Earwa > The White-Luck Warrior

The Nonmen 'chariot' - sorcery or... technology?

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A thought occurred to me while reading the section in the books where the Ordeal campaign is visited by Nonmen in a flying chariot.

This chariot - if I recall right - does not seem to show any sign of sorcery. So my thought - as a fan of the Sci-Fi elements of the story and searching for what might be Tekne - wondered if this vehicle actually does not fly by sorcery, instead using some sort of technology. Nonmen civilization appears to have been pretty advanced, although there is no direct evidence of 'technology' per se. But I'm wondering if Nonmen technology is actually more advanced that we might think - perhaps learned from the Inchoroi, or gifted from the Consult.

Of course, at some point you get down to the Arthur C. Clarke argument - any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - and I wonder if it will be revealed in the end that some of what we think is sorcery without the mark might actually be some form of technology.

Working against this off-the-wall theory is that the POV in the chariot scene is Sorweel, I think, so he would not be a good judge of its sorcery-ness. But the description in the book does make it seem different.

From my reading of the scene I gathered that a Quya was onboard, creating an echo of the ground for the chariot to ride on. An invisible road basically, in the same manner the sorcerers are so often seen to "walk in the sky".

I think the chariot and horses are totally mundane and the the embassy involves the envoy Nin'Sarriccas himself, a charioteer/pilot and Quya to provide the sorcerous road.

I dug out some quotes from my copy (Penguin Trade Paperback) for reference, p355-356.

"He saw black horses-a team of four. He saw wheels..."

"The sorcerous chariot rode a low arc over the churned landscape. Sunlight flashed across panels laden with graven images. Sorweel saw three pale faces hanging above of the gilded rail-one of them shouting light." 

There's your Quya.

"The hooves of the blacks bit into the denuded turfs, and wings of dust and gravel sprawled about their glossy flanks"

I think this is when they touch down, and transition from riding an echo of the ground, to real ground.

"The centre figure leaned back, pulling hard on the reins."

There's your charioteer.

Hope this helps clear things up!

Wolfdrop, your attention to detail is enviable :).

Sometimes my partial OCD helps!

Less so, when you need to rebuy the series so your books are the same size 😭.

Thanks for those quotes - that does seem to close the case.

I suppose my modern skeptic mind can't seem to help seeing tekne/mechanism where sorcery is probably at work. ;-)


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