16 November 2015

Commonweal #4, current status 2015-11-16

word count screenshot for 2015-11-16
Started getting some momentum at long last.  (You can't see directories argh and argh2 here.  Voice, why must it torment us so.)  So that doesn't really count as "from the start of November".  But I'm happy, because Safely You Deliver had an average rate around 25 kwords/month once it woke up and went live in my head.  So this feels like it might be progress.


Samuel Kleiner said...

So I was wondering- why is it so hard to communicate across to the first commonwealth? Can't Blossom just make a somewhat larger gun (for ballistic mail), or perform night-time light signaling (assuming that the tops of the mountains are high enough), or just use those gate things? Or is it a political incapacity- that is, some ministry-of-information-type Gesith who doesn't want people to know what's happening to the first commonwealth?

Graydon said...

Communication implies connection; this has metaphysical consequences you can't do a whole lot about.

Direct long-distance communication with the Power inherently involves risk because there's an inevitable Power circulation if information is going both ways, even if it's discontinuous (you send on Tuesday and I send on Tuesday, sort of thing) and demons (among other things) can insert themselves in it. A reasonably experienced demon is more than protean enough to take the shape of your mind even if you are a sorcerer, and everyone is in agreement that this outcome is bad and to be avoided.

The people responsible for the Commonweal and the successor Commonweals hope that the Dread River hell-things are a leftover problem, that they're seeing something that was passively waiting until the Iron Bridge happened to rust out and fall, and that there's no directing intelligence. They certainly don't know that. (And there are intermediate cases where some third party is trying to influence things; possibly by dropping the bridge, possibly by encouraging entities that might attack the Commonweal to various degrees. Or the hell-things could be so indifferent to dying because there's a single directing intelligence with a massively multiple material manifestation and it just woke up from a nap, for strange aeons values of "nap". Or other possibilities viewed as less likely.)

Blinking lights at each other is pretty obvious is there is a directing intelligence; even if there's no directing intelligence, whoever constructed, summoned, or acquired the hell-things long ago might have said "destroy everything in this watershed" or they might have said "destroy everything that lives in this watershed". Neither Commonweal knows. (You can be confident that it's pretty simple, because making that kind of thing complex is difficult and failure prone, and the Iron Bridge was there for centuries and the hell-things got right back to work. (Maybe; they can't rule out someone powerful coming by and going hrm, I can use this...))

If it's "destroy everything that lives in this watershed", communicating can render both Commonweals one entity in terms of that kind of directive. And they don't know what the directive is. So the policy decision comes down to take no chances.

Part of the problem with getting this into the narrative is that the Captain thinks this is too obvious to be worth mentioning, in much the same way that a hear-and-now colonel might think "of course we encrypt our message traffic". It's basic metaphysical security, which is why the Line uses tokens bound to individual names for message-passing. (Among other precautions.) While in Edgar's case it's certainly not the sort of thing you explain to your first year sorcery students, not if you want them to succeed rather than hide under the bed and giber.

Samuel Kleiner said...

Thanks for explaining!