Speculations about Sethra and the Lavodes (Was RE: TEST)

Tue Feb 14 12:40:54 PST 2006

> Am I over-analyzing?

Probably. There's no indication that the existence of the Lavodes predates
the Empire. Sethra is saying that the Lavodes as an elite trouble-shooting
squad was created in order to deal with threats to the Empire that couldn't
be dealt with using normal means.

That said, Paarfi has some interesting insight into the question of Sethra's
origins. I happen to be re-reading _Five Hundred Years After_ and since I'd
only read it once before back when the paperback was originally issued, I've
been coming across many things that I either didn't remember or didn't
notice the first time around.

One of these is this: _Five Hundred Years After_, pg 103.(citation courtesy
of Amazon Inside)

The earliest authentic records of Sethra predate the founding of the
Lavodes, and consist of a rough drawing of her device, which appears to have
remained unchanged throughout her life, consisting of white Dragon's Head
and Dzur's Claw on black -- unquestionably the simplest device in use at the
time and the most anadorned of any time...

Her lineage block, similarly, is in the form of a downward-pointing
arrow-head or triangle, entirely self-contained, with no lines either
entering or emerging, as if her maternal and paternal ancestor had appeared
from nowhere at all, begotten her, and vanished. Lest this lead to
uncalled-for speculation, we should note that, before the dawn of history,
from which time Sethra certainly dates, there were no standards for lineage
blocks, and Sethra was free to view and declare her lineage however she

If we take things at face value, and then apply our meta-knowledge, we can
see a few things.

Firstly, in regards to the topic at hand, Sethra existed before the Lavodes
did. If you want to speculate that she was part of some pre-historical group
and modeled her own group after them, it's certainly possible but there's no
evidence to support such a theory.

Secondly, Sethra's lineage block shows that she has no parents and (I
presume) no offspring. Since Paarfi probably isn't aware of the things that
Vlad has learned about the origins of the Empire (though he knows about
Jenoine, so this might be a flawed assumption) I'd guess that the
"uncalled-for speculation" that Paarfi wishes to head off is that Sethra is
a bastard with an unknown lineage.

>From our point of view as readers of the Vladiad, we can instead come up
with a different speculation - Namely, that Sethra literally has no parents
and is one of the original "test subjects" created by the Jenoine. She's of
"mixed blood" (her device correlates to her physical description, being
described has having both Dzur and Dragon features) because she was created
in a test tube long before Kieron and Zerika formed the Empire and the
Houses began practicing their various forms of genetic in-breeding.

Note that this isn't a new speculation by any means. It's just that this
passage in _Five Hundred Years After_ is the first textev I've noticed on
the subject.