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…

9,112 thoughts on “Daniel Black Open Thread

  1. This thread is focused on identifying use cases for Daniel’s sorcery that have just not been explored. The focus is not so much on how Daniel can apply earth concepts to magic, but more about what aspects of his sorceries Daniel has just not gotten around to exploring.

    Flesh
    Up to this point, flesh magic has been primarily healing, vanishing and creating flesh to heal, a few specific categories of shape change (catgirl, dark elf), dispelling poisons, cosmetic changes, temporary speed increases, and rapid body training. He is doing deeper upgrades to his new body at the end of Thrall. This has actually been a pretty wide range of possible activities. Some things that might be good to add include
    1) Fertility magic — every cow, chicken or rabbit is magically impregnated and has 3X the normal amount of offspring. Perhaps he can even get the offspring to be gestate much faster — and accelerate their growth after birth. A goat from impregnations to full sized adult in 1 month would do a lot to address any meat shortage. Yes generally in a food shortage, a vegan focus is a more efficient source of calories, but it is obvious that meat would be preferred.
    2) Genetic enhancement — can Daniel, for example, modify a cow embryo/adult cow so that it becomes a very good milk cow — something that in our world was the result of many generations of selective breeding. Obviously the impacts of this go beyond better milk to better soldiers or enhanced children or even more mages. Given his life magic, he can possibly enhance already existing people and have it incorporated into the genetics of any children.
    3) Can he use flesh magic to enhance someone’s innate magical gifts to create more potential mages — or increase the magical reserves/recovery of existing mages? Or even mimic some of the transformation effects of the immortality bananas. Probably not all as his issues with creating more wolfen has shown his flesh magic cannot replicate powers.
    4) Disease magic has not been something he has explore
    5) He has not explored any flesh based battle magic beyond personal augmentation. Presumably anything that heals can also destroy, so there is much potential for flesh based harm spells.
    6) Can he create battle beasts? Or transform some of his soldiers into massively augmented battle forms. Obviously a much more advanced version of his boob amulets. But while Daniel finds it difficult to spend a week augmenting himself, taking 40 soldiers out for a week to augment is a much easier prospect to support.
    7) Daniel has really done nothing to expand his senses — sight, smell, taste, hearing — or things like his cognitive ability, multitasking, perception, or other biological based traits. Obviously risky to play this game on himself, but there is real room for improvement here and he can use some of the dark elf shapechange as a template.

    —————————————

    Earth
    Honestly earth magic has been the least creative of all of Daniel’s magics. Basically all he has done is summon various materials and shape them into buildings/vehicles/weapons. Very useful and powerful stuff, but all simply variations of a just two capabilities (summon and shape). He has done some magic to reinforce objects as well, but it does not seem exceptional. Just basic magic backed by massive power.

    Some areas that might be cool would be:
    * Some type of flexible earth/metal/crystal armor that he can use for personal defense. This would provide another layer of defense — and a different type of defense than Alanna can provide with or without armor.
    * Some application of crystallization. Aka – the molecular structure of objects. Being able to alter or enhance that structure could be incredibly powerful. Even the ability to create alloys or refine raw materials would be very helpful for some use cases.
    * I would think that earth magic can be used in a way similar to the dryad magic — to enhance the growth of plants.
    * At some point, Daniel has to raise a bloody island from the sea bed. Not a Black Keep style where he is basically adding 20-40′ of rock on top of a river bed, but actually raising an island. No reason – it just sounds awesome. But it does poke at things like earthquakes, volcanoes, movement of tectonic plates –> all that feels like earth magic.
    * Can Daniel create earth elementals?
    ———————–

    Mana
    Speculation in this area is very hard — or perhaps way too easy. Almost anything with how magic is used would fall into this camp. Mentioned in the past would be wards, “programing”, rituals, “parallel computing” and similar concepts. However, more exploration into areas like ranged magic (aka – casting spells at long range), curses, contagious magic (battle magic that spreads on its own), or study into the fundamental laws of how magic works. An exploration into how/what/whys of divine magic might be very helpful.

    —————————-

    Fire
    Given this sorcery is supposed to be very weak, probably not a whole lot “more” Daniel can do here. He has basically done heat spells to warm rooms/water, warmth cloaks, flame throwers, fire resistance, and burning metal. But there was mention in Extermination about elemental plane of fire/convergences used to provide light/heat to Gaia’s world. That might be a nice area of exploration. And his expertise in earth may allow him enough basic knowledge to extend to fire even with his limited sorcery there.

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    1. May I suggest that he needs to think about combining them? For example when he combines Mana, Earth, Force and Fire can he make armor that behaves like molten metal in some respects but like solid metal in other respects?

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      1. I like the idea, Oliver. Flexible armor much tougher than steel is exactly what Daniel gets when Alanna surrounds him with herself. How can the two of them add other elements to enhance that even more? Odds are, Alanna already knows several Atlantean tricks to do it, but she’s hoping Daniel will come up with one of his own ingenious solutions.

        That should only be enhanced when Daniel increases the amount of mana available to Alanna’s tree(s).

        Hmm . . . I’m guessing if he powers up several of her hidden trees there ought to be even more mana available to her. Of course, that many MtM power blocks laying about just begs for discovery.

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      2. An armor that is more like sandman or sand aura – particulates of earth suspended in force and wrapped in wardings — might be very cool indeed. You probably need something hard and inflexible below, but I can totally see it as being bad-ass.

        I would avoid the heat though – that creates a lot of spillover effects that have to be managed such as heat, oxygen consumption, clumping of the gravel, innocent bystanders, etc. He cannot make it hot enough to really damage anybody dangerous without creating a zone of destruction around himself that would cause a lot of problems.

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      3. Fire is one of his sorceries. He could enchant a containment system for the excess heat to be expelled after it builds up. He could even use it as a weapon built into the armor.

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      4. Well, Daniel used his Fire sorcery to put out the blaze in Avilla’s cottage, after the fight was over at the beginning of FIMBULWINTER.

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    2. But we can also look at the single options.

      Flesh – I think you have refused to go the whole way with respect to food. Daniel can heal malnutrition, lack of oxygen and he can block basic sensations. If you take that to the final conclusions, why eat at all, except for pleasure? Or breathe, for that matter.

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      1. Oliver, there’s an obvious way for Daniel to remove the necessity of eating, breathing, etc.

        All he needs to do is equip one of his spirit traps with a complete suite of senses and decant his mind into it.

        So long as he continues to interact with the world, all he would need then is mana and an interesting variety of bodies, vehicles and other avatars.

        Maybe that is how he will end up in the far, far future.

        Colin

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      2. Yes, but the point of a soul trap is that it is far away from any dangerous action in a very safe place, isn’t it?

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      3. Not necessarily, Oliver. Imagine a soul trap with redundant, robust real world interface options, including emergency rapid soul transfer to a soul trap safer location.

        Now, put the soul trap inside a MtM overpowered BOLO hover super-tank or a SHIELD helicarrier and advance that into combat.

        Assuming Daniel is willing to take the same risks he was forced into at the end of THRALL, why can’t he personally smash his way through an army or three inside one of Steve Jackson Games O.G.R.E. monster tanks?

        Remember your argument about massive armor, massively warded, massively reinforced and massively powered?

        It doesn’t get much more massive than an O.G.R.E. Mark V with Daniel’s own signature weaponry installed and MtM powered subsystems.

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      4. So basically a sustenance amulet – so long as you wear it your body receives enough nutrition and feels no hunger. Clever idea. Might be harder in practice, but harder just needs to be solved once.

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    3. Fire, let’s go for it. While his Fire is weak, it may still allow him (given that he has Mana) to develop and understand better spells.

      Fire is basically a chemical reaction. So Fire if you really grasp it and combine it with a scientific understanding, must be able to undo oxidation. You basically should be able to do stuff like turning ore into metal or vinegar back into wine. If you are very advanced selective oxidation and reduction. You could do a lot of organic chemistry that way.

      Also, if you take Fire to apply to any runaway exothermic reaction, thermonuclear fusion?

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  2. Fire Convergence —- This could be a game changer

    Ok we know from Extermination that the titans created worlds and used convergences with the elemental plane of fire to provide light and heat. So why can’t Daniel create small convergences over Varmland? Five mini-suns in the sky could provide a lot of warmth and basically completely counter Fimbulwinter.

    Of course, these would be fairly easy for team Loki gods to target and destroy – and would probably create absolutely chaos weather wise. And Daniel would need a quick and easy way to dial them back and/or turn them off when no longer needed. But if these problems can be solved, it is basically a perfect counter for Fimbulwinter. Nothing beats global cooling more than a few extra mini-suns.

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    1. I’m not sure that it’s really necessary. At the end of the war of the Gods Surtr stoped the big bad winter. Basically that giant fire demon puts a stop to it and that’s what begins the new summer and spring of the gods that comes after. Or that’s the way the mythology goes. That’s also what destroys surtur ultimately. Depending on which version of the myth you prescribed to.

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      1. Given when those ancient convergences happened, they probably would have been dream magic or divine magic, neither of which Daniel can do at the moment.

        Of course, he could achieve the same result with a few thousand mirrors in appropriate orbits, reflecting some additional solar energy onto the northern hemisphere.

        He could put those mirrors somewhere between Earth and Venus, above the orbital plane. This might be sufficiently difficult for Loki to detect or prevent.

        Hmm . . . mirrors of an adequate size are visually discernable in the night sky, even if they are halfway to Venus. I wonder if Daniel could use his Force sorcery to instead generate many sufficiently large electromagnetic fields that would each focus an individual beam of additional sunlight toward Earth’s northern hemisphere.

        This should seem like a tiny bit more sunlight than normal, evenly distributed all around the northern half of the world.

        That should be invisible to the human eye and almost impossible for Loki to detect.

        Maybe.

        Colin

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      2. Relying on a memory of mythology from our earth’s history as a solid prediction of the future in this world seems a very risky proposition.

        And to address Colin’s argument, the convergences were absolutely done by gods and probably were divine magic. But why does that mean Daniel cannot create something similar. There are certainly some things that divine magic can do that mortal magic cannot, but most of that difference we have actually seen in the books is due to complexity or raw power. Examples including healing Hecate in Extermination or blocking that plasma stream in Thrall.

        I suspect it was skill rather than divine attributes that created convergences – well a skill combined with a lot of magical power. After all, nobody has made these since the Titans – which implies a lost skill. Also, they spoke of “titans” creating convergences, not a specific titan. That also implies that it was some ritual/skill rather than a divine attribute owned by a specific Titan.

        At the very least, mortal mages made the sunspear and that can certainly duplicate the outcome of a convergence. Or he can do the mirror thing that Colin suggested or cause volcanoes to explode and trigger global warming. The point is that there are many ways for (a lot of) magic to change global temperature.

        The reason I suggested convergence is that it is likely something that can be controlled fairly easily by increasing or decreasing the heat output. Plus the ability to create convergences leads to all sorts of useful spin-offs like world creation, new power sources, or simply doing something so awe inspiring to shake the world.

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    2. Any such convergence is a declaration of war against Loki. The Fimbulwinter is a strategic curse aimed at the Aesir by attacking their supply lines, if you take it most dispassionately.
      It is also an implicit threat against everybody else. It more or less screams “the Atlanteans are back” at maximum volume.

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  3. Colin has made me rethink a lot of things. He has not convinced me that I am wrong, but my reasoning was not bold enough. So let me state my conclusion up front and then the reasons:

    Ranged weapons will not work in the long run. The Danielverse is ultimately dominated by melee fighters, defining melee as the range at which you can effectively do magic yourself. Guns are a strategic mistake.

    Are you already enraged or scratching your heads? Now, why do I say this outrageous thing? The nature of the most advanced combat is magic vs. magic. In our universe we have basic problems.

    * we can pour energy into projectiles, but not into armor
    * our high-energy weapons cannot be used close to the user

    Hence we do not really defend in the most basic sense of the word. When we do missile defense we seek to destroy an enemy’s missiles, not to withstand the attack. Wards change all that. A ranged attack becomes a contest between the enchantment on the projectile and the target’s wards. We will see an arms race between projectiles and wards. Will it go on forever, or will there be an eventual winner? Defense will win. Again, why? For two reasons.
    * you throw away your projectile. Your defenses are supposed to last. You can invest more time and energy into the defense
    * size. All things equal, the bigger mana source or battery is better. That will be the defender’s item

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    1. Ok Baseline of discussion

      1) This argument is about the very elite – the most dangerous foes: gods, war mages, and other individuals who can arguably have a LOT of magic available and access to a lot of very powerful magic items. Some great beasts probably fall into this camp, but many will not because their magic is too limited/focused/instinctive. Nobody else can possibly wield enough sufficiently powerful magic items to make this argument meaningful.

      2) This argument presupposes that mana storage does not take a lot of space/weight. Honestly the book is fairly inconsistent about this where sometimes Daniel says things that imply size matters in determining how much mana can be stored and other times his actions imply you can slap a huge mana battery on even a very small item like a ring.

      3) This argument assumes a brute force comparison. Aka – An attack against a defense/ward that is designed to block that attack. This is a clear simplification as Daniel’s battles have clearly shown that the best offense is a attack that avoids or targets weaknesses in the defenders protections. This is why bullets worked great vs dwarves who had great defenses vs spells, but not nearly as effective vs bullets Multiple other examples.

      —————————————

      Potential Flaws in the Argument
      1) Wards seem to be very specific. Ward vs fire, ward vs curses, ward vs scrying, etc. So a defense based on wards is really a defense built around dozens/scores/hundreds of individual wards that are stacked together – a very complex beast. Does not invalidate Oliver’s argument at all, just recognizing that a ward based defense will always have gaps.

      2) Very few of Daniel’s ranged attacks are actually bullets that rely on velocity to do damage. Almost all of them are some kind of magical effect. His mortars summon iron from the molten core, his bouncers summon force blades and force based movement. I agree that these types of ammo tend of fail due to the right types of wards, but not sure why these same wards would not cause Daniel’s spells to fail at close range if trying to do the same thing. Daniel has already had some experience with mortars defeating this type of wards and I am sure he can begin building this enhancement into his more advanced guns to at least partially mitigate this problem.

      3) The right comparison might be the balance between magical weapons and spells, not ranged vs melee. Magical weapons can incorporate great complexity into their design and great simplicity in their use. But they suffer the liability of consistency. If you have a well known “favored attack”, a foe can build a customized defense that can greatly weaken that attacks effectiveness. That favored attack can be spells or weapons obviously, but spells are always going to be more adaptive, if usually slower to execute. Less of a problem with Daniel as his attacks evolve in days and weeks and powerful magical defenses takes weeks and months to build. So his enemies are going to have huge problems adapting to his personal attacks as they lack the ability to rapidly product complex magic items.

      4) Daniel’s personal experience with ranged spells is pretty darn limited up to this point. As he gets better, I suspect his ranged attacks will become more effective.

      5) The limitation of wards does not seem to be mana. Do not get me wrong, wards will fail if the mana runs out over the course of repeated hits, but simply adding a larger mana reserve does not make the ward stronger. The wards seem to have a max “stopping power” that determines how much they can stop from a single attack. Multiple examples in the book of Daniel enhancing some defense (like body armor) or building a ward as tough as he can make it and not having it be good enough to block all damage. Fire resistance is a good example. Many many examples of wards being unable to fully stop attacks in the books. This strongly implies real limits on defense whether ward or armor.

      Other comments
      1) wards seem to be something that block intangibles/spells much better than physical attacks. Many examples of wards blocking spells, but failing to block bullets even though clearly designed to block arrows. Daniel built wards to block curses, but not blades which uses force to block and there has to be a reason. I suspect this is partially why armor is still very common even for beings like gods. It does not fundamentally change Oliver’s argument, but just acknowledges that defenses are more than wards.

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      1. All of our arguments favoring Daniel because of the speed of his enchanted items development or his fast spell development will be shattered if Ra decides it is time to yank a few dozen Atlantean wizards out of storage and compel them to fight Daniel using dream magic.

        Of course, that will compel Alanna to respond in kind, but you can see how that fight spirals out of control in hurry.

        Maybe the Atlantean wizards have all gone beyond crazy after so many millennia in Ra’s torture chamber soul traps and they will be totally useless time bombs that turn and bite Ra in His divine tokus.

        Maybe not . . .

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      2. You are assuming the Atlantean Wizards can R&D faster than modern Wizards. I get the impression they had a long uninterrupted buy Divinity development phase for their dream magic. I don’t think they can actually adapt or R&D new magic as quickly as Daniel can. We have to remember most of Daniel’s enchantments are essentially manufactured the same way microchips are. They are burned into a material permanently set in spells. Spells with a trigger that seems to be analog. But still manufactured much the way a lot of people conceive microchips being manufactured. Burned into a material. Also he does a great deal with programmed spell work. Which is another one of his major enchantment techniques. His techniques are entirely alien to that world. They’re based on what he knows about software and Hardware manufacture. Not actually based on what he has learned about spell craft an enchantment work in that world. There is no reason to suspect that the atlanteans would be any faster than the rest of the population in that world. Yes they would have more Advanced Techniques and capabilities. However that does not mean their work would be faster. They would simply have more advanced magictec that overcomes some of the inherent weaknesses. Take Daniels staff for instance. His new one that got blown up with the tower not the old one which was just pretty and designed to be confusing. It’s based on Atlantean Tech that Daniel reverse-engineered. However Daniel used his own techniques to manufacture the components. This meant each component of the device could be manufactured far quicker. How long would it take an Atlantean to manufacture one of the accelerating rings in that staff. Days weeks months. Remember the atlanteans competed with each other they didn’t share techniques. Alana stated that they often displayed and bragged about their creations. This means something like that staff would be a very prized item might have had years put into its construction. Daniel craps that staff out in a matter of days. An Atlantean might have made that staff the Hallmark of their personal work handcraft. Yes it’s very Advanced but it’s a graduate piece for somebody who spent 4 to 8 Years Learning and working on something. So no I don’t think a group of atlanteans would be able to keep up with Daniel. They might be at a far greater starting point than he was but he would quickly pass them in my opinion. If anything I think them having a greater starting point than him with something would give him a lot more ideas. Maybe get him to overcome some of his idiotic choices.

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      3. Yes, it is about the elite. But the way to predict the common case in a few decades is to look at the elite case today.

        Well, no, the only assumption about mana storage and propulsion is that it affects both sides. In fact that is an additional advantage of the defense. A mage can put his personal reserves into it without limits or losses in transmission.

        Yes, but if you look at specialised attacks, you need to look at specialised defenses, too. For example, you could block Earth summonings.

        That depends Daniel has a general ward against curses. And the troll and Andregi mages had one against physical attacks. Wards against scrying exist, but they are not needed for personal defense as such. Do we need to go into details?

        The point here is energy against energy and quality of the spells or enchantment. If fire a magic projectile at you man will go into (potentially – we talk about bullets and reusable missiles – the argument goes for both, just more so for bullets)

        * conjuring the projectile
        * enchanting it
        * propelling it
        * the actual killing payload

        Now, by that reason a thrown reused spear is better than a bullet, but even then

        * all things being equal, mana storage goes by mass (I think that is the sane assumption we must make)
        * some spells even require a living mind to execute

        3) Fair enough. I have not looked into pure spell weapons

        How do you crack a ward? Yes, there seem to be two methods. You either wear it down, or you penetrate by a simple concentrated attack. But even so all things being equal a ward created by an enchantment should depend in its maximum capacity on

        * quality of the spell or enchantment
        * mass of the enchanted object creating it

        You still can wear more of a defense piece than most people can throw, especially if your physical armor is enchanted.

        I’d say Daniel does not build physical wards because he has Force magic. But they are definitely possible. The goblins had them; the Andregi had them; the dwarves had them; and Clan Nethwilin used them in their settlement

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    2. Oliver, guns might be a strategic mistake over the long term, but in the short term they are a tactical requirement, needed in order to quickly convert Daniel’s human green recruits into somewhat useful human soldiers.

      Now, it’s worth noticing that we’ve only seen Daniel’s soldiers fighting a few times in BLACK COVEN and only briefly in EXTERMINATION. Yet, in those few battles, what is the most common job they perform?

      Hold ground and fall back.

      Just saying, I agree with Oliver about the weapons, armor and other equipment Daniel and his most effective allies will use, and it seems to me he is correct about massively overpowered ‘close assault’ and ‘close defense’ being priorities there.

      Where we disagree tends to be with what the human soldiers will use. Captain Rain’s soldiers, and doesn’t THAT inspire confidence! Even Daniel has quiet second and third thoughts about Captain Rain and his soldiers.

      Bluntly, I might argue strongly for projectile weapons to arm Daniel’s common soldiers, but I don’t really expect them to win any significant battles. Their abilities in that regard have thus far been less than stellar. The same seems to be true of Kozalin’s various human defenders. They need projectile weapons just to remain relevant, and THAT is a sad thing for them.

      In fact, humans seem to really, REALLY need Daniel’s best efforts in fortress building just to survive.

      Which is actually another way of saying Oliver is correct.

      What makes a bigger, better statement for MASSIVE defenses, INTENSELY warded and SUPERLATIVELY powered, than Castle Black?

      Hence, back to another argument from the beginning of many of our OTHER discussions:

      Daniel really, REALLY needs to construct several more ENORMOUS fortifications wrapped around many levels of indoor farms and refugee habitats IF he intends to successfully rescue any significant fraction of Kozalin’s human population. He needs to build them IN KOZALIN. Probably in the Docks and Trade districts, though he ought not to rule out building one for the Conclave, also. After all, he and Elin want to buy more books, especially books on magic, and where do they find those?

      Maybe they can convince the bookstore owner to move to Black Island.

      However, Daniel really, REALLY does NOT want to bring the bulk of those Odin-loving Kozalin survivors onto Black Island. He has way too many Fae, Divine and other allies there to risk discovery by Kozalin’s unwashed masses.

      Colin

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      1. Unlimited mana clearly empowers the defense more than the attack side when it comes to fortifications. Fortifications can be built quickly, empowered quickly with very powerful defenses backed up by massive mana reserves.

        Basically you overcome wards today by bypassing (aka – attack they do not protect against) or by overwhelming (too powerful an attack to stop) or most often by exhausting (drain the mana).

        With mana amulets, the first is unchanged, the second becomes a lot harder as the defender can afford to build overpowered wards. Finally the last becomes impossible as the defender can both build a massive mana battery and constantly recharge it with big mana amulets. Yes the attacker can also have big mana amulets, but they cannot have the massive mana battery like a fort can. So draining wards becomes a long drawn out attrition battle unless the mana batteries unless the attacker has a lot more mana amulet capacity than the defender.

        Basically the roles/advantages just scale up for both sides, but the defender wins on that scenario as their advanced preparation gives them an additional multiplier to magnify the scaling.

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      2. It seems to me there might also be an additional edge for the offensive weapons of the defender.

        Remember, Daniel can link amulets, weapons and other enchanted items to his MtM blocks.

        Sure, the range is only a few miles, but you really don’t want to mess with Daniel or his allies on or near Castle Black.

        Their weapons and personal defenses will be massively, seemingly impossibly overcharged.

        Colin

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      3. “Disagree.” Attack can deliver large amount of energy accumulated over a long period of time to small focused Target over short period of time. This can overwhelm even matter to energy conversion. Especially if done correctly. See pulling Rock from Moon accelerating into Target on Earth. At point of delivery you have the accumulated energy of well a lot.

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    3. I have to disagree on most of your points. Daniel has already demonstrated that a quickly reproduced projectile fired from a weapon can overwhelm rather sophisticated projectile defenses. There is a quality to quantity all its own. He demonstrated this against the ape men and their shamans wards during the siege of the city. He didn’t use a more sophisticated weapon. He didn’t out think his opponent. He didn’t figure out the sophistication of his opponent’s defenses. He just hit it with a hammer like it was a nail until he drove it into the ground.

      Right now against his mortal enemies he has an overwhelming Advantage. Not just in his MTM energy generation. But also in his automation of manufacture. The fact that he can manufacture large quantities of projectiles cheaply and quickly overbalanced most of the most sophisticated enemies he faces. Because he’s not going up against their sophistication. That’s not an arms race they can win no matter how advanced their power supply becomes. They’re still using the same type of overly sophisticated energy Miser conservative techniques. Techniques that make manufacture a long arduous process. He can in essence just get a bigger hammer. Or more hammers. None of them understands the physical Universe on the same level he does. With what he demonstrated on the docks he could in fact reach up and grab an asteroid the size of a small building and takes the time to draw it to an enemy Army. Or just pull a rock of the moon. That is a impact and explosion equal to some of the largest thermonuclear bombs ever produced. And yes for all practical purposes it is just a really big hammer. It’s not sophisticated it’s not complicated it’s just a big rock thrown at his enemy. One that they literally would not see coming until. “What’s that light in the sky?”

      With what he learned in the fourth book he can do far more. He can replicate Odin’s Halls. Not only that he can upgrade his soldiers when they fall in battle. Pull their soul into his version of the hall give them an already pre grown body taken from their own blood sample. Make sure the new body is upgraded. Make them seven and a half feet tall denser bones, muscles better nervous system etc etc. I’m also fairly sure he said that he had some super soldier templates when he got his flesh sorcery. Remember Daniel is a video gamer sci-fi fan and fantasy fan. He probably got more than just the idea for a lightsaber or a chain sword. I think it’s interesting that he picked a combination of both. He’s probably got the template for Captain America, Space Marine and Master Chief Sitting in his flesh sorcery he just doesn’t have the time to pull out and use. Also he probably doesn’t want to walk around as a 9-foot tall Primark it would be kind of freaky when trying to get the support of the other population from his point of view. Of course it would probably be only from his point of view with his 20th century sensibilities thinking that that would make him look like a freak instead of a demigod. He’s also demonstrated that he could probably create a Jedi Knight or a Sith Lord artificially. He’s demonstrated this by binding draconic flight Magic on to one of his wives. While he added it he gave her Force sorcery. Literally he gave her Force powers they were talking about it when he was practicing flying. I remember that part fairly distinctively. So yeah he can create most types of science fictional super soldiers he just hasn’t had the time to create his own Space Marines, Sith Lords or Jedi Knights. Also the level of training it would take for an average human to use those abilities well it’s a good thing he’s got a Grove run by a multi Century or Millenia Old satyr with a penchant for warrior Concepts. Also the city is now full of young humans that he might think would be a good idea to start modifying and training into super soldiers under the tutelage of said leering fuzzy pants leg hoofed drill Sergeant’s.

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      1. Against the Andregi shamans and dwarf mages Daniel won through surprise. That will last weeks, maybe months not longer. They just did not need better wards or considered them to be a bad trade-off in terms of mana. Daniel has changed the calculation.

        The one time he attacked a top notch ward he could NOT break through with a single shot. He had to exhaust the mana supply. That means, had the Andregi had a power stone, their wards would have held.

        Daniel is operating on a fixed budget. Pretty soon his understanding of natural science will have been used up.

        Like

      2. The one time he attacked a top notch ward he could NOT break through with a single shot. He had to exhaust the mana supply.

        That raises a question: why didn’t Daniel use the kind of counter-magic that was on Baron Stein’s sword to penetrate the wards? The sword penetrated Daniel’s force-field, and prevented his force wave from directly hitting the Baron. As it’s unlikely Stein commissioned a sword that would be immune solely to Force magic, odds are that the ward on the sword (heh) would’ve been effective against just about any type of magic, so projectiles so enchanted should slide right through any wards they encounter.

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      3. Jabrwok, I agree Daniel should have used the spell from Baron Stein’s sword to vastly improve ALL of Castle Black’s projectile weapons.

        Unfortunately, the idiot did not think to steal Baron Stein’s sword for future analysis.

        Okay, he had his arms full of something FAR more fun at the time, but still . . . scabbard, somewhere?

        I suppose there wasn’t enough time to dig it out, what with Stein’s guards battering down Daniel’s summoned stone door block.

        So why didn’t he spend a few minutes in BLACK COVEN searching the Conclave library for a similar spell?

        Oh. Right. Tova.

        Sigh, there’s always an excuse.

        Positive sign of a well-written story.

        Colin

        Like

      4. WHOA!

        No, Daniel is NOT operating on a fixed budget in regards to his science. The scientific method which he uses and nobody else on Midgard (we have seen) does is explicitly open ended forever.

        Where Daniel has a truly fixed budget is TIME. There simply are not hours enough in a day for him to attempt all the projects he wants and needs to complete.

        I suspect you are arguing that Daniel has a fixed budget of scientific ‘know how’ that he can easily and quickly apply in the limited time available to him.

        Even that much is inaccurate, however. Each new bit of magical research attaches new knowledge to Earth science and engineering ideas half buried in Daniel’s consciousness, dragging entirely new applications to the surface, almost like dream magic.

        Stick with the time budget.

        We KNOW that’s a fact . . . until it isn’t.

        Colin

        Like

      5. Daniel hasn’t been much of a scientist. I am afraid we have to make this clear. He is a developer and an engineer, but he does little to no scientific exploration of magic. Granted, he is wise not to, in general. It would take too long.
        He did a bit of science when he invented the core material summon.

        But Daniel did not invent the airship. Nor did he discover the principles behind it. He did not invent the gun. He did not invent mass production. He did not invent structured programming. He did not invent radiation warfare.
        He got good ideas from reverse engineering Asgardian and Atlantean stuff. He did not invent the soul trap. He will do science in time. But as of yet, he is not there. And that will slow him down.

        Like

      6. Oliver, if we think DOING science will slow Daniel down, imagine what his work schedule and output must look like when he begins to TEACH science.

        Yet, we know he MUST do that eventually. In a very minimal, preliminary way he has already begun with Elin and Cerise, by teaching them some of his methods.

        There will come a day, possibly sooner than any of us expect, when Erika ( Baby Bast ) will require the beginning of math and science education. Daniel will suddenly realize he cannot put it off any longer.

        The first day, Tina will be there, so her personal guards will also watch and listen. Anybody searching for Daniel and finding him will stop and listen for a while. Elin, Avilla and Cerise will have a fun conversation with Tina at supper that night. Avilla’s maids will eavesdrop randomly all day long.

        Word will circulate quickly around Castle Black.

        The second day, every young human and dark elf who can be spared from other tasks by Clan Nethwillin will be in that classroom. At least one or two elder dark elves will also be there to listen, watch, record and report back to the Clan leadership.

        The maids’ younger brothers and sisters will begin attending on the third day.

        By the end of that day they will have to move the class to a bigger room, and from that point on it only gets worse for the teacher.

        Will Daniel’s whining ever stop?

        Probably not . . .

        Colin

        Like

      7. why didn’t Daniel use the kind of counter-magic that was on Baron Stein’s sword to penetrate the wards?

        That is an extremely good question. The simple answers are that he did not know how to do so, or that it would have taken too long or that his factory stones were not up to it. But we have a related incident. When he built the drilling platform against the dwarves, his disspell and the skimmer effect could not coexist. That is, Daniel’s spells of that kind cannot differentiated between desirable and undesirable magic. He would have destroyed the enchantment on the shells that way.

        Like

      8. That’s certainly one explanation. I’d visualized the anti-magic enchantment as an exterior field around the thing enchanted (the sword or the mortal shells), but if it interpenetrates the enchanted object then it would certainly negate any other enchantments.

        That said, and outer-dispel that surrounds, rather than interpenetrates, an object, would seem like a very useful effect. I don’t recall any explicit examples of such an effect in the books though.

        Like

      9. There is an example of a dispel field lair he created in the books. He did it when he was stuck in Asgard. It was part of his armor. Also this demonstrates that the dispel anti-magic field will not affect any physical events created by Magic. So if Daniel creates a mortar shell with a anti-magic shell around it it should not affect the Blast coming out of the shell. The enchantment goes off someone’s the molten metal the molten metal explodes and the anti-magic does not affect it at all. Mostly because the only effect the magic had was summoning the metal that exploded as soon as it was summoned.

        Like

      10. Yet there is a counterexample in the battle against the dwarves. Grinder was not able to slice the dwarves inside their amor. I am afraid we have to conclude that disspells and anti-magic objects are distinct techniques.

        Like

      11. Ick.

        That reminds me, Oliver — Daniel’s multiple ring plasma/etc. accelerator staff from THRALL?

        Given how vulnerable the Dworks are to Grinder’s plasma torch, despite their armor and spell shields, imagine how badly they will cook if Daniel hits them with hypervelocity plasma.

        Some high-powered magic user will eventually come up with a defense, but everybody else will fry.

        Colin

        Like

      12. Grinders blade is a purely magical construct except for the plasma it contains in the side. Even then only when the plasma system inside it is activated. From what I remember he can use Grindr without plasma. In such a case it is a force construct not a physical object. It’s basically a forcefield pretending to be a physical object. Combination lightsaber chainsword.

        So yeah it’s fairly useless against anti-magic spells and armor. Except when he decided to use it as a plasma based flamethrower. Their anti-magic was worthless against that. As he demonstrated when he cooked several of them alive in their armor.

        Let us not forget that he fired the bullets at them too. While the anti-magic armor dispelled many of the enchantments on his bullets they did not stop the bullets from punching through the armor and killing them. Remember that bullet math of the projectile Force, acceleration, Mass Etc.

        Like

      13. The dwarves are no longer serious opponents at this time. Nothing below the elite Lightbringer level is.

        Discussing such threats makes sense only if you wish to look at them in the context of them fighting Daniel’s troops without him being present.

        Like

      14. Fighting Daniels troops without him being present? That’s something I think actually will be happening in the next few books…. If they actually come out in the next few years.

        Like

      15. Snicker. Imagine some sort of unexpected confrontation between a Dwork mithril hunting expedition and several Wolfen, Cerise, Corinna’s dryads, Demetrios and his boys plus Captain Rain’s now fully equipped with armored personnel carriers mobile combat command. Oh, plus a few dozen mana block empowered dark elves from Clan Nethwillin.

        Yes, it could well get ugly for Castle Black, but then Cerise taps into a full power block, amps up Corinna and all her dryads to near demigoddess levels, and its time for the surviving Dworks to start thinking about worshipping Hecate.

        Like

      16. “So yeah it’s fairly useless against anti-magic spells and armor. Except when he decided to use it as a plasma based flamethrower. Their anti-magic was worthless against that. As he demonstrated when he cooked several of them alive in their armor.”

        Yes, but there is a difference. The anti-magic weapons themselves are not affected by magic. So far so good. But that armor would be useless if itself survived a Force attack just fine, but the wearer behinced it were turned into minced meat. So it has to stop magic, not merely be immune against it.

        Daniel’s disspell does not act that way. There is a force field beyond that disspell. Hence he definitely can do magic through a disspell, just not inside the disspell. On the other hand a disspell destroys magic spells and to a lesser extent enchantments.

        So it looks to me like anti-magic objects are much closer to an enchanted version of Daniel’s curse barrier, though he can do magic through the curse barrier. We have to conclude that there are three related but distinct techniques:

        1. disspells
        2. wards
        3. antimagic objects

        as defenses against magic.

        Like

  4. The were some pretty big hints in the book that Daniel’s shape shifting selections were influenced by Prometheus in some way. The cat shape to get Bast back, The elf shape that was perfect for infiltrating Gaea’s world.

    So what about the restrictions that we have not seen yet. Specifically
    1) Why is the cat girl shape restricted to creating cat girls? After all, whether that restriction existed or not probably would have had no effect on the return of Bast.

    2) Gender change

    3) body augmentations

    4) elf shape

    #1 probably makes sense when you think about the consequences of that restriction. Because he can only create cat-girls, Daniel is still forced to do the heavy lifting of learning how to augment his soldiers – and himself. Longer term that is probably going to provide a lot more benefit than the cat girl transformation itself. The shape change ability itself probably provides some good insight on how to augment a body as well.

    #2 does not have any obvious answers. Some possibilities
    2a) Creates some opportunity for kinky sex play scenes. Probably not the right answer, but cannot rule it out completely.

    2b) Daniel may need to infiltrate somewhere where only females are allowed. Daniel can reverse a shape change no problem, but he cannot easily recreate his true form if just used basic flesh magic to give himself the appearance of being female. So this form of shapechange is easily reversible.

    2c) as 2b above, but the shape change sorcery provides some other benefit beyond the appearance of a female form. It may allow him to pass certain magical tests or provide some assistance in acting more feminine or (very unlikely) giving him the ability to get pregnant.

    #3 is the most straightforward – pure augmentation effects that will make Daniel tougher, faster, and more capable. Probably also help climb the learning curve involved in #1 as well.

    #4 beyond the obvious use case in Extermination, this sorcery may allow Daniel to add other improvements (back to #1) related to senses, strength, grace, magical affinity. It might also give Daniel some insight into how best to resolve the dark elf’s infertility issues and provide the real possibility for Daniel to add his dark elf bodyguard to his harem. Need to be an elf to have elf children after all and she needs to have children due to cultural obligation.

    Like

    1. There is a 5th possibility that you did not mention. It could be just as simple as Daniel only had female concepts for cat girls from watching anime. After all he mentioned that the elves looked like anime elves. If he wasn’t familiar with the genre he wouldn’t have made that reference. There’s not a whole lot of anime with cat boys. So it could simply be that when the sourcery was being formed feeding off of his own mind and experience building on what was already there it did not have any basis for a male template to base itself on as a starting point. If you go back and read it he had to focus his mind on what he knew instead of starting all over from learning about an element from scratch. It might be the reason he has so many sorceries. While everyone else we’ve seen so far only has one. They had to gain an instinctive knowledge of the element from scratch where as he had something to build on.

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    2. **1) Why is the cat girl shape restricted to creating cat girls? After all, whether that restriction existed or not probably would have had no effect on the return of Bast.

      **2) Gender change

      I see these two as synergistic if the sex-swap ability can be used on anyone other than himself. Step one: make soldier into cat girl, step two: sex swap cat girl into cat boy. No need to go searching for would-be trannies.

      Like

      1. true – not sure why he did not do this to resolve his soldier difficulty, but it does not make a whole lot of sense if you presume his shape change options were carefully selected by a god with foretelling.

        Like

      2. Presumably because Bast only had female priests, so there is no template for catboys, while there is an obvious template for men and women as traditional humans.

        And did Prometheus really influence Daniel’s choices or di he influence Hecate’s choice by tweaking her search spell?

        Like

      3. Now THAT’s a good point. It’s a lot easier to believe Prometheus tweaked Hecate’s search spell such that it would find a champion who already likes dark elves, cat girls and shape change myths.

        Like

    3. ” It may allow him to pass certain magical tests or provide some assistance in acting more feminine or (very unlikely) giving him the ability to get pregnant. ”

      Well, sorceries are at least partially inherited. Daniel has likely enough Flesh magic to fix damages due to extreme inbreeding. If he ever needs an extremely capable heir or viceroy, there is a rather disgusting possibility.

      Like

      1. **Well, sorceries are at least partially inherited. Daniel has likely enough Flesh magic to fix damages due to extreme inbreeding. If he ever needs an extremely capable heir or viceroy, there is a rather disgusting possibility.**

        Daniel’s already growing an upgraded clone of himself, so if he ever needs “an extremely capable heir or viceroy” he can just clone himself. No need to go all Egyptian Dynasty on his descendants.

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      2. Yes, he can clone himself. But that would be useless in terms of sorceries. Sorceries are a property of the soul, or Daniel wouldn’t have them in his elven body. Yet if Daniel grew a clone of himself with a soul, he’d grow his own twin brother, who never has made a trip through the void between the worlds, not his son. He’d grow a muggle.

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      3. So what is the “disgusting possibility” to which you were alluding? I figured you meant incest, but that wouldn’t (presumably) impact the soul of the offspring any more than would cloning.

        Given his new insights into soul magic, maybe he could divide his own soul (ala the Essence of Aphrodite that went into the making of Avilla) and thereby imbue a clone with his sorceries and his fundamental character, if not his memories and personality (though maybe that too…thereby producing an “Army of Daniels” as it were:-).

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      4. Has Daniel actually figured out how to create a soul?

        I think he can manipulate souls, but not create them.

        Colin

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      5. re: Daniel creating souls.

        AFAIK, he only knows the old-fashioned way to create them. We know he can capture them though, and per Thrall he’s confident he can insert them into new bodies. I speculate that he might be able to divide existing souls (if that’s possible at all) and let them grow into full souls in new bodies, ala sponges. Depends on the nature of souls of course.

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      6. There is also mentioned in the first book that Souls come into existence spontaneously if they have something to exist in. Remember the conversation about Avila’s older sisters?

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      7. He can’t but I’m fairly sure that Avilla either can or is close to being able to do so. We already know from the description Daniels Patron goddess gave that creating Souls is possible. She mentioned it when they were talking about Odin’s Halls. Or perhaps it was Alana and mentioned it?

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      8. I was actually thinking the pregnancy thing might be used in some other way. For example, magically stealing away Mara’s sister before she is born by transferring her to Daniel’s womb. Very contrived I admit, but I having real trouble figuring out how gender change becomes an essential element in Daniel’s survival such that a god would arrange it to be there.

        After all, Daniel is already a female Vanir, so not sure what else a gender change might deliver unless it is to transform himself to a male Vanir for some mission. (that actually makes a lot more sense).

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      9. Prometheus may not have had anything to do with the sex-swap ability. He probably influenced the cat-girl and dark-elf transformations, but why assume that he influenced *everything* Daniel got? Those two transformations apparently resonated with Daniel’s otaku-tendencies, and sex-changing is an annoyingly common theme in manga and anime (Ranma 1/2 for example), so Daniel might’ve snagged that as part of an overall Anime-centric set of transformations.

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      10. Renma 1/2? I think Daniel has an excellent Curtis to put on a noble he’s upset with. 🙂

        A noble continuously blocks and attempts to frustrate Daniel. One day Daniel walks up to the noble puts his hand on the shoulder and says simply. “You’re going to regret this.” Then walks away. End of the day the noble goes home. “Hello honey I’m home you’re looking ravishing today.” All of a sudden sex change. Q the Vader Trope of “NOOOOOOO!”

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      11. Daniel can fertilize herself/himself. That would result in a child of Daniel and Danie, while a clone would be a child of Daniel’s parents. Why would a clone have sorceries?

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      12. I hadn’t considered the “All You Zombies (RA Heinlein ref)” approach. I suppose it would be possible, but I’m not sure what circumstances would warrant it. Figuring out how to anchor a Chaos Diver might be a better approach. Certainly less squicky. Especially as he could give a better forewarning to whomever he sent into Chaos than he had.

        Like

      13. Why would a clone of Daniel not have his sorceries. Daniel’s body it is implied was changed along with his soul during the transition. Or perhaps his body didn’t actually make Transition at all. Remember Cerise talking about stealing enemies and putting the soul of a witch inside. I also remember Daniel waking up on an altar naked. There might be something in all of that.

        Also if sorceries are inherited from parent to child how would they be inherited other than genetics? Maybe a touch of the essence would that not also transfer during cloning process which uses DNA from Daniel?

        Like

    4. “So what about the restrictions that we have not seen yet. Specifically
      1) Why is the cat girl shape restricted to creating cat girls? After all, whether that restriction existed or not probably would have had no effect on the return of Bast.”

      I doubt Prometheus saw Daniel having shapeshifting as a good thing. It predisposes you to solve problems by sneaking and camouflage. If Prometheus is to be head god of the pantheon of the Black Empire, there must be an empire. Hence he wants to push Daniel into a direction of more open, expansive, military power.
      So he nudged things so that Daniel has gotten as much shapeshifting as he needs, but not more. In fact we may speculate that the next ally Daniel may get is a generic shapeshifter.

      Like

  5. R & D in the nascent Black Empire

    Colin brought the topic up, so here we go. Daniel himself does some modernizations based on innovations of a developed economy. They, however, are punctual. People are riding an airship based on matter to enery conversion beyond our technology wearing clothing woven on a hand loom out of homespun yarn.
    He makes whole skimmers in a hollow factory stone while smiths make nails by hand.
    Such a ridiculous state of things is unavoidable due to the time pressures but at the same time it cannot last, if Daniel starts teaching. In particular once he appoints people responsible for innovation. Nobody who is even semicompetent would overlook that Daniel’s maids have better protection than his guards. Ridiculous, actually.

    So what we will see, I think, is that innovation is indeed going to get slower, but it will be broader. Soldiers will get chests of holding for grenades, automatically refilling cantines, that sort of thing.

    Like

    1. Daniel’s Mana Sorcery insures he learns new spells/applications of magic a lot faster than anyone else might. That advantage is never going to go away and cannot be transferred to someone else.

      Daniel’s perspective/knowledge from our world is not going away and will certainly help the above, but Oliver is right in that there is diminishing returns here. There is only so much modern earth knowledge Daniel has it is not increasing. I would argue that he gets a new boost anytime he learns a new type of magic as he can apply that knowledge to a new toy box, but his ability to pull new rabbits out of the hat has to decline over time.

      Specific discoveries like mana generators, factories, rapid enchanting methods are trainable skills. Well the book implies that some of the rapid enchanting methods are not trainable, but for our purposes most is good enough. As these skills proliferate, Daniel’s unique advantage will drop significantly.

      However, given the nature of events, Daniel’s future is basically going to be decided in the next few years. If he lives, he will be very powerful/secure. At that point, the fact that the rest of the world gradually catches up by using his specific trainable discoveries is not a terrible thing. And if he does not survive, it is a moot point. And his specific discoveries are very unlikely to extend much past his personal minions in just a few years.

      Exception of course is the Atlanteans who already have a mana generator. They can now create these and claim that they stole the knowledge from Daniel to hide their Atlantean nature. But Daniel’s enemies are mostly the gods and the Atlanteans really hate the gods. So probably not a major problem in the next few years either.

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      1. I’d suggest that the longer Daniel survives, the closer he comes to creating enough ‘spare time’ to repeat some actual scientific research, document what Earth science he remembers and pursue novel exploration of new ideas.

        Hence, his total knowledge of immediately applicable ideas may shrink with use and grow with new enchantment skills, but his ability to continue growing his total Earth science eventually approaches infinity.

        The first thousand years will be a challenge. After that, he and Elin will be methodically reconstructing every field of science and engineering Daniel remembers. When they are happy with progress there, it’s on to creating entirely new fields of science.

        Elin and Alanna will accept nothing less.

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    2. It’s going to be fascinating to see how the author handles this question, if the full series spans enough time to cover Baby Bast’s first year or two.

      Colin

      Like

    3. Hmm . . . the rate of innovation might actually speed up, depending on whether Daniel takes the time to educate Clan Nethwillin’s magic users on his methods.

      For that matter, they might innovate something on their own, given the enormous expansion of their access to mana, plus their exposure to Daniel’s rate of development of new enchantments.

      Just knowing that he’s massively shortcutting everything they do will perhaps drive some dark elf magic user to think about a new way to work faster.

      Like

      1. The rate, yes, the depth, no.

        To explain that I have to take a small detour. When was the last time we invented something with as much impact as nuclear fission, antibiotics or the transistor?

        Likewise Midgard will see more innovationas, but lesser ones, not on the level of M2M or mass production.

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      2. Oliver, I’d agree that Clan Nethwillin’s magic users might primarily create significant numbers of technically brilliant but merely useful enchanted items, especially as they learn more about Daniel’s mass production techniques.

        I’m not entirely writing off their ability to also create unique and powerful new ideas, possibly even entirely new fields of thaumaturgy or science or both.

        It’s another issue of genetics. We have some idea how brilliant Daniel seems to be. With no augmentation, he’s NOT an Einstein. With some augmentation in Daniel v2.0 he MIGHT approach the level of an Einstein. We don’t know that, yet, however, if it happens that MIGHT, eventually, enable him to contribute several entirely new fields of science. It’s going to be a long wait for a relatively small number of fantastic developments, given all the other demands on his time.

        Clan Nethwillin, however, has somewhere between two hundred and four hundred Svartalf members and also a large number of well educated–by Nethwillin standards–human servants.

        That’s a much larger superset in which to perhaps find a genius or two who might already be vastly more knowledgeable than Daniel in some critical aspect of Midgard ‘philosophy’ and possibly also the science equivalent of Svartalfheim.

        As you argue, however, I must agree there won’t be ridiculously large numbers of entirely new fields of magical and/or scientific understanding suddenly expounded by members of Clan Nethwillin, not in the rather short timeframes of the Daniel Black stories.

        Suffice to say, there now seems to be ample opportunity for Clan Nethwillin to create a VERY influential future for itself when we add Daniel’s knowledge of science, engineering, programming and methodology to his immense gift of mana-empowered real estate.

        Sefwin will have to pull rank just to be among the first female dark elves negotiating to bear Daniel’s children.

        Of course, she had the advantage of advance knowledge it’s probably possible . . .

        I wonder home much of this is already well understood by her and by her father.

        Most likely, they can see much further than these few comments.

        Colin

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      3. Einstein? Why Einstein? A better genius to seek to find would be Tesla. Nikola Tesla not the company. Einstein was a brilliant mathematician but had no practical capabilities for invention or creation at all. He did not even believe his own math equations held any practical real-world applications. Einstein’s mind was changed on that subject when Oppenheimer decided to take the time to change it. Einstein was a man who could not even have the technical skills necessary to tie his own shoes. I know if I was Daniel I would try to up the creativity and inventiveness of my body’s new brain. Try to create enhanced memory and problem solving capabilities. In short I would push for a Nikola Tesla demigod instead of an Einstein demigod.

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    4. The rate of innovation and invention does not necessarily have to slow down in a developed black Empire. He just needs to carefully construct and control the patent system and prevent overarching monopoly’s or super Pacs. Maybe decentralization of the manufacturing base and economy. Something similar to North America during the 1890s would probably be best. It was one of the most efficient places and times for a patent system.

      Before anybody starts saying that it’s the same patent system we have today. No it’s actually not review it it has a lot of massive differences between the patent system during the time of the most technological advancement in human history and now. It has been argued that that patent system was largely responsible for the level and rate of technological advancement during the time before during and shortly after that period.

      Like

      1. Here we have a problem. Practically everything Daniel can teach has implication on national security. He has enemies ready to prepare for a war for over a millenium.
        I doubt that Daniel can afford to use patent for a long time. Decades likely.

        Like

      2. I was actually thinking anywhere from fifty years to a century before he implemented a patent system. We have to remember that with magic he’s able to bring many of those science fiction inventions to light and get them working. He’s already seen a magical version of a teleporter pad. So he’s not actually limited to what he can figure out based on pure science from his education in college.

        I also agree in the meantime he needs to keep what he knows in house and classified. The dark elves themselves will probably appoint a special organization of bodyguards specifically whose purpose is to keep him from blabbing his mouth about the secrets. Maybe with an instant silence spell at hand.

        Daniel ” I need to ask my chief of security why it is sometimes it seems like nobody can hear me when I talk at these meetings with the conclave? :-)”

        Like

  6. “Why would a clone of Daniel not have his sorceries. Daniel’s body it is implied was changed along with his soul during the transition.”

    DaShoota asked this and I think it deserves a thread of its own.

    I would say

    1. Daniel still has all his sorceries in a Vanir body. Whatever changes he got are not significant for his sorceries.
    2. His body was changed, but Hecate claimed to add instant healing to the deal

    From that I would conclude that sorceries are a property of the soul and the soul only.
    Does this mean that a clone would not have sorceries? Well, we do agree that a clone grown with a soul would have a soul of its own. And it would be a soul that never made the trip from our earth through the chaos in the void between the worlds to Midgard.
    Usually I would say that that would close the case, but we have one issue. At least some sorceries are heritable. In other words, indirectly we have asked what determines the ancestry of a clone? I think it is just as with conventional cloning. But do I have hard evidence for that? Lacking an example, no, I do not,

    Like

    1. We have four pieces of evidence regarding inheritance of magic, possibly including sorcery, maybe even divine sorcery.

      First: In BLACK COVEN Tina benefits a LOT from a continuous link to a mana block while gestating Baby Bast, with the obvious assumption being that Bast will be born a demigoddess and perhaps more.

      Second: Read the section in THRALL where Aphrodite and Alanna tell Mara the sad story of her dead sisters and Gaia’s reasons for those deaths. There seems to be a VERY mana-intensive transfer of power from the mother to the child in the case of divine children. Or something mana-intensive about bearing divine children.

      If so, it only produces demigods, else why the divine apples and bananas?

      However, Mara’s powers over elemental Fire seem to be sorcerous, so those would have to be inherited, probably from Loki.

      Third: Read the section in BLACK COVEN where Daniel first meets Mara. During that conversation, it is casually acknowledged that Mara received the best part of the family’s magical inheritance, while her supposed cousin Karl had much less. It still seems enough to enable him to work up to associate adept status with the Red Conclave.

      Are Karl’s fireballs signs of elemental Fire sorcery or educated wizardry? We cannot be sure, but he might have inherited some sorcery even though he is not actually related to Mara. Maybe. We don’t really KNOW that he is completely unrelated . . .

      Hence, in Mara’s case there seems to be ‘common’ knowledge regarding inheritability of magic powers and even divine powers, and there’s even tenuous support for it in Karl’s case, for whatever that’s worth.

      In Baby Bast’s case, we know there is a powerful and divine spirit involved since before conception, but even so, Tina’s contributions are significant, as are Daniel’s. All that care and mana must be doing something, but I suspect whatever sorceries Erika demonstrates will be due to her divine godmother–pun intended.

      We will have to wait until Book Five for those Bast questions to be answered. Sigh.

      It’s also worth noting that Mara will have to spend some time in the Void in order to Ascend. This almost certainly will provide Her mature divine self with more sorcerous powers in addition to her divine powers, all of which will also be in addition to the sorcerous powers she wields pre-Ascension.

      There might be a similar experience for Bast, but maybe not. Her soul has already experienced the Void.

      Four: Here’s another interesting possibility. Are Elin’s water magics an elemental Water sorcery inherited from her undine mother? That seems like more possible evidence for inheritable sorcery.

      We also have a common reference among the Conclave’s senior and not quite senior members about trading their children, or grandchildren for Daniel’s MtM power amulets/enchantments.

      There seems to be a thread of assumed magic power inheritance in those comments, although that probably does NOT include sorcerous powers. It does, however, argue for magic powers being at least in part heritable within families.

      Then there are entire peoples whose genetics grant them magical powers, like the the dark elves, who are, as Alanna reminds us, derived from human ancestors.

      Sorcery seems NOT to require exposure to the Void, but powerful sorcery does.

      Maybe.

      Colin

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      1. This is an interesting comment. It poses several questions in my mind.

        Makes me wonder if the sourcery a child is born with that they inherited from their parents or parent is like a seed. It requires water and a nourishing environment to grow without being stunted and smaller than its parent was.

        Midgard has manna. However it does not have as much as some of the other worlds do. Say the world Daniels elves originally come from. One of their biggest complaints is the way their biology and Magic is affected by the low level of Mana in Midgard. Maybe the reason children who inherit sorceries from their parents have far less power depends on the environment in which they were growing in the womb. As well as the available manna to them while they are developing. This could also explain why a divine child would kill its parent during pregnancy or birth. Literally it’s sucking the tap dry.

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  7. Will Daniel be able to distill the essence of demi-godhood out of Idun’s apples the way he did the giant wolf essence?
    Because turning all of his people into demigods would be awesome…

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    1. And if he can’t get the essence straight from the apple with his mana sorcery, he can just eat one himself and distill it from his own body.
      It would probably fill slower than the felwolf essence bottle does, but it would still be far more valuable than gold or even food.

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      1. Yeah, Avilla would literally be over the Moon about THAT bottle.

        Of course, there is also the question, “Can Pelagea’s grove plant one of Idun’s apples and grow a new tree from it?”

        I suspect from the discussion at the end of THRALL that Idun and HER grove may be less than ten thousand years old.

        That’s barely a tenth of the Ice Age that Daniel expects to be forced to conquer and live through.

        Colin

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    2. Probably, but does he want to? Three reasons

      1) Distilling the essence is a much weaker effect than what the apples provide. It would provide real benefits and almost certainly worth doing if the effort required is not bad. Having the food for the entire garrison giving a boost to mana generation and physical capability to all the population is not a bad thing. But using essence to create demigods would require a lot of time.

      2) Daniel set up a mana tap already to feed mana to the dryad groves. With that in place, the trees can probably produce a LOT more apples than 2-3 a year. I doubt Daniel has more than a couple people he would like to see as Demigod, so probably good enough.

      3) Eating too many apples has an obvious effect on an individual. Even eating just one banana had an obvious effect on Daniel – although arguably that was detected through the careful examination of his aura they performed at the beginning of Thrall. But if you ate a dozen apples (or their equivalent in essence), then you are looking at an impact that would be obvious to most mages/gods given casual contact. Given Daniel is hiding the fact he has the trees, that would be counter-productive.

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      1. Why would distilling the apples make the effect weaker?
        The felwolf essence is actually more powerful. They said so, themselves. It was concentrated, instead of spread through a heart.
        And would the apples even have a recognizable energy signature if you boiled them down into pure essence of immortality?
        I now wonder if Hecate has any ambrosia left. In Greek mythos, ambrosia did the same thing as Idun’s apples. It could turn a mortal into a god. that could be distilled, as well.
        Can you imagine how powerful the little hearth witch would be with two different godly essence fonts?

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      2. On another note. Daniel’s mana sorcery should be able to do something about any energy signature sensed from them when they became less mortal/breakable.

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      3. On another note, Daniel’s mana sorcery should be able to do something about any energy emanations from the apple’s essence.

        Pardon if this is a repeat post. I posted another version of this comment and it just seems to have vanished, so I’m repeating it.

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      4. Odin and Thor probably know about Gaia’s divine bananas. We know they are both somewhat informed about Brand’s adventure’s in Skogheim, including Gaia’s dungeon. If Odin and Thor are able to sense divinity, they already suspect Daniel ate the banana. Brand might suspect for entirely different reasons, or because he might be able to sense divinity, or both.

        Hence, there is a distinct possibility Daniel’s sliver of divinity is not nearly as secret as he might have preferred.

        Hmm . . . for that matter, Aphrodite might have sensed Daniel’s sliver of divinity and Hecate of course knows from Cerise if not from Daniel or because She just Knows.

        Oh, and Alanna would know long before the end of THRALL because Daniel is HER wizard.

        Hmm . . . who else would know? Maybe Loki and whatever spy of His picked up the info from Odin’s court?

        Would Idun have sensed it? Or, would She know because Alanna knows? Idun might have been too distracted to notice, or She might just be polite and not mention it, especially if Gaia’s bananas are inferior in some way.

        Snicker.

        So many possibilities.

        Colin

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      5. “Why would distilling the apples make the effect weaker?
        The felwolf essence is actually more powerful. They said so, themselves. It was concentrated, instead of spread through a heart.”

        The fellwolf essence is absolutely more powerful than simply feeding people fellwolf heart steaks. So if you have the choice of essence or steaks, you pick essence every time. Totally agree.

        But that is not the choice we are talking about. The right comparison is Cerise’s power. Her power actually steals a portion of the nature of creatures she kills. The essence or steak solution only provides a faint shadow of what Cerise does. And even Cerise’s power only gives portion of the power of her victims.

        So hypothetically, we have the following
        * Eat an apple, get 100% of the benefit
        * Cerise power steal from an apple, Get 10% of the benefit
        * Essence of the apple, get 0.1% of the benefit

        Now the advantage of essence is that you can feed thousands with a good bottle of reusable essence and even a tiny bit of apple flavored enhancement is probably a good thing. And I doubt Cerise can “slay” an apple to get its power, so that option is pretty much out.

        I think the applies are very powerful, very complex magic and not easily replaced. If your goal is to create demigods, I am pretty sure it is apples or bust, unless your parent is actually a god. if your goal is to create somewhat more robust and magically capable individuals, the essence route is probably good.

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      6. Don’t forget Daniel’s brief few observations during the first few chapters of FIMBULWINTER, regarding Avilla’s strength and general fitness. She has a small fraction of divine essence inside her, from Aphrodite, and seems to be an example of what can be achieved if one wants to create “somewhat more robust and magically capable individuals,” by introducing essence of divinity into their diets.

        This seems like something Daniel, Cerise and Avilla could put together as soon as a few apples fall into their hands.

        Let’s not forget that ambrosia recipe, either. For all we know it might be inside Avilla’s big book, and it’s a near certainty Hecate knows it.

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      7. Didn’t Avila’s Patron goddess have some form of path to immortality through a type of divine Hearthfire? I seem to remember a story somewhere about her being upset over Persephone being kidnapped finding a boy and deciding to adopt him and turn him into an immortal?

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  8. What about the Kings and Warlords?????

    Given the obvious focus of the books on Daniel, it is natural that our view of the world is very Daniel-centric. I am curious about what strategy the kings and greater nobles actually are using during Fimbulwinter.

    To judge from the books, it is basically fort up, hold out as best you can and pray the Fimbulwinter ends before the food runs out or the monsters break through your walls. In other words, not much of a strategy.

    And in all fairness, it is not clear that mortal rulers have a lot of other options. The beings creating the problems (aka the gods) are beyond their reach. Their armies are basically immobile due to winter conditions. Their ability to increase food/clothing production, transport anything, or recruit help form allies is almost non-existent. They have access to mages, but if you exclude Daniel, mages seem both powerful and slow changing in abilities. Which means if they were not already prepared for Fimbulwinter, it is doubtful the mages can bring anything more than general purpose (mostly combat) powers they developed in the years/decades prior to Fimbulwinter.

    We are seeing some signs of mobilization in Kozalin including:
    *) stockpiling of food/issuing rations to basically control the food supply and (mostly) make sure everybody has enough.

    *) Similar efforts at finding effective shelter for everybody within the city.

    *) Continuation of the watch/normal government functions (although these are currently disrupted in Kozalin. Even pre the death of the prince, it did not seem like the prince was highly motivated to replace the dead government leaders. He might have stupidly seen this as an opportunity to save gold.

    *) The prince had obviously been going to the Conclave for help for specific problems (wall repair, thaw the river, etc).

    What more could they have done? A fair bit I suspect. Options include:
    1) They could have recruited a lot of people for the militia. Yes they would not have been good solders as it takes years to train someone to real skill with medieval weapons. But poorly trained but decently motivated soldiers can do a lot from manning secondary defenses, pulling wounded from the walls, reinforcing the wall defenders, patrolling the streets, keeping order in the city, etc. All of the above genuinely useful and it can free up a lot of professional soldiers for more critical tasks and/or bigger troop reserves for emergencies – but they do not seem to be doing any of it. If nothing else, training keeps them busy and warmer.

    2) Work teams should be organized at there is a lot to do and you have a bunch of semi-skilled workers just sitting around right now.
    * Big need to collect fuel for cooking and heat
    * Repair damaged buildings, build/improve shelters
    * Build secondary fortifications/barriers. The enemy is going to break through from time to time, so it really pays to block off many streets and reinforce some buildings to make it easier to contain and destroy these breakthroughs. Defense in depth.
    * Collect and bury the dead – big deal right now
    * Clear the streets you need clear to rapidly respond to threats/maintain necessary mobility within the city for commerce.

    3) More and better communication –> making sure leaders are on the same page, sharing successes, building up support/PR. Honestly the nobility seems to be ignoring everybody else and just assuming they will quietly follow where ever the nobles lead. Even among the nobles, not much shared purpose. “lets all die so we can fight again on the fields of Asgard” is not a great slogan to motivate most soldiers and that seems to be the only real attempt to build up morale. Where is the leadership from the King???? He has basically been invisible even though communication between cities/forts is clearly quite possible.

    4) Trade – why has the prince not been putting real focus on sea trade. Yes he wanted the river freed up, but he could easily have arranged to fill all the ocean vessels in the harbor with trade goods and send them off to buy food and bring it back. Instead his plan is more passive – simply opening up the channel and hoping the departing ships come back with food. The prince’s strategy probably would work, but a royal trade exhibition would probably work a lot better if the goal is to get a lot of food here quicker – while giving more coin to the prince to pay his troops and elite craftsmen/mages.

    Coin is not a huge concern for a lot of the above internal actions as you can pay them primarily with food and shelter supplemented with small amounts of supplementary coin. As you are basically feeding them anyway, the additional cost is fairly minor. Even small improvements in food/shelter for themselves and their family can easily be seen as good pay in this conditions. Coin is most useful with trade – but realistically the city needs to ship out trade goods and bring back food. Simply shipping out coin is a short term solution that will leave them in a big hole as soon as the coin runs out.

    Right now, the city seems mostly to be just trying to hold out/waiting to die while praying for the gods to save them.

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    1. I think I disagree that the kings and nobles are waiting in their towns and cities for the gods to save them.

      They are waiting for the gods to LEAD them. This whole Ragnarok epic is all about Loki throwing down Odin, or Odin beating Loki. After that, if Odin wins, Valhalla and Asgard continue forever, or until the next Fimbulwinter, right? And if Loki wins He has other plans, yes?

      Clearly, the nobles and kings expect a pantheon will triumph, then rise up in triumph and lead Their faithful in mortal battle against the monsters of endless winter.

      Okay, some of that is undistilled sarcasm, but you get the point. This is MIDGARD, not Earth. There is a process here. The gods squabble, people die, gods win or lose, more people die, some pantheon wins control of a region and people die, then there is a huge conflict on Midgard and who knows how many of the other Nine Worlds, hordes of people die and then there is the unsettled peace of yesterday’s bloody battlefield where survivors pick themselves up, piece together some sort of existence and prepare for the next cycle, which has already begun.

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      1. You may have a point here. The places where the leaders made the real efforts were the small villages/towns (aka – that one village Daniel evacuated). In other words, where the leaders had to act or they would obviously die. The big cities feel so much safer, at least for the nobility. So they can afford to wait for the gods to save them.

        Even so, that is a very passive mentality. I wonder if that is a cultural thing — a consequence of thousands of years where the gods provided oversight and more or less kept things stable/protected while also punishing too much initiative. In some ways, I suspect Europe is something like a command economy like the old Soviet Union. Not communist of course, but one where people are discouraged from using their own initiative.

        As evidence, despite not having any collapse of civilization (aka – dark ages) or massive plagues (black death), the basic technology of Europe has advanced very slowly. Everything they have could have been in place in the crusades (900+ years ago). Even ignoring gunpower, there were a lot of innovations that occurred in our world pre-industrial revolution that seem to be missing here from trade companies, world exploration, banks, printing press, philosophy, better looms, improved farming techniques — all of which seem to be missing.

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      2. Remember, Dspring, that the nightmares were inflicted by the gods upon Midgard’s humans specifically to destroy invention and innovation, which has spillover consequences for initiative, exploration, development, etc.

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    2. In some small way Daniel is already on the path to solving the trade goods problem. He’s set up clothes warming enchantment embedding devices around the docks. He’s opened up a bizarre with Craftsman working with glass and other Goods around his Pier. It’s a start a very small start but a start all the same.

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  9. How Limited are the Gods?

    The gods have great power, but there are hints in the book that imply the gods are in some respects more limited than ordinary humans. I wonder if the gods are much like the dryads, limited in their ability to change or learn new things. The gods just started with an understanding of human culture/interaction while the dryads did not.

    Evidence
    * The gods, especially gods that came from the chaos, are ideas given form. Their first affinities were the foundation of their existence. However, humans are defined by hundreds of thousands of ideas, not just a handful. Human ideas also keep changing and evolving. This would make humans a lot more complex and adaptive.
    * These gods were also clearly influenced by the dreaming/collective consciousness of people. This is why the gods appeared and acted very human once humans became a thing. Even some (aka the more intelligent) animal gods became a lot more human in response to the presence of humans. They are still anchored by that belief even today.
    * The gods do not change that much. Picture Odin, a god that has been alive for thousands of years. A person interacting with Odin 3,000 years ago and a person interacting with Odin today would probably see basically the same thing, the same personality, same appearance, same tools, same preferences, and probably very similar behavior. Not robots repeating a script, but definitely a god whose nature is pretty static.
    * The gods seem to lack curiosity. No tales of gods exploring the world, migrating to different regions, or reinventing themselves (outside of instances of near total insanity). Even the gods focused on crafting do not seem to create anything new. Even the god pantheons rarely seem to “cross borders”. If they were humans, you would see a lot more dating/marriages across pantheons and mixed blood kids.
    * I remember comments about Prometheus (not sure who) that implied that the felt the gods needed Humans and that is why he restored the spark of innovation to humanity.

    Given the above, I would argue that it is actually a BAD idea for Daniel to seek godhood for himself. It would freeze himself to some extent and damage his inventiveness and curiosity. He would become static and thus inevitably lose his ability to create change.

    Like

    1. That’s not entirely true. There are actually some Gods of invention creativity and change. In Norse mythology there is even a God of cleverness whose blood was used to create a mead that granted inventiveness and creativity to those who drink it. Prometheus himself is considered a God of invention and creativeness. Then there’s Coyote the North American God, Ananzi the African God and Loki the Norse God all trickster Gods of change of creativity and of discovery. This implies both good things and bad things. Many of the stories they give advice that allow people to go somewhere and discover something new and wonderful and in Other Stories that they themselves or someone they gave advice to go somewhere and discovered something terrible which backfires. In the Norse mythology it was Loki that invented the net. He gave it to humanity and it made their lives better however when it came time for him to escape from the other Gods before he was imprisoned he turned himself into a fish and one of the other Gods the same one whose blood was used to make a drink took his own net and used it to capture him and then he was imprisoned with serpents and dripping Venom into his eyes. Which in the Daniel black story could be the reason Europe never Advanced beyond the Middle Ages. Because their God Of Invention and creativity all of their Gods of invention and creativity were captured and imprisoned.

      In that Universe it could be a universal thing all the Gods of change creativity and invention as well as Discovery and exploration were captured just like Prometheus and Loki. We might see all the other deities of that type imprisoned and being released. Maybe Coyote is imprisoned somewhere in North America and Ananzi is imprisoned somewhere in Africa? After all if they’re going to limit human creativity and inventiveness it might do for them to stop it from re-entering from the source. Basically the Gods born from those very things.

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      1. Not sure the presence of a trickster or inventor god tells us anything useful although your argument is a very logical extrapolation of the myths.

        The reality is that progress/change/technology evolution is very slow world wide. So either their are not gods that spur innovation/change, or they are ineffective or they things are so bad that even the presence of these gods cannot lead to meaningful change.

        I would argue the first –not innovative. After all, Coyote is the head of a pantheon and we have no indication that the Americas are advanced in any way, while we have heard good things about the magic of Egypt and China. And really nothing about non-magic progress. Hard to say that the head of a pantheon cannot have a strong influence on his region.

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      2. ? Coyote is not the head of the North American Pantheon. That would be a Sky Father. Next down from him would be either Bear or Wolf. Maybe both of them. In Native American mythology coyote is the outsider God looking in at the pantheon. Always going off and getting into trouble on his own. Also giving advice and helping hand to both Mortals and other Gods within the pantheon. Very much the same for Loki and Ananzi. Their counterpart in China would be Monkey who is imprisoned under a rock. Seeing a pattern here all the Gods of invention, creativity, Innovation and exploration kind of getting imprisoned.

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      3. Per the books, Coyote is head of the pantheon or at least the primary figure, although I suspect your knowledge of actual mythology is quite accurate. Whenever they speak of that region, they refer to Coyote, not anybody else.

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      4. He is there God of exploring so he could be the only one they know well. They could know about all the other Gods of that region however when they are dealing with them it’s Coyote that they have dealt with most. After all the same was true in Norse mythology whenever the Norse Gods dealt with other Gods or other entities they more than anything sent Loki to do it.

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      5. Might be more accurate to say that Coyote is the only god who exhibits a skill/ability that is particularly effective against one class of ancient horrors, the ‘Court of Nightmares’

        “Will young Coyote cross the seas to trick the Court of Nightmares back into their prison of dreams?”
        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2)

        That’s from Daniel’s conversation with Hecate while he’s dropping hot rocks into the river.

        That’s also a dangling thread from BLACK COVEN.

        I believe we have not yet seen the Court of Nightmares do anything in any of the books.

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    2. I’m not sure Daniel is seeking godhood. He’s definitely seeking the ability to end a goddess. He definitely seems likely to seek magotech enchantments that ensure his escaping a ‘true’ death. He has already done so once, at the end of THRALL.

      It seems likely Alanna wants Daniel to have at least one of the benefits of divinity — immortality. Currently, he is very likely undying, as his Flesh sorcery will continue to heal him indefinitely. If some powerful entity like Ra succeeds in killing him, however, Daniel won’t regenerate like a god.

      Since he is planning to exterminate Gaia, it seems likely Daniel will also try to implement a more robust type of mind transfer to a more survivable body, hidden someplace secure. With access to Alanna’s trees and dreamscapes, Daniel should be able to come up with a new, more sophisticated method.

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  10. Related to my last post is a question: How did the breaking of the Dreaming damage the gods?

    Before the breaking, the Dreaming was this powerful optimistic Dreaming where human progress was this great thing. Then to prevent another Sunspear, the Gods broke the Dreaming and took away from humanity the spark of innovation. Later, this spark was returned by Prometheus and the gods were not united enough to take it away again.

    Given it is already established that the gods are heavily influenced by humans (other intelligent creatures), that implies that they are also influenced by the Dreaming. So when the Dreaming was broken and nightmares were introduced — that breaking and those nightmares probably had a pretty negative impact on the gods. Perhaps the gods themselves became darker, more violent, more limited.

    Prometheus paid a very heavy price for his interference, so he had to be highly motivated. A lot of that motivation may have been due to a love of humanity, but it could just as easily been an action he took to benefit the gods as much or more than the humans.

    Just food for thought.

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    1. I’m not too sure about that. Unlike the fairies and the elves the Gods don’t actually come from the dreaming itself. They come from the primordial chaos that existed before the dreaming. Otherwise you wouldn’t have Beast Gods. Gods that came into existence before Humanity. Like that giant T-rex thing that came into existence when the sun Spire was destroyed releasing it. Those creatures where to primitive to dream. So they had to have been pulled from the chaos with a different method. Primarily some form of primordial Central need of an animal. Hunger desire basic needs. When you have humans you have more complex Concepts and ideas which become dreams. Maybe the dreaming itself was pulled from the primordial chaos by humans. This would allow the rise of elves and fairies and other such creatures. Humanity would also influence creatures that had to go back into the primordial chaos or later respon from the primordial chaos after the rise of humanity. Or in the case of tree Spirits like Alana transformed by their close contact with humans. Remember what Aphrodite was telling Mara that she would teach her to touch primordial chaos. Maybe that’s necessary for a demigod to transform into a full God. Like some metaphysical trout going back to the ocean after getting to a certain age. There’s no reason this would not hold true for other types of divine beings. Like Divine Beast who happened to produce offspring that would need to return to primordial chaos to achieve their full potential.
      “In doing so become influenced by a new species called Humanity.”

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      1. I think it is pretty clear that humanity has a bit impact, at least on human gods. Their artifacts are shaped like human tools. Human worship is their primary anchor, their shape is human shape. Their language/culture is human language/culture. Whether it is the dreaming or something else, it is pretty clear that there s some kind of significant influence going on here. If there was not, I would expect more divergence between gods and humans in culture if nothing else — but really there is not.

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      2. That’s because the Gods you’re thinking about were Gods born from Human thoughts emotions and desires which were latched onto by entities born from the primordial chaos which shaped themselves to fit those aspects to pull themselves out of the primordial chaos. An activity which is described quite clearly within the books. There is also quite a few mention of earlier Gods or God-like beings and entities also born from the primordial chaos. Starting with but not limited to the Titans or at least a percentage of them. Also the Divine Beast which pulled themselves out of the primordial chaos before Humanity existed. This could also hold true for several of the Titans. In fact it was several of these entities and perhaps other types of entities in the Multiverse that were mentioned when it was talking about it is illegal for God’s to travel to other universes within the Multiverse to take people. Or four people to be caught moving between universes.

        As far as I can tell the story hints at the dreaming being similar to the fairy Realms. They themselves are born from the dreaming with the dreaming appears to be pulled from the primordial chaos by the first proto-humans who gained the ability to well dream. You would have to think about the mythologies of the natives of Australia the Aboriginal population and their religious beliefs. That’s where the concept of the dreaming comes from.

        Perhaps if we’re talking literal then maybe the dreaming didn’t come from humans at all. After all I’ve watched as my dog has had a dream where it appears to be chasing something. Maybe wolves or some other type of primitive animal created the dreaming that humans just refined it.

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      3. Yeah I already pointed out that dogs, wolves, cats and various other types of animals dream in the exact same post you cited.

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      4. What the gods look like seems to vary, depending on the gods and the people. Aztec gods, not so human. Egyptian gods part human, part animal. Hindu gods quite varied. Chinese Imperial dragons. Amerind Thunderbird.

        It’s a bit of a divine tossed salad.

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  11. Kozalin is more advanced than we have been thinking

    Ok, this is a logical argument that agricultural sophistication in the lands around Kozalin is a lot more advanced than the typical middle ages based primarily on the size of Kozalin itself. This may also argue for more sophisticated food storage as well.

    Logical argument:
    1) The logistics of transporting food using middle ages technology demand that farming locations must be fairly close to a city and/or the city must be fairly close to a major river or ocean. If you have to spend a week to transport food, a lot of that food is consumed by your draft animals.

    2) There are no regions around Kozalin that were known historically as major food producing regions. By that I mean regions known for exporting a lot of food. Those regions historically were all around the Med or maybe Normandy in France.

    3) Kozalin had a population of a hundred thousand people. Now with refugees and soldiers, that actual population when Daniel arrived was a lot higher, but the base population was a hundred thousand.

    In the middle ages, a city of 50,000 was huge. Historically there were certainly cities much larger, but all of these required ships to bring in extra food and were found around the Med/Middle east/China. But in northern Europe, 50,000 was huge.

    Given no nearby areas that had huge surpluses, that meant that Kozalin could not import vast amounts of food. So they had to grow/harvest most of it themselves. That would have been impossible given Middle Ages agricultural sophistication.

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    1. No, Kozalin does not have to be especially more developed or modern just to be the size it is and still eat.

      Kozalin is like London or Paris or Rome, but a little further north. It sits on the banks of a significant river, very close to an ocean estuary and linked to a vast tributary system that flows through the rich farmland of ‘Baltica’ which is LAND instead of Kattegat, Skagerrak and Baltic Sea. Imagine a region the size of France with the agricultural richness of Denmark.

      Of course, that’s all monster poop now. There’s no chance at all to farm it until the ice and snow and monsters and armies and raging demigods and crazy goddesses go away.

      It’s probably fair to say that some foreign grain surplus has always been sold in Kozalin, just like Egypt sold grain to Rome. How much did Kozalin NEED that grain in previous years? Given the size of the Docks district and the existence of grain storage facilities, somebody was certainly trading grain.

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      1. If everything is exactly as you say, then Kozalin could probably manage 50,000 people like historical London did at that time. A hundred thousand people means they had to be more advanced agriculturally than the middle age tech we mostly see.

        All speculation off a tiny data point of course, but it is pretty reasonable to imagine that the priests could bless farms (aka – fertilizer equivalent) and magic can probably assist in keeping vermin/rot from spoiling stored food. Those two changes could have a huge impact and easily explain how things changed. I do not recall if potatoes are now part of their diet, but their introduction to Europe from the Americas has a big impact on food production.

        And it is unlikely that a lot of grain was shipped from the Med to Kozalin. That is a long distance which means fairly costly. The distance between Rome and Egypt was a tiny fraction of that distance.

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      2. Dspring, I totally agree with your comments about magic being used to improve agricultural yields and preservation.

        In that way, yes, Kozalin is ‘advanced’ beyond Medieval European agricultural technology, because Midgard has magic that actually works and can do so at very large scale, or very small.

        It seems likely these benefits would have been from divine magic, routed through the Asgardian Church most recently in Europe.

        Hence, there’s no reason to limit Kozalin to a measly 50K population in normal times. Similarly located cities in Mesoamerica had far larger populations a thousand years before Medieval Europe’s best, WITHOUT magic that works.

        Also, I’m NOT assuming the grain and other food shipments arriving at Kozalin harbor after Fimbulwinter begins come from Egypt. Morocco and Algeria seem much more likely, Hispania also. Remember, farmers THERE are ALSO benefited by the divine magic of THEIR fertility gods and goddesses.

        In general, we should expect agriculture EVERYWHERE on Midgard to be significantly more successful than Medieval Europe, because Midgard has magic that works. Anywhere there is agriculture there are humans or something like humans, with at least a few gods and goddesses who SUCCESSFULLY bless the soils, seas and skies.

        Some of the beings who ‘farm’ are like dryads and can directly bless their soils themselves.

        Bluntly, Kozalin at 150K is probably not even one of Europe’s largest cities. Rome, Carthage, Naples, Byzantium, Alexandria, Tyre and others would have been much larger before they become monster poop.

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  12. Kozalin should not expect to import much food no matter what Daniel does.

    Logic:
    * Cargo ships run between 40 tons (cog) to 500 tons (advanced galleons). A ton probably feeds 500 people for a single day at best. So food is 20,000 meals to 250,000 or at best 2 days per ship for the city. This basically just means that the city needs a lot of ships to arrive to make a meaningful difference.

    * The areas with food surpluses are all in the Mediterranean (Egypt primarily) or North Africa.

    * Shipping food from the Med to the Baltic sea is a LONG journey. Any merchants interested in transporting food are much more likely to sail to England or Northern France to sell their goods rather than the extra distance to Kozalin. After all, those places are probably almost as eager for food and much closer.

    So they are only going to ship to Kozalin if Kozalin offers a lot higher price than those other (closer) ports. And given they need a lot of ships, the price has to be very large to attract the hundreds of ships required to really supply Kozalin.

    Like

    1. Umm . . . there’s also the fact Kozalin is one of very few cities with a Red Conclave tower full of the most powerful collection of wizards in northern Europe.

      It’s not like the merchants know much about Daniel, YET, or care much about what they do know. They have grain to trade, Kozalin is open to trade, has gold to trade, and has cargo to move south for more gold. As long as the Conclave keeps the river ice melted to let them sail up it or pole up it or row up it to Kozalin, why would they NOT sail to trade there and why would they care WHICH wizard does the actual work?

      What else do the merchant captains need to know? Stories about the hordes of monsters and armies of Andregi utterly destroyed by wizards only encourage a captain to bet he can slip in, do some deals and slip out again before the monster poop hits the windmill.

      Don’t forget that the Asgardian Church communications network keeps many people around Europe and ALL of Midgard MUCH more knowledgeable and MUCH more current about events in Kozalin than would have been the case in a truly Medieval culture.

      We also might expect some merchants scattered around Europe maintain a few ‘house’ wizards, or hire ‘wandering adepts’ to maintain ‘private’ communications for the merchants’ own particular benefit.

      For that matter, what do we know about trade with what we would call America?

      Nothing?

      For all we know there are small Varmlander colonies on Manhattan and the Hudson River that have traded with Kozalin for hundreds of years.

      Of course, those are monster poop by now.

      Like

      1. The statement about the communities and cities in northern Europe having some form of communication through magical means is well taken. It’s also something that needs to be followed up in the story a little better. We have hints here and there about knowledge being had from other cities with no real explanation other than the one given early in the series.

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      2. DaShoota, I’d expect magic-based communications systems Midgard to be about as well organized as you’d expect in any other Dungeons & Dragons game.

        Expect the Asgardians to share current information with every significant church. Since the town of Lanrest was connected, expect every other town with a surviving priest and Asgardian church to be connected, but don’t expect the information to be shared beyond a small group of clergy and nobles. Merchants might be completely cut off from this network, unless they make seriously large donations to Odin and Thor.

        Remember the tenuous communications between various teams of Clan Nethwillin dark elves? That’s definitely going to be Svartalf-only networking except for rare instances like Daniel, a very close ally.

        Don’t forget the gods. There’s obviously all sorts of communication between gods, even between pantheons. Utterly unreliable and fraught with deliberate as well as accidental errors, it is, nonetheless, communication. Hecate mentioned a few things to Daniel during their predawn talk on the iced over river, things that indicate She has sources for divine current news that she is now sharing with him.

        I’d also suspect groups like the Red Conclave to communicate with other wizards, not to mention with the Royal Wizard of Varmland’s High Court.

        Basically, there’s a LOT of communication with all sorts of biases and levels of accuracy, but most of it is very closely shared between small numbers of individuals in specific groups.

        Daniel might consider democratizing communications, in which case he would piss off all sorts of highly placed individuals in much the same ways Oliver has pointed out that the Dwork clans will be pissed at him and Nethwillin for crashing the mithril/aluminum market.

        Colin

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      3. Seems like he is obsessed with Dorks knowing instantly that Daniel is responsible for crashing the mithril Market. I get the feeling that will take years for them to catch on to.

        I’m not sure Daniel will consider any trouble coming from him spreading out a Communications Network. I’m not sure that would occur to any of us. People from our world and our age take communication for granted almost as much as a natural right as being able to drink water. Which is an alien mindset to all the people he’s now living amongst. I think his clan of elves is going to have to disillusion him of that at which point he might actually be shocked to discover that no communication isn’t a natural right.

        Economics and the various ramifications thereof he can understand perfectly. Being able to limit communications and information knowledge and Technology I don’t think he will be able to understand that. At least not at first. I think it’ll be a case where everyone around him will literally have to start clapping their hand over his mouth and drag him bodily out of the room before he figures it out.

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      4. Yeah, Daniel’s going to find it easier if he just checks out with Clan Nethwillin pretty much everything he wants to do, unless it’s blowing stuff up, stopping stuff blowing up, or promising to blow stuff up.

        Because for sure, Clan Nethwillin now depends on him to keep their new magic realm alive and that means moments of calm, quiet panic at some of his more democratic ideas.

        Colin

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      5. With magical communication, you can arrange for shipments to arrive — if you are willing to pay 2X or 3X what people in England are willing to pay – which is no doubt 2X or 3X the normal rate. After all, they can make two shipments to England in the time required to make one shipment to Kozalin.

        But Daniel is not arranging these shipments and the Prince (before he died) probably could not make that type of financial commitment until trade resumed. And nobody else in Kozalin has enough coin to arrange such shipments except the Red Conclave. The Red Conclave already has 2 years supplies of food and has shown no inclination to volunteer resources for the rest of the city – so they are not going to pay for food shipments.

        And if Daniel comes back, then the gold is available, but the Lightbringers will probably block any shipments from Egypt.

        Some shipments will happen as they sell the grain and then sell space to rich passengers for the trip back. I just find it hard to believe that hundreds of ships will make the trip no matter what strategies Daniel and/or the Dark Elves play. Honestly much easier for Daniel to build massive underground farms than create the conditions for importing a lot of food.

        Then again, it might be good enough to get a few dozen ships into the city to relieve the pressure and provide some hope. Add in the fishing fleet that may be able to go out to sea again and you can reasonably expect the city to hold out 1-3 months more than otherwise (at least due to food resources).

        Realistically the god war will end within months – or within centuries. Not many scenarios that argue for an in-between duration.

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      6. Dspring, if there are several trading ships in port at the same time, and clearly that is the case in THRALL, then there will be FAR more than a ‘few dozen’ ships over any significant period of weeks or months.

        The author has something in mind that we do not see.

        Even so, characters like Pelagea and Demetrios expect Kozalin to fall. Maybe not immediately, but they see something that their millennia of experience tells them the city is crumbling beyond recovery.

        Sure hope we get to see more in the story to explain these viewpoints.

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      7. Kozaliin was absolutely a seaport when the fimbulwinter hit and it had a lot of ships in the harbor because of that. The city was a clear exporter of manufactured goods and probably magical artifacts as well. Their port was almost certainly a busy port under normal conditions.

        But to the best of my recollection, there was only the one grain ship that arrived since then as described in the scene where the riot occurred. I am certain they are more coming, but it is a question of volume.

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      8. In BLACK COVEN there are several merchant ships that have been frozen in place from the beginning of Fimbulwinter. One of them was smashed when Daniel’s mortar rounds pushed one of Hel’s black ships into it.

        At the beginning of THRALL there was a riot in which Daniel was required to protect MULTIPLE ships, not just one.

        “There’s trouble at the docks. The refugees are rioting, and trying to board the merchant ships!”
        Brown, E. William. Thrall (Daniel Black Book 4) (p. 48). Kindle Edition.

        “A ragged mob surged around a couple of piers where ships were docked, screaming and struggling with the sailors.” Brown, E. William. Thrall (Daniel Black Book 4) (p. 48). Kindle Edition.

        I’m going to continue to suggest the author seems to believe several ships per week will arrive at Kozalin, unload cargo, load cargo and then leave. Maybe it will be more like several ships every two weeks, but it seems to me they will want to dash in, dump, load and dash out before some Kozalin noble steals their crew for guards.

        It appears I could be wrong about Egypt being an unlikely grain source. It may NOT be too far away.

        “I suppose that makes sense,” I said. “Where are you shipping from, anyway?” “Mauritania had a good harvest this year, and Egypt was even better. The way things are going, we’ll run out of ships and sailors before we run short of grain to sell.” Brown, E. William. Thrall (Daniel Black Book 4) (p. 51). Kindle Edition.

        If Egypt had a huge harvest and Mauritania had a good harvest then there’s not much profit for a ship full of grain sailing EAST from Tangiers. Hence, we can assert that ships from Mauretania showing up at Kozalin are almost certain because they won’t find good prices for their cargoes in Mediterranean ports.

        That does NOT necessarily mean a grain merchant from Egypt MIGHT sail as far as Kozalin because nobody closer to home with an open port is buying. However, remember that there’s a Devourer running wild in Italy.

        This issue of grain ships sailing to Varmland from Alexandria might be a function of, “How many cities between Egypt and Kozalin have been eaten?”

        It is certainly a function of, “How many cities between Mauretania and Kozalin have been eaten?”

        Colin

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  13. Much earlier in the series, there was a lot of debate about whether Daniel will create an empire. Basically use his magic-tech to first control Kozalin, then multiple cities, then regions, and potentially continents. Lots of good thought as to how this could be done.

    However, the last two books since then have not really progressed down the path of Empire — and Thrall ended in a spot where Daniel could not go back to Kozalin for another month AND had Lightbringers who will attack him whenever they can track him down. It seems that the Empire route is now no longer possible….

    Or is it…. (dun dun…. )

    This thread is about debating that empire question again. Is this a story arc that still makes sense. If yes, how might it actually happen.

    My own perspective
    1) The option for Daniel to control Kozalin and us this city as a base to expand to take over other regions is probably not viable anymore. Daniel could still take over the city and could expand, but expansion primarily by magitech conquest (economic or military) is probably too slow now. He would need to develop new techniques to deploy his tech a LOT faster while dodging Lightbringer attacks.

    2) The political options is more likely than in the past. The Aesir are caught up in their battles and have little attention for the mortal world. Hecate is clearly going to use Daniel (aka her Champion) to secure additional alliances. Many of these could easily turn into mortal political alliances that can jump start an empire. It would be an empire that is physically disconnected and probably more Coalition than Empire, but it could be a pretty powerful nation among both the mortals and supernatural world. Magical transportation and communication would be the key to making this nation functional as opposed to aspirational, but that is a solvable problem by Daniel.

    3) A devastating strike against Egypt might be absolutely necessary to achieve this nation state for many reasons.
    a) Lightbringers are a major threat – so destroying most of their capabilities is a must for Daniel to be able to operate freely. By capabilities, I mean their arsenals of magic items, their support structure that enables all these magic items and their reputation/support from RA that allows them so much freedom of action.

    b) Freeing the Atlanteans (if still sane – debatable) would give Daniel a big power boost to his empire. That is a lot of very powerful mages.

    c) if Bast is not unique, there are probably a lot of Egyptian gods that are unhappy with Ra. Enough perhaps to keep Ra from taking personal action against Daniel and/or enough to lead a coup if Hecate’s side can bring froth a god powerful enough to lead a new Pantheon. Imprisoning/killing Ra and taking over his territory creates an instant empire.

    Anybody else see a different path that can lead to empire other than some combination of 2 & 3 above?

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    1. Fly all of Black Island to Mars, cherry pick potential allies from Earth and build an empire in Space.

      Declare Europe to be protected and if anybody calls that ‘bluff’ drop a big rock on their head from beyond orbit.

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      1. Fortress in space always my favorite strategy. However there is a simpler strategy.

        “It is said that living well is the best revenge.” All Daniel really has to do to build his Empire is survive and spread his influence where others Retreat or abandoned territory. All he has to do to build his Empire is be the last man standing. This in truth is how most Empires are born.

        Usually there’s some big conquest or confrontation between larger Powers than a city-state or tribe that was on the periphery survives it and rebuilds From the Ashes. That’s how most Empires are actually born. The Roman Empire was born out of the Fallout from Alexander the Great’s conquests. When his generals started squabbling and tearing each other apart Rome was a tiny little city state in the boonies setting off by itself that after everybody broke apart could see an opportunity and took it. The British Empire was born from the 1630s conflicts within Germany and the rest of Europe. It was primarily a little nobody Kingdom on an island that nobody really paid all that much attention to at the time. When the rest of Europe tore itself apart it was one of the few remaining intact powers and its Empire was born from having resources and abilities to spread out from there. The same can be said about the United States being born as an imperial power from the Fallout of World War I and World War II.

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      2. True – but I was kinda thinking empire in the sense that it might meaningfully resolve Ragnarok and/or directly lead to Daniel’s survival. If you assume that these two have already happened, it is really obvious that Daniel will become a great power – which may or may not be defined as an empire

        However, I will dispute one assumption of yours. Empires do not simply keep growing. Size matters. It matters in that the empire can mobilize more strength, but it also matters because size is a big liability. Communication, transportation, management, oversight, even inspiration are orders of magnitude harder as the size of your empire grows. Technology (aka magic in this situation) can alleviate some of this, but not all of it. There are very good reasons that we have NEVER seen an empire keep expanding and why all of the empires that lasted had intentionally stable borders for most of that time.

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      3. What would stop Daniel from creating something similar to Castle Black in every square on a checkerboard pattern across Europe? Let’s assume he can put together indoor farms that do NOT require nymphs and dryads. Yeah, they’d be less efficient, less productive, but they’d feed the number of people inside that fortress.

        Then load up each castle with thousands of lava sprayers, anti-pterodactyl pom-poms, mortars, autocannon and his more recent weapons. Maybe checkerboard is not the best pattern for overlapped killing fields. If so, change to something better.

        As far as I can see, there’s nothing that would stop Daniel from taking over the planet, then the Solar System.

        Of course, he’d need an endless supply of loyal, capable, competent humans and other allies.

        That’s going to be a LOT of cookies.

        Avilla better get baking!

        Colin

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      4. The problem with stable borders is stagnation. This happened to China & India both. When they encountered a rising power they couldn’t adapt fast enough. When Rome stopped expanding and adapting its military tactics it became stagnant and could not adapt to the fast-paced Warfare brought in by the Invaders. Too much stagnation tends to spell the death of Nations.

        I tend to think of it as the bonobo paradox. Bonobos and chimps are almost exactly the same. Except bonobos live in a protected environment of the Congo surrounded by Rivers. Chimpanzees have to fight and struggle against predators everyday. If chimpanzees had access to the bonobo territory the obonobos would cease to exist. Obonobos are stagnant The Chimps are continuously adapting.

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      5. By definition, a single empire eventually becomes stagnant. Hence, I want to see Daniel’s kids create multiple ’empires’ and multiple pantheons across multiple planets and star systems.

        Diversity and expansion will challenge stagnation, while a never ending frontier will preserve and foster innovation.

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      6. He cannot expand this way without either creating the ability to “copy” his work rapidly or by letting a lot of others know how to do his magic.

        The first creates a monoculture which is fairly easy to defeat. You only have to hack it once to hack it everywhere.

        The second would inevitably lead to others getting all his key tech. England did not take over the world simply because it dominated the industrial revolution in the early years. Other nations caught up, also industrialized and had their own advantages. The Venitians had a guild of assassins that hunted down people who escaped with their glass making secrets.

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      7. One advantage he has is the ability to design his stuff with a self destruction function from the start. His most loyal followers would probably ask him soon to do this if he doesn’t think of it himself.

        Daniel at a meeting:. Now that I’ve got all this figured out how do I keep others from stealing it?
        An elf sitting next to him:. Too bad you can’t make it so it’s self-destruct if somebody attempts to tamper with it.
        Daniel:. Leaning forward smacks forehead with hand.

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      8. Dspring, copying his work rapidly is exactly what Daniel does, and he has already begun creating ‘seed’ starters for his fortress building, so I don’t believe copying his fortress and farming technology is a big obstacle. His farming magotech in particular is likely to be something he works hard to copy multiple ways. Remember, the habitat he promised to Clan Nethwillin contains significant agricultural areas, which will be farmed by a combination of Daniel’s and the clan’s new and traditional methods.

        Don’t think for a second that Sefwin and her dad won’t approach the Groves for a deal that gives Nethwillin’s farmers dryad assistance, while supplying the forest spirits with something THEY want.

        As far as monocultures are concerned, no, I’m not worried about that. ‘Hacking’ it is nonsequitor as Daniel changes too often for hacks to propagate successfully.

        The people Daniel allies with are either sent by Hecate or they are the humans he wants to save. If they are allies, Daniel WANTS them to learn his magic and help share his work. If they are humans, Daniel will struggle to TEACH them a fraction of his magic AND his science. Neither of these is much of a threat to Daniel.

        Daniel already has to worry about Dwork assassins as well as Lightbringer assassins. What’s another crew of assassins? He and his allies will crush the assassins, or die.

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      9. At this point all Daniel needs to do to found a Empire is survive. He may not even need to deal with the ice age. In the mythology it was the fire demon who ruled over the fire Giants that actually ended fimbulwinter.

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      10. Yeah, but did the fire giants end the Ice Age that follows Fimbulwinter?

        Oh, that’s right, there was no Ice Age after Fimbulwinter in our Earth universe.

        Hecate seemed rather certain that just killing off Loki would not be enough to end Fimbulwinter.

        Some major divine magic would also be required, and even then, the Ice Age would still happen.

        I’m inclined to believe Hecate when she says there will be an Ice Age and it will last a hundred millennia.

        She was there for at least the last part of the previous Ice Age on Midgard.

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      11. All true but at least during a normal Ice Age there is a summer. Even if short and rather chilly. During fimbulwinter there does not seem like there will be.

        In most mythologies there’s always opposing forces. The opposing Force to fimbulwinter is whatever the fire demon Surtur has access to. Maybe we should refer to it as some sort of fimbulsummer? If it actually exists and it’s not just a giant Fireball which covers the planet. In our version of the mythology of Ragnarok it was basically the end of Ragnarok surtur bathed the world in fire ending the great winter. Humans survived inside the stump of yggdrasil. Emerging after everything has settled down and burned itself out.

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      12. Ouch.

        “Bathing the world in fire,” seems like it could be a nearby supernova or gamma ray burst.

        Unless he had a several days or more warning period, Daniel would not survive either of those.

        With enough time, he could probably sink Black Island a few miles beneath the surface of Midgard and pile up some serious mass of nickel-iron on top.

        No point trying to fly away from either unless he’s absolutely certain he knows the threat vector and his acceleration is a significant fraction of light speed.

        Colin

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      13. While it could be something like a cosmic event or maybe Surtur has the ability to create something like the sun in that dino Earth type deal. I am actually leaning towards it being something like fimbulwinter itself just the polar opposite. Instead of enhancing cold it enhances Heat. Kind of like a summer that tries never to end.

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      14. To be fair, it’s just bad luck and planetary science that Loki’s enchanted Fimbulwinter is capable of triggering a geophysical ice age for Midgard.

        There’s no need for Surtr’s enchanted hot, Hot, HOT summer to trigger a five mile deep lava ocean all over Earth.

        Surtr might love it, but if he does not get it, sucks to be him.

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      15. Hacking is a severe problem for Daniel. Not so much for Daniel’s personal fighting ability, but very much so for the mass tools he gives to others. Yes Daniel can change things up quickly so it is hard for someone to tailor a defense or attack against his weaknesses, but Daniel cannot switch out all the equipment he gives others that easily.

        For example, the black keep stands on the back of exactly four technologies: Power links, conjuring earth bullets, mortar and the walls of the keep itself.

        The walls are a very complex bit of mage craft with many embedded defenses and would be challenging for anyone to easily overcome. But if Daniel had a hundred cities with the exact same type of walls, the enemy would spend the time to understand them and find their weak points. And if Daniel has to go to each city to update the walls wards to block each weakness, he would have no time for anything else.

        The mortars are also a complex bit of mage – which has already been designed once to bypass common wards. These have a number of limitations around how they can be used, but if a counter that intercepted the mortars would block most of their effectiveness — and good tactics would also blunt their usefulness somewhat.

        Power links are necessary for every single weapon created in castle black. Block those links and all of Daniels weapons are useless.

        Daniel’s guns conjure earth (aka – metal). A ward that banished earth/metal would probably work pretty well in stopping them.

        Not saying Daniel is weak or that his foes will easily be able to counter applications of magic that are unfamiliar to them. But it would only take a single captured gun to allow them to counter links and bullets IF it is important enough for the enemy to devote some significant time to the challenge. And if they revealed that counter right at the beginning of a major battle, Daniel would NOT be able to easily fix the problem before his troops suffer punishing losses.

        Up to this point, Daniel has not been important enough for anybody to devote that time. He defended the city very effectively, but the city is only a minor objective in the god war after all, especially after the ward key (to Asgard) was destroyed. And the only god really annoyed by his efforts is Gaea – not a goddess who really sweats the magic details and one who obviously is not that concerned about the lives of individual troops in her armies.

        Of course, at the point that the gods start taking Daniel seriously, they are not going to be concerned about his armies. They will come directly for him. 🙂

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      16. Fortunately, Daniel won’t have to worry about upkeep and repairs of a hundred Castle Blacks for many, many books yet to come, due to the narrow time slice of each tome.

        For the next few books, whoever tries to pay attention to the magic items Daniel creates will continue to lag far behind his speed of innovation, hence, remain unable to hack fast enough to make a difference.

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      17. I don’t think it’s likely that they will be able to develop a ward that banishes bullets. Maybe they could develop one that prevents the bullet from being summoned within a given area. However bullets are long-ranged they can be fired from Beyond that area. That’s the bullets great strength over earlier forms of projectile weapons. The increase of range and force of impact. It has been established within the books that summoning and banishing requires time. That’s the reason Daniel is going for ever increasing complexity in his guns. It’s the whole reason to develop a machine gun he had to develop a multi barrel system. A ward around a soldier or a group of soldiers that can banish a bullet would not banish it fast enough. The bullet would travel through the ward and through the target before it vanishes. This is the limitation of the magical system within the story so far.

        It might be possible to set that Ward up around an encampment. Probably not around battle lines however. The wards would have to be far enough out from the soldiers to allow time to banish the bullet before it travels the distance. The bullets would not be traveling feet per second they would be traveling hundreds of yards in the amount of time it would take to banish them. They would have to set the perimeter of their encampment to be the better part of a mile out for the ward to function and make the bullet vanish before it hits anyone. Not saying it’s not possible but there is a cost-benefit analysis that would have to be done. It’s cheaper to dig a trench and make them put their Camp Underground. “The invention of bunkers are coming.” That would be the cheapest easiest and most effective counter to Daniels Soldier / infantry carried bullets projectile weaponry. That would still be just an oversized target for his mortars and future cannons.

        Another potential counter to his projectile weapons would be increasing the effectiveness of personal armor or developing maybe including Personal Defense Force fields. It’s going to eventually happen. Daniel is using Personal Defense Force Fields everywhere he goes on every Battlefield and in every conflict he takes part. That will be noticed and somebody will start paying Wizards to figure out how to use force fields in personal combat. This will mean at the very least officers and maybe some Elite troops will be transformed into primarily melee shock troops.

        In some ways it will transform the battlefield in Daniel’s Universe to be similar to that of a 40K universe. You’ll have large numbers of long-ranged heavy artillery & troops and armies. With small numbers of Highly Elite physically enhanced heavily armored and possibly force field protected shock troops that can get in close quickly and decimate the enemy’s numbers. I think Daniels enemies would not like putting him in a position where he has to start thinking about enhancing his soldiers and giving them melee weapons and armor. He has several of as he said earlier super soldier templates he has not broken out yet.

        It would be trivial for him to start enhancing soldiers. He might be the only character in that Universe capable of essentially Mass producing super soldiers. He could take Odin’s idea and industrialize it on a scale and with a speed Odin could not approach himself. Because Daniel does not have to wait years for the training and the Fairy Land realm affect to enhance a physical body. He got the template for cat girls and Anime elves. He stated that he’s got several templates for super soldiers. He’s a Science Fiction and Fantasy fan he’s also a gamer. This means he probably has the Captain America Super Soldier template the master chief super soldier template and more than likely several versions of the 40K or 30k super soldier templates and maybe several others from video games or stories that’s been in a book he’s read. He might even have the templates for Spider-Man, Wolverine or who knows what in there somewhere. He can also create his own Jedi Knights and Sith. He did it with one of his witches. He took the demon dragon death which hybrid and gave her a force enchantment embedded in her soul. And this was talked about and displayed when he was teaching her how to fly. “He can give his people Force powers.”

        On top of that he can apparently create enhanced versions of lightsabers. He can grow clone bodies for them and equip them so that if they die in battle they like a character in a video game respawn. If the Gods knew what kind of threat he could become in the future they would nuke him. They would definitely set aside all their differences take one look at him and say yeah this thing is worse than the atlanteans we really need to get rid of him. Luckily they haven’t noticed just how dangerous he could become in the future. I wonder if his wives are going to convince him to build a set of golden armor?

        There is a Divine prophecy that’s already in the story. Where Daniel and his forces are on the fields after Ragnarok mopping up the survivors and find somebody who may fit very well into his coven. My question is will he have thunder warriors with him or just custodies? I’m pretty sure the myths about the Chinese gods have their King running around in golden armor already. Surrounded by great and Elite Warriors.

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      18. And we already know that Daniel knows working his enchantments into gold makes them more robust.

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    2. One big mistake you’re making is the assumption that Daniel will be in the dream lands for a month or more. So far nothing in the books is really taking that long. Daniel has only been in Asgard for a few weeks not a month. He will probably take about 1 or 1 and 1/2 weeks in the dream lands to work on & finish his projects or get them at least highly started. Also the trees he brought with him from Asgard cannot stay there that long. They can only stay in the dream about a few days maybe a week and a half at most. This is his time constraint. His child has also already been born. He’s been advised not to stay away from his child for very long knowing it will grow quickly.

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      1. Yeah, on the one hand, the clock is ticking for Daniel to go home and imprint on baby Bast, probably as a male father figure. On the other hand, Hecate just might have a job or two for a female light elf with the power of Daniel’s magic and innovative genius.

        Daniel’s new body version 2 is not quite finished yet, as of the end of THRALL, so there will be a few days before any transition is possible. Just time enough for a bit of sneaking around somewhere interesting.

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      2. My assumption is that Daniel will be a month or so before he returns to Kozalin because that is what is needed to protect his coven, but he will not be in the dreamlands that long at all. The longest he would stay is the minimum required to complete grow his new body and most likely he would leave well before that. After all, it is not as if he cannot return to the dreamlands in an instant. It is all connected via his dryad familiar. And Hecate has a lot for him to do.

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  14. One of the things that is clear about Daniel’s sorceries is that his earth knowledge makes the sorcery more powerful in two very important ways
    1) Art of the possible – ideas of how to use magic that are unknown in this world
    2) Detailed expertise – methods and applications of magic that are unknown in this world

    For example, his knowledge of building codes (rebar reinforcement) allowed him to build stronger stone walls (#1). And his knowledge of the earth’s core allowed him to summon explosive lava (#2) – the pressure that rock is under is simply unknown to these people.

    Daniel’s expertise is general 20th century combined with a gamer background combined with computer programming. How might Daniel’s sorceries have been different if he had a different profession.

    For example
    • Chemist/geologist/metallurgist would have been able to create significantly more capable materials with his earth magic
    • Physics or other theoretical sciences could probably have led to more effective applications of force magic and/or dimensional/portal magic. Probably better flight magic as well and perhaps better mana sorcery
    • Microbiologist or geneticist or even zoologist might have utilized the flesh magic more effectively
    • A specialist in social media might have been able to manage some awesome sorceries around emotions, influence, and similar concepts
    • A professional soldier might be able to manage military applications of magic a lot more effectively both from familiarity with different types of weapons and familiarity with other important aspects such as maintenance, logistics, strategy, etc.

    I am sure there are many good ideas in addition to the above.

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  15. I was re-reading the series and got to him inscribing his bones with magic when I realized something.
    If he can do that, then why can’t he inscribe his marrow to create cells pre-inscribed?
    All he would need is more advanced sensing so he can see on a much smaller scale, which he can probably do with his new Atlantean knowledge.

    I also still want to see a non-newtonian shield. Nothing above a certain speed would be able to enter the shield. Admittedly, it would probably result in him being knocked through buildings by bigger hits, but the shield would stay stable unless something very slowly stabbed through it.

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      1. I hear that! Last time I checked he was still putting a new chapters on his subscribe of star for the second book in the Alice long series. But I haven’t checked that in months.

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    1. What would be the advantage of inscribing his cells? What he did with bones was harden them — and create a mana tap and healing amulet effect on some bones. I think the hardening had nothing to do with the inscribing, but more with the general body enhancement magic.

      I think the cells might be a great way to get regeneration, but he already has super healing so does not need regeneration.

      Some kind of improved force shield would be really effective, but I think he would get a lot more bang if he can figure out why so many types of attacks can ignore the shield — and then address that problem. The shield is clearly his best all around defense, but it is becoming useless in recent books as many attacks bypass it effortlessly.

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      1. I think many of his magic using enemies attacks bypass his shield because Shields are so ubiquitous in that universe and its setting. Or should I call it that corner of the Multiverse? It’s perfectly logical if you think about it. Shields would be one of the very first thing to come to mind to anyone capable of using magic to create such a thing even theoretically. The very next thing to come to mind would be how to bypass it either for themselves or for an enemy after encountering it. Shields made of hardened fire, Motes of dust, dirt, hardened air, water and physical Force maybe Shields made the light or lightning. These are things that are common in most magical settings. There’s no reason to believe there wasn’t an arms race going on for some 12 to 13 thousand or even longer years before he made his appearance on the scene. It’s just his bad luck taking a mode of Defense in an environment where that mode was picked thousands and thousands of years ago without him knowing and an arms race being driven ever since then. He had a good concept good ideas and it works for most non magical attacks but there’s always that but the arms race problem. One in which he is entering a little late in the field Department. Even the ape-men had arguably more advanced Shields than him when he bombarded them with his mortars. The difference is he had an auto production of rounds and an endless power supply to pour onto it with the cheat being the explosive he was able to summon using his understanding of what they would call Natural philosophy that they have a very weak understanding in. This allows him to get around what they would consider energy restrictions. He can summon cheaply summoned materials that have an inherent energy concentration greater then perhaps the energy used to summon it.

        It’s the difference in him starting a fire and trying to keep it going while his enemy is trying to put it out. They’re using a well and bucket of water to put the fire out and he’s standing there with a nozzle hooked up to a gas pump with a gas station behind him.

        The real threat is some of his enemies figuring out how to make his power supply explode. He investigated this himself when he was doing radiation experiments and found that it would not go critical and turn nuclear. It would heat up and explode long before that happened. This would destroy the enchantment and destroy the device itself with a rather large Bang. Still if an enemy figures out what he’s doing and decides to throw a match into the gas station so to speak? BANG!

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      2. true. But Daniel’s approach is different via earth knowledge and magic sorcery. The most obvious bypass is magical weapons bypassing force shields. Curses are another. If he can knock out a few, it is a great option.

        For example, if he embeds physical dust into his force shield – dust held together by force fields. Will it block magical weapons 5′ out from his body. The weapon might ignore the shield, but the physical object (dust) can still block and the force fields holds the dust in place. Basically taking his armor “tack” concept and moving to something more like a nano-shield. He does not need to necessarily have super tough dust, but a lot of attacks can be blocked without a lot of force – like those flying daggers the lightbringers used against him.

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      3. Maybe trap something really nasty between two defensive force fields, like a high temperature plasma or incandescent metal dust.

        Daniel needs to spend some quality time with Cerise, learning how to stop the spells she throws.

        For that matter, Clan Nethwillin’s magi need to sit him down long enough to teach him some effective defensive magic. Sefwin ought to be able to arrange that, not to mention seeing the necessity in the first place.

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  16. I have a poor track record of predicting the plot of future books, but we have so many possibilities

    Some questions
    1) will the next story cover just a few days to a couple weeks? Or will several months go by. Logically the battle around Asgard will take months to resolve itself, so a longer timeline book can happen

    2) Will the story primarily focus on helping out Hecate (as implied at the end of Thrall) or will the focus be primarily on Daniel’s magical R&D/industrialization/build up of power. Obviously both can occur, but one theme will probably be primary.

    3) What will be the primary opposition? Gaea? Great Beasts? Lightbringers? Top agents of the Aesir Gods? Another Pantheon? I cannot see that any one demigod would provide enough opposition to really threaten Daniel, but a demigod could be a clever/dangerous enough foe to be very interesting if they are supported by others.

    4) will any of the gods that escaped the Sunspear show up in a meaningful way in the next story?

    5) Will Daniel have any meaningful interaction with human rulers. Up to this point his interaction has been pretty minor and only related to the now dead prince.

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    1. I really hope that number 4 happens, for both allies and new challenges to appear, although that can be extended to more books with a strong sign of change in that world. I expect it to take more of a year in book time so we can have a chance of seeing Daniel acting like a father figure, grow at a normal pace ad strength his foundation and that of his faction. I hope it center more on creating a new faction in that world with multiple Gods, and other ‘abandoned’ creatures so Daniel can get inspiration for new and wonderful things as well as get to know himself much better and what he is truly capable of. I think that by all the potential threats for Daniel the ligthbringers are the one that will actively engage against him, Gaia would be too busy supporting Loki till Daniel ‘kidnap’ her new daughter, Odin and the Aesir as well will be too busy fighting a War at their doorstep to invest much resource in dealing with him (although I don’t doubt some actions would indeed be taken in that direction), other Gods and Pantheon might find the chance to either rope him on their cause or ignore him altogether if he manages to properly hide the extent of how big of a threat he can truly be. I expect him not to do to well regarding the older and more powerful human rules, but at least he might stablish some fragile truce with the wiser ones.

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    2. My own preferences

      1) A montage type story which is basically a series of short stories about Daniel fixing specific problems/alliances

      2) A story where Daniel upsets the apple cart in a big way through some combination of infiltration, innovative magic, exploiting weaknesses of his enemies, and unconventional thinking. For example:
      a) stealing away most of the slaves/wealth from the dwarves
      b) taking the captured souls of the Atlanteans from the Lightbringers
      c) getting another pantheon involved in the war (Coyote or RA’s pantheon) in such a way that it extends the conflict rather than resolves it.

      3) A visit to Tartarus might be fun – to see Prometheus perhaps or consult with some Titans.

      4) Daniel building a modern army (his version of tanks/artillery/subs/combined arms tactics, etc), although I do not think this likely. it is really not a military style series. The author prefers to focus on the action on Daniel directly.

      5) Some kind of economic focused group where Daniel begins to heavily impact the economics of the whole region/continent in a big way. Again not likely as this does not seem to be the focus of the author.

      In any case, ending with Daniel back at Black Keep and in charge of the entire city — probably by saving it from a great beast.

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      1. 2. 3. and 5. Are my preferred future books. Although we have to remember torturous isn’t one world. It’s a world with a bunch of portals into different Hell Dimension worlds. Or that’s the way it was described in the books by the author. That might actually make for a more intriguing set of future books. All of his enemies are focusing their attention on midgard. The pantheons know the D Gates in Tartarus have been flung open so they not going to concern themselves with them until they finish their War. Daniel could actually get tired of the monsters and demons coming through go down there and Conquer several worlds as test runs for some of this technology in a place no one would notice. He’s already got one such place in the dream realm where he can conduct his experiments. Why not have a future at set of books where he takes them into Tartarus and conduct some practical tests in the field. He could probably out screw in one of the major powers in the succubus the world conquering it between the sheets so to speak. His death whitch / battle dragon / War demon / knight whitch / assassin ninja might actually want him to do that.

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  17. One more odd thought. How much does the mortal world matter to the gods and results of the god-war. Ignoring for now any impacts that would only show themselves as significant over decades or centuries.

    There is a certain baseline importance.
    * The gods need a certain number of worshipers to provide an anchor for themselves if slain. Odin can probably get by with just one worshiper while a demigod might need hundreds or even thousands. Not clear how this works as we really have only seen two Asier temples and both were temples to Odin with no other gods having statutes or alters (mentioned at least). I cannot see it as workable for every demigod to have their own temple.

    * Odin gets new soldiers from the slain human followers — as does Hel. However, it is hard to argue that anything Daniel can do would seriously impact either Odin and Hel’s armies. Both have built up armies for several thousand years. A disruption in a single year cannot have more than a miniscule impact on the battlefield.

    * The allegiance and support of the mortal nations probably adds a fair bit of status and prestige to each pantheon. That may sway more important powers like the Winter Court or the Dwerger. Certainly Hecate’s comments at the end of Thrall imply that this.

    * The fact that people provide sacrifices in the temples probably indicates that those sacrifices provides some real value to the gods. I suspect a lot of worshipers feeds (collectively) a lot of power to the individual gods specifically and to the pantheon as a whole. Given how temples have been described, it feels like almost all the power goes to Odin (or Loki) and then that god redistributes some of that power to the others. We really have not seen any alters focused on gods other than Odin within the temple in Kostalin.

    * It seems unlikely that devote believers of any god will change their minds easily. However, I do get the vibe that Political allegiance can matter. If a city leadership announces support for XXX, then a fair amount of the above benefits from that city will be redirected to the new god/pantheon. Not all of it will transfer, but if the city temples get rededicated to the new god/pantheon, then a lot of that useful “god” energy will flow to the new god/pantheon.

    If the last bullet above is true, that does actually make the mortal world important to the gods and god war beyond providing anchors. That opens up a LOT of story possibilities.

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  18. Temple for Mara?

    Demigods need anchors. As far as I know there is no temple or established worshipers for Mara. She also does not seem to have any tools or any of the other described anchors. That makes her very vulnerable. Gaia may hold a ritual to bring back her brothers, but fat chance that Mara gets the same devotion from her mother now that Fenris is free.

    Should Daniel help Mara create a priest (ess) and allow them to establish a place of worship on Black Keep? Or help, but only if the place of worship is outside the Keep?

    2nd question – can Mara even come back with an Anchor? It is unclear if she is a full demigod (aka – immortal) or if the final step has been blocked, keeping her effective mortal. If the answer is no, will Aphrodite change that post Thrall or just take advantage of Mara?

    3rd question – Mara is really two goddesses in one. That implies that any priest(ess) or places of worship would be shared and creates an obvious secret mystery. Can a single priest(ess) serve two goddesses simultaneously or will there be a hidden priesthood within the other priesthood?

    4th question – what is the name of Mara’s twin sister goddess? Not a super important question, but now I am curious. They both cannot be named Mara can they? Or are they really a single goddess with two faces/personalities?

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    1. If She wants to avoid Her tiny numbers of original faithful being squished by the Aesir and other pantheons, Mara probably should start with several secret shrines rather than a temple.

      Mara also has to be careful how she commences to develop Her worship. Technically, she is likely to become part of Loki’s pantheon at the moment, to the extent She gains any divine presence at all when She ascends.

      Building anything anywhere near Black Island would seem likely to put her inside the territory of whatever ‘flavor’ of pantheon is forming under Daniel’s protection.

      1) Hecate can be Olympian or reclaim Her Titan heritage, maybe even Egyptian or Anatolian as well.
      2) Hestia is first and last of the first generation of Olympian gods and goddesses. Yeah, THAT kind of complicated.
      3) Bast is Egyptian, and recently in rebellion against Ra. She goes way back in pre-pantheon Egypt.
      4) Idun has not joined and may never. She will bring Aesir complications and more ancient heritage.
      5) Prometheus has not joined and is a Titan.
      6) Lolth is hilarious and I do SO hope the author plays that card to the MAX.
      7) Daniel, if he ever undergoes apotheosis, will have dryad, naiad and other spirits who sacrifice to Him, but that does not necessarily make him an Olympian. It’s not yet clear whether anyone else might worship Him.
      8) Aphrodite is adopted into the Olympian pantheon from Phoenician and more ancient cultures. Of course, She ALWAYS brings complications whether she joins Daniel’s pantheon or not.

      Open Pantheon?

      Polypantheon?

      Mélange a Dieux?

      Colin

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      1. Agree that any specific worshipers of Mara would/should be hidden as much as possible. I am just not sure there are any such worshipers right now to hide. Gaia would certainly not have allowed Mara to get an independent power base and Mara herself was a (very) hidden goddess until very recently.

        Mara certainly cannot ally with Hecate in any vaguely public way without breaking with Loki. But I suspect Loki would be fine with Mara establishing a few secret shrines or having secret alliances so long as nothing gets public (among the gods).

        I imagine that Loki has some genuine gratitude toward Mara and perhaps some (mild) parental feelings as well – so he would want her to do well. However, the political reality is that Loki must publicly prioritize his alliance with Gaia and even privately I cannot imagine that Loki would do anything to risk that alliance. But a little willful ignorance and neglect (that favors Mara) is quite possible.

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      2. Well . . . some of the male Andregi would LIKE to worship Mara, but that seems to be a fatal fascination for them.

        I wonder if Mara would impress the fire giants?

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  19. What will Gaia do now?

    This is actually an important question that does not have an obvious answer. Possible answers include:

    1) Focus on Asgard
    2) Focus on Humanity
    3) Straddle the difference
    4) New Plots

    #1 means that Gaia herself, her sons and all the Greater Beasts that she can strongly influence will be fighting against Odin, Thor and the Einherjar. The primary goal is to crush Asgard, and destroy the seat of Odin’s power. While this would not end the war, it would certainly put Odin at a real disadvantage as Loki’s agents hunt down the gods loyal to Odin and permanently kill them one by one over the course of decades or centuries.

    This does not mean that Gaia ignores humanity. There are Greater Beasts that have no interest in fighting Asgard, but would be perfectly happy eating enormous numbers of humans and would likely be influenced by Gaia’s suggestions. There are still hoards of Andregi, trolls and goblins that are going to keep killing humans, but their effectiveness is going to be significantly reduced as they no longer have demigod commanders and Gaia’s attention and her most powerful minions will no longer be supporting them.

    #2 really means that Gaia provides only the minimum support to the battle against Asgard and focuses her primary efforts on killing humans. This is really bad news for humanity as Gaia no longer needs to hold back. Before Fenris’s escape, Odin and Aesir gods watched over humanity and would strike if Gaia exposed herself or her powerful minions too much. Effectively all the really big hitters on both sides were watching each other and not actually “doing stuff”. Once the battle of Asgard started, the Aesir check on Gaia’s activity is gone. Expect to see Gaia herself take the field along with powerful Greater Beasts and all her Demigod Sons.

    Now realistically this is an unlikely scenario as it is poor strategy god war wise. If Odin wins on Asgard, Gaia knows she will be hunted down. It would also make Loki rather mad at her as well – meaning his victory would be almost as bad for Gaia as Odins. However, Gaia is a few fruit short anyway and may decide that killing humanity is worth it.

    #3 means that Gaia does a lot for Loki on the fields of Asgard, but still puts focus and demigods on the task of killing humanity. This probably will feel very similar to the situation prior to the start of Asgard. Demigod presence on the battlefields but without any of the real big hitters playing. However, Odin has withdrawn his demigods so humanity will be weakened before this new onslaught.

    This scenario really represents Gaia being fixated on killing humans and only doing the minimum necessary to remain in Loki’s good graces. So all her really powerful forces fight against Asgard and everybody else fights humans. This also represents the best opportunity for Daniel and/or Hecate to shine.

    #4 would be the result of Gaia having more secret world ending plots, most likely focused on getting the humans “belonging” to other pantheons on the “die now” train. I suspect this means broadening the war as much as possible and/or adding new and powerful (and psychotic) players to the war. Expecting to see some serious world ending terrorism, invasions, and/or really disrupted assassinations. No idea of what specifics might look like, but the flaw in Gaia’s plan to exterminate humans has always been that only “some” humans belong to the Aesir and the Fimbulwinter by itself is unlikely to do the deed for all the other humans without something else added on top. It is too obvious a flaw for Gaia to not have some plan to address.

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  20. What is the best outcome for Daniel with the Asgard war?

    I think most people would argue that the best outcome is that all the major gods kill each other off, leaving Daniel and Hecate to then form a new Divine Pantheon to end the Fimbulwinter, send Gaia packing and introduce a better age for humanity.

    It is true that this has the real potential for this nice outcome, but the only certainty is that it would create a power vacuum that other gods/pantheons/beings will rush to fill. Rather than introducing a new golden age, it might turn Europe and northern Eurasia into a war zone. Europe might end up looking more like war torn Syria as various divine factions fight over their turf.

    A better outcome “might” be to have the war end in stalemate with both sides significantly weakened, but still very much in play. Their conflict becomes very much of a cold war with lots of proxy conflicts. That is by no means ideal, but it gives both sides some real incentive to make favorable alliances, respect the rights of powerful neutrals and could easily create an environment where both Hecate and Daniel could build up a significant base of power as neutrals. It would make Europe much more political diverse rather than the divine monolith it was when the Fimbulwinter started. In this scenario, the transition to a better future is much more gradual and comes in fits and starts as each power competes to be the most attractive/successful.

    People debate the merits between a empire vs a diverse set of smaller nations. The former delivers peace, order, predictability while the latter delivers innovation, competition and opportunity. A benign empire can be very good for its people while other types of empires might treat many/most of their people poorly. Diverse smaller nations have the same distribution, but typically have some benign nations, some bad nations and some in the middle — all at the same time.

    Of course, all of this is just a thought exercise as I debate giving up on this series as the author does not seem inclined to actually write any more books. Sigh.

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    1. Yeah I get the same feeling as you when the author takes so long to write the next book.

      However I disagree with you on believing that smaller diverse Nations drive innovation. That’s never been borne out in history. History shows that it’s usually the very beginning stages of an Empire that is a monolith that produces the greatest amount of innovation. I also don’t believe that a benign smaller Nation will exist. That is a modern construct created by monolithic Nations providing economic and Military shelter to smaller Nations. Historically speaking the benign small nations are always gobbled up by one of their neighbors.

      The greatest amount of innovation was actually spawned historically speaking in the US it’s early creation of the patent office. Recently the last hundred and fifty or so years it has become far too corrupted. However before World War 1 the US patent office was the greatest driver of innovation that has ever existed within human history. This is saying something for a concept which is basically built on a pure bureaucratic system. In fact it was so Innovative that Europe was rather shocked just before World War 1 broke out at the number of Innovations and advancements that came out of the US. This actually spawned something called the world fair.

      I think a World War this Divine World War isn’t going to be limited to Europe. We’ve already had talk of North American Pantheon’s and gods, Chinese Pantheon’s, Egyptian Gods and possibly African Pantheon’s and gods are alluded to. We already have the North American wendigo taking part in this war. They wouldn’t do that with the fairies and the FAE if they weren’t getting something out of it. I’m thinking there should be an underlying network of deals that were made that will result like World War 1 in a massive divine World War.

      Not many people know this but the real driving force behind World War 1 was the number of deals, treaties and defense agreements the various Nations had with each other. They literally could not go to war with each other without pulling everybody into it. Seems like the same things going on here Odin’s already threatening to pull Rah into this war.

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    2. Totally agree with you that a bunch of small nations do not guarantee anything good. However the classic example of small nations driving innovation is really Europe in the 1400-1800s. Economically, militarily and socially there was a lot of variety, a lot of innovation and rapid adoption of new technology and new social constructs. If your nation did not keep up, it clearly fell behind, so it forced many national leaders to keep improving lest they fall behind their enemies. You can also argue that ancient Greece is another example.

      Of course, there are also examples of a bunch of small nations resulting in a region becoming backward and stagnant. By itself, being small is not enough to create the conditions for rapid and successful change. You need conditions that create competition while making it difficult for large nations to absorb all their neighbors.

      And to be clear, benign can be defined in many ways. For example, Prussia was a nation with highly advanced social safety nets (best in Europe) combined with a highly militarized society the was dominated by the aristocracy. Then you have the dutch which were a world spanning mercantile empire based on clothing manufacture that had a very open and pluralistic society while also being a big colonial imperial power.

      Large nations can also be great as I described, provided the conditions are right. Good leadership, and strong institutions can drive a lot of prosperity. Good example is the Roman Empire. But keep in mind that the Roman empire survived on the back of very heavy taxes — and arguably the condition of most people (aka farmers) clearly improved after the roman empire “fell” simply because their tax burden dropped significantly.

      Which gets back to the original question. If Daniel and Hecate can get powerful enough quickly enough to fill the vacuum when the Aesir factions are destroyed, then that outcome can lead to a golden age. Or to an age when a small magical elite are extremely wealthy and everybody else works for them [aka – magic users become the robber barons of the new magical industrial age]. However if they lack sufficient power, then other civilizations (RA or Coyote or Chinese) will carve up the territory of the Aesir and potentially crush Daniel and Hecate in the process.

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      1. Sorry, Dspring, I’m not buying the part about other empires ‘carving up’ Europe if Daniel cannot rule it quick enough.

        Nobody will be carving up Europe because the monsters will be carving up them and devouring everyone who steps outside a really strong fortress.

        Hecate was quite sure very few gods or demigods of sufficient power would survive the Aesir civil war to banish or destroy the monsters. She seems to believe only China might survive the onslaught, and is not certain of that.

        Don’t assume Daniel and Clan Nethwillin will be anything like safe flying, either.

        Sooner or later the dragons will sniff out Intrepid and its chewy, tasty cargo.

        On the bright side, and I do mean BRIGHT side, however, bigger, nastier more numerous monsters mean Daniel will have reasons to create even more over-powered weapons suites AND he’ll have lots of targets to practice on.

        Though I really want to see what the author does with proto-neo-Lolth even more than new megadeath devices.

        Colin

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      2. I think Daniel and the new pantheon’s best bet is to make themselves and their people such hard targets that the divine beast or great beast just decide to go somewhere else. They might be great beast or divine beast but at the end of the day there’s still beast. Beast don’t like wasting time and effort on something that doesn’t give as much of a reward as just walking a mile and doing the same thing somewhere else. And for a creature on that scale the equivalent of a wolf or a Fox or a bear walking a mile is crossing a continent to another continent. So I think it’s basically just a matter of Daniel and his virgining Empire becoming
        tough enough during this divine World War so that the great beast and monsters roaming afterwards look at them and say nah too much trouble I’ll go over here and mess with these guys instead. We also have to remember that it’s a World War that seems to be kicking off on the divine scale so the other surviving divine pantheons won’t exactly be in a position that’s any more Stable then Daniel and Heckett’s positions are going to be. They might even be quite a bit less stable. Since it seems like a lot of their ancient enemies are going to be crawling out of the woodwork to take advantage of the chaos.

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      3. Yes, DaShoota, convincing the Great Beasts they will find it easier to go snack somewhere else seems like one set of believable scenarios I’d expect to devolve out of Hecate’s comments on the strategic situation in Europe.

        I’d see Daniel’s ’empire’ as the radius around Black Isle that he can conveniently project power. Don’t expect Naples, Italy to be inside that radius, though he might visit the remnants of the place. Don’t expect Bucharest or Sofia to be inside that radius, either, though he might pull off some sort of rescue raid that far away.

        INTREPID and any future sister ships don’t really expand that radius much, they extend the trade network Nethwillin manages and they extend the reach of Daniel’s special operations teams.

        Daniel needs to find another couple of ways to push out raiding teams. Continuing to drop them off airships will eventually convince somebody to commence hunting airships . . . and EATING them.

        Still looking forward to whatever ground expeditionary armored force Daniel builds out of his new mass-produced vehicles.

        Also still looking for one of the Prince’s sisters to show up and take command at Kozalin.

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      4. I agree with you Colin – all of my comments pre-suppose that the Fimbulwinter is ended and most of the great beasts killed/bound/driven off. You cannot really imagine any good outcome without that pre-condition occurring.

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      5. Dspring, if we assume Hecate is correct, and the monsters win, then one really good outcome is virtually guaranteed . . . well, good for Alanna especially, but also okay for the rest of the inhabitants of Black Island when Daniel picks it up and flies off to Mars.

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  21. Something else to keep in mind, and your mileage may vary on this. The timeframe for Daniel, Hecate and others to grind down all of Gaia’s monsters, the Great Beasts and a few Ancient Beasts will be far, far longer then the rather few months he has been in the Midgard universe by the end of THRALL.

    Consequently, we probably won’t see that long campaign end inside the confines of this first series. He might staple, fold and mutilate one or two Great Beasts by the end of Book Five, or he might not.

    Hence, there most likely won’t be any ’empire’ within the confines of this first series, although we might be given a glimpse of it in some sort of epilogue in Book Seven.

    I just hope the author enjoys visiting Daniel’s world sufficiently to give us some related future series after the current one finishes.

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    1. If the solution to the great beasts is for Daniel to hunt each one down one by one, after carefully building just the right tools to kill it — then it will be a long slog. It is simple geography and time. By the time Daniel can even find them all, almost everybody would be dead.

      However, if Daniel can lure/funnel most of the great beasts into one area fairly early in the beast invasion — and then deal with them there, then dealing with the stragglers is no longer a world ending event. Honestly It would be fun if he could lure them into one area and get them first fighting each other, even better. May not change the outcome, but oh so satisfying.

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      1. Well, luring all the Great Beasts and Ancient Beasts to one killing field sure would be convenient for Daniel.

        Not so convenient for them, however. So much so, it seems unlikely for at least some of them.

        Frost Spirits/Fiends seem unable to go anywhere south of the frost line.

        Devourers seem to need or seek out city-sized concentrations of victims. Kozalin is quickly running out of easy victims. The survivors seem to be collecting behind strong walls like Castle Black, the Mages’ Quarter and the prince’s castle.

        Leviathans are likely stuck in the oceans, and maybe only the deep oceans.

        Goblins, hags, and trolls seem to have gone back to their caves for the winter, but might be back in numbers next spring.

        If Daniel wants to see concentrations of lots of different monsters all he has to do is fortify his island better, and Kozalin also if the idiots will let him. Sooner or later the monsters will all come to him, especially if he rescues a bunch more humans from all over Europe.

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  22. Daniel is going to create what is basically a new class of creatures – – Ageless mortals. Mortals that have great magical power, can heal any injury that does not result in near-instant death and that do no age. Effectively giving mortals a path to effective god-hood.

    At the same time, Daniel is creating an magical “industrial” revolution, dramatically increasing the level of magic that touches normal people’s lives.

    Both these changes have MAJOR impacts to society that will mostly be invisible to Daniel. After all, the leaders of the industrial revolution really just saw the benefits and not the costs. The early industrial Barons naturally had a very different perspective than most people – and Daniel is clearly going to be “the” massive industrial Baron for this new revolution.

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    1. Agreed, except for the part about most of his big societal changes being ‘invisible’ to Daniel. Assuming he does not become monster poop, Daniel is likely to live more than long enough to see entire human civilizations rise and fall on foundations built upon future iterations of his magotech and science contributions.

      It sure would be fun to see what future historians of Midgard make of the science and magotech Daniel, Cerise, Elin and Clan Nethwillin develop in its first iteration over the next several thousand years.

      Hmm . . . I’m assuming quite a few members of the dark elf clan also benefit from life extension.

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    2. Invisible in the sense that the negative impacts will mostly apply to other people who do not interact with Daniel much or at all. He will see the impact on the big political leaders, but will he see the impacts on the families of miners who no longer have work because conjured metal has eliminated the need for most miners or the farmers dispossessed because they lack the magical tools to compete with the “wealthy farmers”. Merchants will gain a lot of power at the expense of landowners and they typically have completely different priorities.

      Not saying change is bad, but change always produces some winners and losers. Big change produces a lot more of each. I think it is impossible to do a change of this magnitude without massive social disruption even if the post change world is absolutely loads better than the old world.

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      1. I don’t think the farmers who don’t get in on the ground floor of his concept of magically enhanced greenhouses are going to care. I think those that do are going to pat themselves on the back for being the 1st ones to join up. Considering all their competitors are now monster and goblin poop. The same can be said for all of the miners who get smashed and swallowed by the Earth because Gaya is yeah that type of deity. The real winners are going to be the small town manufacturers of metal goods and the hearth witches and merchants. Everybody else right now is just trying to stay alive.

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      2. The only winners are going to be the people who survive to reach Kozalin and are accepted onto Black Island.

        Gaia’s monsters and the frost giants, dragons, frost spirits, and other monsters destroyed and devoured many, many villages before Daniel even arrived on Midgard and many more by the time he arrived at Kozalin.

        What will he have to work with by the time he has eventually killed the most dangerous monsters?

        I’m assuming something like ONE PERCENT of the population of Europe, pre-Ragnarok, and THAT is probably too optimistic.

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      3. Witch is why most of us think he will eventually end up running an empire. He will probably save a few cities. “Eventually.” However in the end he will have what amounts to a colony that is set to grow into said empire.

        He is getting exposed to a lot of portals in the last book. This could help him tie the last population centers together and save a large chunk of the remaining population.

        This will allow movement of resources from city to city. This will allow him and the surviving royal family to start diverting resources to saving holdouts of small groups. He will become influential and eventually be in charge of a people who are the tough of the tough out of maybe 1 hundred million population. A population that is already of a culturally disposed to war and violence.

        I don’t think it will be hard to organize the survivors to let’s say convince the great beast to go elsewhere.

        The question is can he adjust enough to their culture? He already is. We see it in the books. A little more each book. We see him stopping and seeing this in himself sometime in the story. We see this when he makes the conscious decision to start seizing more privileges for himself to make his girls feel more at ease and to not look weak to outsiders. Later we see him wading in to splash rioters as a scorched mess across a ships decks. However this changing is going both ways. We see the people under him changing to. That’s what most people like about the story. Even though the author takes so long between books.

        I think this may be because the author didn’t expect the story to be this deep.

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      4. I agree with most of that, DaShoota, but I have to stipulate in this case, IF there is time for Daniel to do the things you suggest. For example, how many European cities will be devoured because of the MONTH that Daniel lost while kidnapped by Odin to Asgard?

        Remember, it’s not just a month of hours lost, it’s a very early month in Daniel’s time in the Midgard universe. Yeah, he learned some really important magic and I totally agree that he MIGHT do hugely important things, EVENTUALLY with the portals magic he must have absorbed, still, his efforts to save humans STALLED for a month. Adding defensive and offensive magotech to Castle Black, STALLED. Developing fortified citadels inside Kozalin’s Docks District, STALLED.

        Now we are looking at Hecate planning with Daniel and Alanna for yet MORE time away from Castle Black. How many more WEEKS will Daniel’s efforts to save Europe’s humans be STALLED?

        Granted, Daniel MUST stay away from Castle Black for at least another few weeks at the end of Book Four THRALL to avoid arousing Brand’s and Odin’s suspicions about that little firecracker in Asgard.

        Granted, Hecate will probably lead Daniel to recruit another group of extremely useful alllies.

        Still, MILLIONS of humans are dying all over Europe, Siberia, Mongolia and how many other places EVERY MONTH?

        We don’t even know for sure whether or not Gaia sent any monsters to mess with Africa, China, the Americas, Australia and Pacifica.

        If those are also under attack, there truly must be millions of humans dying every month.

        Daniel needs to get back on the job quickly, or there might not be many millions left to save.

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      5. Hate to sound cruel but it’s not Daniel’s job to save the world. Or even all of humanity. Hes probably not the only hero out there doing things. China is probably going to save a large chunk of humans and nobody knows what’s going on in North and South America or Africa. Much less Australia.

        Also with what you wrote you come off as though you think he requires millions of humans. This is not true he requires thousands. That’s it he doesn’t require more than that. It would be nice to have several tens of thousands maybe a few hundred thousand but it’s not required. Everyone on the planet is or will be soon fighting for their own survival.. This includes the pantheons whether they know this yet or not. The windigo which took part in the last book is indicative of this.

        You also seem to think that nobody in Daniels people are capable of doing anything on their own. They know that he is looking to recruit numbers of people. They’re not going to stop saving people and recruiting people just because hes not there. Yeah they might be a bit more selective but they won’t stop. I in truth would be surprised if there’s any orphans left in the city when Daniel returns. I don’t mean that in a negative way. One of the best methods to grow and spread a religion is by taking in children and teaching it to them. This is something that Series and Avila’s Goddesses are going to know quite intimately. Then there’s the elves and the groves that are going to see the stray children running around as opportunities. Also whatever they don’t snatch up are going to be snatched up by the fairies if they still have their embassy in the city.

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      6. I agree, DaShoota. To survive, Daniel needs a few thousand very capable people. However, to create an empire, which somebody was arguing at the beginning of this thread, one needs something more like a million than a thousand. Probably several millions.

        Now, as for the humans, I suspect survival of the species absolutely needs something more like a million than a thousand. Even at that there will be entire cultures erased. On the other hand, as you point out, DaShoota, there will also be enclaves that survive because they are clever and well-prepared. Those small communities living way up in the mountains, for example. Too far north and the Frost Spirits will get them. Too close to goblin territory and the little green monsters will nibble them to death. Still, some will have a sturdy place to defend and enough strong arms to fight off most attackers, while others will simply be lucky and nobody notices them.

        Back in the 1970s I vaguely remember reading that some research group had determined that a million people are required in order to preserve civilization. That’s to keep all sorts of skills, expertise and other capabilities alive and fresh. While that seems larger than needed for Midgard’s level of civilization, even a million seems less than what’s truly necessary. A relatively large population is needed to produce enough disease and mutation and other medical conditions for healthcare professionals to continuously exercise their full professional skills sets, for example. Use it or lose it actually has meaning for this situation.

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      7. I’m familiar with the study you’re talking about they weren’t talking about maintaining humans they were talking about maintaining modern civilization with all of its International connectivity.

        International connectivity is not necessary for civilization. Much less civilization on the level found in those books. Every one of those villages with 500 people to a thousand People will have apothecary’s, herbalist, blacksmiths, Tanners, carpenters, stone masons and just about everything needed for their civilization to spread out and continue existing from that point. That’s a relatively moderately small village. In fact the very 1st village Daniel visited in the entire series had everything needed for that civilization to Rebuild.

        We’re not talking about a modern civilization here. In point of fact every civilization that has ever had the same level of connectivity internationally that modern civilization has had collapsed because of it. Review historical writings and accounts of the end of the bronze age caused by the sea people which were the ancestors of the Greeks. Review the Roman Empire and its massive spread out interconnectivity to different regions to supply itself and how those supplying lines were cut off due to babarian incursions. This is one of the major contributing factors that causes the collapse of civilizations when manufacturing is no longer decentralized when small communities no longer have the ability to maintain themselves as a self sufficient unit. The more interconnectivity you have in a civilization with its neighbors or long spread out regions the more points of failure it has.

        Yet this is in fact one of the biggest concerns that modern scientists and engineers have with modern civilization. It’s over reliance on International interconnectivity to maintain and advance it’s technology. When some of these engineers come up with a way to fix this such as organic semiconductors basically plastics that can be used to make microchips the technology is stymied by politicians in favor of making deals with other governments for microchips and other technologies relying on rare Earth minerals. This allows for reliance on other cultures civilizations and nations for resources to advance political agendas and bureaucratic Empire building. However it makes the civilization and the nation incredibly unstable by forcing reliance on external sources.

        This is not a problem with the level of technology in Varmland or any of those other nations. Right now the only reason there fighting at the docks to get food from Egypt is because the disaster is preventing them from growing it themselves. Notice they’re not really accepting anything else from those ships just food.

        You should think more along the lines of some 35 year old father are Uncle taking their kids or nieces or nephews out in the wilderness and showing them where they can find wild lettuce to chop up cook and turn into a pain killer, where they can find golden seal growing wild to turn into something to cure fever blisters or cure rashes. Or like a cowboy who is driving down the range and stops to cut up some wild cat tails both as food and using the clear sappy goo between the large leaves as a relief for a toothache. These are the types of things that should be thought of when you think of these communities and the way they heal and protect each other from illness and disease.

        This is not a modern civilization with pharmacological industries in which all drugs are regulated manufactured from hydro petrochemicals that are processed in stainless steel and glass pressure tanks under very specific and controlled chemically induced Processes and temperatures. Think in terms of a clan head curing their children’s attention deficit disorder with micro doses of mushrooms laced with a Naturally occurring LSD.

        Also for a mammalian species like humans or anything else of that size with the same reproductive potential between 15 to 20 thousand individuals are required for genetic & reproductive stability and population expansion.

        Yes that is a very tight genetic margin but that’s the minimum. As for needing a large multi million population for an Empire? No all he really needs is the seed of an Empire. When Rome was 1st founded the entirety of the European population was around 250,000 people. The Roman Republic at its founding had less than 5,000 people this included slaves. The Roman Republic in just a 150 years went from a population under 5,000 people to a capital city of Rome which had a population living in it of around 3 and a 1/2 to 4 million people. Mighty empires like trees and forests grow from very small seeds. The entire population of Mongolia when Gangus Khan 1st began his campaign was less than that of Rome at its founding and he in his lifetime conquered and expanded an Empire which ranged from Asia to Europe. The way you speak of civilization requiring millions tells me that you are most likely running on the modern fiction of requiring a vast industrial and educational starting point for a civilization. This simply is not true. The mongols did not have a written language the the Romans when they founded their Republic were nothing more than a refugee camp of 90 plus percent men. They if you reviewed the histories acted very much like refugee camps in Sweden and Germany do today including rape gangs and other forms of social instabilities and yes this is written of and recorded quite clearly. The British Empire itself which got to be so vast that the sun could not set on its border started from a small archipelago island. It didn’t even start from the entire island and it wasn’t unified when it first started its expansion into Empire. The great Muslim empires of the past began as nothing more than desert roving mass murdering marauders. No civilization or colony has ever been successfully founded by the groups you mentioned the doctors the engineers the bureaucrats the highly educated. It simply has never happened it’s been attempted and it has always failed. Colonies and civilizations are always started by what are commonly referred to today as the blue colored. The people who want to be away from the bureaucrats the politicians the overly educated. It is later after the colony has survived and proven itself that you get the influx of the educated. This is how the United States in fact was founded. Throw out the religious concepts and notions most of the people who founded the 13 colonies were in fact blue colored hard working farmers and wheelwrights. They were carpenters, masons, construction workers, farmers, wheelwrights who built carriages and who constructed barrels. They were shipwrights these were the people that founded the 13 colonies. After 20 to 30 years when it was seen that these colonies weren’t going to collapse you had the ancestors of the great thinkers who came in. These were the people who became the parents to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and the rest of the geniuses who figured out electricity and started manufacturing other things within the Colonies. This pattern held true around the world in every place a colony succeeded. This is how Australia was successfully colonized this is how New Zealand and the other places that was colonized was successfully done. Yes Australia started out as a prison colony. Most of those prisoners were blue colored workers or lower class workers. In other words they were the tough the Hardy the bloody-minded the individuals who would roll their sleeves up and barrel into something up to their elbows to get it done. In order to survive they would do what was necessary without a second thought or hesitation. This is how civilizations are born.

        There was a French nobleman and great philosopher who wrote about this quite well when he visited the United States and took a tour before it actually experienced its Civil War. He described this bloody-minded get the job done philosophy quite well and put it in its context of the beginning stages of civilizations. I actually think the History Channel did a special on him at 1 point though I can’t remember the name of the show they did.

        Daniel and his fortress is well situated to begin a civilization. He has thousands of people coming through his fortress being rescued by his people on a daily basis. He has access to all of the accumulated knowledge of the wizard’s citadel. He has access to multiple libraries that were mentioned that exist within the city. He has access to all of the different types of manufacturing and technological expertise of that level that exist. This was pointed out when he found a glass maker in front of his door selling his wares. He has everything he needs. All he really needs is to stick it out and survive with his people. We have to remember that none of the other nations in the world are going to be in any better position than he when it’s over. Most will probably be in a far worse position if they survive at all.

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      8. Dspring, consider what all that massive social change looks like in a world where there are barely any surviving humans. Those miners and farmers you mention? Monster poop, many of them, even before Daniel arrived on Midgard. By the time he reaches Kozalin maybe half the population of Europe is devoured, spindled, mutilated and destroyed, and almost all of those will be the farmers, miners, fishermen, etc.

        Much of the magotech Daniel will give to the survivors is critically necessary just to continue feeding them WHILE as many as possible of the smart ones are guided into craft and other skilled career options, as well as his armed garrison and expeditionary forces.

        With all the merchants and others dying in each monster inundation of Kozalin’s docks and trades districts, I don’t really see an issue with displacement by magotech. Daniel will eventually need every human he can rescue from the collapse of Kozalin to do at least ten different jobs on Black Island.

        Their biggest social disruptions will literally BE social, and cultural, too. The general population of Kozalin knows very little of even the simplest mathematics, statistics, chemistry, biology, botany, and other subjects Daniel needs them to exercise. He will certainly ask far more from these people than any of them are prepared to give. He needs Jacksonian Populist Entrepreneurs by the gross and will be lucky to find a handful in the entire community he’s allowed to filter. The rest will certainly be stretched beyond their limits, over and over, struggling to deal with the ridiculous quantities of wealth Daniel’s magotech will rain all over them, as well as the incredible power of the tools or weapons he puts in their hands.

        Really, accidents and idiot casualties will keep Daniel and Elin busy healing where they can, as well as patching holes and rebuilding ecosystems.

        Nobody will “no longer have work” on Black Island. They will all have too much work, and more coming every day.

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      9. Totally agree with everybody that if 95+% of the population is destroyed, any changes Daniel introduces will be completely insignificant compared to the impact of Fimbulwinter.

        The scenario I am talking about really makes a different assumption – that large pockets of humanity will survive more or less intact even if 40+% of the overall population is killed. If “my” city survived fimbulwinter with only 10% deaths, then my culture/economy/outlook is going to be mostly unchanged even if 100% of humanity was killed in other parts of the world that I do not know much about. Remember, 99% of people do not travel far, so anything impacting a distant land will have little impact.

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      10. It’s that “if” that I’m not certain about, Dspring. Check out these paragraphs I think about whenever this discussion comes up:

        “There were a lot of wooded patches on the slopes of the hills, but it looked to me like most of the flatter areas had been farmland. ​Had been. ​There were little villages everywhere, but they were just ruins now. The burned-out husks of wooden buildings, blanketed in deep snow. Rows of broken wagons along the roads. A country inn at a crossroads, with one whole side of the main building caved in. Everywhere we went we found nothing but devastation. There was no sign of any surviving humans, just one destroyed settlement after another.”
        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3) (p. 247). Kindle Edition.

        I believe the author is trying to share a vision of miles and miles of utter devastation. Humans have lost the battle for survival for as far as Daniel and Cerise can fly in half a day, all around Kozalin. We discover in other parts of the books that Italy is succumbing to attacks from at least one Devourer and that will probably continue to spread until checked. Varmland’s king is besieged in his capitol until Prince Caspar rides through the Portal to rescue him, but then must carry on rescuing other besieged places. How well is Varmland’s king defending himself and his realm now, weeks later?

        Would you agree that something like eighty or ninety percent of the population of Europe lived in small villages and only slightly larger towns before Ragnarok? I’m thinking maybe one or two percent of the population ever visited a city, much less lived in one.

        Gaia sent Her monsters, the hags, ogres, trolls, goblins and such to murder all the small places humans where lived, and either destroyed them or forced the survivors to flee into huge well-protected places like Kozalin, of which there are very few. Some fortified towns and knights’ castles still survive intact, but will starve soon if not smashed and eaten by the giants, dragons, unghols and other greater monsters. Once those ‘low hanging fruit’ are dealt with the greater monsters and Ancient Beasts will turn upon the cities.

        I really expect that somewhere near the beginning of Book Five there will be a discussion between Daniel, Demetrios and Tavren, possibly including Irithil, regarding future uses of INTREPID and potential new sister airships. In that conversation Irithil and Tavren will grimly report there are virtually no intact settlements remaining that are worth the risks of attempting to rescue their citizens, and the hazards of encountering dragons or worse in flight become worse every mission.

        Maybe we’ll receive another heavy hint about the genocide at that point. If the author chooses to emphasize that outcome we might discover the true casualties are nearer eighty percent than ninety-nine but I’ll be surprised if they are any less than seventy percent.

        It would be nice to know. That little detail is rather important to discussions of future opportunities.

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    3. I agree with most of the points made.. However I need to point out that Daniel is taking great pains to ensure that most of what he makes can be quickly manufactured with a factory. This will ultimately lead to an economy based on decentralized manufacturing. He also has the ability to produce a large variety of decentralized power sources for magic users. Wizards, hearth witches cetera. He could build stoves that convert heat into Mana for most hearth witches to use and the same thing could be sold to wizards in mass. Not to mention there’s an entire group of lesser magic users that seem to be running around in the story just under foot and under notice. Daniel pointed this out when he was building his shelters in the city when he was looking at the people going into them. He has the potential to turn his black Empire into a mass manufacturing economy. An economy driven primarily by the merchant class. I wonder how everybody else’s take on this will turn out? We have to keep in mind that most of what Daniel and his people use is yet and his people use is either manufactured himself or manufactured by hearth witches. If you read if you throw wizards elves and potentially dwarves into the mix all with decentralized decentralized power sources and decentralized decentralized manufacturing for quick manufactured small items there is a great deal of economic potential there. Provided hprovided he ever actually gets himself any dwarf clans?

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      1. I disagree. The magical revolution that Daniel is creating is not decentralized manufacturing. It is automated decentralized manufacturing. If magic is creating the vast majority of raw materials and magic is creating the vast majority of finished goods, then how are all these people going to earn a living. Yes there seems to still be a need for highly skilled craftsmen and certainly a need for mages, but both combined is still a very tiny proportion of the population.

        So the economy transitions from primarily manufacturing and agriculture to one primarily focused on services. It also transforms to one where the vast majority of value is being created by a very small number of individual mages who create and own all the magical manufacturing. If anything, I suspect the magical aristocracy will be more dominant/powerful than the warrior aristocracy ever was.

        I suspect the economy will work just fine and be seen as a golden age AFTER a generation or two fully adapts. But the first generation will have big winners and big losers — with any discontent mostly masked/negated by the fact that the people are grateful to just be alive given the massive losses created by the Fimbulwinter. And if Daniel cannot find a way to broaden the magical franchise, he will create a society based on a huge underclass.

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      2. He already has broaden the magic horizon. He figured out how to give magic powers to people. He figured this out when he added force magic to his death witch. Now being born without magic is a fixable problem. It’s also something common to his patrons religion. This was something talked about when it was mentioned that Series was too impatient for power.

        Getting or changing magic may become a right of adulthood in the future.

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      3. Totally agree with you on Daniel having already learned how to add magic abilities to people, DaShoota.

        I bet he learned a bit more of that when dealing with the treacherous twins in THRALL. For that matter, he’ll probably learn a few things about expanding mana channels and more enhancement goodness when he’s working on the Daniel v2.0 new body.

        That’s going to totally suck for him during the hopefully short period of time before he teaches Elin and/or somebody else how to do it, too, and take part of the job off him.

        Maybe he’ll come up with another essence for Avilla’s kitchen, Essence of Power.

        That should make one Hell of a casserole!

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      4. Whether hes going to do this or not what he actually should do is keep his findings secret for a while. However he might start taking in orphans and decide to give them afyet give them after a few years choice of what type of magic they want.

        As far as Avila’s new spice rack? I actually think Sirius will be more in on that than anyone else. May be hunting a dragon or a nemion lion?? Maybe a little essence of succubus?

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      5. Dspring, there will be LOTS of skilled labor in farming and poultry and other agriculture/husbandry for a very long time. Essentially, Daniel won’t have time to learn all the manual labor jobs that farmers do, so those won’t be automated until the farmers understand how to create their own magic items.

        Ditto all sorts of other jobs. Carding, weaving, dying and other textiles work will require lots of skilled labor. Tanning will be the same. Coppersmith, ironsmith and other metals working will continue also. Alchemy and apothecary, very much knowledge driven but also LOTS of manual labor in preparing vegetable, mineral and other materials.

        When you consider how many of these skilled laborers are monster poop or will soon become monster poop, there will be an enormous struggle just to preserve knowledge and skills, also recover some that has been lost.

        I just cannot see the labor utilization issues you point out, UNLESS there are FAR more human survivors of Gaia’s murderous hissy fit.

        If there are more than a million, then your vision is probably more like the correct one.

        I expect less than a hundred thousand surviving humans, and most of them will be on Black Island.

        Colin

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      6. Daniel has not given anybody magic. He has figured out how to train some of his coven in some of his magic, expanding their range (of types of magic). But not sure if this is any different than the training adepts go through normally. The coven bond and his mana sorcery probably make this training a lot faster.

        The only way he increased the magical power to date was to give a power amulet to people who are already mages.

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      7. “Wrong” in extermination he spoke quite clearly too Saris telling her that he sees a way to add force magic/sorcery to her. And he actually does do that. Which is demonstrated when they are flying around practicing.

        Yes she already had magic. However nothing spoken of in the conversation indicated that applying the same techniques to somebody without magic already would be a problem.

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      8. I agree with Dspring that Daniel actually gave Cerise some force magic. She asked him to modify her personal magic rather than giving her a ring, and he figured out how to do it. That should mean he could do the same for anyone.

        Of course, they still have to learn how to USE it.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if the author never intended this, but it seems likely Daniel is abusing his Mana sorcery again.

        OP cheat code, and we know Hecate told him she expects him to munchkin like crazy, so it could be argued this is really possible.

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      9. Like I said in an earlier post one of the reasons the books may take so long to come out is that they have effectively taken on a life of themselves. Or rather the story is taken twist and turns that the author didn’t originally intend or account for and has to adjust their story plans to account for it. Sometimes with good authors this happens. The guy who wrote down the story of Conan the Bavarian had the same problem. He literally said that Conan came to him sat down and just told him his story. One of my favorite authors from Another country said the same thing happened to him the character just showed up and started telling him her story. This was the Japanese author who created the banner of the stars series.

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  23. Just thought I would add a few thoughts about the limits of the elemental sorceries.

    Daniel has earth sorcery and at least how he envisioned it, it seems to be pretty limited. He can summon and shape raw earth/metal materials and alloys. Some require a lot of mana, but that is not a huge problem for Daniel. Daniel is able to shape this into buildings, vehicles and various fairly simple devices, but real precision crafting is beyond him and anything complex (like armor) is simply too time consuming to be useful.

    If you compare this to his flesh sorcery which is able to grow/modify flesh/bones, replace lost limbs, accelerate reactions, improve natural capabilities, mimic heavy duty physical training, shape change, create clones, and cure poison/diseases, then the limited range of his earth magic is pretty clear.

    Do not get me wrong, his earth magic applications (buildings, equipment) are quite powerful, but it is powerful because his earth knowledge + mana sorcery can create massively powerful applications of the few earth sorcery capabilities. But earth sorcery on its own is basically limited to creating simple (if strong) buildings and low skill metal/earth manufacturing. While his flesh magic is flexible and useful without the need to rely on either earth knowledge or mana sorcery or really any other skills/powers/knowledge.

    His fire sorcery and force sorcery seem equally limited. Everything is a application of a few basic capabilities. Without his earth knowledge and mana sorcery, neither would be super awesome.

    Why is this?
    * Perhaps Daniel simply lacks enough skill to manage complex shaping or more extrapolated used cases. Give him a few centuries and he might be able to mass produce chain mail with his earth magic or other applications like the dark elf travel through the earth ways. Alanna’s ability to craft wood armor suggests this to be true.
    * Perhaps it is a consequence of Daniel’s imagination. The description seem to indicate more of a focus on chemistry, structure and understanding of earth rather than use cases that are more cultural associations. If so, then Daniel might be able to do a lot more with magically assisted chemistry, although there has been no evidence of this to date. Daniel might just have been a lot more creative/complex in how he envisioned flesh magic.
    * Perhaps it is a failure of imagination in his application. Daniel has mostly focused on summoning materials he already knows and understands based on his earth knowledge. What if he stepped beyond this. Rather than create titanium for his armor, what if instead envisions the capabilities he wants and has his sorcery provide the matching material. This might be a case where his earth knowledge actually handicaps Daniel — at least for now.

    PS: A cultural association is more a thematic association based on culture. For example, snow is often culturally associated with Christmas for Americans. In this case, an earth sorcery might be associated with healing, or strength or fertility, or even the resting place for the dead. Since the sorcery is defined by Daniel’s concepts, thematic associations can totally make sense if Daniel thought of that association when creating the sorcery. But Daniel really defined sorceries using game mechanics as the basis, so that could have led to the current outcome.

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    1. I am leaning more towards a lack of imagination as the root cause of his limitations with that specific sorcery. We actually see this at work when he figures out how to summon nickeliron. In the 2nd book he gives it a great deal of thought puzzles over it for days eventually has an epiphany and attempts to summon material that is nickel iron resembling that found at the center of the Earth. After which it promptly blows up in his face.

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      1. I’d still lean toward lack of time rather than lack of imagination. Not only does Daniel need more time to think about what he wants to create, he needs more time to learn more about how to create what he wants.

        He desperately needs to spend serious quality time working on shared projects with each of his ladies and probably also with several of them together. Remember how his working with Cerise on her flight abilities helped Daniel solve some of his own flight issues? Then there was his working with Avilla to provide her with powerful magic items for transformations as well as the essence to convert volunteers to wolfen. He literally could not have done any of these in Book One or Book Two. What he learned throughout the month or two of the first several books was critical to enabling him to think of these more complex applications of his magic.

        Just wait until Daniel and Elin get together for some sort of challenging enchanted item production . . . or Daniel and Sefwin. Too bad it seems unlikely he will ever team up with any of the Conclave adepts for some complex magic. They are the real professionals. He could learn a LOT by spending a few weeks in their labs.

        Of course, what would he have to share to earn that privilege?

        Probably more than he can afford.

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    2. I am actually leaning toward an explanation that relies on neither imagination or time. It is more about story. The author wanted to tell a tale about a magical based industrial revolution. It is all about building magical factories to create equivalents of modern technological devices. Which means it is primarily about creating stuff/devices in magical factories.

      To this end, he only needed a method of creating stuff – which was earth magic. It was not perfect and did not address all needs, but that gave his character opportunities to be creative in applying is knowledge/magic and some flaws to work around. Really the same deal with force magic to be honest. Flesh magic had really no modern device equivalents, so the author was free to make this sorcery more magic-y and thus flexible/powerful on its own merits.

      I agree with Colin and DaShoota that we might see more different applications of earth magic in later books (if we actually see later books – sigh) as Daniel tries to solve specific problems and/or benefits from specific collaborations. It does feel that as the series progresses, Daniel’s newer devices/spells are deviating more and more from “modern earth” so I would expect the industrial aspect of his magic to become less important – or at least be handled in way that mimics less modern devices.

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      1. One of the nits I pick with OTHER authors who try to introduce ‘modern’ industrial revolutions into their stories is how easily the hero-innovator ‘finds’ other helpful innovators to instantly accept and expand the revolution.

        Daniel seems NOT to be afflicted with this ‘convenience’ and therefore will need to spend time and effort educating the next generation with all sorts of arithmetic, higher math, chemistry, physics, engineering and other nuts and bolts of industrial concepts.

        However, this means I can cheerfully pick another nit that Daniel has been forced to demonstrate several times already, when he discovers someone like Avilla or any of the Conclave wizards is perfectly capable of their own mass-manufactured magic, using techniques Daniel won’t even recognize until he falls face first into the middle of them.

        I look forward gleefully to the author showing us more examples of this aspect of Daniel and his situation.

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      2. You know it will be interesting to see Daniel creating a school or some sort of Academic institution, not for some desire to teach people and propagate knowladge, but for the simple fact that he will nedd more knowladgable people to help him and his survive.

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      3. A school will not happen. The series is very clearly a first person heroic tale. Schools or any type of larger magical industrialization effort is simply incompatible with that type of story. If it occurs, it will be in be covered in a few paragraphs at most.

        Those stories lend themselves much more multi-person point of view stories with many main characters.

        In addition, the time scale of this story simply does not allow time for a school or academy type solution to be effective.

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      4. Sadly, I have to agree with you, Dspring. The odds of this author spinning off a ‘Magotech Academy’ series seem really poor.

        However, it sure would be fun to see him revisit Daniel’s empire a few generations of kids later. That should allow for all sorts of developments to be compacted into a few paragraphs here and there.

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      5. I would argue that there is a modern industrial equivalent to flesh magic in biotechnology, making stuff like tailored enzymes or antibodies.

        And Daniel probably could, if here were into that kind of weaponry of mass destruction, create magical earthquakes, mudslides and volcanoes. He just did not feel the need for it. While he did have a need for very advanced healing. Lacking limbs is a great motivator. But wen he does replace a limb the process takes hours. If he is ready to spend hours, he can also make a suit of armor. In fact he did so.

        I’d go as far and say that his most groundbreaking spell – matter to mana – derives partially from Earth magic.

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      6. Oliver, I totally agree with you that Daniel could, if so inspired, choose to learn from the Conclave or perhaps other sources, how to create a spell that causes an earthquake. He could probably also kluge something like summoning massive quantities of a geologic lubricant into a critically stressed fault for a massive quake. Maybe he could do something more precise and tactical like localized orogeny, raising a huge amount of stone in a hurry under a target area.

        Where I might pause is the ‘greater’ magic of directly causing a truly massive quake or tsunami. That seems more like a Gaia-level divine magic. We could certainly expect Her to react, probably violently, if Daniel ever did something of that scope and scale using his Earth magic.

        Reading over his surf through ‘the interspace’ as Hecate called it back in FIMBULWINTER, I believe Daniel focused on aspects of Earth that seem more like summoning and forming metals, stone, and soil, as well as maybe incidentally absorbing some of the deeper connections between summoning and quantum physics that helped his Mana sorcery enable him to create his mana generating amulets and blocks.

        “Cold, solid stone and warm, fertile earth. The essence of endurance, but it could be shaped in so many ways. Understanding blossomed from nowhere, along with a power unlike anything I’d felt before. It was instinctive, as easy as breathing, and it grew rapidly as I concentrated. Crystallizing around the concept of ‘Earth’ as I understood it, manifesting new applications as they flickered through my subconscious.”

        I didn’t get the sense of him learning how to instigate de novo volcanic eruptions, though he could certainly combine his knowledge of physics and geology, his understanding of Earth sorcery and his enormously powerful mana generating items to cause one to happen, at least temporarily. He basically did that to the dwarf orcs in their caves after they committed terminal stupidity by stealing Daniel’s dark elf allies.

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      7. This leads us back to an old question. Do Daniel’s abilities have synergies? That is can he make pure metals because he has Earth or because he has Earth and Fire and knows that ores are ashes in a certain sense and he undoes a fire’s effects?

        Aside from that I must say that Daniel has shown a connection to the mystic side of Earth. They are just less applicable in a glacial winter and intrinsically less flashy.

        * structural reinforcement spell
        * anti oxidation spell
        * fertile soil (means fungi, worms, protozoans …)

        Yes, certain applications of his Earth powers would be unwise, but that is again an affect of applicability, not the powers themselves. Yet, I cannot see good evidence that his Earth element is different in quality from his other elements. It is just less applicable during an eternal winter and it still seems a very odd first choice to me.

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      8. I have a suspicion the author revisited Daniel’s transition through ‘interspace’ more than a few times while writing FIMBULWINTER, juggling what Daniel chose, how much, and in what order. Of course, Daniel truly needed his Earth sorcery a LOT, several times early in the first few chapters to:

        > Mire a troll and lock it in place then . . .
        > Summon a stone maul and bash the troll’s brains out
        > Shove trees out of his way for a kilometer or two while chased by goblins
        > Throw up hasty minor defenses for the caravan
        > Excavate an impressive cave/shelter for the caravan survivors
        > Craft a stone hover-barge
        etc.

        You know, Oliver, that reinforcement spell has possibilities. What if Daniel were to create several massive mana stones ensorcelled to UN-reinforce the structure of stone along a geologic fault? That seems like something he might get away with doing secretly if his enchantment included banishing the mana stones after the structure slips/collapses.

        He might even get away with several limited nasty earthquakes or volcanic effects or both before Gaia discovers what he’s up to, AND that it’s him that’s up to it.

        Maybe?

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      9. “A school will not happen.”

        A research group then? Daniel has understood that he needs to learn. The best way to do so may be to solve a hard problem in a communal effort. He needs to upgun again. For example his water guns would have been even more effective if he had added magic for faster decay or to alter pH levels or whatever magic battering rams use..

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      10. Daniel’s coven IS his research group, AND he has told himself he needs to spend more structured quality time with the girls, both individually like he did several times with Cerise and as a group like they did to develop and implement the final version of their coven bond.

        Of course, now Daniel ALSO needs to spend time with the dryads developing his Earth sorcery, and with the dark elves developing LOTS more combat skills as well as common magic, ritual spells and enchantments as well as enchanted items. He REALLY needs to teach several elf magi how to burn enchantments into items like he does, unless they show him something better. After all, he might be the New Guy, but they have centuries of experience with magic that he does not.

        Heaven help him if he actually acquires any MORE experienced magic users, say, from the Conclave after it collapses or from some new batch of Hecate-sent refugees. He is HOPELESSLY behind on all the group learning he KNOWS he needs to do, and then there is the sort of self-directed search/research for specific or general types of learning he needs to do, that we seem to be discussing here.

        Help!

        He really needs to bend time to his whim, but he’s already thought of what that might mean in a dryad mythic space. No hope there, except for LOTS of physical exercise!

        Maybe the Swartalf can help him?

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      11. Disclaimer: I am on EWB’s SubscribeStar. I do not want to share anything remotely creative from there, lest I touch his livelihood.
        But I think there is one thing. He has done a small part of an alternative DB with a peculiar power set. So he has made such considerations, but in that special case it was surely long after the publication of FIMBULWINTER.

        That fragment exchanged, among other things, Earth and Fire in his power set. He just burns the troll to cinders and end of that story line.

        “Of course, Daniel truly needed his Earth sorcery a LOT, several times early in the first few chapters to:”

        I would say no to that. He certainly _used_ it a lot, That is distinct from _needing_ it a lot. Sorry for being pedantic. But Earth is extremely convinient, but it is rarely absolutely essential. The big glaring possible but ultimately unknown exception is M2M.

        * he could have suspended the troll in the air with Force and systematically fried and cut him apart
        * moving trees can be done with Force
        * building a cave can also be done with Force
        * he could have had the soldiers build a raft and enchant that

        Later on instead of factory stones he could have gone for an enchanting machine for existing objects. He can do those. Earth is his element of convience, the work horse if you will. For example for most materials, if you have Force and Fire, if you really need to, you take ordinary rocks, crush them, heat them up to get into plasma state. find a way to get rid of the light elements and distill the rest.
        The ease of use of Earth makes him less creative in other areas and takes away the need to be creative with Earth itself. For example Daniel does not think things through. Like his guns are made from iron or an iron/nickel alloy. Why? They do not need to withstand an explosive charge. He could make them out of wood or bone or glas.

        And that does not even touch on the possibilities of other combinations of elements. An Air and Force sorcerer may not have used a stone platform but enchanted a cloud to carry the survivors. A Life mage may have had them live in a gigantic modified clam in the Elb river. A Space mage might just have teleported them to Bora Bora and be done with it.

        As for strategic use of Earth it seems to me again that other elements have let him do nastier stuff. A radiation weapon beats a volcano.

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      12. Maybe I was unclear and wrote too many bad things about the Earth element.

        That he has other elements also pushes him to forego creative use of Earth. He has a simple association that Earth is for buildings and raw materials.
        Like when he needs to transport something he uses Force instead of shifting the ground under it.
        When he has to thaw a river, he uses Fire to make heated stones. He does not even investigate Earth solutions like creating a few hundred hot springs in and around the river.

        Daniel uses mental compartmentalization. And Earth has its own box. Just as he imports our construction methods, meaning that he just uses metal for a sky light. He does not investigate solutions like making a cupola out of diamond.

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      13. I think Danial also gets focused early in his problem solving, so a long string of hot rocks seems easier to create than a long string of hot springs and he’s off running with the hot rocks idea.

        Of course, there is the challenge of what might fuel the hot springs, but he ought to be able to remember masses of granite and similar rocks are ‘hot’ because of the small amounts of uranium and thorium ores inside them. There’s still the challenge of working at depth, as well. Hot springs are usually driven by conditions rather deeper than surface rocks. Still, probably doable. Easier than the hot rocks? Not sure.

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      14. I suspect that further advances in earth are going to be focused on speed and scale rather than new capabilities. Or in combination with improved factories, more complex stuff being built. For example, Daniel can probably create a simplified version of his own tack based armor for his troops via a single, if complex, factory.

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  24. If we say (hypothetically) that Daniel’s biggest priority is to do X, what does that mean from a next step standpoint.

    For example, if the biggest priority is to save the most human lives, what actions does that trigger?

    Or if his priority is to have his coven survive and prosper, what actions does that trigger?

    Or if his priority is to help make Hecate’s alliance stable, what actions does that trigger?

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    1. If Daniel’s biggest priority is to save the most human lives, then his focus has to be split between ending the Fimbulwinter (as cold/starvation will end a lot of people) AND simultaneously ending Gaia as a threat.

      Ending fimbulwinter could involve creating volcanoes to trigger global warming or leveraging the plane of fire. However, it is not clear if either could be successful without Loki’s destruction occurring first. Otherwise, why have the gods themselves not countered the fimbulwinter? Alternatively, Daniel could rapidly proliferate his magic to create warming cloaks, heat generators, and indoor gardens – although obviously the effectiveness of these would require a lot of time to proliferate. In any case, there is no super quick solution here.

      Ending Gaia as a threat is just as important. She wants all humans dead. She has armies, demigods and great beasts that will not disappear with the winter. The armies are significantly reduced by Daniel’s actions, but the beasts and demigods are still quite free to act. So Daniel has to either imprison (for a long time) or destroy Gaia — or otherwise get someone else to do it. Luring Gaia into a position where Thor could wack her with the hammer would be equally effective AND make it less likely that other gods would hunt down Daniel. But as dead gods can be brought back, imprisoning her is probably a better option.

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      1. Or he could make peace with Loki and switch over to his side. Loki is unlikely to want the fimbulwinter itself. It is a tool to him. And his worshippers are human. He is likely not oposed to undoing it once his enemies are eliminated.

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      2. Can he actually end Gaia? I believe she is the representation of Earth as a Goddes, isn’t the planet in itself an anchor to her existence, I think the most we can expect from him to do would be to seal her away or force her into an accord with other powerfull beigns that will restrict her actions.

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      3. Paps, we MIGHT be able to think of Gaia as the personification of the planet for any other surviving Titans and also the Olympians and Romans, but not for other pantheons, not even Loki’s fraction of the Asgardians. All sorts of other gods and goddesses personifying the planet are out there in other pantheons. Some of them are probably even more powerful than Gaia is, perhaps even more powerful than She ever was.

        As for Gaia’s powers and person being linked to the planet itself, yeah, probably at some level. That’s going to be an issue. She did also have temples and altars in the temples of other deities, long ago:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia#Temples

        The Asgardians have probably hunted down and wrecked most of these. Probably more important than these, however, are whatever temples and altars She might still have in her pocket world, Skogheim.

        Might be interesting if there are some surviving altars to Gaia in Bactria and/or other places where the old Alexandrian empire spread way back when, but modern non-Islamic cultures have adopted Her into their rites.

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      4. Yes, I got a better picture of things with Dspring comparriosion with Zeus, I still think that slaying a God is a tall order fro Daniel at the moment. Even worse if he does manages it, can he deal with the consequences such a thing will bring?

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      5. Paps – Gaia can be killed, at least killed if at first most of her kids are killed and her worship disrupted and her anchors destroyed. She is an old goddess, so it will be a real challenge to kill her.

        However, an anchor cannot be “the world” or Zeus, who was the “sky” god could not have been killed.

        Oliver – Loki is extremely unlikely to cast off Gaia in favor of Daniel. She is an old god with great influence on a number of Great Beasts. If he cast her aside, he would risk her switching sides (very bad). Even if she did not, this would be major betrayal and oathbreaking by Loki. It is hard to get allies if your word is untrustworthy and that would cost Loki big time. In addition, Daniel’s best weapons of war (aka – mortars) are weapons that are much more effect “vs” Loki’s massive legions than “vs” Odin’s elite warriors. The elite warriors will not cluster and are often hard to find after all.

        Now once the war is over, what reason has Loki to ally with Daniel?

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      6. That really depends on Gaia’s goals. The problem with killing all human is those humans mostly being somebody’s anchor. And those gods will not just look on as their anchors are butchere. Hence Gaia’s goals seem to involve fighting the world. That just makes no sense and makes her unpredictable.

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      7. Have to agree with you, Oliver, that Gaia seems on track to kill all humans and therefore fight a LOT of deities.

        However, maybe not ALL deities. How many gods and goddesses, ancient spirits and beasts are NOT aligned toward humans? Maybe they are even unalterably HOSTILE to humans? Maybe some of the oceanic deities are inclined to support Gaia exterminating humans?

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      8. Gaia is nuts. Loki is using her right now knowing she is nuts. He would want to get rid of Gaia at some point, but he is not going to move until he wins the war.

        That does mean that if Daniel can deal with Gaia after Loki wins, Loki will probably be grateful. And if Daniel ends the war in a way that allows Loki to win – similar outcome for Gaia.

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      9. Taking the premise that Gaia is irrational, it seems to me that his strategy here has to ultimately depend on Hecate, Prometheus and Poseidon. If they are unwilling to ally with Loki, the issue will be out of his hands.

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      10. I think it is pretty clear from her actions to date that Hecate does not believe that Loki or Odin are allies worth having. Otherwise she would already be allied with Loki.

        After all, both were central in the destruction of the Olympians.

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      11. Hecate is a Titan and predates the Olympians. I think Gaia is older still and might be the mother of some of the Titans. Point being, Hecate is both more ancient and far more experienced than Odin, probably far more knowledgeable than Loki as well. When it comes to alliances, we’ve seen how far back in time Hecate can reach, with the Groves and their denizens. All Odin and Loki bring to the table is numbers, power, treachery and ferocity. Hecate has had a surfeit of THAT for longer than They have existed.

        She’s far more likely to try to preserve Her allies, and much more capable of applying their skills at precisely the right moment. She’s also willing to play the Very Long Game and brings enormous quantities of divine patience to that.

        Which is not to suggest that She might not be somewhat annoyed at Loki and Odin for Their many transgressions.

        Hence, Daniel.

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    2. If the priority is survival, then you are really going down the path of escape. Make a bargain to reside in the lands belonging to some other pantheon to give yourself time and then head into outer space seems the most reliable solution. But if the world falls to fimbulwinter/great beasts, that still gives him only a few years max to get ready. And Daniel would not accept this outcome, so it remains a thought exercise.

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      1. As long as Daniel is Hecate’s Champion and Cerise is Hecate’s High Priestess and Hecate is determined NOT to abandon Europe . . . the guerilla war continues!

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      2. How? Daniel is deficient in the core of guerilla. He lacks a sympathetic population and does not know the terrain better. Gaia is perfectly willing, indeed eager, to just kill everybody.

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      3. Um, Oliver, it’s not like Daniel cannot BUILD a LOT of guerilla core. The limiting factor seems likely to be how many golems he and Alanna can control and how nasty each of those golems can be.

        For that matter, if he and Cerise can harvest a few battlefields like Kozalin after Hel’s undead army was massacred, who’s to say Daniel cannot GROW an army of his own, stuff a bunch of unhappy spirits into it, and point them at a target?

        He probably needs to make sure his new army is not a horde of Daniel v2.0 clones, though. I expect he can dig up some diverse frozen genetic samples while he’s busy harvesting spirits around Kozalin’s battle sites.

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      4. The concept of gorilla war takes on many different facets. These facets depend on the stage it is at. Right now Hackett’s gorilla war is based on outlasting her enemy. All she has to do is survive while they lose ground against each other. She’s doing very well. She’s not just holding ground she’s gaining ground. She’s gaining both followers and sympathizers. Daniel is doing his job excellently as far as she’s concerned. With the occasional opportunity to make attacks such as (blowing up that sunspire.)

        For an example of a way to win a gorilla war look at what happened in the Middle East. The insurgents there were pathetic they could not face the United States or its coalition forces. All they could do is annoy them and take advantage of moments of stupidity on the part of the US and coalition force officers. In the end all they had to do was wait until a political change happened and it became (stupidly) expedient to immediately leave. Now they won outlasting the enemy even if you can’t actually hurt them is a good strategy. A gorilla war is won by the gorillaz when they don’t lose. They don’t actually have to win they just Have to not lose. Which is the same as not give up. That’s it that’s all they have to do. The only effective methods of winning a gorilla war against insurgents is to genocide or brutalize the local population. Against an enemy who’s not willing or at the moment capable of doing that the gorillaz will always win.

        There is a reason empires genocided their enemies or rounded them up and stuck them in concentration camps or brutalized them beyond what today would be considered comprehension. These are the only effective tactics to use against a gorilla insurgents. When the mongols began creating their Empire they would leave pyramids of skulls of the local populations everywhere the local populations fought back. Do this once or twice and the local population will kill all of the gorilla insurgents for you. The muslims genocided and enslaved every Buddhist and non religious person who was not of the book as they called it in the entire Middle East and every bit of territory they controlled. It was a method of controlling and eliminating the insurgents of these populations. The British Empire did the same thing in South Africa to the South African bore. The Americans did the same thing in North America. The tactic is horrible but the tactic works and it’s one of the few tactics that actually does.

        The Asier were using the same tactics against the remnants of the olympians. One of the reasons Hackett got ahold of Daniel in the 1st place is because she was down to her last follower. Now she’s making a comeback. To win all she has to do is survive. Followers and sympathizers taken in the process of that is just icing on the cake. Now she has to consider how to convert the others to follow her Pantheon or allow them to die. For this purpose the Ragnarok is just as effective a weapon for her as for her enemies.

        Daniel probably knows and accepts this somewhere in his subconscious even if he has not yet confronted the idea of it.

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      5. NO, definitely NO.

        I am sorry, but this seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding on how guerilla war works. Yes, potentially Daniel can do a golem wave attack. That does not real help if the enemy shows no restraint. If Gaia needs to cover the land in lava to break up such an attack, she will. Guerilla absolutely depends on your oponents unwillingness to make a desert and call it peace.

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      6. Yeah, but making a desert and calling it Hers seems to be what Gaia is all about, so there’s really no point discussing traditional guerilla war.

        It will be fascinating to see what Hecate has in mind to confront Gaia next.

        Who wants to bet Loki knows Gaia assumes She will just take Midgard with her ape-man armies, monsters and Great Beasts once all those nasty humans no longer blight the planet?

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      7. I would not contest that bet. I want to know what he thinks will happen when she actually tries.

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      8. “The only effective methods of winning a gorilla war against insurgents is to genocide or brutalize the local population. Against an enemy who’s not willing or at the moment capable of doing that the gorillaz will always win.”

        Spot on. The issue with that is that Gaia would say to that: “Very nice, very convinient”

        How Daniel will mentally cope with that is an interesting question.

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      9. Exactly. Which is one of the things I find so interesting about the series. We can see Daniel’s mindset change from book to book. In the 1st book he never would have considered activating his grinder and just pulping a group of people to get them off of another group of people.

        However in the 4th book that’s exactly what he did. Also he did it without a moment’s hesitation. This is a great deal of mental development and change taking place as he adapts to his new environment and the culture in which he finds himself. We see him change from book to book. Somewhere in his mind he knows it’s happening he knows what will have to happen to win Has he confronted it yet (NO).

        The time is coming and I’m looking forward to seeing Daniel go off by himself sit down and consider all of this. I wonder who would be the one to bring him out of his funk. I’m betting it’ll be the head of his (secret service). It would be a good point for her to come back into the story.

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      10. Um, Sefwin’s going to have difficulty understanding the mental anguish Daniel will eventually experience.

        Alanna is the obvious solution to this, as she is in direct contact with Daniel’s brain, mind and spirit, plus, she knows mental anguish like few other beings NOT trapped inside an Atlantean or Lightbringer magic torture cell.

        Consider also that Elin has a particularly suitable love/hate relationship going on with her own inner monster(s) and probably would be more able to empathize with Daniel, especially through their Coven bond.

        Plus, you can bet Tina will have an impact, again through their Coven bond, and through her, Bast.

        Then there’s always Hecate, who has Her own connection with Daniel’s spirit.

        You aren’t wrong, DaShoota, but Daniel has a LOT of spirit support options and several of them are constantly active.

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      11. You are probably correct however I’m just looking for some excuse to give the elf in charge of his secret service a little more Front and center time. Seems like she’s going to be pushed to the side a little bit in future stories since The Secret service by definition is to neither be seen nor heard. Plus she’s about the same age as Daniel. Whereas all the others are younger or a lot older. It might actually be more difficult than we think for him to find someone who can relate to his situation. Bast being a Goddess of battle and war might actually have some tools to deal with his potential upcoming mental anguish problems.

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    3. If Daniel’s priority is to make Hecate’s alliance successful and stable enough to be a major power for the feasible future, that is a very challenging thing. A couple things MUST occur

      1) Prometheus must be freed to lead the pantheon — or another reasonable god (dess) of sufficient power.
      2) Both Odin and Loki must be dead or so seriously weakened that their pantheons become minor powers.
      3) Fimbulwinter and most of the Great Beasts must be killed
      4) Needs to recruit a few more powerful gods and/or equivalently powerful beings for the pantheon to be seen as powerful
      5) Needs to recruit/claim/capture a large block of human real estate. Pantheons need a large base of worshipers both for the worship energy, the anchors and the prestige necessary to be seen as a great power.

      All of these require a lot of work to achieve.

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      1. He also needs to do something about his association with the Atlanteans. If the rest of the gods see him as Atlantis 2.0 with divine backers, he has a serious problem.

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      2. Worse, some of those Alliance would need a high level of political playing that Daniel simply doesn’t have, if he goes for this option, he will need to play the ‘secretary’ or ‘enforcer’ role in the faction and leave all the negotations, deals, and compromise to other more expierence and ruthless beigns.

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      3. Yeah . . . like OTHER pantheons never had to elevate a honey-tongued genius to the position of negotiating with potential alliances with neighboring pantheons and deities. (Looking at YOU, Loki.)

        Snicker.

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      4. I think Hecate is setting up Daniel as a troubleshooter, not a diplomat. If a diplomat, it will be from the perspective of “ally with me and I will save your bacon today” standpoint.

        In this case, Hecate is the diplomat and Daniel is the minion (politically).

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    4. I think Daniel Priority at this point is to make his coven survive and thrive, the actions it might trigger are mostly reared toward defense, everything he designs, creates or build from now on should be for the direction of entrusting the survival of his coven, if for that end he needs to strength ‘The Black keep’ he will be mostly focusing on that, or if in his though build a solid base and strengthen Hecate faction of Gods, he will surely dedicate most of his time into it. I think at this point he has seen and experienced what truly entails mixing it up with Gods, so he will try to look for a backing in that power level, so maybe helping Hecate grow in strength to supplement his defense will be his major focus.

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      1. It does seem that Daniel’s strategy is simply to gain power as quietly as he can while protecting Black Keep as much as he can. To that end, he addresses specific threats (aka – Gaia’s armies) when he can while trying to direct any blame elsewhere.

        It really does not feel that Daniel is thinking about what happens “post war” yet.

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      2. The problem is that sheer power will not save him. The more power he shows, the more of a threat he will also be. He needs a way to decouple deterrence and threat. If he wants to go the route of pure power he has to flee to an unreachable place.

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      3. No sheer power will only mae him a target, but if he gets hismelf soem baking with powerfull allys maybe it will be enough to make it to bothersome to try and eliminate him. So far he has avoided making things personnal with the other factions.

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      4. Realistically Daniel needs one of three outcomes
        1) seen as obviously not a threat to the gods and not going to become a threat. Part of this is a power calculation and part of this is how he fits in. Daniel can survive with a lot more obvious power if he is a clear minion of a powerful god. Realistically this is not an option as Daniel’s power growth is very steep and if it was any time other than ragnarok he would already have been killed or “minioned”. This become easier if he become someone the other gods can deal with for equipment or special magic — kinda like the dwarves role with Odin.

        2) Daniel becomes so powerful the he (with his allies) is comparable to a major pantheon AND it looks like he is not going to keep growing more and more powerful. In effect, he become a not seriously threatening peer.

        3) The other pantheons leaders are killed, imprisoner or genuinely ally with Daniel – AND Daniel has the power of a true god or better. At that point, he become too difficult for any one god to challenge and there is no powerful god to organize a coalition of gods against him. Also easier if he becomes an asset to many gods like in #1.

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      5. Well I think that with number three he already has a certain leeway with all those Gods he released from the Spire, of course most of them must be really weakened at this point, but they migth be counted as powerfull Allies. The strenghtening part will take him to much time, wich at this point he doesn’t have with all the survival plans he need to put in effect.

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      6. The problem with that is that he must become predictable. The other gods will soon not judge him by what he is but by what he is becoming. In effect he has to reveal what he is.

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      7. Have to agree with you on Daniel and Hecate, Paps. Daniel has all sorts of reasons to develop a much more powerful version of his mana amulets and power stones for Hecate’s and other allied goddess’s personal use. Bast, for example, will probably also need something special . . . maybe several somethings. Goddess of Victory after all.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yes, altough so far the most powerfull mana amulet he has created has been of a weak use for Hecate, if he can figure that out, when the Gods find out they migth feel inclined to get some as well, making him more valuable, and more worthy to have around.

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      9. If he really wanted to go that route, he now has the sunspear to copy. Does nuclear fusion fall under sufficiently advanced Fire magic?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Good point, Oliver, however, Daniel does not need to go as far as the Sunspear magotech.

        He already realized his force structures give him access to prompt critical fission. Stir in some deuterium or ‘heavy’ lithium at the correct moment and that cocktail will go thermonuclear.

        He does need to figure out a way to do this at a respectful distance from the detonation.

        Like

  25. How good is the Conclave at truth spells? Is Carl Stenberg really Mara’s brother in the sense that he is a son of Loki?

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    1. How good is the Conclave at ‘truth’ spells or, how good is the Conclave at USING their ‘truth’ spells?
      They sure did miss on Carl and Mara. Mara, I could sort of understand. Carl, there’s no excuse, unless the Conclave has to virtually destroy a brain in order to determine truth or lies.

      Maybe they really don’t have any good ‘lie detector’ magic.

      As for Mara being a son of Loki, I thought it turned out he is only a spy for Loki?

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      1. These categories are not mutually exclusive. One can be a spy and a son.

        The thing is, did they lie at all. Did they ask stuff like:
        Are you in Loki’s employ? – No. (He isn’t paid)
        Did you pledge yourself to Loki? – No (He made no formal pledge. They are family.)
        Have you entered Loki’s service – No (He always was as a loyal son.)
        Is she your sister – Yes. (Half sister, but you did not specify full sister.)

        All literal truths most likely.

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      2. Oliver, that’s all good and works just fine, however, we have two somewhat vaguely worded conversations between Daniel and Carl on the steps of the Temple of Odin in Kozalin that suggest Mara is no relation at all to Carl. That MIGHT still leave wiggle room for Carl to be a blood son of Loki. The guy did get around, after all.

        >>> Cerise’s whip of shadow snaked out to pluck a figure from the back of one of the remaining golems, and lay him out on the ground at our feet. I looked down, and saw that it was Carl Stenberg. “Ah, I surrender?” He called over Grinder’s scream. I threw up a low wall blocking us off from the remaining undead, and Cerise deactivated Grinder. “I’m guessing Mara isn’t your sister, and you’re actually a spy,” I said mildly. “Lokin resistance cell,” he replied. “Like your girl there, only we follow Loki instead of Hecate.” Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2)

        Like any decently trained agent, Carl is careful to answer only the least damaging part of Daniel’s question. We cannot be certain what his relationship with Loki is from his words. Context is only faintly suggestive and not sufficient for confirmation.

        >>> I have to say, I never expected someone like Mara to take advantage of the ‘foreign sister’ cover story.”
        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2) (p. 342). Kindle Edition.

        This may be slightly more suggestive that Mara is not actually any relation, but nothing Carl says can be taken as a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at this point, so he may actually be a step-brother to Mara.

        Or no relation at all.

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      3. It turned towards him being just a spy for Loki. I also speculate that the Goddess’s Daniel is working for have far greater experience in their followers on lie detection. As well as lie Detector avoidance. After all the more you do something the better you get at it.

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      4. Loki is a god of mischief, so I suspect he has lots of experience begin deceptive. His followers would likely be granted boons in that direction, especially his spies. Absent divine lie-detection, the Conclave’s truth-spells probably just weren’t good enough. Especially if Mara’s sister played a role (though I don’t know if anyone but Mara and Daniel even know of her, so she probably wouldn’t have).

        We do know, via Tova, that the Conclave has experience with mind-magic and spells of influence.

        Like

      5. Yes Loki is a God of mischief and deception. Heckett is a Goddess of ninja basically. (Spies, assassins, sabbatours.) Also she and what’s left of her followers have been Refining their techniques a lot longer in an insurgency than Loki has. By at least several centuries.

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    2. I don’t kow maybe the spell can be fooled by perception, if he is not Loki son, but a distant descendadnt, considering Mara as close as a sister migth have been enough to fool it, or as someone stated he migth have been Loki disguised as a mortal, wich could have helped him fool them. I doubt with hte level of power he exhibited that he was Loki son, unless he is extrimely good at hidding his power.

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      1. What would prevent them from just using a binding? We are talking about mages. They could just swear to tell the truth during this interview. In that case it would be their own perception. It wouldn’t work on Mara, but for everybody else?
        Yes, they could use a coven bond as an antidote, but wizards can see bindings can’t they?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clever people can finagle their answers to questions under a binding, especially if the binding is not well considered.

        On the other hand, Oliver, I believe you have a good start on magical lie detection with bindings.

        It renders irrelevant my comment about magical lie detection that wrecks the brain of the target, although that could be a vicious consequence of lying under some bindings . . . .

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  26. I think it is clear that Daniel cannot simply use mana amulets to make himself the equal of the gods. His biggest mana stone only provided moderate assistance to Hecate to heal her injury — and was a pale shadow of her full power.

    It is possible that Daniel can string a lot of big mana stones together to equal the mana output of a god, but that is a pretty complex magical arrangement and not going to very portable. That ties Daniel to a death star flying fortress motif which is pretty limiting.

    There were some clues in the book that mana generators can only scale up so large – with the biggest clue being that the Atlanteans had to build the sunspear to get enough power to challenge the gods.

    Even if he had the power, it is pretty clear that the God’s sorceries are wicked good. The quick examples of Hecate’s self healing magic and Aphrodite’s spell to block the plasma stream indicate that they can do extremely complex magic very quickly. This is not insurmountable, but Daniel is already struggling with spell complexity.

    Finally, Daniel can only channel so much magic and effectively control it. So he can create a few magical tools to channel a lot of magic, but there are some strong implications that massive magic requires massive tools – which gets us back to the death star problem.

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    1. It looks to me like there is a qualitative difference in magic as well as a quantitative. Daniel got a glimpse of it when he commented that the Sunspear needs controlling minds.

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  27. Daniel and Alanna have already demonstrated that the ‘death star’ can be a high quality nuisance to Odin and others. Provided that Daniel and Alanna can manage NOT to be physically trapped in their golems, or logically associated with them, it seems likely they can clandestinely continue to be quite obnoxious to several divine tyrants.

    Of course, it won’t be enough that the sneaky saboteurs seem NOT to have anything to do with Daniel. He needs to be very obviously somewhere else, doing something else very obviously totally unrelated to whatever that nasty golem is up to over here.

    And even that game is likely to end sooner rather than later, when some divine temper tantrum attempts to exterminate ALL opposition, instantly.

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    1. Is that wise? If Daniel wishes to not appear an Atlantean starting something that would be interpreted as a general uprising against divine overlords looks like exactly what he ought not to do.

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      1. Good point, Oliver. Mass produced golems that deliberately don’t look like anything Daniel has done before could easily look like something Atlanteans once did, or make some divine investigator suspect Atlantean refined modern magic tech. Maybe Daniel needs to make this a project for himself, Cerise and Alanna? They ought to be able to come up with something that looks completely organic, is incredibly powerful and multiplies with terrifying rapidity. Hmm . . . then Brand will remember who has several Groves tucked away in Castle Black.

        Sigh. Maybe something fishy. Oh, THAT could work! Daniel can pull something Cthulhu out of the dusty dark corners of his college roleplay gaming nightmares.

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  28. Why neglect Poseidon? Mara introduced Aphrodite to Fenrir as the last survivor of the Dodecatheon. Was that a simple oversight, did she simply not know about Poseidon or is there a deeper reason? Given that Hel is doing an amphibous operation against Asgard he would matter. Is he truly neutral?

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      1. Cerise mentioned that Poseidon still ruled the deep as she was telling Daniel about the fall of Olympus, right before she mentioned Aphrodite’s situation. I think that that was in Fimbulwinter.

        I’ve noticed some inconsistencies like that through the books. Elin being surprised about Tina being the mother of Bast’s re-birth despite that just being discussed with her a few pages prior. Daniel asking, twice, about the significance of the Elven hair braids (once of the elf-girl, once of Alanna). Nothing that thoroughly disrupts the story, but it makes me think that Brown could use a better editor.

        Given that the Aesir left Poseidon to his own devices, he probably is truly neutral at this point. Though Mara is young, so she just might not know that he’s still around.

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  29. Can Daniel Black build a nuclear reactor? Would it do him any good?

    The answer to the first question is simple: yes
    The answer to the second question is much harder, but: probably not

    If you go for a proof of concept reactor, then they built one in Chicago in 1941 out of natural uranium metal and graphite blocks.
    DB can repeat that feat. But that reactor did nothing useful. Nuclear reactors produce heat, radiation and certain radioactive isotopes. The first two things he can get from M2M and Fire magic. Now could he make heat at an even more extreme scale and isotopes otherwise unavailable with nuclear power? That will take a longer answer and I hope it is interesting.

    No material DB can conjure is fissile. They are fissionable, but that is a difference.
    Fissionable: You can split them with a neutron and energy is released.
    Fissile: The former, but each split on average generates at least 1 neutron that can split further nuclei.

    And there is the nub. No element occuring in quantities on Earth does that.
    Now you may say that I said that you can built reactors from natural uranium. Yes, you can, by integrating a moderator. The nuclear reaction happens within the tiny fraction of U-235 contained in the metal. And, that is very important, moderators do not work at extreme temperatures. In short their atoms will be so fast that they cannot slow neutrons down below their own speed on average.

    Can he breed plutonium? To an extent, sure. But why bother with a reactor? He can just put his radiation source inside a block of uranium and there you go.

    The problem is separating uranium, plutonium and neptunium if he were to go that route. In principle he can do that. Even if he cannot selectively banish, he could distill them. He can go to stupidly high temperatures and can build machines without material parts.
    I would not want to be in the same country as that destillery, though. The potential for contamination is horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No way can I compete with the sheer knowledge Oliver brought to this question. My point is much simpler, I see no reason for Daniel to create a nuclear reactor even if he can do so easily. He does not need the heat and he already has mana stones to create mana much more effectively than any nuclear reactor can. And he can use magic to create electricity if desired. He can also create radioactive waste if desired.

      Daniel can create a nuclear bomb, but again why should he. It is of limited use against any god. He can probably use it to destroy a great beast, but it is serious overkill in that situation and Daniel has many other options to kill Great Beasts. And most importantly, the threat most vulnerable to nuclear bombs is Daniel himself. It is an attack that can destroy him and the black keep nearly instantly. So letting the gods know that a nuclear bomb exists is just handing a weapon to his enemies.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The obvious use case would be a smaller version of the sunspire powered by a local fission reactor rather than a remote fusion reactor (which is what the Sun technically is)

        That, unfortunately, is the hardest for him to achieve, as it would have to be a fast reactor, which are the hardest kind to build and control.

        Now, why would Daniel build a nuke? Because

        a) it would work without magic (I think I can come up with a design that runs on switching off a Force field)
        b) it is most likely utterly uncopyable
        c) it can be fired by muggles

        Does that mean that it is an obviously good idea? Probably not, but it is also one that cannot be just dismissed. If he ever finds himself in Kozalin and 100000 Einherjar or millions of undead march at him, there may be no other option left.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So here’s a question: can Daniel use his Matter-to-Mana enchantment to create high-powered lasers? The M2M is based on Mana being a type of energy, so he converts matter into mana and then uses the mana. He mentions frequently that a damaged M2M enchantment would likely (and in _Extermination_, intentionally does) produce other types of energy. So why not have it produce X-rays and do so in a directional fashion? He hasn’t done so thus far, but that might be because he *can’t*, or because he hasn’t thought of it. A matter-to-energy powered X-Ray laser would put paid to anything short of the horizon I’d think.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Because the material will not have a laser effect. You will get X-rays if you subtract just a few neutrons. But they will form inside the material for the most part and not be coherent. And most materials, in particular stone, are fairly opaque to x-rays. In other words, the enchanted object will heat up. That is exactly what you want to avoid.

        Furthermore, neutrons have much more penetrative power and are affected by Force fields, so DB can roughly give them a direction. Unless you want to avoid inducing radioactivity in your target, you will go for neutrons.
        If you do want to avoid it, you are better of straight going for gamma rays. Much less of a heating problem. I suppose his early experiments which exploded did generate a lot of x-rays.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well, I don’t think the story or Daniel need to focus on it right now, but he might be able to use nuclear fusion as energy for his interstellar travels plan, as Oliver mention it would be an energy source not dependent on mana and magic, which in an outer space environment might count a lot, outside of that I don’t see him forced to use it now. Maybe as a side project or personal study.

        Like

    2. Oliver, what about Daniel and his belief that a suitable force bubble surrounding a quantity of raw, natural uranium would cause it to go prompt critical?

      I’m thinking he believes his force fields/bubbles are much better neutron traps than any reactor.

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      1. He is wrong. There is nothing wrong with DB being wrong. He is a programmer, not a physicist. Although he does know the difference between prompt and delayed criticality.

        The issue is not the critical mass. But the explanation will be long. You asked.

        We have two isotopes present (well, we disregard U-234 and U-237 – trace amounts)
        U-238 generates on average 0.9 neutrons fast enough to split U-238. Reflecting them is not going to help. What is not there, is not there.

        U-235 is another matter. It would go boom. No question about that. So we need to look at the interaction between U-235 and U-238 in terms of neutrons. So far with me?
        Any neutron emitted will far likelier hit a U-238 nucleus. And there it is either scattered or captured. If it eventually hits a U-235 it is either scattered or fission will occur.

        So we have two effects that either generate or destroy neutrons. It turns out that the probabilities of these events are so that in natural uranium too many neutrons are captured. That is a question of concentration of U-235 (you call that degree of enrichment in weapons circles, but it is a concentration), not mass. The exact concentration you need is secret, because it is the answer to how to built a nuke. But we know the answer is above 10%

        Now I have to make things even more complicated. Why can you run a reactor on natural uranium? Because the likelhood of scattering vs. fission in U-235 depends on the neutrons speed. They fission much better if they are slow. So by adding nuclei that can slow down neutrons without absorbing them, you can make it go boom. But to slow them down, that material has to be cold. You can build a reactor that way, not a bomb, because a bomb is too hot.

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      2. Thanks, Oliver. So the U238 is absorbing neutrons but NOT undergoing fission often enough to matter?

        Okay, let’s try this on for size. Suppose that Daniel figures out that he needs to use higher concentrations of U235. Is there a way he can use his elemental powers to separate U235 from U238 fast enough to be useful but not too fast, oops, KABOOM?

        Hmm . . . this is too easy. Create three empty force bubbles. Summon a small amount of raw uranium into one of them. Daniel’s mana generator amulet enchantments seem to be capable of manipulating tiny amounts of matter, possibly as small as individual atoms. Use Fire to vaporize the uranium. Grab two atoms and compare their masses. Repeat until one atom has more mass than the other. Put the less massive atom in one of the empty force bubbles. Scribble U235? on a note and stick it somewhere near that bubble. Keep the more massive atom as a comparator. Grab one more atom, compare again. If the atom is lower mass put it with the U235?. If it is higher mass put it in the last empty bubble, scribble U238? on a note and put it near that last bubble. Repeat until all atoms are removed from the original force bubble and Daniel has one empty bubble, one bubble of denser atoms plus one bubble with a tiny amount of less dense atoms. Create an enchantment to automate this process WITHOUT creating a force bubble containing a critical mass of U235? and go work on something else for a while.

        Probably a VERY long while.

        Now, let’s suppose Daniel’s magic cannot distinguish the masses of a single atom, even with something as simple as which of two atoms are heavier. Physics to the rescue. Daniel can create as big an ultracentrifuge as he feels comfortable playing with. Use elemental Fire to liquify a small quantity of uranium and centrifuge it, then freeze it. Separating the two isotopes becomes a somewhat more crude process, but by deliberately failing to collect ALL the least dense atoms he can assure that most of what he removes from the correct region of his device will be U235 (and some U233). Plus, his force blade chopper will create a clean slice through the frozen uranium metal, so there should be few random contaminants in his product.

        Given that he’s using force, fire and earth elemental magic, his processes will be rather clean and we should expect he will have less container and tools contamination than the Manhattan Project did. Of course, that assumes he is careful to create his force bubbles with VACUUM inside them, NOT air. No uranium oxides.

        So, that’s two crude processes that combine physics and magic to summon uranium, concentrate the U235 (and U233) and Daniel is capable of assembling a variety of fission or fission-fusion devices from the products. He’s going to accumulate a bunch of U238 as well, so magical high velocity high density penetrator projectiles are also possible.

        All of which are ridiculously time-consuming wastes of Daniel’s expertise and resources unless he really must create a massively huge KABOOM.

        . . . and for THAT, I wonder if a matter/antimatter device might be better return for his time and effort? How close to that capability is he already with his MAM mana generator enchantment? It’s not like he needs a kilogram of antimatter. Not even a gram. Of course, laboratory accidents could be rather impressive.

        Maybe he needs a remote lab on the other side of the Moon.

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      3. I think ultimately his search for fisionable material to produce a bomb is meaningless.

        1. He can produce radioactive effects without A-bomb.
        2. Producing a fusion explosion is far easier for him with his abilities than a fision explosion.

        If he produces a force filled with liquid inside of it like say water. Then dump energy into both the force field and heat into the water inside simultaneously at the same rate he will eventually get to the point where the heat inside causing the material inside to go through fusion. There will come a point where the energy release inside exceeds the energy being dumped into the force field containment will be breached and he will have an explosion. The explosion will be more like a miniaturized supernova containing mostly light and heat Instead of radiation but it will be comparable in the size to a small nuke. Think brief case nuke or Davey Crockett nuke ordinance.

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      4. Hydrogen Daniel could make would not burn in fusion terms. Proton-proton fusion is necessarily slow for reasons of quantum mechanics.

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  30. Daniel Black’s slow magic and nukes vs. Matter 2 Mana

    We know that his magic is slow. That is an ambiguous term. But his guns tell us what the issue is in more details. It does NOT mean that there’s a delay between casting a spell and it being executed. That would be a hassle when firing and aiming a gun, but the gun would fire just fine.

    No, the issue was that the magic first takes a minimal effect and takes time to reach its full effect. He considers it in detail with M2M. The problem is that a force field around fissile material would have the same issue. It would start reflecting some neutrons and the core would go critical but not supercritical.
    It would explode, but in the fashion of wrecking a building, not a city.

    DB could build a gun type weapon if he had U235. Can he do better? Maybe. It depends on unknown factors.

    I am afraid I have to go back to basics. A nuclear weapon requires that a mass of fissile material be brought from subcritical to supercritical extremely fast. Daniel has an option we do not have. He can make a Force barrier between fissile masses that reflects neutrons, thereby rendering a configuration that would be supercritical subcritical. Hence it matters how fast he can switch magic off or how clean holes in his Force fields are and how fast he can rotate them.

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  31. Re-reading _Extinction_ and I’ve just gotten to Mara’s conversation with her mother. As it ends, Gaea says “When you get back you’ll have to tell me about this new lover of yours.”

    When did Gaea find out Mara has a new lover? The only thing I can think of is that the Andregi who saw Mara reacting to discovering Daniel in Skogheim spread the story and it got back to Gaea as soon as she returned from her tryst with Loki. Seems a bit contrived, but there’s nothing in the text to explain her knowledge. Of course it could be an error on the author’s part too. The line doesn’t seem essential to the plot.

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    1. Lots of ways a goddess could discover her child had sex – especially as Gaia seems to have life/fertility domains in her portfolio: Body language, smell, pheromones or any number of other possible explanations exist.

      However, the possibility exists that she identified that Mara is pregnant (due to fertility domain) with Daniel as the father. For this to make sense, Gaia would have to have sensed an egg fertilized just an hour previously and at least a day away from planting in the uterus. Presumably Mara as a demigod is well able to prevent pregnancy, but Gaia as a fertility goddess who clearly wants Mara pregnant could have easily (and secretly) over-ridden any of Mara’s protections and perhaps make her “extra-fertile” to boot.

      That would create an interesting dynamic for Daniel. His encounters with Mara in Thrall were only a few weeks later, too soon for any pregnancy to be detectable unless actively looked for. But a month later when Daniel returns to Black Keep — very very possible. And that would add a very complex permutation to the plot.

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      1. Daniel fathers the first Thule/Thall/Tule/ in this universe. For those who are not up on northern European mythology That’s the North European names or as far as I can pronounce them? Of the creature that Is the European mythological equivalent of the katsune. Which are pretty much identical to their Far East counterpart.

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      2. I thought Mara was already the first North European kitsune? It is certainly one of her forms. If she is not the first, where did she get the form from? ” Loki, you sneaky . . .”

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      3. Um . . . remember the context when Daniel sired Bast in Tina. LOTS of energy and complex magic involved. Now, they were restarting an ancient goddess, so that’s going to be complex, but I’d expect something similar, if not nearly as powerful, might happen when Mara conceives by Daniel. Of course, they were both rather distracted.

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      4. Mara is a demigoddess and Daniel will be a tiny fraction of a demigod whenever he eats that banana Mara gave him. Timing is everything.

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      5. Daniel ate the banana as soon as Mara gave it to him. He didn’t think he could safely smuggle it out of Skogheim (and given his close encounter with Gaia on his way out, that was a safe bet).

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      6. I have to point out that even the children of true gods are mortal initially. Transmission of divine power of generations is inefficient.

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      7. The children of gods may be mortal but they are also demigods, born with exotic powers.

        On the other hand, with divine apples and bananas and who knows what other divine fruit around the world, it seems any human could become divine with the expenditure of enough determination, skill and luck.

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      8. Chinese mythology is filled with examples and techniques for an individual to gain divine immortality as a God. May be in Daniel’s universe they took the time to gather all of the special divine foods necters and anything else they could to make that happen as well as give them a monopoly on it. Which would also explain why the other pantheons such as Odin and Gia’s factions guard theirs so diligently. They’re afraid of Chinese thieves.

        I wonder if they stole the recipes for ambrosia and nectar before olympus fell?

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    2. When did Gaia find out Mara had a new lover? How about instantly when, in close proximity to Mara, Gaia could have noticed that all Her careful screwing with Mara’s screwed up reproductive systems has been unscrewed by Daniel?

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      1. That assumes her interference with Mara’s sexual satisfaction system is obtrusively obvious. Which is might be, but there’s no textual context to explain that. The comment just seems to come out of the blue, and Mara didn’t react to it at all, which I’d think she would. Plus, everyone’s in agreement that Gaea is kinda stupid. Sloppy spellwork on the Halls of Slumber, messing up Mara’s own conception (though Loki might’ve been behind that), etc.

        If there’s ever another book in the series then perhaps we’ll get some clarification. I’m not holding my breath on that though:-(.

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      2. Jabrwok, I agree with your reservations about Gaia, however, Mara is Gaia’s current biology powerplay project. Given what we know about Gaia’s plans for Mara, from Aphrodite’s comments in THRALL, it seems to me that Gaia would use Her divine powers to check out Mara’s reproductive status every time She encounters Her daughter after any significant separation.

        Of course, that assumes Gaia can briefly and casually check Mara’s reproductive status at a short distance.

        Seems probable to me, and the motivation is definitely there for Gaia to do so.

        Too bad the author was not a little more clear about what happened, but from Daniel’s viewpoint there was a LOT happening at that moment and any of it could have resulted in his immediately being squished by an ancient goddess on Her own turf.

        If he could replay that conversation in his own head, maybe Daniel would catch that comment from Gaia and realize Mara is pregnant by him, but that realization does not happen in EXTERMINATION and still has not happened by the end of THRALL.

        We guess.

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      3. Maybe I’ll get my wish and in the next book his kitchen miracle worker will create something to improve his memory.

        He eats a bit of memory pie. Then has a flashback to that exact conversation. He suddenly goes still, starts sweating everybody looks at him as the color drains from his face and asks. “What?” He says “I think I just remembered something important that I didn’t. Oh crap!!”

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      4. Maybe she is pregnant and maybe it’s not her who’s pregnant but her sister. She has 2 heads after all.

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      5. I think that that’s a stretch. She only has two heads in monster form. Not sure where her sister (and why don’t we know *her* name yet?) keeps her mind when there’s no second head available. Keeping a second uterus somewhere, and keeping it attached to Mara’s vagina….well, I suppose it’s possible within the setting. Still doesn’t seem likely though.

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      6. I think it is quite reasonable that Gaia did not do a thorough check and discover Daniel’s changes.

        a) She herself was obviously distracted from her own recent sex-capades
        b) Mara distracted her quickly with news of the prisoner
        c) Daniel fixed the messed up sex feedback loop in Mara’s body. He did not actually change anything about Mara’s fertility. I suspect fertility is obvious/easy to notice if you are a goddess of fertility. Gaia is not actually a goddess of sex/lust, so I suspect checking this aspect requires a bit more thought.
        d) Gaia has been doing these things to her daughters successfully multiple times. I suspect she is rather overconfident.

        However, I have to disagree with Colin. Bast’s conception did not require major magic. Almost all the magic described was required to either get Bast to manifest (aka shaping Tina into a catlike shape) or to satisfy Bast sexually (aka – Daniel’s own brand of sex magic). Daniel himself did not realize the deed was done until Bast told him. He would certainly have noticed any big magical event. This tells me that conception of a god does not have to involve a lot of magic – although clearly carrying a god or demigod to term would require a big drain on the mother — which was why Daniel had to provide a big mana amulet feed to fetus Bast.

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      7. I suspect we are too focused on Gaia as the one who might sense that Mara is pregnant, toward the end of EXTERMINATION.

        It seems to me MUCH more likely that Aphrodite would have noticed somewhere during the last half of THRALL.

        Now, whether She would have actually SAID something is another question altogether.

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      8. I suspect the question isn’t whether or not Aphrodite would say something but what she would gain from doing so..

        Or whether or not she could manipulate somebody else By doing so. Possibly also whether or not she could Cause havoc and chaos by doing so just to get her Jollies or because she thinks it will inspire people to do something/anything they normally wouldn’t.. After all she supposed to be the goddess of womanhood. Women in general prefer chaos over anything else so that’s exactly what she would try to create most with that information.

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      9. Given Daniel’s Flesh Sorcery, I doubt he’d accidentally impregnate anyone. Though his reactions to his girls talk of pregnancy has implied that he was concerned they might be preggers at various points, he’s also said “it’s not going to happen by accident”, so there’ve been some mixed messages there.

        Regardless, I don’t think Mara’s preggo. Honestly I think Gaea’s comment was an authorial error. Probably something that slipped by after editing out whatever tipped Gaea off to Mara’s new relationship.

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      10. Of course, the biggest reason that Gaia did not discover anything is that Mara’s secret twin has the godly domain of SECRETS

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      11. If you have sex with Mara, the question whom you actually impregnate arises. Mara is the godess of freedom, which may also apply to sperm and her sister is a godess of sneakiness. I would not bet on a pregnancy even to show or to begin when you think it should.

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      12. Ah — good point. I forgot about Mara’s secret sister. Wow, that does introduce a few variables, doesn’t it.

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      13. “Of course, that assumes Gaia can briefly and casually check Mara’s reproductive status at a short distance.

        Seems probable to me, and the motivation is definitely there for Gaia to do so.”

        Gaia is among other things a godess of fertility. It is not clear that she could avoid knowing if you came that close to her. In the same sense that Mara would know if you carried a burning object or Daniel would see your magic.

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      14. There’s probably a much simpler and easier explanation for how she knows mira has a boyfriend.. Could be that 1 of the ape men who saw her grab the guy and dragged him off to her chambers told Gia as soon as she came through the portal. They kind of seem like tattle tales to me.

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      15. I think we know enough from Mara and Aphrodite to assert Gaia is being much worse than catty with Her daughter(s). Bluntly, She ruthlessly entraps them, abuses them, exploits them and then discards them unto death.

        Of course, Gaia has spent so much of Her existence surrounded by monsters and creating monsters that it should come as no surprise when She behaves like monsters. That’s going to be part of the ethical backstory of the arc where Daniel destroys Her. We’re supposed to be rooting for him to permanently vaporize Her.

        Or are we? It would be amusing if the author convincingly creates a different solution, where Mara and Her sisters obtain Their divinity and Their freedom, humans on Midgard survive, but Gaia also survives . . . snarling and hating Zeus’ nasty little innovators all the way.

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      16. I don’t doubt it, I think Gaia will still be around for a while, maybe the author will hit to an complete depowering of other factions so Daniel faction can intall itself in power and put a leash on the others.

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      17. If Daniel ever seriously explores time-manipulation magic then maybe he’ll figure out how to create Slaver Stasis Bubbles like from Niven’s Known Space stories. Stasify Gaia for a few billion years and she’s not a problem anymore. Not being “dead”, she couldn’t come back until the stasis field shut down.

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      18. “I suspect the question isn’t whether or not Aphrodite would say something but what she would gain from doing so..

        Or whether or not she could manipulate somebody else By doing so. ”

        She gains somebody who must speak for her. She has told Mara that she holds vital information, so Mara must do something to prevent her from being sold or outright eliminated.

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      19. Yeah, we can pretty much count on some things Aphrodite says being at least as useful to Herself as to others.

        Given the way She gets around, it would not be surprising if She made some effort to contact a few of the ancient divine and ancient Great Beasts that Daniel released from imprisonment in the Spire.

        Imagine all the hijinks Aphrodite and Lolth together might get up to.

        Say, Oliver, have you been reading the “He Who Fights With Monsters” series by SHIRTALOON ??

        I like the Daniel Black story background more, but SHIRTALOON seems to be consistently and quickly producing enjoyable books.

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  32. I find the lack of official maps of Kozilan and Black Island frustrating. I often get no good sense of how the parts of the city or the island relate to one another, nor any grasp of the sizes of the various buildings on the island.

    Recently found this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monteriggioni#/media/File:Monteriggioni_dall'alto.jpg), which, if the online calculator I used is correct, is about 6.5 acres in area. That gives me a better sense of the size of Black Island, so I thought I’d toss it out there.

    I’d still like an official map though:-(.

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  33. Size of Black Island. I have difficulty visualizing sizes and distances, so I went looking for something that would give me a ballpark idea of the size of Black Island (I really wish Brown would provide maps of Kozilan, Black Island, etc).

    Here’s what I found: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monteriggioni#/media/File:Monteriggioni_dall'alto.jpg

    “The roughly circular walls, totaling a length of about 570 meters (1,870 ft)”

    If my calculations are correct (feel free to tell me if they’re not), that town is ~6.38 acres in area. So somewhat smaller than Black Island, but I think it’s still a helpful visual.

    If anyone has a better picture of some town/fortress/whatever that’s closer to 10 acres in area, please share.

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  34. What is happening in Kozalin? We have a lot of loose threads at the end of the last book including:
    * Undead are still a (minor?) problem since the events in Black Coven. Some concerns that this threat is growing.
    * Four Dukes are fighting politically over the control over the city. One controls the food, another most of the soldiers. The other two’s power centers are unclear. (Priests? Conclave? Wealth?, Other?)
    * The civilian government leadership is basically gone and nobody has any incentive to rebuild this.
    * Somebody is encouraging the poor to riot against the current city leaders – as displayed by the riot around the docks in Thrall
    * Food prices are going up, food rations are going down, wood as fuel is getting very scarce. Basically the key scarcities of fimbulwinter are really start to bind.
    * The conclave has mana amulets now, but only a small number with 10% of the capacity of Daniel’s coven members
    * Some form of internal conflict within the conclave
    * Nobody with real power has any control over the trade sector. Nobody paying government workers, lots of damage
    * Large segments of the wall are broken and repair work will take a lot of time, especially with the leadership gap’
    * Daniel is the defacto leader of the dock area and his control is quite clearly established by his troops, repair of the walls and clear actions (paying salaries, etc).
    * Daniel created a bunch of fortified buildings and paid for an extensive (600+ people) militia armed with guns to defend these buildings in the docks area and/or patrol the streets. Also paying for repairs/other public services. Likely makes the dock one of the most functional/prosperous/safe regions in Kozalin. Unclear if Daniel is taking on duties traditionally left to the nobility (aka – military service as rent)
    * Fisherman cannot fish safely and are staying in port
    * Daniel’s team is harvesting wood and stone in significant volumes — and some of this is probably selling through the markets
    * The docks are now selling significant volume of heaters, warming clothing, lights, cooking pads, and food.
    * The dryads were about to convert their lands to faerie lands
    * Daniel had massively expanded the usable area in Black Keep very recently, including adding a lot of additional farming space.
    * Ships carrying grain are arriving in port
    * Daniel left behind factories to create mortars, mortar ammo, bulk metals (iron, coal, aluminum), rifles, lights, wall components, armored skimmers, AA guns,
    * Elin is operating a healing clinic which is a huge asset for bringing heavily wounded soldiers back into active service and/or recruiting people.
    * Black keep is heavily recruiting soldiers, farmers, highly skilled individuals, and a bunch of women and probably a lot of kids as well as a byproduct of recruiting the others.
    * The horn blew when Fenris escaped. No idea what impact this has on the temples, priesthoods, alliances that impact Kozalin. Certainly there is no Brand to coordinate defenses and no reliance on god power to defend the city. It is supposed to mean that all resources are diverted to the battlefront and all agreements that do not support are broken – but the exact meaning is unclear to us readers
    * A bunch of insane gods escaped from the sunspear, many of them spoke with Daniel with some degree of coherency (although only four such conversations were detailed in the book).
    * The lightbringers will be moving teams into Kozalin as soon as they can – as spies, to take actions to lure Daniel out, or to take out Daniel.
    * There are still armies of Gaia out there, but presumably any reinforcements are reduced to a trickle. These armies were sent out with only had food and suppliers for a few weeks of operation. Between that and the cold, Gaia has to do something different to either supply them, pull them back or use them up before they die from the cold. Will they pull food from trolls and goblins and could that create tensions?
    * The summer fey are angry about the involvement of the winter fey in the war. Consequences unclear.
    * The dark elves are traders. What trade goods will they be bringing in– or taking out – of Kozalin and what impact will that have.
    * Dark elves are crashing the global Aluminum market. Will the dwarves track that back to Kozalin
    * Lots of great beasts out there
    * Daniel killed one of the sons of Gaia – will that demigod and/or gaia get revenge on Kozalin
    * The dark portal was super useful to Brand as a strategic mobility asset. Who is using it now – if anyone?
    * The king is still out there and he has other sons (and daughters). It makes sense that one would be sent to Kozalin as it is still one of the great centers of power in his kingdom.

    Anything I missed?

    To sum up, Kozalin is rapidly falling apart due to both leadership conflicts and resource shortfalls. Daniel’s docks are booming with safety, prosperity and abundant magic wildly available. Many external forces may come to Kozalin to cause trouble and everybody would perceive a power gap in Black Keep as Daniel is missing and nearly all the other leaders are female.

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    1. You kind of ignored the obvious. Gia would probably have her armies and probably always intended to have her armies eat long pig as long-term rations.

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      1. Mid-term obviously so. Long term that will not work, as they will run out of people. I guess she will either retreat them or use them up.

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      2. She would probably expect most of them to be used up. So she probably just thinks that by the end of the great war against humanity there will be a low enough number of her soldiers left that they could reintegration into their people. That means all she has to do is feed her soldiers while they are fighting. This means they are fighting against their own rations. The more enemies they kill the more food they have on the table.

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      3. Yes, but an army also marches. That means fights have to be frequent enought for that scheme to work. And I doubt she will have cleared her enemies to to degree she likes before that supply scheme fails.

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    2. Daniel was in contact with Black Island through Alana. That means that they know that the Lightbringers are bound to come for them. It is unclear how they will react to this. But it is pretty clear that they will react. One of the obvious responses would be to close down Black Island. I cannot imagine Sefwin letting Elin operate her clinic anymore for example.

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      1. They’re putting those banes and blessings all over the place, though the Lightbringers doubtless have protections against that sort of thing. That said, there are probably magical precautions they can put in place to help with the situation. Especially with all the goddesses they’ve got on their side. Hecate is a goddess of magic as well as murder, so she can probably give them some useful tricks.

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      2. That is an option you cannot use and let observers live. That Hecate is Daniel’s sponsor is secret, so you can use her magic only if you are ready to kill intruders and banish their souls to an irrecoverable place.
        Elin’s clinic has regular visitors.

        Normal banes against Lightbringers sounds like a losing proposition. Frankly I see no alternative to a full lockdown without visitors.

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      3. Wonder if Daniel has thought about flooding his fortress with the magical equivalent of smart matter ? He could use that as an extra layer of both detection and defense. Basically a nearly invisible dust or vapor cloud in the air that is capable of detecting an enemy and possibly attacking them. It’s possible that the nyads and dryads as well as elves would be able to combine their abilities to create the equivalent. The elves seem to be very good with air the groves are good with Earth and the nyads are good with water. Combined the 3 would produce a rather useful atmosphere system that can detect and attack. Kind of an artificial version of what that dust demon did.

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      4. Smart matter is an interesting thought. But would it work? Don’t his experiments with the power rings for the elves show that there is a minimum physical size for an object supposed to carry an enchantment and it is macroscopic?

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      5. Seems like the size limit is based on his technique. This may not necessarily apply to the technique of those working for him. Remember all of their techniques are based around extreme efficiency in energy use.

        If they can enchant a cloud of mist or a bit of air or some dust floating in the air they have effectively created smart matter. I’m fairly sure the elves, driads and nyads are capable of this.

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      6. Whether the elves, naiads and dryads can create a ‘smart dust’ defense probably depends on what they inscribe with the magic spell.

        If a complex spell must be inscribed onto each bit of dust, they MIGHT be able to take advantage of Daniel’s knowledge to advance microscopy or even create some sort of magical atomic force microscope and code really, really tiny.

        Of course, if they can write their enabling spell onto a big matter to mana power block this dust defense has great potential.

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      7. smart dust is a clever idea, but not sure what the practical difference is between smart dust and just a spell with AOE.

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      8. I think it might have several advantages.
        1. The advantage of attacking.
        2. The advantage of detecting. It doesn’t actually need to see to detect something. It just needs to detect the open space. They have lots of different obscuring, misdirecting, invisibility spells. However I would ask whether or not they have anything that can hide a physical space.

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      9. That is less smart dust and more creating some kind of uniform micro-dust field. The detection spell would see movement in the dust and compare against other detection results and raise the alarm if the two differ. That is a clever application if he can make it work.

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    3. If you are classifying threats to black keep, they fall into four categories
      1) General threats to the city of Kozalin where damage to the Black Keep/coven are just a secondary consequence to the primary goal of taking the city. Obviously Black Keep is one of the key strongpoints, but the key here is the intent is focused on the city, not primarily on the keep.

      2) Spies that want information on Daniel, his keep or his magic. This can include lightbringers, but also anyone else interested or hostile including agents of the various gods or agents of any other threats.

      3) Individuals that wish to capture or gain control over Daniel’s key people (including his coven mates). This is for purposes of blackmail, to lure Daniel into a trap, or gain some level of control over Black Keep

      4) Individuals who primary motivation is to gain control over the resources of the dock area/black keep. They want the factories generated stuff, the guns, the soldiers, the wealth, the food, control over the docks, and the magic amulets.

      Tactics can vary wildly based on what the goals are.

      #1 is a certainty, the only question is timing and the nature of the attack. Will it be Gaia’s armies or dwarves or great beasts or riots in the city or power play be a noble or the return of the founder of the conclave.

      #2 is also a certainty, but only a problem if they can significant insight into Daniel’s magic (very unlikely), Black Keep defenses (moderately likely) or the fact that Daniel is alive. (unclear, but dryads are not great with secrets I suspect).

      #3 is possible, but I doubt that this threat will come from any agents of the gods (they are too busy with the war) or from the Lightbringers. Leaving Daniels minions alone leaves the possibility that Daniel will return and thus can be located. As readers we know that Daniel would rush to rescue any of his people captured, but the Lightbringers are unlikely to believe this. They believe he is an Atlantean and none of the few surviving Atlanteans would put their soul at risk in this way. If they believe that taking hostages has no value, they will not do so.

      #4 is likely simply because control over the docks and all the lavish resources of Black Keep is SO ATTRACTIVE. The conclave mages want his magic. The nobles want his soldiers/guns/food/gold/docks. And the political/magical/military/prestige power of black keep is attractive to many groups. However, so long as they feel the soldiers and mortars of black keep are still well led (aka – determined leadership), they will refrain from any military style assault to take the keep.

      And once they know Daniel the Black is still alive and free to return to Kozalin, then all such ambitions to “take over” the Black Keep will die.

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  35. The books have given us descriptions on three Atlantean wizards

    “the one with the demon army, or the guy who likes to turn women into mana fountains”

    “I was the favored familiar of Ivor Stormbinder, one of the council’s most feared battle mages”

    Using story logic, we are told these details for a reason. This is my speculation as to why:
    1) Alanna is likely to recognize Ivor by his mannerisms, no matter what his disguise might be. That might be a great ah-ha moment in a later book.

    2) Someone who likes to turn women into mana fountains is unlikely to work well with Daniel. He might covet his ladies and/or have some imprisoned woman who Daniel wishes to rescue.

    3) The demon army does not seem to have a connection, except for that conclave lady who wishes Daniel’s help with demon summoning. Atlanteans wizards are supposed to be male, but that very truth might make it appealing for one to tweak their resurrection to always come back as female. But I have to admit this is big stretch and is far too similar to how Thrall ended to likely be true. The far more likely scenario using the conclave lady is that she is an acolyte of the Atlantean demon army mage.

    Now the most likely candidate for an Atlantean wizard in hiding is clearly Steelbinder as his armor makes it impossible for even Daniel to see anything useful about the nature of his magic. Ward is possible as well as he is avoiding the Aesir gods, but less likely.

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    1. I lean towards Steelbinder for two (minor) reasons. 1) His name follows the same pattern as Stormbinder’s. NounVerb (heck, they both end with “binder” too!). 2) He claimed to know that Daniel isn’t an Atlantean wizard when he was telling Daniel that Brand thought otherwise, which is easily explicable if Steelbinder is an Atlantean himself. Both of these could have alternate explanations of course, but add in the complexity of Steelbinder’s magic and the Atlantean’s penchant for complex spellwork, and I think a decent case can be made.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m inclined to agree that Steelbinder is a good candidate for surviving Atlantean wizard hiding in plain view.

        However, that suggests the game in play is very deep, because Lightbringers should be watching him closely and we might expect them to take down Daniel ASAP to keep his ‘endless mana’ supply out of Steelbinder’s hands. Maybe the “Daniel has only been in Kozalin a few weeks,” excuse is adequate, or maybe the Lightbringer agent(s) in Kozalin could not generate enough interest from Egypt in Daniel’s accomplishments.

        It sure seems like we ought to find them more active in the next book.

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    2. Well the demon summoning woman doesn’t feel like an Atlantean she even recognize that Cerise own work looks way beyond what she has been capable so far with her daughters, right she might be lying but even Cerise recognized that she isn’t bringing too much into the table for a successful negotiation.

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  36. Anybody else wonder why the Lightbringers did not already know about Daniel. Let us be honest, Kozalin absolutely should have had lightbringer spies. The Conclave is the most powerful center of magic in Europe. And hiding among a bunch of mages is one of the few ways an Atlantean wizard can practice significant magic without appearing unusual (and thus bring attention to themselves). Of course the Lightbringers will put some spies here.

    This gives us a few possibilities
    1) The Lightbringer spies were killed/compromised/turned early in Fimbulwinter before Daniel arrived in the city (or perhaps even before Daniel arrived period). This argues for an Atlantean being present in Kozalin.

    2) The lightbringer spies could have left Kozalin and been lost trying to investigate those rumors of unlimited magic in a war zone. But it seems unlikely that they would have left Kozalin without leaving a few behind to keep watch on these mages.

    3) The Lightbringers are a LOT weaker than Alanna described. Perhaps they are a mere shadow of their previous numbers/reach/strength. This is a weak argument, but possible given we have a lot of clues that Ra’s power base has been in decline for thousands of years.

    4) The Lightbringers are themselves compromised by an Atlantean who has infiltrated their organization and has been intercepting any warnings about Daniel.

    5) Miscommunication and communication disruption due to the war could have delayed any Lightbringer response. After all, Daniel has been in Kozalin for only a few weeks before being dragged to Asgard.

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    1. I think its more option 5 that anything else, I have no idea how comunications work well in that world but the organization is probably with dificulty getting info from such a war torn area.

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      1. Of course, I think the real reason the Lightbringers did not notice Daniel is that the author did not really invent the Lightbringer until he was writing Thrall.

        Very few authors really plan out (at a high level) a long series up front. Not every series pans out after all and authors like to leave room for inspiration/evolution as they better get a feel for the characters they are writing.

        I have clearly seen signs that the author is dropping plot seeds for future plot twists, but have to admit that i did not see any indication of the Lightbringers – although I suppose in hindsight the author gave a clue in Brand’s comments about Daniel when he first met — something of the nature of: some things best not discussed out loud …

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      2. Sincerely I think the ligthbringuers element is something new he came up later on, but as a subplot of the whole Atlantean magic that he already planted the seed of.

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    2. One of the conclave wizards made the statement that Daniel could appear as an atlantian. He said also however that was ridiculous he would know. That wizard could be a light bringer.

      So it is possible that the confusion in communication could happen with the light bringer’s stationed in Azgard. While the light bringers stationed stationed in koselan could recognize him as not an atlantian but instead as someone or something new.

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  37. Anybody have some sense about the real impact of the dryads/naiads/nymphs turning part of Black Keep into a faerie lands and their own personal growth in power due to the mana tap feeding into their lands and waters.

    Certainly the combat abilities of these beings will grow substantially, but there have been a lot of comments that strongly imply that combat has never been their strength. Which begs the question – what is their strength? Also clear statements that these beings are still injured from past conflicts. What is the impact of these injuries and thus what might change when these injuries are healed.

    Certainly the dryads ability to boost food production will greatly increase, probably allowing all of Daniel’s heavily expanded crop capacity to operate at 100% efficiency. Perhaps even 200% efficiency, but I assume there are diminishing returns with just pumping more power into “grow crops faster”. At some future point, this also means apples of immortality, but hard to see that the projected 3-4 apples a year can expand enough to be meaningful no matter how much power is available – not when it takes close to 400 apples to make a man a demigod.

    There have been implications that Daniel may be personally elevated in power, potentially even becoming a god, based on the nature spirit’s power growth shared with him. Certainly dryad/nymph empowerment rituals go both ways or wizards would not have sought them so eagerly in the past.

    Odin used Faerie to create his reincarnating warriors and faerie created the elven species. So Faerie is potentially very powerful – just hard to pin down exactly how. Also unclear if the current rulers of Faerie would care if another Faerie land was created.

    Even more unclear is the relationship between the Dreaming and Faerie or what impact the Dreaming has at all. There is the possibility that Daniel can use this new Faerie land to repair some of the damage the gods inflicted when they shattered the Dreaming. Impact of this is very murky, but probably powerful over the long run.

    Wild parties are a given

    I can certainly speculate more, but really struggling to base that speculation on specific details in the books.

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    1. Think about Alanna in EXTERMINATION and imagine all of Corinna’s Thorns powered up like that, probably learning from Cerise how to sling some totally nasty spells, also.

      Shieldwall to shieldwall combat, no, definitely not. Of course, they might use earth magic to massively disrupt a shieldwall at an opportune moment.

      As for ‘injuries’ I’d point again to what Alanna tells us in THRALL. When the forest spirits were closely supported by demigods and gods of old, magically amplified abilities were part of their gifts. Those abilities would have had their power supplies ripped away during the destruction of Mount Olympus and they have lain dormant, decaying ever since. When Daniel gives them power like he and Elin now can, the Groves will be massively pumped, very much past their previous primes and probably will achieve new levels of Water sorcery, Earth sorcery, Flesh sorcery and even Mana sorcery. What they do with all that will depend on how much time they have to play with it and how much time Alanna has to share ideas with them.

      Many injuries will be more than fully healed.

      Piker. You can bet on something like FIVE times the productivity, and very likely more than that. The fields assisted by forest spirits seem to be growing to harvest in only a few weeks. That’s going to be HUGE, eventually. Plus, with the naiads and dryads able to fully recover by resting in their empowered groves, they might be able to support more fields than what Daniel has prepared. That’s up to the author, of course.

      It’s more than implications. We have a stated fact that some naiads and dryads are seriously worshipping Daniel, probably even more sincerely than they ever did the Greek and Roman divinities. Followers are anchors. Even without apples or bananas Daniel is on the fast track to godhood. There there would be thousands of years of ritual magic at Daniel’s disposal. Add to that what Alanna or others remember from the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.

      So many fascinating possibilities . . .

      The Groves might seem fae to an otherworld eye, but no Faerie should be fooled. Forest spirits came BEFORE the Faerie. Alanna tells us this in THRALL.

      However, Daniel will have opportunities to benefit from BOTH. Don’t forget that his dark elves have been promised an empowered living space of their own.

      Yeah, all sorts of fun possibilities for the next several books.

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      1. I am very interested in what the dark elves do with their living space. They mentioned when they were 1st encountered that many of their crops will not grow on midguard. In the last book Daniel also mentions that the light they use from what would be their equivalent of a sun is different from the sun of midguard. I’m interested in their concept of a Grove. If they decide to try and put one together for their living space:) It is after all a bit more of an alien space than what we have seen so far with a higher ultra Violet spectrum sun.

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      2. The dark elves empowered living space does wonders for their birthrate and loyalty, but probably has no strategic significance in the next couple years. The only exception is if Daniel tries to recruit another dark elf clan or other group with similar need for high mana environment.

        Giving each dark elf a mana amulet will have a profound impact on a clan that is obviously very focused on magic item creation. There rate of magic item creation will increase several times, but I suspect the volume of new magic items will still be tiny compared to Daniel’s factory output. As described in book 3, Daniel’s methods of item creation are MUCH faster even ignoring his endless mana. I believe Cerise was talking a week to make one item in the old way vs an hour or two in the new way even with the benefit of mana amulets.

        Nevertheless, a hundred dark elves creating an additional magic item a week is a big deal as there are a lot of elves. Combine this with the fact that collectively these elves have a lot more magical knowledge than Daniel, it means that their magic items (collectively) will cover a much wider range of abilities than Daniel could create on his own.

        Strategically, the impact will be at most modest for Daniel primarily because they elves have so many magic items already (due to centuries of careful preparation). So while their rate of item creation may increase, the overall volume of magic items available will change only slightly.

        EXCEPTION – if Cerise teaches the elves some of Daniel’s methods of item creation, then all bets are off. But I doubt she will do so without Daniel’s permission as she clearly acknowledges that these are critical secrets.

        EXCEPTION – The combat abilities of dark elves with mana amulets will be a LOT more powerful while in Kozalin. I would argue more powerful than the combat power boost of the dryads/nymphs in any sustained battle situation. The dryads/nymphs will get a higher absolute power boost, but their mana reserves will be steadily exhausted by combat as they can only recharge off the mana generator in the grove. The dark elves with amulets will be constantly recharged anywhere in Kozalin and thus have much greater endurance. We saw from Alanna that her enhanced abilities consumed a lot of mana.

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      3. Dspring, I’d expect the dryads will need significant training from Alanna, Pelagea, and Demetrios or his boys to fully empower themselves with combat magic like Alanna did herself. In fact, many of the dryads will only begin to learn the alternate power channels Alanna and, I suspect, Pelagea or Demetrios might show them. Even so, they will be much more powerful than humans, and it should not take long for Daniel to realize he needs to give them power amulets for combat situations away from their Groves.

        As for Clan Nethwillin, don’t forget the wine. Daniel caught the enchantment Cerise drank and became caught in and he broke it easily. That might not be so easy in the future if he provides Nethwillin with superior enchanted soil. I’d expect there are entire species of magical plants they have not been able to grow and harvest properly or at all since their expulsion from Faerie. Now they will not only be able to grow those sources of arcane and alchemical ingredients again, working with Daniel to ENHANCE their growth environments should result in even more powerful ingredients than Faerie has.

        Hence, if the author so chooses, Nethwillin could almost immediately add another entire branch of powerful magics to Black Island’s defenses: Alchemy and any other mago-botanical arcana.

        Plus, I seriously doubt Daniel and Cerise will hesitate at all regarding her Black Arts and what they could mean when added to Nethwillin’s weapon crafting expertise. The Clan’s magic users might well end up having to deal with receiving too much rote learning from Cerise, without proper care and time to develop full understanding of the techniques she is adapting from her quality laboratory time with Daniel.

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      4. I think the biggest contribution that the dark elves will give will be in material.. They seem to have their own material sciences department. They already have the ability to produce cloth from metal. Daniel showed them his technique for summoning large amounts of material resources without being personally involved. Basically he showed them his plant that produces aluminum. I see no reason the elves can’t take that idea and run with it. Then take those raw materials and use their own techniques to produce large quantities of metallic cloth or other refined materials. Daniel should also have the ability to manufacture carbon nanotube fibers and materials maybe if he explained these materials to the elves they could take that material and run with it too. Wonder what would happen if he decided to describe to them Carbon graphane?

        Also I think you’re cutting the groves a bit short. Or possibly should I say underestimating them? Remember while the dryads are out running around their trees are still in the Grove and they are always connected to their trees no matter how far away from them they are. In principle they should have a better connection to the power source then the elves do.

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    2. Well you already touched on one of the prominent interest of this that is the magical fruits, I believe that some of the begetation created there will serve as precios alchemy material, not to mention crops, also remember what is Valhalla exactely with their influence Daniel could turn the Keep or the whole island in a fairy land as well like Valhalla is.

      Like

  38. Elin is a bit of a puzzle. While arguably the most powerful magically [pre-encountering Daniel] among all of the coven ladies, her contribution since entering the coven has been limited to healing and helping/teaching Daniel the basics of water magic. She also provides some history/context in some discussions, but nothing particularly critical.

    I call this a bit of a puzzle because she can do so much more – even if she never enters combat again.
    * She is enormously knowledgeable about all aspects of wizardry, yet has never really contributed to any of Daniel’s magical activities/researches except in creating fresh water – nor has she stepped up to make her own contributions separate from Daniel or in conjunction with others.

    * She has very powerful water magic — magic that operates in many ways similar to a sorcery as it derives from her fey background. Yet we see no sign of this magic actually being used beyond some pretty basic/localized use cases.

    * She is fully aquatic and has a aquatic beast form – which she never uses. Same really applies to any of her other forms.

    * She is a powerful healer and the book implied she has worked together with Daniel on healing, but there has been no indications that her healing ability has improved from that cooperation (beyond the impact of the mana amulet).

    * She has a lot of personal knowledge about the members of the conclave – mostly about their personalities, customs and methods of operation. Yet she has never shared that knowledge even though it would have been helpful.

    I get why she does not use her fey background more or try to leverage the grendal form more. Both those limits are clearly appropriate given her background. But her overall passiveness about her knowledge and capabilities seems a problem.

    Perhaps the absence of Daniel for a month or more will force Elin to step up.

    Like

    1. A single, inexperienced Orca swimming by herself in the North Atlantic is an hors d’oeuvres in motion for the many large predators, and she ought to know that. I don’t expect to see her do a lot of exploring the ocean unless she can join a pod or two of her relatives while doing so . . . and that would still be hazardous, given her reaction to their last enchantment of her.

      Like

      1. I suspect her ability to take an orca form implies a lot more marine related powers than simply assuming the shape of an orca. She is fey with all that this implies, not a human shapeshifter.

        But my point is still valid, she is ignoring a significant aspect of her power. Given she is in an inland city, the scope of that power is limited, but Elin is not even making an effort. With even a little thought, I can see options for scouting, supporting the fishing fleet, food (seaweed/fish), guardian creatures, and ambassador to various sea powers – most of which can be done with little real risk. Even something like calling schools of fish into the river near black keep could have a significant impact on local food and dock worker employment without her ever moving more than 15′ from Black Keep.

        Of course, now that Daniel is in hiding, Elin dares not leave Black Keep, so her current options are more limited.

        Like

      2. Yeah, on the one hand, Elin has tremendous potential and with help from Daniel could become vastly more powerful. If he spent some time helping Elin learn to use programming techniques and other magotech skills she could significantly leverage her Conclave experience and self-taught magical abilities. Just taking the time to teach Elin how to create Mana Vision spectacles, or a Mana Vision enchantment, would give her and Cerise and Avilla many new opportunities.

        On the flip side, she now has to be careful NOT to fall into the hands of the Lightbringers, the Odin worshippers, the Winter Court or her own fae family. She’s still working out her tenuous relationship with the monster inside her and she’s very nervous about shapechanging, with good reasons.

        Then too, her nearest bit of North Sea has recently been visited twice by a Sea Serpent for which her Orca form would be not much more than a snack.

        Elin needs to spend some time with the naiads gaining control and confidence in her powers and abilities. She needs to spend time with Cerise and Daniel to develop her knowledge and nature into more power and greater abilities. And before all that she’ll tell you flat out she needs to spend time in the spa, then in her personal library, recovering from recent adventures.

        With LOTS of pampering from Avilla and Tina.

        Like

      3. If she sees or hears about Daniel’s new staff, maybe the idea of a water-jet will occur to her. Those things can cut through damn near anything, and if she can add some Force magic to it she’ll be pretty much unstoppable. Even the Dwarven anti-magic armor would be pretty useless as the water would still be in a thin, very fast, stream when it hit the target.

        Like

    2. Seems like the author is planning to run through the girls in stages. The 1st stage was Sirius and Avila.. The 2nd stage was finding Ellen and increasing or amplifying the abilities of Tina.

      If there is a pattern then it will probably be that Tina and Ellen will take a major part in the next book or 2.

      Like

      1. Maybe.

        All of the ladies provide great characterization moments as they interact with Daniel. Each provides some information, questions (to allow the author to explain things) and clearly have a place in the story.

        However, only Cerise and now Alanna have enough of a role to be classified as main supporting characters. The other three each had their main moment in the sun, but outside of that story line, they do not really drive or significantly support the story arcs.

        Understandable as the author is writing a story focused on one character, Daniel, and not a multi-perspective story. Which means that there is only so much time to focus on supporting characters. However, I would like to see these ladies take a more proactive role even if only in the background.

        For example, Daniel gets a round robin of updates when he returns where we get to see how accomplished his coven and key minions actually are without Daniel around. We still get a Daniel centric story, but not one where Daniel is the only really person able to do important things.

        Like

  39. Wider War?

    Idle speculation time. We left Thrall with a mighty war beginning on the fields of Asgard where destiny will be decided by blood and power by massive armies and powerful gods. But wars are tricky things and total wars even more so. They rarely stay within the boundaries the main participants prefer. By this I mean the conflict will spread.

    The Fimbulwinter affects the entire world. The events in Thrall threaten to pull in the pantheon of Ra into the conflict. Coyote and the Chinese gods are no doubt watching for opportunities. Already the courts of Winter have been pulled into the conflict and the courts of Summer are likely to follow. Honestly, this is starting to feel a lot like WW1 where the conflict keeps escalating as more and more nations are pulled into a horrific conflict through a combination of alliances, fear, opportunism and bad neighbors.

    For example
    * It is easy to see that the court of Summer could get pulled into the conflict to oppose winter.
    * It is quite reasonable that Ra could get pulled in with just one more push – created either by the actions of the Lightbringers or by Ra himself infuriated by his high handed treatment Odin dished out after the the sunspear exploded.
    * Coyote clear has an reputation as an opportunist and I can totally see him trying his tricks in order to gain territory, wealth or power while the norse gods are busy fighting each other. Tricks of this nature are dangerous and likely to cause him to be pulled into the conflict if they go badly wrong.
    * The explosion of Sunspear probably raised some serious concerns in all the other Pantheons. Odin basically secretly stole a divine weapon of mass destruction and was attempting to fix it. Every pantheon would have seen this action as a major threat against themselves only foiled by “luck”
    * Loki is also a threat as the Fimbulwinter was caused by his actions and clearly will significantly damage the territory of the other major pantheons. These pantheons may need to intervene if only to protect themselves.

    Add to this, both sides are desperate to win and willing to take big chances and make big promises to make sure that they do win.

    Yup – WWI has started and things are only going to get worse

    Like

    1. One more example. We left Thrall with Odin seriously on the “back foot”. The explosion of the Sunspear allowed Fenris to escape, caused enormous damage including the destruction of many warrior halls, and prevented his armies from effectively opposing Loki’s armies when they were most vulnerable.

      However confident Odin was before that point, things are clearly much worse now. He will need to take action to seize the initiative and (ideally) delay the advance of Loki’s armies and/or disrupt the flow of reinforcements to Loki’s armies. Perhaps a diversion attack on a quiet front (Gallipoli) or pulling in a new ally (Italy/Turkey) or creating unrest in an enemies territory (like shipping Lennin into Russia, British propaganda in US).

      So maybe Odin encourage an attack on Jotenheim to stop the minimize the flow of Giant reinforcements, or Odin pressures/bribes RA and Summer court to join the war or sends demigods to the mortal realms to attack any who ally with Loki there – hoping that Loki must then divert troops from the main battle to fight these demigods.

      Like

      1. Don’t forget Brand knows Daniel is a genius at producing weapons of slightly less than godlike mass destruction, but has several classic vulnerabilities any god will quickly understand: wives to kidnap and a home to occupy or besiege.

        Given that Daniel’s reluctance to demonstrate nuclear weapons to a slow but capable divine audience actually makes a lot of sense, we cannot expect a single big bomb. If some god forces Daniel to go big, we should probably expect a virtual sleet of matter-antimatter devices scrubbing Asgard down to the bedrock, exterminating BOTH sides of any battle, plus all the bystanders, innocent or not.

        Like

      2. Brand puzzles me as his actions do not make sense. At times he seems brilliant and other times clueless.
        He has his own agenda.

        Like

      3. He or perhaps his father. We need to remember that not all Gods will trust each other. His father in the myths was known for planning.

        Like

    2. Yeah, consequences of a wider war can be unexpected and random, too.

      For instance, consider Ra and Egypt. The place has been a bread basket for itself and to its neighbors for ten thousand years, but with the climate changing food production will also change. There might not be two feet of snow on the ground, but a colder, wetter spring and summer may ruin the wheat crop, and next year won’t be any better. Smart move would be to plant rye and oats, but will the God permit that? Will the long-suffering peasant farmers try it without their priests or their community leaders guidance? Is there enough seed? Will the starving neighbors used to trading for food invade instead?

      Ra might discover His empire is just as vulnerable to Fimbulwinter as the lands of snow and ice.

      Like

      1. I can totally see Ra going either way in the war – as an ally of Loki or an ally of Odin despite is nominally friendly terms with Odin pre-war. He is an obviously very proud god used to absolute power, yet he his also clearly been a fading power for centuries. That is a volatile mixture and really makes it impossible to accurately predict his actions when under pressure.

        Either way, his Pantheon is not weak – but it is clearly much weaker than either Loki or Odin’s faction. So he will be a decidedly weak partner no matter who he joins — and likely resent the hell out of that fact.

        The only thing I am certain is that Ra will not be sitting out this war. The times simply will not allow neutrality for this pantheon, especially when you throw Daniel in the mix.

        Like

      2. Ra will be immediately and unalterably opposed to whichever pantheon He believes Bast has joined, as soon as He realizes She has returned.

        Of course, He might not realize She is back until Her blades slice him up into tiny pieces.

        No Isis for Him.

        Colin

        Like

    3. I’m interested in the lesser known Pantheons taking action. Ether out of opportunity or desperation.

      The mongols are a prime example of this. Genghis Khan originally created his military force to take revenge against China for their mistreatments of his people. I could see the pantheon of his people being similarly mistreated or abused by the Chinese pantheon.

      I could also see them taking either an opportunity or acting in desperation against said Chinese pantheon.

      Like

  40. One of the points made in the series is that it is hard for a god or goddess to bear a child. We know this because part of Gaia’s plot to kill Mara is to convince her to bear a child – and the book implied that would almost certainly kill her. So there is a significant cost to having a demigod child and it is sufficiently high that Odin only has hundreds of demigods rather than thousands – despite the fact that Odin has spent the last thousand years trying to push his Pantheon to breed an army of demigods.

    We also know that Odin has been breeding demigods for centuries in anticipation of Ragnarok.

    Sooooo…. Logically Odin would leverage any deity he can to breed this army of gods – and we have Aphrodite a very powerful goddess who is completely under his control and is otherwise completely useless to Odin. I am wondering how many of Odin’s army of demigods can call Aphrodite mother

    Beyond making it almost impossible to permanently kill Aphrodite, I wonder how many of these demigods have real loyalty to Aphrodite — or at least real resentment directed at Odin and/or Loki. Arguably both those gods schemes were the cause of Aphrodite’s imprisonment and punishment. And Aphrodite is a superb manipulator + has a legitimate case that she was wronged. It is reasonable to believe that she could have recruited a number of her (possible) children as secret followers.

    Other interesting side note. The book has mentioned a number of demigods and their parents, but I do not think we met any demigod who called Odin his/her sire. I wonder if there is any significance to this factoid.

    Like

    1. Yes the counterpoint to this idea would be the possibility that the real limit on demigods is not gods, but apples. If this is the case, then none of the demigods would be Aphrodite’s children.

      Like

    2. Nosy goddess that She is, it seems likely that some day Aphrodite will discover how Daniel’s MaM to mana power block is helping Tina bear the returning Bast to existence. I wonder if Mara finds out about that before or after Aphrodite.

      Like

      1. That is a good point. Also an explanation as to why she isn’t dead like the daughters of Gia. It would be funny for Daniel to actually solve that mother getting killed giving birth to a divine child thing and not even know it.

        He returns home spends several months playing with his daughter all the while something is niggling at the back of his mind and he just can’t nail it down. Then one day across the breakfast table hes looking at Tina and it clicks. He blurts out why aren’t you dead?

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    3. I would be very surprised if there was any goddess who couldn’t control her own fertility. Even while bound, Aphrodite could probably do so (maybe via illicitly-gained contraceptives if nothing else…she wasn’t exactly locked in a closet after all).

      I’m still uncertain as to whether bearing a child is particularly costly to your average goddess. In the context of Gaia and Mara, the children were described as “monsters”, which could be poetic license for any child Gaia produces, or could mean literal monsters, ala Fenris or Jormungandr. The latter interpretation might be what was meant, and production of such might require a sacrifice on the part of the mother. Insufficient textual information at this point.

      I do wish Brown would produce the next book already:-(.

      Like

    4. My comment on Odin bearing children applies to the last thousand years (aka – prep for Ragnarok). Thor is absolutely Odin’s child, but from a much earlier age. Thor is also a full and very powerful god, not a demigod.

      Like

      1. Or the giving birth through his head thing like Zeus or the character Jim butcher wrote about Harry Dresden.

        Like

      2. That’s certainly a possibility, but I don’t recall any Norse stories to that effect (the Valkyries maybe?), and there’s no canonical evidence in the books to support such a thing, nor to rule it out.

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      3. Looks like most of the mythological Sons of Odin made it to ‘god’ status long ago like Thor.

        https://mythnerd.com/children-of-odin/

        On the other hand, looks like Odin got around. There could be all sorts of demigods and demigoddesses whose names never found their way to the Worldwide Web.

        Like

    5. I’m not to sure that the number of demigod children Aphrodite had will have that much of a bearing on the number of her followers.

      You should also not forget that she was the Real architect of the destruction of Olympus and the war born from her kidnapping.

      Wile Odin like most of the king of different pantheons is prone to excessive punishment he is not prone to punishing without a reason. Loki was imprisoned and punished for the prophecy that stated that he will cause the twilight of the gods.

      If he could have punished him for the war with the olympians he would have made it well known. Instead the one who gets punished for that is Aphrodite. There’s probably a very good reason for it.

      Like

      1. Aphrodite was the excuse for the war, not the instigator. This does not mean her actions did not contribute to the war starting, but her motivations appear much more petty/local.

        Odin and Loki supposedly planned the war – with Loki providing the excuse and Odin providing the might.

        After the war, Odin blamed Loki for the war and used that excuse to imprison Loki after first tricking Fenris into being imprisoned.

        Or at least the above is the explanation provided in the book and it logically fits the outcome.

        Like

      2. I think you’re down playing Aphrodite’s part in her kidnapping and the instigation of the war between olympus and Asgard.

        Aphrodite is depicted as an individual who is the embodiment of womanhood and female nature. She instigates conflict between whoever she is with and whoever happens to be someone she can flirt with at the time. Then she sits back and enjoys the conflict that she has just instigated reveling in the chaos and drama. To think that she had nothing to do with the instigation and orchestration of the destruction of olympus is foolish.

        What Daniel was originally told about the war between Olympus and Asgard could have been manipulated propaganda leaked out by Aphrodite herself to make herself look good and defenseless and pitiable. You know the basic female victim of circumstances (most foul). I would imagine that this is in order to convince either newborn Gods or risen heroes to come and initiate conflict to rescue her from her horrible imprisoners.

        Also to think that a nation possessing plans to win a war with their neighbors as unexpected is kind of foolish. Pretty much every nation has plans and contingencies in case they suddenly find themselves at war with a neighbor. I would imagine pantheons are no different in that world.

        Remember the depiction of Aphrodite herself in the only book in which Daniel interacts with her has only one moment in which she is really distressed and upset. That moment is when Alana sees through all of her deceptions and begins rearranging and manipulating her mirrors of deceptions and yes they probably include self deception. Remember she is the goddess of womanhood. Chaos and drama are intricately associated with women.

        Like

      3. I have no doubt that Aphrodite welcomed conflict as she clearly likes males fighting over her. However, her enjoyment is personal and visceral. However, I cannot see any circumstance where total war between her pantheon and that of the Aesir would be a good thing no matter who won.

        A total war between pantheons can only exist when there is already great tension/ambition in play. In any other circumstance, war could have easily been avoided. After all, there are many tales of Aphrodite being unfaithful and none of those resulted in war. And you cannot blame the war on norse passions — as the party being offended was the Olympians, not the Norse gods.

        So basically there had to be a situation where both pantheons were on the edge of war and this even with Aphrodite was just the excuse.

        Given Odin and Loki have a history of conspiring together to trick their enemies, it is logical that they created this excuse deliberately. It is equally logical that events just spiraled out of control because both sides wanted war.

        What is not logical is that Aphrodite wanted total war. She had nothing to gain and much to lose with that scenario. And she can see hot and sweaty guys killing each other in so many other ways that a total god war is unnecessary.

        Like

      4. I could easily imagine Odin and other Asgardians, as they are presented in Daniel Black’s stories, deliberately provoking and fighting a god war to obliterate the Olympians and steal all Their stuff.

        It’s not much more difficult imagining Zeus and Ares and other Olympians unable to AVOID a god war. Ego was never in short supply on Mount Olympus, but clever strategy? Any nominees? Athena, maybe. Hekate, of course, but She works from distant shadows whenever She can manage that.

        Perhaps another question to ask is, “What happened to the Roman pantheon?” I suspect the Asgardians overwhelmed them after weed-whacking the Greeks. Which is ironic, when we have to also suspect the Romans had only managed to subdue Carthage and Phoenecia’s divine host a few centuries earlier.

        Last, but not least, I wonder if Ra backstabbed the Greek and Roman pantheons. There was this cushy, comfy, ‘go along to get along’ thing happening between the Greek, Roman and Egyptian pantheons in Alexander’s empire, then the Successors’ realms and then the Roman Empire. It looked friendly from the outside but Ra was definitely not on TOP and we know what that means . . . A few other eastern sects like Mithras briefly earned some followers there, also, and they also seem to be gone.

        So, happy, happy, joy, joy, then BOOM — Asgard and Mount Olympus go at it hammer and tongs, then we end up with Ra owning the southern and eastern Mediterranean coastline while Odin picks up everything from Asia Minor to Spain and Gaul with only the Celts and Fae holding out in the British Isles.

        Convenient for Egypt, yes?

        Like

      5. The Roman and Greek pantheons were the same gods in our history, just with different names. Probably the same situation applied in the Fimbulverse. The absence of reference to specifically Roman names for the Dodecatheon (Jupiter, Minerva, Venus, etc) would imply that they either didn’t exist or that Avilla and Cerise and the Nymphs et al just use the Greek names.

        I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find that Prometheus was behind the war. Good way to get revenge on Zeus and set the stage for his own eventual ascendance (if he’s ambitious, which the text doesn’t really support) or just to wipe the board of the bad gods and bring in a better future. Eventually:-/.

        Like

      6. You are confusing womanhood with rationality. The 2 are not the same thing. The Greek Goddesses were very clear cut in their attributes. Hera was the Goddess of Fidelity. Aphrodite was basically the Goddess of all women’s negative traits. Athena was a Goddess of intellect, political maneuvering, strategy, and home crafts. Every single one of them could be petty and short sighted. Aphrodite perhaps most of all.

        Imagine the good looking housewife who cheats on her husband knowing that if she gets caught she’ll destroy her marriage. However she does it anyways and she doesn’t think about the consequences. When she gets caught her husband in truth could probably shut down her arguments with a simple question. “What did you think would happen when I found out?” What about many of the men who have had girlfriends who instigated fights between them and other guys at bars or lines going to the movies or anywhere else? Again imagine all of the worst traits and characteristics of womanhood and ramp them up to divine levels that is Aphrodite. Her entire existence is about manipulating men seeking out drama and chaos.

        I’m not saying there wasn’t preparations already in the works for war. I’m not saying it probably wasn’t gonna happen anyways. I’m not saying one side or the other wasn’t doing some backroom deals maybe on Rah’s part or Odin’s part. What I’m saying is that making Aphrodite out to be the victim and not culpable in what happened is a big mistake. Because of her divine nature and specific attributes some of which are mentioned in the book she is probably highly culpable in everything that has happened and taken place between Olympus Egypt’s pantheon and the Asgardians. To think otherwise is quite frankly a mistake. Also to think that rationality played a part in any of her decision making processes could be one of the largest mistakes. I’ve known lots of women very few of them have ever been rational.

        Taking everything into account both from the mythologies and from the descriptions of her attributes in the books the 1st thing that should be thrown out is rationality.

        The woman in her very 1st meeting with Daniel took credit for the corruption, perversion and destruction of an entire race of people as a threat directly to him highlighting how she did it while she was a slave. She tried to get sympathy by talking about how she was abused and made fun of and laughed at as it happened by the same women. All while highlighting how she corrupted a young girl’s mother. Who were on stage performing an S&M pedophile strippers show in public and I’m pretty sure that underage young girl who was the last of her kind had a great big hand in whatever kind of horrible public debauchery happened to Aphrodite. She did all of this conversationally while threatening Daniel whom she was attempting to get favors from. Yeah very rational thing to do. If Daniel had actually been in his rational mind the thing to do would have attempted to test that rod on Aphrodite right then and there. Followed up by trying to figure out the best way to destroy divine essence.

        I wouldn’t put it past the author to reveal in future books that Zeus was attempting to get rid of Aphrodite by sending her to the Asgardians. Only to have it backfire because of her machinations. After all it seems like Odin was attempting to do the exact same thing with Daniel taking her off his hands.

        Like

      7. I think the idea of Ra backstabbing the Olympians would have made an outstanding strategy — I just think that Ra as portrayed in the book would not do it. Every indication is that his Pantheon is stodgy, static and locked in the past.

        Perhaps that is the illusion, but not seeing how Ra actually gained anything from the destruction of the Olympians. Every indication is that his Pantheon is the weakest out there and did not expand to take any territory. If anything, his position is worse as he is the next likely target of the Norse gods once they finish their civil war.

        of course, if Ra knows this, I wonder what action he will take to stab both factions of the norse gods in the back and “reclaim the glory that was once his” – aka gain enough power and territory to replace the norse as the most powerful pantheon.

        Like

      8. What Ra MIGHT have gained from allying with Odin ‘at a propitious moment’ is somewhat dependent on the situation before Asgard attacked Mount Olympus. Did our history reflect something of the Alexandrian imperial triumph on Midgard, followed by Successor kingdoms, especially the Ptolemies reign in Egypt?

        Clearly, in that case Ra would have regained sole divine rights in his home region for something like a thousand years, while also expanding his influence into neighboring territories once held by Rome and Rome’s/Greece’s pantheon(s).

        Like

  41. I wanted to open a discussion about possible use cases for Daniel’s sorceries of Earth, Force and Flesh. The intent is to avoid ideas that are just another type of gun – and also not ideas that closely mimic an earth technology. Think of this as creative application of the sorcery

    Here are my ideas

    Earth
    • Some kind of earth sense or tremorsense or echolocation that allows Daniel to easily “see” anything under the earth and detect anyone walking on the earth. It can be used to find tunnels, creatures under the earth and also as an alarm system. Aka – ring the alarm if earth sense detects footsteps but the other more standard detectors do not.
    • A large cloud of dust that fills and area and then expands when it enters people’s lungs. Very few creatures will be able to successfully counter an attack that blocks their breathing in this way. The trick will only work a couple times max, but it could be deadly those few times. Some kinds of wards that block magic would block this, so the real trick is how to structure this so that it can get through general purpose magic blocking wards.
    • The sorcery provided a lot of knowledge along with the power to impact earth. I suspect Daniel can use this to create weak spots in the mantle and basically remotely create a volcano hundreds or thousands of miles away from the targeted location. Somewhat of a weapon of mass destruction and only really useful in targeting fixed locations, but it would be very hard to stop. Similar methodology could create earthquakes under the sea to create tsunamis. This might be a bad idea though it it gives all these earth based gods new ideas as Black Keep is just as vulnerable to this type of attack as any other fort.

    Force
    • If Daniel can create a force field that can “move” without collapsing, he can create a large AOE that is filled with force fields that inhibit movement. This can significantly impact the maneuverability and agility of enemies. We have seen many weapons that ignore force fields, but not people that can ignore force fields.
    • If Daniel can create a force field that only selectively impacts material. For example, a force field that has no impact on water, or bullets or living creatures. The potential impact of this would be huge from creating force field based “fishing nets” to only collect fish above a certain size to mobile barriers that protect his troops
    • Force field grenades using reverse logic. In this case, the force fields contain under pressure something bad – like poison. When they hit a ward that dispels the force field, the compressed poison inside then explodes to take out the foe. It provides an alternative to the explosive rounds that do not work inside some wards. These poison rounds would – because the only impact of the ward is to explosively release the non-magical poison with the explosive force being purely non-magical pressure.

    Flesh
    • Daniel can create very toxic poisons
    • Daniel can create powerful body armor. He has seen dragon scales, dryad armor and other forms of natural armor. He can certainly add additional body armor to himself to supplement his other forms of armor, although his demi-god like body is supposed to provide a lot of protection vs attacks as well.
    • Daniel understands enough of biology that he can create subtle attacks using flesh magic – stop the blood from carrying oxygen, stop the nerves to the heart from working, impact balance, create an imbalance in the brain, etc. Most wards do not stop healing magic after all, so these attacks might get through when other attacks fail. And their nature is unusual enough that most foes will not understand the attack, and perhaps not even realize it is an attack.

    What other ideas do people have?

    Like

    1. He’s already used his Earth sorcery sense to detect cavities underground in Kozilan when he was tunneling into the lair of the Devourer. I don’t recall whether a range of the effect was specified.

      As for a novel use for his Force sorcery, he’s already demonstrated that he can create force bubbles in various shapes and then expand them to produce vacuums inside. The offensive application should be obvious: wrap an opponent in a form-fitting force bubble (minimum internal volume) then expand it without letting in any air. Suffocation plus explosive decompression would result almost immediately, and anti-magic wards would have no effect.

      Like

      1. Ooh, NASTY, Jabrwok!

        Evil Overlord Seal Of Approval!

        Of course, that vacuum-filled force bubble with the slushy people bits inside will also float up a bit due to positive buoyancy in normal atmosphere, possibly rather quickly, and after Daniel releases his enchantment there will be . . . rain.

        Ick.

        Like

      2. Like the idea, but the downside is that anyone inside can use any attack to try and break the force bubble.

        However, if you enhance the idea a bit so that it keeps the victim in the middle of the bubble so only ranged attacks can break the bubble. then it becomes a great killer of creatures/melee fighters.

        Like

    2. I’m not so sure that his fortress is vulnerable to tsunamis? It can be sealed quite quickly. Him or one of his girls can potentially command is fortress to seal its doors and windows. It’s thick enough, tall enough and strong enough to tank a tidal wave or tsunamis if you will.

      Like

      1. I was more thinking of volcanoes as a way to destroy black keep. A tsunami could damage the keep, but I agree with you that tsunami are very unlikely to do enough damage to be a serious threat to Black Keep.

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  42. Gods are a form of energy being – which is why they are so difficult to destroy.

    The modern world has a LOT of knowledge on how to manipulate energy, ground energy, trap energy or use energy. Mostly this is the realm of advanced sciences like physics, quantum mechanics, electrical engineering, etc, but I suspect a knowledgeable layman can still bring a number of ideas to the table.

    I wonder if this earth knowledge would give Daniel a new method to imprison or kill a god. Or alternately, a way to permanently (or at least for a very long time) weaken a god significantly.

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  43. What about the Oceans????

    The book has basically said nothing about the oceans and the seas of the world. There are references to sea monsters, Poseidon, and underwater fey. But all the references to mortal realms are land based realms. Even the pantheons referenced are pantheons defined by human civilizations and land continents, not seas.

    That implies that the oceans are the domain of monsters and creatures of a very magical nature like fey that do not function much like mortal races. It is a speculation, but not a completely unreasonable guess based on what the books have discussed.

    Arguably this reinforces the argument that humans are really important to the gods. If they were not that essential, you would expect to have underwater pantheons that have dominion over aquatic mortal races. But all the pantheons are centered around human civilizations.

    Not saying that there cannot be an aquatic race out there. Just saying that the books to date have not spoken of any civilizations of significance under the seas and that seems a big oversight given Kozalin is a port city and could reasonable have been expected to have diplomatic contacts and trade contacts with any nearby aquatic species.

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    1. Well, we know that Elin’s ‘other’ form is an Orca.

      What if some of the Pacific Northwest pods are Fae? Daniel would never have met them.

      If the Orca can be elves, what about other whales and dolphins?

      Don’t forget the Selkie. If there are Fae oceanic elves, it seems there ought to be Selkie.

      We know that Elin and her mother are examples of aquatic elves and the naiads of the Groves acknowledge Elin as having noble rank. This suggests that there is at least one kingdom or duchy of ocean elves, assuming that Elin’s Orca form indicates her aquatic form is capable of existing in ocean saltwater. If not saltwater, then maybe there is a freshwater elven city somewhere?

      Maybe there are both.

      One thing seems certain. Given a bit of time, Elin plus Daniel plus the Grove naiads seem likely to become the nexus of a new, aquatic elven Fae realm with the sort of elemental, magical and matter to mana power that might well attract new members from literally anywhere around Midgard, or others of the Nine Worlds.

      Of course, SOME of those attracted are almost certainly used to TAKING what they want.

      Colin

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    2. Agree that there are “some” underwater species and “some” underwater realms, but the center of power among the gods is clearly the land continents.

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      1. Given that the gods arose from human dreams, it’s logical that most gods will be centered on human-populated regions. Coasts and islands might spawn oceanic deities, but they’ll still be human-centric rather than deep-sea-centric.

        That said, the books haven’t featured much about the oceans because Daniel’s activities have been landlocked for the most part. There probably are mer-folk and selkies out there, but he’s had no occasion to interact with them yet.

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      2. We left Thrall (so long ago…..) with Hecate giving Daniel a bunch of missions. Maybe one of them will end up being aquatic. That would be neat 🙂

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      3. Bluntly, we cannot really know whether there are more gods under the oceans or above them.

        We have no visibility into the full extent of underwater cultures or their pantheons.

        One thing we really should do is determine whether humans are the only non-divine creatures who can ‘anchor’ gods. If there are aquatic cultures beneath the Pacific, they might have pantheons completely unknown to us.

        Since Hekate has accepted devotions from some of Clan Nethwillin’s folk, it seems to me that Selkies might anchor Poseidon.

        Hmm . . . Clan Nethwillin will become a target for elimination when Odin and Thor discover svartalf devotees of Hekate.

        That should be, interesting.

        Colin

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      4. The Dark Elves of D&D have a goddess who’s now being duplicated in Varmland thanks to Daniel. Might be interesting if NeoLolth decides the Svartalf would make good worshipers.

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      5. Of course we can know if there are more gods under the sea than above. We know because we hear the gods talk – and they only mention coyote, chinese gods (not by name curiously), Ra and Odin/Loki as the chief gods/pantheons.

        It is not as if the gods themselves care about aquatic or not. They can easily operate on land or in sea. So if the gods are not factoring in the ocean gods into their strategies, the the ocean gods do not exist as a major force.

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  44. What makes a Pantheon powerful? This is an important question as it will drive Odin/Loki’s actions and also drive who Hecate wishes to ally with.

    Some answers are obvious
    1) A very powerful head of the pantheon. Hecate’s comments imply that beings like Zeus were orders of magnitude more powerful than Hecate herself and that a such a powerful leader is essential for a Pantheon.

    2) Powerful gods – The main gods of a pantheon are the core of the pantheon’s strength

    3) Demigods – Obviously less important, but the demigods seem to be the do-ers for any engagement as the big gods are too important to do things like lead armies or work with allies.

    Other answers are less obvious or clear cut
    1) The pantheons seek to control territory in the mortal world. At a minimum they need worshipers as anchors, but I think the larger driver is temples. The gods seem to get power from sacrifices and even Hecate encourages her Cerise to make sacrifices. So it is obviously important to the gods. More territory = more temples = more sacrifices

    2) Prestige is of some importance to any system of political power – which Pantheons clear are in addition to being concentrations of godly power. So having allies, kings, mages and other beings of power allied with or even better “subservient to” a pantheon provides a lot of prestige. More prestige = lower odds of being challenged and more minions to address any future challenge.

    3) I suspect the gods themselves are driven to seek power – or at least some of them. If a god’s nature is defined as “king of the gods”, then some part of their nature will drive them to seek power and become king of the gods in truth as well as in doctrine. So a gods domains and “mythology” may have profound influence on their actions, even if only unconsciously. They are living concepts after all.

    4) Does the head of a pantheon get some additional power simply by being in charge of the pantheon. If yes, that gives the head a real incentive to increase the power and size of the pantheon as it directly correlates to their own power. That might also explain why Ra targeted Bast, who was clearly a very popular Egyptian goddess. Popular gods may divert some of that power flow from the pantheon head to themselves. This could also explain part of the conflict between Odin and Loki.

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    1. Dspring, it might be Daniel who consciously attempts to point out actual synergies between gods and goddesses on the same pantheon.

      Odds are, Prometheus has already figured this out for Himself.

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    2. Well I interpreted the strength of a pantheon by the size of their believers and religion, No matter if your Gods are designated as the strongest War Gods if your base number of believers is small enough to be crushed in one attack then they are really fragile at their core. I think this is why Hecate was desperate enough to break an ancient covenant (by Gods standards) and transport Daniel for the sole purpose of protecting Cerise.

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