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…

7,301 thoughts on “Daniel Black Open Thread

  1. Again I am breaking threading for this because it is its own topic.

    Colin:

    “Maybe Daniel’s understanding of enchantments would have been forced to develop faster. He could have created a rod like the one he used to build the first instance of Black Island, but earlier, when he was adding the new wall around Lanrest.

    However, he could not KNOW that would be possible, when he was first considering what to choose as his first elemental sorcery.”

    OK, we are facing a chicken and egg problem. Hecate had used divination. We know he wasn’t the best candidate. He was the best she could reach in time. Presumably somebody from an even higher-tech world who had their equivalent of Wikipedia in his head would have been even better.
    But she was reasonably confident Daniel’s choices would work. The strategy of picking what comes natural is more reasonable than it seems at first glance. If you want something that works. The best solution is another question.

    Secondly the hidden assumption that Daniel’s solution of enchanted tools was the only one or best one is problematic.
    A master naturomancer might have summond a demon mole to construct a ditch to be flooded and then would have grown a coral reef in it to form a wall out of lime stone. And the towers would have been giant hollow trees powering fire magic by their own life force allowing them to thrive during winter.
    Or he creates demon termites which build the wall. Or …
    Daniel’s tools have the obvious flaw that they are stupid objects. Gaia’s approach overcomes that flaw and provides a way for the tools to make more tools. Elegant.

    Or you actually grow your tools (as opposed to breeding them) in Idun’s style.
    We have also seen that sometimes magical constructs can serve as structural components. Cerise’s shadows made out of shadow for example. Yet another possibility.

    It took Daniel months to make his first golem for example. Golems with force magic are another way to actually physically, magomanually if you will, build a wall. And so on. We are talking about what he would have done without Earth. Strictly speaking we would need to ask what he would have done with another combination.
    Obviously that is harder, as the combination needs to be specified.

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    1. Sorry:

      “Cerise’s shadows made out of shadow for example. Yet another possibility.”

      Should have been: Cerise’s whips and tentacles made out of shadow.

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  2. “Jabrwok, some authors work from exhaustive plotted notes. Others create wonderful scenes and stitch them together into a story. Still others commence developing a character by tossing him or her into the deep end of the pool and then make up their minds on piranha or crocodiles.”

    The best long series are ones where the author has at least sketched out the arc of the larger story and roughly identified how many books/what each book will involve. Detailed mapping is not required, but enough mapping is needed so that each story naturally flows from the last.

    You do not need this formal mapping on a short series as the author basically can hold this detail in their mind or you can make it work with unrelated spontaneous stories. But a long story needs elements necessary for book 7 to be introduced in book 4 so that it all feels natural when you get to book 7

    I have read a few long series where the author did not do this and you can tell. The author had to keep introducing jarring course changes or breaking continuity to make the next book in the series work. It is really hard to create a GOOD book when you are forced to do these disruptive things.

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    1. I have to agree with you on authors and long series, Dspring. However, I’ve read a few that went to ten or eleven volumes and that last two or three were sort of mailed in, as if the author was just adding a few thousand filler words between the anchor lines of a somewhat detailed plot.

      I’ll cheerfully accept some ragged restructuring if the characters and story remain fun and engaging.

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  3. “I’m thinking it’s not just that the Atlanteans are no longer a concern to the gods because the Spire is broken, the gods are also quite sure that introducing nightmares to human dreaming will end the threat of dream magic as well.”

    Agree

    “Daniel’s ability to quickly develop and create deadly enchanted items, especially when he does so in large numbers, will attract the gods’ attention when he builds enough of something that directly threatens Them”

    “The gods might believe Mara’s new toy, Sunstrike, is also actually her creation. If They knew Daniel designed and created it in something less than a single month, they would be rather less sanguine.”

    Good thing they are all distracted by Ragnarok. (smirk)

    “Given the speed with which he comes up with new things, ancient gods will think Daniel somehow escaped the nightmare curse. That will lead them to believe he is an Atlantean who escaped that curse by dying before it, then reincarnating after.”

    Humans are now capable of innovation and have been for centuries. The nightmare curse prevents the dreaming from recreating the sunspear or a whole host of Atlantean wizards out of thin air.

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    1. Dspring, consider one or more Atlantean wizards creating the entire Sun Spire overnight or maybe assembling it out of components over the period of a month or two, maybe even a year or two.

      How is that different from Daniel creating an army of armored flying combat golems in the period of a month or two?

      Yes, the Spire is much more dangerous to gods and humans, however, how deadly will Daniel’s NEXT magically mass-produced mago-tech device be?

      As you smirked, it sure is a good thing for Daniel that certain gods are otherwise distracted from looking more closely at him and his projects.

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      1. I think the only surviving Atlanteans left free have spent a very long time carefully preparing and hiding themselves. It is why I think Steelbinder is an Atlantean as his armor is very comprehensive, very complex and hides everything about him.

        I think the original sunspear was created by the dreaming, not the atlanteans. Some comments from Allanna point to this. Not clear if any one (or several) atlanteans have the complete skill set to recreate the sunspear. And it is clear that the sunspear by itself is insufficient to defeat all the pantheons – yet its creation would immediately freak all the pantheons out and start a war with every pantheon at once.

        You would need the sunspear, the connection to the sun would need to be established, a large number of divine beings captured to filter/manage the power. The Atlanteans had all that and still lost.

        Of course, Fimbulwinter could change this. If the Atlanteans are willing to have most of humanity exterminated just to kill off most of the gods in all the pantheons, that creates the possibility of recreating the Sunspear. The remaining gods might not be strong enough to defeat the sunspear at that point, or even notice until they are fully set up.

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      2. Hmm…I like your thoughts about the hidden Atlanteans, Dspring. Not sure if Steelbinder is powerful enough, but then, he would be careful NOT to seem so.

        Two thoughts came to me.

        1) What are the Atlanteans waiting for? I’m thinking Fimbulwinter fits the bill neatly. War between the gods, hopefully weeding out many of the demigods and weaker gods, wasting several armies and maybe taking a few senior gods down a peg or two.

        2) Why would the Atlanteans create another Sun Spire? The last one failed them, or they failed it, and now all the senior gods are rightly wary of it, while the young gods and demigods have been fed a few millennia of stories about it. “Fear? You young pups have no idea what fear is! Damn right we were afraid of those Atlantean wizards and their Sun Spire — they captured and imprisoned gods!”

        Yeah, yeah, Gramps…uphill both ways, in the snow, with drifts over your head at each end.

        I’m thinking any Atlantean hold-outs have come up with some entirely new god-killing or god-trapping implements.

        Their power supplies should be amazing.

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    2. “The gods might believe Mara’s new toy, Sunstrike, is also actually her creation. If They knew Daniel designed and created it in something less than a single month, they would be rather less sanguine.”

      “Good thing they are all distracted by Ragnarok. (smirk)”

      You mean so distracted from studying every new weapon and tactic used during Ragnarök? Oops.

      No, seriously, if Mara can make such a thing, she will be expected to make more of them. Not immediately and not in large numbers, but eventually some would be expected. If Loki’s forces do not deliver, somebody will question the origin of that weapon. The Aesir have an organisation dedicated to such things.
      And they would not search for the origin blindly. Aphrodite, who was under Daniel’s control, turning up in Loki’s camp is bad enough.

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      1. Urk.

        Yeah…as long as everybody believes Daniel is dead, Aphrodite showing up in Loki’s camp with Mara is kind of a no-brainer.

        Of course, when Daniel eventually is recognized and the realization he is NOT dead begins to circulate, Aphrodite’s choice of refuge becomes more of a risk to Daniel.

        Good point, Oliver. Somebody will have to ask about the ring and the gem that together impact Aphrodite’s future.

        Does this issue put a premium on Daniel staying undiscovered as a female elf for a longer period of time?

        On the other hand, so long as he can reasonably point out that Mara has obviously broken Aphrodite’s imprisonment as well as Fenrir’s, who can blame him for whatever the crazy goddess does?

        Okay, all the crazy gods and goddesses can obviously blame him.

        It’s not like any of their other vendettas had to make any sense to anybody.

        Probably best for him/her to lay low for a while longer.

        Colin

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      2. “You mean so distracted from studying every new weapon and tactic used during Ragnarök? Oops.”

        I mean distracted from studying every new weapon and tactic not used on the fields of Asgard. Outside of Asgard, they are just not going to pay attention very much until the fighting stops.

        “No, seriously, if Mara can make such a thing, she will be expected to make more of them. Not immediately and not in large numbers, but eventually some would be expected. ”

        I would disagree with this. She is fighting on the fields of Asgard — nobody would expect item creation to occur at this time and building a golem would take significant time (weeks probably) even for a goddess, much less a demigod. The fighting on Asgard is only expected to take a few weeks or maybe 1-2 months. There really is not time for extensive item creation unless you have Daniel’s techniques.

        “And they would not search for the origin blindly. Aphrodite, who was under Daniel’s control, turning up in Loki’s camp is bad enough.”

        Not sure why Aphrodite is a problem. Mara can easily claim she bargained with Aphrodite for her freedom and/or she stole/tricked the control amulet from Daniel. Daniel’s presence in the city, his winning Aphrodite for a week and the attack by the lightbringers would be well known to Loki’s spies. Certainly the story of the explosion would be told often when recounting how Fenrir escaped, so Daniel’s death fighting lightbringers would be well known.

        Not sure why Aphrodite’s situation changes if Daniel is still alive – can someone explain why this might be so?

        And Aphrodite has no incentive to explain things clearly and is a gifted liar when she chooses.

        Although to be honest, I am not sure who has the control amulet or the key to the locks (aka – can turn off or on Aphrodite’s power). It was never explicitly stated that Alanna gave either to Aphrodite or Mara.

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      3. “I mean distracted from studying every new weapon and tactic not used on the fields of Asgard. Outside of Asgard, they are just not going to pay attention very much until the fighting stops.”

        What we have seen points to the exact reverse. The Lightbringers got a team there within days.

        “I would disagree with this. She is fighting on the fields of Asgard”

        That is highly unlikely. You will not risk an asset like her in the field and she is not trained as an officer.
        The time factor exists, but timing in war is notoriously unpredictable.

        “Not sure why Aphrodite is a problem. Mara can easily claim she bargained with Aphrodite for her freedom and/or she stole/tricked the control amulet from Daniel.”

        When did she do that? Aphrodite was last seen in a controlled area. How well were they watched before that? Daniel was seen with a ‘hall wench’ oddly similar to Mara …

        “Daniel’s presence in the city, his winning Aphrodite for a week and the attack by the lightbringers would be well known to Loki’s spies. Certainly the story of the explosion would be told often when recounting how Fenrir escaped, so Daniel’s death fighting lightbringers would be well known.”

        And Mara happened to be ready to attack right when the explosion had happened? And Aphrodite knew where to got to. Suspicious.

        “Not sure why Aphrodite’s situation changes if Daniel is still alive – can someone explain why this might be so?”

        Daniel is unlikely to agree to a plan that includes his own death. That absolves him from blame. As long as he stays dead.

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      4. They are actually more likely to place the blame of planning such an attack on Aphrodite. A method by which she could steal away her freedom. She is a slave that sided with a demigoddess of Freedom after all. Also the lightbringer’s made contact with her she betrayed supposedly Daniel and then they would have noticed her leaving the area. If their souls survived and were not consumed by the great Beast Rah would be questioning them and those questions would include what happened to Aphrodite. And you only need one of their souls to survive to get the information that Daniel died with the tower and did not Escape as well as Aphrodite left after telling them where he was. After all Daniel was not her master so she holds no Allegiance or loyalty to him. And her green Mistress didn’t tell her not to have a casual conversation where a few secrets were drop with the lightbringer’s. The lightbringers if they have a method of communication could have sent the information back to Rah before even going into the tower. They would be the best of the best in their profession after all. And relaying such information would only be professional.

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      5. “I mean distracted from studying every new weapon and tactic not used on the fields of Asgard. Outside of Asgard, they are just not going to pay attention very much until the fighting stops.”

        “What we have seen points to the exact reverse. The Lightbringers got a team there within days.”

        Apples and oranges to my mind. The Aesir (Odin and Loki both) are very focused on the fighting outside Asgard, so they will probably not pay attention to much outside that venue unless very dramatic. The lightbringers are not involved in the fighting, so not distracted by the fighting. But I suspect they are pretty thin on the ground if they did not have someone placed near the Conclave. They basically found out only because Brand told tales on a very public forum. Certainly they will watch the conclave now, but they will also believe that Daniel’s death will take a while to recover from. So they will not be frantic to find him.

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        “That is highly unlikely. You will not risk an asset like her [Mara] in the field and she is not trained as an officer.”

        I totally agree they will not make her an officer as she lacks the training to do well at that task (probably). But gods and Demigods are the main battle tanks of this world. Unless they really need her specialized skills for something else that is pretty darn important, they are going to use her as a MBT. After all, she is a demigod – she comes back if killed (except for certain weapons).
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        “Not sure why Aphrodite is a problem. Mara can easily claim she bargained with Aphrodite for her freedom and/or she stole/tricked the control amulet from Daniel.”

        “When did she do that? Aphrodite was last seen in a controlled area. How well were they watched before that? Daniel was seen with a ‘hall wench’ oddly similar to Mara …”

        Everyone on both sides will know that Mara infiltrated Asgard and broke out with Aphrodite and Fenris. Everybody knows Aphrodite has no loyalty to Odin and wants her freedom. It seems an obvious tactic to me to recruit Aphrodite in some way. Now Aphrodite has some measure of her powers back and that might be a mystery, but a few people know Daniel was given Aphrodite to help him solve specific problems and that he was given the ability to free her powers. Nobody would be surprised that a mortal wizard was tricked by Aphrodite into giving her too much freedom, especially as Daniel had taken care to give the impression that he had exhausted himself having sex with her that first day he was given control over Aphrodite

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        “And Mara happened to be ready to attack right when the explosion had happened? And Aphrodite knew where to got to. Suspicious.”

        Mara infiltrated Asgard and broke out Fenris. That is a huge achievement that shows she has inherited all of her father’s tricky ways. If she could do that, then it is no small stretch to say she had some hand in the explosion or at least some advance warning that the lightbringers would attack Daniel there. Any suspicion that this is the case from team Loki or Odin would just add to her reputation. EVERYTHING that happened in Asgard helped team Loki. Even the Lightbringers have no complaint against Loki, although they might against Odin for harboring the broken sunspear.

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        “Daniel is unlikely to agree to a plan that includes his own death. That absolves him from blame. As long as he stays dead.”

        Anybody who thinks Daniel is an Atlantean would consider his death to only “probably” absolve him from blame. Atlanteans always come back after all. But given death is probably a major setback, few would suspect Daniel’s death was intentional.

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      6. Aphrodite was meant to be Daniels payment he never completed the project he never got paid she was never in his control. His house plant won her in a fight. Made a rather large display of doing so too. Her name and a bunch of other things were thrown out as well as her skills abilities and potential age. Maybe Daniel is the puppet? Maybe Daniel is not the missing Atlantean maybe the house plant is? These are some of the questions Odin and his followers will be asking. If Daniel is smart he’ll just send his a vegetative playmate out to do his running for him.

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      7. “Apples and oranges to my mind. The Aesir (Odin and Loki both) are very focused on the fighting outside Asgard, so they will probably not pay attention to much outside that venue unless very dramatic.”

        * The equivalent of a nuke going off in Asgard fits the description ‘dramatic’
        * Freeing Fenrir ad new weapons by the other side are extremely relevant to that fighting

        “The lightbringers are not involved in the fighting, so not distracted by the fighting. But I suspect they are pretty thin on the ground if they did not have someone placed near the Conclave.”

        * He may have been on a southbound ship, considering Kozalin doomed like the Aesir
        .
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        .”But gods and Demigods are the main battle tanks of this world. Unless they really need her specialized skills for something else that is pretty darn important, they are going to use her as a MBT. After all, she is a demigod – she comes back if killed (except for certain weapons).”

        Her skill set is pretty unique. Allies to be freed should be rather easy to find. And after this stunt, the Aesir will put a prize on her head.

        “Everyone on both sides will know that Mara infiltrated Asgard and broke out with Aphrodite and Fenris. Everybody knows Aphrodite has no loyalty to Odin and wants her freedom. It seems an obvious tactic to me to recruit Aphrodite in some way. Now Aphrodite has some measure of her powers back and that might be a mystery, but a few people know Daniel was given Aphrodite to help him solve specific problems and that he was given the ability to free her powers. Nobody would be surprised that a mortal wizard was tricked by Aphrodite into giving her too much freedom, especially as Daniel had taken care to give the impression that he had exhausted himself having sex with her that first day he was given control over Aphrodite”

        Daniel is just accumulating to many associations with calamities to remain unsuspected much longer. Each of the assumptions you are making is by itself the likeliest explanation. But they all need to come together.

        “Anybody who thinks Daniel is an Atlantean would consider his death to only “probably” absolve him from blame. Atlanteans always come back after all. But given death is probably a major setback, few would suspect Daniel’s death was intentional.”

        Right until he comes back soon. Daniel is known to be in a romantic relation with Mara. He is also known for a certain fondness for explosions. And again he turned up together with Mara leading up to a calamity in Skogheim.
        Even by general association he will become worth investigating to more and more gods.

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      8. * The equivalent of a nuke going off in Asgard fits the description ‘dramatic’
        * Freeing Fenrir ad new weapons by the other side are extremely relevant to that fighting

        Certainly those actions are significant. But so long as they do not believe Daniel was the cause of any of these events, then their dramatic impact actually shields Daniel from their focus as it points attention elsewhere.

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        .”But gods and Demigods are the main battle tanks of this world. Unless they really need her specialized skills for something else that is pretty darn important, they are going to use her as a MBT. After all, she is a demigod – she comes back if killed (except for certain weapons).”

        “Her skill set is pretty unique. Allies to be freed should be rather easy to find. And after this stunt, the Aesir will put a prize on her head.”

        It is unique, but it is specialized. How many more beings that are natural allies are out there in some prison? She is not the right fight for battle, but as a demigod she still makes a pretty good MBT even if other demigods make better ones. I suspect gratitude (or Gaia’s breeding plans) will encourage the main gods to keep her out of serious danger, but remember the gods need MBT and they do not have anywhere near as many as Odin does.
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        “Daniel is just accumulating to many associations with calamities to remain unsuspected much longer. Each of the assumptions you are making is by itself the likeliest explanation. But they all need to come together.”

        Oh totally agree. The clock is definitely ticking on Daniel being underestimated/ignored. Gaia’s now dead army made him visible. Atlantian status made him visible. Co-location with the events in Asgard are suspicious. One or two more big events and Daniel will be moved to the “time to die” category in the god’s to do list. Revealed as the instigator behind the Asgard explosion – same. Revealed as the permanent killer of Gaia’s son – same.

        My personal guess is to how things fall apart is that Odin reveals to Gaia Daniel’s role, she goes bezerk (as Odin intended) and drops everything to kill Daniel. That has to wait until Daniel returns, but it is still where my money resides.

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  4. A lose end.

    When Daniel secures the camp before the battle against the giant, he says he could ward the camp but it would suck due to wild animals producing false alarms. How would they produce them and whence comes this ability? Mana sorcery?

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    1. Oliver, I’m just guessing here, but imagine a weak Force spell cast around the entire camp that deliberately allows rabbits, owls, goblins and trolls to pass through it, but it sparks, dazzles or sputters each and every time at each and every location.

      That would drive the night watch crazy, but it might have given a few more seconds of warning when the giants and felwolves attacked.

      Think of something simple, noisy and weak that Daniel might easily have been able to power with his amulet or a nice big well attached directly to a spell he could set to expire after dawn or all the mana is used up.

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  5. A lose end #2

    When Daniel, Cerise & Avilla were being chased through the Mirkwood, Avilla and Cerise used “protective charms”. What are they? Wards against physical damage? Or is there actual magic that can affect aim or even probability in general?

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    1. Oliver, I remember something about curse spells that Cerise used from very early in the first book.

      Maybe something like that which distorts goblin vision, confuses the goblin brain or directly messes with goblin muscles and nerves?

      Maybe the girls charmed each other to seem distorted, dislocated or difficult to aim at?

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  6. The elemental planes, summoning and sorcery

    Another reread, more question. There is something odd. Places have resonances with fire or earth. That is where the sun of Skogheim comes from. It looks like this is the place you summon stuff from.
    That is a problem. There is one such place per element. Sorceries are supposed to be individual. That is a mismatch. The material the Conclave used for its building is as far as we can tell the same stuff Daniel is summoning as his standard metal.
    What determines which elemental plane a sorcery can tap? Worse it looks like a sorcery can do multiple banishments at least. Air can also banish weight. So it looks like the content of a sorcery cannot be totally explained by individual choice.

    Is that the reason Daniel cannot just summon a slab of beef or, for that matter, mana?
    Could it be that flesh is not what gives you a good conection to the place meat would come from? Is the need for anchors a more general thing than a property of gods? Does the plane of Earth exist because there is an Earth?

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    1. “There is one such place per element.Air can also banish weight.”

      I’m not sure any of this is true. The inhabitants of that world think of it as the elemental planes. That does not necessarily mean that they are correct. It might just be one elemental plane of some form of transdimensional quasi mass energy/matter. And where do you get air sorcery can banish weight? There is only two examples in the books so far about weight banishment. One is demonic in nature and the other is draconic in nature. Neither one of them are related to air. They’re a naturally occurring biological enchantment that Daniel discovered while studying Cerise. I reread it does not appear to be Elemental in nature.

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      1. “It might just be one elemental plane of some form of transdimensional quasi mass energy/matter.”

        Right, but there are definitely filters. Your sorcery or type of wizardy allows only limited access. But the filter is not individual. Daniel did not use the Rundesage’s spells to get his metal. He used the idea. And his first attempt failed. It looks like objectively some summons are harder than others. If that is so, what determines the objective criteria?

        “And where do you get air sorcery can banish weight?”

        Cerise can influence the movement of air over her wings and can sense air currents. It looks a lot like air sorcery. Yet, you are right, it need not be.
        However, may I point out Elin’s air freshening spell? I suppose she may have learned it in the library, not gotten it from her sorcery.

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      2. Oliver, I’m not sure Elin has any sorcery at all. As a fae (princess?) she has the native ability to do magic and due to her bookish nature she has read many books from the Conclave library, her own library and Daniel’s library.

        I think she’s a fae wizardess shapechanger, not a fae sorceress shapechanger.

        It would be interesting to see any suggestion that her Grendelkind nature grants her some sort of elemental sorcery, especially her shapechanging. That seems like it ought to be similar to Daniel’s elemental Flesh but with all the limitations/filters from Elin’s complex upbringing.

        Of course, her Grendelkind nature could also justify some affinity for elemental Water sorcery.

        Combine that with her specific fae nature, which seems to be related to fresh water or ocean fae, and she certainly could have elemental Water sorcery.

        Let me know if you can find a reference that specifically states that, please.

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      3. The are refreshing perhaps even summoning magic does not appear to be inherent to the water element. Instead it appears to be an evolutionary adaptation of the water fairies. It’s stated that they have the ability because they like keeping things in underwater caves including pretty men. It might be a method by which they reproduce as a species. We haven’t seen any male versions of them yet. We know that elves have male versions but nymphs, nyad’s, dryads? We know that she has uncle’s and that her mother who is a fairy has Brothers but we don’t really know what her uncle’s are what type of fairy they are. And it’s not really uncommon for mythology to have species of just one gender.

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      4. Sorry about that post Oliver I just got back from a party and I was wasted at the time. Had to go back and reread everything I had written. It reads like somebody took a bunch of words and letters and turn them into scrambled eggs “again I apologize”. Though some of it is still coherent and I think that it fits the point.

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      5. “It looks like objectively some summons are harder than others. If that is so, what determines the objective criteria?”

        I still lean towards some form of universal similarity. Based on the abundance of material within the universe synced up through the use and expenditure of energy through spooky action-at-a-distance. But that’s just my own Theory.

        As I recall the air movement enchantment and the airsense enchantment we’re both different enchantments from the weight banishment enchantment which were found to be inherent in Dragons. Maybe also inherent in demons though it doesn’t really say. But just because they were inherent in the same creature does not mean that they are both related to air. After all it’s a biological evolution that allows the creature to fly more efficiently. But that does not mean that it’s related to air after all it’s a weight banishment not a air banishment.

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      6. ” It reads like somebody took a bunch of words and letters and turn them into scrambled eggs”

        Refreshing words. Spontaneous thoughts are also good. Less mental inhibitions make unusual, better ideas.

        “Instead it appears to be an evolutionary adaptation of the water fairies. It’s stated that they have the ability because they like keeping things in underwater caves including pretty men. It might be a method by which they reproduce as a species.”

        That I think is a mix-up between naiads and undines. Elin is maternally an undine and she can conjure water and knows an air freshening spell and can bestow breathing under water. However they live in deep oceans and their species has (at least) two sexes, as Elin has a mother and uncles.

        Naiads have caves full of air, but they live in shallow bodies of fres, clean water.
        It looks to me that naiads are to lakes what nymphs are to land and dryads are to trees. They are created magically not by sexual reproduction. Whether they can reproduce by sex is unclear (in mythology they can). The result may just as well be human with magic powers.

        Does Elin have sorcery over water? She is able to instinctively use it in combat. She did so against the mercury golem and the sons of Ivaldi. She also played firefighter with her ability. Daniel remarked that her abilities mirror his abilities regarding earth with water.

        And we have:
        ‘She was trained in the basics of wizardy’ in respect to enchanting. – Basics, but she has full control over water
        ‘I didn’t have water sorcery’ – Daniel comparing himself to Elin

        I think we have to conclude that either Elin personally or all undines have water sorcery.

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      7. Oliver, I like your arguments in favor of Elin having actual elemental Water sorcery.

        She now has an amulet somewhat similar in power level to Daniel’s own.

        It should be interesting to see what enchantments she creates next, studying Daniel’s own methods as she does.

        She has had her “Lanrest” moment, getting caught off guard and partially prepared as Daniel was for his first big fight in a built-up area. Battered and wounded during the fight with the dwarf-orks, she heals herself and declares she is not interested in any more fighting, ever.

        Right.

        Next time a fight catches her by surprise, watch for a cool, efficient application of massive water sorcery overkill. She’s going to think about how she was frustrated and injured and will prepare several very nasty offensive spells, maybe an enchanted item or two, and herself. She’s going to be fast, next time. Fast and deadly.

        She really, really wants to avoid losing control and going all Grendelkin again. Her best and closest example of how to maintain at least a shred of control over a deteriorating situation is Daniel, until she sees Alanna in action.

        Both of them are going to show Elin that more violence, applied more precisely, provides more options for more control over her own situation. Alanna will be ideal in that demonstration.

        It’s worth pointing out Elin’s nature is Grendelkin and Undine and Orca. Of the three, only the Orca normally gives any evidence of any notable reluctance to shred human flesh, and we don’t know if even that is true in Midgard.

        There’s a very thin veneer of culture and civility over the three monsters at Elin’s core. She doesn’t have to become a monster to deal with monsters. She can pick and choose the most effective response from a varied resume.

        Like

    2. Oliver, I’d bet there’s at least some personalization in every individual’s CONCEPTION of their elemental sorceries.

      Remember, when Daniel conceived of elemental Flesh sorcery he was specifically thinking of healing himself, healing others, modifying himself and others and maybe a few other ideas, some of which might have been stuck in his head by Prometheus. None of that included food. In fact, Daniel seems to be rather non-domestic, sort of like a 1950s or earlier male head of household. Damn good thing for him and Cerise that Avilla is well on her way to being a demigoddess of domestic awesomeness.

      What would you bet Daniel’s limitations on elemental Earth, Force and Fire are also at least partly due to Daniel’s perceptions of those elements? There could also be in situ limitations due to the actual natures of those elements. Note that his elemental Mana sorcery is virtually deus ex machina, perhaps in part because it is so much in synch with his gaming habits and experience.

      As for how the Conclave managed to come up with the same nickel iron material Daniel did, or vice versa, that’s easy.

      The Runesage obviously used a true meteorite for the model of his conjuration. He had multiple enslaved wizards to draw upon for power, so he was able to summon enough to grow the tower and probably some of his other inventions as well, though probably at other times.

      Daniel conceived of his nickel iron as similar to or drawn from the planet’s core material. That just happens to be rather similar to meteoric iron, since it came from virtually the same origin.

      Plus, it’s worth noting that Daniel is consciously copying the Runesage’s results, so of course Daniel’s results would be similar.

      Like

      1. “Oliver, I’d bet there’s at least some personalization in every individual’s CONCEPTION of their elemental sorceries.”

        The problem is the some. The extremes are simple. If sorceries are either externally defined or wholly dependent on imagination, all is well. But they are not. It is a mix. How does that work?

        “Remember, when Daniel conceived of elemental Flesh sorcery he was specifically thinking of healing himself, healing others, modifying himself and others and maybe a few other ideas, some of which might have been stuck in his head by Prometheus. None of that included food.”

        Yes. The intent of the sorcery explains what you can access at all. But not the ease of access within the available range.

        “Note that his elemental Mana sorcery is virtually deus ex machina, perhaps in part because it is so much in synch with his gaming habits and experience.”

        It isn’t. He can conjure stone, but not mana.

        “The Runesage obviously used a true meteorite for the model of his conjuration.”

        And he did this for which reason? Prestige? Who would be able to tell that he did not use normal iron?

        “He had multiple enslaved wizards to draw upon for power, so he was able to summon enough to grow the tower and probably some of his other inventions as well, though probably at other times.”

        Daniel alone could barely do any metal at all. At best the Runesage had a few hundred wizards. Why waste them on that if he could have used stone. at least for the lower part?

        Like

      2. Oliver, the ancient Egyptians knew that meteors are from the sky realm, and there were many of them. For this reason, nickel iron “sky metal” weapons were prestige items. Remember King Tut’s dagger.

        By the time of the Runesage, meteorites would be associated with many individual finds on Midgard, as well as more than a few “rock storms” which happened in France and elsewhere during the Middle Ages. That would establish both the commonality of rocks in the sky realm AND, perhaps, the significance of nickel iron, which not only fell from the sky but survived that fiery process to reach the ground intact. The Archmage would only need to perform a few experiments, as Daniel did, in order to determine how easy it is to conjure RAW nickel iron, with all the impurities of the common material. This would relatively easy if the Runesage worked from a sample.

        There’s no need to suppose the Runesage might also discover that Midgard’s core is made of nickel iron. He might only know that the stuff is easy to summon. Of course, this is the Runesage. He may have determined what the source of nickel iron is, theorized its relationship to the formation of the planet, estimated the volume and therefore had a relatively certain understanding of the proportionate size of this resource.

        More to the point, he could easily determine that nickel iron is not only cheaper in mana to summon, it is extremely durable upon exposure to the elements, compared with pure iron. Remember, the Runesage could well have spent YEARS experimenting and determining all this. Who’s to say he did not raise a stone tower first, saw it wrecked in less than a decade and had to replace it with something stronger?

        “A few hundred wizards” trained and bound to spend a fraction of every day funneling SOME of their mana into some sort of artificial mana battery is an ENORMOUS resource. This is probably at least part of the power of the Runesage.

        Building the entire tower out of nickel iron is not a waste, it is a prestige statement, a durability statement, a structural robustness statement and a sensible expenditure of mana.

        Stone would not have lasted as long as the Runesage expected to live. We have only to look at the walls of Kozalin to see that.

        As for how sorceries are “defined” and used, I suspect you are confusing definition with application.

        Daniel and others have specific expectations of elemental sorceries for a variety of reasons, many of which are not rational or logical, they simply are. Those expectations LIMIT the users’ application of elemental sorceries until the users’ learn more about themselves and their affinities.

        The ease of access is clearly a function of mana management abilities of the individual sorcerer. Hence, ease of access increases with time and practice. It decreases with abuse and brain damage. Good thing Daniel can heal himself so well.

        As for Daniel’s mana elemental sorcery, he clearly focused on seeing, feeling and otherwise analyzing mana USE. Daniel is his own worst enemy most of the time. His attention to mana is almost entirely learning how it works and experimenting with how it might work.

        When he wanted to create a source of mana, what did he do? He kludged a means of converting natural energy into mana.

        One other reason Daniel has not tried to conjure mana using his elemental Mana sorcery — where would he put it?

        He’d have to come up with a spell or enchantment to “wire” it right into his spells and enchantments. At the beginning of his time in Varmland he did not understand that level of wizardry.

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      3. His not being able to summon Manna is not true. It’s simply a great big question. We don’t really have an answer for it because he’s never tried. He hasn’t had a need to try it and even if he did he probably wouldn’t even have thought of it since he has a power source that replaces that kind of thing.

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      4. “For this reason, nickel iron “sky metal” weapons were prestige items. Remember King Tut’s dagger.”

        It also happens to be the best material for the purpose. THey could have made platinum daggers. They did not.

        “The Archmage would only need to perform a few experiments, as Daniel did, in order to determine how easy it is to conjure RAW nickel iron, with all the impurities of the common material. This would relatively easy if the Runesage worked from a sample.”

        That is the point. Does this work without referencing the core of the Earth? I think we are not clear on this point.

        “More to the point, he could easily determine that nickel iron is not only cheaper in mana to summon, it is extremely durable upon exposure to the elements, compared with pure iron. Remember, the Runesage could well have spent YEARS experimenting and determining all this. Who’s to say he did not raise a stone tower first, saw it wrecked in less than a decade and had to replace it with something stronger?”

        Pure stone is very hard to beat in terms of durability in an area without earth quakes. A structure like that big spire is not built for conventional defense. It either has a magical reason or it is a prestige building.

        “Stone would not have lasted as long as the Runesage expected to live. We have only to look at the walls of Kozalin to see that.”

        Very debatable. Against metal corrosion spells will work. They’ll fail against stone.

        “The ease of access is clearly a function of mana management abilities of the individual sorcerer. Hence, ease of access increases with time and practice. It decreases with abuse and brain damage. Good thing Daniel can heal himself so well.”

        But it does so proportionally. Gold is always harder than copper harder than nickel/iron harder than sand.

        “One other reason Daniel has not tried to conjure mana using his elemental Mana sorcery — where would he put it?”

        Himself. His first task was to refill his personal well.

        DaShoota:
        “His not being able to summon Manna is not true. It’s simply a great big question. We don’t really have an answer for it because he’s never tried.”

        True. But a face palm would not do in that case. It would require a face smash into a table.

        Like

      5. Interesting. Platinum was worked with powder metallurgy techniques by South American tribes long before I would have guessed the metal was in actual use.

        The point with nickel iron is partly what DaShoota has mentioned before, and partly that general discussion of how “summoning” materials works. When Daniel summons soil, we are all confident that comes from some sort of Earth analogue or Earth repository, in spite of the fact it is just as likely that soil could be identical to what one finds on a planet that orbits Betelgeuse.

        When Daniel summons nickel iron, HE is fully aware that the nickel iron in Earth’s core is approximately identical to the nickel iron of a meteorite because they BOTH come from the SAME source in the PHYSICAL universe — stars.

        Was the Runesage aware of this? Probably not, but we cannot be certain. Ironically, the archmage might have believed both came from some identical source in the MAGIC universe – the elemental plane(s). More to the point, he may have believed what he was SUMMONING came from the elemental plane, and that may have been correct as that sort of fits the “explanation” of elements Hecate gave Daniel before and during his trip through the Void.

        The point is not whether the Runesage believes he is summoning core material or meteoric nickel iron. The point is, the Conclave tower is evidence in itself that conjuring nickel iron in massive quantities at putatively low mana cost appears to be established as canon.

        Of course, that does assume the Runesage did not do something exceedingly wasteful that uselessly burned out numerous magic users in the effort. We cannot safely assume that, but we can choose to believe it.

        It is not correct to assert the tower is not defensive. It is certainly not entirely a prestige monument. Wizards built it to defend themselves and their property against local nobles, local wars and local authorities. Remember also that Saxon and French armies have invested Kozalin during previous centuries, and the castle is reputed to have survived dragon assault. The Conclave’s tower is built of nickel iron in part for prestige, in part for robust sturdy structure and in part because the cost to conjure it was not significantly different from the cost of conjuring stone.

        Corrosion spells do not universally fail against stone. SOME corrosion spells fail against SOME stone. OTHER corrosion spells succeed spectacularly against SOME stone. It’s on the siege wizard to pick the correct corrosion spell to target the defender’s stone walls. Thanks for that reminder, Oliver. I almost missed it.

        The proportionality of ease of conjuring brings us right back to our old question: is the proportion based on the planet’s elemental proportions or the elemental proportions of that magical universe. I’m inclined toward the universal proportions if only because I like the functional basis of elemental magic to be universal. Otherwise, when Daniel’s spaceship reaches the midway point between Earth and Mars, which planet’s proportionality will determine how difficult it is to conjure food, water, fuel, etc.?

        Inquiring minds want to know!

        Like

    3. Ok my understanding is pretty superficial in this space. but here it is.

      I am perfectly comfortable having magic naturally fall into buckets like elements (fire, earth, etc), wards, etc.

      I am perfectly fine with sorcery being defined by the imagination of the person riding the winds of chaos.

      I see no reason for the two to naturally be aligned. If one person envisions earth as rocks, crystals, growing plants and healing, then that is what they get. The fact that this corresponds to 3+ magical buckets is irrelevant. And if your vision of earth did not include metals even though they are part of “earth element bucket”, then you do not get metals.

      I suspect if anyone is a trained wizard or other magic user who then gets a sorcery, human nature implies that their imagination would closely tie to the structures they are familiar with. So it might look identical. Daniel imagined based on his experience with multiple games/books with a deliberate focus on bundling useful features together. So there would be no reason for Daniel’s sorcery to align with anybody’s rules of magic.

      Like

      1. That’s one of the things in the series. His understanding of Earth and elements in general don’t really mesh with midgard’s populations more mystical understanding of the elements. Daniel’s understanding meshes together physics, natural philosophy and Magic as he originally thought of it in games books stories his education Etc. However over time we’re seeing that change little bit by little bit as he learns more about native midgardians understanding of Magical elements. He is in a way expanding his own understanding growing his sorcery as time goes by.

        Like

      2. …and after THRALL, it appears likely that Daniel will be adding to his magical repertoire an understanding of Atlantean sorcery, enchantment, etc.

        He might also try to disguise his new enchanted items so they don’t SEEM at all Atlantean, despite have elements of Atlantean sorcery woven into them.

        What should be really dicey is when he tries to bring something out of the dream space like an Atlantean wizard would. After everything he’s learned from Alanna, you know he must try.

        Then there are the weapons, armor and other magical he wants to craft while in hiding. We’ve already booted that question around once or twice.

        If he is inside Alanna’s tree when he creates the item, it is probably not dream magic.

        If he is in Alanna’s dream place when he creates the item, will he be able to take it back to Kozalin with him?

        If yes, is that Atlantean dream magic, or maybe Daniel’s or Alanna’s dream magic?

        If it is Alanna’s dream magic, maybe that would be heavily influenced by Atlantean dream magic, or maybe it would be entirely her own.

        Looking forward to seeing how the author does that, possibly in Book Five.

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      3. i have seen no examples of Daniel “growing” his sorcery. He might think of a new idea to test against his sorcery, but the sorcery understanding itself is not changing.

        However, he is growing because he is using his mana sorcery to learn new magic quickly. This is not expanding sorcery, but more learning wizardry just like everybody else learns wizardry – – just a hell of a lot faster, especially with anything super complicated.

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      4. Dspring, for “growth” in Daniel’s elemental Mana sorcery I’d be looking for him to seem quicker to understand more complex enchantments, spells, etc.

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  7. Coven sizes

    Cerise said that they need they needed a warder and 4 elements for the higher rituals. The determining number is therefore the number of members minus 1.
    She mentioned 5, 7 and 13.
    Daniel later mentioned covens of 9 members.

    The latter number rules out that covens need a prime number of members. In fact subtracting one from Cerise’s number we end up with 4, 6 and 12. These numbers are special. They are the number of corners in the Platonic solids whose sides are triangles.
    9 minus 1 leads us to 8, which is the number of corners of a cube.

    Too much coincidence for my taste.

    Like

  8. Additional sorceries

    OK, one last post for now about sorceries. Odin confirmed that swimming in the void makes sense a second time. So sorceries are additive. Hecate mentioned dealing with Daniel again after a year. Should he pick another swim?
    If so, what sorcery?

    I will give some suggestions and my reasons for making these selections. But what would you pick?
    Daniel knows wizardy. He can study and recreate magic that way. So I think he would pick something

    * that has no example he can study
    * profits from his modern knowledge
    * benefits him in situations speed is essential (combat – let’s be clear)
    * doesn’t trigger the revulsion Daniel has against things going in the direction of mind control

    So:

    1. Space Time – teleportation, space expansion, and the literal killer: gravity. That somebody who knows the concept of black holes should get control of gravity is actually scary
    2. Entropy – a very modern concept, many applications, inclusding isotope separation (mixture entropy). He can filter stuff, manipulate chemical reactions and so on
    3. Souls – the key to true immortality and possibly to making wizards (unless he recoils at the implications)
    4. Life – the counterpart of flesh for the rest of nature and mimicking enzymes
    5. Time – invaluable in combat
    6. Light – laser beams shooting out of his eyes (it is just too cool to not consider), cloaks of invisibility
    6. Illusions – valuable in combat and require a very complex user interface, hard to do with wizardy

    Like

    1. Shapeshifting was already expressed by Daniel as a good add. I like your examples of time, space-time and thought your justification for illusions was well though out.

      Here is a thought though – can you get a sorcery in divine magic?

      Like

      1. That–THAT has to be it! Maybe not an elemental sorcery of divine magic, although that would be useful to Daniel’s future plans, but certainly an elemental sorcery of divine SPIRIT.

        Dryads and Naiads are minor spirits, Gods are major spirits, and Daniel really, really needs some knowledge and use of the spirit elemental sorceries.

        Like

      2. “Shapeshifting was already expressed by Daniel as a good add.”

        The best answer to that came from Mara: Reckon? You have elves for that now.

        “Here is a thought though – can you get a sorcery in divine magic?”

        What would it do? Make gods?

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