Devera FAQ

[14 Apr 2004 ]

Devera is a little brown haired girl who shows up in almost all, if not all, of Steven Brust's books. Here's information about her:

(Actually this is a bald lie by now. "Monty" wrote this FAQ years ago and I hosted it, and have been updating it ever since. So most of the text is Monty's, or quotes from the books, but the percentage is going down, and probably I should just rewrite and reformat the whole thing. Expect that when Jame Goes To The Citadel comes out.)

Being a discourse on the role and identity of Devera, a recurring character in the works of Steven K.Z. Brust, P.J.F.


Devera Questions
Devera Sightings and Citations
Other Sightings
Brust talks about Devera and time -- spoiler!


Q1: Who is Devera?

A1: She's a young girl of about nine or ten. She has big brown eyes and smiles a lot. Just about everyone who's met her likes her.

Who is she _really_? It depends on which book you're reading. In the Dragaera books, she's the (as yet unborn) daughter of Aliera E'Kieron. In _The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars_, she's 'the little brown-eyed girl who seems to follow me from painting to painting'. In the other books, she 'vanishes before she really appears' (_To Reign In Hell_).

Q2: Who is Devera's father?

A2: What a good question. Nobody knows, although pretty much every male character other than Noish-pa has been suggested. (Since this was first written, Noish-pa has, of course, been suggested. Sheesh.)

A common suggestion was Mario Greymist (on the theory that Aliera had a fling with him in _Five Hundred Years After_), but Steven Brust says no.It ought to be a Dragon (since crossbreeding is considered Bad), which should cut down on the candidates. Morrolan is 'Uncle 'Rollan', so it's not him. It _is_ somebody we've met, though, and he claims that it's possible to figure it out. The two most popular current candidates are:

Kieron the Conqueror: We meet him in _Taltos_, page 156. At this point he's been dead for two hundred thousand years, but as he gives his sword to Aliera, they have this dialogue:

'Aliera said, "I can wield it."

'"Then I charge you to use it well, and to return to this place rather than give it to another or let it be taken from you."

'"And if I don't?" she said, I think just to be contrary.

'"Then I'll come and take it."

'"Perhaps," said Aliera, "that's what I want."'

In _Dragon_, Aliera gives the sword to Sethra the Younger. So it's possible that Kieron has reentered the world of the living; He'd be a suitably powerful father for Devera, but he _is_ the brother to Aliera's soul, so it would be incest. However, Dragaerans might not see it that way, especially if Kieron's in a new body.

Baritt: We meet _him_ in the Paths of the Dead in _Taltos_ as well: on page 156, and pages 159-160. However, at that point in Dragaeran history, he hasn't yet died. He dies a few days before _Yendi_ begins, so he and Aliera were at least alive at the same time. Admittedly, this is pretty shallow evidence, but he _is_ a powerful Dragon.

Another possiblity which is apparently still in the running is Kragar. Steven Brust discounted only the possibilities in version 1.0 of the FAQ, and I didn't mention Kragar there. He's not currently a Dragon, but if the case of Norathar (formerly the Sword of the Jhereg, currently the Dragon heir to the Throne) is typical, he could conceivably return to the Dragon. OTOH, Aliera doesn't like him, which could be considered some sort of obstacle.

Brust himself has been suggested, and I'd like to take this opportunity to advance a daring theory: If Sethra can shapechange into someone who looks completely different (Kiera), perhaps she can shapechange into a man. Sethra's a Dragon (sort of), she's powerful enough, and in _Orca_, she (as Kiera) knows who Devera is. Whaddya think, sirs?

(10 Dec 2002 -- Damien) There's a secondhand report from 1994 that Brust said Kieron was her father, which is supported by what is said about her in the Time section.
(26 Feb 2004 -- Damien) It has been pointed out that in this
interview Brust outright says Kieron is her father. Whether he says it in such a manner as to convince all of us of his honesty is another matter.

Q3: Where does Devera fit in the Hierarchy of Dragaera?

A3: Well, her grandmother is Verra, the Demon Goddess. Since (according to Khaavren) character passes from Father to Son and from Mother to Daughter, Devera has the character of Aliera [although she seems more cheerful to me -Monty] who has the character of Verra. Also, her name seems to mean "Of Verra" (de Verra).

Q4: When is Devera going to be born?

A4: Again, what a good question. She might not be born at all (since she'd be a _baby_ then, and not a young girl, which is what pretty much defines Devera-ness). OTOH, she might have been born before the events of _Athyra_, since Vlad wouldn't know about it. It's possible that her birth will show that the Cycle has turned.

Q5: How come Devera keeps flitting about through time?

A5: Well, a girl's gotta keep active, doesn't she? She can't spend _all_ her time hanging around Verra's throne. She seems to be interested in the history of those around her (watching Cawti's mother leave for Dragaera, for example).

Q6: How does Mr. Brust fit Devera into all his books?

A6: According to his statements at a Seattle reading, he has never had to "go back and fit her in". Sometimes (as in the case of _Five Hundred Years After_ ) he knows when he begins the book where she'll be; sometimes she just happens along.

[Page numbers are for paperbacks, except for _Agyar_, _Gypsy_, _Five Hundred Years After_, _Freedom & Necessity_, and _Dragon_, which are the hardbacks]
Jhereg, p. 63

[while Vlad performs witchcraft with the help and hindrance of Loiosh and Daymar, he sees visions, including:]

'...a small girl-child with big brown eyes looks at me and smiles...'

Yendi, pp.77-79

[A long scene, in which Vlad meets Devera for the first time.]

'She shook her head. "She doesn't know I'm here. But she's _really_ worried, Uncle Vlad. And so's Uncle 'Rollan. Won't you _please_ come back?"'

Teckla, p.81

[Vlad has been beaten and tortured. Sticks carries him up the stairs.]

'"I'll dump these things inside the house, and - - no, wait." Sticks vanished from sigh for a moment and I heard him speaking to someone in low tones. I heard the words, "drunk" and "brothel," and what seemed to be a child's voice answering him. Then he came back without the bundle and took my legs and they carried me into the house.

'Sticks dropped my legs at the top of the stairs and clapped. I heard a child say, "I'll leave these here." There was a rustling sound, and the child said, "No, that's all right," and there were soft footsteps descending.'

[This has been challenged on the grounds that it would be the only time in the Vlad books that Devera appears in reality. Another possibility would be page 76: 'A voice came from somewhere inside of me. It sounded absurdly calm, and it said, "You're dead now, Vlad." I don't know what that triggered, but it enabled me to think clearly.']

Taltos, p.175

[Vlad has successfully summoned the vial of Goddess Blood and is now all but dead in the Paths of the Dead]

'I have a vague memory of a little girl shaking my shoulder, saying "Don't fall asleep. You'll die if you fall asleep. Stay awake."'

Phoenix, pp. 233-234

[Again, Vlad chats with Devera in Verra's throne room.]

'"Oh. So she" - - I indicated the Demon Goddess - - "is your grandmother?"
'Devera smiled and crawled up into her lap.'

Athyra, p.131-132

[Savn is experimenting with witchcraft and has visions, including a voice, 'its age and sex impossible to determine, and irrelevant']

'"What does matter?" he said.

'"You matter, and he matters."

'"He? Vlad?"


'"I saved his life, you know.

'"Yes. And he will need you again."

'"For what?"

'"Be kind," said the voice, trailing away in an impossible direction.'

[BTW, I think Devera is _almost_ mentioned a lot - Vlad gets delirious, Vlad babbles, but Savn refuses to repeat the babbling. "She Who Is Small" [page 54] is _not_ Devera.)

Orca, p. 169

[Kiera describes what she saw while sitting in an Inn in Northport]

'At one point, I thought I saw Devera go by, but if so she didn't recognize me, and it wasn't very likely, anyway.'

[Kiera apparently knows both who Devera is and what her name is. We're not told if they met while Kiera was Kiera or Sethra, but either way, it's interesting.]

Dragon, p. 251

[Vlad is recovering from a spell at the Battle of Barrit's Tomb]

'"Was there a little girl on the battlefield? You know, a child?"

'"No, I think I can safely say there wasn't."

'"Then I can safely say I don't remember anything about the battle."'

[This story happens before Vlad meets Devera, which probably explains why he didn't recognize her]


Page 50, when he & Teldra are about to go through Morrolan's window the first time and Spellbreaker is searching for Blackwand. "...a young girl who may have been human or Dragaeran and who I might or might not have recognized made impossible eye contact with me".

Also, page 230.

[start quote]
We all stopped and looked, and discovered that we were, in fact, not the only ones moving directly at the Jenoine: the dragon was, too.

"Well, that is hardly surprising," said Sethra.
"Who is it?" asked Aliera.
"You don't know?"
"No, should I?"
"Well then, who--"

"Not now," said Sethra. She frowned, and finally said, "Very well. Leave her alone, we'll adjust.

page 235:

The dragon, for no reason that I could see, stopped as if it had struck a wall, rolled over -- something that big does a lot of rolling over when it rolls -- and then came to its feet once more, and shook its head in a very human gesture.

page 236:

Then Aliera went flying backward, tumbling backward like a seed bag without the seed, landing next to the dragon. I thought she was dead, or at least injured, but she put her hand on the dragon's head, and, using it like a handhold, rose to her feet at once, shook her head in a gesture terribly reminiscent of the dragon's, then turned back toward the battle. [end quote]

The page 50 quote seems like a more classic Devera appearance, floating in and out barely being noticed. On page 230, she makes more of a plot-related appearance.

(All of that was from Monty Ashley; this is Damien now) Basically he's saying the dragon is Devera. Brust has confirmed this appearance.

The Phoenix Guards, p. 393

[Devera delivers to Lord Adron the news that the Demon Goddess has borne him a child (!)]

'Adron had come to the decision to write, and was on the point of calling for pen, ink, parchment, and blotter, when he was interrupted by the arrival of a small girl, who did him a courtesy, placed a scrap of paper in his hand, and dashed off without waiting for a reply'

[later . . .]

'"Then she was merely a messenger," suggested Khaavren.'

Five Hundred Years After, p. 442

[Steven Brust and Paarfi argue (!) about whether Devera appears]

'Brust: Thank you. Would you like to give the reader a hint about where to find Devera in this volume? 'Paarfi: As it happens, she does not appear at all.'

The Paths of the Dead
No one has any good candidate appearances. It has been suggested that as Viscount is really one big three-volume books, like The Lord of the Rings, she may appear later. Or maybe Brust is bored of the Devera game.
The Lord of Castle Black
Page 145: "[...] Verra was sitting with what appeared to be a young child seated on her lap."

Page 146: "[...] As Trout spoke, the child on Verra's lap shifted a little to hold the Goddess closer, as if for protection."

Page 368: "[...] even as a small figure, that of a little girl, slipped down from Verra's lap and quietly ran off, as will a child who knows that the adult conversation about to begin cannot but be wearisome."

Sethra Lavode
I don't want to type it in, but someone reports hearing a child tell Sethra Lavode that "Tri'nagore has been missing from the Halls of Judgement."

Only the introduction was written by Steven Brust; there is no Devera to be found. I think.

To Reign in Hell, p.12

[While Yaweh fights flux, things form and deform:]

'...still another a girl-child with big brown eyes who vanishes before she really appears.'

Brokedown Palace, pp.17-18, 267-268

[When Miklos reaches the Faeries border, Devera pops up and chats with him. This, BTW, is the only time that Devera has told her name to someone besides Vlad, although Kiera knows it in _Orca_.]

'"Fenario. He said I should go to Fenario because I would be able to learn something about - - well, I'm really not supposed to say. But I must have missed, since I'm way up here, and that means I'm probably early, too."'

[What's she mean "He"? A God? Vlad? Her father?] [Morrolan is a new, unsupported, suggestion.]

'"You are fully of Faerie blood, are you not, Devera?" '"Yes."'

The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, p.48

[Greg is stuck on the Monster]

'Just to amuse myself and kill some time while I thought, I took a sixteenth-inch brush and, in the lower right corner, painted in the little brown-eyed girl who seems to follow me from painting to painting.
'Maybe she helped. I don't know.'

Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille, p.65

[Billy scans the room]

'A little girl of about nine or ten sat alone near the door in the restaurant, probably waiting for her parents.'

The Gypsy, p.33

[The Gypsy has visions, of an old woman and:]

'Another was of a small girl, who seemed to be the old woman with brown eyes at the same time, only she laughed as if she knew it were only a game.'

Agyar, p.220

[In Jill's painting, "Self-Portrait with Roses":]

'And then I noticed that behind the vase, almost invisible, in some sort of impossible red on red, was a face, staring out at the viewer, as if to watch him watch the roses, and while I couldn't really see the features of that face, I knew it was a girl, and I knew that there was a single tear running down her face.'

[I'm assuming here that "Self Portrait" is only a figurative title. If this _is_ Devera, she appears on the front cover of the book. Her eyes are, in fact, brown. Another possibility is the old woman who tells Jack how to be free:

'I found myself regarding a pair of dark eyes cast into an old, weathered face poured from a mold I'd seen many times in many places. The eyes regarded me, widened, narrowed, then appeared to consider. I had the feeling that I'd been recognized.'

If this is Devera, she's not a young girl (but see the Gypsy reference)]

Freedom & Necessity, p. 290

[Kitty is describing David's funeral to Susan]

'Almost the only one who acknowledged me was a child of eight or nine whom I couldn't even place, but she approached me when no one was looking and pressed my hand in a most adult manner, which I found very touching, and I wondered whose she was but didn't want to ask, and I didn't notice her during the rest of the service.'


These sightings may or may not be considered canonical.

Songs From The Gypsy

[This is a cycle of songs from which the book The Gypsy was written. I have no guarantee that Devera appears. However, if the "old woman" is really Devera (which I grant is a stretch), the song "Blackened Page" (about the Old Woman) is about Devera.

Neat, if it's true.]

Falcon, p. 186

[Not a Brust book; it's by Emma Bull. Chrysander is playing with some children.]

"A child, dark as Laura Brass, wandered up; then another, a little girl with large brown eyes."

[Will Shetterly has said that this is, in fact, Devera. Good enough for me.]

Ask Devera

[I've been told that Brust published an advice column called "Ask Devera" in an APA somewhere. And that's all the information I have.

Devera and time

"I see it like this: There is no time travel as it is usually understood by us skiffy types. But time can do strange things, especially in the Paths of the Dead, and Verra's Halls. Devera was conceived in the Paths of the Dead and was born in Verra's Halls.

Time doesn't work for her the way it does for others, and she can often skip around in it.

So, I guess, there is a limited sort quasi-time travel, in a way.

I hope that cleared everything up.

(tee hee)"


Any questions, comments, or (especially) corrections should be made to

By this point, many people have contributed directly or indirectly to this FAQ. In the interests of making myself look more important, I'm going to restrict my thanks to:

Steven Brust

All quotations in single quotes are copyright Steven Brust.

-Monty []
'He Whose Hair is Dark laughs at secrets, for his pleasure is in the search, not the discovery - - and the paths he follows in this search stem from whim, not from plan. Some say that in this way he reveals as many as another.'

-Steven Brust, _Athyra_, page 56

Back to Brust.