(urth) Sev on Yesod; his powers; his testing

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Sat Jan 19 22:36:10 PST 2008

This is dump of some of my efforts to make sense of UOTNS, long but 
I hope reasonably coherent.

First, the New Sun, the White Fountain and Sev's powers. I take it 
that the physical White Fountain comes into being when Apheta 
seduces Sev in Yesod:

(UOTNS XX) "Lying upon my back, I entered Yesod. Or say, rather, 
that Yesod closed about me ... There was something born between 
Yesod and Briah when I met with Apheta upon that divan in that 
circling room, something tiny yet immense that burned like a coal 
conveyed to the tongue by tongs. That something was myself."

Comment: Sev intends to question Apheta before having sex: "We must 
talk first. I would be betraying my kind if I did not question 
you." He says, "A hundred questions I had been ready to ask ..." 
But then "her lips brushed mine, and every question vanished." She 
stops him from asking, just as she cuts off Gunnie's attempts to 
ask questions later on.

But even though that seems to be when the White Fountain is 
created, Sev's faculty of "linking" to it happens earlier, in his 
time-line, on the Ship. 


Sev: "Is this where I will be taught to bring the New Sun?"
Apheta: "You will not have to be taught. ... You are gravid with 
the knowledge, and it will be born as soon as you approach 

the White Fountain sufficiently for you to be aware of it."
Sev aasks Apheta "how I came to carry such knowledge without being 
aware of it."
Apheta: "Tzadkiel gave it to you as you slept."
Sev: "You mean he came to your chamber last night?"
Apheta: "No .. On the ship, I believe."
Sev then thinks of his awakening to see hairy Zak after his "death" 
and eidolon-ization on the ship.


- The "gravid" description resonates with Sev being "engulfed" 
rather than penetrating in bed with Apheta. In whatever is 
happening here, Sev is the "female", "passive" player. Or perhaps 
the host.

- I assume that Apheta *isn't* lying when she qualifies what she 
says with "I believe", presents information as being just her 
opinion etc etc. In this case, what she says is consistent with 
Sev's narrative. 

This is the vision Sev had after his fall, I assume while he is 
being eidolon-ized (UOTNS IX):

"The winged woman of Father Inire's book [Tzadkiel] awaited me in 
the wings. Her hands she clapped once, formally, as a great lady 
summons her maid. As they parted there appeared betwen them a point 
of white light, hot and flaming. It seemed to me that it was my own 
face, and my face a mask that stared into it."

So: Tzadkiel "impregnates" Sev (makes him "gravid") with a link to 
the physical White Fountain as part of his eidolon-ization. 

Comment: This suggests that the eidolon-ization may actually have 
been a *planned* thing, to produce a Sev upgraded with the "link". 
Recall how Sev comes to die on the ship. Encased in Sidero, he is 
attacked by a being with "titanic wings", which drops him down a 
shaft. The fall knocks him unconscious, and Sidero apparently 
strikes him, killing him, if he's not already dead. When his 
eidolon comes to life, Zak is there. 

We never hear of the winged being again - unless it was, in fact, 
Tzadkiel. I think it was.  Presumably Tzadkiel needed Sev dead, to 
get a Sev eidolon to work with; FB&O say that eidolons are never 
made of the living.

Sev's power seems to be the ability to draw energy from external 
sources and focus it to heal, to twist time etc etc. I see two main 
possibilities for where this power comes from:

1) It's intrinsic, somehow or other; nothing to do with Tzadkiel. 
Tzadkiel just gives him access to a big external source, the 
White Fountain; or

2) Tzadkiel implants the ability as part of the eidolon-ization.

Two of the main pieces of evidence for trying to puzzle this out 
come from FB&O (as Ray points out), and Apheta.

(UOTNS L) Sev: "Why couldn't Tzadkiel have called me back as I 
called back Zama? Healed me as I healed Herena? ..."
(Famulimus kneels and kisses the floor.)
Barbatus: "What makes you think Tzadkiel wields such power? ... 
great though he is, he's not the head of his race and its savior."

(UOTNS XX) Apheta: "If I try to unravel this for you, will you 
understand that I do not ... know all the secrets of you Briah 
...You may master a New Sun. Should you, its energy will be yours 
to draw upon, though it will not exist unless you .. triumph here. 
But as the boy foreshadows the man, something of that faculty has 
reached you through the Corridors of Time. I cannot say whence you 
drew when you were on Urth. Partly from yourself, no doubt .. 
Perhaps from your world, or from is old sun."

I read Apheta's statement as supporting (2). She's not saying just 
that the influence of the New Sun was somehow reflected back in 
time, because she does not suggest that Sev drew on the New Sun on 
Urth. She must be saying that Sev's basic "faculty" for tapping 
energy was reflected. 

Furthermore, she must be saying that the "faculty" does not depend 
on his "triumphing" in Yesod - it is independent from whether or 
not he actually brings the New Sun. 

The only way I can put all this together is by assuming that the 
"link" implanted in Sev by Tzadkiel on the Ship included this 
"faculty", tuned or optimized for the white fountain.

Famulimus' statement, on the other hand, of course supports (1) 
against (2). If Sev's powers are greater than Tzadkiel's, then 
presumably Tzadkiel cannot have implanted them. But to me many 
things suggest that the Hierodules are "out of the loop", 
themselves dupes. Eg: What could possibly be the point of their 
"mission" on Urth, as reflected in their conversation with 
Baldanders, given that human civilisation will end in 50 years or 

Even though FB&O don't know it, the right answer to Sev's question 
is: "Because Tzadkiel wanted to make alterations to your eidolon."

But I'm not sure I believe Apheta's reflection-back-in-time 
speculation. It may be that Sev is his own ancestor; perhaps he 
inherits the faculty implanted by Tzaadkiel from himself. He 
resurrects Dorcas with no conscious intent, not even knowing her 
body is there, and Dorcas rises to clasp his hand. Perhaps blood 
calling to blood ...

Final item in this lengthy post: Sev's "testing". I think the best 
explanation of most of the events on Yesod is that Tzadkiel is 
giving Sev a final check to make sure he's been conditioned well 
enough not to interefere with the operation of the "link" in 
calling the White Fountain to Urth. So:

- Do it even if it's likely meaningless? Check! After their night 
together, Apheta (lying) hammers him with discouragement & reasons 
for not going ahead. He and Urth don't really matter; it's the 
human race as a whole which is going to bring forth the Hieros. 
There are thousands of worlds with humans; it'd be better to be 
able to take care of them all at once, but physical constraints 
prevent this. What we do with you, we're going to have to do with 
thousands of other representatives of their worlds. None of them 
are individually important. I'm just a mid-level bureaucrat in the 
whole process, and you're nothing special. We don't even like you 
very much. If you fail it won't make anything worse but if you 
succeed everything you ever loved will be destroyed.

- Suspension of empathy? Check! The passage leading to the "trial" 
chamber is lined with scenes of Sev's various tortures & executions 
seen from the victim's viewpoint, which he pretty mcuh ignores.

- Do it even if fellow humans (all the sailors except for Gunnie) 
hate the idea enough to die to stop it? Check! 

On the other hand, Tzadkiel doesn't want Sev to think about things 
too carefully. There is urgency, and a sense of large risks taken. 

Rush Sev through Yesod (less than a day), confuse him so he can't 
ask good questions, get him back to Urth in another day, rush him 
through his "mission" in what seems to be less than a week, herd 
him back on course when he's about to go astray, rush him back to 
his future just in time for the destruction of Urth. By the time 
the white fountain arrives & Urth is destroyed, for him it's been 
perhaps ten days since his trial. He never has a chance to think. 
And as he says to a Pelerine at the lazarate, he's not a quick 

But amongst the things which Apheta says, and which I believe: the 
Yesod-ites were indeed running a big risk that the game might go 
against them.

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