(urth) Soldier: Hegesistratus the Lame Lycanthrope

aramini1 at cox.net aramini1 at cox.net
Thu Mar 30 21:59:03 PST 2006

Just had a revelation from one passage of Soldier of Arete.  Tell me if you guys think it is conceivable, or if Io's warning about Hegesistratus to latro means something else besides possible lycanthropy in Hegesistratus.

Let's start with the prophecy at the start of the book:
"King, nymph, and priest shall gather round!
Wolf, faun, and nymph, spellbound."

Elata is the nymph, the faun is the goat man Aglaus, but Oior, the wolfman son of Scoloti, by the time we meet Aglaus or Elata, has been long dead at Latro's merciful hands.  

One possibility is that Latro is the wolf ... but despite Borski's argument, Lucius does not mean wolf, and I remain unconvinced at the evidence in the text.  There is another character who could be the wolf: Hegesistratus the mantis with the lame leg.  At first, it seems that Latro's attacks on him are completely unwarranted based on the influence of Tisamenus with the order to kill the man with the wooden foot.

Io warns him about how, at the temple of the war god, Hegesistratus was able to leave without being molested by the Thracian troops, and a dog was calling outside.  She then makes a rather interesting warning that Latro should keep in mind that dogs were calling if he meets Hegesistratus again (is this a warning about Hegesistratus' intentions?  Is he the wolf that will wish Latro woe rather than Oior?) (Latro in the Mist, 521-2)
"You told me you heard a dog outside, and Hegesistratus went out, and the Thracians didn't try and stop him.  You and me and the black man talked about that, but we really didn't decide anything. ... "Did you hear the dogs last night? ... I did, and so I thought you should know and write it down, just in case you should meet Hegesistratus again when I'm not with you."

Remember that hegesistratus is the lame character: he "cut" away his foot to get out of his shackles.  This is very similar to a wolf eating its foot.  Is Hegesistratus in league with the Thracians, is that why he can leave unmolested, or does the calling of the dogs have something to do with it?  Also, this is after the introduction of the shapeshifting boar Xalmoxis.  Has Xalmoxis succeeded in taking someone's place ... and if so, could it be Hegesistratus the mantis?

Marc Aramini

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