Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Ditto » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:48 pm

IronBear wrote:
Ditto wrote:Being free of Duty gives you *completely* free will. Being free of Free Will makes you a mindless golem, which is not what Jillian is in anyway.

Jester represents her Duty. It's consistent with every past appearance in Jillian's mind, and we can put together a reason that Charlie is anti-Duty. Also, Duty is an unbearably strong compulsion, just like the buds are. Ripping out the strongest compulsion leaves a gap for Charlie to pave over, making the next-strongest compulsion (buds) easier to ferret out therefrom.

Charlie is under contract to reduce or eliminate her addiction to flower power. Eliminating the sense of Duty would leave her more open to Flower Power by your own admission.


Eliminating the sense of Duty makes a little sense (more than her ability to use the arkenhammer), but the reason does not. But what is the motivation?

Duty makes you savvy. It makes you think about the big picture, the good of the side. Removing that level of intelligence removes one level of threat - from Jillian, the only holdout to Charlie's deal.

He is also definitely removing the addiction to buds - but he's doing it in a way that happens to benefit him.

I still think mechanism of Fate makes the most sense. The mechanism of Fate is not protected the contract since its behavior is unknown. Since its usefulness in fighting flower power is not a clear positive (in the future it may try to persuade Jillian to submit to Flower Power), its removal is allowed under the contract. Duty is a clear and demostrated positive in the fighting of flower power. Destroying it would be clear violation of the contract.
Finally, why would Betty help Charlie destroy Jillian's sense of Duty? For that to happen we have to assume that she did not identify it. Possible, but not likely.

Granting that Duty is a tool beneficial to fighting addiction, Charlie never said anything about keeping her Will or Immune System intact. He said he'd fix the addiction. You don't need to resist a compulsion with Duty if you no longer have a compulsion, so why not remove Duty while you're working?

Betsy is the Muscle in this linkup, Charlie is the finesse. She didn't know what she was helping to shackle - why would a healomancer know how duty works on a thinkamancer-scale level?
SteveMB wrote:The question is getting Wanda to honor the offer. They could keep going back and forth: offer, honor, offer, honor....
Sorry*.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby IronBear » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:48 pm

Shai_hulud wrote:
hehehe426 wrote:Oh wait end of part 2??
I was just going to ask this too. Does this mean book 0 is done, or will there be a part 3?


I would be shocked to see a part 3. For one, Xin's term is up. For two, the story is at pre-Book 1 status quo.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby 0beron » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:54 pm

IronBear wrote:To me however villiany requires the desire to do harm purely for selfish gain. The fact that Betsy did harm is debatable....Now admittedly Betsy wanted to further and remove her violent nature, but she did not when she found she could not do it safely.
There are some unfair assumptions/interpretations here:
  • I would argue that forcibly molding someone else to your particular worldview and moral code IS selfish and unethical. Even if Betsy believes it's for a greater good, it is still a selfish and evil act.
  • We have absolutely no confirmation or way of even guessing that Betsy knew that what she was doing is safe for Jillian, or that she even cares. She's no Thinkamancer so her grasp of the effect is tenous at best, dependant on Charlie's willingness to share info via the link, and not once does she mention concern for Jillian's mental well-being.
Regardless of her intentions, this was indeed an evil act by Betsy.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby IronBear » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:03 pm

Ditto wrote:
IronBear wrote:
Ditto wrote:Being free of Duty gives you *completely* free will. Being free of Free Will makes you a mindless golem, which is not what Jillian is in anyway.

Jester represents her Duty. It's consistent with every past appearance in Jillian's mind, and we can put together a reason that Charlie is anti-Duty. Also, Duty is an unbearably strong compulsion, just like the buds are. Ripping out the strongest compulsion leaves a gap for Charlie to pave over, making the next-strongest compulsion (buds) easier to ferret out therefrom.

Charlie is under contract to reduce or eliminate her addiction to flower power. Eliminating the sense of Duty would leave her more open to Flower Power by your own admission.


Eliminating the sense of Duty makes a little sense (more than her ability to use the arkenhammer), but the reason does not. But what is the motivation?

Duty makes you savvy. It makes you think about the big picture, the good of the side. Removing that level of intelligence removes one level of threat - from Jillian, the only holdout to Charlie's deal.

He is also definitely removing the addiction to buds - but he's doing it in a way that happens to benefit him.

I still think mechanism of Fate makes the most sense. The mechanism of Fate is not protected the contract since its behavior is unknown. Since its usefulness in fighting flower power is not a clear positive (in the future it may try to persuade Jillian to submit to Flower Power), its removal is allowed under the contract. Duty is a clear and demostrated positive in the fighting of flower power. Destroying it would be clear violation of the contract.
Finally, why would Betty help Charlie destroy Jillian's sense of Duty? For that to happen we have to assume that she did not identify it. Possible, but not likely.

Granting that Duty is a tool beneficial to fighting addiction, Charlie never said anything about keeping her Will or Immune System intact. He said he'd fix the addiction. You don't need to resist a compulsion with Duty if you no longer have a compulsion, so why not remove Duty while you're working?

Betsy is the Muscle in this linkup, Charlie is the finesse. She didn't know what she was helping to shackle - why would a healomancer know how duty works on a thinkamancer-scale level?


You make a valid point. If the addiction is fully gone, then cutting out parts that are useless to Jillian (but not her side) but beneficial to Charlie, would be allowed under the contract.

I thought about it some more, and I think I came up with my own example of how Jillian failed to do her Duty. Jillian never bothered to retake her capital or refind her casters. For her side, that would have been one of the most important things to do. Also Duty would lent itself to her never abondoning Jetstone. I think you may be right that Jillian had her Duty cut out of her.

I also realized that Duty is ultimately a foriegn thing imposed from the outside. So that would help to explain why Betsy could not identify it. (To me lack of experience seem just to weak of an explaination)

But I think my motivation makes more sense. Charlie knew what he was looking for, and Duty is a natural thinkamancy that lends itself to outside manipulation.

In a way I think we may both be right. It is a mechanism of Fate that was cut out of Jillian, and that mechanism of Fate was her Duty.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby IronBear » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:18 pm

0beron wrote:Regardless of her intentions, this was indeed an evil act by Betsy.


What act was evil? She never went through with removing Jillian's violent tendencies. She removed what was necessary to remove the addiction, AS REQUESTED. I believe that the Jester was an external influence. Jillian was made fully aware of the risks of the procedure before hand. Charlie was the one who removed her awareness of the surgery (and that could have been a mercy).

Where is the evil act? At best you have Charlie performing harmless actions for his own gain, and Betsy willing to commit brain surgery to save the lives of others if it would not seriously hurt the person she was operating on.

You have a pair of dark grey antagonists, not villians.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Pointyleaf » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:26 pm

multilis wrote:Some of the positives of Duty... Every unit has duty, even a stabber who is just happy to stab and doesn't care why. But a warlord is more likely to think about why. That can be an asset as well as a risk, an army that is all top down tends to lose to an army where each 20 person squad may show local initiative. A much bigger persian army lost to a small elite greek army that had more free will.


This is what I'll speculate that the jester is: Jillian's initiative, her ability to think for herself.

"Free will" is not just about being rebellious (or not), it's about deciding for yourself. That's something that Jillian lacks all through books 1 and 2, where she mostly drifts through circumstances and lets others choose her way for her. (Or when she does move for herself, she operates off of rage, not thought). This leaves Jillian easily manipulated by those around her - in book 1, first by Wanda, then by Charles, never deciding purely for herself who or what she wants to be.

Hmm. Idk. I 'spect we'll be trying to figure this out for a while yet.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby 0beron » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:43 pm

IronBear wrote:Where is the evil act?
The entire last section, spelled out as plain as day. Actually upon re-reading it, Betsy wasn't even acting for a "greater good" because she didn't remove the violent tendencies after all, she just went through cut out memories as she saw fit. See below, emphasis added:
The Betsy statue put its hands together and looked around. “What do we do now?”

“Like the contract says,” said the Charlie-bugs, “we cure her. Let’s start with the addiction. You can pull out whatever else you don’t like in here. I really don’t care.”

They began tearing things out of her mind. Memories. Opinions. Pleasures. Hatreds. She knew what these were as they were seized, but then the things vanished as concepts. Everything she knew about Charlie, the insects picked out and ate clean.

At some point, near the end, they pulled out her comprehension of the situation itself. The negotiations, the contract, the link-up. For a fleeting moment, she knew the magnitude of her defeat. This was worse than croaking, worse than losing her side. She would be herself no more, after this, with no idea what had been taken from her, or by whom.

And then she did not know that anymore.

Charlie went after the cure, and info about himself. Betsy pulled things out however she pleased, in addition to the cure, with no stated justification.
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GJC wrote:Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby vintermann » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:36 pm

Ironbear is right.

The jester isn't Fate (and thus it's no problem that Jillian goes on to fulfill her fate of becoming queen of Faq). It is, however, something Fate planted in Jillian's mind. As has been said, Fate works through thinkamancy, luckamancy (only moving numbers about, not making up new ones!) and lookamancy/predictamancy.

We know that Erfworlders can defy fate for a while. It just becomes worse for them when fate catches up with them.

I think the "terrible price" Charlie paid for not dying, was simply that it defied Fate. He was supposed to die that day, but didn't, and Fate is trying its damndest to catch up. However, Charlie is a carnymancer, an adept at cheating fate, and he takes unusual precautions like living in a single city and not having regular units. Some of the things that make Charlie "special" may be manifestation of his determination to not give Fate anything to work with.

You can defy Fate for a while (established), but how long? Charlie plans to defy it until it breaks and can't snap back at him anymore.

I think this leads to a situation where Parson is the villain, fighting for the bad guys, fighting against free will, a supreme agent of Fate (correctly identified as such by Wanda!) After all, in the scenario they were playing when he was summoned, this was exactly what Parson was trying to do: Railroad the players with determination. In book one it looked like he was thrown into his own scenario and had to fight the railroading. But he's ultimately not the victim, he's the perpetrator.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby raphfrk » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:38 pm

0beron wrote:Actually upon re-reading it, Betsy wasn't even acting for a "greater good" because she didn't remove the violent tendencies after all, she just went through cut out memories as she saw fit. See below, emphasis added:
They began tearing things out of her mind. Memories. Opinions. Pleasures. Hatreds. She knew what these were as they were seized, but then the things vanished as concepts. Everything she knew about Charlie, the insects picked out and ate clean.

Charlie went after the cure, and info about himself. Betsy pulled things out however she pleased, in addition to the cure, with no stated justification.


"They" could have referred to Charlie's bugs. So, maybe all she did was stand back and let him do it.

I supposed that he could argue that once the contract was agreed to, then the memories were just going to trigger head-aches.
Last edited by raphfrk on Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Aquillion » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:44 pm

If the jester represented the ability of Fate to control Jillian, that would explain why Charlie used her later on, in Jetstone -- he knows that Parson is Fated to win, so if Jillian has been "fate-pruned", she'd be one of the few tools Charlie can rely on to stop him.

Regardless, though, there's something else we're overlooking: Does the modern Jillian seem like someone who had all the violence and aggression removed from her? No. So obviously something else happens. My guess is that her father realizes that Jillian has been modified and forces them to put her back somehow (to an extent), because it's against his philosophy for his daughter and heir to be subjected to this.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby 0beron » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:51 pm

raphfrk wrote:They could have referred to Charlie's bugs.
Not when you consider it all in context. Charlie clearly says all he cares about is the cure, but clearly memories unrelated to the cure or Charlie are being removed. "Opinions. Pleasures." specifically don't have anything to do with that, so Betsy was responsible for directing those to be removed. If the pair of them removed only what was neccessary for the cure, and the Charlie-related info covered by the Deal, then Jillian wouldn't feel that she was no longer herself. They took more than just memories, and Betsy was the one deciding that.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby crex90 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:59 pm

This scene made me profoundly uncomfortable, not the least reason for which is the idea that there may be no answers or insight into what exactly was taken or why for quite some time, due to the End of Part 2 bit.

Jillian clearly is still impulsive and aggressive, still competent in battle, still attracted to Wanda, still hostile toward Charlie's manipulative ways. I'm not sure what was taken beyond "plot points." I also don't see how this meshes with Betsy's stated desire to heal and not harm, unless that was a lie.

It would be more than profoundly stupid to cripple FAQ's warlady in this way. It would be tantamount to suicide, since without her vigorous, constant actions, the casters would themselves be disbanded due to upkeep.

I don't see Betsy's motivation here beyond petty cruelty, and it seems that her own Duty ought to compel her against do this to Jillian, despite her personal dislike for the woman.
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"All the stories are fictions. What matters is which fiction you believe." - Orson Scott Card, Children of the Mind
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Staberinde » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:00 pm

We've been getting hints all throughout the story about this... Stanley feels like a very very strange choice to wield the arkenhammer. Wanda gets burned when she does not accept Jillian's offer at turning.

IMO, people who say Jillian was fated to wield the arkenhammer is correct. Plus, Wanda was fated to wield the pliers under Jillian's rule. It fits - Jillian is a character which has problems with the concept of royalty and would be the first to break it all down for something new.

But with this operation, Jillian was left unable to attune with the hammer - which ended up Stanley wielding it, which ended up Wanda becoming Stanley's caster. It's a neat answer to many questions - why an incompetent, evil side is wielding so much power. Why is Wanda stuck with this side. Why we need a competent warlord to make up shortcomings of Stanley...
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby HandofShadows » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:11 pm

Some people have said that the Jillian of Book 0 is not different than the Jillian of Books 1 & 2. I think they are wrong. One thing that has clearly been taken from Jillian is her self control. While she was impulsive in Book 0. She also controled herself and avoided doing hugely stupid things most of the time and did some rather smart things on occation. The JIllian of Books 1 & 2. Has almost no self control. She flys off the handle easily, has even attacked allies and behaves in a very reckless way and makes stupid mistakes frequently. Not to mention she has become a submissive masocist in bed.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Whispri » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:11 pm

IronBear wrote:I see our problem. You have a more liberal definition of villiany. If use your definition and interpertation of events then Betsy just slips over the line into villian.

To me however villiany requires the desire to do harm purely for selfish gain. The fact that Betsy did harm is debatable. Jillian is still pretty much the same person before the mind surgery as after. The only things removed were unnecessary to Jillian (Jester, awareness of procedure) or harmful (addiction to flower power). And frankly the removal of the 'awareness of procedure' is a bit like arguing that people should be awake for all surgeries. Would you like to be awake for when they crack open your chest and perform heart surgery? Now admittedly Betsy wanted to further and remove her violent nature, but she did not when she found she could not do it safely. Again the use example, if you knew a small brain tumor was making someone into a murderous sociopath, would you leave the tumor be just because it would change who the person was?

Finally, you have to look at the story from other points of view. This story is told from third person as interperted by Jillian. To go back to my original analogy, if you were writing a story about witnessing your own heart surgery because of a botched anastesia, would you describe it is sterile medical jaragon or would be full of jarring imagery meant to relate your fear at that moment.

I'd say words to the effect of 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' but there's no point, Betsy had no good intentions, there was nothing physically wrong with Gillian until Betsy betrayed her, tearing apart her victim's mind for her own sick ends. 'You will become like us' is a monster's line. And make no mistake Betsy the mind rapist is a merciless, heartless, monster without redeeming features and the Erf will become a better place when she is ended. When Faq is ended.

IronBear wrote:
Shai_hulud wrote:
hehehe426 wrote:Oh wait end of part 2??
I was just going to ask this too. Does this mean book 0 is done, or will there be a part 3?

I would be shocked to see a part 3. For one, Xin's term is up. For two, the story is at pre-Book 1 status quo.

Then you'd better prepare yourself for a shock, a post at a place called 'reddit' (and a later clarification around here) revealed Book Zero to be only two thirds finished at page seventy.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:28 pm

I like bladestorm's "jester = family influence" hypothesis.


I'm intrigued by Ditto's hypothesis that Charlie is fighting Duty. A jester can speak truth to power, and Duty can counter Obedience in service to Loyalty. (It's not clear if Duty is even applicable to non-caster barbarians and Rulers, so we may never know if Jillian's Duty has been impacted.)

In Wanda's case, he may have destroyed Loyalty. Note the lowercase 'l' in "I am loyal to Fate magic."

It strikes me that the whole story may be structured around Charlescomm as social commentary on the corporate erosion of Duty and Loyalty.


No one in particular wrote:It may weaken my theory, but it doesn't refute it. Like I said, maybe Charlie figured Wanda would croak soon (offer some buds as a present and goodwill gesture, get her back on the stuff). Maybe he felt she was rendered harmless by being stuck in a bubble kingdom where she'd never find a 'Tool (Jillian, on the other hand, would always be sent out into the world for merc missions, and might come across the hammer). Maybe he DID rip that part out of her, and Fate just made it grow back (Fate's a bitch like that). Maybe, since she'd already signed the DoaL contract, Charlie was unable to work his mind-mojo on her because of the "Do No Harm to Faq" proviso. Jillian had a special loophole put into her contract, after all, and that may be what opened her up to getting totally rewritten like this. *shrugs*

And maybe we already saw a flashback, in Book I, to the scene where Marie (re-)instates jester-equivalent attunement potential in Wanda.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Jeivar » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:32 pm

Isn't it possible that these removings are meant to be temporary, while the addiction-fix is being performed? Like putting a patient under anesthesia before surgery?
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby IronBear » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:46 pm

Whispri wrote:I'd say words to the effect of 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' but there's no point, Betsy had no good intentions, there was nothing physically wrong with Gillian until Betsy betrayed her, tearing apart her victim's mind for her own sick ends. 'You will become like us' is a monster's line. And make no mistake Betsy the mind rapist is a merciless, heartless, monster without redeeming features and the Erf will become a better place when she is ended. When Faq is ended.


Again, show me the damage. As far as I can see Jillian is the same person before as after. It is also clear that the only way to get rid of the infection was to cut out portions of her mind that had been infected. To again go back to my analogy. If the surgeon cuts out you memories of your father to save you from brain cancer, does that make what he did an evil act? Especially if you asked for it, he told you beforehand that the procedure was experimental and could result in you losing memories, and you still went through with it.

Look at the results of the surgery. Betsy & Charlie did not change Jillian.

But of course I was arguing from the assumption that we were back to pre-Book 1 status quo. If Part 3 opens with Jillian being the perfect little philosphier prince that Banhammer wanted (or any other kind of wildly different personality), then yes I have to agree with you that Betsy is a bit of a monster.

I say we table the argument until we see what results from Betsy's work. Surgery is a brutal process on the body & the brain. Period. You can not judge it by how it is done, only by what it results in. If you look only at is components then it comes across as the most base violation and assualt on a person. That is why I am loath to declare what Betsy & Charlie did as evil.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Lamech » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:49 pm

Jeivar wrote:Isn't it possible that these removings are meant to be temporary, while the addiction-fix is being performed? Like putting a patient under anesthesia before surgery?

The jester might be if it was on its own. The jester was making the cure impossible. But after that Charlie wanted to hit the addiction before going after anything else. Then he presumably went after the concepts he didn't like. Anyway not even the jester because Charlie refereed to it as the "tool of the enemy". Even if he needed to remove it for the cure, he would have removed it anyway.

I just had a thought: The jester clearly had to do with Jillian's idea of resistance. It was what she called up to resist. But its possible it was also something more? Fate's hook in her? Meh, I'm just random mass guessing.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 081

Postby Caelic » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:52 pm

IronBear wrote:To me however villiany requires the desire to do harm purely for selfish gain. The fact that Betsy did harm is debatable. Jillian is still pretty much the same person before the mind surgery as after.


So, in your view, the intent justifies the means?

Many, many people do terrible things and believe they have good reasons for them, and are nonetheless villains in both reality and literature. Do you really believe this? I'd say that it's enough to do harm, in the end intent is much less important.

And mind-rape is literally the worst thing I can imagine happening, I'd rather be tortured. It's clearly *meant* to come off as horrific in this update.
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