The Magic Box

Sat Jan 7 21:41:45 PST 2006

Davdi Silverrock wrote:

>On 1/7/06, Jon Lincicum <lincicum at comcast.net> wrote:
>>I mean, it's not like the Empire keeps a DNA database of all its
>Hm.  We know they have gene-scanning.  And while we don't know how
>extensive the genetic knowledge is of all the Houses, we do know that
>the House of the Dragon tracks lineages -- subsets of House Dragon --
>very carefully.  Perhaps other Houses (except perhaps for the Jhereg)
>do as well, and we've just not seen it?
Of course, now that I say that, I realize that with 95% of the 
population of the Empire consisting of Teckla (which wouldn't need to be 
in any kind of genetic database--at least, the nobility isn't likely to 
be too concerned with Teckla genetics) the prospect is not so daunting 
as I first supposed.

Has anyone ever made an estimate of the total population of the Empire? 
Or educated guesses as to how members of each house there are? (Other 
than Phoenix, which can be counted on the fingers of one thumb.) If 
there are only a few tens of thousands of Dragons, (or even fewer) then 
a genetic line wouldn't be hard to keep track of. Similar numbers in the 
other houses (excepting Phoenix) would hold up there, as well. I would 
certainly expect some houses (Orca, for example) to be larger than this, 
and others (Such as Lyorn) to be smaller.... But this is just a gut 
feeling, as I don't think we have a good basis to go on from the texts 

>Although, now that I think about it, Aliera says (in /Yendi/) that a
>"complicated illusion spell" could fool a genetic scan, if the one
>performing the scan was incompetent.
>It may well be that the only reliable way an imposter could exist
>would be to pass himself off as being a different member of his own
>House, and possibly of the same lineage.
Don't forget to take into account Aliera's arrogance on this score... I 
believe the follow-up question to this exchange was someone asking if 
StY could have been fooled, and Aliera's response was "Easily." Aliera's 
idea of what is "competent" is likely to be a rather high standard.

>Which is not to argue that Paarfi is an imposter; I'm just musing on
>the possibilty of long-term House deceit fooling many people --
>including those with the knowledge, power, and skill to perform a
>competent genscan --  for an extended length of time.
I bet Sethra could do it. There's a certain precident there, after all. ;-)