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From: m.driussi@genie.geis.com
Subject: (urth) Claw Power in BOTNS
Date: Thu, 14 May 98 01:10:00 GMT


(and anybody else following this "how can the white fountain power
the Claw in BOTNS when it doesn't exist yet, except possibly as much
as a half dead/half live cat?" investigation),

Oh dear, the things I forget!

Look here, a passage in URTH (ch. 20), where Apheta is talking to
Severian after a disclaimer about how she doesn't know much:

"I cannot say whence you drew [energy for miracles] when you were on
Urth.  Partly from yourself, no doubt.  But not all or even most can
have come from you, or you would have perished.  Perhaps from your
world, or from its old sun.  When you were on the ship ["Tzadkiel"]
there was no world and no sun near enough, so you took what could be
drawn from the ship itself, and nearly wrecked it.  But even that was
not sufficient [to resurrect the murdered steward]."

Okay!  This passage gives us the answer that the white fountain was
not involved; that Severian basically made an empathetic
pledge/sacrifice of life essence, vril, what-have-you, for each
miracle, and the Claw brokered a more-than-matching grant from any or
all of the local energy sources.

Further, this opens wide vistas in re-examining certain events in
TBOTNS.  For example, when Sev pledges by his sword to the old sun,
"his life for mine," and then the notules kill the uhlan: this seems
like a clear case of a deal with the (sky father) sun.  When Severian
performs an execution and feels the power flowing through his legs:
this might be a deal with the (bloodthirsty mother) Urth.

In looking at this in the past, I wondered if the "temporal banking
model" which Wolfe gives to explain Severian's power in TBOTNS could
be expanded into different banks: the bank of the Mother Urth, the
bank of the old sun, etc.  I then went into a maze of thinking that
Erebus, Abaia, and all the other titans were sitting at the top of
similar energy pyramids, perhaps by their various signal elements
(water, ice, etc.).  But since that seemed kinda weak (even with
Lune's causing 4.5 times the tidal force for the Water Dept.), I
speculated that the black hole at the heart of the old sun was
feeding them.  (Problem with this: if Erebus and Abaia are descended
from Typhon, then how come the faltering sun predates them?  If they
aren't relatives of T then that problem is erased--they were just
Baldanders-types doing an end-run around Typhon and probably had a
hand in manipulating the breakup of his dynasty into feuding

Anyway, point is: Severian is an energy vampire.  So one starts
watching for clues and cues of this.  Did Severian trigger the
earthquake when the Convulsor hit him in order to utilize =that=
energy, or was the earthquake an unrelated side effect of something
else?  (I mean, aside from the mythologically satisfying: "And the
Earth trembled in mourning for him.")  Do "deposits" to the Earth
Mother bank (executions) allow for later "withdrawals with interest"?
Likewise the Old Sun Father bank?

Anyway, here is a model that does away with many of the more thorny
issues in the paradox of the half-dead/half-live white fountain.


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

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