Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 002

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 002

Goodminton‘s command structure seemed to draw a stark line between leadership and magical affairs. Chief Tommy actually felt it was more important for Wanda to meet her Chief Predictamancer, Delphie Temple, than to meet her Overlord (and father).

“Really, she‘ll be the one to tell us what to do with you, you know? Ha!” Although Wanda had no knowledge of any other way of affairs, it struck her that Tommy spoke of the Lady Temple as his equal counterpart. It was unusual, she was certain.

As in all capital cities, the Portal Room was on the dungeon level. It featured the same functional, rectangular timber-frame architecture as the rest of the Garrison, but with a jarringly pink portal to the Magic Kingdom at the back. Just across the brick-floored hallway from there, Delphie and a Level 3 Luckamancer named Clay Dice shared a comfortable double suite.

Delphie was a green eyed, zaftig woman, shorter than Wanda. Her gray-speckled black hair was curled up in tight locks, and her eyes and cheeks were made up with some kind of low-grade cosmetic Signamancy spell which Wanda thought might be of her own design. She wore a flowery violet tunic that emphasized her assertive chest. She flashed her smile around like a cocked crossbow.

“How portentous!” she declared, upon meeting Wanda and hearing what she was. Unlike Tommy, she enthusiastically hugged the new arrival. Her open hand grazed Wanda‘s backside as she pulled away.

“I‘ll have to study you closely, my dear...” she winked.

By contrast, Clay barely spoke. He rose resentfully when his Chief Warlord came to the doorway, slouched a lot, and looked off into space. A sullen, barrel-gutted man in black leather pants and a too-small white linen shirt, he gave Wanda a “Hey,” and a little wave when they were introduced, then returned as soon as he could to a workbench strewn with figurines, books, and playing cards.

At a momentary conversational lull, Lord Tommy hesitated, grasping, as if he wanted to ask Delphie a question. Wanda thought there was a rather obvious question to be asked, but she stayed silent, watching her brother.

Tommy only mashed his lips together and shook his head. “The turn has started, of course,” he said. “I‘ll need to meet with Fritz. Wanda, see me for introductions in the Overlord‘s reception chamber. Let‘s say ninety minutes.”

“Yes, Chief,” said Wanda, choosing the term over the more neutral “Lord” or the more personal “brother.” It seemed to please him. He smiled as he turned away.

Delphie took Wanda around to show her the dungeon layout. It was a clean space. Goodminton did take prisoners, preferentially in fact. But they had apparently bargained all of them away in various diplomatic and financial maneuvers. Much of the dungeon space consisted of unoccupied commanders‘ and knights‘ quarters.

“You can choose any living arrangement you like, dear,” she said, touching Wanda‘s arm. “The tower has some nice rooms. Though it might be best for you to stay down here, nearby to Clay and me.”

Wanda stopped in her tracks, dumbstruck. Delphie‘s last sentence had been delivered in a perfectly friendly and casual tone, but it carried the natural Thinkamancy weight of a direct order. You will be quartered on the dungeon level, Caster.

“Yes, Chief,” Wanda almost whispered. It seemed the right term, equal to how she had addressed her brother. Wanda pointed to one of the nearby doors, almost at random. “This one?”

Delphie looked her in the eye, smiling with matronly approval. “I think that‘s a good choice. It suits you, Wanda. Let‘s go inside.”

Again, it could not have been more plainly an order if Delphie had shouted it.

“Yes, Chief.”

Wanda‘s new quarters had one large anterior chamber with a larder, study desk, and empty bookshelf, and a bedchamber with wardrobe, mirror, and basic personal items. She stopped in front of the mirror.

This was her. That was her face. Soft raven-black hair, a dark, smooth complexion, and ice blue eyes. She smiled tentatively, and the face in the mirror smiled gracefully back. The woman in the mirror was beautiful, yes. But also dangerous, cunning, and potentially...something. What? Her Signamancy was striking, despite the frumpy blue robe and buckled boots. Potentially, she was something very much more.

Wanda wanted to be the woman she saw in the mirror.

Delphie stepped beside her and met her reflected eyes. Wanda‘s smile slackened.

“You‘re something worth looking upon,” said the woman, her voice soft and kind. “But don‘t waste all your time in front of a mirror.” She winked again.

Wanda stared at her. There were wrinkles around Delphie‘s eyes, and at the corners of her mouth. Once you could detect the cosmetic spell on her, it couldn‘t distract the eye from clear Signs that the Predictamancer was in personal decline. Delphie had seen better turns than these. Something about her was in decay.

“I think,” said Wanda after a moment, “that Tommy wanted to ask you...why you did not Predict that I would be a caster.”

Delphie‘s eyes narrowed. “What makes you think I did not?”

“He said he was expecting a warlord.”

“Yes, he was,” said Delphie, her eyes becoming slits. “One to turn the tide of battle.”

The implication that the Chief Caster of Goodminton had lied to the Chief Warlord, and by extension, to the Ruler, was more than Wanda could immediately grasp. Delphie took Wanda‘s arm with a forceful grip and turned her to meet her eyes directly. She did not let go of the arm.

“I want to tell you something, Wanda. Listen closely.” She still smiled, but her eyes had lost all humor. “I want to tell you two things. The first is: you have a role to play here, and you will play it. You answer to me. You‘ll do as I tell you to. Your Fate,” she said, her voice dropping to a whisper, “is larger than this side. Your life has meaning. The same can‘t be said of everyone walking these corridors. Do you understand me?”

Wanda was unsure that she did understand, but she nodded.

“Good. And the second thing is,” said Delphie, leaning in closer. Her smile was pure menace. “Stay away from Clay. He‘s my man.”

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
random_guy wrote:
In Book 1, Wanda said that what Ansom took away from her was more than what she took away from him when she killed Sir Webinar and all of the Jetstone troops. Is it possible that Ansom led a Jetstone attack that wiped out Goodminton and killed Wanda's family?


Maybe Jetstone is one of the allies that are looking at the as "the last slice of cake", it would combine betrayal as well as wiping out the side.
MarbitChow wrote:
Science is a methodology - a means of understanding and predicting. Magic is a force.


Science isn't just a method, it is also the set of discoveries made by that method.

Kinda wondering how the statement "Magic is a force" doesn't attempt to define Magic as a branch of science.

Quote:
An apple that falls from a tree doesn't do so "by science". It does so "by gravity".
A caster enchants, flies, heals, and kills "by magic".


And Gravity, once codified into a set of equations, became science. Magic, once codified into a set of Laws, becomes science, too.

Quote:
Magic doesn't help you understand the natural world. It's a part of the natural world in which it exists, like gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear forces are in our world.


Tell that to the Thinkamancer Isaan Newton, who used the Magic of Thinkamancy to attempt to define the unknown substance "G-strings". He was certainly trying to use Magic to discover unknown properties of that substance.

Quote:
Science could be applied to magic. There are numerous examples in literature of magical worlds explored by scientific principals.
But Science and Magic are not simply different ways of expressing the same concept.


You're splitting some pretty fine hairs trying to get there.I think you're simply imposing limits on Science that were never there
Kreistor wrote:
Science isn't just a method, it is also the set of discoveries made by that method.

Now you're equating science with scientific knowledge. Science is a method. Scientific knowledge is the result of that method.

Kreistor wrote:
And Gravity, once codified into a set of equations, became science. Magic, once codified into a set of Laws, becomes science, too.

But Science doesn't "become magic" if you change your perspective. Technology created as a result of application of scientific knowledge may appear magical, but only to the uneducated.
That's my issue with your statements. Science, and scientific knowledge, is a superset that can contain magic in a universe in which magic exists.
Magic is a force that responds to a caster's will, in the same way that gravity is a force that responds to two objects' respective masses.

Kreistor wrote:
Tell that to the Thinkamancer Isaan Newton, who used the Magic of Thinkamancy to attempt to define the unknown substance "G-strings". He was certainly trying to use Magic to discover unknown properties of that substance.

No, he was using scientific methods to understand the magical structure of Thinkamancy. If he was using magic, he would have used somthing like Lookamancy or Predictamancy and just received the answer 'magically'.

Kreistor wrote:
You're splitting some pretty fine hairs trying to get there.I think you're simply imposing limits on Science that were never there

You're lumping the Scientific Method, Scientific Knowledge, and Technology all under the umbrella "Science".
Magical Lore might be equivalent to Scientific Knowledge.
Magic Items are certainly equivalent to Technology (and "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic").
But there (typically) is no magical equivalent to the Scientific Method in magical realms, so magic and science are not interchangeable.
MarbitChow wrote:
Kreistor wrote:
Science isn't just a method, it is also the set of discoveries made by that method.

Now you're equating science with scientific knowledge. Science is a method. Scientific knowledge is the result of that method.


Lemme see if I can cut through some of this. Let's start with some definitions. I'll divide them up into categories the way that I see it, which is pretty close to Marbit's

1. "Science"
1a. Science - Science is the scientific method. The methodical testing and verifying information that we all know and love. Or at least know.
1b. Scientific knowledge - Scientific knowledge is the summation of the results of the scientific method, no matter what it was applied to.

2. "Forces"
2a. "Physics/Physical Force" - Physical force is any force that are have a source within the material world. This also includes forces that have a physical reason that can be explained within the physical universe that we either don't know about yet or do not have an working theory for. This is gravity, electromagnetism, etc.
2b. "Magic/Magical Force" - Magical force is any force that does not have a source within the material world other than the intervention of a conscious effort of will. This is a force that is only present with the application of conscious thought and has no other source in the material world.

3. "Applied Knowledge
3a. "Technology" - Item created based on applied knowledge of physical forces.
3b. "Magic Item" - Item created based on applied knowledge of magical forces.

Science is just a process. How we learn. Scientific knowledge can be about anything. Science can be applied to baseball. To plant growth. To someone's efficiency at work. Including magic.

Gravity works whether anyone's thinking about it or not. A magnet is still a magnet even if there's no one around to affect it. All physical forces are mechanistic, in that they do not require the intervention of a consciousness. They act in ways that are logical and predictable (eventually) and happen no matter what. In some realities, this may include certain forces that we in this reality would call magical. If the force is mechanistic and works in predictable ways that work whether or not a consciousness is involved, then it is a physical force, no matter how magical it may seem to us.

The distinction between the two is that 'magic' is a force created purely from the human will alone. Using a magnet to move a paperclip to you is a physical force. It has an explainable causation withing the physical world. Magnetism is a known force that works everywhere.

Moving the paperclip with nothing but your will is not a physical force. That is a magical force. You are using a force that has no causation in the physical world and cannot be explained in any way except by the application of the human will. When you stop applying your will, the force ceases to be. And that's the distinction. Magical force has no cause that isn't based on consciousness. It is non-mechanistic. Consciousness is the key.

That's how I see it, and I believe that's probably a pretty good summary of how Marbit sees it.

If you wish to argue that 'magic' is simply a physical force that we can't explain yet, I would accept that, but that's not the argument that most magicians make. They argue that it is will alone outside of the physical universe and that is where the problem appears.
On the subject of magic, Alan Moore has a few things to say, relevant because he's spent quite a bit of time studying traditions that are associated with magic.

In brief, his stance (expressed in that clip and other places) appears to be that Magic is Art, and vice-versa, ie a way to influence or explore minds, and which also has the ambition to influence events. It is governed by rules in as much as language and art are governed by rules. Is this the "right way" to look at magic?

It's certainly not the only way, but I'm with Sieggy when he recommended reading Crowley (who among other influences Moore). There's various ways people interpret what the word "magic" means based on what their degree of familiarity is with the history of the practice. At least to some of its practicioners/hobbist followers, in which category I'd include Alan Moore and Carl Gustav Jung, magic is not so much about unexplained and unruly (though it definitely sets itself as something other than scientific explanation and physical law), less about imposing one's conscious will upon the universe, and more about navigating the maze that is one's mind.

It also means in common parlance unexplained. It also is used to mean as yet scientifically unexplained. It also is used to mean something which is capricious, unruly, lacking/not providing a principled explanation/backing/justification ("[black] magic" as used in the optimization algorithms community, "magic numbers" as used in software development).

Just how like "science" in common parlance refers to method AND knowledge gained through such, as well as a certain worldview that is often equated with materialism (in the philosophical sense).
Science is Magick reduced to its most basic elements, subject to objective analysis. Science asks, for the most part, 'how'?
Magick is Science enhanced to art by poetry and will, reified by subjective analysis. Magick asks, for the most part, 'why'?

The textbook definition of Magick is "The art and ability to cause change to conform to will". Whether this is the conversion of U-238 to PU-239, the conversion of a gangly kid to an NBA champion, or a garage hobby to a billion dollar corporation, intense focus of will is required, only the instrumentality changes. The insight that led to Kekulé's discovery of the benzene ring was pure magick; it was will and art that was critical. Those lacking these qualities would never have been able to make the insightful leap needed for such a critical discovery

This is why the hard sciences are observational only - there is no communication, only analysis of data derived from observation. The techs at the LHC don't ask elemental particles if they have any Higgs bosons in their pockets - they smash them and see what comes flying out.

Soft sciences depend on communication, even if the communication is non-verbal. A surgeon working on your brain doesn't know you, doesn't care about you - he's working on a piece of hardware, much as a technician working on your computer doesn't care if you have your magnum opus on the hard drive . . . Which, BTW, is the greatest failing of modern medicine - it has ceased to be a healing art and has become a reparative technology. A doctor doesn't see you, he sees a case. You're not a person, you're a knee (or whatever else needs fixed).

A therapist or psychoanalyst has to communicate, to seek truths which are by definition subjective. The tragic thing that that these approaches are not mutually exclusive, in fact, I suspect one of the great philosophical challenges of the 21st century will be to synthesize them. I think one could make the case that Einstein was the world's greatest composer, as he wrote the score that describes the music of reality, and Beethoven was history's greatest sound engineer . . .
Sieggy wrote:
This is why the hard sciences are observational only - there is no communication, only analysis of data derived from observation.


I would disagree with you there, or at least think that your definition needs tweaking. All science is transactional. That's the very heart of the observation problem. The scientific method requires that variables be changed and that tests be run. In that process, there is a transaction between the scientist(s) and the environment. A transaction has taken place. When the results are viewed, another transaction has taken place. Both the viewer and the thing being viewed are affected by the process.

Hard science, soft science, it doesn't matter. Anytime an observation is made, a transaction has taken place. "Communication", the way you are using it, need not occur for objects to be affected by one another.
Transaction is not communication - that implies a give / get, an exchange. An experiment is conducted on a passive medium, and changes are interpreted. When dealing with sentience, you have to deal with the fact that subjective, and immeasurable variables creep in. If the chimp you're testing is in a crappy mood that day, it can skew your observations inexplicably. But then, that's a being capable of communication, even at a rudimentary level. Protozoa, OTOH, is not an issue as no one has ever found a happy or sad paramecium.

You might want to read some Ken Wilber on this, he has some exceptionally interesting insights on this.
Sieggy wrote:
Transaction is not communication - that implies a give / get, an exchange. An experiment is conducted on a passive medium, and changes are interpreted. When dealing with sentience, you have to deal with the fact that subjective, and immeasurable variables creep in. If the chimp you're testing is in a crappy mood that day, it can skew your observations inexplicably. But then, that's a being capable of communication, even at a rudimentary level. Protozoa, OTOH, is not an issue as no one has ever found a happy or sad paramecium.

You might want to read some Ken Wilber on this, he has some exceptionally interesting insights.
Sieggy wrote:
Transaction is not communication - that implies a give / get, an exchange. An experiment is conducted on a passive medium, and changes are interpreted. When dealing with sentience, you have to deal with the fact that subjective, and immeasurable variables creep in. If the chimp you're testing is in a crappy mood that day, it can skew your observations inexplicably. But then, that's a being capable of communication, even at a rudimentary level. Protozoa, OTOH, is not an issue as no one has ever found a happy or sad paramecium.

You might want to read some Ken Wilber on this, he has some exceptionally interesting insights on this.


Never argued that it was. However, sentience is not required on both sides of the equation change to occur. That's the point of the observation problem. When you get down to a certain level, it becomes impossible to observe something without changing it. In order to 'see' things that tiny you have to bounce something else off of it. That inherently changes the thing being observed. It's no longer in the state you sought to observe it in, because the act of observing it changed it. I'm not even going to get into quantum information theory because that stuff gets really booping weird.

Even things outside of quantum physics are affected by observation. Especially since no real experiment is ever passive. If you're running a correlation study, sure. That could be called passive observation. Even then though, you're still having an effect on the object. Even something as simple as walking closer to a rock to get a better view. You are changing the gravitational forces on the rock, the weight on the ground around the rock. Your breath is affecting air currents that interact with the rock. Your body heat also interacts with the environment in ways that affect the rock. Just BEING there to observe it inherently causes changes. By the same token, the rock's proximity is having similar effects on you. See the problem?

So communication, yeah, then you're getting into theory of mind and philosophy. But you don't even need to go that far to find influences based on interactions between two agents. Simple physics will do that for you.