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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: (urth) The Cumaean
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2002 08:56:15 -0800

So...what _is_ the Cumaean? The following evidence is of interest; 
it comes from the scene immediately before the manifestation of 
Apu-Punchau, when the Cumaean has cast Merryn, Sev, Dorcas, Jolenta,
and Hildegrin into a kind of trance (which Hildegrin describes as
seeing from a perspective larger than a single moment):

     As I had suspected, the Cumaean was not a woman at all;
     yet neither was she one of the horrors I had beheld in 
     the gardens of the House Absolute. Something sleekly 
     reptilian coiled about the glowing rod. I looked for 
     the head but found none, though each of the patternings 
     on the reptile's back was a face, and the eyes of each 
     face seemed lost in rapture.  (from THE CLAW OF THE 
     CONCILIATOR. I didn't write down the page numbers, but 
     it's about 292-3 of the original Timescape HC.)

Okay, she's reptilian and can fool people into thinking she's human.
She appears, to Severian in some kind of trance state, to have many

H'mmmmm...  My immediate response is to think, "Aha, this proves 
that there were inhumi on Urth in Severian's time..." But does it?
The Cumaean is said to be centuries old. I have a vague recollection
that the inhumi are shorter-lived than humans -- does anyone recall
for certain? I almost hope I'm wrong, as it would make Marc's 
theories one step closer to probability.

Of course I wouldn't suggest for a moment that Wolfe planned the
Cumaean as an inhuma ... but is it possible that in writing the 
Long/Short books he retconned her into one?



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