[Some good points and an adequate comparison of the most common powers with some glaring holes and misunderstandings. A failed attempt at answering the extra question, the answer to that is, of course, the Will. The only true power upon which each separate power is but a variant. 6/10 See me.]
2nd Clade Cadet Uxubarin yr qrut tralnö
Compare the Powers found among Shadow-dwellers with the Gyre. Examine their relative strengths and typical modes of use. Extra marks: which one came first? (2,500 words; 10% of assessment)
While The Gyre and Shapeshifting are well known at Horizon, these Powers are quite uncommon across Shadow. Higher Shadow-dwellers (that is, the ones who recognise the thin nature of “reality” in their home Shadows) have developed many different techniques to manipulate and traverse Shadow. [References?] Some of these almost rival The Gyre in locality-applicable power, although few come close to its scope across Shadow. [References? You should have this text in your supplemental reading list…]
Because Powers can be broadly categorised, we can examine their natures in stereotypes, rather than having to regard every individual specimen. Once we have broadly described the Powers and compared them, we can speculate on how they may have arisen, and whether they are independently-achieved paths to mastery of Shadow, or whether, indeed, one is the progenitor of them all (dih-Glessop).
The First Step On The Road To Power Is To Know Thine Own Self
The immortal words of the poet-sorcerer Lomander Priakwy es y Scaum ring as true today as they did in the Indigo Age. [It’s enough just to give the reference] Many commentators have explored Lomander’s themes in the context of Shapeshifting. [This should be first sentence – more substance less style] The essence of this most personal Power is of course the actual and total control of one’s own physical form. This is obviously an immensely useful Power across the arbitrary environments of the Rim. Evolutionary precursors (life-stage metamorphosis, teranthropy, proteanness) and the immense plethora of Shapeshifters in this region suggest it could have arisen without Will among beasts. Many sages (Waldahr; Lim; Tumeozuhn) hold these proto-Shapeshifters would have bootstrapped themselves out of beast-hood and into true intelligence [Ambiguous, many definitions of true intelligence], adapting to and tapping into other Powers as they encountered the opportunities to do so. [You have fundamentally misunderstood Braobohr’s theory. Adapting and utilising doesn’t imply an incautious consumption of any and all powers encountered as you have assumed … see me.] I disagree. Braobohr’s observation that Shapeshifters instinctively avoid anything that looks to threaten their sense of Self [Should expand on how a power threatens a “sense of self” and what that means for the will. How a sense of self is all important for all powers.] makes it hard to envision any half-aware Shapeshifter deliberately diving into the Gyre, or consuming a Fastness-jewel. Perhaps these unlikely events happened, and so were Truth, but if this is so then Luck would have to be the greatest Power, [Luck IS a manifestation of power … curious that you haven’t grasped this.] and if so, it remains beyond our abilities to control, let alone comprehend. I will look elsewhere for the First Power and hope not to have to give up and rely on Luck.
Shapeshifting is superlative for adapting Self to the environment, but is not useful for defending Will against influence from the Other. [Reference!] It is also only useful for traversing Shadow on the Rim where the Shadows are thin. Different Powers are necessary for Willworking and true freedom of travel.
By My Will Alone I Set The World In Motion
Just as Shapeshifting is the quintessence of being at home in any environment, Sorcery is the fundamental expression of making a home out of any environment. In the Legion Handbook (Ch.16), it is defined as the control of Shadow-locality through codified projection of raw Will. Obviously, this means there are as many Sorceries as there are Shadows that support them (and there are as many, or more, Shadows in which Sorcery can not arise) (Xipiel). The art of Sorcery taught at Horizon is the developed senior Art based on a synthesis over a myriad petty-Sorceries into a more flexible superstructure useful in any (sorcery-enabled) Shadow. But yet a Sorcerer must adapt their techniques constantly to the local Shadow’s reality-set. A spell taken from one Shadow to another must be recompiled before it will work as before. This is the major argument (Schpong & Fhank The Incinerator) against Sorcery being a pre-eminent Power: it is weak against any of them (but that being said, a duel between a Sorcerer and a Shapeshifter has long been accounted an even bet).
Sorcerous spells are impermanent, lasting only as long as the Sorcerer wills them. Unless, of course, if the spell can also tap an enduring power-source to perpetuate it. Developments on this path lead to Necromancy and Conjuration, among other lesser Powers: the manipulation of standing-waves in local Shadow to perpetuate sorcerous effects (Sabrathiel).
Sorcerous spells can also be created to move the Sorcerer through Shadow. The limitations of this technique are obvious and many. Among these are: the Sorcerer must have command of the Shadow-rules at both location and destination; both loci become marked up at the time of spell compilation, and can be interfered with to defeat the spell; the transition does not compensate for differences in environment (although more sophisticated spells of transit do include gradient-smoothing functions, and Shapeshifting sorcerers typically are not fazed by new environments); and apart from the use of Conjuration, transit spells are immensely difficult to scale up (Melancthe Senior).
Because of these issues, any serious Shadow-travel uses Powers other than Sorcery. In my conclusion, however, I will look at how the ability to access external power sources and traverse Shadow make Sorcery the most likely precursor to the major Powers. [Should also expand on how these power sources lend themselves to travel across shadow or the range of their influence in the multiverse. Otherwise they are not very useful to the traveller.]
I Built This, It’s Mine, And It’s Better Than Yours
[Uninformative title. More substance less style!]
[Start with the actual power – Pattern and Logrus, then go into all this detail about node and boundary.]
Throughout broader Shadow are regions that are enclosed microcosms: the Fastnesses. Each Fastness is generated or projected from a central node of power, and its Shadows are typically identifiable reflections of the Shadow in which this node (often called a Fastness jewel, since nodes often instantiate as crystalline entities) resides. The boundary between the Fastness-Shadows and broader Shadow is inevitably turbulent (Adaminaby; Song).
Both the node and the boundary turbulence are sources of Power. In Horizon parlance a node Power is a Pattern and a boundary Power is a Logrus. In any Fastness these Powers are antithetical and inimical. In general the Pattern will be locally pre-eminent over the Logrus because when the opposite occurs, the Fastness will be devoured by its boundary and its microcosm will collapse into broad Shadow once more (Ozadandeley & Garthim).
Pattern wielders (often dubbed Pattern-walkers, because their Shadow-travel takes the form of physical travel from location to location) are often blood relatives because this is a simple security measure on access to the Power. [Oversimplification. Pattern walkers are part of the pattern, the pattern is an extension of their will and they an extension of it – which is why only blood relatives of the original pattern creator may access it’s power. This theory is covered in other works by Docholi, surprised you haven’t mentioned it here.] The Legion has learned that this also carries an extra sting: when a Pattern-walker is killed, their connection to their Pattern explodes in a ‘Pattern Curse’ effect that can have major effects on an ongoing campaign, its personnel and resources. Only the complete destruction of the Pattern node will reliably void these curses (Blaoue).
Logri are typically more accessible to wielders of sufficient Will, but are no less perilous to initiate into. The unsuccessful are killed, teratoformed or merely physically or mentally maimed. Even successful initiates often bear these stigmata more faintly. Logri typically manifest as tendrils, tentacles and black roads and seem grasping: the initiate reaches out through Shadow and draws things to them, or themselves to the grasped thing. Jochasri posits these are actually manifestations of the Logrine need for stability in the face of boundary turbulence: the Logrus initiate reaches out for ‘hand-holds’ in the storm. [Very good analysis]
Logri have another aspect which reinforces the enmity between them and their Pattern-sibs: [Flippant] Logrus power is contagious within a Fastness. It spreads boundary turbulence and destabilises the Fastness. [REFERENCE] Lesser and Higher inhabitants of the Fastness-Shadows perceive this (perhaps rightly) as a taint, toxin, malaria or curse. [NEEDS A REFERENCE!] Perhaps the Logrines do too, but cleave to it out of bitterness or anger, or to serve religiously the Oroborus objective of their Power in defeating its own generator.
Both Fastness Powers also serve as sovereign Will defences, and can often be used directly as power sources and ‘racks’ for sorcerous spells. Fastness Powers also project into broader Shadow to a greater or lesser range, which anecdotally surprises naïve Fastness Power wielders. They are insufficient to come to Horizon, however, and in most cases unusable on the Rim in general (Adaminaby). [Good]
Trump is ubiquitous in Shadow (Atrus). It allows instantaneous communication and travel between any point and the location or person depicted on the Trump card (the vast majority of Trumps are small plaques like playing cards; other forms are exceedingly rare) (Achenar).
Trump is not a primary Power: it always must be empowered by another source, and all Trump artisans are initiated into one of the other higher Powers (Sirrus; Stranger). And yet, the fundamental techniques and aspects of Trump are a constant across its instantiations. It is as if the technique is the actual Power rather than its implementation: a parametaphysical parasite or symbiote! [Or a resonant frequency of will within the shape of the multiverse – Read Vashnaramal et al]
Trump artists say that anything that can be depicted can be travelled to. The obvious shortcomings of this are that the other Powers allow casual access to places that aren’t anticipated, allowing serendipity, and that Trumps must be perceivable to be useful. This is why Legion prison cells are kept in darkness, numbing mist and silence (Catherine & Gehn).
Riders On The Gyre
The preeminent Power is The Gyre. This is a matter of basic metaphysics, since The Gyre is also the parametaphysical medium in which all Shadow floats like leaves on a higher dimensional pond. It is raw potential, seething, ceaselessly creating and destroying. It is everywhere and nowhere; every-thing and no-thing (Sjóndeildarhringur Catechism 1:1:4).
On the Rim encounters with The Gyre are common to the point of inevitability as the frayed Shadows here abrade against each other and shatter into undifferentiated chaos. There are lesser Shapeshifters of the Rim who have developed the ability to traverse from Shadow-fragment to fragment, leaping into the Gyre and adapting at every moment to survive the supremely dissociative conditions, their hold on Self paramount. In these moments each Shapeshifter is in essence its own Shadow. Nothing has ever been learned of the leapers who fail to reach their destination (Stökkva). [Emphasising Braobohr’s point]
The consensus at Horizon [REFERENCES!!] is that these agile Shapeshifters are our ancestral creatures. Among them arose adaptations to bring The Gyre with them into Shadow to enable in-Shadow leaps, and then for other uses. Out of this arose sentience, civilisation, and finally, wisdom. [The wisdom part is debateable]
The Gyre is the ultimate survival toolkit. [If it doesn’t kill you first] As The Gyre is everywhere, it is potent everywhere. An initiate of the Gyre can travel by ‘sinking’ out of local Shadow into the subtending vortex and will themselves to another envisioned point, or even in a general direction within The Gyre (since despite its turbulence, there are enduring currents and local eddies). Smaller traverses can be used to locate desired objects that the initiate can then reach through to grasp. The Gyre can be invoked as a barrier to physical and Will effects produced by other Powers. With much effort, The Gyre can be used to free entire Shadows and slip them past their analogues, enabling the Legion’s Shadow-warships (Legion Handbook Ch.7). And finally, in the hands of the unethical, The Gyre can be invoked as a kind of indiscriminate inferno to utterly destroy the location in which it is allowed entry. This last use is why the Legion controls access to the Untempered Schism [Anachronism: current form is ‘The Chiral Door’. Ref Euryale.] at Horizon, to maximise the ethical preparation of Gyre initiates lest the unwise and ill-tempered damage enough of Shadow to cause Horizon to collapse entirely (Legion Handbook Ch.2).
Although regarded as a Power, The Gyre can sometimes be locally overmatched by proximity to a Fastness Power or even a Sorcerous/Conjured power node, its general usefulness and range make it the Power of Choice for the discerning Shadow traveller (Ferð & Saltweasel).
So How Did It All Start?
As I have mentioned, the consensus at Horizon is that Shapeshifting is the originator of The Gyre, [The Gyre is a phenomenon completely separate to any power or will, you are referring to the first to utilise its power] and Shapeshifters travelling into Shadow from Horizon found or constructed the Fastnesses of other Powers. Some disagree: Gustavia Schiochave en dan Braobohr is the most eminent of these voices. In Braobohr’s thesis The Geist and the Haruspex, they set out counter-arguments for the Shapeshifter hypothesis. These include:
- Shapeshifters’ fundamental sense of Self drives them instinctively avoid interacting with external power sources such as the Gyre or any Fastness node. Even at Horizon, we assay The Gyre only after extensive training and through the ritual of the Untempered Schism rather than “just diving in”.
- Shapeshifters can not travel far into Shadow past the hinter-realms of the Rim, and so are unlikely to encounter Fastnesses at all.
- Shapeshifters can not mould Shadow into power nodes.
- Even if a Shapeshifter were to become initiated into The Gyre and so become able to travel in Shadow, why would they then trade The Gyre for a local Fastness Power?
[Conflating the user with a single power that they wield is a common mistake. The SHAPESHIFTING POWER does not enable many things however a SHAPESHIFTER may be proficient in more than one power.]
Although Braobohr coyly leaves unanswered the question of what instead would be the primal Power, later investigators (Kak Lop; Sisselway; Shiwax; de Masque) have explored this mystery. I find Shiwax’s arguments for Sorcery compelling. Sorcery is an adaptable set of tools commanding travel through Shadow, reshaping of Shadow and the capacity to channel external power sources. Finding or more likely, creating, a Fastness Power seems an inevitable consequence of a master-Sorcerer’s desire to build a better Sorcery. Carnacki’s Biographies of the Sorcerers (in 23 volumes) lends plausibility to this thesis: the common traits of all sorcerers are a desire to reshape their worlds, and an insatiable appetite for Power.
My own observations of Sorcery along the Shadows of the North East Jacinth Beyond accords with Carnacki. Every sorcerer I met was nakedly determined to improve their command of the art and extend its scope. I was open with many about my origin, but cleaved to Legion protocols (Legion Handbook Ch.23) on The Gyre and Horizon. All of them were intrigued by The Gyre. Most expressed the desire to find and assay it. I could imagine any one of them as a fictive primitive Sorcerer whose desire for greater and greater sorcerous ability drove them to quest among Shadow for dormant power nodes that could be captured and their power directed; or to rebuild a Shadow into a fount of power. Rivalries between these premythical beings would refine their command of Powers and defences of them. Eventually, some among them would come to the Rim, out of curiosity or fear of pursuit, and encounter the raw Gyre. Their mental structures would serve them better than any quicksilver wit among the Shapeshifters in trying to understand and attempting to command The Gyre. Perhaps one among these would realise The Gyre is beyond control, but amenable to sympathy and adaptation. This clever, wise soul would be our ultimate ancestor. [A fine confection spun from a purely anecdotal experience and presupposing all sorcerers are exactly alike with the same motives.]
In examining at the most superficial level the natures and likely originating causes of the Powers across Shadow, I have shown how they are more similar than different in utility. I have outlined the Shapeshifting–Sorcery argument on the origin of Power use, and by listing the weaknesses of the common Shapeshifting thesis, demonstrated that in fact Sorcery is the most plausible progenitor of Power initiations, including The Gyre.
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I wish to thank Archivist Delwin blentyn o’r pedwar tiroedd for their kind assistance in locating these resources and endless patience with a humble cadet.