First chapter speculation. SPOILERS!!!

originally posted by Annette

Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers…



I like how Janny managed to sneak so many things in one chapter that we might not notice straight away, like it will probably be with the rest of the book no doubt.

Did anyone think Asandir’s thoughts about Selidie’s unnatural state somewhat strange? Fair enough Morriel possessing poor Selidie is bad enough, but there seemed to be more to what Asandir was thinking than just that. Selidie is still only young, we would expect her skin to be smooth and unmarked, Lirenda’s was around the same age.

quote:

Perfect with youth, though she was in fact aged, her vitality engineered by dark spellcraft that had repeatedly cheated mortality


In the teaser we had it only said “dark spellcraft that cheated death” Janny changed it to repeatedly cheated mortality, what has Selidie/Morriel been up to in the last few centuries? And should Selidie’s vitality not be engineered by her personal spell crystal and its longevity bindings, or is that for some reason not working and Selidie/Morriel is extending her natural life span some other way.

quote:

his fury for the twisted practice that permitted the abomination he confronted on the dais to live. He capped his latent rage for the abhorrent abuses that kept Selidie’s creamy skin smooth;


The prime cypher already allowed Selidie to drain life from initiates, she would also perhaps have the same power over Arithon while he was her prisoner. The use of the word abomination is perhaps meant to grab our attention there, since it is usually used to describe necromancy. Is Selidie/Morriel now abusing her powers by drawing life from others to prolong her own?

It is ironic perhaps that in Curse of the Mistraith Morriel was calling Arithon the abomination. Just how far has she gone to prolong her life?

originally posted by Sleo

I think he's referring to the necromancy that took Selidie's body in the first place, and also to the dark practices the sisterhood used to prolong life. Selidie is well over 200 years old at this point. Lirenda, when we first meet her, has been in the sisterhood for 80 years.

If you recall the scene where the sorcerer (I forget which one - Luhaine?) gave Elaira their gift to prevent aging, overriding the spells she's enduring from the Koriani, it describes their practices as against nature.

I think taking one soul is enough to fuel Asandir's extreme reaction to Selidie.

originally posted by Annette

Koriani longevity while not natural would hardly be called dark practice. And Morriel has taken no ones soul, she is just possesing Selidie so not quite necromany. Morriel cheated death once that we know of, so why is Asandir thinking she had repeatedly cheated mortality? Once should have been enough, what went wrong? Or is her own sisterhood trying to do her in now? That seems unlikely, for a sisterhood that now openly condones murder. Even if there is disagreement the slaves are hardly going to revolt against a Prime who can demand their lives just as easily.

The great waystone was lost three centuries before Lirenda's birth (Warhosts of Vastmark pg 220 latest paperback version). The waystone was lost during the rebellion, Lirenda would be well over 80 years old. So why is Asandir thinking there is something unnatural about Selidie still having creamy smooth skin. Lirenda looked just as good even older than that. There is possibly another reference to Lirenda's age, but I cannot find it at the moment.


Then there is the crofters dying of fever, is it just the mysteries fading or something else corrupting the area, that sickness is now killing people. Previously such fevers like that would not have occurred on Athera.

originally posted by Sleo

It is too necromancy. Where do you think Selidie's soul is while Morriel has possession of her body? While I'm open to the possibility that Janny has something else up her sleeve regarding Koriani practices, I think the necromancy and the continuing use of practices that defy the Law of the Major Practice are quite enough for Asandir to view Morriel as an abomination.

In Grand Conspiracy, Sethvir remarks on her 'unconscionable possession of that misfortunate young initiate.'

originally posted by Trys

quote:

Then there is the crofters dying of fever, is it just the mysteries fading or something else corrupting the area, that sickness is now killing people. Previously such fevers like that would not have occurred on Athera.

This could be do to the purge of talent which has resulted in fewer hedge witches and wise women available to treat illness.

originally posted by Sleo

Right!

originally posted by Julie

I always got the impression that the crofters lived on the edge like farmers anywhere. dying of fever may represent the purge of talent as Trys says, and/or recent famine which would put the population at a much higher susceptibility to infection.
Morriel/Selidie wanted control over Athera (she said) so the Koriani could prevent floods, droughts, famine and avoid human suffering. The Waystone was returned to her without that ability.

originally posted by Trys

I think the Waystone still had that ability. However, Athera was opened to recognize the Waystone and to refuse to be compelled by the wielder.

originally posted by Annette

And what we have seen of Koriani practice, especially under Morriel, seems to make it unlikely they would use the waystone to benefit mankind. Perhaps the flood avoided at Whitehold was someone else's work they took credit for. As far as we know Selidie/Morriel still does not have use of her waystone though. And I do not see her asking Arithon for help on that anytime soon, not unless it is part yet another plot to kill him.

There would be no famine in Athera's past before the Koriani lost the waystone, the only reason there was in the time of the series is because Morriel did her best to destroy Athera. Probably the flood that threatened Whitehold was caused by her as well or a previous Prime, why would there be a flood that threatened a city otherwise. Before the rebellion the Paravians were still on Athera, what human suffering would there have been to use the waystone for. If the Koriani actually ever used the waystone to prevent droughts, famine and avoid human suffering it would have been on another planet, before humanity settled on Athera.

And you could read Sundering Star and notice the sisterhood were already not really what they pretended to be. You have to wonder how exactly they managed to get their hands on whole gaggles of at-risk children. No doubt they were talented children at that, what happened to their parents?

We were given an example of how the Biedar glyph used for a spirit to enter another body works. Elaira had Glendien's permission, but even without it, how would that have been necromancy. Would that act of forced master Morriel used to posses Selidie really have caused Asandir's extreme reaction. Nothing should have changed between when it first occurred and Initiate's Trial, yet now Asandir sees Selidie as an abomination. She must be doing something much worse.

Arithon has lost everything, his memory, knowledge of his talents and gift for music, support of friends and even the protection of the fellowship. It does not seem likely the Biedar will do more to protect him from his enemies. Arithon is still alive and now free, what else could he lose? Arithon was the helpless pawn at Selidie/Morriels mercy, if she was going to use any dark practice to keep her youth where would it be easiest to draw from?

originally posted by Julie

I find it hard to believe that humans did not suffer hunger or disease and everyone lived to a ripe old age until the Paravians left Athera and Morriel lost the Waystone. Paravian ritual and connection with the mysteries ensured the free flow of energy in its cyclic patterns affecting the ecosystem that is Athera. This would presumably include micro organisms. Are you maybe suggesting that agriculatural practices changed significantly after the rebellion?

originally posted by Sleo

Annette: Elaira had Glendien's PERMISSION to inhabit her body. Selidie did not give Morriel permission. And I believe Asandir always saw Selidie/Morriel as an abomination. I don't think anything changed, except perhaps his anger that she imprisoned and was attempting to kill Arithon. That would tend to piss him off. :smiley:

Julie: No one said humans did not suffer prior to the Paravians leaving Athera and Morriel losing the Waystone. I'm not sure what 'you' you are addressing, but mine and Trys' comments referred to the systematic stamping out of magic by the Light. The magic being stamped out was largely responsible for any healing that happened on Athera. I think we were speculating that disease was a problem since the takeover by The Light.

originally posted by Annette

Necromancy damages the spirit, merely possessing a body does not, whether permission is given or not the process is the same. No harm resulted to body or spirit when Elaira used the same glyph to enter Glendien's body. The Biedar use the same means to confer with their ancestry, it causes not harm. Selidie's spirit would not have been harmed. Janny might correct me if I am wrong here, but Selidie by her Koriani oath had already given her permission for Morriel to do with her whatever she wanted. Selidie was already enslaved to the Prime, although in a less obvious way. The fellowship does not intervene unless asked, and Selidie cannot ask for her freedom. Of her own free will Selidie gave away her right to autonomy when she joined the Koriani order.

While the royal lines and some of the clansmen might not have enjoyed a long life due to being exposed to Paravian presence, there is reason to think the rest of humanity while peacefully living under the compact would have. The reason why disease was not so prevalent on Athera has not really been looked at in any detail in the books, or at least not that I can recall. If you look at when Dakar, Arithon and Mearn became ill we can see a clue, what they were doing was causing the imbalance that left them open to illness. (I am not even going to try to explain auric imbalance and the flow of electromagnetic energy, will leave that for Janny)Some of the cities such as Jaelot and Ettara also interfere with lane flow and can disrupt things, people are more likely to fall ill in those areas. I will have to hunt around a bit for some quotes to support that from the books themselves, but looking through the Athera and Splinter World FAQ on the Paravia site will have to be proof enough for now.

The crofters should not have died of fever. So either the mysteries have faded that much that the protection humanity had from such things is vanishing as well, something in that area is causing the disruption, or yes maybe someone deliberately did it. But why would someone want to knock of some crofters that way? The family themselves seem unlikely to be doing anything that would disrupt lane flow any more than previously. They do not seem to be in an area that was once part of the free wilds and protected by the clans, could be wrong about that though.

originally posted by Julie

I understood what you and Trys were saying about the lack of affordable health care due to persecution. Presumably the void was filled by Ath's adepts, Koriani and even the Light's priests who would have to learn herbal medicine- a sick and dwindling population is no asset.
I imagine that disease became a problem when the mistwraith invaded,blocking the sun, changing the climate causing crops to fail–>starvation–> weakened immune system -->high mortality from disease.

originally posted by Trys

quote:

Selidie's spirit would not have been harmed

I think there's an assumption being made here. From my perspective I've always envisioned that Selidie's spirit is trapped in the body with the invading spirit of Morriel forcing her out of control and leaving her in a helpless state. We really have no idea what Morriel maybe doing to Selidie to keep her "in line". I know if I were Selidie I'd be struggling so it may well be that Morriel has employed spells and/or sigils to impose that control. However, I do think there is a difference between necromancy (dead spirit) and possession (live spirit).

quote:

but Selidie by her Koriani oath had already given her permission for Morriel to do with her whatever she wanted.

Yes, she did and that makes what Morriel did all the more an abomination. In my opinion, Morriel abrogated her 'higher' responsibility to one of those who swore oath to her. I have to wonder if there are not oaths taken upon assuming the mantle of Primeship that Morriel might not have broken.

quote:

affordable health care

I got a chuckle out of the choice of words. :smiley:

quote:

Presumably the void was filled by Ath's adepts, Koriani and even the Light's priests who would have to learn herbal medicine

This could be an erroneous presumption. I don't believe that Ath's adepts are called to intefere with humananity and it's problems. The Koriani will impose an Oath of Debt and many might not want to do that depending on the nature of the oath. As to the Light's priests, maybe, but I have to wonder if they would be concerned with health or just acquiring more gold/power.

originally posted by Julie

Hi Trys:

While the Adpts do not intefere with humanity, they have lay healers at their hostels, or at least did as late as when Elaira spent time with them. My assumption came from that. Also there must be other wandering Koriani healers- Sulfin Evand remarks about those unattached to a house in ( I think in Traitor's knot).I got the impression that not all dealings end up with a life debt. As far as the priests- maybe not high in the hierarchy, but lower even laity performing those tasks. I can't see Lysaer sanctioning healing for the powerful and rich only. Where would the food and raw materials come from if the lower classes were sick and dying? And glad I could elicit a chuckle

originally posted by Annette

But still any lay healer taught by Ath's adepts would be in danger of burning would they not? The herb witches used mainly herbs for healing if their name was anything to go by. And the Light also condemns Ath's adepts for liaison with Darkness so I do not see them mixing very much with the locals anywhere but in Havish. Any knowledge learned from Ath's adepts could be considered by the Lights priests as equally as bad as shadow. And what we saw of those priests none of them seemed interested in healing, although that could have changed. There are the Koriani and perhaps there are more trained healers who do not use any magic or proscibed knowledge to heal.

These crofters have crops left unharvested though, so I doubt famine is a problem, at least for them. Just lack of strong hands to do all the work, and it seems taxes eating up money they do not have. At a time when there should have been peace, why are the crofters being taxed so much?

And if the towns are suffering a shortage of food, due to a lack of crofters, who would get the blame for that? Could someone be engineering the situation perhaps in order to start a war against Havish.

originally posted by Sleo

Do any of you remember in Grand Conspiracy that there were THREE versions of necromancy? Arithon wiped out the worst one. There was another that wasn't as bad that they keep their eye on. Then the third is implied as having been stolen from the Biedar by the Koriani. I'm assuming Morriel's taking over of Selidie is that version. Also none of us knows what happened to Selidie's soul. Perhaps you're right, Annette, that any Koriani gives implied consent when they enter service. But it has been shown over and over again that it is not real consent. As in Fionn Areth. As in Elaira. Any consent given when one is six years old is not real consent.

The Fellowship has always abhorred the Koriani version of magic because it lays outside the Law of the Major Balance. And the crystals do not come from Athera, so are outside the contract. I confess to being somewhat confused as to why there is wonderment of Asandir's attitude about Selidie. I've thought it was there all along in the story.

In Fugitive Prince, Ath's Adept rejected Sethvir's silent plea for help with the situation with the curse. They have always been non interfering in Athera's problems. They only help those who come to them… or who seem to embody their view of creation and love… like Kevor. I don't see them as playing a role as general healers. Yes, there are certain Koriani who work as healers without asking any debt, but my impression was that they are few and far between.

I still maintain that the general decline of health is due to the Light's systematic purging of any herb witches or healers, although I certainly think the situation could be engineered for political gain.

originally posted by Annette

All three forms of necromancy evolved from the Biedar knowledge, Arithon mentions that in Stormed Fortress.

quote:

'Perhaps you don't want to hear this. But the knowledge that founded all three cults of necromancy originated with the Biedar.'
Stormed Fortress pg 33(pb)



quote:

'The seals that stay death were once part of a sacred rite, used to commune with the ancestry. The Biedar don't write. Their tradition is inherited. They waken their talent through a trial of privation that opens initiate memory. Long before mankind settled Athera, Koriathain used arcane channels and disclosed the content. They catalogued everything. By rights, they claimed, since the dedicate purpose laid out by their founders held a mission of preserving all records of human achievement. The library they guarded was not discriminate, nor was it kept with integrity. Somebody tinkered, mixed forms, and experimented. Dark sources were tapped without wisdom. Sigils with binding aspects were forged. Worse forms evolved later, recombined with blood ceremony, which warped offshoot was leaked from the order.
Stormed Fortress pg 33(pb)



The Beidar do not practice necromancy, and neither did the Koriathan in arc 3 so they would not be one of the two remaining cults. The Prime sigils used by Selidie/Morriel, that gives her command over all the initiates in her order would be some of those binding sigils that evolved from the stolen knowledge.

I do not recall any mention of anyone keeping an eye on one lot. We had the necromancer stick that Sethvir released(Grand Conspiracy pg 128,PB), and there were some ghosts that had been drawn back on this side of the veil and left to wander (Warhost of Vastmark pg 3,PB). There was also another mention of something nasty, but it was not clear what it was. What ever it is it is probably something Arithon will end up meeting in his travels.
quote:

Scenes shifted, to a dark cave where things chittered and cried, their voices like tormented fox kits. Something bloody and torn struggled in a snowbank, snagged in the coils of its own spilled entrails.
Peril's Gate pg 514(pb)



I always suspected Erdane of hiding something nasty Ath's hostel near there was abandoned, and there was this mention in traitor's Knot.

quote:

'Forge an iron blade for a ritual death. A sunwheel priest rides the
trade-road from Erdane who's become the slaved shell for a necromancer . . .'
Traitor's Knot pg 419(pb)



Lysaer's True Sect faith is now based in Erdane so perfect fodder for another lot of necromancers to infiltrate. If so it will be interesting to see if Lysaer goes after them himself. It would be high time he actually started doing something useful with all that power he has. And the crofters are living near Erdane.

originally posted by Sleo

Kravolir - grey cult was the one Arithon broke. What are the other two?

The subject of Koriathain necromancy was brought up in this discussion on Goodreads. See especially post 18 and 19.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/457085-grand-conspiracy-ch-x-xi-xii-spoilers #comment_24472040

Janny, isn’t Morriel’s possession of Selidie considered necromancy?

originally posted by Annette

We have not yet been told what the other two cults are called. The goodreads discussion did not seem to shed much light on the necromancy question either, since Janny never said anything.

The Biedar ancestry are presumably dead, yet no one seems to consider it necromancy when their spirits share someone else's body. I do not think it suddenly changes two spirits sharing a body into necromancy just because one never specifically agreed to it. Selidie gave her permission, She took oath, her hands mind and body were given to enact the will of the
Prime Matriarch. Morriel took it literally! Morriel leaves Selidie should be fine, unless for some reason the prime power thinks Selidie should be Prime (since the power was already there) and it ends up destroying Selidie.

Elaira described how it would feel for Glendien while Elaira would be using her body.


quote:

The deep binding the enchantress proposed to entrain had been practised since time beyond memory by the order's advanced healers. 'You'll be enveloped by what feels like a normal sleep' Elaira reassured the clanswoman as she made preparations. 'Throughout the duration, you cannot change course. Although your awareness will not leave your flesh, you will stay gently held under the threshold of waking.'
Stormed Fortress pg 598(pb)



So that is how both the original and the Koriani version where permission is not asked would work.

It was not really clear if this original use was what Morriel intended for Selidie. If not we also have an example of where Morriel used the cipher of prime dominion to claim another's mind and talents. (Fugitive Prince pg 453(pb). Either way the spirit is not harmed, the possessed is fine when released. It is either oblivion or a long nap. It might be considered necromancy on our world, but it does not seem to to be on Athera. Both these practices were used before Morriel possessed Selidie, so if she was not an abomination before, seems unlikely the possession of Selidie would make her one, no matter how unconscionable the act was. Janny will no doubt explain what happened to Selidie's awareness when Morriel eventually gets her comeuppance. Janny did not really give any hints that would happen in Initiate's Trial though, we might have to wait for the next book.