It is possible that Kieron may have been the first Dragon Emperor.

Kieron presumably went to war under the rule of Zerika the First. This war could have taken hundreds of years, and it wasn't until AFTER the war that the Jhereg were made a permanent part of the Dragaeran Empire.

Aliera says Kieron was killed "Later" by a group of "Lyorn Warriors and Shaman". Given the way Dragaerans think about time, "Later" could be 600-700 years after the formation of the house of Jhereg...

And the fact that the Lyorn played a part in his demise makes me think that maybe this was the event that caused the first turn in the cycle from the Dragon to the Lyorn?

We have to allow at least 289 years for Zerika I to rule, then at least 289 more for Kieron under this scenario, and probably more since two minimum-duration reigns back-to-back is likely to be pretty uncommon.

At the end of “Conception” in Tiassa, it looks as though Kieron is now alive again, and possibly somewhere inside Dzur Mountain, too, since Sethra and Tukko made a copy of his bower from the Paths there in their mountain.

I wonder whether the Silver Tiassa did double duty this time as a catalyst to provide the spark of life not just to Devera, but to Kieron also.

I presume that means Kieron is not undead, but what do you call what he is? He’s not reincarnated, since that would require being reborn as a baby. Is there a word for being given a new, living body and leaving the Paths of the Dead as a living being? Resurrection rather than reincarnation or revivification?

Interesting that Aliera is the only other example we know have who had this done for her: returned from the Paths neither reincarnation nor undead, but alive in her own body. Then again, she is a rather special case, being only half Dragaeran.

Or would Kieron’s alive-again body really be a new body? Could it be the old one with a new spark of life? You wouldn’t think his old one would be in good shape after a couple of hundred millennia. I know, I know: “Trifles!” quoth Verra.

Zerika IV has a lot in common with Zerika I, in that she is a Reborn Phoenix not a Decadent Phoenix. It sure looks like Brust intends to recapitulate the founding of the Empire, now that all the players are lined up and assembled.

  • We saw the Empire destroyed in Adron’s Disaster. That wiped the slate clean, so there was no Empire, just as there also had been none before the beginning of the first Cycle.
  • We have a Reborn Phoenix who re-created the then–non-existent Empire using the previously-missing Orb. The Cycle that was paused during the Interregnum has begun to turn again, and we know that a Dragon Reign in coming.
  • We have the original Sethra, whose Kiera alias reveals that she is nothing short of the feminine counterpart to Kieron, Founder of the Empire.
  • We have in Vlad and Aliera the reincarnations of both of Kieron’s siblings.
  • And now it looks like we have the original Kieron the Conqueror come again — Real Soon Now.

Artistic recapitulation aside, what military threat to the Empire is so dire, what need so extraordinarily pressing, as to finally get Sethra to summon her masculine counterpart from his unthinkably long vigil/oblivion? What can be in such sorry need of conquering that it needs the greatest general the Empire has ever known to be Warlord again?

The East? The Isles?

We’ve seen no threat from either of those directions. And what in the world will Foundress Kiera qua Sethra be doing while Founder Kieron is off leading the Empire’s armies in some great conquest?

Lavoding, no doubt.

One also wonders what Pathfinder and Godslayer are needed for, if they are. The Gods didn’t plan for Adron’s Disaster, and indeed barely contained it. So the Interregnum was not part of some plan of theirs. But perhaps it was part of the Cycle’s, seeking to recapitulate its origin for the next Great Cycle. This entire recap motif is part of some larger plan than even the Gods’. It rather looks like the Cycle looks after itself, which means that one way or the other, when it’s truly needed, there shall be a new Phoenix after all — and probably not via Zerika and Laszlo, either. But you never know.

Will Kieron’s return precipitate the turning of the Cycle to the Dragon Reign? Or are cause and effect the other way around: will (or has) the changing of the Cycle precipitate(d) his return?

We know that Norathar eventually becomes Empress sometime after Zerika steps down gracefully instead of having the Orb wrested from her as normally occurs in a transition from Decadent Phoenix to Dragon. But we do not know, however, that the very next Empress after Zerika must be Norathar, do we? It seems unlikely, but I bet you could squeeze in another Dragon Emperor in between them. Wouldn't be long, though.

Or maybe Kieron just thwaps the Sorceress in Green, grabs his sword, and goes back to the Paths of the Dead? Naw, I bet being alive again is too enticing. They’ll have to kill him again to get rid of him, and just how do they plan to do that, eh?

Oh wait, I know: get a jealous-for-Aliera Mario to do it. :)

--Tom Christiansen 22:30, April 3, 2011 (UTC)

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