The Final Calling: Progress Report Ten

Chapter Nine is online.

I’m paid through Chapter Sixteen, and a significant portion of Chapter Seventeen — I haven’t run the numbers today. I was away for a four-day weekend, and then we had guests, so I haven’t had time to do much.

I haven’t had time to write any more, either — I’m still just starting Chapter Sixteen.

This is going to be a busy week, so I may not get much writing done for the next few days either, but next week there shouldn’t be any distractions. Chapter Ten will be posted on Wednesday, August 18th.

Hope you like the story so far.

46 thoughts on “The Final Calling: Progress Report Ten

  1. Another great chapter in what is becoming a very good book! I just reread Night Of Madness and The Final Calling is integrating very well with it. Question, did the Baron of Aldagmor get called? If he did then there will be prospects for the Aldagmor survivors to still have option in the Baronies of Sardiron in the half of Aldagmor not claimed by the Dragon’s.

    Witches and Warlocks have always been presented as having an affinity for one another, or at least it seems that way to me, and with Sensela the witch having been the first to discover how to apprentice new Warlocks locking them onto the Lumeth source once they know about it shouldn’t be too difficult. Sensela opened a shop at the end of Night of Madness and presumably wasn’t called for some time after so now that her Witchcraft is restored she will be an older woman used to preforming acts through Warlockry and will probably discover herself tiring out very quickly. I would think that would be very motivating in figuring out what Vond can do that they can’t. With Lumeth being so far away a normal warlock would barely be able to hear it from Aldagmor, however they are all Called Master level Warlocks, not average run of the mill Warlocks so they should be much more able to detect it if there is a way. We know from The Unwilling Warlord that Vond merely adjusted Sterren’s Warlock center in his brain a little to let him hear Lumeth. Sensela should be able to do the same when she learns about Lumeth because she can use Witchcraft to do so. All in my opinion of course πŸ™‚

  2. I had totally forgotten about Sensella the Witch! I’m going to have to rename Sensella of Morningside to avoid confusion; they are NOT the same person, or related in any way.

  3. Hanner seems a little harsh with the wizard, who was just trying to help (or at least was ordered to offer help). Granted the wizard didn’t immediately accept what he said, but the situation was unexpected.

    Also, asking a wizard his age is probably equivalent to asking his level of power (esp for one who is less than 100 years old). Hanner could have just asked if he was alive during the night of madness, or just said that they were warlocks who had been magicians on the night of madness.

    I wonder if that is confidence resulting from the fact that he was an influential warlock and didn’t have to worry about offending wizards and he hasn’t adjusted to the new situation.

    Also, “Asham the Gate-Keeper” sounds pretty useful. Presumably, he handles teleportation.

    Ideally, sending the chant to Alladia would seem like the easiest option. However, possibly, the priests keep chants semi-secret like wizards keep spells semi-secret (and even if no they may not want to transmit the words magically in case of interception or something).

    It might be necessary to fly someone who knows the chant out to the crowd. However, calling a god to help 15k people could be expensive. Though with 15k people, the cost could be shared. Also, maybe he would just say that they are asking to much since they have already received divine help.

  4. I really enjoy how this story has tied together so many of the other ones! My most pressing question is whether you will further explain the towers of Lumeth. Great job so far!

  5. Why rename Sensella of Morningside? It’s not rare for people to share a name without being related, and I think it’s quite obvious that she’s not related to Sensella the Witch, if you’ve read any story where she appears – and if you haven’t, you can’t confuse them anyway.

  6. Hmm… I withdraw my previous comment – I was confused myself about who Sensella the Witch was πŸ˜‰

  7. I didn’t catch it back when the chapter was published, but when Piskor provided her aid she said, “You will have food for three days, she said, speaking without sound. The water of the stream will be pure and clean. Because [humanity] must rely on itself and not upon gods,”

    (Brackets for emphasis mine.)

    That seems an explicit acknowledgment that the gods now regard all the former warlocks as human again with the departure of the Source. We know that whatever brain alteration was done to them is still in place; the only difference is that the Source isn’t whispering into their heads anymore. So logically, it was the whispering of the Source that made them non-human. I wonder if Vond is now considered human or not, given that the Towers don’t have a ‘voice’?

    The gods certainly do see things oddly. Even from our privileged positon as readers knowing this is a fictional universe and familiar with other fictional gods, it’s hard to puzzle out what their deal is. They certainly don’t seem to be super-advanced aliens or anything of that sort.

  8. I think that Vond is still considered inhuman, since IMO it is either the alteration, or (if, as you say, a god using the term [humanity] means that they are acknowledged as humans again), the power emanating (being redirected) by them that makes them unrecognizabl as humans. By the way, how do you address the group of inhumans as a whole? Spriggans, for example? Sprigganity? Maybe she just meant [mortals] by [humanity].
    Hm.. So now the wizards are aware of the Vond problem, if they were not before. At least the guidmasters know where Vond’s power comes from. Now what their reaction would be? Eagerly waiting for it πŸ˜‰

  9. And with that, the wizard’s workshop suddenly crumbled away, leaving Hanner standing on trampled grass back in Aldagmor, surrounded by sleeping warlocks.
    Then that, too, dissolved, and he was alone in lightless emptiness – clearly, the dream the wizard had sent had ended, but his sleeping mind was not yet ready to let go. He shouted, but there was no one to hear him, and his voice seemed small and faint in the void.

    This is vaguely reminiscent of Dumry’s post-invaded-dreams encounter from Blood of a Dragon. I’m guessing it’s more a signpost towards things to come regarding warlockry, but it left me wondering about the other.

  10. Naah, that’s just how invaded dreams end if the recipient doesn’t wake up and the wizard hasn’t designed an ending.

  11. Huh, thats what the crumbling away seems like, but the part where “his sleeping mind was not yet ready to let go. He shouted, but there was no one to hear him, and his voice seemed small and faint in the void.” seems new and different. I guess it’s one of those things where wizardry (and the human condition) do weird and unexpected things.

    Is the thing that followed the Wizard’s sending into Dumery’s dreams something we’ll find out about someday, or was that too just a creation of Dumery’s sleeping mind?

  12. Darn you, Mr. Evans. Darn you to heck. That’s going to bug me now…

    Appropo of absolutely nothing, I was going through the wiki doing some improvements with templates when a dark what if occurred; imagine how pissed Fendel would have been had he been affected by the Night of Madness.

  13. They gave each wizard the option of leaving the world. He could probably have done that.

    I wonder if they ran some kind of scan to find all wizards who were affected. A wizard who was affected who didn’t make a big deal about it might not have been spotted and the wizards guild doesn’t seem to be able to find Fendel.

    They may also have made an exception for him.

  14. They gave each wizard the option of leaving the world, but given Fendel’s independence and apparent disdain for being found that seems like a choice that wouldn’t make him happy. Never mind the potential for it to screw with his ongoing wizardly research.

    They used some divinations. Given that Valder was able to find out his location fairly easily using store-front wizards I’d imagine the Guild’s biggest issue is a linear approach to finding him, or simply getting him to respond once they do find him (I distinctly remember one instance where they sent him a message and were waiting to see if he would respond).

    Even if the guild didn’t say anything, I can’t imagine that over a millennium of being the world’s best wizard Fendel wouldn’t still be pretty irate over something essentially random screwing with his magic.

  15. Somewhat off topic, I was re-reading the Blood of a Dragon and there is a comment about currency.

    6 rounds of gold = 600 copper pieces (rounds presumably)
    6 rounds of gold = 48 gold bits

    Presumably, it’s 10 copper = 1 silver and 10 silver = 1 gold (or maybe they vary over time)? On the wiki, it says, that it is 1000 copper rounds = 1 gold round.

    Anyway, it also says that 600 copper is more than a labourer would earn in a year.

    Assuming that means that they would earn 400 copper rounds per year, and the equivalent in modern times is say $20,000 per year, then the modern equivalents would be

    1 copper bit = $6.25
    1 copper round = $50

    1 silver bit = $62.50
    1 silver round = $500

    1 gold bit = $625
    1 gold round = $5000

    (This assumes 8 bits of X is the same as a round of X)

    This would mean that Thetheran payed the equivalent of $30,000 for a flask of dragon’s blood. It also means that Annara, the wizard in an Unwilling Warlord probably had dragon’s blood worth at least the equivalent of $500 for a few dozen drops.

    So, is a round a large coin? I had an image of it being a cylinder of the “bits” coins.

    There is also a mention of iron coins elsewhere. Would they slot in lower than copper, so 10 iron = 1 copper?

    Making the smallest currency unit worth around $6 seems a little high. However, maybe it just means that people buy more in any given exchange. Also, there is probably a much bigger difference in wealth, so a laborer might earn much less than the equivalent to $20,000 per year.

    Also, if the dragon farmers are getting $30k per trip, then they should be massively wealthy. Ofc, they have to do the actual farming themselves, so as to maintain their secret.

  16. An iron bit is officially worth a tenth of a copper one, yes. Official exchange rates and actual ones don’t always match exactly; in practice you could probably get twelve or fifteen iron for one copper, as most merchants no longer accept iron. And gold is actually worth more than the official ten times silver.

    Originally bits were wedge-shaped, rather than round, but by the 53rd century they’d gone to being either round or hexagonal. Rounds, of course, are round, but are no longer eight times the size of a bit — instead they’re much thicker, so as to still have eight times the mass while only being maybe a time and a third the diameter.

    Bits are somewhere between a dime and a nickel in size.

    The wiki is wrong about that 1,000-1 ratio; I didn’t feel like taking the time to correct it.

    The dragon-farmers are massively wealthy, even if they don’t show it. They aren’t as rich as they should be, though, as they’re lousy investors.

    A bit isn’t $6.25; more like three or four dollars. Wages are low relative to ours. Yes, that’s a high value for the smallest coin in common circulation; I’m not perfect, and I probably got that wrong.

  17. Oh, and the idea of Fendel becoming a warlock is really twisted. I like it. Didn’t happen, though.

    As for the stuff about dreams, I may have more to say about that later.

  18. I knew there were some significant missing pieces in the money discussion on the wiki (all the sources for the calculations are actually included if you look at the code for the page because I was reverse engineering something where the pieces weren’t all fitting right).

    I’ll fix it to match this, though it’ll be later before I get a chance.

  19. Btw, the real world prices (per kg) are:

    Gold $39,000
    Silver $550
    Copper $7.20
    Iron $0.82

    So, it is closer to 100-1 from copper to silver to gold (but over thinking this now πŸ™‚ ).

  20. Hmm, were any of the wizard warlocks converted into statues as their method of execution? If so they can be brought back now that the source is gone.

  21. So… imagine this, I’ve got random-ish questions about trivial details;
    1) Javan…
    a) what’s his accepted cognomen? (actually, I’m wondering about all the big research wizard’s cognomens, but I’ve got enough mcl information that Javan has his own page and he seems a little bigger than the others.)
    b) Did he really get ambushed by the Second Augmentation of Magical Memory the way Irith describes in Taking Flight? (and they call Ellran the Unfortunate!)

    2) What made Ellran so Unfortunate?

    3) What is the downside to Eshom’s Freshwater Spring, or was there another reason Ithanalin’s book had the Ontological Transformation but not that (theoretically more useful) spell?

    I do have to say it’s amazing the things that end up intellectually adjacent when you’re building a wiki.

  22. 1) Javan’s cognomen? Wow. I dunno. Not sure I ever gave him one.

    2) He experienced a life-long string of mishaps, eventually culminating in his accidental death from a simple first-order spell gone wrong. He only just barely survived his apprenticeship, and his master had been too ill to teach him much useful magic, so he had to take up research to have any chance of getting anywhere, and while he did live long enough to come up with some interesting things, not a single one of them was remotely like what he had been trying to accomplish.

    3) There’s no downside; Ithanalin just never happened to learn it. Not every wizard learns every common spell. And it’s Oenological, not Ontological; oenology is the study of wine.

  23. 1) cool. Just one of those things where if it existed adding it was good, and if not then at least I knew not to worry about it.

    2) wow. that’s… sad. (but for some reason I can’t stop chuckling over it…)

    3) sometimes its one, sometimes its the other. figured it was worth asking.

  24. Hey, Ryan — why is the number of entries on the wiki dropping? It was up to 291, and now it’s only 273. What got cut?

  25. For whoever cares, I got some new toys over at the wiki- when you look at certain pages you will notice that there are infoboxes on the right side now. Part of what’s been done is the information in those is specially searchable. Want to find every spell that’s been stated as 1st order? How about everyone who practices Warlockry as their trade? You can do that! I’m still ironing out some wrinkles, there’s big holes in the data, and there’s some additional functionality I’m waiting on, but I think it’s pretty cool.

  26. On checking I was right that there haven’t been that many pages deleted in the wiki *ever*, so I’m not sure. It’s possible that with the addition of some of my new toys utility pages that were somehow getting counted before are now considered in a way so they aren’t being counted, but I really don’t know the underlaying mechanics well enough to guess.

    The bottom line is nothing’s been cut. I’m not sure where anything would be cut, I’m still feeding information *in*.

  27. Going for the quadrupal-post (apologies);

    Do theurgists have a reference for how difficult a god is to contact?

    Demonologists divide demons into circles, wizards have their orders of spells.

    Theurgists seem like they would follow that pattern rather than being like witches and warlocks who are much more fluid in what they do.

    Who knows about sorcerers… (I assume they have some sort of categorization but right now, with the exception of the denekin allasir, all the talismans are listed under descriptions- and that’s about the most information that I’ve got. Never mind practical stuff like how a talisman is made let alone relative difficulty to make.)

  28. Theurgists rank invocations by degree of difficulty, rather than ranking the gods; while obviously some gods are more powerful than others, it didn’t seem polite to say so.

    Also, some deities do have more than one invocation — or did; usually the more difficult ones are forgotten, because why would anyone use them?

    Most — meaning more than half, but not all — of the gods who have been mentioned so far are summoned with first-degree invocations. Asham the Gate-Keeper requires a fifth-degree invocation; the highest level known is sixth, and there may not be a theurgist alive who can pull off a sixth-degree summoning. Calling Tarma is second degree, which is one reason the Called theurgists thought they could do it but didn’t actually manage it.

    Sorcerers don’t divide stuff into levels or ranks, as such; they have categories of talismans, but it’s more by what they do rather than how powerful they are. Within a category they may rank them — e.g., rate weapons by effective range — but there’s no overall system.

  29. How much of the degree is a factor of what happened when the gods retreated after the Great War? Are some of the gods who were harder to contact before the end of the War easier to contact now and vice versa, or was it a unilateral pull-back?

    Is there any indication that new gods are actually being born/created/spawned/discovered/however a new one appears? An interesting story/novel could surround a theurgist who hears the name of a “new” god dropped accidentally/inadvertently during an invocation/communing and finds that the “new” god is far less reluctant to be involved with The World than others. How powerful and/or how benevolent that god actually is/is not, as contrasted with ease of getting that god’s direct involvement could make for some interesting situations.

  30. There’s no evidence that any new gods have come into being since the creation of the World. It’s an interesting idea, though, and I’m not ruling out the possibility that I might want to play with it someday.

    As for the degree of difficulty, the invocations did not change at the end of the Great War; everything got uniformly more difficult, though. You could say that the gods got less error-tolerant — everything now must be exactly right.

    Also, during the war gods would sometimes manifest without being summoned, if they thought they should intervene; that never, ever happens anymore.

  31. I’m guessing, then, that the thirty “common” deities are partially, if not primarily, determined by being the ones where the difficulty of known invocations are commensurate with the value of actually summoning the deity.

    Is finding new theurgical (and demonilogical for that matter) invocations/summonings as guess-and-check driven as wizard spells, or are there cheats? ie; could Unniel or Aibem give a theurgist who thought to ask (and could weasel it out of them) a name/invocation for an unknown god or an easier invocation for a known god?

  32. No theurgist has discovered a new invocation in centuries. Yes, you can ask Unniel or Aibem, and they’ll tell you — which is how the vast majority of invocations were learned in the first place.

    But that’s all been done.

    Occasionally an invocation goes wrong and you get a different god than the one you wanted, but there’s no record of finding a new god or better invocation this way (excluding Santa Claus) for at least five hundred years; you’ll just get, say, Piskor when you wanted Govet, or the like.

    Demons, on the other hand — all invocations of demons were either learned from captured Northerners or discovered accidentally when a summoning (of either a god or a different demon) went wrong. New ones still crop up every so often.

  33. Northern taint indeed. You have any plans on ever revealing what the deal behind the Northern reliance on Sorcery/demonology v the Ethsharatic reliance on Wizardry/theurgy really was?

  34. apropos of your earlier question about page counts; now the page count is up to 299. Have I mentioned I pretty much ignore a lot of the statistics because they don’t seem horribly reliable? The data put into the pages holds, and I’m obviously in love with the things I can do (and am planning on doing) with the symantic statistics… but visitor counts, page counts, and the like seem pretty flaky at times.

  35. Reveal the reason for the preference? I don’t have any plans to do so, but I don’t have any strong opposition to the idea, should it come up in a story.

  36. I’m just having a moment with the implication (intended or not) that there might be non-human Northerners still wandering about. I suppose we have heard that the Northerners used dragons as well and we don’t know the normal lifespan of Shatra…

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