ARC: TDTCB: Chapter 2

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MSJ

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« on: April 16, 2018, 02:13:50 am »
Quote
I write to inform you that during my most recent audience, the
Nansur Emperor, quite without provocation, publicly addressed
me as “fool.” You are, no doubt, unmoved by this. It has become
a common occurrence. The Consult eludes us now more than
ever. We hear them only in the secrets of others. We glimpse them
only through the eyes of those who deny their very existence. Why
should we not be called fools? The deeper the Consult secretes
itself among the Great Factions, the madder our rantings sound to
their ears. We are, as the damned Nansur would say, “a hunter
in the thicket”—one who, by the very act of hunting, extinguishes
all hope of running down his prey.
—ANONYMOUS MANDATE SCHOOLMAN, LETTER TO ATYERSUS

Begin at your leisure! :)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 02:50:04 am by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

H

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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 08:26:48 pm »
Chapter 2:

It's interesting to think about Akka's Quorum time, under the lense that Simas is probably already a skin-spy.

On the one hand, what he says is logical, but I can't help but wonder if his aim here is wishful thinking.  No doubt the Consult wants the Holy War to go against the schools, especially the Mandate.  Perhaps even, events going a different direction, Simas would have called for a premptive strike, or some such?

I think this line is a reasonable clue that we should take away that Simas has been replaced:

Quote
And yet Simas watched him so strangely, his eyes curious with their own indecision.

and also Simas himself saying:

Quote
“It comes to this,” Simas continued. “Achamian befriends the people he uses, Nautzera. If he knew his contacts might be hunted, he would hesitate. And perhaps more important, if he knew that Atyersus itself had been infiltrated, he might censor the information he gave us in order to protect his contacts. Remember that he lied, Nautzera, risked the Gnosis itself, to protect that treacherous student of his.”

It's pretty daring, but shrewd of not-Simas to be the one to insist there is an informant, when he himself is the one.  That is confidence right there, something that is most probably linked to it having a soul.  Other skin-spies are not that capable.

“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

JerakoKayne

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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 08:41:51 pm »
This chapter is what leads me to believe that prior to this point, Achamian (and the rest of the Mandate) are practically unwitting agents of the Consult themselves, at this stage. Much of the chapter is world- and character-building, but a couple of things stand out to me.

Simas being replaced by a skin-spy was likely not a recent thing, I think at least pre-dating Akka's apprenticeship in his youth. Simas was his tutor, and especially the stuff like Simas' "There's strength in scepticism ... enough to be sceptical of our scepticism, hmm?" It's the beginning of the argument Simas makes that finally persuades Akka to betray Inrau, because it had trained Akka to think that way. It realizes that doubt is at the core of Akka's worldview, because it trained him to be that way! And likely many others among the "sceptic" faction.

It then continues to invoke the Mandate mission, to press just how Important Stuff this mission they're giving him is. And it is, to the Consult. We learn that Maithanet has an unusual affinity for rooting out spies and plots. With the relatively recent discovery of the skin-spies a decade earlier, I think they're hedging their bets. They still don't know why their spies were detected, and though they do have agents within the Temples, none seem to be close to Maithanet. Sending one of "their" human resources could seem a much safer bet.

And in the end, it's subtle enough that Akka feels like he is agreeing with Nautzera, though it is Simas who persuaded him.

JerakoKayne

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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 09:22:10 pm »
What I can't work out is why only recently have the Mandate informants been purged? Having a spy in the Quorum isn't necessary to do that; it's likely most, if not all, Mandati field agents have a skin-spy watching them. There is no need for Atyersus itself to be infiltrated to know who the informants are.

Geshrunni had been talking to Achamian for some time, even as Achamian had been being watched. It's only when Geshrunni reveals information tangentially related to the Consult that he is murdered. I am very curious what the other informants across the Three Seas had been uncovering, or if there is some other reason the Consult is suddenly less subtly "plucking eyes".

H

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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 10:24:02 am »
What I can't work out is why only recently have the Mandate informants been purged? Having a spy in the Quorum isn't necessary to do that; it's likely most, if not all, Mandati field agents have a skin-spy watching them. There is no need for Atyersus itself to be infiltrated to know who the informants are.

Geshrunni had been talking to Achamian for some time, even as Achamian had been being watched. It's only when Geshrunni reveals information tangentially related to the Consult that he is murdered. I am very curious what the other informants across the Three Seas had been uncovering, or if there is some other reason the Consult is suddenly less subtly "plucking eyes".

It's probably related to Maithanet and the start of the Holy War.  If the Consult plan was (initially) to hopefully get it to be declared against the Schools, it makes sense that they would want the Mandate (the school they most want eliminated) to be as blind as possible.  That this fails, of course, really isn't a Consult mistake, rather, the fact that they simply could not have known the full extent of what was going on.

Even though, thinking about it now, the Consult knows that something is afoot with the Cishaurim, since Moe has been eliminating all their agents there...
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

MSJ

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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 03:28:13 pm »
Quote from:  H
It's probably related to Maithanet and the start of the Holy War.  If the Consult plan was (initially) to hopefully get it to be declared against the Schools, it makes sense that they would want the Mandate (the school they most want eliminated) to be as blind as possible.  That this fails, of course, really isn't a Consult mistake, rather, the fact that they simply could not have known the full extent of what was going on.

Havent finiahed reading, just wanted to comment on this. And, oops, didnt finish reading the post. But, you're right, the Consult want to eliminate the Cish, because they know they're exposing and killing and torturing skin spies. Thats why they were interested in what Geshrunni related to Akka.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

H

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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 05:21:28 pm »
Quote from:  H
It's probably related to Maithanet and the start of the Holy War.  If the Consult plan was (initially) to hopefully get it to be declared against the Schools, it makes sense that they would want the Mandate (the school they most want eliminated) to be as blind as possible.  That this fails, of course, really isn't a Consult mistake, rather, the fact that they simply could not have known the full extent of what was going on.

Havent finiahed reading, just wanted to comment on this. And, oops, didnt finish reading the post. But, you're right, the Consult want to eliminate the Cish, because they know they're exposing and killing and torturing skin spies. Thats why they were interested in what Geshrunni related to Akka.

Yeah, the more I think about it, I think the Simas agent is just trying to sow some seeds of paranoia.  It would be very, very costly should the Simas agent be exposed, so to try to push any agenda that could even possibly put it on outs would be disastrous.  Better to toe the line, expose nothing and just let things play out on the other end, since the Simas agent is literally irreplaceable.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 08:33:27 pm »
Simas describes Akka as open and weak, whereas Akka can think of few places more heartless than Atyersus.  Early suggestions that Akka is gay, before further detail tells us about the nature of his relationship with Inrau.  We then learn that Akka might love a woman - 'were he a man, and not a sorceror and a spy'.  Inrau never ceases to see beauty and can forgive the blemishes in other men - Akka helps him escape to protect his innocent nature.  He doesn't want Inrau to be affected the way was when he became Mandati, and he knows how cruel/ ruthless/ manipulative his fellows are.
Quote
“It comes to this,” Simas continued. “Achamian befriends the people he uses, Nautzera. If he knew his contacts might be hunted, he would hesitate. And perhaps more important, if he knew that Atyersus itself had been infiltrated, he might censor the information he gave us in order to protect his contacts. Remember that he lied, Nautzera, risked the Gnosis itself, to protect that treacherous student of his.”

"But", Nautzera interjected, "we all know that faith is no friend to reason.  The distinction between rational and irrational mean little when one speaks of The Thousand Temples"

"This man is more than simply shrewd.  Far More" "Maithanet is shrewd, a man of intellect"

"the "mandate"...was.. to learn, to live from the past, not live in it"

"Besides," Nautzera added, "if you refuse to go, you merely force us to send someone - how should I put it? - less sentimental"

"ignorance is a potent tool. "As is knowledge"

Contradictions between rationality and emotion are set out here.  There is an implication that faith or feeling can be manipulated by intelligence or cunning - both in the quotes about Maithanet, and in the way Akka is 'convinced' to go to Sumna. 

We also learn that Akka is an open, caring man, perhaps to some appearing soft, or lacking ruthlessness.  Seswatha's Heart is first mentioned here, but it seems that Akka has retained his own as well.

There are echoes of some of the themes set out in the Prologue, where Kellhus appears to experience emotion and irrational sensations for the first time, and also realises that he can manipulate the world using his superior knowledge and intellect.
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

Wilshire

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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2018, 04:39:33 pm »
Yeah lets not forget that the Consult are pushing for holy war against the Cishaurim on literally every front. The SS, the Thousand Temples, the Nansur Empire, and (it stands to reason) the Mandate. The Cishaurim (as far as the Consult knows) are the only group that can root out their skin-spies, and need to be destroyed.

BTW, I forget, did someone figure out the year that the Consult took down Ishual? Obviously too early for this, couldn't have been until sometime during TTT, if not later. Not something to be concerned with now, but at some point the fall of Ishual and the subsequent rise of the Dunyain Consult becomes a factor.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2018, 06:41:10 pm »
We are slowly being introduced to the various factions in the Three Seas.  In Chapter 1 we are introduced to the Scarlet Spires, the Mandate, and the Cishaurim.  In Chapter 2 we learn more about the Mandate, we learn that the Cishaurim belong to a religion called Fanimry, and that there is another religion comprising something called the Thousand Temples, led by a Shriah.  We also learn that sorcerors are considered  'unclean' from a religious perspective and that holy wars have been waged against them in the past.

But perhaps there is a new player in the game.
"All have kissed his[Maithanet's] knee.  And with none of the political manoeuvering obligatory to such transitions of power... He has stirred something novel...and not merely within the Thousand Temples"
"This man is more than simply shrewd.  Far more."
"Maithanet is shrewd, a man of intellect"

Are these the first faint hints that a Dunyain is now active in the world?

As Akka thinks to himself in the audience hall at Atyersus, "...With every flicker the ground seemed to shift  Is this a hint that events are now taking place on Conditioned Ground?
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

MSJ

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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 03:01:32 pm »
Quote from:  Ape
We are slowly being introduced to the various factions in the Three Seas.  In Chapter 1 we are introduced to the Scarlet Spires, the Mandate, and the Cishaurim.  In Chapter 2 we learn more about the Mandate, we learn that the Cishaurim belong to a religion called Fanimry, and that there is another religion comprising something called the Thousand Temples, led by a Shriah.  We also learn that sorcerors are considered  'unclean' from a religious perspective and that holy wars have been waged against them in the past.

But perhaps there is a new player in the game.
"All have kissed his[Maithanet's] knee.  And with none of the political manoeuvering obligatory to such transitions of power... He has stirred something novel...and not merely within the Thousand Temples"
"This man is more than simply shrewd.  Far more."
"Maithanet is shrewd, a man of intellect"

Are these the first faint hints that a Dunyain is now active in the world?

As Akka thinks to himself in the audience hall at Atyersus, "...With every flicker the ground seemed to shift  Is this a hint that events are now taking place on Conditioned Ground?

Very astute take away from the chapter Ape. Basically, what I got from the chapter also. More hints that Akka may enjoy the touch of a man. But, as Wilshire says, what we're seeing in hindsight, is the Consult positioning for a Holy War against the Cish. As we move on, its great trying to figure when Skeaos and Istryia have become one, as we did on the slog. But, I think, one or the other was replaced (I believe Istryia) to cover up the fuck ups of the other in book. Meaning, their both not skin spies when we first meet them.

I do truly wonder how long Simas was a skin spy. My intuition tells me for years at least. But, I don't think he was when training Akka.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 03:03:08 pm by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

Wilshire

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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 03:43:35 pm »
I do truly wonder how long Simas was a skin spy. My intuition tells me for years at least. But, I don't think he was when training Akka.

Perhaps he didnt start as Simas either. Hard to believe he could replace one of the Quorum on a first bet.

I don't think it has been Simas for so long, but maybe its been in the Mandate for decades. Maybe even as that peer/student Akka loved early on who later died... :)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 04:01:15 pm by Wilshire »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 05:06:30 pm »
I do truly wonder how long Simas was a skin spy. My intuition tells me for years at least. But, I don't think he was when training Akka.

Perhaps he didnt start as Simas either. Hard to believe he could replace one of the Quorum on a first bet.

I don't think it has been Simas for so long, but maybe its been in the Mandate for decades. Maybe even as that peer/student Akka loved early on who later died... :)

It's hard to say, but it is plausible that, perhaps, there never was a "real" Simas.  Or that Simas was replaced soon after joining the Mandate.  It would probably be almost impossible for them to have replaced Simas more recently, since I really doubt if the Quorum members often leave Atyersus.  Also, it's knowledge of Inrau would seem to speak to it having been around for a good while, or that original Simas kept some kind of journal or something that made it easier to know what he knew...
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2018, 06:41:19 pm »
We also have no idea how old the weapon races ca get.

Do skinspies age? Sranc are obviously born, and become adults, but do they have a natural lifespan, or is that why they have such a ridiculous population - they don't die with time.

Skin spies are presumably birthed from the Arc in some way, fully formed. Does time do anything to them? Thing-Called-Simas could be centuries old.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2018, 08:13:46 pm »
I do truly wonder how long Simas was a skin spy. My intuition tells me for years at least. But, I don't think he was when training Akka.

Perhaps he didnt start as Simas either. Hard to believe he could replace one of the Quorum on a first bet.

I don't think it has been Simas for so long, but maybe its been in the Mandate for decades. Maybe even as that peer/student Akka loved early on who later died... :)

Either the skin-spy has been Simas for some time, or it has been someone else in Atyersus that would have access to the whereabouts of Mandate agents/ informers.  It's very unlikely to have been another sorceror, because their absence when it switched to Simas would be a red flag.  I'm pretty sure we never get told anything about the organisation of the Mandate other than that the Quorum is a thing, but they must have servants, lackeys etc. 
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.