Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 024

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 024

In Wanda's suite, a silver chocolate service sat upon a side table. When she'd boosted the tower, a few such nice little changes in design, decor, and accouterments had crept in from her mind's eye.

She left it there untouched. Talking to the Lady Temple this morning was not meant to be social, or even comfortable. She didn't so much as offer Delphie a chair. The Predictamancer stood, her hands folded in front of her and her lip buttoned tightly.

"We have Duties to perform this turn," said Wanda, "so I'll make this brief. I just spoke to Clay. I...had a question, and didn't much like his answer."

Delphie watched her face and remained silent, betraying nothing.

"It's a question that's been keeping me awake for several nights. What I don't understand," said Wanda, "is how Luck and Fate can coexist. If I am Fated to live, then I must be immune to Luckamancy. Cast any misfortune upon me, put me in any battle against any foe, and I will live until my Fate is fulfilled. Is that correct?"

Delphie cleared her throat and spoke in a low, careful tone. "Essentially, Lady."

"Then where is the Luck? Where is choice? And...what you would call my will?"

Delphie shrugged. "Choice is the path you pick to your Fate. Luck is mainly about how hard or easy you have it along the way."

Which is just what Clay had said, and Wanda didn't like it any better coming from Delphie's mouth. She knew that if she asked Delphie what would happen if she jumped from the tower, Delphie would only say, "You won't."

Wanda absently felt the lace trim of her boots with a gloved hand, trying to put her thoughts into words. She glanced at mirror-Wanda for strength. Oh, she did like this outfit, yes. It made Delphie nervous. It gave her new power.

...But no new clarity. Like Tommy and Father, Wanda refused to believe Delphie's philosophy that there was an inescapable destination simply waiting for her to get there. Each of the last few nights she had lain in bed, trying to frame her objections to it and failing.

She sighed. "Tell me about Olive," she said, taking a different tack. "What did you hope to accomplish? Why not just leave it to Fate to bring me to her?"

Delphie put her hand to her forehead, and smiled wistfully at the floor. "Oh, dear. I was making a choice of my own, I suppose. To ease your way into Olive's service." She looked up at Wanda with eyes resigned and sad, yet still accusing. "But your choices undid the effects of mine. You should have trusted me."

"Why," challenged Wanda. "What difference would it have made?"

Delphie looked beaten. She shook her head just slightly. "All the difference, Lady."

Wanda stepped toward Delphie, talking closely to her face. "My brother is gone, Predictamancer. His Fate has run its course. Everything that was to become of him is known to us." Delphie looked as if she wanted to speak, but Wanda kept her momentum. "So we know that all along, Tommy's Fate was to be croaked by Olive. And if we had taken the peace offer, then we would have been making the path to his Fate longer and more difficult, while making mine easier. Now where is the sense in that?"

Delphie glared at her. "No. You don't understand. Chief Tommy carried no such Fate."

"How can you say that? It was his Fate! We've seen it."

"It was his end, Lady," said Delphie. She looked pained. "Clay would say, his 'final outcome.' It was never his Fate. It could have been avoided. If we'd only signed the treaty and sent you to Haffaton, Tommy would probably be alive now."

Wanda clamped down on a sudden, deep need to slap the woman. For a moment, not striking Delphie's round face was all she could manage to do.

The Predictamancer, looking distressed, took it as a chance to continue. "I told you once. Not everyone walking these halls has a purpose. I cannot make Predictions about every unit, or commander, or even every ruler. Don't you see?" She looked at Wanda with tears starting to well on her lower lids. "You were to pop. And you were to be passed on. And once I saw Olive in the Magic Kingdom, I Predicted where you were to go. So, I told her. She understood. That's why they were so generous with their offer."

Wanda's clamp slipped. She hit Delphie in the cheek with an open, gloved hand. The caster cried out, and stumbled backward, landing on her rump upon the foot of Wanda's bed.

"She knew?!"

Delphie sat on the bed, stunned for a moment, then began to bawl. Wanda stood over her and yelled. "You approached the enemy, you let them know we had popped a caster, and you gave them more information about my Fate than you would share with your own side? Are you that disloyal?"

"I'm Loyal!" sobbed Delphie into her hands. "I'm ever so Loyal!"

"You lying ditch witch!" Wanda turned and stomped across the room, yelling to the air. "Loyal to what? To Fate? Not to Goodminton!"

"Yes! To Goodminton! It was the only way Goodminton could survive you," said Delphie, tears flowing freely down her face.

"You don't know that," Wanda said, pointing at her. "You never Predicted that."

Delphie kept sobbing into her lap. Her words were muffled by her hands. "No. I can't. Fate doesn't care about us. That's the terror of it; we have no Fate. The world doesn't care if we live or not. Only about you."

Wanda paced around. "It doesn't work that way, it doesn't work that way, it can't work that way, Delphie!" Tommy should be alive? She was trapped, while they were lost? Father was lost? No. "I could...buy some poison and drink it! What would Fate do, then? Huh? I could jump off this tower right now!"

Delphie looked at Wanda and shook her head. "Yes, you could. But you won't."

Just what Wanda had Predicted she would say.

She stopped in front of the mirror again. Mirror-Wanda and she both knew Delphie was right. Wanda was defiant. She would break her Fate somehow. But, she supposed, not today. Not that way. She took in a deep breath to calm herself.

"No," she said, with deep resignation, "not in this outfit."

image

Recent posts... (See full thread)
...

Are you always this highly strung?
I don't know. No one is objective when it comes to self-analysis. You've seen me post for over 6 months (longer if you were here before my hiatus). Am I always this highly strung?

Drach, that's Invitation to Flame War. This forum isn't moderated anymore, so you can get away with it here, but throw that question on another forum, and you'll draw an infraction.
drachefly wrote:
super-quibble:

"Entanglement was derived by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen 70 years before it could be tested, in 1935."

The Aspect experiment was carried out in 1981, so that would be only 45 years.

Also, I wouldn't call it a 'loophole', but rather a 'major yet previously unexplored feature'.


Hmm..
super-duper-quibble:
An experiment by Freedman and Clauser in 1972, following on the 1964 paper by Bell (which is itself an answer to the (in)famous EPR paper), was the first experiment testing these hypothesis. It showed evidence for the invalidity of local hidden variable theories. The Aspect experiments were much more famous though, especially the third one (of 3).

I'd like to mention that Einstein first developed general relativity without immediate evidence to back it up. He worked out (new) math for his theories and was convinced that it was right, using mostly intuition and a sense of esthetics. It was an extension of his special relativity, which was based on experiments -- it was a theory explaining observed fact, whereas general rel was not. He turned out to be right, except most notably for the addition of a 'cosmological constant', a mistake he made due to his intuition that he wanted a static universe. His intuition made him investigate QM, and he just plain believed that there was something wrong with the way it was set-up in the theories. He used a lot of his personal esthetic taste to make judgement calls in physics, being often right, and famously wrong in the case of QM. It's interesting to point this out, reminding us that no matter how you develop theories, they are as right as what they can predict, not how they look or appeal to the scientist.
Kriestor, I am sorry. It was not certain that you'd realize I had only meant that in the presence of people who are barely capable on the subject, we might want to keep our word choices as unambiguous as possible, so 'educating' me on alternate definitions of the word was comprehensible without having to invoke excessive defensiveness.
I didn't think drachefly's question was aggressive-sounding (and this forum IS moderated as it happens), but text-ony communication sometimes gets the wrong tone across.

Anyway, on a completely unrelated note I wanted to chime in on -
Kreistor wrote:
Housellama wrote:
{something about new math}

And that's confusing to neophytes. They don't know enough to understand what you mean. Math hasn't changed in hundreds of years. It's Physics' theorems that have changed. Physics will change: the methods it uses to derive the equations to describe the universe will not.


Indeed, Math theorems are forever. The practice of Mathematics has changed significantly at least twice in the last 300 years.

(Spoilered, because tangential at best to the H-K discussion.)

Spoiler: show
One of the big changes happened at the end of 19th/beginning of the 20th century with the effort to establish mathematical foundations and clarify all assumptions in axiomatic systems (which Euclid did NOT do btw) that are described by formal languages. One can regard this as "Euclid: the special edition", but it covers much more ground than just Hilbert bringing a new and more rigurous formalism for Euclidean geometry.

A bigger shift happened at the end of the 18th/beginning of the 19th century, coinciding with the discovery of complex numbers, non-Euclidean geometries, and group theory. Prior to that, Mathematics was about objects that had an obvious counterpart in reality. After that, the attitude changed into "if you can define it, and it doesn't blow up, it's a valid object of study for mathematics". This shift was so radical and so definitive that to me today it's impossible to imagine what the fuss was about with introducing 0, negative numbers, complex numbers etc. (It also turned out that the new abstract objects were in fact useful to describe reality, much to the chagrin of Mathematicians who sought to distance their field from Physics- arguably this tendency towards field separation is what enabled the 18/19th shift to abstractness in the first place).
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
I didn't think drachefly's question was aggressive-sounding (and this forum IS moderated as it happens), but text-ony communication sometimes gets the wrong tone across.


The first comment, about questionable word choices, was fine. The second was not.
gobe wrote:
His intuition made him investigate QM, and he just plain believed that there was something wrong with the way it was set-up in the theories. He used a lot of his personal esthetic taste to make judgement calls in physics, being often right, and famously wrong in the case of QM. It's interesting to point this out, reminding us that no matter how you develop theories, they are as right as what they can predict, not how they look or appeal to the scientist.


This is exactly my point about QM. It strikes human beings as fundamentally wrong. Things are not in two places at once. The cat can't be both alive and dead. The world is certain, not probabilistic. That's what we instinctively believe. But the world is probabilistic, and that's why QM stuck around. Because it was correct. As strange and counterintuitive and bizarre as it is, the equations make successful predictions time and time again. And since that is what science is for, accurately describing the behavior of the world we see around us, QM succeeded. Because aesthetics don't matter. Being right does.
It just occurred to me: could Wanda switch sides, work under Olive for one turn, then switch back? Has Wanda even thought of that?
Idunno, like with many 'turning' tricks, I don't buy it. In erfworld, the reality and the mechanics are intertwined. I think to turn, you actually have to intend to work for the target side. Otherwise, you haven't turned. After you Turn, you'll have loyalty and duty to your new side, and you'll fight for them.

If something changes you might have a reason to turn back, but without a good reason, it won't happen.
aefields wrote:
It just occurred to me: could Wanda switch sides, work under Olive for one turn, then switch back? Has Wanda even thought of that?

We don't know much about how Fate decides things besides will of the author, but Delphie mentioned a debt that had to be repaid. In all likelihood, Fate probably wanted Wanda to work for Olive for a while. A better loophole might have been to find some way to cripple Olive somehow. It's not like loyalty and duty would have stopped Wanda, given what Olive's like. Quite the contrary, those would have encouraged it.

Man, talk about croakamancy.