The Replacement Witch

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MrGanondorf

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« on: April 01, 2014, 11:41:21 am »
The episode where Psatma is meeting with the other high priestesses at the struck table, not too far into chapter 5, US edition pps 113-5:

"Phoracia claimed to see Eleva touch a Chorae not more than three months previous in Carythusal, during the solstice observances.  That mean the witch had replaced her recently, did it not?" (115)

A few thoughts:

- probably the work of gnostic glamour

- possibly something we won't see again in the series, since this seems like a high risk/desperation move (witches are so valuable and so exposed by their mark)

- riffing off that last thought: there must be a whole class of people throughout Earwa who missed being snatched up by schools when they were young, but they can still see the onta--these people would be invaluable as spies!  every great faction has to have some!

- if we do see it again, who will be unmasked? perhaps someone we already think is marked?
(click to show/hide)

- could be Kellhus' dunyain/neuropuncture/skin spy mess?  The passage reads so much like a skin spy substitution, I gotta think Bakker was trying to communicate that vibe.  Kellhus is worse than the Consluts to Psatma.

- chorae: either it is as the priestesses think in the above passage (Eleva is replaced after the touching a chorae) OR Eleva was handling a fake chorae--which got me thinking, there must be a lot of those around.  If you don't have the ability to discern a fake one from a real tear of god, you could be totally tricked into buying one at a bargain rate in the streets of Momen.

 - the whole thing is a set up--Eleva is replaced, but not by a Kellhus operative.  Eleva replaced to condense Psatma's power.  Who stands to gain from this?

Wilshire

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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2014, 03:33:56 pm »
It does seem like a big gamble. The Few may be limited, but those who can see the Onta might not necessarily be. Sending a Witch into such a dangerous scenario seems like a terrible idea.. I wonder what the reward would have been? Maybe pointing to Kellhus knowing the Gods truly hunt him

Fake chorae would have little use. Schoolmen can 'feel' them, so they wouldn't be tricked. The fair market value of a chorae is so immense that I feel like most people wouldn't be duped into buying them. Apparently the marriage of Heirs is the only transaction that might warrant an exchange or purchase of the Trinkets. Non-Great Names will almost never have one unless it was inherited. (I have my own issues with that apparent truth given to use near the beginning, but that's off topic :P).

That is not to say the one she saw the Witch touch wasn't a fake, just that there probably aren't many of them, and more probably one was made specifically for the purpose of securing the Witch-Spy. After all, if it was take, who knows how many months they were infiltrated before she was exposed.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Crtha

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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2014, 03:37:57 am »
Kellhus would certainly spend a witch in this way if her getting caught served a contingent purpose.
Couple of examples; If she is caught then it helps prompt the cult to do X, or her capture provides deeper cover for a second spy using different covert techniques (e.g. mundane spy, retrofitted skinspy).

Retracing his bloody footprints, the Wizard limped on.

MrGanondorf

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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2014, 01:39:23 pm »
Kellhus would certainly spend a witch in this way if her getting caught served a contingent purpose.
Couple of examples; If she is caught then it helps prompt the cult to do X, or her capture provides deeper cover for a second spy using different covert techniques (e.g. mundane spy, retrofitted skinspy).

*whistle*

I like it, but it's so expensive.  I don't know that a second spy would escape Psatma either.  She seems to know about Meppa and can penetrate mundane minds too.

I bet your right about the other possibility--Kellhus deliberately provoking Yatwer.  Plays into his plan somehow.

Wilshire

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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2014, 07:01:36 pm »
Makes some since, the possiblity is there, but there just aren't many schoolman, and even fewer of the Swayali. Considering Kellhus took very nearly every single ranking sorcerer with im, I have trouble beliving he could so easily 'spend' one like this, even if he didn't expect her to get caught.

 I guess it all depends on how much about the Gods, specifically Yatwer, he knows/expects/guesses. Perhaps he would waste 10 or even 100 schoolmen to know more about the Diety that hunts him.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Crtha

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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2014, 02:27:55 am »
To me, that is just how the probability trance works.

If Kellhus knows there is a chance something 'bad' will happen, he still ends up profiting.  Otherwise he chooses a another 'golden path'.

In this case, we just don't know exactly how he benefits from his initial gambit failing.
Retracing his bloody footprints, the Wizard limped on.

Madness

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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2014, 01:16:22 pm »
A few thoughts:

- probably the work of gnostic glamour

That's my bet. Though due to the "ghostly ramparts," which I believe is the description of her defensive Ward cast, I suspect Kellhus didn't limit the Swayali's education to the Gnosis.

- possibly something we won't see again in the series, since this seems like a high risk/desperation move (witches are so valuable and so exposed by their mark)

I can't remember if Psatma can see as the Few...

Regardless, you'd think with the unclear metaphysical nature of the Catacombs and it being Psatma's high table someone would notice the Mark... unless that was the function of the person replaced.

- riffing off that last thought: there must be a whole class of people throughout Earwa who missed being snatched up by schools when they were young, but they can still see the onta--these people would be invaluable as spies!  every great faction has to have some!

The Thousand Temples had the College of Luthymae (featured in my Swayal story). All the secular factions must use the non-Marked Few as such, especially the Inrithi faithful. But the Schools. They probably train all their Few.

(click to show/hide)

Subforum is TJE, MG :P. Anything past should be tagged.

But you know, I often wonder if Bakker is going to start killing characters The Departed-style. It makes me fear for the future.

- could be Kellhus' dunyain/neuropuncture/skin spy mess?  The passage reads so much like a skin spy substitution, I gotta think Bakker was trying to communicate that vibe.  Kellhus is worse than the Consluts to Psatma.

Consluts... lol.

I think Kellhus could easily have fucked with a skin-spy. But I think he probably uses his instruments...

That'd be some good atrocity tales, of Kellhus' Ministrate fighting to take over the Three-Seas, cloak and dagger-like.

(click to show/hide)

- chorae: either it is as the priestesses think in the above passage (Eleva is replaced after the touching a chorae) OR Eleva was handling a fake chorae--which got me thinking, there must be a lot of those around.  If you don't have the ability to discern a fake one from a real tear of god, you could be totally tricked into buying one at a bargain rate in the streets of Momen.

Given that they are a mark of nobility in the Three-Seas, I'm going to say that vendor's dealing fake-Chorae get put in the River Phayus real quick.
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MrGanondorf

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Madness

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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2014, 12:33:37 pm »
Lol :).
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MrGanondorf

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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 09:42:24 pm »
In this thread:
http://second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=736.0
Socrates made an interesting observation:

Quote
in the beginning of The Judging Eye, you may recall the Yatwer cult has a meeting and a sorceress spy is uncovered and killed with a Chorae. Everyone assumes she is Swayali and a spy from Kellhus. But what makes me doubt this is that right before being killed, she raises what are pretty clearly Anagogic Wards. It is pretty explicit.

Quote
Eleva leapt to her feet, her arms outstretched, her eyes and mouth shining sun-white, her hair and robes boiling in some intangible tempest. [...] Spectral walls parsed the Charnal Hall, the ghosts of cyclopean bricks.


That doesn't look like Gnostic Abstractions to me. It makes me wonder if with the creation of the Swayal Compact, some of the other Anagogic Schools decided to quietly accept some female students. With the Schools off on the Great Ordeal, a School that had witches as secret members left behind in the Three Seas could possibly seize an advantage in the turmoil.

Maybe just an author mistake, I don't know.

MrGanondorf

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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 11:21:02 pm »
@ Wilshire

Quote
Fake chorae would have little use. Schoolmen can 'feel' them, so they wouldn't be tricked. The fair market value of a chorae is so immense that I feel like most people wouldn't be duped into buying them. Apparently the marriage of Heirs is the only transaction that might warrant an exchange or purchase of the Trinkets. Non-Great Names will almost never have one unless it was inherited. (I have my own issues with that apparent truth given to use near the beginning, but that's off topic ).

I was counting on the fake chorae thriving on the never-ending supply of fools in the world!  This does make me think of some interesting issues: the schoolman had better do routine checks on their chorae stock and keep meticulous records because a javreh with debts might be tempted to sell one and fix the blame on someone else.  :)

There might be a legitimate fake chorae market too.  Javreh got to practice, the real thing is too expensive to let out of the vault, but they need to know weight and such for firing chorae bolts.  The Scarlet Spires may have extremely exacting standards for the production of fake chorae to have their troops battle-ready.  :P

I know this idea doesn't have much to go on, but I still reserve a little bit of my mind that chorae are even harder to detect than we think.  As far as I can remember, the only pov's that feel the chorae's mark are schoolmen and Mimara, so it seems at least a little bit possible that they are simply lumps of iron to you unless you are stained or have the judging eye.  IDK

The real chorae market would be an interesting thing too.  Surely they are found/sold sometimes.  Houses that fall into debt can sell, merchants who make enough can at least inquire about buying.  Maybe you can get one a lot cheaper if you travel to Sakarpus?

@ Madness

Quote
The Thousand Temples had the College of Luthymae (featured in my Swayal story). All the secular factions must use the non-Marked Few as such, especially the Inrithi faithful. But the Schools. They probably train all their Few.

I was thinking along the lines of the schools using people that were too old to be taught sorcery when they were found, but still useful as spies.  If I were the Scarlet Spires I would keep people like this around.  Get some old dude who useless except that he's unstained but can see stains and have him sit up front with the receptionist to make sure only SS people walk in.  Use these kind of folks to look out for marked Mandati bothering javreh in bars.  Or if anyone with the Gift can see chorae, keep an auditor about to keep track of the schools chorae.

Madness

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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2014, 11:43:59 am »
@ Madness

Quote
The Thousand Temples had the College of Luthymae (featured in my Swayal story). All the secular factions must use the non-Marked Few as such, especially the Inrithi faithful. But the Schools. They probably train all their Few.

I was thinking along the lines of the schools using people that were too old to be taught sorcery when they were found, but still useful as spies.  If I were the Scarlet Spires I would keep people like this around.  Get some old dude who useless except that he's unstained but can see stains and have him sit up front with the receptionist to make sure only SS people walk in.  Use these kind of folks to look out for marked Mandati bothering javreh in bars.  Or if anyone with the Gift can see chorae, keep an auditor about to keep track of the schools chorae.

You're reaching :P.
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MrGanondorf

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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2014, 10:40:00 pm »
In the absence of TUC, I'm determine to reimagine Earwa until it resembles Office Space.  :)

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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2014, 10:44:18 am »
Lmao... my buddy used to get so upset that I hadn't seen that movie. But I rectified that.
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2014, 04:41:40 pm »
Way off topic, but in direct relation to your last comment, if you liked Office Space, you should check out Silicon Valley.  Fkn hilarious.
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