the honing of Vlad

Thu Feb 2 09:19:19 PST 2006

Y'know, I think that we're reaching a point here where we have to invoke
Occam's Razor and try taking things at face value instead of looking for
hidden meanings and motivations for everything.

Fact - Sethra tells Vlad in _Issola_ that Verra had no idea why the vial was

Fact - Verra is not omniscient. In fact, she quite often has no more idea
about what's going on in the world than the mortal protagonists. We get
several examples of this in _Phoenix_, _Issola_, and others.

Fact - When Vlad and Morrolan arrive in the Halls of Judgement, Morollan is
not accorded any special treatment. Reading _Taltos_, in fact, one would
never have an inkling of "Morollan the high priest" or whatever it is that
an Easterner might view his relationship with Verra to be.

Fact - Verra never suggests a solution the problem of getting Morollan out
alive. In fact, she tells him that he's stuck there, and she reprimands
Aliera when Aliera suggests that she'd rather stay in the Halls and die than
leave Morollan behind. 

Fact - Verra explaining about blood is a case of explaining the facts of
life. She's not giving a covert hint unless it's very covert. Vlad makes the
connection on his own. Additionally, there's no way that Verra could have
expected him to succeed as he did. He attempted something that no-one had
ever done before and that very easily could have killed him or driven him
mad, all for a Dragonlord that he barely knew and certainly didn't think of
as a trusted friend yet.

Given all of the above, there's no way that Verra could have planned for the
events to transpire as they did. She simply went with the flow when she got
a hunch. In fact, it appears from the varous stories that Verra seldom plans
anything. She just gets an idea and acts on it. 

Ultimately, I think we have to let go of the idea that Vlad and/or Morollan
are somehow "special" to Verra. They're useful tools, and they're "special"
to the extent that they have a semi-personal relationship with their patron
goddess. We've seen what happens when Vlad pushes his luck and over-reaches
his bounds. Verra certainly has many other "tools" and worshippers who are
just as important to her. We simply don't encounter them because they aren't
germane to the stories.

Verra didn't shed any tears when Morollan showed up in the Halls and was
condemned to death. I doubt she'll shed tears when any of our protagonists
eventually dies in her service. She's not as bad as the Jenoine, but in her
own way she looks at her charges in much the same way that the Jenoine
viewed their slaves and test subjects. She repays respect, loyalty, and
"worship" with the blessings that one expects to get from a god for giving
her those things. In other respects, she's a lot more like an employer than
a parent. In the end, to the gods the dragaerans are short-lived creatures
whose usefulness in advancing the agendas of the Lords of Judgement is
normally more important than affection towards a handful of them. Verra is
subject to this viewpoint as much as the other Gods. 

If Morollan died, Verra would just go find another person to take his place.
She expects people to take responsibility for their lives and their actions.
She has never yet attempted to save anyone from making a bad decision or to
mitigate the effects of making a bad or life-altering decision. In fact,
looking at the events of _Phoenix_, she has no trouble putting her "tools"
into situations that will ultimately make things worse for them. However
much Verra likes Vlad and Morollan, in the end they're both just useful
mortals. They're not her children or personal friends.