Created 14 Jul 1999
Modified 25 Mar 2008
The Seventeen Animals of the Cycle
From: email@example.com (Richard Frueh)
Subject: Re: Brust: Various Topics (Animals)
in _Dzurlord_, the Crossroads adventure book, Brust has an introduction, in
which he describes all of the animals:
All houses are noble except the teckla.
- Dragon: Large reptile which does not breathe fire. Distinguished by
tentacles with which it picks up psychic impressions. House of Dragon
Lyorn: looks like a medium-size golden-haired dog, except for horn in the
middle of its head. Represents tradition.
Tiassa: large panther with batlike wings - represents catalyst and
Hawk - to a dragaeran this is anything from a goshawk to an eagle -
Dzur - large black tiger - represents heroism.
Issola: vaguely storklike, with sharper beak and darker colors - represents
courtliness and surprise.
Tsalmoth: somewhat bearlike (of course, I find it hard to relate this to
tree-dwelling turtles) - is known for unpredictability and tenacity.
Vallista - amphibious creature living around streams and ponds - represents
construction and tearing down.
Jhereg - small flying poisonous reptile that lives on carrion. represents
Iorich - large, slow-moving river-dwlling reptile. Herbivore, but known to
follow (sometimes for weeks), track down, and kill anything which attacks
them. - represents justice and retribution.
Chreotha - large foxlike creature which uses its saliva to build a web
strong enough to ensnare a Dzur, and sometimes a dragon - represents the
Yendi - desert dwelling sand-snake. Its bite is so subtle that few animals
(or people) will realize they've been bitten until, a few minutes to an hour
later, the victim collapses. Represents subtlety and misdirection.
Orca - mercantilism and the vicious side of business - no animal
Teckla - small salt marsh harvest mouse - represents cowardice and
Jhegaala - lives in swamps - starts as an egg, goes to moth, then large toad
- passes through a few other stages in between - represents metamorphosis.
Athyra - owllike bird. Emits psychic signals which draw its prey to it, or
cause fear in enemies - it is the house of magic.
Phoenix - represents decadence and rebirth - no animal description.
Richard Frueh rvf@netcom.COM
-- Just imagine a really neat quote here --
(This is Damien typing) Presumably the orca is good old Orca Orcinus,
the killer whale. (Or maybe not.) The phoenix is my beloved phoenix. Exactly
what it looks like is hard to say, partly for the respectable reason
that descriptions are varied, and it is impossible to know which one
Brust has chosen. Here's a picture, though. As has been pointed out, the birds on the covers of the first two
Khaavren romances are probably phoenixes -- stone decorative ones?
Somewhat eaglelike, apparently. But as far as the house goes -- most of
the Phoenix emperors are "decadent", not that we have any idea what
other emperors are like. Aerich makes reference to the inimitable
dignity of the Phoenix -- apparently it is the natural ruling House,
even if they aren't good at it. And of course, while Zerika I is said
to have provided the Orb to the Empire at the First Cycle, Zerika IV
recovered the Orb to begin the second Great Cycle, in the process
escaping the Paths of the Dead in rather obvious symbolism.
13 August 2001 -- In Issola Sethra mentions some animals being native
-- dzur, dragon, and jhereg. (And the Serioli.) She also mentions their
having been modified (but which ones? We know the Jhereg. Perhaps the
dragons and athyra, if all telepathic ability is artificial. The Serioli?)
Whether this means that the weirder animals, such as the tiassa, are also
native or even unmodified is an open question. Stuff like horses and orcas
probably came with the human colonists. Teckla seem like mice, so who knows.
Mice could have evolved on Dragaera.
On 25 Apr 1994, Fred A Levy Haskell wrote:
I personally believe that the norska owe their existence to a comment James
Blish, writing as William Atheling, Jr., made in The Issue at Hand or More
Issues at Hand. He commented negatively about authors who, in an attempt to
seem more "science fictional" or more "fantastic," would call a rabbit some
funny-sounding name instead of just "rabbit." So Steve, with his particular
sense of humor, created the norska--a creature which would lure the reader
into thinking they were identical to rabbits (and that Steve had therefore
violated this rather reasonable rule-of-thumb promulgated by Blish) until
their important difference was revealed....
Besides, how do we know that Earthly rabbits wouldn't eat dragons if they