The "smoke and steel" could also refer to the incident in Jaelot. They were going to set the fire alight and stab him through the heart with a sword. So that just leaves fire? It's deliciously ambiguous.
I can just hear Janny now, right after your post, Ellydee:
"You have NO idea!" and wicked cackling.
Probably. But that's what makes it fun, isn't it?
I was just reading that scene, and I wondered... (other inputs on these questions are welcomed, including yours, Janny ;) )
Is the birth augury a common practice across Athera, or just in this region? (I know it says in the text that it's a tradition, but how widespread is it, and how often is it still used today?)
If so, do we have a bunch of people running around named according to their augury/destiny (like Arithon, etc.)? Or are Fionn and Arithon special cases?
If people are generally named according to what their prophecy/augury was, do they know this?
Does Fionn Areth know his birth prophecy? (If it's so common a practice, you think he'd ask... "hey, mom, what am I supposed to grow up to be...?") If it happens for every new kid, I'd eventually notice and be curious about mine...
If he knows what destiny was predicted for him at birth, that has some far-reaching implications... his actions so far say to me that he doesn't, but I could be wrong... and there's always the possibility that he'll find out sometime in the future...
I think Fionn does know his birth prophecy or has been told something about it but I think he believes he is supposed to defeat Arithon or join the light something like that. I have a sieve head and no matter how many times I re-read these books I always forget but something tells me he did know but not sure how much if that makes sense.
I don't believe Fionn Areth knows his birth augury. Elaira won't tell him. The following is part of the Sighted augury:
"Your burden choose in the hour of trial, Fferedon'li, and this child's to give, the natural death or the sacrifice."
So.. Stormed Fortress has Fionn Areth, Elaira and Dakar trapped in Alestron's citadel, Lysaer's hordes are attacking and Arithon is coming to save them. It does throw up some juicy potential scenarios for Fionn Areth and Elaira. I can't believe Elaira would allow Fionn Areth to die of her choice. Fionn Areth's mindset will have come fully 180 degrees if he chose to die to save Arithon. Given the duplicitious nature of the Koriani face changing that got him into trouble in the first place, I wonder if Selidie/Lirenda will be involved somewhere? The words "comeuppance" and "Koriani" in the same sentence are always funny..
I thought Morriel/Selidie had co-opted Elaira's choice in terms of that augury. Of course, it remains to be seen IF that augury, which was directed specifically at Elaira, COULD be taken from her. If so, would there be consequences, beyond poor Fionn's death?
That is presuming, of course, that Janny does not pull another fastie on us, and everyone KNOWS she's good at that!
Morriel co-opted the debt Fionn owed to Elaira for saving his life. The birth prophecy is separate, and when you get down it, wholly Fionn's so I don't see that Morriel could ever take it away. However Elaira's choices are tied up in how that prophecy plays out and those Morriel can influence, but not control outright. I don't think the seer's statement necessarily meant Elaira was the one who would be the sole arbitrator of Fionn's fate, but that her choices would be instrumental in the path his life would take -- Morriel or no Morriel. Elaira does have the autonomy to make her own choices up until the day Morriel takes it away from her. I don't think we've ever seen Morriel force Elaira to do something against her will. We've seen her force Elaira to choose between her autonomy and an unpalatable action. With the exception of Jaelot when she would have sacrificed herself if Arithon hadn't cleverly kissed Lirenda, we've always seen her go along with Morriel because she feels like it's the best of two bad choices. As we've seen, she's willing to make the hard choice when she feels that there's honestly no way for her continued autonomy to be of any help.
I can see Elaira allowing Fionn to die, but only once Fionn has resolved to do it himself. She won't throw him to the wolves, as it were, but I suspect she also won't stand in his way if he chooses to make a noble gesture. Arithon though.. I think now that he's been through the tunnel, he's going to be more willing to let people make their own choices rather than trying to prevent everyone from risking themselves to save him like he has in the past.