Multiple emporers in a reign, revisited AND Adron's motives

Tue Mar 14 11:26:18 PST 2006

> Not a safe basis for speculation.  Zerika had pressing matters to deal
> with and needed to be diplomatic.  I imagine she could have 
> just started
> brain-frying the Heirs of Houses who opposed her if need be.

On the contrary; being Emperor means that you ALWAYS have pressing matters
to deal with and you ALWAYS need to be diplomatic. That's kind of the point.
Being the rightful heir to the Throne doesn't mean squat if the people you
ostensibly rule choose not to be ruled by you. I think, in my own mind
anyway, that I'm leaning towards a model where the Empires is not tied to
the Cycle. Rather, they attempt to live in synch with the Cycle as best they
can because doing so provides the greatest benefits to its citizens and it
establishes a mystical/moral basis for periodic changes in government.

> No, X could be ahead of the Cycle.  Remember the possible distinction
> between Orb- and Cycle-emperor.

Well, yes, it's conceivable that an Emperor could handoff the Orb early. I'm
not sure how that's relevant to anything but I'll concede the possibility.
As it stands, I can easily imagine how such a situation would result in two
Emperors from the same House.

Emperor X wants to retire and decides the Cycle has turned, when it in fact
has not.
X hands off to Y, who is happy to be Emperor peacefully and accepts.
Y's administration runs the Empire into the ground because the Empire is now
metaphysically out-of-sync with the Cycle.
Y-prime decides that Y has to be removed for the good of the Empire. 
Y-prime successfully removes Y and assumes the Throne in his stead.
The Cycle turns and all becomes well with the Empire, verifying the justice
of Y-prime's actions.

> > If Adron had waited, allowing Loudin to assume the Throne, 
> then he would
> > have been tacitly admitting that the Cycle had not turned.
> No.  You just asserted the Orb has no Cycle detector - a switch would
> mean nothing.  The Cycle presumably doesn't care who in the House is
> Emperor under the multi-emperor hypothesis.

Errr, again, I don't see the relevance. If the Orb accepts its owner and the
Council of Princes accepts the holder as Emperor then, perforce, the Cycle
has turned. (Or, in Loudin's case, not turned.) The actual position of the
Cycle doesn't matter. What matters is the judgement of the people in charge
of the government. The only way for Adron to prove that the Cycle had turned
was for him to successfully take the Orb for himself. If he waited and made
the attempt at a later time, popular opinion would be against him;
especially if Loudin proved to be a capable leader (which would prove that
the Cycle had NOT turned). One reason Adron was able to stymie Tortaalik
again and again as well as remain free to lead a revolt was his popularity.
Without that popular support both within and without House Dragon, Adron
would have a much more tenuous position vis-a-vis leading a revolt.

If Paarfi's romanticized version of Adron has any basis in fact, then Adron
himself would likely have seen a revolt against a new Emperor as a
dishonorable act, at least until the new Emperor had proved himself as
incapable as the last. His problem is with Tortaalik. Paarfi's Adron offers
to step down as Dragon Heir if Tortaalik will step down as Emperor. The real
Adron, Aliera's father, clearly didn't feel quite that way but at the same
time, he also clearly felt that there would be something wrong with a
rebellion  after a new administration had been accepted. He wanted a claim
free of any possible question as to its validity. Hence, he "moved too

Assuming that Aliera's account is a bit more realistic than Paarfi's, I'd
have to say that Adron himself wasn't all that confident in his claim. If he
was, he would have made the case that the death of the Emperor was a clear
enough indication that the Cycle had turned. See the Jamiss example again.
The real question is, "Why was Loudin able to 'make a grab for the Throne'
in the first place?" Why wasn't everyone already proclaiming Adron Emperor,
as Paarfi would have things? For Adron to be driven to usurp the Throne
despite its owner having died and despite the decimation of his own power
structure by the Jhereg, there must have been some convincing evidence that
the Cycle had NOT yet turned.

Adron (judging by Aliera's statemens in _Taltos_) was attempting to subvert,
possibly even break the Cycle as much as he was trying to take the Throne. 

Quoting _Taltos_:
Aliera nodded, and I saw a tear in her eye. She said very quietly, "It is
the reign of a reborn Phoenix, isn't it?"
Morrolan nodded, seeming to understand.
"I told him it would be" she said. "A Great Cycle -- seventeen Cycles; it
had to be a reborn Phoenix. He wouldn't listen to me. He thought it was the
end of the Cycle,that a new one could be formed."

Of course, you can again ask "In that case, why rush it?" And I suppose the
answer is, that we don't really know. The best speculation I can offer the
one listed above; that he wanted to begin a reign free of any blemish to its
validity. The other possibility is that if his goal was to break and/or
remake the Cycle with the Dragon at the head then, for metaphysical reasons,
he had to do it when there was no sitting Emperor. That's purely
speculation, obviously, but it makes a certain amount of sense.