(urth) So Where DID the Guard Go?

William Graham cyfyguy at gmail.com
Thu May 1 14:48:00 PDT 2014

Hello folks,  I've been reading the lists for ages-  thanks for the help.
 I'm now one my second 'hard read' through BOTNS after half a dozen or so
'casual reads' since its publication.

I get tripped up on the fourth sentance.

Roche indicates, "The guard has gone".

The popular discussion on this page has historically been "Who asks, 'But
why would the guard leave?' ?"  in the next paragraph.  While that
discussion is very useful for introducing us to Wolfe's love of removing
the net from underneath his readers' high wire, I cannot seem to find any
place where those who have gone before have asked the more basic question:

"Yeah, where DID the guard go?"

The obvious answer is that he's patrolling, a possibility supported by the
fact that Vodalus fires his weapon, but never indicates at whom.  The issue
however is that our apprentices are surprised to see the guard gone.  If
leaving his post to patrol were common, why the confusion over his absence?

V doesn't seemingly fire at the volunteers, the dialog between he and
Badger and Thea support this, and only three of the volunteers (those
pursuing Eata) could have possibly arrived at the site before Sev anyway.

So where's the guard, and why did V fire his weapon?

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