Citadel of the Autarch, Chapters 27 to 30


Vodalus speak to Severian and is torn between his desire to reward Severian's loyalty and is promise to give Severian up to Agia. Vodalus wants the Autarch delivered to him, and reveals he doesn't know that the Autarch was his servant. Severian is forced to march with the army, and later meets the Autarch again, who relinquishes his life that he may be absorbed by Severian. Severian passes out from the strain of the absorption, and awakes in the clutches of Agia once again, who plans to kill him. However, the Green Man (a time traveller encoutered in Book 2) is there to rescue him. A flying ship arrives and Master Malrubius and his old dog Triskele step out to greet Severian.
[Edited by @Apocryphal]


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    This was another section that I had to read twice to follow the various twists and turns.
    Other thoughts... we had a quick flash forward to a later ceremony of mysterious import.
    I'd forgotten about the green man (foolishly, as we were promised he would return). It wasn't altogether clear to me what Agia's game is... did she rescue Severian from the Ascians out of altruism, or simply so that she could wreak her own revenge?
    And it's totally confirmed to us that the Autarch has to absorb all previous versions of him/herself. I thought that the shock of transition was very convincing. And how interesting that he now has a more realistic view of his other selves, eg Thecla is recognised as in many respects a "cruel and foolish woman" rather an idealised partner.
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    I'd like to note briefly that this section should really be chapters 27-30. I've edited the OP on Paul's behalf (since he's quite busy) and re-written the summary of events to reflect these chapters.

    Here's the remaining schedule:
    Week 39 (11th December - this past week)
    Chapter 27: Before Vodalus
    Chapter 28: On the March
    Chapter 29: Autarch of the Commonwealth
    Chapter 30: The Corridors of Time

    Week 40 (18th December)
    Chapter 31: The Sand Garden
    Chapter 32: The Samru
    Chapter 33: The Citadel of the Autarch
    Chapter 34: The Key to the Universe

    Week 41 (28th December; slightly later because I doubt we want to discuss on Christmas Day)
    Chapter 35: Father Inire's Letter
    Chapter 36: Of Bad Gold and Burning
    Chapter 37: Across the River Again
    Chapter 38: Resurrection

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    edited December 2019

    I'm fairly sure Revenge is one of Agia's motives, but I also wonder if there are more - like direction from Erebus?

    Interesting the Vodalus seems to have no idea his erstwhile servant was the Autarch. He knows Severian and the Autarch were on the craft together when it crashed, but thinks that means Severian is either the Autarch, or that he's lying that the Autarch was with him.

    There's an interesting exchange with Malrubius in chapter 30:

    "You are real, then," I said.
    "No. We are almost what you think us - powers from above the stage. Only not quite deities. You are an actor, I believe."
    I shook my head. "Don't you know me, Master? You taught me when I was a boy, and I have become a journeyman of the guild."
    "Yet you are an actor, too. You have a much right to think of yourself in that was as the other. You had been performing when we spoke to you in the field near the Wall, and the next time I saw you, at the House Absolute, you were acting again. It was a good play; I should have liked to see the end."

    He then seems to refer to himself as a Deus ex Machina (which I know @clash_bowley will just love!)

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    No sense in not spelling out to the audience what is happening in the show!

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    Thanks Chris for looking after this. The next one will be up in a matter of minutes.

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    For guides our column had three savages: a pair of young men who might have been brothers or even twins, and a much older one, twisted, I thought, by deformities as well as age... The younger two carried cerbotanas longer than their outstretched arms and dart bags hand-knotted of wild cotton and dyed a burnt umber, doubtless with the juice of some plant. The old man had a staff as crooked as himself, topped with the dried head of a monkey... This old man was said to have been an uturuncu, a shaman capable of assuming the form of a tiger. p.351

    Cerbotana: A mispelling of the Italian word for blow-gun: cerbottana.
    Uturuncu: Quechua word for 'jaguar'. I don't see any independent reference to this being a shaman who can turn into a tiger. The word does not appear in the Lexicon Urthus. One author of a study of The New Sun thinks that the shaman in this scene is actually Father Inire. guards doubled their sentries; those who slept did so in their corslets, with curtelaxes in their hands. p.351

    Curtelaxe: old form of 'curtle-axe', which is a type of cutlass or cutting sword.

    I saw thousands armed with the ransieur, so that at length I came to believe that all their infantry was equipped in that way. p.352

    Ransieur: A pole weapon with a 3-pronged head.

    The Ascians used uintathers and platybelodons as beasts of burden. p.353



    "Now I will let you go free - because I have some inkling of where you will go - and in the end you will come into my hands again, as you did when our pteriopes took you from the evzones." p.359

    Pteriopes: Winged creatures with stag heads - i.e. perytons.

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