How will House Phoenix arise from the ashes?

Sat Nov 12 13:14:44 PST 2005

Much of what we know about The Cycle is second-hand hearsay, but its
existence as an actual thing or entity appears undeniable.

If we believe Paarfi (a dangerous practice, to be sure), The Cycle
(referring to the actual construct rather than the abstract idea of a
succession of Emporers) is able to perpetuate the Cycle (succession)
regardless of the current state of the Houses. 

The question I'm pondering is whether this can happen at any time or if
there needs to be  a minimal population to work with. Is a House an abstract
idea or is the House destroyed when there ceases to be anyone qualified for

This is important to the extent that any tricks that restore House Phoenix
require the living presence of Zerika.

>From a real-world genetic perspective there are plenty of latent Phoenix
genes around. We don't know what happens to Phoenix children who are not
privileged to have a phoenix fly overhead at their birth. Those people
and/or their descendants are likely to still be around someplace, perhaps
unaware of their parentage. The mixed stock of Greenaire and Elde probably
also have some recessive Phoenix genes, waiting for that one in a gazillion
chance to breed a true-blooded Phoenix complete with birth-herald.

Given that, it seems that The Cycle could delay action on resurrecting House
Phoenix until very nearly the turn of the Cycle. Indeed, the arrival of one
or several Phoenix from out of nothing, as it were, might well be seen as a
sign that the Cycle had turned if it happened towards the end of the Athyra

Given the confusing lecture by Verra and her sisters in _Sethra Lavode_, I'd
almost expect destruction of the House to be a pre-requisite for it's
renewal. This might well explain why Zerika, engaging in her own brand of
decadence with her Eastern lover, seems well on the way to dieing without an

It's always possible that she's got some wizards working on the problem and
we just haven't heard about it. However, it might also be that Sethra made a
metaphysical error by attempting to protect and nurture the previous line of
House Phoenix. The House might be unable to truly "rise from the ashes"
until it has truly been consumed entirely in flames.

Assuming that Zerika DOES die childless, what happens to the assets and
titles that belong to House Phoenix? Are they put in trust and managed by a
steward appointed by Zerika? Are they appropriated by the Empress to dispose
of she wishes? If the latter, it could provide an interesting problem when
the Cycle-created Heir finally did make an appearance some Turns down the

Of course, the death of Zerika might finally herald the true death of the
House, thus triggering its ACTUAL rebirth,perhaps even on the same day. At
the moment of Zerika's death, a phoenix appears above the Phoenix Wing. It's
discovered that two women, descended from "unheralded" Phoenix ancestors,
have  simultaneously given birth; one boy, one girl. Perhaps a veritable
"flock" of phoenices appear above Adrilankha as a dozen infants are born who
all scan to be true-blooded Phoenix. The question of which should be Heir
would be a tricky one with much intrigue based around the determination of
the answer.

While I like the image of the Heir who appears from nowhere at the turn of
the Cycle, I'd probably favor the ressurection at Zerika's death just
because we might actually see that story published someday. :-P