Daniel Black Open Thread

There seem to be a lot of people who still want to talk about what Daniel ought to be doing and what enchantments he should be working on, so I figured I’d give you a better place to do it that the comments of an unrelated post. I may even answer a few questions, as long as they don’t give away anything I have planned for future books.

Of course, the answer to most questions of the form ‘why hasn’t Daniel done X’ is ‘he hasn’t had time’. At the end of Extermination it’s only been about three months since he was summoned, and he’s been insanely busy for that entire time. So his enchantment work has focused almost entirely on things he could do quickly, without having to spend much time figuring things out.

The other point I want to mention, though, is that Daniel isn’t intended to be some perfectly hyper-competent superman. He’s just a guy who had enough brains, imagination and determination to get the job done, at least so far. But there were several places where I intentionally had him do things that turned out to be a mistake because it fit his attitude at the time, or because he had no way of knowing better. That’s going to continue to happen in the future, although he is learning.

My inspiration for Daniel actually comes from some of the more capable players I’ve met in tabletop RPG games over the years. You know that guy who can debate everything from Napoleonic military tactics to advanced space launch technologies? The one who keeps bypassing the GM’s carefully constructed plot complications by doing something clever but sensible instead of just charging after the obvious plot hooks? The one who always seems to be overpowered, because he reads all the rulebooks and carefully min-maxes his  characters? That’s Daniel.

The trouble is, it’s a lot easier to talk about things than to actually do them. Real life doesn’t come with a rulebook, and just because you watched a video about something once doesn’t mean you can do it. So even with the huge cheat of mana sorcery, there’s going to be a lot of trial and error in Daniel’s future.

He’s still frustrated that he can’t remember how a Geiger counter is supposed to work…

6,969 thoughts on “Daniel Black Open Thread

  1. There’s something nagging at me about INTREPID’s force bubble vacuum lift cells.

    I suspect the enchantment which inflates them cannot REINFLATE a “broken” bubble while it is deflating, because of the assumptions Daniel made when he first created the spell.

    That suspicion is driven by Daniel’s descriptions of how many minutes it would take, and what he plans to do in that sort of emergency.

    There’s no reason for waiting so long, or for INTREPID losing much altitude. He’s working with vacuum, not helium. At any moment he suspects he has a problem with a force bubble full of vacuum he should immediately begin creating a new force bubble inside the failing one. He could even design his enchantment to schedule this process every hour for each force bubble on the airship, to keep the vacuum hard and clean.

    In fact, if Daniel ever figures out or remembers Geiger counter technology, he can create a good, hard vacuum for the tube(s) by generating several force bubble full of vacuum, one right after the other and starting at the same center point, until very few atoms of anything remain inside the final cell.

    I suppose he could then cast a matter to mana spell on whatever atoms were left inside that final cell to make a nearly perfect vacuum.

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    1. Why would he bother? What would be the difference to just pumping more mana into the existing bubble? It is a force construct. It should actively expel air. It looks to me that the reformation of the bubble works because the way it works because it needs a smaller surface at first to form.

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      1. Given Daniel’s and INTREPID’s usual surplus of available mana, there’s no practical difference between “pumping more mana” into the bubble and recasting the bubble. That being the case, it’s more desirable to replace a failing bubble enchantment with a new, presumably stable force bubble.

        Why would Daniel be recasting the enchantment? How would a force bubble be damaged?
        – Some enemy has successfully made a dispel attack which has caused unrecoverable damage.
        – Some sort of physical attack has caused unrecoverable damage, overwhelmed the mana reserve, etc.

        No, atmosphere is not “evicted” from the force bubble.

        Only a tiny amount of atmosphere is ever actually inside the force bubble, when Daniel’s enchantment creates the first tiny bubble and expands it. That results in a large volume of air with a tiny number of gas atoms scattered through it. Probably a few bits of pollen, dust and pocket lint as well.

        As Elin points out, there may be some air seeping slowly INTO active force bubbles, depending on how good Daniel’s enchantment is. That discussion was part of what inspires me to suggest all Daniel needs to do is recast the force bubble vacuum lift cell enchantment immediately, INSIDE the failing bubble. There’s no conflict, unless the author rules otherwise.

        Maybe two enchantments overlapping in time and the same physical volume is a bad thing?

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      2. How much does a force bubble weigh? It should not weigh anything. So why doesn’t he just do an onion effect. Cast a whole bunch of force bubbles inside of each other and then if one fails just expand the other ones recasting a new one in the center dispelling the one on the outside that failed.

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      3. Yeah, that’s another possibility, DaShoota.

        Each “onion layer” would be activated and maintained by its own section of a large, composite enchantment or by its own separate enchantment, and therefore adds a little more complexity as well as a little more mana demand.

        I would say the “onion layer” idea is worth testing, but I suspect a sufficiently powerful dispel is going to whack all the currently instantiated force bubbles.

        I suppose it’s worth forcing the enemy to expend more energy if multiple “onion layers” are more difficult to dispel. Maybe a few of the innermost layers would actually survive a dispel and then make the transition to a full size lift cell quicker.

        Otherwise, it’s probably less cumbersome to immediately recast the lift cell enchantment and start creating a new force bubble as soon as your flight status divination spell notifies your airship’s flight safety enchantment that a new lift cell is needed.

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      4. “So why doesn’t he just do an onion effect. Cast a whole bunch of force bubbles inside of each other and then if one fails just expand the other ones recasting a new one in the center dispelling the one on the outside that failed.”

        That is a good question and it leaves me with two possible answers.

        1. Daniel did not think about it. Given that he worked even on an altimeter and an autopilot I consider that unlikely.

        2. He cannot form a large force bubble in a vacuum. Now this may seem odd, given that it needs to do no work and hence should be easier. But there is something strange about his thrown force bolts and saws and consequently about the force bubbles on the Intrepid.

        Daniel could, as he built the Intrepid, not do magic more than a short distance from himself and, presumably, an enchanted object. So how does a huge bubble work? One possible answer is that he actually casts a spell on the air. Obviously that would not work in a vacuum.

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      5. Oliver, I like your reason #1 best. Daniel had a lot on his mind and just did not think of multiple layers of force bubbles.

        As for potential inhibitions against multiple layers, I proposed Daniel might not want to or be able to cast two or more identical spells inside the same volume at the same coordinates.

        We don’t see that prohibition anywhere, and I don’t have much faith in it, but it is a possibility.

        As for maximum size of force bubble, remember the description of INTREPID’s lift cell hardware.

        There are “masts” rising up out of the hull to the centerpoints of the force bubbles.

        Daniel does not have to worry at all about maximum size of force bubble. He can adapt his enchantment so that it happens only at the centerpoint, or all along whatever length of mast he builds. All he has to worry about is how ridiculously clumsy is that set of four or five or whatever number of masts.

        What I would really like to see is at least a brief comment by Daniel about the amount of additional mana required to expand a large force bubble even larger.

        It seems to me there are some exponential factors when calculating/generating the surface area of a sphere….

        Yep, that would 4*pi*(radius squared)

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      6. I like the idea that he just didn’t think of it yet. We’ve actually seen him go through that multiple times. Then pretty much do a facepalm where he says it seemed like a simple solution now that I look back on it. We’ve seen him do similar things in the past books. So it seems like the more obvious and reasonable solution to why he didn’t do it. It just hasn’t crossed his mind yet he’s too busy to worry about it now.

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    2. His matter to Mana enchantment actually works by converting the energy of the atoms into manna. If he cast that spell on a vacuum it would never stop converting energy into Mana. It should in theory switch over to converting Quantum photons into manna. That would be the Casimir effect. Basically energy being created from nothing.

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      1. Ooooh…good one, DaShoota.

        I was actually intending that Daniel would cast his matter to mana spell on the few remaining atoms of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, or others in that near vacuum he creates inside his expanding force bubble lift cells.

        The implications for quantum photons is interesting, though. I wonder if Daniel eventually uses something like that to power an interstellar spaceship?

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    3. Ha! As it happens I’ve been reading the series again and am in the middle of THRALL. Remember when Daniel created a magic factory that produces hexagonal pins of tungsten that are heavily enchanted with OVERLAPPING wards and other protections?

      I believe we can safely say that Daniel has no issue casting identical, powerful enchantments whose effects overlap multiple times in very nearly the same physical location.

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      1. Also in a vacuum? And I might note that those force plates were very close to their origin, as opposed to Intrepid’s force bubbles.

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      2. Oliver, did you catch the part where Daniel enchants the end of a mast with his force bubble?

        He is NEVER casting that force bubble into a vacuum, the way the story is written. There’s always a piece of metal stuck in the middle of what will become vacuum. The mast reaches all the way outside the vacuum AND the force bubble to attach the lift cell to the hull of INTREPID.

        That mast has to survive some very interesting stresses during flight operations.

        As for OTHER moments Daniel might have cast a spell into vacuum, look at his fight with the assassins inside the SunSpire at the end of THRALL. There’s an instance where he creates a vacuum around himself.

        “Countering fire with water would be too obvious against these guys, so instead I triggered another of the devices on my belt. A force bubble formed just outside my wards, and expanded to form a bubble of near-vacuum that quickly filled the chamber. The fire went out, revealing a giant glowing worm floating in the air. I dialed the power on my staff back down and fired off a burst at it. It died a lot more easily than the last monster, its body not nearly as well armored.”

        Nope.

        Again, he’s using an enchanted item. That might partially answer your question about spells and vacuum.

        If Daniel has a situation where he needs to cast a spell into an area that contains nothing but vacuum all he needs to do is summon a block of stone inside it and enchant the stone to create the spell effect. Or, summon a chunk of stone into his hand, enchant it with the spell effect he wants, then put the stone inside the vacuum.

        Has anybody noticed a situation where Daniel is unable to summon stone or other materials?

        His enchanted items seem to be able to summon bullets even when flying a mile above the ground.

        He needs physical contact with his enchanted items in order to control them.

        He can use force magic to pull his items to him, or pull him to his items.

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      3. Well, no. See, if uou are casting a spell creating a vacuum, you are not inside a vacuum. That is kind of the point. We have never seen Daniel use force magic inside a vacuum, only at the boundary of a vacuum bubble.

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      4. Oliver, I disagree with the technical details of your observation.

        Yes, DANIEL is “outside” the sphere of his vacuum bubble when he creates it.

        However, the spell that does the actual work is INSIDE the vacuum bubble, at the tip of the iron mast where the force bubble will be centered.

        “My first flight experiment involved conjuring a simple basket of very thin iron, with a long rod tipped with a force field spell projecting from the top. When I triggered the spell a spherical force field a few inches across appeared at the end of the rod, and began to grow. That left a soft vacuum inside the force field, but my spells could easily handle a measly 14 psi of pressure.” Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        That is his first experimental flying machine. I expect the INTREPID has actual ENCHANTMENTS inscribed on the tips of its masts, and the whole airship has a central matter to mana power supply somewhere aboard, which makes that dwarf-ork attempt to steal it all piecemeal even more dangerous to Daniel.

        Dwarf-ork magi would have figured out some or all of INTREPID’s magical tricks, if any mage in Varmland can.

        Now, it would be very interesting to see if Daniel can secure a sphere of breathable atmosphere around himself and then surround that with another sphere full of vacuum around his breathable sanctuary. Interesting, possibly even life-saving as during his fight against Lightbringer assassins in the Spire, but not nearly as useful to havev as INTREPID or an aerospace craft.

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      5. “However, the spell that does the actual work is INSIDE the vacuum bubble, at the tip of the iron mast where the force bubble will be centered.”

        Well, no. I am afraid this requires some convoluted explanation. At the time the spell is activated, there is no vacuum. The vacuum is a result of the spell. The spell is always in contact with its “working medium”, namely air at the boundary of the bubble.
        Yes, the source of the force effect is in vacuum, but the effect never needs to propagate through vacuum. Daniel has made force constructs larger than his usual range many times and in effect thrown them. But in every case they originate very close to him (or an enchanted / bespelled object) and propagated through air. In fact, force blades quickly losing momentum very much indicates that throwing a force blade involves throwing the air it is operating on. A magical effect should have no mass and hence no momentum to lose in the first place.

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      6. A magical effect should have no mass and hence no momentum to lose in the first place.

        But force blades, to have any utility at all, have to interact with matter (or they wouldn’t cut up their targets). Therefore they will also interact with the air through which they’re passing, and which will create drag, just as the flesh of a goblin or ogre will.

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      7. Oliver, this is a really neat argument and I do like it. You could well be entirely correct and this is exactly how the author intends Daniel’s force magic vacuum bubbles to function.

        On the other hand, his force magic might not need any contact with air at all. We cannot be certain at this point, though the preponderance of evidence I remember in the books is in favor of your interpretation. Next time I read through the series again I will have to remember to look for any contrary evidence.

        We will probably learn the author’s answer to this question if Daniel ever needs a “hard” vacuum and tries to creates vacuum bubbles inside vacuum bubbles. I don’t remember seeing anything like that, or any need for it, yet.

        Hmm…okay, one “need” but it’s more of a “want” since it is not necessarily required. In case of some sort of emergency where a vacuum bubble is in danger of being destroyed, maybe by enemy magic, Daniel might well like to start a new vacuum bubble inside the old one before the old one fails. He might even try serial multiple starts to force the enemy to expend more magic attacking each newly expanding bubble.

        Of course, that would not work in the magical environment you assert, which is another way Daniel could learn about that limitation on his vacuum force bubble creation spells.

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      8. “But force blades, to have any utility at all, have to interact with matter (or they wouldn’t cut up their targets). Therefore they will also interact with the air through which they’re passing, and which will create drag, just as the flesh of a goblin or ogre will.”

        Cutting moves material to the side. That is kind of the point (well, the cutting edges – sorry for the pun). There is no momentum involved. Yes, it should expend energy, but air is far less dense than solid matter. If it took up a lot of energy to move air, the force blade would be unusably weak.

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      9. “Cutting moves material to the side. That is kind of the point (well, the cutting edges – sorry for the pun). There is no momentum involved. Yes, it should expend energy, but air is far less dense than solid matter. If it took up a lot of energy to move air, the force blade would be unusably weak.”

        I’m not sure I’m parsing this. The force blades are not, AFAIK, two dimensional disks, and even if they are, the probably wobble in flight, which would expose their non-cutting surfaces to more air and produce a braking effect. Daniel routinely describes the launching of force blades as “throwing”, which has always implied (to me anyway) that he was physically imparting momentum to the force constructs.

        Magic is composed of sub-atomic particles, per Daniel’s ruminations on the absence of magic in his own universe in Fimbulwinter. Those particles will have mass, and hence momentum.

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      10. Yes, he uses the term throwing. However, and his inability to do other magic at a distance confirms this, this need not mean that he throws a spell. On the contrary that strengthens the argument that, when he throws a force blade, he puts a spell on a local volume of air and imparts a momentum on that. Air being light with a lot of surface of course does not travel far, losing its momentum.

        You may notice that, when he uses the technique learned from Cerise on the docks, he can lift people at a distance. It seems to me that his force blades when thrown are so weak because he never challenged his own assumptions and looked into how they work. He is unconciously using a marginal working medium, not realizing that he is using a working medium.

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      11. Interesting. I did not think of Daniel’s force blades being cast on anything when I was reading the first several books. I always thought of them as BEING force constructs, needing no medium themselves but of course existing in a medium, be it air, water, etc.

        Now that I think of it this other way, I can see how the author might have intended it like Oliver describes. There are hints, such as when Daniel casts force blade edges on all sorts of knives, swords, spears and arrowheads belonging to his fighters. Those could be separate force blades, “welded” by magic to the weapons’ edges, OR they could be as Oliver describes, force magic cast into the metal of the weapons, reinforcing the properties of the metal just as he reinforces the properties of his stone building’s construction.

        Oliver, I can see how this also applies to our discussion about INTREPID’s vacuum force bubbles. It’s going to be fun looking for more hints in the existing and future books.

        Okay, now for a word about “throwing” force blades. Yes, Daniel might be casting the spell to instantiate a force blade, then grabbing and “throwing” the blade with something like telekinesis or even a physical “throw” from his hand, like with a baseball.

        However, it is ALSO possible that “throw” is intended in the same sense as “instantiate” and a vector is implicit in the spell. That would enable us to look at Daniel’s early efforts as simply crude and under-powered, especially when he was still fumbling around learning how best to use his first matter to mana power supplies, not to mention learning magic itself and the inherent limitations/opportunities of his own brand of sorcery.

        Frankly, it seems to me that Daniel might any day realize he can create a near-light speed particle accelerator by simply building a device similar to his guns, but its enchantment instantiates force flechettes with a light speed vector in the direction the device points.

        That ought to stitch a monster thoroughly from stem to stern.

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      12. I like the idea that his force constructs are made and placed in the medium of the manna he uses to cast them. It might have been hinted at on the docs. Though it’s vague enough to make me not sure.

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      13. That is an interesting point. It is also something that Daniel has caught himself doing already multiple times. Running on assumptions that he held that he found out he did not need to. Usually it ended with him chiding himself.

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      14. And sorry for not addressing this, the particles may have mass, yet Cerise can make spells that go right through solid armor and the Goblin shamans make spells that go through a force shield. The effect of air on them must be tiny.

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      15. If mana consists of particles that are similar to photons we should be looking at a range of effects and energy levels as broad as the electromagnetic spectrum, or more so.

        However broad that mana spectrum might be, the particles themselves seem likely to have masses as tiny as photons, which is to say no mass at all. Of course, that’s just a guess.

        We seem to have observed instances where some mana particles have no mass. Oliver’s observation that Cerise’s spells pass through armor and goblin spells pass through Daniel’s force fields supports the idea that some mana particles might have no mass.

        Can anyone think of examples which could be interpreted to suggest some other mana particles have actual mass?

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      16. It is pointed out quite clearly that electricity flows freely through force constructs. As though the forest construct is not even there. This could suggest that the force constructs are made of subatomic particles heavier than elections.

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      17. Yeah, towards the end of FIMBULWINTER, Holger’s lightning blasts pass right through Daniel’s “spell shield” which seems to be a force construct.

        If we look at Oliver’s explanation for Daniel’s force constructs, they are based on a medium of atoms of atmosphere held firmly together by force sorcery. Alternatively, Daniel’s spell shield is a force construct instantiated from nothing but force sorcery and mana particles. We must believe, based on Holger’s lightning attacks, either model for a spell shield will be transparent to lightning. Now, if magic lightning follows a path of ions like natural lightning does, apparently Daniel’s spell shield does not disrupt that ion path, either.

        I’ll have to look for places Daniel might try to create a layer of vacuum between an inner and outer force bubble to insulate himself from electrical and other attacks. I think he gets that effect in THRALL with his tungsten thumbtack armor’s combined force fields and repulsion fields, but I could be wrong about that.

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      18. “Alternatively, Daniel’s spell shield is a force construct instantiated from nothing but force sorcery and mana particles.”

        The spell shield is a strange case. However, we clearly have a case where the force magic is an immaterial influence: the skimmer effect.
        I think I was a bit unclear. I do not think that the cutting effect itself is generated by air. No, Daniel simply cannot do magic more than a few feet away from his body. Yet he throws force blades. How? He can put a spell on things. That spell persists (for a while) even when Daniel leaves. I am just saying that force blades work by that principle and the enspelled object is air.

        The spell shield does not prevent Daniel from shooting through it. Why? Does he create gaps? Or alternatively, does it work directionally? If so, why does it not pump out the air inside it?

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      19. Oliver, we know Daniel creates gaps in his shields for his convenience in things like breathing…well, before Elin taught him how to cast a breathable air enchantment he created air gaps. The gaps are explicitly mentioned in BLACK COVEN during Daniel’s fight with the sea serpent. He mentions that he was soaked with ice water before he could close all the gaps as he was driven into the bottom of the river by one attack after another.

        Hence, we know Daniel COULD open gaps for shooting through. Whether he actually does this or not, we can only guess until that data point is revealed by the author, or we find where it was revealed already by the author.

        As for the skimmer effect, I’m not sure I agree with you that it must be immaterial. Yes, it COULD be, given my interpretation of how his force sorcery works. However, I could argue that every instance of “skimmer effect” we see in the books is associated with a spelled object. The skimmers he builds and INTREPID may even have actual enchantments “burned” into them.

        I frequently don’t fully understand when Daniel is using a spell, as opposed to creating an enchanted object by burning an enchantment into it. Mostly that is not important to know, but when it is, it’s not always obvious.

        I’m not sure you were at all unclear about your description of the force blades as you see them. I’m probably adding confusion by describing my interpretation of what I think you mean. Sadly, that’s the only way to clarify my own understanding.

        I’m visualizing in your model, Daniel casts his force sorcery onto a nice, sharp sliver of air molecules. All of the atoms are temporarily welded together by the force sorcery in Daniel’s spell, and maintained that way by the amount of energy Daniel puts in his spell. Then there is the question of how he “throws” the force blade. I’m inclined to suggest, as you have, that Daniel includes a vector as part of the blade spell, and that vector includes, of course, a velocity as well as a direction.

        In the early examples of his uses of force blades against goblins and monsters, the force blades are limited in effect because they have very little mass and Daniel does not give them a significant vector or a significant mana supply, especially as he wants to cast several at a time.

        Basically, he’s only beginning to learn that MORE KABOOM is almost always more better.

        The force blade example really screams for a matter to mana power supply, an enchanted rod that serially summons many blades, each more massive than air slivers, and each given a vector with a significant velocity component.

        Of course, the more velocity applied, the less mass required, especially as the projectiles approach light speed.

        The more I think about it, I’ve just described the slug-throwers Daniel created for his personal troops.

        As we have all observed, there is still LOTS of room for improvement in the original design, and its externally powered successor design, some of which improvements we see in the weapons he crafts in THRALL.

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      20. “However, I could argue that every instance of “skimmer effect” we see in the books is associated with a spelled object. The skimmers he builds and INTREPID may even have actual enchantments “burned” into them.”

        OK, i think this needs an explanation. Daniel as opposed to Cerise or Goblin shamans has not learned to make an immaterial anchor for a spell. But his spellls work without matter. For example he can make a warmth field. It needs to be tied to an object or tied to himself. But it would work in a vacuum. As would his force shield. But he could not throw a force blade in vacuum.

        “I frequently don’t fully understand when Daniel is using a spell, as opposed to creating an enchanted object by burning an enchantment into it. Mostly that is not important to know, but when it is, it’s not always obvious.”

        I see no necessity to assume a fundamental difference. Enchantments just look like spells that are anchored so well that they last.

        “I’m visualizing in your model, Daniel casts his force sorcery onto a nice, sharp sliver of air molecules.”

        That it works on swords without changing their shape, suggests that it does not matter how the air is shaped. It just needs to be there.

        “All of the atoms are temporarily welded together by the force sorcery in Daniel’s spell, and maintained that way by the amount of energy Daniel puts in his spell. Then there is the question of how he “throws” the force blade. I’m inclined to suggest, as you have, that Daniel includes a vector as part of the blade spell, and that vector includes, of course, a velocity as well as a direction.”

        I doubt that it is that simple. His enchantments cannot tell which way is up or down or left or right. A moving blade would go anywhere if it used force magic to move itself. Daniel himself likely exerts the force magic on the force blade. Hence it rapidly slows down when it gets out of his range.

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      21. I for one don’t think Daniel realizes that he’s actually doing something in his enchantment or spell wise. Remember when he got his sorceries a great deal of knowledge was downloaded directly into him on how to use it pretty much turning into an instinct. An instinct can be used without conscious knowledge of what is actually being done. I think in many cases with a lot of Daniels spell work and enchantment work this is what’s happening and he doesn’t realize it. It might explain why he’s quite often face-palming himself when he realizes he’s doing something a little differently that waste a lot of energy that he shouldn’t be doing.

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      22. DaShoota, you are right, it does make sense that Daniel is leaning a LOT on his mana “element” to manage how he anchors spells and enchantments. Of course, that’s not always a bad thing. Yes, it may be inefficient, but it may also enable him to do “normal” things in ways the locals never thought of, and it lets him make huge progress in very little time.

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      23. Oliver, I’m liking most of your visualizations about how Daniel uses force blades, especially the explanation for why his early attempts lacked velocity and kinetic energy the further away from him that he “threw” them.

        I’m going to throw you what I hope is an easy question.

        Why does Daniel need to cast his force “edges” on air, even when he’s actually improving a sword or spear?

        Why does Daniel not cast the force “edges” directly on the metal of the sword or spear?

        Metal seems like a better anchor than air.

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      24. “Why does Daniel not cast the force “edges” directly on the metal of the sword or spear?

        Metal seems like a better anchor than air.”

        A question we have solid data on! Daniel improved his force blades by going to an immaterial weapon in the second generation, so the effect is just as good or even better than using a physical blade.

        So if you let the force magic follow the metal exactly, the result would be exactly as sharp as the metal. The force blades seem to work only by pushing back as hard on they are pushed on. Hence you’d get an extremely durable weapon, but it would only be as good as a physical weapon. Force blades work because they are extremely sharp. To get that geometry it is necessary to work a short distance of the blade because Daniel cannot summon stuff with ‘sub-milimetre precision’ as he put it.

        And presumably the hilt he gives out is made from metal (I suppose the troops wrap something around it. Bare metal in arctic conditions is bad for your skin.) He does not give out enchanted air.

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      25. Thanks, Oliver. Your explanation of Daniel’s force blade edges added to metal swords and spears makes sense to me and I agree with it.

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  2. Here’s a fun idea that probably won’t ever happen.

    When Daniel is totally frustrated and exhausted from defending everyone and everything he’s built at Black Island, and it looks like there’s just no dodging the next Lightbringer assassin, or the next one, or the one after that…I know how he can run away someplace safe without breaking all his promises to protect Cerise, the groves, clan Nethwillin, etc.

    He promised Alanna to give her a tour of the entire Solar System, right? But he’ll want a substantial spacecraft to provide all the food, air, hot showers, hot tub, hot women, kitchen, armory, gardens, workshops, defenses, weapons staff, crew and more.

    He can have both. Just build one more hugely massive expansion to Black Island that fully encapsulates everything he has already constructed and launch the entire complex to Mars.

    If he’s feeling really obnoxious, he can leave an unoccupied duplicate shell behind with a ginormous boobytrap bomb inside it that vaporizes everything as soon as the first booby touches any part of it.

    If anyone suspects he’s not really dead THIS time, are they going to look as far away as Mars?

    By the time they figure out how to get there, will he still be on Mars?

    Alpha Centauri beckons and Alanna has an insatiable appetite for exploration.

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      1. How would anyone know Daniel took Black Island to Mars?

        Sure, his launch might be spectacular…or might not. Since he uses mana and elemental force there’s no need for him to be splashy. The island might simply vanish overnight, leaving a booby-trapped empty shell behind to confuse people for a while.

        Somebody might guess he took off into space rather than transitioning to his own pocket universe. Maybe a divination spell would give up more details? If some deity looks for him hard enough, will they find him on Mars? Can he and Alanna and a few other high-powered magic slingers shield the whole island from discovery?

        I suppose artifacts like the Dark Portal would make attacking a hideout on Mars a viable threat.

        Then there are those Gods Of Mars….

        Well, maybe Alanna will get her wish and the expedition will have to continue moving from one location to the next, one planet to the next, etc.

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      2. He hasn’t really demonstrated any mastery of teleportation magic yet, so he’d probably go with some kind of reaction drive. I suppose he might “invert the polarity” of some of the matter he summons, making matter with negative mass, and thus anti-gravity, but that’s pretty advanced physics, and he’s admitted that he’s not Nobel material.

        You’ve got a point that anyone who noticed him leaving wouldn’t necessarily know where he was going, unless they can figure out how to track him.

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      3. The real question would be about there being gods on Mars?. Apparently in the book you need life to have some form of God or Elemental/Great Beast. If there is no primordial mind or life for them to touch no matter how primitive or advanced. Then there probably will be no such creature showing up there. So the real question is was there life on Mars if there was are some of their own Great Beast still running around?

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      4. The existence of magic changes a lot. Earth has life that’s basically *made* of magic, so why shouldn’t Mars? It *might* not, but we don’t know what, if any, environmental conditions are necessary for magic-life as opposed to bio-life.

        Given magic-life on Mars, the environment might well have been modified early on in a way suitable for the development of bio-life, and thence higher-order magic-life (gods). Would make for an interesting space-operatic possibility:-).

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      5. Ah, you are correct, Jabrwok.

        Sylphs Of Mars, UNITE! Defend your world. Throw off the foreign yoke!

        Since we know there are volcanoes on Mars, there would also be Fire Elementals.

        Since we know there is a saltwater lake under one of the icecaps we know there are Water Elementals.

        Those imply Earth Elementals and other fun spirit creatures.

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      6. NASA seems to be right on the edge of finding some sort of microbial life on OUR version of Mars, maybe even alive today in that saltwater lake under one of the polar ice caps.

        If we find that much life, add magic and just about anything is possible on the Mars in Daniel’s new universe.

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      7. Yeah, but I just finished reading the whole series again and noticed that divination might just be flexible enough to “track” him down. It probably depends on how good the wards are.

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      8. My viewpoint –

        We are talking apples and oranges here. The 18 years is the expected outcome. Coming back in a few weeks would be a unpleasant surprise for the Aesir gods, but within the bounds of possible. Coming back in few days pretty much screams that Daniel did not die when the Sunspear exploded.

        At the end of the day, Daniel’s “I am back from the dead” moment is being timed so that it still looks like he died in the Sunspear, but otherwise he is back as soon as he can while still being believable as “coming back from the dead”

        After all, if Odin realized that Daniel did not die in the Sunspear, then he is going to (correctly) conclude that Daniel triggered the Sunspear explosion on purpose to cover his escape and send 2-3 gods to kill him. Odin is a vengeful god.

        To avoid this fate, Daniel must look like the Victim of the explosion, not the instigator, hence the need to stay “dead” for several weeks or more. I suspect even the gods have difficulty coming back from the dead in just a few days, so they would never believe a mortal could do so.

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      9. Dspring, remember the section in EXTERMINATION where Mara explains to Daniel that he blew one of Gaia’s sons to shreds and She has to spend many days helping him reconstruct himself? That’s a good example of the “few weeks” recovering from death example Odin will be VERY familiar with.

        Brand, however, will be quite familiar with Daniel’s own recovery from “near death” time-frame. Daniel mentions it himself in front of the Conclave when explaining where he was and what he was doing while the tower was hit by lightning. He was more than ten hours putting himself back together after blasting the jaw off a sea serpent, and several more days recovering to something like full health. Brand will have learned enough to confidently figure that out. Brand will be the LEAST surprised when Daniel surfaces again in his improved body a few weeks after appearing to die at the Spire. In fact, Brand will probably figure out there is a body transfer involved, since he WILL notice the improvements in Daniel’s new body.

        Daniel should try to avoid Brand for as long as possible after returning to Black Island.

        Hence, while I agree with the “apples and oranges” scenarios you mention, I’m going to stubbornly stick with my scenario, too. Odin, informed by Brand, could easily believe Daniel died in the Lightbringers’ sabotage bomb explosion, OR he could easily believe a totally shredded, near-death Daniel teleported away from the Spire and spent several weeks putting himself back together, probably with the assistance of a VERY capable familiar.

        The author probably needs to be careful to allow Odin more than one scenario that fits the story Daniel wants “known” about his side of the Spire saga.

        Then there are all the potentially confusing aspects of Daniel’s nascent godhood, post-banana, the limitations of a mostly human body not really being viable for godly immediate resurrection, the acknowledged power of Daniel’s Flesh sorcery which he has used a LOT where Kozalini can see and fully appreciate how much and how fast he can heal them.

        “Surely he can heal himself even better and faster?” Brand probably heard that a LOT, too.

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      10. Like the conversation Colin

        “remember the section in EXTERMINATION where Mara explains to Daniel that he blew one of Gaia’s sons to shreds and She has to spend many days helping him reconstruct himself? That’s a good example of the “few weeks” recovering from death example Odin will be VERY familiar with.”

        Good example, but it proves my point. That is a demigod coming back. Demigods are immortal and supposed to come back. Even so, it took many days to come back with the active support of a greater goddess. A mortal coming back in a similar time frame would definitely raise eyebrows. Honestly Daniel coming back in a month would raise eyebrows, but it would be more acceptable

        Anytime a mortal comes back from the dead more easily/faster than a god, the gods are GOING to take notice. And avoiding notice is the name of the game.

        “Brand, however, will be quite familiar with Daniel’s own recovery from “near death” time-frame. Daniel mentions it himself in front of the Conclave when explaining where he was and what he was doing while the tower was hit by lightning. He was more than ten hours putting himself back together after blasting the jaw off a sea serpent, and several more days recovering to something like full health. ”

        Healing and coming back from the dead are different things entirely. Skill in healing would not translate into coming back from the dead faster. Now we saw in Thrall that Daniel did utilize healing, but that is because he did a soul transfer. He did not actually come back from the dead. And judging by the reactions of the others, that had never been done before – so no one would consider it a possibility.

        “Daniel should try to avoid Brand for as long as possible after returning to Black Island.”

        Totally!

        ” OR he could easily believe a totally shredded, near-death Daniel teleported away from the Spire and spent several weeks putting himself back together, probably with the assistance of a VERY capable familiar. ”

        It was a nuclear bomb that destroyed significant elements of the city. Even a greater god at ground zero would have died. Hecate confirmed this when she mentioned that one of Earth’s nuclear bombs could temporarily kill a bunch of gods if dropped on Asgard.

        I would argue that even the idea that Daniel could survive the explosion “point blank” would seriously frighten Odin. And the whole story Daniel is spinning is that the Lightbringers triggered the explosion when they attacked him. That means Daniel had to be “point blank”. Any other outcome takes us back to the space of “Daniel triggered the explosion to cover his escape” If Odin believes that, He will ensure Daniel dies NOW.

        “Then there are all the potentially confusing aspects of Daniel’s nascent godhood, post-banana”

        The book is pretty clear. Daniel is not a god right now, not even a demigod. It takes one banana a day for a full year to transform a mortal into a demigod. Daniel had exactly one banana.

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      11. Yeah, the possibilities in Daniel’s return are all sorts of fun, Dspring.

        As for the banana, WE know Daniel only had one. Odin only knows that Daniel seems to have started on the path toward demigod, maybe higher.

        That makes Daniel an entirely different entity than Ward, Steelbinder or the Runesage, for instance. Odin is entirely capable of seeing that Daniel might become a future ally or enemy of considerable magic prowess, perhaps similar to Hecate or someone younger in Asgard that He actually remembers Ascending.

        Handled carefully, Odin has to consider that Daniel might become a useful tool against Loki, even before fully becoming a demigod. Even if all he does is make powerful weapons for Odin’s warriors, Daniel could become incredibly useful…or implacably deadly.

        This seems to me to add all sorts of calculations, complications and temptations to how Odin, Vali, Brand, Idun and others deal with Daniel in Book Five and later.

        Then there’s the whole question of which god/goddess is giving apples, bananas or other divine fruits to Daniel. We must believe Odin knows Gaia raises bananas that are similar to Idun’s apples. What other gods have resources like that? Ra seems kind of iffy on that, but His pantheon probably had something in the distant past. Holy figs? Do the Chinese and Indian pantheons have something like this? Probably.

        As for Daniel surviving epicenter of a nuclear apocalypse, no, he would NOT survive that, but also, NO he would not have to survive that in order to escape shredded and barely alive. What Odin chooses to believe will in part depend on what story Daniel makes public as well as what rumors he makes sure are circulated.

        It is perfectly believable for Daniel to spin a saga of desperate struggle against Lightbringer assassins inside the Spire, as there is PLENTY of evidence that happened. Okay, maybe a few tiny scattered heavily irradiated bits of evidence of body parts of plenty of dead demons and other critters Daniel killed….

        There’s really no conflict in Odin’s mind with a story of Daniel being killed outright in the explosion and resurrecting somehow, or Daniel being shredded, escaping, THEN the Spire exploding because of something destabilized by his fight with the Lightbringers. He won’t KNOW what actually triggered the explosion. He could even admit it might have been something one of his spells set loose. In that Hellsmaze of power links, broken controls and outright sabotage, traps and killers, how could anyone know what actually set the damn thing off?

        Keep in mind also that Daniel MIGHT deliberately spread a story or a rumor that explicitly denies he died and resurrected. After all, he wants to somehow convince the Lightbringers and Ra that he is NOT an Atlantean. A resurrection story won’t help that at all. Barely surviving deadly combat and devastation, then spending a few weeks rebuilding his body, is exactly what Daniel has already done more than once, and a few rumors of those adventures must have already spread in Kozalin.

        Keep your lies consistent, your friends guessing and your enemies confused, but confidant.

        Just make sure in the end that their confidence is misplaced….

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      12. In the mythologies the paths and ways to become a God or a demigod.

        The Chinese have peaches that are like the golden apples of Asgard.

        The Native Americans had a different type of fruit that did the same thing.

        The South Americans had a type of self sacrificing ritual that resurrected the target as a demigod.

        The Celts and Druids had a coldren that is the archetype for the Holy Grail witch did the same thing.

        The Mesopotamians had dates.

        And somebody had a chalice which produced a drink that would turn the one who drank it into a God or a demigod.

        The Olympians of course had ambrosia. I wonder what happened to that? Odin might have that or Loki might have Spirited Away during the war himself.

        The Egyptians had a set of books that did the same thing. The book of death and the Book of Life when read together transformed the reader into a demigod or a god.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Ha! That explains how Ra keeps expanding his power over the Egyptian pantheon.

        What would you like to bet that BOTH of those books have been under the divine buttocks of Ra on His throne for the last six thousand years?

        Colin

        Liked by 1 person

      14. It also might explain why the human appearing assassin’s Rah uses are so tough and skilled. When they reach a certain level in their training they might automatically be elevated to demigod status. Basically each one is a minor demigod of assassination.

        That might explain why they were so surprising to Daniel in the first place even with his new gear. I don’t think he would notice that either until he had a chance to examine one of their bodies. Daniel “WTF you mean I’ve been fighting demigod assassin’s all this time F me”!

        Liked by 1 person

      15. HAHAHAHA, that would definetly be a F*** moment. I mean one thing is having long lived magic master assasin on your ass, another completely different is having Demi-Gods Master assasin on your ass!!!!!!!!

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      16. ‘The Olympians of course had ambrosia. I wonder what happened to that? Odin might have that or Loki might have Spirited Away during the war himself.’ – Dashoota somthing that we haven’t given enough though is the implication of the survival of the Sunphire, it was revealed that Poseidon himself confirmed the destruction of Atlantis and its creation, how did Odin managed to secure the Sunphire without him noticing it?? Maybe he didn’t and the lost War of Olypians deity and the Aesir had some deep dark secrets alliances at play in there, who knows wich God jumped ship when saw the fall of his pantheon or helped the succumbing of it from the inside?? If such a traitor exist, what might he have bargained for it????

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      17. The lighbringers did not show the raw power of a demigod. They also did not show the arrogance of a demigod.

        Also – Ra seems in the business of reducing the number of Egyptian gods, not increasing them.

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      18. They don’t need to be full demigods though do they. If Rah could swing it he might want to make them loose around the mortal limit section but not full demigods. After all Daniel has just a little bit of touch of the Divine in him now but he is not a demigod yet is he. There’s no reason that that old Egyptian God could not do the same thing. Just to make his assassins a Teensy bit tougher a Teensy bit smarter a Teensy bit faster a Teensy bit more clever and a Teensy bit deadlier. After all when you’re hunting somebody who is extremely powerful every little Advantage helps. And a few buff’s tend to add up.

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      19. Well altough Daniel is not yet a Demi-god his new body is a project to make him reach that level or be close to that ball park at the very least from the physicall realm I don’t think he understand what should be the magical nature of such a beign just yet. But nah Daniel isn’t there yet, I mean if he is at the very least he doesn’t fully understand it.

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    1. I’ve strongly suspected that he’s going to end up hiding Mara’s sister in space to keep her away from Gaia.

      The next problem is in wondering whether a young god with a fertility aspect that was carried to term beside radiation poisoning is going to suffer/produce any unexpected side effects.

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      1. From what I’ve read in the books it seems that divine or semi divine beings are immune to radiation.

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      2. The divine seem not so much immune to radiation as their divine healing aspect is so powerful they can heal themselves faster than even massive radiation doses can kill them.

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      3. A nice idea, but does Daniel has the spare time to tackle such a project??? Rigth now he doesn’t have any project that can give him an edge in such an undertaking, nor it is to my believe he has any knowladge about it. If he had more time for it it is a good alternative.

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      4. Actually, Paps, it seems to me that Daniel has already constructed his spacecraft.

        It’s called Black Island.

        Remember, he always starts his architectural projects with a super strong foundation and builds on top of that.

        Add some sort of space drive, probably based on his force magic, and launch Black Island to Mars.

        His and Elin’s magics, plus the dryad groves, plus Clan Nethwillin’s varied expertise, would both make the island self-sufficient and fill any future needs via trade.

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      5. Yes but he hasn’t worked in propulsion jet, nor a navigation system, or how to seal and maintina atmosphere, I know he is smart and all but those things isn’t knowladge he will have laying around and will need a lot of calculus and test (I think), I believe he will have to invest a good time in testing phase before he can actually device something workable.

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      6. Totally agree that Daniel will have to spend some time in testing, Paps, however….

        1) Propulsion is just force magic. Daniel uses that all the time in his guns, personal flight, etc.
        2) Navigation MIGHT be Clan Nethwillin’s job, if they can make the “leap” from flight to spaceflight.
        3) Astrogation will definitely require future development before starflights happen.
        4) Sealing and maintaining atmosphere is force magic again. Daniel does this all the time for himself.

        Systems maintenance, making all the complexities work together, in synergy if possible, will definitely require more of Daniel’s time, testing and MAYBE some mathematics but probably not any calculus.

        Sorcery and magical prototyping totally trump calculus and are MUCH more fun, too!

        Daniel could build a personal spacecraft at any time given his current state of knowledge — he better plan for plenty of room to include Alanna and Cerise on the crew.

        Transporting his Black Island arcology to Mars would take months, maybe a year or more.

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      7. Ok you sold me the idea, but a year is been way to optimistics, I mean he berely created bugs, we need computers, space suits, new trasnportations device, not to mention the training programs for it. Maybe he can create a probe for the baby, but with out a means of comunication or a trasnport to guet him there and down fast….

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      8. Why does Daniel need computers? He would benefit much more by spending the time to develop spirit magic interfaces. Putting a willing spirit volunteer in charge of a spacecraft should provide much better control than a makeshift magic computer.

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      9. Well so far I don’t remember spirit magic been well explained, but spirits have will and their own knowledge you can’t program them to know something they don’t even have concepts for. Yes they migth be able to be teached but how long will that be. Besides Daniel will be way to busy with surviving for the coming years not to mention the time it will take him for creating weapons, taking refugees, politics, and more. A space program rigth now will take him a lot of time. Heck he migth try to consider doing a submarine one first.

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      10. They already have the equivalent of a magic computer. The ring the elves let him us. “One ring to program them. One ring to calculate them. One ring to compute them. And in the darkness land on them.”

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      11. Good point, DaShoota. That ring is a solid example of how complex enchantments can be, and Daniel did have time to study it. I suppose having Clan Nethwillin close and friendly will help him try creating something equally complex…when he has the time to do so. We’re talking LOTS of spell “code” here. I just saw a picture of the lady who was in charge of the software programming team for EAGLE’s computer. The stack of books of printed lines of code, probably all FORTRAN, written to land two men and a vehicle on the Moon, was literally taller than she was. Not by much, but taller.

        Then, too, Daniel will have to learn by experiment what he wants the code to activate, or deactivate, and how much he wants it activated, in the spacecraft system he has not created yet for the spaceship he has not built.

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      12. Paps he has everything he needs now to build a space probe that can tern itself into a gate of sorts. That golem he made to break out the big bad wolf is all he needs.

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      13. Yes but Daniel has no knowladge of space time magic at the time, nor has he been studying anything that can help him in that field, to create some sort of Portal, what he can guet is Allana help in implemating a tree that he can use to guet there, like he used to escape Vallhalla, but I don’t know it seems like a really risky project for him by the moment. Besides he doesn’t know what kind of security or weaponery he should install to protect it.

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      14. Gaia’s newest baby goddess will probably be born apparently perfect or nearly so, due to Gaia’s divine healing aspect. That’s not to say there cannot be subtle changes. It just seems unlikely they would be obviously unhealthy changes.

        The radiation Daniel spread around Gaia’s home will annoy Her tremendously, but She will banish vast amounts of soil, creatures, trees, plants, followers and bedrock until the nuisance fades away.

        Ironically, Gaia Herself will probably have to banish her entire sleeping army as it rots on the vine. At some point not very long after the dying begins She will realize they are all going to rot and She must contain the damage before it spreads even further. Even She cannot heal all the transport beasts and warriors and cleanse all the supplies, and when she tries, the radiation just keeps poisoning them again and again. She will rage against the realization, but Her patience will quickly be exhausted.

        She will banish everything she even suspects is toxic, and everything that touches it, and that will probably actually fix most of the problem, long before the baby is born.

        The timing of all this is very interesting, however. How much control over Her own conception and gestation does Gaia exercise? She’s going to be exposed to the worst of the radiation simultaneously with the earliest development of the new baby.

        Will there be any opportunity for a few gammas to rearrange some divine DNA?

        Are the Norns giggling over this tiny deviation in Gaia’s plans?

        Is Fortuna still around somewhere, dabbling in divine Fate?

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      15. “Ironically, Gaia Herself will probably have to banish her entire sleeping army as it rots on the vine.”

        I am sorry, but no. That exaggerates the effects of radiation by many orders of magnitude. For human beings there are about two orders of magnitude (very roughly) between a dose that will eventually kill you in a few weeks and something that will kill you instantly. Unless they eat the corpses or grow crops on a mass grave they are safe.

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      16. Oliver, I distinctly remember Daniel thinking about all the nasty isotopes being created, BOTH by his ferocious neutron beam AND by the successive HOT daughter element isotopes.

        Yeah, here it is:

        “By then it would be too late. The device would banish itself at daybreak, and the marker pebbles would go with it. The only thing left would be the radioactive isotopes created by the neutron beam, in the trees and soil and even the bodies of the sleeping warriors.

        “I could envision the effects. First the trees that had been directly struck by the neutron beam would die, marking the random wandering of my device in trails of brown foliage and failing sleep pods. Any andregi who approached the dead zones would fall sick too, dying in a few days from the high level of residual radiation.

        “While those unfortunates were still watching their hair fall out the dead zones would spread, as the unstable isotopes created by the neutron beam continued to emit a steady stream of radiation. Pockets of sickness would spring up randomly around the surrounding camps and settlements as well, wherever an andregi managed to accidentally spread a dangerous amount of irradiated dirt or plant matter around.

        “Within a week, everything in the target zone would be dead. Trees, hedge, sleep pods, waking andregi, wildlife, even most of the insects. It would take months for the radiation to die down to safe levels again. Maybe years.”

        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        Daniel is clearly counting on generation after generation of HOT isotopes creating more generations of HOT isotopes and spreading the continuing fatal consequences of his attack.

        Oliver, is any conceivable neutron beam ferocious enough to create enough dangerous isotopes that their successive generations of additional created isotopes cause the sort of destruction Daniel clearly expects?

        I realize that LOTS of the randomly created isotopes won’t be dangerous enough themselves to cause that sort of devastation, but maybe some of their daughter elements will be that nasty?

        Maybe Daniel’s neutron beam basically creates a multiple acre catastrophe with random path radiation levels varying from none to glow in the dark Hanford core levels?

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      17. “I could envision the effects. First the trees that had been directly struck by the neutron beam would die, marking the random wandering of my device in trails of brown foliage and failing sleep pods. Any andregi who approached the dead zones would fall sick too, dying in a few days from the high level of residual radiation.”

        Neutrons have a half life of 11 minutes. So we are talking about direct effects and neutron activation.

        “Within a week, everything in the target zone would be dead. Trees, hedge, sleep pods, waking andregi, wildlife, even most of the insects. It would take months for the radiation to die down to safe levels again. Maybe years.”

        Exact data on how much radiation it takes to kill a tree is hard to find. They can withstand more than human beings but not much more. Let’s say 20 Sv.
        Neutrons are not that good at activating light nuclei. You will get less residual radiation than prompt radiation damage. Soil and plants are mostly light nuclei. You will get activation products, which will give you gamma and beta decays, but not long decay chains as in actinides.

        “Daniel is clearly counting on generation after generation of HOT isotopes creating more generations of HOT isotopes and spreading the continuing fatal consequences of his attack.”

        He is mistaken. He is not spreading plutonium dust.

        “Oliver, is any conceivable neutron beam ferocious enough to create enough dangerous isotopes that their successive generations of additional created isotopes cause the sort of destruction Daniel clearly expects?”

        Yes, but it would kill everything in front of it within minutes at least, possibly seconds.

        “I realize that LOTS of the randomly created isotopes won’t be dangerous enough themselves to cause that sort of devastation, but maybe some of their daughter elements will be that nasty?”

        It works well enough. For example sodium-23 to sodium-24. Half life 15 hours, decays to magnesium-24, stable. The rest of the activation products are similar.

        “Maybe Daniel’s neutron beam basically creates a multiple acre catastrophe with random path radiation levels varying from none to glow in the dark Hanford core levels?”

        Then the prompt effects would be lethal. The alarm would be raised while the device was still afloat.

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      18. Oliver, I’ve read a few of the recent articles about wildlife, plant life and tourist visits to the Chernobyl site.

        Clearly, a small dose of radiation, radioactive fallout and continuing exposure to various radioactive isotopes did not create a wasteland there.

        There are other places around the world where actual surface detonations of fission and fusion devices “shaked and baked” but plant life is returning, critters also.

        I’m really inclined to agree with your comment about a more “ferocious” neutron beam: “Then the prompt effects would be lethal. The alarm would be raised while the device was still afloat.”

        Maybe Daniel’s circle of pebbles kept his device from directly irradiating any conscious guards, so the only immediate casualties were inside the pods and therefore concealed from outside view?

        I could believe that, however, there may be something else missing from the description of Daniel’s device in operation.

        Would I be correct to expect a strong neutron beam to leave some sort of ionization path in atmosphere? Maybe just a faint, ghostly path, but still visible, especially at night?

        Something else might be missing, also probably visible at night — fluorescing of minerals in the soil and elsewhere as the neutron beam passes over them. I have no idea how long they will continue to fluoresce after activation, but it’s almost certainly long enough for visual retention.

        Some guard really ought to notice a path of fairy sparkles dancing randomly around the paths and pods, and then notice the device floating above the latest location of the sparkles.

        IF…I’m right about fluorescing.

        I can’t speak to other visual effects, but I’d be surprised if something energetic enough to kill so many Andregi, trees, insects, pack animals and other creatures didn’t do something visible besides fluoresce.

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      19. “Would I be correct to expect a strong neutron beam to leave some sort of ionization path in atmosphere? Maybe just a faint, ghostly path, but still visible, especially at night?”

        Neutrons are bad at ionizing stuff, precisely because they are neutral. Luminiscence in a gas at normal densities would likely take intensities that would kill immediately. neutrons do not directly produce Cherenkov radiation.
        I suppose you would taste something. But that would make Gaia think about poisons or diseases as she gets the reports.

        “Something else might be missing, also probably visible at night — fluorescing of minerals in the soil and elsewhere as the neutron beam passes over them. I have no idea how long they will continue to fluoresce after activation, but it’s almost certainly long enough for visual retention.”

        Again you need charged particles to do that efficiently.

        And the speed the guards reacted to Brand’s raid almost requires guards to be physically present within the Halls in considerable numbers.

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      20. Thanks, Oliver. Seems like that neutron beam really does maintain stealth rather well for Daniel’s plan, so long as it is not the “ferocious” beam I was guessing at.

        However, for the effects to be lasting and spreading as Daniel clearly expects, we must imagine whatever neutrons his device creates are being used to maximum effect. Hence, I’m leaning toward thinking the device must be putting fatal numbers of neutrons into something like every square decimeter of surface, which is made even more deadly by the fact that the beam is continuous, so the impact is a continuous line or path “walking” tightly over the acres and acres of Hall.

        Ah! I see my mistake. The magic word is CONE not “beam”.

        “Instead, when it activated my little device would let go of the branch and float up to a hundred feet or so above treetop level. Then it would hover over to the target zone, and drift around at random while directing a narrow cone of neutron radiation at the ground below.” Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        Daniel’s device is putting neutrons into every square CENTIMETER or less of the Halls of Slumber. He’s probably going to achieve more than 200% overlap in the time available.

        Basically, the entire site is going to be a gigantic pit of concentrated radioactive fallout. Every bit of crumbled dead leaf, windblown spiderweb fragment or Andregi dandruff particle–ick!–will have its own payload of dangerous carbon and other isotopes. Dust will contain phosphorus isotopes and potassium isotopes and sodium isotopes and iron isotopes and calcium and other isotopes. Mud will be more of all of the above and if the moisture in the mud is blood or vomit from dead and dying HOT bodies of Andregi or dinosaurs….YUCK!

        Okay, so what is “spreading” is mostly not ADDITIONAL isotopes, although there will be a few of those. It will be airborne radioactive dust stirred up by hundreds or thousands of trampling Andregi guards’ feet, blowing around in the night and morning breezes. It will be gooey flecks of dried mud falling off Andregi and dinosaur feet and shins over the next several days. It will be phlegm and skin fragments spewed or sneezed by more sick and dying Andregi and dinosaurs who were only briefly, but fatally, exposed before leaving the area of the Halls for some other assignment.

        The fearsome numbers of deaths, especially among the highly concentrated sleepers, and the complete lack of understanding of what is killing them, are what ramp up the panic/fury. There will be a HOT center with many thousands of dead tightly configured among the Halls of Slumber, NASTY casualties among the conscious living for a few thousand feet near the Halls and the camps of the Halls guards, and random clumps of a few or dozens of casualties for several miles around the Halls.

        How does that fit what we know? I think Daniel will achieve his planned Andregi casualty objectives, and I would still argue that Gaia’s ultimate “cleanup” solution will need to be to banish soil, trees, bodies, everything.

        She’s best equipped to do that. It’s the quickest, cleanest solution after multiple attempts at healing fail. It’s quickly confirmed to work, almost every time, and the exceptions will begin to reveal the behavior of the travelling taint, probably confirming the necessity of banishing early and aggressively.

        It will mean personally dissolving most of the army she has carefully built over the last several millennia, possibly also whichever of Her “boys” she sends in to “fix” the mess before She is forced to give it Her full attention.

        Sure, he won’t die from radiation, but he’ll track and exhale and sneeze it everywhere he goes, including Gaia’s own Home, where guards and other lesser beings will croak, warning Gaia that the taint has dared to insult Her directly with its presence.

        Not that She won’t help his spirit resurrect after She banishes his physical self….

        Gaia will be rather divinely pissed.

        One or more of her “boys” will be raging furious.

        Like

      21. “Instead, when it activated my little device would let go of the branch and float up to a hundred feet or so above treetop level. Then it would hover over to the target zone, and drift around at random while directing a narrow cone of neutron radiation at the ground below.” Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        Daniel’s device is putting neutrons into every square CENTIMETER or less of the Halls of Slumber. He’s probably going to achieve more than 200% overlap in the time available.

        Well, no. We can do a calculation, back of the envelope, order of magnitude. The device uses a narrow cone of radiation and it flies at tree height. So we assume it leaves a dead zone 20 meters broad. It is designed to be mistaken for a nocturnal bird or bat, so give it a speed of 10 m/s. We can assume it operated about 25 000 seconds (roughly 6 hours). It will deaden 5 000 000 square meters. Or 5 kilometers squared. I may be an order of magnitude off. There is still a possibiliy of scattered radiation, so the path may be much broader, but even if I am two orders of magnitude wrong, the weapon will not cover the whole Halls, as it wanders a random track and the Halls, having a circumference of 40 miles, if we assume they are square, have an area of about 250 kilometers squared.

        Basically, the entire site is going to be a gigantic pit of concentrated radioactive fallout. Every bit of crumbled dead leaf, windblown spiderweb fragment or Andregi dandruff particle–ick!–will have its own payload of dangerous carbon and other isotopes.

        Well, no. Organic matter is very hard to activate. Hydrogen won’t. Oxygen will, but the resulting isotope has a half life under 10 seconds. Carbon-14 depends on nitrogen.
        The most dangerous nucleus that comes to my mind would be aluminium. Sodium-24 made from aluminium in soil minerals. would be a danger. But again, a half live of 15 hours. Silicon can be activated, but the radioactive aluminium generated has a half life of 6.5 minutes.

        For a horrible fallout, you need a bomb for the fission products or heavier metals at a high flux.

        Dust will contain phosphorus isotopes and potassium isotopes and sodium isotopes and iron isotopes and calcium and other isotopes. Mud will be more of all of the above and if the moisture in the mud is blood or vomit from dead and dying HOT bodies of Andregi or dinosaurs….YUCK!

        Phosphorous and sulphur are a problem, but they are a minor part of most organic matter.
        You shouldn’t eat stuff planeted and grown in the Halls. But they don’t do that anyway.

        The fearsome numbers of deaths, especially among the highly concentrated sleepers, and the complete lack of understanding of what is killing them, are what ramp up the panic/fury. There will be a HOT center with many thousands of dead tightly configured among the Halls of Slumber, NASTY casualties among the conscious living for a few thousand feet near the Halls and the camps of the Halls guards, and random clumps of a few or dozens of casualties for several miles around the Halls.

        The gods know germ warfare. The casualties will NOT follow that pattern. She will know that she is looking at a kind of poison.

        It will mean personally dissolving most of the army she has carefully built over the last several millennia, possibly also whichever of Her “boys” she sends in to “fix” the mess before She is forced to give it Her full attention.

        No. She will be forced to use that army. If you have an army that is bound to die and sheds poison, you will send it to your enemies.

        Sure, he won’t die from radiation, but he’ll track and exhale and sneeze it everywhere he goes, including Gaia’s own Home, where guards and other lesser beings will croak, warning Gaia that the taint has dared to insult Her directly with its presence.

        Again, anybody activated to that degree, is dead and will have died within minutes of the time of exposure.

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      22. Oliver, I have to wonder at the significant difference between the minor annoyance you seem to be describing and the major catastrophe Daniel expects, based on his experiments — which we must believe support his expectations or he would not bother attempting the attack.

        What needs to change in our assumptions to make Daniel’s expectations possible?

        First, assume a cone of neutrons something more like eighty meters across at ground level. That’s only a 22 degree spread from a point a hundred meters up. Daniel said the device is flying a hundred feet ABOVE treetop level.

        Second, bats are FAST. Figure something more like 20 m/sec and even 40 m/sec is not uncommon.
        https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-brazilian-bats-faster-birds-20161111-story.html

        Third, the device operated for approximately TEN hours, not six. Daniel uses twilight and dawn light sensors to trigger the start and stop. That makes 60 minutes/hour * 60 seconds/minute * 10 hours = 36,000 seconds

        Fourth, the circumferance of the circle is FOURTEEN miles, not forty.

        “That was, what, a fourteen mile perimeter? Something like ten or twelve square miles covered in mutant plants, each of them bearing dozens of those pods.”

        Hence, 40 m/sec * 80 m * 36000 sec = 57,600,000 meters square irradiated by Daniel’s device.

        Circumferance of 14 miles = 22530.816 meters, giving Area = 40,397,182 meters square of area to be irradiated.

        So, not quite 200% coverage, but more than 100% coverage is reasonably possible.

        I’m going to figure that every living thing inside Daniel’s ring of pebbles receives a fatal dose of neutrons. Maybe some lucky cockroaches crawl out of the zone of death and recover, but nothing else will.

        That seems to match Daniel’s expectations.

        Oliver, I’m going to argue there is no possibility Gaia will be able to wake her entire dying army and send it anywhere. She has nowhere near enough time to wake them all up before they are all dead.

        She may try to wake part of it, but that will be a very frustrating and futile experience for her. Maybe She will be able to heal a few of her irradiated warriors enough to send them to annoy humans somewhere, but does She have the patience to heal enough of them to field a useful force? Will Her healing work if they don’t bathe, don’t remove their clothes and basically wander around wearing bit of radioactive dust on their skin, on their lungs, in their ears and hair? I suppose those might be the doomed army you described.

        Now, as for her conscious guards and servants and beasts of burden who trample through all the irradiated clutter inside and near the Halls trying to do something useful following Gaia’s orders, what can we reasonably expect? Will they inhale dangerously radioactive dust and collect it on their skin, clothing, hair, etc.?

        Will that radioactive dust be hazardous to others when the carriers shed it all over the region within walking distance of the Halls?

        I’m thinking this is where you are probably right, and Gaia will not bother to chase down numerous clusters of dead Andregi to banish them, their clothes, their huts, etc. Come to think of it, there won’t be any chance of burning the bodies, either. Andregi don’t do fire, so they won’t convert the bodies into inhalable radioactive particles of smoke and ash. Probably dumped them into a pit and buried them deep. Maybe the Andregi have enough earth magic to create stone burial vaults?

        The rotting heap of dead beasts, trees, Andregi and other stuff at the Halls of Slumber will have to be dealt with.

        I’m still inclined to believe Gaia will banish it, but I suppose She might just bury the whole thing in dirt or stone.

        The region around the blighted Halls of Slumber will gain a nasty reputation for both the radioactive slaughter Daniel committed, the cleansing banishment Gaia might employ and the continuing random small clusters of cancers and other diseases from radioactive dust exposure for a few years or decades as radioactive decay slowly eliminates the worst remaining bits of fallout.

        Like

      23. on the Brightside she will most likely send that dying Army against Odin directly. That might actually be the reason that Loki decided to invade Asgard early.

        Like

      24. “Oliver, I have to wonder at the significant difference between the minor annoyance you seem to be describing and the major catastrophe Daniel expects, based on his experiments — which we must believe support his expectations or he would not bother attempting the attack.”

        I miscalculated the size of the Halls. And my issues are not so much with the lethality of the device, but coverage, redundancy and lasting effects

        “What needs to change in our assumptions to make Daniel’s expectations possible?”

        Shrink the Halls.

        “Second, bats are FAST. Figure something more like 20 m/sec and even 40 m/sec is not uncommon.
        https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-brazilian-bats-faster-birds-20161111-story.html

        Daniel is not going to use the fastest recorded speeds to match an unknown environment.

        “So, not quite 200% coverage, but more than 100% coverage is reasonably possible.”

        Not really because at a random walk, some areas (nearer the center) will get multiple passes and other areas none. Around 75% looks realistic. That more or less destroys the force.

        “Oliver, I’m going to argue there is no possibility Gaia will be able to wake her entire dying army and send it anywhere. She has nowhere near enough time to wake them all up before they are all dead.”

        That depends on how hard it is to actually wake them. Can she do it by remote command or does somebody need to go in and cut them out of the pods? Secondly, how good is the sleeping magic at restoring health? The best strategy may indeed be to simply do nothing.

        “She may try to wake part of it, but that will be a very frustrating and futile experience for her. Maybe She will be able to heal a few of her irradiated warriors enough to send them to annoy humans somewhere, but does She have the patience to heal enough of them to field a useful force?”

        There is another factor. The weapon was installed before the raid, but it triggered after the raid.
        Gaia is not just going to assume that her forces caught everybody during the initial combat. The weapon will strike considerable active forces sweeping the Halls for surviving raiders hiding themselves.

        “Will Her healing work if they don’t bathe, don’t remove their clothes and basically wander around wearing bit of radioactive dust on their skin, on their lungs, in their ears and hair? I suppose those might be the doomed army you described.”

        The gods have been practicing germ warfare for millenia. They will wash.

        “Now, as for her conscious guards and servants and beasts of burden who trample through all the irradiated clutter inside and near the Halls trying to do something useful following Gaia’s orders, what can we reasonably expect? Will they inhale dangerously radioactive dust and collect it on their skin, clothing, hair, etc.?”

        Remember Fukushima? You can visit the area for days. There is even tourism in Chernobyl. Those who went in during the first days should be monitored for cancer, but that’s it. Daniel is a child of the 80ies. He watched too many movies showing the horrors of radioactive zombie clans after WW3.

        Remember that Daniel cannot have tested his device extensively. In which time? Sure, it kills promptly. But even if he irradiated soil he simply would have had no time to monitor it for weeks. It triggered his detectors and he banished it. He should have checked a day later. But that would have meant breaking containment.
        His execution also shows a certain amateur approach. No trained military man would have relied on a single device. You’d use three or so.

        Like

      25. Ouch.

        Yeah, you have the best solution to my questions right there, Oliver. Daniel totally lost an opportunity when he opted to use only a single device. If he had used two or three of them he would have vastly increased the lethal coverage of his target zone as well as achieving the redundancy advantages of multiple devices.

        Two or three devices would not be much more likely to attract attention than just one, so long as they don’t smack into each other and spectacularly break up, raining suspicious pieces everywhere. Nor is that impact very likely. Collision avoidance has to be part of Daniel’s navigation control magic already or the device would waste time and lose stealth whacking into trees or even into real bats.

        It would have totally sucked if some night owl had grabbed the SINGLE device and flown away with it before the attack was properly begun. One thoroughly dead owl, plus a wandering path of a few hundred dead Andregi, and no effective damage to Gaia’s army would be a disaster for Daniel and Kozalin.

        Thinking back on it, lack of simple, easy redundancy is a consistent issue with Daniel. Remember all the times in the first two books where he almost died, his life literally hanging on a single strand of copper wire at one point? He should have been wearing three or five or seven healing amulets, rings, belts, bracelets, etc. Ditto his power amulet. That idea ought to have been rammed home when the Baron of Lanrest’s petty knight tried to kill Daniel in a troll roast. Avilla and Daria should have pointed this out. Cerise should have recognized it from her own experience and training.

        Inscribe that motto at the top of his Evil Mastermind Do’s And Don’ts List: REDUNDANCY WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE!

        One might excuse a senior software engineer/web programmer for getting caught short in combat, once, but there is no excuse for what happened during his fight with the giant sea serpent. “Not enough time” is not enough excuse for something that requires only a few hours, maybe even less for the second and third copies.

        Betcha his new personal drill sergeant, Alanna, will commence “educating” Daniel in that and other soldierly realities, toute de suite.

        I expect you are also correct about Daniel’s attack catching a significant number of Gaia’s local garrison inside the Halls of Slumber, busy searching for survivors and remains of the Prince’s assault force. Probably a trivial number of garrison casualties, compared with Her total force, but an immediate and messy reminder of the nastiness “some mysterious enemy” inflicted on Her troops.

        In fact, these are the guys who will set off the alarm, well before Daniel’s attack ends. The ones nearest the center of the Halls of Slumber, where the neutron coverage will be highest and the accumulated exposure most lethal, will start to die rather quickly.

        Will they actually feel the neutrons hit them? Like a sunburn, an itchy, prickly skin or deeper discomfort? That might reveal the existence and source of the attack, depending on how quickly they are incapacitated.

        Given the nastiness that gods, goddesses, humans, plants, insects and other biota inflict upon each other all the time, especially in a mana universe, yeah, it seems reasonable that Gaia will treat radioactive fallout as “some unspecified germ or poison” assault. She might order the surviving victims who got less than fatal doses to bathe and replace their loin rags, or their shamans will figure out that much themselves. Those guys will get sick, but recover or be cured, maybe even by Gaia Herself.

        I have to agree with your observations about probable spread of lethal doses–not catastrophic–and duration of lethality–more like days and months rather than years and decades. It still seems likely there will be a residual harmful impact in that region, but it might well be lost in all the normal hazards of Andregi life.

        Like

      26. “That idea ought to have been rammed home when the Baron of Lanrest’s petty knight tried to kill Daniel in a troll roast. Avilla and Daria should have pointed this out. Cerise should have recognized it from her own experience and training.”

        Not really. Remember that to Cerise the artifacts Daniel makes look like priceless items. You do not use a second one just for redundancy. She may intellectually know that Daniel could quickly and easily make multiples, but this goes against a life time of conditioning.

        “One might excuse a senior software engineer/web programmer for getting caught short in combat, once, but there is no excuse for what happened during his fight with the giant sea serpent. “Not enough time” is not enough excuse for something that requires only a few hours, maybe even less for the second and third copies.”

        He is a programmer. If you have to solve a problem twice, you have made a mistake, as a programmer.

        “Betcha his new personal drill sergeant, Alanna, will commence “educating” Daniel in that and other soldierly realities, toute de suite.”

        Same issue as Cerise, only a conditioning of 10 000 years or more.

        “In fact, these are the guys who will set off the alarm, well before Daniel’s attack ends. The ones nearest the center of the Halls of Slumber, where the neutron coverage will be highest and the accumulated exposure most lethal, will start to die rather quickly.”

        It will still take a few days.

        “Will they actually feel the neutrons hit them? Like a sunburn, an itchy, prickly skin or deeper discomfort? That might reveal the existence and source of the attack, depending on how quickly they are incapacitated.”

        That takes alpha or beta. Neutrons penetrate too deeply. If you can feel neutrons, it will kill you within minutes or seconds. You might have a funy taste in your mouth at most.

        “I have to agree with your observations about probable spread of lethal doses–not catastrophic–and duration of lethality–more like days and months rather than years and decades. It still seems likely there will be a residual harmful impact in that region, but it might well be lost in all the normal hazards of Andregi life.”

        I guess Loki and Gaia will preserve the area for weapons research and as a propaganda piece. It should convince an ambassador who has read the reports about the Sunspire and its effects, which Ra is likely to publish, that similar forces were at work there, hence Odin is allied to Atlantians.

        Like

      27. Oliver, both Cerise and Alanna are intimately familiar with redundancy in a combat environment.

        Alanna in particular has been immersed in preparation and execution of battle plans, war plans and other wizard schemes, many of which are notable for requiring a “Plan B” and some of which probably failed spectacularly for the lack of that consideration.

        With Cerise, it is actually also instilled in a significant fraction of her magical training.

        How many athames does Cerise have? TWO.

        Why two? We might answer because she has two hands, and that is a reasonable argument. However, there is a more powerful argument that goes right to the heart of redundancy. Her athames are where she stores her reserve mana supplies and it seems obvious why she would want at least two of those.

        In fact, I’m still wondering why she cannot create a third athame with even better physical properties as well as stronger, more advanced enchantments. That seems the most logical path for a witch to upgrade her most important weapons/tools, but the author is limiting her to the original two for arcane reasons that make sense in the story.

        Suffice to say, however, that Cerise should have been FIRST to recommend, very firmly, that Daniel needs at least TWO power devices.

        As for the “priceless artifact” argument, consider how Daniel’s amulet compares with Cerise’s athames. It provides a foundation for his more powerful spells, just like her athames. It has useful spells embedded in it, just like her athames. He made it himself, in only a few hours, WAY faster than she made her athames. If anything, she’s probably wondering why he did NOT make a second amulet his second day in Varmland, but she would not realize that until she fully understands how easily he created the first one. She might be assuming that, like her athames, Daniel has bound himself in some way to his amulet. It takes her quite a while to realize that power amulets are a dime a dozen for Daniel–good thing he’s giving them out like candy shortly after that, and she gets the first of those “candies” to play with. No need for the devastating pout assault.

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      28. The real problem is Daniel’s modern mindset when it comes to gadgets that he would wear or carry with him. After all how many of us shove a spare phone in our pocket. Or carry around 2 laptops? He probably already is thinking in terms of redundancy. But it would mostly be redundancy of enchantments within the same object. Back up software if you will. It will take some of his people pointing out that he needs to think about back up hardware.

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      29. DaShoota, how many USB battery-backed chargers do you carry with you when you travel?

        I don’t drive, so I’m frequently stuck on a bus or several buses for several hours.

        Redundancy in batteries to power my Kindle is an absolute must.

        Daniel, of course, does NOT have that experience, so I tend to agree with your assessment of his likely approach to magotechnology.

        It will be fascinating to see if that attitude changes due to Daniel’s internal decisions based on recent experience, or it is changed by his friends and allies negotiating, pouting, crying or YELLING at him.

        Snicker.

        At some point, Sefwin will be compelled to sit him down and explain in words of one syllable or less….

        Like

      30. I would believe that they would sit him down and have that talk with him. If not for one small problem they might actually share in his mindset though for a different reason. Enchanted objects with their methods tend to be difficult to create. So chances are they would not waste a year and a half creating a 2nd enchanted object. Which means they would have the mindset of just creating the best enchanted object they can. I don’t know if this would hold true for the elves they seem to have a lot of different enchanted objects woven into their hair or on their body somewhere else.

        The whole redundancy system might get pointed out to Daniel by accident. It’s a concept I can see his death which coming up with on her own and start doing. Then I can see Daniel noticing it and asking her about it and she going “well I figured since it’s now so easy for me to make these things I would make two of what I needed one for a back up”. I can also see Daniel pausing at that moment and giving himself a face palm “why didn’t I think of that what the hell is wrong with me”!

        Like

      31. Yeah, the story needs something like a face palm moment for critical redundancy, and Cerise really is beginning to understand how quickly Daniel creates powerful tools.

        It’s just dumb of him to keep risking so much without backups, especially when the reader knows they would be so quick and easy for him to make.

        Like

      32. I like the “he’s a programmer” argument, Oliver. “Fix it and move on,” explains a lot of Daniel’s behavior. I’ve worked in that environment and know intimately, as well as painfully, how much redundancy is needed and how infrequently redundancy happens.

        Come to think of it, Daniel basically drops out of the rat race Hell of a relatively intense software development project and dives right into the Hell of spell development in Varmland with virtually no opportunity to “stand down” in between the two.

        I suppose we could consider hospital care a moment of standing down, but then Hecate interrupted….

        In a way, that frantic smash, enchant and crash escape from burnt out cottage to burnt out village to Lanrest may have been more relaxing than Daniel’s abandoned software project.

        The project managers would hardly let him rip nuclear power out of a chunk of stone and use it to crush all opposition on the server….

        Like

      33. “Will they actually feel the neutrons hit them?”

        Oliver, are you factoring into your calculations the possibility that Daniel is using a neutron source that actually DOES kill its targets within a few MINUTES?

        “It took a fresh supply of rats and a day of experiments to get a handle on that. Apparently my healing was amazingly effective against radiation sickness, because an environment hot enough to kill an unprotected rat in a matter of minutes would barely move the needle on my detectors. I reworked them with a much weaker spell, and re-tested until they were sensitive enough to react to my latest test piece even when it was turned off.”

        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        Now, we do NOT know for certain Daniel used the same level of radiation in his device that he used testing on rats.

        Of course, we do NOT know he didn’t use something MORE lethal.

        We DO know, the distance between Andregi and neutron source averaged something like a hundred meters or more, and the “cone” shape of the radiation dispersed the neutrons some.

        I’m thinking “a few days” is too much. “A few hours” is possible, especially near the outer perimeter, but there could also be examples of “a few minutes”. That’s especially likely near the center of the Halls of Slumber, where multiple passes of the random walk would have resulted in a few cases of double or triple damage in less than one hour.

        Dispersal is almost certainly more important than distance from the source, right?

        Like

      34. I’m not sure the lack of power and lethal energy the back of the napkin math gives is accurate. That’s essentially a jungle area the trees in a jungle area like that are tall. His device flies 100 feet above that so 300 foot maximum 200 foot minimum. It produces a cone of effect he described it as a tight cone but that could be a wide range of things. Most likely his tight cone of affect is similar to a flashlight. Only it’s a matter to energy powered neutron flashlight. It will be moving about as fast as a moderately sized modern bird. About 25 to 30 miles an hour maybe 40 or 45. The area it’s covering is going to get a fairly large does over the area. The lethal effects will probably last not over a year. They will also taper off during that time. Becoming less lethal. His weapon has no hope of wiping out the ape men. However it will probably reduce their population rather quickly at first. Combined with their other enemies attacks they could probably be wiped out in this war before troubling Daniel again. Their magic and the magic of their goddess seems to be bent towards mutation. That may be how they will wind up saving the last of their population from eventual extermination. Through controlled mutation to produce radiation resistance.

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      35. DaShoota, there’s absolutely no chance Daniel’s radiation weapon will threaten more than a tiny percentage of all the Andregi, jungle goblins, dinosaurs and other creatures living inside Gaia’s pocket universe.

        There’s a HUGE land surface inside that sphere, and Daniel’s weapon impacted far LESS than one percent of it. As Oliver pointed out, there will also NOT be a lot of radioactive dust or other debris.

        Hence, Gaia will lose most of her sleeping armies, a tiny few of her awakened armies and even fewer of the Andregi living in nearby towns.

        Outside attackers are likely to suffer the same fate as Brand and the prince.

        SPLAT!

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      36. “Oliver, are you factoring into your calculations the possibility that Daniel is using a neutron source that actually DOES kill its targets within a few MINUTES?”

        No, because Daniel would be stupid if he did that. He is using a narrow cone of radiation. Now he may include a healthy margin of error. Yet Daniel is not known for hefty margins of error (except in construction). If he had that much power he would have broadened the ray.

        “Now, we do NOT know for certain Daniel used the same level of radiation in his device that he used testing on rats.”

        But why go for something weaker?

        “Of course, we do NOT know he didn’t use something MORE lethal.”

        True, but he had little time and research was risky. We can reasonably assume he went with the best of the first batch.

        “We DO know, the distance between Andregi and neutron source averaged something like a hundred meters or more, and the “cone” shape of the radiation dispersed the neutrons some.”

        All radiation (except lasers) is subject to the inverse square law.

        “I’m thinking “a few days” is too much. “A few hours” is possible, especially near the outer perimeter, but there could also be examples of “a few minutes”. That’s especially likely near the center of the Halls of Slumber, where multiple passes of the random walk would have resulted in a few cases of double or triple damage in less than one hour.”

        That would be highly undesirable in terms of being discovered. Why not widen the cone or use a flatter cone?

        “Dispersal is almost certainly more important than distance from the source, right?”

        No. And you make for an interesting browser history.

        https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GOVPUB-C13-a862d48556395a69672d18dfdf49b730/pdf/GOVPUB-C13-a862d48556395a69672d18dfdf49b730.pdf

        Data on the mean free path of neutrons in air is rather hard to find. It depends on their energy, which is unknown. Here the mean free path is given as 86 meters. That means that the neutrons are in their majority not scattered at all and you can assume the pure inverse square law.

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      37. Oliver, are you basing your argument primarily on Daniel’s unspecified assumed desire to avoid immediate discovery?

        I could understand that. It would make sense, even more so if Daniel ever mentioned it directly.

        He does refer to something like that in his expectations for his attack.

        Unfortunately, we have no expectation Daniel could have tested that. His rat experiments all take place in a constricted volume where range is less than ten meters.

        At best, Daniel can achieve crude estimates of how effective his device might be at a hundred meters against Andregi-sized targets.

        With the overlapping random path exposures near the center of the Halls of Slumber doubling or tripling what hits some “lucky” victims, it seem highly unlikely there won’t be at least a few physical collapses inside the first hour.

        I’ll toss up two possible “wild card” arguments in FAVOR of your position regarding Andregi surviving radiation exposure for several hours or even days.

        1) Andregi are TOUGH and probably naturally heal at a more than “normal” rate, compared to humans. Given their BRUTAL existence, Andregi are literally BRED for enhanced natural healing.

        2) Andregi each have all sorts of minor magical tokens on them. Some are probably minor HEALING tokens. They are certainly not as good as Daniel’s magic healing, but he admits his is insanely good at healing radiation. Shamanic Andregi healing magic does not have to be very good to give each victim some extra hours of suffering….

        Basically, Daniel had better use the nastiest energy levels he can easily achieve — his targets are probably significantly resistant to his radiation attack. He ought to study a few Andregi casualties to get a better idea of this. For that matter, he SHOULD have arranged to snag a live Andregi or two for his testing.

        Yeah, right. I have a hard time imagining Daniel doing that, even if it is just a bigger rat….

        I wonder if the hibernating Andregi are wearing their healing tokens? It seems like a bad idea. They might conflict with the hibernation magic. Besides, there are plenty of hibernating shamans. They will create spiffy NEW healing tokens after everybody is revived and preparing for combat in their camps.

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      38. “Oliver, are you basing your argument primarily on Daniel’s unspecified assumed desire to avoid immediate discovery?

        I could understand that. It would make sense, even more so if Daniel ever mentioned it directly.”

        Well, he does. He says that the device must not fall into Gaia’s or, worse, Loki’s hands. Imagine he could be traced by it. That is the very worst outcome. Far worse than a failure of the mission.

        At the end of the day, saving Kozalin is not an absolute necessity.

        “At best, Daniel can achieve crude estimates of how effective his device might be at a hundred meters against Andregi-sized targets.”

        Daniel knows enough physics to know the inverse square law. He also knows that it always matters more. Absorption is exponential. If you have an absorption problem, your solution sucks. Go and try something fundamentally different.

        “With the overlapping random path exposures near the center of the Halls of Slumber doubling or tripling what hits some “lucky” victims, it seem highly unlikely there won’t be at least a few physical collapses inside the first hour.”

        You have to be really unlucky to be hit multiple times in an hour.

        “Basically, Daniel had better use the nastiest energy levels he can easily achieve — his targets are probably significantly resistant to his radiation attack”

        Again, no. The very worst outcome is being discovered. He’d be better of destroying Kozalin himself than being identified.

        “He ought to study a few Andregi casualties to get a better idea of this. For that matter, he SHOULD have arranged to snag a live Andregi or two for his testing.”

        And questioning. It should have been his first priority in the first battle to take prisoners.

        “I wonder if the hibernating Andregi are wearing their healing tokens? It seems like a bad idea. They might conflict with the hibernation magic. Besides, there are plenty of hibernating shamans. They will create spiffy NEW healing tokens after everybody is revived and preparing for combat in their camps.”

        The hibernation magic must have some healing function by itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      39. Interesting.

        Your suggestion that Gaia or Loki tracing the device back to Daniel is the worst possible outcome seems minuscule to me, compared with the possibility of Loki learning all the magic behind the device and using one or many of them to attack Asgard.

        I just assumed Daniel was MUCH more worried about the magotech leaking to Loki.

        Yeah, Gaia’s hibernation magic might have some sort of integrated healing magic. On the other hand, remember the bodies Daniel noticed. Sometimes Andregi and other critters simply don’t survive the experience.

        We also don’t know this is a hibernation process. It seems the most likely, but there still seems to be some chance it is a magical stasis process instead. Magical stasis would not require continuous healing like hibernation would.

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      40. Well @Colin tough I can see Daniel concern about Loki and Gaia learning his trick about radiation and star using nuclear devices, he did go to Hecate to discuss the risk of it and she had to be walked through the whole process to understand what he intended. My point is that as much physical the process was, it was after all an magical device and a Goddes specialized in magic had trouble understanding the device. So it must be that hard to understand for this two gods and understanding the magic of it is just a part of the process. There is a risk of recreation but it will take them more time to understand and recreate that actually try to tract it to him. So his more immediate danger was indeed be tracked to the attack.

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      41. In the book that was one of the primary concerns that he had. Also he does not need 100% coverage to kill off the apemen. In fact too much coverage and too much destruction and death was also one of his concerns. He was actually more interested in the radioactive dust they could be tracked back and forth through the settlements. He wanted short-term radiation effects of Fallout toxicity levels not long-term lethality. Remember both he and his daughter “like dinosaurs” he doesn’t want to render the entire world uninhabitable or even slightly damage it. He wanted anywhere from a few weeks to a few months of lethality maxing out at only a couple years.

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      42. Well, I think it’s clear from the discussion Oliver and I have been kicking around that Daniel’s attack probably won’t create serious or significant amounts of fallout. Lethality and significant injury among the Andregi warriors, pack animals and such will be primarily from direct exposure to neutrons, with only minor, tertiary casualties from fallout.

        The more I consider all those magic tokens supplied by Andregi shamans, I don’t expect much in the way of ongoing cancers or other long-term illnesses in the population around the Halls of Slumber. There won’t be much fallout, it won’t be very toxic and, while the magic healing of Gaia’s followers may not be anything like as good as Daniel’s, it is probably adequate to slowly but steadily eliminate all but the most pernicious radiation damage.

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      43. That’s actually the point I was trying to make. Daniel doesn’t actually need to wipe them all out on his own. He just needs to weaken them enough so that they will stop focusing on the human population “for now”. If she has an army of sick soldiers that could possibly poison the enemy with their dead bodies she will probably focus on sending them against Odin directly. And come back to wipe humans out when she’s figured out how to cure her civilian population. Or mutate them so that they are immune to radiation poisoning or at the very least resistant enough. Which to my mind seems to be the focus of her magic more than healing and curing.

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      44. Thats rigth @Dashoota after all his tactic was more in an deleying manner so Kozelin could catch a breath, regroup and come up with better tactics, he understand that they are actually running a marathon for survival not an sprint so they need to find a good pace to last the Ragnarok and the consequance fallout. A question, would it be wise if we took a big time skip at this moment?? Instead of resuming a few days or weeks after Thrall ending, instead we suddenly jump like two years in the future with conflicts, babies running around, new alliances, emnemitys and a lot of Daniel projects already advanced???? I wouldn’t like that but I am curious to know what other fans believe of this.

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      45. I would not like that large of a time skip myself. One of the things I enjoy most about this series is his research and development of the projects he’s working on. And the way that affects his life and the people around him while he’s doing it.

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      46. Yeah, have to agree with you on the research and development, DaShoota. I especially like the descriptions of the failures, better yet, sequential related failures.

        That’s really missing from many other authors’ works, so much that I notice when they include it.

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      47. I know and the research aspect si fun as heck, even more when Cerise joins him and things develope into the naugthy aspect of bussiness. But well it would be nice to see where this projects all end up.

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      48. Paps, I also would really NOT like a time skip at this point in the Daniel Black series. The author has done an excellent job of managing his storyline in the first four books and I fully expect the next three to be just as good.

        Now, if he is planning a SECOND series, picking up on all the kids’ lives and adventures during Ranarok and the following Ice Age, yeah, slipping a few years in between would be a good idea.

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      49. I know his job has been great and contrary to some other authors that will shop a single novel into more parts just delivering incomplete content for the sake of Books Mr. Brown has brought us a work with much more quality and professionalism. Sincerely the time skip idea isn’t something I want to see either, but since we are dealing with characters almost immortals well we are not forced to cram all their possible achievements in a single year or month, heck not even a decade.

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      50. Interesting. I wonder what was actually in the author’s mind for that segment of his story? I can see, as I have in other books and some RPGs I GM’d, if a particular point is important to the story line it’s always good to clearly and succinctly emphasize it.

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      51. Well I can’t posible pretend to understand what wonders the mind of Mr. Brown minds hide, but maybe they will be playing a major role later on, or Daniel will use Gaia idea of secluded world to create his own realm, with magical beasts and people, like the perfect hideout for the fallout of Ragnarok. Or the ultimate Nuclear bunker.

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      52. Yeah, I have to agree with you, Paps, that Daniel could really use some sort of super nuclear bunker.

        Of course, I’m still expecting the entire Black Island arcology to sprout Force sorcery engines and fly off to Mars.

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      53. Who cares very few of those Gods can even reach the moon none of them so far as we know can reach mars. Besides I think he would be better served and probably would think of the concept of sticking a gate on the moon and mars instead. He’s got everything he needs to build a probe.

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      54. Are we sure those Gods haven’t reached outer space, I mean there is Gods out there that are referred as Moon Gods, there might be a connection there, maybe they created realms directly connected with the moon. And if I am not mistaken Ares the God of War is called Mars by the romans right, who said he is not connected to that planet somehow. Well let’s just wait and see where the author takes us, but Daniel still should be careful of outer space, who knows what sort of organism live there given the existence of mana in that universe.

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      55. Paps, if there can be mana-fueled fire spirits and ice spirits in Varmland I’d have to believe there can also be mana-fueled fire spirits in the big volcanoes on Mars, and ice spirits at the Martian poles.

        So, at a minimum, yes, Daniel should be very cautious how he and Alanna explore Mars and other planets.

        Then we must wonder about the space between planets.

        Could there be mana-fueled spirits of light?

        Photon spirits….

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      56. I believe there can @Colin, or something else really, it reminds me of this Japanese WN Death March were the MC went to space for reasons and stumbled into behemont space creatures that devore mana and are highly adaptable, and when he finally got to talk with the Gods about some laws they dictate in the world well they told them that the endgame is for them to keep suplying energy to a Divine Forcefield that its protecting the World from this creatures. So agressive Alien creatures in magical universes can be quite the fun aspect to use.

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      57. Paps, I’ve seen the title “Death March” elsewhere, but not that description. Is that a Light Novel, a Manga, or an Anime, and is it available online?

        Liked by 1 person

      58. It actually has the three webnovel, ligthnovel, Manga and if I am not mistaken a recent anime adaptation as well. By the way what I say up there is no where near the synopsis is something that happens way later. If you want I advice you to visit novelupdates.com and search the webnovel link there.

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      59. “Your suggestion that Gaia or Loki tracing the device back to Daniel is the worst possible outcome seems minuscule to me, compared with the possibility of Loki learning all the magic behind the device and using one or many of them to attack Asgard.”

        Daniel has no reason to love the Aesir. If he gave away weapons technology, that is used against them, that would be bad, but not a catastrophe.
        Gaia and Loki, if they concentrate on him, can already take him out, so giving them more weapons is not that bad. You can debate whether it makes him more of a threat needing to be taken out or more of a risk not worth attacking. Unless he is caught in the act. In that case they will strike back.

        The whole attack on the Halls was probably a strategic mistake. If Kozalin fell to an Andregi army, he could still take that out and hope that Gaia does not bother to send yet another army for Black Island and the Conclave.
        Yet the stakes were enormous.

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      60. Oliver, for me, the inherent tension of the “known” low immediate strategic value of Kozalin versus the unknowable high future strategic value of its population is one of the best “hooks” in the Daniel Black series.

        As you and others have pointed out, Kozalin in the current moment seems like a waste of Daniel’s efforts. The place is doomed. He should ignore it as much as he reasonably can.

        Yet, he does not. Further, the AUTHOR, through direct comments from Hecate and Daniel, makes it very clear that surviving Fimbulwinter and Ragnarok and whatever Ice Age comes after that, requires everyone’s best efforts to preserve as many humans as possible, DESPITE the stupid humans’ insistence on committing mass suicide by mass idiocy. Daniel and Black Island are the best combination of power and location in Europe to make this happen. Even BRAND agrees with this.

        Hecate and Daniel together concluded that his radiation weapon had an excellent chance of eliminating many of Gaia’s biggest armies, which are the current biggest threat to Black Island.

        The attack on the Halls of Slumber was therefore NOT a strategic mistake, but a calculated risk.

        Not only was it not a mistake, the storyline timing makes it almost a necessity, from the author’s point of view. It absolutely had to happen BEFORE the events in THRALL, because AFTER those events too many gods and goddesses would know Daniel’s name and growing reputation for MASSIVE retaliation. Daniel’s might not be the first name to pop into Gaia’s mind, but it would not be the last, or entirely off the list, either.

        Plus, as we can see in his final conversation with Hecate in THRALL, Daniel is about to become even MORE busy than he was BEFORE sneaking into Gaia’s home in EXTERMINATION.

        Of course, Daniel cannot know this before he creates and uses his radiation weapon. Hecate, however, has seen many demigod life cycles. She is very likely to understand the near future limitations on Daniel’s ability to pull off something as sneaky and insidious and time-consuming as this attack IN PERSON and yet remain dissociated from it in the mind of the target, Gaia, or other clever schemers like Loki.

        If Brand and the idiot prince had not made their doomed attack on the Halls of Slumber, Daniel almost certainly would have succeeded in pulling off his attack with totally intact stealth.

        If Mara had not showed up, Daniel might have succeeded in maintaining stealth. Even so, by the end of THRALL, events make it very unlikely that Mara will reveal Daniel’s guilty story in public.

        Of course, with the Nethwillin elves, Daniel’s coven, Black Island’s leadership, Hecate, Bast, several other goddesses, probably Prometheus, Mara, probably Aphrodite, all Gaia’s dead dungeon guards, Korak’s shredded spirit…so many people and souls are “in the know” it is highly UNLIKELY that the story will NOT leak…some day.

        By that moment, Daniel had better be a LOT tougher than Gaia, or Gaia must be dead.

        Preferably both.

        Don’t forget that’s just one MORE ticking time bomb from Daniel’s recent past.

        There are also all the witnesses to his wrecking the Asgard Church in Lanrest, not to mention killing that doomed town’s nitwit baron. Odin is probably already aware of the bumbling idiocy of His minions, but maybe not. It’s difficult imagining how much He is willing to ignore in order to obtain a weapon that might effectively threaten Loki and Loki’s most powerful allies.

        That weapon being Daniel.

        Odin and several of the Aesir have learned a LOT about Daniel, and exactly how to further tighten His grip on Daniel in future tasks.

        If you look at the way Gaia has treated Mara and the way Odin has treated Aphrodite, does the way He treats Daniel begin to seem familiar?

        The Spire was just a convenient possibility, and a whole nest of challenging tests. Sure, Odin would have been oh so happy to receive a fully functional Atlantean god-trapper, but He knew the odds of that were poor.

        Daniel is the prize, and a FAR better weapon than the Spire could ever be.

        I wonder how much of that Hecate understands?

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      61. “That’s actually the point I was trying to make. Daniel doesn’t actually need to wipe them all out on his own.”

        Exactly. He absolutely must avoid dieing. Put like that it looks like a truism. But time is working against Daniel in that regard. The gods will be able to take him out until almost the very end. Daniel wants Ragnarök to end quickly.

        “He just needs to weaken them enough so that they will stop focusing on the human population “for now””

        There he is giving up his medium term safety for a very short term goal. The gods need to cut the anchors. That meas that Loki and Gaia must exterminate a lot of the population Europe. He can defend a part of them, but he is not going to change the end result.

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      62. Unless the humans Daniel saves are not anchors.

        What if more and more of them become followers of Hecate’s new pantheon?

        No more value to Asgard….

        Of course, we’ve only seen a few Wolfen make that change, and Beri.

        First steps.

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      63. That last part is not entirely true. Odin has been doing his own research and development program for thousands of years. The program is based around how to permanently kill a God without destroying their anchors. Loki has probably been in on that research as well. Also the war didn’t go into full swing until Lokie freed one of his sons that is capable of destroying a God permanently by eating them.

        Right now Daniel does not have a way to kill a guard permanently. Taking large scale actions that would draw their attention to him at the time of poisoning the sleepers would be a bad idea. He needed to try and keep a low profile as much as possible while keeping their attention off of the humans in his area. Or causing them to turn their attention somewhere else. Basically he was forced to do a large scale slide of the hand maneuver. In that concept he actually succeeded. With one small exception Odin noticed.

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      64. Okay, Odin knows HE didn’t pull off the mysterious death of all Gaia’s sleeping armies, AND Odin know Daniel was there at the right moment, because Brand was there and Brand would tell Odin.

        From Odin’s point of view it is almost certain Daniel did it.

        Almost…just like it’s ALMOST certain the Lightbringers screwed up Daniel’s work at the Spire, causing the tremendous explosion. Leaving bomb traps all over the Spire certainly incriminates them.

        But Daniel was there when something very important to Gaia’s plans went really bad with a LOT of ugly, messy deaths, and Daniel was there when something very important to Odin’s plans exploded in a LOT of ugly, messy deaths.

        Once is suspicious.

        Twice is enemy action.

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      65. “Oliver, for me, the inherent tension of the “known” low immediate strategic value of Kozalin versus the unknowable high future strategic value of its population is one of the best “hooks” in the Daniel Black series.”

        Looking at this from a literary angle, I fully agree.
        If, however, I do an in world analysis, Daniel and Elin are sentimental and acting foolishly.

        “Yet, he does not. Further, the AUTHOR, through direct comments from Hecate and Daniel, makes it very clear that surviving Fimbulwinter and Ragnarok and whatever Ice Age comes after that, requires everyone’s best efforts to preserve as many humans as possible,”

        Ehm, no. Hecate suggests Daniel abandon his refugees and flee south. Europe is at stake, mankind is not.

        “Daniel and Black Island are the best combination of power and location in Europe to make this happen. Even BRAND agrees with this.”

        For Europe. Both Hecate and Brand want to rebuild Europe. They just disagree about the leadership.

        “Hecate and Daniel together concluded that his radiation weapon had an excellent chance of eliminating many of Gaia’s biggest armies, which are the current biggest threat to Black Island.”

        No, and I am sorry to be pedantic here. They are the most likely threat. They are not the biggest. These are distinct concepts, but prone to mixing up.
        A Great Beast or direct divine intervention would have doomed Black Island. The Andregi would have needed a long siege to become dangerous. If you had given Daniel weeks of research time with his family at stake, we all can guess at the outcome.

        “The attack on the Halls of Slumber was therefore NOT a strategic mistake, but a calculated risk.”

        These are not mutually exclusive terms.

        “Not only was it not a mistake, the storyline timing makes it almost a necessity, from the author’s point of view. It absolutely had to happen BEFORE the events in THRALL, because AFTER those events too many gods and goddesses would know Daniel’s name and growing reputation for MASSIVE retaliation. Daniel’s might not be the first name to pop into Gaia’s mind, but it would not be the last, or entirely off the list, either.”

        That really means that it could only happen then, not that it had to happen.

        “Plus, as we can see in his final conversation with Hecate in THRALL, Daniel is about to become even MORE busy than he was BEFORE sneaking into Gaia’s home in EXTERMINATION.”

        Right, but again there is the circular logic.

        “Of course, Daniel cannot know this before he creates and uses his radiation weapon. Hecate, however, has seen many demigod life cycles. She is very likely to understand the near future limitations on Daniel’s ability to pull off something as sneaky and insidious and time-consuming as this attack IN PERSON and yet remain dissociated from it in the mind of the target, Gaia, or other clever schemers like Loki.”

        Yes, I think even Hecate sometimes lets emotion guide her.

        “If Brand and the idiot prince had not made their doomed attack on the Halls of Slumber, Daniel almost certainly would have succeeded in pulling off his attack with totally intact stealth.

        If Mara had not showed up, Daniel might have succeeded in maintaining stealth. Even so, by the end of THRALL, events make it very unlikely that Mara will reveal Daniel’s guilty story in public.”

        Yes, but what for? So that most of Europe will die from hunger rather than Andregi spears?

        “Don’t forget that’s just one MORE ticking time bomb from Daniel’s recent past.”

        That is a bad reason to add to your future catastrophe.

        “Odin and several of the Aesir have learned a LOT about Daniel, and exactly how to further tighten His grip on Daniel in future tasks.”

        Exactly. All an avoidable result of the attack on the Halls. Thank you for finding additional reasons for why Daniel should have let Kozalin fall.

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      66. “That last part is not entirely true. Odin has been doing his own research and development program for thousands of years.”

        Yes, but we must conclude that the results are not perfect. Otherwise he would have killed Loki while he was still bound. And he would have no reason to get an Atlantean devouring rod fixed.

        “What if more and more of them become followers of Hecate’s new pantheon?”

        Then the Aesir notice the competition, note that he is not harmless and kill him before he is fully grown. I am sorry, but it would be best for Daniel if Europe were quickly depopulated and the final battle of Ragnarök to come soon.

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      67. That’s a good point, Oliver, however, I have to wonder why Odin does not already understand that Daniel is protecting an Olympian enclave.

        I wonder if Odin has any divine way to notice that Hecate has begun to acquire worshipers and priestesses?

        I suppose he might just divine it, pun intended.

        Sticking to the point, however, there have been remnants of the Olympian pantheon struggling to survive for quite some time. Asgard and other powers continue to hunt down Hecate and Her followers.

        I suppose the groves on Black Island don’t have to be Olympian. Dryads, naiads and others were allied to or enslaved by Olympians, but in the ruin after the Fall are they considered independent again? Probably “independent” until captured. Odin certainly does not seem to hesitate at maintaining His own captive grove.

        How obvious is it to Odin that Daniel is protecting a growing Olympian enclave?

        I suppose Black Island might seem to be entirely the plaything of one powerful wizard.

        Benito Runesage certainly provided a significant example of that in earlier times.

        Does Brand see the dryads and the groves, but fail to see the coven?

        Maybe….

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      68. Well @Colin don’t forguet that Hecate is older that Odin and a Goddes of magic as well, not to mention that subfurtage is part of her manny tools, so I asumme that she has form a long time ago deviced a way to fool Odin senses in detecting her, her magic power or strengh. As good as Odin is with magic I am sure Hecate is better and even more at hiding it. Of course that oesn’t mean that he can be easely fooled and that he won’t be picking up some sort of trail.

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      69. “I have to wonder why Odin does not already understand that Daniel is protecting an Olympian enclave.”

        Why would he care? As far as he knows the problem of Daniel will solve itself in a few decades

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      70. As always love the conversation. But my view is somewhat different on the viability of Kozalin in the next few months. My perspective is that Kozalin is actually pretty safe.

        Logic
        1) Ragnarok has happened. This is team Loki/Gaia’s only real chance to break the power of Odin. This does not mean killing permanently Odin or many of the most powerful Asgard gods (in the short run) – but destroying Asgard must happen if Loki is to have any chance to win and eventually kill his Asgard God enemies permanently. This means that both sides must devote all their resources to winning the battle over Asgard. Yes they can divert minor resources, but not enough to make a real attack so long as Black Keep is intact.

        2) Both Pantheons do not see Daniel as a serious threat. They may be angry with him, annoyed with him or want to punish him. But all these motivations simply mean that they “punish/kill” Daniel after the battle of Asgard is finished. The destruction of Gaia’s armies was nice, but no real threat to the gods. No human wizard really is a threat to the gods. (exception – Gaia is a bit unstable and could do something crazy/stupid if she realizes Daniel permanently killed some of her kids).

        3) Whoever wins Asgard has a lock on all the worship of the remaining humans in the North. Either Odin’s victory reaffirms the faith or Loki’s victory causes significant shifts in worship patterns. Judging by what is described of the Asgard/Olympian war, the gods did not destroy all the human worshipers of Olympus, they converted many of them. Why would they change the pattern.

        4) Yes Gaia wants to kill all the worshipers, but even she has to focus on Ragnarok otherwise Odin will kill her and all her children once he deals with Loki. Gaia needs the gods to fight to the death so that she can rule after Ragnarok ends and kill off the remaining humans in Europe.

        5) Destroying castle black just moves the Atlantian wizard into hiding. Those buggers cannot be killed or captured unless you are very careful. So long as the keep is intact (and thus likely the city), it is fairly easy for the gods to find the Atlantian when they want to deal with him.

        6) Daniel “died” near Asgard. Atlantian wizards are reborn and regain memories 18 years later. Until Daniel reveals his presence in some way, that is probably good enough to put black keep on the back burner for a while. .

        Of course, I could be wrong. Gaia could be a lot more sly than believed and decide to pull out Great Beasts from the Ragnarok battle like to kill humans if it looks like Loki is winning to easily. Ra could go ballistic and try to stop out Daniel the Atlantian wizard and damn the potential war with Odin. Daniel could be discovered as an outsider from beyond the realms and thus seen as a real threat by the gods or the city could implode into civil war.

        In any case, Kozalin surviving as an intact, semi-prosperous city was always going to be a challenge. But that survival has always been one of the key threads of the story.

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      71. Dspring, I’m agreeing with most of your comments about Kozalin and Daniel, with one exception.

        There’s no place I remember seeing that 18 years business for an Atlantean to be reborn. Assuming it is based on the birth and growth to adulthood of a standard human, this gives Gaia another reason to kill all humans. She could have convinced Herself this also wipes out Atlantean rebirths.

        Looking at the situation post-Ragnarok, where either Loki or Odin or neither is clearly victorious, the surviving crypto-Olympians only really care about the mutual annihilation option where no significant Asgardian or Asgardian rebel pantheon survives. Why would Loki be any better for Olympians than Odin?

        Daniel and Hecate are the best bet for Olympians and their allies like Bast. This his implications for Kozalin. If Daniel and Hecate are successful and knock off the last Asgardians or the last Agardian rebels, Black Island may become a center for a new Golden Age, with forest spirits and others empowered far beyond even Olympian days.

        I’m really looking forward to what the author does with that. I don’t agree that Odin and Loki will consider Daniel a minor threat. When they see how quickly the dryads and sylvans and dark elves BEGIN to rebound from their historic paucity of opportunities, reaching new heights of power and potential, both Asgardian leaders will see in Daniel a new power broker almost as important as Olympus was in its time. Yes, Daniel’s barely begun to make changes happen, but Odin and Loki are both capable of projecting what they see already into the next few years of growth in and around Black Island.

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      72. I have taken the liberty to delete the points I agree with.

        > This is team Loki/Gaia’s only real chance to break the power of Odin.

        No. It is the only chance to do it quickly. He still can do as everybody expected him to and spend a few decades training his forces. Why did he move quickly? I think the best guess is that he needed Mara to free Frenrir and he suspected that a daughter of Gaia won’t live that long.

        > 2) Both Pantheons do not see Daniel as a serious threat.

        That very much depends on how good Asgardian counterintelligence is. If Brand lives, he may come to suspect that the ‘hall wench’ resembling Mara was indeed Mara. Did she collaborate with him? As long as he stays dead the answer to that is likely negative. After that, who knows?

        > 5) Destroying castle black just moves the Atlantian wizard into hiding.

        They may need hostages.

        > 6) Daniel “died” near Asgard.

        Good enough for Odin.
        Possibly not good enough for Ra. He may need intelligence and prisoners to question. And what the rest of the gods say when they learn of the Sunspire is unpredictable. Odin may decide it is not wise to interfere in Kozalin. At the very least everybody will send agents. And Odin cannot afford to be suspected of an alliance with Atlanteans. And Ra does not need to do much. Kozalin needs grain and trading with the enemy’s widows even if he believes Daniel dead is asking a bit much.

        > Of course, I could be wrong. Gaia could be a lot more sly than believed and decide to pull out Great Beasts from the Ragnarok battle like to kill humans if it looks like Loki is winning to easily.

        Why would all Great Beasts risk their lives for Loki and Gaia? They may listen for dining advice, but that does not mean they’d go to war for her.

        > Ra could go ballistic and try to stop out Daniel the Atlantian wizard and damn the potential war with Odin.

        Given his readiness to blow up Asgard I think we must see this as likelier than not.

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      73. Colin – the 18 year rule was explained by Alanna – They remember their past life at that point.

        Colin – Totally agree that either Loki, Gaia or Odin would seek to control/destroy Daniel after Ragnarok. Daniel and Hecate’s total strategy is to use that time (aka – Ragnarok fight) to build up allies/power/magic to both end Fimbulwinter and defeat whoever won the war. My point was simply that Odin/Loki would not see Daniel as a sufficient threat “now” that they will divert from Ragnarok to defeat him. They may throw some minor resources or distractions his way, but no serious effort to destroy black keep/hunt down Daniel. Once Ragnarok is finished, either one would be confident they can destroy Daniel if needed. They are gods are cannot be killed or even serious inconvenienced by a mortal wizard. And without a real understanding of Daniel’s ability to innovate – they would be right. I am sure at some point they will realize their error, but they really have to finish Ragnarok before they can divert massive effort to killing Daniel — which will be needed at that point.

        Oliver – I do think this is Loki’s chance and he will not get another. I agree he could have delayed, but once the die was cast (and the armies march), he is committed. If he cannot defeat Odin “now”, nobody will believe he can do so “later”. He will lose allies almost certainly starting with the Winter Fey. I agree with you that he pushed the war early in part to use Mara before she is killed, but also in part because he specializes in doing the unexpected – trickster god. And to be honest, he gained a lot by his rapid assault as measured by the lack of preparation among humans and (with the help of Daniel) the escape of Fenris

        Oliver – in the book, it was stated by someone (cannot remember who) that many of the Great Beasts are grateful to Gaia for their release and are willing to listen to her guidance. Another conversation implied that some were strongly allied and some were not allied, but I think the overall message was that Gaia could give some real direction to a significant number of great beasts. Yes Mara released them, but Gaia got the credit.

        Oliver – not sure we saw any readiness to blow up Asgard. I am sure they sabotaged the sunspear, but no sign that they targeted Odin. Given the bombs were placed hundreds of years ago, this was probably done before Odin moved the Sunspear to Asgard. Also keep in mind that the damage from the explosion was very bad for Asgard primarily because of the timing – it prevented Odin’s team from really contesting the landing of Hel’s undead armies and allowed Loki’s to advance much faster on Asgard than anyone expected. In a more normal timeframe, the losses (destroyed halls and lost human warriors associated with those halls AND lost elves) would have much more manageable. That said, I am positive that RA would blow up the sunspear rather than let Odin get control over it.

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      74. Aren’t we all ignoring the discussion at the end of THRALL where Daniel and Hecate discuss a period of something more like 18 DAYS?

        Now, that’s the proposed period of time for a wizard to demonstrate he has somehow cheated Death, NOT resurrected himself. Still, like Daniel says, “Then I can brag about how a little thing like death doesn’t keep a real wizard down for long.”

        Furthermore, Hecate states, “Returning from the dead will stir his suspicions a bit, but such feats are not unheard of for the wizards of Atlantis. As long as you remain missing for a few weeks first I think he will hold you blameless, especially after your warnings of sabotage in the Sunspire. Brown, E. William. Thrall (Daniel Black Book 4)

        So, not to hammer it home too blatantly, we are NOT necessarily limited to Atlantean resurrection. A real wizard cheats Death and maintains a robust Plan B, which MIGHT include resurrection.

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      75. The context if the 18 year discussion is around expectations, not what Daniel can actually do. My argument was simply that the Aesir would “expect” Daniel to take years to return from the dead, which means there is no urgency on dealing with his keep. One way or another, Ragnarok would be resolved well before Daniel “should” be back.

        And as the book stated, if Daniel returns from the dead earlier, then that would be an unpleasant surprise for the gods, but not completely freakish. And by that time the battle for Ragnarok would be so intense that the gods cannot pull out sufficient resources to squash Daniel.

        All this debate is really answering the question “is it reasonable/likely that the gods will ignore Black Keep in the new few months?”

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      76. Dspring, that eighteen years thing does not seem to be on Daniel’s mind, or Hecate’s, either.

        Both of them are thinking of WEEKS, not years.

        Odin’s “expectations” are somewhat doubtful, also, and Brand is probably almost as well informed about Daniel’s propensity for surviving ridiculous combat situations. Both of these gods and probably Brand’s father, maybe Thor also, would have some suspicions that Daniel might show up at Castle Black in a few weeks.

        Maybe it would be better to say They would not be surprised. Gaia might be, if She were paying that much attention to Daniel. Loki won’t be surprised at all.

        What Daniel has working for him is Ragnarok, which keeps Odin, Thor, Brand, Loki, Gaia and others much too focused on murdering each other to worry about some piddling newcomer wizard in his dark pile of rocks near Kozalin.

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  3. I was rereading Thrall. Did the Lightbringers get into the Spire by turning themselves undead? It’s hard to tell, but that seems like the easiest method.

    Also, who wants to bet that Caspar’s unit of Einherjar is going to be sent to Kozalin?
    It just seems like Brand was seasoning the guy, and that he fell far enough in the battle rankings to be taken off the main line of battle at a convenient time, and is insufficiently competent and familiar with the terrain to run a raiding battlegroup.
    Brand could probably predict that the city defence would fall apart without a royal, and the Dark Portal might make it strategically important enough to warrant a single detachment of mostly green Einherjar, just purely because adding a tenth portal to their existing nine might be useful.

    Also just repeating this, but the situation with the Vanir and the wives going through the Dark Portal is toxic enough that Aphrodite could totally compromise the defences of Asgard. She’s probably just waiting for more Einherjar to have their wives come through before she sets things up so that all of the hall wenches made of the former widows are caught sleeping with their commanding officers or veterans or something, so as to set off everything at once for maximum impact.

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    1. The Lightbringer assassins who fought Daniel in the Spire probably managed to get in and live long enough to be troublesome by equipping themselves with fantastically powerful and fast-acting healing amulets, potions, spells, etc. That seems most consistent with their demonstrated ability to survive some of Daniel’s magical counterattacks during the fight on the streets of Asgard.

      It would make sense for them to be prepared to heal quickly and well whenever they know they will face Atlantean or other wizards. It’s virtually guaranteed they’re going to suffer damage, probably fatal damage, almost certainly massive fatal damage.

      Ability to heal LOTS of damage quickly is probably a qualification for becoming a Lightbringer.

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      1. If the Lightbringers(and demigods and great beasts) that he’s facing are regenerators maybe he could look into a counter for that?
        The local solution seems to be death magic(with a side order of acid, magic scrambling, etc.), but this seems like a problem for Flesh Sorcery.
        Some sort of subtle enchantment on his attacks that subverts healing to induce cancer could be crippling, even to enemies far above his normal power level.
        Potentially coupled with more common effects.

        Well, it’s not like the problem came up enough to have to do anything about it before he started edging into his current power level, where it seems like one of the standard tricks to survive powerful attacks is powerful regeneration.

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      2. Daniel generally tends not to have time for subtle, although he is working on making more time to take for thought, research and development.

        Cancer seems too much like radiation–divine healing could be assumed to deal with cancer twice before breakfast.

        Remember, Daniel’s own magic is not divine and he can deal with both cancer and radiation.

        I suspect you are on to something with using Flesh magic to attack a divine opponent, but instead of subtle and slow, perhaps Daniel will come up with something sudden and overwhelming. That’s essentially what he did to Gaia’s sleeping army. A single dose of fatal radiation She could deal with, even for the whole army. Millions of fatal doses continuously recurring all at what seems to Her the same moment, are beyond even Her ability to heal, heal again, heal again…Daniel really wins this one with the insidious continuing hazard of radioactive isotopes.

        Too bad he dares not simply create a wide beam particle ray weapon. Technically, he could do that at any time he chooses. Of course, using it would have nasty collateral damage as well as being horribly compromising. He’d very likely be associated with the attack even if he was not there personally pulling the trigger. Several Gods would probably unite to quickly help Lightbringers take him down.

        Daniel needs to be sneaky again…very sneaky. He has to make the attack look like it came from some divine source without being too obvious about it. Gods have to suspect each other, each of them with convincing and sufficient reasons. Alanna might be helpful in that, if she chooses to be.

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      3. Subtle doesn’t mean slow, it just means difficult to detect. Specifically the spell should be aimed at being difficult to detect while hidden in the other magic on the battlefield, but its effects should be obvious.

        The goal has little to do with radiation.
        The goal is to make their healing attempts screw up, so they get a useless lump of tumors if they try to fix an injured arm, and maybe so they start growing rumors all over their bodies if they have a full-body healing spell/ natural regenerative ability running.

        It might only be practical to mess up healing injuries though, as if the opponent is powerful it might require quite the power flow, making it more obvious.

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      4. I’d have to recommend re-reading the section in EXTERMINATION where Daniel helps Hecate with Her healing a wound caused by a god-killer weapon.

        Hekate, and by implication some/most other gods, has extremely powerful healing magic.

        Hekate, by virtue of her age and interest in magics, probably has healing magic more powerful than many other gods/goddesses.

        If I remember correctly, Gaia is older than Hekate, and probably more closely tuned to things biological, like healing and inflicting illness.

        Daniel will have to be very careful, very thorough and very certain he has a trick at least as effective as isotopes.

        Not saying he won’t think of something.

        I wonder if Gaia is capable of sensing when She is invaded by nanites?

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      5. Well for that trick to work Daniel would need an extremely high powerfull magic source for the attack not to be simple overwrited by the God Magic, remember when Daniel gave Hecate one of his stone powersource for magic, it was barely usefull to relieve some of the burden in her natural healing ability, wich mean that the most powerfull powersource he has created so far is not enough to overpower a Godly beign.

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      6. Gaia can reform her body. In the worst case she would conjure a lava flow and jump into it. I am afraid attacking her would have to work on a spiritual level.

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      7. Totally agree with you on this, Oliver. A lava bath and total vaporization would pretty thoroughly eliminate my nanites attack, also.

        Worse, with Her experience and power, Gaia might return VERY quickly…as in seconds or minutes.

        Daniel will probably have to consult with Alanna on the subject of divine spirit magic. Then, as Paps observed, develop a power supply several orders of magnitude greater than his most efficient matter to mana device(s).

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      8. Daniel needs to develop a Slaver Stasis Field or Bobble. Pop that around Gaia and let her rot for a few billion years. By the time the field is deactivated (assuming a secure power source…Gaia herself?) she’ll be someone else’s problem, or Daniel will have ascended to a point where she’s barely noticeable in comparison.

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      9. “Daniel needs to develop a Slaver Stasis Field or Bobble.”

        That would be hard to counter for her. Maybe she can do to herself what she did to Mara and store a part of her soul outside herself.

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      10. Whoever develops that slaver stasis field is likely to be targeted by many gods, goddesses and Lightbringers as soon as a description is circulated.

        If Daniel is not one of the developers, and any of his people are captured in a stasis field, he is likely to join the divine and Lightbringer alliance against the slavers…especially if the slavers are dwarf-orks.

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    2. “Also, who wants to bet that Caspar’s unit of Einherjar is going to be sent to Kozalin?”

      Why? You cannot really hold a city you cannot supply with food. The Aesir might want to seize the Dark Portal, but why bother with more?

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      1. Oliver, I could imagine the Aesir hitting Kozalin in order to capture someone to use against Daniel as hostages.

        Why would they bother stealing that clumsy Dark Portal with it’s soul-burning magic when everyone “knows” Daniel can build something better in a week or less, and it won’t need souls to fuel it.

        Sucks to be Daniel as his reputation among gods and others begins to compare with that of the Bloody Archmage.

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      2. That is one aspect of his success that has only just begun to be examined in the books. I expect he will get a lot of divine commissions from other pantheons as this world war continues to grow.

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      3. How to warn Daniel or his people that the Aesir are after him? Send somebody who is universally known in the city and known to be dead. If you wanted to defend the city, you would send Caspar. But how do you hold a city whose defenders you cannot supply?

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      4. “How do you hold a city whose defenders you cannot supply?”

        How do you hold Castle Black after everybody in Kozalin learns Daniel can feed all his own people but only a few additional Kozalini?

        There has been no reason to face this yet, the timing simply has not been there.

        Somewhere in the next book or two, enough time will have passed, enough fresh food will have been sold through Daniel’s own market, that even Kozalin’s most stupid aristocrats will realize that damn wizard is feeding COMMONERS fruit and vegetables while nobles eat DRIED FISH. AGAIN!

        If they want to live, Kozalin’s aristocrats must enable Daniel to build more arcologies inside Kozalin. He could quickly put up enough mini-fortresses to make the city far more defensible as well as self-sufficient in food, without committing even one dryad to the new indoor farms. Just installing his own magic rain, magic sunlight and conjured soil would be enough for traditional farming methods applied across all four seasons, growing crops all year around, every year.

        It’s difficult believing NONE of Kozalin’s nobles are capable of seeing this. If nothing else, the Fae Summer Court ought to make inquiries. They should visit SOON, now that Pelagia is Black Island’s Mistress of Diplomacy.

        There should be tradesmen and merchant committees begging Daniel to do for their districts what he has already done for the Docks district. There should be committees of refugees from the big iron warehouses Daniel built appealing to him for farm and garden expansions.

        Frankly, if it is ever publicly suspected that Daniel has returned to Kozalin, there should be a FLOOD of supplicants, from refugees to nobles, maybe even royals, all begging, bargaining or demanding he drop everything else and build arcologies for THEM.

        They also ought ALL to be FURIOUS with the Asgard Church for “disappearing” Daniel at this critical moment in everyone’s dietary dilemma.

        Of course, that presupposes a degree of common sense that is utterly lacking, except perhaps among the tradesmen and merchants….

        I’m really looking forward to reading how the author deals with this situation.

        It would be easy for him to let Kozalin suffer the same fate as Lanrest.

        I’d like to see something more clever…possibly MUCH more clever.

        I wonder if Brand still visits Kozalin from time to time?

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      5. I think the Aseir will spend a bit to keep Kozalin fighting. Anyone who dies fighting to defend the city joins Asgards army, which is magically provisioned, and comes back to life each night to be used as cannon fodder the next day.

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      6. “Anyone who dies fighting to defend the city joins Asgards army, which is magically provisioned, and comes back to life each night to be used as cannon fodder the next day.”

        True, but not a good reason to hold the city. The longer you hold a city under siege, the more people starve or freeze to death or die from disease. Also, Gaia’s forces take fewer losses from house to house fighting, if the troops are weaker from a prolonged siege.
        Finally the sooner they die, the longer they can be trained.

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      7. “The sooner they die, the longer they can be trained.”

        Umm…that may have been true BEFORE the Spire detonated, but now we must wonder how soon Loki’s forces will smash their way(s) into the Golden City.

        That seems like it would put a definite, SHORT limit to the amount of training time left, and it’s far less than what is needed to become einherjahr, or even marginally useful.

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      8. “How do you hold Castle Black after everybody in Kozalin learns Daniel can feed all his own people but only a few additional Kozalini?”

        Crowd control by means of artillery and incendiary shells. Demetrios suggested exactly that. I have been thinking for a long time that there will be a clash within the coven while Daniel is away with Elin on one side and Avilla on the other. Cerise will do whatever it takes to keep Avilla safe and Tina will defend Erica/Bast by all means necessary.

        Elin will be furious, as Avilla orders Demetrios to kill them all. Think GOT.

        “If they want to live, Kozalin’s aristocrats must enable Daniel to build more arcologies inside Kozalin. He could quickly put up enough mini-fortresses to make the city far more defensible as well as self-sufficient in food, without committing even one dryad to the new indoor farms. Just installing his own magic rain, magic sunlight and conjured soil would be enough for traditional farming methods applied across all four seasons, growing crops all year around, every year.”

        Chances are that they will attribute the food to the dryads exclusively and conclude that Black Island is at capacity and they will have to take what’s there. Add to that that they would live at Daniel’s sufferance. If they only wanted to live, they would have left long ago by ship.

        “It’s difficult believing NONE of Kozalin’s nobles are capable of seeing this. If nothing else, the Fae Summer Court ought to make inquiries. They should visit SOON, now that Pelagia is Black Island’s Mistress of Diplomacy.”

        They will not want to see it. And the reaction of the Summer Court depends on their stance towards the Exterminatus, which is unknown.

        “There should be tradesmen and merchant committees begging Daniel to do for their districts what he has already done for the Docks district. There should be committees of refugees from the big iron warehouses Daniel built appealing to him for farm and garden expansions.”

        Yes. The big factor, however, is the Conclave.

        “It would be easy for him to let Kozalin suffer the same fate as Lanrest.”

        No, not really. Kozalin is too big and has the Conclave. It will not fall to giants or goblins or ungols. It would take an army. Now that Gaia’s army is taken out and Hel is engaged elsewhere, it looks like Kozalin will run out of food before it runs out of defenders.
        That means that it will go down in riots and civil war. That in turn means that either Daniel or the Conclave will have to eliminate the civilians and most of the nobles.

        “I’d like to see something more clever…possibly MUCH more clever.”

        There is a chance of some conflict within the coven and between Daniel and his divine backers.

        “I wonder if Brand still visits Kozalin from time to time?”

        Brand is a model officer, who puts mission above everything else. But personally he is a nice guy and is saddened that he had to sacrifice Kozalin. He would really dislike going back.

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  4. Trade, diplomacy and Atlantis.

    As far as the other gods and the rest of the world are concerned, Kozalin is still an Aesir city. That means that a threat of war between Egypt and Asgard should be very bad for trade. Has the port now lost much of its utility?
    And, worse, as many gods have joined the Exterminatus, will Daniel have to face sea and air monsters from Pantheons neutral during the Fimbulwinter?
    And what about the fairies, will they break off diplomatic relations and close their embassies?

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    1. Do we know that northwest Africa is ruled by Egypt? I think we don’t. Some of the previous grain shipments to Kozalin seem to have come from there. Will they continue? Is there an Egyptian navy capable of intervening? Egyptian sea monsters?

      Will that piss off Poseidon? Who will Poseidon choose to support, if anyone? Does He have enough powerful creatures to make his support matter?

      As for attacks by sea or air monsters from pantheons “neutral” to the Aesir civil war, would they be just as likely to send agents to Kozalin seeking a good “fire sale” deal or just snoop for information about Daniel and Black Island?

      The Fae Summer Court will be VERY curious to know how Daniel ripped through several powerful units of Winter Court warriors. Regardless of what happens at other embassies, the Kozalin embassy might remain “open enough” for discussions with Daniel, possibly involving Elin. All sorts of fun possibilities there.

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      1. “Do we know that northwest Africa is ruled by Egypt?”

        No, but they are located there and would they really anger a powerful neighbor and trade partner just for trade with a few doomed northern cities?

        “Will that piss off Poseidon? Who will Poseidon choose to support, if anyone?”

        Not the Aesir. And Kozalin is still in effect an Aesir strong point. Hecate might convince him, but why would she make the effort for the sake of Aesir worshippers? Daniel can feed himself.

        “As for attacks by sea or air monsters from pantheons “neutral” to the Aesir civil war, would they be just as likely to send agents to Kozalin seeking a good “fire sale” deal or just snoop for information about Daniel and Black Island?”

        Those options are not mutually exclusive. In fact, a blockade will make an opponent more likely to seek a fire sale.

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  5. How would Daniel build a space ship?

    1. Force magic does not solve the propulsion problem. It obeys Newton’s laws. You cannot accelerate yourself in empty space with force magic. Daniel’s flight spells require air. He needs a rocket.

    2. Banishment of weight works quite strangely. Together with your weight it banishes your potential energy nor does it reduce mass. You can use it to get away with a weaker engine, but you still have the minimum delta-v requirements.

    3. Reaction mass. Daniel needs to conjure reaction mass. He is not an aerospace engineer and with his materials he has no hope of making a rocket which stores its reaction mass, even if the engine gets its energy for free. That leads to an extremely important question. Can he conjure stuff off Earth?

    4. Air. Daniel knows an air freshening spell. He still cannot conjure the stuff. Meaning that if his airlock isn’t perfect or if he has a major malfunction he will breathe fresh vacuum. Daniel needs an air mage in the coven to pull this of safely.

    5. Navigation. You can navigate conventionally with a sextant in space. Apollo did it. But you need the nautical training and the math. He needs an academy which can rediscover higher mathematics and slide rules.

    6. Stabilization.He needs gyros and stable platforms. Here he is at an advantage. The skimmer effect is better than a ball bearing. Still he will need better manufacturing to the point he can make balanced reaction wheels (late 19th century)

    I would say that he absolutely needs a robotic, well golemic, test project.

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    1. He has already constructed a rocket. That’s the plasma jet he created to break that giant wolf out of the prison. He lives in an era were navigation bye ocean using a sextant is key to all forms of economics. The higher forms of math required to navigate through space is already being utilized by ship captains and navigators. He has the ability to summon reaction mass it’s water just like the jet he used in his plasma cannon. In fact that plasma cannon in and of itself is an ideal rocket engine. He has already learned air magic we do not know whether or not he can summon air but it should not be difficult for him to find somebody who can that he can get that ability from. With a clan of elves that specialize in air magic that’s about 10 minutes work.

      Daniel “hey anonymous elf number 48 I need your help with something can you summon air”. Anonymous elf smug response “sure not a problem”. Daniels response “thanks that’s all I needed”. Whole thing less than two minutes.

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      1. Yeah, it’s going to be some silly little thing like platform/vehicle stability that will literally throw Daniel for a loop and provide light humor relief as he builds and tests and incrementally designs his first several spacecraft.

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    2. Thanks for the fun quiz, Oliver.

      How would Daniel build a space ship?

      1. Force magic does not solve the propulsion problem. It obeys Newton’s laws. You cannot accelerate yourself in empty space with force magic. Daniel’s flight spells require air. He needs a rocket.
      — Obviously, the solution to this is your third point, Reaction Mass, which leads us to questions you and I have already kicked around. What are the limits on conjuring? Can Daniel do any magic at all inside a space he does not touch? Vacuum or the rocket exhaust inside his engine would be a place like that. I suspect the author has already solved that question with Daniel’s guns and his latest deadly invention, the force ring assembled component weapons in THRALL. Those weapons are, with a few necessary optimizations, Newtonian reaction engines.

      2. Banishment of weight works quite strangely. Together with your weight it banishes your potential energy nor does it reduce mass. You can use it to get away with a weaker engine, but you still have the minimum delta-v requirements.
      — Agreed, maybe. We have yet to see the extents to which the author will interpret this.

      3. Reaction mass. Daniel needs to conjure reaction mass. He is not an aerospace engineer and with his materials he has no hope of making a rocket which stores its reaction mass, even if the engine gets its energy for free. That leads to an extremely important question. Can he conjure stuff off Earth?
      — Probably “YES” and see Point One for my reasoning. Basically, Daniel’s guns and other weapons are Newtonian reaction engines and could be redesigned to more efficiently perform that function. We know Daniel, Cerise and his soldiers all experience recoil when they fire his guns. That’s all we need to know, in principle.

      4. Air. Daniel knows an air freshening spell. He still cannot conjure the stuff. Meaning that if his airlock isn’t perfect or if he has a major malfunction he will breathe fresh vacuum. Daniel needs an air mage in the coven to pull this of safely.
      — Daniel already has an air mage in the coven. That would be Elin. Yes, she is primarily a water mage. However, she is both well educated, eager to learn more, and adored by the most experienced air mages on Black Island, the dryads and naiads of the Groves. I’m not worried about air in Spaceship Black, anymore than I am worried about dirt, water, etc. We need to actually see it happen, but I have no doubt it will, or at least could. Clan Nethwillin also has air mages who are probably willing to share their knowledge in this regard.

      I wonder how eager the entire clan will be to join Daniel on this voyage? That seems more adventurous than the clan’s leadership can accept, unless the alternative is significantly worse, which it may well be.

      5. Navigation. You can navigate conventionally with a sextant in space. Apollo did it. But you need the nautical training and the math. He needs an academy which can rediscover higher mathematics and slide rules.
      — Absolutely agree with Daniel’s need for some sort of formal navigation. The huge question will be whether he loses himself in the pursuit of what he remembers of astrolabes, sextants and math OR his loyal and EAGER crew of Alanna and Cerise impatiently remind him THEY are experts in divination, strategic magic and OF COURSE that includes both distance and direction components. This will of course be entirely up to the author, but we’ve already seen the direction of his intents in the takeover of INTREPID’s pilot seat by, first, Cerise, then Clan Nethwillin’s air mages. Plus, there are the humorous possibilities of Alanna and/or Cerise ganging up on Daniel with something they actually know better than he does. Again, Clan Nethwillin is probably able to contribute, although probably not with their air magi. This seems more akin to strategic magic and divination, maybe some other magic subjects.

      6. Stabilization.He needs gyros and stable platforms. Here he is at an advantage. The skimmer effect is better than a ball bearing. Still he will need better manufacturing to the point he can make balanced reaction wheels (late 19th century)
      — Snicker. Totally agree, and I bet he either learns this by his usual method, Crash and Pain, OR his first test golem spacecraft will have a brief and exciting initial “flight”.

      I would say that he absolutely needs a robotic, well golemic, test project.
      — I like the idea of a test golem spacecraft. Of course, there will also have to be a fun first piloted test vehicle, also. There should be at least part of a fun development chapter on that, just like when he developed INTREPID.

      Daniel promised Alanna an expedition to explore the Solar System, so the author probably has fairly certain ideas of what he intends to do, some or much of which we may not yet have seen. It will be fun to read as it happens.

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    3. “He has already constructed a rocket. That’s the plasma jet he created to break that giant wolf out of the prison.”

      If and only if conjuration works in deep space without any pattern close by. That the core of the Earth matters argues against that.

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      1. Also I don’t remember anywhere in the books were it suggested that he needed to be near or on the same planet or even dimension as an element in order to summon it. After all Asgard is a piece of a different dimension. It’s a piece of fairy that was stolen by Odin. Then there is the matter of him summoning a volcanic material in Gia’s Little World bubble that doesn’t have volcanic activity.

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      2. Good point, DaShoota. Daniel conjured obsidian while in Skogheim. It seems highly unlikely that Skogheim has a natural source of obsidian, although we cannot know what the selection of elements will be for this pocket universe’s creation.

        Ah…this takes us back to our discussions of whether “Earth” sorcery conjuring is based on the distribution of elements on Earth OR in the Solar System OR in the galaxy OR in the universe where the conjuration takes place, or maybe where the sorcerer’s element was instantiated.

        Toss my pet perversion of logic on the barbie also. If “conjuring” means teleporting some lump of material from a “nearby” physical source, then conjuring at the midpoint between stars becomes VERY interesting.

        If, on the other hand, “conjuring” means instantiating some lump of material based on that material’s statistical abundance, it ought to be possible to do it anywhere the “rules” of statistical abundance apply, perhaps with additional consideration of where the sorcerer’s initial rules of statistical abundance originate.

        “Classes for Thaumaturgical University Of Kozalin open soon for Fall Quarter registration. Some pre-requisites may apply.”

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      3. Butt I find interesting that may have some bearing on this particular subject. Is that he is currently inside of the dream world where there is no physical substance. Just a kind of Quasi imaginary reality that can be shaped and controlled by his will but as one of the trees pointed out is Just an Illusion or delusion. So does he have to spend energy to summon something from the dream realm to his whenever he goes home to make it real? Or will everything that he summons to create his devices and New Creations in the dream realm be made of real physical matter? And in so doing with that construction material not cost anything to actually make real or transport to his Island Fortress.

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      4. DaShoota, notice that, when Mara releases Fiona and Caitlyn, their “bodies” dissolve spectacularly into mana while their spirits are transferred to the safe system Daniel prepared for them in Alanna’s bower.

        Imagine that process working in reverse for some highly magical object designed by a dream shaman. The dream is “drawn” into our physical reality and a huge amount of mana is added to give the dream physical substance.

        When Daniel creates a soulless body for each of the twins he’ll be taking a tiny amount of blood and/or flesh, then adding a large amount of mana, flesh magic, time and intent.

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      5. Interesting I kind of like that idea. I’ve been reviewing the book and I’ve been looking through a few things that have been niggling at the back of my mind in a historical context. “I really want to know if Avella has Forks!”

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      6. Yes, DaShoota, Avilla has forks. Well, Granny HAD forks. Not sure if they survived the journey from cottage to Lanrest to Kozalin to Castle Black. I suppose they might still be in the stone vault Daniel created for Avilla’s stuff.

        From the description of the fight in Avilla’s kitchen:

        “Their entry was contested by a platoon of gingerbread men armed with knives and forks, but the goblins seemed to be getting the better of their opponents.” Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1)

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      7. The gingerbread men fought in a kitchen. These may have been big forks used in cooking rather than dining.

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      8. Small eating utensil forks actually came onto the scene late because there notoriously difficult to make for a blacksmith. There is a mid evil equivalent but it was actually very rare and it was more of a prong than a fork. The existence of small eating utensil forks could be an excellent indicator on the technological level capabilities of the blacksmiths. Forks didn’t actually become widespread used in western civilization or any other civilization because they were so difficult and expensive to make until well after blacksmiths had a very good handle on making guns and clockmakers could make fairly sophisticated time pieces.

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      9. Yes, the gingerbread men could be using a big meat serving/handling fork. Since it is “forks” in the plural, and gingerbread men seem rather small to my mind, I was visualizing snacks waving dinner utensils, scampering around the head and shoulders of a troll, ineffectually stabbing him for little or no damage.

        DaShoota, I would not use the design of a fork as a measure of smithworking skills. It’s nothing more than a bit of flattening, some chisel work, then filing and cleaning.

        What really determines the era of metalworking is the QUANTITY of metal dining utensils. Medieval utensils were wooden because wood is cheap and common, whereas metal is not cheap and not common. It’s really not because metal forks are difficult to make.

        Keep in mind also that until the introduction of reliable methods for creating stainless steel you really don’t WANT anything but clean silver and gold utensils inside your mouth, where your dental cavities and bleeding gums are a direct avenue for tetanus to travel from rusty iron/steel to your blood.

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      10. You confirm much of my statement with your rebuttal. Yes the quality of metalwork would determine eating utensils such as stainless steel. Making my point. Also how many blacksmiths do you know? I know seven of them and I have asked them. Forks are not that easy to make you hit hot metal with a chisel like that to make something with a small enough prong. You’re going to start chiseling off pieces of metal. Most of the early eating utensils would have been made of wood yes. Most of the metal eating utensils of the early periods would have been made of silver or gold yes. Making it mostly the work of Jewelers not blacksmiths. Again I point out the quality of metal eating utensils is a very good indicator of skill for blacksmiths of an era. It determines both the types of metals they have to work with as well as the types of skills they have at their disposal also the types of tools they have to work with to create said eating utensils.

        Just so you’ll know in historical content. People used to carry around their coins in their mouth. And I’m not talking about gold or silver. Most of their coinage would have been made of nickel iron and copper. Yes people back then suffered from a great deal of illness. Especially in the mouth. There is a reason that the Romans actually invented dentures.

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      11. Hi, DaShoota. Yes, I’m agreeing with a lot of your comments about dinner utensils. I’m university trained but relatively inexperienced in day-to-day jewelry metalsmithing. I worked copper, brasses, bronzes and silver in my courses but did not pursue the craft in a job. Damn seductive computers. I do INTIMATELY understand what you are saying about chiseling the wrong piece the wrong way…oops.

        I think where we diverge is on the “medieval” part of our discussion. I flatly disagree with the characterization of Varmland as medieval. Their technology levels are different from ours because of magic and much more complex than a blanket description will cover. I imagine their culture is structured something like Ukraine or Russia during the 1700s: quite capable of fine work for the arisitocracy, they build advanced merchant ships and trading networks for the merchant class and, yes, have rather medieval farm life for the vast majority of the agricultural foundation of their culture. Keep in mind, however, that even a poor, outlier of a witch as Granny deliberately presented herself, had access to much more “modern” things due to “visiting” traders like the Nethwillin clan.

        Varmland seems to me not to have precision machining, mass production, metal presses and such relatively recent for us technologies. Persia and China might. India might. In our history and therefore maybe Varmland’s, some of the Alexandrian successor states had mass produced pottery. The ancient Greek antiKythera device had a very complex mechanism and we know there were other such machines in antiquity.

        I’m inclined to believe most “peasant” Varmlanders don’t have many silver or iron forks because they don’t have much money and don’t choose to spend that kind of money on something they could just as easily make for themselves with wood. Maybe that’s how the blind guy in town supports himself, carving spoons, forks and bowls to sell instead of begging? Merchant and aristocrat Varmlanders, Fae Summer Court elves and other upper class groups might have the entire set of utensils spread around every gold chased silver dinner plate, but that’s all manually produced because there will be lots of custom work and nowhere near enough demand for mass production.

        I still visualize that fight in the cottage as a Disney cartoon skit with dinnerware and cute little Christmas cookies, but I totally agree there is every reason to believe it was actually a desperate, brutal clash of small but muscular doughboy warriors wielding robust iron cooking forks and butchering knives, versus nasty little goblins and their hulking troll.

        Why would Granny not build the toughest home defense squad her magic was capable of creating? Time and other pursuits, probably, so we most likely don’t have gingerbread Tarzans here.

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      12. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. However I’m basing my opinion of their level of Technology on what I’m observing in the books. The blacksmith’s and the rest of the population in and out of the city in their day-to-day lives don’t appear to be using any magic at all. Or if they do it appears to be some form of charm or sensory enhancement Magic. Yes the elves and a few others appear to be using magic commonly but they are magical races to begin with I don’t think that applies to humans in their entirety. It appears to be reserved for the nobility and the Wizards. It doesn’t appear as though magic is actually all that common. It’s hard to see that in the society in the books because we’re looking through a filter of Daniel’s very existence. With the exception of the pantheons the Wizards and a few of the nobility and their personal guard I have yet to see examples of active magic in the society. With the exception of course of the magical races and Pantheon’s . That being said it appears as though when you look past all of that steel itself is extremely rare. Iron might be in common use but that’s exactly what it is iron not steal.

        With widespread dissemination of cheap magic and abundant metal Daniel is permanently changing that society and civilization. Without anyone within it actually realizing what’s happening.

        Most of the blacksmith’s throughout all of Europe would have to work with their metal sparingly because it’s valuable so they don’t experiment with it or do a lot of things new with it. However after Daniel sweeps through you’re going to have a lot more blacksmiths working to figure out how to make cheap abundant steal from the large amounts of iron. Some of them will also start looking at making new alloys if they ever get the spare time do so.

        Right now their society and civilization is the equivalent of having a few Elite show up in a medieval Society. Bringing with them modern drugs and computers to hold and utilize for communications and other things. However the large-scale Industrial Technologies would not be there. It would literally be like having individuals who have the ability to manufacture computers and drugs show up in a medieval Society at relatively random intervals in time and throughout the region. Enchanted devices potions and the like. But I stand by my statement I believe that most of their technology is still at the medieval level. That does not however mean that they don’t have great skill and craftsmanship especially with ship production and a few other areas. Since they seem to be based on Vikings I would expect them to have Crystal based Optical Technologies more advanced than normal. And possibly possess compasses. Both of these the Vikings were known for utilize for navigation. They would also have the astronomical navigation skills which would be required for Daniel’s little spaceship project. The Vikings tended to be experts in these fields despite primitive Metallurgy and techniques.

        If anything I think that possessing scarce but existent Magic within their society wood retard their technological development. Just enough magic to be useful in taking the place of some more Advanced Techniques or processes. Not enough magic to thoroughly exploited and advanced it or any technologies that could be married to it. Their society seems to be at a sweet spot of under development.

        ( From some of the conversations in the books it seems as though this was intentional by the Gods)

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      13. Yeah, I have to agree that to whatever extent Gaia left any stamp on the humans, it would be to suppress technology development.

        We do know there are more hearth witches hiding out with the common people. Remember the girl Daniel and Cerise rescued along with the other villagers on INTREPID’s first rescue mission?

        I suspect it is fair to say we don’t see much magic being used by blacksmiths because we don’t see many blacksmiths and the ones we do see are merchant class or lower. If there are any magically skilled smiths in Varmland they are probably hired or enslaved by the nobles and royalty.

        Remember Daniel’s “wandering adept” cover story? That tells us there are other wandering adepts, and probably even more wandering apprentices and a few wandering sorcerers. Remember the idiot Baron’s little “test” of Daniel when they first met? Assume there are LOTS of “wandering wizards” and that many of them are unschooled, poorly trained, incompetent or all of the above.

        Of course, many of these “wanderers” are monster poop, frozen solid about now….

        I bet we’re also looking at a cultural preferences situation as well. If you develop magic and have any options at all, you’re going to go to China or Greece or Egypt, ANYPLACE but Varmland. Only the people with few skills, little training, less money and no connections are still attempting to survive in that witch burning backwater. Hence, the Red Conclave, but what happens to the MANY magic users too weak to become apprenticed there?

        Monster poop, now.

        Poopsicles….

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      14. “Not if summoning is based on the elemental planes.”

        Elemental planes do not work uniformly throughout the multiverse. The hollow worlds were build around resonances with the plane of fire and some places have an earth resonance.

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      15. You are making assumptions without evidence again. We have no idea how the elemental plains and summoning relate to each other throughout the multiverse. Yet!

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      16. Well, actually, we know that Daniel is a sorcerer and his elements are Earth, Flesh, Fire, Force and Mana. Since we also know Daniel can summon “Earth” materials like stone, iron, bronze, copper, soil and silver at what seems TO DANIEL difficulties roughly inverse to the proportional amounts of each of those materials on OUR Earth, we can assert that approximation of a relationship while still having only speculations on the exact technical details of “summoning” of materials. There’s LOTS of stone on Earth and it’s easy for Daniel to summon. There’s only a tiny amount of silver or gold on Earth, and that’s MUCH more difficult for him to summon. Why that is? Ask Hecate.

        We also know that Daniel was able to summon obsidian while he was inside the pocket universe of Skogheim.

        Given the known aversions of Gaia and Her people to fire, one must wonder how obsidian came to be part of Skogheim. Did She steal Skogheim from somebody else? Did She have somebody else create the place for Her?

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      17. The real question that needs to be asked is not how she got obsidian into her pocket dimension. The real question is whether or not they’re actually is obsidian in her pocket dimension. That would answer some of our questions without speculation. Daniel is a relatively intelligent guy. I would expect him to ask one of these questions himself eventually. If he ever has time to stop and think about them. “How did I summon a volcanic material in a pocket universe that has no volcanoes?”
        1. Maybe the material he summons is based on the universe he was summoned into and that universes scarcity level of the material.
        2. Maybe the material he summons is actually based on the scarcity level of the material in the universe he was summoned from. He doesn’t appear to be able to summon the non earth-based magic substances that exist in the other realms.
        3. Insert own explanation of why it is difficult for him to summon some materials and not others energy-wise.
        4. Insert own explanation as to why it is possible for him to summon materials in a pocket universe that do not exist there naturally.
        5.
        6.
        7.
        8.
        9.
        Play a game of fill in the blanks with massive speculation.
        (Things we know.)
        1.We know that the rarer a material is the more energy is required to summon it.
        ( we do not know what the Rarity of the material is actually based on or where it is actually based on)
        2.We know that he can summon materials that are not in a natural state.
        3.
        4.
        5.
        6.
        7.
        8.
        9.

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      18. Well….and I don’t remember if this have been pointed out before but we are assuming that Daniel is ‘summoning’ things from somewhere, especially all the minerals he creates, but what if Daniel is not only transforming matter to mana but the inverse in creating matter from mana, maybe the heavy and complex the material is the bigger mana cost. That would explain how he can ‘summon’ materials in pocket dimension which shouldn’t exist there. I know if he was doing that maybe with his mana sorcery he should have realized that a long time ago but maybe is an answer he hasn’t been looking for.

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      19. Maybe but then the elemental plains were placed into the story by the author for a reason and I don’t think it’s just to be an artificial son.

        Liked by 1 person

      20. It’s not the spell checker, DaShoota.

        It’s that nasty little goblin SPECFOR shaman waving his bone wand from behind your left shoulder.

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      21. Paps, it just about cannot be possible that Daniel is creating materials by converting energy to material.

        Consider the size of his biggest matter to mana power stone, compared with the size of Castle Black and Black Island.

        He cannot possibly generate enough energy to create that much stone, by reducing a tiny fraction of one stone to energy that he then INEFFICIENTLY converts to mana.

        There’s some sort of transposition happening, either solely from the elemental plane of Earth or from the local environment or some complicated combination of both.

        I’m pretty sure “from the local environment” does NOT work either, because that adds too much complexity to something that ought to be “elementally” simple.

        Most likely there is a single sorcerous process which makes a withdrawal from the elemental plane of Earth and puts the material where the sorcerer wants it in the shape the sorcerer wants.

        It seems to me that people familiar with other magical systems from other books and games need to remember that Daniel started this entire adventure with a stupendously colossal cheat. His matter to mana magic ALMOST pushes him to the level of demigod. Because of that cheat he can perform fantastic feats of sorcery and enormously leverage his intellectual advantages in concepts like computer programming, engineering, science and modern technology.

        With enough time and luck, he will achieve demigod status and begin his ascension to divinity.

        He has the raw power already and will have far, far more.

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      22. That question was actually already answered. It was answered during one of Daniel’s first conversations with the Wizards. He asked about restrictions on selling magical or Enchanted objects. The Wizards informed him that there was a danger of depleting mana in the area. They stated that it was a real danger with so many Wizards in the area. (Most of which are not doing large-scale summoning.) It takes a lot of energy to make physical matter. If he was using the Mana in the area to make physical matter The Mana in the area would run out fast. If he’s only converting the Mana from his power sources into other physical matter he would completely sacrifice his power source for an equal amount of material which doesn’t seem to be happening.

        Liked by 1 person

      23. DaShoota, if Daniel were using the mana from his matter to mana power amulets and other power devices to create more matter like silver amulets, stone castles, etc., we would have to expect him to burn through LOTS of MtM devices for each individual object he creates.

        We know his matter to mana spell is very inefficient according to his own assessment and we must also expect mana to matter enchantments are probably NOT perfectly efficient, either.

        It just won’t work. There must be some sort of transposition.

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      24. Exactly and I don’t see it being teleported from anywhere within the same universe. If it were there’s no reason that it would be moved from a large distance away to close up. If it was teleported one atom at a time from the local area he would still run out of material at the rate he’s been summoning stuff. He’s literally dropped a huge mountain of stone in the middle of a large river. A mountain of stone with a castle on top that’s all reinforced with iron. If his summoning was in actuality a teleportation from the local environment he would have stripped the city of stone and Iron by now. Those big Iron towers of the conclave would be turning to dust and blowing away in the Wind. In my mind as well as the mentioning of Elemental planes means that more than likely the material is coming from there.

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      25. Ha!

        I love that visual, DaShoota!

        Imagine Daniel explaining to Ward and Steelbinder why their tower is blowing away into the wind, and how he’s going to put it ALL back again, better than ever!

        Yeah, the materials Daniel summons MUST come from the elemental plain of Earth.

        Now if only we knew whether the proportions of that plane are based on the planet, the Solar system or the universe….

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      26. Umm…agree with most of your comments about summoning obsidian into Skogheim, DaShoota, but not the one about Daniel being able to summon materials that are not in their natural state.

        Every material Daniel has summoned in the first four books occurs in nature. Sometimes not very much of it occurs in nature, like PURE nickel iron, but even that does happen.

        What’s an example of a material Daniel has summoned that does not occur in nature?

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      27. Refined aluminum. In nature aluminum appears as an oxide most often. I don’t really know of any place it can be found in its metallic form.

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      28. DaShoota, there are actually situations where pure aluminum does occur in nature on Earth.

        They are weird and rare, but they do happen.

        https://io9.gizmodo.com/does-pure-aluminum-exist-in-nature-1581771277

        Of course, if it happens on Earth, what would you guess the odds are for pure aluminum in space, where it might have been exposed only to vacuum for the last few billion years?

        Then, consider how easy it would be for Daniel to create a spell that summons aluminum oxide or titanium oxide, both of which are extremely common, and then strip the oxygen away magically or chemically. Of course, we don’t see that in the first four books, but it ought to occur to him some day….

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      29. I didn’t know it for sure, but was confident I’d find something when I GOOGLED and this did come up near the top of the list.

        This line of questioning does, however, raise interesting questions about the proportions of the elemental plane of Earth.

        I suspect there is a LOT more pure aluminum in the Solar System than there is on Earth.

        If nothing else, there’s whatever is forming as a fusion by-product in the Sun.

        I wonder if that aluminum combines with the oxygen being created in the Sun?

        Isn’t it all too hot for that?

        Of course, super hot and radioactive would make for exciting times in Daniel’s magic aluminum foundry….

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      30. “We also know that Daniel was able to summon obsidian while he was inside the pocket universe of Skogheim.”

        Skogheim is connected to Midgard. Yggdrasil grows there. We are explaining unknowns (how conjuring works) by other unknowns (how do the Hidden Worlds and Asgard work)

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      31. “If nothing else, there’s whatever is forming as a fusion by-product in the Sun.”

        No. The sun is much too cold for that. By orders of magnitude. You need a giant star a few years (a few decades at most) away from going supernova. Our sun is too light to ever reach that stage.

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      32. Ah, it’s the timing. Thanks, Oliver. That might throw some more light on the question of what proportionality rules.

        Of course, I suppose there’s not a really significant difference between the planet Earth’s proportional occurrence of aluminum and the universe’s proportional occurrence of aluminum.

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      33. “Of course, I suppose there’s not a really significant difference between the planet Earth’s proportional occurrence of aluminum and the universe’s proportional occurrence of aluminum.”

        That assumption is dead wrong. About as wrong as anything can be. Over six orers of magnitude wrong.
        There are millions of times more aluminium on the Earth than in the universe in general.

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      34. Oliver, how are you counting that proportionality of aluminum in the universe?

        Is there just a LOT more hydrogen and helium and probably lithium out there than on Earth?

        I thought the proportions of elements on Earth was similar to what is found generally in the universe.

        Have you ever seen a graph or chart that compared the proportions on the same page? It occurs to me that what I’ve seen is one or the other on a graph, and for all I know thinking back over it there could be all sorts of differences like logarithmic display, etc.

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  6. So far Daniel is converting matter to mana by means of a spell. The Sunspire shows that you can convert other forms of energy into mana. So is Daniel doing something inefficient by doing the conversion by magic magic? Would it be more efficient to use physics to convert mass into energy and use the result? In other words should Daniel rather put half his conversion enchantment onto a nuclear reactor?

    Anybody who can conjure metallic uranium and ultrapure graphite (it is mined – so it ought to be possible to conjure) and reflect neutrons should be able to start a chain reaction. If you grab the energy of fission directly rather than let it heat the fuel 90% of your cooling issues go away.
    And if you can just banish your reactor, safety and disposal won’t be an issue either.

    Like

    1. Oliver, I’d be tempted to agree with you about Daniel perhaps finding some advantage in building a fission reactor except for several considerations:

      1) Matter-Antimatter is the basis for Daniel’s matter to mana devices. That seems to me much more efficient than fusion or fission. Now, Daniel is apparently quite inefficient about how he converts matter to mana, so maybe there is some way he could improve that?

      2) Fission reactors are HUGE and will continue to be enormous as long as big power demands are part of the demand. We’re talking tons and tons of huge, here.

      3) Interesting as a Fission or Fusion reactor might be, Daniel has to reach higher, not lower. The Spire tapped fusion energy from the Sun. Daniel’s best matter to mana devices convert matter to energy to mana. He needs to do something spectacular for his next energy source.

      The author has already hinted at one possibility. When Daniel gave one of his power blocks to Hecate, she asked him if he could make a bigger one. He told her he probably could, but it would be really risky. Maybe he will try that next, and make a few for his teams, too.

      Like

      1. Here is a crazy idea. Instead of a huge matter to mana power block, why not a room full of Daniel’s largest stable size blocks set up in series and parallel to output a huge source of mana?

        Like

      2. Cam, I like the idea of a big array of mana blocks buried in the bowels of a “temple of Daniel” which incidentally also refuels the mana storage units in visiting airships of his clan Nethwillin allies.

        Of course, Daniel is already experimenting with something like that, given his growing array of matter to mana blocks in the basement of Castle Black.

        Hecate, however, will want something much less massive and much more discrete…something like Daniel’s new blaster staff but with a hundred times the power.

        Hmm…not sure how smart it would be for Her to publicly use the blaster aspects of that staff, thereby firmly linking it and Daniel to Her for all to see. Probably better to give Her the option, but also give her the maximum possible energy “pipe” from the staff’s “new and improved” matter to mana power supply. She has more than a few very nasty spells of her own that would probably benefit from a humongous mana feed.

        It sure will be interesting to see what solutions the author and Daniel come up with.

        Like

      3. I’m actually starting to think that the inefficiency in his matter to manna conversion is actually in the energy required to do the process on the atoms which are stable. From the description he gave Hackett before embarking on his radiation weapon program. It seems as though he has to spend the energy to overcome the strong and weak nuclear forces as well as the electromagnetic force of the atoms. This would probably be where his inefficiency lies. He even hinted at this in book when he thought about iron versus granite conversions to energy. The description he gave Hecate hints that he’s not converting the atoms into energy and then converting the energy into manna. It hints that the energy he is converting the atoms into directly is manna.

        Like

      4. Totally agree, DaShoota, Daniel needs to spend some quality time refining, improving and enhancing his matter to mana enchentment.

        Like

  7. One big question for the next book is what happens in Kozalin while Daniel is gone. He was gone several weeks in Asgard and looks to be gone another month post Asgard. His communication with his coven has been limited to a message of “I am not dead”.

    So what happens at Black Keep and the surroundings while Daniel is gone?

    The simplest and least satisfying answer is basically limbo. Conditions basically continue as Daniel left things – although probably deteriorating somewhat as food gets more dear and politics more cutthroat. But a case can be made that the docks area/castle black will be an effective island of stability in the large Kozalin area – at least for a month or two.

    But I would argue that we should expect something different. Clues
    * Black Keep has been (and continues to) aggressively recruit soldiers both from professional soldiers and robust refugees. It is also recruiting militia in the dock areas.

    * The coven members are staying confined to Black Keep itself, but that only slightly impacts their effectiveness.

    * His coven mates have shown the ability to utilize his magical factories – turning them on, etc. Daniel left after just completing a light tank factory. Good odds that his coven turned that factory on and Daniel will return to find he has a hundred light tanks to play with. He has factories to create mortars, to create AA guns, more rifles, more power amulets, gold, silver – plus the basic civilian good factories he created (heaters, warm clothing, bricks, etc).

    * Daniel did a lot to make the dock area more attractive and set up a lot of factories to continue this when he was gone.

    * Daniel’s coven mates have shown multiple times that they are capable of independent action AND that they care about the humans in the city.

    * All the factions in the city will be pressing on the Black Keep to ally, engage — if only to leverage in some way the Black Keep in their own games of power.

    * Ships with grain are starting to arrive in the city — and Daniel’s factories make that more likely as warm enchanted clothing allows sailors to survive the trip much better.

    * Not clear what a new fairy realm means for the nymphs and dryads, but it significant.

    * Food production in the Keep is likely to expand heavily. If I recall correctly, a lot of the (already outfitted) farm land was not yet under crops when Daniel left, but the keep was already self-sufficient. And that is before the impact of the new fairy realm is factored in.

    Some likely actions/outcomes
    1) It is quite reasonable to assume that the # of troops under Black Keep’s control double or triple while Daniel is gone. Certainly the level of training of the existing troops will significantly improve with two months additional training. When Daniel left, the troop strength was adequate to defend the keep with a tiny (if powerful) expeditionary force and some initial militia in each of the six buildings. Double or triple the troops can increase the potential size of any expeditionary force by 10X or more. Other personnel are also being recruited and likely the Keeps civilian population will have also significantly increased.

    2) I give very good odds that the docks will be heavily populated when Daniel returns, with every available building full with people. Access to heat, food, protection, jobs/active markets, active street patrols, and a powerful/kind leader — very strong pulls for immigration into the docks given the conditions in the rest of the city.

    3) River patrols by light tanks along the “not” frozen river to the sea — allowing fishing and wood gathering to both occur and have a significant impact. The warm clothing factories also allow fishermen to survive the open seas. Daniel was already planning this, so likely to occur.

    4) Missionaries are likely to be out in the cities collecting worshipers for Hecate, Hestia, and maybe other gods Hecate supports. If the ghosts of Hecate death witches killed in Asgard can escape to the mortal world, i can easily see them seeking out the Black Keep and getting animal bodies. That can give a lot of magical strength to the keep.

    5) between crops and fishing and boats, the dock area will contribute significant volumes of food to the city, which is a real force of stability (and political power).

    6) I suspect the coven members can continue to create new wards around the Keep even without Daniel’s presence. May take longer and take more power, but they have power to spare.

    7) The walls around the docks will be equipped with heavy machine guns and rifle armed troops.

    8) Daniel’s coven mates (at least some) now know how to create magic items much faster, using some of Daniel’s simpler techniques. It is quite reasonable that they will do so to improve their capabilities. Certainly the Death Witch, but Elin can do a lot if she chooses (wizard!) and so can the hearth witch. I expect their combat abilities will have noticeably grown.

    And none of this assumes that Daniel cannot give more complex messages and/or deliver some new magical factories to the keep.

    Of course, I expect things to become unstable and blow up eventually, but that just gives Daniel something to do when he comes home 🙂

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    1. “His communication with his coven has been limited to a message of “I am not dead”. ”

      Alana probably talked more.

      “But a case can be made that the docks area/castle black will be an effective island of stability in the large Kozalin area – at least for a month or two.”

      The Gjallarhorn has been blown. Anybody hoping for divine help will be disappointed.

      “* Black Keep has been (and continues to) aggressively recruit soldiers both from professional soldiers and robust refugees. It is also recruiting militia in the dock areas.”

      That I doubt. The threat level with respect to infiltrators and spies has risen dramatically. New recruits will now have to be vetted extensively. The same is true for imported wares. Everything has to be checked.

      “* The coven members are staying confined to Black Keep itself, but that only slightly impacts their effectiveness. ”

      Not true for Elin. Avilla and Sefvin will want to close her clinic. In fact, they will close the gates to every outsider once the Gjallarhorn sounds.

      “* Food production in the Keep is likely to expand heavily.”

      Yet Cerise, Avilla, Demetrios and Tavrin will prepare Black Island for a siege. That together with security concerns means banning all sales to outsiders. Elin will be pissed.

      “* All the factions in the city will be pressing on the Black Keep to ally, engage — if only to leverage in some way the Black Keep in their own games of power. ”

      The Gjallarhorn has sounded. That will weaken the Temple as a power factor. I can see a violent conflict with the Red Conclave itself. The Coven will have to support the ‘Neutralist’ faction. Witches just cannot afford the ‘Asgardists’ to win.

      “4) Missionaries are likely to be out in the cities collecting worshipers for Hecate, Hestia, and maybe other gods Hecate supports.”

      No. That would blow Daniel’s cover as Atlantean.

      “If the ghosts of Hecate death witches killed in Asgard can escape to the mortal world, i can easily see them seeking out the Black Keep and getting animal bodies. That can give a lot of magical strength to the keep.”

      I am not sure Cerise would still adhere to any ethical concerns here. They would get human bodies.

      “Double or triple the troops can increase the potential size of any expeditionary force by 10X or more. ”

      They won’t care. There is a real possibility of an assault by capable magical troops. They’ll concentrate on home defense.

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      1. Don’t forget the bottles and rings Daniel gave to Avilla before he was kidnapped.

        There will be new catgirls as well as wolfen males and females, all of whom will be stumbling over their own feet but learning fast how to take advantage of their new strength, fangs, claws and other benefits.

        Tina might be a fun and lovable innocent, but Bast certainly won’t be. Before She is even born I could imagine Her commencing to gather a few promising girls, using dream magic to promise them all sorts of things they really want to hear as the situation around Black Island keeps getting more dire. Bast and Tina probably won’t have to offer much to Avilla for her to apply Daniel’s gifts. It won’t be long before everybody in the know will know Bast is going to need guards as good as or better than the Lightbringers, for much the same reasons Daniel will.

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    2. Dspring, I like most of your ideas about what happens at Castle Black and the Docks District while Daniel is gone, but I disagree with the conclusions in (5). Food at the docks is NOT a stabilizing factor, except AT the docks. In the rest of Kozalin I expect it will be exactly the opposite, especially if there are serious quantities of good food available. Every lord with a few huscarls to feed will want control of that food. Those rifles and heavy machineguns you mentioned will see action unless Pelagia and Demetrius pull off a miracle of diplomacy, perhaps with help from Clan Nethwillin.

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      1. Unlikely. They cannot conjure food. At some point a famine with so many armed men involved will result in civil war. It is just a question of time.

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      2. I doubt we will agree on the food situation, Oliver.

        The FISHERMEN who now live in secure housing Daniel provided at the docks “conjure” fresh fish every day. Sure, it’s only a drop in the bucket, but that’s more than no drop and no bucket, and more than enough for some noble to decide the docks are worth seizing. It’s HABIT for them. For the permanently privileged, stealing is like breathing.

        Furthermore, Daniel PLUS the dryads PLUS the farmers and the farms he built on Black Island CAN conjure food. The “spell” takes a few weeks to mature, but that is entirely within the experience and expectations of the Red Conclave and most Kozalini who know anything about magic.

        We should also imagine that the people buying Daniel’s surplus food outside Castle Black’s main gate on the docks believe the fresh vegetables and fruit are conjured. They know there’s nobody farming outside the walls of Kozalin, and inside those walls are only a few tiny orangeries.

        Depending on the configuration of the farms’ matter to mana power stones and how much work Daniel still had to do to complete the water and lighting systems before he was kidnapped, Elin, Pelagea and the farmers could have expanded production to all the fields in the arcology.

        Maybe.

        Or, if the preparations were interrupted by his kidnapping, Daniel would be able to quickly complete all systems and effectuate that expansion shortly after he returns. Black Island was very close to self-sufficient in food before Daniel was kidnapped, and there were quite a few fallow fields at that time. Putting crops in those fields would enable the creation of a continuously replenished larder with a comfortable surplus for sales to Kozalin.

        The big questions are, will Daniel actually return, will he choose to continue expanding food production and will he have time? Will he go further than that and give the Docks District a farming arcology? THAT would be HUGE.

        There have been several statements in the story, most of them by Daniel, to the effect that he “knows” he cannot feed all of Kozalin. If that is the author’s decision, it won’t happen.

        Technically, however, it could happen. All Daniel would need to do is build several more farming arcologies. Kozalin has plenty of wrecked building space now for that activity. These arcologies would NOT receive any dryads or their blessings. The farmers would have to succeed with artificial light, limitless fresh water, beautiful soil and solid, secure walls surrounding them.

        That and growing anything they want in all four seasons would be plenty.

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      3. We do not know that they cannot summon food. Cornucopias and horns of Plenty feature prominently in many mythologies including Norse mythology.

        Avilla might be able to create one of these Enchanted devices in time.

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      4. Good point, DaShoota. However, it would probably take quite a few “horns of plenty” to create a flow of food big enough to significantly help Kozalin. If the coven can cast those spells, the power supplies Daniel left them should be more than enough to create plenty of “plenty”.

        Maybe that sort of magic is properly something more in the line of Pelagea’s world. If so, Daniel has also left her with enough power to create plenty of “plenty”.

        Of course, we really don’t know yet whether Avilla or Pelagea can actually cast anything like cornucopia spell(s).

        We do know for certain that Daniel can do it, and I suspect Elin can use a lot of what she learned while helping Daniel. She probably cannot build an entire arcology, but she probably can setup farming in fallow fields Daniel had not completed before he was kidnapped.

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      5. They may not need horns of Plenty. There is a Greek myth about a huge table of food that replenishes itself every day. Daniel could create a giant table inside each one of his housing blocks. And if any of the others can come up with that ancient Greek enchantment that caused the table with the blind Seer to constantly filled with food then he is set.

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    3. Oliver

      Not sure I see the blowing of the Gjallarhorn as that significant — at least with regards to conditions in Kozalin. Sure it diverts divine resources. Certainly no demigods will help defend the city, but I am not expecting any serious attacks on the city either as Loki and Gaia’s focus is also shifted to Asgard. And the temple was already very weak due to battle losses among the priests.

      I totally agree that infiltration is a risk, but it is a manageable risk. The coven has already discussed this several times and have an agreed strategy. And the Black Keep still NEEDS to recruit people. Locking down the keep as you suggest does protect against spies (substantially, but not totally), but really costs them in a lot of other ways. It only makes sense if the Coven decides to cut themselves off totally from the city — which is the exact opposite strategy Daniel has been actively pursuing – for very good reasons.

      So I do not believe they will stop recruiting, stop selling food, stop treating patients, stop working with the dock area or stop securing the larger dock area. They may put a bit more scrutiny on recruits and tighten things up “some”, but a bunker mentality is simply contrary to everything they have done to this point – and everything Hecate has done to this point and everything Daniel is planning going forward.

      All three coven members (aka -everybody but Elin) are already recruiting priestesses. I suspect they will get a bit more aggressive, but this is not a dramatic change. What I am not sure is if they will begin sending priestesses out of the keep to establish enclaves elsewhere. I suspect that will happen only when Daniel gets back.

      Colin
      Have to agree that there will be a bountiful cluster of beautiful and exotic maids and special ops girls.

      Did not really assume Bast would play major role in her first year as she implied she will not really come into her own until after a year. But recruiting priestess – sure.

      More food will stabilize panic among the commoners as it i gives them an alternative to rebellion or starvation. Hope is huge. As a single ship can haul 30 tons of grain, even a few ships can provide a noticeable difference plus Daniel’s farming should be selling enough food to feed a thousand people every day by now. That is like 2-3 tons of food per day. (farmers get half the food to sell and Daniel’s half feeds all his people and dependents when he left). No idea of how much fish, but the Baltic sea is rich in fish and they have a significant fishing fleet. Not enough combined to feed everybody, but easily enough to make a noticeable difference in food availability for the city and delay the day all the food runs out by several months.

      I agree with you that the nobles would want control over that food, but I thought it was pretty clear that they were afraid of Daniel’s mortars and guns. Even without Daniel, none of them has a chance to hold the docks unless the Conclave helps them — and the Conclave has no reason to do this. Why the hell would they care which noble controls the food so long as they have plenty. If the Conclave decides they must break into Black Keep for their own reasons – then this becomes a “Need Daniel” crisis. And they will be very hesitant to attack Daniel unless they are absolutely SURE he is dead and not coming back. So I think they will hold off for a few months. War between the Conclave and Daniel will almost certainly weaken the victor too much to survive Ragnarok.

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      1. > Not sure I see the blowing of the Gjallarhorn as that significant — at least with regards to conditions in > Kozalin.

        It makes delaying the decision far harder. If you wish to stand with the Aesir on the Golden Fields, now or never …

        > I totally agree that infiltration is a risk, but it is a manageable risk. The coven has already discussed
        > this several times and have an agreed strategy.

        Against normal opponents. That you can keep out a group of hooloigans does not mean that you can fight off Delta Force. Asgard has gods dedicated to that and they want to do it with spells they only know theoretically? Insane

        > And the Black Keep still NEEDS to recruit people.

        People, yes, Kozalini, no. It is more convenient, but not being murdered is more important.

        > Locking down the keep as you suggest does protect against spies (substantially, but not totally), but > really costs them in a lot of other ways. It only makes sense if the Coven decides to cut themselves off > totally from the city — which is the exact opposite strategy Daniel has been actively pursuing – for
        > very good reasons.

        A strategy based on radically incomplete information. The point of having a sphere of influence outside the island is being able to close off the island.

        > More food will stabilize panic among the commoners as it i gives them an alternative to rebellion or > starvation.

        Well, no. They do not have the money. And the harbor people will not let food into the city if the nobles cut them off the granary.

        > Hope is huge. As a single ship can haul 30 tons of grain, even a few ships can provide a noticeable > difference plus Daniel’s farming should be selling enough food to feed a thousand people every day

        In a city of over 100 000 people. In other words, as people will see it: We will eat. If and only if we can secure our supply and the rest has to be cut off. This is a recipe for civil war.

        > I agree with you that the nobles would want control over that food, but I thought it was pretty clear that > they were afraid of Daniel’s mortars and guns.

        Relevant if you wish to attack Black Island. Artillery inside a city you wish to preserve is a difficult proposition.

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      2. Against normal opponents. That you can keep out a group of hooloigans does not mean that you can fight off Delta Force. Asgard has gods dedicated to that and they want to do it with spells they only know theoretically? Insane

        We both agree that there will be new groups of people moving into Black Keep. Daniel and Hecate have agreed to make this a refuge. Sure you can refuse to take people from Kozalin, but not sure how that restriction provides any meaningful protection vs gods, super spies, etc. One hypothetical example, a lightbringer spy could exist among the dark elf clan – or the next group moving into the keep.

        I am not saying that the risk is not greater now that Daniel’s profile is higher. I am just saying that Daniel has more priorities than just stopping spies. He has to balance risks vs opportunities. Trying to stop all potential spies pretty much also means not achieving any of his other objectives.

        I am also not sure why you feel spies are “that bad”. The fact that his Keep includes a dark witch is common knowledge to Brand and Steelbinder (and others). A hearth witch is also fairly obvious given how powerful she is. Nymphs are well known and probably the fact his is growing food now. And Daniel’s magical secrets are very hard to learn from observation – and always changing anyway. There are magical factories and power amulets in many places beyond black keep. The fact that he is Hecate’s champion is a real secret, but one people are not going to just “pick up” by spying. And keeping intruders out of Black Keep is not of great assistance in preventing assassins either. Someone would have to be stupid to try and attack Daniel in his own stronghold with dark elf guards. Much easier to attack Daniel somewhere else — and Daniel is always leaving the keep.

        So the occasional spy/intruder is a risk, but not seeing it as adding a lot of additional risk.

        A strategy based on radically incomplete information. The point of having a sphere of influence outside the island is being able to close off the island.

        The strategy for the docks is to protect people ((first) and 2nd to gradually vet people before you let them into the keep — as Daniel stated.

        > More food will stabilize panic among the commoners as it i gives them an alternative to rebellion or > starvation.

        Well, no. They do not have the money. And the harbor people will not let food into the city if the nobles cut them off the granary.

        You do have a point here – although not a complete point. If significant new food enters the city, it has a moderating impact on prices. I would also argue that another source of food would actually discourage the nobles from cutting food rations too much lest Daniel’s keep gain too much power (by providing some food). But you are right that the street poor cannot buy food and have a limited ability to earn more. The street people are a powder keg.

        > I agree with you that the nobles would want control over that food, but I thought it was pretty clear that > they were afraid of Daniel’s mortars and guns.

        Relevant if you wish to attack Black Island. Artillery inside a city you wish to preserve is a difficult proposition.

        Relevant if you wish to discourage the nobles from taking the docks. You do not need to use your artillery in the city if the nobles are too afraid of your firepower to attack your territory. And the nobles will not try unless they have a plan for securing Black Keep. They cannot control the food coming in without controlling Black Keep. And if you cannot control the food coming in, why both to fight for the docks.

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      3. Dspring and Oliver, don’t forget that Daniel has at the beginning of THRALL begun to alleviate the money/jobs issues in the Docks District by paying people to be guards, giving away a bath house, creating a public market, etc.

        Of course, the gold Daniel uses to pay for all this is external to Kozalin’s normal economy and will be inflationary, but that won’t even be noticed in all the ridiculous levels of inflation a siege brings.

        As far as using “artillery” inside Kozalin, think instead what will be inside the brains of Kozalin’s nobles when they see sturdy, well-fed fishermen manning the fighting tops of Daniel’s new fortifications on the docks, and every man is carrying a magic flame thrower or a magic slug thrower.

        Add a dual-purpose magic autocannon mount or two on top for sweeping air attacks out of the skies, or sweeping attackers off the streets, and the nobles will quite rightly figure the Docks District is under Daniel’s protection…with all that means for who actually controls most of Kozalin’s “incoming” food supplies.

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      4. Daniel is alleviating the money issues in the dock area, but the point Oliver was making (and I had to agree) is that that there are a hundred thousand refugees in the city and most of them have little to no money. Daniel helping a few thousand dock people only makes a tiny dent in that problem.

        If the city had real leadership, they would have recruited heavily from the refugees to train as soldiers. They would not be great soldiers, but better than nothing. And it removes the most dangerous refugees as a problem. Same logic that Baron used in the first book. I am sure it would occur to the nobles in Kozalin as well. Although I doubt the Kozalin nobles would just want to kill them off — as they really need the extra soldiers.

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      5. Yeah, those refugees are a fun wild card the author can tap a few times.

        Remember when Daniel watched some of them trudging into one of his big, new shelters back in BLACK COVEN and he noticed a man-sized and shaped…something…in a hooded cloak with a bit of magic around him…it?

        It won’t be only raw troops that somebody recruits from the refugees.

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      6. “Add a dual-purpose magic autocannon mount or two on top for sweeping air attacks out of the skies, or sweeping attackers off the streets, and the nobles will quite rightly figure the Docks District is under Daniel’s protection…with all that means for who actually controls most of Kozalin’s “incoming” food supplies.”

        Yes, but then what are they to do? Surrender to Daniel? Wait for the granary to inevitably run empty? Emmigrate? These options will be unacceptable to at least some of them. And there are ways of dealing with this, like attacking in bad weather using infiltration tactics. They are not good ways and costly, but if they wanted to give up, they’d be on a ship heading for Africa.

        “I am not saying that the risk is not greater now that Daniel’s profile is higher. I am just saying that Daniel has more priorities than just stopping spies.”

        His problem are not spies, but assassins and kidnappers. Daniel himself with improved equipment had to retreat against a Lightbringer combat team even as he was expecting them. Consider what would have happened if they battled Sefwin’s agents in a surprise attack. Cerise may escape. The rest of the coven is doomed.
        Yes, there will be a next group. But Hecate will vet them and they can be examined thoroughly and under control. But they cannot afford to let in random uncontrolled and unvetted people from Kozalin.

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  8. Random thought question – what does it take for Daniel to Win? By that I mean that he and his coven survive and have a real chance to prosper after all this Ragnarok business is done.

    Interpreting wildly off people’s comments, I see several possibilities:

    1) Daniel needs to evolve his magic/magical industry enough to kill/imprison off the Aesir and Egyptian gods that survive Ragnarok and that are hostile to him. Basically this is a self contained scenario that requires Daniel and Black Keep to survive and events to allow Daniel time to develop his magic. Stopping the Fimbulwinter is not essential, but would probably happen via the same magical industry that allows the gods to be killed.

    2) Ragnarok basically results in the Aesir gods killing each other off. The Fimbulwinter continues, but Daniel and the Black Keep survive and prosper during the ice age by using creative magic. Eventually Daniel and company kill off the Great Beasts and human civilization rebuilds decades or centuries later based in a large part (in Europe at least) on the humans living in Black Keep

    3) Daniel creates an empire on the mortal world – and empire build on industrial magic that can end the Fimbulwinter or otherwise allow most of its population to survive and prosper despite the Fimbulwinter. Daniel rules as effectively a god-king after killing/imprisoning most of the Aesir gods (or at least those not killed in Ragnarok when fighting each other)

    4) Daniel and Hecate create a new Alliance – some combination of allied nations, species, a new god pantheon and industrial magic that is able to deal with a handful of problematic gods and then ushers in a new age after ending both Ragnarok and the Fimbulwinter. Loki, Gaia, Thor, RA, and Odin do not survive this process. Daniel does not rule, but is a powerful leader nevertheless.

    5) Daniel becomes a god and head of his own pantheon. Black Keep becomes the nucleus of his own version of Asgard/Olympus and this pantheon assumes the role in the mortal realms currently held by Odin or Ra.

    6) any other distinct possibility i missed?

    I would argue that options 1 and 2 do not need Kozalin to survive, but options 3-5 really benefit if Kozalin survives as a viable city. Options 3 & 4 require a fair bit of diplomacy and a big focus on allies/expansion of territory. Options 1 and 5 require Daniel to do amazing feats of magic – amazing from the perspective of Greater Gods that is.

    I would argue that Hecate is working for #4 as her targeted outcome. I am not sure she would see #1, #5 as possible and #2 as desirable. #3 is a question mark, but I suspect Hecate just would not imagine this possibility as Daniel works for her right now and her cultural mindset cannot easily imagine gods working for mortals.

    Obviously whatever outcome you are shooting for has tactical implications. Eg: The right tactic to shoot for #1 is probably a bad strategy for achieving #3 and visa-versa. Some of these outcomes may not be possible and/or desirable for Daniel.

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    1. I think the best chance Daniel has is option 4, I mean there is no way to slice it that he can actually take down a whole pantheon on his own, even if he kills a good number of Gods, there is still the surviving Gods, with the Demi-Gods and all of their believers, it would be better for him and Hecate form alliance with different groups that won’t find them to risky to have around nor dispensable enough to just throw them under the bus. Like it or not Daniel will have to become something he doesn’t want to survive…yes people he will have to become a politician, making backdoors deals with deitys to assure his survival and Black island.

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      1. Yeah, Paps, I’m thinking you and Dspring are right about Daniel having to wheel and deal to survive.

        Of course, for US that’s a Good Thing TM.

        It means LOTS more books about the rest of Ragnarok, surviving the Ice Age, hunting Great Beasts, etc.

        One hopes….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I think that at this time the best thing he has to offer is enchantment, he can actually create gadgets with enough power for Gods to use, maybe not armament but heck given the level of vanity of some deity’s maybe a nice piece of jewelry?? In the future well he can give the gods something more sinister and if he manage well that will put him in the top of any hit list any pantheon has, and that’s believers, Daniel with his flesh magic, his way of thinking, can actually create a beings farm (not only humans) or cloning facility with the right contract with the proper deity, he can create vessels for departed souls to walk the mundane world again, giving the Gods a permanent cycle of anchors.

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    2. There are already hints of the outcome in the books. During the creation of the coven Bond there was a prophecy made by Hecate. Also both Cerise and Alana have alluded to Daniel moving towards Godhood. As well as his entire coven moving towards becoming a lower Pantheon. His coven already has now the means to become demigods. By the end of the fourth book Daniel has already achieved Neo immortality meaning that the destruction of his body no longer stops him.

      1. I think Daniel will orchestrate the freeing of Prometheus. If he is smart he will allow his accomplice to set up an illusion that makes Prometheus look like he is still chained to that mountain being eaten out of by that bird. This goes on while Prometheus cements Hecate and her cohorts into a new solidified Pantheon behind the scenes.

      2. Daniel and his coven achieve full demigod status. They also build their forces and allies. They eventually achieve godhood in their own right. Shortly after the final battle of Ragnarok they assail the survivors finishing them off.

      3. A new Empire Rises during the Ice Age which follows Ragnarok. An Empire with a multi tier Pantheon system similar to what the Olympians had. The Elder gods and their Pantheon ruling over the afterlife and the heavens. The lower Pantheon that Daniel and his coven became ruling directly over the Mortal worlds. As the world is gripped in an Ice Age the survivors in Europe began exploring space and colonizing the solar system with none of the other surviving Pantheon’s knowing until it’s too late.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exploring and colonizing Mars as well as other planets, maybe other star systems, too, is a HUGE “cheat” for Daniel, even bigger than his matter to mana power supplies. If he succeeds at gaining even a fraction of the resources, especially LIVING resources spiritual or physical, of several entire planets without Odin, Loki and the rest understanding what’s happening, that will be an enormously ugly surprise for them.

        It’s also a great opportunity for MORE BOOKS!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see Ragnarok turning into a Divine World War. After of which I see the various surviving Pantheon’s or new Pantheon’s fighting for survival. Essentially it will turn into a Divine Cold War in which there are heroes and champions fighting battles on small scales against each other. Kind of a divine version of 007 in the early movies. Lots of opportunities for new books and “Daniel sets in his chair petting his white miniature dragon laughing and chuckling” as his children wage a proxy war against Egypt and whatever Pantheon’s survive in North America South America and the Far East. With his inventions and new resources.😎

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      3. Talking about Daniel and his coven reaching the level of Demi-Gods or Gods, who else in Black island should be ascended to such a status, we know that Demetrio is a Demigod, he and his sons are just short of power at the moment Daniel can supply for that in the future, Pelagia and some of her Dryads can get there as well, in fact its probably already stated that with Daniel mana stone they are in their way, so who else can achieve deity status and how??? And @DaShoota I love the idea of Prometheus playing an illusion of still been bounded and going behind everyone back creating his own pantheons if as Hecate state he hasn’t already put a plan in motion for such an even, I can see how Hecate can bargain with him the illusion for his release and cooperation.

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      4. Hard to imagine a future where Daniel can escape to Mars with large numbers of people, yet cannot manage to stop the fimbulwinter. Migration to mars just seems a much harder task.

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      5. I did not think that Odin’s Pantheon actually ruled the mortal worlds. I am sure they had great influence, but the north was not a theocracy. Certainly human realms (Varmland and France) fought each other, an outcome that probably would not happen if the gods directly rules both kingdoms.

        That does not mean that a new empire would not rise as you describe. It would just be something new in the area of god/mortal relations.

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      6. Egypt is ruled by a god-king so is China probably India as well. I think the only reason the north is not ruled by a Divine ruler. Is because the gods up there need Heroes that win victories in battle. The best way to do that is to divide your people into groups and have them fight it out. It’s easiest to do that with a bunch of petty Lords, nobility and smaller scale rulers. They’re always going to be ambitious they’re always going to be scheming and plotting they’re always going to be seeking to get advantages over each other which will result in either one on one fighting to the death “duels” or all out War. But it will be localized and limited War which is what he wants. Through all of his time as the god of the north he doesn’t want to destroy the North but he still wants it to fight. Essentially he’s trying to breed a race of people prone to fighting and violence.

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    3. Dspring, early in Hekate’s conversations with Daniel they both agreed that Fimbulwinter probably cannot be stopped.

      Of course, Daniel has stretched his powers a lot since then, and who knows what he might do if he has a chance to examine whatever enchantment Loki used to initiate Fimbulwinter?

      So, maybe it can be stopped, but I’d plan on the Ice Age, just like Daniel does.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gaining the power to stop an Ice Age makes you the automatic enemy of those who profit from it. It would be better for Daniel to concentrate his power on how to prosper in an Ice Age and to sell that technology, making himself indispensable.
        That will be in general one of Daniel’s ultimate problems. He may trigger a repeat of the Atlantean war by innovating so fast that all the world’s gods feel a need to unite in order to stop him while they still can.

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      2. And that is why Daniel needs to make Alanna happy by moving Black Island to Mars.

        He can innovate whatever he likes as quickly as he likes, on Mars…unless there are ancient fuddy-duddy gods there, too.

        Hmm…maybe Daniel should just pick an orbit he likes and build his own planet?

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      3. I cannot imagine a scenario where Odin or Gaia or Loki or Ra are in power and those individuals are not going to seek to destroy Daniel as soon as Ragnarok is over. Given these are also the people who care about the fimbulwinter continuing, it is a moot point for me 🙂

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    4. 6) any other distinct possibility i missed?

      Yes. Daniel runs. I am not saying it is a good idea, but it is a possibility.

      Now for the full range of scenarios it looks to me as if they presuppose a level of control nobody has. Daniel cannot prescribe to Hecate what she intends to do. Nor can he predict the future well enough to reject, for example, the opportunity to form an alliance or to expand his territory.

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      1. Agree Daniel cannot control the outcomes, but he can set his own personal goal (aka – I want outcome X) and work toward it.

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      2. Daniel’s best bet is to just be ready to take advantage of what ever happens. Be flexible. Grow his power and make his personnel more powerful and be ready to take advantage of what ever happens.

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      3. Split the difference. Daniel should have some plans on how to survive — and he needs to be flexible to change those plans and/or size opportunities as they come up.

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      4. Dspring and Oliver, having places to run to is also important.

        Daniel should build a secret and distant, isolated research laboratory where he can work on dangerously powerful mago-tech for Hecate. I bet he also thinks of a few things for himself, Alanna, the women of his coven, the Groves, Clan Nethwillin and maybe even his friends in Kozalin.

        Who knows, maybe even the Conclave might benefit from Daniel taking a few days off his normal schedule to do something proactive and sneaky.

        A place like that could be a snug stronghold to escape to with a few of his friends if the situation near Kozalin goes sour.

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      5. “Dspring and Oliver, having places to run to is also important.”

        I am afraid I have to disagree. The man who was going to rebuild the Sunspire and is going to come back from death is too notorious to hide. He will not be believed dead for a second time. He will be searched and he would be without wards hiding him and, when eventually found, without a fortress. Anything he could build at a reasonable cost would be a poor copy, yet the resources used up could cost him Black Island.

        That highly likely second battle he would lose. It is better to bet the farm now. Daniel has to defend his stronghold and invest everything into it. Hecate said as much when she indicated that she is ready to personally appear to fight.

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      6. Oliver, are you suggesting Daniel does NOT need to produce the much higher efficiency power supply he suggested he could make for Hecate?

        Or, are you suggesting Daniel can do the necessary research at Castle Black, where a single really bad mistake could destroy everything he has built?

        Daniel has no good choices for building a high energy magotech laboratory, and NOT building it is near the top of that list of not good choices.

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      7. Thats rigth, but I wonder where he can guet a hint of it, I think he would only need to see someone perform the magic to study and copy the way mana behave with such a spell, but who does he knows that can achieve that??

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      8. Totally agree that Daniel needs to learn how to create pocket universes and gates, Oliver.

        Or, learn how to detect and steal pocket universes while maybe stealing and redirecting their gates.

        It will be interesting to see if the author has figured out some way to stretch a computer science BSc into a metaphysics PhD….

        Which is another way of me suggesting Daniel probably does not know what he needs to know in order to create either of these.

        Maybe Alanna does know, or can provide enough description/information?

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      9. The tree of a dryad is in a way a pocket universe. Bags of Holding are a related issue. Perhaps his elves even know.

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      10. You are on to something with Clan Nethwillin and pocket universes, Oliver.

        They do create bags of holding and that might be a clue towards pocket universes.

        If it’s just a power scaling issue, Daniel might just have access to everything he needs.

        Plus, the dark elves are clever about how they create openings to their bags, which might help Daniel figure out Gates, or at least entry/exit to pocket universes of his own design.

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    5. So what are the key tactics for survival under each strategy?

      1) Daniel needs to evolve his magic/magical industry enough to kill/imprison off the Aesir and Egyptian gods

      * Needs to create god killer magic
      * Get Ra fighting in the Fimbulwinter
      * Needs to “encourage” the feuding gods to fight to the death against each other, while making sure the battle is as even as possible.

      2) Ragnarok basically results in the Aesir gods killing each other off. The Fimbulwinter continues, but Daniel and the Black Keep survive and prosper during the ice age by using creative magic. Eventually Daniel and company kill off the Great Beasts and human civilization rebuilds decades or centuries later based in a large part (in Europe at least) on the humans living in Black Keep

      * Daniel needs to keep building and expanding the Black Keep into an unbreakable fortress
      * Daniel needs to create some good weapons to kill the Great Beasts
      * Work to develop a few close allies to help survive in the ice age.
      * Move the Black keep to somewhere more hospitable, although you could go the underground garden approach. But living a hundred thousand years buried under ice is a drag.

      3) Daniel creates an empire on the mortal world – and empire build on industrial magic that can end the Fimbulwinter or otherwise allow most of its population to survive and prosper despite the Fimbulwinter. Daniel rules as effectively a god-king after killing/imprisoning most of the Aesir gods (or at least those not killed in Ragnarok when fighting each other)

      * Maneuver to take over Kozalin with the willing support of most of the population – Some version of crisis makes everybody despair, Daniel rides into save the day and earns the support of most of the centers of power. Food, warmth, prosperity seal the deal
      * Expand to encompass the cities and towns of Varmland as well as the various supernatural communities now abandoned by the Aesir. Deliver comparable benefits as Kozalin received
      * Exterminate the remaining armies of Gaia in the North.
      * A couple of favorable alliance marriages
      * Still needs a solution to banish/bind/kill the surviving gods and/or reach an accommodation with them after the leaders (Odin, Loki, Ra) are killed in Ragnarok.

      4) Daniel and Hecate create a new Alliance – some combination of allied nations, species, a new god pantheon and industrial magic that is able to deal with a handful of problematic gods and then ushers in a new age after ending both Ragnarok and the Fimbulwinter. Loki, Gaia, Thor, RA, and Odin do not survive this process. Daniel does not rule, but is a powerful leader nevertheless.

      * More alliances with various supernatural groups abandoned by the Aesir — especially powerful groups and lone gods.
      * Protection from a new Pantheon founded by Hecate and no doubt led by Prometheus
      * Still needs a solution to banish/bind/kill the surviving gods and/or reach an accommodation with them after the leaders (Odin, Loki, Ra) are killed in Ragnarok.

      5) Daniel becomes a god and head of his own pantheon. Black Keep becomes the nucleus of his own version of Asgard/Olympus and this pantheon assumes the role in the mortal realms currently held by Odin or Ra.

      * Need to study how the apples work. If he can duplicate the apples’s magic with an amulet tied to a power stone, he can be demigod in a few days or maybe weeks.
      * Need to understand how demigods become greater gods – and duplicate that with his understanding of magic.
      * Recruit more gods — and Maybe Daniel becomes the head of the Pantheon rather than Prometheus.

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      1. Dspring, I had the impression from the first four books that Daniel will probably touch at least a little of every one of the scenarios you mention, during books Five through Seven.

        Is that what you intended?

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      2. He will have to decide whether he wants to end the Ice Age.

        I would clearly say that that would be a mistake. Daniel has an advantage in being able to run agriculture under Ice Age conditions under Daniel’s control. That makes his lands much harder to invade and worthless to a farming invader.

        Also, can he really afford to put a lot of effort into that while fighting a war?

        But it rules out the indirect rule approach the Aesir took. He would have to build an Empire. Likewise any pantheon would need worshippers, which also means that surviving as a small neutral outpost is not an option. Even Daniel himself would need anchors.

        Hence I would conclude that Daniel needs to build an empire under nearly all plans.

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      3. Oliver, and Dspring, I’m going to agree with the need for Daniel to build an empire, or even several empires.

        However, I’m going to diverge a little by suggesting that those empires don’t necessarily have to be his.

        Think about the way the author enables Daniel to give power to friendly allies, lifting them up from desperate situations.

        Think also about the way the author describes Alanna’s methods for surviving thousands of years by maintaining multiple trees around the world as well as her dream place tree.

        Daniel is uniquely well-equipped to make powerful friends with grants of his mago-tech while NOT culturally alienating them by forcing them to live under his “rules”.

        He is also well-equipped to travel discretely and quickly between geographically diverse friendly centers of power/empires while also building up Black Island and maybe, if he can squeeze out the time, creating a few secret bases loaded with his tools, power supplies, faithful followers and other emergency resources.

        Yes, Daniel can have a Bat Cave, or a Fortress of Solitude, probably both since he needs a remote laboratory for working with his most dangerous research….

        Most importantly, unlike every other god, demigod or human potentate of his new world, Daniel understands that an “empire” does not need to have explicit borders and fixed population. He probably had his own digital empire on our Earth before Hecate recruited him and will be perfectly comfortable “ruling” something similarly nebulous.

        It will be fascinating to see how the author develops both Clan Nethwillin and the Groves, as well as Daniel’s own growing empire(s).

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      4. I don’t think he will go the nebulous route. He would know that that route would be extremely dangerous to him and his descendents. Possibly his people to. After all the most dangerous person to a kingdom/empire is the one who built it but doesn’t rule it directly. The ones who do rule it directly will eventually see him ass a challenger or threat. There is some dangers in ruling over it himself directly. But those dangers are actually less than the dangers he would experience from somebody else ruling over it directly. Eventually that person / people will not understand that he simply does not want to rule. It’s not something that those who holds power who wants power are capable of understanding. They will eventually turn on him and he knows this he’s not stupid. He might entertain the notion of being the power behind the throne he creates. But it would probably be a fleeting thought not something he would consider seriously.

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      5. I do think Daniel is touching on multiple strategies as he is covering his bases. I would argue that his focus in books 1-5 has been on short term survival, establishing a base and a foundation for power (mostly magical, also military/political).

        Beyond this, I do not think Daniel has really focused on the key questions of how to kill a god, how to end fimbulwinter or how many people does he want to save. He has been defending Kozalin in part to indirectly save his keep, but in part because he cannot stand by when the city is attacked.

        I do think that Daniel is reaching the stage where immediate survival/base is no longer the primary focus and the larger strategic questions become the focus.

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      6. Dspring, I’m going to split hares with you (messy!) on the Fimbulwinter question.

        In the middle of BLACK COVEN, Daniel and Hecate discussed the coming Ice Age and mutually agreed that Fimbulwinter probably caused it and it probably cannot be changed. Now, at the end of THRALL, there has been nothing to indicate Daniel has changed his mind about the Ice Age.

        That’s not to say Daniel cannot do something to change Fimbulwinter, Ragnarok AND the Ice Age.

        Varmland is at the beginning of either a few horrible years or more than thirty horrible years of Fimbulwinter. It seems Loki or some ancient magic Loki controls must be blamed for that. If Daniel ever has a chance to figure out what magic Loki used to START Fimbulwinter, MAYBE Daniel can figure out a MAGICAL way to END Fimbulwinter.

        Without that access to whatever started Fimbulwinter, ending Fimbulwinter WITH MAGIC will of course be significantly more challenging. Maybe. Daniel might just pull a rabbit out of his technomage hat (not the split rabbit, ICK!).

        Since his discussions about space travel with Alanna, Daniel now has a few ideas about interplanetary spacecraft buzzing around in his head. Stick a mirror on a spacecraft and send it into space between Earth and the Sun and you have the beginning of a potentially beautiful climate catastrophe.

        Oh, right, Daniel WANTS global warming. Climate recovery, not catastrophe.

        Copy that spacecraft mirror about a million times and orient them so they all ADD sunlight to Earth’s normal insolation and Daniel might just crush Fimbulwinter with a global heat wave. It will kind of suck to be anywhere near the equator…like Egypt…but sacrifices must be made for the Good of All, yes?

        Suck it up, Ra!

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      7. When I reread the book Black coven. Hecate made fimbulwinter sound more like a who than a thing. After all Loki released the fimbulwinter he may not even be in control of it.

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      8. one thing I forgot. The empire strategy needs Daniel to be able to outsource magical construction to others. Daniel simply lacks the time to build all the forts, granaries, gardens, vehicles, weapons, apartments, and the like that would be needed for any great empire to form given Fimbulwinter.

        So Daniel would have to create an amulet, factory, training regime, or something else that would allow other people – potentially a lot of other people – to build these structures. Ditto with some capability to build factories (a factory to build more factories perhaps).

        Because without the ability to scale this type of work – An empire type solution cannot succeed.

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      9. Excellent points, Dspring. I’ve been assuming Daniel would be training the coven’s children plus other likely kids for that “outsourcing” duty. They are the most likely to pick up some of his manners of thinking, some science, some engineering and some other modern ideas like his.

        Of course, that means most of the outsourcing won’t really begin to happen for about ten years, although Bast will be precocious AND will have jobs of Her own to pursue.

        Daniel will have to deal with the intervening decade, which he will consider to be Hell on Earth, since HE will be one of the most in-demand teachers of all the kids on Black Island.

        Suck it up, Daniel…you just THOUGHT you had no time!

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      10. He has already started on this strategy. He has taught his techniques to his coven. He may teach it to the elves and satyrs maybe even the dryads, nyad’s and nymphs next and I’m curious as to what that nogga can do.

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      11. “He has already started on this strategy. He has taught his techniques to his coven.”

        Correct. But that is only half the job. He is so dangerous because he understands modern physics, chemistry and biology. He will have to teach them, at least to the first group of teachers.

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      12. And what will Daniel need to teach first in order to teach modern chemistry, physics, geology, biology, etc. ?

        Arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, reading, writing and a variety of other grade school subjects.

        Hence, my suggestion that Daniel’s first class of students will be the coven’s kids plus a few others from Black Island. Maybe Bast and a few others will precede that class by a few years if Daniel can make the time available.

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      13. “After all the most dangerous person to a kingdom/empire is the one who built it but doesn’t rule it directly.”

        Exactly.Yet it does leave open the option of ruling as a part of a council or pantheon. But to rule he has.

        “Oh, right, Daniel WANTS global warming. Climate recovery, not catastrophe.”

        That is a very bad idea. If you acquire the ability to fry everybody from space, what do you think they will do? Even if they were willing to be neutral, they cannot just sit there while he builds such a system. It would mean starting a World War.

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      14. Oliver, there is no way Daniel can overpower Fimbulwinter without gaining some magotech or some ability that will scare the daylights out of a significant group of important individuals.

        Now, I’d be perfectly willing to drop the whole idea of stopping or reversing Fimbulwinter. I’ve argued often enough that is not likely to happen.

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      15. A world war is already starting amongst the Gods. However I think it would be a terrible idea for him to stop the ice age. Even with his knowledge and Powers it would take a great deal of time and effort to accomplish. And that would draw too much attention and make him too big of a Target. He would be better served to grow his power and build his Empire. Stopping the Ice Age just isn’t worth the effort right now.

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      16. I don’t think Daniel plans or has any idea on how to stop the coming Ice age. As you said it just isn’t worth the effort, he will better prepare to face it, that stop it, that has been his plan from the guet a go, after all Hecate called him to survive the coming times not to stop anything.

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      17. An empire strategy has to scale now while there are a lot of people around (aka – before they die). That means rapid proliferation very soon. Solutions that require the presence of his coven members cannot scale fast enough, nor would Daniel allow his coven members to be that exposed.

        Even to properly protect Kozalin would require Daniel to spend weeks building stuff (buildings mostly). Expand that to the other towns and cities in Varmland and we are looking at a year or more. It is simply not feasible to do this unless Daniel can enable dozens (hundreds) of people to do this type of building without his personal involvement at each site.

        And Daniel cannot build his empire without doing the above. Delivering magical solutions to cold/hunger/protection is the whole reason people will want to join his empire and serve him loyally. They are not going to serve him today for some vague promise that “when he gets time” he will save them “sometime in the next few years”.

        It is solvable – but would require Daniel to create some more tools in his toolbox and it would take the series in a somewhat different direction. But I do think that “somewhat different direction” is happening anyway. I am just not sure what that new direction might be.

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      18. He does not need to build all of the structures and buildings himself. In the books he has already hinted at creating a fortress seed that could be planted and would grow a fortress or a block for habitation. You’re also wrong Empires do not require a large populations. He needs a loyal population that is capable of growing it can grow fast or it can grow slow it does not matter when he is looking down the throat of a hundred thousand years of winter.

        All the other nations in the world are in a similar situation. His Empire can start small and can grow and consume territory as it becomes available more than likely as it becomes abandoned. Literally an Empire Of The Barbarians of the North. Or what the other nations in the world would see as The Barbarians of the North. And there’s still the questions of the other cold uninhabitable areas of the planet like Antarctica. With his Empire’s developed technology and capabilities that might become habitable to him and his people before he even goes to space. I also hear that penguin is quite yummy?😎🥄

        Then there is the question of the potential Acquisitions he could acquire after Ragnarok. The frost Giants seem to be fighting only with their male population. Where are the women and children are they back on their home world? After Ragnarok many of them may be dead but many of them may be left. That’s a whole new section of population he could acquire they would need some help. It’s also a whole new world for him to acquire. The same may be true of the fire Giants when they eventually come onto the scene I’m interested as to what happens there. Then there are the Seas he’s already got a small group of ocean dwellers living in his Fortress not to mention one of them is his de facto wife. The population of Europe is plummeting Daniel might save a section of it but he does not need to save it all to build his Empire. He needs to take what opportunities makes themselves available to him. That is the seed of his Empire it would take less than 30 years. The survivors will be rather self-sufficient, tough, Hardy, intelligent and they would know a good thing when it sticks his head up and says hey my name is Daniel. 😇

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  9. Who is winning Ragnarok?

    Honestly, I have no insight. I do know that Daniel’s actions have inflicted significant blows on both parties, but probably the biggest blows have been done to Odin’s side with the destruction of the Sunspear.

    * Daniel defended Kozalin, but Mara still got and destroyed the veil anchor. Arguably the survival of Kozalin (or its destruction) has minimal impact on Ragnarok’s outcome.

    * Daniel killed two sons of Gaia, one permanently. Bad for Gaia, but I cannot imagine the death of one demigod really changes the outcome of Ragnarok in any significant way.

    * Daniel (probably) destroyed most of Gaia’s sleeping armies. That really hurt Gaia and I think really hurt the prospects of Loki in several ways:
    1) While Hel’s armies number in the billions, elite soldiers are only a hundred million or so. Ten million more elite soldiers are a significant boost, although they would probably have been difficult to transport in given how many soldiers Loki already has. Probably not a game changer, but nothing to sneeze at.

    2) more importantly, Gaia’s armies were focused on killing humans. Odin would have had to divert some significant resources to protect his human followers in Europe. I doubt Odin cares about any one city, but he needs enough critical mass of worshipers to make sure his demigods can be reborn when killed. Those diverted resources would directly take away from the resources Odin is using to defend Asgard. Arguably a much more significant impact than if Gaia sent the armies directly against Asgard simply because of the difficulty in getting those troops to Asgard given the terrain/logistics.

    * Daniel blew up the Sunspear, effectively triggering an atomic bomb in Asgard and releasing a bunch of insane gods and monsters. This has a number of big impacts

    1) He destroyed a bunch of Halls and killed millions of Odin’s soldiers and elves. And per Mara, Odin’s immortal soldiers do not come back if their Hall is destroyed. And the elves do not come back at all.

    2) Hel and Loki were landing their forces at this time. This is the most difficult part of their assault on Asgard and the time when Odin expected to really destroy a lot of the attackers. Instead he had to divert all his most powerful gods and elite forces to fighting the mad spirits released by the explosion. Loki and Hel were able to secure the landing and offload a lot of troops much faster and with much lower losses than expected. A bunch of Odin’s demigods probably died and are busy being reborn as well – but while that process is occurring they are not available to fight off Loki.

    3) Fenrir escaped, to a large extend because of the explosion of the Sunspear. Otherwise i could easily see Odin or Thor being available to slow down the escape enough for Fenrir to eventually be overwhelmed by numbers. And Fenrir is easily the most powerful god killer on Loki’s side. Hard to see how Loki could win without Fenrir.

    So overall while Daniel’s actions have mostly hurt Gaia/Loki, the last action (sunspear destruction) seriously tipped the scale in the other direction. Still no idea how the overall balance of power sits between the sides of Ragnarok as I do not know how balanced the two sides were before Daniel arrived. But I suspect a long shot Loki victory is now more like a coin toss. I am sure Hecate and Daniel would prefer Ragnarok to be as even a fight as possible as they want both sides badly weakened.

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    1. I’m not so sure Daniels nuclear Fiasco in Asgard destroyed as many Halls as you seem to suspect. While he’s walking around in his female elf body Daniel noticed many of the Halls may have been damaged but was still quite functional. They were built to withstand a Siege on an individual level apparently. Many buildings were knocked over and destroyed but the Halls probably survived considering the sunspire was inside of a huge enclosed area with miles before you even reach the wall enclosing it. Yes a few of those Halls may have been damaged or destroyed but I don’t think it would have been a significant number. Also we do not know whether or not the elves Spirits or souls are taken by Asgard. Assuming they are not is exactly that an assumption. After all the Elven gods have already merged with the Asgardian human gods.

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      1. No idea how many were destroyed. We have few clues. Comments that millions were killed in the explosion were linked with comments that Elf buildings were a lot tougher than expected. Certainly some halls were destroyed, but no idea if that eliminated a few thousand soldiers or a hundred thousand. I personally suspect fairly few halls in the grand scheme of things.

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  10. Anybody have some good theories about what is happening with the conclave. I have some ideas, but really nothing to back those ideas up beyond wishful thinking.

    1) The founder is back and not everybody is willing to let him take over again

    2) The news about Daniel being trapped in Asgard and/or suspected death is out and people are fighting over the conclave’s mana amulets

    3) More Loki followers found out

    4) Gender wars — not my favorite, but I know some others feel a breakdown on gender lines is likely under the assumption that the women feel themselves particularly badly treated.

    5) just an internal debate on what to do now — a fierce debate rather than actual conflict

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    1. Dspring, am I understanding correctly that you left out Option #6 – Daniel’s coven KNOWS for absolute certainty that he is NOT dead. Corinna’s dryads, who know Alanna is Daniel’s familiar, KNOW she is not dead and therefore he is most likely not dead. Any of them who have spoken with her through her tree KNOW both are alive and well. There will be snickering among the Groves over Daniel’s current form….

      Sefwin will have little difficulty establishing for her Clan that Daniel is not dead. How many times have the Wolfen seen Daniel return from near death? Who among all the people on Black Island would fail to believe Daniel will be back, probably soon and probably recovering from some sort of magical or military mayhem – or both.

      Castle Black is solidly supporting Daniel’s continuing claim on Black Island and given the magical munitions factories he left the garrison there won’t be a serious threat to that claim, not from Kozalin’s soldiers or noble factions.

      Varmland’s royalty might make inquiries, if any of them arrives while Daniel is gone.

      There might have been embassies from the Summer Court, which Pelagea and Cerise will brace Elin to receive. That could be fun.

      There might have been VERY discreet and probably friendly inquiries from the Red Conclave, or from individual members like Tova. Don’t ignore those junior adepts who look to Steelbinder. I could imagine one or more of them making clandestine contact with Castle Black.

      In short, perhaps the situation on and around Black Island will be more or less as Daniel intended. His allies and followers are holding the place strongly, turning back all advances against his and their interests. There will be some messiness here and there, probably on the Docks, probably involving the new Castle Black market. Any actual attacks will have been rebuffed, probably with extreme violence, probably leaving smoking rubble behind.

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      1. Daniel is now in the form of a young female elf. He is capable of getting pregnant. Cerise has the capability of taking on a male form her Incubus form. It was mentioned in the first book I think. Just saying there’s some possibilities there. Maybe Daniels second child he will not be the father of.

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      2. Yes, but it apparently takes a special fertility magic to get pregnant by an Incubus, as Adept Tova told Daniel. And otherwise it would require a male light elf. Daniel does not meet them where he is.

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      3. That would be true for anyone except Daniel. As he started in book3 he can get an elf pregnant. It shouldn’t be a problem for him at all.

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      4. Daniel’s flesh sorcery is such a powerful element that we probably should not consider any pregnancy initiation issues impossible for him. To misquote a SeaBee motto, “The improbable he does immediately, the impossible takes a little longer….”

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      5. Yes, it is not a problem for Daniel, but something he has to actively research and do. And that would beg the question, why? He has enough women to get pregnant if he wanted to. And he will not throw away that body in a city full of ghosts. So why do it?

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      6. To hide a few months more. After all who would expect him to be a pregnant (her). He could also accelerate a pregnancy if he wanted to. So he could be 6 or 7 months pregnant and non would suspect that the young elf that must have been pregnant before Daniel appeared on the scene is actually him.

        Especially if the baby turns out to be a dragon, succubus, elf hybrid. After all if Daniel was the father the baby would be more human.

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      7. Remind me again why are we enteretaining the scenario were Daniel guets himself pregnant while ina a female form?? I mean the way the author used the gender-bender fact in here was well done (even though I am not a fan of such a thing) but I don’t think that there is any use to take things in such a drastic direction really.

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      8. There is no real reason except to just throw stuff to see what sticks. However it would be an excellent disguise to hide from that specific culture. No one would expect it or suspected.

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      9. Yes it would have been fun to see him using the female form for some good old decieving, but that would have to mold his personality from male POV to female POV, can Daniel be flexible enough to do that?? I mean even with the coven bound Cerise and Avilla made sure to leave atraction to males off the deal but not atraction to female subordinates, meaning Daniel wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of been ‘that’ openminded. Can he trully be that comfortable with be fully female and everything that entails with it???

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      10. HAHAHAHA, he started to freak out the moment his new vessel reacted to those manly Vikings when he run into them, I don’t think he even wants to admit to himself that happened, obviously I am sure he would try to experiment the female reaction to a sensual encounter with a certain group of exotic female magical beings like a horny were cat, an sadistic golem, an repressed naughty fairy, and a wicked succubus, but those adventures shouldn’t be read by this ‘pure’ eyes of min, no Sir, I have no wicked though of hoping for such a debauchery scene to appear (wink) (wink)!!!!!!!!!

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      11. “I mean even with the coven bound Cerise and Avilla made sure to leave atraction to males off the deal but not atraction to female subordinates”

        That is actually a serious problem. Unless he wants to get pregnant by himself, this is hard to do without violating his coven bond.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. I know rigth?? But maybe I pictured the scene wrong but when he took the female Elf form in Asgard to escape didn’t he/she got kind of horny by the attention from the warriors there?? He even wondered whats wrong with the body. So could some sort of racial characteristic overun the coven bound or shift it???

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      13. The coven bond is about what you do, not what you are tempted to do with respect to outsiders.

        Now maybe she/he would rationalize that the coven bond is about reproduction, so an elf and a human would not count. But that won’t get her/him pregnant without magic intervention. But that intervention would destroy the rationalization.
        I must admit that I do not fully understand Daniel’s interpretation of the bond. For example I would have considered a prostitute as a servant in that sense. Daniel didn’t. So a lot is possible.

        However the basic problem remains. If somebody checks members of another species for Daniel’s soul, they expect that he switched bodies. That alone is outrageous enough. They will not assume that he also has grown a new body. Body snatching is a known technique. If you suspect that, you must check everybody, also the pregnant women.

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  11. Economics, military power and the future of Kozalin

    * Daniel has armed the Harbor District and implied that he will defend it
    * Daniel is injecting money into the Harbor District specifically
    * Daniel is offering valuable magial goods made in the Harbor District
    * Traders do not like to deal with nobles
    * Rations from the city’s granaries have been reduced to starvation levels

    These are the facts we are given. I think they are pretty complete. Would traders seek to deal with the city’s nobles or other inhabitants under these circumstances? Probably not much. The Harbor people have money and the interesting goods to sell. You can even get a cargo of raw iron, so your ships will be fully loaded when you make the trip back.
    Now think about this. If you were an inhabitant of the Harbor District, would you like to let the rest of the city trade there? No. If wizards were coming, you’d not dare forbid them, but the rest? Even if you had a surplus, you have seen Narfing. You know that trade could end. No, you would now buy and store everything that comes in from ships and out of Black Island.
    You let emmigrants and slaves for sale through. Maybe you would sell food for weapons and recruit a few more experienced soldiers for your guards, but that’s it. What can the nobles do? Cut off your grain rations, but why care? They are not much and won’t come for long anyway.

    No, Daniel has not improved the situation in Kozalin. He has improved the situation in the Harbor District. He has moved Kozalin as a whole closer to civil war.

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    1. Oliver, I like the scenario you paint for the Docks District. It’s full of opportunities for Daniel, for the inhabitants of the Docks District AND one other group you missed.

      The merchants. Their district was trashed during the Andregi attacks. Clearly the Prince and the nobles are unable to defend the Trade District. Who was very visible chasing down Andregi and butchering the most deadly enemy groups? Daniel and his teams of dryads and dark elves were right there, day and night, for many to see.

      Now, what is something important the merchants could bring to the table when desperately negotiating for their families’ lives with representatives of the Docks District?
      – Money. As the former intermediaries, traders have cash, loans, debt and products to exchange for goods.
      – Connections. Traders know where to send goods to achieve deals that bring back more food and other goods.
      – Expertise. Traders have economic and banking experience the Docks District people lack.
      – Information. They probably don’t have fantastic communications like the Asgard Church, but must talk somehow with other traders in other cities. Letters, messengers and secret spies, probably. Homing pigeons? Not any more–those would be squabsicles in Fimbulwinter. Maybe something bigger, but not quite the size of a gryphon?

      I’m not saying the Traders have to be part of this. Daniel could leverage Clan Nethwillin and his own silver/gold production to make what he wants happen. However, remember his book buying habit? Just like Elin’s book buying habit? There will be other items it just makes sense to purchase from well-informed, well-placed merchants.

      Of course, those same merchants have interesting connections with Kozalin’s nobles and royals, also.

      It might be really convenient if they were dealt into the Docks District deal somehow. Also really timid, really treacherous, really invidious….

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      1. You will see individual traders and wealthier artisans trying to get a deal with Black Island or the Conclave. But that would involve them physically moving. The Trade District holds the bulk of Kozalin’s population. Everybody will assume that it cannot be fed and seek to get out.

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    2. Well Thought out Oliver.

      Some counter thoughts (of course)
      * The dock is not a block. Most of the people in the block do not work for Daniel. They have jobs (if lucky) or engage in trade (markets) or live off charity of family. They have family members/friends and they have neighbors. They are unlikely to respond to anything as a monolithic group.

      * The book up to this point has shown a vibrant market in the dock area with no signs at all that it is limited to the Docks.

      * Access to the docks is controlled by Daniel – and Daniel is not restricting access to the docks.

      * There is still a lot of wealth in the city. The city still produces a lot of easily tradeable goods (aka – lucrative return cargoes for these grain ships), the foundries are still making gold building weapons and armor, the guard and soldiers are still being paid and workers are being paid for various construction projects (like repairing the outer wall). Lot of penniless refugees of course, but a lot of people who are not

      * I would agree that the local prosperity of the docks will inspire envy and thus instability, but it also functions as a safety valve as anyone can go there to buy a heater or some food if they have a few coin. Daniel is not requiring allegiance before you can access the dock or limiting access to favored groups.

      There are real limits
      *) Refugees are not going to benefit a lot from Daniel’s efforts as they have no money
      *) Daniel’s efforts up to this point are insufficient to feed the city, so at some point food will run out.
      *) Daniel still relies on other elements of the city (aka – public granaries) to partially feed dockworkers
      *) Power vacuums are unstable

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      1. ” They are unlikely to respond to anything as a monolithic group”

        The duke controlling the grain supply will see them as a block and cut grain deliveries to the whole district. And the walls defending them are manned by the same wizard’s troops. A mob storming the docks wouldn’t care whose house they are torching. They are more or less pressed into a group.

        “The book up to this point has shown a vibrant market in the dock area with no signs at all that it is limited to the Docks.”

        The same book tells you that conditions are arctic and people avoid going out. Nobody is walking across the city to a market unless he has to.

        “The city still produces a lot of easily tradeable goods (aka – lucrative return cargoes for these grain ships), the foundries are still making gold building weapons and armor,”

        Not for long, if at all. Daniel has just made importing grain more lucrative and provided good return cargo and a reason to think even better stuff will be available in the future.

        “the guard and soldiers are still being paid and workers are being paid for various construction projects (like repairing the outer wall).”

        By whom and for how long? There is no unified government. Tax collection will soon cease or has already ceased. And what would you tax? The city has no more hinterland and the maritime trade is surely a net drain of gold and silver. The city is about to go bankrupt. City officals are staying because they are getting food, likely, This will soon run out.

        “Lot of penniless refugees of course, but a lot of people who are not”

        I am sure there is a lot of slave trade and prostitution.

        “Daniel is not requiring allegiance before you can access the dock or limiting access to favored groups. ”

        Daniel is not the issue. If you try that you will be confronted with local youths with clubs and the guards will overlook a little commotion. And if you try it in a large armed group, Daniel’s guards will and must stop you.

        Now Daniel himself understands a lot more of economics. So does Tavrin. But Daniel is gone and Tavrin does ultimately not care.

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      2. I wonder if Tavrin and Pelagea consult when Daniel is away? It seems to me they would, but there is all sorts of wiggle room for the author to choose whatever he wants, or whatever he thinks is most likely.

        If they do consult, there MIGHT be some interesting political economics happening in the markets, among the people around the docks who frequent the markets and inside the fortified places Daniel built on the Docks.

        Probably not much, because as Oliver points out, Tavrin and Pelagea ultimately have other and higher priorities.

        Still, there MIGHT not be the cold indifference we sometimes toss around in discussions.

        Or…there might be exactly that.

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      3. I suppose they will have status meetings and either Avilla, as the head wife, or Cerise, as the fighting wife, will head them. Avilla and Elin will insist on that, as they have to keep Cerise busy to stop her from rushing in and declaring blood feud on the temple. And they must upgrade defenses. The new tank force and the new wolfen have to be integrated. Powered up elves have to be integrated into the watch schedule, as you need people immune to magic on the walls now. And somebody who can see through illusions needs to man the gate controls and at least some AA guns.

        However, their first priority will be Daniel and defense. We do not know how difficult it is to message to Daniel. And in any case they will have to keep these messages very closely guarded. It is also unclear whether Daniel can send material goods. If so, he will send factory stones for his new armor and guns. These will also take up communication bandwidth. And they have to talk about Bast.
        Daniel may care more about Kozalin, but it is not his first priority. Not even his second.

        And there is diplomacy. Pelagia has to know that the Winter Court has taken sides and that Daniel aided Mara.

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      4. Oliver, I suspect communication between Daniel and his coven while he is away constitutes nothing more complex than one of Corinna’s or Pelagea’s dryads resting and gardening near Alanna’s tree on Black Island, which if I remember correctly is still in Corinna’s grove, although I could be wrong and it is in Avilla’s garden.

        Not sure they had time to arrange that last bit before Odin and Thor kidnapped Daniel.

        As for moving physical objects from Daniel to his coven, THIS will be something we must watch very carefully.

        It should be simplicity itself for Alanna to take a moment to push Daniel’s accelerator ring making factory stone out of her Black Island tree. Cerise, Elin and Avilla know very well how to start the ring maker and safely store all of its output devices for Daniel’s future use. Ditto the armor stud making factory Daniel created and you can bet Cerise will be experimenting with THAT. Demetrius and Clan Nethwillin are sure to be interested as well.

        HOWEVER, the really interesting “objects” will be any enchanted item Daniel CREATES while in Alanna’s dream haven. If any of THOSE are “pushed out” of Alanna’s Black Island tree to be used by the coven and others, THAT will answer SEVERAL of our questions about dream magic, won’t it?

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  12. Several times the suggestion was made in the book that Daniel try and take over the city of Kozalin – the most recent being at the beginning of Thrall. I am not going to get into the question of “should he take over” as that is a topic with strong and strongly differing opinions among readers.

    The question I am going to address is “what would be necessary for Daniel to effectively control the city.

    The author (through Daniel) has suggested that the primary hurdle would be acceptance by the existing leaders. While Daniel might build the magical might to take over the city, he did not have the legitimacy to effectively rule the city. By that I mean he could not get willing cooperation from most of the leaders, soldiers, mages and citizens of the city, much less the tacit acceptance by the temples. And without that cooperation, it would be almost impossible to hold the city, much less get any value from it.

    I would argue that that situation is changing, leaving a very real possibility that Daniel could be wildly accepted as the ruler of Kozalin.

    * The temples are shattered as a political force between the death of all the more senior clerics and the reality taht the gods are focused on Ragnarok. They have influence still, but an order of magnitude less than before
    * The civilian leadership is mostly all dead, killed by the devourer. That was explained in Thrall
    * A large part of the city bureaucracy is not being paid anymore and leaderless
    * Three big nobles are locked in a power struggle for control over the noblility and most of the soldiers — with no clear leader and no willingness to accept any other.
    * The Conclave, really the only intact major center of power in the city, is now locked into some internal struggle. Details unclear, but in any case the conclave avoids overt political power over non-mages.
    * The refugees and common citizens in the city are in a bad shape – many combat losses, facing starvation, economic dislocation, deadly cold with fuel very scarce and with individual deliberately agitating them are a powder keg
    * The undead are restless in the city and provide a background of tension/fear/uncertainty if not any serious threat to the city.
    * Fear of starvation is getting more serious

    In summary, the city has a complete power vacuum. Nobody is in charge and all the normal candidates (nobles, priests, mages) are acceptable replacements. Everybody can see that things are getting worse and that all the nominal leaders are failing. People are scared and getting desperate.

    Now enters Daniel
    * War mage with a proven record of saving the city and actively working to save citizens and soldiers in desperate fighting while the other mages held back. Even the soldiers in Asgard know this (thrall)
    * He controls the docks – probably one of the very few places in the city where the streets are safe, food is available for sale, markets are functioning and government services are working. The economy is WORKING in the docks where everywhere else is is failing.
    * He provides all this magic – heaters, warm clothing, lights — to common people
    * He has this amazing fortress that just appeared one day – a fortress that is said to be invulnerable to attack, filled with soldiers wielding magical weapons and protecting his harem of beautiful women — that is hitting pretty much every key cultural element of a King or other great leader in that culture.
    * He has no ties to any power structures — which means he is not enemies with any key leader. He is effectively a candidate that might be acceptable to everybody, although probably not the first choice of anybody

    Basically, I see two routes that almost guarantee that Daniel takes over the city – whether he wants to or not.
    1) Daniel extends his control over the dock to include the Trade quarter, primarily to help people. This effectively gives him control over half the population of the city (very roughly) and runs it well. He becomes effectively first among equals and parlays this (in order to address real issues) into effective control over the city.

    2) Some crisis occurs and the city is doomed – until Daniel steps up and begins issuing orders to save the city. People obey and the city is saved. Daniel is effectively the leader from that day forward because he earned it and the other leaders clearly did not. This is the more likely scenario simply because this is Ragnarok – crisis is normal.

    The only routes I see where Daniel does not eventually take control are as follows:
    a) city is destroyed before it happens
    b) Brand appoints a leader
    c) Brand returns himself to lead (unlikely)
    d) Brand sends back the prince from Asgard to rally the defenders. Which might explain why Brand was building up the Prince so much.

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    1. Dspring, there is at least one more option for Daniel either achieving effective control of Kozalin or NOT controlling Kozalin, though he might still defend and organize the Docks District.

      Remember, the Prince has at least one sister and one younger brother, either or both of whom may still live.

      As soon as the King discovers that the Prince is dead, the King will send whoever he believes is most competent OR most effective to take over Kozalin and its critically important DARK PORTAL.

      The King MIGHT send his daughter, like a seeker missile aimed straight at Daniel, marriage proposal in hand. Unlikely, given the royals’ experience of Kozalin under the Runesage, but needs must and Daniel has the strongest force in Kozalin at the end of THRALL.

      The king MIGHT send his young son, with appropriate advisers, and won’t THAT be fun. Imagine a younger version of Caspar, EAGER to join the Asgardian host defending the Golden City, ASAP.

      The king MIGHT send BOTH. I suppose it depends how important Kozalin is to Varmland, which probably comes down to how important the Dark Portal and Red Conclave are, since the King has a coterie of idiot nobles in armor at his own court.

      Daniel’s opinion in all of this will, of course, be irrelevant.

      Watching him dodge the royal daughter will be hilarious.

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      1. Eventually the scenarios involving the Royal children heirs? Might be applicable but I do not think it will happen in the next book. The King is currently Under Siege he probably would not risk sending his remaining son and daughter out of his sight yet. A more likely scenario is that the Kings City Falls and he evacuates with his people as many as possible to Daniels Bass City and just shows up in the middle of the city.

        “Hello surprise Royal inspection”. “Daniel who”?

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      2. Good points about the King, DaShoota. Remember that HE remembers Kozalin has the Dark Portal, and there are probably also enough Asgardian Church clergy alive to keep their long distance communications active.

        The royal refugees might call ahead for a scheduled portal opening to make their escape a LOT easier and their arrival in Kozalin a LOT more sudden.

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      3. For Daniel an alliance with the monarchy means

        – a possible break with the Conclave, who may have the power to break his walls
        – he has to support the aristiocracy

        That is precisely what he cannot afford to at this point. Frankly, the best way to deal with any royal offspring showing up would be Cerise and her daggers.

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      4. Snicker.

        Cerise and her daggers will be as far away from any Royal daughters who show up as Pelagea and Tavrin and Demetrius can manage.

        The LAST thing that trio needs when Daniel is away would be Cerise even appearing anywhere the royal progeny might see her.

        …and Avilla will be the first to tell her so.

        …okay, maybe Elin will beat Avilla to it.

        Colin

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      5. What does the king have to offer? Legitimacy over a dying kingdom? Daniel does not wish to have an Empire over Varmland. He wants to rule Europe. In the short term any royal in Kozalin is just trouble.

        They better die and vanish without a trace in transit to Kozalin.

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      6. Oliver, a royal marriage MIGHT be one more useful tool in the generational transition from feudal government to something more like Daniel would like to build.

        Personally, I’m really, REALLY tired of the old trope in fantasy stories where the hero marries the princess and combines his knowledge/skills/abilities with her authority/knowledge/connections to win the day then rule happily ever after.

        PL-PL-PL-PL-PL-PL-PL-PL-PL-PL….

        It’s all going to come down to what the author chooses to do with this frayed, dangling thread.

        Which I hope amounts to nothing at all, but who can say there won’t be something…invidious and entertaining?

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      7. What is more likely to happen. Is that the king and his remaining Royal children appear in the middle of the city one day. After which they are taken in by the remaining Nobles. Before he even learns about Daniels existence his daughter is promised to one of the Nobles Sons or perhaps even the noble himself. That would close that particular Avenue to Daniel almost immediately and for the near future. Nobility would not have a penchant for telling the royalty about this new guy who has an island that popped up overnight out in the middle of nowhere who does all these incredible things.

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      8. I personally think the marriage to the daughter of the king possibility has some good points, but ultimately unlikely as I think the daughter is pretty young.

        But using marriage as a tool to bind an empire together has many advantages, especially as Daniel is certainly going to have multiple wives. I do not think Daniel needs marriage, but I think some of Daniel’s marriages will bring with them alliances.

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    2. Daniel has already had considerable difficulty dealing with Nobles in the first book. I do not think he would welcome any dealings with them. I think either before during or after he winds up taking control of the city whether it’s his choice or somebody else’s doesn’t matter the Nobles will be weeded out a great deal. I think Clan elf Ninja might go Shinobi and do some assassination work themselves.

      His elves might even do that without telling him. They would see those Nobles that are not capable or willing to give Daniel their complete loyalty as a threat to the clan and it’s future. “It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission”.

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      1. Provided Cerise isn’t faster. And of course provided nobody has already ordered or done it while Daniel is away. Leading back to the question of who is giving orders at Black Island now. I would say either Demetrios or Cerise.
        Both are believers in the dead not being able to complain.

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      2. Oliver, I’m sure Demetrios believes the dead are in no position to exclaim…well, except maybe to Hel and She has other priorities now.

        Demetrios, however, is also very likely to consult with Pelagia before creating the sort of diplomatic mess for her to clean up that a dead Royal princess would be.

        Colin

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    3. Those scenarios sound plausible but Daniel can’t hold the leadership for long, unless Ragnarok intensify to such a level that social reform must be implemented. For Daniel to rule Kozilin he will need to get head deep into the political game, and as good leader that he is, Daniel hasn’t shown any special ability in politics. The other factions will always be vying for power over the others and himself, not to forget that Daniel group is composed mostly by the social outcast, yes the more hardy type but outcast none the less, he doesn’t have nobles to back him up from that angle, is surrounded by magical creatures that are way to feared or completely underestimated of their true abilities. In essence Daniel as no backing to subjugate the other factions, unless he gets himself something to either bound or subjugate those factions to him there is no way he can lead.

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      1. I would agree that the nobles would not easily accept (in the long term) a ruler who was not from a noble bloodline. A marriage and heir would solve much of that. But also keep in mind that this is a warrior nobility. That means they respect bad-ass warriors as worthy of respect. Daniel’s mortars will not do this, but if Daniel goes mono-on-mono with a dragon or similar being where the whole city can see – that might be acceptable.

        Alternatively, Daniel is going to create a new type of army. One that can train ordinary people as soldiers in a few months and yet can completely outfight the old style warriors. Realistically that new army will not have ties of loyalty to the old nobles, but to Daniel and the leaders Daniel appoints. Wtihin 3-4 months of Daniel becoming the effective ruler of the city, the existing nobles and soldiers will be pretty much a non-issue militarily. Politically it is a different story, but so long as Daniel delivers the goods (food, shelter, safety, prosperity) to most people, the political question is manageable.

        Again – this a possible route if Daniel wants to take over Kozalin.

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      2. Well is true that they are indeed a warrior type of society, but is has been shows how strongly they cling to their preconception, the problems Daniel had with his first interaction with noble society in book one was because they perceived that him been a wandering adept, to be automatic inferior to them and should kiss their behind at their disposition, even when he already proved himself an adept fighter they didn’t doubt in double-crossing him because of their felt wounded dignity. I am not sure he would be able to hold any semblance of loyalty or acceptance form the nobles even with the marriage. Although the angle of an improved army might help him in intimidating the other factions to be to open in opposing him.

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      3. You are operating under the assumption that he actually needs those factions or most of them to rule the people. For that type of culture and civilization that is not necessarily true. And it was actually demonstrated in the first book. The Common People in that type of civilization and culture do not actually hold loyalty to their rulers or overlords or nobility. If they are not fighting on the front lines or in the military itself they have a tendency to do what is called “wait and see” and simply follow whoever wins. This actually happened to Daniel in the first book. The commoners he was counting on to protect his place and his people pretty much stood aside and watched as the nobility came in and took what they wanted. With the exception of those that he had personally earned the Loyalty of. They also stood aside and watched as Daniel went and took it all back. They didn’t lift a finger either way they waited to see who won and that would be the person they would follow. That’s just the way a medieval type culture or civilization functioned.

        It’s also one of the ways that religion itself spread during those types of time periods and civilizations. Whoever won the war or the battle and claimed the territory their religion is the one that the people simply chose to follow because their rulers had it they didn’t really care who the ruler was or what religion it was it’s just the way things were done. Their mindset is not the same as a 20th or 21st century people’s they don’t hold loyalties in the same way.

        The truth is if Daniel decided to fight his way through all of the Nobles militaries breaking their weapons shattering their armor and shields. Walk right up to the Nobles take them out and publicly execute them himself the people would simply follow him even the Nobles own Military would turn and follow him afterwards. They would not hold a grudge for the most part only members that Nobles family would hold a grudge. As long as he didn’t mistreat or harm the people and he kept the military happy they would give him their complete loyalty. It’s rather cruel and Savage and brutal but that’s just the way it was in that type of culture.

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      4. …and of course that is a bit of simplification for the purpose of quick discussion.

        Sometimes large numbers of ancient people could be very loyal to an idea, philosophy or religion, Christianity, for instance, not that there weren’t all sort of crazy flavors and cults of that in the earliest days.

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      5. Not even Christianity was immune from the indifference most commoners showed. It’s one of the reason Islam managed to conquer and take over turkey the way it did. It’s also one of the reasons that the Crusades started. Islam would move into an area if it defeated the military it would take out all of the Nobles and Royals execute or convert them and their families. After that the peasants would simply convert end of story. There were a few exceptions where the peasants did not convert but they were rare. After a while they got the bright idea of extermination of those specific groups . But the remaining Nobles and Royals in Europe took a look at that and saw how many of their kind were being butchered and said nope commissioned the church starts sending invoice we’re going to have a crusade. Then you have a guy named lion-hearted come along “I can do it”. This lasted for a considerably long time as a standard operating procedure for most of the masses of people. It was only during the Age of Exploration and colonization that it begin to end. In a world with actual Gods fighting it out for territory and worshippers? I speculate that the common people would be even more realistic about the matter. As for the religious Fanatics and strict adherence well who do you think’s going to be doing most of the fighting.

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      6. Yes he doesn’t need those faction to gain the populace favor, but he will need them to properly run the city, Daniel doesn’t have enough personnel right now to run the city in place of those factions, heck he barely has enough people to properly run the citadel, and I am sure Kozelin is even bigger. Right now he might brute force his way to the top position by force of arms or gold but that won’t gain him any type of loyalty or proper management. Not to mention the social clash of his morals with the natives.

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      7. The point is he needs the middle level of the bureaucracy to run that City not the nobility. Most of the nobility came in with the prince and have no real ties to the city. Most of the city’s upper government were not nobility. They were the mayor and the mayor’s staff. The mayor is dead much of his staff is still alive. The mayor’s staff would be and himself brought from Merchant class not nobility. There is a clash between most modern people ourselves included in this concept for understanding of governance. There is a reason that the Republic of the United States came into existence at the end of what could be called the feudal system era. That’s the point in time that effectively ended with the end of the colonization period from Europe.

        In a society and culture that’s similar to the one Daniel finds himself you will have redundancy of government of several types. You actually see this represented in the city itself. It was also represented in our own world history Elizabethan period the colonial period and in much of the Renaissance. You have multitudes of government within the same area nobilityb, elected officials and bureaucratic organizations as well as religious structures all geared towards governing the area. In many cases they were actually competing with each other. This is one of the things in our own world which led to the secession of many colonies to forming their own localized governments. And this is displayed in the city of Kozelan quite clearly you have a religious power structure and nobility power structure and elected official power structure and a bureaucratic organizational power structure all geared and capable of running the city on their own. Daniel does not need all of these he does not even need all of any one of these organizations to be successful in governing the city.

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      8. I don’t know I still think that theres still a reason why the government still in such a chaotic mess at the moment. If someone could come and take control at once that would have already happened. Besides in this world you want the church at your side antagonize no them migth bring unwanted Godly intervention. Maybe they are the ones to truly hold power!??😕😕😕

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      9. Maybe but I don’t think so. The book seems to rely heavily on the worshippers of the Gods being a insurance policy against not coming back to life. It doesn’t actually say whether or not the gods need “living people”. Whichever side wins the war can always resurrect the remaining soldiers to produce a viable population. We still don’t know what the ramifications of the blowing of that horn actually means. We got a short explanation from Daniels Living Armor but it could have other Potentials in the meaning. Up to and including stripping their own worshippers from the world of the living. He might return to the city to find that every worshipper of the northern gods are gone. It could have entirely other meanings as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Random thought – Odin appears to believe that there are only three Atlantian wizards left, at least based on the question he asked Daniel.

    He most likely believes Daniel is the one who sees woman as fonts of magic, given his nymphs and apprentices.

    Has Daniel met any? I am guessing Steelbinder is one, simply because of his comment that he knows Daniel is not an Atlantian – and because his army is so focused on blocking any magical senses

    What are the odds that Daniel meets all three?

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    1. Well, if Lightbringers show up in Kozalin sneaking around spying on Black Island, we might learn whether Ward, Steelbinder or others could be Atlanteans…when they vanish.

      Erased by Lightbringers or fleeing the city is a hint, not a confirmation.

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  14. Are the Lightbringers Weak? or at least a lot weaker than people believe?

    I know their reputation is amazing and I know their performance during the battles with Daniel was very good, but there are signs that their reputation is much greater than the reality.

    * Nearly every attack against Daniel was delivered by magical items. Accumulating items when your organization has been around for 10,000 years is fairly easy, so this is not really an indication of their current crop of talent. And no one item seems unusually powerful.

    * No truly powerful demon was used in the attack on Daniel. A lot of them, but no one demon outside the abilities of any small group of ordinary mages.

    * The Lightbringers did not have anybody in Kozalin. Kozalin is the home of the Conclave, by far the largest and most powerful group of mages in all of Europe and Central Asia. If they cannot permanently station a spy there, then their organization has got to be very small. Daniel was famous for his unlimited magic and no Lightbringer showed up. Mana generation is unique to Atlantians – it should have been a huge red flag. Although I suppose their agent could have compromised already before Daniel arrived or their agent had already validated Daniel was not Atlantian. In that case, their agent is probably that female mage who led Daniel through the library. She was really the only mage around him in close proximity beyond Steelbinder or the old mage and I am already guessing that those two are (respectfully) an Atlantian and the runesage 🙂

    * The lightbringers are all about using mages to keep more mages in check — It seems contrary to this ethos for Ra to allow the organization to get too large. Ra is not about to create any super large and powerful mage organization.

    * It has been a very long time since the Atlantians were a great power. Sounds like only three still survive and they are wicked good at hiding. I suspect none of the Lightbringers has fought an actual Atlantian in the last few centuries.

    I personally think the lightbringer organization is rather small. Perhaps a dozen combat trained agents and a score spies and a few dozen support personnel – trainers, mages to create items/bind demons, etc. And of course a group of guards over the soul archive.

    If the above is true (or even if it is not), I can totally see one of Daniel’s missions being to stage a “great escape” and breaking out all those Atlantian wizards out of the soul prison Ra created. This probability rises to 100% if Bast decides she wants revenge on Ra. That is a lot of very powerful wizards who would owe Daniel a lot. Perhaps a lot of completely insane wizards after being tortured for so long, but powerful insane mages.

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    1. Those Souls could be sacrificed for power or knowledge. Or Daniel or somebody else could convince them to combine to create a new entity. Kind of a Proto God formed out of many Souls of Atlantean Wizards. He did something similar with the entity that was in the soul trap of the Tower. Convincing it to take on a new persona.

      Maybe that entity will go and attempt to acquire the souls for its own purpose after all she must be holding a grudge.

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    2. I don’t think so, maybe they suffered from the long known curse of ‘plot correction’ we needed Daniel to survive magical super assassins that he should have no place surviving when he got no prior information about them before clashing. But I diverge. Probably the ligthbringuer didn’t took out their A-game operatives to take on an unknown factor as Daniel, they need info on his capabilities and what he can bring to the table. The first assassin tried a really conventional level of assassination since that failed they began to increase the danger level so maybe we haven’t seen the full spectrum of their capability’s.

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      1. Actually even in the second and third attempt they didn’t pull out anything that was beyond a normal lizards are a very good wizards capabilities. If you review the second and third encounters they’re mostly encounters and fights against monsters that was summoned. Not really against the Assassins themselves. The Assassins themselves were pretty much just an annoyance in the sun tower to Daniel not a real threat on their own. His problem was dealing with the monsters they brought.

        The only real notable characteristics of the Assassins the lightbringer’s were their stealthy capabilities and their reflexes. Both of which could have been given to them by Rah with a little partial Divine upgrade. Not enough to make them a demigod but enough to make them a little faster and so forth.

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      2. And that’s why we can assume that wasn’t the A list of the organization, and although Daniel survived the first assassin we have to admit that it was more by luck that skill. After all the ou thing he managed to do to survive was run away. The creatures they summoned weren’t easy thing to handle and they were commanding more that one each. I think we can asume those assassins weren’t the best they had.

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      3. They could be the best that Rah has. They could be relying on their reputation more than anything. It worked for others in our history.

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      4. Well I am asumming that since they belonge to Ra maybe they were some of the weapons he used to guet ride of Bast, like sending them to assasinate some of her high priest or important anchors, giving that he did manage to eliminate her (FOR A WHILE) they should have earned some of that reputation.

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      5. Well, they may not have been the Lightbringers’ best assassins, but they were three of them and those three expended some expensive or costly and possibly quite old resources, for the privilege of fouling up everything for Ra in perhaps the most spectacular mission catastrophe ever.

        It might be fun to know whether the three of them were half the available force, or a tenth of it, or a trivial nothing of an expenditure.

        That might also figure prominently in how eager the Lightbringers organization or Ra Himself will be to have another try at Daniel in Castle Black.

        I have to believe Ra will at minimum send a relatively good spy.

        Another assassin team when so much needs prioritized attention now that Odin is infuriated, Great Beasts stalk the Mediterranean coast and Fimbulwinter sends refugees fleeing everywhere, especially Egypt?

        Unclear.

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      6. Yes but I think that Daniel did a great job in chaining Ra actions, given how desatrous the whole thing went with the Sunsphire and that Daniel leaved some pointed well hidden evidance that Ra had his sunny glowing hand in it, Odin will be taking any action that Ra take in his territory as a posible statement of his position in this war, wich I don’t think will be in hte most likeble light. He sending would be assasin to his territory even if justified will ring quite the nasty bells. Not to mention all the other secrets manuevers he has been victim of that a good assasin could have gotten away with it. The old oneyed must be quite paranoid now, any action taken can increase that.

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      7. Paps, think a little further down the trail of events, also.

        Maybe Odin will berate Ra for messing around with Daniel in Kozalin for another reason–collateral damage is already MUCH too high wherever Daniel has interacted with Odin’s world, why troll for MORE?

        Odin might flat out tell Ra to get the Hel out of Kozalin and LEAVE BAD ENOUGH ALONE!

        Brand will tell Odin that Daniel has a basically defensive personality and Black Island’s actions reflect Daniel’s personality. Leave Daniel alone and he will not only defend his island and his people, he might also defend Kozalin long enough and well enough to destroy more of Gaia/Loki’s army as well as preserving a few more faithful Asgard worshipers/anchors.

        Mess with Daniel and he will kill you, your neighbor, your neighbor’s dog, your neighbor’s cat AND all the other neighbors’ and their dogs and cats and the rats in their attics and lice in their beds…EVERYTHING BURNS!

        That’s just the wonderfulness of Daniel.

        Incidentally, it just occurred to me that no matter how well Hecate and Daniel play their game, they will ALSO be preserving at least a few anchors for Brand, Thor, Odin…maybe even Gaia, because those are the gods of some of the people living on Black Island as well as in the parts of Kozalin protected by Daniel.

        Come to think of it, how much do the Groves venerate Gaia?

        I’d go so far as to say, “some, in the distant past, but little or none today.”

        Just reading Alanna’s character in this, and the reactions of the younger dryads to Daniel empowering the land under their trees. I’m suspicious Alanna would be sad in a historic sense, to see Gaia exterminated, but secretly happy to see the bloody-handed ancient Titan torn down to make room for some new Earth Mother goddess of northern Europe.

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      8. HAHAHAAH Loved the neighberhood massacre sccenario, now Daniel is not a God(yet), but Hecate is and she fully understand the implications they carry, given that one of her aspects is revange she migth have plans in the works to deal with them, either to turn them to her religion, or a serie of `unfortunate` accident will be happening to them.

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      9. I don’t think there would be any worshippers of the aesir group in Daniel’s Fortress Island. I think the workings of his coven on the island and its Fortress would subtly drive them out. If they were Fanatics that is if not it would probably give them a psychological push to convert.

        Much the same way I think it happened with the wolfen. “But then that’s only my suspicions.” After all it was shortly after Daniels girls put their first words on his Holdings that the wolfen started converting to the “Heathen goddess”.

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      10. Thats rigth, talking about the wolfen, would they guet along well with the new batch of catgirls or they will have a ‘cats and dogs’ type of relationship???

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      11. I’m actually interested to see whether or not Daniel invents a lazy laser pointer. I can kind of see a whole bunch of wolfen and Cat girls running around trying to catch the Little Red Dot of light.

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      12. Paps, you can bet that the catgirl warrior-guard types will have to prove themselves in combat before Wolfen actually CAN know what to think about them.

        Wolfen seem to me very “show me” driven.

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      13. True true but I am considering from the species trait. Would the cat girl nature and behaviors clash with the wolfen? ? Wold there be cater in the future not only focused on girls? Can Daniel, Cerise and Avilla push the wolfen transformation to further levels??? And how are they dealing with relationship (cat girls and wolfen) Gunner wasn’t to happy with ‘his girl’ sleeping around even though he understood the need for it.

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      14. Dogs and cats don’t inherently hate each other. Cats tend to prefer being laid back and relaxed. Dogs prefer to be more active. House cats tend to be smaller than most dogs.

        So you put together an excitable dog with a cat that just wants to relax. The dog wants to play and have fun the cat gets irritated and angry. That’s where the Trope of cats and dogs fighting comes from. The dog sees an animal that’s not a dog that’s smaller than it that it is not supposed to hurt. It knows this so it doesn’t actually want to hurt the cat but it still wants to play. The cat just wants to relax and be comfortable and it’s being irritated by this annoying oversized animal. Conflict is going to come out of that. The cat girls in the book do not seem to be overly interested in just laying around and relaxing until night time. So I don’t think there’ll be any conflicts. Might be some competitions but that would probably be it.

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      15. 1. Those assasins did not lose the fight. Daniel had to flee and his gear was ruined. Had he continued, he would have died.
        2. He fought with unprecedented personal equipment, on a level of technology that cracked Fenrir’s prison.
        3. Those mages still had to worry about attracting unwanted attention

        Liked by 1 person

      16. A mortal Prince had bodyguards with equipment that allowed them to randomly survive walking on molten rock. Seen in that light the Assassin’s equipment wasn’t all that spectacular. No that was just a little extra expensive for a nation supposedly swimming in gold.

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      17. Oliver, just noodling here, but a thought bubbled up while I looked at your presentation of Daniel’s win/loss record with the Lightbringers so far.

        Yeah, that would be Daniel’s loss/loss/loss record. It was Alanna who freed him and Mara from the dream monster.

        However, give Daniel a little time to prepare and he now has the knowledge to develop into some very effective traps of his own.

        For example, knowing what you and I briefly kicked around regarding pocket universes and Gates, what do you suppose will happen to the next assassin silly enough to chase Daniel into a Gate of his own making?

        BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA

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      18. If you have no inherent powers, then you will have to concentrate on equipment. Lightbringers have multiple options.They seem to use a lot of bonded demons and creatures. It is a difference of style.

        They also work under restrictions

        1. They need to capture a soul, not just kill or drive off.
        2. They concentrate on a different target, i..e. all the work they put into suppressing teleporters was wasted.
        3. Their equipment has to be inconspicious, as they need to sneak in. They are assassins, not warriors or soldiers.

        In addition, I am afraid I have to point out that they fought in an environment you need to be a god or a Daniel level healer to survive in.

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      19. Yeah, I have to agree with Oliver’s analysis of the Lightbringer assassins who chased Daniel around the Spire trying to capture him, and FAILING by killing him.

        Remember, his body died.

        Only his spirit escaped.

        Of course, it’s also worth pointing out that this constituted a victory for Daniel.

        Ironically, the assassins will have to report “mission failure” back to Ra, not only because they died but because they believe they have sent Daniel’s soul back to Atlantean resurrection, from where he will haunt some future Varmland or other territory, maybe Egypt itself.

        It’s ALSO worth pointing out that Ra not only lost three probably rather expensive to train and equip assassins, He also lost EVERYTHING THEY CARRIED INTO THE SPIRE.

        Whether they used their bound demons directly against Daniel, or merely set them loose to be wandering encounters, every bound demon, every potion, every enchanted object on their crispy atomized corpses will be GONE a few nanoseconds after the nuclear-level explosion that destroyed the Spire.

        Liked by 1 person

      20. I’m not sure they made it back to Rah. Remember those escaped monsters eat souls to regain their physical forms.

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      21. DaShoota, I think we are all assuming that Ra’s Lightbringer assassins inside the Spire were toasted to a crackly crunch, whether or not Daniel had already killed them himself.

        Some of us are also assuming that Ra will go to the trouble of hunting down their souls in the Egyptian “land of the Dead” for an After Action Report.

        Of course, that last assumption falls apart if the assassins’ souls wound up in Odin’s Asgard “soul soup” pot….

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      22. I’m thinking wound up more in the belly of a Divine Beast. Giant lightning Source Zilla wanted Soul soup too. But I think floating Cosmic jellyfish would rather have steak Alla lightbringer.

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      23. That’s an excellent point, DaShoota. If the dead Lightbringer assassins never report back to Ra because their souls are devoured by some Ancient Beast gathering enough power to regenerate, the Sun God will just have to suck rocks for information about what happened inside the Spire.

        I kind of like that, actually.

        It would leave BOTH Odin AND Ra in the dark about what Daniel did.

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      24. > Ironically, the assassins will have to report “mission failure” back to Ra, not only because they died but > because they believe they have sent Daniel’s soul back to Atlantean resurrection, from where he will > haunt some future Varmland or other territory, maybe Egypt itself.

        Well, if you fight inside a prehistoric, badly damaged artefact, that may happen. Ra won’t be surprised and the nightmare scenario of gods and Atlanteans cooperating has been averted. And the Exterminatus scored a major propaganda victory.
        And while this wizard is gone, you can still take hostages. Waiting twenty years is not an issue to Ra.

        It also depends on the question of what happens to the soul of a Lightbringer who dies in Asgard.
        And on what Ra believes to happen to the soul of an Atlantean who dies in Asgard.

        > It’s ALSO worth pointing out that Ra not only lost three probably rather expensive to train and equip > assassins, He also lost EVERYTHING THEY CARRIED INTO THE SPIRE.

        While Daniel has lost the opportunity to study an Atlantean artefact and Asgardian soul magic. And in Ra’s eyes he has also lost Aphrodite.
        That is also a reason these assassins were not that impressive. Ra expected an Atlantean to rather blow himself and any Lightbringers up rather than let his soul be captured. Averting that inside a powerful Atlantean artefact with a known self destruct option is unlikely to be a realistic expectation.

        Now if those were the people Ra is willing to throw away, you do not want to meet the A-team.

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      25. Oh.

        Hostages.

        Yeah.

        Daniel might find he needs to hurry back to Castle Black faster than he and Hecate initially believe whenever Book Five begins.

        Of course, it might be fun for Daniel to do whatever Hecate, Alanna and he come up with from Her new deck of option cards in Book Five and when Daniel, or Danielle finally makes it back to Black Island, Cerise and Sefwin make him/her a present of two or three nastily imprisoned Lightbringer spies.

        Hmm…Cerise’s murder witch shadow magic plus Clan Nethwillin’s dark elf magic.

        Seems like a marriage of magics MADE for Hecate.

        Colin

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      26. “Of course, it might be fun for Daniel to do whatever Hecate, Alanna and he come up with from Her new deck of option cards in Book Five and when Daniel, or Danielle finally makes it back to Black Island, Cerise and Sefwin make him/her a present of two or three nastily imprisoned Lightbringer spies.”

        No. Imagine the trio Daniel fought among the patients in Elin’s clinic. The result is obvious and the exact opposite. Somebody like the first assassin they might catch. But if anything Ra would send better people than the trio fighting Daniel, as they were less than triumphant and we are talking about an Atlantean’s lair.
        Now Ra might wait ten years. Or they may have teleported into Kozalin the day Daniel was reported. We do not know. Nobody on Black Island knows. Assuming anything but the worst case means betting your life.

        At the risk of repeating myself: Black Island must go at least into partial lockdown. No outsiders on the island. Period.
        And no potential hostage noncombatant goes outside. Only groups with combat capability and some magic capabiliy leave the island. Anybody entering is searched and magically scanned.

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      27. Yeah, that access shutdown is definitely what should happen, but probably not what actually happens.

        I hope we get to see some of the decision making process as well as what actually does happen in Book Five.

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      28. Trying to lock down the island would ultimately be pointless. Cerise is a bit of an adrenaline junkie she’s not going to stay put that long. And if she’s gone too long well her girlfriend will go looking for her even if it means leaving the hearth.

        Never give an order you know will not be obeyed.

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      29. I think it is pretty clear that the lightbringers that attacked Daniel in the sunspear were probably among the best that the Lightbringers had.

        1) Alana specifically said they would send one of their top teams
        2) It has probably been decades if not centuries since they last found an Atlantian — so they would never risk loosing track again by sending a 2nd string team.

        Totally agree that they were dangerous foes. I am just suggesting that nothing shown to date requires any Lightbringer to be more than a so-so mage. Very well trained warrior with a lot of magical equipment – Yes. But actual mage talent required is minimal at best to do what they did.

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      30. Daniel killed one or two of them in his fight against the monsters in the tower. And he did that effectively by accident by not noticing they were there. Everyone’s concerned about the power of the lightbringer’s. No it’s the power of they’re summoned monsters that it seems you have to worry about. They have quite a lot of specialized equipment for assassination of wizards apparently. But they’re real power seems to lie in they’re summoned monsters. Other than that Daniel literally killed one by running over him by accident. That would make him about a little more dangerous then a raccoon in the middle of the night sitting in the road. Maybe with rabies?

        I’ll say the same thing I say to those people who confuse Frankenstein with his monster. “Do not confuse the man with his monster”.

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      31. Good point about Lightbringers not necessarily being good magic users, Dspring.

        There’s also the possibility that Ra does not WANT them to be good magic users.

        Atlantians were and are good magic users, after all, and look what that produced.

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    3. If you mean lockdown is in nobody enters or leaves, yes, that is a temporary wartime measure.

      If you take it as closing off the island to any outsider, that is doable. It means closing down the shops (partially) and Elin’s clinic. They have built all those wards and walls and a gate house. To do their job, you must not just let people in.

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  15. Marriage and alliances versus economics of power

    We need to talk about political marriages. They have a connection to power, which in turn is based on economics. In particular, there is little point in marrying an aristocrat, if you are abolishing aristocracy. The upcoming Ice Age, however, is doing just that. Without agriculture there is no point in owning serfs or villages.

    Varmland’s landed gentry and medium level aristocracy is doomed. Daniel has to prepare for a future without agriculture. He cannot base his plans on being able to end an Ice Age. That means that his new empire will be very, very urban. Most food will come out of farms in buildings. That is a world of wizards, engineers, artisans and laborers, but not of knights and earls.

    Also, being the first political wife carries prestige. In other words, Daniel’s value will diminish a lot with the first marriage. Like with a used car. That means that marrying a princess of Varmland or indeed any European kingdom would be a grave mistake.

    Now what does Daniel seek? Allies, magic and trade. Daniel also has implaccable enemies:

    1. Gaia
    2. Ra
    3. The Sons of Ivaldi

    That leads us to sensible brides:

    1 demigodesses
    Daniel is building a new pantheon. Taking the daughter of a god or a demigodess or even godess powerful in her own right makes sense.

    2. wizardesses
    The Conclave may be the largest assembly of Europe north of the Alps. But what about south of the Alps? Is there a wizard king with a nubile daughter? Outside Europe?

    3. Eastern empires’ princesses
    A connection with China, Japan or India would be extremely valuable

    4. Geographically based allies
    Who is threatened by Egypt? Its neighbors. We know little about that area. So a princess from Arabia, the Levant, Ethiopia or Mauritania. Or indeed India. Or a mythical creature from there. How about Daniel and the Djinny?

    5. An enemy of an enemy
    A dwarfess. The most likely enemy of a dwarf is another dwarf.

    6. A powerful mythical being with connection
    A selkie or an air spirit. Or, if you really want to get kinky, Elin’s mother

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    1. Excellent analysis of future marriage options, Oliver. In a hundred thousand years of Ice Age, he might actually have time to test out most or all of your suggestions.

      Two places where we disagree are inherently linked.

      First, the “laborers” who make Daniel’s indoor farms function are farmers, not laborers. That includes the natural “committees” of community leaders who gather before each season to decide what will be planted in food, what will be planted for crafting, like textile crops, what will be pasture, etc.

      No way in Hel does Daniel want to bother himself with managing that detail level, and ONLY the farmers themselves have the experience to make these decisions–the nobles do NOT and the merchants don’t either.

      Of course, they will ALL have to deal with their new reality of endless indoor spring/summer/autumn farming. Ironically, they will have to negotiate among themselves and probably with Daniel or Elin also to put some of their fields into WINTER crops. Kale and Brussels Sprouts, for example, do not produce natural sugars (anti-freeze) until after the first frost, and it will take several exposures to frost for these crops to fully “mature” for discerning palates.

      Without those sugars, believe me, kale is cow food or human starvation rations. YUCK!

      Hence, virtually ALL of the traditional community farming skills and practices and organization will have to be carried over from old Varmland to new Kozalin. It will be necessary to add to these the day to day management of Daniel and Elin’s gifts, as well as the dryads’ gifts on Black Island itself. Then there will be all sorts of interactions between Clan Nethwillin’s farmers and Daniel’s farmers, each in their own indoor farms. They are certain to develop specializations and preferences that interact in old and new ways.

      Then there MIGHT be more indoor farms in Kozalin the city. If the author so decides and Daniel makes it happen, especially if it happens WITHOUT DRYADS which I suspect is most likely, those indoor farms will be even MORE traditional than whatever happens on Black Island, because they will require more human farm labor to produce fewer and less robust crops than humans with dryad partners, or humans with dark elf guidance.

      All of this leads to my second disagreement with your analysis. No, the nobles are not going to quickly vanish or be made irrelevant. Yes, the husbands and older male children will “vanish” into the war between Loki and Odin. Their mothers, sisters, wives and younger children will as traditions and survival require, hold fast to ancient family privileges and duties and properties. They will each have a few older guards and many armed teenagers in training to protect them and all sorts of old family retainers desperate to preserve their own lives and families’ lives.

      Some of them will be smart enough to club together and PAY Daniel to build at least one indoor farm fortress on THEIR properties inside Kozalin. Those negotiations ought to be fascinating. Oh, to be a fly on THAT ceiling!

      Since the indoor farms will be managed and operated by communities of farmers, I have to expect that the surviving nobles to whom those community members are enfeoffed will quickly establish or re-establish the traditional tithes, duties and other feudal obligations both from and to the farmers. The same will be true for community craft workers, some of whom might be represented by guilds.

      Think “Dungeons and Dragons” communities and you won’t be far from what I’m suggestinging. Bluntly, there’s no chance in Hel that Daniel can do anything more than reconstruct what is mostly still preserved among the surviving nobles, refugees and other inhabitants of Kozalin. He simply cannot replace an entire economic and social infrastructure they all know works with something he knows works better (after LOTS of heads roll) but they don’t even recognize.

      Of course, on Black Island in his own farms and communities Daniel has MUCH more freedom to innovate and will enjoy/suffer the benefits/headaches of each and every interaction between his new ideas, the people’s traditional ideas and their new physical reality.

      Happy, happy, joy, joy!

      Now for the last chunk of debatable points.

      Do we have any idea whether the common people of Varmland are serfs or peasants?

      I hope you will agree this makes a HUGE difference to how close the people are to something Daniel would recognize as “proto-representative democracy” or even “proto-constitutional monarchy”.

      I suspect most common people of Varmland are somewhere between serf and peasant. Their barons are often scum and treat them like the lowest form of serf, but tradesmen like Oscar lead me to believe there is also a slightly more modern “layer” of socio-economic development in Varmland, especially inside cities and towns but mostly NOT in villages or hamlets.

      Hence, there MIGHT be the beginnings of traits in a few social groups that Daniel could with time, effort, schooling and good luck nurture into the seeds of free enterprise representative democracy or something he thinks works better than that.

      Libertarian meritocracy?

      Or not.

      Like

      1. “First, the “laborers” who make Daniel’s indoor farms function are farmers, not laborers. That includes the natural “committees” of community leaders who gather before each season to decide what will be planted in food, what will be planted for crafting, like textile crops, what will be pasture, etc.”

        Well, no. Not in the mature state. First, these farms will be very productive. Agriculture will employ at most a small minority of the people. Secondly, the farms are perfectly level and standardized. Much of the work will be done by golems or gingerbread people. Thirdly, it will take technicians to maintain the buildings.

        “No way in Hel does Daniel want to bother himself with managing that detail level, and ONLY the farmers themselves have the experience to make these decisions–the nobles do NOT and the merchants don’t either.”

        Daniel will have to develop a bureaucracy.

        “Without those sugars, believe me, kale is cow food or human starvation rations. YUCK!”

        I doubt Daniel cares.

        “Then there MIGHT be more indoor farms in Kozalin the city. If the author so decides and Daniel makes it happen, especially if it happens WITHOUT DRYADS which I suspect is most likely, those indoor farms will be even MORE traditional than whatever happens on Black Island, because they will require more human farm labor to produce fewer and less robust crops than humans with dryad partners, or humans with dark elf guidance.”

        Not in the long run. Standardized environments without pests under optimal conditions. Much less expertise needed.

        “Their mothers, sisters, wives and younger children will as traditions and survival require, hold fast to ancient family privileges and duties and properties. They will each have a few older guards and many armed teenagers in training to protect them and all sorts of old family retainers desperate to preserve their own lives and families’ lives.”

        And they will eat what? Grown by which farmers on which land? What will they tax? If Daniel takes over a city he will certainly not let any noble holding it collect taxes. And outdoor farming during an ice age in Northern Europe will not work.

        And to paraphrase DaShoota: He can just execute them.
        If you are ruthless enough, that will be the optimal solution.

        “Some of them will be smart enough to club together and PAY Daniel to build at least one indoor farm fortress on THEIR properties inside Kozalin. Those negotiations ought to be fascinating. Oh, to be a fly on THAT ceiling!”

        Why would he do that, as opposed to build around Kozalin surrounded by new walls? You do not give your enemies power.

        “Since the indoor farms will be managed and operated by communities of farmers, I have to expect that the surviving nobles to whom those community members are enfeoffed will quickly establish or re-establish the traditional tithes, duties and other feudal obligations both from and to the farmers. The same will be true for community craft workers, some of whom might be represented by guilds.”

        Daniel would truly be an idiot if he let them. Remember how he dealt with a past attempt to tax him? He will replace the kicking with artillery.

        “Think “Dungeons and Dragons” communities and you won’t be far from what I’m suggestinging. Bluntly, there’s no chance in Hel that Daniel can do anything more than reconstruct what is mostly still preserved among the surviving nobles, refugees and other inhabitants of Kozalin. He simply cannot replace an entire economic and social infrastructure they all know works with something he knows works better (after LOTS of heads roll) but they don’t even recognize.”

        He already has. The demographics of Varmland are screwed up beyond repair. Survival rates in defended cities will be much higher.

        “Libertarian meritocracy?”

        Let’s be realistic. Daniel is not up for elections. And you will be given a list of acceptable gods to worship. The state runs most construction, health care, power generation, education, housing, …
        Most resources will initially be devoted to the military. The state runs a system of magical mental manipulation in form of Avilla’s banes and wards and cooking.
        There will be a genetic elite whom the state assists in procreation. The ruling classes will be immortal. At least part of the qualification for membership will be based on inherent, inheritable qualities, as sorceries – at least fire sorcery – runs in the family.

        Most outside observers from our world would call the future Black Empire fascist. And the description while not be fully accurate would have some merit.

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      2. Actually, Oliver, I doubt there is an author anywhere who could write that “fascist” sort of future story for Kozalin and Europe, with any hope of selling enough copies to make it worth the effort.

        Utterly dismal, unappetizing fare for me.

        Let’s look at some of your objections to my suggestions.

        First, do you have ANY experience gardening or farming?

        Forget the golems and gingerbread men as Avilla builds them. They don’t have the ability to perform complex and intellectually demanding work. Farming and gardening are MUCH more complicated than you seem to think they are. Farming in Varmland requires approximately 90% of the population for good and sufficient reasons and will continue to do so until Daniel comes up with both the hardware and software for something like magitech agricultural robots in a significant variety of sizes and capabilities.

        This is about the best WE can do today — https://farm.bot/

        There are large robot agricultural machines that operate at farm field size as Daniel’s would have to do. Notice how much computing power these require to perform their very minimal functions, and their software is even more demanding, not to mention the many programmers, researchers and agricultural specialists who provided all the data required to write the code.

        Now, if Daniel creates a bunch of golems or gingerbread workers with Avilla’s help AND puts the disembodied spirits of farmers into them, that could be the combination you are looking for. Without the intelligence and experience of those dead farmers, forget it.

        I want to emphasize this. The experience of farming that currently resides in the heads and souls of those veteran Varmland farmers is a critical, irreplaceable resource. I really hope the author does not ignore this irrefutable reality.

        Daniel will need a LOT more gingerbread farmers than you are thinking, probably at least ten farming golems for every human in his fully developed city and he is not even close to fully developed at this point, so he needs many more than that. It would be much easier to just use the human refugees he already has access to, but that will limit how many are available for military duties.

        Decisions, decisions….

        When Daniel has a chance to develop and create LARGE farming golems that perform the big harvesting and planting tasks we see combines and other modern equipment doing in OUR world, THEN you can reduce the numbers of laborers in Daniel’s indoor farms. It will take even more process automation in preserving, transporting and storing the harvest to significantly reduce laborer numbers any further. Maybe some or all of this can be done with appropriately large and complex enchantments? Either way, that’s more of Daniel’s precious time.

        Agriculture is a huge and complex combination of many, many functions.

        On to the next one.

        “Daniel will have to develop a bureaucracy.”

        HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA….

        Thanks for that bit of humor, Oliver.

        Remember Daniel’s opinion of bureaucracy? Now picture how well he’s going to replicate the fragments he remembers with such distrust and distaste.

        No.

        That’s not going to happen.

        TAVRIN might have to develop a bureaucracy, in self-defense, to handle the complexity and scale of Daniel’s many projects. Hence, there may well be a dark elf management organization, because why would Tavrin bother trying to educate anyone else to do what almost everyone in his clan can do better?

        Of course, this might impact the number of Clan Nethwillin ninja night warriors available for combat at any given moment….

        Next, Daniel might not care about food quality, but Avilla most certainly will and that is all that matters. She will “guide” him in the correct decisions regarding farms, gardens and operations and management thereof. He will quickly discover that those decisions are not his to make. That will be done by the farmers, their community councils and MAYBE a bit of subtle influence from Avilla.

        Standardized environments will not be possible. This “standardized environments” idea alone suggests to me you really don’t know much about gardening or farming. Different crops require different conditions for germination, growth, maturing, harvest and preservation. Forget standardization outside of single crops and forget any idea of depending on single crops. This is an era of multiple varieties of the SAME crop. A single community may grow as many different varieties of wheat as there are farmers in the community, maybe more, maybe MANY more.

        As for pests, again, no. Indoor farming does NOT mean no more pests. It DOES mean no more plagues of locusts, for which alone the farmers may deify Daniel, but there is no avoiding fungus, beetles, etc.

        Bluntly, many of those “pests” are pollinators and without them there is no food, just lots of fruitless bushes and trees. Avilla knows this. Farmers know this. Daniel does not know this, although he can certainly be instructed…in his voluminous spare time.

        My home has four varieties of plum tree around the yard. This year only ONE of them produced fruit. The pollinators failed three others this spring when it was miserable wet, cold and windy.

        No pollination, no fruit.

        Understand this: VARIETY IS LIFE to the Varmland farmers (and also to US in OUR world) and Avilla knows this in her bones. She will side with the farmers and gardeners on this and will be a prime example of it in her own gardens.

        You seem to have missed the part where I suggested Kozalin’s surviving noble families are perfectly capable of understanding that they need to pay Daniel to build a fortified indoor farm for THEM and their feudal retinues. Those are the places where THEIR peasants and craftsmen will grow crops, convert them into food or textiles and store or trade the surplus.

        Executing all the nobles is just stupidly wasteful. How does Daniel know he is not killing a critically valuable noble granny hearth witch? Just because they are noble does not mean they are without mana manipulation skills. Probably just the opposite. I wonder how many of the Conclave’s magi are seventh sons and daughters?

        “Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer.” Daniel will, at least in part, control the nobles by controlling the sources of their power. Every indoor farm and magical implement they have from him is powered by his enchantments. He’d be an idiot NOT to build in fail-safes, and they know that.

        Okay, the stupid ones don’t, but they never do.

        Daniel has demonstrated that he is entirely capable of leaving Varmland’s barons to dig their own graves. If the price is right, he will even sell them a shiny new matter to mana powered shovel that digs faster and moves more dirt. So long as he also operates multiple options where Kozalin’s refugees can find shelter and meals, he won’t care what sort of feudal idiocy the city’s nobles attempt to maintain.

        He’ll have enough trouble to keep him busy managing the consequences of his own modernization idiocies.

        Sorry, but you are just wrong about the current demographics of Varmland. Who do you suppose is living in those big iron buildings Daniel constructed for the Prince? Those refugees are mostly farmers with a few crafters and merchants, maybe a tiny number of hunters and other specialists. Most of the other common refugees in the worst facilities of Kozalin are also farmers.

        Survival rates in defended cities will be much higher as long as those cities are defended by Daniel’s weapons and fed by Daniel’s indoor farms. Otherwise they won’t survive at all. This is Fimbulwinter. Only extraordinary defenses and extraordinary food production methods will enable surviving SEVEN YEARS of snow and ice, much less the THIRTY YEARS some other versions of the Fimbulwinter story entail.

        I’d agree with you about elections and Daniel, but I don’t believe you really understand where the actual “elections” are happening. Those guilds are elective bodies, with all sorts of “interesting” traditions regarding who is eligible for election. The farming community “elders” are quasi-elective with very strong traditions about who is eligible for membership, but, basically, ALL the active farmers constitute collective decision-making bodies when it comes to cropping plans. There is a lot of subtle and overt collective decision making that happens in early modern European communities, and much of the history of those social practices goes back deep into Medieval times.

        As for your ideas about “the state” running things?

        No.

        It just won’t happen.

        For one thing, I very much doubt the author will do that. For another, it seems unlikely Daniel would do that. Much more important than either of those conditions, however, is the fact that Daniel’s agreements with the Groves and with Clan Nethwillin are strictly “hands off” in regards to what you propose to be “state” controls.

        I totally agree with things like Avilla’s “benign” mind influencing magics being important to how Black Island manages its diverse population. The coven’s “wards” also appear to have some interesting applications in that regard.

        What would you bet that Sefwin provides some even more interesting wards that Clan Nethwillin would normally cast around their own communities, but will be MUCH more powerful cast by Daniel’s coven, driven by Daniel’s matter to mana stones and instantiated around the entirety of Black Island?

        I don’t see Daniel concentrating as much of his resources in his military as you seem to. That’s not predictive, that’s observational.

        What would you guess Daniel has spent in terms of time and effort on his military applications in the first four books?

        Compare that with his construction and indoor farming and homemaking commitments.

        I’m not sure he’s even spent HALF his available time and effort on his military. That probably comes down to how his constructions are considered. Yes, the walls are defensive and therefore military. However, the building itself is housing and therefore not so much military, although I could argue the barracks are, the towers are, etc. Did he build ammunition handling elevators under his mortar positions? I’ll have to look for that next time I read about them. If not, are his elevators military or housing?

        Yes, there will be a genetic elite and yes there will be assisted procreation, but “the state” is not a good description here, either. We’re already looking at activities of a feudal Lord Daniel in this regard, literally in the case of his flesh sorcery “droit de seigneur” among the dark elves, and that seems only to become more enshrined in the largess that any alliance with Daniel and Daniel’s pantheon will continue to offer new members.

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      3. I doubt most of that as far as the resources are concerned. Daniel seems to be eventually setting up a system of self-reliance amongst most of the people in a small community basis. Healthcare state-run and otherwise would be irrelevant. Power generation ultimately will be at least on the small-scale outpaced by any Wizards up-and-coming or elves who decide to try and figure out ways of competing with the power Stones Daniel created. I mentioned in several earlier post about awnings that are solar collectors and pot belly stoves a bunch of other possible things that could be used to generate magical energy. Especially if some intelligent Young Apprentice wizard decides to make that his graduation thesis.

        Super large scale energy production might remain a state secret. Or even a state Monopoly. But on a smaller scale a village or a town or a hamlet probably would not be. And I can see a couple of centuries down the line even the matter to energy conversion enchantment is released. I could imagine two or three hundred years down the line a wizard walking along the beach who just Scoops up some sand and pours it inside of an amulet he’s wearing and then closes the top. And goes on about his way without a second thought. This wizard happens to be a citizen of the empire that was born hundreds of years ago in an ice age on a distant planet at the far corner of the Galaxy. He walks on having a conversation with his familiar who is actually his clothes. He might even be a historian thinking about the founding of the empire.

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      4. Yeah, DaShoota, if Daniel lives long enough to pass some of his scientific and engineering knowledge to his kids there are all sorts of possibilities in the far future.

        For one, I wonder if Daniel is bound by any of the divine limitations on innovation that Zeus and other gods imposed? It sure seems like Daniel invents things really fast compared to other magic users, even when we take into account his accelerated methods of “burning” enchantments into objects.

        Incidentally, for a pair of fun books about a similarly innovative mage, try THE FORMERLY DARK MAGE and THE RISE OF A DARK MAGE by D.L. Harrison.

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      5. Most likely what we are looking at is the seed of a civilization. A civilization that will turn out to be similar to a magical version of manticore in David Weber’s Honor Harrington series.

        I’m not saying it will. But I’m saying if the way it mixes with the disaster that’s happening weeding out the most traditional elements of the nobility take place. Then that Civilization that’s being born could move in that direction very easily. It could also do it entirely naturally like I said it could happen without Daniel even knowing it. He just wakes up one day with a crown on his head a bunch of beautiful women in his bed and some elf in a tuxedo calling him emperor. And maybe a spymaster that is a tusked dwarf.

        Daniel facepalms! “All right I know how this happened step-by-step.” “I was there.” “What I can’t figure out is how I let it happen without noticing it at the time!” “I bet the girls had something to do with it.”

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      6. “You seem to have missed the part where I suggested Kozalin’s surviving noble families are perfectly capable of understanding that they need to pay Daniel to build a fortified indoor farm for THEM and their feudal retinues.”

        They cannot. They have no currency Daniel’s work can be bought with.
        He conjures gold and he is selling food. He will get their gold. Daniel does not do slavery and he could recruit them or their people (likelier) without giving them anything.

        “Those are the places where THEIR peasants and craftsmen will grow crops, convert them into food or textiles and store or trade the surplus.”

        And Daniel would let them keep their peasants why exactly? The peasants in the village can organize themselves.

        “Executing all the nobles is just stupidly wasteful. How does Daniel know he is not killing a critically valuable noble granny hearth witch? Just because they are noble does not mean they are without mana manipulation skills. Probably just the opposite. I wonder how many of the Conclave’s magi are seventh sons and daughters?”

        Well, they can become commoners or wizards and work for their livelihood.

        ““Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer.” Daniel will, at least in part, control the nobles by controlling the sources of their power. Every indoor farm and magical implement they have from him is powered by his enchantments. He’d be an idiot NOT to build in fail-safes, and they know that.”

        ‘Never leave an enemy alive’ – Daniel Black in Lanrest

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      7. Oliver, we probably aren’t going to agree on the way to handle Kozalin’s surviving nobles.

        I seriously doubt there’s anything like sufficient understanding of the status of peasants or serfs in Varmland, so we cannot even agree whether they are really “slaves” or perhaps free peasantry upholding honorable agreements described in legal documents.

        Thank you, however, for pounding on all these ideas along with me.

        If nothing else, I do believe we have made very clear the opportunity for ANY author to be MUCH more clear and detailed in developing background for a story like Daniel Black’s.

        I would certainly enjoy seeing more of those backstory details, and I’m sure you would also.

        Not entire paragraphs of boring catalogs of data, though.

        Tidbits of knowledge tossed into conversations here and there would be great.

        Stumbling over gaps in knowledge during research and development would be equally fun.

        Colin

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      8. Lots of good ideas, but I have to admit that a lot of them really assume some kind of blank slate society. By that I mean Daniel can design the society/economics/political structure that best meets his needs and people will adopt that and make it work.

        That is completely impractical.
        * It certainly can be done with a small and devoted population. If Daniel keeps a few thousand people in Black Keep, the can pretty much restructure society as he wishes. But any larger group cannot be changed in this way without a LOT of work.
        * If we are looking at a horizon of decades or centuries, societies will evolve to match their environment and rewards, which could mean some very dramatic changes in society that occur gradually over time.
        * Dramatic restructuring of the social rules is extremely stressful, resented and often instinctively opposed.
        * Disenfranchising the existing leaders and enfranchising new ones pretty much means your new leaders are inexperienced and need a lot of hand holding to avoid mistakes. And you cannot just appoint dark elves to run everything unless you want to establish a dark elf aristocracy. This also ensures that the old leaders actively oppose Daniel’s work.

        Daniel is facing a very dangerous situation where he cannot afford societal chaos/uncertainty/disruption. He lacks the time to carefully manage any leadership transition and ditto with his key followers being equally busy. This forces Daniel to work as much as he can within the existing structure/leaders.

        Add to this the fact that Daniel personally dislikes bureaucracy AND that is primary desire is to protect people, not rule them.

        Pretty much argues for keeping society changes as small as possible. Even so, Daniel is delivering a lot of disruption primarily through economic (his magical factories), political (taking over the docks) and military (his magic tech is changing the face of warfare). I just think that Daniel will try very hard to work through the existing systems rather than just restructure society. At the end of the day, Daniel needs “good enough to survive” rather than perfect.

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      9. Societal/chaos/uncertainty and disruption is already here. It’s called Ragnarok and fimbulwinter. Daniel will take advantage of every opportunity to change and manipulate Society closer to his liking. Does that mean he will completely scrap and disregard the traditions and society and culture that exists there. No!. That’s why I say by the end of his building of his Empire it will look more like a magical version of David Weber Honor Harrington series Empire. He will make compromises accepting Lords and other nobilities which are capable of being loyal to him. He will also stamp on any Lord or Noble who is not capable of being loyal to him like it’s a cockroach. It’s a carrot-and-stick philosophy and there’s no reason he can’t use both. As for resentment in the situation the people are suffering under they won’t resent him as much as you might believe. As long as he gives them what they may need to survive they’ll heal him as a hero. There will always be a minority of dissenters/rabble-rousers that will throw fits but that’s to be expected in every group. Most of them actually might come to resent the gods for waging their Ragnarok and disrupting/destroying their lives. After all with Brands little speech they know that not even the afterlife is safe for them anymore with their old religion.

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      10. “Societal/chaos/uncertainty and disruption is already here. It’s called Ragnarok and fimbulwinter.”

        Yes. Add to that that normal agriculture will not be possible for years. The old Varmland is dead.

        “Daniel will take advantage of every opportunity to change and manipulate Society closer to his liking.”

        That is a delightfully ambiguous sentence. Unfortunately Daniel’s interests and his presumed values clash. I think we can assume that Daniel would usually not abstractly prefer to establish an absolute monarchy under a god-emperor. Yet that is what he is doing. Yes, in theory you can leave the island. In practice that is suicide. Daniel is a liberal absolute monarch, but still a monarch.

        And for two generations or so, Daniel will know the truth. He knows physics and modern economics. The emperor knows best. It is not an empty claim.

        “Does that man he will completely scrap and disregard the traditions and society and culture that exists there. No!”

        Well, Daniel is not a crusader for social justice outside his island. Even inside his word is law.
        But still he needs his people to obey. And he is an aristocrat. He will not scrap it, but regard it against his own interests? Probably not. He is planning a total revolution anyway.

        “He will make compromises accepting Lords and other nobilities which are capable of being loyal to him.”

        Personally? Sure. As lords and ladies? How? He cannot give them inherited position and they will lose in a fair competition against an elf. At that point they are no longer nobles. They are employees in middle management.

        “He will also stamp on any Lord or Noble who is not capable of being loyal to him like it’s a cockroach. It’s a carrot-and-stick philosophy and there’s no reason he can’t use both.”

        True but some people come with advantages. A wizard is highly useful. A noble without military experiences? Not much.

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      11. Oliver, why would Daniel need to give anyone, noble or common, a heritable office or other benefit?

        If he values them, he will make them effectively immortal. If their kids are helpful enough, Daniel could make some of them immortal.

        Daniel will need to create a class of something like einherjar with all the martial skills but as little of the macho stupid as possible.

        Will they be nobles?

        It will be interesting to see how Captain Rain, Daria, Oskar, Beri and others are rewarded for all the duties, authority and power they will eventually receive from Daniel.

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      12. Good call Oliver. Daniel is really setting himself up as something like a fairly liberal god-emperor. An absolute ruler with enormous power to shower benefits on people who serve him well and the environment makes being cast out of his favor something close to a death sentence. Realistically his work is law among his peeps.

        Some cautions thought
        1) The need to play internal politics always increases as the size of your organization increases. As Daniel’s sphere of control expands, he will need to manage competing interests even among his most loyal servants. After all, all important decisions have winners and losers. And most important decisions have multiple possible (even contradictory) “good” answers depending on your priorities/values/interests. His advisers are going to seriously disagree at times and if Daniel does not handle this well it will damage loyalty. This is obvious from this website where different people have completely different ideas of what Daniel should do next – and most have some good reasons for those ideas.

        2) Ambitious people are going to seek out Daniel to gain power in his service. And some of these people will bring a lot to the table. There will also be allies who are less than perfectly loyal, but still very useful despite having a noticeably different agenda. In other words Daniel will be reluctant to just refuse to work with them. The world is imperfect. But adding these people will create more internal tensions, more internal rivalries and probably more corruption to his (now larger) group of peeps.

        3) The absolute nature of Daniel’s power will drop sharply when the Fimbulwinter ends (or otherwise is manageable). At that time I expect any reluctant partners to “leave the fold” or seek more rewards to stay loyal.

        4) Agree that Daniel is trying to minimize his day to day oversight/control, but also agree that the realities of the situation make that control extremely powerful. He certainly seeks advice, but rules absolutely. So far he has not had to deal with any real controversy from his peeps, so not clear yet how well that would get handled.

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      13. Dspring, I’d also expect many of his “partners” to attempt more and more blatantly to learn/steal Daniel’s magical methods and/or, some of his enchanted objects, especially matter to mana power supplies.

        I wonder how many “repurposed” matter to mana powered early model flame throwers there are in Kozalin already?

        Of course, the unique nature of the combination of talents, education and life experiences that make his magic so powerful will not lend itself to stealing, unless they try to steal Daniel…rather like Odin did.

        Hmm….

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      14. “Oliver, why would Daniel need to give anyone, noble or common, a heritable office or other benefit?”

        He does not need to. In fact he cannot. He is so powerful that his actions cannot be effectively stopped if he really insists. The problem is that some, indeed under the circumstances, many will want such offices.

        “If he values them, he will make them effectively immortal. If their kids are helpful enough, Daniel could make some of them immortal.”

        The keyword here is ‘if’. A noble in a certain sense is his title and he owns the office and the rank.
        If you serve Daniel you will be healthy, immortal, rich, safe …
        But you will not be free. Your position and indeed your life and even your children’s lives are in Daniel’s hands. In fact, you even sell your soul. You know too much to be let go to the normal afterlife.

        This will cause resentment. In fact coupled with envy, a lot of resentment.

        “Daniel will need to create a class of something like einherjar with all the martial skills but as little of the macho stupid as possible.”

        Exactly. If you serve Daniel you are a military officer or something akin to a classical Chinese Mandarin, no longer a noble.

        “Will they be nobles?”

        No. The nobility of Varmland is basically in the same position as the samurai in Meiji Japan.

        “It will be interesting to see how Captain Rain, Daria, Oskar, Beri and others are rewarded for all the duties, authority and power they will eventually receive from Daniel”

        Very well. The problem is the nobility in general.

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      15. Interesting point of view, Oliver.

        “If you serve Daniel you will be healthy, immortal, rich, safe … But you will not be free. Your position and indeed your life and even your children’s lives are in Daniel’s hands. In fact, you even sell your soul. You know too much to be let go to the normal afterlife.”

        This is not wrong…but Daniel would surely be unhappy thinking about it this way.

        I had not thought about that “normal afterlife” and literally “selling your soul” before, but you are surely correct for Captain Rain and Sergeant Thomas. They know too much for Daniel to let Odin question them, and that situation will only continue to grow. In fact, Daniel has probably already lost control of some small bits of important information. There have been a few casualties among Captain Rain’s men since Daniel hired them, and the Valkyries surely would have collected those souls.

        Fortunately for Daniel, the dead soldiers won’t know much more than point and shoot, although some may pass on the concept of volley fire, which won’t be new to Odin.

        I’m not sure I agree that the protections Daniel will eventually think to offer will naturally cause resentment, because EVERYBODY is looking at the same issue.

        Valhalla and the Golden City are under attack and the age of the Asgardians might be ending soon, so MOST Europeans are about to have to start shopping for new “normal” afterlives and a new pantheon.

        Betcha THAT comes up sometimes in conversations (screaming rages) between Odin and Ra, especially AFTER the Spire detonated.

        Hmm…there will be at least one more problem Daniel will eventually face. Tavrin, Sefwin, Demetrios, Pelagea and any other leaders of groups of their own people who also ally with Daniel will continue to remain leaders among their people as well as holding high positions in Daniel’s organization.

        How is a noble of Varmland going to look at that, and NOT resent losing his or her own privileges among their feudal vassals? On the other hand, Daniel seems resistant to maintaining a feudal system, although Avilla is subtly influencing him in that, and circumstances might well force at least a clumsy hybrid on him because he won’t have time to work out anything better if Kozalin suddenly becomes his problem.

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      16. “The absolute nature of Daniel’s power will drop sharply when the Fimbulwinter ends (or otherwise is manageable). At that time I expect any reluctant partners to “leave the fold” or seek more rewards to stay loyal.”

        At his present level of power I cannot see Daniel seeking an alliance with anybody seriously impacted by Fimbulwinter. Such allies would just be too weak. Unless they are willing to outright join his service or his coven, making them employees or wives respectively, not allies.

        I am afraid I am incompetent to make solid predictions about his court politics here. Daniel is outside precedent. He can grant immortality, he is dealing with non-humans and magically binding oaths. You cannot really replace Daniel. It is impossible to stage a coup. There is no crown prince.
        I would however, predict that the next clash will be over Kozalin and how to deal with riots. It potentially can come any day now. The interesting issue is how this will be dealt with without Daniel. More or less this will happen more and more. Daniel will face the issue of every empire. How to rule the provinces?

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      17. The groves are firmly in service. ‘I submit myself to your will.’ It does not get much more explicit. Nethwillin is a borderline case sliding into service. Why would they ever leave their high-mana refuge?

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      18. Nethwillans oath of loyalty amounts to a constitutional in and of itself. They specifically designed their oath to limit Daniels ability to control manipulate and utilize them in an abusive way.

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    2. Most likely it would be someone from a nation barely holding on in much the same way varmland is. Possibly Russian? Russia all the way over to Siberia apparently are suffering just as much as northern Europe is. A lot of refugees and potential to be had in those areas as well story-wise.

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      1. Plausible, by why marriage. What do they have to offer that a simple alliance would not give Daniel? Remember that each political marriage cheapens him.

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      2. Area. In our world one of the longest lived nations with the largest land mass is Russia. It might be I’m not saying it is but it might be the same in Daniel’s new world. The line of the Zars goes back to Pagan days so it might even be the same royal family.

        With a marriage like that and maybe one or two more he could gain control over the entire northern hemisphere. Especially if it takes a few books. If most of the Nations have fallen the survivors whether their daughters considered it politically expedient are not may jump at the chance to make their daughter his 8th or 9th wife.

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  16. Implications of large scale indoor food production in the medium term

    Note that I don’t say indoor farming. It just isn’t for the most part. It is for for orchards and vinyards. Maybe vegetables partially. But not the staple crops of grain and potatoes. And those are what he will concentrate on initially. After all, if you get vitamin deficiency, he has healing enchantments to offer.

    Yes, Avilla cares. But she has a special garden with dryad support. Normal communities won’t and their construction will de different. She cares about her own household, not everybody. The bleading heart socialist among the coven is Elin. (exaggeration – I know)

    Leading to construction. Daniel will not build the farming complexes himself. That man automates what can be automated. He will build them the same way as he built Black Island, just without the manual controls. The only manual construction will be to get an absolutely flat plot of land. And then he will put a seed there and a few days later, you have a raw farming complex. That means they will have standardized dimensions. Not necessarily the same, as Daniel can make specialized seeds for agricultural complexes dedicated to a crop.

    Secondly, Daniel has earth magic. That includes soil. That has implications. Daniel will never fertilize. Why would you? You conjure optimal soil and Daniel has assistents who can tell which soil is optimal for a crop. And it will not deplete, because you do not have to keep it. You banish it at the end of each cycle.

    Incidentally, how does Daniel harvest potatoes? Force magic to rip them out of the ground? No. Too conventional. He just banishes the soil leaving the spuds to be collected.

    Ploughing? Not needed. The soil is conjured in usable form. Fungi and insects? Whence would they come. Outside you have an ice age environment. Very different from the agricultural complexes. Daniel knows how build an overpressure air supply. In fact he can build a magical air supply with increased carbon dioxide. And if he has to sterilize the air coming in, well he has fire magic. It can be done easily. The elves incidentally know insect repellent magic.
    But if they get in? As I said, Daniel need not keep the soil. In fact, if you have fire magic, you can sterilize a level.
    And at this point somebody without preconceptions, meaning Tina, will point out that the buildings need not be permanent either.

    Weeds? A possibility, but only if you do not control the seed supply. Which he will. Would you keep your own seeds or use seeds blessed and bred by a dryad? Some may keep their own, but it would be for political reasons, not economics. As for weeds establishing themselves, see the point about banishing soil and sterilizing a level.

    As for the labor question, look at the tactical sense hastily animated furniture showed. Then conclude what a purpose built, tested golem series can do. And note that it need not be as good as a farmer. You need to subtract what a farmer eats to get the numbers on a purely production base.

    Fertilization will be a problem. It may be uneconomical to produce food that is not fertilized by either wind or bees.
    Luckily grains and potatoes do not fall under that category.

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    1. Wow.

      Sorry, Oliver, but we need to clarify some more.

      First and most important: SOIL is not sterile dirt. It’s very difficult and futile to grow anything but weeds and other undesirable plants in dirt.

      Soil is a mixture of dirt, charcoal, bits of stone and air pockets. Soil is full of spores, fungi, seeds, bits of rotten wood and other biological material. Daniel conjures/summons soil for farming because soil is what plants need to grow properly. In particular, plants need those fungi, which perform critical functions like interacting with plant roots to provide micro-nutrients.

      This applies to ALL plants, including the staple crops like grains.

      Now, why would Daniel do all this instead of, say, hydroponics? Surely, he and Elin could and probably will create a hydroponics farm some day. Why not now?

      That would require too much time, mindshare and effort.

      Daniel creates farms the way he already has, because he already has farmers who have seeds and know how to farm. He knows how to quickly and easily give them the soil, rain and sunlight their farming will need. He can literally, with Elin’s help, dump a stone bin or floor full of soil in front of a farmer, provide artificial rain and artificial sunlight, turn around and walk somewhere else to do it again. If he creates an “agriculture building seed” that grows entire indoor farms, that’s even better. He can send one of his experienced farmers to show the prospective new farmers how to operate their new indoor farm instead of going there himself.

      As for Avilla, her own gardens and other gardens, yes she will care about other people’s gardens, because those are the people with whom she will swap varieties of food, magical, medicinal, craft and other useful plants. No single gardener will ever have ALL the plants she needs or wants, especially WANTS. She will ALWAYS need other gardeners, both near and far, with whom to trade seeds, slips and starts.

      Of course, Avilla’s inner gardener is now in Seventh Heaven. She will soon be able to trade garden knowledge and garden products with the Groves, with Clan Nethwillin and also with the surviving gardeners, apothecaries and other biologicals traders of Kozalin. Since you mention Elin, she will beg Avilla for both garden space and sharing of garden knowledge to plant, grow, harvest, preserve and store even more and more different medical and magical plants, fruits, etc.

      Totally agree with you that Daniel will automate everything he can about the agricultural building construction process. Of course, that assumes he decides to build many more of them. As we have kicked around before, his last big agricultural project might be Clan Nethwillin’s new home structure, or maybe a new sanctuary for Idun’s Grove when it finally arrives. There’s no certainty Kozalin will receive ANY indoor farms.

      I like your thoughts on Daniel customizing the biology of seeds to make them ideal for his purposes. Maybe when he has time, or some compelling need, he will do that. Somehow, I suspect it’s a big enough project that others will have to come before it.

      Totally agree with your description of how Daniel SHOULD deal with “refreshing” the soil of his indoor farms. Of course, that won’t work with the Groves, or at least not easily, but replacing all the soil each season ought to work well for the farms when Daniel or some farmer thinks of it, and Daniel fully automates it under the farmers’ control.

      Harvesting strawberries, corn, oats, wheat and other dreary, boring jobs are the perfect opportunity for Avilla’s gingerbread gardeners, golems and other automata to show their value. I could imagine the soil refreshing spell has an option to banish old soil only, leaving carrots, potatoes or rutabagas behind on the bare stone floor for easy collection. Then, when all the veggies are carted away, fill the space up again with fresh new soil.

      Plowing, totally agree with you. Soil arrives ready and ideal for planting.

      As for insects and fungi, please stop trying to kill off the most potent assistant farmers and gardeners Daniel has.

      He will have to compromise on accepting much of the fungi and most of the insects. The fungi are needed for converting soil to micro-nutrients and providing those to the plant roots. Many of the bugs are pollinators and pest hunters and other beneficials. Plus, their eggs come with the soil, so separating them out would be another enchantment development cycle. There’s way too much work for him and probably Elin to come up with magical alternatives right away. Suck it up and live with the traditional annoyances of traditional farming because that’s what the refugees come equipped to do NOW.

      If there is time and energy and desire later, come up with more efficient alternatives then. I’m thinking what you want is hydroponics or aquaculture or something similar, maybe aeroponics, too.

      https://modernfarmer.com/2018/07/how-does-aeroponics-work/

      Oliver, why would you believe Daniel controls the seed supply? That’s FAR too granular for his available time and attention span. The farmers will control and provide the seeds and they will do the weeding as well. Again, it’s just EASIER for Daniel to leave all that in the farmers’ hands, at first. When he MUCH later has time and desire, he can improve farming methods.

      Since you are probably correct about Daniel learning to replace the soil every season automatically, the farmers will be able to gradually reduce or eliminate many different weeds from their seed collections. Meanwhile, their kids will have plenty of useful work weeding. That should keep otherwise idle fingers busy with something other than mischief.

      As for fertilization and germination…again, we need some clarification.

      Were you aware that potatoes flower and fruit as well as producing yummy swollen roots? That fruit is absolutely critical for breeding new varieties of potato. Again, if you leave this activity to the farmers who know what they are doing it will save Daniel from having to spend time, mindshare and effort he cannot afford until some years in the future.

      This is also one of those questionable areas in our discussions. Historically, potatoes come from South America. Varmland should not have any of them. On the other hand, Clan Nethwillin trades everywhere, so there’s no reason potatoes might not have come to Varmland, and Daniel could certainly request some.

      Let’s all try NOT to create more work that Daniel absolutely does NOT need to do.

      There are plenty of out of work farmers among the refugee population of Kozalin.

      Farmers are perfectly capable of taking what Daniel and Elin created and farming it for multiple crops and harvests each year, with no further input required from Daniel or Elin and no assistance required from dryads or dark elves.

      Let the farmers farm.

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      1. Probably the easiest method Daniel has to enhance the farmers in his farming complexes. I would say eventually getting around to adding a power tap into the soil of the farming complexes. With enough Mana any small Grove of fruit trees will naturally produce their own dryads. “I think.” I could see a few years down the line we’re Daniel does exactly that. After of which some of his dryads from his Groves start visiting every year to check on the Orchards in those complexes to see if any dryads have grown. That could be the start of entirely new dryad Groves in the new farming complexes. That would enhance their farming practices quite a bit.

        Of course their wives might not appreciate it too much? But maybe by then Daniel will already get a culture of polygamy going amongst the civilian population.

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      2. DaShoota, I like your idea for creating more dryads.

        I still doubt the Kozalini humans actually need dryads, though. Indoor farming with forever fertile soil and never a locust to be seen would be incredibly better than anything they ever experienced before.

        If Daniel can mass produce even a simple version of his indoor farms, many refugees and Kozalini will not starve.

        They will be healthy, robust snacks for the next Devourer or other Ancient Beast to come along….

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      3. “First and most important: SOIL is not sterile dirt. It’s very difficult and futile to grow anything but weeds and other undesirable plants in dirt.”

        Yes, this is theoretically most interesting because it means that Daniel can summon life including arthropods, who are multicellular, but it is a solved issue. The dryads liked the soil. He just needs to make sure the soil contains nothing harmful for the intended crop and here we go.

        “That would require too much time, mindshare and effort.”

        Right.

        “Of course, Avilla’s inner gardener is now in Seventh Heaven. She will soon be able to trade garden knowledge and garden products with the Groves, with Clan Nethwillin and also with the surviving gardeners, apothecaries and other biologicals traders of Kozalin.”

        Not with the hoi polloi. Avilla can trade all she wants with the future groves.

        “Since you mention Elin, she will beg Avilla for both garden space and sharing of garden knowledge to plant, grow, harvest, preserve and store even more and more different medical and magical plants, fruits, etc.”

        The same applies to her. She has dryad assistance.

        “Totally agree with you that Daniel will automate everything he can about the agricultural building construction process. Of course, that assumes he decides to build many more of them.”

        He may go for the jackpot and try to cooperate with Avilla to make a factory for factories conjuring food.

        But as long as he does not do that, he will eventually need to expand food production drastically. I guess that is not under contention. The timing is debatable.

        “I like your thoughts on Daniel customizing the biology of seeds to make them ideal for his purposes. Maybe when he has time, or some compelling need, he will do that. Somehow, I suspect it’s a big enough project that others will have to come before it.”

        He has groves. He will teach genetics and possibly even molecular biology. That some of his people (Elin) will see the implications for breeding strains of optimized plants is certain.

        “Harvesting strawberries, corn, oats, wheat and other dreary, boring jobs are the perfect opportunity for Avilla’s gingerbread gardeners, golems and other automata to show their value. I could imagine the soil refreshing spell has an option to banish old soil only, leaving carrots, potatoes or rutabagas behind on the bare stone floor for easy collection. Then, when all the veggies are carted away, fill the space up again with fresh new soil.”

        Force magic in the enchanted floors and walls. No need for physical harvesters. They just need to process the stuff. I suppose Avilla has spells for cleaning that could be applied before that.

        “As for insects and fungi, please stop trying to kill off the most potent assistant farmers and gardeners Daniel has.”

        No need to kill those he conjured, only those who would like to come in.

        “He will have to compromise on accepting much of the fungi and most of the insects. The fungi are needed for converting soil to micro-nutrients and providing those to the plant roots. Many of the bugs are pollinators and pest hunters and other beneficials. Plus, their eggs come with the soil, so separating them out would be another enchantment development cycle. There’s way too much work for him and probably Elin to come up with magical alternatives right away. Suck it up and live with the traditional annoyances of traditional farming because that’s what the refugees come equipped to do NOW.”

        If some undesirable bugs come with the soil, that is an issue. But not in the long run.

        “Oliver, why would you believe Daniel controls the seed supply? That’s FAR too granular for his available time and attention span.”

        He has groves who can control plants and can shorten generation time by an order of magnitude.
        Daniel can induce mutations. Daniel can import seeds from areas climatically closer to his farms. We centralize seed supply for economic reasons. Those reason apply even more to Varmland. And Daniel will have to supply the first batch. Refugees rarely carry seed grain which they haven’t eaten since.

        “Since you are probably correct about Daniel learning to replace the soil every season automatically, the farmers will be able to gradually reduce or eliminate many different weeds from their seed collections.”

        Dryads can do that in one swoop.

        “Meanwhile, their kids will have plenty of useful work weeding. That should keep otherwise idle fingers busy with something other than mischief.”

        Daniel needs those kids in school and as many of those farmers as possible on his walls bearing arms.

        “Were you aware that potatoes flower and fruit as well as producing yummy swollen roots? That fruit is absolutely critical for breeding new varieties of potato.”

        You want to outbreed a nature spirit? Good luck.

        “There are plenty of out of work farmers among the refugee population of Kozalin.”

        No. In absolute numbers yes. In terms of the share of population, no. Refugees are a minority everywhere. Their survival rates will generally be lower. They have a surplus of women. Hunters and woodsmen have a better chance to survive a refugee trek.
        The demographics of Varmland have already shifted dramatically.

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      4. Are any of you aware that Daniel has already demonstrated the ability to resurrect dead flesh into full life? It was mentioned in passing that that’s what he was doing in a battle against something with the Devourer.

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      5. DaShoota, is THIS what you mean?

        “I called up my flesh sorcery, reached into the alien biology of those burrowing invaders, and killed them. The magic that animated them fought me, resisting my magic and trying to force dead cells back to life. But I was stronger than it was, and that wasn’t my only sorcery. I fought back against its magic too, dispelling the protections it raised and disrupting its regeneration power. For a few seconds I focused the whole power output of my amulet on the task.”

        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2)

        This seems more like Daniel killing something in spite of it’s attempts to regenerate itself.

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      6. I guess you are right. I have been looking for it to see if I remembered it correctly. I guess I was wrong. Thanks for finding it.

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      7. Yeah, I have to read THRALL again, especially all around that staff made out of accelerator rings Daniel invented.

        I’m pretty sure he has all sorts of water summoning enchantments “burned” into that staff, but how he actually uses them is also important. Is the story consistent about that?

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      8. Oliver, let’s start this stack by defining whether we are ONLY discussing Daniel’s own dryad-enhanced farms and his Clan Nethwillin allies’ farms.

        Much of my own commentary has been for “commodity” indoor farms Daniel MIGHT mass produce for Kozalin and other cities he wants to help. Those commodity farms would be totally managed by humans with NO dryad help.

        Now, I’m already tempted out of some of that bifurcation by several of your suggestions, so I will probably have to label each of my sub-arguments as Daniel’s Farms, Kozalin Farms and Mixed Farms.

        (UNIVERSAL) Yes, Daniel absolutely can summon microbial life, including fauna, flora and mycopia, probably archaea as well. If the author really didn’t intend that, he needs to scramble some sort of explanation for soil and blood, both of which Daniel has summoned directly.

        (Daniel’s Farms) Avilla and her minions will have direct access to the gardens of Daniel’s Black Island farm wives, whom we should probably consider to be privileged hoi polloi.

        Yes, those farm wives WILL have gardens, and yes, those farm wives ALWAYS have vegetable seeds, slips and starts tucked away in their personal possessions. That’s WHY there will be gardens. It’s like breathing. Gardening is life for all of them, and trading seeds, slips and starts with each other is integral to gardening.

        There will be some sort of committee of those wives bringing their request and concerns to Avilla ASAP. That will, of course, lead to a fun conversation with Daniel and even more hilarious negotiations between the farm wives and the Groves. One can confidently predict more orgies in the near future.

        The only reason you and I are even having this conversation is because we are both ignorant moderns who have NO IDEA how people two hundred years ago actually produced their own groceries. I’ve done enough research and modern vegetable gardening to know that it’s a LOT more complex than what happens in that patch of ground behind the hovel. There are all sorts of community trading networks, regional trading networks and continent-spanning trading networks involved, some of them surprisingly fast, many of them incredibly slow. Of course, since Fimbulwinter, Kozalin has been cut off from most of that, except what is already in the city and what poor assistance Clan Nethwillin can offer via INTREPID and her eventual (MAYBE) sister airships.

        (Daniel’s Farms) Good point with Elin and her gardening. She will have fantastic assistance from the dryads. She and Avilla will have the best gardens in all Europe.

        (UNIVERSAL) Yeah, given what we know about the soil Daniel can summon, and what we assume about Avilla’s ability to “clean” food thoroughly and magically, I’m thinking the two of them could whip up a factory to mass produce magic tureens that fill on demand with warm, nutritious “krill” soup…and Avilla will probably build on that to create more substantial meals.

        (Daniel’s Farms) Yes, at some point Daniel will attract enough allies to Black Island that he will be compelled to expand his own farming operations. I suspect we’re all expecting him or some future ocean-dwelling allies to do something significant with seafood as well.

        (Kozalin Farms) MIGHT happen or might NEVER happen. Kozalin might be destroyed in Book Five. Daniel could lose his entire investment in the Conclave, the Docks and the city, right up to the harbor.

        (Daniel’s Farms) Yes, Daniel will definitely take advantage of the Groves to generate new crops ideally suited to HIS farms. I like your suggestion that Elin will be quite capable of learning the DNA and other biological science Daniel is able to share and she will produce wonders with that.

        Let’s remember, however, that the Groves will not learn any of that for a very long time, if ever at all. Their ancient spirit nature does not change or learn quickly. They are much more likely to “help” Elin improve the results of her experiments and develop those results into production crops, orchards, etc.

        (Kozalin Farms) Assuming these actually happen, remember they are ENTIRELY operated by humans–no dryads at all. That’s why ALL the normal, traditional farming skills will be practiced there, including plant breeding for new varieties. Sure, they won’t really compete with the dryads. They don’t even KNOW what the dryads are doing for Daniel. Even without dryads, human methods for breeding new plants will provide improved and more rapid results simply because of the year-round growing environment. More opportunities for more and less constrained repetition.

        Which is not to say Daniel won’t give or trade dryad-enhanced plant breeds to the Kozalin Farms operators.

        For a price.

        (Daniel’s Farms) Yes, I like the idea Daniel can do something with force magic to gather the harvest after banishing only the old soil from the field, and I totally agree Avilla probably has several spells for cleaning soil off vegetables.

        (Kozalin Farms) Snicker. One of the “trade goods” the dryads would be able to offer refugee farmers is bees and other pollinators. It will probably take quite a bit of negotiation to communicate everything the farmers really want, because the dryads won’t necessarily understand everything the farmers need. Elin and perhaps Avilla will probably help with that. Daniel might even know about pollinators other than bees. Clan Nethwillin certainly will. The farmers of Kozalin will desperately need pollinators, because Fimbulwinter has killed so many, and the farmers won’t understand they are themselves banishing more pollinator eggs along with “used” soil when they first cycle through Daniel’s commodity indoor farm seasons. It will be necessary to create set aside plots where bees and other pollinators are NOT banished and the soil is allowed to stay for a few years. Or something.

        These farms probably never will entirely do away with “pest” bugs, but that is normal for traditional farming methods. Indoor farming means they won’t ever need to worry about plagues of locusts, wild bird swarms and other animal catastrophes that destroy entire farm regions.

        (Daniel’s Farms) Seeds. Yes, Daniel will encourage the Groves to work with Elin and the farmers to develop seed stocks and seed RESTOCKING methods for all the many varieties and species of plant, bush, tree, etc. Much of this will be managed by the farmers themselves as their farms settle into “normal” operations, just like they would normally save seeds before Fimbulwinter happened. Daniel’s farmers are fortunate, because through him and Clan Nethwillin they have access to Kozalin’s enormous variety of seed stocks.

        (Kozalin Farms) Seeds. Yes, Kozalin is very near to consuming it’s seed stocks, if it has not already begun doing so. Timing will be exceedingly important. Those seed stocks would have been stored IN KOZALIN for use by farms closest to the city, and are thoroughly mixed up with food grain stocks because ALL of that grain and other “seeds” will have been hastily gathered from ruined farms around Kozlin during the first few weeks of Fimbulwinter.

        If Daniel does not commence building “commodity” indoor farms for the people of Kozalin within a few weeks, they are probably doomed. There won’t be time to grow enough crops to produce enough food AND seeds to feed everyone AND grow enough of the next crop to harvest MORE seeds and MORE food. This is another reason why gardens are so critical–they provide additional food between harvests, and mature to harvest much more quickly than wheat or potatoes. Of course, gardens also have that same seeds plus food issue.

        For all practical purposes, unless Daniel pulls a few hundred tons of magic rabbit out of his hat, Kozalin is probably already doomed to starve.

        (Daniel’s Farms) Totally agree Daniel wants as many kids in school as possible and as many farmers as possible in more useful occupations as soon as he can make the new changes that make that possible. Hence, it will take a few months or years to even come close to nominal, much less optimal.

        (Kozalin Farms) The allocation of kids’ labor and farmers is pretty much NOT in Daniel’s hands for these. They will tend to retain their traditional functions unless something replaces those, like plowing, which will be vastly reduced. That’s another casual side effect of Daniel’s indoor farms that will result in huge cost/labor savings for the farmers whether they are Kozalini in the city or Daniel’s own recruited farmers on Black Island.

        (Kozalin Farms) There’s no question of traditional human farmers competing with dryads and forest spirits to create new breeds of plant. The humans are just continuing their traditional farming practices and have no idea there are dryads doing something like they are but MUCH better for Daniel on Black Island.

        (Kozalin Farms) We’re probably not going to agree on the numbers of farmers among the Kozalin refugee population. I’m quite certain that the farm population nearest to Kozalin fled into the city and therefore makes up more than fifty percent of the total refugee population. Sure, the hunters, wardens and other outdoors types will be far better able to travel through rough conditions to Kozalin and will therefore appear in more than their usual proportions, however, their usual proportions are quite small. Twice two percent is four percent, not forty percent.

        (UNIVERSAL) Yes, the demographics of Varmland have been seriously impacted by Fimbulwinter and Gaia’s war on humanity in Europe. Instead of something like eighty or ninety percent farmers, the population is now something like forty or fifty percent farmers, crammed into every surviving city and town.

        That percentage is rapidly shrinking as starvation, exposure and monsters cull the farmers first and most, but we do need to remember that the first “wave” of refugees in every city and town would have been all the farmers living within a single day’s travel all around and most of them would have arrived intact.

        There are still more farmers in Europe than there are any other group of people.

        THAT will change, probably very soon, and quite badly for the farmers, if Daniel does NOT do something quite drastic and most likely very time consuming, ASAP.

        I’m NOT really expecting to see that happen.

        I must admit, however, that how the author deals with these cliff-hanger situations is for me the most engaging aspect of Daniel’s story.

        Like

      9. “Oliver, let’s start this stack by defining whether we are ONLY discussing Daniel’s own dryad-enhanced farms and his Clan Nethwillin allies’ farms.”

        Farms for the general population of the towns ultimately part of Daniel’s empire. Farms with dryads need men for fertility rituals anyway. That changes the whole equasion.

        “Let’s remember, however, that the Groves will not learn any of that for a very long time, if ever at all. Their ancient spirit nature does not change or learn quickly. They are much more likely to “help” Elin improve the results of her experiments and develop those results into production crops, orchards, etc.”

        This is unlikely to be new. Gaia definitely has been doing it for a long time and the groves contain magically altered organisms.

        “(Kozalin Farms) Assuming these actually happen, remember they are ENTIRELY operated by humans–no dryads at all. That’s why ALL the normal, traditional farming skills will be practiced there, including plant breeding for new varieties. Sure, they won’t really compete with the dryads. They don’t even KNOW what the dryads are doing for Daniel. Even without dryads, human methods for breeding new plants will provide improved and more rapid results simply because of the year-round growing environment. More opportunities for more and less constrained repetition.”

        In the long run maybe, but in the short term they need volume and grain.

        “For a price.”

        Why would Daniel give away farms? Daniel is not going to give away power stones. Nobody can afford what a farming complex really is worth. And the farm without mana is useless. Daniel needs power and vassals. He will want to control the food supply.

        “(Kozalin Farms) Snicker. One of the “trade goods” the dryads would be able to offer refugee farmers is bees and other pollinators. It will probably take quite a bit of negotiation to communicate everything the farmers really want, because the dryads won’t necessarily understand everything the farmers need. Elin and perhaps Avilla will probably help with that. Daniel might even know about pollinators other than bees.”

        At first it will be grains. And Varmlanders likely know about bees. Anything but bumblebees will be very, very hard, perhaps even impossible. Butterflies are herbivorous in their larval stage.

        “Clan Nethwillin certainly will. The farmers of Kozalin will desperately need pollinators, because Fimbulwinter has killed so many, and the farmers won’t understand they are themselves banishing more pollinator eggs along with “used” soil when they first cycle through Daniel’s commodity indoor farm seasons. It will be necessary to create set aside plots where bees and other pollinators are NOT banished and the soil is allowed to stay for a few years. Or something.”

        No, and here comes the problem. Farms are not a natural habitat. In particular they are extremely small. Too small and simplified to support a full ecosystem. In particular, no birds, no bats.

        “These farms probably never will entirely do away with “pest” bugs, but that is normal for traditional farming methods. Indoor farming means they won’t ever need to worry about plagues of locusts, wild bird swarms and other animal catastrophes that destroy entire farm regions.”

        They will have to have an extremely simplified and controlled system. And they will have to eliminate anything unwanted. You are looking at eternal summer. The locusts will not come from outside. They do not need to. A single fertilized insect can lay hundreds of eggs, we are talking about weeks for a generation and unchecked exponential growth. Reading about China killing off sparrows in the Great Leap Forward is extremely instructive.

        Daniel cannot even import the necessary predatory insects because he does not know which parasitoid wasp preys on which butterfly and the resulting ecosystem would be unstable in so small a habitat. You’d drown in aphid and then subsequently in ladybugs (if you can get them) and then your crop is gone.
        And they will not thrive outside in an ice age environment.

        The only hope is an extremely simplified environment.

        “(Kozalin Farms) Seeds. Yes, Kozalin is very near to consuming it’s seed stocks, if it has not already begun doing so. Timing will be exceedingly important. Those seed stocks would have been stored IN KOZALIN for use by farms closest to the city”

        Going by the expected behavior of farmers the likelihood of that is zero. It would have made them depend on the city for planting. Good luck forcing them to do that. And also good luck forcing starving city people to give out seed grain.

        “For all practical purposes, unless Daniel pulls a few hundred tons of magic rabbit out of his hat, Kozalin is probably already doomed to starve.”

        Yes.

        “(Kozalin Farms) The allocation of kids’ labor and farmers is pretty much NOT in Daniel’s hands for these. They will tend to retain their traditional functions unless something replaces those, like plowing, which will be vastly reduced.”

        No livestock for one thing. Also running water and so on. And Daniel will force them to send their children to school. He has to. Sheer self preservation. He needs educated troops.

        “(Kozalin Farms) There’s no question of traditional human farmers competing with dryads and forest spirits to create new breeds of plant. The humans are just continuing their traditional farming practices and have no idea there are dryads doing something like they are but MUCH better for Daniel on Black Island.”

        Daniel will give them seed grain and tell them to use it. The idea of disobeying the dark wizard who can throw you out to freeze or starve will be really unpopular.

        “(Kozalin Farms) We’re probably not going to agree on the numbers of farmers among the Kozalin refugee population. I’m quite certain that the farm population nearest to Kozalin fled into the city and therefore makes up more than fifty percent of the total refugee population.”

        Kozalin has over 100 000 in the trade district alone. Daniel talked about 40 000 refugees.
        People with boats would have a much easier time to get to Kozalin.

        “That percentage is rapidly shrinking as starvation, exposure and monsters cull the farmers first and most, but we do need to remember that the first “wave” of refugees in every city and town would have been all the farmers living within a single day’s travel all around and most of them would have arrived intact.”

        But not necessarily let in. Or let life after that. Chances are Lanrest was not an extreme exception.

        Like

      10. One method Daniel could use to alleviate some of the starvation of the city. Is to do an expedition to acquire food. He could also look for crops that are capable of surviving in that new environment of an ice age. The dark elves now working for him have already hinted at the possibility of this. The Homeworld of the frost Giants have crops and animal/livestock capable of thriving in what to them would probably be a tropical summer environment.

        As far as education goes. Daniel does not need large quantities of Highly Educated individuals. He needs Highly Educated individuals yes but not in large quantities. Through most of human history and including in the 20th and even now in the 21st century most soldiers are illiterate. You have to remember illiterate and uneducated does not mean low IQ or stupid. Daniel actually most likely would require literate and numerate soldiers. But that does not mean he will reinstitute the same type of education system we have today. The type of education system we have today was first created designed and instituted by the British Empire for the purpose of turning out what effectively amounts to educated drones for the beginning stages of the Industrial Revolution.

        Daniel will most likely Institute a form of low-key Elementary School System designed to create individuals that can read and do math. After that he might Institute some form of trade school or apprenticeship system. He might even create some form of University scale or level system with the help of the conclave eventually. But that’s not going to be a priority for him for several years to come.

        In fact instituting the low-key Elementary school education system and apprenticeship system would be extremely beneficial for him and his patrons growing Pantheon. It might be a good idea to snatch up as many of the children starving to death in the city as possible while he still can. “Get the clay why it’s still easy to mold so to speak”.

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      11. Oliver, it looks like we won’t be agreeing about farms for the general population…IF they are ever created.

        Daniel is perfectly capable of selling the products of his magic or even giving them away. We see that in how he has acted on the Docks and in previous projects, like melting the ice from Kozalin’s access route to the North Sea, or building a new wall for Lanrest.

        Consequently, future indoor farms might become part of Daniel’s “empire” or they might not. I could see the author deciding either, both or neither.

        I totally agree with you the Daniel’s own indoor farms with human farmers allied with dryad “enhancers” definitely change the equation for everyone involved.

        I don’t believe Gaia “knows” anything explicitly about DNA. I expect Her ability to manipulate plants and animals is just like Daniel’s flesh sorcery, only FAR more powerful. I expect something similar but less powerful is true for the Groves. Neither group would benefit much from Daniel’s attempts to teach them DNA genetics, especially the mathematical aspects. Elin, however, seems very likely to benefit greatly, probably to the point where she becomes more skilled with DNA manipulation than Daniel, especially in her gardens and other projects.

        It also seems to me that DNA manipulation is likely to be a “wet” science, and therefore well-suited to Elin’s water magic.

        In the short term, Daniel does not have time or mind share to spend creating enormous numbers of seeds for staple crops. Furthermore, he’s not anywhere near Kozalin to do so. Odin and Thor kidnapped him. For purposes of supporting Black Island indoor farming, I bet the Wolfen and Corinna’s dryads conduct a few raids on abandoned farms too far from Kozalin for the city’s own organized looting. Failing that, INTREPID might support a more distant commando raid, or Clan Nethwillin might just buy a merchant ship captain’s temporary loyalty and order some seeds.

        Daniel no longer has to give away power stones when he sells a farm. The farm can be powered from a stone that is in Daniel’s vault on Black Island. This is actually one of the better reasons for Daniel selling a few indoor farms to Kozalin. If he figures out some way to mass produce the farms it’s all easy for him, and low risk for his magic.

        It helps that Daniel is sufficiently far-sighted to understand that making friends and helping them survive today might mean they will survive to procreate future, more competent potential allies tomorrow…okay, ten thousand years tomorrow, but hey, if they die today they won’t have any tomorrows.

        Daniel already has power and knows he will have to invent even more powerful tools/toys Real Soon Now. Controlling Kozalin’s food supply would buy him nothing but issues. Enhancing Kozalin’s ability to feed itself will MAYBE earn a few friends.

        Daniel does not need vassals. He needs capable allies. He knows there are a few of those hiding among the refugees, maybe a few more surviving intrigues in the Red Conclave’s tower. What he really needs is for Hecate to point out another large group of competent professionals like Clan Nethwillin.

        Yes, Varmlanders already know about bees, that’s why they WANT bees they don’t currently have. Daniel’s own indoor farms will need bees, LOTS of bees, and not just bumblebees or honey bees, either. Kozalin’s indoor farms, if they ever happen, will also need LOTS of bees of many different varieties.

        Everybody reading this sentence is sitting in the middle of an environment a few hundred feet in diameter that supports between a thousand and as many as two or three thousand different varieties of bees, flies, moths, butterflies and other insects that pollinate all sorts of crops, orchards, gardens, etc. Kozalin and Black Island both need to reinstate most of these beneficial bugs as soon as possible and figure out how to provide living habitat to sustain viable populations into the indefinite future.

        The Groves are an obvious place for this on Black Island, and it will help tremendously that the dryads know this. When the time comes they or some of the forest spirits can probably command all sorts of the right pollinators to visit each of the crops humans plant in the crop growing levels nearby.

        Kozalin’s farms will struggle with this for a while, until they come up with one or more generally accepted strategies for maintaining certain plots of magic farmland intact without banishing the soil every season. Fortunately, keeping bees in hives was a well-understood practice LONG before Varmland existed, so it will also be possible to manage a population of honeybees.

        I wonder how well they adapt to all year growing seasons? It must happen all the time near the equator in our world.

        This is totally wrong: “Farms are not a natural habitat.” MODERN farms are almost not a natural habitat, and even that is changing today because they are failing so badly in many critical ways. Chemical fertilizers are burning out the soil, aggressive antifungal and other soil “treatments” are sterilizing the soil and farm fields are becoming giant poorly understood, poorly executed hydroponics experiments.

        Look at Amish or Mennonite fields and productivity for something more natural and for more successful stewardship of the land.

        Varmland’s farms are MUCH more like a natural habitat than modern farms, and Varmland’s gardens ARE natural habitat, as are the fields let lay fallow for pasturage support meat and dairy animals. How much of this actually will happen in Daniel’s indoor farms OR any indoor farms he MIGHT sell or give to Kozalini, we cannot know until the author tells us.

        I agree they won’t support many birds or bats, but they will support a few, if that choice is made. Odds are the Groves will have bats, birds and other creatures, some of which will be quite fae.

        Oliver, the inside/outside argument is almost irrelevant. What really keeps pestiferous insect populations under control in both Daniel’s Black Island indoor farms and any farms he may sell to the Kozalini is that seasonal banishment of the soil. Locusts lay eggs in the soil, as do many other pests. These are banished every season along with the successful harvest, sooner if there is something wrong with a crop.

        Even the plots where gardens and pasturage shelter bees, butterflies and other helpful insects will also support some pests, but the predator bugs will help keep these under control and farmers can banish particularly nasty infestations easily. It’s probably not as simple as you want, but it’s a LOT more simple than what farmers have always been forced to deal with in Nature.

        Daniel won’t have to do much, if any research into bug populations at all. The beneficial predators are part of the mix his soil summoning spell brings with it each time a plot is refreshed. There are enormous numbers and varieties of eggs in that soil. Keeping only a few plots intact for longer than a season or two will enable many bug populations to establish themselves, and some perennial gardens, like herb and medicinal plots, will have to be let stay for many years to achieve useful maturity, supporting many varieties of bugs and other critters and plants.

        I don’t think I was clear about the seeds stored haphazardly in Kozalin. Before Fimbulwinter began, those were NOT in Kozalin. They were scattered all over the nearby farms, along with harvested food grains. Refugee farmers brought wagon loads of food and seed grains WITH them into Kozalin in the first days of Fimbulwinter. After that initial flood trickled away, the Prince sent out soldiers to strip every possible storage place, just like Lanrest’s baron did while Daniel was there. Eventually, goblins, trolls, giants and felwolves ended the grains collection effort, although I suspect Daniel’s dryads and Wolfen could perform some cautious pilfering of their own to help setup Black Island’s indoor farming effort.

        Now the grains stored in Kozalin are all mixed together and all treated as food. If anybody is even thinking about planting next year’s crops after some miracle ends Fimbulwinter, they must be thinking gloomy thoughts indeed.

        Daniel can “force” the people living inside his walls on Black Island to send their kids to schools he has not yet created. He has no ability to do so with the children of Kozalin living outside Black Island. None.

        Yes, Daniel will need educated soldiers. No, he has no hope of creating them in the current year, nor in the current series of Daniel Black stories, either. Maybe in the epilogue, or the next series.

        Daniel has no seed grain to give the Kozalini indoor farmers, if he ever makes indoor farms for them. That will require some sort of future special effort, possibly including a flight to Morocco by INTREPID.

        People in boats will be picked off by goblin and troll raiders before they can reach Kozalin using that melted river route. People in ships could make the trip, but will the ships stop along a hostile shoreline to pick up the people? Even visiting a coastal fishing village is hazardous.

        I’ll have to read BLACK COVEN again to study the refugee numbers. I’m not sure if there are 140,000 people in Kozalin, including refugees, or 100,000. Then, of course, there is the number left after monsters rampaged across the Trade District several times….

        Yeah, I’m betting other places like Lanrest exist, but probably not for long unless they have several very sneaky and powerful magic users as well as very capable garrisons.

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  17. This is focused on the next generation of magical technology with Daniel, which looks to me as about to explode with possibility. Look at his last couple discoveries

    1) The language ring gave Daniel a methodology to both magically transmit skills and how to create a programming language for magic. (book 3)

    2) The Atlantean magic allows Daniel to create modular magical creations. By that I mean magical devices that can be combined to create more powerful affects. This also allows significant simplification in the creation of any one magical device. Potentially devices of enormous complexity can now be factory produced. (book 4)

    3) Daniel discovered that by dramatically slowing down his factories, he can create much more durable, complex and powerful magical devices. (book 4)

    4) Daniel can create magical factories that adapt to what is already there. This allows the benefit of very high precision without the need to create that precision itself (as magic is bad at being super precise). (book 4)

    The combination of these discoveries is HUGE. Here are just some of the possibilities. It is like a 2nd magical industrial revolution.

    a) Daniel can create a device to build a building. Take for example a farm complex. It is complex as it must create the walls, ceiling, floors. Install water and lighting controls, elevators, doors, and a general floor plan that supports agriculture of many types (aka – some for trees, some for others). Living accommodations for farmers and storage rooms for food are also a good idea. This design must adapt to the space available. Multiple different types of magic are involved and it requires a direct feed from a mana amulet. So Daniel can build a highly sophisticated device that does all this using magical programming and adaptive magic to do the work. And with his new factories (#3) he can actually create his “build a building” devices in volume.

    b) Daniel can create some kind of adaptive security – linking wards, sensors, cameras, eyes, and other types of magic to detect any intruder no matter what magic they use to conceal themselves. The system can even detect when a door is opened — and raise the alarm if nobody was there to open it.

    c) Daniel now has a way to create super soldier amulets that make his soldiers a lot more capable. Skill transfer combined with some sophisticated magic can give each soldier near perfect aim (Daniel’s force sorcery gives him near perfect aim). His magical software could automatically adjust a force field defense that that the protected soldier can still effectively function and of course a communication capability built in. Combine with a separate amulet to give permanent strength, health, toughness and reflex enhancement, and your soldiers are super soldiers.

    d) Combine a tiny bit of wood from Alana’s tree, some sympathetic magic, and some magical programming and Daniel can create a small army of very powerful golems that can fight effectively. It would be dangerous to have pieces of Alanna’s tree lying around everywhere, but it Daniel can mimic that connection with his mana sorcery, it is totally workable. Creates a battle tank version of his super soldiers that is capable of dealing with a great beast or three.

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    1. Dspring, I’m with you until the army of golems made with bits of wood from Alanna.

      She probably has some limiting factor that would keep her from creating an entire army.

      Maybe a dozen golems, or several dozen, would begin to be too many.

      However, the really powerful new opportunity for Daniel is growing bodies to populate with dead murder witches, dead military veterans and dead wizards.

      If he can figure out how to reliably defend himself from his own rogue body surfers, THAT is where the really deadly army will come from.

      He can build every one of them a super soldier, super witch or super wizard.

      Be very careful when to reveal them, because this sort of army is VERY familiar to Odin, Hel and anybody who remembers Zeus’ myrmidons. If a new army of capable undead super soldiers, witches and wizards is associated with Daniel, THAT will draw a LOT of attention from all the wrong places.

      Ra and Odin have demonstrated quite enthusiastically that they not only won’t tolerate Atlantean wizards, they hate competing gods even more.

      See BAST and LOKI.

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