Nature of Magic and Unintended Effects

I have just caught up to the series and this place just opened, so it’s time for me to rant about my theories! We just got a chapter on how Transmogrification works on ideas , largely the accumulated ideas of people as a whole. And we know that given certain very limited arrays, the application of Will can get wildly different results depending on how it’s shaped, that’s the basis of free-casting.

So, my question is this: With esoteric magic, the bounding “array”, however it’s made, usually seems to be a little less well-defined than modern sorcery. This probably contributed to why it’s esoteric now, but in this particular case, I feel like it’s going to lead to some interesting effects. Specifically, with the shadow-familiar spell.

"Life’s breath, shadow mine. In darkness we were born. In darkness do we feast. Devour, and arise.”

This is an incantation with some very interesting properties. It establishes her shadow as under her magical control, and it implies some sort of consumption. This has already been used to make it a sort of impromptu Sacrifice deliniation, eating the heat from the shadow to produce the feeling of cold, and also for extending her “presence” or zone of magical control over others, but could it go further? Could it begin to develop more advanced things, like eating through material, or eating away at sanity? Or more concerningly, has that already started to happen? Some of the effects can be put down to simple fear and mundane mental trauma, but it’s beginning to be a consistent, self-reinforcing idea. It’s a theme, repeated regularly. Considering how extremely developed our favourite Queen’s Will is, it could be that her mere intent was enough to nudge the spell a little further.

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I love this line of thought. The Raven Queen and her shadow familiar are also getting quite famous, so at what point do the public’s views on the familiar actually shape it to go farther than either the incantation or Siobhan’s intent (subconscious or otherwise) meant?

She’s learning to master transmutation recently, so has more control of how the will of the collective unconscious influences her own control, but does she still have that mastery if she isn’t aware of the part that everybody else’s intent is playing?

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I suspect that this spell is the same one Myrddin uses in his duel.

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This is an incantation with some very interesting properties. It establishes her shadow as under her magical control, and it implies some sort of consumption. This has already been used to make it a sort of impromptu Sacrifice deliniation, eating the heat from the shadow to produce the feeling of cold, and also for extending her “presence” or zone of magical control over others, but could it go further? Could it begin to develop more advanced things, like eating through material, or eating away at sanity? Or more concerningly, has that already started to happen? Some of the effects can be put down to simple fear and mundane mental trauma, but it’s beginning to be a consistent, self-reinforcing idea. It’s a theme, repeated regularly. Considering how extremely developed our favourite Queen’s Will is, it could be that her mere intent was enough to nudge the spell a little further.

I firmly believe you’re correct. The SF is probably going to start eating at things, somehow. It’s already consuming heat and light, using the electromagnetic spectrum. Matter can be converted to heat, and vice versa. When S starts to learn that this is a simple enough conversion - which, who knows, we may find out with her new exercises - she is probably going to be able to use her familiar to consume other things. That turns it into an unbelievable weapon - or shield.

Lacer had a bit about it in one of the chapters, about how thaumaturges find it significantly easier to use heat as a Sacrifice when a piece of bread might contain the same energy, and it’s considered a difficult feat to be able to Sacrifice the bread.

ETA: Another idea. Is it somehow consuming the electrical energy in the brain and body of the people it touches?

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Is the sacrifice coming from the circle made in front of her mouth? Or from the area bounded by the shadow? The shadow is dark and is made frosty to make it emit fog, but is that the sacrifice to create the effect, or is it the effect itself? If it’s the effect itself as I suspect then it’s pretty typical output detachment, and making it able to erode sanity would require a spell designed to influence the mind, which I doubt is possible without a much stronger will. But if it’s the sacrifice, then that’s “input detachment”, something we haven’t seen before, and has the capability to absorb many things. Though regardless, the natural barrier to magic of a human’s surface would hamper direct influence of the mind.

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Hello I’m a fanboy of this story but anyway more importantly, here’s an idea about sacrificing light. We can think of these four forces: The strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, the electrostatic interaction, and gravity.
I’ll get three of them out of the way. In relativity, gravity which seems to be a force is actually a curving of spacetime that redirects your motion (there r videos online). The strong nuclear force holds the nuclei of atoms together. The weak nuclear force does things with some subatomic particles.

So about the electrostatic interaction, this is responsible for both electric charges, and magnetism. The attraction between atom nuclei and their electrons, and the repulsion between electrons.
The electrostatic interaction holds electrons on atoms, and joins atoms together in molecules, and is the force involved in holding molecules together in things made of molecules, like a person, and a stone.

In particle physics, the electrostatic interaction, when it exerts a force at a distance, uses force-carrying particles. This reminds me of divination rays. Anyway, the force-carrying particle of electric things is: virtual photons.

So light is pretty important in holding together things that are made of atoms.

So if Siobahn learned about virtual photons, and could form an illusory sword or spear of shadow, and make the blade absorb virtual photons, then what would happen? The molecules and atoms in the air would probably break apart in some way. If she used the sword to stylishly cut through a wall? Maybe there would be an explosion or something.

Also maybe the world is something like a hundred years or so from someone getting the idea of collapsing the Higgs field to obliterate all known life. Finna need another cataclysm to obliterate science?

edit: oh, apparently after some time, a user can’t edit a post anymore. It said so in the description of the “editor” badge. :­(

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IMO, Transmutative uses of the fundamental forces are still likely going to have to stick to the same rules as everyone else. Trying to shake the underlying fabric of reality would not actually destroy the world, it would probably just snap your Will like a twig, and possibly create a very exotic Abberant. It could definitely produce some exotic effects that formerly only Transmogrative effects could, but not destroy the world.

The Watsonian explaination is that magic is pretty tightly tied in how large it’s effects can go, and self-propagating effects do not seem to really be a thing. Someone has probably came up with a similar idea to Von Neumann by now, but no grey goo has eaten the world. It’s possible that the phenomena of Will-break, and the whole reality-wobble thing, is specifically as a regulation method to prevent these things, but that’s probably deep lore we won’t see a trace of until like book 10 or something.

The Doylist explaination is much simpler. If magic applied a certain fancy way can have effects completely outsized to anything else, it is hilariously unbalancing for the level of power. It’s pointlessly hard to write for compared to sticking to the relatively reasonable, consistent power levels already established.

[quote]Someone has probably came up with a similar idea to Von Neumann by now, but no grey goo has eaten the world.[/quote] 10 gold says the Red Guard has fought some kind of Aberrant like that.

Because while regular thaumaterges are limited in how they use their magic (including Siobhan), Aberrant are quite clearly not. The strongest of them have magical effects that are apparently limitless and cannot be stopped by the most powerful mortal magic available.

Higgs field being unshakable in association with it being too fundamental, that seems speculative to me. Art thou betraying the secrets of the Red Guard… or art thou akin to AN UNRELIABLE NARRATOR (or something else)?
A mystical police force limiting effect limiting self propagating things, or aberrants, these ideas will make fine additions to the collection.

And I’ll tell you something else: I’ve got some more thoughts about things. They follow imminently, in fact. Liza’s divination thwarter, when activated, redirects, absorbs, reflects, and somethings ephemeral rays that are used for divination. It also blocks Siobahn from people’s perception.

Maybe people’s perception also uses divination rays. Maybe the eye receives light, and the brain processes it into an image, but then the image has to be projected outwards for some reason, to where the brain thinks the image should be, before it can be perceived. And with the anti-divination artefact active, a person’s brain constructs the image, but part of it becometh antimeme. Maybe vision rays are used in spell casting somewhere.

(Or maybe the artefact beams magic right into their heads, or the perception is sympathetically linked to the perceived and somehow something something the artefact gets to act on it, or both their mind and the artefact act on some extradimensional thing not yet explained. Maybe brains have souls that live partly in soul land or something. Or maybe vision doesn’t need to shoot out divination rays but it shoots them anyway and the artefact rides them back to the brain and so the artefact could be blocked but then Thaddius might have managed that during his tests so maybe not.)

BUT IF VISION DOES INVOLVE SHOOTING DIVINATION BEAMS OUT OF THE BRAIN then perhaps counterdivination could be used to cast a spell at someone who sees you, because you sense the rays used to perceive you. Or just sense the people seeing you. And then The Raven Queen is even more powerful and mysterious. If you see her, she sees you.

There are tests of this that could be done. If thick glass blocks divination rays, but people can still perceive things through it, then that would be Rest In Peace my idea here perhaps. Or maybe thick glass lets people see and notice Siobahn despite the artefact. Or if you saw her reflection in a hall of mirrors and knew not where she truly was, what then? The Raven queen, invisible except in a reflection? So mysterious. Or maybe a telescope.
If vision shoots out eye beams then maybe hallucinations shoot out hallucinations to where they seem to be. But also I wonder if the artefact also stops people from hearing her. And smelling. I wonder what synergy the artefact could have with her blade and wing glyph. Maybe she could create antimemetic shadow creatures from a long distance that gets the Red Guard Foundation called in.

Also a note here about something. I subscribed to Azalea Ellis’s email thing, and there are emails asking things like, how are you, and what do you do for X, and I have replied to precisely 0 of them, I am too awkward. What can I say, I’m just awkward. It is what it is. It is causality. The truth can not be denied. It is the nature of things.

All “real” magic is about changing the nature of reality. You can speculate about how one might go about changing the nature of reality, but most fantasy authors realize that there needs to be a limit on how much reality can be warped through thought or communication. The more aspects of reality that can be changed, the trickier it is to keep your characters from solving every problem with magic (especially the big problems, like sickness, old age, and death).

So, no matter how much magic behaves rationally, when a thaumaturge (wizard, sorceress, mage, ect.) chooses to change the fundamental nature of things, they are going to hit a limit in storytelling.

In this story, some of the limits are: Power (how much energy does it take to change reality - and where are you going to get it from?); Will (how much stronger is your ability to bend reality over reality’s position on the matter); Communication/Thought (how much clearer is your idea of what reality should be); Sacrifice (bending reality is much easier use the parts of a magical animal to help you do it); Conduit (the device use to channel the reality bending content of the spell).

I speculate that Uncontrolled Will makes an Aberrant but not because Abberrants don’t play be the rules: it’s that they become a new piece of reality, which then tries to impose that reality on everything around them.

So, if you can change one atom into a different atom, it’s not the laws of physics that are doing the lifting. Even if you understand the Higgs Boson field, are you trying to change the change fundamental reality for everyone everywhere? You’re either going to become that spell - which is an Aberrant constantly trying to fit things into the parameters of the spell - or you will fail and end up with brain melt.

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(When I’m logged in, this thread is missing from the list)
That’s some nice thinking about aberrants, I think.
The higgs field collapse idea I was thinking of was one where it starts in one tiny location, and propagates at the speed of light. Initially small, and perhaps with a low enough thaum requirement for a sorceror’s will. Some people proposed the idea a while ago. If a Cosmic Bubble Destroys the Universe, Scientists Now Know When It'll Happen | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine

In a new paper published in the journal Physical Review D, the researchers calculate that the formation and collapse of a particle called an instanton will likely set off the Death Bubble between 10 quinquadragintillion years (that’s a one with 139 zeros after it) and 10 octodecillion years (a one with 58 zeros after it).

But as Robert Walker at Science 2.0 writes, there’s no need to worry. The paper shows the probability of a Death Bubble having already formed is so remote it could be considered impossible. And not everyone is convinced that the universe will come to such an end.

Physicist Vincenzo Branchina of the University of Catania, who was not involved in the study, tells Vance that the calculations need to be taken with a grain of salt. The new study only looks at the standard model of physics, which has not integrated new ideas like quantum gravity or dark matter, which are little understood and could completely change their conclusion—perhaps even making the universe more stable.

A different webpage:

According to a recent paper, published on March 12 in the journal Physical Review D, the final moment for the universe will be triggered by a bizarre consequence of subatomic physics called an instanton. This instanton will create a tiny bubble that will expand at the speed of light, swallowing everything in its path. It’s only a matter of time. [Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth]

That is okay. I am awkward too and when I manage to pretend I’m not I’m mostly just will-powering my way through.

But familiarity breeds ease. So, you know, "Hi. :slight_smile: "

There are Aberrants that propagate their effects infectiously, and sometimes in a cascading manner. All these kinds are classified as Blight-types.

That’s interesting about the instanton, but I definitely feel it deserves to be taken with a grain of salt, for the same reasons as Robert Walker. It’s hard to make accurate predictions when you don’t fully understand how something works.

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