Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 053

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 053

“Where are you?” asked the mirror-white sky.

“I‘m right here,” said Jillian.

“No, describe it,” said the sky.

Jillian frowned. Words were so dumb in a place like this. “Yellow grass. I‘m riding the hill.”

“Riding?”

“Ridiiiiing! Yes. I‘m mounted on the yellow grass hill. It‘s taking me somewhere.”

“Do you know where it‘s taking you?”

Jillian snorted. “NO!” she shouted, laughing at the silliness of the question. “What, do you think I‘ve got reins on this thing? It doesn‘t take orders. It‘s a hill. And you‘re just the sky. Zaphod‘s just the sky, you know?” She laughed at saying something she couldn‘t understand. The words were just silly. The world was random and silly, silly, silly.

She rode on. This valley she found herself in was all leafy and branchy, not just the trees but the valley itself branching in all directions, like a tree trunk. How could the sky ask her to describe it? It had a lot of colors and it was a place. Kind of. Silly.

“Why, where are you?” she thought to ask the sky.

“On the ground,” said the sky, which was about the most ridiculous lie a sky could tell. Jillian laughed again. “Sitting beside you in the Garden. Being punished. I was just wondering where you were going. I...hope the hill takes you somewhere nice.”

“I think it will,” said Jillian. “But I hope it goes somewhere with water. I think I‘m thirsty.”

“You are thirsty,” said the pale sky. “I can see it in your body. I‘ll get you some water.”

“You could just rain on me,” said Jillian.

“Stay there. Keep riding.”

Jillian did. But the hill took her nowhere she could recognize. It kept hesitating at each branch in the valley, then making decisions and heading down one path or the other. But she didn‘t know why. She listened to the stuttering echo of birds that she could not see, while the foamy colors of the trees swayed and washed against the yellow turf of her little hill.

“You have a cup in your hand,” said the sky. “Can you see it?”

She looked down. The thing in her hand was an exquisitely delicate porcelain tea cup filled with insects. Her eyes went wide.

“Bugs,” she sputtered.

“No, it‘s only water,” said the sky. “No bugs, see? Water.”

She looked again, and the sky was right. Clear water in a plain tin cup. She drank. The sky seemed to help her put the cup to her lips, however that worked. The water was clean and cold. So good.

“Thank you, sky.”

“You‘re welcome, Jillian.”

“Are you watching me?” she asked.

“For a long time,” said the sky.

“Then can you see where I‘m going?”

“No,” the sky said. “But I think it doesn‘t much matter. You‘ll always come back to me, whatever way you intend to go. That‘s what I believe, anyway.”

“That‘s not any fun,” said Jillian, making a face. “I don‘t want to know how it ends.”

“I do,” said the sky. “I want that rather desperately.” The white sky faded to gray, then to a starless black. The land stayed lit. “Almost as desperately as I want it to end.”

Jillian looked up into the featureless void that stretched from horizon to horizon, and swallowed. “That‘s really sad,” she said.

“Mm. You have no idea,” said the sky.

---

Jillian fell out of her dream at night, which was something she didn‘t usually let herself do. She landed reluctantly upon the mossy ground, in something like lucidity. The air had the chill of midnight on it. Frogs and crickets held the watch for the birds and humming insects that were sleeping at this hour. The Garden was never silent.

And there was a light. She could see an orange flicker through her eyelashes.

She plucked the useless flower from her hair, and felt around for a replacement. There wasn‘t one. This would require opening her eyes all the way, wouldn‘t it? With all the effort and speed of raising a castle‘s portcullis, she did so.

The Lady Firebaugh was there, looking right at her.

With additional effort, Jillian sat up on her rump, leaning against the big tree. There was a campfire in a small circle of stones here. Lady Firebaugh had moved a couple of logs beside it. Pieces came back to her mind, especially when she saw the thorns on the Croakamancer‘s head.

“So. Where did the hill take you?” asked the Lady Firebaugh.

“Hill?” Jillian rasped. She cleared her throat.

“You stopped being able to talk, shortly after you told me about riding a yellow hill,” said the Croakamancer. “I was curious where it took you.”

Jillian remembered, kind of. “You were...the sky?”

The Croakamancer nodded.

“I‘m sorry. I don‘t remember,” said Jillian. “That was dreams and dreams ago.”

“It didn‘t matter, then,” said Lady Firebaugh. “Back to me, as I said. You‘ll want another heroine bud, I suppose?”

“Yes!” said Jillian, leaning forward and grabbing her knees. “Is that what they‘re called? Do you have one?” She brushed her empty temple with one hand.

“Hero buds, or heroine if the wearer is female. And yes, I have one,” confirmed the Croakamancer. “I went to the field and got it for you. I want it, too, but it won‘t do anything for me with this on,” she said, indicating the hoop of thorns on her head.

“Can I have it?” said Jillian, holding out her hand.

The Croakamancer nodded, reached behind the log, and pulled out a very fresh-looking pink flower. “Certainly. This bud's for you.” She pinched it expertly, as she arose.

Jillian didn‘t stand up. She just kept her hand outstretched. Please don‘t let her be toying with me.

But the Lady Firebaugh walked over to Jillian and placed the bud in her hand without the slightest hesitation. She slapped it eagerly to her head, and felt the relief of a great need met.

The Croakamancer looked down at her. She still wore the scraps of gauze. Her hands were folded in front of her, her expression full of genuine pity.

“Why are you being so kind to me all of a sudden?” Jillian thought to wonder aloud, as the warmth of the flower filled her head and she felt herself lifting into dreams again.

“All of a sudden? Oh, Jillian.” The Lady sighed. The shadows of her ribs moved up and down in the firelight. “We need you to turn. You must. I tried to do it without...this. Because I know.”

A rush of warm wind filled Jillian‘s ears, as the dreams came to lift her to some new kind of elsewhere. A tropical downpour rained through her mind. But this time she could still see the Lady Firebaugh, leaning down, through the gently falling rain. Water streaked down the Croakamancer‘s cheeks.

“Trust me. The box was the greater kindness.”

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
Now Jillian's invitation of "Let's get high", from when she and Wanda faced off over Jetstone, seems a lot more meaningful.
Shai_hulud wrote:
The Sky wrote:
“You are thirsty,” said the pale sky. “I can see it in your body. I’ll get you some water.”

She can see inside her body. Does anyone suppose that's croakamancy? Sense current anatomical/biological state?

Yeah, she spoke of her Croakamancy senses a lot in part one, she studied Atomic's body with them looking for a cause of death as one example. I wasn't certain it extended to the living, but I recall her being able to see the destruction of matter in a burning fireplace. That suggests she can see within matter, all matter.
Except she didn't understand the volcano without Sizemores help. I'm guessing it's just biological matter, like the log.
Shai_hulud wrote:
Except she didn't understand the volcano without Sizemores help. I'm guessing it's just biological matter, like the log.

Seeing something and understanding something are two entirely different things.
Whispri wrote:
Shai_hulud wrote:
Except she didn't understand the volcano without Sizemores help. I'm guessing it's just biological matter, like the log.

Seeing something and understanding something are two entirely different things.

She could sense all of the parts, but she didn't know what did what within the system. She was looking for parts that she'd find within a living body, and found none. Sizemore's senses were more in tune with the matter of the erf, so he interpreted her search for a heart to be the magma pocket. Sizemore could sense all of the parts within the volcano, but he lacked the power to bring it back to 'life'. Thus the need for the tri-link, rather than a double link to either of Sizemore or Wanda to accomplish the same thing.

The sensing of the destruction of the log may not even be associated with Croakamancy. It could be a completely different discipline's senses that she could tap into. That's one of the main drawbacks of using Wanda as canon info for Croakamancy. Senses are even worse to pinpoint, since even Sizemore can sense other forms of magick, as he did when he first touched the SPW scroll, and when he could identify the carnymancy of Jojo's scroll despite not knowing exactly what the scroll did.

We so need a non-Wanda Croakamancer tat only uses Croakamancy. Then we may finally have some definitive answers as to what Croakamancy actually does.
bladestorm wrote:
Whispri wrote:
Shai_hulud wrote:
Except she didn't understand the volcano without Sizemores help. I'm guessing it's just biological matter, like the log.

Seeing something and understanding something are two entirely different things.

She could sense all of the parts, but she didn't know what did what within the system. She was looking for parts that she'd find within a living body, and found none. Sizemore's senses were more in tune with the matter of the erf, so he interpreted her search for a heart to be the magma pocket. Sizemore could sense all of the parts within the volcano, but he lacked the power to bring it back to 'life'. Thus the need for the tri-link, rather than a double link to either of Sizemore or Wanda to accomplish the same thing.


That's a pretty good explanation of the tri-link in book one. It makes me wonder if just a croakamancy-thinkamancer link would allow the creation of something similar to what the pliers do, intelligent undead loyal to Wanda. They wouldn't be decrypted exactly because they would still rot, but you could probably get pretty close given a thinkamancer's mastery and understanding of the mind.
bladestorm wrote:
Whispri wrote:
Shai_hulud wrote:
Except she didn't understand the volcano without Sizemores help. I'm guessing it's just biological matter, like the log.

Seeing something and understanding something are two entirely different things.

She could sense all of the parts, but she didn't know what did what within the system. She was looking for parts that she'd find within a living body, and found none. Sizemore's senses were more in tune with the matter of the erf, so he interpreted her search for a heart to be the magma pocket. Sizemore could sense all of the parts within the volcano, but he lacked the power to bring it back to 'life'. Thus the need for the tri-link, rather than a double link to either of Sizemore or Wanda to accomplish the same thing.

The sensing of the destruction of the log may not even be associated with Croakamancy. It could be a completely different discipline's senses that she could tap into. That's one of the main drawbacks of using Wanda as canon info for Croakamancy. Senses are even worse to pinpoint, since even Sizemore can sense other forms of magick, as he did when he first touched the SPW scroll, and when he could identify the carnymancy of Jojo's scroll despite not knowing exactly what the scroll did.

We so need a non-Wanda Croakamancer tat only uses Croakamancy. Then we may finally have some definitive answers as to what Croakamancy actually does.

What I find interesting about the Wanda-Sizemore linkup, is that Sizemore came out of it having learned more, not just about his mountain, but about the very fundamentals of his craft. And Wanda's been seen using Dirtamancy on screen. Could she have Mastered Dirtamancy? Not having an instant grasp of how to turn a dormant volcano live wouldn't preclude that to my mind, that was an entirely new trick.
bladestorm wrote:
Whispri wrote:
Shai_hulud wrote:
Except she didn't understand the volcano without Sizemores help. I'm guessing it's just biological matter, like the log.

Seeing something and understanding something are two entirely different things.

She could sense all of the parts, but she didn't know what did what within the system. She was looking for parts that she'd find within a living body, and found none. Sizemore's senses were more in tune with the matter of the erf, so he interpreted her search for a heart to be the magma pocket. Sizemore could sense all of the parts within the volcano, but he lacked the power to bring it back to 'life'. Thus the need for the tri-link, rather than a double link to either of Sizemore or Wanda to accomplish the same thing.

This was my interpretation all along. Wanda's Croakamancy is Matter and Motion, where Dirtamancy is only Matter. Sizemore couldn't bring the volcano back to 'life' because he didn't have the right element. Sizemore needed her to get things moving. Croakamancy is on the Fate axis, Dirtamancy is on the Erf axis. Wanda might have the right elements, but her magic works on the wrong things. Wanda needed him to guide the magic to the right axis. The Thinkamancer was necessary to guide and facilitate the link, as with all links.

Matter+Motion on the Erf axis is Shockamancy. Maybe a Masterclass Shockamancer could have done it, but I doubt that kind of power is within the reach of a single caster. I suspect that with a Thinkamancer in the mix, there's some kind of synergistic thing going on, where the power of the three combined is greater than the sum of the individuals. Hence, big badda boom!
Housellama wrote:

Matter+Motion on the Erf axis is Shockamancy. Maybe a Masterclass Shockamancer could have done it, but I doubt that kind of power is within the reach of a single caster. I suspect that with a Thinkamancer in the mix, there's some kind of synergistic thing going on, where the power of the three combined is greater than the sum of the individuals. Hence, big badda boom!

Three times the level, all the knowledge of two classes, triple the juice, triple the equipment bonuses, with the thinkamancer energy management and three minds to hold the spell together? Yeah, I bet some sort of synergistic boost is going on. I'm guessing some trimancer spells that are fairly "simple" and instead just powerful spells from multiple disciplines are probably theoretically possible for a single caster to do. Maybe a caster with a level around 30 and a master in croakamancy and dirtamancy could have pulled of the volcano spell on their own, depending on how much the thinkamancers help counts for.
Shai_hulud wrote:
The Sky wrote:
“You are thirsty,” said the pale sky. “I can see it in your body. I’ll get you some water.”

She can see inside her body. Does anyone suppose that's croakamancy? Sense current anatomical/biological state?
My guess would be that Wanda can see the state of a captive of her side, just as she can see the state of a member of her side.