Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z

The Book of Silk:


The Book of Horn:


Note: this is an updated database. If you can fill in any of the blanks, post in the comments. The EoTLS is open to outside contributions, and will provide full credit for exceptional entries or additions to existing entries. Please post in the comments.

AANVAGEN: Wife of Beroep in Dorp. She and her husband have no children. She describes her dream to Silkhorn of two children in her living room who tell her to make Jahlee go away. 

ABANJA: The head of Siyuf's intelligence unit. She rides a horse. She probably was Doctor Crane's supervisor and gets respect from his peers as an enterprising commander in her own right. Her rank is Colonel. Later we learn that Abanja is the head of Sinew's village on Green, where she goes by the handle Maliki.

Addax. VBM

AER: A flier. Sciathan's lover. She dies during the war.

AFFITO: Inclito's coachman.

Ah Lah. RM (god)

Aloe. VBF

A-man. RM (human)

Aquifolia. VBF

Aquila. AM (eagle)

Arolla. VBF

Asphodella. VBF

Aster. VBF

ATTENO: A shopkeeper of Blanko. He is an early acolyte of the Incanto and Silkhorn sleeps in his shop and uses his paper.

AUK: Born in 304. The dimber cull who is possessed by Tartaros and Pas into helping Silk. He likes Silk and would probably have helped him anyway. He was a longtime patron of Orchid's where he met Orpine and Chenille.  He is five years older than Silk. In his afterword to The Book of Silk, Horn describes his disgust for Auk, and that only Silk, Chenille and Marble had good things to say about him.

AZIJIN: A sergeant in Dorp who helps Silkhorn.

AZOTH: An energy weapon, presumably from Urth. Sigana possesses two of them, one of which he gives to Hyacinth to give to Silk. Blood has more than one as well. Small enough to be hidden in the waistband of an augur's robe. Each azoth has a bloodstone that serves as its trigger.

BABBIE: The hus that accompanies Horn on his trip to Pajorocu. There is some indication that part of Horn goes into Babbie after his return from the Whorl. At the end of On Blue's Waters, Horn hears himself being called to the shore as Babbie.

BADOUR: The guard on Urth who leaves his post to bring Silkhorn and company in to see his officer. The reason for the original lack of an officer at the gate during the opening of the same scene in The Shadow of the Torturer.

BALETIGER: A predatory animal of Blue. It has soft feet with seven toes. Although large, the baletiger doesn't appear to be very fast. Silkhorn controls a baletiger while conducting the war against Soldo.

Babirousa. VBM

BALA: Sinew's wife on Green.

Bass. VBM

Bellflower. VBF

BEROEP: Aanvagen's husband. He is "portly." He is tormented with a dream of voices while Silkhorn stays in his house. He owns many boats, and other wealthy men of Viron want to bankrupt him to secure them.

BETEL: Sun Street sibyl who continued to live with the prosthetic parts from Moly.

BISON: Mint's second-in-command during the revolution. Loyal to the calde. Silk discerns he is a former thief from his description of a secret entrance into the Orilla. He marries Mint and becomes Calde himself after her.

Bittersweet. VBU

BLAZINGSTAR: A magnate of New Viron. The Book of Horn is written in the second year of his caldeship in New Viron.

BLOOD:  Born in 276. Maytera Rose's son. He is a criminal overlord who becomes wealthy working for the Ayuntamiento. He owns Orchid's. About 54 at the beginning of Nightside the Long Sun. He is gay, and his lover is Musk. He deals rust according to his mother. He tells Silk that if it weren't for Mucor, he would have been calde, which seems like a very strange assertion unless you can connect him to Tussah in some fashion. When he finds out that Maytera Marble killed Musk, he moves to kill her, but Silk kills him to save Maytera Marble's life.

BLUE: One of two planets in the Short Sun system. Blue is farther from the sun and has a more temperate climate. The two planets are separated by 100,000 miles.

BLUEBELL: A whore at Orchid's with blue eyes.

BLUEBILLY: A type of fish in blue's waters.

BOOK OF HORN: Also know as The Book of the Short Sun. Horn says he doesn't care what we call it as long as we read it. Michael Andre-Druissi has clarified when the majority of the book was written and by who in the following fashion:

BONGO: Gib's trained baboon. He brings him to be sacrificed, but Patera Jerboa thinks monkeys look like children.

BREAM: A Vironese man who sacrifices during Maytera Rose's funeral. 

Brocket. VBM

Bull. VBM

BUSTARD: Auk's older brother. He appears to have been a spy for Trivigaunte. He won the Molpe Cup in some fighting competition. There are intimations that Auk killed him, but he is long dead by the time of The Book of Silk.

CADDIS: the writer of the Chrasmologic Writings who lived over two centuries prior and witnessed the theophanies of Tartaros, Scylla, Echidna, and Pas, and coined the term "Holy Hues" in reference to the colorful swirl that signals the comings and goings of the gods in Sacred Windows. He may have been possessed by Pas at the time he penned the Writings. It is rumored that Caddis was one of the ideas for the author of The Book of Silk before Wolfe settled on Horn.

CALF: One of Horn's brothers. A shopkeeper of New Viron.

CASSAVA: The woman Mucor possessed at Maytera Rose's funeral. When Silk takes the needler away from her, Mucor says she wasn't really going to shoot him, but she could. Cassava rests in the augur's manteion and may be fed upon by Quetzal.

Cat. VBM

CATAMITUS: A minor male god.

Catamitus. DM

Cavy. VBM

CHAMOMILE: Swallow's female assistant.

CHARACTERS: You can find Sean Whalen's character list for The Book of Silk here.

CHENILLE: The biological daughter of Calde Tussah and a woman in his service. She is 20, busty and beautiful. She is a baby when Tussah is killed and she is hidden by her mother. She becomes a whore at Orchid's and is possessed by Kypris and Scylla. She has acne scars on her face and a wonderful figure. Tussah liked large women and Chenille's mother is described by Loris as a "virago." She stabs Orpine while possessed by Mucor. 

CHERVIL: Coypu's wife. She meets Silk in Limna.

Chiquito. AM (parrot)

CHRONOLOGY OF BOOKS: According to Nick Gevers, here is the chronological order of all the works in the Urth cycle:

"The Boy Who Hooked the Sun"
"The God and His Man"
"Empires of Foliage and Flower"
"The Night Chough"
"These Are The Jokes"
"The Map"
"The Cat"
"The Old Woman Whose Rolling Pin Is The Sun"

I'm not sure why "The Night Chough" can't have taken place before The Book of Silk.

Civet. VBM

CLIJFER: Captain Wijzer's wife, possibly an inhumi.

CORN: The sibyl who wakes Marble in the Whorl.

CORPO: The meetings where the men of Blanko discuss current events.

COYPU: The man Silk meets in Limna who tells him about suffering heatstroke and meeting Doctor Crane. Possibly an agent of Crane or Quetzal.

CRANE: Sigada as he is called in Trivigaunte. He became a spy in Viron for money. Born in 276 in Trivigaunte. He is killed by the portion of the chemical soldiers loyal to the Calde when they believe they are mounting a rescue operation outside of Limna. Silk suspects Crane is a spy after Crane tells him he is only the third person with blue eyes he has ever met. Silk explains that the ratio of blue-eyed to brown is about 1 in 20 in Viron, and less in other cities.

Crane carries a heart monitor. When he dies the Trivigaunti horde attacks Viron.

Crassula. VBF

CRICKET: Cowslip's son and Horn's nephew.

CUGINO: A woodcutter of Blanko who makes Incanto's staff.

DACE: The sailor whose boat Scylla commands to take Auk, Chenille and Incus to the tunnels of Limna. He is killed by Gelada in the tunnels after making friends with Auk.

DAHLIA. A bio student at the palaestra contemporary with Moly, who she resembles.

DECINA: Inclito's cook. She is afraid of Incanto.

Desmid. VBU

Dreoilin. MBF

EATING: The inhumi do not, which is one way of distinguishing them from humans. The fact that Silkhorn eats very little throughout The Book of Horn has been noticed by many observers. The most straightforward explanation is that now he is a Vanished Person and no longer requires as much, if any food. The other possible explanation for this note in the text is presented by Michael Straight: 

If Silk was used to fasting and eating very lightly all his life, then Horn/Silk would probably get sick if he tried to eat as much as Horn was used to eating.  Thus all the fuss about not eating -- Horn wants to eat, but knows he'll regret it if he does.

ECHIDNA: The wife of Pas. She conspired to kill him so he hid himself in Mainframe. Silk's instinct is to disobey her theophany. She is the mother of the gods and queen of the Whorl.

ECO: Mora's husband. He is a mercenary. Both he and Mora are imprisoned and after she is raped by their guards against his protests, they fall in love.

EFT: A cull.

ELAND: A convicted murderer sent to the pits, where he has a strong rapport with animals. He trains young gods. General Mint sees some good in him as they escape the tunnels. He is killed in the Calde's Palace by Hossaan, who mistakes him for Spider.

Elodia. VBF

ESCHAR: A magnate of New Viron.

ERMINE: The male owner of the largest home in Viron. It is a hotel and restaurant.

Erne. VBM

EVENSONG: A woman of Han who becomes concubine to Silkhorn and leaves him near Blanko.

FAVA: An inhumi who is Mora's friend and lives in Inclito's house. She feeds on Inclito's grandmother until Silkhorn tells her to stop. When her mind joins with Silkhorn's, astral travel is possible. She is the genetic production of Bean.

Feather. VBM

Feeler. VBM

FEIST: An officer in the rebel army.

FEMUR: Incus' older brother by seven years.


FULMAR: A member of Incus' circle of black mechanics. He hosts the gathering that Incus can't attend when Quetzal sends him to Limna. Incus describes him as a fool, which may be a clue that he is not all that he appears and some knowledge of the war situation is to be explained at the meeting of the black mechanics that evening. Fulmar is the man whose valet requests no compensation for his duties.

All material in The Encyclopedia of the Long Sun is copyrighted. Please do not reproduce without express written consent. The character format and list for the Book of Silk is by Sean Whalen.

A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z

Monday, September 20, 2010


A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z

The Encyclopedia of the Long Sun has character information and commentary for the following books by Gene Wolfe:

The Book of Silk:


The Book of Horn:


Note: this is an updated database. If you can fill in any of the blanks, post in the comments. If you create an entry worthy of the EoTL, we'll credit you with all the tidings of Pas. You can e-mail me at alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com.

GALAGO: One of the chems on the Ayuntamiento. Galago is a cousin of Councillor Loris and got on through nepotism, as Potto details to Mint in the opening chapter of Exodus of the Long Sun.

GALGLIARDO: An astronomer-scientist of Blanko. He may be someone else in the series hiding under an assumed identity in Soldo. 

GAUR: One of Urus' crew in the tunnels.

GAYFEATHER: A teen girl from Silk's palaestra.

Gecko. VBM

GELADA: A criminal sent to the pit. He kills Dace and eats his left arm. He is killed by Auk as retribution. Auk later explains to Chenille that he killed Gelada to win the good opinion of his fellow criminals. They'd never respect him otherwise.

GIB: A bouncer who fights for Silk's rebels. Auk saved his life.

GINGER. She gets her hand blown off.

GODLING: An aspect of Pas sent out in the Whorl. Pig is one. Silkhorn meets a big one outside of Blood's villa. According to Pig, the godlings are sent out by Pas to make people leave the Whorl.

Goldcrest. VBM

Goral. VBM

GRANDECITTA: A skyland city of the Whorl.

GREEN: One of two planets in the Short Sun Whorl. Green was the original planet of the Vanished People, where they were trees and vines. They are able to dream-travel to places they have already been. When the Vanished People began using inhumi to kill other Vanished People, they realized what they had created in the inhumi and abandoned Green and Blue rather than continue the practice. Green is the only place where it is warm enough for the inhumi to reproduce, according to Juganu.

Silkhorn becomes one of the Vanished People (and thus possibly part inhumi, since their previous form was influenced by the Vanished People). They later testify on his behalf at Silkhorn's trial in Dorp. There is much evidence of their intervention in Silkhorn's life, including his ability to move through any kind of brush, his ability to talk to animals, and the fact that he was able to transport himself from the lander on Green to Silk's body on the Whorl at all.

GRIAN: The flier who escaped the Trivigauntes by flying away. 

Grison. VBM

GUAN: A member of Spider's team of spies working for the Ayunamiento, he is found dead by General Mint, Spider and Remora in the tunnels.

GULO: The augur Quetzal sends to help Patera Silk. Despite spying on Silk for the chapter, Gulo is a devoted supporter of the Calde. He instructs some boys and himself chalks "Silk for Calde" on the walls of buildings. Later he leads massive crowds in prayer as Silk's acolyte.

GYRFALCON: A merchant of New Viron. He is deeply afraid of Horn's influence in the city and exiles him to find Pajarocu. He is an arms manufacturer, and may have supplied Marrow with his cache. He is killed at the wedding, which he attended directly on Silk's invitation, with a cadre of bodyguards. Silk was anticipating the attack and had Gyrfalcon there to defend his family.

HADALE: A major of Trivigaunte. She is General Saba's subordinate. She believes Saba has gone crazy and imprisons her after she flies the airship towards Mainframe.

HAMMERSTONE: A chemical soldier, father of Olivine. Hammerstone is found by Patera Incus dying in the tunnels. Incus tinkers with him illegally to turn his loyalty to Incus himself. He originally was in love with Moly, but after he was put in coldsleep, he went in a different direction. When the Trivigaunte airship attacks, he escapes the bonds of criminals from the Pit and wages war on their female troopers.

Hare. VBM

HARI MAU: The Gaonese chieftain who goes to the Whorl to find Silk and brings back Silkhorn on a lander.  He possibly regards Silk as a father figure and may even reverence him as a god. 

HART: A teen in Silk's palaestra. He is wounded in the fighting.

HIDE: Horn's son, twin to Hoof. Hide becomes a member of the force in Blanko, where Silkhorn convinces him through dream travel that he is in fact partly his father.

HIERAX: One of Pas' children, the evil god of death.

HOLLY: A teen in Silk's palaestra, included because she was Nettle's classmate.

HONEYSUCKLE: Mint's maid in the Calde's Palace.

HOOF: One of Horn's twins sons, the other being Hide. Author, in part, of The Book of Horn. They are identical twins.

HORN: Born in 317. The author of The Book of Silk and The Book of Horn. A part of him appears to move into Babbie after he takes possession of Silk's body on the Whorl. His corporeal body dies in the lander on Green.

HORN (Neighbor): One of the Vanished People who tells Horn that his own name is Horn. He is probably telling the truth and is Silkhorn.

HOSSAAN: Also known as Willet. At the beginning of Nightside the Long Sun, he is the second-in-command of Sigana in the Trivigaunte spy network. After Crane's death, he becomes the chief intelligence agent in Viron. He leads some female pterotroopers on a raid of the Viron government. Silk comments that all he had to do was wait outside for the troopers to arrive.

HUS: A boar-like creature of Blue. Robert Borski asked Wolfe the etymology of the word: Hus is a little embarrassing. It's an old word for house. (A hussy was a kept woman: a house woman, like a house dog, rather than a housewife--a woman who was shacking up.) When I started the book, I wanted to combine the house-pet idea with the wild-boar idea, and called Babbi a hushhog. I hadn't gotten very far before I realized that most readers would see the word as hush-og and my characters began referring to him as "hus." So I left it at that.

HYACINTH: The whore Silk falls in love with after falling into her bed in Blood's villa. She sends him a love note and they meet at Ermine's and make out. She is consistently identified with the mother.  Hyacinth dies in the Whorl and Silk's essence moves into Horn as he mourns her death.

Hyacinth is a Trivigaunte spy under the command of Sigada. Her father was also a spy, positioned as a clerk in the Juzgado. Instead of going on a lander, she remains in the whorl, probably because she hopes to reunite with the Trivigauntes. There is a significant school of thought that Hyacinth is a male changed by plastic surgery into a female. There is also a long argument about whether or not she is a chem.

Horn reveals in his afterword that she was a foul creature and that Silk's faith in her was entirely misplaced. And indeed, her tete-a-tete with General Saba in the Trivigaunte airship probably indicates both a past relationship and a loyalty to Trivigaunte that spans the entire Book of Silk.

HYRAX: One of Spider's associates in the intelligence network. He is killed in the fighting in the tunnels. Maytera Marble sheds light on the meaning of his name - it's given to children whose parents have died in childbirth.

INCANTO: The name by which Silkhorn goes while he's under the care of Inclito's family in Blanko. It's given to him by Inclito on their ride out to his estate in In Green's Jungles.

INCANTO (Inclito's brother) Died during infancy. Inclito's mother was barren, and this first child was an enchanted child, according to Robert Borski.

INCUS: An augur who is also a black mechanic. He is the pawn of Scylla. After the Whorl colonizes Blue, he becomes Prolocutor of Viron, as Hound tells Silkhorn in Return to the Whorl. Many critics believe Incus is a woman.

INHUMI: A species native to Green. The inhumi take their genetic material from other organisms and replicate their behavior as mirrors. As reflections of humanity, they kill because we kill each other.

This is clarified during a conversation between Jahlee, Hide and Silkhorn during In Green's Jungles:

"Sinew and Bala and all the other people on Green? Are the inhumi going to kill them all the way they did the Vanished People that were there?"

"No," I said.

"Are you sure?"

"As sure as I can be without actually knowing the answer, Hide. I can't possibly know-I'm sure you must realize that. You were asking my opinion, and my opinion is that they won't."

I found his next question startling, as I still do. It was, "Because of something we did?"

I said, "Of course not. Do you think that we can save an entire whorl, my son? Just you and I?"

"It isn't just us. There's Sinew and Bala and their children, and Maliki, and a lot of others."

"Ah! But that's a very different question. In that case, yes. Green will be saved because of things we've done and things we'll do. So will Blue. The Vanished People know it already, and I should have known it too when they asked my permission to revisit Blue. If the inhumi were to enslave humanity here, the Vanished People wouldn't want to come back; and if they were to exterminate it, no such permission would be needed."

Hide nodded, mostly I think to himself.

"You are always bored when your mother and I talk about the whorl that we left to come here-the Long Sun Whorl. So I'll try to make this as brief as I can. When we were on the lander, I thought as we all did that Pas had made a terrible mistake, that Green was a sort of death trap filled with inhumi."

"It is."

"No, it isn't. There are inhumi there, of course, and in large numbers. But not in overwhelming numbers. They prey upon the colonists-or try to – exactly as they prey upon us here."


"And they are killed in the attempt, not every time but quite often. Sinew and the colonists can kill them, you see, and frequently do. They lose nothing by it. The inhumi can kill them, too. I cleared a large sewer on Green once, Hide. It was choked with human bodies, several thousand I would say."

"That must have been horrible."

"It was. But, Hide, each of those bodies represented a slave or a potential slave, an inhuman who had bled to death instead of working and fighting for his masters. Sinew's victories leave him stronger, but the inhumi's leave them weaker."

Tonight Hide made the same argument to Jahlee, couching it in his own terms and presenting it much less concisely than I have given it here.

She shook her head. "We'll win. We're winning on both whorls already."


"Because you fight among yourselves far more than you fight us. Do you remember the question I asked your father when we came to the gate of Qarya?"

Hide shook his head.

"I asked what good the ditch and the wall of sticks were, when we inhumi can fly. He didn't answer me, because he knew the answer. Would you like to try?"

"I guess not."

"You sell your own kind to us for weapons and treasure," she told him almost apologetically, "and the more numerous you are, the crueler and more violent you are. Your cruelty and your violence strengthen us."

He stared at her, puzzled.

"Ask this man you call your father. He'll tell you."

I said, "He hasn't, and he won't."

She ignored it. "You took part in the war Soldo fought with Blanko. Who do you think won it?"

"Blanko," Hide said.

"You're wrong. We did."
IOLAR. The flier Musk attacks in the air. He drops into Lake Limna, where he is picked up by Councillor Lemur, who casts him back into the lake after Iolar refuses to admit the secret of the fliers' propulsion modules.

JAHLEE: The inhumi who is Krait's mother. She passes on his genetic material to her offspring. Jahlee feeds on Lizard Island more than once. She is dug up by Silkhorn in order to help the Gaonese side of the war.

JERBOA: An augur who took up his post in 271. His acolyte is Patera Shell. Pas put a part of himself in Jerboa before he died. When it is removed from Jerboa and reintegrated with Mainframe, Jerboa dies. Auk picks up his body and moves it.

JUGANO: An old inhumi that Silkhorn enslaves. He feeds off both Hoof and Silk. He provides the disturbing description of inhumi breeding in Return to the Whorl.

Kalan. VBM

KENBAAR: A lieutenant in the Army of Dorp.

Kerria. VBM

KINGCUP: The owner of a livery stable. Along with Newt for the Juzgado, she joins the Ayuntamiento as a representative of the people.

Kit. VBM

KUPUS: The leader of the mercenaries that Duko Rigoglio hires to fight for Soldo. Short, stout and brave. 

KYPRIS: Goddess of whores, she has conflict with Scylla. After possessing Chenille, she convinces Silk to carry out her plan. Like Pas, Kypris wants to bring the whorl to the Short Sun whorl while Echidna and Scylla wish to continue their god games.

LEMUR: Councillor of the Ayuntamiento until he is killed by Doctor Crane on his submarine. Distracted by the revelation that his corporeal body is dead, Lemur drops Crane's azoth. Lemur was the de facto leader of the Ayuntamiento.

At some point his corporeal body dies while being maintained by life support systems in the Ayuntamiento's hideout submarine in Lake Limna. While his chemical form is distracted by the revelation his biological body is dead, Crane kills him with the azoth he lent to Silk. At first the Ayuntamiento spreads the rumor that Loris is alive, and it is by making a simple deduction that Quetzal assumes Loris is dead. He may also have viewed the scene himself from the air.

LIANA: The woman who allows Silk past the front lines of the battlefield in Calde of the Long Sun. She is around 20.

LIJAM. The minister of war of Trivigaunte.

Lily. VBF

LIME: One of General Mint's commanders. She leads an army of women during the first charge on the Alembrara, a corps that is later turned into nurses.

Linsang. VBM

LION: One of Musk's lynxs.

LOACH: A resident of Viron who drives a wagon that carries the dead. He is a pallbearer at Orpine's funeral.

LORIS: A chemical member of the Ayuntamiento. He becomes the presiding officer after Lemur's death. Described as a handsome, elderly man. He dies after firing his needler at invading Trivigaunti troops. Silk comments that he probably wanted to go down like a fighting man. He seems to realize that he is in his corporal body now and his biological body is no more.

All material in The Encyclopedia of the Long Sun is copyrighted. Please do not reproduce without express written consent. The character format and list for the Book of Silk is by Sean Whalen.

A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z

Friday, September 17, 2010


Someone said to me not long ago that they felt there was no book of man they could not fathom easily. There are a few things happening in Gene Wolfe's The Wizard Knight that put the lie to that.

The mystery of King Gilling's murder is a subject that will be of continuing interest to Wolfe scholars. In his immortal guide to Wolfe's book, Michael Andre-Driussi doesn't venture to tell us his own opinion. We can infer that he thinks it is more exciting to come to the conclusion on our own.

Mr. Andre-Driussi provides us with most of the textual evidence on this question, rather like a CSI technician passing along the clues. Wolfe's best detective, of course, was the narrator of "The Detective of Dreams." The double meaning of this story's title was that the title both referred to the narrator and to God himself, who was doing the dream-making. His second best detective is Mr. Blue of Pandora by Holly Hollander, and he too makes much of the mischief, both bad and good, in that novel.

The entity most interested in the answer to the question of who murdered King Gilling - and therefore the detective of The Wizard Knight - is Thiazi, one of the most enigmatic characters in the book. Thiazi appears to have changed from his native horrible giant state to a creature of different ideas, perhaps because of the love he naturally lost.

From what I've just said, it would be fruitless not to debate the question of whether Thiazi himself was the murderer. There are a few major points in his candidacy as the killer:

1) He suggests the same person attempted Gilling's murder during the melee, and then killed Gilling in the courtyard during the fighting at the gate to Utgard. This indicates his guilt, because if that is true, then he is the most likely candidate for the killer. As he notes, he was present at both incidents.

2) Able will not tell Thiazi who the killer is. Since Able is usually honest, especially when he is begged, this does not look very good for Thiazi. On the other hand, most of the other potential candidates also have reason to be protected by Able.

3) After Schildstarr ascends the throne, Thiazi is right by his side. Able explains this as a political calculation, but it is far from obvious. A strange comment by Able after seeing how the giants have rearranged their government is a muted tip-off that the intrigue in the castle is not all that it appears to the humans. There is even the implication that Able and Thiazi have essentially accomplished a coup, since it was impossible that Gilling would have allowed Idnn to leave Utgard.

4) Schildstarr appears to be a more powerful king than Gilling, and may even be controlling some of the giants he purports to fight for the king against. His sorties against Able's camp aside, he appears to be a better ruler and this would benefit Thiazi.

6) The fact that Thiazi is unable to find out who the killer is indicates the killer could conceivably be him.

But let us review the pertinent facts briefly once more.

Org kills six giants during the melee, but doesn't have a knife and didn't stab the King. He is capable of moving extremely quickly over short distances and could have turned off the lights before the incident, but it equally could have been Baki. A faux giantess appears  - this could be Baki, but we don't usually the see the Fire Aelf adjusting their size in that fashion. It is more likely Huld, who can assume any form.

Baki could have stabbed the King, and Andre-Driussi gives some weight to the idea that she's the one who did it. If she did, why did she wait so long to act before antagonizing Gilling again? Although Uri tries to pin the event on Baki (and she may be basing this on the fact Baki was involved in the stabbing), she has good reason to rival her sister. She also may honestly believe that Baki was the killer.

The manner of the attack during the melee on Gilling indicates the perpetrator as well. The person was either of a size to wield the stabbing implement, or wanted it to look as if they were. This points to Thiazi. Perhaps he intended to make it look as if Toug had done it.

Svon says that he would have done it, but he indicates he didn't. This would be a difficult task for him, because his right eye has already been swollen shut. He certainly didn't actually kill King Gilling later on - he was fighting giants at the time. The same is true of Garvaon. In the fighting, he may have thought that he had - he slew giants during that unfair battle. Thiazi even goes out of his way to praise the valor with which Garvaon and Svon fought.

There is also the issue of Thiazi's size. Able describes him as three times the size of Beel, but Beel is a tiny man. He's smaller than King Gilling, and that would be about the height of the stabbing in the lower back.

Then there is the question of who is giving Thiazi instructions. For that we turn to the Valfather, for he clearly has a dog in this fight besides Able. He has informants in Mythgarthr, and the fact that Thiazi possesses Able-like powers is an indication that he is one of them. Huld may be as well. They may even toss Gilling to his death together, seeing that it was the perfect time for the King to go away for good now that his kingdom was falling apart and so clearly needed new leadership.

What is the Valfather's motivation to strike against King Gilling? I believe it is to preserve Queen Idnn, who he regards also as his servant in Mythgarthr, and who is the namesake of the goddess.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z

The Encyclopedia of the Long Sun has character information and commentary for the following books by Gene Wolfe:

The Book of Silk: 


The Book of Horn: 


Note: this is an updated database. If you can fill in any of the blanks, post in the comments. If you create an entry worth of the EoTL, we'll credit you with all the tidings of Pas. You can e-mail me at alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com.
Macaque. VBM

MAGNESIA: Marble's original name when she was loaded onto the Whorl. See Marble.

MALIKI: Abanja's name in Qarya.

MALRUBIUS: Severian's first master in the guild of the torturers as a boy. Silkhorn later takes on his form as an eidolon to influence the events of The Book of the New Sun which follows after the The Book of Silk and The Book of Horn.

MAMELTA:  The sleeper who Mucor wakes. She is dying in her own coldsleep container when Silk saves her, having been woken in an airless environment. He frees her. They descend into one of the ships connected to the Whorl, where Silk views the universe outside it for the first time. She is killed by Scylla in Lake Limna.  Mamelta is commonly identified with Kypris, and some even believe she essentially was Kypris with changed memories. She is also linked to Hyacinth and to the mother figure that has a tremendous influence on Silk. His desire for Mamelta is akin more to a strange fascination. That is because she is "Ma" his mother born again.

MANDRILL: An associate of Gelada's. He left Viron for Palustria.

Maple. VBF

MARBLE: Born in 12 as Magnesia. Chemical woman who has been sibyl of the Sun Street manteion for over 300 years. She is one of Silk's closet confidantes. She leaves the whorl on the lander and ends up living on an island on Blue with Mucor. She is composed of many parts of her sister sibyls, and once she takes Maytera Rose's better parts, she becomes extremely fast, agile, and powerful.

Marl. VCM

MARROW: A grocer in Viron, he becomes one of the leaders of New Viron on Blue.  He appears to want to exile Horn because of the popularity he might command within New Viron. Silkhorn implies that he is killed by Gyrfalcon in a power struggle.

MARMOT: An unemployed cull who fights for General Mint.

MARZO: One of Duke Rigoglio's guards in Soldo.

Marten. VBM

Matar. TBF

MATTAK: Colonel Oosik's son. He is a member of the Guard loyal to the Ayuntamiento. He goes by Cornel Mattak.

Mear. MBM

MERL: A resident of Viron who runs into Hari Mau and his gang while they're looking for Silk. They have some kind of conflict, which Merl later relates to Silkhorn in Hound's shop.

MINT: Born in 296 in Viron. Sibyl of the Sun Street manteion. She is possessed and some part of Kypris remains in her. She leads the rebel army against the Ayuntamiento and is known as the Sword of Echnida. After the landers leave the Whorl, Mint becomes calde and survives an assassination attempt that puts her in a wheelchair.

MOCKORANGE: A sibyl from the old days who gave Mint her first instructions.

MOLPE: Daughter of Pas. The goddess of music. She is second born after Scylla. Scylla says of her, "Molpe took the arts, like you'd expect." She's described as having hair strewn across her face. She is the patroness of the second day of the week, Molpsday, and is identified with birds and butterflies. She has a strong association with Mucor, and is said to suffer from bouts of insanity.

MOLY: Molybdenum was a chemical maid in the Sun Street cenoby. She fell in love with Hammerstone but he went into cold sleep underground. When Maytera Rose became pregnant and Maytera Betel sick Moly was forced to volunteer her parts to Maytera Betel. It is likely her hand that remains a part of Maytera Marble, not Maytera Rose's. After Hammerstone returned from coldsleep, he didn't go looking for Moly. He may have gone to the Sun Street manteion and not found her. They are reunited and married in the Calde's Palace after Marble ends her time as a sibyl, but are separated after the journey to Blue.

MONEY: The citizens of the Whorl chop up cards that are used to power the landers. This creates cardbits. On Blue, some enterprising individual creates fake cards of a different color, silver or gold. In Green's Jungles finds Silkhorn musing about the problems of currency:

But what confusion! Much of it is in silver-of various grades and alloyed with a variety of other stuffs, generally nickel. Some of it is gold, more or less alloyed with copper and lead. It ranges in hardness from a buttery little ingot contributed by Cantoro (may the Outsider smile upon him, now and forever), to three broad disks as hard as flints.

Nor is that all. There are real cards, too, such as we used to use in the Whorl. How much silver is a card worth? How much gold? I have asked half a dozen merchants, bankers, and moneylenders thus far, and received a full dozen replies. That is scarcely to be wondered at, and not all the cards in circulation here are in serviceable condition. (To think that we used to chop them up into a hundred cardbits, never once considering that they could never be reassembled!)

Moorgrass. VBF

MORA: Inclito's daughter. She is captured and raped by the men of Soldo.  She and her father resemble Chenille and Calde Tussah. She knows that Fava is an inhumi but doesn't tell her father. Fava gets her to spy against Blanko. She steals Rimando's horse, but her and Eco fall in with mercenaries loyal to the Incanto. They shower them with gifts. Possibly an alternate future for Chenille as a distinguished woman of power.

MORAY: An augur killed by Eft. He was bringing the Pardon of Pas to the injured.  Silk discovers his body with his arms crosses over his torso.

MOTA: A follower of Hari Mau.

MOTHER: The god of the Vanished People possessed by Scylla.

MUCOR: Biological daughter of Blood, granddaughter to Maytera Rose. She takes care of the remnant of her grandmother left on Blue. Aids Horn and Silk, and Silkhorn. Born in 317. Almost everything she does for Silk is incredibly heroic but no one really notices. Silk seems to be her God. Silk meets her in her room in Blood's mansion. She later possesses a number of key figures in his life and usually is around to torment him. She wakes the sleeper Mamelta, and possesses Cassava at the funeral of Maytera Rose. Her paranormal powers can cross worlds, but it takes a heavy toll on her. 

MURTAGON: A famous artist. According to some, a woman.

MUSK: Blood's lover. He hates Silk and tries to kill him at Maytera's funeral, but is killed himself by Maytera Marble.

NABEANNTAN: The town that Pig says he comes from. A mountain town. No idea whether this is accurate or if it simply belies a larger truth.

NAT: A magnate of Dorp. He wants Beroep's boats. He sends troopers from Dorp to arrest Silkhorn. Beroep calls him a thief. Judge Hamer is his cousin.Windcloud calls him "fat." In the context of the trial, it is really strange how much we don't know about Nat. Sure, he accuses Silkhorn unjustly (says Silkhorn), but he never does anything directly to harm him and may be seeking the rightful return of his property.

NEIGHBORS: See Vanished People. The term neighbor itself has many connotations in Wolfe's oeuvre, most recently in The Sorcerer's House. It usually means faerie, but it also may connote a creature that resides entirely in a "neighbor"ing world of its own.

NETTLE: Horn's wife. Like Horn, she becomes a Vanished Person. Her presence on Lizard Island may in fact be her dream traveling from another location. In Silkhorn's final conversation with Patera Remora before he returns to the whorl, Remora asks him, "Who's Nettle?" This indicates that Nettle had not exactly been her vivacious self during their years on Blue and that she may even have been dead then.

What happened to Nettle is strongly hinted at by Silkhorn during this passage of In Green's Jungles:

Sinew had found an altar of the Vanished People in a wood, and had tried to persuade me to visit it without exposing himself to the humiliation of my refusal. Now I wonder what wonders I missed by my surly rejection of his implied invitation. Was it an altar like the one to which Oreb guided me today? If not, in what respects did it differ, and why? Did Sinew himself worship there? If he did, did he experience what I experienced today, or anything of the kind? Have you visited the place, Nettle? 

Yes. She did visit the altar, and that is where she likely made the same bargain Horn did with the Vanished People during his stay with He-Pen-Sheep.

NEWT: The representative from the Juzgado in the new Ayuntamiento. Possibly Hyacinth's father, possibly a Trivigaunte spy.

NINE: The nine gods are Pas, Echidna, Scylla, Kypris, Thelxiepeia, Molpe, Hierax, Phaea and Spighx.

NIZAM: The Trivigaunte flying trooper who brings Tick to the airship.

NOVELLA CITTA: A town on Blue.

Olive. PBF

OLIVINE: The daughter of Corporal Hammerstone and Maytera Marble. She meets Silkhorn in an abandoned house in Viron. She "haunts" the Calde's palace, bothering Mint and Bison.

ONORIFICA: Inclito's maid.

Oont. VBM

OOSIK: The commander of the bio guards of Viron. He first meets Silk after a member of the guard shoots Silk with a needler. He returns Silk's possessions to him, reveals his sympathy to Silk's cause and his moral ambiguity as to who prevails in the conflict. He also tells Silk that he's had sex with Hyacinth multiple times, but that he meant nothing to her. In return for his behavior, Silk keeps him in his position after the revolution. He appears to have extensive relationships with the Trivigauntes. Possibly he is being blackmailed with information from his consort Hyacinth.

ORCHID: The mistress of her eponymous whorehouse. Worked for Blood until he is killed by Silk. When she hears of Blood's death, she takes it pretty well so she probably didn't care much for him. She is described a large but not unappealing woman. She gives Silk 100 cards for an appropriate funeral for her daughter.

OREB: The night chough possessed by Scylla who follows Silk around and generally keeps him alive.

ORPINE: Orchid's daughter, killed by Mucor in Chenille's body. Orpine comes to Mucor's attention when Silk visits Orchid's. She may have threatened Mucor.

OUTSIDER: Silk's god, the one true God who Silk pledges himself to after abandoning the nine. He is commonly identified with the Christian God.

OXLIP: One of Horn's sisters.

PACA: A dead man in the tunnels below the Whorl. Possibly sent to the pit.

PAJAROCU: A phantom town on Blue's western continent.

PAREL: A servant girl of Dorp.

PAS: Typhon, ruler of Earth. He has he and his family deified and loads them onto the starcrosser Whorl. After his family decides to kill him, he hides himself by possessing various people in the Whorl, including Patera Jerboa. Silkhorn speculates Pas had a place for himself on Blue. This is likely Lizard Island.

Peeper. VBM

Petel. see Titi

PHAEA: Echidna's fourth child, "the goddess of food and healing." The Vironese thank her before they eat. Maytera Mint tells Auk to pray to her when he's hungry. It's unclear to what extent Phaea was involved in the destruction of Pas. She is described as "Fierce" Phaea and "fat" Phaea.

PIG: A godling Silkhorn meets in the Whorl. Pig is blind until Silkhorn takes him to the pole where he has his sight restored by a doctor. He tells Silkhorn he's never seen a lander, so we can infer that he spent his whole life on the Whorl. He may have never had eyes.

PIKE: Silk's first mentor at the Sun Street Manteion. When he dies, Silk becomes senior augur. Silk's later vision of Patera Pike is assumed to actually be Silkhorn.

Poppy. VBF

Pork. VBM

POTTO: The intelligence officer and member of Ayunamiento. Potto used blackmail to become a councillor. He is now a chem enacting out the life of a man in suspended animation.

QARYA: The village Sinew lives in on Green. It is surrounded by a wall of brick and earth and a small moat outside that.

QUADRIFONS: A minor god who is an aspect of the Outsider. God of passageways.

QUETZAL: The inhumi who impersonates the human prolocutor of Viron. It is difficult to say with any confidence what living person Quetzal stole his genetic material of. What is clear is that he enters the whorl from Green in the year 298. He impersonates a human augur and becomes Prolocutor the following year.

RAJAN: Silkhorn's name when he is directing the war against Han in Gaon.

Ratel. VBF

REMORA: The coadjutor of Viron at the beginning of Nightside the Long Sun. Scylla - through Oreb - influences Silk to not like Remora, who is something of a blowhard intellectual. Silk can't help liking Remora after he reads the letter Remora wrote asserting his authority as calde to the chapter. Although he struggles to make himself understood at times, Remore is actually one of the heroes of the series as well as an extremely intelligent, calculating and loyal man. Quetzal demotes him to augur of the Sun Street Manteion, making him Silk's replacement. Instead he becomes Prolocutor of New Viron.

RIGOGLIO: The duke who opposes Inclito and Blanko and is conquered by Silk. He dies during dream travel on Urth. He is a sleeper on the whorl who came over on one of the landers.

RINGS: Robert Borski has summarized the place of the rings Silkhorn receives in The Book of Horn thusly:

ROSE: The sibyl who was Blood's mother. She dies in her room in the Sun Street cenoby, where she is discovered by Marble in Lake of the Long Sun. She and her arm live on as part of Marble.

ROTI: A follower of Hari Mau.

All material in The Encyclopedia of the Long Sun is copyrighted. Please do not reproduce without express written consent. The character format and list for the Book of Silk is by Sean Whalen.

A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z

Sunday, September 12, 2010


A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z

The Encyclopedia of the Long Sun has character information and commentary for the following books by Gene Wolfe:

The Book of Silk: 


The Book of Horn: 


Note: this is an updated database. If you can fill in any of the blanks, post in the comments. If you create an entry worth of the EoTL, we'll credit you with all the tidings of Pas. You can e-mail me at alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com.

SABA: Trivigaunte general. She commands the airship until she is possessed by Mucor. Silk gives it back to her after their trip to Mainframe. She is possibly intimate with Hyacinth on the airship. The other possibility is that she was simply exchanging information with Saba. She appears to have some kind of connection with Oosik.

Saba is described as having a "wide mouth" and may be in her forties. She is described as a massive sow.

SACRIFICES: A custom of Viron, but not necessarily of the other cities in the Whorl. The reason that Pas proscribed animal sacrifices is that he figured out members of his family were hiding in animals. The augur does the sacrificing and then reads the entrails for prophecy. Most if not all of the prophecies come true in The Book of Silk. The meat of the animal is distributed to worshippers after the sacrifice.

Human sacrifice never occurs in The Book of Silk outside of Mint's sacrifice of Sand to get Pas' attention. He is brought back to life by Auk, who is possessed by Pas with the mechanical background to accomplish it.

SAND: A chemical sergeant who Silk meets in the tunnels. He is loyal to the Ayuntamiento, but he is described as a nice person. Mint shoots him with a slug gun to get Pas' attention, with the idea that Incus will fix him later.

SARD: The owner of a pawn shop on Saddle Street. Potentially a chem.

Scale. VBM

Schist. VCM

SCIATHAN: The flier whose group was killed by the Triumvigantes to find out the secret of the fliers. He is tortured before being rescued by Auk. He leads Auk and his friends to Mainframe. After the events of The Book of Silk, Sciathan lives in the calde's palace with Mucor and Maytera Marble.

SCLERODOMA. A Vironese butcher. She also composed a shorter account of the colonists exit from the Long Sun world, which Horn considers issuing as a one-shot. According to Horn, she was an incredibly brave woman, second only to General Mint. She dies in the tunnels going to the lander, and is remembered by her sons as a great woman of Viron.

Scup. VBM

SCYLLA: She founds the Ayuntamiento and is the daughter of Pas and Echidna. She seems an infantile personage, possessing Chenille and ordering Incus and Auk to obey her will. She possesses the Mother on Blue. She possesses Oreb, Chenille, and possibly even Silk himself at points. She desires that Viron return to its charter and inserts Patera Silk as Calde.

SEANETTLE: A yawl Marrow leaves for Silkhorn.

SEAWRACK: The young woman given to Horn by Scylla, who has possessed the Mother. She waits for Horn at Pajarocu. She has only one arm. He has intercourse with her and even rapes her at one point, the intimation is that he is forced to do it. Her song is heard across the whorl by certain people - it is sung in the language of the Vanished People.

SECRET OF THE INHUMI: A great MacGuffin through The Book of Horn, it is simply that if human beings did not kill one another, the inhumi would return to being mindless lizards instead of predators. Silkhorn promises not to betray this secret, because it would essentially be the end of the inhumi.

SERVAL: Called Captain, he is a high ranking member of the rebellion who debriefs General Mint after she escapes from the tunnels and finds the mirror in the sibyl's room of the Prolocutor's palace. Serval is an easter egg from Wolfe's story "The Night Chough", where he rapes a girl in a prank with some of his friends.

SHALE: A chemical soldier who helps Mint out of the tunnels in Sand's squad.

SHAUK: Sinew's son, possibly not a biological son.

SHELL: The young augur who attends to Silk after he is shot by a chem soldier wielding a needler walking with Patera Quetzal. As an acolyte of Patera Jerboa, he is connected to Pas and maybe be there to protect Silk from his captors. He was at the schola with Silk and remembers sitting behind Silk. He is 23.

SHRIKE: Sclerodoma's husband, a butcher.

SIGADA: The Trivigaunte spy in Viron who was also a doctor. See CRANE.

Silah. TBF

SILK: The augur of the Sun Street manteion. All of Urth begins with his enlightenment on the ball court of the Sun Street palaestra by the Outsider. After the landers reach Blue and Green, Silk is forced out of office because he encouraged too many people to take the landers to Blue. He makes a big speech and offers to resign if the people don't want him. Silk is often identified with Moses.

Silk becomes an aspect of Pas when he visits Mainframe. (He is scanned and uploaded.) As a god Silk has the handle "Silent Silk," because he never manifests himself as a theophany or even darkens a window. He just observes his subjects.

Wolfe has explained where he got the idea for Silk:

The idea of the clergyman hero was very popular back around the 1900s, and has gone completely out of style except for a few clergymen detectives. [Harry Kemelman's] Rabbi Small is the one that comes to mind immediately. G. K. Chesterton did a Catholic priest, Father Brown. But those are exceptions, and I thought that somebody ought to do something with that idea again.

SILKHORN: When Silkhorn is born, Horn's spirit inhabits Silk's body, transporting him to the Whorl where he stands over a dead Hyacinth. He becomes the Rajan of Gaon before fleeing to Blanko with the inhumi in pursuit. In Blanko he is known as Incanto and leads them to victory over Soldo. At the end of The Book of Horn, he returns to the Whorl with Seawrack and Nettle.

SIMULIID: An obese commissioner. Possibly a chemical woman. He dies in the tunnels.

SINEW: Horn's first born son. He seems to have a problem with authority. He follows Horn on his trip to Pajarocu. He goes with Horn on the lander intended for the Whorl that is redirected by the inhumi to Green. He lives in Abanja's village on Green. One of the most mysterious characters in the series.

Sirka. TBF

SIYUF: The commander of the Trivigaunte forces. She has intercourse with Chenille at Ermine's, then with Violet. Tarsier creates a clone of Siyuf to replace the real Siyuf, but it is unclear whether this has an effect on the war. Considering Tarsier's overall competence, it probably does.

SFIDO: A soldier of Blanko. Possibly Rigoglio's head of intelligence. He harbors a strange affection for Silkhorn. He was born in Grandecitta and came to Blue at age fifteen. Silkhorn says that he has "an oily, almost feminine way of speaking."

Skate. VBM

Skin. VBM

Skink. VBM

SLATE: One of the chemical soldiers.

SMOKING: Dan Parmenter observed:

Wolfe's characters variously curse, argue, fight, change clothes, wash, go to the bathroom, drink and take drugs, but the one thing no character in these books does is smoke. No pipes, cigars, chillums or cheroots appear in any of these books. Am I right? I doubt if it means anything, but I can't help but wonder if it was deliberate.

SMOOTHBONE: Horn's father, a shopkeeper of Viron. He remains on the Whorl. 

SOLDO: A town on Blue founded by colonists from Grandecitta.

SPIGHX: She is the goddess of the Trivigauntes. She is an Amazon. She is the patroness of the seventh day of the week. She seems to play a role in the Rani of Trivigauntes actions throughout the conflict.

SPIDER: Potto's director of intelligence. He appears to be in love with General Mint, or perhaps with the goddess in her. A believer, in other words.

SUMAIRE: The leader of the Fliers who are attacked by Trivigaunte troops. She is the smallest, but an incredible fighter. Her lover is Mear.

SWALLOW: The owner of the talus factory. He is a black mechanic, the most enigmatic of the scientists of the Whorl. He portrays himself as a reverent boss and glosses over the many problems with taluses we've seen in the narrative. He describes employment trends over a rather long period and his extensive knowledge about the early days of the Whorl indicates he may be a lot older than he looks, or even a chem like the councillors.

What if the behavior of (some of) the taluses was contracted out to Swallow? We've seen how easy it is for chems to be turned to the whims of their controllers, another puppet allusion in a long line of them. Yet it's equally clear Swallow isn't fond of the Ayuntamiento and may be partly engineering some of the interesting changes in the allegiance of the soldiers to Silk, possibly with Tarsier, who could be his real identity. There is a lot of talk about Silk being a politician and what that entails, and he seems to understand what the point of his order for taluses really is: a polite investment in the midst of a greater agreement.

TAAL: A lawyer in Dorp hired by Beroep to defend Silkhorn.

TALUS:  Silk meets his first talus at Blood's. He gets it fired and returned to Councillor Potto, helping Silk put together the connection between Blood and the Ayuntamiento. Silk later kills this talus in self-defense in the tunnels.

A bronze-plated talus is possessed by Scylla in Lake of the Long Sun, and in the talus factory chapter of Exodus of the Long Sun, Swallow implies this isn't the first time a talus has gone off the rails, and that they issued a quarter refund previously, probably due to its possession by a god. The talus is destroyed in the fighting in the tunnels.

TANSY: Hound's wife in the town of Endroad.

TARSIER. Another chemical member of the Ayuntamiento. He is one of the councillors who burns Mucor for information about Silk. By the time Silk arrives at Blood's villa to negotiate terms with the Ayuntamiento, Tarsier has exited the scene, according to Blood. He later communicates through to Loris through the glass to kill Silk. From this we may infer that he in fact is now and may have always been the brains of the organization, despite never getting a line of dialogue in the entire series. Or does he? See Swallow.

Further, Tarsier is a black mechanic. He's the one who makes chemical bodies for the Ayuntamiento, as we learn from Councillor Potto in the bravura opening to Exodus of the Long Sun. Tarsier is also the one who makes a clone of Siyuf and imprisoned the real one. Amazingly, Tarsier survives the changeover of power and even supervises crews clearing the tunnels of water so that air can circulate through the Whorl.

TARTAROS: The blind son of Pas. He possesses Auk to undermine his mother Echidna. Michael Andre-Driussi has suggested that this may be Severian. Some have offered that he was in control of the Whorl when it overrode the instruction of the first lander and sent it to Blue.

TEASEL: One of Maytera Mint's students in the palaestra.

TERZO: A colonel of Soldo. He is frightened by Silkhorn. It is unclear why he alone is able to hear Seawreck's song. Possibly he was possessed by Scylla at some point during In Green's Jungles. Robert Borski has postulated that he may be an inhumu or even Jugano.

THELXIEPEIA: Echidna's third daughter. Thelxday is for fortune telling, and hunting and trapping animals. She is accompanied by a marmoset in paintings. She is the goddess of learning and witchcraft.

When Silk waits at Ermine's by the pool "under Thelx's mirror" he receives a vision. This is the passage:

THETIS: A minor goddess to whom lost travellers pray. Her name may have been used as a password in the tunnels.

Thyone. PBF

Thyone. DF

TICK: The catachrest Silk doesn't buy in the pet shop. Hyacinth purchases him for Auk to sacrifice. He is sometimes possessed by Sphigx.

Tiger. VBM

TITI: One of Viron's spycatchers.

Trematode. VBM

Trotter. VBM

TUSSAH: The previous Calde of Viron, before Silk. Chenille's father, and Silk's as well in the sense that he commissioned the frozen embryo that became Silk. Silk seems to be more aware of the Calde's life and work than he reveals at several points. He even admits to the Ayunamiento that there may have been a just reason to depose the calde; certainly his scandalous liaisons can't have helped matters.

Hearing about what Tussah had done with Silk through rumors inspired Blood to purchase Mucor.

Silk himself tells the Ayuntamiento that he believes that the story of Tussah getting an embryo was a fiction intended to distract from the existence of Chenille, but this is most ironic. Remora knew Tussah quite well as Quetzal's second-in-command; in Exodus of the Long Sun he claims he misjudged him, calling him a "loud, brawling, vigorous" man. He dies in 310.

PATERA TUSSAH: A member of Incus' circle of black mechanics.  I'd call this a fairly good indication that Tussah himself was also a black mechanic, perhaps even a famous one in those circles.

TYPHON: The last monarch of Urth. He digitized himself and his family and created the starcrosser Whorl. See Pas.

URUS: The thief whose gang Auk, Chenille, Patera Incus and Hammerstone are attacked by in the tunnels. He's one of the most truly 'evil' characters in The Book of Silk. He meets with Abanja and offers to exchange information for money.

URBASECONDUS: A town on Blue. Horn reports that another man, from Urbasecondus,  has written his own version of the colonists' exodus from the Whorl, but he has never read it.

VADSIG: The maid of the house in Dorp where Silkhorn is "confined." She becomes one of his group and gets involved with his son Hide. They are married by Patera Remora when the inhumi attack Silkhorn.

VALICO: A trooper in the horde of Blanko.

VANISHED PEOPLE: The aboriginal race of the Short Sun system. They have left the system, but astral-travel back to it. They are tall, eight-legged arthropods. Their hands are bristly. One of their forms is as trees. We know that in astral travel organisms travel as true representations of themselves, so perhaps the image we have of the Vanished People resembles not at all what they really look like. They enslaved the inhumi, but in doing so created monsters.

Much of what we know about the Vanished People is summarized during three passages of In Green's Jungles.

Again, I glanced behind me. "Your… Never mind. The inhumi preyed upon the Vanished People once. You must know it. That was one of the reasons that they left these whorls, and it may even have been the principal one. When the inhumi prey upon us, they are like us. I won't be more specific now, but you must know what I mean. What do you suppose the inhumi were like when they were preying upon the Vanished People?"

"I've wondered about that. It must have been marvelous. Miraculous… For them, I mean."

"I agree. Let us suppose that some small trace of that remained behind, passed from generation to generation in some fashion. Do you see what I'm getting at?"

"I think so."


In other words, many of the traits of the inhumi are actually traits of the Vanished People. The ability to astral travel would be one example. There is another conversation with Vadsig that reveals more:

"You might put it so, though they were sensible enough to find out a good deal about us-and infect us with inhumi-"

"Bad thing!"

"Before they ventured to greet even a few of us."

"Bad it was," Vadsig agreed with Oreb.

"To leave inhumi among us?" I shook my head. "It was a small price to pay for two whorls, and it enabled the Neighbors to gauge much more accurately the differences between our race and their own."

This seems to explain Quetzal's presence on the whorl. He was a representative of the Vanished People. He told the colonists to direct the ship to Green because it is his home base, and as Silk says, Green really isn't any worse than Blue.  Then there is the final long conversation in that book about what happened with the Vanished People and the inhumi:
"Think of the two whorls as they were thousand and thousands of years ago. The Vanished People were here on Blue, the inhumi on Green, where they preyed upon the great beasts in its jungles. They exterminated the Vanished People, Hide, or very nearly-that's why they vanished. Why didn't they exterminate the beasts on Green long before?"

"They wouldn't have had anything to eat."

"True. Did they have the intelligence to think of that? Without human beings to imitate?"

"I see. They were just animals, too. Big flying leeches. You're smiling again. You know, I like it."

"So do I. Eventually the Vanished People found some means of crossing the abyss to Green. Perhaps they built landers of their own-I believe that they must have. They went there, and the inhumi, too, became both powerful and wise, so powerful and so knowing that they hunted the Vanished People almost to extinction. The strengths of the Vanished People became their enemies' strengths, you see. They tried in their desperation to become stronger still, to know more and more and more, and succeeded, and were doomed by that success."

I thought then of the bestial men I had been shown in the Bear Tower, men who had surrendered their humanity, haunted by guilt or despair. Our omophagist had been caged with them; and when he had seen them, and understood what they were, he had striven to speak.


"Yes, my son?"

"Could they, the inhumi, wipe us out too?"

"Of course."

"Then we should have killed Jahlee."

I shook my head to clear it of the cages and the stench. "That would not prevent it."

"It would help!"

"It would not. If anything, it would do more harm. Never forget, Hide, that what we are the inhumi quickly become. Jahlee was an ally in Gaon, and a friend at the farmhouse. She had fought for me and slain my foes, and learned their secrets too, so that she might meet me with them in the garden or whisper them at the window of my bedroom. Suppose that I were to wait until her back was to me, draw the long sharp blade I have not got, and plunge it into her back."

"I wish you had!"

"You would not, if you had seen and heard it. Her terrible scream ringing over this silent, desolate marsh. The hideous, misshapen thing writhing and bleeding at your feet that just a moment before had appeared to be a lovely woman. Try to imagine all that. Can you?"

He said nothing.

"You would have battered her head with the butt of your slug gun then, trying to end her agony. Her wig would have fallen from her head, and her eyes-her eyes, Hide-would roll up to you while she begged for her life, saying please, oh, please, Hide. Mercy for your mother's sake. Mercy! We were friends, I would have lain with you in the Bear Tower if only you had come to me. You know it's true! Spare my life, Hide!"

"No talk!" Oreb commanded.

I spoke again anyway. "You would have struck all the harder, smashing her toothless, blood-drinking mouth with the butt of your slug gun; but you would never be able to forget those eyes, which would return to stare at you-and at me, as well-in the small hours of many nights. When you were as old as I am, you would still see her eyes."

Reluctantly, he nodded.

"And a hundred years from now, every inhumi in the whorl would be a little harder, a little more cruel and proud, because of what we did here tonight. Remember-what we are, they must become."

"All right."

"When the war in Gaon was just about over, I freed my inhumi from their service – Jahlee among them. Why do you think I did that?"

He shrugged uncomfortably. "You didn't need them anymore."

"I could have found a great many uses for them. Believe me, I thought of many. I could have conquered the towns downriver and founded an empire. I could have used them to consolidate my hold on Han, and to tighten my grip upon Gaon. Nettle sent you and your twin to look for me, not so long ago?"

Hide nodded.

"I could have sent my inhumi to fetch all three of you to Gaon, where we would have become the ruling family, the sort of thing that Inclito's family is clearly becoming in Blanko; and when I died, you and your brother would have fought to the death for my throne.

"I rejected those possibilities and surrendered the throne the people of Gaon had given me instead, in part because I know what happened to the Neighbors, or believe I do-because I know that their towers still stretch to the damp skies of Green, when their cities here have crumbled into nameless hills."

I waited for him to speak; he only stared at me, open mouthed but wordless.

"On Green, the Vanished People had done what I had done in Gaon, Hide. They had made the inhumi serve them; and as time passed they had become more and more dependent upon their servants, servants whom they permitted to come here to feed, and perhaps carried here to feed. I myself had allowed my own inhumi to feed upon the blood of the people of Han, you see. It was war, I told myself, and the Man of Han would surely have done the same to us; but I had set my foot upon that path, and I was determined to leave it."

"What happened when all the Vanished People here were dead?" Hide asked in a strangled voice.

"I'm not sure it ever occurred," I told him. "A very few may have survived; a very few may survive here still. But a time came-I doubt that it was more than a few hundred years in coming-when it was no longer worthwhile for the inhumi to come here."

"What happened then?"

"I think you know," I told him, and wished him a good night.

So the Vanished People of Green permit the inhumi to hunt Blue - and thus on Blue, their buildings are crumbling.

VENT: A lawyer of Dorp. He is Silkhorn's advocate.

VERBANA: One of Merl's daughters.

VIOLET: A whore at Orchid's. Chenille calls for her to occupy Siyuf when she has to leave Ermine's.

VOLANTA: A woman of Blanko, married to Atteno.

VULPES.  A lawyer of Limna. After being arrested by soldiers in the tunnels, Silk names him as his advocate. Possibly an alias of Quetzal or one of his informants.

WHORL: The spaceship that Typhon takes to colonize other worlds in the year 32. It is piloted by a group of scientists in Mainframe. After its long flight, the Whorl experiences problems cooling the ship through its air tunnels. It turns off the sun to release this excess energy. It also encourages the inhabitants to the leave the Whorl so more people can survive.

WIJZER: A boatman of Dorp. He gives Horn advice about how to get to Pajarocu. In Dorp he is said to have "extensive connections among the sailors and boat owners." Silkhorn describes him as "He is larger than most men, solid-looking, with a big, red face." He detects that Jahlee is an inhumu, and he also may not be all that he appears.  The fact that Oreb seems extremely kindly disposed towards Wijzer, and the fact that Scylla also detests the inhumi, along with the very fact of Wijzer's occupation indicates he is an agent for Scalding Scylla.

WILLET: Real name is Hossaan. At the beginning of Nightside the Long Sun, he is the second-highest ranking Trivigaunte spy in Viron, if Doctor Crane's explanation in the hotel room above the Rusty Lantern in Lake of the Long Sun is any indication. Hossaan, as a male in Trivigaunte, seems to sympathize with Silk and it's unclear where his loyalties lay. He also seems eager to use his relationship to Silk to rise in the Trivigaunte intelligence network, since he tells Silk that soon enough Abanja will know who he is.

WINDCLOUD: A Vanished Person. He appears in court to testify on behalf of Silkhorn. Here is his scene:

"Mysire Windcloud, my life to our law I have devoted, but never one of you in court I have seen. Why have you come?"

"How could I not?"

Hamer snapped, "Questions you may not ask, mysire," which I think very brave of him.

"To the Whorl."

"Why not?"

Taal explained, "Contrary to our law it is, mysire."

"Then I will ask no more until Dorp's law is altered, though Dorp will lose by it. We have come because honor compels us."

"Because accused your friend here stands?"

"Because the people of your town do."

"Who accuses us?"

Hamer rapped on his desk. "To the case before us yourself you must confine, Mysire Taal."

A large picture crashed to the floor, and about half the onlookers sprang to their feet.

Taal asked softly, "That you did, Mysire Windcloud?"


Judge Hamer leaned toward him, pointing with the mace of office. "Speak you must, mysire! It who did?"

"You." There was something in the single flat word that frightened even the judge, and which I myself found terrifying.

Taal addressed the court. "Mysire Rechtor, what we do here dangerous it is. Question Mysire Windcloud I must, but not you need. With all honor to the court, this I suggest."

I felt the building tremble as he spoke; and Hamer nodded, his face pale.

"My client, Mysire Horn. Him how long have you known?"

"Since I gave him my cup." Windcloud's face turned toward me, and though I could not see his eyes-I have never seen the eyes of any of them-I felt his glance.

"In days and years you cannot say, mysire?"


"An honest man he is?"

"Too much so."

"You he serves?"

"Yes, he does." That surprised me, I confess; I am still thinking about it.

"A traitor to our breed he is?"

"No." There was amusement in the word, I believe.

"To this case alone address myself I must, mysire. This you understand. That this whorl to us you have given, not relevant it is. About that, not I may ask. About your knowledge of men's characters I may inquire, if Mysire Rechtor permits. A man as here 'a man' we say, not you are?"

"I am not, but a man of my own race."

"Many men, however, you have known, mysire? Men such as I am and as Mysire Rechtor is?"

"Yes. I was one of those who boarded your whorl when it neared our sun. In the Whorl, I made the acquaintance of many of your race, and I have known others since, on both the whorls we once called ours."

"Of these, my client Mysire Horn one is?"

"Yes. We became better acquainted when he was living in my house, some distance from here. I have found him to be an honorable man, devoted to your kind."

"If to our kind devoted he is, to yours a foe he must be, mysire. That do you deny?"

"I do. You spoke of your breed. You breed your own foes, who are our foes as well, those who would destroy others for gain and rob them for power." Here Windcloud paused-I shall never forget it, and I doubt that anyone who was present will-and turned his shadowed face, very slowly, toward Hamer.

"Your guest Mysire Horn was. This you have said. Invite him you did?"

"No. Another `man' who was living in my house brought him. He was not afraid of me, as the others were."

"This you did, though living in your house without your permission he was?"

"Soon it will be spring. The white fishcatchers will return, booming, and darkening your sky which was ours in their mating flight. Two will nest upon your chimney, though you will not invite them."

Windcloud's shadowed gaze had been upon Hamer, although he had addressed Taal; at this point he directed it to Nat. "You say he has harmed you, yet I see you whole, fat, and free, while another stands beside him with a sword."

Windcloud is amused because they still think Horn not a member of the Vanished People. Which house does he mean? Which of Horn's residences qualify as Windcloud's house? This is answered during In Green's Jungles while Hide and Silkhorn talk on Urth. It's Lizard Island:

"When we were talking about the trees growing out of the walls, you said the Vanished People built better than we do."

"Better than we do thus far, at least."

"Then the place on that island must have been empty, a long long time."

A larger question might be, who was Windcloud in The Book of Silk? There are many candidates, including Tarsier, Pas, and Quetzal. Perhaps more than one of them. Robert Borski writes

Wo-man. RF (human)

WOOD: One of Patera Jerboa's sibyls.

Wool. VBM

XIPHIAS. A Vironese fighting master.

Yapok. VBM

YSKIN: The traveler who robs Sinew.

ZITTA: Inclito's dead wife. She perished on the journey from the Whorl to Blue.

ZORIL: She is a "lank woman of forty" with ginger hair that Mint believes is dead. Potentially Quetzal's spy in the rebellion, and she cannily clears up the fine points around what Echidna told them to do. Potentially an inhumu.

All material in The Encyclopedia of the Long Sun is copyrighted. Please do not reproduce without express written consent. The character format and list for the Book of Silk is by Sean Whalen.

A-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z