Friday, February 20, 2015

Page 987

I don’t really know much about Cocora,’ said Marcos. ‘Why did Ma stop believing in her?

Oh, well, Cocora is supposed to be this benevolent and all-powerful being who is just the greatest thing ever in the history of the universe. And I think during her travels, your mother began to have trouble consolidating this idea of Cocora with the state of the world around her.


Mariana saw a lot of death, even before she met me. A lot of senseless brutality and suffering. And even the holiest, most convincing rhetoric in the world has a difficult time standing up against all of that.

I get the impression you’re not very religious, either...

Oh, me?’ Shenado laughed. ‘I’m even worse than Mariana was. In spite of everything, your mother still believed in SOME kind of ultimate creator. She just thought all religions were bullshit.’ The reaper hesitated. ‘Agh, sorry, I keep forgetting you’re only twelve.

It’s fine. I don’t mind.’ It was hard to take much offence to swear words after having seen Darktide literally squash several people into a bloody pulp.

Mm. But yes, Mariana still possessed a tiny morsel of spirituality. I, on the other hand, do not.

Really? You don’t think there’s like a reaper god or something?


How can reapers exist without some kind of creator?

The same way that people can.

Uh... then how can people exist without a creator?

Ah. A very old question, that. One that has been used to justify all manner of deistic belief in the past. Nowadays, though, we know about something called “spontaneous quantum creation.” It’s a bit difficult to explain, but in very simple terms, it means that the natural forces that make up the universe are such that there is no reason why the universe could not have created ITSELF. No divine intervention necessary.


There have been other ideas about godless creation throughout history, too, and perhaps there will be still more in the future, but spontaneous quantum creation is what currently seems to make the most scientific sense.

...But Ma didn’t believe any of that, did she?

No. She could be quite stubborn.

Unlike you?

Shenado laughed again. ‘Excuse me?

I’m sorry. That was ruder than I meant it...

I can already tell that you’re going to give me a lot of sass as you get older.’ She didn’t sound particularly upset about it, though.


  1. Why would she be upset? She wanted entertainment, not servility.

  2. I'm glad you're not just going all out and sandboxing on your beliefs, whatever they might be. I mean, it seemed a bit sandbox-ey, but I'll give it a pass considering the context.

    That said, the darker things get, the more people are usually willing to believe in religion, not less. It's a lot easier to struggle to live day by day if you believe that by doing so and being a good person, you'll eventually get to chill out for all eternity. Just speaking historically, here.

  3. Better yet, when you find natural talent, you just have to train it up to be better. Right? ;)

  4. I am among those who think a Reaper is attracted to personalities that speak against it. After all, eternity is boring without some sparks. Not insomuch as beliefs, mind you. Just someone willing to mock the source of their immortality.

  5. Obedient ones are boring and being stuck to boring one urhhhh.

  6. That's definitely true in general, but in specific cases, the horrors of war are notorious for causing people to lose their faith. And no one who loses their faith does so more completely than a priest.

  7. Perhaps there was a genius servant+reaper who controlled all the elements and made the universe once their universe was destroyed through war.

  8. Mmm, I suppose that's true. At least, in modern war, where the whole 'war is hell' thing came about. In older times it was glorified a lot more, probably because it tended to be resolved in short, massive battles rather than protracted trench warfare.

  9. Unlikely. If it is possible, my guess would be that they had materialization and figured out how to use that to do Pan-Rozum and Pan-Wzrost together to gain new elements in their base state. My guess is that actual canon is that the universe was created the same way as ours, but Frost isn't going to start a flame war more destructive than Dozer by saying what he thinks that method was.

  10. Look the Thirty Years War up. Or even the Hundred. How about the Crusades (all if them)? Or, hey, the Golden Horde? Come back when you've worked out that sieges are old school, brutish and downright unpleasant for all concerned during the months or years they take place. And, that further commuting war crimes or suffering them aren't new when it comes to the whole disillusion thing. :/

  11. I'm not saying that sieges are anything new, but the brutal trench warfare of WW1 was a complete change to the nature of war. It's the difference between a firecracker and a depth charge.

    Also, names like the 30 years war and the 100 years war are somewhat deceptive. It's not like they were consistent wars being fought nonstop over those periods; they were a series of conflicts that happened to be close enough together and between similar powers, lumped into one area. Heck, a lot of modern polyscience experts think of the last hundred years as being something of a hundred years war; starting with WW1, which morphed into WW2, which became the cold war, to vietnam, afghanistan, etc, etc.

  12. I think the big thing that changed wasn't the brutality of war, it was communication. Before, a single disillusioned soldier could be convinced by the power of groupthink that war was glorious, and nonsoldiers except the leaders who knew and kept a lid on it were unaware that war was anything but glorious. Then, fast media began to become more prevalent, and suddenly every nonsoldier knew how nasty things were, and as new soldiers were drafted, they brought those opinions with them to the front lines.
    None of this is to say that WWI was not, if not a new level then at least a very new kind of nasty.

  13. And now the current round of thermonuclear chicken with Russia and the long-running game of terrorist whackamole.

  14. Debate is fun, as long as it doesn't turn into hostility like something as fundamental as whether humans should be murdered for the fun of it. After as long as most reapers have been alive, they probably crave novelty and entertainment almost as much as aberrations.

  15. Seriously, take a long, hard look at Mediaeval memes sometime. :| I think you're confusing later cultural developments that arouse post-Westphalia upon the solidification of the nation state with what occurred before. The Dance of Death, the Wheel of Fortune, a lot of the depictions of the Final Judgement, how the many flavours of Hell usually boil down to "a battlefield on acid", depictions of the Four Horsemen, anything by the early German, Dutch and Flemish masters, Swiss jokes of the period... I could go on. :/

  16. Knights on horseback were the meatgrinders of their day. Frankly, Europe forgot what mass warfare was like during colonialisation, as it tended to export it, leaving only relatively small battles at home. It came back home, and was a surprise.

  17. It's true, communication has had a huge impact on how we view wars. How we view everything, really. Like, there had been a half dozen zeppelin accidents before the Hindenburg, but the Hindenburg was televised, and suddenly zeppelins weren't such an attractive way to travel anymore. Business dried up, and the zeppelin business more or less died overnight.

    But that wasn't really the case in WW1. Or at least, it wouldn't have been the case if it weren't for the innovations in war that took place there. One of the primary reasons WW1 was so awful was the sudden and abrupt change in the relative powers of defense and offense. Prior to then, it was pretty much the first nation to strike that won a particular engagement. Then they invented things like Barbed Wire, the machine gun, artillery...all invented in a relatively short period of time. Suddenly war wasn't racing across a battlefield to meet your foe face to face, it was legions getting cut down by an enemy they couldn't even see.

    Also, interestingly, modern medicine played a big part in the realization that war was awful. In the Medieval times, unsurprisingly, most people who were crippled in war died. Infection, shock, etc. You lost an arm, you died. You got stabbed in the chest, unless you were a noble with access to expensive medicine, you died. But that meant the only survivors were the glorious victors, each time. With modern medicine, suddenly more veterans come home, talk about the terrible stuff that happened. Combine that with a battle that is, in general, much worse(seriously, it was. Guns changed everything), and you have a recipe for disaster.

    And finally, you have to remember that those other things you mentioned - the disease, plague, starvation, stuff like that - that wasn't just the women and children who had to stay home and deal with it. That was the soldiers too, before they went off to war. Gloriously dying in battle seems a lot better option when your only other choice is staying home and starving to death while dying of the Plague.

  18. I think you undersell what barber-sergeons were capable of: they were pretty nifty with arrow wounds, slashes and bashes. Because they got the practice. :P Yes, they didn't understand hygiene all that well, but they did understand some of it, even if their reasoning of it was faulty. So, a surprising number of wounded actually did survive. Many a skeleton you can find backs that statement up before you disagree: there's plenty of evidence of horrible injuries that were survived. Think about most trained knights, longbowmen and mercenary soldiers: many made it into their 40s or more, if they survived their apprenticeships and avoided political and martial mistakes. And, had the scars to prove it. <_<

    Infant mortality was through the roof, but if you survived into your 20s, you had a fair shot of hitting three score. If you avoided genital mutilation and getting your head chopped off, of course. ;P

    Mediaeval streets didn't lack for legless, armless or hideously burned beggars. Who could keep on ticking unless they starved or got sick of something else. -_-