Cycle Turns (Was: Link to the Orb)

Thomas FURNITURE ARTIST WyrmOuroboros at comcast.net
Wed Jun 25 23:59:06 PDT 2003

From: Philip Hart <philiph at SLAC.Stanford.EDU>
> The fact is that Paarfi is our best (well, almost only) source of 
> info on these matters and one has to either accept it as an 
> internally-consistent and plausible description of events or choose 
> ignorance of this interesting period of history.

But it is neither internally consistent nor plausible.  Though I don't 
have my books with me, the only thing we 'know' about when the Orb 
turns white is that Sethra Lavode knows she only has moments in which 
to act.

Not that she knows Adron's spell is going awry.
Not that she knows Adron's the Emperor.
Only that she knows she has only moments in which to act.

Please note that Paarfi does a damn good job of buttering up Sethra in 
the paragraphs that follow this declaration.

Consider the FACTS WE KNOW.

1) Tortaalik, a Decaying Phoenix, was Emperor.
2) Mario Greymist, despite the Orb's protection, killed the reigning 
3) Adron, the Dragon Heir, was engaged in Pre-Empire Sorcery -- 
supposedly to wrest control of the orb from the Emperor.
4) It was the End of the 17th Cycle.
5) Zerika, a Reborn Phoenix (or whatever the proper term is -- non-
Decaying?) who was not born before Tortaalik's death, is the FIRST 
6) It is now the START of the 18th Cycle, the first Cycle of the Second 
Great Cycle.

These facts are indisputable.

So what happened?  Or, more exactly, what MUST HAVE HAPPENED in order 
to bring these specific facts into existence?

1) The Cycle -could-not-have-turned-.  It was the Reign of the Phoenix, 
it IS the Reign of the Phoenix, thus the Cycle Did Not Turn.
2) The Orb, interrogating the Cycle -- the Orb, after all, interrogates 
the Cycle to see of which House the next Emperor is a member -- begins 
looking for the Phoenix Heir.
3) Zerika, most likely due to House rules and despite not yet born, was 
the Phoenix Heir.  Why?  Clearly because she was the next Phoenix to 
rule, although an argument can be made that she rules because she is 
the only Phoenix left, hence MUST CURRENTLY be the Phoenix Heir.  Why 
she was Phoenix Heir at that time is open for speculation, but she may 
have been, due to House rules on the matter.  Presuming she WAS Heir:
4) The Orb, finding the 'next Emperor' in utero, found itself in what 
can only be described as a quandry; how do you 'crown' a person who 
doesn't entirely exist yet?
5) Logically, the Orb must enter into a shutdown/standby mode.  

Consider one of the first things Aliera says when waking up in the 
Paths of the Dead; "I told him the Cycle hadn't changed." (Not an exact 
quote, of course.)  Adron believed that it was time for the Cycle to 
change, and what he was attempting was NOT to 'wrest the Orb from the 
Emperor', but instead 'effect the Change of the Cycle in the Empire'.  
When the Cycle changes, the big wheel turns; when the big wheel turns, 
the Cycle changes.  The only EXTERIOR way of making the Cycle change 
is -turning-the-wheel-of-the-Cycle-.  Adron, therefore, was trying to 
throw a pre-Empire sorcery spell against the 100,000-year weight of the 

So, we have the Orb, presumably in 'standby' mode, presumably waiting 
for Zerika.  Adron's spell is channelling energy into/at/through him, 
directed at the Orb which, it should be noted, has a MUCH superior 
access to the Very Same Energy which Adron is trying to channel, and in 
fact is built to a) channel it, b) protect the source, and c) be 
protected by it.  Ergo:

Adron directly manipulates amorphia from the Great Sea of Chaos and 
attempts to use it to grab the Orb.  The Orb 'detects' two things: 
first, that it is being assaulted by amorphic energy (i.e. Pre-Empire 
sorcery), and second, that the Great Sea of Chaos is being tapped.  The 
sequence that follows is disturbingly simple; the Orb must protect the 
Great Sea of Chaos, but the Great Sea of Chaos must protect the Orb; 
the Orb cannot protect the Sea if it is destroyed, therefore the Orb 
must first be defended.  Adron is, unfortunately and unwittingly, given 
open and continuous power to the Great Sea to channel into his spell 
against the Orb which, of course, gains more and protection from the 
Great Sea against the mystic assault; the Orb channels amorphia better, 
so its defenses keep ramping upwards against the increasing pressure 
that Adron is bringing to bear.  All the Orb has to do is defend itself 
until the Emperor comes of age, takes possession, and destroys the 
individual assaulting it, right?  It can do that; all it has to do is 
wait and let the Great Sea of Chaos defend it for however long it needs 
to -- it's functionally immortal.

But Adron is only mortal, and like Vlad found out, drawing all this 
energy and having nowhere to put it, well, you feel like you're going 
to explode.  Adron, of course, did -- into the energy he was tapping, 
amorphia.  Being who he was, however, he managed to keep some sense 
of 'himself', even as the Gods were stopping him from spreading too 
far; he's now 'only' a Lesser Sea of Chaos.

So what does it mean when the Orb goes white?  Sethra knows; I posit 
that it means that the Orb is defending itself against a Pre-Empire 
sorcerous attack, an assault by the Jenoine, or something equally earth-
shattering.  She -knows- she has only moments, so essentially she gets 
the f*ck out of dodge, dumping the Orb into the Paths and dropping 
Aliera's soul, errr, into a field.  ... ??  Okay, we still haven't 
figured out that one detail yet.  However, remember/realize that Paarfi 
does not state what the Orb going white -means-.

There; internally consistent (with what Vlad/Sethra/etc. knows, too!!) 
and plausible.  Even computer-plausible.