FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
Athera
Q: What are the names of the five towers at Ithamon?
A: The Compass Points, or Sun Towers are as follows:
  • North, Alathwyr, white with alabaster combing, its binding quality being Wisdom.

  • East - Dunlaithe - black granite and obsidian, with a black tourmaline finial, its binding quality being endurance, or the Paravian concept of Honor.

  • South - Lilaere - rose quartz, its binding quality, Grace

  • West, Kieling, green jasper, its binding quality, Compassion.
The fifth tower, at the city's height, was Daelthain, the King's Tower, its binding power being Justice (and so, Law) - this one at the time of the story is fallen to its foundation.
Q: Is famine a problem on Athera?
A:

Have you SEEN any "starving subservient peasants" in the course of the manuscript? It isn't rather the Atherans' "colored view of Earth's history" happening but (NO slur at you or anyone, just general authorial observation) what coloration comes to the "story" is in the eyes of the READERS.

Athera does not have a starvation problem, nor disease as we know it "here." The rule is not "medieval" one whit, as evinced by the oaths taken - the High Kings are in SERVICE to the people not the people in service to the High King....the King's justice in fact functions differently.

This world's "boundaries" are vibrational ones...this also explains WHY disease is less prevalent - and more in some areas than others.

Survival on Athera is NOT at stake - and where on Athera, in the manuscript, was there one little place that depicted the problem....what areas of difficulty you did see (the children conscripted by the knackers in Vol. I) were created by POLITICAL lines....look carefully and notice Which cities you see street children....the clues are all quite in view and self evident. If your eyes are not presuming, in which case, you will assume what you see --

Q:

When does the year change in the Atheran calendar?

A:

Year Changes on Athera are marked on winter solstice - timing specific of the astronomical event would have been Paravian - in towns, such precision was not necessary, or observed. Therefore, season change and year change would correlate to Noon (zenith sun sight) in the locale of the recording observer.

Q: All the other continents on Athera are basically barren and destroyed as a result of the drake wars. Just wanted to know.. if the paravians are the "nurturing and loving" type, then why have they not reinstated the mysteries in those continents so as to promote a regeneration and growth of those lands? Would it not benefit Athera as a whole to have all of its parts "healed"?
A:

What happened on Kathtairr was an extreme event - and the "reason" underpinning the first dreaming of the drakes that generated the response of the Paravian 'arrival' as Ath's gift. There are sections of the planet still "wounded" and this area is one of them. There is a REASON why it cannot be healed at this time.

The Paravians who secured the grimwards there paid a terrible price to do so.

The series will unfold more on this subject, past and present, so I can't give you more depth at this time.

Q: Is it theoretically possible for the F7 to travel anywhere on Athera using the Lanes?
A:

Can Fellowship Sorcerers move anywhere the lanes go...discorporate, they require nothing beyond a thought, the lanes have no bearing. In physicality - Davien does, therefore - in theory - yes. In practice, carrying physical form - it requires IMMENSE effort - far too immense to be worthwhile - the lanes are clearly more efficient. A Sorcerer in the physical who needed to make his presence known would use "another" way to do so, risky, though efficient enough to use in a dire pinch (and they have -- it has been mentioned) Note further: what Davien does now has been tuned for supreme efficiency - you have seen its function already, but it's one of those things you may not have noticed yet for what it is - you WILL see why -- in the course of the forthcoming story.

Q:

I'm looking at the map of Athera. Where's the equator?

A: The equator is south of the continent of Paravia, by a bit, yet.
Q:

Will you ever produce a nonfiction book about Athera?

A: Much more of Athera is drawn and painted, here, than you may realize. ALL of it exists in my head. I truly
Q:

With one continent populated, the racial makeup of Paravia seems homogenic. Are there any other races besides Caucasian? Are there any other languages besides human and Paravian?

A:

There are the desert tribes of San Pashir - mentioned as dark, or dusky skinned, and their dialect is mentioned also...more on this coming. (Recall Arithon's cook on Khetienn, and also, many of Ath's adepts....)

Reason for a more homogeneous population: they all came from a refugee fleet....survivors, and not an entire slice of the original cultural variety.

With regard to the mores of the clansmen - they are Different than earth based. "Vice" there would be considered anything NOT DONE BY FREE WILL...therefore, relationships by force would be vice. Sex without consent of both adult parties, same thing. Children, being open to becoming unduly influenced, are categorized differently with regard to free will - they must be in their majority to be considered adult. The boundaries are both tighter - as in what adults may do with a child - and looser - how a child's freedom is not impinged as much as in most Earth based culture - You will see this, gradually. It's already in play, but probably dismissed - not Noticed yet - but will be in hindsight, as you read the newer scenes and actually see with knowing back into the life these people lead. The towns vary according to location - note differences between eastlands and westlands - they are there, and mentioned with some degree of consistency.

Sethvir has books in a language never spoken on Athera, and there have been ref. to this. Fellowship have used language not from Athera. I believe (to positive) it has been mentioned, but it was a rare reference. Rare enough I know it's there, but can't finger it on the instant recall.

There are two basic languages - sub split into dialect: Paravian, ancient paravian/Actualized.

The older version of man's language: spoken by the clans, in the more antique form, devolved into dialect with accent, used in the towns.

Desert tribes' language is not the same, nor is their dialect of the language of man the same...

Q:

Can you tell us how Athera compares with Earth as a planet, in terms of distance, scale, and composition?

A:

The scale of Athera is in leagues (3 miles to one league)Los Lier to Corith is about 850 leagues distance. (Crow fly measure)

Athera herself: she is smaller than Earth, but has more substance: more iron at her core. More axial tilt - therefore, more extreme shifts in season, north to south - the climate shifts are therefore more extreme; she has a stronger magnetic field as well.

Q:

Can you tell us more about the Paravian set of beliefs?

A:

The spark for this subject is a pretty broad spectrum, because on Athera, there are more than one paradigm, more then one set of beliefs at play within the various cultures.

The one I'll open with here is perhaps the least understood - although - it's perhaps the BEST explained within the text of the story itself. Where it tends to get obscured - the 'script overlay' of the prevailing beliefs within OUR society tend to cause coloration of what is actually there.

The paradigm I'll briefly and in surface fashion skim into is the underlying fabric of the Law of the Major Balance - Paravian awareness - which trickles down through Fellowship of Seven, the Compact, and by extension, into Arithon's mastery of magecraft, as taught by the Rauven sorcerers.

It would be a "mistake" to view this from a humancentric point of view - the paradigm is NOT humancentric. However, the paradigm does not belittle the fact that human awareness is an ever evolving process, it is not static. And that humans now are evolved to a more open or less open extent, depending upon their upbringing, and upon the degree that they choose (free will) to question the views of that upbringing. Ath's adepts are the most highly evolved humans on the planet of Athera.

The Fellowship Sorcerers are "up there" with them, but from another "set" - they carry the charge of the dragons, and the magic of the dragons - and you will see more precisely just how this difference meshes in Stormed Fortress. So I won't go into that caveat here.

Just the underlying paradigm.

Paravian awareness encompasses unified consciousness. Where there is matter, energy, light - even chaos and void - there is consciousness. This is NOT to be mistaken for the one sided concept that "consciousness is all the same thing as human consciousness." Way too oversimplified. Humans are a form of consciousness, expressed. They are not "better than" or "more than" nor are they "less than" or the great cosmic dummies.

They are more or less evolved.

Consciousness varies in its state of expression. It is not all endowed with "free choice" as human consciousness is. Non free choice consciousness is NOT less, NOT separate. It is all part of a unified whole, which works in concert with all the other parts. It is one fabric made of many threads. This is repeatedly expressed in the story - over and over. Separation is a false concept! It is illusion. Yet to understand the unified whole, one (who is initiate mage trained) must step outside of the human senses.

Therefore: consciousness in all of its states has mattering and value, no one above the other. The more evolved the consciousness, in ANY state of being or awareness - in any state of expression, the more it will act in BALANCE with the fabric of the unified whole.

What is balance?

It is NOT a humancentric concept! Balance does not admit "competition" or "domination". It is not "human micromanagement for the improvement of nature." It is human coexistence with nature in a way we do not do here on earth. Our earth theory of evolution does NOT encompass the Paravian concept of balance. The simplified "scientific" statement "survival of the fittest" does NOT encompass the Paravian awareness of balance. Nor does it "drive" the Paravian paradigm of evolution.

Evolution, by Paravian awareness, is CONSCIOUS experimentation, conscious change, consciousness seeking to expand itself. It happens by creative design, NOT by "survival of the fittest" Species evolve, achieve a level of efficiency, then evolve into something more - or not; or they finish and end that thread of creativity. The "stresses" on the environment are not at whim and random! There is conscious creation ever at work - and it is NOT human in nature. The elements are dynamic in nature, NOT destructive by intent. There's a pretty detailed look at this in several passages in the book - apt to be discounted or skipped over as "window dressing" but it's not window dressing, as you'll come to find later, when those concepts are built upon and set into "place" as you see into the other layers of viewpoint.

This paradigm does not look on the Predator and the Prey - as killer and non killer. Not one bit. That's too black and white - too linear, too either/or. Paravian paradigm looks on the spiral, not the straight line, it looks on the circle, not the see saw. The switch is not "on" or "off" but instead is viewed as a cycle.

It is not Kill or Be killed. It is balance - each being, each consciousness, each living (stones included) awareness and being working in synergistic bursts of energy to create a dynamism - - that is a living whole - and that whole is Not Static. It moves, it expands, it contracts, it breathes. It is the loom of change which evolves life, not the humancentric idea of "take or be taken" or "freeze frame" existence so that everything stays the same. It does not encompass the concept of a "base line" but springs off a moving state of energetic change. Balance is found in motion, and motion is cyclical, and those cycles are ever expanding - they are not a fixed state track; not a closed circle.

Example: there are predators, there is prey. Prey animals breed prolifically - high mortality rate. If they are NOT culled, they totally disrupt their environment - to their own ruination. If you watch what the hawks eat - you will notice - they eat what breeds fast and is plentiful - rabbits, squirrels, yes, baby birds - who are more numerous than could every survive! Doves - those guys breed in massive numbers each summer - and the hawks survive on them in the fall and winter. The prey animal serves its function. The predator takes only what it needs. Hawks are incredibly efficient. They waste no motion. They kill nothing they don't need. They go for the most efficient target. They eat a LOT of insects! Watch them!

If you watch the predator - say the hawk - take a bird - you will quickly see: they take the sick ones, the slow ones. They see a wider range of the spectrum than human eyes do! They "know" - they are signaled - what animal to strike. They choose by a quantifiable level of vitality, and they go for the ones that are already "less alive" than the ones that are wholly healthy. The sick ones - the slow ones, the less vital ones chosen out - NEVER suffer. See a hawk make a kill? The prey animals die instantly. They are culled. Not like us humans, who keep our pets alive when they're arthritic, stiff, blind, deaf - not like us humans that overcrowd animals to the point where they're living in unsanitary, lousy conditions - and have to be dosed with antibiotics! to grow quick so they can be slaughtered...the Paravian paradigm would not sanction this.

Have you ever "taken" a stunned mouse away from a cat? Did you ever observe this closely - the "mouse" the cat is "playing with" isn't all there. Check this out! If you release that mouse, it takes a moment or more than a few minutes to "reintegrate" itself and run away. Literally, when caught by the cat, a piece of it "switches off". Watch this - observe acutely - see if you don't notice a "shift" in that mouse...lizards, snakes, mice - all of which cats catch. They "stun" when taken, and even though they move, even though they run a bit - they are not "all present" like the mice in the uncaught state are. The level of "alertness" is not the same. If you have a cat - look at this - Let a caught prey loose, watch it reintegrate, you might see something you don't expect IF you drop off your rigidly held preconceptions of how a human would "think" and "react" in the claws of a cat. If you could "see" a higher frequency in the spectrum that is not visible to human eyes - you might see a whole other level of existence at play.

Paravian paradigm would view plants as equal: not better than - not less evolved. Kill a plant - no different than kill an animal. Abuse a plant - no different than abuse an animal...they might not cry out in a way our ears can hear - but there IS a stress reaction in plants. Science has observed this.

Do we abuse our plants? We kill the "unwanted" ones with herbicides. We create monocultures which are detrimental to our soils, our environment, about everything else - soil erosion, wind erosion, viability of the soil itself - then we rigorously deploy pesticide to "keep this monoculture healthy"

In the wild, such a monoculture as our "fields of crops" would not happen - why? - the plants signal each other chemically. (check this out - science has observed it) In the wild, if plants become "overcrowded" with one species - chemically, they call in the Pests! Literally! to thin down their overly prolific numbers and open up room for other plant species - to recreate balance. Plants that are not in monoculture do not suffer as devastating diseases, or pest damage. Why? They are in balance with a wholeness our usage does not recognize.

Animals and plants and minerals work in balance. In Paravian paradigm, all are honored, one is not singled out above the others - all are part of a unified whole, and it's not "OK" to target one expression of consciousness above another for "food." Balance works with all forms. The "environmental footprint" of sustenance is evenly distributed.

Disease and pests are a result of overcrowding. A signal of living consciousness to "clean out an imbalance within a given species" the bacteria - the disease - the bugs - they are not the enemy of that species! They are consciousness evolved to hold the vital balance of the whole synergistic system intact. Each to its own niche. It is human domination that insists or labels this as "desirable" and that as Not desirable. The wax and the natural wane, in human terms, are oversimplified into "let's create a static state."

Well, one only has to look at physics to see, quite fast, there is NO SUCH THING as a static state. All is energy in motion. Positive and negative charge, in a dance of constant change. energy to particle to energy to particle, until the very boundaries blur. Neither one nor the other. Both at once.

Balance - would hold the view that all consciousness supports all consciousness in balance, and the physical form is NOT all there is. Particle and wave form - energy to matter - it's a dynamism, moving, with consciousness itself as the underlying engine - the underlying driver - it is the only "constant' and it is not constant!

It's not what eats, or what is eaten, but the quality of life and the honoring of life as consciousness which is NOT separate from itself - the 'eater" and the 'eatee' are the same fabric, the same cloth.

There's a description of Asandir hunting deer by Dakar in Curse of the Mistwraith. USA hardback page 491, in the subchapter titled Incarceration - that's accurate. Asandir understands balance, Dakar does not. Note this scene down. Balance encompasses an honoring of life, and a permission.

The hawk - the predator in the wild has instinct. Those wild animals honor balance by INSTINCT. Humans do not have the sensory acuity - nor do they have the instincts - they have evolved to a state of choice. It is conscious choice to recognize balance - or not. There is no penalty attached. Only degrees of awareness, that change or shift, only by choice.

Balance does not encompass the CONCEPT of punishment. A crop blight is NOT punishment - it is not "nature's wrath" - it is nature working in harmony with itself to right an imbalance - what constitutes imbalance? Imbalance is when the quality of LIFE for a consciousness is in a state of ebb. The vitality drops. Something more vital reacts. Not in contention, but in balance. Distressed life calls in more life that will relieve its state of distress. There is a dynamic flow.

A sick animal - and old animal - the quality of live is LESS. A monoculture - the quality of life is weakened. Balance honors vitality, knowing the physical form is NOT the spirit of a thing. It is not all there is.

The consciousness of a mountain is not the same as a man - or a plant - or an animal. It is mineral. Yet if it is to be "used" it is worked with the grain of its own nature - with an honoring of what it IS. and what it is NOT.

"Dog eat dog" is a humancentric earth paradigm that is not part of the most evolved state of awareness on Athera - which holds the long term view of balance, not competitiveness.

You would never see a Paravian "grow crops" in the way a townborn would - nor would you see one unilaterally harvest every berry off of every bush. The "Take all, leave none" concept would be against their nature. They would harvest with the awareness of taking what was "in balance" and leaving a portion for the wild, and for the plant itself to reseed.

They would grow plants in cooperative awareness of the consciousness of the plant itself. An asking of permission and a "voluntary" cooperation with the consciousness of the plant itself. At their level of awareness the life energies that sustain that plant would and could respond.

There have been some VERY interesting experiments done on earth in this direction - I will NOT outline them here - for the specific reason, that I am writing a work of fiction!!

Explore where others are looking with invention on your own initiative. Suffice to say, there are very wonderful alternative approaches, fascinating stuff, being done in the here and now that make the "taking" mentality of pesticides and feedlots and herbicides and chemical "fertilizers" and "the insect is your enemy" and turn that sort of concept squarely on its head, in a good way....go exploring. Open your eyes, but only if you want to.

Oversimplifying any belief, or any limit does our human nature a gross injustice. We were born with imagination and the capacity of thought and choice. Too often we don't (in MY opinion) push ourselves to use those gifts. "I can't afford this" is oversimplification, too - can we truly afford to keep bulldozing our environment for convenience? Can we truly afford to keep "quashing" diseases when diseases are evolving faster than we are, faster than we can develop "drugs" - we use our "science" to study the sick to effect a cure - but what if we used our observation to study what was "well" to understand what "wellness" was all about?

Abuse of an animal, abuse of a plant, abuse of the earth, "unilaterally kill the bacteria" to "right" a state of disease - abuse of a mountain to "mine" off the top to get at coal or diamonds - some would say only people matter. That none of the above are "abuses" and that "kill a cow" and "kill a bacteria" are two SEPARATE concepts - one is "OK" and the other "NOT" - a cow is a complex animal, a bacteria is a "simple" one - well, where do you draw the line? It's a human line at that! Who says what "line" in the sand is OK? Kill a cow, NOT! Well, kill a spider, just fine? Kill a poisonous snake? Is that "OK" - the snake just has that venom to EAT! He isn't targeting a human, unless, he perceives that human as threatening. But it's OK to kill a poisonous snake? Why? Because I "fear he'll bite me?" I'm defending against my fear, not that snake, who probably will go his way very calmly, thank you ma'am, if I let him be what he is. Give him space to go. Not react on my "fear" that he will do something unnatural "bite a human who's not threatening his space."

You want to eat only rice, but you won't let a mouse in your pantry? What about an ant? What about a nest of ants...do you reach for the poison? Where do you draw the line? "This is OK to kill - this is not." A weed or a flower. Which is OK to kill, which is an offense? A bug or a blackbird.

FACT: there were massive subsidies paid to POISON blackbirds last year, who were "devastating" the sunflower crops, millions of bucks worth of losses to farmers - who "buys" most of the sunflower crop??? BACKYARD HOMEOWNERS who feed the birds!!! Bird lovers demand for seed causing a mass poisoning of living birds! Is that an oxymoronic event, or what? Do the bird lovers know this happens - do they care???

Take and don't look how you take is one view, and a narrow one at that, since in fact what humanity needs to survive and flourish as a species is ALSO what gives us a thriving environment.

Paravian paradigm examines the issue from conscious awareness honoring balance and the precept of QUALITY of life being more important than a quantified measurement of maintaining existence at any cost.

I will say again: Paravian paradigm is NOT earthcentric or humancentric. It is NOT in its own design intended to "educate" anybody....that's why, on Athera, there were the free wilds, and the towns, with careful, so careful, delineations allowing both to co-exist.

Animals are NOT honored in our earth paradigm. We are not arguing that. Their quality of life, and their spirit, is scarcely recognized...their emotions, which do exist, are "discounted" by science, discounted by the food industry in ALL forms - plants, the same, bacteria, the same. All are boxed into "conceptual" design that fits human priorities.

Paravian paradigm is not to be mistaken for earthbound HUMAN hierarchical priority - read that passage on Asandir and the deer listed - I don't need to repeat it here. Look at Sethvir's interaction with the Koriani Waystone - I don't NEED to put out what's already in plain sight.

Abuse of a physical form - pain and suffering - is JUST ONE LAYER - and the least layer. If human paradigm looks on the form of a thing as "that is all there is" - the whole paradigm mentioned here is utterly beyond them...they will just plain miss the point. Never see past the hand in front of their face, if the hand's form is all there is.

Initiate wisdom SEES PAST.

Paravian paradigm looks on spirit, FIRST! Physical form as a reflection, SECOND and honors BOTH. Not simple. Not "either/or". Not, If I can't SEE it, it's not there - and my presumptions do NOT fill in the blanks of "what I can't see, therefore MUST be labeled something" - my human insistence on finding "order" insists upon "I have to understand it ALL, even though I don't." Let's just not admit I've substituted something else, because I can't see there is a wider view.

A prey animal - it has consciousness. Why did that consciousness CHOOSE to be formed as a prey animal...ah, what, you mean it isn't chance? Nope. THAT would be cruelty! No choice as to what form a consciousness could express? It ain't locked, people. Not in Paravian paradigm - which looks on consciousness as creative and fluid. Balance as spiral. Movement as growth. If there are no prey animals, a great deal of what is alive on earth would starve. Period. There are predatory (yup! meat eating) plants. An animal eats a plant, ok, but hey - if that's a more complex eating a lesser - how come there are plants eating prey ANIMALS? Whose design is that? A bigger one....certainly, than one a human might contrive by a "rule" that says, greater/lesser - which discounts the paradigm of - voluntary cooperation. A creative universe in balance and harmony with itself. Not dog eat dog. Kill first, and you get to live. Kill what you need, and we ALL live with elegance.

Now a prey animal - which one dies? NOT the vital one; NOT the innovative one which is strengthening, advancing, expanding the line of that animal's physical form...which one? PARAVIANS WOULD ASK!!!

Which expressed to serve the food chain, which ones expressed to expand it...which ones expressed to keep it vital. NOT kill all the cows! Take the ones that were there to serve that thread in the grand design.

ASK an animal for permission? Jeez, ask a stone? Are we nuts to think we can? (Has anybody but our (ahem!!) most primitive cultures, who understand this point very well - even TRIED?)

The key is indiscriminate, non cooperative destruction for ANY reason - that is outside the paradigm.

Repeat: I don't want to incite a personal battlefield here....if you want to explore an idea, do it, but keep the issues aside because I do not want this to be about issues...I honor what you all feel. I am not "opposed" to your sensibilities. That you have them has meaning which is to be respected.

If you are "hurt" by the idea that life is born and dies - for whatever "reason" - I am not going to belittle your hurt. Respect how you feel, honor it for what it is. I am not here to argue or justify a thing, or to make you feel you need to defend what you feel - you feel it. It's legit, right there.

Paravian paradigm does not look on form as "all there is" - what else there is, is certainly fertile ground for conjecture...here, or anywhere else. How that "what else" is treated, regarded, disregarded, or discounted - that shades so much or takes away so much meaning to the outcome of how we perceive things "are."

In Paravian paradigm, not all prey animals would be subject to predation, not all food plants would be subject to harvest. Mass consciousness of species AND individual life consciousness of each INDIVIDUAL would be known by Name. (Asandir's crossing of Mainmere to Caithwood - it states PLAINLY - he knew each sand grain on the sea bottom by NAME. That sort of caring, at that depth of intensity and detail, does NOT presume!!!

Q: Am I right to say that Ath's Adepts have achieved the Paravian standard of consciousness? Or have they just achieved the highest state possible for humans?
A:

The Adepts are closest to the Paravian standard of consciousness, yes - one difference - they are still human - steer by their bodily senses, be swayed by their limited selves - they can oh so easily step out of it. By choice. Paravians are the 'living bridge' - they are 'hardwired' to hold what they are. If circumstances do not permit this, they die. Strong in the mysteries, they are oh so fragile, fused into a bodily awareness.

Consciousness defines, most strictly! the level of magic that can be accessed.

Did the dragons, then, respect free choice? No. Do they subscribe to limitations or strictures? No. They are wild powers. Consciousness without conscience. It happened this way: the Fellowship received their magic from the dragons. Contact with the Paravians - made them what they are today. Their charge of Paravian survival would demand a confluence of harmony - the Law of the Major Balance is that guideline.

Q:

Is there on Athera a greatest reality? That is, is Ath so real that one could not dream/wish/imagine him (it I suppose is closer) away? Does the drakes dreaming have limits in that sense?

Stepping away from systematic theology and philosophy for a moment, is there room in Athera for the idea of form or essence, of things having some kind of idea or core essence of being? Would it still be an absurdity to talk of square circles (and other contradictory ideas).

Is Ath personal (By this I do not mean anthropomorphic)? Does Ath have a will or purpose for creation? Is Ath merely a concretization of an abstract principle? Is there 1) a little bit of Ath in everything, 2) a little bit of everything in Ath, or 3) is Ath distinct though echoed by/mirrored in creation?

Is the concept of good and evil on Athera based on what is best for Athera/Ath's creation? It is not that things are bad but that they are lesser goods (e.g. it is good to watch a movie with your loved one but better to use that rental money in helping the poor or hungry)? Or are there some things which are intrinsically wrong or evil?

A:

A: Most of what you have asked can be answered within the series itself - and a greater part will reveal in the 4th arc. You won't have to look very far -A HUGE AMOUNT of what you want to know is already in Peril's Gate - material that is right THERE, wide open to be seen.

I have stated straight out that much of the underpinnings lie OUTSIDE THE PHYSICAL SENSES. Therefore, look to those scenes that cross the veil. Jieret's transcendence - THAT will answer most of what you have asked.

The idea of the essence of a thing - very clearly.

The Drakes Dreaming will out in the series itself.

Is Ath in all, all in Ath, or is Ath mirrored - look to the scenes mentioned. It's there.

Arithon's absolution in Kewar - more there; though realize, Arithon's awareness is limited. (he sees but not so far yet)

You'll find more bits in Kevor's healing.

You can talk about any controversial idea you want - that's what this board is FOR. The Fellowship's Strands are based upon geometries - you may not be so far a field as you think.

Is Ath anthropomorphic - no. Ath is a complexity, a simplicity, and a paradox.

Is there a greater "good" on Athera....not as you have phrased your "good, better" analogy. What is good, what is better? You go to a movie. It brings you joy. Maybe it gives you an inspiration, maybe it moves you to create something that inspires thousands. Maybe you come out and smile, and that is the leaf, falling, that changes a balance somewhere. how can you know? If you don't have the guts to admit you need happiness, then don't have the balls to grapple the issue, accept the gift, make the pursuit of that a learning experience, what have you done to grow?

OK, so you deny yourself YOUR joy - you feed a hungry person. Is that "better?" Maybe. In a simplistic manner it may be.

But what if you and the hungry person, at heart, in mind, in your humanity were equally ABLE to reach for happiness....what if you equally, stood on your human dignity, got responsible, and asked in your own right? The hungry person could (in theory) learn to feed himself.

Did you, in giving that food $, actually take his power - enforced the (false) belief he was the less worthy - that he should suffer and gain that way - and you, deny yourself to do for him what he could (in theory) do for himself.

Now, I realize this is highly controversial. Don't think for one second I don't care, and don't feed the hungry!!! But if all people honored the dignity and freedom of all people - what constitutes happiness springs out of empowerment. The simplistic idea "feed the hungry" is too simplistic. "Help the hungry learn to feed himself" - which, he can't do, starving, so - help enough, then set the example...does you living less of your dream help another reach more of his? Is good, better a concept that even applies in this case?

Giving the hungry alcoholic money for food - he'll buy the wine instead. The compassion to understand how he has thrown away his dignity, his freedom, his self esteem, his self empowerment - that will assist with the addiction. hungry people certainly can't start out tackling the big issue, deprived. But after you feed them - then what? When they are not deprived, the belief that put the situation in place (en masse in the case of countries) - what about that?

World Problems - they need so much creative thought - but in my (very personal, mind) experience, a handout is not much good, unless there is a healing of the mess that caused a person's needs to be ignored in the first place - unless that healing is addressed, the handout is not much more than a pat on the back over an open wound. Prolonging a dependency with no hope, and no help, offered to let that hungry person find their way in freedom. Giving food implies the (disempowering notion, just reinforced) that the hungry person is less than, unable to reach and fulfill his life on his own. "Just feeding the hungry" can set them in bondage...and that will no doubt spark lots of controversy - it is a complexity.

I do feed the hungry. I also do my best to learn what joy and happiness IS for me - and share what I have learned so others can see the courage in themselves to seek THEIR dreams. So the movie money is not "less" and the charity is not "more" - necessarily!

This is a very simplistic "exploratory" view to your very complex questions - what is wrong - what is evil...what is good, what is better - if we are talking 'ideals' in the story unfolding on Athera - that issue is not simplistic! It can only be answered - from what point of view? Whose??? Which one do you choose? When you're tired of that one, it sort of pinches, well, step into another - and another - and another - the story has LAYERS. Which one? Is it limited? NO!!! Which layer do you want to access? THEY ARE ALL THERE! The tapestry is huge... pick a thread and follow it.

Q:

Where is the eighteenth grimward which Sethvir is holding secure?

A: The eighteenth grimward is not located on the surface of Athera.
Q: Can you tell us more about the consciousness of quartz crystals?
A:

Quartz crystals are piezoelectric. They can, by their physical nature, gather, hold, release, and pattern the release, of electrons. Your computer uses this property.

Depending WHAT FREQUENCY a quartz crystal is emanating would change the overall effect....they can react to a far greater range of the electromagnetic spectrum than our physical abilities have measuring systems to detect.

So, the physical properties of quartz would extend and descend above and below the range of our measuring devices....they would therefore, concentrate, store, focus, amplify - into frequency beyond the physical.

You as a consciousness "think" and there is an electrical pulse crossing the synapses of your brain. Where there is current, there will be a magnetic field....therefore thinking creates and generates an electromagnetic field. Quartz, being reactive, reacts...this is straight physics.

Now, what "chooses' to think - what directs? the nature of those thoughts - what therefore, originates the CHOICE of what pattern of electromagnetic field will be created.

Consciousness.

At what frequency does consciousness express itself??? What kind of "field" is generated, by choice of thought, choice of belief, choice of "limitation and boundary" - defined by what is "true" or "Not true" - what creates the boundary?

Our eyes and ears and sense of smell ARE frequency based. We have "limits" on how far into the ultra violet and infra red we "see" - yet - birds see into the ultra violet, where we can't. Other creatures sense frequency where we can't. To us, those frequencies "do not exist" unless we bolster our observing and measuring device beyond what the "eye" can observe.

Light travels in wave form - and particle form. What determines which is detected? The classic quantum experiment - where the photon is "observed" passing through a slit by a human - and it is "seen" as a point. Where it is "unobserved" and recorded by camera - the film shows a hazy arc of exposure - the "photon" unobserved was a "wave" - not a point.

The observer creates the point of view. This has been proven beyond question.

We are the prisoners of our observing and measuring devices (physical biology, extended by whatever measuring apparatus we invent to extend the range of view)

Well, the spectrum extends ABOVE and BELOW that range that we've found means to measure.

At what frequency IS consciousness "recordable" - how fine a point of expression can it have, IF we could "see past" the limitations we currently have?

At what frequency would a Quartz crystal express what it WAS - it's individual beingness - NOT what it was influenced to "reflect" - - -

A crystal from Earth or Imarn Adaer would not be less....

The compact was a "boundary" imposed to preserve the mysteries on Athera....in physics, think of interference patterns. If you mix a low frequency with a very high one - the result will be a frequency IN BETWEEN.

Play in harmony or play out of harmony - you will create different patterns of interference - low notes mixed with high notes will change the interference pattern. If the low frequencies are IN RESONANCE they will reinforce the pattern. If they are OUT of resonance, they will break up the pattern, and create a different one. And different harmonics will emerge.

"Forced mastery" - a harmonic frequency OUT OF PHASE with the frequency of a quartz crystal's natural resonance.

What determines awareness - HOW WELL DO YOU LISTEN? and at what range.

Simply: the frequency and harmonic pattern that enable Paravians to be what they are, to exist - Athera's harmonic pattern of frequency - "holds" the resonance that enables the mysteries.

Change that - introduce too strong, or too many conflicting patterns - that resonance will "break" and reform.

I think this should allow you to extrapolate some of what you were wondering about. I put it on a physics footing, since that seemed the direction you were asking from.

Consciousness emanates patterns of frequency - how fine are you able to "see" - how aware is the originator of such a pattern - of their own pattern, first, and of interaction with others? Is what you are "imposing" in phase or out of phase...the crystal reacts, regardless.

Now, if the two are "in phase" -- in harmonic intent - (permission) you'd get more boost to your signal, yes? If both are in accord you'd get a more refined transmission - the string plucked and fretted at JUST the right point brings harmonics into phase - and you have a more resonant instrument....one that has been played for years, the wood aligns in resonance to the tones - and you have "better tone" - better alignment, and cleaner transmission...a more resonant sound=more range of frequency, as defined by emergent harmonics.

Like tuning a radio dial to "hear" stations - frequencies - how wide is the bandwidth? Your radio dial stops at a lower point and an upper one - but the spectrum does NOT stop. Only the bandwidth available to that radio does...

This determines the nature of HOW any source of consciousness (Koriani or otherwise) will "interact" with the "mysteries" or the frequency bandwidth available on Athera - and "served" and "preserved" by the compact.

There's a bit more complexity to this - as choice gets added into the mix - based on the limitations held by the one making the "choice." But the foundational premise is most consistent.

Q:

Can you tell us more about vibration, resonance, harmony and intent?

A:

Music is vibration within a certain frequency; frequency specifies energy - light is a higher frequency of vibration - the electromagnetic spectrum is DEFINED by frequency - and more than that. To pin a song to a locale would disturb quite a lot!

There are two factors to consider here:

Resonance, which relates to frequency - when two unlike frequencies collide, a new one is forged out of the mix. Therefore Harmony/harmonics is one component. A new standing wave forms out of the break into chaos, when those two frequencies intermingle. The new 'tonal signature' will be not so "low" as the lower source, and not so "high" as the higher one, but a point in between the two. The higher will lift the lower.

If the two sources are out of harmony, one result; if the two sources are in harmony, or in concert -- another set of harmonics will be struck off - reinforcing both tones.

The second is INTENT, which lies behind any human endeavor: why and for what goal. This sets the boundaries for the forward cascade of event.

Q: Is it possible to obtain a larger scale map of Paravia?
A:

A larger map can be obtained by writing to my contact address with a self addressed, stamped return envelope and a request.

Enlarged version of Athera map: send a self addressed envelope with POSTAGE attached, and a request, to

Janny Wurts
5824 Bee Ridge Road
PMB 106
Sarasota, FL 34233

This map offer is no big deal, and NOT fancy - Think of it as a working copy - it will consist of two photocopied sheets you will have to fit together - and can be folded into a regular business stationery envelope (#10 will do nicely). One first class US stamp, or for Europe, two International Reply Coupons (for those outside of the US, these should be in the approximate amount of USD $1.60, which is usually 2 coupons). Airmail, foreign, is .80 per half ounce, and the mailing requires at least an ounce because I put goodies in..

The original map measures 36 inches to the long side, and is quite impossible to reproduce without a blueprint copy machine. Therefore, for the purpose of these requests, I had the size reduced, and do it in "two takes" on our regular office copier.

It comes out bigger and clearer than the little one in the book, but is by no means "frameable" - just practical.

Q: When observed from the outside, what kind of distances are we talking for the diameter of an average grimward's protected area?
A: From the outside, they're not terribly large - though they do vary. The smallest is about a half a league; the larger ones five to ten. (These are diameters).

There is scale in leagues on the map.

Q: Can you tell us something about the deeper patterns in the series?
A: Like magic, like numbers, the oaths, too, follow pattern.

Oaths sworn over crystal - like Fionn's are one type.

Koriani BINDINGS sworn over crystal are another.

Arithon's blood oath at Athir - another altogether.

Listed in degree of severity of commitments - hope you find this fun to chew on. There is a lot more to this than meets the eyes yet (material offstage, that WILL come on in course of future volumes - critical to the characters and plot, so I can't say more.)

Meantime, since I won't tell, you'd have to ask a Fellowship Sorcerer and understand ceremonial ritual.

Q: We have seen a number of different kinds of oaths sworn by characters of Athera. Could you elaborate on these?
A: The founder's oaths - Arithon's blood oath to Asandir... other sworn attachments on Athera.

All are differ from each other, all are interrelated; it's a matter of scale - a matter of name/and a matter of Name, this is determined by INTENT at the time of the swearing.

Oaths that are promises and attach only to the conscious self awareness of a non mage trained person - the lightest of them, obviously. Whether they are kept, or not, is a matter of sincerity, integrity, and strength (or weakness) of character.

Oaths that attach to crystal - quartz is piezoelectric - it gathers and releases electrons/stores, holds, generates and releases current. Quartz, on its esoteric properties - frozen consciousness. Cannot access itself, as consciousness, but it can relate to other consciousness that is self-aware and fluid - (it can pick up, gather, hold, release electrons - currents - in formation/patterns. Information. It can release - energy. It can access other frequencies, and do the same.)

The physical properties - used in this world, daily, in your lives as quartz driven technology - your clocks and your computers - way of life.

The esoteric properties - go beyond.

Quartz can carry energy outside time/space - extend beyond the veil... so an oath sworn over a crystal in the frequency pattern that is Athera's living matrix form a binding on another level indeed!

Blood oaths - obviously - tie to the individual... tagged to the individual signature - DNA - which is more than its physicalness. New experiments here show that the DNA helix carry electrical current. Run electrical current in a spiral: bingo - electroMAGNETIC - you get a magnetic field. This is the property that drives an electric motor - run current through a coil, create a magnetic field, turn a shaft... so, electricity through DNA will create a specific resistance, and a specific magnetic field... a very very individual signature not only encoded chemically, but into magnetics as well... so a blood oath - on Athera, in the matrix of its frequency - "tags" a person past/present/future/now/then/forever - an attachment invoking Name. (See notes on Name vs. name) A tie to the Truer self. Revokable only by the Truer self.

A blood oath sworn by the Truer self and given over in TRUST to a Sorcerer... get the picture??

A royal oath: ties to the LAND. Read particulars in Mistwraith when Arithon swears RIGHT OF SUCCESSION. Extrapolate yourselves...

The founding s'Ffalenn forebears - they didn't just swear an oath - far from that. They GAVE OVER IN TRUST permission for an alteration in the DNA signature of their heirs... a trait each one possessed was amplified, and passed INTACT in the gene code to the heirs - The Fellowship enacted this signature alteration - made it 'indelible' in the code, as it were - responsibility for such a shift in heritability - joint. How it plays into the future - Fellowship auspice/Fellowship debt... a very grave step to take. Those born to a high king's lineage bear this "change" to a greater or lesser degree - according to the heritability of the same traits in the individual, this "change" will be more or less apparent. Fewer heirs, more "charge" in the change. THIS is why the Fellowship MUST ANSWER a royal heir's request - they are bound in a way - responsible in Part for what the original partnership entails.

The founder's oaths extend beyond the veil, but not as a "binding" - this is more intricate. More esoteric... it involves destiny, and the aligned destiny of the individual born into the lineage. There isn't foundation material enough, yet, in this arc to tie this bit to much that's meaningful. There will be another layer... wait for the material to come - I can't mesh it intelligently now. It would take more than extrapolation - The foundational layers are solid, I know the progression well, but I'd rather (for you) let the story evolve it - not just spout stuff that feels like theory. When it is anchored enough in arc 4, ask again.

Examples you can look at: a blood oath sworn to the self via the Truer Self - Arithon's blood oath of truth, made to HIMSELF - but done in Jieret's presence - with Dakar as formal witness - concerning his testimony of events at the Havens (Fugitive Prince, scene on Corith).

A blood oath sworn between two individuals, in consent - "binding tie of friendship" with the added fillip - Arithon was mage-trained and cognizant of All the levels (made intent have striking clarity) Arithon's and Jieret's tie done in Strakewood, Deshir, Curse of the Mistwraith.

A blood oath sworn in trust to a Sorcerer (who will hold the integrity when the individual cannot) Arithon's blood oath at Athir.

Note: intent plays Also - the actual words Will affect what happens.

In the case of a ritual oath (over blood or quartz) the tie will carry the Truer Self whether the individual involved is aware of this, or not... such an oath will dissolve at the death of the self (not as opposed to the Truer Self) UNLESS the intent is set otherwise. Look out for the words of the contract! (grin)

Q: What is Ath Creator?
A: Ath Creator is - the all that has no bounds.
Q: Can you tell us more about methsnakes?
A: What animated the (aberrated) biological body of the Methsnakes did not have the capacity to EVOLVE in awareness - this differentiates them from other "alive beings". There are further complexities behind this - try not to oversimplify... (smile)
Q: Can you tell us something about the symbolism on the US cover of Curse of the Mistwraith?
A: Diagonally crossed lines (X) in the central composition of the figures, formed by the Lysaer's sword and Arithon's lyranthe - the crossed fate, both of the brothers, and, Arithon's inner conflict between the forced necessity of war, and his music.

Unstrung laces on Arithon's sleeve (recurrent theme for the earlier volumes) - his unstrung dreams and hopes.

Two characters are shown under threat: Arithon is protecting the inner self (the music) cradling the lyranthe - Lysaer is reaching to encounter and dominate by force (hand going for the sword).

You've probably caught the drift: that the one character is looking dead on at the viewer (facing his fate) the other is turned away (avoiding the viewer).

The knots on the wall are interlaced, FACING serpents - power of wisdom, healing, and rebirth, shown entangled.

The briars - entrapment and pain.

The gateway into the Paravian ruin shows two Seardluin, facing head on - gateway into a headlong conflict. These are also Seardluin - which were unmalleable killers. I chose these to symbolize the Curse of Desh-thiere

There is more stuff embedded in the Paravian patterns - the ones based on four points have one meaning, and those based on three (the interlooped triads in the circles) mean another. These have mystical meaning, endemic to Paravian culture, and not contradictory to energetic symbolism found elsewhere.

Arithon is shown wearing unadorned green, which is a harmonic of the frequency of vibration for the heart center. (Compassion).

Lysaer wears blue, yellow, violet. (blue - expression through communication; yellow, relationship; violet, connection to the divine.) The sun symbol on his back - masculine energy, with the arrow points, set in a crossed X - all symbols of skewed balance and domination. He uses, therefore, his skills as communicator, statesman (relationship) and "false connection to the divine" to control and raise a grand cause - note his left hand, the receiving hand, is closed into a fist. The right, the doing hand, is reaching for the sword.

If you look at the patterns in the Mistwraith itself - Lysaer's is shown haloed, or encircled- there is a "break" in the mist halo at the level of the 3rd eye that feeds into the darker area, and a turning vortex - an interchange, active, with Lysaer at this moment. He is shown looking into that area - attentive to something the viewer cannot see. Arithon is on the peripheral edge, touched, but not hooked into active contact. His expression is guarded, wary, aware - as though he was just "tapped" on the shoulder, but has yet to identify what's come knocking. The poignancy in his expression is the crossing that happens as his inner thought - and his music is interrupted.

These are by no means all that's there.

Q: How do magical forces work on Athera?
A: There are "layers" to the access to magical forces on Athera - the most direct, are direct; the middle ground uses objects that can act as bridge to create those vibrations (crystal) and the least direct are done through use of symbols which invoke sympathetic vibration. Frequency raised directly into higher vibration, or frequency invoked by harmonic octave. One is a mastery, the other a rote.
Q: What musical scale do the bards of Athera use?
A: Masterbards would know both true and tempered scales, and use both. If they were playing for dancing or session, they'd likely use tempered for flexibility of key. If they were playing to access emotion, or strike into the higher frequency harmonics, they'd absolutely retune for key, in a true scale. Their craft would not evoke if any note were off the exact frequency to strike the overtone harmonics.
Q: I get confused when I read "Name" in the series. Can you explain what it means?
A: Name is the actualized word for the unique sense of being of an individual (person or thing) and connotes its singular aliveness.
Q: Is there a difference between people with names of Paravian origin and people without?
A: Names that translate from the Paravian are Paravian in origin - you may note, if you're the careful type who reads into the glossary, that quite often townborn names are not from the Paravian - there IS a reason for this, yes.

Clan names always descend from the Paravian.

Q: How do you tune a Lyranthe?
A: The Lyranthe has 14 strings. They are tuned in "courses" of two.

Effectively, then - you have five "courses" of strings set over a fretted keyboard. You have two "courses" of drone strings.

The drone strings - doubled - are set over an octave. Each course = two octaves. The lowest drone is (higher course) one octave down from the lowest of the melody strings. The other is tuned EITHER at third interval, or fifth interval, OR seventh, depending on what the "tone" of the piece would be. One course could be plucked singly; or both courses at once.

Melody strings - E - A - D - G courses set in octaves; the highest course of the melody strings was set in UNISON, keyed to the higher string in the course adjacent. THIS STRING might vary, depending - tempered scale or pentatonic. The lower E string might change also - to an open tuning, if the fingering demanded.]

The lyranthe was played with a "fingerpick" style - built around chords using the lower melody string and the drones.

E - A - D - G is a very common tuning - it's EASY TO FINGER - many stringed instruments base their tuning on this - violin, tenor banjo, and a chunk of the guitar, for one. It's not an accident that this "works" for humans with four effective fingers to use on the fret board.

A very good lyranthe player might use the thumb on the fingerboard - (you may have seen skilful banjo players do this) wrapping the hand all the way around the neck - that's why the neck is so narrow. Open tunings on folk guitar are also common - dropped D tuning, for instance. A skillful player with good ear for pitch can change the tuning very very fast, between sets, or between tunes. The drone strings would NOT be shifted often - though if you were doing dirges or laments, vs. fast paced dance tunes, this might well entail a change.

The concept of a "drone" - in a bagpipe, or in an Appalachian mountain dulcimer - is not to change the tuning. They are set at octaves, to a specific note, and stay there. They are played against the melody notes - either to add harmonics, and enrich the bass sound - or - to create dissonants. It is the moving play of harmonics and dissonants that add dimension to the sound. If you listen to an instrument that has a drone - you will hear this. Particularly if you are sensitive in the upper ranges - the "appearance and cancellation" of the higher harmonics - quite effective. It increases the range.

Have you ever heard a Mountain Dulcimer - it has two drone strings. A Lyranthe would likely be a 'cross between that drone string sound (when used!) and the octave courses on a 12 string guitar - savvy?

Go to a guitar shop, listen to the octave courses on a good 12 string - then listen to a mountain dulcimer, which sits flat in the lap and is plucked, which makes for a thin, sweet sound, but lacks the 12 string's richness. The dulcimer would give you the drone string effect. The 12 string has 4 octave courses, and 2 unison courses - the combined effect is like no other, very striking. In my own experience doing Celtic ballads (a specialty I pursued years and years before it was "popular") I found, 12 string guitar was the finest solo backup for such singing - the richness of the octave courses added a dimension, and the unison courses, in the treble, just drilled those high harmonics right out of the air - clear and pure - perfect counterpoint, finger picked, in melody, for the voice overlay.

The drone effect happens in mountain dulcimer, and bagpipes, bringing out again, reinforcing harmonics, upper and lower - that gives a warp and weft feel, like a tapestry, as the melody notes weave through. This is how I "designed" the sound of the lyranthe - but with more range - and why it was designed with drones.

If you ever watched a perfect pitch musician tune his instrument in a smoke filled bar - changing a guitar from traditional tuning, say, to dropped D tuning - well, it's almost instant, and very painless. If a man or woman was masterbard caliber, they would have this gift of pitch.

Strike the note, turn the peg, and listen when to stop. A quiet room, a sensitive ear, will also register when the "harmonics" come in phase, if another string is plucked simultaneous.

In a very crowded room, every where there is a lot of noise - where the lower pitches fall into the noise, touching the string at specific points invokes the high range harmonic - with piercing clarity - tuning is very, very efficient, setting one harmonic against another - corrections can be made almost instantaneously and with absolute accuracy.

Q: Was Telmandir a Paravian site?
A: Yes. Telmandir was originally Paravian. All the old Paravian ruins have power circles attached. They were built in close harmony with the lane forces. For good reason.
Q: How similar or different is the s'Valerient Sight gift to Dakar's prophecies?
A: Dakar's unconscious, tranced prophecies are NOT at all the same as Jieret's Sight. There are more minor technical variances between the visions he can recall, and Jieret's Sight. Peril's Gate provides more depth and insight on this.
Q: Can you elaborate on what happened when humanity arrived on Athera in Third Age Year One?
A: When humanity took refuge, they did not just land and settle. Not so simple. They had to apply for permission with the powers that lived on Athera already.

Athera was the Paravian's world.

The Fellowship interceded in mankind's behalf, aware there could be trouble, and agreeing to swear surety for Mankind's behavior - in line with their binding by the Great Drakes, to secure Paravian survival.

The compact was born - which delineated the TERMS ON WHICH MANKIND WAS PERMITTED TO SETTLE - with Fellowship responsibility for violations.

The initial settlement happened on Fellowships terms and auspices - that least damage happen between cultures.

The Koriani, as alluded in Fugitive Prince, Morriel's visit to Althain, were enraged not to have been consulted when the terms of the compact were drawn up by the Fellowship. They were given the choice: Fellowship way, or the highway. To settle, they had to submit. Which meant leaving much of their stored knowledge proscribed. Ticked, in short, in a major way. And by a power too strong for them to overthrow. The struggle continues.

The Kingdom Charters were an offshoot of the compact, but not the compact - they dictated the law under which Mankind governed itself, within the terms of the Compact. Certain freedoms were written in, since to a degree, the charters and the compact would adhere to the PRECEPTS of the Law of the Major Balance.

Lastly, those who could survive Paravian contact were given the job of interaction with the Paravians, where needed - if Man wanted to expand territory, this must be done by negotiation - hunting, foraging, farming, road building - all done through permission grants from the Paravians. The clans were the negotiators. When they brought back the word, it was law. Also, there were other seasonal concerns - where man literally had to "clear the way" for migrations of Paravians, or their celebration of rites. This has been hinted at. Put simply coexistence was not simple. The disparities between man and Paravian were -not- just "tribal" - Paravian cannot be read in the same terms as man's society. There is, literally, a vibrational difference - a frequency difference - between the original Atheran races and Mankind. The frequency has everything to do with the beauty. This is not always lightly or easily compatible. The free wilds of Paravia originally carried a higher vibration than earth does. Lots of reasons for restrictions that WILL be made clear - but are not apparent to townborn, or necessarily, our earth culture at this time. This is why clanborn still guard the free wilds, and why, it's not always safe or comfortable for townborn to go there.

The clanborn WERE NOT EVER RULERS in the strict sense - they were the negotiators between Paravian and Man, concerning use of the free wilds, which were Paravian territory. Town law, under Kingdom Charter, was theirs - they handled complaints, settled disputes, maintained that law - with backing as necessary from the Fellowship, who were Mankind's sponsors.

The clans would have evolved - and the bloodlines evolved - to give man autonomy over himself. Originally those who interceded were Fellowship chosen, based on their chance of survival. No one else at the time had the vision - Koriathain maybe, however, their system and their choices set them in diametric opposition to free will/the Law of the Major Balance - as is apparent in the story as written.

Man's governance on Athera is not an earth system of feudal power - at all. But became warped by political pressure between town desires and interests, and clanborn priorities which were set by Paravian preferences - an order whose necessities were prioritized by things a man might not even SEE, or feel, far less understand - a set of "restrictions" made far worse, by resentment, since the uprising devolved "power" into the usual forms of domination and belief that man tends to structure when balked of doing unwise damage for the short term gain.

Vision is, sadly, not the tool we tend to reach for, at first. We so often look to the "known" and tend to get trapped by the immediate, looking sideways or backward, not forward into an unseen change, never tried. Experimentation can sometimes be so much more scary than the failure we already know. So the planes fly, and the bombs fall, because we forgot to use imagination to look for another way... or we were so wrapped up in our anger and blame, we chose not to reach past the rage for healing... and so it is, on Athera, between townborn and clansmen in the Third Age where this story is placed. More obviously, to come in Stormed Fortress.

Q: What could ever induce a person to enter Kewar Tunnel by free choice? What does it offer beyond peril? Why would a Paravian feel the need to face the Tunnel? Is the Maze still operational after Arithon's precipitous exit?
A: Kewar Tunnel was created by Davien - for reasons that are all tied up in his past history and relationship to the Fellowship. It'll all come out in due time.

The tunnel is very very much still functional.

As to why people would willingly enter - look at the madness humanity entertains all the time on This planet - Why do folks climb Everest and get brain damaged on oxygen deprivation? Why does a person enter into any sort of challenge? People test themselves all the time against lethal stakes a whole lot less logical than the challenge Kewar poses.

Kewar is a rite of passage into self-forgiveness and wisdom. The self aware individual - if self aware enough - could walk straight through. Not every passage would be as brutal as Arithon's was. For one wielding ruling power, as Kamridian did, the straits would not be simple.

What is the marriage, between ruling power, and wisdom, after all? Tolkien's Ring myth examines the fact that absolute power corrupts; but the wider view might argue - those who hold power are the ones who WANT power - why do these who seek positions of authority want power? There, in themselves, lies the door to the reason for the weakness that lets in the corruption. Hobbits did not want power - their wants were more basic and innocent - hence, the ring had less hold on them. Yet show me the truly wise being who is anywhere near a position of ruling responsibility... a right stranglehold of a paradox that has been among us for as long as humans have had thought and concept of order.

Q: Why silk to wrap the acorns or crystals in?
A: It has esoteric properties. Symbolically - there is meaning, silk is a cloth woven from an organic thread that is the stuff of cocoons... If silk had not been available, leather could have served the same function. But it's bulkier, heavier, harder to bundle and tie. Silk has antistatic properties, too, doesn't it? Look at its relationship vis-a-vis electricity.
Q: Can you explain the different types of laws present on Athera?
A: There seems to be perpetual confusion on this point, which is not simple. The various kinds of 'law' that are operant on Athera all bear different names, for a reason: they are not the same, and can't be rolled one into another at whim. One form may derive from another -but they are not the same.

Paravian Law & Ath's law - tightly intertwined.

Law of the Major Balance - all consciousness is autonomous and due the respect of free will. This is one point of Paravian Law, and Ath's Law. The Fellowship adhere to this where they can - but the drake magic they carry can transgress - the power is theirs to cross that line - their choices in this respect are what hold them in constraint, NOT an actual constraint on their abilities. They choose to adhere. Where their binding charge conflicts, they may not. "They are charged never to violate" does not mean, they are UNABLE to.

The Compact - a set of guidelines, drawn up under Paravian auspices that the Fellowship SWORE TO SEE THAT MANKIND ADHERED. Yes, they are limits. Mankind's settlement was bargained for, BY THE FELLOWSHIP, and the Sorcerers' intercession was granted BY THE PARAVIANS, with the caveat: the Fellowship must stand surety for the PROMISE that Athera's mysteries - the health of the planet itself - must not suffer adverse impact. Paravian permission allowed Mankind's settlement, within a set of guiding parameters. The early settlers all agreed to these terms. If their descendents violate these terms, the Fellowship must intercede - Man chooses to "break" the law of the compact - which expressly forbids slavery - both of the mind and of the body. Lysaer was called onto the carpet for bound slavery of the clans, AND for knowingly enslaving others by perpetuating the delusion that he was "the voice of the divine".

Charter Law - written in accord with the compact, to ensure that development of any kind ran under Paravian auspices. Now, within the towns, man is quite free to "violate" against himself - kill, destroy, may domesticate his animals - et al - but within the hard limits of the compact - no slavery.

The High King's justice addressed inequity. King's justice would mostly be in accord with Paravian law, but scope and play would be allowed for human limitation, that would not see with the depth and distance of the Paravian viewpoint.

Town Law - not in accord with Charter Law, but, in allowance for human free will - not necessarily enough deviation here to warrant Fellowship enforcement - except where it strikes in direct violation of the Compact. The concept of 'land owning' - not at all "legal" under Charter Law or Paravian law - not a violation of the compact, EXCEPT where it impinges on the "free wilds" that are not open to development.

Mankind can violate the Law of the Major Balance at will - and does so, daily, yet still fall inside the tolerance permitted humanity under the compact. The Fellowship left as much open to free choice as they could - where the Paravian presence could allow man self-rule, man has it, fully.

Ath's Law can be violated all over the place - as it is, also, daily - there is no "retribution or punishment" - only disharmony results.

The High Kings and the clans are Fellowship agents to uphold the harmonious existence of man on Athera - they will operate under Charter Law, exclusively, and the Law of the Major Balance, more tightly. They will interact with the Fellowship, most tightly - which is why Fellowship presence works hand in hand with them. They inhabit the "free wilds" under Paravian law, with Paravian permission - therefore, their behavior in said territory is strictly kept. Were they to violate, intercession would be swift - as it would impinge Directly on the compact. Within a town - where man's rule is left to itself, no intercession would happen without dire provocation, and a warning would be first.

Example - a fence, a road in the free wilds would receive Fellowship intercession - and has, if you read in carefully - within town walls, it would not.

The Fellowship's efforts at Etarra prior to Arithon's coronation were an intercession - Morfett's will was not honored - he was 'manipulated' and pressured most subtlely. Reason: a Fellowship attempt to restore Charter Law and a High Kingship. Etarra itself is a violation - sited on a pass, were no building should stand. The strict observance of the compact has 'slipped' in spots, where Fellowship presence was stressed thin. With the Paravians gone, the Sorcerers are still striving to "bring those areas back into line" without a gross intervention. Etarra is "at sufferance" while there is time to deal with it gently - hence, Arithon's attempted coronation happening first.

A Paravian return would curtail the leniency of this plan - something to think about, speculate on.

A Grand Confluence of the Lane tides now causes "damage" to town constructions - think what might happen if the Paravian dancers raised that energy, all over the continent... Fellowship are in "damage control" right now. Hoping to set right without upheaval. They ARE responsible for keeping the compact, and they know it! Humanity violates at ITS peril.

Lysaer, then, was "outcast" for inciting "slavery" both mental and physical.

The Koriathain would act as they please, within the bailiwick of their Order - enslave their offworld crystals as they please - but outside, where they impact Athera - the compact must be upheld by the Fellowship. That's the conflict - to do what they want when they want, they must contend with Fellowship power - and they have enough in their own right to have impact, make trouble, scheme. They have enslaved others - do regularly, by their oaths - where they "fall through the cracks" is, that the victim chooses (free will) to subjugate themselves before they are set under binding.

To escape binding - ASK, or DEMAND the freedom as established in Charter Law, or the Compact - a free will choice request for restoration of that basic right - the Fellowship can then act, and right smart! Under the Law of the Major Balance AND the Compact.

When stuff falls into Fellowship hands, they regularly "free" - the necromancer's stick, in Grand Conspiracy, Lysaer's Shadowbane, in Fugitive Prince - not, however, where that "item" isn't Atheran - the Waystone was "held in trust" - to have messed with it would be in violation... (a crystal consciousness that is enslaved that desires its own freedom will shatter, or depart - with the result that the crystal "goes dead").

How much would a town have to violate the Major Balance - which happens all the time! - to incite a Fellowship intercession? - A Sorcerer would be called to act only if the Compact terms are broken or threatened - read damage to the free wilds - or damage to the dynamics of the planet's resonance - slavery forced without consent, or mass delusion of the mind (enough to impact AND impair the energetic frequency of the lane tides).

A Sorcerer who is asked to stand as ambassador (As in Asandir standing for Arithon, or for the Fellowship standing surety for Talith's ransom in Havish) can accept this responsibility, or decline it, at will. Arithon, as Teir's'Ffalenn can ask and receive that help, made in accord with Compact and Charter law.

There is also tribal law - adhered in the Desert of Sanpashir. We haven't gone there yet - but the story will in due time.

Q: Considering what you've said about the laws, what of the re-routing of the Severnir River?
A: There is much more to the damming of the Severnir than meets the eye. Much will unfold as the story progresses.

Here's one point on that subject that won't spoil anything for later - the damming of the Severnir laid 'waste' (dried out - shifted rainfall patterns) Daon Ramon - which certainly made it easier to keep townsmen from using the land for other purposes. Paravian absence meant the Riathan did not need the site to breed. Easier to keep 'wild' as a briarpatch.