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The ur-viles' ultimate goal
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:21 pm    Post subject: The ur-viles' ultimate goal Reply with quote

I have no idea how manacles could contribute to this, if it's really what they have in mind, but:

1. The Staff of Law doesn't just uphold, but is interconnected with—is not just a symbol which refers to, but is in fact part of the meaning of—the Law itself.

2. Ur-viles are nominally unnatural; we know the Waynhim as their parallels can be damaged by the proximity of the Staff in some way; so it stands to reason that ur-viles in the long run would be undermined as to their existence by the Staff, the Law in general, or both.

3. Suppose this is why the ur-viles served the Despiser for so long: he offered them a power that was consistent enough with their natures that it wouldn't slowly kill them to use or associate with it. But now...

4. Vain, of Demondim nature, is part of the Staff of Law. By transitivity with (1) this means that the essence of the Demondim is now interconnected with the essence of the Law itself. Which in turn means that the Law should be consistent with the nature of the ur-viles.

—Unfortunately, the fact that the new Staff is the one that hurts the Waynhim as they were seems to totally deny the above argument. Now theoretically this is just a theoretical slip-up on the author's part. I mean if Demondim power was truly antithetical to the Law, how could Vain and Findail have been fused in the first place? Wild magic, sure, but it seems more as if they should've cancelled each other out, like matter and antimatter, if this were exactly the case. I don't know. Maybe the thing is, as was noted, that Vain was only the first step towards the ur-viles' ultimate goal, that their unification with the order of the Law is ongoing and therefore still imperfect (which renders them susceptible to corrosion by the Staff as of this time).
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I surmise the ur-viles purpose has become to redeem their entire family tree... in other words, to redeem the mistakes made by the Viles. I suspect this is why we were introduced to the moment where the Viles were corrupted, and when they began their battles with the Land (Forests). And this may add to why the Demondim were introduced to the story... besides being a plot device as has been discussed elsewhere, they were brought into the story to round out our knowledge of all things Vile-spawn.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Relayer wrote:
I surmise the ur-viles purpose has become to redeem their entire family tree... in other words, to redeem the mistakes made by the Viles.


What better way to do this than to make their nature harmonize with the Law? And the logic of the Staff's relationship to the Law plainly suggests that Vain's genetics, so to speak, are going to affect the Law somehow, or could be triggered to altering the Law in some ur-vile/Waynhim-friendly way. I don't presently recall what explanation (if any) was given for the Waynhim guarding the Staff after Anele lost it; and I don't know of any better explanation for the sudden alliance between the ur-viles and the Waynhim.

The role of the manacles in the ur-viles' greater designs is the only thing I don't know how to directly theorize about based on the above. My only thought is that those shackles might be specially made to be inescapable by whatever force kept freeing Joan from hers and Longwrath from his (supposing the force is the same in both cases).
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ur-Viles are trying to redeem themselves from hating themselves.
The thought that they were trying to do evil in some way via Vain contradicts that goal.

Vain was pure "structure" but nothing to do with Law.
Findail was pure Law.

I suppose a case could be made that one influenced the other but I never thought so.

We learn later on that the Elohim are susceptible to certain structures, hence their fear of Jeremiah.
There has never been any mention of Elohim corruption via being contained.

The ur-Viles completed or fulfilled the purpose of their existence with Vain just as the Haruchai proved their worth when Brinn defeated the Guardian of the One Tree.
They both Validated themselves.

Now the ur-Viles that remained* when Vain proved their worth moved on to create the Manacles.
I believe it's to further correct the Viles mistakes in that it's payback against the Ravers, who were responsible for the Viles self loathing.

* I reject SRD's "mistake" with that!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

High Lord Tolkien wrote:

Vain was pure "structure" but nothing to do with Law... I suppose a case could be made that one influenced the other but I never thought so.


But we're also told something about Vain attaining the stature of Law with his perfection or whatever, right? And we know the sheer existence of the Staff of Law affects the standing of the Law itself. The Staff's destruction, for instance, allowed the Despiser to create the Sunbane. It stands to reason that if the essence of the Staff comingles with the essence of the Law, then the ur-vile/Waynhim form of life can now be naturalized. (I don't mean that this is something corrupt or evil in any way. I personally would congratulate them for finding a way to merge their kind of existence with the Earthpower's order.)

High Lord Tolkien wrote:

The ur-Viles completed or fulfilled the purpose of their existence with Vain...


I'm fairly sure that Esmer says something about "the purpose they began with Vain" in what, chapter 2 or 3 of FR, the manacles being part of that purpose.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasn't Vain pure structure and Findail pure earthpower? And Linden contributed what was in essence her interpretation of Law. I guess being pure structure means that Vain formed the medium in which a new Law could exist; a Law that would be empowered by, or form the binding of, Findail's earthpower.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Questions, Mig.

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
4. Vain, of Demondim nature, is part of the Staff of Law. By transitivity with (1) this means that the essence of the Demondim is now interconnected with the essence of the Law itself. Which in turn means that the Law should be consistent with the nature of the ur-viles.

At one point, Linden uses her percipience to check Vain out.

In The Wounded Land was wrote:
"You wanted me to look at Vain." She nodded toward the Demondim-spawn; he stood across the gully from her. "I've tried. But I don't understand. He isn't alive. He's got so much power, and it's imperative. But it's-it's inanimate. Like your ring. He could be anything."

I always had the impression from reading this that had Vain been tainted by the ur-viles, Linden would have noticed. Instead, he seems like an empty vessel, waiting to be filled.

And in the GI, Donaldson speaks about the relationship between ur-viles and the Law.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
The ur-viles and Waynhim certainly exist as violations of Law; but that doesn't render them incapable of understanding and serving Law--as the Waynhim have demonstrated since the beginning of "The Chronicles".

(05/22/2007)

So it seems entirely possible for Vain to be built to serve and support Law, even if he was created by beings who are "violations of Law", and whose lore could be equally as un-Lawful.

And if Vain serves and supports Law, this would make him anti-thetical to the very beings who created him, and their cousins the Waynhim.

(I see a paralell here with the fact that Earthpower can be used to destroy the Earth. "Anything that lives carries within it the seeds of its own destruction." So surely Demondim-spawn can create something that is destructive to Demondim-spawn.)

Also in the GI we find:

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Is Vain's purpose accomplished? What purpose do you imagine he could possibly have in his present state? The ur-viles (his creators), as I hope the story makes plain, are entirely another matter.

(02/18/2009)

This seems to imply (at least, to me) that the ur-viles have intentions beyond creating the new Staff. But those intentions don't necessarilly involve the Staff. In fact, it sounds like the ur-viles could not have any latent surprises embedded in the Staff waiting to surprise is.

So, again, these things seem to point away from the idea that there's any ur-vileness in the Staff. Sometimes a Staff of Law is just a Staff of Law.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Sometimes a Staff of Law is just a Staff of Law.


Hysterical


That's all you really wanted to say wasn't it? Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Good Questions, Mig.
... in the GI, Donaldson speaks about the relationship between ur-viles and the Law.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
The ur-viles and Waynhim certainly exist as violations of Law; but that doesn't render them incapable of understanding and serving Law--as the Waynhim have demonstrated since the beginning of "The Chronicles".

(05/22/2007)

So it seems entirely possible for Vain to be built to serve and support Law, even if he was created by beings who are "violations of Law", and whose lore could be equally as un-Lawful.

And if Vain serves and supports Law, this would make him anti-thetical to the very beings who created him, and their cousins the Waynhim.


That's self-contradictory. The Waynhim always and now the ur-viles serve and support the Law (GI). Vain serves and supports the Law (your note). The predicates in both of those assertions are identical. Therefore it couldn't be the mere fact of Vain's relevant service and support that would make him "anti-thetical" to his creators and their brethren. It would have to be him being Lawful in his own right. I think he is, but anyway, that's not exactly my point.

wayfriend wrote:
In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Is Vain's purpose accomplished? What purpose do you imagine he could possibly have in his present state? The ur-viles (his creators), as I hope the story makes plain, are entirely another matter.

(02/18/2009)

This seems to imply (at least, to me) that the ur-viles have intentions beyond creating the new Staff. But those intentions don't necessarilly involve the Staff. In fact, it sounds like the ur-viles could not have any latent surprises embedded in the Staff waiting to surprise is.


I know this already from Esmer confirming a deeper ur-vile plan than the Staff by talking about "the purpose they began with Vain."

wayfriend wrote:

So, again, these things seem to point away from the idea that there's any ur-vileness in the Staff. Sometimes a Staff of Law is just a Staff of Law.


Regardless, for the ur-viles to transform reality so that they harmonize with the Law could be their final goal (that is to say, the proposition, "The ur-viles are trying to transform reality in this way," isn't analytically false or in conflict with anything I know about the mechanics of the Land's Earth), the new Staff being fashioned from something derived from their own kind of reality could be the first step to accomplishing this (how they "began" to do it, to quote Esmer again—plainly the new Staff's damage to the Waynhim belies that its mere existence by virtue of Vain is enough to render the Demondim-spawn Lawful), and finally it seems like both (a) the kind of thing the ur-viles would do and (b) the kind of thing that Donaldson would do (would write).

The evidence is inconclusive and ambiguous, sure. But it's still evidence.

... I say that last thing (b) for this reason, btw. While I surely didn't recall the reference to a "shadow on the heart of the Earth" or whatever from The One Tree for years and years, didn't thereby realize that Donaldson was strongly indicating some deeper problem for the Land's Earth than just the Despiser and therefore hinting however amorphously at later novels, I probably should have. Or it should have struck me more, or something. But the references again in the Last Chronicles surely had me prepared to theorize about it. Now if Donaldson were less talented, or less thoughtful, or whatever, he would've ended up attributing the "shadow" to the existence of the Insequent, or the Theomach at any rate, or maybe just the Despiser, or something else striking but nevertheless short of what he did in fact attribute it to. I mean the "shadow" being people like us: that's f--king brilliant, if you ask me. Other worlds and their capacity to intervene in that of the Elohim is exactly the perfect fact to daunt those Earthpowerful men and women.

What about this matches up to saying that the ur-viles want to change the Laws of nature? Just this: for that to be the ur-viles' ultimate goal would be as transcendental as the true explanation of the "shadow" turned out to be. More to the point, sans ur-viles crossing over to some other universe where their form of life is already Lawful, I can't imagine anything more transcendental for them to be aiming at. And the "shadow" being us is pretty much unsurpassable as a reason for the Elohim to be upset. So the unsurpassable character (so far as I can tell) of this possibility for the ur-viles' destiny (besides interdimensional travel) is a solid indication that, granted Donaldson's proficiency at coming up with dead-on solutions to his mysteries, it's the kind of thing he'd end up having them do. Which is why I think, to the extent that I'd be willing to bet anything on any idea for what the Demondim-spawn have in mind, this idea is the best (most plausible).
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
That's self-contradictory. The Waynhim always and now the ur-viles serve and support the Law (GI). Vain serves and supports the Law (your note). The predicates in both of those assertions are identical. Therefore it couldn't be the mere fact of Vain's relevant service and support that would make him "anti-thetical" to his creators and their brethren.

Demondim-spawn are created, not made. Therefore, they are not Lawful beings, and in fact Law can be harmful to them in some circumstances.

If I understand your point, you believe that Law can't be antithetical to ur-viles, since the ur-viles created Vain.

Can the ur-viles create something which serves and upholds Law? Sure. Does this make the ur-viles Lawful beings? No. They remain created beings, outside of Law. Creating Vain did not change that. So Law, in some forms, can be harmful to them, even still.

I agree with your other surmise, to a point. Yes, the ur-viles are out to do something. But I'm not sold on it being bad or selfish.

Esmer's comment doesn't have to mean that there is something secreted in the new Staff of Law that serves the ur-viles. Other interpretatiosn are possible, possibly more likely.

Last, I'll add:

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
It seems fairly obvious the the ur-viles had reinterpreted their Weird and decided to turn against Lord Foul. Why did they do so? Ah, therein lies a tale, without which "The Last Chronicles" might not be posssible. <grin>

(11/12/2004)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

If I understand your point, you believe that Law can't be antithetical to ur-viles, since the ur-viles created Vain.

Can the ur-viles create something which serves and upholds Law? Sure. Does this make the ur-viles Lawful beings? No. They remain created beings, outside of Law. Creating Vain did not change that. So Law, in some forms, can be harmful to them, even still.


This is not my point. My point was that the fact that Vain supports and serves the Law can't make him the opposite of his creators, because his creators also support and serve the Law, yet they're plainly not self-contrary (that would be logically self-contradictory). Maybe he's their opposite, but it would have to be for some reason.

wayfriend wrote:

I agree with your other surmise, to a point. Yes, the ur-viles are out to do something. But I'm not sold on it being bad or selfish.


Why would changing the Laws of nature be bad (or "selfish" in the sense of doing something to benefit themselves even at other people's cost)? Even breaking Laws doesn't seem completely immoral or else what Caer-Caveral did in order to make Covenant's victory at the end of the sixth book possible would've been the wrong thing to do. Personally, if I were standing in front of an ur-vile right now, and it told me, "Oh, we're trying to make ourselves part of the natural order," I'd high-five the weird dude or something.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
My point was that the fact that Vain supports and serves the Law can't make him the opposite of his creators, because his creators also support and serve the Law, yet they're plainly not self-contrary (that would be logically self-contradictory).

I don't think this is so. I think the ur-viles can serve Law, despite the fact that they are unnatural, unLawful creatures, and as such can be harmed if a good dose of Law is forced on them. Ditto the Waynhim.

That's the whole point of the Waynhim's Weird: their answer to their being made beings is to serve Law and the natural beings of the Land - in that way partaking somewhat in that from which they've been otherwise excluded.

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
Why would changing the Laws of nature be bad

Not quite what I was saying. Changing the laws of nature to render the demondim-spawn lawful would be bad. That specific case.

The Demondim-spawn are unnatural for very good reasons. They're made beings. Perhaps there is a "don't tamper with mother nature" sentiment to this, but we need to take that as a given here. Forcing nature to accept what it naturally (heh) abhors seems like making things much worse, not fixing things.

And there's no doubt that breaking the Laws of Life and Death was bad. However, that was never done because someone thought it was a good idea. One was a mistake. The other was a conscious trade-off to achieve something else.

Anyway, if the ur-viles are emulating the Waynhim, they're not serving themselves. They're serving the Earth.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

I don't think this is so. I think the ur-viles can serve Law, despite the fact that they are unnatural, unLawful creatures, and as such can be harmed if a good dose of Law is forced on them. Ditto the Waynhim.


I'm not disagreeing with you on this. I was just disagreeing with the idea that Vain serving and supporting the Law could make him the opposite of his creators.

wayfriend wrote:
Changing the laws of nature to render the demondim-spawn lawful would be bad. That specific case.

The Demondim-spawn are unnatural for very good reasons. They're made beings. Perhaps there is a "don't tamper with mother nature" sentiment to this, but we need to take that as a given here. Forcing nature to accept what it naturally (heh) abhors seems like making things much worse, not fixing things.

... Anyway, if the ur-viles are emulating the Waynhim, they're not serving themselves. They're serving the Earth.


I don't need to take this as a given. It doesn't strike me as analytically true or otherwise derivable from any of the better ethical theories out there, and my intuition doesn't support it, either. So I guess I just have to disagree, here. I think it'd be perfectly alright, or at least not self-evidently wrong, for the Demondim-spawn to be naturalized. —Are the ur-viles emulating the Waynhim? It might've been said in RotE or FR, but I only read FR recently and most of that alliance was commented on earlier in the text, which earlier part I don't recall so clearly (and I don't have the eighth book on me right now).
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
I don't need to take this as a given.

No. But I would say that that is a premise presented in the story by Donaldson. That made creatures are "unnatural" is presented in the story. That they are "violations of Law" is something Donaldson has said in the GI. That they are physically harmed by a Staff which provides healing to natural creatures is also a fact of the story. So I will take it as a given at least - made creatures exist, but they exist contrary to Law.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
No. But I would say that that is a premise presented in the story by Donaldson. That made creatures are "unnatural" is presented in the story. That they are "violations of Law" is something Donaldson has said in the GI. That they are physically harmed by a Staff which provides healing to natural creatures is also a fact of the story. So I will take it as a given at least - made creatures exist, but they exist contrary to Law.


Well, I know they exist contrary to Law, but it doesn't immediately follow that changing the Law for their sake would be immoral. And only their un-Lawfulness has been stated, right? Not that altering the Law would be wrong. I mean, I don't know of anywhere in the novels or the GI (although granted I haven't read the entire GI and don't remember every detail of the books) where it goes something like, "To rewrite the Laws of nature would be evil." (I don't know what kind of environmental ethics Donaldson has reported in the GI, if any, although really, transforming an entire world's physics and biology isn't exactly the kind of thing that a real-life environmental ethicist is liable to worry about.)

—Was Linden able to heal the Waynhim who had guarded the Staff?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:


—Was Linden able to heal the Waynhim who had guarded the Staff?


Yes, she was, and she proved her right to possession of the Staff by healing all of the Waynhim who were guarding it.
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ultimately, vain wasnt an expression of ur-vile nature, he was the essence of their lore, and the glue for all three basic components. 1 being lore, 2 being earthpower (findail) and 3 being wild magic (lindens power of love). they hated what foul did to them. he made them loath themselves. they continued to fight against the peoples of the land until TC beat him in TPTP. they went 3 millenniums changing their self abhorrence into a way to redeem themselves. the manacles are most intriguing. they wanted to shackle roger, if thats true, then lord foul might have a surprise from his prior whipping boys...
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Good Questions, Mig.

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
4. Vain, of Demondim nature, is part of the Staff of Law. By transitivity with (1) this means that the essence of the Demondim is now interconnected with the essence of the Law itself. Which in turn means that the Law should be consistent with the nature of the ur-viles.

At one point, Linden uses her percipience to check Vain out.

In The Wounded Land was wrote:
"You wanted me to look at Vain." She nodded toward the Demondim-spawn; he stood across the gully from her. "I've tried. But I don't understand. He isn't alive. He's got so much power, and it's imperative. But it's-it's inanimate. Like your ring. He could be anything."

I always had the impression from reading this that had Vain been tainted by the ur-viles, Linden would have noticed. Instead, he seems like an empty vessel, waiting to be filled.

And in the GI, Donaldson speaks about the relationship between ur-viles and the Law.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
The ur-viles and Waynhim certainly exist as violations of Law; but that doesn't render them incapable of understanding and serving Law--as the Waynhim have demonstrated since the beginning of "The Chronicles".

(05/22/2007)

So it seems entirely possible for Vain to be built to serve and support Law, even if he was created by beings who are "violations of Law", and whose lore could be equally as un-Lawful.

And if Vain serves and supports Law, this would make him anti-thetical to the very beings who created him, and their cousins the Waynhim.

(I see a paralell here with the fact that Earthpower can be used to destroy the Earth. "Anything that lives carries within it the seeds of its own destruction." So surely Demondim-spawn can create something that is destructive to Demondim-spawn.)

Also in the GI we find:

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Is Vain's purpose accomplished? What purpose do you imagine he could possibly have in his present state? The ur-viles (his creators), as I hope the story makes plain, are entirely another matter.

(02/18/2009)

This seems to imply (at least, to me) that the ur-viles have intentions beyond creating the new Staff. But those intentions don't necessarilly involve the Staff. In fact, it sounds like the ur-viles could not have any latent surprises embedded in the Staff waiting to surprise is.

So, again, these things seem to point away from the idea that there's any ur-vileness in the Staff. Sometimes a Staff of Law is just a Staff of Law.


Ok. I'm not sure I quite see the Freudian parallels there. However, I just started a new thread about this topic which takes it a completely new direction. We know that the Staff has an effect beyond its mere creation, even beyond healing the Sunbane. But now that it's served that function, what else can it accomplish, and why did the Waynhim strive to prevent its recovery? I think it's obvious from this latter question that the Staff serves a much broader purpose, and that this purpose is peculiar to ur-Viles, to Vain's ultimate purpose, and finally, to their Weird. I have just made this purpose clear in the thread I mentioned.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add something interesting to this discussion...

FR pg. 75: The magic which had transformed Vain's forearm may have arisen from the Worm of the World's End rather than from the One Tree.

I just wonder to what extent, if any, Vain's forearm being stripped of his ebony flesh and turned to wood contributed to the eventual creation of the Staff. Perhaps the ur-viles knew all along that their creation needed proximity to the One Tree to make him meldable with Findail...
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

earthbrah wrote:
Just to add something interesting to this discussion...

FR pg. 75: The magic which had transformed Vain's forearm may have arisen from the Worm of the World's End rather than from the One Tree.

I just wonder to what extent, if any, Vain's forearm being stripped of his ebony flesh and turned to wood contributed to the eventual creation of the Staff. Perhaps the ur-viles knew all along that their creation needed proximity to the One Tree to make him meldable with Findail...


I thought the One Tree was part of the Worm, wouldn't the source of the magic be the same?
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