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From: tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk (Tony Ellis)
Subject: (urth) Meanwhile, back at the gate
Date: 12 May 1998 15:09:28 +0100

 Meanwhile, back at the gate

Mantis wrote:
>Re: no monsters at the gate of Nessus, that this is standard
>operating procedure, firing military hardware into the crowd just to
>keep them off the road, when will they ever learn, setting
>the wagon on fire, after a few chiliads you'd think evolution would
>take hold, yawn, just another boring day for the bloodthirsty
>highway patrol at the Sanguinary Turnstile.  Silly.

Wrong. This _is_ standard operating procedure, as Gene Wolfe
is careful to make Master Palaemon tell us: "...there is a redoubt,
so I've heard, every fifty leagues... [the roads] are patrolled by
uhlans under orders to kill anyone found on them, and since they
have permission to loot the bodies of those they slay, they are
not much inclined to ask excuses." Shadow, XIII

And no-one is suggesting that firing on the crowd has been going
on for "chiliads" as you say. We are specifically told that the roads
have only been closed in Master Palaemon's lifetime. Since the
soldiers are mounted they are clearly one of Palaemon's patrols
rather than a redoubt, and it is simply the travellers' misfortune
to encounter them here.

I find far sillier the idea that
>...the patrol/watchers at the gate have spotted Hethor and want him 
>for questioning at the least

These watchers spend a lifetime watching for a familiar face, and
yet when they see one they don't block-off the gate, or infiltrate
the crowd, but station soldiers _outside_ the gate with orders to fire
indiscriminately? Hardly. As Dr Talos says "if they were to see the
one they seek, they would sally out and lay hold of him."

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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