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> The 8 questions of JsonaVar (E/S crossover teaser)
Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 01:46 PM
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I know the idea of Horrors in SR, or indeed the whole concept of Earthdawn/Shadowrun crossover, is not to everybody's taste, so this thread might not be for you.
But for those who get a kick out of this kind of thing, I present the following tidbit for your consideration. It'd be nice to pretend that any discussion it provokes might be going on in some secret corner of MagickNet, so role-playing it would be cool, but... whatever.


QUOTE
As past verses plead, surely none shall close the doors on the Horoi lest first they answer the eight questions of Jsona Var. Else we stand forever on our side of the door and lash at them as they pour hence.

from 'On Cosmology and Other Dimensions' (using the Muerkin translation)

This fragment of text, thousands of years old, has been the subject of intense debate amongst those thaumatological scholars lucky enough to see it. The Horoi mentioned are powerful kinds of evil and sadistic spirits (also called Horrors, or The Enemy) which- if certain sources are to be believed- have been plaguing the world since its creation, and which are supposed to grow particularly powerful and dangerous in those ages when magic flourishes in the world. These entities are said to thrive on pain and suffering, they corrupt and tempt weak minds, and they plot to turn the world into a living hell, or else destroy it outright.

It is said that much of the secret history of the world is the story of the battle between the Horoi and those beings who seek to thwart them. If there is truth in this, then it is tempting indeed to dream that the Horoi might one day be banished from the Earth forever. Certainly various scholars have spent years trying to discover more about the ‘eight questions of Jsona Var’. Some equate the name with that of an ancient dragon who supposedly perished in the Fourth Age of magic and was known as Vasdenjas (“Master of Secrets”, which in another ancient dialect might be rendered Dsjena’Va), but this is pure speculation.

Another partial piece of text (unearthed several years ago at an archaeological dig in a location that has been kept top secret) does not contain any specific reference to ‘Jsona Var’ but has nevertheless excited much interest as it takes the form of a series of questions which certainly ‘fit the bill’, even if they are a little enigmatic (perhaps exacerbated by the process of translation):

QUOTE
Can any meeting of minds be flawless?
Can all motives ever be aligned?
Can a tapestry be woven that never frays at the edges?
Can the moth ever be kept from the flame?
Can one island ever be sufficient?
Can a tree ever spread its roots out through the sea?
Can suffering ever lose its sting?
Can any beast be tamed?
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James McMurray
post Apr 28 2006, 03:17 PM
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QUOTE (Witness)
Can any meeting of minds be flawless?
Can all motives ever be aligned?
Can a tapestry be woven that never frays at the edges?
Can the moth ever be kept from the flame?
Can one island ever be sufficient?
Can a tree ever spread its roots out through the sea?
Can suffering ever lose its sting?
Can any beast be tamed?

No, there cannot be a flawless meeting of the minds, because all minds are flawed.

All motives can be aligned, but only by removing those whose motives are incompatible.

Sure, make it out of metal. ;)

Lock the moth away and allow no fire sources.

Sufficient for how many?

Sure, with a little genetic engineering to let it process salt water.

After a while all senses dull to constant stimulation.

Nope, not any beast. Broken perhaps, which may be the same thing depending on how you look at it.
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 03:28 PM
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Hmm. Literal! ;)
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emo samurai
post Apr 28 2006, 04:22 PM
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Yes, any meeting of minds can be flawless.

Yes, but not with each other.

Yes, as long it has no edges.

Kill it.

Yes, no island is truly alone; they are, by definition surrounded by the vast, living sea. As long as it is always living and vast, an island is always sufficient.

If one can remove all the salt from the ocean, yes.

Yes, if one loses suffering.

Should any beast be tamed, rather than befriended?

And do the dudes who made Earthdawn have any idea what the answers are?
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 04:53 PM
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QUOTE (emo samurai)
And do the dudes who made Earthdawn have any idea what the answers are?

Uh actually, although the first quote is from ED (well kinda- I threw in my own more ancient-sounding translation, but compare to the more exact quote in the hyperlinked thread), the 8 questions above- which may or may not be those of Jsona Var- are my own contribution. And yes I know what they're getting at. ;)

EDIT: and the challenge I'm throwing out here is not so much 'what are the answers' as 'what might the questions really mean?'
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Dawnshadow
post Apr 28 2006, 04:55 PM
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QUOTE
Can any meeting of minds be flawless?
Can all motives ever be aligned?
Can a tapestry be woven that never frays at the edges?
Can the moth ever be kept from the flame?
Can one island ever be sufficient?
Can a tree ever spread its roots out through the sea?
Can suffering ever lose its sting?
Can any beast be tamed?


Yes -- if you can take every thought, will, and feeling and mesh them together into one being, that is the sum of all the parts of the others. There are no flaws to the meshing of all minds, for each flaw present in one mind is meshed with the lack of such a flaw in another. Indifference to Hatred and Love, Selflessness to Greed, Fairness to Mercy and Cruelty.

Yes -- when the accomplishment of every motive requires a single goal.

Yes -- when the tapestry woven has no edges, but is neverending and complete in itself. When the pattern weaves back upon itself, there is no edge to fray. No thread to be pulled out, that will unravel the pattern.

Yes -- when there is no need for destruction to balance creation, there will be no need for the moth to seek the flame. When understanding has been reached, the moths of metahumanity will not seek the destroying flame, the corrupt power.

Yes -- when all that exists is an island. For what is this world, but an island in the sea of existance?

Yes -- what is metahumanity but the roots of your civilization? When it truly becomes one civilization, then the roots of the tree will have spread through the sea.

Yes -- when faced with perfect acceptance and peace, there is nothing for suffering to sting.

Yes -- every beast is tamed by its nature, but its nature is not metahumanity.



The 8 questions provide the basis of the riddle -- but not the answer. To stand against the Scourge, all are required -- but knowing each answer is not enough. Each answer must be lived, breathed, understood, and made true for all that dwell beneath the sun.

And so I challenge you thus:

To forge a flawless meeting of all minds, where all motives are joined together, into a tapestry that cannot be frayed, where understanding has been reached and this world is complete in itself, with every being standing in one civilization, and all have found perfect acceptance, and all beasts have joined in their place in the pattern: It is then that the Enemy shall falter, and in that moment, shall those who dwell beneath the stars survive.

Edit: Fixed a typo.. Scourge! Scourge! not surge!
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emo samurai
post Apr 28 2006, 04:57 PM
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So the 8 questions were never really asked to begin with?

I like how a lot of key words in the questions are double entendres; every usage of "any" is ambiguous.
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 04:58 PM
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Dawnshadow: dude, I love you. Great effort!
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stevebugge
post Apr 28 2006, 05:00 PM
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42
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EDIT (for some reason I've got a bit of Douglas Adams on the brain this morning, I'll have to get the street doc to see if he can get it off)

More seriously if these questions referred to a series of artifacts or wards, or clues to their whereabouts of their formulations it could be the basis for a fun campaign.
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 05:10 PM
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stevebugge: ;)

>>[Llerron]: My esteemed colleague Dawnshadow makes an interesting interpretation of the 8 questions, but I question his optimism. Perhaps not all the answers are yes, and these questions dare us to accept that and seek another route?
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hyzmarca
post Apr 28 2006, 05:17 PM
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The questions are vauge enough to be interperated in any way you want them to be. Like most charlatans and false profits the author give you just enough information to jump to whatever conclusion you want to jump to.

But, to me, the solution is obvious. Use a massive Renaming ritual to transform all metahumans into Horri and end this schism that has existed for far too long.
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Dawnshadow
post Apr 28 2006, 05:20 PM
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>>[Dawnshadow] A map has been given -- it's up to Metahumanity whether it should choose to follow it. But what is ritual sorcery but a joining of the magical essence of those who participate? Was it not the ritual sorcery of Howling Coyote, in the Great Ghost Dance, that was the single most powerful magical event of this age?

Does it not follow then, that should every being in this world join into a perfect ritual link, going beyond shaman and hermetic, awakened and mundane, metahuman and animal, adult and child, spirit and dragon, into to simply one who dwells in this world, that the Enemy could be halted, and cast out for all time? Would not even a drop of the power that is part of every living thing, from each, be a force of power that could accomplish such a task?
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 05:21 PM
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>>[LeaningBear]: The authenticity of the text can't be questioned, but one can certainly question if they are in truth the questions of Jsona Var. Alas, as so often the way in these matters, mysticism hides its true meaning behind a veil of ambiguity. But some of us are drawn to that!

EDIT:
>>[Llerron]: It is a wonderful dream Dawnshadow, but can it ever be a reality? And if so then I fear what means might be used to justify such an end.
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emo samurai
post Apr 28 2006, 05:27 PM
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>>[Shen]: What if there are beings that do not want to be joined into that whole? Does not such a solution in a very fundamental way discount the individual meaning of each and every life?
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 05:34 PM
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>>[Holmar The Dutiful]: Perhaps, Shen, that is the meaning of each and every life?

>>[Vescent]: "If one can remove all the salt from the ocean, yes". Hmmm..
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emo samurai
post Apr 28 2006, 05:36 PM
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>>[Shen] The purpose of a life is to sustain all life? That seems circular at best, meaningless and tedious at worst. I should hope not. Life should be lived for the sake of life, but the greatest event of any single life should not be a sacrifice for the whole; if so, then why have individuation at all if one is going to negate it?

>>[Lothar] I do not know what removing the salt from the sea could mean; and if one could, would you choose the dominion of the tree, or the continued survival of those in the sea?
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Dawnshadow
post Apr 28 2006, 05:39 PM
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>>[Dawnshadow] Do not all things band together when facing extinction?

Rattlesnakes cluster in pipes, ladybugs huddle around a tuft of grass. Do not people band together in the face of foes?

To those who say that it is a violation of the meaning of each individual life, I say it is the fulfillment of that life-- to choose to join together with every other living thing, and survive, or to choose against such a joining, and perish to the Enemy. The meaning of individual life and the power of ritual magic are the same: to choose. A ritual circle that does not choose to be a circle, does not choose the same goal, has no more power than any one present within it. It is the embrace of individual choice that grants ritual magic such ability -- and that is the power alluded to by the Questions, that is capable of stopping the Enemy.
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 05:41 PM
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>>[Holmar The Dutiful]: I merely suggest that perhaps the purpose of all life is to one day come together as Dawnshadow suggests. As the molecules evolved towards the unity of the first cell. As the cells evolved towards the unity of the first body...

>>[Llerron]: I still maintain this is a dangerous line of thought. There are surely other interpretations.
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emo samurai
post Apr 28 2006, 05:46 PM
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>>[Shen] The glory that is life does not rest in the clatter of massed swords, the clamor of the fanatics, the pride of the many; it rests in the joy and sorrow of the lover, the curiosity of the child, the individual blade of grass's wonder at its own miraculous growth.
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Dawnshadow
post Apr 28 2006, 05:50 PM
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>>[Dawnshadow] And how will the glory of life continue should the Enemy scour this world clean?
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 05:52 PM
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>>[Vescent]: To Lothar: that is indeed a dilly of a pickle, as they say. Perhaps the dilly of the pickle.

>>[LeaningBear]: The honorable Shen says it well. But in what does the horror of life dwell? What happens to these wonders when the Enemy gets its way? (EDIT: Dawnshadow beats me to the punch! Apologies.)
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emo samurai
post Apr 28 2006, 05:54 PM
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>>[Shen] And how do you justify life if it loses all meaning? What you propose is not fundamental purpose, it is mere survival; though a man may need to kill, his purpose it not to kill; though a child must eat, its purpose is not to eat. If individual life loses that which makes it unique, then its existence is no more significant than that of a rock.

And if all that is required is a single nonlethal blood ritual, then your solution is a practical, not spiritual, one and this debate need not continue.
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hyzmarca
post Apr 28 2006, 05:57 PM
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>>[Spaceman]: I fail to see how creatures who breathe magic like we breath air can be defeated by putting even more magic into the world.
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eralston
post Apr 28 2006, 05:57 PM
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am i the only who hopes to never get ED? bad one...
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Witness
post Apr 28 2006, 06:02 PM
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Sorry eralston, but like I said at the top, this isn't going to be to everyone's taste.
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