Re: Re: SOE: A Moment of Syncronicity

From: John Hughes <nysalor_at_...>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 12:47:11 +1000

Thrud's abortive summons of evil, if it was attempted, had nothing to do with what happened afterwards. Perhaps that's why the story, IMG, became so compelling. :)

My fondness for Thrud derives mainly from a weakness for genre-hopping humour, and a growing rw conviction that almost *nothing* in the history of religion, especially that mythologicisation of history that the west calls 'salvation history', occurred as orthodox tradition says it does. Call me a pessimist. I also have a nagging determination to discover, one day, a significant event in the entire Hero Wars that *wasn't* concocted by Broyan and his red-headed offsider. :) Or Argrath the Book Cleanser, as detailed in the second edition.

I agree with Jeff that Broyan would have been entirely within his rights to close down Thrud's cattleyard ritual, and I think this is what probably happened. SOE, if I recall correctly, usually takes several days to complete. But the subversive storytelling aspect of the entire affair is such that IMG, folk will be arguing about for generations. Why did the Bat come to Whitewall? Who started it? What did they intend? Was the approach and its aftermath deliberate, serendipity, incredible luck or a frantic case of fixing your mistakes?

Big events always have a number of semi-independent dimensions.

  1. What the protagonists initially want to happen.
  2. What happens.
  3. How the protagonists justify their actions, subsequent to the event's outcome.
  4. How others initially see, interpret, and justify the event.
  5. How prosperity records the event after a generation or more of the wisdom of hindsight, ideological refashioning, mythogenesis and mutation.

And if there's a single objective truth underneath that lot, and you think a mere human can grasp it, then please send me the instruction manual. (I'm having a postmodern, posthangover morning. Indulge, me: we've just lost an election. :)

Talking with Greg about the 'Kill Orlanth' scenario makes me think that the entire affair was diffuse, tentative, and conducted by various parties with various only vaguely similar goals and mythic understandings who never quite got to talk to each other. Not that this was entirely a surprise: its how the Empire tends to do most things.

What is becoming clear, as Charles reminds us, is that the appearance of the Bat is a moment of great mythic SYNCHRONICITY, perhaps the first of the Hero Wars, where a whole host of people, for a vast range of different and often opposing reasons, all set in motion a train of events that builds to a single purpose. It is Primal Air stirring in the lungs of all who breath,. It is the rays of the unborn White Moon falling upon her children, all one, beginning their path of healing.

Now SOE is a bit like waving a rag at a bull, except you can't see the bull or how big it is. It is dangerous and the results are often unexpected. Like the summoning of the storms that followed, like the wounding of the Bat itself, like the entire drawn out, impossible two year defence of the city, much of what people 'know' happened is simply post-event rationalisation.

At this early stage of the siege, I don't believe Broyan would be setting out to call the Bat, even if he did initiate a SOE. Why should he? His enemies were much more mundane Nor did Tatius at this stage have any inkling of killing Orlanth. Perhaps the moon priestesses who sent the Bat did. But they had nothing to do with Whitewall. The panic that fell on the city was almost total. Organising any city-wide ritual, even organising a moderately large one, would have been very difficult as the Bat approached. In the past we've speculated that the summoning of the Storms (a very different ritual to the SOE, and one requiring if anything even more community resources) was a desperate delaying tactic that in typical Orlanthi fashion (and also Babylon 5 fashion, now there's a rich bed of parallels) led to a hope and a chance and a plan.

I assume that sending the Bat **anywhere** requires careful planning and preparation, so that the plan to send it to Whitewall was decided on long before the SOE began. We're talking synchronicity here beyond simple cause and effect. Which leads to an even more speculative possibility, number 3 below. But I'm getting ahead of myself. :)

In one sense, the event was bigger than anyone's understanding. Perhaps we need to widen the question. The Bat Cometh. Options include

  1. Panic, get drunk, get laid, loot a few houses, hide in the deepest basements.
  2. Run away, risk the still far-from-complete Lunar gauntlet about the city. For most guerrilla fighters, by far the most sensible option.
  3. Begin a summons of evil *after* the Bat is sighted, to increase your magical defences. Whooooo!
  4. Begin to summon storms, winds or other magical defences as your cult and your personal strategies dictate.

Broyan has been fighting a civil war for years, so I believe his control over the city and his followers is disciplined and strong. (It gets much worse when the blue arrow questers arrive in 1919 - they're typical Heortlings and less inclined to follow orders from anyone). Its the folk not in the usual chain of command that are most likely to attempt independent strategies. We've previously identified these as being the Air Temple godar and the the vingans. Both begin to summon storms.

The question is, which of these did Bryan and Kallyr give their energies to, assuming they have much time at all after attempting to limit the growing panic and rioting throughout the city.

Personally, I think most of the strategic rationalisation came *after* the Batblat. They were making it up as they went along. This, aberrations like Argrath aside, is the Orlanthi way.



nysalor_at_... John Hughes

... a flying arrow, a crashing wave, night old ice, a coiled snake, a bride's bed talk, a broken sword, the play of bears, a king's son.

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