Originally posted on rec.arts.sf.written . We'd been talking about Steven Brust's fantasy novels set in the world of Dragaera, specifically about the genetic heritage of Sethra Lavode and the somewhat contradictory information available about it. Comments from the narrator of some of the novels, Vlad Taltos, disagreed with comments by the narrator of a couple of the others, Paarfi of Roundwood.
This is probably utterly incomprehensible to anyone not familiar with the novels in question.
Further, he's told this by Morrolan, who knows her much better than Paarfi does. On the other hand, Sethra could very well have become a Dzurlord by fighting her way into the House, past seventeen heroes, regardless of her genetic heritage.
Still, I don't think that the usual rules apply to Sethra. I think she predates the usual system. I have this hunch that she's the result of an early experiment by the Jenoine, scenario something like the following:
[Jenoine-equivalent-of-hunchbacked-lab-assistant does the Jenoine equivalent of lurching into the room]: "Mastah! Mastah! Experiment Q-17 is escaping!! There's a little --"
Boss: "What?! Impossible. Q-17 -- that's the one with the genes from the little cat and the little lizard?" [Longish pause, while assistant contrives to look very guilty.] "WELL?"
Henchman: "I couldn't get genetic material from the little cat and lizard. So instead I got material from the BIG cat and BIG lizard, Mastah. I'm sorry, Mastah, so sorry --"
Boss: "WHAT?! Genes from the BIG cat and the BIG lizard, together?! That's dangerous, even disastrous! Fool! Why didn't you tell me? But that still shouldn't give the creature the power necessary to get out."
Henchman: "That's what I tried to tell you, Mastah! There was a young female humanoid in the lab, opening the cages! And when I tried to chase her, she just showed her teeth at me and disappeared!"
Boss: "All right. Let's see if we can find Q-17 before it gets into any trouble. If we catch it quickly enough, we won't have to tell anyone about it getting out..."
Copyright (C) 1995 by Joel Polowin. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this material in any non-profit medium provided that its content is not altered and that this notice is appended. I would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication in which it appears: Joel Polowin / 18 Norice St. / Nepean, Ont. / CANADA / K2G 2X5
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