Chapter 40: Wishful Thinking

on October 24, 2011 in Volume 2 Book 2: The Trouble With Twyla, Volume 2: Sophomore Effort

In Which Elves Have Big Ears

Amaranth was pleased with how she’d accomplished her reveal. While she’d done pretty much what I’d been hoping she might do, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. I couldn’t help but be a little relieved at an explanation that knocked the dragon theory out of the running, but looking at the picture of the figure of billowing smoke towering over the cowering human, it was hard to find anything reassuring, much less anything that I could relate to my experiences with Twyla.

Of course, I knew how stories that used a type of being as the villain could “demonize” them. Demons were a legitimate threat to the human race, but stories invested them with horns, leathery wings, pointy tails, and all sorts of other features that were either cribbed from unrelated creatures or simply used as a shorthand for scary. The older stories about elves took their abilities to move quickly and quietly and basically made them out to be natural teleporters. There might never have been an ifrit who was actually twenty feet tall and radiating menace like that… or if there was, he might have come by some exceptional abilities through magic, as often happened with the most powerful demons.

If you took the figure and scaled it down to somewhere within spitting distance of six feet and gave it more of a solid humanoid frame, I could see a progenitor for Twyla. The horns certainly looked similar, though the ifrit’s were quite a bit bigger, even proportionally. The picture wasn’t exactly a realistic portrait, but it wasn’t cartoony, either. Possibly Professor Bohd knew what ifrit horns looked like in real life from other sources, or had some other way of recognizing one… if not, she might have made one doozy of a rush to judgment.

“So Twyla’s part genie, then?” Ian said.

“I think an ifrit is actually a type of fire elemental,” I said. I tried to think of what else I knew about them, but that was about it. “I know they do get conflated with demons and other infernals sometimes, because of the fire and the horns, and no particular affection for mortals… but my grandmother was pretty definite that they were purely elemental. Not that she’d liked them any better for that.”

“Yes, I believe they are elementals, but so are djinn,” Amaranth said. “Though like all intelligent elementals, they’re mixed in their composition… not pure fire. Djinn seem to be airier. I haven’t had time to do any serious research into their origins, but it seems like they’re of the same order of creation… basically, what angels are to the celestial realms, ‘genies’ are to the elemental ones. It’s hard to work out comparisons like this across orders, but djinn and ifrits might be more like two different classes of elves than like elves and dwarves.”

“And djinn and ifrit… djinns and ifrits? Whatever the plurals are, they’re rivals?” I guessed.

“That makes sense,” Ian said. “I mean, in the story of the two genies as I read it, it seemed like the ring guy and the bottle guy just had an ancient grudge against each other.”

“Worse than rivals,” Amaranth said. “Ancient enemies. One of the biggest stories in Nights is about a war that flattened mountains and destroyed a lush paradise in the middle of the desert. It doesn’t get translated or adapted very often… maybe because the scope of the destruction doesn’t translate well when it’s talking about somewhere so remote to the audience, or maybe because there’s no reason for demons and djinn to be fighting, and calling both sides djinn also doesn’t work because it doesn’t really convey the reason for the fighting. Well, the story doesn’t convey that anyway… I assume its intended audience would already know about the conflict’s origins, or else take it for granted that the conflict exists.”

“But the bottom line is that djinn and ifrit are… or have traditionally been… enemies,” I said.

Amaranth nodded.

“That story ends with a human king who’s also a sorcerer of some kind forcing them to accept a compact that stops them from making war on the mortal plane,” she said. “That is, from making war on each other while on the mortal plane. And a certain number on both sides are bound to objects to make them hostages to their free kin’s good behavior. But later stories, like the one about the ring and the bottle, show that they still feud and plot against each other.”

That did go some distance towards explaining Professor Bohd’s reaction. If she’d reacted with hostility… or as though she thought Twyla’s presence was a hostility itself… that would explain Twyla’s response, too. Without any explanation for Bohd’s behavior, she might have assumed that the professor just didn’t like students, or unscheduled drop-ins, or people with horns… and that I’d sent her there knowing this.

“So… what does this mean, if it’s true?” Ian said. “I don’t mean about the war, I don’t really think Twyla’s going to be making a blood feud against a teacher. But can she grant wishes?”

“I actually have read more on djinn culture than is found in storybooks, and if ifrits are anything like djinn… and they seem to be a lot like them,” Amaranth said, “then they as a society have more access to true wishes than most beings do, and use them as a sort of currency in their culture in sort of the same way we use gold. A coin is valuable because it’s gold, but it will change hands many, many times before it’s ever melted down and the gold is used, if that ever comes to pass.”

“Why would you buy something with a wish?” Ian asked. “It seems to me you could just wish for whatever you wanted and them some.”

“Well, the common denominations are actually in fractions of wishes,” Amaranth said. “They might have the equivalent of a bond or personal check that’s worth a thousandth of a wish, for instance. The wishes themselves are held by very powerful djinn houses that act as bankers. They pay for services and favors with notes, backed by the wishes in their vaults.”

“Still seems silly,” Steff said. “What do they gain from circulating tiny, unusable fractions of a wish?”

“An economy,” I guessed. I’d never heard of or considered this before, but it did make a kind of sense to me. “Actually using a wish is tricky, and once it’s used, it’s gone. No one’s actually sure where they come from, though the common theories involve stars… wherever they come from, it can’t be easy to get more. By basically trading shares in the wishes, they can get the things they need… sustenance, entertainment, comfort in whatever forms those things take… without depleting their stock or risking the consequences of a poorly worded or badly interpreted wish.”

Amaranth nodded.

“Exactly,” she said. “The thing about three wishes? That’s basically a benchmark, like being a millionaire in human terms… not that three wishes are worth exactly a million gold, but I mean, three is significant to them so that’s the level at which a djinn is considered to be among the rich and powerful, when they own three wishes. If one is bound to help a mortal, they’ll do whatever they can to avoid expending an actual wish, including using magic and their own natural abilities, and begging, borrowing, or even stealing. Not all ‘genie wishes’ that go badly are because of cruel fate twisting someone’s words… some are just the results of the djinn in question trying to frame the request in a way that’s easier to fulfill.”

“Shoddy wishmanship,” Steff said. “Frankly, I wouldn’t stand for it.”

“I want to do more research… a lot more research… but I could see a wish-based economy being the original cause of the conflict,” Amaranth said. “Whatever the ultimate source of the wishes is, they are rare and valuable. If there were two races competing to harvest or gather or whatever the applicable verb is…”

“I’m going to pretend it’s mining,” Steff said. “The idea of wish-miners amuses me for reasons I cannot explain.”

“Okay, if there are two races competing to mine them, it could get really heated,” Amaranth said. “But again, the story in the Nights about the war doesn’t go into that at all.”

“Not to keep banging the same drum,” Ian said, “but I really can’t see Bohd being scared out of her wits by an idea that came from a story.”

“No, but we’re getting all of this basically thirdhand,” Amaranth said. “These stories are only the human view of the conflict from the outside, and we can only read them in translation… and of course, all the stories in the Nights were transmitted orally for centuries before being written down in their modern forms. Professor Bohd might have more information that’s been handed down on the djinn side of the family, possibly including warnings.”

“Then why would she be looking things up in the book?” Ian asked. It was a perfectly sensible objection, but I couldn’t really see any flaw in Amaranth’s line of thinking.

“Well, her djinn heritage is distant enough that the information might be getting a little… attenuated?” Amaranth suggested. “Or maybe it only consists of general warnings about ifrits, and not anything about what to do if one makes a move against her. It can’t be something that comes up very often. There might be permanent populations elsewhere on this plane, but I think ifrits living openly around Magisteria are probably even rarer than bottled ones.”

“What kind of ‘natural abilities’ are we talking about?” Ian asked.

“Well, djinn can change their size and shape… and their whole composition, to an extent. They are a type of composite elemental, like I said, so they have everything within them they need to appear as a human or dwarf or elf… or a rock or tree, for that matter,” Amaranth said. “And of course, they can do anything that an intelligent greater elemental can. They can fly, and they can shift almost at will between the mortal and elemental planes, with enough precision to basically teleport. And they have tremendous magical reserves… like demons, but even moreso, because they come by their fire naturally.”

“And Twyla’s not even an arcanist,” I said. It seemed like a waste. I wondered what other classes she was taking this semester, and if any of them would reveal a talent for spell magic.

“Her body looks pretty fleshy to me…” Ian said.

“So to speak,” Steff said.

“What I mean is, I can’t really see her flying or dissolving into smoke or growing thirty feet tall,” Ian said.

“No, I doubt she could do any of those things naturally,” Amaranth said. “Even if she’s only one generation removed from a full-blooded… or equivalent… ifrit, she probably would have inherited enough of an earth nature from her human parent to keep her in one form. She’d probably have a strong affinity for any of those things plus elemental magic, if she ever turned her mind towards studying them.”

“So… basically, Bohd doesn’t have any more reason to fear her than any other nineteen-ish-year-old girl,” Ian said. “I mean, if Twyla actually did have it in for her. She could maybe throw fire at her, which is something anyone who’s taken one of Bohd’s one hundred level courses could do, anyway.”

“And not something Professor Bohd would have any problem dealing with,” I said. “I’m guessing she realized that after I talked to her… there was a definite change in her posture, from defensive to just kind of tired.”

“Wait… do we think Twyla is actually half-ifrit?” Steff asked. “Emphasis on the half, not the ifrit.”

“I don’t know,” Amaranth said. “She looks perfectly human except for the horns, but who knows what an ifrit looks like when it’s trying to look more down-to-earth?”

“The real question is, what do we do with this?” I said. “I mean, I don’t think Bohd was giving me the book to warn me or because she expected me to do anything about Twyla…”

“No, that would be really irresponsible of a teacher to give a student just enough information about an actual threat to get them interested and then hope they stumble into a solution all on their own,” Amaranth said. “I think it’s actually in the university charter that they can’t do that, under the section about signs and portents and magical menaces.”

“So, my thought is she wanted us to know so we could tell Twyla,” I said. “But we’re not exactly on the best terms, and I don’t think she’d be happy to know that we’ve been having a whole group discussion about this. I mean, she wants to know, but I think she might see it being her decision who else knows.”

“Then it was definitely a mistake to discuss this in the one place on the main campus where elves congregate,” Steff said. “Because I can hear at least three sets of pointy ears on this conversation.”

“You can hear people listening?” Ian said.

“Not really,” Steff said. “Not exactly, I mean. Sometimes Dee has a point about Pax not having enough words for things. Anyway, I don’t think we should be too hasty to set aside the magical menace theory. I mean, I’m only thinking this because you said djinn are greater than demons when it comes to the raw magical energy because of their fire… and you also said that ifrits are all fierier-than-thou, where ‘thou’ is equal to ‘djinn’.” She put her hands on my shoulders. “And that means if she is half-ifrit…”

“Then she’s got more power than I do,” I said. “Which is weird, because I’d think that would have been noticed. I don’t know if I would have felt it without looking for it, but one of her professors or someone might have caught on and said something about it, if only to try to steer her towards something more ‘hard magic’ than divination.”

“Maybe her instructors all thought there was nothing particularly wrong with divination,” Amaranth said.

“But that’s the other thing,” I said. “She went into divination to try to find out something about her heritage, but neither she nor anybody else were ever able to learn anything. I know that relatively simple divination could have detected a high energy level, because I can do that as an enchanter.”

“So either she doesn’t have off-the-chart magical power, or she does but something’s hiding it,” Ian said.

“What I was actually going to say is that if she has more power than Mack, she might be even more of a walking safety hazard than she is,” Steff said. “No offense.”

“Hey, my magic has almost never caused any danger or damage,” I said.

“Well, she does still have the problem that started this,” Amaranth said. “Which is why I think we should tell her. Though, you are right, baby, that it’s something that needs to be handled delicately. Unless you see an opportunity before then… from what I know about her, it doesn’t seem like it would be out of the ordinary for her to find you to try to make peace once she’s cooled down… I think we should stick with the original plan of waiting until you see her in class again anyway.”

“And hope she doesn’t burn and/or blow the school down and/or up in the meantime?” Steff asked.

“She’s had some small scares, but she hasn’t done that so far,” Amaranth said. “And anyway, a few more days will give us a chance to learn more. I would like to keep looking at the book, if only for my own curiosity. I checked the receipt in the front and it’s due back next week… apparently they don’t check this one out for any longer than that, which is sad but understandable… anyway, though, I think it’s important that we look for other, more modern sources of information. Chances are that Twyla doesn’t know any more about ifrits than we did. She might take things better if we can point her towards something that shows them as more than fairytale villains.”

I thought that Twyla was probably used to doing her own research, but I could also see Amaranth’s point. I’d only been nine when I’d learned that I was a half-demon. I doubted there was any kind of culture or civilization in hell that would have made me happier or prouder to claim as my heritage, but it would have been nice to have anything to soften the blow.

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62 Responses to “Chapter 40: Wishful Thinking”

  1. Burnsidhe says:

    That. Is a brilliant. Interpretation of wishes. A wish economy.

    Current score: 1
    • Riva A. says:

      Hey, if wishes were fishes, there’d be no room left in the ocean… so better they pay to put food on the table.

      Current score: 0
  2. Asimov says:

    Hmm. It seems to me that a fractional-wish-based economy could be a good donation incentive, as well.

    Current score: 0
  3. Zathras IX says:

    An Ifrit may be
    More palatable if it
    Has a dash of Djinn

    Current score: 0
    • Helen Rees says:

      If at first you don’t succeed – try, try a Djinn…

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  4. Anne says:

    pointy tales, and all sorts
    I think you mean pointy tials…:-P
    BTW at this point all comments are centered.

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    • Anne says:

      ACK misspelled tails… Oh my!

      A tale is a story, a tail belongs to a being that owns one… 🙂

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    • Anne says:

      Ack I misspelled tails…
      A tale is a story, a tail belongs to a being that owns one… like a dog… 🙂

      And some how my comment got doubled…

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      • Stonefoot says:

        I have some stories of things that have happened to me. Since they belong to me then they should be my tails? But they are also tales.

        Curiouser and curiouser…

        (Oh, and I did meet a dog today… named “Moose”. She’s a nice dog and has a nice tail, though I don’t know if she has any tales.)

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  5. Helen Rees says:

    typo alert

    like demons, but even moreso,

    and – okay, pointy tials sound lovely and all, pointy tales are obviously the kind we love to see exchanged, but I’m plumping for tails.

    So there.

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    • Lunaroki says:

      Typo Report

      “It seems to me you could just wish for whatever you wanted and them some.”

      Should be “and then some.”

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      • Stonefoot says:

        First, I think it could be like “no, no, not a whole second serving, just a little moreso“.

        And maybe “It seems to me you could just wish for whomever you wanted and them some.”

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  6. Kallio says:

    “No, that would be really irresponsible of a teacher to give a student just enough information about an actual threat to get them interested and then hope they stumble into a solution all on their own,”

    Nice little dig at Harry Potter, there. :p

    Current score: 1
    • Brenda says:

      Thank you for highlighting that, as I had missed it and am now filled with glee…

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      • Kamendae says:

        I was just about to post nearly the same exact comment as Kallio – glad someone else caught it too 🙂

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    • SurahAhriman says:

      I giggled when I saw that. Sounds like something Harry from Methods of Rationality would say.

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  7. Kevin Brown says:

    It may just be on account of having recently read about them but this wish-based economy sounds a lot like bitcoins.

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    • Erm says:

      It sounds more like the opposite to me – the value of a bitcoin is more arbitrary than gold, while the value of a wish is less arbitrary.

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      • eris_harmony says:

        I dunno. A wish can be literally anything, from all the gold in the world to a fresh-baked frosted donut. But then again, all value is arbitrary to an extent anyways. A jar of peanut butter is life to a starving man, but death to someone with an allergy.

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  8. carson says:

    “Shoddy wishmanship,” Steff said. “Frankly, I wouldn’t stand for it.”

    Sign me up for some Steff love for that comment.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    How I Mine for Wish?

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    • Greenwood Goat says:

      See here (link). You’ll probably end up burning the Midnight Oil, though. >:=)>

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  10. tjhairball says:

    I will note that Amaranth has been wrong before… and being wrong in the right place to get the rumor mill running might be …

    … hm …

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    • Brenda says:

      But even if she’s wrong about Twyla, she’s still right about why Bohd freaked out! We don’t know if Twyla freaked out because the professor did, or if it was mutual and instinctive. Although that is beginning to look more likely, you can never tell when this author is giving us clues or red herrings… zombie red herrings…

      Current score: 1
  11. Greenwood Goat says:

    For those who don’t know, the major mundane currencies started in a similar fashion, only using commodities such as gold or silver instead of wishes. Originally, the face value of a coin was supposed to be representative of the value of the metal that comprised it (as in the WoMU, IIRC), but people in more sophisticated societies began to store their gold in secure vaults, and instead offer “promisory notes” in exchange for the goods and services that they bought. These notes could be exchanged for the stated sum of gold at the vault, by the bearer, on demand. As anyone could be the bearer, the notes issued by a trusted issuer could be passed on to others in trade, and began to be used as currency themselves. This was the start of what became the modern banking system, and some national banks still work on the gold standard in this manner. However… as this system became entrenched, issuers found that they could issue more promisory notes than they had gold reserves to cover, and nobody would notice. This “fractional reserve” banking system is also the norm in modern currencies and banking, not that anyone in the system goes out of their way to tell people about this. Of course, this does rely on the users of the banking system not all wanting to withdraw or realise the value of their money at the same time. When this happens, a bank panic results, people get screwed, and there is a huge drop in public confidence, not to mention lots and lots of anger. Which leads me to wonder whether there could have been a wish panic at some point, and whether this could have contributed to the situation between the djinni and ifreeti.

    BTW, there was lots of simplification there, to avoid too big and tortuous a word dump and reduce brain-strain. If anyone wants to leap in and expand on this, feel free.

    Current score: 1
    • Kevin Brown says:

      Considering that I actually knew this I wonder why the bitcoin thought overwrote it. I suppose it has something to do with a theoretical currency and a fictional one.

      Current score: 0
  12. Nyysjan says:

    Gold coins are not valuable because they are gold, gold itself has no inherent value, it’s only value comes from people wanting gold for some odd reason (what would they use the gold for anyway? it’s not like they have large electronics industry needing conductors? and jewelry, while valuable, does not really “use” the gold any more than the coins would, it most it might increase the value due to labor put into it, but the gold would still be there).

    Current score: 0
    • Greenwood Goat says:

      Absolutely. Humans, eh? (rolls eyes) Don’t get me started on humans and their foibles…

      To be fair to their favourite metal, it is extremely malleable and doesn’t oxidize or corrode, it conducts heat very well, and is great for tooth fillings and body jewelery (no allergic reactions), and on that note, it is rather pretty. I’d certainly grab a loose nugget if I happened to see one, but, yeah, humans do get a tad fanatically obsessive about it.

      Anyway (since I forgot to mention it in my first post), we now have confirmation that angels exist. Of course, we only have confirmation that the word “angel” is a translation convention indicating a celestial being. We certainly can’t assume that they will be anything like the six-winged orbs and wheels within wheels that you’re all familiar with. >:=)>

      Current score: 1
    • Your opening statement is incorrect, though everything that follows it is essentially accurate.

      Your mistake is thinking that “The value of a gold coin comes from the value of the gold that makes it up.” and “The value of gold comes from people’s willingness to place a high value on it.” are somehow contradictory statements. The value of the coin comes from the gold, irrespective of where the value of the gold comes from. Value != worth or utility.

      As a thought experiment, imagine a civilization that fervently believes that one day at an unspecified point in the future a giant space robot who needs gold to live will come to earth and reward those who have sufficient food for it and/or punish those who don’t. In this civilization, gold would obviously be highly valued. Now imagine two parallel universes, one in which the giant space robot is real but (unknown to anyone on earth) won’t actually return for thousands of years and one in which it isn’t… but the people in each civilization have no indication of the falseness of their beliefs, and this (the veracity of the space robot tale) is the only difference between those universes.

      If you found yourself dropped into either civilization with a satchel full of gold, which universe would it be more valuable in?

      Current score: 0
      • Erm says:

        I like the giant space robot bit; maybe this should become a standard economics textbook example (like “Guns vs Butter”).

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    • pseudoname says:

      I think in magic world gold has certain special properties that make it functionally valuable in addition to science world’s shininess(shared) rarity/limited quantity(also shared with magic world) and limited electronics uses.

      Current score: 0
    • eris_harmony says:

      Big WAG here, but I suspect gold got used for money BECAUSE it had little use (at least until computers became common).It’s pretty, and has an unusual color for metal, but even as jewelry it’s not great when used pure. Gold is too soft.

      Current score: 0
  13. N'ville says:

    The value of gold as far as history and historians can find is only because of its rarity. OK in modern technology it does have its uses and especially so in electronics, but in its pure form it is both very soft and quite heavy, not really lending itself to any real use in the way that copper and tin mixed together, making bronze, was before the discovery of iron. Gold is certainly not much use for weapon or tool making so it can only be assumed that its worth is because of its rarity.
    So, bearing that in mind, what would be the likely outcome if a rich seam were to be found that yielded thousands of tons. If that was just dumped onto the open market, its value would plummet and so would the society based upon its current value.

    This then brings up another valuable commodity, diamonds. The DeBeer company actually holds in storage millions of the things, purely in order to keep their value high, and incidentally the company and its stockholders rich.
    If the company released the lot onto the market, the purest and biggest diamond, what of it? well I suppose it could be installed as a window, as it wouldn’t be worth very much more than that.
    This just proves that this value thing is all false in reality, as actually a diamond is of more industrial value as a cutting tool than any amount of gold is worth.

    Current score: 0
    • Tiamat says:

      So for those of you who know anything at all about anti-trust law in the United States, you may be thinking “Isn’t withholding supply to keep prices high a felony in the US?”

      This is absolutely correct, which is why DeBeers used to do business with the US entirely through third parties, and their executives were all forbidden from setting foot on US soil on pain of arrest. This lasted more than 50 years, until they pled guilty to criminal price-fixing to re-enter the US market. The More You Know!

      Current score: 0
    • Zukira Phaera says:

      I was just about to mention this! I have the image of that giant diamond mine in my head now, the one where they cant fly helicopters over because of crashes. Some photos for the curious.

      Current score: 0
      • Ryzndmon says:

        “You wouldn’t know a diamond / If you held it in your hand / The things you think are precious / I can’t understand ”

        Such a scar on the Earth. For a few pieces of shiny rocks.

        Current score: 0
  14. Erm says:

    “No, that would be really irresponsible of a teacher to give a student just enough information about an actual threat to get them interested and then hope they stumble into a solution all on their own,” Amaranth said. “I think it’s actually in the university charter that they can’t do that, under the section about signs and portents and magical menaces.”

    “Supreme Leader, I have that lampshade with the Harry Potter print you requested.” – “Just hang it anywhere.” 😀

    Current score: 0
    • Erianaiel says:

      To be honest, the masterplan required that for Harry Potter to survive he had to willingly let himself be killed by Voldemort to protect the rest of the wizards (or at least his friends). Keeping this crucial information from him until after the events was kind of paramount or it would have negated the intended effect of having Harry Potter survive and protecting a lot of people from being killed by Voldemort.

      No, the one who really was being set up by this plan was Snape, and he died for it. If that was Dumbledore’s plan from the beginning he was even more ruthless than he appeared to be. (and Dumbledore knew that if Voldemort went after the Elder Wand he would be on a collision course with Snape…)

      This of course has little to do with our favourite half demon and her loyal minions.

      (Oh, and I love the Order of the Stick reference 🙂 )

      Current score: 0
      • Brenda says:

        I thought the Elder Wand was Dumbledore’s, not Snape’s?

        Current score: 0
        • Zukira Phaera says:

          It was Dumbledore’s, and then it was Snape’s, but the only way to truly master a wand in HP is to defeat its previous owner or it be a wand that chooses the wizard in a shop. This is especially the case of the Elder wand, which only passes as a powerful tool upon the previous owner’s death. When Snape did not take up the wand after doing Dumbledore in, the power of that particular wand was broken. If Snape had later taken it up (as it was now keyed to him), and then Voldemort taken it from Snape by way of killing him, then it would have been full powered once more. Since Snape died without having wielded it, and was not relieved of it, the power of the Elder Wand was forever destroyed. Since Moldy Pants took it instead from Dumbledore’s tomb it was about as good to him as going ‘hey let me borrow this’. There are several examples of borrowed wand power vs mastered (disarmed &taken) wand power throughout the series especially so in the last few books.

          (/end trivia)

          Current score: 0
          • Legendary says:

            What??? No. It was Dumbledore’s, then Draco’s. Snape never had it. Voldie caught onto the idea that maybe it was Snape’s and killed him for it. Harry beat Draco, and when Voldie tried to use the wand against him, it didn’t work.

            Current score: 0
            • carson says:

              This. Draco had disarmed Dumbledore before Snape came on the scene. The loyalty of the wand passed to Draco, and then to Harry.

              Current score: 0
            • Zukira Phaera says:

              been a few years since I’ve read it. I forgot about that little bit.

              Current score: 0
  15. Brenda says:

    Question about the site: Are the comments set to center rather than left justification, or is it just my computer showing it that way? It’s kind of distracting…

    Current score: 0
  16. Owesome says:

    Wish-based economy is fascinating. What if a rich djinn (who had, say, 100 wishes) decided to burn through 20 of them, thus increasing the value of his remaining wishes?
    Also, now that others know of Twyla’s supposed heritage, whats to stop ignorant people holding her at swordpoint for wishes? How widespread is the knowledge of the wish economy?
    Also also, more economics lectures need giant space robots.

    Current score: 0
    • eris_harmony says:

      What wishes? That would be like mugging a bastard child for hir father’s money. She doesn’t have access to the family vault.

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  17. Owesome says:

    On the subject of gold, Scientists now think that all the gold near the surface of earth likely came from meteor strikes, and that there are likely massive gold deposits at the CENTER OF THE EARTH (sorry). If MU-verse gold has the same origin, it could hold extra-planar affinities useful for planar travel and communication.

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      I’ve always liked the notion of gold being a by product of dragon magic overspill while they slumber. IE the place they sleep turns into gold, thus the hoards. With that hypothetical, adding more treasure could be seen as prestige since it makes it seem like they are older and more powerful. It might help the dragon heal, be more comfortable to sleep upon etc etc.

      The slumber/gold transformation (but not the prestige aspect) is used in Elizabeth Kerner’s dragon trilogy that starts with the novel Song in the Silence.

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      • Kevin Brown says:

        As of 3.5 D&D Dragon’s needed a hoard in order for their soul to continue on into an afterlife, similar to how ancient kings were buried with their wealth. I don’t know if this is the same in 4e because I pretty much disliked the system from my first look at a PHB (I play Pathfinder now) and at that time those simple roleplaying related things seemed to be beneath 4e’s interest.

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        • Pity. 4E is the most roleplaying-centric edition since the first one, by which I mean that unlike 3E and Pathfinder it has no rules restricting roleplay.

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      • Brenda says:

        The dragons in Elizabeth Kerner’s books turn the ground to gold when they sleep. The sad thing is that they don’t know that name for it, so although they know humans kill each other over “gold”, they don’t realize what it is or why they are always trying to trespass on the dragons territory.

        There are three books (for now…)

        Song in the Silence
        The Lesser Kindred
        Redeeming the Lost

        They are very good.

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  18. OhPun says:

    Wish based economy = credit cards.

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  19. Bilbo says:

    In the “Man of his Word” series by Dave Duncan, you have to keep gold away from dragons because it’s like a drug. They go nuts for it.

    And if you’re being hunted by a dragon and have a pouch of gold on you, that puts you in an awkward position.

    Run like hell and hope you get away, with the likely alternative being eaten… or give up the gold and run like hell with the likely outcome of a stoned dragon flaming everything within miles.

    And apparently “Stoned” is quite literal. A Dragon that has done too much metal may, centuries later, be mistaken for a mountain ridge.

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  20. N'ville says:

    Hum, back to dragons are we, a different take on them was written by Anne McCaffrey in her Pern stories. However, those dragons were genetically created using fire lizards as the main base.
    That resulted in human friendly and extremely useful fire breathers. Read her stories if you want to know why.

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  21. pedestrian says:

    Two Robert Heinlein books had dragons. Between Planets, the Venerian dragon Sir Issac Newton mentored the young hero throughout an interplanetary civil war.

    Star Beast, the young protagonist’s great-great ancestor had been an interstellar explorer and brought home a small alien that slowly grew up into a very large dragon affectionately named Lummox. The dragon was breeding Stuarts.

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  22. Apollo says:

    I will be forever amused that MU has a rule that you can’t give out vague clues/portents/ecetera to students.

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  23. Arkeus says:

    Dammit Amaranth, you and your usual “i will meddle on people’s lives without checking if i destroy it in the process” bulshit

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  24. Mike says:

    No one else mentioned it, so maybe I’m reading too much into it, but is the story of the human sorcerer king who stopped the djinn/ifrit war a reference to King Solomon? I vaguely remember a story about that from somewhere. Or at least soemthign about a ring genie.

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