Ask Luna #184

From: Daniel

Okay, so, did the Fateweaver kill Alex and take his memories/personality or what?

Some explanation of how this question came about and why it bugs me enough to ask:

The Epilogue of Risen is written from your point of view, so we aren’t getting any more peeks into the mind of the entity that came out of the Fateweaver merging with Alex like with earlier portions of the book, but “Alex” in that epilogue states that he can no longer path-walk or even focus very much on futures too far from the immediate moment. Also all of the items that were keyed to his magical signature don’t work for him any more (keeper signet, etc.; but there is no mention of the dreamstone, so whether or not he can still use it would be something of a “test” to determine if he’s still Alex or not).

Elsewhere on the internet someone compared this question to the Ship of Theseus debate (if all of the components of a ship are replaced, is it still the same ship?).

In other fictional works (about cloning and the philosophical debate about whether the original person dies or not when the clone wakes up) the stance is that if there is continuity of experience, then the “clone” is still the same person as the original (as long as the original body is dead before the clone wakes up) and in that fiction series the “clones” experience no gaps in memory when transitioning from original body to clone.

Meanwhile, according to Risen, there is a break in memory/continuity between when Alex thinks he is dying and when the Fateweaver/Alex entity wakes up (according to Fateweaver/Alex, he woke up after Anne was done helping the Fateweaver replace Alex’s entire body). Fateweaver/Alex also tells you that he’s having odd memories coming up in his mind that belonged to previous wielders of the Fateweaver (which indicates that the entity currently in the form of Alex and with his personality/memories being dominant is actually an amalgam of all previous wielders and it just takes time to assimilate new information).

Okay, I’m not really the philosopher type, so this isn’t really my field of expertise or anything, but as far as I can see, what you’ve done here is that you’ve spent a while asking a question, then spent a while giving an answer to your own question.  I’m not actually sure I can give you any better answer than the things you’ve tossed out already.  

For what it’s worth, as far as I can tell, it feels like it’s him.  That’s good enough for me.  

From: Sierra

1. Would you consider Tobias to be a master mage on the level of Landis? I only ask because he blocked multiple force blades from Barrayar point blank with the power of a jinn behind it when Rain who is very good had trouble blocking force magic during the mission in Syria. Was this just a situational thing or is Tobias just really good at defensive magic like Landis is?

2. Aside from being a non-lethal attack is there a reason why a water mage would use Hydro Blasts in dangerous situations. I would have thought Tobias would have used disintegration rays against Vihaela but he used water blasts, are they faster or more energy efficient, or is it something else entirely?

3. In the Arcana it mentioned that while not as good as air mages water mages have some sort of mobility effect do you know what this is? Force and air mages are obvious and fire mages can do their own Phoenix flight but what spell do water mages use when they want to get around faster?

  1. Tobias is very good, but I don’t know if he’s master level or not.  Probably he’d be pretty close.  Being labelled a ‘master’ is more of a political thing than a skill thing – it’s more about how famous and admired you are than anything else.  
  2. They’re fast and easy to cast, and because they’ve got a strong kinetic component they usually do something even if they don’t get through the target’s defences.  Even if you shield against a hydroblast, it’ll probably still knock you off balance and make it hard for you to counterattack.  So water battlemages tend to spam them.  They’re also a lot easier to scale down to nonlethal levels than a disintegrate spell, so if you’re only going to specialise in one spell, and you’re not a complete psycho, it makes more sense to master hydroblasts than disintegrate rays.
  3. Water transport, mostly.  They can swim really, really fast, quicker than any sprinter.  Obviously that’s not much use if there isn’t a sea or a river around, but if you’re the one who gets to pick the terrain . . .

From: Brian

1. Do you know how many adepts Richard had in his army? Not a specific number just a rough estimate?

2. What happened to the survivors of Drakh’s army or the ones that he didn’t bring with him are they being hunted or sentenced by the Light Council?

3. Are there air adepts who can fly? And what are the more common air adepts types. I don’t recall meeting that many but for some reason I get the feeling after fire they are one of the most common unless I am mistaken?

  1. Depends what you mean.  If you included all the ones that fought with him at one time or another, a few thousand.  If you limit it to the ‘true believers’ and the veterans, the ones who were the real core of his army, more like a few hundred.  There were also a lot who’d help out in various ways but who wouldn’t go on really dangerous missions.  
  2. That’s been an ongoing political argument for a while.  Some of the Keepers were arguing for harsh sentences and hunting down the survivors, others in the Council wanted a general amnesty.  So far the amnesty faction seems to be winning, partly because Landis backed it, and partly due to war exhaustion/Council casualties.  
  3. They tend to fall into two categories:  mobility types (who can lighten their body to jump or fly) and attacker types (who can use electrical attacks or blades of hardened air).  And yes, they’re one of the more common types.  
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