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Betraying the Gnosis posted 30 Aug 2005, 17:08 by Twayleph, Auditor

No, this isn't about Achamian teaching Khellus, although I'm looking forward to see how that goes :) I'm actually interested in knowing how many Mandati have betrayed their School and to what extent. Somewhere in TWP, Achamian mentions that no sorcerer [i:34u3zrvr]of rank[/i:34u3zrvr] ever betrayed the Gnosis, but what about apprentices? Inrau, at least, has defected and Achamian mentioned that if he'd betrayed what little he knew of the Gnosis, rival schools (the Scarlet Spires first, I'd assume) would eventually be able to crack the secret. So was Inrau the only defection in milleniae? I find that hard to believe, since only sorcerers-of-rank touch Seswathat's Heart and the Scarlet Spires must have invested immense resources throughout the centuries to crack this secret. Have other apprentices ever left the Mandate and, if so, did any one of them live long enough to give over a few secrets to the other Schools? The matter of what happens when a Mandati betrays his School will probably breached in TTT, not to mention the Consult agent mentioned in TDTCB, so I'd understand it I got a "read-and-find-out"...still, any questions you could answer would be appreciated! view post

posted 30 Aug 2005, 19:08 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

I understood from Achamian's POV when he was musing on Inrau's defection that the Mandate spares no effort in tracking down and killing any Apprentices who leave the Mandate in order to protect the Gnosis. Inrau was probably a special case in the sense that Achamian managed to smuggle him out and such, most teachers of the Mandate I think would be unlikely to assist an apprentice in escaping. view post

posted 31 Aug 2005, 03:08 by Twayleph, Auditor

Good point on Inrau; he is indeed a special case and I don't think he would've gotten very far without Achamian's help and the Quorum's wilful inaction. But I wasn't implying that Inrau was a common case. Surely with an entire nation at their feet and centuries of greed and envy, the Scarlet Spires could've found a way to get hold of a few apprentices? Yes, traitors would be ruthlessly hunted by the Mandati but if the apprentice could be brought to the Scarlet Spires's headquarters he would be safe there - Achamian himself mentioned that even the Mandate could never hope to infiltrate the innermost sanctums of the Scarlet Spires, and a head-on war against High Ainon would be suicidal. Have there never been traitors that survived long enough to step on a boat out of Nron, and if so why wasn't the secret of the Gnosis exposed after all this time? view post

posted 31 Aug 2005, 23:08 by White Lord, Subdidact

To my mind, it all depends on how closely the apprentices are watched. You mention (actually Achamian mentions it . . . :)) that the stronghold of the Scarlet Spires is invulnerable. But I would bet that Atyersus is equally if not more strongly defended. After all, when a certain level of protection is reached, any offense must fail. To get back on topic, I'd say that if apprentices are confined to Atyersus till they are made sorcerers-of-rank the risk of information leaks or escapes is negligible. If they do manage to escape, they can be easily found. Nron is an island after all, and there must be wards everywhere. You could raise the point of apprentices who lack the ability to advance to the sorcerer-of-rank status, and represent a liability. This could be solved by simply eliminating them, if this kind of ruthlessness is acceptable to the Mandate, and it seems that it is, since all that matters is the Mission. So I guess that, if we ascribe enough ruthlessness to the Mandate, it's very possible to hold the secret of the Gnosis indefinitely. I think a much more pertinent question would be how the ancient Norsirai were able to protect the Gnosis from the rest of Earwa, or why they even tried, especially during the Apocalypse. view post

posted 02 Sep 2005, 11:09 by Twayleph, Auditor

Alright, I see your point WL. Though I still find it amazing that the Mandate could hide for centuries a secret everyone knows about and that very powerful people want desperatly - I guess it all comes down to the Quorum's determination. If they could find it in themselves to let young apprentices grow up barricaded in such a heartless place as Atyersus behind dozens of series of Wards, then escape becomes nearly impossible - unless, of course, you can find a kind teacher who'll disable all the traps for you. As for the query you posed (I'll start with how they could preserve it during the time of the Apocalypse), I'd guess the arrogance and pride of the Norsirai had a lot to do with it; Achamian told us that even after the Apocalypse was well under way and that their greatest nations were falling, they still thought that the High North was going to win, somehow. They may have thought that their uniquely powerful sorcery would help them keep the edge over the South no matter what devastation the North had suffered during the Apocalypse. Seswatha, at least, might not have been so blind, but we could he do? Travel half the world to go South and find potential apprentices, then proceed to teach them over the next few months or years - not every student is Khellus :) - while his home was being ripped apart? Furthermore, even if his School did manage to convert a few sorcerers to the Gnosis, I'd expect they would be required fight the Apocalypse, not to go back home and spread the word. Concerning how the High North could preserve the secret of the Gnosis from the rest of the world for centuries, all I can do is guess that the Anagogic Schools of the South, at that time, were too weak at that time to even rival the Gnostic Schools or be able to steal their secrets. I'm interested to hear your theories on the subject.[/i] view post

posted 02 Sep 2005, 12:09 by White Lord, Subdidact

Well I didn't really think on this till you posted your question. We should first see how the [i:oi597m3o]Norsirai[/i:oi597m3o] got access to the Gnosis in the first place. Scott posted here that it was imparted by a single Nonman renegade. And look what came of it. Now we know that the Mandate is somewhat safeguarded from single sorcerers being coerced or even willingly giving it up. But I don't know if protections of this kind were available at the time of the Ancient North. I suspect the Dreams are the result of some Gnostic sorcery, possibly not doable with the Anagogis. If so, the ancient northern Schools could have had some similar protection, along with the usual surveilance techniques. But if they didn't all it would have taken was a single renegade teaching the Gnosis to any Southern School. So your guess is as good as mine . . . view post

posted 02 Sep 2005, 15:09 by Twayleph, Auditor

[quote:k9lz9c0j]Scott posted here that it was imparted by a single Nonman renegade[/quote:k9lz9c0j] As I understood it, the Gnosis was the result of Nonmen Tutelage: the original Nonman sorcery shared by the Quya caste, and then "refined" by human cunning until it resulted in something different and, judging by the fact that the Nonmen [i:k9lz9c0j]envied[/i:k9lz9c0j] it, more powerful. I don't know how large the Quya are, but it certainly doesn't look like it was one single Nonmen who gave it away. I think the defector you refer to is this : [quote:k9lz9c0j] the first to [share the Gnosis] (Gin'yursis, I think) was an exile, and so I suspect had personal motives. [/quote:k9lz9c0j] Gin'yursis was the first, but he probably wasn't the last. I'd be interested to find out how much the Norsirai were able to make out of the bits they were given at first - and in comparison, how much the Anagogic Schools would be able to make out of an apprentice's revelations if they could get their hands on one. [quote:k9lz9c0j] I suspect the Dreams are the result of some Gnostic sorcery, possibly not doable with the Anagogis.[/quote:k9lz9c0j] Agreed; if it was possible for Anagogic Schools to impose loyalty through Dreams or similar measures, I bet the Scarlet Spires would have long experimented enough in this domain and wouldn't have to worry about their numbers defecting to the Mysunsai. As for this measure being spread throughout the Ancient North, I think that very unlikely. Didn't Seswatha have to sacrifice himself while he was still alive to accomplish this ritual and leave an imprint of his soul on his followers? I don't see any sorcerer sacrificing himself in such a way simply to ensure the High North would conserve its monopoly of the Gnosis. view post

posted 04 Sep 2005, 15:09 by White Lord, Subdidact

You have misread what I was trying to say. I think that what happened was that a renegade, who had some grievance against the Nonmen, first taught the Gnosis to Men, opening the floodgates, as it were. Once that first step was made, there was no more reason for the Nonmen to keep concealing it from human sorcerers. That is why they could then teach it freely during the Tutelage. In fact "joint research" would have been in the interests of both parties at that point. My point was, and is, that all it takes is a single sorcerer who is qualified to train new sorcerers to his same level of proficiency. That is all it takes for the Gnosis or other sorceries to be transmitted from one "community" to another. This is also exemplified by Achamian, who is in the position to teach Kellhus the Gnosis, (as long as the Seswatha protection mechanism allows it) making him at least his equal, and able in his turn to teach others, causing a sort of chain reaction. Also the fact that the Norsirai did some "refining" doesn't mean that they made it superior to the original Nonman Gnosis, or, for that matter, that the Nonmen have done no more "refining" of their own. They had all the advantages on their side after all. But we know too little to say anything on this subject. Then there is also the issue of the Nonmen having had an additional 2000 years, after the end of the Apocalypse, to continue their studies, while among Men there is only the Mandate (and the Consult, if it can still be considered a human School), and we don't know if they have remained static, or have been doing any research of their own. As to Seswatha sacrificing himself, I don't think we can say this with certainty. All it would have taken was for them to wait for him to die of old age, and for him to work his sorcery as he was about to die. Remember he was already very old at that point, and also spent considerable time after the Apocalypse training those that would become the Mandate. And then again, why do you think there wouldn't have been sorcerers willing to sacrifice themselves, or that some kind of sorcery couldn't be worked with an [i:1e5sl2fj]unwilling[/i:1e5sl2fj] soul or whatever is necessary? Too little data to confirm or deny anything at this point . . . view post

posted 14 Oct 2005, 13:10 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I think TTT will add an interesting spin to these speculations. It becomes clear, I think, just why it's so difficult to steal the Gnosis. The answer partly lies in the very structure of sorcery. view post


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