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Messages - Cynical Cat

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Why does the Wracu high rate of mutation rule out selective breeding?  Its a basic tool of managing traits and the high rate of mutation means you're going to have a bunch that don't function very well or can't live because they're messed up internally.  Sky high hatching mortality is likely and probably keeps their numbers low.   Wracu are long lived so its quite possible their have only been a few generations with which to direct their development.

I've seen zero evidence that Skin Spies are more intelligent than Wracu.  Skin Spies are trained to mimic men and infiltrate, which is something Wracu obviously can't do but they certainly comprehend and use language.

Did they find Wutteat in space?  The lines given suggested to me that he had been created in the Ark while it was in space. 

As for the No-God controlling the Wracu, the writings suggest to me willing submission not control.   The No-God does not shout through Wracu throats.   They behave like vassals, not puppets.

Souls in Earwa aren't the product of pure intelligence, but they do seem to require a near human level of intelligence because souls clearly require a significant level of self awareness. The Wracu seem to possess this, although that might not be true.  Unlike Skin Spies we are not privy to their thoughts. .  The other Weapon Races are dominated by their instincts and seem to lack both self awareness and ability to process contradictions.

Author Q&A / Re: Skin-spies...?
« on: October 12, 2021, 05:11:04 pm »
The line "we are ancient" probably refers to the Consult or the Inchoroi and their inheritors, not to the Skin Spies specifically.   They're likely a recent creation of the Tekne and probably derived from humans, albeit with considerable changes.

The Wracu are not like skin spies, sranc or bashrag because their original template was created at the height of their arts.  The others were kludged out using what remained of their knowledge and technology after the Ark and over 99% of their people were dead.  They were still capable of impressive feats of biological engineering, but with seemingly high rates of failure.   The pits they fill with the failures and the low survival rate of the grafting of the abilitly to perceive the Onta are indicative of that. 

Selective breeding is basic biological selection, and given the rest of Scott's work, overwhelmingly likely to have been employed.  It seems likely that their ability to produce Wracu was flawed with the loss of the Tekne, given the high mutation rate which suggests a significant number of nonviable dragonlings going into the pits as failures.  However the presence of young Wracu during the Apocalypse means that the Wracu can either breed among themselves or the Consult acquired the knowledge with which to produce them.

As for being ensouled, the Consult overwhelmingly want little of that and they want iron control over their creations.   The Wracu are different as they are few enough in number that their souls would not interfere with plans and their powerful abilities would be better deployed by a creature not totally ruled by their instincts.   It may also, given their connection to Outside, be essential for them.   

I'm not able to produce any quotes supporting the rare souled sranc or bashrag at the moment.  It was ages ago, spun off from the discussion of ensouled animals IIRC.   My memory may be faulty, of course but it makes logical sense.   I'll keep looking and see what I can produce.

One should remember that the Inchoroi didn't want to create large number of souled beings.   That they are incapable is purely our projection on the text and contradicted by the existence of rare souled members of the Weapon Races.  The Wracu, unlike the Sranc or Bashrag, would in exist in numbers small enough that their possession of souls wouldn't endanger the plan.   There's another data point in favor of them having souls, namely the conversation Akka has the with scalpers in The Judging Eye.  A dragon would choose to withdraw from men it didn't want to confront instead of being driven by its instincts to fight them.

Bakker has mentioned that some apes and whales as well as a the rare Sranc or Bashrag have souls.  Sranc and Bashrags have language and tool use, but are ruled by their instincts and appear to have no capacity for introspection or reflection.   Wracu seem, like the Inchoroi, to possess similar instincts (plenty of sadism is on display in their interactions and they seem to love cruel word games) but can choose how they act.  They seem tied to the No God by allegiance to a common cause, not puppets that the No God can shout through.

The Wracu are clearly an engineered race, but one based on a template created by high level biological mastery and then derived using cruder methods and selective breeding.  They are unlikely to be "cybernetic" as opposed to having a biology that concentrates iron in the bones and so forth.  They are also products of a people who know about the Outside and have technology that can contact it to some degree but do not have sorcery.   They are likely something like biological warmachines connected to the Outside.

It is also important to remember that Chorae do not salt practitioners of the Psuke.  The Psuke is close enough to sorcery that the Chorae still block it and are lethal to its practitioners, but the effects are not the same.  The Wracu are likely close enough to sorcerers that Chorae are mildly toxic to them.

What passes for a soul for a Skin Spy (remembering that one of them, admittedly an outlier, could perform sorcery) may not be easy to distinguish from a weak souled human.  This could also be true only up to a point, allowing a Cishaurim to recognize Skin Spies by their souls once he knew what he was looking for.

The Unholy Consult / Re: The Relation of Ishterebinth, Sranc and Dagliash
« on: October 10, 2021, 10:36:23 am »
With regard to the issue of killing Kelhus as Daglaish, recall that the Consult intends to have two of his children in the possession of their Nonmen allies at the time.  Even if they do kill him, their will be multiple survivors of his bloodline.

General Earwa / Re: Do All Skin-Spies Have Male Genitalia?
« on: October 24, 2017, 10:13:17 pm »
The Skin Spy in the Skin Eaters was referred to as "girl" by its Synthese handler and never displays an erection.  My guess is that the Skin Spies have human like genitalia and this is a flaw when impersonating members of the opposite sex. 

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: October 05, 2017, 10:08:55 pm »
Hmm... very interesting. Even then, we should ask why Chorae would burn rather than Salt a Cishaurim.

Chorae are products of the Aporos, which is to say language based sorcery where meaning is of crucial importance.  Cishaurim don't die in quite the same way as sorcerers because the Psukhe isn't quite sorcery, but its so very close to sorcery that interaction with the Chorae produce similar but not identical effects.

As for Nannaferi, she seems to be a walking pinhole in the veil between the World and the Outside through which Yawter can pour some of her power.  That might not be a terribly accurate metaphor because we don't have really bright and well educated characters giving detailed discourses on this subject, backed by millennia of scholarly works at this point in the series but since Mimara is a viewpoint character and she is likely to be around Akka, we may get this in the No-God.  The book is scorched in the same manner as Nannaferi grows young, she receives premonitions of the future, and Meppa is healed.  Yawter acts through her, changing the world without sorcery. 

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: October 05, 2017, 11:43:26 am »
My impression is that Moe has become burning meat.  Moe isn't wearing much in the way of clothes and "sagging" isn't the way you describe a robe around a vanishing body.  It's possible that the more powerful Cishaurim are actually gibbed by the Chorae, but it seems we get massive tissue trauma and burning when Chorae hits a Psukharim.  There's a some wiggle room for interpretation, but there's clearly some burning and the remnants of a body left.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: October 04, 2017, 09:43:07 am »
A few additional points.  One, I don't think the Aporos and Tekne are closely related, although the Tekne clearly does have the ability to interact with the supernatural.  Like all interacting forces, its possible they can be combined or come into conflict (Chorae and Wracu) but that doesn't make related arts.

At this point I'm inclined to believe that most, if not at all, of the "theurgic" or divine sorceries used by the likes of Psatma and Porsparian are simply a different application of the Water.

This isn't true because we've seen Psatma handle a Chorae, specifically the one she used to destroy the Swayal infiltrator.  Something that clearly isn't sorcery is at work. 

[EDIT Madness: Fixed quote tag.]

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: October 03, 2017, 07:58:23 pm »
That's also not correct because there's clearly some kind of body.  "Falling like a sodden flag" means that there is a fair amount of weight to cause it fall like that instead of cloth on the wind and, of course, Moenghus's body remains.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: October 02, 2017, 07:41:56 am »
Moe Sr. gets salted by Cnaiur.

No, he burned although that might be because he was so weak in the Water.  TTT page 387  "Moengus gasped, jerked, and spasmed as Cnauiur rolled the Chorae across his cheek.  White light flared from his gouged sockets.  For an instant, Cnaiur thought, it seemed the God watched him through a man's skull.

What do you see?

But them his lover fell away, burning as he must, such was the force of what had possessed them.
"Not again!" Cnaiur howled at the sagging form."

Bolding is mine.  He burns, he does not turn to salt, and his body sags.  Now Inrau also doesn't have the typical Chorae reaction, but he was barely marked and we all know Moenghus was weak in the Water. 

Page 378, Proyas hits one of the Incandanti with his Chorae.  "Then a flash, a black-ringed circle light, from which the saffron figure plummeted like a sodden flag."  It's unclear exactly how the Cishaurum dies, but the flash of light and the death are consistent with Chorae-sorcerer interactions.  It's clear that the Psukhe isn't quite sorcery, but its close enough as far as most things are considered.  Obviously, the eyes of the Few disagree and the judgement of the God of Gods remains to be seen.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: October 01, 2017, 07:16:50 pm »
The robes make telling whether or not they are "walking" hard to determine.  I don't recall any passages that indicate they don't.  And yes, they don't salt but they do die when struck by Chorae (there's no clear description, but they seem to burn and die) and Chorae affect their arcana in the same way they neutralize sorcery.  So "vulnerable to Chorae" does apply, even if the effects are slightly different.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: October 01, 2017, 10:54:34 am »
Thank you and I agree with your points as well.  The appendix describes the Psukhe as "arcane practice . . ., much like sorcery", which is to say much like sorcery but not sorcery.  Crucially, the Psukhe does not employ language and depend upon meaning for its strength, instead being based on intuition and being fueled by passion.  It too is acting on the same metaphorical principles (walking on the echoes of the ground, its compulsions only working on beings with souls, etcetera) and its users are as vulnerable to Chorae which means even though its technically not sorcery, it is pretty damn close. 

And you're right about the Tekne too.  I had initially thought, way back during the first trilogy, the No-God to be some unholy improvisation of the Tekne and the Aporos.  The sorcery of negation seemed like a good fit for a barrier to souls entering the world, but when we learned that genocide wasn't the Inchoroi's reaction to learning they could be damned once they were stranded on this strange world but instead the whole reason they came to Earwa in the first place, my perspective shifted.  Dragons, products of the Tekne that they are, are clearly partially supernatural in nature.  The Inverse Flame is another piece of high technology that touches on the Outside and, of course, the No-God.  It makes sense.  If physical world and the Outside are connected, if their is interaction, then that means that physical actions can in some way interact with the Outside and technology can be the producer of those actions and effects.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoiler] The Ciphrang
« on: September 30, 2017, 10:27:11 am »
All sorcerers walk on the echo of the ground when they fly.  All sorcerers refer back to a person they know at a place they know when they perform the Cants of Calling.  The Cants of Compulsion are Cants of possession, Gnostic and Anagogic both, that force the mind in knew directions and may leave the victim permanently changed.  Both the Gnosis and Anagogic Sorcery use the same terminology and same basic types of defensive sorceries: Wards of Exposure, Wards of Shielding, and Skin Wards.  And so on.  The metaphysical principles involved are the same- it is the mechanisms of manipulation, and the capability of those mechanisms, that differ.

So it is with the Daimos.  It is a type of sorcery, like war cants or wards, or cants of torment but it deals with what most sorcerers shrink from.  The Scarlet Spires did not invent a whole knew kind of sorcery working on different principles when they developed the Daimos.  Instead they applied the Anagogic Sorcery they possessed and understood to the mastering of the Outside.

This is supported not only by logic, but the terminology in the appendix.  The Anagosis, the Gnosis, and the Iswazi are all referred to as "branches" of sorcery.  The Daimos is not only not referred to in such a manner, but is referred to as type of Cant.  The Daimos is not a separate type of sorcery but a rarely studied and even more rarely used set of sorcerous abilities, such are the moral and political repercussions of its use. 

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