Post:A lecture on fate and predictions
|A lecture on Fate and Predictions · on 02/21/2010 10:01 PM CST||495|
| [Observatory, Third Level]
A twisted framework of oak timbers and brass machinery nearly fills the room. At its center, the tremendous tube of a weer crystal telescope slants upward at a slight angle toward the dome's center, splitting the air like a precarious steel pillar gone askew. A thick glass lens extends a small space beneath the scope's circular base. You also see a simple box of gifts, a misshapen Shadow Servant, a pool of black shadows, a pool of grey shadows, a pool of grey shadows, a pool of grey shadows, a pool of grey shadows, a pool of grey shadows, a serving table with some stuff on it, a sign, a donation shelf with some stuff on it and a small bubbling cauldron of viscous gloop. Also here: Maklohri, Artificer Nilassa, Anjaline, Ascendant Kyenchiro who is sitting, Moon Mage Emerik who is sitting, Mathematician Kashik who is sitting, Traveler Jhaval, Rault, Omen Speaker Mozzik, Student Mekra who is sitting, Vairie who is sitting, Tezirite Holloway who is sitting, Benpar, Philosopher Rieum who is sitting, Magus Malzard. Obvious exits: east, south.
Mozzik says, "I am the Fateweaver Mozzik and I welcome you all to this evening's lecture." He paces before the crowd as he continues, "Tonight's topic is Fate and the manipulations thereof. What we speak of is not an exacting science, such as lunar magic and Enlightened Geometry, but it is a science none the less. There are rules, there are rewards, and there are... consequences."
Mozzik says, "Here is a brief outline of what I will be discussing tonight, those who find it too daunting or uninteresting are welcome to find an easier subject of study - such as the refreshment table."
Mozzik says, "Firstly I will outline a general understanding of what Fate is, and how it works." His gaze slides slowly over you, silently challenging you to make a break for the drinks. "Once done with that brief subject we'll move on to an introduction to prediction methodology, and wrap up with a discussion of the common forms of divination and their individual quirks and perks. Questions will be answered to the best of my considerable abilities during intermission and at the end of the lecture, and only at those times. Anyone who cannot hold their questions until then is welcome to direct them to Kssarh. I m sure he'll understand your impatience."
Mozzik says, "That out of the way, let us begin the lecture proper. If I ask you what two plus two is, you'd best be able to answer four. If I ask you what color Yavash is, the answer is red, or crimson, or a similar hue and if these are not your answers I fear for your next moongate. These are definitive answers, and Grazhir-born abominations aside, they do not change."
Mozzik says, "Now I ask you, what is your favorite food? You should be able to provide a definitive answer to this question, be it cherries, waffles or grog. However the answer I am given from one of you will likely disagree with the answer from another, but neither is invalid."
Mozzik says, "However what if I was to ask you what is the color red? You can tell me things that are red. You can tell me what is not red. You can tell me where red appears in a rainbow. You might even tell me how to create a red object from things that are not red... but what is red, in its essence? Anger? Hate? Passion? All of these can be associated with red, but again... they are not what red is. We know it is real, we know its nature is unchanging, and yet it can only be described within a context. Each person is likely to approach the answer from a different direction, and there is no definitive answer."
Mozzik asks, "I ask you now," as he paces slowly before the audience, "what is Fate?"
Mozzik says, "What I am about to describe is Fate as I know it. This is not the answer you will get from Lomtaun or Kssarh, and certainly not Mortom. You will not find it in any book - as I have not yet put my thoughts to ink. This is not to disparage the answers from these sources, they are worthy of study and offer great insight, but what we deal with is a personal question and thus I can only provide my personal answer. If you take what I say as absolute truth without question you will be failing yourself as a student of Fate."
Mozzik says, "In order to discuss Fate meaningfully we need to observe four axioms." He ticks the axioms off on his fingers as he continues, "Firstly; all things are subject to Fate. This includes the Immortals. One may question if Fate predates the Immortals or if it is their creation and yet they have become bound to it through some mechanism. However the question is irrelevant because the answer is unknowable by mortal minds and the consequences the same in either case."
Mozzik says, "The second axiom is that free will exists. If it does not then choice is nonexistent and this entire discussion is pointless and you may all go home early. I will touch more on this point in a moment."
Mozzik says, "The third axiom is that Fate is the force that causes actions. Fate dictates what actions will be taken and when. Fate has no involvement in creation or destruction, beyond dictating when and where they must happen."
Mozzik says, "The fourth axiom is that Fate exists on the Plane of Probability alone despite the fact that its influence extends well beyond that plane. The reasons for this are unclear, nonetheless it is doubtlessly true. This too I will expand on momentarily."
Mozzik says, "An observant student may note that the second and third axioms seem contradictory. I assure you, they are not."
Mozzik says, "Given this context we can describe the structure of Fate. As implied in the fourth axiom, this will involve a brief discussion of the nature of the Plane of Probability. A full discussion of that topic would easily double the length of this lecture, and I believe we can all agree that would be unwise."
Mozzik says, "The Plane of Probability is a bizarre place where shadow takes form and substance. In a very literal sense shadow is reality there. Everything from that plane is utterly unlike anything you have ever known or experienced from the Plane of Abiding, as those who have encountered its shadowy denizens will attest. Those of you who have not had that particular experience would be lucky to remain ignorant. The important thing to remember is that the rules you know about existence Do Not Apply. Further complicating the matter, we do not know the rules that replace them."
Mozzik says, "Within this chaotic mass of shifting, tangible shadows exists Fate. As such I am forced to try and explain an alien concept in mundane terms that are not only insufficient but inherently wrong. Nevertheless, I will make the attempt, but do not expect true understanding if you have not yet delved into Fate yourself."
Mozzik says, "Fate is a web of infinite scale and dimensions." He slowly traces a strand of the tattoo on his left arm from fingertip to elbow as he continues, "Everything in existence has a path it will travel through Fate. Think of a finite thread within this web, one for every person, every animal, every Immortal, every plant and every rock. Each has a beginning, and an end, but between those points it is tangled with a near infinite number of other threads. Every place these threads meet is an interaction, a rock you step on, a person you meet, a breath you take."
Mozzik says, "If you believe you can picture the scale I am speaking on, you are wrong. Accept that it is beyond comprehension and move on. The small snippet of Fate the mind can deal at a time is still so layered in complexity as to be indescribable."
Mozzik says, "Furthermore each thread is made up of numerous strands that provide further definition. The simplest of objects may only possess a single strand, a plant hundreds, an animal thousands, a person millions, and an Immortal a million million strands. These strands rarely run the entire length of the thread, weaving in or out of existence as needed."
Mozzik says, "Now that we have a structure for Fate, I must address the ever present debate of free will. There are points in Fate that will occur. They give rise to the general shape of Fate and the course of events for all of history and all that is to come. They are unchanging and certain. We shall refer to these as nodes within Fate. It should be noted what I speak of here is not a simple intersection of threads, though that can be a node, but of a more complex idea that does not fit into our simple metaphor."
Mozzik says, "Again, an observant student will note what I just described relates to the third axiom, and seems in direct violation of the second. A clever student will have riddled out why these are not contradictory." He indicates with two fingers a pair of connected intersections on his arm. "The path."
Mozzik says, "Nodes are certain and unchanging. The path is malleable and ever changing. This is where free will resides."
Mozzik says, "Furthermore, it is unknowable in Fate what is path, and what is node. We can conjecture, for example, the sundering of Grazhir was almost certainly a node of epic proportions, but this cannot be stated with absolute certainty."
Mozzik says, "What may be thought of as a major event, for example the recent slaying of Prince Vorclaf, may simply be the path in Fate to a greater node that is to come. Or it could be the node itself. A minor event, such as stopping to pick up a copper, could delay you so that you meet a man you otherwise would have never met. This man could go on to show you a path through life you would have otherwise not considered, and while traveling that path you touch thousands of lives."
Mozzik says, "But who would see such an event as a node before hand? Is it the node? Or was meeting the man the node, and the copper simply the path through which that event happened? What if it was neither? Fate operates on grand scales and we are but a brief flicker in its existence. The answer is that we cannot know what is path, and what is node."
Mozzik says, "We. Cannot. Know."
Mozzik says, "If there is one thing you need to take away from this lecture, it is this; every moment of your life you must believe and act as if you are on a path. Take your life in your own hands and do the best with it you are able. If you are wrong, and you are instead at a node in Fate, you've lost nothing. Despite the fact that our lives are ruled by Fate, we must live as if it did not shape our lives at all."
Mozzik says, "I shall give you all a few roisaen to ponder that essential truth. I will take a few questions on what we have covered so far while the rest of you stretch and refresh yourselves before moving on to the applied portion of the lecture; prediction."
Mozzik asks, "So - Questions?"
Vairie shakes her head.
Kashik asks, "You speak of nodes as unavoidable facets of Fate: destined certainties that can't be avoided. What reason have we to believe that anything in Fate is so certain, that there are nodes at all?"
Mozzik says to Kashik, "A good question."
Mozzik says, "And a hard one to answer, since as I pointed out we must assume free will and that we are on a path."
Kashik says, "Thank you, Mozzik. That is high praise from you."
Kashik bows to Mozzik.
Mozzik says, "The best evidence I can offer for the existance of nodes is more a philosophical argument then one of hard evidence."
Mozzik says, "But then, that could describe most of this lecture."
Mozzik says, "If Fate does not have nodes, it has no greater structure, no skeleton to build on."
Mozzik says, "All would be in constant flux and chaos."
Mozzik says, "However, that is an argument through analogy, which isn't a very strong argument."
Anjaline raises her hand.
Kashik says, "I see your point. I'm willing to accept nodes, then, at least for this duration, so that I might understand your lecture."
Mozzik says, "Another argument is that if all could be changed in Fate."
Mozzik says, "There ceases to be some satisfactory rational behind some of our past tragedies."
Mozzik nods to Anjaline.
Anjaline says, "I don't speak as well as you all do...so my question might sound very simple."
Mozzik says, "That's quite alright."
Anjaline says, "Is it possible for one person's path to uhm..."
Mozzik winks at Kashik.
Anjaline asks, "Say, overtake another person's path?"
Mozzik asks, "Overtake?"
Anjaline asks, "Coersion of some sort?"
Mozzik says, "I'm not sure I entirely follow the question."
Anjaline says, "We have paths, and the nodes..."
Mozzik asks, "Are you asking if say - someone could take another's place in Fate?"
Mozzik asks, "Or force their Fate into a different path?"
Anjaline says, "Something like that, yes."
Anjaline says, "Force their Fate onto yours."
Mozzik says, "I think I understand what you are getting at."
Mozzik says, "Assuming we are on a Path, as we must assume, it is possible to change someone else's Fate."
Kyenchiro says, "Probability hijacking? That's a novel concept."
Mozzik says, "The degree of which varies. That's more in the second part of the lecture."
Mozzik says, "If you mean more that... say Malzard there was fated to marry Caelumia."
Mozzik says, "And we wished to avoid this fate could we instead force Kssarh into that role."
Mozzik says, "I would say it's not quite that straightforward."
Malzard chuckles to himself.
Emerik says, "Kssarh probably wouldn't want to marry Malzard anyway."
Malzard wryly says, "I am ignoring this, of course."
Malzard serenely gazes right through Mozzik, as if he does not exist.
You grin at Emerik.
Kyenchiro snickers at Malzard.
Mozzik says, "All the strands are entwined, and it seems logical to me that Fate could be manipulated so that Kssarh took the place of Malzard."
Mozzik says, "But it wouldn't be a simple replacement."
Anjaline says, "Yes, more of an overlay."
Anjaline looks thoughtfully at Mozzik.
Mozzik says, "Theoretically I suppose it's possible."
Anjaline grins at Mozzik.
Anjaline says, "Thank you."
Anjaline grins at Mozzik.
Anjaline says, "Thank you."
Mekra says, "And I couldn't imagine a happier couple."
Mozzik says, "However it would be beyond the fairly simple manipulations that we're going to speak of here."
Mozzik says, "And for the record I was talking about Kssarh and Caelumia, not Kssarh and Malzard."
Mozzik says, "Though I now have another horrible image in my mind."
Rieum says, "I think she'd be the first to research a means to manipulate such fate."
Mozzik asks, "Any more questions before we continue?"
Mozzik says, "Alright then."
Mozzik says, "Prediction." His gaze slides over the audience before settling on a lightly snoring member. With a sharp clap and a command to "Wake up!" he continues as if nothing was amiss, "Now to put theory to practice."
Mozzik says, "Most believe that prediction is an inherently supernatural process - it is not. For our purposes we will discuss four general types of prediction. A true Seer is a master of them all, and you would be unwise to discard any of the methods simply because they have a mundane explanation."
Mozzik says, "The first form of prediction, and most basic, is cold reading. In essence this is the ability to determine seemingly unknowable information about a subject through observation of mundane traits - how the subject speaks, how they dress, their body language and countless other tells. The art has a poor reputation since it is considered a simple charlatan's trick, but while there is nothing supernatural about cold readings, the observational skills required can be considerable and the gains monumental."
Mozzik says, "The second form is extrapolation. This is another mundane technique, and while it shares much with cold reading, it has escaped the poor reputation. Essentially extrapolation is applied scholarship; looking at past trends and historical events to determine the most likely course of future events. Again, it sounds simple, but it is not and the knowledge gained through this technique is frequently straightforward and clearly applicable unlike prophecy."
Mozzik says, "Interpretation of the prophecy is needed, and the future that is seen is not necessarily the future that will manifest. Yet if the existence of a prophecy influences the shape of events to come, how is this a passive act? The answer is that the existence of the prophecy is accounted for by Fate and subject to the same node and path argument we've already discussed."
Mozzik says, "Essentially divination of this form is applied teleology; reality mirrors Fate and if one changes Fate, one changes reality. When one performs a prediction on themselves, or another, they are finding a single strand in that person's thread and... tweaking it slightly, for good or for ill. To do this one needs two things; insight and an interface."
Mozzik says, "While this is hardly a comprehensive explanation of the intricacies of the common interfaces, it is sufficient to get one started."
Mozzik says, "With that I shall conclude, and be rather disappointed if there are no questions."
Mekra asks, "Aside from durability, are any of the tools more accurate?"
Vairie raises her hand.
Holloway asks, "Where can one find star charts?"
Mozzik points at Mekra.
Mozzik says, "Going in order."
Mozzik says, "Tools vary in quality, so from tool to tool some will be more accurate."
Mekra says, "I kinda meant why would one choose one tool over another."
Mozzik says, "However none of the tools are inherantly more accurate then another."
Mozzik says, "Though, as I stated, bones have the potential to be better or worse then other tools."
Mozzik says, "There are many reasons to choose one tool over another - sect affinity, personal preference, convinence, their own quirks."
Mozzik points at Holloway.
Kyenchiro says, "Showing off to others...."
Mozzik says, "I'll jump to yours since it's quick."
Mozzik says, "East of leth, there is a dwarf who sells them."
Holloway chuckles at Mozzik.
Mozzik points at Vairie.
Mozzik asks, "Yes?"
Vairie asks, "Do bones, bowls and mirrors need the same care as the cards? I have seen the Tokka card case someone has. Are there special cases for the others as well?"
Mozzik says to Holloway, "As an aside he sells prisms too if you happen to know where I speak of from that."
Mozzik says, "Most tools are durable if you do not abuse them."
Holloway gives Mozzik a slight nod.
Mozzik says, "For example, I keep most of mine hidden in my greatcloak."
Mozzik says, "For example, I keep most of mine hidden in my greatcloak."
Mozzik says, "Cards do not like rain, mirrors don't like being punched, prisms being stomped on and so forth."
Vairie says, "So they do not get roughed up as easily as a telescope."
Mozzik says, "Generally speaking, no."
Mozzik asks, "More questions?"
Vairie raises her hand.
Mozzik asks, "More questions?"
Vairie raises her hand.
Mozzik says, "You need a specially prepared divination mirror."
Vairie asks, "Where might one aquire one?"
Mozzik says, "My last one actually shattered recently so I cannot show you an example, though there is an Elothean who mopes about the Middens who will sell them."
Mozzik says, "Most tools cost about 5 gold in the local currancy."
Kashik says, "The dreadful image of a bat-winged skull is, unfortunately or not, well-known among us. Seeing it affects the best of us physically and traumatically. Yet this is not the case with tools: they seem to randomly fail us, certainly, but we are not affected."
Mozzik says, "Alright."
Mozzik nods to Kashik.
Kashik asks, "I wonder, sir, if you have an opinion on why this is. Does this indicate some additional distance set between us and Fate by using a tool, and is this a good or bad thing? Or, of course, neither?"
Mozzik says, "Well, thankfully you're not asking me the nature of the skull."
Maklohri just arrived.
Maklohri shifts his weight.
Mozzik says, "Since this has a fairly easy answer."
Maklohri leans against a small bubbling cauldron of viscous gloop.
Kyenchiro says, "We'd be here all night were that the case."
Mozzik says, "Some of the things in the Plane are... not terribly friendly."
Mozzik says, "In the case of visions, this means you get your skull munched."
Mozzik says, "As there is nothing between your mind and the Plane.
Mozzik says, "A tool acts as a sort of... buffer."
Mozzik says, "It takes the brunt of the attack, and is none the better for it."
Mozzik says, "But spares you the pain."
Mozzik says, "As I said, visions are crude and there are reasons they have fallen out of favor with most Seers."
Mekra says, "I was wondering if you talk a little about how we align ourselves."
Mozzik says, "Sure."
Mekra says, "And how that happens, given the material you've already covered."
Mozzik says, "There's not a whole lot to say about it - it's mostly a mental technique to help you identify the particular strand you seek."
Mozzik says, "As mentioned, visions are fairly crude, and are insufficent to make use of alignment."
Mozzik says, "It's like trying to paint with a log instead of a paintbrush."
Mozzik says, "I mean - sure - you'll get some paint on there, and it may even be a lot of paint."
Mekra says, "You'll certainly cover -seomthing-."
Mozzik says, "Yes."
Mozzik says, "As an aside... there is a cost to alignment."
Mozzik says, "If you're going for very large degrees of manipulations."
Mozzik says, "By using alignment you... temper your potential."
Mozzik says, "I'd say in 95% of cases or perhaps more this is not a factor."
Mozzik says, "But it's worth noting if you're pushing for the extreme limits of prediction for some task."
Mozzik says, "And I mean aligning to a specific strand only."
Mozzik asks, "Clear as mud?"
Kyenchiro asks, "A tradeoff between power and precision, basically?"
Mekra says, "I'll get it after some reflection, but yes, well answered."
Mozzik says, "Yes, however a traderoff where usually you give up no power."
Kyenchiro says, "Ah."
Kashik says, "So a wise tradeoff, then, in general."
Mozzik asks, "Alright... Marsais were you next or have I lost track?"
You ask, "I was wondering about cursing others. I've never experimented much in that area, but is there a tool that is more reliable then others for that purpose?"
Mozzik says, "Mirrors if you believe their reputation."
Mozzik says, "I do not."
You say, "Aye, I was told that when I was young but have heard that it's not true about them."
Mozzik says, "I've spent more time then I care to admit with that particular tool."
Mozzik says, "They're... troublesome."
Mozzik says, "But that's my conclusion."
Mozzik says, "It is also worth noting - though I have not studied this extensively."
Mozzik says, "If you are seeking to curse specifically."
Mozzik says, "You still want a tool with good bonding, not bad."
Mozzik says, "I suppose that actually makes sense for most tools but can be confusing for say - bones."
Mozzik says, "Where you'd want it attuned to the white side in order to curse intentionally."
Holloway asks, "How do you increase the likelyhood of a curse?"
Mozzik says, "Generally speaking there are three factors in polarity."
Mozzik says, "If you align to curse specifically being the largest of course."
Mozzik says, "The second, how well you understand your observations."
Mozzik says, "More observations make a prediction more potent in all senses, and also less likely to be negative - though even so painful if it is."
Mozzik says, "And finally the state of the tool itself."
Mozzik nods to Kyenchiro.
Kyenchiro says, "I'm not entirely sure I understood that second part you just mentioned."
Mozzik says, "About observations."
Kyenchiro asks, "A more powerful prediction, basically, has a greater potential to turn out positive, even if you're trying for negative?"
Mozzik says, "No."
Mozzik says, "It has more potential to turn out the way you wish it to turn out."
Kyenchiro says, "You used the words 'less likely to be negative', I think that's where I got hung up."
Mozzik says, "My fault, usually I'm answering for seeking positive predictions."
Kyenchiro says, "Ahhh. I see."
|This message was originally posted in The Moon Mages\Player-run gatherings, by MARSAIS on the play.net forums.|