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…

8,384 thoughts on “Daniel Black Open Thread

  1. At some point, I am assuming Daniel will meet an Atlantean – and recognize that he is meeting an Atlantean.

    Who – the Storm guy.

    Justification
    1) Odin mentioned two Atlanteans and speculated which was Daniel. Storm guy and women-font-of-magic guy.
    2) Allana mentioned she was bonded at one time to an Atlantean with storm magic – one of their most powerful wizards.

    Two mentions = we will see this guy. And given her history, I give very goods odds that Allana recognizes him based on some mannerism or aura – no matter what disguise he wears today.

    I wonder if the two mentioned by Odin are the last two free Atlanteans?

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    1. How good are the Atlanteans organized? Somehow I doubt that a wise Atlantean would constantly repeat his strategy. Nor would they necessarily operate entirely alone. Do they strike back or only hide?

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      1. Oliver, I’d put my bets on “hide and accumulate power.”

        Any surviving Atlanteans know bloody well they got their asses handed to them by a coalition of the Gods, a coalition that still exists.

        I’d also bet that once rumors of Daniel’s ‘ridiculously huge’ mana supplies begin to spread, there will be an increasing chance of some surviving Atlantean(s) attempting to scry, spy or ally to discover how it is done.

        Irresistible allure, that.

        And won’t they just KNOW Daniel might very well BE a ‘honey pot’ targeting THEM.

        All sorts of potential for clever subterfuge plots, so I almost expect something like this in one of the next books.

        Betcha the ‘Atlantean’ who sidles up to Daniel with an offer he can’t refuse is Agent 44-26-38.

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  2. Daniel learned a lot in Thrall that he has yet to apply. Some examples

    1) He learned how to create adaptive factories (for the armored skimmer) that adjust the build based on what is already there. He also can leverage his dryad’s experience with armor. I imagine with the two he can easily create a factory to custom fit enchanted armor to any person that stands within. At a minimum, this can be used to outfit his army with excellent armor. I suspect with some more sophistication, he can build a better suit of armor for himself that his dryad can just “pop” on him. Putting tacks into a cloak is inherently an imperfect defense as there are multiple gaps in coverage and variable sturdiness in material. A custom fitted armor that provides the same benefit could easily be built to provide more comprehensive protection – and that does not even include any other enhancements that can more easily be placed on a permanent suit of armor.

    2) He has the binding spells from the devouring rod and his ability to extend his magic to cast at range. That gives him AOE binding attacks to take out a large number of foes prisoner and/or disable creatures that lack physical form

    3) He has a disintegration attack that ignores living creatures. That may or may not be useful depending on how easily it can be used – and how easily wards can block the effect. At a minimum, it is awesome for a prison break out where you need to remove chains or bars to release prisoners. Or alternately to disarm rioters or soldiers where that makes sense (aka – potential allies or at least people he prefers to not kill).

    4) He can grab the soul from enemies. Probably not gods or anybody really powerful, but it is another way to bypass serious defenses. I wonder what impact it might have on demons?

    5) He has an apple to analyze

    6) And he has this ability now to have his cloak move dramatically — always a good power to have when trying to make a good impression 🙂

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    1. Don’t forget the Sun Tap and white hole tunnel he learned while studying the Spire. Since his knowledge of physics is somewhat more precise than the Atlantean wizards’ it might be possible for Daniel to do something particularly nasty for a major weapon.

      Nothing like your own personalized custom coronal mass ejection in the face to say, “Go Away!”

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    2. I can see the armor working like this.
      1) Daniel stands in place to be measured
      2) his dryad surrounds him with her own personal armor
      3) then the factory starts building his custom suit of armor to wear over #1 and #2 above.
      4) his dryad moves Daniel into her tree, leaving behind the shell of her own personal armor to stay within the factory.

      That way, even if the factory takes 3 weeks to make the armor, Daniel does not have to stand there for 3 weeks. Or alternatively the factory can retain the dimensions, but the dryad wood statue of Daniel concept just sounds better.

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      1. Then she can store the armor in her tree and summon it whenever he wants. On top of that she can serve as his undergarments something she would uniquely enjoy. Hey looks like he just got himself a space suit. With built-in rebreather.

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    3. One more mention. In extermination, it was mentioned that Daniel can have spells put into bullets – so when the bullet hits, the spell goes off. The context was around putting some of Cerise’s magic on the bullet. This was never followed up on. But I can totally see a gun that shoots bullets with capture magic just like the rod of devouring, even if it is not linked to yanking your soul. A lot longer ranged weapon than what he can do with spell projection. Probably needs some custom weapon due to complexity, but doable.

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      1. Good idea. I would wager that he could design the spell on the bullet to pull the soul into the bullet itself. And that would suck for an enemy. They get shot and then they get stuck inside the bullet lodged in their body.

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  3. One more Daniel problem if he is facing gods. How go get enough mana into his spells to realistially hurt a major god. He cannot use the sunspear approach as he does not have the sunspear (duh), but also because he is morally against caging gods/beings to act as surge protectors.

    But he might be able to use some of his programming expertise in distributed computing and parallel processing to allow 2,000 mana generator cores to be effectively linked to create one super overpowered yet controllable magical effect. And if he can do it once, he can do it many times.

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    1. Or, Daniel could talk to the several experienced experts with whom he has direct contact, and solicit THEIR opinions on how to ‘supercharge’ them.

      Pelagea’s response is easy to predict: “Daniel, just add more power stones to our Groves and my nymphs will challenge goddesses, my dryads will treat einherjahr as cheap chew toys.”

      Sefwin and her father will answer somewhat similarly, although they and the other magic users of Nethwillin are also likely to spend quality time with Daniel determining how far they can push his magical mass production of more clever and more powerful weapons.

      Obviously, Cerise, Elin and Avilla would also benefit some from a serious supercharging, but they don’t have the experience to gain really full use of it, although Cerise could probably elevate herself to einherjahr nightmare status. Tina, given her blessings and direct support from Bast, might surprise all of us.

      Finally, there are the goddesses like Hecate and Bast, maybe Mara, too, after she Ascends.

      All of the above except Pelagea will benefit from some sort of local link to Daniel’s power stones, like the one Tina uses during and after the coven ceremony.

      Of course, that has limited range.

      Daniel should do something about extending the range beyond which he can effectively offer massive power enhancement.

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    2. He has understood the conversion spell and Daniel understands what powers the Sun. With Force he could even build a gaseous nuclear reactor operating at tens of thousands Kelvin.

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      1. Oliver, given that Daniel can use enchantment to summon hydrogen or deuterium or both and that he knows, as you say, the conversion of energy to mana, add an appropriate Force spell to the mix and he could build a Real Fusion (TM) sun for a pocket world like Gaia’s.

        Slap a fusion pulse engine on the end of it and he could build an interstellar travelling O’Neil colony inside an asteroid, or inside a chunk of Midgard mountain.

        Of course, either or both would be every bit as stable as Daniel’s enchantments make possible.

        Beats being smashed by a coalition of the gods.

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      2. I considered that. The answer is a qualified ‘no’. Daniel cannot operate by sorcery on isotopes. Proton-proton fusion is just hideously inefficient. Pure uranium, however, is available, as would be pure graphite or beryllium. Daniel can build a nuclear reactor.
        How to survive R&D is a different question, but it is definitely possible to build it.

        Getting it up to higher temperatures would be a challenge, as nuclear reactions get more inefficient at higher temperatures, but likely surmountable. And the heat would come for free.

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      3. Oliver, is Daniel’s magical ‘cheat’ of functionally 100% controllable Force sufficient to overcome the inefficiencies of Hydrogen plus Hydrogen to Helium fusion?

        On the other hand, why would he bother, when he could do the same thing with the Sun that he does with the Earth?

        Summon a chunk of fusing, seething, blazing hot Hydrogen/Helium/Proton/Positron/etc. ‘soup’ from deep inside the solar core and convert some of the energies to mana.

        Who needs the recipe when the soup is being served continuously, 4.5 billion years and counting?

        His biggest challenge will be containing and shielding, followed by the actual conversion.

        Seems to me there would be all sorts of heat, several different kinds of radiation and a variety of weird particles to play with.

        The whole project becomes such a fascinating time suck it should probably be set aside for future consideration unless he needs a massive, raw nuclear propulsion system and does not care who gets a face full of his exhaust.

        Given Daniel’s brief consideration in EXTERMINATION of Hecate’s needs for personal weapons and mana sources, he’s probably already well advanced into ideas for enhancing his matter to mana enchantments, while also miniaturizing a much more powerful mana source. Since all of that simply leverages his existing work it is probably the wiser immediate investment.

        Daniel does need to come up with a significantly larger energy supply to survive combat at the level of Gaia or Odin.

        That energy supply does not, however, need to be mana.

        Daniel knows enough physics to try something truly cosmic. He may and probably will fail a few times along the way, but something along the lines of a personal cyclotron ought to be possible. Slicing and dicing with a positron beam or maybe an X-ray laser ought to impress the opposition. Imagine something like Grinder but equipped with intense magnetic fields that literally shred molecules.

        What other comic book mega-weapon is Daniel likely to remember and try?

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      4. Ok i am missing something. Why would daniel have to mess with some kind of controlled fission/fusion to get mana. He has mana generators. He can create links to mana generators. Much easier to just create 5 mana generators and link the output of all 5 to some action than to create some fusion/fission reaction –> than take some portion of the output and convert to the same amount of mana

        The limitation is control, not raw power generation.

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      5. “Oliver, is Daniel’s magical ‘cheat’ of functionally 100% controllable Force sufficient to overcome the inefficiencies of Hydrogen plus Hydrogen to Helium fusion?”

        No, because the probleme is caused by quantum mechanics, not lack of pressure. You would overcome it by going to a CNO-cycle, but Daniel is not an astrophysicist.

        “Summon a chunk of fusing, seething, blazing hot Hydrogen/Helium/Proton/Positron/etc. ‘soup’ from deep inside the solar core and convert some of the energies to mana.”

        It takes a mind and may not scale and is a sure way to bring all the world’s gods down on you.

        “Ok i am missing something. Why would daniel have to mess with some kind of controlled fission/fusion to get mana. He has mana generators. He can create links to mana generators. Much easier to just create 5 mana generators and link the output of all 5 to some action than to create some fusion/fission reaction”

        Daniel is quite intelligent and that option is kind of obvious, so we must assume that it would not work. Question is why. I do not know.
        If the level of control of the ‘burn rate’ does not work, he will need to control the fuel supply.

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      6. I suspect the primary previous reason why Daniel has not yet linked together multiple matter to mana blocks is his own limitation regarding personal mana channels. The amount of mana he currently manipulates is enough to cause him severe headaches and exhaustion after a few hours of intense or continuous work.

        More mana would cause him more pain, sooner.

        However, now that he seems likely to become toymaker for a small pantheon of energy hungry goddesses, all bets are off and he may begin exploring FAR more energetic solutions for Them.

        Of course, we also have yet to discover whether Daniel’s new body Mk II has significantly better mana channels.

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      7. Talking about Daniel new body, shouldn’t he use Ellin help in that project, as a healer and fay she is well versed in the complexitys of biology and mana manipulations, yes his flesh magic gives him an great advantage, but maybe with her help he can come up with improved theorys for it.

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  4. Biggest Vulnerability for Daniel right now- Power Links

    While his power amulet is a mana generator as are the amulets of his coven, all the other power amulets, all the weapons, vehicles, and other warlike devices are now operating via power links. If somebody blocks those links, Daniel’s people get a LOT weaker.

    Not totally weak. Those like the dark elves still have their normal magical abilities. Black Citadel has massive battery reserves of energy. I suspect the dryads and nymphs will only loose their benefits gradually over time. A lot of the minor magic items like heaters and lights work off background energy. And of course any rituals or items built with the power amulets have not gone away.

    But I still argue that the power linkage is the one big weakness that Daniel’s base of operations has right now — and with Daniel gone, nobody is available to fix it if somebody jams the links.

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    1. Yes but who would be capable of blocking the link as of now, the closest to it that I can come up would be The citadel, but they are to busy cleaning up the house to decided and attempt an attack of any kind to Daniel fortress, even more now that they must believe he is not coming back and they have plenty of time to get their hands on it. The Gods are other magic users that could do it, but why would them??? The dwarvs aren’t even aware that Daniel is a thing yet, they migth pinpoint to him in the future but so far his move have been well hidden by experts. So altough it is a dangerous posibility its not something that should be adreesed with uregency.

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      1. The list of capable is fairly large. These include the conclave, gods, other dark elf clans, probably the dwarves, other mages, etc. Power links are old hat for all these people. While they may have had difficulty creating power links that operate over big distances from scratch, they can probably figure out how to jam them fairly easily.

        Motivation is more sketchy, but anyone who wants to make a play for the citadel (aka – Kozalin facation), or get access to Daniel’s power stone secrets (Conclave/mages) or get vengeance (dwarves) might try. They will likely fail – Daniel’s keep is still a mighty fortress and his defenders will not be totally helpless without the power links, but few would have good intelligence on Daniel’s capabilities enough to know that fact.

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      2. Truth, at this time not manny are considering that attempt. Besides Daniel has a much more pressing concern regarding facing Demi-gods and such, he admitted that so far he has been preparing for normal class threats now he has to completely reconsider his game plan, wondering what he migth have to do for his wives???

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      3. “Demi-gods and such, he admitted that so far he has been preparing for normal class threats now he has to completely reconsider his game plan, wondering what he migth have to do for his wives???”

        * raise their personal equipment to his levels (force fields, hyper velocity guns, …)
        * get them a familiar
        * permanent communication facilities to the Secret Service

        Combat Training or rather Threat Recognition

        They will have to learn to spot inconsistencies. Like teaching Tina to wonder why the pregnant artisan she is asked to bless has no scars at all and strangely pristine hands (no dirt, all nails filed down …) and new clothing

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      4. Interesting options so the equipment improvment, should it be specific designed for each of them or a general improvement over all fro all of them to develope at their choosing???

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      5. Ideally you want identical equipment, just for ease of manufacture. For communication equipment it will have to be identical.
        Yet you are not going to get Avilla to use flight equipment. There will have to be adjustments. But you want to avoid them.

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      6. I see, asuming that he decides to personalise, wich you think would fit each better? Or how could he mask them to not make it obvious they have such a heavly armament.

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      7. * The Elves have a technique to make ordinary cloth like chain mail. Use that for all their garments.
        * The same should go for the effect he is using on his coat. Build an enchanter for that.
        * The Force ring Elin has gotten needs to be improved and copied for them all
        * Jewellery with communication capabilities needs to be added.
        * Daniel can put fire resistance on a ring. An obvious omission.
        * The same goes for his course barrier.
        * A dryad familiar can be worn as an ornament at all times.
        * Given the experience with the dwarves an air freshening enchantment on cloth should work as a gas mask to be carried at all times. It could be disguised as a scarf or a bandana.

        Secondly, internal security needs to be ramped up.

        * anti teleport effects
        * holy ground effects in their private rooms and clinics
        * permanent anti-illusion effects in the same rooms
        * soul traps. With gods on your enemies’ side you may face suicide informers. You cannot let the dead escape to report.
        * overpressure systems. I would no longer trust the outside air.

        Research:

        * Armor hidden in bags of holding. Suppose you have two layers of cloth a milimeter apart on the outside, but a meter on the inside. Even better if you can fill that gap with armor losing its mass.

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      8. Damn I am salivating with all those options @OliverNeukum, it would be fine to see some of those things or a variation in the future.

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      9. I wonder if the spell barriers already raised around Black Island disrupt inbound teleports? If nothing else, they probably disrupt the scrying a potential teleporter might need in order to ‘see’ their intended egress point.

        Hmm…while the holy ground effect would be a fantastic early warning system, it probably would not stop attackers.
        Avilla was able to overwhelm the Asgard Church holy ground, in the heart of their sanctuary.

        There’s also the blatant association with Hecate that would probably be required for holy ground. That would be like waving a red flag, okay, black flag, over Castle Black and declaring war on the Asgardian pantheon.

        On the other hand, we know that Black Island is sufficiently well shielded that Hecate feels comfortable getting comfortable for several hours in the coven’s holiest of holies, the bath. Maybe they could make all their private residential areas holy ground, without teasing an assault from Asgard?

        Public meeting places where Kozalin nobles and other Asgardians might visit probably could not be holy ground.

        The complications here are entirely human. Sooner or later, somebody will slip and the secret will be out. The more holy ground there is scattered around Daniel’s castle interior, the more likely it is he will be exposed as a follower of Hecate.

        Ironically, the dryads get to have their own holy ground, because they revere Daniel and Elin.

        Do Black Island’s spell shields disrupt illusions? Cerise designed them and Elin is now refining or adding to them, so I suspect there would be some attempt to disrupt hostile illusions. If so, they did not seem to interfere much with Mara. Of course, she might not have done much with illusions. Hmm…maybe the Prince and his personal collection of magical items were disrupted somewhat? Of course, it seems they were also disrupting Cerise and Avilla’s personal illusions.

        Illusions are likely to be kind of pointless around Sefwin’s Clan Nethwillin guards. Maybe really powerful illusions?

        Good point about the soul traps, Oliver. Daniel should make an effort to keep several of those available for immediate use. It will be fun watching to see whether the author thinks of the souls of dead spies and does something about them.

        Yeah, definitely overpressure the atmosphere inside Castle Black and the other inhabited spaces on Black Island. In fact, there should be fresh air spells generating breathable atmosphere at all times and pushing it from the core of the island out, forcing stagnant air off the island all day and night. The Groves probably have all sorts of magic that does this. Their trees need air circulation.

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      10. These options are basically straightforward. If you want really exotic stuff, you may use fire resistance or lower melting points with Fire and make liquid metal armor? Or armor made out of Shadow. Or use the decay effect used in the battle against the devourer as a kind of defense effect, like the nastier kind kinds of shieldings known from SF.

        “Avilla was able to overwhelm the Asgard Church holy ground, in the heart of their sanctuary.”

        That raises two issues. Is holy ground effect named accurately or after its common application, that is does it need to involve a deity or can you tie it to a coven?
        Secondly, yes she could overcome it, but it definitely did trigger something. And Daniel would not be so nice to just ring a gong. A spray of lava would be more like it.

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      11. Oliver, I’d say ‘holy ground’ is named correctly, so long as we keep in mind that ‘holy’ can apply to ANY deity. Of course, the numbers and fervor of that deity’s followers help to define how sacred their places can be. Remember the shrine to Hecate on Black Island. That’s holy ground, but she only has a handful of followers. Her sanctuary would probably be easily breached by invading Asgardian worshippers, except for the walls and defenders of Castle Black.

        Daniel and Alanna may have conspired to instantiate the goddess Lolth. She will eventually want temples and shrines. Those will also be holy ground, but, like Hecate’s, they will be few and stealthy and weakly held. Both Lolth and Hecate will depend on concealment, fighters and magickers to defend their sanctuaries for many, many years.

        In the case of the Asgardian church, especially a primate church in a town or city, the ground/property on which the building is constructed would have been explicitly consecrated to the deity or pantheon to which it is dedicated. Many thousands of worshippers will have prayed inside its walls, strengthening its sanctity. Even so, Mara and Hel’s army smashed into the Asgardian church at Kozalin quite easily, then Cerise and Daniel entered without commenting about the temple’s divine protection.

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    2. Dspring, there is another, different link we should also consider. The dryads and probably Clan Nethwillin have their own ‘connections’ with lands consecrated and empowered to their groves and their communities.

      Would these be cut by the same sort of interference that might sever Daniel’s various enchanted power links, like his soldiers’ weapons, for example?

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      1. It should be a given that Daniel will be attacked by area of effect anti-magic field eventually. After all that was the first attack used against him by the priest in the first book. So it is probably a common technique for killing Wizards. I can see many of the assassins from the order of whatever trying to use that or a similar technique to kill him. Or maybe just weakened his minions so that they can get through his defenses easier. As was shown in first book that technique would be useless against him or now his wives. But for his soldiers and elves it would be devastating unless they took measures themselves to mitigate it.

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      2. Yes, DaShoota, I’m agreeing with you for sure on Daniel’s soldiers, but not so much Clan Nethwillin.

        1) They are experienced magi with skills and tools for ‘charging up’ before combat and other exercises.

        2) They MIGHT also have a divine or spiritual connection to their habitat, somewhat similar to dryads and groves.

        Of course, (2) probably depends on whether Daniel actually made the time to attach a few power stones to Clan Nethwillin’s habitat before he was kidnapped by Odin and Thor. I’m not certain whether that empowerment happened.

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      3. I’m not sure he had time to fully delve into the construction of their habitats either. But the events before the kidnapping make me think that he completed it. I don’t think Daniel is the type of person that would jump from a discussion and planning session with the elves to constructing a factory for vehicles. I think he would finish the habitat first.

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      4. The Dryads connection via the land is utilizing a power link. Not clear if the “land” is holding a lot of mana like a giant battery or if the land is how the mana transmits to the nymphs (aka – an extension of the power link). If a battery, then any disruption of the link will take significant time to seriously weaken the nymphs.

        Clan Nethwillin has no connection to the land at all. They get their benefit via mana link amulets – again power links.

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      5. Dspring, how do we know that Clan Nethwillin has no connection to their land? We have not seen anything specific, but they have not had access to an empowered habitat for many centuries.

        Who knows what tricks their magi can blow the dust off and revive?

        In any case, what we DO know is their wand-carrying magi are very familiar with storing mana for combat and other applications. We saw that before the assault on the Dwork caverns in EXTERMINATION.

        If Daniel has actually made the time to empower Clan Nethwillin’s habitat on Black Island, as he seems to have been planning at the beginning of THRALL, then the clan’s magi and others may have access to far more stored mana than erstwhile opponents expect.

        If nobody chokes on all those “IFs” and “MIGHTs”

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      6. They also draw energy from the air. A great deal of the discussion in book 4 at the beginning during his conversations with the elves was how high to push the manna in the air. They use are much like the groves use the land.

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      7. Can you point to something specific in the book that shows they pull mana from the land or air. The only comments I remember is related to fertility and personal comfort

        1) comfort: Daniel was designing the layout of their building with particular focus on lighting

        2) Dark elves need a high level of mana in the environment to be fertile.

        I totally agree with you two that the Dark Elves have mana batteries and totally going to town with the mana amulets. But I do not remember any comments about them drawing mana directly from the land or air or environment.

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      8. Dspring, we’d probably have to reach outside the Daniel Black stories and look at Earth legends about dark elves, or elves in general. I totally agree there’s not much to go on with the current story line, because we have not yet been allowed to visit the Clan in its new — presumed — habitat.

        One thought does occur to me. If Daniel does increase the density of ambient mana inside the Clan’s habitat, their personal magic might adapt to it from ‘genetic memory’ and their spells, enchantments, etc., will perhaps already be crafted to take better advantage of greater access to more ambient mana.

        Totally guessing all that, but we do have Sefwen gushing all over Daniel at the mere thought of returning her Clan to the sort of mana density their ancestors new.

        There has to be SOME advantage to them in that?

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  5. Good for the baby….

    That was a comment Tina made when Daniel hooked her up with a mana feed. I am curious about what that meant.

    It cannot mean that Bast required a mana feed to be born. Bast obviously felt that Tina by herself could give birth. After all, she made no request for a mana feed to daniel – and could not have known Daniel had the option to create mana amulets and would do so for Tina.

    It might mean that some mana is required. After all, Tina only developed a magical talent after possessed by Bast. Perhaps that was a side effect or perhaps Bast made sure this happened because baby Bast needed some mana.

    I do wonder if having “a LOT of mana” would make a different to Bast once reborn (aka – child Bast) or to bast fully recovered her divinity (aka – after a year).

    Probably the answer will delve into the details of how gods are born (of other gods), but frankly the book is really sparse on details other than a clear statement that giving birth to a god is dangerous/difficult for a demigodess (aka – Mara)

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    1. Dspring, it’s probably more accurate to suggest that Bast knew Tina would have Daniel’s best healing assistance during a potentially difficult divine birth. Bast also would have all the months of Her development in utero to make helpful modifications to Tina’s biology so the birth can be as quick and painless as possible.

      Can we point out again the potential influence of Prometheus in this?

      Where could there possibly be a better combination of man and woman to bring Bast’s divine spirit back to physical existence?

      Imagine the conversations between Bast, Hecate and Hestia about that ‘coincidence’….

      As for mana amulets and healing amulets or mana/healing amulets, Bast would know a LOT about Daniel’s amulet because he was wearing it and She was there. Studying Daniel as She must have done, it seems likely She would expect he will be quite able to provide Tina some very good healing assistance. Remember, at the point Bast meets Tina, Tina has been biomagically transformed from human into cat person by Daniel, and Bast seems to approve his work.

      That’s some powerful medicine!

      As for Bast Herself and mana, remember Hecate’s comments in EXTERMINATION about the mana sources and magical tools once available to Her. Bast probably had something like those, too, and would be quite familiar with how a strong mana feed enables Her to enhance Her own meta-biology during fetal development and as a growing kitten person.

      Just imagine the welcome scene when Daniel first meets baby Bast. She’s going to be bouncing off the ceiling!

      As for Mara and birthing children, it should be no surprise when she spends some time talking with Tina and discovers how Daniel made that SO much easier.

      Yet another of the obvious plot threads increasingly binding Mara to Daniel by her own desires.

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      1. The mana generators were new to Hecate and she needed some time to understand them. The magic factory was the quick recognition item.

        In any case, Bast would have to assume (based off a 5 min conversation) that Daniel has a powerful mana generation source, that Daniel can divert that mana to Tina, that Daniel would want to divert that power to Tina. That is a lot of assumptions to make if it was really important. If the mana feed was critical, then Bast would have mentioned something to make sure she gets what she needs. Even if she did not know Daniel had a mana source, she could have asked for mana contributions if they really were critical. There are multiple ways to transfer mana after all.

        So I am very confident that extra mana is not REQUIRED. But that does not mean that extra mana is not very good for Bast’s development. I am guessing that it will mean a big difference in Bast’s power level when that year is up. Without the magic, she probably starts off as barely better than a demigoddess in power. With the extra mana, she probably is fully reborn (after a year) at full greater god strength.

        I wonder if the apples that Daniel will soon have would provide any additional benefit to Bast?

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      2. I’m more interested in how long it will take him to figure out that he can replicate the essence in those apples for his Hearth witch.

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    2. Well the coment migth as well be refering that the more mana Tina has acces the better atune she would be to deliver the reincarnation of a God, besides from the info we got about Gods and their aspect we can asume they are beigns mostly made out of mana more that flesh and blood so is understandable that the more acces to mana they have the better for their health.

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  6. Somewhat topical – but I am rather surprised that Gaia has not used plague magic to any real extent. She seems very focused on biological magic, so it seems a natural fit. And with everybody crammed into fortress-cities, conditions seem fairly ideal.

    Of course, no idea how effective magical healing is — or how much magical disease healing the Aesir priests might be able to provide. Pretty clear that few mages have significant healing magic if only Elin and Daniel can do this within Kozalin despite being the HQ of the Conclave.

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    1. Problaly because she can’t or hasn’t though about making one to target solely humans, if she did she migth create a plage that affect all living organism and her only target so far seems to be the humans.

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      1. I expect Gaia never considered the possibility her Andregi armies would fail to crush the pathetic remnant of humans who survived Fimbulwinter.

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      2. That migth be as weel, in fact hubris tend to be one of the bigest reasons for the Gods defeat, maybe her pride never allowed her to convince that humans could defeat her army in the conditions presented in Ragnarok.

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      3. Um, not arguing about the hubris, Paps, but simple math probably also figures rather heavily into Gaia’s assumptions. She made Her Andregi into right monsters of melee combat. The average Andregi mow down sheaves of most humans and bands of elite Andregi take down magi or even Corina herself.

        Hecate mentions early on that human magic users are not considered in the balance of forces behind Fimbulwinter, Ragnarok, etc. That really shows up big when Daniel pulls a behind the scenes nasty attack which destroys all but her currently wakened armies. Surely, Odin was not expecting a thermonuclear detonation in his home city, either.

        Not to mention what Daniel’s mortars did to Gaia’s armies outside Kozalin.

        Considering how much power Daniel intends to give Mara, Avilla, Elin, Cerise, Hecate and probably Bast, Ragnarok will probably be nuked also at some point in the next few books.

        If ‘nuke’ is even big enough to describe what happens….

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      4. HAHAHAHAH, yes that migth be true. You are rigth she had the numbers on her side, but so far a fall back plan hasn’t been show on her part. Given how long she has been planning this it migth be logical to expect her not to have all her eggs in a single basket.

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      5. Yeah…Gaia’s wagon is missing a wheel or two, but She might still be able to convert it into a chariot.

        Her sons are still in play, also, though it should be pointed out that Brand watched naked Daniel hand Korak his posterior, steaming on a plate, even though Daniel had no magical armor or Grinder or magic pistol–just his amulet and earth totem.

        Something tells me Brand is no longer impressed at all by Gaia’s sons, if he ever was.

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      6. I think that Brand was impressed by them but not worried, yes they are Demigods and competent warriors, but thats describing almost all Demigods of Vallhalla, so he recognized their strengh but never believed it to be something to write hime about. Now Daniel, thats someone he recognized is better to have under watch, he is a sorcerer wish from those guys are usually quite the weak bunch but he excels by been a battle sorcerer wich is impresinve in his own rigth but the shear level of ingenuity he has been displayed is something scary, wich must been what has Brand worried. Gaia must have some plans to justify all the daugthers she has been killing or stripping divinity from, from what Aphrodite told us Mara wasn’t the first one she played that trick on, maybe thats the type of danger that she plans to use to change the flow.

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      7. Come to think of it, Paps, what will happen when Aphrodite comes face to face with Gaia, AFTER helping Mara ascend to full freedom?

        Considering the tone of the conversation between Mara and Aphrodite when Mara found out what happened to her predecessors, this could be one of the nastiest catfights of all time.

        I wonder if Aphrodite is careful NOT to mouth off to Gaia, who is Senior and more powerful, after all?

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      8. Since Aphrodite is the subfurtage type of character while Gaia feels like the more direct open one, I think that poor Locki is in stpre for some serious headhache, i mean he has been banging those two and they don’t feel like the type that will share with each other. I don’t think Aphrodite will cause a direct conflict, at least not in the open she will insult, and point all of gaia dumb decisions so far but with not enough aresenal to justify an actac on her person. Besides Gaia will be froting on the mouth already by realising her little con regarding her daugther was crushed.

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      9. No she will do everything she can to manipulate the situation for her advantage. It’s part of her nature. However the earth Goddess doesn’t seem to tolerate possible rivals. She seems to act more in line with female dominance in Nature’s hierarchy of territorial Hive Behavior.

        Think in terms of a bee Colony that has only one Queen. When the queen hatches she immediately goes around and kills all of her sisters that could pose a threat to her dominance. She later has daughters that can become Queens but they are not permitted to stay in her Hive if they do “beekeepers have made this mistake before it’s actually quite common” then she will attempt to kill the younger Queen.

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      10. “but so far a fall back plan hasn’t been show on her part”

        It does not need to. She simply lets the cold and the hunger finish them. If they get out for a spring planting, she will unleash a plague on the crops. Cities may have wards and healers. Fields won’t.

        The Andregi armies are a bonus anyway. The main killers are cold, hunger and goblins.

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      11. Yeah, and if the Fimbulwinter is as severe as we have been lead to believe, there won’t be any new crops for several years, not in Europe there won’t.

        Maybe there will in North Africa.

        I wonder what Gaia thinks of Ra?

        Maybe she will send Him the rain of toads and the rain of blood as well?

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      12. Well thats true, but wouldn’t allowing the harsh winter t do her cleansing from her would limit the geographycal area impacted by it?? I don’t know if it has been stated if her plan of riden the land of humans included the whole planet or just the area the varmland and former Olympus controled.

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      13. “but wouldn’t allowing the harsh winter t do her cleansing from her would limit the geographycal area impacted by it?”

        What would be the alternative? Fighting much of the world’s pantheons, whose anchors she is wiping out? Gaia is not the brightest deity, but she is not an utter fool either. I would rather look at the result of couplings between Andregi and humans. Are they Andregi?

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      14. I would rather look at the result of couplings between Andregi and humans. Are they Andregi?

        AFAIK, there’s no evidence for genetic compatibility between Andregi and Humans. We know, per Sefwin, that Humans and Elves can’t interbreed (absent magical or divine intervention), and given that Andregi tend to rape human women to death, even were they genetically compatible the deaths of the would-be mothers means no hybrid offspring.

        I suppose there might be Human men willing to bang Andregi females (plenty of Human women whom I would think no man would touch still manage to get laid and breed), but I don’t think there have been any opportunities to do so.

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      15. I can see it happeneing in those rape scenariosnwhen the oposing army crush the other and rape their woman te relieve some stress even so a human male actually going for an Andregi seems so wrong in some many levels.

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      16. I don’t remember any evidence Andregi women have recently visited Midgard.

        It seems unlikely any human male would survive the mating combat in Skogheim.

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      17. I see. You are rigth, altogu wiping out the humans with only her devotees to wroship he should power her up to a new level, is not a garantee that she will be able to handle other pantheosn, but what is Loki game by joining her then, doesn’t he has his human worshipers as well??

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      18. Eating the elephant one bite at a time means many different meals and not necessarily the same dining companions at the final meal as were present at the first meal.

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      19. We have to remember that Gia has an entire world all to herself. However the pantheons humans worship only have sections of a world. Her followers numbers could be high enough to actually pose a real threat to the human Pantheon’s.

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      20. Actually, Oliver, the implied result of a union between male Andregi and female humans is death of the human.

        Obviously, there must be the exceedingly rare exception to this, maybe when the human has powerful healing abilities?

        As far as Gaia and Fimbulwinter, that’s not Her gig, Loki did it, but her monsters do benefit from it.

        We still don’t ‘know’ if Fimbulwinter is global or focused to specific geographic regions.

        We do ‘know’ that Gaia is determined to kill ALL humans, so She is doomed to face most of the pantheons, eventually. If She has any brains at all, She plans to eat that elephant one bite at a time….

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      21. “You are rigth, altogu wiping out the humans with only her devotees to wroship he should power her up to a new level, is not a garantee that she will be able to handle other pantheosn,”

        That in turn guarantees that the other pantheons will unite against her. It is the same reason nobody dared undo Prometheus reigniting the spark. They need worshippers. Hence I still say that it is likely that Gaia will offer the other gods a replacement. See human 2.0, a.k.a. Andregi.

        Hencwe she is sending out Andregi armies. It is a show, not an error.

        “but what is Loki game by joining her then, doesn’t he has his human worshipers as well??”

        If Gaia is really so stupid, he will drop her like a hot potato. And Gaia is already plannig to screw Loki over by sacrificing his daughter. Those two are carnally engaged allies, not lovers.

        “Actually, Oliver, the implied result of a union between male Andregi and female humans is death of the human.”

        That is the result of a troop meeting human women after martial interaction. If you give one male a whole harem, however? Gaia has had over a thousand years to think about this. She is good at biology. She knows that she cannot exterminate mankind without offering the other gods a replacement. And there is a biological route of replacing mankind.

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      22. -Loki over by sacrificing his daughter. – Are we sure Loki is the filial type of guy??? More that once Danie has hinted that Mara is merely a tool for Loki, case in point he already knows that Gaia has screwed her up with her divinity and it doesn’t seems to bother him.

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      23. That could work.

        We would not necessarily have seen any of it at this point.

        There could have been slave coffles shuffling through Skogheim with LOTS of captured human females when Daniel visited, but we did not see them and neither did he.

        Maybe Gaia plans to keep Her home turf ‘clean’ and only allow Andregi/Human breeding on Midgard?

        Of course, THAT puts the misery where various gods may hear pleas for help from their faithful followers….

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      24. “Are we sure Loki is the filial type of guy?”

        She is planning to take away the immensely useful Unraveller. This goes beyond family. It touches upon power.

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      25. Um…Gaia is planning to expend her daughter Mara, the very useful Unraveller, in monster childbirth.

        Of course, Mara’s shapeshifting abilities might save her from that death.

        Somehow, that alone seems like the sort of sneaky survival method Loki would understand rather well.

        Aphrodite’s meddling will only assure that Mara escapes her divine mother’s murderous embrace.

        I’m not really believing Gaia will surprise Loki with anything important to His plans.

        Daniel, however, may have already done so, twice, and if Aphrodite is successful, thrice.

        Consider how Daniel and Loki have been dancing around that ages old challenge of the proud, protective papa assuring His daughter marries only the BEST available suitor, and Daniel seems to exceed requirements with almost divine levels of carnage.

        This will eventually require a formal meet and greet, if only for the traditional suitor asking permission to marry a father’s daughter, but nobody ever gets away with a single subject discussion involving Loki. Subtext and subterfuge will litter the landscape.

        Now, that will be a VERY interesting meeting, when it happens.

        Daniel has already met his divine harridan future mother-in-law, after all.

        The more I think about it, Daniel Black’s story is already steeped in ridiculous layers of heroic soap opera of Homeric dimensions.

        It can only be Piled higher and Deeper from here.

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      26. Define ‘useful’ Paps?

        Would it be useful if Prometheus was freed?

        Are there any other potential allies of Hecate and Daniel whom Mara might free?

        Don’t forget Mara’s inner twin. Would it be useful if Daniel helped Mara free her?

        I suspect there is a LOT of usefulness in Mara still, and Loki might even agree with some of it.

        Not sure how eager He is to match wits with Prometheus, however.

        Colin

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      27. By now Mara aspect has been usefull for Loki to release those important pieces for his plan, like escaping his bound, liberatin Fenrir, and getting the anchor. So what else in the future will Loki need that only Mara can get him? If by the time everything is said and done there is nothing immediatly that he needs why keep her around if he is not the type to care for his children. Of course this is a scenario if infact Loki is the type to not care about his offspring, if he is a dedicated father then yes he won’t stand for Gaia to keep playing with her, but we don’t know exactly for now wich is wich.

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      28. “Not sure how eager He is to match wits with Prometheus, however.”

        I agree. It seems from the small snippets that both Hecate and Aphrodite dropped that most gods are terrified of Prometheus’s intelligence and possibly his power.

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      29. “But at the time she is planning to get ride of her, would she still be usefull?”

        Each bound deity she frees is a potential ally.

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      30. Better than merely potential allies, Oliver. Each bound deity Mara frees is a potential ally OR a potential wild card OR a potential ‘enemy of our enemies’ OR other possibilities.

        Old gods and goddesses know to look beyond the obvious but limited potential.

        Even ‘an annoying pest/nuisance of our enemies’ might have potential, even accepting the risk that divine annoyance might become global….

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    2. Why bother? The mundanes will freeze and starve to death. If you wanted to use an epidemic as a weapon, you should not as the first step of your plan make travel impossible. Once you do that, you need to infect each city by itself. Furthermore you have made insect vectors inactive.

      And usually her armies win. In the cities that have much magical fire power, it is unclear how effective an epidemic would be. In fact parts of the leadership of Kozalin would likely welcome fewer mouths to feed.

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      1. Wow…Oliver, you totally nailed that plague vectors point.

        Even if Gaia told her shamans to deliver via strategic magic there are all those wards protecting Kozalin and similar human population centers.

        At least, the wards probably WERE protecting Kozalin from magically delivered spell plague, before the earthquake.

        Hmm…

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      2. Well, strategic magic would be a waste. No, these people are allowing biological stuff they consume into their city. In fact they pay for that being done. I would think twice about letting any imported grain bought from unverified merchants into my fortress.
        Eventually if she really wants to do so, that is another angle of attack.

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      3. Yeah, imported food is easy to cleanse, magically, AFTER your mage council figures out they need to do that.

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    3. Good feedback.

      1) Great answers on why not a plague – at least one of them is probably right: winter is hard on plague vectors.
      Some wards created by Aesir priests probably provide some population protection. Excessive reliance on her soldiers. Hubris is always good to explain the actions of the gods.
      .
      I do not buy the lack of preparation argument though as Gaia planned the extermination of humans for thousands of years and most of that time she did not assume an alliance with Loki/Fimbulwinter.
      .
      One argument to add – Loki’s followers. Loki wants them alive – and plague cannot be controlled unlike armies which can be told to not attack XX locations where Loki followers are located.
      .
      Another argument is that disease is such a classic attack that it has become effectively useless. After all, there have historically been a LOT of plague gods. And if Gaia herself lacks that domain, it is unlikely that she can overcome that weight of counter-disease protections that all pantheons have to have in place.

      2) Not at all clear to me that Aphrodite is significantly weaker than Gaia. They are both old gods and likely have many domains. If they chose open battle (very unlikely), not at all clear who would win.

      3) Like the analogy of eating the elephant

      4) Not clear that all the gods would oppose exterminating humans. They need worshipers, not necessarily human worshipers. And Gaia may be just fine with having them permanently weakened by taking away the gift of inspiration that Prometheus granted. Not too likely – but that was her original objection after all. So there is a path forward for Gaia – although not an easy one. Then again, if you are an immortal OCD goddess who is not that bright, why not try for the path.

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      1. I would argue that Gaia is hoping to literally sell the Andregi to the other gods. For that she needs them to show that they can beat humans in combat. What Brand called a strategic error isn’t one. He misidentified Gaia’s goals in the war.

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      2. Oliver, I like your suggestion that Gaea plans a long term replacement of some or all humans with Her andregi.

        It seems HIGHLY unlikely that other gods and goddesses will fail to understand the consequences of humans being sort of generally unreliable or even surly treacherous bastards, whereas Gaea’s andregi are consistently loyal — to HER.

        She will have to demonstrate that this loyalty can be reliably transferred, with no trace of…previous allegiance.

        I also like the idea Gaea has strategic plans that other gods, goddesses and demi-divine might have misunderstood.

        That also leaves open the possibility Gaea has Herself misunderstood how Her future plans might or might not interact with the evolving futures of Midgard, Asgard, etc.

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      3. Transfer of loyalty is the second step. The gods could take away the spark of Prometheus. They do not dare out of fear of rendering their humans uncompetitive. Andregi who are beaten by humans are useless in that regard.

        She can still make them open source after the war. Gaia is – I am afraid – constantly underestimated. The best way to fool your enemies is to appear to be intellectually limited.

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      4. Excellent point, Oliver.

        If Daniel were to suddenly and disastrously discover that Gaea has been fooling him and others about her quality of thinking, that would be a perfect literary tool for the author to use while balancing out some of the otherwise devastating Black magotech.

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      5. You mean like the demigodess of subterfuge who did not do the math on the likelihood of having 17 brothers currently living with her but no older sister? Who did not ask why mom has bananas of immortality, a feat the Aesir working as a group have not pulled off? How her stupid mom secured a bubble world reachable only through underground passages?

        That really looks like extreme incompetence to me.

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      6. I have wondered since we first discovered that Gaea’s pocket world is named Skogheim how that happened?

        Did She steal it from an Aesir who named it Skogheim? Did Loki give it to her?

        Gaea would seem to me far more likely to name Her pocket world something that at least sounds Greek, maybe Mycenaean or even Atlantean.

        Maybe She did, and ‘Skogheim’ is merely the Varmlandische name for it.

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      7. Could be possible good fortune. She may not be that smart but she is very very old. She was there when the titans fought their wars. Maybe she didn’t create the bananas. Maybe the Titan’s created the bananas and the pocket dimension world. It’s actually alluded to in the books. It’s stated that the hidden world’s were created when the titans were young. We have to remember that the titans were a pantheon of Gods. It stands to reason that they would have some Means of elevating Mortals to demigods and demigods to their full potential.

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      8. I think I readed somewhere that Gaia was Cronos mother as well, and that they concived Zeus and his siblings, I migth be wrong though.

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      9. Weird family I tell you, you know whats funny everyone remembers Aphrodite marriage with Hepestus, but form all the children she beared around with manny Gods, there is no mention of any from her and her husband, so why do people keep perpetating that union?? If I am not mistaken after he humiliates her and Ares they pretty much divorced rigth???

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      10. Hunh…I was pretty sure there was no divorce in old Greece, Paps, although you could argue that some ‘separations’ might be rather pointed, even edgy or downright poisonous…Snicker.

        Wow, was I wrong. Wikipedia is our friend — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce#History

        “The ancient Athenians liberally allowed divorce, but the person requesting divorce had to submit the request to a magistrate, and the magistrate could determine whether the reasons given were sufficient.”

        The Romans were originally a bit more patriarchal like I was thinking for the Greeks, but then even the Romans went liberal, literally. I wonder…yeah, that might have happened after Greek city states were absorbed into the Roman world.

        “Divorce was rare in early Roman culture but as their empire grew in power and authority Roman civil law embraced the maxim, “matrimonia debent esse libera” (“marriages ought to be free”), and either husband or wife could renounce the marriage at will. The Christian emperors Constantine and Theodosius restricted the grounds for divorce to grave cause, but this was relaxed by Justinian in the 6th century.”

        As for Aphrodite and Hephaestus, there does seem to be some evidence of a divorce, or at least return to sender.

        “Though married to Hephaestus, Aphrodite had an affair with Ares, the god of war. Eventually, Hephaestus discovered Aphrodite’s affair through Helios, the all-seeing Sun, and planned a trap during one of their trysts. While Aphrodite and Ares lay together in bed, Hephaestus ensnared them in an unbreakable chain-link net so small as to be invisible and dragged them to Mount Olympus to shame them in front of the other gods for retribution. The gods laughed at the sight of these naked lovers, and Poseidon persuaded Hephaestus to free them in return for a guarantee that Ares would pay the adulterer’s fine. Hephaestus states in The Odyssey that he would return Aphrodite to her father and demand back his bride price.”

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      11. Yes I was speaking of the ast line, that sounds like a divorce for me, after all after the incident Aphrodite whent around to live with Ares for a while and bore him those children. Is just that in some recent fictions everytime Aphrodite is mentioned she is directly connected with been marriage to Hepestus, but I am sure he already dumped her cheating ass a long time ago, he should be concidered her ex-husband or something. HAHAHAHA!!!!

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      12. If I remember correctly Hephaestus didn’t really want anything to do with Aphrodite. Zeus essentially forced her on him. He wanted to marry Athena. Zeus said no and gave him Aphrodite instead. After that he sequestered himself inside of a mountain and started creating his Works separate from all the other Olympians.

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      13. You know what Hephaestus was the real tragic figure og the Olympians family, the guy gets throw down of a mountain when he is born because he is ugly, then he can’t even get the gial he wants but forced to marry the slutty cousin, just to get cheated on on almost daily basis, and even after throwing her ass off the only thing about the marriage anyone remebers is ta he caugh her cheating. Nah jokes aside wondering if we will get more Olympian Gods introduced or any other pantheon. Who is expecting Daniel to have some quality time with baby Bat while hunting on a panther form??

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      14. Skogheim is Scandinavian for “forest world”. Rather descriptive.
        The Andregi themselves referred to it as the “hidden land” when talking to what he took to be dark elf traders.

        The Andregi are well adapted to the environment. It fits the dinosaurs they have modified and tamed. The mutated plants they use are adapted to the climate. The Halls of Slumber hold dinosaurs. They have been storing warriors for 1600 years. The alliance with Loki is recent (depending on how quickly demigods grow up) Loki has been barely free. It very much looks as if Skogheim has been in her hands for thousands of years and indeed she shaped it, including the dinosaurs.

        Those are not the feats an utter fool would carry of. You may notice that even the biology of the Andregi is shaped to stabilize the social structure she desired.

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      15. Idiot-savant, perhaps?

        Gaea seems like She totally knows what She wants, has a plan to achieve it and can be flexible about adapting to new opportunities like whatever Loki offered Her.

        Yet, She seems blind to events She ought to understand much better, like the full and true nature of Mara and Mara’s sister. What does Gaea really know of Loki’s plans? Does what she knows match what she wants rather more closely than a truly random odds data generator ought to supply?

        How much does Loki really need humans? His faithful are giants, wyrms and other monsters, as well as some of the Asgard worshipers.

        If Gaea manages to kill off all humans, does Loki fall? Why would She do that? Why would She even believe it? How much does She believe Loki needs humans?

        Are Gaea’s monster followers like the goblins, hags and trolls any match, in numbers or quality, for Loki’s giants, wyrms, dworks and others?

        I’m thinking Gaea might need Odin’s humans more than Loki needs his own humans….

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  7. Is the coven fully functional?

    A coven is said to need at least four elements and a warden. I would conclude that it is not.

    1) Tina has no idea what she is doing. And she has no element. You do not want the clueless member to be in charge of security.
    2) Is Hearth an element at all?
    3) Can one member supply two elements? If so what can Daniel provide that counts as an element?
    4) They are at minimum staffing levels. Some of them tend to go on extended missions, voluntarily or involuntarily.

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    1. They’ve got five members now, and Cerise mentioned that they didn’t need to pad out the number just to get more power. Given Tina’s divine blessing, her lack of cognitive heft probably doesn’t much matter, and Elin has enough brains for two anyway. I suspect that the coven is as “functional” as such things get, whatever “functional” means in this context. Both Cerise and Avilla were happy enough with Tina and Elin as members, and I don’t recall any textual indications that they considered the arrangement less than fully adequate.

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    2. Well, Oliver, we have Fire and Earth embodied in Daniel as actual elements, with Water and possibly Air embodied in Elin, also as elements. There’s all four of the traditional elements covered thoroughly well right there, with a possibility that Tina might also/alternatively embody Air if Bast is willing. Cerise embodies Shadow or Darkness or both, though I’m not sure she does that as enchantment or as elements, while Avilla might well include Light as a complement to her Hearth magic. Again I’m not sure if that is actually embodied as an element or simply spellcraft.

      That, for the coven, seems to me like a solid core of elements, upon which they are building a structure of defenses embedded in Black Island and Castle Black, an incredible base of power founded on Daniel’s magotech and a network of alliances with Hecate’s growing pantheon plus the allies She sends to them, like the Groves and Clan Nethwillin.

      I’d argue, as Elin has, that Daniel’s coven is possibly the most powerful in many generations and seems likely to become more so.

      Now, to your specific points:

      1) Tina is not solely Tina, she is also Bast and the goddess seems to be a mistress of Air at minimum, as demonstrated when the coven bindings happened and She appeared out of a controlled sandstorm. I’d argue that Bast is the opposite of ‘clueless’ about any element or magic and we readers can never know when She will intercede to assist her mortal mother. It sure seems obvious that Tina’s participation in the coven is divinely inspired, whether by Bast, Hecate, Prometheus or any combination of Them. One more thought, if dance can be formalized as spellcraft, and it seems likely that really is possible on Midgard, it seems likely Tina will quickly become quite expert at abracadabra ballet.

      2) I suspect you are correct that ‘Hearth’ is not an element. On the other hand, Avilla is a witch, not a sorceress. Her manipulation of the elements would be via enchantment and spellcraft, maybe even wizardry.

      3) Daniel can absolutely supply both Fire and Earth, which are traditional elements. Whether he can do so simultaneously while also functioning as Warden will be interesting to see. Keep in mind that Cerise has partially addressed this issue of the absolute number of witches required to perform major spells. She has spontaneously cast spells that she KNOWS are normally impossible for a single witch to perform, and credits Daniel’s power supplies with that capability. Hence, I suspect sufficient power substitutes adequately for individuals embodying specific elements or responsibilities.

      4) Define minimum staffing levels. We have already seen the leftovers of Pelagea stepping in to help Cerise and Elin examine Avilla while Daniel was otherwise occupied. We can clearly anticipate that Alanna will have some future very important role in the coven, and that probably will be much more than a mobile mana battery. Suppose there was a really BIG enchantment necessary to the security of Black Island. Want to bet Daniel calls in a bunch of Dark Elf magi, several members of the Groves and his coven ladies to handle it?

      Daniel tries to cover his bases with lots of magotech, alliances with steadfast people and subtle threats of brutal violence. He will undoubtedly find that strategy continues to need refinement, possibly including spectacular applications. There should be no doubt in Kozalin that his fortress can devour entire armies. Of course, there is also no doubt in Kozalin that Castle Black has vulnerabilities, as we saw during Daniel’s absence rescuing Clan Nethwillin.

      It should be all sorts of fun seeing what has happened around and on Black Island during Daniel’s involuntary visit to Asgard and his subsequent self-imposed radioactive cool-down period.

      Like

    3. What does fully functional mean for a coven. I suspect you mean “the coven can cast major rituals”. The other aspects of a coven are more protective or relational.

      Unfortunately, we can only guess on this. Up to this point, we have had no mention of rituals being done when Daniel was not there. And he was gone for a few days on several occasions. That implies they would have issues.

      However, I think it is more a factor of the rituals themselves, than any hard coven requirement. If, for example, Elin had a ritual that required a different mix of members (3 for example), it would be fine. We have had comments that rituals are fairly rigid and cannot be changed quickly. This was with regards to accelerating the time with unlimited magic, but it is reasonable to assume it applies to other aspects.

      Then again, Daniel was gone close to a month this time, maybe more. I could see the other coven members modifying a few rituals to get them done without Daniel.

      Like

      1. Actually, we have one explicit instance of Cerise casting a spell all by herself that she tells us normally requires a ritual and 13 witches.

        As we drew closer Cerise spread her arms and chanted something long and involved in Greek. Shadows pooled around her, forming a swirling mass that grew for several long moments before she reached the end of her chant. Then they arched out across a hundred yards of intervening space to descend on the nearer of the undead columns. A chorus of shouts and screams erupted as the formation was hidden from view by the onrushing tide of darkness. “Since when could you do that?” I asked, impressed. “Since you made me the strongest witch in Europe,” she replied, panting slightly. “Between the demons and the dragon and this amulet, I can cast anything. Even spells that are supposed to take thirteen witches and an hour-long ritual.”

        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2)

        If Cerise can do this all by herself, how much more can she do with Elin, Avilla and Tina helping her?

        One important question that needs answering is whether any of the girls can establish a connection to one of Daniel’s big stone block matter to mana power supplies.

        The amulets Daniel gave them provide a near exponential increase in capabilities.

        One or more stone blocks should be even more impressive.

        Colin

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      2. Well, no. They talked about this. They needed to go to five because the high rituals call for four elements and a warden. And they were happy that they did not need to expand even further merely for power.

        That suggests that those rituals have a qualitative as well as a quantitative side. You need enough power, that is why Cerise could cast that spell of mass destruction. It is different only in scale from her usual stuff.
        It is also interesting to note that the numbers mentioned for coven members are equal to the corners in a regular polyhedron plus 1 (for the warden). That suggests that the elements are virtually ordered and it really needs bearers of the elements, not just the elements.

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      3. Oliver, you seem to be arguing that rituals require a certain balance of element bearers.

        That position appears to be in direct conflict with several occasions in the books when Daniel and his coven are resting and chatting after completing rituals to significantly enhance the magic defenses of Black Island. Brand himself comments on how quickly Daniel’s coven continues to put up more wards.

        For that matter, there is also the coven forming ritual itself, which Elin describes as somewhat challenging, yet they are able to complete it handily without specified element bearers.

        I suspect we do not have complete information on the actual requirements for element bearers during rituals.

        On the other hand, your observation about numbers of magic users required to complete a ritual seems to be confirmed early in FIMBULWINTER and again in BLACK COVEN.

        However, we then have Cerise not only commenting on how a strong mana source replaces numbers, she demonstrates this with a mass destruction spell cast entirely by herself.

        Not only do we need more information about element bearers, we need to know more about power requirements and substitutes for numbers of ritual members.

        Colin

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      4. “I thought when they talked about it they mentioned members not elements?”

        The wording changes. Fimbulwinter talks about members and says that the higher rituals needs at least three. some even five members.

        Black Coven is more specific. And I need to quote that:

        We need access to the high rituals, and that means at least four elements and a warder. But thanks to you we don’t need to pad out out our numbers with extra people just to be able to raise more power. So we can stick with with five, instead of going to seven or thirteen.

        I would draw conclusions from that

        – there are multiple categories of rituals
        – it is possible to go to a minimum number if you have enough power, but that’s it
        – there are specific numbers of members in a coven that make sense

        By the way, these numbers are not just random. While they are prime numbers, that is not the explanation because 11 is missing. These are the number of corners of the platonic solids whose surfaces are triangles plus 1 (for the warder presumably)

        So why has the Black Coven not shown any deficiencies? I would simply say that they have not tried High Rituals. Nothing compared to the strategic curse the Conclave used. Not even the banes on people Avilla suggested.
        The put up wards. A ward is something that a single mage can do in principle. They are just using a coven to scale up things (and to make them accessable to all of them). The same way Cerise used that combat magic that would need 13 people. Shadows eating foes is her standard attack. She is just using a gigantic version.

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      5. Oliver, if I’m understanding the books correctly, sorcerers are not commonly available on Midgard.

        Hence, it seems rather unlikely that witch covens frequently had multiple sorceresses or sorcerers as members.

        Their rituals must be derived from what was historically available, which would have been lots of witches, not lots of sorcerers or sorceresses.

        That being the case, there must be some way for a witch who is not a sorceror or sorceress and therefore does not ‘express’ an element to somehow represent that element in a ritual.

        That, or the ‘high rituals’ are very rarely performed at all, due to lack of sorcerous elements expressed by members.

        We don’t have sufficient data.

        We have little idea how the author really thinks about ritual and elements.

        We can guess that Cerise might be able to express the element of Shadow, but we don’t know if her magic is entirely spellcraft and therefore not elemental. Her ability to infuse lots of Shadow into Corina’s grove when Daniel gave them a matter to mana stone suggests that Cerise can use Shadow like an element.

        We suspect that Elin might be able to express the element of Water, and maybe the element of Air, but we don’t know for sure if that is spellcraft or elemental. I’d argue it IS elemental, given that Elin is part undine and seems to have instinctively called a mini tsunami in her defense on the causeway during BLACK COVEN, not to mention surrounding herself with water inside one of Daniel’s Force spheres during EXTERMINATION.

        The only character we KNOW is explicitly expressing elements would be Daniel with his Earth, Fire, Flesh, Force and Mana.

        What a cheater….

        I hope the author reveals in future books a bit more about how he intends the ritual magic to function, especially the high rituals.

        Like

      6. “Their rituals must be derived from what was historically available, which would have been lots of witches, not lots of sorcerers or sorceresses.

        That being the case, there must be some way for a witch who is not a sorceror or sorceress and therefore does not ‘express’ an element to somehow represent that element in a ritual.”

        We do not know that a wizard cannot represent an element. He may just have to learn and train an appropriate set of of spells. And I would say that witches are closer to sorcerers than to wizards. Cerise said that her power to walk shadows is granted after a fast, not learned.

        But this still leaves open the question how the coven is supposed to operate while even one of the members is not at home.

        Like

      7. Since we are told that on Midgard, wizards, like witches, are generally NOT also sorcerers, I totally agree with you, Oliver. There must be some way for a wizard to represent an element during rituals, just as I argue there must be some way for witches to do that.

        Good point about Cerise’s shadow magic being more like sorcery. In the absence of a better explanation, I’m going to consider her an example of someone with elemental Shadow sorcery. Thanks for that!

        As for the question about how the coven operates when one or more members are away from home, that is simply answered with another question.

        Is there any requirement that a ritual can ONLY be attempted by members of the same coven?

        We know that Pelagea and Cerise and Elin completed a ritual to analyze Avilla’s ‘problem’ during BLACK COVEN. Of course, that was before Cerise and Elin had bound themselves into a coven. Still, the ability of diverse individuals to gather and attempt a ritual seems established in that instance, alone.

        Incidentally, I believe that is an example where only three magic users were able to complete a ritual.

        We can also look at the instances of rituals performed by the Conclave. We are assured that wizards don’t bind themselves into covens, so there ought to be no question of the coven membership ‘requirement’ applying to Conclave rituals. If a dozen wizards drawn from across the Conclave’s more powerful members can join together and complete a massive ritual like their weather control or that black cloud of death, it seems to me we can state with conviction that coven membership is NOT required to attempt a ritual.

        If Daniel and Cerise are away and Avilla convinces Elin that they need to create a particular new ward around the island, the two of them will recruit Tina, then ask Sefwin for a pair of volunteers…then desperately struggle to come up with polite refusals for the two dozen OTHER volunteers, each eager to curry Hecate’s favor, each eager to learn even a hint of magic from Circe’s heir, etc.

        The more we kick this question around, the more I begin to think it is an opportunity for the ladies to share spell work with Clan Nethwillin’s top magi.

        I suppose Elin might also consider approaching Pelagea for assistance, if there was reason to believe the ritual might be ancient and therefore already known to several members of the Groves.

        Again, the only difficulty there is likely to be a surplus of eager volunteers.

        Like

  8. Mr. Brown has released another chapter of Alice Long on his Subscribe Star page for May.

    He also seemed to have been writing a cultivator style Asian Magic story.

    And most interesting to us here, there is a story called Hentai Daniel, with a different Daniel.

    Like

  9. Are there Atlantean ghosts?

    I have a hard time believing that apparently vast numbers of Atlanteans spontaneously got and perfected a spell to bind their souls to a cycle of rebirth. I am sorry, but this wa prepared for and it does not look like a war time project. Validating success takes decades. Too long during a war.
    It would be entirely plausible for this technique to have been the ultimate backup. But for that there numbers are too small. Alana is pretty specific that only some of them went for reincarnation. So what was the other plan B? Is it possible that Atlanteans found a way to create stable ghosts?

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    1. There were a few comments about wandering spirits a few days after the undead assault on Kozalin’s docks when Cerise was considering finding a dead murder witch and providing her with a body to animate or inhabit. It was pretty clearly not going to be ‘life’ and probably not the sort of mind swap Granny had intended to inflict upon Avilla, so not a great deal for the spirit, except maybe compared to rather unpleasant alternatives.

      Cerise seemed to be thinking about a ritual performed by other murder witches, something her mentor might have described to her years earlier. She was rather clear about ‘normal’ or ‘mundane’ spirits fading in a few days/weeks, while a powerful witch’s spirit might last a year or more…but not much more.

      If there are Atlantean spirits still hanging around somewhere other than inside the Spire, they will have needed to find a way to ‘recharge’ themselves for a LOT of centuries. If they were inside a storage sphere inside the Spire they are probably crazed and brain burned now, assuming they somehow escaped the explosion, the horde of escaping Ancient Beasts and the determined efforts of Odin, Thor, etc.

      It seems unlikely there will be any Atlantean spirits who survive the Spire and remain marginally competent — unlikely, but not impossible.

      On the other hand, ‘free spirits’ surviving all the years since the Atlantean Age is not much more likely. Not saying it can’t have happened. Just suspicious there will be only a few examples and they might be something rather like psychic or actual vampires….

      Which could be worth another book or two sorting THAT.

      Like

  10. How does Daniel throw fireballs?

    He can do it. We saw it a few times. But how does that work. He repeatedly stated that he could not do magic at a larger distance. Throwing an actual flame any distance just does not work. I would again conclude that he actually puts a short term enchantment on the air and throws that.

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    1. Oliver, what would you think of Daniel summoning elemental Fire and throwing that, or using his Force element to ‘push’ the elemental Fire at his target? Neither of those seem like especially powerful attacks.

      It would actually fit his available elements, which is rather important since he throws Fire in his very first combat in Avilla’s cottage. He breathed fire in the Troll’s face, threw a ball of flame at it, surrounded his hands with flames and torched a few goblins.

      I suggest that this early in Daniel’s learning about magic it’s just too early for something even as simple as heating up a chunk of air and throwing it, especially when we know he does not have the Air element. I suppose a Force ball full of air, superheated and tossed at a target, loosing the Force ball on contact would work, but that’s a LOT to expect from somebody five minutes and a Void swim away from his Emergency Room bed.

      I’d keep it simple.

      He instinctively yanked some elemental Fire and tossed it.

      Like

      1. Then why did he never ever use elemental fire again? Using the Force element to push his fireballs would shift the problem to another sorcery. Throwing Force constructs does not work. Why would he push fireballs while his constructs need to be thrown? That makes it worse, why is his weakest sorcery best at this?

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      2. Oliver, the basic answer to your questions about Daniel and his use of elemental Fire come down to him having much better options as soon as he creates a matter to mana amulet AND begins learning/developing enchantments that apply elemental Fire in much more effective tools, like Grinder.

        He did use his elemental Fire almost immediately after that first fight. As soon as he created his matter to mana amulet Daniel began experimenting with a warmth cloak…that he neglected to then immediately share with Avilla and Cerise.

        BAD Daniel…by modern standards, which he was supposedly very much following at that point. Maybe the girls did not mention it because they are both relatively immune to the cold?

        No, not really.

        Cerise might be an ice queen, but Avilla is a girl who definitely appreciates heat. The author slipped up, or just didn’t think it was important. Of course, they did receive warmth cloaks later in the books.

        He also used his elemental Fire to ignite big wood splinters that he stuck into Trolls in his Lanrest fights, then added more elemental Fire to enhance those flames until the Trolls were ignited themselves.

        “I concentrated my meager fire magic on encouraging the flame, making it spread faster, burn hotter, consume its fuel more quickly than normal.” Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1)

        Don’t forget when he shoves fire up a hollow spike he stabs into a Troll, also during the Lanrest fighting.

        “It stumbled, suddenly too distracted to wonder what I was up to. I plunged my force lance home, and our combined momentum drove the magical construct deep into the troll’s chest. But I didn’t know if being stabbed through the heart would be enough to kill it, so I dissolved the end of the lance and sent a blast of flame roaring through it into the wound.” Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1)

        Hmm…containing fire within a Force construct seems like it works pretty well. He does still need leverage, impact or other mechanical physics tricks to DELIVER the constructs.

        Of course, he also starts BLACK COVEN with enchanted incendiary arrows among the Wolfen, and then uses HOT rocks to clear ice from the river for the Prince.

        Daniel uses his Fire element a lot, actually, but more and more of his elemental sorcery is applied more effectively through enchantments as he has time and opportunities to develop his own spells and study the structured magic of others.

        Now, THAT is another interesting thaumaturgical question. Consider Daniel’s exposure to Cerise’s and Avilla’s spells, Elin’s wizardry and the Conclave library. How does all that formalized magical application impact his development of SORCEROUS talents/skills?

        Nastier question: How would we distinguish between pure sorcery and spells, wizardry or enchantments?

        Of course, Daniel would probably be dead without all the enchantments he develops or learns. Pure sorcery is probably not capable of giving him the bang for the buck he needs until his personal mana management is MUCH enhanced.

        Still, we do seem to lose sight of his rare uses of pure elemental sorcery after the first few chapters of FIMBULWINTER.

        Just a thought.

        Like

      3. Saying that he can’t push the fire or force constructs out worked in the 1st 2 books.However in the 3rd book thanks to his witch He learned the ability to bind those constructs to themselves so they can be thrown at a distance.

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      4. DaShoota, if I remember correctly, Daniel learned that Cerise knows how to cast her spells at a distance, however, he did not take the time to learn from her how she does that.

        Another case of not enough time for all the important stuff he has to do….

        Of course, there is enough left vague in that conversation that the author could proceed as if Daniel did figure out the trick, whether from first principles and hints or from a few minutes spent using his Mana Vision and watching Cerise toss some wicked magic around the test lab.

        Like

      5. He mentions that he did take the time to learn it in book 4. Towards the beginning of the book during the conflict on the docks.

        Like

      6. Ah. I think I remember the fight you mean. There were rioters on a dock…

        “When I’d first come to this world I’d had serious range problems with my magic. But thanks to Cerise I knew how the local wizards and witches got around those issues, and now I put that knowledge to good use. My spell grew quickly, spilling out along the dock in both directions. As long as the spell’s heart was within my grasp, I could extend its reach until the cost outgrew my mana supply.” Brown, E. William. Thrall (Daniel Black Book 4)

        And we all know Daniel’s mana supply is more than adequate.

        So, after Daniel began spending regular spellcrafting time with Cerise, the two of them made sure he learned what she knows about ways to extend the range of spells.

        Oops.

        No.

        That very first time they spent working out spellcraft together, right after testing his prototype design for INTREPID, was when he learned some of what he needed.

        “The standard techniques Cerise knew for building attack spells used a completely different approach. They were all based around weaving a spell that does something nasty to your enemy, and then projecting it at them in one way or another. Since one of my major limitations was my inability to cast spells on anything more than a few feet away this was a topic of considerable interest to me.” Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        Okay, so Daniel learned several methods of extending his magical effects, early in EXTERMINATION. That’s also when Cerise began learning his methods of enchanting magical items.

        Like

      7. Cerise is using spells that go right through armor. As did goblin shamans in the battle of Lanrest.

        Now there are counter examples. During his second fight against a troll, right before talking to Captain Rain for the first time, a goblin shaman throws balls of lighting which Daniel’s force shield repelled. Why? Lightning passed through them in the battle of the Lanrest Temple.

        I would conclude from that, that some spells are bound to a physical medium when thrown. Others are bound to themselves. The latter kind is not stopped by armor or force shields. The balls of fire or lightning are kept together by the beginnings of the shaping ability of a sorcery Daniel demonstrated with Earth and Flesh. Fire is not a substance. It depends on a gaseous (or plasmatic medium). Hence the medium can be shaped under the right circumstances.

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      8. Oliver, I could easily imagine that your description of Fire as not being a substance is correct for the way Daniel uses it in the books.

        On the other hand, Daniel continues to develop more and more deadly varieties of plasma attacks which depend heavily on his Fire element and also on his Force element and, of course, on his matter to mana enchantment to power them. He both finds more effective ways to shape Fire and also synergistic ways to combine it with other elements for even more powerful results.

        I could also argue that low-rank warband Shamans using Lightning would not necessarily have the best available understanding of electromagnetism and therefore not much chance of intuiting a way to ‘shape’ their primitive spells to better penetrate Daniel’s early defenses. The Lightning used late in FIMBULWINTER by Odin’s priests should be ‘shaped’ more effectively, since those clerics are assumed to fight magic beasts, witches and sometimes wizards often enough to have encountered shields and other defenses. Their Lightning spell probably also benefits from shared knowledge between many Asgardian churches all over Europe, maybe even other sources in places like China, Egypt or India.

        Notice that the presumably more capable ‘commando’ shamans at Lanrest were able to quickly hit Daniel with a variety of different kinds of attacks, some of which knocked him out of the sky. We have the distinct impression that success was skill, experience and cunning, not just luck.

        Remember also that Grinder was not able to penetrate the defenses of Dworks in the hilltop battle during EXTERMINATION, until Daniel switched to a heavy shield and applied the raw thermal power of Grinder’s plasma blast.

        There are frequently several different ways for an elemental attack to penetrate or crush defenses, if the first abject failure does not result in surprise termination of the surprised attacker.

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      9. “On the other hand, Daniel continues to develop more and more deadly varieties of plasma attacks which depend heavily on his Fire element and also on his Force element and, of course, on his matter to mana enchantment to power them. He both finds more effective ways to shape Fire and also synergistic ways to combine it with other elements for even more powerful results.”

        Well, no. He does not shape fire. He shapes hot matter. And he does so with Force, not Fire. That much becomes clear when he discusses Grinder with Cerise.

        “The Lightning used late in FIMBULWINTER by Odin’s priests should be ‘shaped’ more effectively, since those clerics are assumed to fight magic beasts, witches and sometimes wizards often enough to have encountered shields and other defenses.”

        It wasn’t thrown. It came directly from their spears. And that makes the difference. Grinder is showing us that in direct contact Daniel can make things really hot.

        “Notice that the presumably more capable ‘commando’ shamans at Lanrest were able to quickly hit Daniel with a variety of different kinds of attacks, some of which knocked him out of the sky. We have the distinct impression that success was skill, experience and cunning, not just luck.”

        Indeed, so we agree that they knew a trick Daniel doesn’t know and that is the reason his fireballs suck?

        “Remember also that Grinder was not able to penetrate the defenses of Dworks in the hilltop battle during EXTERMINATION, until Daniel switched to a heavy shield and applied the raw thermal power of Grinder’s plasma blast.”

        Yes, but again that was direct contact. Daniel’s Force blades made manually wouldn’t have worked either. And the raw temperature worked from the start. Daniel’s key innovation in that battle was the use of a physical shield, which let him keep firing.

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      10. Um, no. Oliver, the reason Lightning from a priest’s spear is more effective than lightning from a tribal shaman’s wand is the priest’s spear has a better enchantment generating the Lightning.

        Have I touched the difference between how we are thinking about this?

        I believe Lightning from the Shaman’s wand, and Lightning from the priest’s spear were both ENCHANTMENT generated. The priest had access to a significantly superior Lightning enchantment magic.

        Daniel’s fireballs were entirely SORCERY generated — he Summoned and threw elemental Fire. Of course it was a wimpy effect. At that time, Daniel had just begun to use ANY magic and still had a LOT to learn.

        As for Daniel using Force to shape and enhance Fire into Grinder’s plasma attack, yes, that’s exactly what I mean by the difference between the raw sorcery of Daniel’s wimpy fireballs and the much more devastating plasma blast enchantment he put on Grinder.

        We’re going to have a difficult time finding many examples of Daniel using more powerful, more experienced, raw elemental sorcery.

        He seems MUCH more inclined to use matter to mana powered, synergistically enhanced, multi-element enchantments.

        Can’t really see where he’s wrong in that, although he’s not learning as much as he could about his basic sorcery.

        Not that he has time to spend exploring his sorcery.

        I wonder if that will eventually bite him in the ass?

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      11. The problem is that the lightning from the spear does not crack the field. It just circumvents it. Yet the spears themselves do not have this property, unlike Baron Stein’s sword. That suggests, but does not prove, that special care to bypass Force shields was included into them.

        Furthermore, enchantments Daniel has built do not penetrate his shield either. He is protected against Flamers. It is not quite true that Grinder is superior to sorcery in all cases. Compare him to the fireballs Carl Stenberg used. At close range Grinder wins. At extended range Carl wins. I am afraid there is a qualitative difference betwenn what Grinder and a Flamer do compared to a proper fireball.

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      12. Yes, there is definitely a qualitative difference between what the Flamer or Grinder can do and what Carl Stenburg’s fireballs can do.

        Then there is the difference between them and Daniel’s latest weapon of ‘precision’ destruction, the beam his golem Sunstrike used to smash into and out of Fenrir’s prison.

        Enchantments trump raw sorcery, so far, and better enchantments trump weaker enchantments.

        Mara’s demigoddess divine Fire seems to be in approximately the same scope as Daniel’s golem plasma cannon, except he has matter to mana for what seems to be a deeper mana well than she seems to have at this point.

        Maybe that will change after she ascends?

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      13. But the Sunstrike weapon is using a carrier medium, water to be exact.IT is strictly speaking a heat weapon, not a fire weapon, if you see fire as a form of combustion.
        Hence again there is no free elemental fire involved. So I don’t really get the connection.

        Yes, it is true that enchantments can channel more mana than Daniel, so they can have greater effects. We know that for sure since the construction of Black Island. But that does not tell us that they are more efficient.

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      14. Oliver, when Daniel and Mara meet next they will probably wind up on one or more sides of a big fight between elite troops, possibly a fight between demigods. We will probably get a direct comparison of results out of that, though it might be tantalizingly close but not definitive.

        I’m not trying to suggest that there is any kind of simple measure of efficiency that would give us some way to compare Daniel’s enchantments to his sorcery. What I am trying to suggest is that we won’t see that comparison. His enchantments are so much more powerful than his sorcery that he won’t use sorcery except in desperation or something sneaky.

        Hence, we won’t ever get a real opportunity to formulate some sort of useful comparison.

        Now, an exception to that might arise when Daniel finally is allowed to occupy his new body version 2.0 and he plays with his new capabilities. If he has adequately expanded his mana ‘channels’ and other mana handling, maybe there will be a significant change in what he can summon, what he can ‘throw’ and what he can do at increasing distances.

        If that happens, he will probably still focus immediately on how he can use his new abilities to craft even more powerful enchantments, because he’s doomed to confront a few gods Real Soon Now and needs about three more generations of exponential magitech enhancements just to ante.

        Colin

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      15. Wait a minute isn’t Daniels new body the one he’s building from scratch going to be massively enchanted? Wouldn’t that in and of itself eliminate many of his energy channeling limitations?

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      16. That’s exactly what we want to see, DaShoota. It will be very interesting to determine whether Daniel has enhanced his new body’s mana channels to the point where he can summon as much elemental fire as Mara can summon divine fire.

        Notice my assumption there.

        It would also be oh so convenient to have a direct comparison…and probably utterly unrealistic to expect any such thing.

        Unless, maybe, Daniel and Mara get into an ‘anything you can do I can do better’ kind of competition with each other.

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      17. That competition may not be out of the question. It does sound like one of the things Cerise would instigate between the two of them for giggles.

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      18. Um, Daniel’s Sunstrike beam weapon is a bit more complex than a thermal weapon, Oliver.

        Water only remains liquid, or gaseous as a carrier at rather less than the beam’s maximum operating temperature and pressure ranges.

        First, however, there’s an additional complication. Daniel infuses the water with dispelling enchantments, so it tends to destroy wards and other magical defenses on contact. I don’t begin to understand how those enchantments continue to function as he ramps up the pressure and temperature, producing tightly contained plasma.

        Since he raises the beam’s operating temperature up to plasma levels, at which point are we talking about monatomic oxygen and hydrogen?

        At the very least, that water is breaking down into a plasma of diatomic molecular oxygen and diatomic molecular hydrogen.

        When he plays with oxygen and hydrogen near those temperatures, and in such high pressure concentrations, there will be chemical effects on the materials he strikes, as well as mechanical shock effects, in addition to all of the thermal effects.

        Hence, that beam is not ‘strictly speaking’ either a heat weapon or a fire weapon. It is, just like Grinder, a synergy of multiple thermal and mechanical effects, then add chemical effects from the super hot oxygen and hydrogen.

        Like

  11. I am fascinated by power sets. I admit it. One should explore going against one’s natural instincts. I always thought that people naturally would have picked Fire first. Very well. Suppose Daniel had even less Fire.
    What if Daniel could not heat or cool things or project these warmth fields, but only conjure actual flame and set things on fire?

    It would not have killed him in the initial fight. Nor would he have died without a warmth cloak. He has a healing amulett. It would have cost him some business in Lanrest, but he still could have sold eternal fires or magic lamps or blades with Force edges. His weapons during the trip would have to be more focused on Force blades instead of white-hot projectiles. But his entry into Kozalin would be quite different. Any thoughts?

    It would be unfair to diminish one element without slightly increasing another one. Suppose his Flesh grew in exchange to the point that he could conjure natural body products, like milk, eggs, wool, silk and feathers. I suppose Black Island would have gained a dairy products section. Malnutrition would not be an issue for somebody with Daniel’s healing powers. It would be useful. But fundamentally so? Is that a trade you would make? I am actually uncertain.

    What if he were even more of a gambler and had gone on to Mana sooner? Suppose he would have gotten the instinctive ability to do magic at a distance. That would have had immediate uses right on arrival. He would just have thrown the troll out, levitated him and roasted or sliced him up him at leisure.

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    1. Interesting ideas, Oliver.

      I’m not sure your description of ‘less Fire’ is ‘less’ enough. As you say, it would not significantly change his first fight if all he could do is summon elemental Fire and torch things. I disagree that he would be unable to create warmth cloaks. Just contain the Fire inside Force constructs to keep it from igniting anything and attach the constructs to the textile.

      Totally agree he would have much the same experience in Lanrest, without being able to project warmth fields.

      Why would his entry into Kozalin be different? His hot rocks might have been a bit more complicated, but not significantly more difficult. His first nibble of Black Island and Castle Black would maybe require some different magic to make it self-warming but so what? He has matter to mana for fueling that. Might even gain a more wicked reputation if Castle Black seems to flicker with barely seen dusky flames….

      I would not make the trade of less Fire element for more Flesh element. With his Earth, Fire and Force he has everything he needs to survive in Fimbulwinter conditions. Directly creating food would be convenient, but not necessary, especially after he discovered that Felwolf Flank Steak is food.

      More Mana element would be interesting, but we already have too much deus ex machina as it is. I think the author has already pushed mana sorcery very, very far indeed.

      Levitating the troll for any length of time would not work in the battle for the cottage — Daniel would need his power amulet for that. He can do it to the next troll, and its goblin shaman, much later in the day.

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  12. There is a comment at the beginning of Fimbulwinter where Hecate tells Daniel about sorcery: “There’s a quirk of the relationship between worlds that will allow me to grant you sorcerous powers during the journey if you agree, without any great cost to myself…..you should have time to grab three or four elements at a much higher level than human sorcerers normally get…. will fill you and be channeled by your thoughts… ”

    This has three key elements.
    1) There are other sorcerers in the world – although Daniel has not met any (and known)

    2) Granting sorcerous powers normally has a great cost – a topic we explored in other threads

    3) Daniel’s sorceries (flesh, mana, earth, force) are each individually much more powerful/comprehensive sorceries than another sorcerer would have. If a god granted a mortal earth sorcery for example, it would be a much less capable level of earth sorcery than Daniel has.

    4) Daniel is bringing a huge knowledge base of how natural processes work (as he is from Earth). This means that Daniel’s application of his sorcery is much more sophisticated than anyone else could do with the same level of sorcery. Given the sorcery “definition” is based on imagination and knowledge, greater knowledge = more complete (and thus more powerful) sorcery

    So Daniel’s sorcery is massively more sophisticated and capable than any god would expect both from raw power (#3 above) and from greater knowledge (#4 above), it is not all surprising that the gods keep underestimating him.

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    1. Good timing, Dspring. I’m going to agree with most of your comments about Daniel’s sorceries, but there will be significant…nuances I’d like to point out.

      1) There are hints that the Runesage was a sorcerer as well as a wizard. There are also a few hints that Atlantean sorcery might have applied some sorcery, although that might have been dream magic. How would we know? As for ‘other’ sorcerers, I want to know how many of Daniel’s kids inherit his sorcery.

      It will also be very important for future stories to see whether Baby Bast gains sorcerous elements from Daniel’s contribution to Her birth/rebirth. Considering how much She will already receive by virtue of Her divinity, this could be total overkill. Of course, even more important will be whether She inherits the Promethean spark of creativity, which She will need when Daniel finally manages to commence schooling all the kids for whom he chooses to assert responsibility.

      2) Granting sorcerous powers may have a great cost, but how about inheriting them? I don’t have much to add about this, however, we should consider one datum that kind of sticks up out of the middle of Kozalin like an enormous clue bat. Yes, that would be the (presumably) summoned nickel-iron Conclave tower. One has to wonder if the Bloody Archmage had sorcerous powers and, if so, how he received them? Of course, all that nickel-iron MIGHT have been conjured via something other than sorcery.

      3) We cannot assert with certainty that Daniel’s sorcerous powers are significantly greater than those of other sorcerers because we have not been introduced to any characters we know are sorcerers. If the Bloody Archmage was a sorcerer, he seems to have had levels of power similar to Daniel’s, and also wizardry equal to or better than Daniel’s. Benito accomplished a LOT with what might have been Mind, Soul or Spirit elemental sorcery.

      4) Apologies for the annoying repetition from some of my other posts, but Daniel is NOT a particularly powerful sorcerer. Yes, he has some great elemental sorceries. Yes, he adds enormously important science, engineering and even craft knowledge from our world to vastly enhance his magical capabilities.

      No, that’s NOT sorcery. Every magical application of Daniel’s otherworldly knowledge is enabled by enchanted items, which is wizardry, and maybe also witchcraft, given who is training him — Cerise, Avilla and the Conclave library. Hmm…also his stolen Asgard Church book collection. Enchantment seems to be normal for witches and for wizards. For all we know it is also normal for sorcerers, but Daniel has not yet met one of those, so he could hardly learn their forms of enchantment from them. Of course, he and Elin have been collecting books about magic. They might have several texts about sorcerous enchantments and we would not know. He MIGHT have learned something like that from the Atlantean magic he studied in the Spire, IF that is sorcery and not wizardry, but more than likely it is entirely dream magic. Again, we have not yet been introduced to any Atlanteans, except through Alanna’s memories. Sure hope we see more from her about them.

      Daniel’s ENCHANTMENTS are surprisingly powerful, and several gods seem to have failed to properly understand his ability to quickly create new enchanted items. Loki will quickly achieve better understanding. Hecate, of course, already has. Odin will be too busy to do much about His recently enhanced understanding. Ra will be fun to watch. I’m betting He is much too set in His ways to change quickly. Bast, of course, will not only understand, She will likely benefit from learning at least a little science and engineering from Daniel.

      As for Daniel’s sorcery, I’m really looking forward to seeing how his new body with it’s improved mana handling capacity enhances his sorcery.

      Maybe we will also find some hints in that discovery process, hints that tell us more about how the author views wizardry, witchcraft, enchantment and sorcery.

      I would not be the least bit surprised to discover the distinctions I draw from my reading have no connection at all with the story themes the author intends to present.

      I have bad brain habits bred from years of fantasy and science fiction RPG design and play.

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      1. Good thoughts – see below on comments as we went in different directions thought wise.

        1) There are hints that the Runesage was a sorcerer as well as a wizard.

        –> What hints? The only comment I remembered is that he invented modern wizardry. I guess that could mean he has sorcery, but to me it actually argues the opposite. Sorcery is a super skill in a single specialty. Modern wizardry is a broad expertise in magic overall. And you do not need sorcery to summon iron as Elin was easily able to summon water and she is not a sorcerer and Daniel was able to do the same when taught by Elin – and he does not have water sorcery. So the construction of the conclave does not provide evidence of sorcery.

        That said, one could easily argue that sorcerers were the first human magic users and they basically taught others how to do magic. But the runesage using sorcery to create modern magic seems a big stretch.
        .
        .
        .
        There are also a few hints that Atlantean sorcery might have applied some sorcery, although that might have been dream magic.

        –> Atlanteans have never been referred to as sorcerers — which seems a gross oversight if they were sorcerers. Although the story of the creation of the sunspear strongly implies that the wizards walked out of the dreaming as full wizards. So some form of instant learning probably occurred.
        .
        .
        .
        I want to know how many of Daniel’s kids inherit his sorcery.

        –> I seriously doubt sorcery would be inherited. if it did, there would be sorcerer families. There is no sign such families exist. Magic capability is inherited. Sorcery — strongly doubt it.
        .
        .
        .
        It will also be very important for future stories to see whether Baby Bast gains sorcerous elements from Daniel’s contribution to Her birth/rebirth.

        –> No. Sorcery is granted by exposure to the chaos. There is probably more to that than just exposure, but exposure is absolutely necessary. Daniel has not thrown baby Bast into the Chaos. Also, gods can walk through chaos, so I suspect that for a god to pick up a sorcery is even harder. The books only spoke of old gods having sorcery – that implies it is hard/slow.
        .
        .
        .
        Considering how much She will already receive by virtue of Her divinity, this could be total overkill. Of course, even more important will be whether She inherits the Promethean spark of creativity, which She will need when Daniel finally manages to commence schooling all the kids for whom he chooses to assert responsibility.

        –> you raise an interesting question. Do gods have the spark of creativity? I could see arguments either way. Starting a separate thread on this.
        .
        .
        .
        We cannot assert with certainty that Daniel’s sorcerous powers are significantly greater than those of other sorcerers because we have not been introduced to any characters we know are sorcerers. If the Bloody Archmage was a sorcerer, he seems to have had levels of power similar to Daniel’s

        –> We can speculate based on Hecate’s words, but you are right we have not seen another sorcerer. Even then, that is not proof as maybe the 2nd sorcerer we saw was unusually powerful or weak as sorcerers go.
        .
        .
        .
        4) Apologies for the annoying repetition from some of my other posts, but Daniel is NOT a particularly powerful sorcerer. Yes, he has some great elemental sorceries. Yes, he adds enormously important science, engineering and even craft knowledge from our world to vastly enhance his magical capabilities.

        No, that’s NOT sorcery. Every magical application of Daniel’s otherworldly knowledge is enabled by enchanted items, which is wizardry, and maybe also witchcraft, given who is training him — Cerise, Avilla and the Conclave library. Hmm…also his stolen Asgard Church book collection. Enchantment seems to be normal for witches and for wizards. For all we know it is also normal for sorcerers, but Daniel has not yet met one of those, so he could hardly learn their forms of enchantment from them. Of course, he and Elin have been collecting books about magic. They might have several texts about sorcerous enchantments and we would not know. He MIGHT have learned something like that from the Atlantean magic he studied in the Spire, IF that is sorcery and not wizardry, but more than likely it is entirely dream magic. Again, we have not yet been introduced to any Atlanteans, except through Alanna’s memories. Sure hope we see more from her about them.

        –> Ok I seem to feel sorcery is something different than you do. Sorcery is instant knowledge of a field of magic. It provides knowledge, rapid understanding and can allow the sorcerer to create new spells and rituals within that specialty extremely quickly. To me, a more powerful sorcery is one that provides more knowledge, more understanding over a broader specialization. A more powerful sorcerer is one who can apply that knowledge more effectively — and has access to more mana to fuel their magic.

        If we are looking at the knowledge aspect, Daniel is very powerful. He has multiple times come up with techniques (rapid enchantment, mana generation, conjure metal from the core, flying ships, etc) that are unknown to this world. Daniel is also able to create a ton of magic himself that is not unique to this world, but IS new to him. That is some pretty powerful knowledge there.

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      2. Dspring, I suspect the root of what is different between our views of Daniel’s sorcery is his Mana element.

        THAT is what gives him ‘instant knowledge of a field of magic’.

        His other elements, by themselves, are not nearly as powerful as all the synergies he puts together later by combining them with his otherworld knowledge and creating enchantments. Look at his very first fights, in the cottage and the rest of FIMBULWINTER.

        With elemental Fire, he does what? Tosses little fireball ouchies, sets goblins on fire, encourages trolls to self-immolate.

        His Force blades are nasty when he can provide impetus or inertia, but otherwise it’s like sword fighting with scalpels.

        With elemental Earth, he makes mud puddles and stone hammers.

        AFTER he uses his Mana element, combined with his Earth element and probably his Force element, to create his matter to mana amulet, an Enchanted Item, the raw power of his summoning increases very little, but he can sustain more conjuring more often at something like maximum output.

        Each ‘rest stop’ along the way, he tries to spend quality time thinking about smarter ways to use what his Mana element tells him about his other elements, and steadily develops sets of enchantments that are immediately useful to him and others with him. Warmth cloaks. Hotplates for cooking. Space heaters. Force blade edges on metal weapons.

        When they get to Kozalin he finally is able to begin creating a laboratory and gather a library and spend quality time learning what his coven mates are able to teach him about their magic. Even before that, he spent time thinking about how he would create his third stone refuge, that first tower in Kozalin harbor. Remember the stone staff he had created somewhere during the weeks between Lanrest and Kozalin? Enchanted item.

        Daniel’s sorcery seems to grow in power because he spends every available minute he can stuffing his brain with all the witchcraft, wizardry and shamanic skills he can find, all of which combined with his science and engineering knowledge enable him to create increasingly more sophisticated enchantments.

        Without his Mana element, Daniel’s story would have been entirely different.

        He’d have died a LOT more often!

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      3. Dspring, if the tower of the Red Conclave is entirely conjured by enchantment, is the root of that enchantment sorcery or wizardry? Is INSTINCTIVE conjuring inherently sorcerous? Can well-practiced sorcery be inscribed in a wizard’s or witch’s spell, once the details of that sorcery are fully understood?

        Want another hint about the Runesage’s potential sorcery? How did he enthrall so many magic users? Dozens of them? Hundreds of them? If it was just a spell, why is the Conclave no longer ruled by slave masters? Maybe we just don’t see the puppet master? Who is that shadowy figure that attends some of the Council meetings?

        I suspect the Bloody Archmage had some sorcery. Earth, probably but not necessarily. Mind, Soul of Spirit almost certainly. It seems to me like the best explanation for his seemingly unique success controlling so many powerful magic users for so many years as he created the foundation and structures of what would become the Red Conclave.

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      4. Colin you need to re-read some of the books. It is stated quite clearly in there that sorcery is capable of being inherited by an individuals children from them. No one is saying that the original holders of the sorcery did not get them by being exposed to the chaos. But it is clearly pointed out at several points in the first second and third book that sorceries can be inherited. That is inherited through bloodlines.

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      5. Thanks, DaShoota.

        I plan to read the books again, soon, and will look for hints about blood line inheritance of sorcery.

        I don’t really remember that, but I’d sure like to find some clear references!

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      6. Dspring, you are correct, we don’t appear to have the same ideas about sorcery.

        Basically, everything you ascribed to Sorcery is what I believe Daniel enjoys due almost entirely to his elemental MANA sorcery. That is exactly why he himself calls it a ‘real exploit’ at the very beginning when he chooses it.

        “Understanding blossomed as I focused on the concept. The nature of magic, its relationship to the other fundamental forces, how spells work, why they wear off, how to embed them permanently into objects. More insights and abilities coalesced faster than I could pay attention to them, just like with the other elements.”
        Brown, E. William. FIMBULWINTER (Daniel Black Book 1)

        Of all the other characters we meet in the first four books, I’d guess only Hecate has equal or better elemental Mana sorcery, and Hers might just be Divine Nature. This is Hecate, after all. She and Magic are sympatico.

        I do not believe ‘sorcery’ grants instant KNOWLEDGE of a type of magic, and definitely not SKILL.

        I DO believe sorcery grants instinctual USE of a type of magic, particularly CONJURING elemental materials.

        As discussed elsewhere, the KNOWLEDGE of a type of magic requires learning shamanism, witchcraft, wizardry, etc. OR cheating like Daniel and SEEING magic in action with elemental MANA sorcery.

        If I understand correctly, Daniel also instinctively comprehends what magic is doing when he studies the mana flows of active spells. That last bit is, however, NOT instant and ultimately IS limited. Daniel has to analyze and interpret and guess and model and test and figure out what he sees. With easy magic, his elemental Mana sorcery helps him figure it out in minutes or less. With complex, alien and abstruse multiple linked enchantments like the Spire’s Atlantean dream magic, Daniel has to work HARD for a week or more to understand what is all around him.

        Hence, there clearly seems to be some upper limit to the amount and quality of complexity Daniel’s elemental Mana sorcery can reveal FOR him.

        The rest of the research is entirely up to his knowledge, his guesses his comprehension and his research skills.

        Oh, I see in that quote, above, confirmation of something else I’ve been trying to remember. Daniel’s elemental Mana sorcery does give him the ability to understand spells he sees in action, and it also enables him to insert spells he creates into physical objects. His ‘enchantments’ are like other sorcerers’ conjuring. He can instinctively embed a spell in an object, without needing to craft runes on or in the object.

        Runes are something he learns later, though we have to wonder if he actually uses runes at all for his own work. Maybe when he wants to deliberately confuse somebody studying enchanted items let loose from his own control?

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      7. I totally agree that Daniel’s mana sorcery by itself is a huge power boost. It provided him his two greatest power boosts – endless mana and rapid enchantment (including factories). It also allows him to very quickly understand new spells he gains through books (like some of his wards and his ability to cast spells through his items. That does not allow him to expand his sorcery, but does allow him to learn like a normal wizard (just a lot faster).

        However, his earth sorcery is what allows him to conjure pretty much any element from gold to iron to granite to aluminum to compressed lava from the center of the earth. His reinforcement spells come from earth, as does most of the magic used to create guns, mortars, and such. I am sure he can do a lot more with earth magic, but frankly Daniel has limited himself to conjuring materials for the most part.

        To use an old gaming analogy. Wizards are like D&D wizards. The learn specific spells and they can only cast those specific spells. Adding a new spell to “their spellbook” is a time consuming/difficult task. Sorcerers (in Daniel’s world) are individuals that can cast any spell with a specific descriptor, provided they have the power and a little bit of time to think through the details. Aka – any spell that has earth, stone or rock in the title can be cast, provided you have enough mana.

        Both are gated by power (mana). If an earth sorcerer had a ton of mana, they will almost certainly be very powerful in combat. If an earth sorcerer had very little mana, then they will almost certainly be fairly weak in combat.

        My own theory about the runsage is as follows:
        1) He was not Atlantean, but partnered up with an Atlantean. So effectively he was an apprentice to an Atlantean wizard.
        2) Steelbinder is that Atlantean hiding his magic under all that artificial magic and plate mail. Ward is the Runsage reborn in some manner
        3) Enslaving is fairly easy, if you assume magical knowledge is very scarce. “New apprentice, swear to obey the rules and i will train you.” Of course, the rules are written on some object linked to a hidden text (like the Riven Covenant) and the apprentice is basically swearing blind. It is just another variation of the binding of witches, but using trickery rather than torture to get the binding agreed to. Of course, at some point the wizard will realize that they were tricked into an unfair binding, but by that point it is too late. At some later point, one of his enemies found the wizard’s binding text and destroyed it — freeing the wizards who then turned and destroyed the Runesage.
        4) no sorcery required — although I am sure sorcery always helps.

        I imagine that by the latter half of his reign, the word had leaked out about his practices and competing mage schools provided alternatives (as there was never just one mage out there…). So it became increasingly difficult to maintain his control.

        And this also becomes a possible reasons for the conclave’s internal problems. If some mages (aka – ward/runsesage and Steelbinder/Atlantean) started demanding oaths for access to the mana amulets, they could be trying to restart the slavery option again.

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      8. Um…that’s not quite the way I look at it, Dspring.

        Flip through the books and look again at the advanced student mages trained by Steelbinder.

        Each of them is using a suite of enchanted items, just like Steelbinder does. Remember Leo’s sword with dull purple runes? His enchanted armor is also tough, in THRALL. Unlike Daniel’s enchantments, these items have no matter to mana powering them. They must have mana wells built into them, or some other means of powering them. Some probably draw upon ambient mana, actively and/or for long term recharging. I bet apprentices supply mana for some of this recharging.

        For me, it’s not so much that wizards of Midgard can only cast the spells they have learned, similar to D&D. Just like Daniel, their best defenses and weapons are enchanted items. They experiment constantly to enhance and surpass their own work and others’ work. So, yes, their magical resources are kind of static at any given moment, but they constantly improve through time and effort. As Cerise pointed out, everybody knows a wizard who survives attack creates new defenses against that sort of attack, and probably new counterattacks as well.

        There has to be some sort of common set of spells, rituals and enchantments every new wizard studies. As they mature, they probably build on whatever part of that set appeals to them.

        As for the structural reinforcement enchantment Daniel uses in his first tower at Kozalin, remember that magic was embedded into the staff he created between Lanrest and Kozalin. Therefore, he had to learn the structure of it from his observations in Lanrest, probably of the magic in the Asgard church building, or from the books he stole, or from his own Mana element used to analyze the stone and other materials he conjures for experiments or creating his magic sleds. It’s possible he learns reinforcement only by using his Mana element to study the materials he conjures, but I’m more inclined to believe he studies examples and books around him, even if only very briefly.

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      9. Dspring, I’m going to agree with most of your comments on the technical details of one wizard who enslaves others, however, I’m also going to go off on another tangent or two.

        What empowers the ‘linking’ of a Riven Covenant type inscribed tablet? I believe THAT piece is the Mind, Soul or Spirit elemental sorcery. Alternately, it could be Divine magic–remember, the Riven Covenant is a property of the Asgard church.

        Now, the rest of it, all the rules and swearing, can be ritual or enchantment or both. However, we must wonder how commonly known that ritual or enchantment IS. The Riven Covenant is clearly quite common knowledge among Asgardian clerics and any other magic users they share it with.

        How common is the KNOWLEDGE of whatever enchantment the Bloody Archmage used to enslave his flock of magi? We must suspect that some information is stored in the forbidden sections of the Red Conclave’s library, or more likely, locked away most carefully in an even more secure repository.

        If it were more commonly held information you can bet some idiot apprentice would use it to prank his peers. Adepts would use it to enslave apprentices or lovers or thralls or…whatever.

        Then there are the slave coffles of the dworks. Are those only metal? Would that hold an elf mage? Do the dwork and dark elf slavers use the same magic, or the same type of magic the Bloody Archmage used? Maybe they don’t need it, for most common slaves. On the other hand, for high quality, high value magic user slaves….

        I like your solution to the Bloody Archmage’s reign of enslavement. I’m not sure I like the implications of my own arguments, above. If either or both of us are even close to correct about enslavement magic on Midgard, it is a MUCH uglier place than we have seen yet, ESPECIALLY with the implications of that dwork slave business we hear about during the big fight in EXTERMINATION, when Daniel frees Clan Nethwillin’s captured dark elves.

        THRALL only emphasizes the hazards of enslavement, by showing us how Odin found it so convenient to enslave entire legions of souls in Asgard.

        I’m betting Daniel will face this scourge again in Book Five. It might not be the primary challenge, but it will probably be in the subtext. He really does not like slavery. It is very likely he and Mara will agree VERY firmly that Freedom is a Good Thing(TM).

        Freedom is actually quite an important theme, I suspect, for Daniel and Mara in future adventures. I’m not sure Mara fully understands how strongly Daniel feels on that subject.

        If they are thrown together much more, that is likely to change.

        Midgard probably won’t survive THAT change untouched.

        Won’t be healthy for a certain subset of dwork and dark elf slavers, either….

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      10. There is a lot we don’t really know about the Rune Sage. We only have historical hearsay in the books that he Enslaved the other magicians and Wizards. We don’t know if that’s actually factual or if that’s what Asgard told everyone after the ruin Sage died 🙂

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      11. You are discounting Elin as a sorceress. A lot of her abilities with summoning water is very similar to some of Daniel’s sorcery if not as powerful. I speculate that she is a natural water sorceress.

        Also several times in the book there have been mentions of time travel. I would also point out the possibility that Daniel himself is the Rune Sage. Maybe he’s asleep somewhere on the world waiting for himself to be sent back in time before he wakes up. Or maybe he’s traveling around the solar system or to several solar systems and back with his dryad preparing to arrive at the time he would go back in time take his own place.

        “Just saying its possibilities.”

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      12. DaShoota, I like the idea Elin might have elemental Water sorcery.

        I like it, but it seems too blunt for story purposes.

        How about, we KNOW she is part Undine, which means that Water IS her element, sort of like Freedom IS Mara’s semi-divine nature, but Elin is mortal and so is her Water element. Her power is limited. Still, she has two shapes from her Water element, the undine and the orca. She has studied wizardry while with the Red Conclave. She might have some faery magic from her mother and who knows what magic, if any, grendelkin might have?

        (Dspring, notice how this neatly avoids the issue of inherited elemental Water sorcery, if the undine NATURE is what she inherited instead. Nuanced! Snicker….)

        Also, don’t forget that Elin’s healing magic is either fae or sorcerous. I suppose it could be divine, but we’ve seen no evidence at all of that. What we do know is that she seems to heal instinctively, with both less power than Daniel and less understanding of biology, both of which he can eventually help her overcome. Of all her magics, healing seems most like sorcery, but is it elemental Flesh? We probably cannot know without more data.

        That leaves us wondering how Elin is able to so easily adapt her Water element to Daniel’s enchantments. We know Elin has spent several years reading what she is allowed to access in the Conclave library. Maybe she has seen a few other books, scrolls, etc., in various adepts’ labs when she was healing someone?

        Then there is whatever heritage of elvish magic Elin has from her mother. She might have learned something from her mother when very young, though that seems unlikely given what we know of the horrible time they might have spent together.

        Whatever the source of her Water element, Elin seems to have learned on her own how to integrate it with enchantment. She is already familiar with what Daniel needs, perhaps even better than he is, when he hands off that part of the enchantment to her in BLACK COVEN.

        I’d like to think the above discussion is another argument in favor of my belief that sorcerous elements are rarely used in isolation, but tend instead to be incorporated into synergistic, clever enchantments upon objects powered by ambient mana and/or channeled mana, or into rites and rituals powered by significant numbers of magic users.

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      13. The conversation seems to be confusing multiple things together.

        1) The talent to use magic. By this I mean the ability to generate mana and use mana to perform magic. Daniel in the book clearly states that some types of magic you are born with (and be inherited) and some types of magic anyone can learn. Learning magic takes a lot of time and effort – a decade or more. Being granted sorcery or getting pregnant with a god apparently also grants the ability to use magic.

        2) Learning spells (aka – regular mage craft): There are spellbooks that have specific spells that Daniel read and learned – for example a spell to provide light. He was also taught how to conjure water by Elin. While Daniel’s mana sorcery allowed him to learn these spells quickly, it was obvious from context that he could have learned them without mana sorcery.

        3) Enchantment – the art of empowering some item with magic. It is the normal method that mages uses to grow their power and every mage creates some enchanted items for themselves. Enchanted items allow spells to happen much quicker – and can be tied to mana reserves or gain mana from ambient mana collection. Given the #1 limitation on mages is mana reserves, this is important. Every mage has a bunch of items they enchanted – it is a huge power multiplier.

        4) Many magical creatures have close affinities with certain types of magic. A dragon will have a close affinity to fire magic while a Udine fairy would have a close affinity to water magic and a dryad has an affinity to nature magic. As best as I can tell, this affinity functions in a similar way to sorcery, but is more instinct based than intellectual based. Elin’s water magic would be an affinity. [yes people can argue it is a sorcery – but the book does not call it sorcery]. At best this is comparable to a weak sorcery that is supplemented by training. For example, the dryad’s ability to form armor for their host is a learned ability as stated in the book. Because of the natural affinity, the dryad can learn this magic. However, a dryad would have a much harder time learning force magic as they lack an affinity for force magic. I am guessing for creatures that lack the Spark, it might be nearly impossible to learn magic where they lack a pre-existing affinity. Affinity is inherited – an dragon who is an ancestor of a human mage would give that human mage an affinity for fire magic as demonstrated by the speculation about Mara in book 2.

        5) Sorcery is what you gain when you are pushed through the Chaos. As described in book 1, it gives knowledge and understanding. Because Daniel had a tiny bit of fire sorcery, he could create heat cloaks, small bursts of fire, but really struggled to figure out anything more complicated on his own. However, his much more capable flesh magic allowed him to do all manner of things on his own including all sorts of healing, understanding the nature of cells, cloning, etc. This knowledge needs some prompting to become conscious. Daniel had to keep throwing out mental ideas for his sorcery to reject or validate before he determined which could lead to a usable mana generator. And Daniel was unable to understand the elf traveling magic despite his mana sorcery as he lacked some conceptual background. He could copy/use the magic using mana sorcery, but he did not understand the magic.

        6) Mana sorcery is a sorcery in how magic works. It is ideal for determining methods of enchantment, understanding the nature of mana, creating factories, rapidly understanding a new spell or methodology, reverse engineering an existing enchantment/spell, or anything similar. Mana sorcery does NOT allow Daniel to automatically do something new. He could not create natural light (for example) using mana sorcery. He had to be shown a spell that creates natural light. The mana sorcery allowed him to quickly understand and learn the spell. From that point on, Daniel could cast the natural light spell and his mana sorcery would allow him to adapt that magic in multiple ways (brighter/larger area, etc) – basically to change the normal parameters of the spell.

        7) Gods typically gain power through Aspects. They embody a particular concept. They get these aspects as a natural consequence of how they are formed – and get more aspects as they grow in power. Sorceries can also be gained, but are much rarer and occur later in life for a god. My impression is that Aspects are more powerful, but sorceries are more flexible. Aspects can clearly do things that are impossible with sorcery or regular magic use.

        Other random noise
        • Several people have mentioned that sorcery can be inherited. I can recall no incidence of this at all. Can someone provide some evidence from the text that this occurs. Given we have seen no examples of anyone else displaying sorcery, it feel it is unlikely that sorcery is inherited.
        • Sorcery is not required to use magic. Daniel can cast water magic even though he lacks a water sorcery. He just had to learn the spell like any other Adept.
        • Sorcery is not required to merge magic. Covens have been combining and merging magic for thousands of years. The conclave has been creating rituals to allow multiple people to combine their magic for centuries. Arguably mana sorcery can make it easier to merge magic with someone new
        • Sorcery is not unique knowledge. Anyone with sorcery can teach another person an application of magic. For example, Daniel showed Cerise some of the magical enchantment techniques he developed using his mana sorcery. But the normal difficulty applies when learning new magic. Aka – Daniel with mana sorcery can learn a new spell in minutes. Person X without mana sorcery might take a lot longer – hours, days, weeks perhaps to learn the same spell depending on their existing skill and natural talents.

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      14. Thanks very much, Dspring–excellent clarifications.

        I like all of what you wrote.

        I’d be inclined to suggest that the elvish travelling magic was applied to Daniel, rather than him actually using it, except it’s clear from the story he was participating with it even though he didn’t understand it.

        From his various attempts to analyze that spell it seems unlikely he is able to cast it at all by himself, and he would not be able to embed it in an enchanted item, either.

        This is a good example of something complex and weird enough that it defies Daniel’s elemental Mana sorcery and his intellect in the circumstances where he experiences it.

        Probably an elf practitioner could teach it to him, some day, but there might well be some non-magical concepts required to enable him to comprehend what exactly the spell does.

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      15. I’m not sure that I agree. I think Daniel would be able to replicate the spell himself. However I don’t think without more time to R & D the spell to understand it he would be able to modify it.

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      16. “I’m not sure that I agree. I think Daniel would be able to replicate the spell himself. However I don’t think without more time to R & D the spell to understand it he would be able to modify it.”

        Right. And that may mean that it just won’t work because it is not adapted to the group size, or the entry point or …
        Daniel can also see how weight is banished, as he can see the generic banishment component. AFAICT the spells created by sorcery or learned as wizardy from books are basically the same. Daniel having Mana sorcery enjoys the added advantage that he actually understands the spells he generates by sorcery. And it allows him to build enchantments from these spells.

        ” Several people have mentioned that sorcery can be inherited. I can recall no incidence of this at all. Can someone provide some evidence from the text that this occurs.”

        Cerise is quite clear about this. She states that Mara’s sorcery manifested when she was a baby due to its strength.

        Sorcery is more than just knowledge about spells. It also includes instinctive understanding about stuff. Daniel has his force sense (aiming bombs, the thrown hatchet) and sense for forms. Strong Fire sorcerers apparently have resistance against fire and heat (according to Cerise – also about Mara’s putative family)

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      17. Yes, Oliver, I agree that there are a few clear statements in the books, about sorcery inherited and abilities manifesting at or soon after birth.

        Of course, Mara’s sorcery might be divine magic and abilities. At the time Cerise comments about her fire sorcery, is Mara’s status as a demigoddess known? Did those comments happen when Mara was masquerading as Carl’s sister? This example MIGHT be muddied a little by that subterfuge. On the other hand, Cerise’s comments may also be interpreted as coming from her direct observations of Mara, so maybe a demigoddess uses mostly sorcerous and other magical powers until after she Ascends to divinity. Then again, Mara’s ability to break bindings seems much more powerful than mere magic….

        Elin is the best example of birthright sorcery that I can remember, and her example is ‘muddied’ by virtue of her undine fairy heritage as well as her grendelkin parentage. Then we also have her studious nature and her access to the Conclave library. It is frustratingly difficult to point at her adroit manipulation of the Water element while enchanting with Daniel and call that evidence of sorcery. It could be that, or it might be something she memorized off a scroll.

        Her undine nature probably explains her ability to shapechange into an orca BUT what if undine and orca shapechanging is a feature of some Water element sorcery? Does that mean her basic shape is the grendelkin? Maybe she has two basic shapes, one from each of her parents? Maybe her shapechanging is linked to her healing ability in some sort of elemental Flesh sorcery like Daniel’s is? That certainly would make more sense than linking it to the Water element.

        Sigh. Shapechanging and healing could also be fairy magics, or maybe even grendelkin magics since she ALSO has the ability to grendel-Hulk all over Mara.

        Argh!

        Although it’s a gift from Hecate instead of a birthright, Cerise’s proposed elemental Shadow sorcery is actually easier to analyze than Elin’s convoluted mess of possible knowledge, skills, abilities and powers.

        It is something she can both summon and manipulate, like Daniel with his Earth element sorcery, and yet Cerise also gains special abilities, like her stepping through widely separated shadows to jump or sneak from place to place. The description of her ‘bleeding’ into the shadows around Sefwin and a Dwork kidnapper is a particularly good instance of how Cerise can push beyond mere Shadow-jumping. I hope the author finds a few more believable Shadow exploits for Cerise, and shows us more of what she can do with shadows as her exercise of power continues to grow.

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      18. “At the time Cerise comments about her fire sorcery, is Mara’s status as a demigoddess known? Did those comments happen when Mara was masquerading as Carl’s sister?”

        No, it is not known. And Cerise confidently makes predictions about her relatives.
        I am sorry, but the far most plausible explanation is that Fire sorcery is so common that its inheritance is known as an established fact with known rules among people with magical knowledge.

        BTW, this means that we do know another sorcerer: Carl Stenberg. He could not credibly play Mara’s brother unless he had Fire sorcery. He even said that he lost in the mago-genetic roulette and got the ‘bad part of the family magic’. But he is still a sorcerer, albeit a fairly bad one.

        “be interpreted as coming from her direct observations of Mara”

        No. That would not allow her to (errornously) state that Mara’s family must have fire resistance.

        “Although it’s a gift from Hecate instead of a birthright, Cerise’s proposed elemental Shadow sorcery is actually easier to analyze than Elin’s convoluted mess of possible knowledge, skills, abilities and powers.”

        Yes.

        “It is something she can both summon and manipulate, like Daniel with his Earth element sorcery, and yet Cerise also gains special abilities, like her stepping through widely separated shadows to jump or sneak from place to place. The description of her ‘bleeding’ into the shadows around Sefwin and a Dwork kidnapper is a particularly good instance of how Cerise can push beyond mere Shadow-jumping.”

        Well, no. Your unstated assumption is that Daniel’s sorceries are normal. That is unlikely. He got them by an unprecedented trip and he is an unusual recipient. He has a technological and scientific background all other sorcerers lack. We know that the process is shaped by the ‘void swimmer’s’ understanding of a subject.

        We see unusual and to the modern mind unrelated features of magic. The travel magic of the Andregi and Dark Elves is related to Earth. The Sons of Ivaldi use ‘earth gates’. Mara has her ‘passion flames’.
        The likelier explanation is that elements and their corresponding sorceries usually have a metaphysical component which Daniel mostly lacks. He still has vestiges in that he can create good, fertile soil, which must include quite a lot of microorganisms, arthropods, nematodes and fungi, while he is otherwise not able to just create organisms from scratch.

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      19. Yes, I’m mostly agreeing with you again, Oliver.

        I definitely like your observation about Fire sorcery being common, and would add ‘common among humans’ as it is probably not common among Andregi. Pity they poor Andregi baby who expresses elemental Fire at birth.

        SNIKT!

        I also like the idea that Carl Stenberg might have a bit of elemental Fire sorcery as well as whatever wizardry he has studied and practiced. That combination appeals to my sense of proportionality in that it gives the young Stenberg a strong reason to want to become a wizard.

        Of course, I also must point out that Carl might actually have no elemental Fire sorcery at all. What he demonstrates might be nothing more than wizardry. I don’t like that possibility, but it’s…a low odds option.

        Why would Cerise’s direct observations of Mara’s proposed elemental Fire sorcery NOT allow a general statement about the likely possession of Fire sorcery among Mara’s family members? I’d think Cerise would be entirely right to make an informed estimate of Mara’s likely immediate and extended family Fire sorcery heritage.

        That would be especially true if we apply your observations about elemental Fire sorcery being common among humans, with known heritable traits, living and historic examples, common and rumored powers, wide range of inherited power levels, etc. I really do want that to be the actual background story for this….

        Let me be a little more clear about my assumptions regarding Daniel’s elemental Earth sorcery and other sorceries.

        I propose that when Daniel is summoning iron, or gold or aluminum he is doing nothing different than Steelbinder or Steelbinder’s apprentice magi would. Each of them has a similar understanding of what iron or gold ‘is’ for purposes of their conjuring. Daniel, of course, understands more about the chemical and atomic properties, but those mean nothing to the enchantment until he does something like try to summon only a particular isotope of iron.

        When Daniel summons plutonium he is on a totally different plane. Very few if any magic users of Midgard would even guess there might be such a metal and none of them would know why it is important…until they make the biggest mistake of their soon to be abruptly terminated lives.

        When Daniel summons stone with metal substructure and spell reinforcement he is doing nothing more than any Dwork Master Architect would, and maybe less skillfully. Daniel excels at massive building because of his massive power supplies.

        In short, I see Daniel as having a solid core of basic Midgard sorceries PLUS additional benefits and understanding due to his scientific and engineering backgrounds from our Earth. Conclave wizards have no difficulty understanding Daniel’s soldiers’ slug-throwers. They probably can build their own as soon as they see one of his, without even studying his enchantments. Steelbinder would probably sniff at the crude but effective weapon and produce a stunningly enhanced version for his own use.

        We should be careful NOT to assume Midgard’s wizards, witches, sorcerers and other magic users are ALL as primitive as our Middle Ages hedge magi. Benito Runesage was one of many wizards. We just don’t know much about the others. Socrates was one. Circe’s followers were witches of significant skill and power.

        The engineers, architects, armorers, alchemists and many other technical specialists of Midgard have been using magical means to accomplish what Earthly scientists, engineers, architects, armorers, chemists and many other technical specialists of Earth have been using physical means to accomplish, and EACH have been the ‘go to’ experts for more than two thousand years, serving various communities in their own worlds.

        If a sorcerous process is shaped by the ‘void swimmer’s’ understanding of a subject, then we also must assert that the ‘void swimmer’s’ understanding of a subject is shaped by the experience of swimming the void.

        Previous to Hecate towing Daniel between worlds, his understanding of ‘summoning’ metals would have been limited to visiting a hardware store or placing an order at MetalsOnline.com Conjuring metals is an entirely new concept for him, ameliorated by his previous experience gaming–ironic, that. His understanding of conjuring metals is at least in part informed by Earth fantasy role play.

        Giggle.

        I think rather than suggesting that Daniel lacks metaphysical components of his various sorceries I would suggest that his Earth knowledge and experience compelled him to focus on a wide selection of magical phenomena that closely correspond to his desired sets of healing, habitat, maker, farmer and other survivalist skills he quite reasonably anticipated needing.

        Hence, what Daniel received while swimming the Void was a set of sorceries preferentially filtered to most closely resemble many scientific, medical and engineering fields he understood at different levels. The sorceries were Midgard sorceries, not Earth sorceries, but his USE of them is highly impacted by his expectations of Earth physical phenomena…and also by Earth fantasy role play, but less of that. Plus, at every selection of a variation on a sorcery Daniel’s elemental understanding was expanded by Midgard phenomena communicated to ‘instinctive’ parts of what I’m guessing must be his subconscious or maybe deep memory, or both.

        Actually, though, this metaphysical discussion raises an interesting question, Oliver.

        When Daniel conjures soil, are there any earth elemental sprites in that soil?

        When Daniel conjures flesh, is there any of the glowing weave of magic he sees when he studies Cerise in detail?

        “Her body pulsed with life, a warm glowing weave of magic in a dizzying array of flavors.” Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1)

        In short, does Daniel conjure magically ‘dead’ materials?

        We know he deliberately fills stone and metal with reinforcing spells when he conjures the walls of Castle Black.

        The soil in his first edition indoor farms had some sort of ‘ownership’ magic in it when Corina first touched it.

        “The whole island? Really? What arrogance led you to claim an entire island to yourself? Is this some kind of male ego thing?” Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2)

        Interesting.

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      20. “Of course, I also must point out that Carl might actually have no elemental Fire sorcery at all. What he demonstrates might be nothing more than wizardry. I don’t like that possibility, but it’s…a low odds option.”

        Another possibility is that Carl isn’t using his own magic at all. He could be receiving Divine favours. He is a worshipper of Loki after all.

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      21. I wonder if divine favors would be really obvious in the middle of the Conclave?

        On the other hand, if the favor were a dose of elemental Fire sorcery, who’s to say he wasn’t born to it?

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      22. • Sorcery is not unique knowledge. Anyone with sorcery can teach another person an application of magic. For example, Daniel showed Cerise some of the magical enchantment techniques he developed using his mana sorcery. But the normal difficulty applies when learning new magic. Aka – Daniel with mana sorcery can learn a new spell in minutes. Person X without mana sorcery might take a lot longer – hours, days, weeks perhaps to learn the same spell depending on their existing skill and natural talents.

        That is problematic. I am afraid you are mixing two things

        – Sorcery produces spells that are in principle no different from other spells. They can be taught and learned.
        – A sorcerer is concious of the spells he is casting while using his sorcery.

        These features need not be combined. Daniel does not count as an example. He has Mana sorcery. He can see all spells. There is no reason his own spells should be excluded.

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      23. Oliver, this is not how I see sorcery described in the books.

        Sorcery does not produce spells of any sort. Sorcery instinctively acts to produce results when called upon.

        A wizard or witch MIGHT be conscious of the sorcery in their spells, rituals and enchantments while casting or instantiating them…or they might not. Wizards, in particular, might be so insensitive they perform magic entirely by rote and have no innate ‘feeling’ for what happens when they cast a spell. Unlikely, but I expect there are rare examples of this in less than adroit adult magic users and frequent if not universal examples among apprentices.

        Sorcery is declared in the books to be instinctive. That’s very early in the series. Sorcery seems to me not at all like the explicitly studied and learned rituals, spells and enchantments of witchcraft and wizardry.

        Obviously, instinctive sorcery cannot be taught, not as spells. It must be taught by demonstration and experience. Very, very frustrating experience, I suspect. Sharing dreams or other mystical exchanges of understanding would be utterly critical to this sort of learning environment. That could explain a LOT about Atlantean dream magic. It would have been crucial for quickly teaching the next generation…until the nightmares began and future generations of dream wizards were ruined.

        This is why modern wizardry is so important. A wizard can learn wizardry from a scroll or book of spells. This is why wizardry does not happen until after writing has become relatively accessible. Remember, much of early writing was accounting, inventory and messaging, with a little recording of epic poetry thrown in for spice. It would have taken generations for writing to have spread into magic and magic to adopt forms amenable to written instantiation. Descriptions? Easy. Actionable spells? Conceptually difficult until you see the first example.

        I see witchcraft and shamanism as incremental steps between pure sorcery and modern wizardry. Both are older than wizardry. Why? Both have symbolic and mnemonic substitutes for writing, although witchcraft developed many written forms similar to wizardry, while shamanism seems mostly not to have done this.

        Back to sorcery. When Daniel ‘summons’ meteoric nickel-iron he does not consciously instantiate a spell. He simply conjures meteoric nickel-iron. When he discovers he needs to relax his definition of meteoric nickel-iron to something more like Earth mantle nickel and iron and whatever, it’s his personal definition of desired material that he changes. The conjuring is still instinctive.

        What I see as Daniel’s HUGE cheat code is his ability to use Mana vision to ‘see’ his conjuring sorcery in use, then copy the forms of what he sees into obsidian or bronze or stone, link that copy to a power source, and add control magic…or not. Notice, there’s no reference to runes or written spells in that. It’s the ‘form’ of the sorcery he imprints into his enchanted items.

        This cheat leads to the confusion about sorcery and enchantment. Daniel uses sorcery to experiment very quickly in his various labs or open field activities. Then he uses his understanding of wizardry together with Mana vision understanding of instinctual sorcery to create enchantments that emulate, enhance and empower the forms of the magics from his experiments. Those enchantments are then embedded in warmth cloaks or ‘burned’ into room heaters, slug-throwers and other items.

        There is sorcery all through Daniel’s enchantments, but it’s not something anybody can learn. He catches a snapshot of mana in action, stuffs that frozen instinctual activity into an object, attaches a mana supply and a switch, then tests, fixes or discards failures, and repeats the cycle until he has a functional magic item.

        What we see Daniel doing with Cerise during their quality time magical study sessions is MORE cheating. This time they both cheat the learning process together. Daniel uses their coven bond to show Cerise what he’s doing with mana, which might very well be a copy of what SHE was doing with mana, moments before.

        Expect Cerise, Elin, Avilla and Tina to virtually explode with magical productivity after Daniel finally pulls his head out of his…yes.

        He needs to create their Mana Vision Spectacles YESTERDAY!!!!

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      24. “On the other hand, if the favor were a dose of elemental Fire sorcery, who’s to say he wasn’t born to it?”

        Probability. Loki’s worshippers are a small minority. One of them being a Varmlander of the right age with Fire sorcery and the right personality for being a secret agent is just too unlikely.

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      25. We could definitely make the probability argument as you state it, Oliver. Maybe elemental Fire sorcery is not so common and not known to rest in particular families. That would make Carl’s mission to infiltrate the Conclave MUCH more risky.

        Meh.

        I really prefer and enjoy your previous argument about elemental Fire sorcery being quite common, although many, many people probably never have much of it and seldom develop it beyond igniting the family fireplace.

        If that is the case, it might be quite believable that Carl would inherit a smidgen of Fire sorcery at birth in a family that produces somebody like Mara.

        Of course, his introduction to the Conclave came long before Mara appeared in Kozalin, possibly quite a few years before, so his admission would rest entirely on his ‘promising elemental Fire sorcery’ and his obvious eagerness to work hard at becoming a bad-ass battlemage. In that he would be no different than most of the other apprentices…except that gorgeous gal with the demon fixation.

        It seems to me the best solution if elemental Fire sorcery is common in Varmland and some Varmlander families are known to pass the gift from one generation to the next. Then, it would be quite believable that a much younger Carl would appear at the Conclave seeking to become a powerful warrior wizard.

        In that case, it could also be difficult to determine whether Loki provided the Fire sorcery or Carl’s heritage did. And, of course, who is to say Loki did not arrange for some Fire sorcerer to ‘contribute’ that heritage to the Stenberg family several generations ago?

        When Loki is involved it is almost as complex as being under the eye of Prometheus.

        That’s probably no accident.

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      26. “Obviously, instinctive sorcery cannot be taught, not as spells. It must be taught by demonstration and experience. Very, very frustrating experience, I suspect.”

        OK, I think this needs to be clarified. Our disagreement may be semantic. So, it seems to me that sorcery is instinctive. A sorcerer usually does not know how he or she is creating the effects he or she is creating.
        However, there is no qualitative difference between wizardy and sorcery in these effects, that is the effects you create by sorcery can, in principle, not necessarily practice, be recreated with wizardy.

        Sorcery involves an advantage in the user interface so that very complex uses likely Daniel forming his force field with every step he takes are possible, which would be hopelessly impractical with wizardy, that is each step would take weeks. But it is impossible, unlikely as far as we know about divine magic, which can do things impossible with wizardy, like editing an existing coven bond.

        Is that correct?

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      27. Oliver, I think you are correct both in the nature of our discussion being semantics and in the particular details you mention, for instance, results of sorcery generally being possible, in theory, to also create via wizardry.

        Daniel’s big advantages in this are his ability to see mana at work, and to copy mana at work.

        If he fully understands what he sees he can emulate and modify it with wizardry…to the extent he ALSO understands the necessary wizardry. That level of understanding is what he seeks to increase whenever he has time and access to wizardly resources. After all, he arrived in Varmland ignorant of Midgard wizardry.

        If he does not fully understand what he sees, but can visualize it in sufficient detail, Daniel can COPY mana activity and ‘burn’ the shapes into an enchanted item. This is totally cheating! Apprentices everywhere would hate, hate, hate him.

        I’m looking for clear statements about this ‘copy spell’ ability. The implications are definitely spread throughout the books, but I’d like to see one or two direct statements confirming it.

        The interactions of these two abilities may be the source of a further type of confusion when reading Daniel’s story.

        Daniel does not see the same magical world every other Midgard sorcerer sees.

        Oliver, when you observe, “A sorcerer usually does not know how he or she is creating the effects he or she is creating,” I believe you are correct for every sorcerer EXCEPT Daniel. He frequently, but NOT always, knows how he is creating sorcerous effects because his elemental Mana sorcery TELLS him what he sees as he does it.

        There are times Daniel is not mentally equipped to understand what his Mana sorcery tells him, like when he tries to understand the elvish travel warping magic. Other than those rare instances, Daniel is that obnoxious know-it-all sorcerer who understands EVERYTHING magical he can see.

        Of course, he still needs to constantly learn more and more wizardry, while also developing his own unique wizardly ways, if he wants to MODIFY the magic and sorcery he sees around him, inscribe it as spells or runes and teach it to somebody else.

        There is another way Daniel has begun teaching his magic to both other sorcerers, other wizards and even gods.

        What he does attracts attention. Thoughtful adepts wonder, “What IS he doing? How could I do that?”

        And thus, clever, inventive magic users MIGHT eventually emulate some of Daniel’s innovations.

        Lucky for Daniel the population of clever, inventive magic users is very small, and is being enthusiastically culled by a bevy of Gaia’s monsters as they rampage over Midgard destroying human civilization.

        Daniel is even more fortunate that ‘clever’ and ‘inventive’ do not seem to be combined often in the creation of gods.

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    2. Sounds like something Prometheus would come up with in his manipulations. After all he in many mythologies is considered the god of knowledge. On Earth it’s widely believed and rightfully so that knowledge is power. Daniel had his sorceries built on top of his already existing knowledge as a foundation. Maybe Hecate is right and even chained to the side of a mountain being tortured Prometheus is enacting plans.

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      1. Or maybe Prometheus is patiently waiting for ancient plans already enacted to finally mature.

        That’s a LOT of patience, and commitment and confidence.

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  13. Do gods have the spark of creativity? This question was raised in another thread (Thank you Colin!), but I thought it needed its own thread.

    As I think about this, I am not sure of the answer.

    Arguments to answer yes
    * Hecate is able to grasp concepts from Earth fairly well using her magic
    * Gods seem to have no problem understanding commerce, civilization.
    * They have the ability to take the spark away — or grant it.

    Arguments to answer no
    * When Alanna spoke of the early gods, she commented that they mimicked first animals and then mankind. They do not have a culture of their own.
    * The gods do not change. Even though they live thousands of years, their personalities, preferences and even appearance is very consistent over time. That implies a certain lack of imagination – or spark
    * The gods need something from humanity to provide an anchor — and whatever that something is, it is better provided by humans than by animals. It says something that even the very early animal gods started to adopt human ways – as seen by the spinner in the prison in Thrall.
    * The only god to abandon humanity (or elves or other creature with the spark of creativity) is the one famous for being stupid. Is there a connection there? After all, our myths of Gaia did not say she was stupid. I wonder if she was “smarter” in the distant past when she still had human worshipers (aka – before the fall of Atlantis).

    My gut says that the gods lack something. They are not so limited as dryads who are unable to understand key concepts of civilization, but they do lack something spark wise.

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    1. Dspring, I’d say SOME gods don’t change over time. Other gods change quite a lot. It depends somewhat on circumstance. If a particular god or goddess happens to initially occupy a convenient, efficient niche in the divine ‘ecosystem’ of an early pantheon, why change? Why fix what isn’t broken?

      On the other hand, an unfortunate early commitment to what later vanishes can be fatal. Bye-bye, Dodo bird god! RIP all the dinosaur gods, except tiny feathered flyers. Bast is diminished by loss after loss after loss in Her conflict with Ra. Baal vanishes completely, along with the rest of His pantheon, after Rome utterly crushes Carthage.

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      1. Agree we have only a few examples of gods – but all of them seem pretty static. Odin, Thor, Loki, Hecate, Aphrodite, Hel and some brief snippets of other gods — all seem very close to the old myths. In fact the only one that changed might be Gaia — and it feels more like she digressed than evolved.

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      2. It’s actually stated in the books that the Gods do change over time. It’s even demonstrated in the fourth book when a Goddess takes on an entirely new form and new aspects. It’s also stated that overtime God’s can gain Elemental sorceries on their own. It seems like it depends on how advanced the God is in their evolution. As well as whether or not they are actually willing to change by putting in the effort to do so. After all anyone can remain static in their current situation and job if they do not put it in the proper effort to better themselves. It seems in these stories this applies to the Gods as well.

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      3. Dspring, don’t forget the discussion between Daniel, Alanna and the ancient spirit they spoke with in the Spire.

        “Alanna stirred, and added her own voice to the conversation. ‘If your old self is lost to obscurity, then pick a new self to embrace. I have seen divinities accomplish this before, and it seems a sovereign remedy to the ills of being forgotten. Simply see what you value most in the memories that remain to you, and be that. My wizard is a just man, and he will not leave an ally to languish in the dark.'” Brown, E. William. THRALL (Daniel Black Book 4)

        That Ancient Beast or ancient god seems very likely to undergo massive changes, inspired by ideas from a dryad and a sorcerer and bits of its own memories. Judging by Alanna’s comment, this would not be the first time a god or goddess made such a change.

        Also, notice how ready Hecate is to change when She faces extinction as her most likely other alternative.

        Gods can change, but mostly, they seem to subscribe to the religion of ‘don’t fix what ain’t broke.’

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      4. I think the point about gods changing is a matter of initiation and degree. Initiation in the sense that they have to imagine themselves as different. Degree in the sense of how much the New differs from the Old.

        I am guessing that gods tend to be weak on initiation and degree. The animal gods started to change in response to humans. The weaver god considered change only when it was suggested to him. Bast weakened to Bastet under pressure from Ra. In other words, initiation seems to come from outside the god.

        The degree of change is also limited because of their aspects. If the Ocean is one of your aspects, then you embody that aspect. You cannot change into something that is foreign to that aspect. It may be impossible for your to change into something that does not already embrace that aspect in some way – at least not without loosing the aspect. Ditto with implements. Ditto with Anchors, although obviously humans can change a lot more than a particular location, iconography or symbol.

        But I do think that is why Prometheus restored the spark. The gods need worshipers with the spark in some way that they (mostly) do not comprehend or recognize, but Prometheus does.

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      5. Dspring, I like what you suggest about Prometheus returning the spark of innovation to humans because it will be important to the gods, eventually.

        I’m inclined to agree with you about gods and initiation.

        We should probably keep in mind, however, that many of the aspects of existing gods and goddesses are simple compared to what Daniel and Mara are likely to bring to the divine table.

        Surely, one of Daniel’s eventual divine aspects will be Innovation or Invention or both, and Mara will be Freedom, while her internal twin is Deception. So, Daniel and Mara will be all about change, and we’ll never be sure what Mara’s internal twin is up to.

        What will Brand be like as a god? Are there other ‘new’ gods and near fully divine demigods in Loki’s army?

        Maybe the survivors of Ragnarok will be more inclined to change than their stodgy old predecessors.

        Of course, given the massive impacts to human populations Gaea has just massacred, change is in the winds already….

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    2. Did Gaea abandon humans, or did she refuse to abandon Neanderthals and previous sentient primates?

      Did She flee from Midgard, or did she invade and take Her pocket world away from its original creator?

      Is She stupid, or totally focused on goals that humans and gods don’t understand or even know?

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      1. She created her neanderthal followers in response to humanity regaining the spark – per book. No idea on goblins, trolls, hags or other followers. So they are considerably more recent than humans.

        She was an Olympian goddess – at least at the time the spark was restored to humanity. Not clear if she fled midgard then – or during the Asgard-Olympian war. Could be either. But I suspect it was then. She had several thousand years to build up her army of sleepers, but the war is only a thousand years old. So she settled that pocket world well before the Asgard-Olympian war.

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    3. Totally agree, Dspring, there’s something different about the gods. Not sure it’s a ‘lack’ of something creative. Some of Them are all about ‘creating’ in more ways than the obvious. Maybe, as I suggested with Gaea, They are completely focused on something utterly important to Them that nobody else, not even other gods, can see?

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      1. I personally think that many of the Gods suffer from the same flaw that many humans suffer from.

        To the gods most intelligent beings are little more than background. It’s much the same way a human might look at a few ants in their house as something that’s out of their notice because they’re not paying attention. Before we know it there’s an entire infestation of something. Cockroaches, bed bugs, bees you name it it just happens faster than many people can take notice of it.

        I think the biggest flaw with many of the Gods is that they think the same way in regards to humans and other intelligent races. Not that they usually consider them passed or not very useful. Clearly humans are quite useful to the Gods potentially so are dwarves and elves and other intelligent races. But with a being as powerful as a God that perhaps is capable of thinking and perceiving things trans dimensionally the way Hecate has demonstrated with Daniel from time to time it might be difficult for them to stay focused long enough to notice something happening.

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    4. “The spark of Prometheus question. That’s an interesting debate.”

      I would wager that the forms the Gods took are a reflection of the of Life and conscience capabilities at the time. This would result in the Gods themselves being a reflection of evolution. I point to the giant jellyfish and huge Divine Tyrannosaurus examples of early Divine evolution. Those are examples that appeared in the fourth book. Maybe with the evolution of man and a more sophisticated mental capacity new evolutions of Gods were able to pull themselves into the material worlds. Again this seems to be more reminiscent of D&D style Divinity system then other forms of fantasy or fiction relation to the Gods. It would also explain some of the Divine beings ability to be anywhere physically they choose to be or transdimensional in their thought and capabilities which appears to be a differentiating distinction between them and demigods.

      Maybe with the evolution of humans you have a snowball effect in consciousness. After all many of the other lesser at least two the Gods magical species were essentially created from the minds of humans. Elves are an example and so are fairies. They all have very sharp and intelligent Minds. I see no reason that a few exceptionally intelligent humans would not dream about the possibilities of Greater intelligence skill or crafting ability. Or possibly nightmares thereof. After all storytelling to human children is a time-honored human tradition in all cultures no matter how primitive. This would spark the creation of dwarves, elves, fairies, Etc. Adding an ever-increasing number of intelligent in some cases more intelligent than normal human races into the mix would allow deities to pull themselves into existence with greater and more advanced capabilities.

      “Or at least that’s just my take on the situation.”

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      1. So basically you are saying is that gods are formed from an idea – and once humans starting walking the earth, more complex ideas started showing up in the CHAOS — which allowed more complex gods to form. I like it.

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      2. Hmm…just had another thought. If humans are a good source of complex, robust dreams, how many humans dreaming the same theme are needed to instantiate a god? If a few hundred humans can instantiate a god, it seems to me more likely that new gods dreamed up by humans happen more often than new gods dreamed up by animals. There are probably also more total numbers of new gods dreamed up by humans at any given moment.

        We know there are several pantheons of gods dreamed up by humans scattered over Midgard; in some cases there are multiple pantheons on each continent. Plus, there are all those pantheons and gods which have been suppressed, like Bast, or destroyed, like the Olympians and the Sumerians and the Assyrians and others.

        On the one hand, humans may be responsible for more gods instantiated and more complex gods, but humans are probably also responsible for more turnover of gods and more extinctions of gods and pantheons.

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      3. Not only that but humans spawned more intelligent races which would have added to the Snowball Effect and complexity of it.

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      4. Yeah, but dinosaurs spawned birds and who knows what else. There are all sorts of birds out there. Are there Eagle Gods and Duck Gods and Sparrow Gods? You just know there must be a Parrot God.

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      5. Yeah, I’m also suggesting that humans tend to create and build organizations on big, complex ideas.

        So, there is the ordinary human individual sort of dream or idea, multiplied by however many humans share the dreams and ideas.

        Then, there are also the ideas or dreams that spawn human organizations or human groups. A family grows into a clan and clans collect together as tribes or some higher group. They build a Stonehenge for themselves, and for several hundred or more years worship a set of ideas about early astronomy and astrology that become a set of gods that become a pantheon of gods linked by a set of ideas and a related group of people sharing common beliefs.

        Come to think of it, are pantheons another invention of the humans? Did the gods come up with that idea by themselves? Ancient Beasts seem to be solitary, while gods since humans formed tend to be in pantheons. Is that because most animals don’t form families, clans and tribes? Are there any recent gods who are NOT part of pantheons?

        Maybe Coyote?

        Are there any ‘beast’ god pantheons? I wonder if lions and other pride or herd animals would dream up pantheons based on their own family groupings?

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      6. More pressing question. Can an animal God that is worshipped by humans who has gained human-level intelligence and traits evolve the type of animal but they are the God of? I’m thinking this could be an explanation for Bast. She knew of the Titans and is thought of as one of the oldest of the Gods in the series. Maybe she did not start out as a human God. But actually started out as a lion God. After all a goddess of sensuality and birth would be in keeping with a pride of lions that are mostly female and mothers. If that is true then she may predate Humanity.

        Also there are lots of animal or Monster Gods that are relatively new. Loki’s rebellious Pantheon is full of them. Bast has already proven that a God has been banished into the primordial chaos can come back through reincarnation. What’s to stop a demigod who’s been born and has a monster form from being a new Divine entity that clawed its way out of the chaos to be reincarnated or should I say incarnated into the form of a demigod or goddess?

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      7. I like the idea, DaShoota, that Bast, Thoth, Set and other Egyptian gods and goddesses could be more ancient than humans. Other pantheons might also have equally ancient, evolved gods and goddesses.

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    5. Dspring, how about this?

      * The gods need something from humanity to provide an anchor — and whatever that something is, it is better provided by humans than by animals.

      If the instantiation of a god is the confluence of concentrated Void essence plus some fraction of a dream or idea, then the quality of human dreams and ideas might be more detailed than what animals provide? Plus, as time passes, there will be LOTS more human dreams than most other large animal dreams, because humans outnumber most other land creatures of any substantial size. Statistically, there might also be large numbers of similar dreams and ideas expressed by many humans, simultaneously. That seems like it would provide a nascent deity with plenty of structure and definition over a significant period of time.

      Watch out for the Rat Gods, though. Their faithful are MULTITUDES.

      And that’s nothing compared with the Ant Gods.

      Humans, however, provide a supply of dreams and ideas that remain somewhat consistent over many lifetimes, and are likely to become even more detailed, more firmly held, if the deity interacts at all with His or Her faithful. Give humans a reason to believe in their god or goddess and they will create enormously complex and durable stories that bind the humans to their faith AND bind their deities to the configurations of the stories.

      Successful heresies must be downright painful for the gods….

      Like

      1. This is also a good viewpoint. To paraphrase, the Dreaming is the real source of creation in the universe. Gods are created from the dreaming – as aspects are just dream fragments as is the void/chaos itself. When there is enough shared dreaming/imagination/myths, the odds of a god forming jump significantly. So maybe not all void-born gods were first created as myths, but a lot of them were. Gods who were born from other gods/mortals would be different.

        Similar, yet different from DaShoota’s proposed idea. More emphasis on dreams rather than ideas — and less “structured”.

        Rat god is scary. As they say, there is a certain quality in quantity. But in that scenario, I would expect to see new animal gods forming as most of the old ones were killed off by Atlanteans or the gods of that time. Although it is possible that any new animal god is hunted and killed before it can gain any real power by the existing humanoid gods.

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      2. Or as is described in book 4 the animal Gods evolved with the evolution of humans. Humans worship the big scary tiger monster God. The big scary tiger monster God gets aspects that the humans are putting into it. Big scary tiger monster God becomes benevolent tiger god of Chinese mythology or zodiac.

        Also I’m not sure that the dreaming is the source of creation. I think that the dreaming and the chaos are two separate planes. Daniel has already been in both he understands the difference. And the chaos was pointed out to him by Odin. I get the impression that creation began in the chaos and was shaped by the dreaming. Or whatever existence occupied the plane of the dreaming before creatures with nervous systems arose.

        Maybe the Australian Aborigines mythology of creation will be proven correct in the books. The chaos existed first entities arose from the chaos and moved to the dreaming. After that move that created the concept of the elements which later spawned the prime material universe. Then life-forms started forming and New Concepts entered the dreaming. Starting with hunger and other forms of need. As life evolves advances it gets more complex ideas and Concepts placed into it all the while energy based life or whatever it is is still moving out of the chaos through the dreaming and into the prime material universe.

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      3. Maybe a god begins with a tiny piece of Void that the god starts to form into His or Her or Its own very primitive quasi dreamland magic sanctuary?

        Who is to say that sleeping tigers do not dream pleasant ideas that a barely inchoate nascent deity might sense and add to its own sanctuary? Eventually, the tigers dream again and the god finds that pleasant, too, adding it also. Dream after dream, the tigers’ dreams form more of the god’s sanctuary, and the sanctuary becomes more familiar, more friendly to the tigers. Does there come a time when a tiger dreams and hunts in the god’s sanctuary? Does the god follow the tigers’ dreams home and stalk the tigers’ hunting grounds?

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      4. How many thousands of years have to pass before sufficient numbers of rats share similar sorts of dreams in their tiny little brains, and that nameless, almost timeless yearning for…something, actually impinges upon a knot of Void essence and sticks long enough to form a Rat God?

        It’s probably going to be a long, long time before the next Rat God arises to replace the one shivering in its tiny onyx sphere inside the Spire.

        It’s going to be longer still before the next Hadrosaur God arises.

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      5. So the great horned rat does have a good twin! ·········· Hope there are no skaven in the worlds of Tartarus! “That would be a terribly invasive species.”

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      6. Remember there are millions of years where the earth had no humans. So you had time to have gods get created even if the chance was very remote. Also, I suspect their anchors are their species. So when the last t-rex died, the t-rex god died too.

        And while I suspect a lot of animal gods did survive until the time of humanity, didn’t Alana say the early human gods hunted them down for sport.

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      7. Totally agree with you, Dspring, that pre-human gods had millennia to coalesce, and they probably died out after the last of their anchor species faded away. Remember, however, that some of those Ancient Beasts are still rampaging over Europe, thanks to Gaea, Loki and Ragnarok.

        The Ancient Beasts and Animal Gods that Alanna remembers being hunted by Atlanteans require a little more consideration.

        1) What gods or goddesses were released when the Spire detonated? Yes, they were tortured for millennia but they were also preserved. Maybe my previous humor was wrong and the Dodo God yet lives!

        2) When a god dies, does that free up a niche for a nearly identical new god to fill? If so, how long would it take for the Ancient Beasts and Animal Gods to be replaced? Clearly, some of the Ancient Beasts would be permanently gone if they were killed by Atlantean or other hunters, because they were the last of their kinds and only survived as long as they did because of power accumulated and stored from previous millennia. There will be no anchors to bring them back when they die.

        3) Maybe a Gryphon God survived the ages and will escape destruction or capture by the Asgardians. What would that mean to the Gryphon Knights’ mounts?

        All sorts of fun possibilities!

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  14. Will we see the monstrous creatures we saw appear when the sunspear exploded again? Probably not as the Aesir use god killing weapons, but who can tell 🙂

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  15. The next major magic advance is….

    In my opinion, it is dimensional magic. Daniel has been exposed recently to a lot of dimensional magic including:
    1) dark elf bags of holding
    2) Dark elf earth ways
    3) Dryad movement between trees and within trees
    4) The dark portal (watching it arrive)
    5) the transportation magic in Asgard city
    6) the portals used by Asgard to move their troops into attack locations
    7) the teleportation site within the sunspear

    That is a lot of dimensional magic that did not really get any Daniel attention/focus, but a lot of exposure and references to “studying the magic”. So I think it is likely that Daniel will develop something new that uses dimensional magic in some interesting way. Pocket worlds, teleportation portals, world gates, or tardis like “bigger on the inside” combat war machine/golems.

    Of course, the true driver is the next story and what that needs, but the above argues that dimension magic would be a good tool in the Daniel “how do I solve this next unsolvable problem” toolbox. And given Daniel does not really understand it well, it lends itself well to the classic Daniel “lets figure this shit out” research montage.

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      1. The passage about that circle also demonstrated his ability to analyze magic that is new to him but are based on something he knows even in theory.

        He glanced at the circle and got an instant explanation. The same book also demonstrated his ability to recognize something that is completely alien to him. An example is the elves hidden ways traveling technique. He recognized it as some potential faster-than-light travel not based on wormholes. But he also recognized it as being something completely alien to his experience even with science fiction.

        I speculate that this may be based on the effect observation has on the Travel Magic. That is a rather weird aspect to it that would take him time to figure out. However the aspect of it which shortens distance between two points may not be that difficult for him to figure out. His sorcery may allow him to replicate the Magic in its entirety. Later he may be able to dissect the magic into its basic components and replicate them individually. This may give him an ability to create a more advanced version than the original spell the elves use.

        Although that observational feature might be intentionally built into the spell the elves use. After all if you’re traveling at compressed distance super speeds it would be possible to screw up and run into a tree or a wall or something. If you took the time to stall the spell to observe your surroundings and determine the next location of the travel it would probably make it easier. Easier and less dangerous to use that specific technique. It would also explain why they designated a Pathfinder.

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      2. “However the aspect of it which shortens distance between two points may not be that difficult for him to figure out.”

        Apparently that is exactly what it does not. It shifts objects in less time than their distances would allow. I was reminded of some weird quantum phenomena, as observation made a difference.
        This may be a side effect of sorcery. His Mana sorcery can show him meaning only with respect to concepts he knew when he gained sorcery.

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      3. Oliver, it’s also worth pointing out that Daniel is some sort of software engineer with a focus on application programming, not a physicist with a focus on quantum dynamics.

        His elemental Mana sorcery can give him insights that compare magical phenomena he does not know with physical phenomena he actually understands.

        Not so much exotic magical events that correspond to quantum phenomena he does NOT understand.

        ? + ? = ?

        Maybe Daniel’s manipulation of mana and matter will slowly inform his understanding of quantum mechanics, eventually, but he’ll need to spend some quality time thinking about it, documenting it and probably falling face first into the middle of it before truly significant leaps in understandings happen.

        That seems highly unlikely to happen during his first mad months scrambling to preserve his own life and others’ while gods, goddesses and minions throw everything they have at him, including the kitchen sink.

        Okay, he had to create the sink, first.

        Without indoor plumbing, the locals would be using bowls and pans.

        Hmm…does anybody remember reading anything that would suggest the locals have indoor plumbing?

        Ironically, Daniel’s construction projects provide the only examples of toilets that I can remember.

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      4. A sewer system more or less implies toilets. Not necessarily in each house. They may do it like the Romans did and mainly have public toilets, but the technology must exist.

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      5. Thanks, Oliver; that makes sense.

        “I was a bit surprised to note storm drains along the side of the road, and a distinct absence of sewage in the streets. Unlike Lanrest, apparently Kozalin had a sewer system.” Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2)

        I suppose the common folk could still use honeypots and dump them into the sewer system.

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      6. “His elemental Mana sorcery can give him insights that compare magical phenomena he does not know with physical phenomena he actually understands.”

        Well, neither does he understand teleportation, because it is beyond our technology. So him simply having seen something does not determine whether he understands it. We do have a concept of teleportation in fiction, though.

        So it looks like his mana surgery can ‘translate’ to concepts he knows or knew. And that takes us back to the question to which extent his sorceries are fixed. Would he be able to do the core material explaosion spell if he hadn’t known that the core of a terrestial planet is a nickel-iron alloy?

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      7. Oliver, we have not yet seen Daniel teleport on his own, right? Hence, at this point we don’t know for certain that he DOES understand teleportation magic, but we suspect he MIGHT be able to use what he has seen to work it out, given enough time and effort. Does that seem approximately correct?

        Of course, we also could argue that he really has nothing more than fantasy games, fantasy fiction and science fiction from his understanding of Earth science or engineering, so he will need to develop any teleportation magic almost entirely from observations of Midgard and Asgard magic, much of which is Gaian divine magic or Runesage wizardry.

        Daniel’s ability to perform incredible feats of healing is primarily due to the amount of elemental Flesh sorcery he chose to absorb from the Void and then his massive commitment to learning and practicing healing on HIMSELF.

        As they say with cooking breakfast, “The hen makes a contribution, but the pig makes a commitment.” Daniel’s general understanding of Earth modern medical practices gives him all sorts of ideas about what ‘ought’ to be possible, or critical, which he then explores while healing or modifying himself, but his tendency to throw himself into near-death experiences results in many opportunities to simultaneously deal with multiple deadly injuries.

        As for the planetary core material ‘explosion magic’ Daniel develops, that’s a feature of his elemental Earth sorcery AND his RPG gaming history. In short, he loves to toe the absolute maximum limits of the ‘rules’ as he perceives them. As soon as he realized his Earth sorcery enables him to conjure material from just about anywhere, he is virtually guaranteed to take advantage of highly compressed and heated nickel-iron mantle rock.

        In the story he only needs a month or two of experience to think of it, and the inspiration of realizing the Conclave’s tower is probably made from conjured mantle nickle-iron.

        For example, if Daniel had not immediately thought of core material, we can safely assume that he would try to fling conjured molten stone to almost equally deadly effect, although much less satisfying KABOOM! Once he plays with volcanic lava instead merely hot pebbles, it is virtually guaranteed he will delve deeper for the high pressure hot stuff, then deeper and deeper still, until he is happy with the resulting KABOOM!

        Of course, then we should expect Daniel will eventually attempt to conjure neutronium.

        Even his own personalized coronal mass ejection would be be impressive.

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      8. There is a difference in the book between being able to cast a spell and being able to understand the magic behind the spell. Daniel can cast the earth move spell the dark elves used. But he does not understand why it works.

        That implies that he can cast the spell and probably do any of the normal variations of the spell as well.
        Understanding is needed if he is to apply the principles to other use cases.

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      9. “Hence, at this point we don’t know for certain that he DOES understand teleportation magic, but we suspect he MIGHT be abltione to use what he has seen to work it out, given enough time and effort.”

        How would one recognise an anti-teleport field, if one could not understand teleportation?

        “That implies that he can cast the spell and probably do any of the normal variations of the spell as well.”

        That is the question. Is the spell a static thing? Or linear? That is Can you simply cast it as an unchanging entity or would it need to be adjusted based on feedback from the environment, which Daniel could not do, because he would never have seen the correct esponse, as each response is unique.

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      10. Oliver and All, we are certain that Daniel traveled through Gaia’s teleport disk twice, with Mara.

        We also know he traveled through Odin’s portals several times.

        He is aware of the Dark Portal and also dwork geomancer portals.

        It seems he has NOT, however, had any real opportunity to study any portal or teleportation event at length or in detail.

        I’m inclined to suggest he knows teleportation is possible, he knows that it requires energy levels he might be able to supply with one or more of his matter to mana blocks and he knows he would need a significant amount of quality time to figure out how to teleport something himself.

        Do we have any reason to believe Daniel knows MORE than that?

        If the limitations are as I describe above, it will be a rather long time before Daniel can make the necessary commitment to research and develop his own teleport or portal magotech.

        As usual, he has many other priorities.

        Shortcuts are, however, available. For example, Clan Nethwillin would almost certainly help him with every scrap of knowledge they have, if for no other reason than to obtain access to teleportation or portals themselves. Alanna can almost certainly provide Daniel with direct knowledge of some or all of the necessary spell forms. Hecate could also do that.

        Basically, if the author wants it, Daniel can have it, and if the author does not want it, Daniel won’t be doing this entirely by himself anytime soon.

        Does that seem reasonable?

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      11. “Do we have any reason to believe Daniel knows MORE than that?”

        Yes. Daniel seems to be able to recognize anything that remotely resembles something from any science fiction or fantasy story or jonra he has had contact with in his original world. An example would be the teleportation platform Mara used. He identified exactly what it was before it was used. While he did not understand what the elves were doing with their hidden ways Travel Magic. He was also able to understand portals at first glance. Probably his science-fiction background recognizing something similar to a wormhole. Which he has mentioned in studying the elves Travel Magic and it’s alienness to him.

        I would Hazard a guess that while acquiring either his flesh sorcery or his Mana sorcery in his thinking about fantasy and science fiction that he would have gained some small hints or understanding of such things as warp capabilities wormholes and teleport techniques and possibilities along with the possible super soldier enhancements he may have acquired.

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      12. DaShoota, I agree Daniel probably received some very interesting hints of magical knowledge about mana-derived alternates to the physical effects he knows from our Earth science while he was swimming the Void on his way to Varmland.

        However, I suspect he is also steadily accumulating a more sophisticated and better organized ‘body of knowledge’ as he steals a few hours here and there to research very tough projects like his radiation weapon. After all, there’s no reason to believe his brain looses much information now that he uses mana to enhance so many other aspects of his biology. When he hits a dead end or momentarily irrelevant experimental result the raw data and his immediate assessment, maybe even further considerations will remain accessible in his mind for much longer than the brief period of time his story has required thus far.

        His subconscious is probably assembling some of this magical understanding with some of his science and engineering, especially his software engineering, continuously whether his is awake or asleep, and giving him occasional random breakthrough-level insights that he simply does not have time or resources to explore until later…often MUCH later.

        Hence, there is probably a fascinating arsenal of weapons, defenses, utilities, tools and even toys in the dark recesses of Daniel’s mind, just waiting for him to make enough lab time available to drag one out and play with it.

        For me, that explains how he can so quickly develop something like his ring assembly accelerator weapon. It’s already designed in his head before he sits down to create a working prototype.

        This is different from his initial fumbling with magic as he learns about spells during his first few weeks on Varmland.

        It’s more like the way he slammed together that lava bomb he dropped into the dwark caverns — quick, sure and very, very nasty.

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      13. I don’t think the teleportation spell is something that requires a great deal of adjustment. I base this on the fact that the one Mara used was an enchanted pedestal. Meaning it’s something that could be worked into an object and used multiple times with relatively consistent results. Very consistent results considering the people who have been using it do not seem to care overmuch about consistent results. Namely the Neanderthal looking cavemen.

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      14. Daniel studied the davdanyak, which produces an anti-teleportation effect, for days. While it is entirely plausible that he would decide that teleportation is a project he cannot afford to invest in, as Hecate can grant him the shadow walking ability, him ignoring the advantages a foe with teleportation inside his fortress would enjoy is not plausible. Sefvin is good, but not that good. He needs to block teleportation or, even better, trap teleporters.

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      15. I think he may most likely figure out an ability to reroute a teleporter to a location of his choosing. It seems plausible that he could come up with that while studying the staff.

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    1. Dspring, I suspect Avilla will be the springboard for Daniel attempting to make the distant parts of Black Island’s defenses more accessible to its defenders.

      He won’t want wide open portals that invite invaders into the heart of his home.

      He will want Sefwin to be able to teleport six of her best operators from their barracks to Elin’s clinic in three seconds or less.

      That seems more like what Avilla has learned to do in her ‘realm’ near the kitchen, or like what dryads do entering and leaving trees, especially that pair of twin trees that gave Daniel and Alanna secret access to Idun’s garden and orchard in Asgard.

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      1. It read to me like Avilla still has to physically walk to the point she wants to emerge, she is just contained in some representation of her home being a ‘space’. Not really like teleportation in terms of speed.

        The disks used in Skogheim would make sense, if he found a way to cut one of and to make them one-way.

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    2. Not to forget @dspring the Atlantean prison in the tower migth have some sort of space magic t be capable of imprision Gods, maybe pocket dimensions of their personal hells, I think he has been exposed enough to come up with interesting theory, that he can run throw his coven and child, the thing is that as always jhe needs to realize he has those tools at his disposal or even that he migth need them. I am curious how he is going to upgrade his defense to be able to face Gods and Demigods from now on, since he admitted to have been building only focusing on monsters and Great beasts.

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    3. “Bigger on the inside” has got me thinking. If Daniel can make objects that are bigger in the inside (aka – like the Tardis), then that opens up HUGE possibilities.

      Daniel’s comment to himself in Thrall is that he is reaching some hard limits on the power of his personal equipment. Size matters when it comes to power generation, power storage and powerful magic. Daniel was theorizing that he will need to go the route of giant combat golems to be able to fight more powerful enemies 1-1, with a lot of downsides inherent in that option.

      However, if he can use dimensional magic (aka – bag of holding), then a little pistol could actually be something that packs the power of a massive war golem because it is “just that big on the inside”.

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      1. For example, Daniel would currently find it difficult and clumsy to carry even one of his power blocks around with him all the time for direct personal use. That’s an UGLY backpack load.

        With gravity and spatial-dimensional magic he can put ten or a hundred power blocks inside an amulet or bracelet or ring and give himself, each of his coven mates, Alanna, Bast and Hecate herself more raw power than they know what to do with.

        Really, it’s just a matter of time before he does something like this. He could probably sit down and work out all the necessary theory in less than a week. It won’t take much more than a day for him to create the first demonstration piece.

        After that, demigods will be atomized and gods will be vaporized.

        They can come back, but he’ll just do them in again.

        Hmm…assuming I have this even approximately correct, Daniel no longer has a power supply issue. As soon as he gets to steal a week, that’s done.

        After that, his biggest issue will be new magotech capable of usefully channeling the enormous energies his new power supplies will make available.

        After that, his next biggest issue will be creating absolutely solid, safe fail over devices and techniques.

        His first ‘big’ mistake with energy weapons or shields at the new levels will be his LAST mistake.

        PHOOOOF!

        Colin

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      2. The gap then moves to planning (does he build a good device for the current threat) and the hard limit Daniel will quickly approach on how much magic he can use for ad-hoc spells.

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      3. That looks like a failure to think a concept through to the very end. Objects (homes) and life forms (trees), even mental objects (dreams) can have inner ‘spaces’, which can contain stuff and people. If Daniel really wants to do this, there will be one optimum place to put stuff: into his own mind.

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  16. Daniel has often described his magical spells and magical construction projects/factories as similar to software programming.

    Programs can run on their own. AI software can “learn”. Concepts like parallel processing, deep data, blockchain, encryption, hacking, viruses, firewalls, trojan horses, and all the other IT concepts and buzzwords that exist in our reality.

    Would any of them apply in some respect to magic that Daniel could create?

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    1. Dspring, I’d bet Daniel knows a lot about some of the computer topics you listed, maybe not so much about others.

      AI software can “learn” — Yeah, but Daniel probably cannot code a full AI instance since that has mostly not been done, yet. Pieces, sure, like a smart menu system that learns user preferences. His personal amulet controller probably defaults to ‘Rebuild My Body’….

      Parallel processing — almost certainly, and object oriented programming as well. IIRC he even says so, well, thinks it.

      Deep data — I don’t remember how recent the concepts are. Maybe?

      Blockchain — he knows it exists, has some ideas how, but probably very little experience doing it.

      Encryption — oh, yeah! He has all sorts of experience with encryption, but will have to create some sort of magical code generator before he can enable it in his spells.

      Hacking — definitely, and with his elemental mana sorcery he has already demonstrated abilities with this, ‘hacking’ the Spire among other projects. In fact, ‘hacking’ is pretty much Daniel’s defaul style of magic for most of his projects and almost all of his ad hoc combat spells.

      Viruses — yes, he’ll have experience detecting and therefore creating code traps, triggers, etc.

      Firewalls — yes, he’ll have experience creating and maintaining these, so it should be interesting to see how he combines the concepts with spell shielding, wards and cloaking that Avilla, Elin and Cerise teach him.

      Trojan horses — um, really? Anybody want to bet Hecate does not have…INSIGHT into the ORIGINAL Trojan Horse? However, yes, Daniel should have all sorts of fun combining his knowledge of software TH with magical curses, minefields, spell traps, etc.

      I bet we could find specific examples where Daniel has explicitly used several of the above concepts in the stories.

      For instance, that lava ‘bomb’ Daniel created and dropped into the dwork caverns seems like a quick and dirty ‘hack’ to me, and even to him if I remember the text correctly.

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    2. He also likened spell design to electrical engineering. That means that you get things like paralell processing for free. The basic difficulty seems to be that enchantments are extremely hard to change, in fact they are designed to be unalerable.

      You could likely have spell libraries and modularization. Some kind of adaptive algorithm. But then we have to ask why not go all the way and use or even create an elemental?

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      1. Interesting question, Oliver. We know there are natural sylphs, because Clan Nethwillin has deals with several air elementals and I’m assuming sylph/air elemental are synonymous.

        Can we also believe there are earth elementals? If so, does Daniel need to create an elemental, or should he summon one? Maybe he needs to attract one somehow and then negotiate with it?

        Come to think of it, the Conclave summoned and commanded earth elementals to repair the walls of Kozalin between battles. That seems like a model and recipe for what Daniel needs to do to obtain the services of an elemental he seems likely to be able to control.

        Are you suggesting that once Daniel has the services of one or more elementals he can use them like he would a computer? That does seem like a shortcut to AI…of course, then he must come up with some sort of data storage to build a useful spell library.

        Seems possible to me. Maybe even the sort of thing that could grow and mature over time, as Daniel pries loose a few minutes or hours occasionally to work on it.

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      2. I am suggesting that Daniel should make an elemental. Magic can create some form of information processing. Golems and divinations prove that. I am suggesting that Daniel skip the computer stage and go directly to AI.

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      3. We do not actually know the intelligence level or thinking capacities of Elementals. It might be necessary for Daniel to create the equivalent of a magical computer to serve as the Elementals brain in a Golem while the elemental serves as the operating system. If the elemental is not originally very intelligent this method could increase the intelligence and thinking capacity of the elemental. Essentially creating a cybernetic Elemental or magic cybernetic Elemental?

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      4. DaShoota, we can deduce from observation the minimum levels of intelligence of Avilla’s gingerbread ninja defense army from their actions in the fight in her Granny’s cottage at the beginning of FIMBULWINTER. Even the animated couch had perceptions and rather quick reactions, flinging itself in the way of the troll’s attack. There’s a lot of intelligence in that series of events, probably enough to qualify as limited AI.

        Then there is what we learned during EXTERMINATION about air elementals. They were apparently able to communicate with members of Clan Nethwillin and remember debts to individual elves.

        With that as a base, I’m inclined to agree with Oliver that Daniel can summon an elemental and expect relatively sophisticated behavior from it.

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      5. Unless Elementals have their own equivalent of a biosphere. There is a marked intelligence difference between something like a dog and something like a plant or insect. We could be seeing something similar in the elemental depictions of the books. The air Elementals could be as intelligent as humans or great apes. The furniture inhabited by whatever Elemental could have an elemental in it only as intelligent as a bog.

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      6. With a little bit of experience researching summoning. Daniel might be able to summon an elemental of each one of his affinities. That would include a manna Elemental.

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      7. Yeah…I expect Daniel has rather clear ideas what to expect in an Earth, Flesh or Fire elemental. His Force elemental may stretch his imagination rather more, but will probably produce something like a sylph made of Force flows and capable of manifesting/wielding Force blades, claws, etc.

        The Mana elemental will be much more of a challenge.

        Will he anthropomorph the concept into a djinn?

        Will he let the potential rule, resulting in some sort of amorphous presence that responds to Daniel’s thoughts?

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      8. “We do not actually know the intelligence level or thinking capacities of Elementals.”

        We do not. But we do know that the magic itself can be used to answer questions. When Hecate recruited Daniel, she located him by divinations she had given her criteria. Likewise Pelagia ran morning divinations that told her to go to the main keep and ask how she could help. That is an extremely broad question she got answered there.
        This may work by looking into possible futures rather than strictly thinking. But it has the same effect. You process information. In fact you even gather information. If your question is “In which direction do I need to point this cannon to hit”, you do not care whether the answer comes from ballistic computations or divinations. In fact the divinations can be better at predicting the target’s movements.

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      9. Magic answering questions? Magic itself could be intelligent and simply answering the question. Somebody could send out some extrasensory perception or capability through magic or using magic to send it down through space-time to either look into alternate possibilities based on whatever choice is made or could work something like a spider sense from Spiderman sensing vibrations or using echolocation inviting a part of the Mind to actually seek out and find whatever it is their looking for through the medium be it magic or space-time. This gets rather confusing:-(

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    3. The things that come to mind would be self autonomous Golems. Or adaptive enchantments that stop spells from entering something.

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  17. Which parts of the world should Daniel explore? It looks to me like he’s operating under at least three major constraints:

    * northern Eurasia and North America will soon become uninhabitable to man or already has
    * Egypt hates him, likely immutably so and will always be a risk
    * He will need grain and overseas trade, if he wishes to keep Kozalin alive

    So we have some obvious choices:
    * Subsaharan Africa, Arabia or Persia – the enemy of my enemy is my friend
    * Siberia – because it is becoming inhabitable. He will find beings willing to do everything to be evacuated
    * North America – for the agriculture
    * East Asia – they have most to offer in terms of advanced civilization

    Or should he go offworld by magic means to contact Svartalfheim or Vanaheim? Or should he put his emphasis on the oceans themselves? He has in-laws there after all.

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    1. The ocean-dwelling in-laws seem like Daniel’s best bet for unlimited supplies of protein and that’s something Kozalin will soon need which buildings full of indoor farms won’t produce right away.

      The city’s supplies of dried, pickled, smoked and otherwise preserved fish are bound to run out before much more time passes and the fishing fleet has not been able to go to work catching fresh stocks.

      Why would Daniel spend any effort at all trading or exploring for grain? That’s an unknown. He can build indoor farms in sufficient quantity to feed all of Kozalin, spending far less time on something far more certain…for him.

      I’d vote for exploring east Asia and southeast Asia to find potential aid or allies from the most advanced magic-using civilizations. That would also give him the best chance to secure supplies of spices, herbs and other rare products Avilla needs to preserve her existence.

      Central and south America also have advanced magic-using civilizations, but the magic there is probably driven by human sacrifice.

      Messy, that.

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      1. “Why would Daniel spend any effort at all trading or exploring for grain?”

        Showing that he can farm indoors is a declaration of war against a side in Ragnarök. He can deploy those farms everywhere. That means he is declaring war on Loki. Or he can refuse to build more of them at an arbitrary point. The Aesir will not just look on and neither will the starving people.

        “I’d vote for exploring east Asia and southeast Asia to find potential aid or allies from the most advanced magic-using civilizations.”

        That is certainly true. Yet what about the Exterminatus?

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      2. Interesting point, Oliver.

        I had not considered that Daniel’s fortress indoor farms are an overt declaration of war against Gaia. Then again, saving significant numbers of humans from slaughter steals from Odin’s recruitment resources, making Him unhappy with Daniel, also.

        This might be one of the best arguments yet for Daniel NOT building indoor farms all over Kozalin, but it’s the sort of knowledge he will probably need to gain by suffering through the learning experience. Odin, Gaia or both will destroy what he builds, along with the populations sheltering inside them.

        Daniel will be properly pissed, but also overextended, just preserving Black Island.

        Maybe….

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      3. Brand knows that Daniel is growing food in the Black Citadel, and has encouraged him to save more women, and even warriors (on the assumption that Daniel won’t be getting the best). Saving those lives means Hela doesn’t get them for Loki, but given the number of dead she’s already got to work with, Kozalin’s population is insignificant.

        The only divinity likely to get seriously ticked off is Gaia, and she’s already got a hate-on for Daniel given what he did to her son. She doesn’t know what he did to her armies in the Halls, but saving a few tens of thousands of humans in the short-term isn’t going to make her hate him much more, and it would probably take her a while to notice what he was doing anyway. If she tries to target him specifically then Hecate might end up getting involved. Loki and Odin will be too busy elsewhere to help or hinder Gaia.

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      4. We have to remember that neither Loki nor Oden actually want Humanity to go extinct. That is exclusively Earth B!+(# desire. Just for the act of saving any humans Daniel is effectively declaring war against her. Whether he creates indoor green houses or not would be irrelevant.

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      5. “Odin, Gaia or both will destroy what he builds, along with the populations sheltering inside them.”

        No. They will not. As Daniel can make them in the numbers needed to feed so many people, they are cheap for him to make. There is no point in wrecking them. It would be like cooking rice grain by grain. They would have to strike at Black Island.
        Fortunately Demetrios, Tavrin, Alana and Pelagia will tell him exactly that. Even Hecate may. Whether he likes hearing that is another question.

        “Saving those lives means Hela doesn’t get them for Loki, but given the number of dead she’s already got to work with, Kozalin’s population is insignificant.”

        Right. They are assuming that this is a one-off using dryads. It does not matter. If, however, he were to churn them out by the dozens, they’d need to react, harshly.

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      6. So, the smart move is to create the habitats on Titan, then portal the refugees to there as sneakily as possible.

        That should make Alanna happy.

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      7. “We have to remember that neither Loki nor Oden actually want Humanity to go extinct.”

        The exception to that is Europe. Loki has to eliminate enough Aesir anchors.

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      8. Thanks for that reminder, Oliver.

        While Gaia wants to kill ALL humans, Loki only needs to kill most of the Aesir worshippers, to deny Odin and other Asgardians anchors.

        It’s worth remembering that the OTHER Asgardians will be more severely impacted by lost anchors than Odin, which could mean He finds Himself very lonely some future day, when He is able to reinstantiate Himself but They are not….

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      9. “So, the smart move is to create the habitats on Titan, then portal the refugees to there as sneakily as possible.”

        Thus introducing the concept of unassailable anchors. Welcome to instant Word War IV.
        I am afraid I have to tell it like it is. Either you are neutral or you are not. If you are neutral, saving a combatant’s civilians is not an option.
        He would have to take over Kozalin, which would mean an alliance with the Conclave, and a purge of religious dissenters after that: my gods or the highway. And if he did that, trade would be the less conspicious option.

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      10. Well…WE know Daniel is definitely NOT a neutral.

        As Hecate’s Champion he is quasi-secretly an opportunistic, sneaky, deadly enemy of Asgard.

        As a publicly self-proclaimed defender of humans and other people he is also quasi-secretly a sneaky, deadly enemy of Gaia.

        Kozalin believes he is publicly allied with the Conclave which is allied with Kozalin which is an Aesir-worshiping city in an Aesir-worshiping kingdom called Varmland.

        The civilians on Black Island saved by Daniel are either loyal to Hecate or to Daniel, or both, and that means the humans among them are disloyal to Odin. Hecate, Bast and Others might want to secure the ghosts of any of them who die….

        The civilians on Kozalin’s docks, living in fortified shelters provided by Daniel MIGHT still be loyal to Odin and ALSO loyal to Daniel and they see no conflict in that.

        MAYBE Odin, Brand and a few other Asgardians believe Daniel is loyal to Daniel and, like many wizards, has some sort of ‘deal’ to prolong his existence, probably a deal with a devil or demon. That doesn’t make Them happy, but They may believe They understand some of his motivations.

        Ra’s Lightbringers are certainly hostile to Daniel and they will expect him to be hostile to them if they don’t kill him fast and first during their next encounter.

        Ra MIGHT specifically blame Daniel for the crapstorm that splashed all over Him after Odin finished dealing with the exploded Spire, monster mayhem, Fenrir’s escape, etc. Let’s rate Ra as somewhere between miffed and divinely enraged toward Daniel, depending on how much He knows.

        So, just how is Daniel ‘neutral’ at the end of THRALL?

        I’d definitely go with ‘hiding’ or ‘keeping his head down’ or maybe ‘practicing discretion’.

        ‘Neutral’ just does not seem to fit the situation…and as Daniel is ALREADY allied to the Conclave there is nothing stopping him from ‘trading’ a few fully powered and spelled fortified habitats to them for some…consideration.

        Rumor has it several of the Bloody Archmage’s toys are still around, somewhere. Steelbinder or Ward might decide a secure food supply is a very good trade for seeing one or more of the Runesage’s devices activated, even if Daniel does that instead of them.

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      11. We have to keep in mind that religion and religious fanaticism are most likely very different things on midgard than they are on our world.

        I think I will probably think of it as more of a serf being loyal to their local Lord then an actual religious fanatic loyal to a religion. In many ways it seems to be much closer in that regard to what I see going on in the books.

        An example of this would be in the second book Daniel is talking to the leader of the wolfen. When he mentions how Hecate is capable of allowing for greater manipulation of traits and characteristics he took it very seriously and gave it some considerable thought.

        If a medieval or feudal Lord or King could offer an afterlife to their subjects or could entice subjects to fight for them with very fanatical zeal? However that would not mean that the subjects would not choose to go to a different country and choose a different Lord or King who offered a better deal. Or if they thought that their lord our King was going to lose whatever war and they would lose the afterlife as a consequence of it. They might choose to switch sides or go to the a different Lord or King. I think these are considerations that would be in the back of every citizen of those lands of Europe that Daniel is traipsing around. It might be one of the reasons that Asgard could take down the Olympians so successfully.

        After all in such a situation you don’t necessarily have to defeat the enemies Army you just have to find a way to make yourself more enticing to their population. If the other side has been keeping their population ignorant to ferment more fanaticism then it might prove easier to convert them to your side.

        Every Pantheon on the world probably is looking at trade and Merchants with a bit of suspect because they might start giving information around that their Pantheon offers a better deal. You could see religious conversion as a form of invasion or even migration as one group of people convert to a new religion pick up and move to the land of that religion. Or a Pantheon uses their religions spread as a method of conquest of territory. Not just of arms and armor but of what essentially amounts to a better retirement deal.

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      12. Totally agree with you on the subtle or not-so-subtle implications of the Gods, Inc., marketing competition going on in the background, DaShoota, and I like the way you describe it.

        Have you ever looked at the game ‘In Nomine’ at Steve Jackson Games (Texas)?

        http://www.sjgames.com/in-nomine/

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    2. Not sure Daniel needs to explore much. he might end up going someplace for a very specific purpose (nothing obvious springs to mind), but general exploration is clearly something that will not happen until fimbulwinter is resolved.

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      1. “going someplace for a very specific purpose (nothing obvious springs to mind),”

        Trad & allies. Rescuing the dryads of Siberia …

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  18. When Daniel exploded the Sunspear, he dealt two serious blows to Asgard
    1) He occupied the entirety of the Aesir main battle strength for a while, allowing Loki’s force to land without serious opposition. Per Mara, this moved the schedule ahead by weeks and cost the Aesir a great opportunity to absolutely bleed Loki’s troops.

    2) The confusion allowed Fenrir to escape – which is an even more horrible outcome for the Aesir than #1.

    However, I would argue that there are at least five other bad outcomes that – while less important – are still meaningful.

    a) A lot of Halls were destroyed in the blast. Lost halls means that all the soldiers associated with those halls are also lost and not coming back (per Mara). I am sure some of them survived and could be transferred to another hall, but given there was heavy fighting against Loki AND a nuke dropped in the city, most of the warriors associated with those halls were likely dead before any transfer could occur. Probably no more than 1% (0.1% ?) of the soldiers were permanently lost as Asgard is huge, but in a very close battle, a small shift can swing the difference.

    b) The walls of Asgard were probably broken by the nuke. Given the gods contracted this out to the Giants, it does not sound like they have mad wall building skills to rely on, so they will have to fix this the old fashioned way with lots of hard work and non-building-specialized earth magic. So the Aesir now have to rebuild the walls AND enchant the walls while simultaneously fighting off Loki. That rebuild effort HAS to be diverting real power from the front line.

    c) A massive embarrassment and blow to the prestige of the Aesir and a big dent in their aura of inevitable victory. Some groups that might have allied are going to stay on the fence — and some that would have turned Hecate away are now going to listen to her arguments. Loki will probably benefit from this effect as well, potentially gaining an ally or two from this embarrassment.

    d) The fact that Odin was revealed to have the Sunspear – and Odin’s accusation directed at Ra post explosion – has certainly increased tensions with Egypt. Ra was probably a friendly neighbor prior to this, now things are tense. More (minor) diverted resources to keep this border quiet –and probably higher expense if the Aesir need anything that Ra can deliver.

    e) A lot of Odin’s immortal warriors died and were not reborn. That has to be shaking the confidence of the remaining warriors just a bit. They have been used to seeing themselves as undying and that fact has bolstered their confidence for centuries. We saw this in how they talked to Allana at the contest for Aphrodite. Now that “fact” has been proven wrong in a very big way. They are professionals and the impact to morale will be small. But again in a close battle it might make a difference.

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    1. f) Odin had the Sunspear, an Atlantean weapon – potential allies will not like this. It will cost him diplomatically

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    2. Dspring, I agree with most of your comments about the explosion of the Spire, but one of them seems to be a problem.

      How could Ra NOT know that Odin had possession of the Spire, when it was Ra’s own nasty spy-assassins who salted the whole thing with traps to catch Daniel?

      Are you suggesting those traps must be exceedingly recent?

      I had the impression they were old, but I could easily be wrong about that.

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      1. It was suggested in the book that the sunspear was “elsewhere” and Odin moved it to Asgard.

        I think the move might have been recent, perhaps as soon as Odin found out about Daniel. No need to have the sunspear with an Atlantean, and serious diplomatic liabilities if found out. Also, Odin’s defenses against the Sunspear seemed pretty minimal (basically walls and general wards). If Odin had had the sunspear a long time, he would have been more prepared/knowledgeable about it.

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      2. That makes sense, Dspring, and if the Spire arrived recently at Asgard that could also mean the LightBringers trapped it recently.

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      3. When Daniel was showing the Egyptian bomb to Brand and Gustav in _Thrall_, he said “That thing has been in place for at least a few centuries, and possibly a lot longer”. So Ra has known about the Sunspear for much longer than Daniel has been present. He presumably didn’t do anything about it because it was a useful honeypot for luring any hiding Atlanteans out into the open should Odin want it repaired, and given that it wasn’t in working order, it wasn’t a threat to him, and finally it could be used against Odin should Ra need something with which to blackmail old One-Eye, who really shouldn’t have had it.

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      4. Well, Daniel thinks the bomb was there for a long time and that it was a trap for ANY wizard that came along and tried to repair the Spire.

        “No, I don’t think so. This thing has been here for a long time, so they didn’t plant it just to deal with me. It looks like it’s designed to go off if someone tries to repair the soul router, and trigger an energy surge that would kill them and trap their souls in the prison. But as long as I don’t touch anything it won’t go off.”

        I suppose it could have been put there back when the Spire was originally taken from the Atlanteans.

        Of course, the Lightbringers were also aware there could be a really nasty explosion if something THEY did broke the Spire in a bad way, so that might explain why nobody fussed about Odin taking it.

        Can’t you just imagine Ra snickering about the young whipper-snapper of an Asgardian stealing such a dangerous toy and putting it so close to so many other things so important to Odin?

        “This thing is still connected to the sun, and breaking it the wrong way could cause all kinds of devastation. If it was still on Midgard there’s a small chance it could devastate the whole world.”

        Brown, E. William. Thrall (Daniel Black Book 4). Kindle Edition.

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    3. To assume that those Warriors who fell were not reborn you must assume that the Halls work like data transfer. That does not appear to be the case. From what I have noticed reading the stories. The Soul’s can survive four days out of a heavy magical environment such as Asgard. That is to say live for several days on midgard without a hall. Also Daniel seemed to be concerned that if he didn’t have a way to transfer his soul he would automatically be resurrected or bonded to a hall. There’s no reason to assume that just because the hall is destroyed the soldiers will not automatically resurrect in a different Hall. In fact this seems to be highly likely. Also there is no indication that the outer wall was destroyed or damaged in any way. You have to remember the sunspire was encased inside of its own separate wall inside the city. We do not actually know how large the city is. All we really know is that Asgard requires some form of space time manipulation to get around inside it. Not because it’s blocked or warded against such a thing but simply because it’s that big and it would be too inconvenient to travel around inside the city otherwise at walking speed or the speed of a horse and carriage.

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      1. Mara specifically stated that destroying the halls will prevent the warriors from coming back in Thrall. It is a core element of Loki’s war strategy so it is very likely to be accurate.

        I think you are referring to the conversation on souls from Extermination with your 4 day rule. It is possible that this applies, but probably not. The warriors returning from the dead in Asgard is a specific property of the fey realm that Odin modified and froze for this purpose. It applies to souls placed into Asgard by the Valkerie and maybe to anyone who dies in Asgard who is human. These souls are not free, but bound to the fey realm.

        My guess is that the fey realm has specific rules and one of the rules is that the warrior must be reborn in their hall. So if the hall is destroyed, the rules means the warrior is lost. It logically makes sense given Mara’s statement – but is still just a guess on my part.

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      2. It seems to me possible there is a technical limitation of some sort on the halls, or on the creation of the halls, or on the strategies of creating halls.

        Let’s say all the halls but one are destroyed on the same day, and all the warriors of Asgard, too.

        Will all the warriors of Asgard be reborn into the single remaining hall?

        We could develop that question further. Suppose half the halls are destroyed same day, and all the warriors of Asgard, too.

        Will the warriors of the destroyed halls be reborn into the remaining halls along with the warriors of those halls, effectively doubling the numbers reborn into each hall?

        Or, are specific warriors assigned to be reborn into one and only one hall?

        Obviously, Odin should care about these details. He probably has a plan He believes addresses this.

        I would expect any warrior can be reborn into any hall, but they tend to be reborn into their selected hall if it exists at the critical moment of rebirth.

        On the other hand, it seems unlikely that all the warriors of Asgard can be reborn into a single surviving hall at the same moment.

        Either we will see groups of them reborn at specific time intervals, or there will be some other sort of continuous rebirth flow rate, like one every second.

        Of course, even at a second per rebirth, there will probably be far more warriors waiting for rebirth than there are seconds available before the invaders smash that last hall.

        Is that why there so many halls? Is that why there is not just one big hall?

        Is there some tactical decision revealed by this? Does Odin believe in the tactical usefulness of groups of warriors?

        Or, does Odin realize there might come a day when Asgard is invaded, some of the halls are destroyed and others are intact. In such a situation it should be to His advantage to have many, many halls.

        He knows the hordes of enemies He can expect to come for Him.

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      3. What I’d like to know is the fate of those souls that can’t reincarnate via the Halls, or those who are disembodied on Midgard and left to their own devices. Elin says they can’t survive for long on the Prime Material Plane, but then what? Are they drawn back to Hel? Do they simply cease to exist? Likewise the souls in Valhalla without Halls…what happens to them? Are souls not immortal in the world of the story? That seems likeliest to me.

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  19. What will Gaia do now?

    Loki has kicked off his big invasion and the Aesir are fighting hard to beat him back. There are lose Greater Beasts running rampage across europe and a lot of Gaia armies still out there. Given Gaia’s priorities are not exactly the same as Loki’s, what will Gaia do now? Gaia’s priorities are – of course – to kill off all humans.

    Almost certainly the bulk of Gaia’s strength/personal involvement has to be focused on Asgard. This includes most of the Great Beasts that will listen to her guidance. Anything less would require a break in her alliance with Loki and that makes no sense at this time. You do not betray your allies until you are sure your greater enemy is defeated.

    Almost certainly the armies that are on earth — plus any others that were not exterminated by Daniel’s gift of radiation – will continue to exterminate humans in the lands of the Aesir. Also pretty positive that a fair number of Greater Beasts will stay on earth and help with the extermination efforts. As long as Gaia is not too obvious, she can get away with diverting some greater beasts to this purpose without causing Loki to complain too loudly.

    Gaia will certainly encourage the great beasts she DOES NOT control to be especially destructive. She may not be able to direct these more independent minded monsters, but any destruction is good destruction for Gaia.

    At this point, I am entering the arena of speculation.
    * Gaia would certainly try to keep the other pantheons from getting involved. No sense allowing Coyote or China or Ra to disrupt the Fimbulwinter before it kills off a lot more humans. I doubt Gaia or her sons are great diplomats, but it probably has some small effect. Then again Gaia is sly enough to make a surprise deal with Loki and obviously uses sex to influence other gods. She might be surprisingly effective in her personal diplomacy. The gods are often shown to be not that wise — or even downright petty/small minded/selfish. It stands to reason that many could be successfully influenced “enough” by Gaia to make a difference.

    * There are a lot of other potential soldiers out there for Gaia to leverage. The sleeping soldiers are dead, but the goblins/trolls/hags are still a serious force and there are a lot of her neanderthal followers in their hidden world that were not sleepers. If she is willing to empty this world, she can still send armies of hundreds of thousands of fresh troops. This would be dangerous as it weakens her home base’s defenses significantly, but she can do it.

    * Gaia’s best outcome is not actually Loki’s victory. Instead it is the death of all the Aesir — Odin and Loki’s side. After all, all the Aesir killed most of her former friends/pantheon members. And if too few Aesir survive, nobody would have the power to reverse the fimbulwinter. So I would look to see her sabatoge Loki’s side if it looks like he is winning too easily.

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  20. How will Loki stop the Fimbulwinter?

    What exactly did the Fimbulwinter do? We get a few hints.
    * Obviously weather magic is being used to drastically cool the earth.
    * Ice Ages are somewhat self reinforcing. Ice and snow reflect more heat than earth/vegetation would. Large ice packs block the sea from absorbing as much heat (and releasing it later).
    * Hecate indicated that ocean currents might be shifting. This normally would not trigger an ice age or lengthen it, but a change in current could certainly make Northern Europe a lot colder. [Europe today benefits from a warm current from the south that makes England/Scandinavian warmer than it otherwise would be]

    So Loki reversing this would involve some measure of
    1) weather magic to make things warmer
    2) volcanic action to do some global warming
    3) presumably whoever shifted the currents can switch them back… Not sure who did this to be honest as the sea is not Loki’s domain.

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    1. Why would he stop it? Seriously, he has already pissed off some. But he got the support of the Winter Fairies. He would lose that again.
      Another glaciation is inevitable anyway in the long run. It is quite possible that the gods are prepared for it and canceling it now after the damage is mostly already done is not planned for.

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      1. Once he wins the war, It is in Loki’s interests to reverse the winter. It is a war tactic. Once you win, you want the benefits of the territory.

        Inevitable maybe, but a hundred thousand years is a LONG time, even for a god.

        Like

      2. While some gods and goddesses might be well-prepared for Fimbulwinter and an Ice Age, not all are.

        Will they fight it, or just choose to adapt to the cycle as some may have done in past events like this?

        Like

  21. What are the weaknesses of Gaia’s army. After all, it is a theocracy dominated completely by a goddess that nobody describes as very smart. Gaia’s dictates block a lot of activity that humans can engage in freely. Her creatures lack the spark of invention that humans have.

    First the strengths. These creatures are naturally strong, breed often, totally devoted to Gaia and mostly obedient. They have access to blood magic. They have weapons and armor that they make from hide, bone, wood and stone that are well made.

    So what are their weaknesses
    1) Their organization is fairly primitive. We saw this in the armies where they could not respond quickly to unforeseen events. Great small unit tactics, very limited larger unit tactics.
    2) No metalwork – which means their tools (except for blood armor) are inferior to that of humans.
    3) No fire – which really begs the question on how they are surviving in fimbulwinter. I get they have thick furry hides, but they are not walruses after all with thick layers of blubber. They come from a tropical world, are basically constantly on the move in artic conditions (minimal shelter) and have no fire and despite anything related to fire magic. Why are not they not dying like flies? Even their blood weapons are alive – so why is the cold not “killing” them.
    4) their magic seems actually fairly limited. Lots of mages, but they use all the same handful of spells. Nowhere near the range of magic that the conclave has demonstrated.
    5) they are a command based society. Orders come from above and they obey. This should really limit thier ability to be adaptive or even recognize and correct tactical mistakes.
    6) They loyalty is based off faith. Shatter that faith and their loyalty will shatter as well.
    7) They are really hard on any allies. Very superior, very confrontational.

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    1. Dspring, I’d like to address the potentially worst weakness of Gaia’s quasi-Neanderthal army, its poor defenses against cold, REALLY cold, and Fimbulwinter.

      Frankly, I’m with you: why are these prehistoric monsters NOT dribbling frostbitten body parts wherever they go?

      I have one answer that makes sense to me — magic warmth spells and enchanted objects like boots, cloaks, etc.

      If Daniel’s warmth cloaks are powered by ambient magic, so too can be the putative Andregi magic warmth items.

      Of course, that leads me to wonder just how much ambient mana is available on Midgard?

      When Gaia had five forces of something like ten thousand or more Andregi in each force all camped out near Kozalin, how much of the ambient mana did they absorb with all their various warmth spells and enchanted objects?

      That seems like something the Conclave wizards ought to have been complaining about, yet we did not see them do so.

      Maybe there are no Andregi warmth spells and something else keeps them from freezing their bits off?

      Maybe there is a LOT of ambient mana on Midgard and they are all comfy as toast in their Conan skimpies?

      Inquiring minds want to know!

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      1. My guess is blood magic. They tend to specialize in blood magic from what I’ve read so far. Each one of them is filled with blood. It’s already been stated in the books that they use their own blood in their magic. There’s no reason they cannot enchant their own blood to keep them warm. It also means the more enemies they kill the more strength and magic they get for their blood magic. So it’s an incentive for them to hunt down and kill more humans or anything remotely resembling a human they come across.

        “Is that an elf or human I don’t know.” “Kill it anyways.”

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      2. Yeah…but then how does the entire army travel from Point A to Point B when there are only a few sniveling prisoners to sacrifice for warming up thousands of Andregi?

        I’m still seeing a trail of frostbitten body parts, there.

        Whatever the solution is, it has to work for the whole army, while it is on the march, before any enemies are encountered.

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      3. It depends on several factors.

        1. How efficient is the warm enchantment they’re placing into their blood?
        2. How long does that enchantment last?
        3. After the enchantment in their blood is created does it continue to function off of the Manna in the surrounding area?
        4. Does the enchantment actually require human blood?

        Number four is the one I think which is most relevant. I don’t think their enchantments or blood magic actually requires human blood. Or at least nothing I’ve seen in the books so far hint that that is a strict requirement. These ape-men seem to be primarily carnivorous. Maybe every meal for the Army is also a sacrifice to keep them warm?

        I once read a story where a little Goblin made a very telling argument. “The alter cares not from which the blood flows. Only that it flows.”

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      4. Gaia has plenty of mana, and could probably keep all her children warm easily enough. Possibly all those enchanted bangles they wear contain mana batteries which she charged up before they left Skogheim.

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      5. Good point, DaShoota. Human blood might not be required. Of course, they still have to obtain the blood rather quickly, for each Andregi, on a several days long march.

        I suppose it could be like their weapons and armor. Maybe they bleed themselves to initiate their magic warmth spells.

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      6. “Whatever the solution is, it has to work for the whole army, while it is on the march, before any enemies are encountered.”

        Frost resistance likely. You can use magic to not change temperature but to make temperature not matter. Daniel’s Fire sucks, so he can do only resistance against fire. But Cerise has resistance to frost among her features.

        As to the fuel living beings have some natural magic. The may power it with calories taken in by food or indeeed by prayer.

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      7. Prayer is interesting as a power source for the faithful. It has been made clear that the Gods don’t need it as a power source. However I don’t think most Gods would allow the power from it to go to waste. Also I don’t see many Gods allowing their own power to be siphoned off to be used by their followers? I get the impression that most priests and priestesses of whatever Gods or Pantheon’s there are are using the power generated by the prayer of the faithful instead of the power of the God. Maybe it’s being filtered through the God to give it a bit of a Divine twist? Maybe it’s being placed into some divine power source for the priests and priestesses to tap into? As well as the fact that just because you don’t need something doesn’t mean you don’t want something or have the ability to utilize it when you just happen to need it.

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      8. I like your thinking about the power of prayer, DaShoota.

        How about something like this:

        Priests and priestesses receive instructions and knowledge from their gods/goddesses.

        Part of that received information could be divine spells, incantations and other magic, that can be powered by prayer.

        We know small groups of witches or wizards can combine their mana efficiently to create magical effects or objects.

        Maybe we can also have a large group of faithful combine the power of their prayers efficiently, or inefficiently, under the direction of priests or priestesses, to create divine magical effects or objects.

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      9. Have to admit that none of the suggestions are compelling.
        * Heat is an aspect of fire magic and we already know they do not do that
        * Frost resistance is a real possibility, but it still takes energy. Given the size and scope of the armies — a lot of energy. Enough to strain multiple gods or an ocean of blood magic. And given where they live, the troops would not have natural frost resistance.
        * Some form of magic devices, but again the scale seems a problem. Gaia has been building armies for over a thousand years, but the alliance with Loki is a few decades old. Not a lot of time to create an enormous number of new magic items when your entire species lacks the spark of creativity — and thus learns new skills only with great difficulty.
        * Maybe Loki’s team provides this magic — but Loki has not been loose long and his family is probably watched. No way they could have built up some huge magical reserve of heat devices without alerting Odin.

        The most likely solution is some kind of heat gourd or fungi or something like that. Gaia likes living magic after all. Or perhaps some huge enchantment of all the sleepers to physically make them cold resistant. But both seem like solutions that would take a lot of careful preparation to put into place — and Gaia is not the careful preparation type of goddess and her sons seem equally impulsive.

        The only thing that is clear is that there must be some solution as the armies of Gaia (all the armies) should have died off a long time ago from the cold.

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    2. Here is another related thought about fimbulwinter and the armies of Gaia. Well more of a theory.

      I will start with the conclusion: Gaia’s armies that are already on “earth” are already dying and will probably die off completely within a few weeks unless withdrawn.

      Logic
      * Fimbulwinter is deathly cold
      * Gaia’s troops come from a tropical world
      * Gaia is opposed to anything “fire” like. I am assuming that she is able to provide some protection against the cold, but it has to be limited. My guess is that protection is primarily allowing her troops to shelter in her vast caverns and tunnels beneath the earth that we saw in Elimination.
      * Gaia’s entire strategy is to feed and endless stream of disposable armies – each with only enough food and supplies to fight a few weeks.
      * Gaia entire strategy was to prepare slowly over centuries, but her alliance with Loki is only ~30 years old. So it is highly unlikely that Gaia was able to build up huge reserves of cold protection magic or equipment or supplies to support a changed plan
      * Brand indicated that her dinosaurs will die soon, but not soon enough to help.

      Gaia can probably stretch things out a bit, but realistically her armies are on a death watch unless she pulls them back underground or to the home world. She also probably lacks the logistics infrastructure to feed them easily in the field.

      From a practical basis, this may not change too much. Her armies will attack from the earth, kill a bunch and then withdraw under the earth again. However this strategy requires a lot more god intervention (earth portals, etc) and there are a lot fewer troops to play with – so I am expecting the onslaught of armies to scale way back.

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      1. Logistics are certainly an issue, though perhaps not as pressing a one as you imagine. The dinosaurs will be edible, and I doubt the Andregi will scruple against eating Humans. As long as they can keep killing, they can keep eating.

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      2. For that matter, what’s to keep Gaia from sending an army to Brazil or Equatorial Africa, where there could be warmer temperatures and more food? Sieze a territory and eat it down to the dirt, then move on and do it again.

        They might even become stronger this way, before marching back to Kozalin or through Athens, if the demons from Italy have left anything to eat, there.

        I wonder how fast they spread out from Naples.

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      3. Agree with most of what you say about Gaia’s army/armies, Dspring, however:

        1) There’s every reason to believe her troops can march along the ‘hidden ways’ over and under ground, enabling them to pop up anywhere in Eurasia, maybe even North America and Africa if the straits at Gibraltar and the Bering Strait can be crossed this way. Of course, Africa could be entered through the Middle East, across Ra’s territory….

        I wonder if Australia and New Zealand are immune to this sort of invasion. Maybe?

        2) There’s every reason to believe Gaia will use Her version of portals wherever and whenever She can. That seems to be limited to instances of enormous, worlds-spanning magic trees that She must have invested some time and power to create, so I don’t expect to see many more of them.

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      4. Gaia’s portals take power- and attention – to create. I certainly agree that Gaia will make this a priority, but the fighting on the fields of Asgard has to be pulling away a fair bit of her attention.

        I think what it will mean in practice is — as Colin stated – that the focus of fighting will shift to southern Europe and the other warmer regions of the Aesir dominions. Also think the pace of fighting will be a lot slower both from less attention – and a lot less armies to play with.

        That might be a very good reason why nobody has attacked Daniel’s city while he has been gone. The other reason – of course – is that the city has destroyed multiple huge armies. That tends to discourage ideas to attack again – especially when you are no longer getting endless replacements.

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      5. What I really want to know is whether there ARE ‘warmer regions’ during Fimbulwinter.

        I’m assuming the equatorial regions may not be knee deep in snow and ice, but that is only an assumption.

        Fimbulwinter might really mean howling blizzards from north pole to equator to south pole.

        Hecate and Daniel seem to be agreed that an ice age will follow Fimbulwinter, so we can imagine with some assurance that the equatorial regions will eventually be warmer and relatively free from snow and ice during the growing season.

        Don’t forget, even today on our Earth, Israel occasionally has snow in winter.

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      6. There are many warmer regions. Egypt is having bumper crops of grain – so obviously conditions in the lower med are quite temperate. I suspect Italy is also fine, as is the middle east, india, or similar reasons.

        If we assume the ocean currents have not moved, you can also assume that all the regions along the Atlantic coast in Europe are probably much warmer (aka – cold but not arctic). The warm current does not go past the region Daniel lives, so those regions should be warmer.

        To give some perspective, per Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Maximum), at its greatest extent, the last major ice age covered 25% of the land surface with year round ice. Ice covered Europe as far south as Southern Hungry. Ireland was covered in ice. As far south as Cardiff in England. It took 10,000 years for the ice to expand that far.

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      7. The real issue is whether or not the close to or full on tropical areas practice agricultural methods that will not deplete the soil. In our world most areas of the Middle East never developed crop rotation or the habit of allowing areas to go fallow to restore the land. Some of the countries such as Egypt did not need that because every year the land would be renewed by the River Nile. Essentially washing away and laying down new topsoil. Other parts of those areas simply did not get into the practice of doing it until after World War II when in many nations they were essentially forced to by their governments. Many of the areas there today still do not practice renewable agricultural techniques.

        One of the highlights about visiting Israel as that you can take an airplane and actually see the Border because Israel’s area is green and fertile while the surrounding area is depleted and baron. There is actually a physical line in the soil that you can see from an airplane caused by one side being fertile and the other not.

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      8. Sorry if my statement upset you. I went there month before last took a plane ride noticed that exact thing and asked what it was they explained it to me. I looked into it found out they told the truth.

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      9. Hi, DaShoota.

        Not upset at all by the mental image of a green Israel surrounded by brown neighbor territories.

        That will now be the way I visualize the Middle East, until some new observation changes this.

        Were you aware that Israel is in the process of marketing shale oil and gas extracted from under the Eastern Mediterranean? They made similar explorations under the Golan, but chose to spend their development efforts and money undersea.

        There is a network of undersea pipelines taking shape between the offshore drilling region and Greece, where I’ve read the system will go ashore and begin delivering fuels to Europe. Cyprus seems to be involved in all this as well, with the Israeli petroleum companies developing more production under contract in Cypriot waters.

        Once again, the undersea territory of Israel’s next door neighbors remains…undeveloped.

        I suspect it won’t be long before less costly, locally produced fertilizers will enhance Israel’s green landscape, and more available, more robust local financing will also have a verdant effect.

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      10. I haven’t heard anything about it but I’m not surprised.

        During my research I found that during the Classical period the Middle East was vastly different from the mostly desert area it is now. It looked more like a cross between southern Europe and southeast United States. Forested with fertile Plains and valley areas.

        Turns out a lot of those ancient stories about marching across Fields, forested areas, swamps Etc were more descriptive than anything else.

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      11. Dspring, remember the overnight conversation between Daniel and Hecate when he was dropping hot rocks into the river. She told Daniel the ocean currents HAD shifted and that was why he asserted there would be an ice age.

        I’m not at all confident the coasts of Europe are warm. They are probably less cold, due to the near proximity of the ocean, but snow and ice might still be heavy, due to all that moist wind and weather. Furthermore, these sorts of incredibly fast changes in the ocean currents are not normal, not even ice age normal. Whatever Fimbulwinter effect has caused global currents to change almost overnight certainly has other equally sudden global climate impacts.

        Consequently, we really don’t know how much or how little of the globe is directly impacted by Fimbulwinter.

        We do know that Fimbulwinter turned Russia and Siberia into even more of a howling winter wilderness than normal, causing Russian magic users to flee and seek sanctuary with the Conclave.

        We also know that the hidden Nethwillin habitat in Mongolia has become uninhabitable due to ice, snow and creatures of the deep, deep cold, just like the habitat in Scandinavia did.

        That distance from Scandinavia to Mongolia is half the northern hemisphere, so I expect Fimbulwinter is also impacting North America. Coyote ought to be divinely pissed off at Gaia and Loki for that, maybe Odin, too, for letting this Asgardian civil war spin so wildly out of control.

        Colin

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      12. My original point was to describe what a bad ice age would look like in Europe – a worst case scenario if you like. And that pretty much means half of Europe is under year round ice and the other half is not. And while Ice ages freeze the north, they like make the Southern Med bloom with increased rainfall, more temperate weather.

        * I agree with you that the Fimbulwinter is moving faster than a normal ice age.
        * I agree with you that such a rapid change in climate is very disruptive to ecology and farming of all sorts.
        * I agree with you that farming techniques are climate specific and what works pre-fimbulwinter may not work well with the new climate Fimbulwinter creates, even if the changes are locally beneficial. Although it is fair to point out that we know nothing of how farming is conducted in this world other than the fact that Egypt is producing massive surpluses of grain right now. This world is not the middle ages after all.
        * I agree that basically any inland areas of Eurasia are going to be a frozen icebox – Siberia and Mongolia are actually pretty far north and cold anyway.
        * If the ocean current around Europe changed, then likely the western Europe parts (France, England) will be more covered in ice as far south as Hungary along with the inland parts.

        Disagreements
        * The ice only goes so far south. south asia, Middle East, Africa, central america –> those regions were never covered in ice even in the worst ice ages.
        * Daniel was explaining he understand climate change and ocean currents was an example. Hecate clearly confirmed that permanent changes were being made, but did not specifically confirm ocean currents changed. I agree with you that it makes sense given the focus on Europe – but it is not a confirmed fact.
        * Ocean current changes do not create ice ages or make the world colder. They SHIFT temperature. So if the current shifts from a tropical to arctic current off Europe, then Europe will get a lot colder. But the current is is a big circle, so the corollary is that Eastern Americas get warmer. Which given Fimbulwinter is cooling the entire planet simply means that it gets “less cold” than it otherwise would and that any areas of permanent ice would be farther north than they would be without a tropical current. Again that supports the argument that Loki would change the currents off Europe if he could as it both hammers his enemies and reduces the negative impact on Coyote’s people and is thus less likely to create more allies for Odin.

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      13. Dspring, I tend to think of Fimbulwinter and the ice age as two related but separate and distinctly DIFFERENT events.

        We don’t know the extent of Fimbulwinter. It might have created ‘snowball Earth’ which would be incredibly stupid of Loki, but maybe he gets fantastic benefits from alliances we don’t know much about, like the Ice Giants.

        Or, Fimbulwinter might be limited to northern Eurasia, which would match what we know about Clan Nethwillin’s troubles, but, again, seems like a stupid move for Loki as it probably pisses off the Chinese and Japanese pantheons. Maybe. Maybe not. Is there a Chinese Imperial ice dragon population?

        Regardless of the various and variously annoyed deities, Fimbulwinter seems to be magical or divine in origin and provenance. There are ALSO physical effects, like intense cold, accumulations of ice and snow, frost spirit invasions and others. Some of these, like the ice and snow accumulations, will have short-term effects AFTER the end of Fimbulwinter. All that snow and ice will take time to melt, especially given the OTHER consequence of Fimbulwinter, LONG term impacts like the ice age.

        A lot of that ice and snow won’t melt for about a hundred thousand years.

        I don’t agree that deep ocean currents changes can be limited to specific regions of the planet. That’s more magic, not natural physical effects. I’m arguing that the PHYSICAL consequences of Fimbulwinter are significantly more severe than the Younger Dryas Event, and consequently have a longer lasting impact on GLOBAL climate, resulting in the ice age Daniel and Hecate discussed during events in BLACK COVEN.

        As for Daniel and Hecate’s conversation about Fimbulwinter and the ice age, I’d say She is rather firm about the ice age being a WORLD event.

        “I don’t think Loki can reverse the Fimbulwinter,” she went on. “The magic he called on could be sealed again if he dies, but that won’t undo the changes that have already been made. The sea and air flow differently now, and they’re settling into a pattern that will be difficult to change before it runs its course.”

        When She says, “The sea and air flow differently now,” I see that as a global statement. She’s not specifying the North Sea or the North Atlantic. She’s talking about ‘the sea’ as in ALL of it. Ditto for the air.

        For me, Hecate is declaring here there will be a global ice age.

        I’d also like to point out that Midgard has had NO industrial revolution and no other significant anthropogenic global climate change event that would release excess amounts of carbon dioxide to warm the environment. If you believe in anthropogenic climate change and global warming, Midgard would have to be considered a baseline example where climate events take their ‘normal’ course without humans burning up all the carbon compounds, which might very well mean there would have been an ice age anyhow, even WITHOUT a Fimbulwinter.

        Of course, fading into that natural ice age probably would have taken decades, not weeks or months.

        Divine climate change sucks.

        Colin

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      14. We also have to keep in mind that we’re not actually dealing with one world here. Those frost giants came from another world. A statement was already made by the elves that there are creatures on that world which find such cold climates as are being generated now on midgard to be rather comfortable. Humans are an adaptable species. If they can find livestock and new types of crops which can grow and possibly thrive during an ice age they could do quite well. Ultimately that’s what it comes down to will they be able to find new sources of food. Will they be able to survive the new invasive species that will be coming. What crops and livestock do the frost Giants have? That could be a very significant part of Loki’s plan that nobody’s thinking about. There is an entire biosphere that thrives in such cold climates in these stories that nobody’s thinking about.

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      15. Totally agree with you about the ‘cold biosphere’ you suggest might happen, DaShoota.

        Daniel’s plans for his peoples’ future could probably adapt well to that.

        Keep in mind also that in Hecate’s conversation about the end of the previous ice age She commented, “I was a young woman when the Winter Court was driven into shadow by the return of summer…”

        I’ve wondered ever since what was Her connection with the Winter Court, twenty thousand years ago and more.

        Given what we learned about the Winter Court’s fighting skills and combat magic in THRALL, it’s easy to imagine they have the ability and will to survive an ice age or two.

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      16. “For that matter, what’s to keep Gaia from sending an army to Brazil or Equatorial Africa, where there could be warmer temperatures and more food?”

        Politics. If show wants everybody who owns fertile territories to unite against her that is exactly what show should do.

        “I wonder how fast they spread out from Naples.”

        If they do spread. A devourer may very well have a range limit on how far apart its parts can get.

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      17. Oliver, if Gaia is truly determined to eliminate ALL humans, She will eventually piss off the deities of every nook-and-cranny human group on the planet, and maybe even every human-derived species.

        Elves, remember, are derived from humans, per Alanna.

        Lucky for them they can retreat to other worlds and other dimensions.

        Of course, there’s no need to fight ALL the gods at once, unless Gaia is truly non-sane.

        Which She might be….

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      18. I don’t doubt she is, but unless she has suicidical plans she won’t go for all humans, even her allies need their humans ancors, maybe she will be satisfied with eliminating all the humans that belong to the Aesir Gods??

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      19. Gaia’s allies don’t need Their human anchors to exist.

        They need the human anchors to RETURN after making a fatally stupid mistake…like opposing Gaia and LOSING.

        A god or goddess with no surviving human anchors is not a dead god or goddess. He or She is a very, very CAREFUL god or goddess.

        Like Hecate, only more so.

        What would you think makes Gaia happier, a pantheon of dead gods and goddesses or a pantheon of instantly obedient gods and goddesses – obedient to Her?

        Liked by 1 person

      20. Neither she nor Loki need to openly invade those areas. They only need to temporarily support the enemies of whatever Pantheon is in charge there.

        1. Free imprisoned deities.
        2. Provide better weapons to disenfranchised natives.
        3. Open portals or gates to monster Realms in that part of the world.
        4. Secretly drop something that spawns monsters or demons like a devour in that location in a hidden area.

        The Olympian Pantheon was still around an example of 1 would be freeing Typhon and Prometheus.
        An example of 2 would be providing the Pygmalion and the Sankauai of Africa better weapons and Magic. Provided human racial Evolution follows the same pattern on Midgard that it does on our world.
        An example of 3 I think is already highlighted in the books. It seems Gia opened portals to Tartarus through paths in the Earth.
        The example for number 4 is almost self-explanatory. Essentially using a Devourer liked a bio-weapon.

        And so it looks like Daniels story is heading towards World War G. Or maybe World War P for Pantheon?

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      21. That seems like a reasonable strategy, DaShoota.

        Of course, we don’t yet have have proof Gaia is reasonable….

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  22. Wow. You guys are still going at it. I don’t even think anyone knows you guys are here anymoree, only hardcore fans.

    Did Mr Brown give up on writing? The blog is completely dead.

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    1. He keeps publishing new chapters of the next Alice Long book and various new ideas. It looks like the next Alice Long book will be huge.

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      1. He hasn’t even made a mention of Daniel then?
        Maybe he is burnt out on Daniel Black, and just wants a rest from it?

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      2. Or, maybe Daniel is such a fascinating distraction that the author must complete his other book(s) before diving back into Midgard?

        Worse for us, but better for him, maybe he has begun a third series we don’t know about yet.

        Eek!

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      3. One huge book or, has he maybe trapped himself by splitting it into two books?

        Sometimes, when an author writes a huge book that must be split, both must be completed before the first can be published, because there are too many tight linkages between them.

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      4. [b]@Colin[/b] splitting a book is never a good idea. Look what happened with Dresden Files peace talks. That book and battlegrounds was split, so the first one is nothing but fillers and cliffhangers.

        [b]@Oliver[/b] Not really a Alice fan. I got burnt out on scifi a few years ago. It just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Alice looks like she will rebuild an empire, with hypertech (from book one). The literal 3d printers were nice, but you need materials to operate.
        I just love how Daniel started with literally nothing, not even with clothes on his back, and he build a little kingdom. He can build anything, the only thing he needs is time. He doesn’t have to scour the countryside for materials or mine for metals. Once he can think of it, he just needs time to get it to work.

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      5. …and I’m totally bummed, Kervyn, that I find so few writers have picked up on that story approach Brown uses in the Daniel Black series. It makes waiting for the next book even more frustrating.

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      6. @Colin some authors tried it, but it was a quick cash grab. They rushed things and made their protagonist either come off as cartoonish or a Gary Stu. OR they make the protagonist behave strange which makes them come off as cringe. Daniel has a good background, education wise, so he could do a lot of things these other protagonist can’t.
        I also feel that the authors don’t have a good enough imagination, to come up with the magical implements Daniel did. They don’t put the work in to research how physical things work, so they can make a magical version of it. Brown spends a lot of time researching. I guess we aren’t getting the next Daniel Black before 2023 (if I’m still alive).

        Like

      7. Just a guess but I think it will be late 2021 or early 2022 when the next book comes out.

        Luckily some of my favorite authors are putting out books again. Jim Butcher and David Weber. Oddly enough David Weber is making a part two to what I thought was a One-Shot. “Out Of The Dark” Both authors are also allowing the books to go to audible simultaneously as the published book goes to shelves.

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      8. @DaShoota He was supposed to release Alice Long book 2 last December, and hasn’t said a word on it since last February. I don’t think Alice Long 2 is coming out 2020. It will be 2021.
        So my estimate of 2023 for the next Daniel Black book is more substantial.

        Like

      9. Maybe?
        Going back and reviewing many of his post and correlating that with what he actually does put out makes me think that he’s one of those authors that has several stories running at a time. Also that he tends to get tired of one story and jump to another as the inspiration hits him. He works on that story for a while then when he gets inspired either by the story he’s currently working on or buy something else jumps to another story he is doing. One of the reasons I think it seems like several of his books come out back to back or several books in his different series he puts out is released simultaneously.

        However that’s just my little Theory.

        Like

      10. He does indeed seem to have several projects going. Aside from Alice Long he has two other projects which seem to have some work put into them and he has posted an alternate Daniel Black (sort of parody) with an usual change in his power set.

        I guess in these times you have to cut people and authors some slack if their minds do wander. We are living in unusual times.

        Like

      11. The author has two ‘other projects’ as in two completely different stories, unrelated to Daniel Black OR Alice Long?

        I could easily believe that.

        The authors I know have wandered from one writing project to the next until their muse grabbed one and stuck with it for a while.

        Like

      12. Have to admit, I’m looking forward to seeing new stories from the author, almost as much as I’m looking forward to seeing the next installment of the Daniel Brown story.

        Like

      13. I think the author has reached a point that he’s stuck on. He’s at a point where he needs to stretch out the period between the start of a potential World War and the point at which it actually becomes a World War. That way he can give Daniel black enough time to grow and develop in. I think he realizes that events within his story is moving too fast. He needs to find a way to put slower-paced development and perhaps even Side Stories into the series. That’s a hard thing to do for an author that seems to thrive in the fast-paced action series. We have to remember in our own history it actually took several years between the point at which World War 1 and World War II started and the point at which they became actual full-blown world wars. So far in the Daniel black story there’s only been a few months.

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      14. “I think the author has reached a point that he’s stuck on. He’s at a point where he needs to stretch out the period between the start of a potential World War and the point at which it actually becomes a World War.”

        I suppose he could always make a book about Hecate sending Daniel on a mission to retieve or free an ally. The question is whether that would be satisfying.

        The gods are slow. <>
        I think your diagnosis is eventually absolutely correct, ut the time frame is greatly exaggerated.

        Like

      15. Everybody assumed that Loki would take generations to prepare his forces. So it is possible that WW3 is coming inevitably, but not soon.

        Like

  23. Ok I am going to speculate here. The next book will see one of two Daniel strategies

    1) Daniel will keep trying to pretend he is dead and will be doing Hecate’s bidding while actively trying to disguise himself and his magic

    2) Daniel is fine showing he is alive and ready to kick ass with his new upgraded powers.

    Option 1 will require a physical disguise. Daniel has already admitted that he cannot change his face back if he alters it — except by memory which he has no confidence in. That problem could be fixed with some mind magic, but more likely it means Daniel has to fight in “other bodies” or have a physical shroud of some sort like full plate mail. I cannot see Daniel risking “loosing” his original shape (aka – features, etc) without very good cause. If full plate mail, he probably needs to make an extra effort to otherwise disguise himself as he has already gone the full plate mail route.

    Option 2 does not require disguise, but is the less likely prospect as it puts a target on his coven without him being there to defend them. It also would publicly out him (sooner or later) as Hecate’s champion. But the plus side is that he can bring out a LOT of firepower and build his golem/personal body armor/war machine he hinted at earlier. If he goes option 2, then he will first visit his keep for a day or three to fool around and prep some equipment.

    If I had to bet money, I would go with option 1. But as I have a poor record of predicting this author, I would not bet a lot of money on it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would also argue that the missions will be different based on option 1 vs 2. Option 1 missions would involve more stealth, deception, and targeted use of magic. Option 2 missions would mostly involve open alliance building and massive destruction.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely agree Daniel will attempt more alliance building and massive destruction capability enhancement, and not only for himself.

        1) He will provide Hecate with both power supplies and powerful weapons, as well as other implements.

        2) He will provide Avilla, Cerise, Elin, Tina, Sefwin, Pelagia, Demetrios, Alanna and many others with power supplies and powerful weapons, as well as other implements. We’ve already seen him start this with Avilla in THRALL and the rest of his coven in EXTERMINATION.

        3) He will provide Captain Rain, the Wolfen, Clan Nethwillin, the Groves and other allies with power supplies and powerful weapons, as well as other implements. He’s already started this with the Groves and Clan Nethwillin.

        4) He will commence building a golem combat force with heavy ground units, lighter screening units, flying scout units and a variety of specialist units for bombardment, strategic deliveries, cargo/personnel transport, etc.

        5) He will initiate at least one new capability that gives him access to the oceans or space or both.

        6) Some sort of humor unit, like helping Avilla create deadly gingerbread ninja.

        The first three are virtually a given, since they follow so closely what has happened in the first four books.

        The fourth is based entirely on what WE want to see, after enjoying Sunspark in THRALL. Note, however, that we really need to see some sort of capable, competent independence driving these powerful war golems. Maybe not quite as intelligent as Avilla, but definitely more intelligent than the average gingerbread ninja.

        The fifth is based on the progression of transport magitech Daniel has developed, cumbersome gravboats in Book One, maneuverable and habitable ski-kats in Book Two, airships in Book Three and mind transfer teleportation in Book Four. Come to think of it, anti-grav flight also in Book Four — Sunspark again.

        The sixth is a bit of a gimme, but remember Tina elevated to near demigoddess in Book Two, Pelagia and the other ladies of her Groves in Book Three, Sefwin in Book Four. Then there are the Wolfen since part of the way through Book One.

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      2. Daniel’s face and modus operendi are becoming too familiar with too many gods, goddesses, priests, Dworks, Dark Elves, the Winter Court and other creatures. Hmm…probably the Summer Court, also.

        Who wants to bet there will be an emissary from the Summer Court to visit Castle Black as soon as the rumors of what Daniel did to several Winter Court fighters becomes known in elven circles? Titania will want to know more about Daniel and his coven.

        His stealth and deception operations have to involve less of Daniel’s person and more of his novel ideas.

        Like

      3. I think having other nations such as fairy or Elven Nations send emissaries to the island Fortress would be an opportunity for the author to create several smaller Side Stories involving other characters. I don’t know if the author will actually do this but I would like to see some of the other characters getting mentions in the Groves and in the Elven Clans having a few interactions and Adventures off by themselves.

        Like

    2. I have to agree with you, Dspring, on Option 1) being likely, if only because I don’t think the author has yet derived enough humor from Daniel’s current ‘disguise’….

      After all, Avilla, Cerise, Elin and Tina, as well as selected others like Pelagea and Sefwin, need the opportunity to giggle and guffaw at his ‘disguise’.

      Of course, then there will be their reaction to his new ‘combat capable’ carcass.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m actually interested in seeing whether or not the author remembers that Midgard’s environment is a little hostile to elves not just in the way of not having enough Ambien manna.

        If Daniel goes home in that Elvin body he should get a rather bad reaction from the sun’s energy burning down on him. After all there’s a reason the dark elves of his clan are “dark”.

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      2. Good point about Clan Nethwillin, DaShoota, but their forest and city cousins are different races, with different measures of elven melatonin. Remember, according to Alanna, elves are descended from humans, so I’m thinking the Svartalf are the odd ones, probably as a consequence of that very UV sun their high mana homeworld orbits.

        Of course, that raises the question, “Where are forest and city elves from?” I’d argue their sun must be very different.

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    3. I personally are more inclined to option two there was a mention that his first kid is already born, and if he takes too much time to appear before it, he would lose a deep connection with her, for what it has been shown of Daniel so far he does care a lot about his family so been there for his kid would be a priority, not to forget that he mentioned to Bast that he wouldn’t be raising her into a vengeance seeking war Goddess but a more understanding one, not that he won’t help her with her revenge if she so decides, but it won’t be a focus in his child rearing strategy. So given the importance of been a father I think he will go for option 2.

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    4. “The next book will see one of two Daniel strategies”

      The strategies are not mutual exclusive. They can be used subsequently.

      “Daniel has already admitted that he cannot change his face back if he alters it”

      OK, I and Daniel may be dense, but a Gypsum face mask as a mould? This looks solvable if he puts a team on it for a few days.

      “If full plate mail, he probably needs to make an extra effort to otherwise disguise himself”

      Living tissue on top of his own skin. Flesh magic has not been explored to its limits.

      I’d say strategy 1 to forge yet another alliance or save allies and then switch to number 2.

      Like

  24. Colin’s comments on gingerbread ninja got me thinking. How would the most powerful hearth witch in the world go to war or otherwise play a major power role?

    The ginderbread ninja option seems amusing, but not very effective.

    Simply cooking for Daniel’s keep and embedding a few protections that way also seems inadequate as a power role.

    So what are her strengths: Alchemy via cooking, protections for hearth and home, a wide network (presumably) of hearth witches in hiding around Europe.

    Some obvious things.

    If Daniel can create more essences, Avilla’s cooking alchemy could be used to empower armies with long lasting or permanent advantages. Troll strength/regeneration, fenris wolf mobility/predator instinct/enhanced stats, perhaps elven senses and affinity for magic, even giant size/strength/toughness. At the most extreme end, she can (maybe) create a substitute for the immortality apples. Creating a few more demigods is not a game changer, but creating a few hundred is. As would creating thousands of heavily augmented troops.

    Avilla can teleport within her kitchen. This is similar to how the dryads can move within their tree. We have seen that some dryads can move between multiple trees, perhaps Avilla can create a teleportation network between multiple Hecate worshiping witch’s kitchens – with each kitchen potentially in a different city. Even if very limited in how often/how much can be moved, that is POWERFUL. Perhaps she can even funnel power through this connection, empowering a lot of witches very quickly (and gaining a lot of suddenly much more powerful allies).

    I wonder if Avilla can create some type of defenses for the castle – something that boosts the defenders when they are attacked. Defending the hearth if you like. No sign of this up to this point, but it feels like something that her goddess might be able to empower her followers to do.

    Avilla is a hearth witch, but what exactly is a hearth. Could the whole keep be defined with as her hearth? Could a carefully designed ritual make the whole city be considered he hearth? If yes, what would that designation grant her (power wise) over the expanded dominion. Up to this point, Avilla has not be actively trying to expand the scope of her hearth, but that could change.

    Just some food for thought for the individual generally considered the 2nd weakest of the coven (after Tina) — she might not be that weak at all.

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    1. The whole keep could not be Avilla’s hearth, but it could certainly become her domain. However, she would have to work out exceptions for the domains of the Groves and Clan Nethwillin, as well as any new allies Hekate sends.

      As for boosting the defenders of Black Island, Avilla is surely capable of that through her food. She and Daniel ought to spend some quality time developing more elixirs and essences, especially any essence that would enable them to create golems with functional intelligence, even sentience. I really like the idea of Avilla helping Daniel to create hundreds or even thousands of very powerful warriors like the Wolfen, perhaps.

      Catgirls are also not out of the question. Give them some magic or other powers. Maybe Bast would help with that? Ra should suffer the death of a thousand cuts from sharp cat claws.

      Avilla might be able to communicate with hearth witches in other cities. That should enable her to teach them new things, learn new things from them and develop other networked advantages. On the other hand, it seems to me Gaia ought to be able to disrupt these communications through some application of Earth magic.

      Don’t forget that Avilla has her own magic, as well as the wealth of spells dating all the way back to Circe in that huge ‘recipe’ book of hers. Remember the ‘dustbuster’ spell she used to exterminate a dirt cloud demon? Give her enough mana and Avilla can instantiate some very powerful magic.

      Cerise is the one who should be thinking about how to empower allied witches in other cities. Of course, first she has to find some, preferably before they are dead.

      Don’t give up on the gingerbread ninjas, either. Does size make a difference? What dastardly destruction could Avilla accomplish with microscopic multitudes of ninjas? What devilish devastation could she inflict with a horde of gargantuan ninjas?

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      1. I thought Cerise was the last death witch – at least until she recently trained some more. So what allies would she find in other cities? I suppose you meant allies in general, but you called out Cerise specifically so wondered if you thought there were specific allies she would be better linking to.

        In any case, they are clearly forted up in the keep since Daniel was taken (per Thrall), so not sure how easily they could seek allies in other cities without teleportation magic.

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      2. Dspring, I’m assuming that just like the very young hearth witch Daniel and Cerise discovered in a fishing village, there are potential murder witches being born elsewhere, growing up and ignorantly revealing their talents, followed quickly by Asgard Church slavers taking them and impaling then burning them.

        That’s basically what would have happened with Cerise, except she had the advantage of training from an experienced murder witch, favor of Hekate, and rescue by Daniel.

        There won’t be much future opportunity for Cerise and/or Daniel to rescue any or many of these, but Hekate now has a place to direct them towards if She can convince them to flee…into a monster-infested Fimbulwinter.

        They’d probably survive better hiding in crypts and waiting for Daniel to rescue them, in his no-doubt voluminous spare time.

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      3. I think he just got the Goddess that Avilla worships mixed up with Hecate. Since Hecate is the Goddess the coven interacts with most. The Goddess Avilla worships mentioned that several of her Hearth witches are still out there hiding in the populace.

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      4. Nope, I’m just being too generous for Hekate in Her current situation. There’s time for Hestia to help Avilla raise more hearth witches from what is randomly available in Varmland and elsewhere, even when they are quite young.

        Hekate must be more selective. She needs priestesses and other followers who already have some maturity.

        Keep in mind that Cerise is currently training Beri to become a murder witch, and probably also several of the Clan Nethwillin magic users as well.

        Given how capable and powerful Clan Nethwillin is, their new Hekate worshippers are probably also training Cerise and Beri in some nasty Dark Elf combat and magic surprises.

        Colin

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      5. I’m interested in knowing how the worship of Hecate is going to change the Elven Clans.

        She seems to allow her worshippers a special ability that I haven’t seen any of the other deities display. Namely the ability to fight and take attributes from their opponents while sacrificing undesired attributes that they have themselves for more power.

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      6. Hekate knows more about magic, and possibly more about divine magic, than any other god or goddess we have seen this far in the stories.

        She is a Titan and she has been the Olympian goddess of magic since the end of the Titan pantheon.

        The special ability you describe is currently limited to Cerise. Beri might push herself to acquire it.

        I’m totally expecting Clan Nethwillin’s followers of Hekate to go for it and benefit tremendously. They would start with more combat skills, more power, more spells and more discipline than Cerise did. Of course, then she allied with Daniel and her opportunities to devour far more powerful creatures went through the roof.

        Hunh. I just realized we did not see what Cerise got from killing ungols in Lanrest.

        She probably dealt with that during the weeks the refugees traveled between Lanrest and Kozalin.

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      7. And don’t forget that massive ingestion of dragon features Cerise devoured when she and Daniel killed the undead dragon in the crypts under Kozalin’s main temple.

        Apparently, the critter does not have to be even recently alive for Cerise to absorb some of its abilities.

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      8. –I just realized we did not see what Cerise got from killing ungols in Lanrest.–

        My impression is that she has to use her Athames to steal power, and she was using Grinder when taking down the Ungols.

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      9. Totally agree with you, Jabrwok, about Cerise and her athames, however, I believe she does not need to kill a critter to absorb some of its abilities. Remember, she was using her knives at Lanrest before Daniel gave her Grinder.

        Then I handed her Grinder.
        “Try this instead.”
        Her eyes went wide. “Fuck yeah! Let’s see you assholes shrug off this baby.”
        She tossed one of her knives in the air, caught it with her prehensile tail, and took the offered weapon. Then she turned to rush the ungols.

        Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1)

        Looks like she was using both her athames AND Grinder at the same time, until she lost half her tail.

        Also, there’s a constant line of humor throughout the books pointing out how ‘messy’ Cerise is when she returns home from combat and somebody has to take her to the showers.

        I wonder if she absorbs some of her enemies’ abilities through their blood.

        She’s also been known to lick their blood off her athame.

        Colin

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      10. Death witches are not born – neither are hearth witches. They are the result of training – although I suspect many families have a tradition of witchery so there are cultural elements. So while it is true that there are many individuals who can be trained as a death witch, nobody is just going to “become” a death witch without being trained by another death witch (or Hecate herself).

        Now Cerise is clearly training death witches right now – and could send them out to other cities to establish new death witch covens, but these are pretty novice death witches right now. Cerise spent years training before she became a skilled death witch. A novice with only a month or two training is going to be very weak no matter how much raw talent they have.

        With Avilla, it is different. She was never the last hearth witch. There are hearth witches in hiding probably in every city and probably most towns and villages. Probably not a lot of them in any one place, but some. Not sure how many are highly skilled — but no doubt some are. You will notice that Hestia did NOT make Avilla a high priestess despite her power, which implies she already has a skilled High Priestess already in place. of course, if that High Priestess dies in the fimulwinter (not unlikely), then Avilla might be a good candidate for the position.

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      11. Good point, Dspring, about Avilla maybe becoming Hestia’s high priestess by attrition someday.

        As for new murder witches, we can’t assume Hecate is putting ALL her eggs in Daniel’s basket.

        She will be helping some child somewhere to find a way to the Dark Side….

        I must believe you are correct about that being unlikely to affect the current story line.

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      12. Sentience? Why would you want Ninja gingerbread soldiers that sit down in the middle of battle for a good cry. Why would you want Ninja gingerbread Minions that starts screaming and bawling when they stub their foot? I would rather have Sapient gingerbread minions. Intelligence is always better than emotions. Especially in a minion that will follow your orders to the best of their ability.

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      13. DaShoota, your definition of ‘sapient’ seems to me more like a highly functional automaton. That’s too limited in terms of independent thought for the powerful weapons I want Daniel to give them.

        I’m more inclined to accept the risk of a few weeping willows in order to develop something like a combination of Corina’s deadly dryads and a much better constructed Conclave golem, better yet a smart Sunspark flying golem plasma blast canon.

        Of course, I’d be just as happy to see a whole forest of deadly dryads, maybe fifty or a hundred years in the future.

        Imagine what Daniel, Pelagea and Demetrios can achieve if only they are allowed the time for Daniel to create the space for growing multiple LARGE groves of demigod-level dryads and forest spirits, each grove linked to multiple matter to mana power blocks.

        If Odin had time to worry about that, He would.

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      14. Again you are confusing emotionality with intelligence. Sentience does not mean intelligent. It means emotional and the ability to feel. To be intelligent is to be Sapient.

        I hate to use Star Trek which originally put to the public the confusion of sapience and sentience into the mainstream. But the best example of sapience over sentience that you can find is Data from Star Trek the Next Generation. An intelligent construct that does not have emotions. Though in the show he actually comes off as being very emotional at times. Concept the character was written as was to be a Sapient construct in search of sentience. Basically an intelligent being attempting to achieve and emotional state being. I would always prefer to have an army of little gingerbread Datas then I would an army of gingerbread crying Scream 2 year olds that can only emote. So far there is no indication that the gingerbread men in the earlier part of the series had emotions. The scenes in which they are depicted seems to indicate that they are controlled by some form of spirit or are simply extensions of the will of the witch controlling them.

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      15. Sentience is sometimes mistaken for having senses. But that is not the definition. The definition of sentience is the ability to feel. It is further defined as both emotions and physical Sensations.

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      16. So far the author has not made the mistake of confusing sentience and sapience. Personally I blame Star Trek for getting the two confused. It can be argued that a tree is sentient. It has an analog of a primitive reactionary system that informs it when it has been physically damaged. It moves away from anything that causes it physical damage over time. This same system informs it whenever it is being contacted or touching something that causes it anything good like sunlight which nourishes it. The plant will consequently move towards that. This is arguably a primitive reaction to pain and pleasure. Pain, pleasure, emotion the ability to experience these is called sentience. Intelligence, thought, for Thought, understanding, comprehension the ability to experience these is called sapiens. Or being Sapient.

        In Gene Roddenberry’s first writings he got the two confused. It carried on into every single series based on his work. And so since then it has propagated throughout Society but for some reason intelligence means to be emotional and feel things. You know sentient. No to be intelligent is to be Sapient. To think to comprehend to understand to contemplate to be able to exercise for thought. This is being sapient.

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      17. Okay, DaShoota, I see the distinction you appear to intend, and sapience is what I want in a flying armored golem armed with a plasma blast cannon. Obedience would also be good, but sometimes you really, really want that very powerful weapon to be used intelligently at a critical moment, even when that use is against orders.

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      18. Sometimes there’s something to be said for a strict machine like intelligent loyalty.

        The Golem responds. “I don’t care how many children the old lady has in her shoe it is the enemy and the shoe must burn.”

        Programming errors to be looked for.

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      19. With Daniel’s luck the very first batch of sentient gingerbread men will be like those cereal commercials with the little pieces of cereal fight a war to eat each other.

        Daniel comes out of Avillas kitchen and closes the door behind him shutting off massive chaotic noise. Cerise walks up to him. “What’s going on you look a little pale.” Daniel gives her a strained smile. ” I thought that was only those crazy squares?” Then Daniel says. “War is hell! Tiny frosting coated hell!”

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    2. First of all neither Avilla nor any other Hearth witch serves or worships Hecate. Second a hearth is defined in older cultures as the place where food is prepared and the family comes together in Unity. This means the kitchen and dining area. A hearth witch’s domain or Dominion extends to the entire living area of her home as well as possibly any surrounding properties. Which can be defined as being part of the home front yard, backyard such properties.

      I’m thinking she could prepare MREs. Maybe MREs that provide some form of Health boost or other enhancement. Also that idea about setting up a network of teleportation from one Hearth witches domain to another is something the author might want to stick in the book. It’s a good idea.

      Like

      1. Not disagreeing with you about the scope of a hearth in historical times and am 95% convinced that the limit on hearth magic you suggest are accurate.

        That 5% disagreement has to do with the nature of magic. Hearth is a cultural designation – and cultural designations change and evolve as cultures evolve. So if some societies saw the hearth as extending to the back yard, would hearth witches in that culture extend to the back yard. Not sure.

        Which opens up an interesting possibility. A sorcery is defined by the imagination of the individual receiving the sorcery. If they call it earth magic, its nature is based on what they believe earth magic might be. However, divine affinities seem to be structured as much around social conventions as anything else. Social conventions change. So can a god expand the power of their affinities through a public relations campaign? For example, a agricultural goddess expanding her scope to cover all plants, even wild ones? Or alternately, was Ra’s efforts to get Bast redefined as a cat goddess rather than a battle goddess something that actually limited her divine affinities for battle in some real way.

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      2. Dspring, I think you nailed it with Ra’s diminishment campaign against Bast. That suggests to me that you are correct, and a god or goddess can not only modify how their own followers see Them, but also influence how Others’ followers see Them, and NOT necessarily in a good way.

        Nasty, sneaky Ra!

        Like

      3. All very interesting questions. I think the best way we can solve them is simply to wait and allow the author to define them within the philosophy he is placing with in the series.

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  25. Classical elements of magic that we have just not yet seen in the book include the following:
    * Scrying (aka – magical seeing at a distance)
    * Necromancy
    * Polymorph (turn people into frogs….)
    * Mind Control
    * Transmutation (lead to gold….)
    * Glyphs type magic

    Any I missed?

    Any idea which is the next we will encounter – not necessarily used by Daniel

    Like

    1. Actually, we have seen, or seen references to several of these magics, Dspring.

      * Scrying (aka – magical seeing at a distance)
      ——Cerise mentions this in regards to the shields the coven raises around Castle Black. Granted, she’s disrupting scrying, but that does imply scrying happens.

      * Necromancy
      ——That’s kind of inherent to Hel’s undead armies, isn’t it? I mean, Her power over them is Divine rather than Arcane, but it’s still necromantic.

      * Polymorph (turn people into frogs….)
      ——Daniel does this when he turns Tina into a catgirl, gives Avilla the ability to create Wolfen, turns himself into a Svartalf, etc.

      * Mind Control
      ——Inherent in the enslavement methods of several different groups and the Bloody Archmage.

      * Transmutation (lead to gold….)
      ——Daniel does this inside his matter to mana amulet. I suspect he’s creating some antimatter or something like that. Even if that is NOT what he does, clearly, he could transmute massive elements into daughter elements.

      * Glyphs type magic
      ——I thought we had agreed Daniel was sometimes doing this with magic items like his matter to mana power blocks. He seems to ID the ‘sockets’ with a glyph or rune. In fact, I think of runes as glyphs. Do you?

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      1. Actually, I think I’m wrong on Mind Control. It seems to me I remember Daniel decided that is NOT mind control, but magically enforced contract law.

        Ick … as if lawyers aren’t empowered enough already!

        Like

      2. I saw glyph magic as magic triggered by glyphs (aka – the act of casting involves writing….), although I admit is fairly obscure. We did have references to mind magic, but really have not seen mind magic yet. Ditto with scrying.

        You have a point with necromancy, but that was divine magic. Even then, it happened “behind the scenes” We have not seen anyone other than a goddess animating, controlling or creating undead.

        Like

      3. We’ve actually seen a limited bit of battlefield scrying. Avilla did it, on the rooftop of the Asgardian church where Cerise was being held at the end of FIMBULWINTER
        .
        “Unlike my sorcery, Avilla’s witchcraft involved a bit of a ritual element. She pricked herself with a little paring knife, squeezed a few drops of the golden fluid she used for blood into a small wooden bowl she produced from somewhere, and sprinkled in a few pinches of crushed herbs while chanting under her breath. Then she dipped a sewing needle in the mixture, and threaded it with a hair plucked from her own head.

        “She held it up, and the needle swung as if magnetized to point at a spot not far from the altar.”

        Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1)

        I’d call that scrying, but suspect what you and I are both looking for is Avilla or somebody to pour more liquid into that bowl, chant a spell, and see a detailed image of someplace far away.

        Still, this is a good example of how scrying can happen quickly, somewhat conveniently, and be immediately useful.

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      4. Dspring, I think I see what you mean. There are several magic circles in the books, but their runes or glyphs, if any, are activated by incantation.

        It seems to me you are suggesting that it is also possible for the act of scribing a glyph to immediately instantiate a magical effect.

        I’ve seen that in other authors’ works. I must agree that we don’t see it in the Daniel Black books. He jumps right over that sort of magic, if it exists on Midgard, by leveraging his various sorceries to directly embed enchantments in objects.

        Then there’s this discussion group’s ongoing debate regarding runed spells or enchantments. It’s not specifically stated in the books whether Avilla and Cerise, or the Conclave mages, use any scribed runes in their magic works.

        Use of runes in magic seems implicit in the comments about Greek logic spawning wizardry, but as you observe, we have not yet seen evidence of that through Daniel’s eyes.

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      5. Clan Nethwillin mentions inscribing patterns (rune?) onto the airship to channel their magical energies to help protect and speed the vehicle along. Not sure if that’s what you’re discussing, but it seems relevant.

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      6. Thanks, Jabrwok, that is a solid reference to runes engraved on an enchanted object to implement and/or guide magic.

        “What’s involved in attuning to the airship?”

        “It would require landing,” he told me. “Then we’d need four hours or so to engrave runes on the outside of the hull to guide our magic, and use those guides to establish a weather ward. With that done we could reliably protect the airship from high winds, but visibility would still be a problem.”

        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        Not only that, but Tavrin uses the word ‘runes’ to describe whatever glyphs would be used. That might just be the author being lazy, or it might be Tavrin speaking Varmlandish for Daniel’s convenience, or it might actually be that Clan Nethwillin calls those symbols runes when speaking elvish to each other.

        Very useful reference.

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      7. Another classic “miss” is the scroll. Aka – a one use item that allows a mage to cast a spell they normally could not. To be honest, not expecting this one to appear as the entire rules of enchanting and casting as presented in the book really either prohibit or make unnecessary/excessively costly this item.

        I have also not seen astral travel. No “spirit of the mage leaves the body and goes exploring” type magic so far.

        One interesting magic we did see that I would like to see more is a mage binding the land. The dryads spoke of Daniel claiming the land when when they arrived at Black Keep, but really that type of magic was not mentioned since. It seems to have a lot of possibilities that would be great to explore.

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      8. We have not seen astral travel, but we have seen total mind travel when Daniel abandoned his original body for the curvy replacement body just before the Spire detonated.

        I agree with your comments about ‘magic scrolls’ but would not rule them out entirely. Maybe one of Ra’s Lightbringers will pull some dusty scrap of ancient magic like that?

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      9. * Polymorph (turn people into frogs….)

        I’d say that Elin turning into an orca pretty much is exactly that. Apparently Undines also know spells turning you into a mouse.

        * Transmutation (lead to gold….)

        If you can summon metals, this will become moot

        * Glyphs type magic

        That seems to me pretty much what Cerise did when she drew the circle for executing the ritual of coven formation

        “We have not seen astral travel, but we have seen total mind travel when Daniel abandoned his original body for the curvy replacement body just before the Spire detonated.”

        Isn’t that exactly what having a familiar spirit implies?

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      10. COLIN: “We have not seen astral travel, but we have seen total mind travel when Daniel abandoned his original body for the curvy replacement body just before the Spire detonated.”

        OLIVER: “Isn’t that exactly what having a familiar spirit implies?”

        Not sure what ‘familiar spirit’ implies in this context. Daniel used his understanding of Atlantean mind transfer magic to shift himself out of his soon to be atomized original body and into the temporary alternate female elf body, traveling between them over a connection provided by Alanna.

        How does that imply ‘familiar spirit’ except for the connection?

        On the other hand, I do remember another example that is more like ghosts than astral projection. Remember the discussion about undead murder witch spirits? Cerise expects undead ordinary warrior spirits to deteriorate quickly, as in days or weeks, but there is something more robust or more disciplined about the spirit of an undead murder witch. She expects them to last months, maybe a year, and hopes to recruit one or more of them if she can provide an acceptable temporary body.

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      11. The astral travel concept implies two concept the Danielverse divides:

        1 – a soul/spirit travels without a physical carrier. Daniel has used that

        2 – a wandering soul observes or even does things. Ghosts can spy. That is covered.

        What is missing is turning a corporal soul into a wandering soul and back. But that is circumvented if you have a link to a wandering soul. Daniel could see through Alana’s eyes and wiggling her toes. So a familiar spirit is even better than astral projection, as if something happens to the the spirit, you are not dead.

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      12. Ah! I agree, Oliver, that Daniel can see through Alanna’s eyes and wiggle her toes, or inhabit and control his flying war golem through the tiny piece of Alanna inside Sunspark.

        There’s another name in some books and games I’ve seen, for that type of magic. ‘Proxy’ is one example: “This item, always a painting, statue, or some other representation of some living creature, acts as an observation and communication device for its maker” Obviously, that idea lacks the remote control aspects Daniel receives from his familiar.

        Come to think of it, there’s another type of magic that provides this, and Daniel actually claims to use it during EXTERMINATION. Remember when he and Othvin conspired to prepare a cover story about controlling a bat? Of course, elves use controlled bats and birds and animals for reconnaissance, theft, and sabotage all the time.

        ‘Possession’ might also be similar to this, but I don’t remember it being mentioned in the Daniel Black stories. I could easily imagine it’s in there someplace, or will be in a future volume. A bit more like what Daniel is doing with mind transfer, but more temporary.

        So, yes, there ought to be quite a variety of ways to engage in ‘astral’ espionage, reconnaissance, theft, sabotage and other sneakiness on Midgard, some of it not on the astral plane at all.

        I’m almost surprised we have not yet seen this.

        Now I’ll be expecting Ra’s Lightbringers to send a shadow scarab into Castle Black to sneak a peek at Avilla’s recipe book.

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      13. “This item, always a painting, statue, or some other representation of some living creature, acts as an observation and communication device for its maker”

        A familiar spirit bound to an object would serve that purpose. But why would you bother?

        “Come to think of it, there’s another type of magic that provides this, and Daniel actually claims to use it during EXTERMINATION. Remember when he and Othvin conspired to prepare a cover story about controlling a bat?”

        With a shudder. Had he been called upon to demonstrate that, the mission would have failed then and there. Sloppy preparation.

        “‘Possession’ might also be similar to this, but I don’t remember it being mentioned in the Daniel Black stories.”

        Cerise and Elin mention it in the discussion about recruiting murder witches and Daniel vetoes the idea of Cerise making soulless bodies by banishing souls.

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      14. “This item, always a painting, statue, or some other representation of some living creature, acts as an observation and communication device for its maker”

        A familiar spirit bound to an object would serve that purpose. But why would you bother?

        Imagine stone gargoyles on the approaches and exteriors of Asgardian churches, with bound spirits of enemies of Odin locked inside them, perpetually serving as watchdogs for the priests of Odin.

        Expression of crushing, enslaving power is one reason for someone with the power to do it to bother.

        It needs a certain amount of arrogance or stupidity. This sort of magic item is like a signpost, “Magic practiced here.”

        Not the sort of thing a competent sneaky murder witch would use to guard her hidden cave home.

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      15. They must have a way to incorporate people in objects. Remember the demons in the copper pots in Lanrest’s temple. They are not going to keep a demon in its corporeal form in a pot for centuries. The mess would be incredible.

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      16. Yes, demons and djinn do seem to be some sort of special case for long term ‘storage’.

        I agree with you that long term corporeal storage appears ridiculous.

        On the other hand, demons and djinn seem to have access to a putative corporeal form immediately upon escape/release from containment.

        That form might actually be some sort of projection in the case of djinn, but the demons stored under the Asgardian temple in Lanrest seem to have been quite physical, even the dirt cloud in its own way.

        Hence, demon and djinn containers do not seem to be spirit traps, but something else, maybe several different somethings else.

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      17. Space-expansion magic might account for the long-term storage. Alanna’s bower is bigger on the inside than the volume of her tree should allow. I see no reason a similar effect couldn’t apply to pots or lamps.

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      18. Thanks, Jabrwok, that’s important and I do keep forgetting it. Alanna’s bower really is too big for her tree without some sort of space expansion. Bags of Holding are too big inside, without some sort of space expansion.

        Daniel has begun to focus his attention on the magic of space expansion, so we can reasonably expect it might happen for him.

        Once space expansion is formally in the story, we might discover it already applies to things like djinn bottles and demon traps.

        That makes space expansion interesting in its own right. I wonder what Daniel will do with it.

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      19. “Alanna’s bower is bigger on the inside than the volume of her tree should allow.”

        Is it physically inside her tree? For that matter where is her tree physically speaking? It has accesses and representations in Alana’s dreams. I really doubt you would physically interfere with her bower – thought experiment only – if you took a machine gun and riffled her tree with bullets. The existance of joined trees speaks against that. It looks like those bowers are minuature versions of Skogheim accessed and bound to a tree, but not in the tree.

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      20. Oliver, would you agree the individual trees can be destroyed in the physical universe?

        I bet when an individual tree is destroyed, Alanna feels it, and loses a percentage of her physical substance.

        I’m thinking she developed several trees around the world both for convenience and for operational security. They enable her to travel continental distances quickly and secretly.

        However, there’s also a physical security issue. I believe individual trees can be destroyed, therefore, if ALL her physical trees were found and destroyed, the death of the last tree would kill Alanna.

        Daniel needs to provide her a safe and healthy environment on Mars for another tree, ASAP.

        Then we address more esoteric issues. I expect Alanna’s physical substance is spread across ALL of her trees. Hence, her bower only needs to exist in one instance, and any tree must connect to it. She can transport Daniel through her bower from one tree location to another tree location.

        Someday, we should hope to see Daniel accidentally exit Alanna’s bower into an unexpected location.

        “Alanna, what’s this moose doing outside your tree?”

        “Eating watercress, I believe.”

        Splash.

        Since she has a spiritual representation of her most ancient and original tree (we believe) in her dreamscape, she can also move Daniel and the refugee apple tree spirits there through her bower.

        I need to go back to the ending of THRALL and try to figure out…oh. Never mind.

        For a moment there I was wondering how she got Daniel into her bower at the end of THRALL.

        Alanna is herself an entrance to her bower.

        All she needs to do is change from her human shape to her tree shape and it becomes obvious, but I bet she does not actually need to even manifest the tree shape.

        She can probably absorb Daniel into her bower at any time she chooses and is also in physical contact with him.

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      21. Alanna is a Bristlecone Pine. They live so long because they have two methods of reproduction. They can reproduce through the spreading of seeds. They can also reproduce through a method of cloning. They can do a natural form of Branch cloning that allows them to restore their health and Youth. So in theory she could naturally Branch clone her tree and place new versions of it in a younger State at different parts of the world. Possibly even different worlds. With the control over her own physical form she has displayed. She could reproduce and clone her tree quickly if she has a large enough manna Supply to do it with. Maybe a powerful enough Wizard or demigod?

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      22. Wow. Alanna is really the total package for Daniel, isn’t she. Branch cloning explains her comments about having multiple trees stashed around Midgard. Daniel definitely needs to put another complete indoor farm and Grove on Mars ASAP.

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      23. “Is it physically inside her tree?”

        That’s a valid question, but ultimately probably not relevant to the issue of storing Djinn or Demons. Whatever mechanism allows Alanna to access a larger space via her tree(s) would presumably work with other media, like pots or lamps.

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      24. “Alanna’s bower is bigger on the inside than the volume of her tree should allow. I see no reason a similar effect couldn’t apply to pots or lamps.”

        I have to be more specific, I am afraid. Even if you expanded space inside a demon trap, certain problems would not vanish.
        I really doubt the priests of Lanrest were cooking their prisoners three meals a day and emptying their chamber pots. There is more to these vessels than just space expansion. In fact I am not sure they even are subject to the flow of time.

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      25. Oliver, I’d give you time compression or even stasis inside a genie bottle. Demon traps might be torture chambers, so a really comfy one has stasis, but a really nasty one has the opposite…and whips.

        You reminded me that some authors have ruled that the Bags of Holding in their books kill any living things placed inside them, while others can perfectly preserve fresh-cooked meals. Hence, we might find that Daniel needs to study Clan Nethwillin’s storage bags very carefully, especially since he has played enough games to be aware of this issue.

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      26. “I’d give you time compression or even stasis inside a genie bottle.”

        Not enough I am afraid. We have this niece little remark that dryads need to eat when they spend time outside their tree. Why? If the only difference is that they are in their bower, they should have the same metabolic need. I think we have to conclude that these space are less real than a pocket universe. You are half way to dream magic or something similar.

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      27. Oliver, I’m pretty sure it depends on what’s inside the expanded space.

        A demon I don’t much care for will have no consideration whatsoever. I might test a few times to see how well demons survive whatever unknown is inside the demon trap, and perhaps how long.

        A demon I want to negotiate with on favorable terms will receive the best conditions I can arrange.

        Now, a genie I want to see survive in comfort will have some or all of the luxuries you mention, like food, sewerage, bedding, etc.

        Of course, if I can arrange true stasis, none of that will be needed. Demon or genie or whatever, they won’t even notice the passage of time outside their special space.

        Dryads are different. Their tree core condos are of their own design and crafting. They will have whatever luxuries the dryad knows how to conjure, if she has the ability to conjure them. They will have whatever life support facilities, food, drink, and such the dryad can provide. If the dryad knows how to adjust time flow, she will do whatever she pleases with that, as well.

        I suppose another way to look at it is, “Who’s in charge of creating the space?”

        A demon trap is likely to be created by somebody who may not be the demon’s best friend, especially if it’s another demon…perhaps a hostile demon.

        A genie bottle might be created by the genie himself or herself, or it might be created by some other magic user, but the contents are very likely created by the genie. Hmm…unless the contents are under some sort of anti-magic spell and the genie is powerless when inside. True stasis might well be the genie’s friend.

        The dryad’s arbor must be created by the dryad herself as the tree is her own substance. She will probably receive all sorts of help, suggestions, teaching, trading, and such, by other dryads, maybe even other magic users.

        Imagine all the very interesting additions Alanna is likely to make to her arbor with some of the knowledge and suggestions Daniel will provide.

        For that matter, what interesting additions are still there from her previous encounter with a friendly wizard of Atlantis?

        Colin

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    2. Hmm … we might see a lot more self-polymorphing from Alanna. She does that a LOT and now that Daniel gives her as much power as she can use, she is likely to do much more.

      I could imagine we’d see more glyphs, runes or whatever Clan Nethwillin calls them. That seems like one way the dark elves can store and transport large amounts of mana until they are ready to use it. Now that Daniel has or soon will give them a matter to mana power-enhanced environment similar to what he did for the Groves, it seems likely the svartalf will eventually experiment with many powerful magical items they have not been able to attempt for a millennium or so.

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  26. “Oliver, if Gaia is truly determined to eliminate ALL humans, She will eventually piss off the deities of every nook-and-cranny human group on the planet, and maybe even every human-derived species.”

    Hence Gaia will strive to demonstrate that humans suck as anchors. Her strategic error of sending out the Andregi against mankind may be an error only in the eyes of teh Aesir. Gaia may see this as an excellent way to push other deities into developing alternatives to man, or even as a plain sales pitch when she offers breeding stock of Andregi.
    If man is truly inferior, other gods would be forced follow suit with replacements.

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    1. I can see it now, a whole new series based on the battles of the Ice Age, where the fragmented and the organized human survivors of Fimbulwinter commence migrating to habitable parts of the post-frozen world, and fighting all Gaia’s monsters plus any other new contenders for ‘anchor’ status.

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      1. There’s another aspect to Gia’s plans. She’s been breeding the demigod apemen. She might have an Army of demigods ready to go after the other pantheons that nobody knows about.

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      2. Aphrodite knows all about Gaia’s plans to raise a bunch of Andregi demigods to be generals of the apish armies.

        Remember when She and Alanna discussed the fates of Mara’s two dead-in-childbirth older sisters?

        Right in front of Mara…

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      3. Odin has been breeding demigods as well.

        One thought – the only groups mentioned as breeding demigods is Gaia and Odin – which are also the only groups with an equivalent of immortality apples. Mostly likely this is coincidence as the other pantheons probably have some equivalent method to raise their own demigods to power. But the doom talk from the Aesir apple guardian does raise the possibility that the other pantheons have lost that capability.

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      4. Consider there will soon be one additional group of highly effective warriors, with at least a millennium of experience in some cases and far more in others — the Groves. When they completely adapt to the power levels Daniel intends to give them through the soil at the roots of their trees, they have said they expect to compare favorably with demigods, and I’d expect Pelagea or Demetrios to compare favorably with lesser gods.

        Imagine a pouting contest between Pelagea and Aphrodite.

        There’s a limited supply at the moment, but consider three things.
        1) Do any trees reproduce by cloning?
        2) Does a clone gain some or all the experience of the original?
        3) Will some of the elder forest spirits become familiars to Daniel’s kids. like Alanna is to him?

        Baby Bast might benefit from a familiar of the Groves.

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      5. Maybe the Chinese Pantheon is hiding what Goku the monkey the alien Goku was based on did to their magic demigod creating peaches?

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      6. I think the difference between a true god and a demigod is huge. Demigods are very powerful compared to mortals, but I doubt they rate very high vis-a-vis a full god.

        And Gaia’s children are ALL referred to as demigods. I suspect she keeps them from advancing to full godhood in order to maintain control. Short sided and petty, but that is how Gaia is.

        I do wonder how a demigod advances to full god status. The apples are necessary to advance to full demigod, but how do they advance further? Is it a matter of time? Something else? Whatever the method, it is obviously difficult/rare/time consuming enough to justify Aesir and Gaia have a lot of demigod children.

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      7. I think there might be a clue in the last book. Aphrodite made a statement in regards to Mara. Something about learning to touch Elemental chaos herself. And that having something to do with achieving full God status.

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      8. But the process itself must be difficult – or Odin would have upgrades all his demigods to full gods. He knows a war is coming, there is no reason for him to keep his demigods weak. Yet he has a lot of demigods. Pretty strong evidence that the path from demigod to full god is hard/painful/expensive.

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      9. Dspring, we already know that the path to divinity includes embracing Chaos in the Void. Aphrodite made this clear in a conversation with Mara. Hence, for a demigod to become a god in Asgard, there would need to be some commitment from Odin or another divine to troll the aspirant through the Void.

        Maybe some sort of crisis management would also be needed if the aspirant is less mentally strong than Mara.

        If the crisis management fails, all the previous investment is wasted and additional energy will be required to put the mad god or goddess down.

        Of course, then Odin has to deal with whatever idiocy the new godling insists on for Their particular essence. If they are divine warriors, He assigns them to Thor to make Themselves useful. But what if they are divine warriors who are also tricksters? BONUS! Another Loki….

        Helping gods ascend is not risk-free.

        Maybe a bunch of demigods are better than one more god or goddess.

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  27. Daniel’s new armor did not survive the fight. So where did he screw up? How can it be improved? Of course Daniel could build a golem, but how would he improve real armor? Some suggestions

    * he should have animated the armor
    * tungsten was not necessarily the best choice
    * building an actually transparent visor was a mistake. He should use sensors to feed images into his brain

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    1. Snicker.

      Sorry, Oliver, but I couldn’t resist.

      Where did Daniel screw up?

      Picking a fight with Asgard’s A team, while B through Z are on stand-by comes to mind.

      Okay, he did realize that, and arranged for a flashy distraction. Still, not the best venue for his armor’s debut.

      There was a very minimal sort of animation to Daniel’s tungsten thumbtack array. The tungsten hovered a tiny distance above a rivet base, and maintained a tiny separation with surrounding plates to shield against tearing forces that would have shredded the leather backing even faster.

      How can he improve that? I think you are correct and he needs even more animation. Pushing the armor platelets even further out, making them tinier and using more energy to control them probably would help.

      I’m not sure how much a better material would help, and since it would almost demand researching alloy creation, then many, many different alloys…Daniel would be pummeled by the ‘not enough time’ demon again. I suppose if he wants to shortcut the materials research he could choose an ultimate element like diamond, or even neutronium.

      Of course, it would totally suck to lose power to your neutronium control system.

      Daniel could become a tiny Black hole.

      Ba-dump-dump.

      Groan…

      I like the idea of a totally sealed helmet with various sensor overlays on a HUD of some sort. Of course, Daniel is limited to emulating technology with magic when it comes to sensors. That puts him at risk of a clever magical attack blinding him by whacking his enchanted item sensors array, or interfering with the magic communications between sensors and HUD.

      Of course, he’d be equally vulnerable to sneaky magical attacks even if he managed to come up with an engineered technological sensors array linked by photonic networking to an OLED heads up display.

      Ditto with magical or photonic signals into the vision center of his brain.

      Grumble…mumble…sneaky magic users.

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      1. “Where did Daniel screw up?”

        Well his armor got destroyed and he was forced to retreat, albeit in a most unconventional manner.

        “Picking a fight with Asgard’s A team, while B through Z are on stand-by comes to mind.”

        Strategically speaking, yes. But tactically he did not fight them in person. We can discuss strategy. The question is whether we have any new perspectives. But it is a different question.

        “The tungsten hovered a tiny distance above a rivet base, and maintained a tiny separation with surrounding plates to shield against tearing forces that would have shredded the leather backing even faster.”

        Yes, but he moved his limbs still entirely under his own power and his armor moved only with his body. With his level of technology he should be able to have things like flying shields that autonomously guard his back and stuff. And he should be able to make power armor.

        “I’m not sure how much a better material would help, and since it would almost demand researching alloy creation, then many, many different alloys”

        I doubt that. His armor depends totally on magic. In fact that is except for his breast plate (and the helmet he should have started wearing long ago) his default mode of operation. So we have to wonder whether the conventional properties of the material matter. Tungsten is hard and has a high melting point. But Daniel has spells for heat resistance and structural integrity.
        I would suggest making armor out of silver or gold so that each scute can have a maximum of protective spells.

        “That puts him at risk of a clever magical attack blinding him by whacking his enchanted item sensors array, or interfering with the magic communications between sensors and HUD.”

        If an enemy can disrupt the magic of his armor to that depth, Daniel will die anyway. There is no point in guarding against unsurvivable attacks.

        And he does not have to do it all himself. His elves likely know how to look through the eyes of a golem.

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      2. Yes, fun ideas in this new armor discussion, Oliver.

        Definitely, Daniel ought to be able to create powered armor, however, it seems to me he really ought to go with the full, wearable, combat golem. That also addresses your comment about elves knowing how to look through the eyes of a golem. Definitely also do that. He needs to waste less time regenerating his own eyes. Of course, that means his combat golems need multiple, redundant eyes.

        I think of this combat golem like a Mech, but mana-powered and with multiple massively energized layers of spell shields. He will also need multiple, redundant, cross-connected mana stones to operate this monster. It should be large enough to carry a bigger version of his multi-ring plasma accelerator, which means he will also need at least two different ways to anchor both the weapon and the armor/golem.

        It’s not like Daniel has not seen a working example of this particular combat golem concept. The Dworks who attacked him and INTREPID when storm grounded had several combat golems with ‘drivers’ fully surrounded by their ‘vehicles’.

        I don’t like the Conclave war golems. As best I can determine, their ‘drivers’ are actually ‘riders’ and constantly seem to suffer ridiculously predictable attacks that would not be possible were the human INSIDE the golem.

        Stupid humans.

        Steelbinder needs to task a few of his up and coming techno-adept apprentices with designing and building better war golems.

        As for the flying shields to guard Daniel’s back and flanks, I suspect we are both agreeing on that concept, but arguing over the size of discrete components. I like the idea of very small components held under tight control, very close to the exterior of whatever armor/golem Daniel eventually decides to wear. That should allow many of them to ‘share’ the damage, and when a few are overwhelmed or destroyed others might pick up some of the load.

        My concern with one or a few ‘large’ shields is that Daniel could lose an entire shield and then have a significant hole in his protection.

        This is one of those engineering decisions that can go either direction, depending on Daniel’s disposition the day he makes a few ‘final’ design choices. In fact, we might well be looking at a change point in the evolution of his armor designs. He went rather far in the direction of ‘small shields’ with that armor his enemies destroyed.

        Maybe the next evolution will be more like what you have described, having much bigger and much more animated shields, probably at something like arms’ distance away from him, or more, so he has space to swing a weapon or point a magical artillery staff.

        Remember, he will often also be ‘wearing’ Alanna under everything else.

        I do think Daniel ought also to have learned by now the value of variable redundancy. Whatever his new armor looks like, it ought to incorporate several different types of protection.

        Whether he can steal the time to do that will, as ever, be the challenge facing him.

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      3. A mecha-sized golem cannot be the only solution. It just won’t fit into many locations, literally. The issue I have with his now ruined armor is that it has no agency of its own. Golems have some intelligence. His armor should actively seek out enemies, deploy defenses and even retreat should Daniel be knocked out.

        And aiming his weapons is also quaint. Looking at a target should do the job. In fact he should have recon drones.

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      4. I wonder if it is possible to have a golem tech suit of animated armor that is small enough to walk through doorways? Bear in mind that many passageways and doors of Midgard are sized for men wearing armor.

        I expect some are sized for demigods wearing armor.

        It might be that Daniel would be able to wear rather substantial amounts of armor and still attend a War Council.

        Steelbinder does.

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      5. We should remember that Daniel will probably upgrade his body to be average demigod size. 6 1/2 to 7 foot tall. He’s going to be wearing his house plant. His houseplant is going to be wearing armor.············ He will probably have a harder time controlling Alana then he would fitting through doorways. I get the impression that she would probably want him to have a meeting moment where somebody on the other side of the table hearing a sucking noise.

        Daniel says “Do not pay attention to the noise it’s just my armor making itself more comfortable for me.” Daniel’s thinking “Thank Hecate my visor is down and they can’t see me blush.” Cerise falls into a fit of hysterical giggles and laughter.

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      6. Technically speaking his armor already does all of that autonomous stuff. His house plant is actually his real armor. Everything else is just add on that he needs to teach her how to use. Also I think he will be getting drones. He’s already got everything he needs to make them. He probably just won’t start producing them until he teaches his soldiers how to use them.

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      7. We’ve actually already seen examples of short-range drones: Steelbinder’s flying, shape-changing weapons. Nothing on how they’re controlled. Seems to be some kind of semi-autonomous, intent control. Steelbinder wills “attack the demons” and the things fly out, change shape, and attack. Note, they didn’t attack allies when the wizards were taking out the Devourer.

        Daniel could really use a swarm of similar gadgets.

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    2. By definition, all forms of defense are a compromise. Specifically there are trade offs with weight, materials, creation time, mana storage, mobility, and max mana throughput. To put it simple, I can put more effort into blocking a sword, or a lightning bolt or a plague spell.

      I would actually suggest that his armor is just fine. The goal of his armor is to block attacks that cannot be blocked just by magic. Enchanted blades and similar attacks that go right through force fields to list the most obvious option. As such, his armor is focused on stopping power. Known flaws are to liquid, grappling tearing off his armor and his visor, but each can have a specific fix. Replacing his armor with silver or gold would compromise this as even with magical reinforcement, they would be much weaker materials than tungsten

      However, his armor needs to be supplemented by a full suite of magical defenses and it is here where his defenses fall short. Magical attacks can be highly variable. General defenses (aka – anti-curse wards) are much weaker than specific defenses (anti-plague curse wards), but it is hard/nearly impossible to anticipate every possible attack. Ideally his core magical defenses need some kind of adaptive defense – where his magical wards can quickly change (aka -adapt) to block or neutralize any attack that is too effective vs his base defense package. Magical programing if you like.

      Third, power is power. The more mana his defenses can utilize at one time, the more effective his defenses are in general.

      Finally, do not underrate elements like perception, stealth or offensive power. Daniel does not have to just sit and take attacks. He can detect and avoid them, he can be difficult to target and he can destroy his enemies before they can effectively attack him. All key elements to an effective defense 😊

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