’s no comprehensive list of them. I’ll note the ones I find. You should do the same.
If you haven’t tuned into the Locked Tomb Podcast, you should.
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.
NONA THE NINTH
Nona’s Waking World
- The week’s codewords:
- Lowdown: Danger, everyone scatter
- Deadweight: All clear
- Red ribbon: Someone following
- Fritters: Someone listening
- Fishhook: Important resource, come and help secure it
- There are millions of people from many different planets who have come from being resettled on other planets before this one, and none of them are happy.
- Pyrrha insists they have to choose between the barracks and Palamedes’ people.
- Merv Wing has the upper hand among Blood of Eden.
- The school is being watched.
- The Sixth House had a “break clause” and the “installation” had a secret.
- Nona’s dreams about the pool scene from Gideon aren’t repeating, but progressing.
- Salt water relieves Nona.
- The Sixth House Oversight Committee is being held by Blood of Eden.
- Nona hears Varun sing.
- Why is Varun here?
- Pash: “The package is late for work” (p. 161). Now we know: the “package” is Aim.
- As Ianthe pursues her own plans, so does Crown. From “As Yet Unsent”: “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.” Also, from Crown: “I have a ripple of evil running through my soul — I know I do” (p. 177).
- To Blood of Eden, Nona is either a weapon or a negotiating chip.
- Palamedes promises We Suffer either a Lyctor or the equivalent.
- Judith: “Dust of my dust — such similar star salt — what they did to you and what they wrung from you and what shape they made you fill — we see you still — we seek you still — we murdered — we who murder — you inadvertent tool — you misused green thing — come back to us — take vengeance for us — we saw you — we see you — I see you’” (p. 164). . . “Where is my cavalier, Reverend Daughter? Where is yours? . . . Because I saw her in the waves — she was there in the grey water — I saw them all” (p. 168).
- The Angel’s name is Aim and she’s been up for days.
- Nona is “always a little afraid of sleeping now” (p. 182).
- Nona tells Hot Sauce her secret, the one she hasn’t told anyone else.
- The negotiator is Ianthe Naberius, in Naberius’ body, and the body of Gideon Nav, or Crown Prince Kiriona Gaia, also appears in the broadcast.
- The “negotiations” involve complete surrender and brutal punishment. It’s not a negotiation, and it’s utterly insincere.
John’s Dreamtime Memories
- “The corpses were my batteries.”
- “They said they’d managed to find some poor dipshit geek who’d fixed the FTL problem of getting locked in the chrono well, you know, moving so fast you were stuck doing quantum wheelies” (pp. 220-221).
- The trillionaires are going to board a few ships and abandon everyone and everything: “They left you, they left you. They saw you suffering on dollar-shop life-support, and they didn’t look back. They didn’t give a fuck about trying to save you” (p. 223).
AS YET UNSENT
- Gideon’s corpse is incorruptible.
- Blood of Eden has a ship with a stele, and a necromancer to power it.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- “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.
- Abigail tells Harrow that the “soul longs for its body.” Others have said so, too, over the course of the books. The soul longs for its body.
THE MYSTERIOUS STUDY OF DOCTOR SEX
- Dulcinea writes a letter to “My dearest pals...” Either to Palamedes or to him and Camilla both. Also worthy of note: in Harrow she calls Palamedes her first strand and Camilla her second, and three strands were not undone.
- 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
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.
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)
- “’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).
- 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).
- 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).
- Pre-Resurrection John was a scientist.
- 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: Gideon, 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).
- Pre-Resurrection: Gideon was G—, an engineer and childhood friend of John.
- Pre-Resurrection: Pyrrha was P—, a police detective and G—‘s best friend.
- 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 (hazel eyes); cavalier: Jeannemary Chateur, knight of Tisis, age 14 (brown eyes). (eye color here and elsewhere h/t DesiderataDetritus)
- 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).
- Pre-Resurrection Augustine was A—, a scientist.
- Alfred, with Christabel, coin the phrase “one flesh, one end.”
- Second disciple in the Resurrection.
- Alfred “led astray” by Cristabel.
- Pre-Resurrection Alfred was A— Junior, a hedge fund manager and Alfred’s younger brother.
- 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) (eyes clear gray), cavalier: Camilla Hect, age 20. Second cousins, (eyes gray/brown).
- 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.
- Pre-Resurrection Cassiopeia was C—, a lawyer
- 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 (pallid blue eyes); 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 (eyes brown); 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.”
- Pre-Resurrection Mercymorn was M—, a medical doctor.
- 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 (eyes black); cavalier: Gideon Nav, age 19, (eyes gold).
- Not-a-Lyctor: Anastasia; her cavalier: Samael Novenary.
- Specialty: bone magic.
- Skull: lacking a mandible.
- Planet: Pluto.
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