‘Nobody knows, though every half wit claims he knows.’
Putting all the names to faces and signs is one of Pat’s puzzle problems, you have probably tried to work them out yourself. If so, you may have come to the conclusion that we don’t have enough information to work with, but actually we have too much. Ben gives us his list list of Seven signs, namely blue flame, one having eyes like a goat, or no eyes, or black eyes. Plants die, metal rusts, brick crumbles, fires dim, they are also, apparently cold to the touch, and one is yoked to shadow or shadow hamed, or maybe it is all their shadows that all point the wrong way…he doesn’t know.
Arliden doesn’t let on much about his own research but he does give us a big piece of the puzzle when he twice mentions reports of animals going crazy or mad around them.
Our author of Vintish Folke Tales has also gathered a list of seven signs blue flame, wine goes sour, blindness, crops withering, unseasonable storms, miscarriage and the sun going dark in the sky.
The Adem list, which ought to be definitive… isn’t because it doesn’t mention anything about their sexes and the words used for descriptions are…confusing but then this is an old story translated from an archaic language by Sheyen. Isolating the women among them is an important step. We know there are some because when Kvothe actually sees them himself he tells us that they were ‘several unfamiliar men and women’. He doesn’t tell us the exact split although both of these words are plurals. The Cthaeh sticks his oar in too, when it also tells us that they have a lot of experience in hiding those tell-tale signs, which is therefore going to be true but the images on the Mauthern pot won’t be fooled by that and it will represent them and their signs accurately in their proper form. So we have seven assorted men and women, each with a specific sign, a tree is in the distance representing the Cthaeh’s involvement and to cap it off we have an eighth figure in the shape of an Amyr getting in the way, too. Sorting out just the names and signs isn’t enough we need to be adding a description of them which will give us a chance as the puzzle then becomes merely tricky, but not impossible. Getting all the pieces to triangulate correctly into seven piles of three can best be achieved by using logic and rhetoric.
Logic and Rhetoric
There are Eight pictures on the Mauthern pot and the first half ot the puzzle is quite easy going. Since we are dealing with the chandrian here, the Amyr can sit this game out and instantly we bring the Eight of them down to a lucky Seven. We can just as easily remove Lord Haliax from the equation, too, so that we can focus on his six chandrian proper. This is quite a simple step to take since he is pretty easy to spot and we know the most about him from our stories.
Sex > Male. Sign > No face and Shadow cloak. Adem story line > Alaxel bears the Shadow’s Hame. I think we can all agree on that part and this firm answer will cut through a lot of un-necessary ink and also eliminate many of the ‘double-up’ possibilities that occur in the words which Pat purposefully chose when he wrote our clues. They exist, lots of them, and are put there to trip you in your quest. They raise questions such as ‘are no face and no eyes and black eyes and blindness all the same thing?’ and, well, I suppose that they could be… but they are not. No face is always Lanre and the one with the funny eyes is called Cinder.
We have met Cinder up close and personal and his appearance is hard to miss. His eyes have no whites to them, like those of the un-glamoured fae, but his are famously a solid black like a goat’s, or a crow’s. This is a true depiction, and it is also accurately captured on the Mauthern pot along with a drift of snow to portray the word ‘chill’ which gives provenance to the urn as a reliable source of information and putting it on a par with the Adem story for accuracy. The appearance of snow has nothing to do with one of the7 being described as ‘pale as snow’, that’s another little pat-fall to avoid. Using the reliable Adem story as our key will reveal his true name. And Kvothe’s own eyes can confirm his sex giving him a finished pattern of Name > Ferule. Sex > Male. Sign > Chill and dark of eye. He might also carry a sword with him, but that detail is not a part of his actual sign.
We have now removed an awful lot of cluttering from our lists of possible signs and avoided a few overlaps which makes what is left a bit more manageable. These three were also the ones which Nina painted in detail on Kvothes picture and so we can assume that the unseen images would be of a similar quality. The five people that remain should each have their own sign just as prominantly displayed to leave no doubt as to that pictures most salient point. These other images are now only to be found in Nina’s memory and we are going to be now working blindfolded, a lot like the young girl from Newarre is when she acts along to the childrens chant that in the game that they play beside the tinker at the Waystone Inn, and so our game becomes harder, too.
‘When your hearthfire turns to blue, What to do? What to do? Run outside, Run and hide.’
Our next target is to identify the blue flames as this is the most famous of all the signs reported, indeed it’s line in the kid’s song is the first one that Kvothe comes up with when he is with Denna at the Mauthern farm. The Adem Key is clear and tells us that Cyphus bears the blue flame. Now, Old Cob’s version of Taborlin the Great also tells us of blue flames burning and this has a three way link to Martens version where he speaks of ‘Syphus the sorcerer-king’ which is rather difficult evidence to argue with once you have seen it, and so I won’t. I will simply suggest that the spelling is a Vintish dialect used to describe quainte olde folke legends and it is still a nicely placed Pat shaped clue for the sharp eyed to notice and is also the correct answer. But this is clearly now becoming a progressively harder puzzle to solve, the clues are getting smaller and the steps are becoming trickier to climb. Marten’s story also gives us a sex for Scyphus to tick the last piece of his triangle as King Scyphus is revealed as our third man. Name : Cyphus. Sex : Male. Sign : Blue Flame.
‘Think now, what does or story need?what is it lacking?
‘Women, Reshi. There is a real paucity of women.’
So four names to go and given kvothe’s earlier plurals we can say that at least half of these should be women. We have less clues in our pile to work with now and we need to rely heavily upon Nina’s memories of what she only briefly saw just once. She describes those that she didn’t paint and brings them to light in trios.
‘People, mostly people. There was a woman holding a broken sword, and a man next to a dead tree, and another man with a dog biting his leg.
Three specific people depicting their three unique signs. Kvothe is now suspecting for the first time that all of these painted people may be representations of the seven chandrian themselves and so he asks her for guaranteed confirmation by drawing on his own scant knowledge of the 7’s physical appearance and asks specifically if one of these pot people had white hair and black eyes. As the urn will clearly show, these are his stand out features, and are exactly what Nina would have picked up on herself, his eyes are the most important sign and the water and snow are something to do with his also being described as ‘chill.’ Cinder was clearly not among these three people that she has already described so far making him number four in her eyes and Kvothe having any knowledge of her secret at all makes Nina go wide eyed at the thought. She confirms this fourth man with a nod adding that Cinder’s portrait ‘gave me the all-overs’.
We finally have our first woman in sight but also two more men and which only leaves one space to fill and we really need it to be another female just to make them plural. A bit more gentle pressing from Kvothe and she remembers ‘one with no face, just a hood with nothing inside it.’ This image is rather striking, too and confirms that these paintings are definitely what Kvothe suspected but one last image is then remembered and she gives us what we were hoping for with her final blushing recall that ‘there was a woman with some of her clothes off ‘ giving us seven different descriptions of five men and two women.
When she later arrives at the University she is asked again what she recalls of the Urn’s backsides and she tidies up a few things for us with her final triad of clues.
‘There was a woman with no clothes on, and a broken sword , and a fire.’
So we have a list of names and a gallery of pictures, We just need a song to go with them now.
‘They formed a circle with a boy in the middle and started to clap, keeping the beat with a children’s song that had been ages old when their grandparents had chanted it.’
The kids of Newarre play their games whilst the tinker… tinkers. Their communal game has a specific song with specific words that they all know and the song also has a specific beat, much like the Lady Lackless hop-skip song does. The meter of that song keeps up a stady beat of Eight counts to the line which is apparently good for skipping practice. The Chandrian song differs in that it’s syllable count is 7/3/3. with an occasional doubling up of the refrain to make it 7/7/3/3, lucky numbers everywhere Again!. Rhythm is more than just lucky, it is also important as it teaches small children how to count and so every syllable is equally important. Songs also hold their shape better as they spread and so you can be sure that the same words have been remembered perfectly down through untold generations.
We hear six verses in total, three during the Inn-terludes and three more in the story proper when Kvothe and Denna are up at the mauthern farm. One verse is repeated in both scenes just so that we know this is still the exact same song. I have refrained from brining it up so far because we simply didn’t need it, we already know enough about a man whose eyes are ‘black as crow’ or ‘a man without a face’ from personal experiences without any need for a song, too but these verses further confirm this songs veracity. Our repeated line is the one about flames turning blue and that is another sign that we have already dealt with. It also tallies up with nina’s second memories of there being ‘a fire’ on the Mauthern pot artwork. By-passing these three leaves us with a pair of verses that give us two new pieces of trustworthy information to add to our mix.
‘When your bright sword turns to rust’ is a perfect line for tying together Nina’s memories of ‘a broken sword’ and ‘a woman holding a broken sword ‘. There is some justification for possibly thinking of the sign decay here instead but that is ultimately going to be a losing argument and so following it further would be folly. We could also spend a while disecting the ‘in thrall of’ part as well but the fact is that the sword can only really be seen as the sign for Stercus who we are informed is in thrall of ‘iron’ which lets us know the pictured sword is not forged of copper or silver but of the stuff that the fae dread. The sign is not about the blade itself which is simply symbolic of it’s iron content. That ticks all the necessary boxes for our fourth chandrian and also gives us our first woman. Name > Stercus. Sign > In thrall of Iron. Sex > Female.
On madness being a possible sign we have only one voice. Arliden’s who talks of animals going crazy though later he uses the term mad instead. He even paints us a picture to explain his point featuring Black eyes, Blue flame and Mad dog. Rather conveniently for us this scene is repeated in the flesh exactly. Black eyes is there, as is Blue flame so sitting besides the fire should be Mad dog. The Man at the fire had a bald head and a grey beard. He chuckles and says
‘looks like we missesd a little rabbit Cinder, be careful, his teeth may be sharp.’
which just reeks of being a signpost to his sign somehow involving animals and teeth, just like the picture on the Mauthern Pot. Most importantly we hear him speak which means that whilst his beard may be grey his Adem name is not Grey Dalcenti.
But going back to the subject of crazy/mad animals being a sign makes me think of rabies. Now rabies is a thing in Temerant, Kvothe worries that the draccus may have it and calls it ‘The Froth’ which sounds like a colloquialism. This makes me suspect that a more antiquated version of this might be ‘The Blight’ purely so that this would tally with the Adem Key and it sounds a lot better than ‘Pale Alenta brings the froth!’ In our world the word rabies comes from the latin for madness. This thinking puts grey beard in sync with dog man and therefore both as being Pale Alenta. This also allows us to remove any thoughs of her being pale as snow. That is still to come. We hear no verse in the song for DogMan, Rabies is not a nice image and also a difficult rhyme, but there really ought to be one so I will offer up my own.
‘When your Dog has Caught the Froth jus Blame it All on Patrick Roth fus.’
Name > Pale Alenta. Sex > Male. Sign > brings the blight (Rabies)
Nude Not Naked
Our puzzle pieces are now down to two and we are left with a boy/girl situation. In the childrens game we also see a boy and a girl at play when they were both currently ‘it’ but there appear to be two kinds of rules to the game. First we have the boy who is trying to escape the circle but is being pushed back inwards by the others as they chant the lines about the blue flames. When the girl takes her turn in the middle she covers her eyes with her hand and then tries to catch the others by the sounds they make as they run away chanting the lines about cinder and his crow eyes. Both Cinder and Cyphus are male but Denna also remembers a verse for us, one which the children don’t perform that speaks of our one remaining woman. Curiously, it’s 7/7/3/3 meter matches that of Lord No Face’s verse with a doubling up of the refrain.
‘See a woman pale as snow, silent come and silent go.
What’s their plan? what’s their plan? Chandrian Chandrian.’
Nina also has two goes at remembering the unpainted sides of the pot and on both occasions the image of a nude/naked woman makes her blush a bit. If you want to argue the differnces between being naked and being nude then I suggest that you go and speak to Elodin. At the end of the day these two lines are both talking about Grey Dalcenti who not only never speaks but, like Felurian, doesn’t much care for clothes either, which is another faen attribute to consider. You could also argue for hours about the words grey and pale but everyone knows that the eskimo’s have fifty words for snow so why knot fifty shaeds of grey, too.
Name > Grey Dalcenti. Sex > Female. Sign > Uncertain, but silent and naked are part of it.
The most important reason why pale is grey comes from the other image on the Mauthern pot, the man by the dead tree. By a process of elimination we arrive at this being Usnea, a man, who lives in nothing but decay. The wood that rots at the farm was new and the troupe’s wagons were all in good condition as recently as Harrowfell. Decay is another classic sign that might also cover a wide range of assorted chandrian sign rumours, brick crumbles (I wonder if these bricks were mixed with iron?) metal rusts (only iron actually rusts) … these are all forms of decay, yes, but Usnea’s sign is most likely specifically aimed towards wood just as Stercus’ sign is aimed only towards iron. The bottom line though is this is the only chandrian we have left and so must be therefore fill the last space. Name >Usnea, Sex > Male. Sign > Decay (Wood Rot’s)
‘I wish that you creatures had the wit to appreciate me’
But Usnea’s image is not the only one that contains a tree. There is one on Nina’s painting, too. In the background, and I’m going to suggest here that this is not placed behind Cinder exactly but rather a little to the side…in the gap between him and Haliax. Here there is an image of another tree that is described as ‘bare’, and bare does not mean dead.
Placing such an image in the background is a plot device used in faen plays to warn the audience that things will not end well. This Faen custom dictates that the artist, and therefore the person who actually created this urn, was influenced by the Faen traditions and most likely was fae themselves. I believe that this tree is the real reason why the pot is so important in the first place. The oracle is meant to be a secret. The Sithe are nothingKvothe had heard of before, he had no reasonto of, their task is to prevent anyone from gaining access to the cthaeh, which means that they only ever deal with faen trespassers and mortals are not even supposed to know of it’s existence. Kvothe found nothing specific in his book search to warn him exactly what he was facing except for possibly one obscure references to an oracle. Stories of a winning a leaf from a magical singing wishing tree over the stormwal in the Tahl are likely just that, stories, possibly deliberately spread to deflect any curiosity about this most secret of secrets… although all stories have a grain of truth in them. Our Vintish historian may have also mentioned this oracle rumour in his book, Three chapters on faeries he wrote, one of them all about Felurian. We also have songs about white riders and that means the Sithe,and songs of grey ladies could be sung about Dalcenti, yes, but there is no mention of any talking trees. Nobody talks about it, ever! It would be like someone spitting poison in your ear. So Kvothe’s picture of Mauthern pot is probably the only image in existance, and some important folk want to keep such things a secret. How the urn ever even came to mortal earth in the first place is another story for another day so I shall wind this piece up with a rundown of our completed and definitive list.
Haliax-Alaxel > Shadow hamed > Male
Cinder-Ferule > Chill and dark of eye > Male
Cyphus > Blue flames > Male
Stercus > In thrall of iron > Female
Pale Alenta > Brings the blight > Male
Grey Dalcenti > Never speaks > Female
Usnea > Lives in nothing but Decay > Male