Cradle

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Name
Name Cradle
Date
Date Jan. 2, 2018
Location
Location Imported
Entries
Entries 509
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#1 Copy

Questioner

Where do you go for the best food in Cradle?

Will Wight

In many places in Cradle, it's difficult to tell, but everything in the Blackflame Empire is ranked for your convenience.The #1 rated restaurant in the Empire is the Dragon's Breath, a grill that specializes in unbelievably exotic meats. There, you can taste spiced sea dragon, butter-roasted Cloud Eagle, slices of butter-soft sashimi from tuna longer than a man is tall, and thousand-year peach wine.It's appropriately expensive. Many of the customers bring in the creatures their families have captured and pay to have them prepared by the high-class artisans on staff.

#2 Copy

Questioner

What's the biggest chain restaurant in cradle? Such as McDonalds.

Will Wight

Sungarden restaurants are all over a different continent. They have life artists that can grow tailor-made fruits and vegetables on command, so you're ordering from a menu of genetic options as much as a selection of dishes.

#3 Copy

Questioner

What is the most pleasant and painless iron body type to develop?

Will Wight

The Drifting Iron Body. It involves undergoing a process to weaken gravity's hold on the body, making you lighter. The actual transformation process involves being woven into a silken cocoon made by refiners from plants that grow among the clouds. It feels like being suspended among hundreds of pillows for several hours a day over many weeks.

#4 Copy

Questioner

Screw Lindons wolverine body. The Drifting Iron body is the one for me. I imagine its for people whom want to fly ,glide, float or be a parkour ninja.

Will Wight

There's a similar Iron body for a Path that has rigid metallic wings as their Goldsign. They're not a wind Path, so it's difficult for them to fly, but if their bodies are light enough they can glide.This particular Iron body is from a sect of body-enhancing life artists that you might call ninjas.

#5 Copy

Questioner

If the most pleasant iron body is asked, then what's with the most painful, except for Lindon's(if his IS even the most painful one)

Will Wight

It's hard to quantify the MOST painful Iron Body; is burning alive more painful than being torn apart piece by piece?Because those are both actual ways of developing an Iron body.There are some Iron bodies similar to Lindon's that involve being stabbed and cut over and over while you're being healed. There are others that involve adapting your body to fire, which basically means burning yourself one part at a time.

#6 Copy

Questioner

What's the most advanced piece of technology native to Cradle?

Will Wight

There are cloudships far more advanced than the one the Arelius family use, and they have powerful onboard weaponry as well as long-range communications and detection.However, it's difficult to develop technology that works reliably everywhere in Cradle. Gunpowder might explode with too much force in an area where fire aura is strong, or destruction aura might cause an engine to burn too much fuel. There are patches of aura that block certain detection methods, and beings whose very existence can cloud a sacred artist's spiritual senses.

#7 Copy

Questioner

Cradle: Are there paths that grant tremendous power swiftly at the cost of later advancement?

Will Wight

The most common Paths for those who want to gain quick power at any cost are blood/sword Paths. It's a common pairing, because a battlefield typically has both strong sword aura and strong blood aura.The aura is powerful, as well as easy to create and cycle: you just have to keep killing people. The stronger the physical body, the greater the power of the blood aura. Virtually everyone who walks a Path of slaughter and bloodshed reaches Truegold quickly.The problem comes after that.First of all, you've killed a lot of people, so you've made enemies. They won't let you get away with enjoying the spoils of your evil Path.Second, even if you manage to slip away, there's no hiding that the power of your soul is drenched in blood. There are blood arts focused on healing, and others focused on strengthening the body, but it's easy to sense the difference between those and powers gained through murder. Peaceful civilizations won't accept you, and there are even laws in many places banning "evil arts," "slaughter arts," "demonic arts," etc.Therefore, because interaction with other people is difficult, it becomes harder to obtain the backing you need for the resources to cross into Underlord and above. As every further stage requires more and more resources, eventually you'll find yourself stranded and surrounded by enemies. That, or killed in combat.But it's not as though no one has ever succeeded in advancing along this Path...

#8 Copy

Questioner

Are there any instances of sacred artists "selling themselves " into slavery at a coliseum to gain patrons and have a legal way to cultivate blood madra?

Will Wight

Most culturally acceptable blood Paths are medical, so it's not difficult to find sources of blood aura. Also, every living being generates some blood aura, so you can cycle a little wherever you are.

#9 Copy

Questioner

Are there any paths that follow the same line of rules like common monsters in our world? Werewolves, vampires, that kind of thing.

Will Wight

There are some blood Paths that involve advancing by drinking blood, or elixirs made from blood, yes.And there are a few different types of what you might call werewolves. Some sacred wolves are somewhat humanoid, and there are other Paths that transform into bestial forms in order to fight.

#10 Copy

Questioner

How did the other empires of Cradle consider the Blackflames when they were at their strongest? And how would they react to a new Blackflame?

Will Wight

"How would they react to a new Blackflame?" is a bit too much of a spoiler, but...When the Blackflame Empire was at its height, it controlled the whole (massive) continent. That was when it was ruled by dragons.When the Blackflame family was at the height of their power, their empire controlled about half the continent. As for the other half...well, the dragons and their descendants had to go somewhere.Now that the Blackflame lineage has fallen, the Empire is even smaller. About a third of the continent. The dragons outside are powerful enough to wipe out the human empire, except that the humans of the Blackflame Empire have a backer.To the other great nations around the world, including the Ninecloud Court, the original Blackflame Empire was a real power. Now, it's just one territory sheltered under the wing of a true powerhouse.

#11 Copy

Questioner

How are shooting stars explained in Cradle?

Will Wight

One culture explains them this way:The night sky is our glimpse into the heavens. When we see a shooting star, we're seeing a heavenly messenger descending to someone in the world.

#12 Copy

Questioner

Pure Madra as a building material in the emperor's palace?

Will Wight

Pure madra is an unreliable building material. It breaks easily, and it's so impressionable that placing it next to any other Forged madra will cause the two types to mix, changing both of their properties. However, it is used decoratively. Sometimes it is used to substitute for stained glass; you Forge a pane of pure madra and then stain it in spots with madra of different colors and properties. The other madra spreads like paint through the glass, creating a moving, swirling, blending canvas of living power. You just have to be careful about how long you let it sit and how much power you put into it, or it might randomly create a powerful effect.

#13 Copy

Questioner

Would it absorb madra launched at it? A forged pane of pure madra would be very cool for Lindon to learn how to do if it could be used as a defense.

Will Wight

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Technically it would intercept any madra thrown at it, but most of the time it would just shatter. Sometimes it would actually make the technique MORE powerful for having passed through and absorbed the pure madra.There could be ways to fashion it into a defense, but they're almost all hugely impractical. It would be much easier to just have a regular wall and carve a script into it.

#14 Copy

Questioner

Is there a ranking system by the Abidan to measure the world level of advancement? Could u give us the rating for your currently displayed worlds if yes?

Will Wight

Yes, the Abidan do have such a system, and sufficiently advanced worlds are allowed to interact with the Abidan openly. Though most Iterations never make it to this point.I can't share it with you, though, because I haven't perfected it yet. I have an early version of the system, but I don't like it much, and it's likely to change before it makes an appearance in the books.

#15 Copy

Questioner

Are there other colors of dragon madra beyond "black"flame?

Will Wight

The dragons who inhabited the lands of the Blackflame empire were (and are) black, the color of the destructive aura that they cycled. There are sea dragons that are blue, sky dragons with a variety of colors, and earthbound land dragons that might be green or brown.But you asked about the color of their flame, not the color of their scales. Yes, there are dragons with toxic green flame, frigid icy "flame" that consumes even as it freezes, good old natural flame, and red living flames that drift around like Remnants burning as much as possible to extend their fleeting lives.

#16 Copy

Questioner

So could Lindon learn all the dragon paths?(If he split his core some more of course.) And does this mean that technically he could learn other beasts paths? If he absorbed the remnant of the sacred beast that was in the arelius bloodline would he get their bloodline powers?

Will Wight

There is a way for someone born without bloodline powers to acquire them. But in order for him to get the Arelius powers, he'd have to find the same sacred beast they got their powers from. Or another of a similar type.

#17 Copy

Questioner

Which sacred beast produces the best bristle material for the Aurelias Clans brooms?

Will Wight

There's a species of eagle whose tail-feathers have a unique relationship with wind aura. When you sweep such a feathered broom, the wind actually gathers up all the dust and loose debris in a small area and piles it neatly up. Scholars believe that the patterns in the feathers act as a script to produce such a unique effect, but no one really knows for sure. In battle, the Broom Sage used bristles from the tail of the Thorn Mountain Boar, a fifteen-story-tall boar that ate forests. The wood for his broom was taken from a branch of the Underworld Herald, a self-aware ancestral tree that once grew upside-down in an underground kingdom of blood and darkness.

#18 Copy

Questioner

What path is the best later on in the stages but sucks early in your advancement?

Will Wight

Path of the Starseed.

Practitioners gather aura of light and heat into a tiny ball of madra that they keep inside their spirits. They can manifest it, like a tiny star in their hands, but any power they use is taken away from the Starseed's growth.

As they advance, they also advance their Starseed, but it's far less useful than any similar Paths (like, say, Heaven's Glory) until they reach Underlord. Once the Starseed is bathed and forged in soulfire, it becomes another level of existence entirely.Now practitioners can use their Starseed to melt through stone, and as it gets larger and more dense, the sacred artists become deadlier. If they continue to advance, their Starseeds can eventually burn cities in seconds after manifesting.

#19 Copy

Questioner

I assume the artists on the Path of the Starseed have some way of protecting their body from the aura? Also, can they only manifest it inside their hands, or within a certain distance?

Will Wight

It's cupped a few inches from their hands, like a ball. As they advance, they can control it more freely and project it farther.

#20 Copy

Questioner

Are scripts some form of universal language or just Cradle oriented? Are there similar things in Amalgam or Asylum?

Will Wight

Scripting is unique to Cradle, but other worlds have similar systems for guiding, shaping, or controlling their native energy.

#21 Copy

Questioner

Are there legendary remnants that are especially sought after? Also, are there any effects (good oreasonbad) that come from bonding a remnant that is insanely far beyond your cultivation level?

Will Wight

There are indeed some ancient or legendary Remnants, at least one of which will be shown in Skysworn.As far as bonding a Remnant beyond your advancement, it's a big risk. The Remnant has more of a sense of identity, so it can make your bonding process either much easier or much harder.Yerin could never have bonded the Sword Sage's Remnant, for instance, if he hadn't allowed it.

#22 Copy

Questioner

Were the sacred artists Suriel revealed to Lindon a mere sampling of the beings at that power level, or are these literally the only three groups at their level?

Will Wight

They are not the only ones. In the form of a young boy, an ancient dragon rules the desert to the east of the Blackflame Empire. He is kept from consuming the humans by the deterrent of the Akura clan, whose Matriarch is one of the few beings on the planet he respects. Northstrider gathers power in the hopes that he will one day be able to challenge this particular dragon.

#23 Copy

Questioner

Does Cradle have a community equivalent to video game theorycrafters, who spend all day working out min/maxed combos of ironbody/cycle method/madra paths?

Will Wight

There is such an organization, and I'd love to go into detail about them, but unfortunately I'm afraid it might be a spoiler.But the non-story answer is yes!

#24 Copy

Questioner

Are there any places on cradle where information on sacred art techniques are widely available and indigenous practitioners are encouraged to develop their own paths?

Will Wight

The Dawnspring Archive.It's both a location and an organization dedicated to helping young sacred artists develop their own, personal Path. They have dream tablets from all over the world and from all sorts of Paths, which can encourage children to expand their imaginations and experiences with the sacred arts.

#25 Copy

Questioner

Are there any paths that are agriculturally focused?

Will Wight

The Redflower family actually uses several Paths in conjunction in order to keep the Empire fed.The Path of the Yellow Flower involves moving earth and nurturing soil. The Path of the Green Flower encourages growth and the health of crops. The Path of the Blue Flower gathers water from the air and facilitates irrigation. The Path of the White Flower controls air flow and climate regulation.The Path of the Red Flower, for which the family was named, was designed to defend the others.

#26 Copy

Questioner

What would be a popular tale/story/folklore that people would tell their children to scare them in the world of cradle?

Will Wight

The Lonely Wolf.Once, there was a wolf pup born as the smallest in his litter. He wanted nothing more than to be close to his brothers and sisters, but they would shove him out of the den every night, where he would shiver alone in the cold. Every morning, he would try to get close to them again, but every night he was pushed out of the cave once more.So it was that when a tiger walked into the den and devoured the whole pack, he missed the lonely wolf pup.The lonely wolf survived, but he was even lonelier than ever. He tried to join another pack, but they too rejected him. He tried to join a flock of birds, but they flew away. Schools of fish fled when he approached the river.He wandered through life alone, and the years passed. Then the decades. Then the centuries.The lonely wolf had become more than a simple beast. The shadows responded to his desire to get close to others, and now they hid him. At last, hidden in the shadows, he could slip into other packs and pretend to be one of them. None of the wolves, not even other sacred wolves, ever saw more than a flickering shadow.But in a way, he was lonelier than ever. Now he could stay close, but not close enough. No one could see him, nor treat him as part of their family. He was nothing but a ghost, drifting through the lives of others.The loneliness grew until it became an ache, then a pain. Then a hunger.And he thought of one way to be closer to his fellow wolves.The first time he swallowed a wolf pup, he finally felt that burden on his soul lighten. Now that there was another wolf inside his skin, his loneliness was relieved. But only briefly.When his stomach was empty again, he swallowed another wolf. Then another. He worked his way up the pack until he was alone again.Then he found a village.Like a creeping shadow, the lonely wolf moved through the homes, looking for someone to join him inside his body. He started with the infants, and when they had all joined him, he moved his way up to the little children. Only when the entire village was with him did he move on to the next village.So at night, as the firelight flickers, keep watching those patches of shifting shadows at the corner of your eye. It might be the lonely wolf, just looking for another friend.

#27 Copy

Questioner

What is a powerful elixir with a huge drawback

Will Wight

A Dragon's Tear. It's refined from two perfectly balanced varieties of madra (the actual ingredients used depend on the refiner's Path and the availability in the region). When you swallow it, it releases an explosion of power that "supercharges" your soul, so to speak, releasing enormous power temporarily. However, it strains the madra channels, which can lead to permanent spiritual damage. In a severe case, it could leave you with no more power than an Unsouled. More importantly, it's addictive. Not chemically, but even users with no spiritual damage report feeling that their souls feel weaker afterwards in comparison to that brief moment of transcendent power.

#28 Copy

Questioner

What book/novel in the world of Cradle is poularly considered a must read amongst Crade inhabitants and why? Lastly, what does it retail at?

Will Wight

Children of Eternity is a popular novel about a romance between an immortal man and woman in their never-ending quest to stay together, but the world keeps tearing them apart.

It's fairly cheap in the Blackflame Empire, at sixteen low-grade scales per copy. But of course, the scales of some Paths are worth more than others.

#29 Copy

Questioner

If I wanted to be the greatest travelling musician in the Blackflame empire, what Path should I be following to make this happen?

Will Wight

If you wanted to be the greatest musician in Cradle, you would have a rival. She is known as Nightsong, though the legends generally agree that she was not born with this name.

She follows the Path of the Moonlit Flute, and her powers vary according to the storyteller. Some say that she played a song over a battle between two Sages who had hated one another for years, and they walked away friends. Only weeks later, the two were married.

It is said she rides a Remnant, but never the same one. She simply plays a song on her flute, and Remnants compete to carry her around.

#30 Copy

Questioner

Will, How many peopel have reached the same stage Northstrider has on Cradle. Currently we only know of 3, or is it 10?

Depends on whether all members of 8-Man Empires have reached the same rank, or if the woman Suriel singled out, who managed to get to Low-Gold when she was only 6 years old, exceeds the rank of her friends.

Will Wight

Hm. I don't think I can answer this with a worldbuilding story.

Therefore, I will sidestep with a story that sort of answers your question:

Reigan Shen is the creator and sole practitioner of the Path of the King's Key. Centuries ago, he consulted an oracle and grew to believe that he was destined to rule the world. He seeks to make that vision a reality.

He fought the Eight-Man Empire to a standstill, though they eventually drove him off. He has stolen Northstrider's prey. He is considered one of the Ninecloud Court's greatest enemies, though everyone below the Queen is instructed to treat him as an honored guest, should he arrive.

Only about six years ago, he finally slew his longtime rival. Though Lindon didn't know it, he felt the aftereffects of that battle in Sacred Valley.

#31 Copy

Questioner

What is the average life expectancy of someone on the path of gluttonous avarice?

Will Wight

Adarsh is right.Some of them, of course, eat anything they can get their hands on. These are almost impossible to kill, as their bodies process the power they consume to protect them. But they often die on their own, as their organs will eventually fail so badly that Enforcer techniques can't preserve them any longer.However, some of them devour only the most valuable delicacies. Ancient Remnant dead matter processed by Soulsmiths to be edible, the delicately seasoned meat of a thousand-year-old Underlord-level sacred beast, or fruits of such pure power that they glitter like crystal.These practitioners might be rail-thin and live for centuries more than their counterparts. Their bodies also tend to take on strange properties.

#32 Copy

Questioner

Are there any sacred artists out there focused on conditioning their minds, not their bodies?

Will Wight

Madra flows through the body, so there are no Paths that don't affect the body in some way.

However, not every sacred artist lives by his fists.

The Path of the Diamond Sky focuses on polishing the power of the mind, until its practitioners have perfect memory, utter control over their emotions, and imaginations so vivid that some of them die inside self-created dreams.

#33 Copy

Questioner

How would an underlord on the path of the white fox compare to the other underlords of the Blackflame empire?

Will Wight

When asked what Paths were the hardest for him to fight, the Underlord of the Cloud Hammer School said, "I despise beyond anything else the cowards who hide behind shadows and illusions. Let a true sacred artist come to me under the light of the sun and do battle. From anything else, I will flee; not because I fear the power of cowards, but because my time is too valuable to burn it away."

#34 Copy

Questioner

What path do professional sex workers follow? Are they in a house and ranked like the janitors?

Will Wight

Prostitutes often follow dream Paths, because dream madra can be used to alter appearances, induce emotions, and even find potential customers. In the Blackflame Empire, they are of course ranked. Everything is ranked. The top brothel is The Court of Roses, which caters to members of the royal family and influential clan leaders. The number one courtesan in the Court of Roses is Haru Mei, a woman on the Path of Twining Vines. She cycles aura of life and dreams, in a strange combination that helps her sense what others are feeling and manipulate those sensations.

#36 Copy

Questioner

What would be Lindon's favorite series?

Will Wight

You know, I feel like Lindon wouldn't find Cradle to be his favorite series. He'd probably be reminded of all his unpleasant memories. He would enjoy Traveler's Gate the most, I think...not for the story, but for the existence of Valinhall, which he would see as easy, guaranteed progression.

#37 Copy

Questioner

What is the most reviled and infamous person in Cradle History?

Will Wight

One of the most well-known and reviled criminals in the history of the Blackflame Empire was a man named Gan Lo Zin, who operated the most well-known Remnant factory to be taken down and exposed.So-called Remnant factories kidnap children at Copper, then strap them to scripted devices and force-feed them scales. Their madra is cycled by force through scripts and madra devices, which is often inefficient, painful, and leads to long-term spiritual damage.However, this doesn't tend to matter. Because as soon as the children reach Jade, and thus leave stable Remnants of a high enough quality, they are slaughtered. Their Remnants are sealed and captured in boxes, to be categorized and sold to large organizations with a need for great quantities of bindings, dead matter, or Remnants for Lowgold bonding.When Gan Lo Zin was exposed, it caused a public outcry. It's estimated that he was responsible for the deaths of as many as thirty thousand people.However, when captured and questioned by the Skysworn, he maintained that he was far from the only one to operate such a facility. Outside the boundaries of the Empire, and even on other continents, he claimed that many large organizations ran their own Remnant factories.They were, he said, the inevitable price of progress.

#38 Copy

Questioner

Are there any paths that utilize "space" aura like the rabbit, bat and mole in unsouled? (I can envision a path of the Infinite step. Highly focused on movement, mobility and field manipulation.)

Will Wight

Yes there are, and we'll get to see plenty of them...later in the series. Spoilers abound!

#39 Copy

Questioner

I know you have said you are doing it and it might be in a book later, but i reallllllllly want a description of the steps of advancement and what each advancement does to the body/soul/core and the amount of power that seperates each advancement. If you say no to that.... what do you call the stage that this honoured one would have to be to leave Cradle

Will Wight

I can't answer any of this.However, the Sword Sage could have left Cradle had he wanted to. And there were still plenty of people stronger than him in the world.

#40 Copy

Questioner

What does water turn into if left to gather madra for long enough like a stone will turn into a Titians bone.

Will Wight

Sacred pools, which are referred to differently in different lands, are actually fairly common. Titan's bone is almost mythical, because of how long it takes stone aura to condense in rocks and how deep you have to drill to excavate it. However, sacred pools, divine springs, and so on are commonly used to refine elixirs. They are often cultivated specifically in the gardens of powerful sects.Some believe that the deep ocean has the water with the most condensed and powerful aura, but that's difficult to judge. The power of water is of course overwhelming down there, but no one is known to have filled a container with deep-ocean water and returned to the surface without contaminating the power of the sample.

#41 Copy

Questioner

Many paths seem that all they need to do is hit somebody with one hit and the person dies, ex. Heavens Glory. It seemed like if somebody was hit, they die. What keeps underlords, sages, from being just one shot K.O. by a Jade or lowgold?

Will Wight

Within your body, your madra holds sway. This is why non-pure madra can't be effectively used in an Empty Palm style technique, because you can't just "inject" your madra into someone and expect it to do anything. It's also why fire Paths don't just set the air in their opponent's lungs on fire and walk away.The reason why a Heaven's Glory Jade can't just gun down an Underlord is an expansion of this principle. If your madra is sufficiently more powerful than your opponent's, it becomes hard for their Striker techniques to even hurt your skin. Often, the madra is simply dispersed when it touches you. The same is true for Forged madra--it can be dispersed by the natural madra of a more-advanced opponent.Ruler techniques will work equally on anyone, so they're usually what you use if you have to fight a more advanced opponent. However, there are some drawbacks.First of all, not every Path has a battle-ready Ruler technique. Second, Ruler techniques often take a long time to implement; you have to gather up compatible aura in the area and then activate it in a specific manner.It's also expected that an Underlord will have more powerful Ruler techniques than a Truegold, or will sense what is happening and dodge or disrupt it.As for Enforcer techniques, they of course work fine against higher-level opponents. But usually, someone more advanced than you will also get better results out of their Enforcer techniques. ml

#42 Copy

Questioner

So, in Cradle, what are Sages exactly?

Will Wight

Sages are Archlords who have achieved [something special] that sets them apart from their peers. There are levels above Archlord, but Sages are actually more rare than the stage immediately over Archlord. It's easier to advance than to distinguish yourself and become a Sage.

#43 Copy

Questioner

More meta, but which Path or Iron Body would you choose?

Will Wight

As for which Path I'd choose, that's an interesting question. I initially thought I would go with the Path of the Cloud Hammer, because it is a force-based Path with fairly easy aura to cultivate and many broad applications. Plus, they can run on air.However, since then I've realized I'm lazy, and I would prefer a Path that required me to move less. There are summoner-style Paths that involve manipulating construct puppets, and I'd probably choose one of them.

#44 Copy

Questioner

"What are prisons like in Cradle?

Will Wight

On the Iceflower Continent, far from the Blackflame Empire, there's a buried chamber chiseled into the heart of a halfsilver vein. Madra is dispersed as soon as it touches the air, and thirteen layers of script repel all aura. There are twenty cells, and no more than twenty prisoners. Imprisoned here are those who cannot be executed.

#45 Copy

Questioner

Any Paths out there that relentlessly attack with little to no defense?

Will Wight

As they say: face is the place.The Path of the Last Breath, mentioned in Skysworn, both drains your own life to empower your techniques and destroy the enemy and attacks relentlessly with no regard to self-protection.There's also the Path of the Storm Lance, which focuses on channeling all of its power into Striker and Forger techniques that destroy the enemy before the enemy has a chance to resist. There is no problem they won't solve with a huge explosion.

#46 Copy

Questioner

Who was the last person in sacred valley to reach gold before the events of the story?

Will Wight

That's a great question, but unfortunately I can't answer it accurately without getting into why the people in Sacred Valley aren't Gold anymore, which is a spoiler.I will say that one of the founders of the Heaven's Glory School was a sacred beast who achieved Gold; a golden-scaled dragon that breathed light and heat. Legend says he's still sealed beneath Mount Samara, ready to defend the School in its hour of need.

#47 Copy

Questioner

Where in the Willverse would you want to go if you could visit one of your iterations?

Will Wight

Most of the settings I write about aren't places you'd really want to visit. I'm basically inventing the least comfortable places I can imagine. However, there's an ancient library in Cradle called the Dreamway. It's filled with thousands of dream tablets that each contain endlessly changing fictional worlds. Each tablet is essentially a virtual reality experience that crafts a new story on command. I'd want to go there. I'd probably, you know, die from neglecting my basic physical needs, but that's a nicer way to go than by visiting Valinhall.

#48 Copy

Questioner

How would the Abidan deal with a sci-fi Iteration with millions of worlds?

Will Wight

When Suriel personally intervened in Harrow, it was because the Abidan were not prepared for Harrow to be infected with corruption at all. She decided to save as many people as she could. Limit was the world that was scheduled for demolition, its population evacuated and quarantine implemented. But Ozriel didn't show up to destroy it. The corruption spread until the Abidan weren't prepared to contain it, and that's when it spread through the Way into Harrow. So: if they were prepared to save a sci-fi world with a galactic empire, they absolutely could. It would be easier and far more organized than what Suriel did in Harrow. That said, civilizations with trillions of inhabitants and multiple inhabited planets are tethered very tightly to the Way. They're very stable and difficult to corrupt naturally, so they tend to be safer.

#49 Copy

Questioner

Is there a limit to how many times a core can be split?

Will Wight

Technically no, but it isn't terribly efficient. You lose a little energy in the split: if your core was a 100 before, you're not splitting it 50/50, you end up with let's say a 49/49.You have to build both cores back up over time before you split it again, if you want it to work well.

#50 Copy

Questioner

Time-wise, does Lindon's adventure occur before, after or simultaneously to Simon's?

Will Wight

Traveler's Gate takes place slightly before Cradle, and Elder Empire takes place after Cradle (or at least after where Cradle is now). I don't want to lock myself into anything more specific than that.

#51 Copy

Questioner

What are the fundamental tenets of aura theory on Cradle?

Will Wight

It's actually very different from culture to culture. We've spent the entirety of the series so far in the western half of the Blackflame Empire, so culturally it's all very similar. They see it as different though everything in nature radiates a different kind of power, and these can be blended and molded in order to shape your own madra. Other cultures see aura as one connected force, the spirit of the world, which takes on different forms (aspects) as it weaves through nature.

#52 Copy

Questioner

How did the Sage of the Endless Sword become a Sage?

Will Wight

As an Archlord, the Sage of the Endless Sword was blessed enough to cross swords with a sword-wielding Monarch without getting obliterated. Swearing not to waste that opportunity, he tracked down an ancient Remnant called Memory, on the Path of a Thousand Dreams. She made sure his recollection of the fight would stay fresh, so he could experience the feeling of the Monarch's power every day as though for the first time. He began traveling from sword Path to sword Path, sensing their techniques and trying to develop a power closer to that of the Monarch's. As an experienced refiner, he also tracked down natural treasures attuned to the sword: spirit fruits, sacred herbs, and the parts of sacred beasts that gathered sword aura. ...this is where the story gets spoiler-y, but long story short, this quest led to him distinguishing himself as a Sage. Sorry for the anticlimax, but I have to dance around the details of how one becomes a Sage. Still, I hope that's enough.

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Questioner

What do Judges do when they retire?

Will Wight

That depends on the Judge. Many of them do drift into the shallow void, knitting fragments together into miniature Territory-like lesser worlds. So effectively yeah, they can take up world-knitting. Others return to their original worlds and live like gods; they may have given up their Mantle and weapon, but they're still extremely powerful beings. Most of them go to live in Sanctum, the home world of the Abidan. They take up advisory positions in the Abidan organization, though they're not allowed to wield any authority.

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Questioner

How would a meal of the same ingredients be different if made from someone of higher rank? Suck as Turkey. Assuming a culinary path, how would that Turkey differ when made by a low-gold, underlord, sage, or Herald?

Will Wight

I'm not sure if you're talking about the level of the chef or the level of a sacred turkey. So I'm going to answer both.The problem with eating sacred beasts is that they get more intelligent as they advance. Most cultures have the same taboos against this as they do against cannibalism.However, there are a few exceptions. Some powerful individuals don't care about the rights of those weaker than them, and will consume sacred beasts regardless of their intelligence. Other cultures have no taboo, but make sure that the beasts have died of natural causes. And sometimes when sacred beasts are born instead of awakened from advancement, they have all the power and none of the intelligence. Though this can be hard to prove.So in the latter case, where you might have a Truegold-level sacred turkey with the intelligence of a normal bird, let's assume you ate it. It's going to be very tough, so it's difficult to cook, but if you prepared it perfectly, you would find it to be an intense experience. The concentrated blood aura in the body gives the meat a powerful flavor that you might find physically uncomfortable until you get used to it. When processed with the appropriate herbs, it can be delicious...although usually served in small portions.It can also help to refine the body, strengthening you and promoting physical health.As for a chef, here's what they say in the Blackflame Empire:A Lowgold chef will prepare you a wonderful meal.A Highgold chef will cook you the best dish you've ever had in your life.A Truegold chef will serve you your new favorite food.

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Questioner

What do people do on cradle who don't pursue sacred arts?

Will Wight

To a degree, advancement in the sacred arts is an act of survival. Almost every adult on the planet is at least Iron, because that's essentially the minimum it takes to interact with the world on a normal level. However, many of Cradle's people don't consider themselves "sacred artists" per se, because their life does not revolve around the pursuit of advancement. Aura and madra are still a part of their lives, but not personal power and achievement. Cradle certainly has farmers, but farmers who can pull the rainclouds closer with Ruler techniques. They have chefs who can determine your tastes by reading your feelings, doctors who can diagnose you from across the room by sensing your blood, and carpenters who shape wood with their spirits.

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Questioner

Is the a cycling technique that aids digestion?

Will Wight

The Path of the Crimson Furnace has developed a cycling technique that they use in conjunction with their Iron bodies to eat as many spirit-fruits and sacred elixirs and pills as possible. They gorge themselves on sacred beast meat and sacred herbs, and then digest as quickly as possible. Their Iron body involves stuffing yourself to bursting and then using life madra to accelerate your body so that you digest it quickly. After about two weeks of this, combined with some pills they have developed for the purpose, your body becomes able to do it naturally. It's a great all-purpose Iron body; they are able to receive further benefits from elixirs that improve the body, and much of what they eat strengthens them and makes them tougher. The only downside is an accelerated metabolism: now they HAVE to eat all the time. At Jade, they have a cycling technique to go along with it. It allows them to milk further benefits out of restorative pills and elixirs, and extracts aura from the things they eat, improving advancement.

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Questioner

How do monarchs have babies on Cradle? Do they just appear instantly at the nine months stage? Do they rocket out of the womb at mach 9? The core is right below the navel, which is where a baby would be. Does this effect the baby or it's own developing core?

Will Wight

The children of Monarchs are born just like anyone else. Monarchs are not only extremely powerful, they are also skilled at controlling their power; they're not going to harm their child unless they want to. When the baby is within the womb, the Monarch's own spirit protects it, and it is born normally. Monarchs have smoother and easier pregnancies than most women, due to their superhuman resilience. The children of Monarchs are often born with special advantages. Some bloodline legacies (powers inherited through lineage) are from sacred beasts that have taken human form, but others come from Monarch ancestors.

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Questioner

Why does thus far everyone seem to speak the same language and very similar dialect? Even the people in the Sacred Valley, who have been isolated for centuries, seem to speak the same language as is known throughout the Blackfire Empire.

Will Wight

Looks like the Sage has covered this in detail, but I'll throw in my two cents: we're still largely in the same region, but even then, I've thrown in some different accents. Fisher Gesha, Lindon, Yerin, and Eithan all speak in a different vernacular, and I imagine them as having subtly different accents.It's all *largely* the same because we haven't left the country, and because language has spread further than we might imagine based on our history in our world. For one thing, most of this world used to speak the same language (I'll probably get into the specifics of that at some point). It's drifted over the years, but less than you might think thanks to fairly widespread communication. Even though Cradle is a harsh world, a single sacred artist can travel much farther than a single real person, and nomadic tribes are common. There are also dream techniques for transferring language, which allows them to transfer speech much more efficiently.As for Eithan's accent specifically, he spent his childhood in the Blackflame Empire. He speaks the local dialect better than Yerin or Lindon do.There are, however, multiple languages in Cradle. As the world expands, we'll run into them.

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Questioner

I would like to know about the ethno-geographical population distribution across the BlackFlame Empire and surrounding continent.

Will Wight

I'm going to try and respond to the general questions about ethnicity in Cradle, though I can't guarantee I'll hit all of your points. I'll try to answer the spirit of the question!Humans did not evolve independently on Cradle. The Abidan initially thought they did, as the first Abidan came from Cradle; they ascended out of the world only to discover many others, most with humans that were virtually identical.Naturally, they assumed that Cradle was the first world, but upon further investigation determined that it was not.They have never been able to conclusively prove what the first world was.The Blackflame Empire (and the whole continent) has a similar ethnic makeup to our east Asia. The genetics get a little muddy when you factor in sacred beasts that can breed with humans, as well as Paths that alter bloodlines, but that's a general rule of thumb.The Arelius family comes from a different continent. Their family is, as you might imagine, Caucasian in extraction.

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Questioner

Has anybody on Cradle every left their world to go to the moon or another planet?

Will Wight

Yes. Minor spoiler alert: I'd like to go into more detail, but I'd also like to explore this in the main series, so I'm going to leave it at that.

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Questioner

Is the Way universal, or can recognizable reality exist beyond it?

Will Wight

The influence of the Way anchors worlds in reality by providing structure. Consistent, recognizable rules. In some of these worlds, even forces like gravity or time work differently, but they do work consistently within the world. That's the influence of the Way.When the Abidan first started exploring the "shape" of the Way, they found it like a branching river, with Iterations like boulders in the stream. Outside the Way was the void: a hostile emptiness dotted with the fragments of broken worlds and populated by strange, unknowable creatures that sought to break rules and disrupt order.The farther you travel into the void, the more recognizable reality crumbles, until you cease to exist. Even these fiends of the void, incomprehensible nightmare beings, can only exist somewhat close to the Way, because existence itself is a function of order.However, when the Abidan organized, they determined that they would explore the scope and breadth of the Way. They followed each branch to its ending, until the power of the Way grew too thin to sustain them. Then they turned back.They found that the Way WAS finite. It had an end. They've mapped it like a three-dimensional spider web, like a branching skeletal ball. In and among its branches is the endless, infinite void.But their theory says that the Way should be infinite. There's no reason it should ever be contained, and indeed they've never seen it end; they've only followed it as far as they could.Some believe that the Way stretches across an endless cosmic darkness, and this is the only place it has pooled thickly enough to sustain life.Others believe that our Way is only one of many, and that there are other collections of reality out there. Perhaps an infinite number.

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Questioner

Are there any sacred beasts (besides dragons) that could go toe-to-toe with a Monarch or a Dreadgod?

Will Wight

There's Juwei, the Ghostwalker Fox, who has tricked Monarchs and escaped. There's a single Monarch-level dragon--known by some as the god of the desert--who has a centuries-old feud with Northstrider. There's Nightsong, the musician on the Path of the Moonlit Flute, who is either a sacred beast herself or has strong inhuman blood.

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Questioner

What kinds of madra do the great schools of sacred valley use other than Heavens glory. I think they were Falling leaf, Golden blade and Divine wind.

Will Wight

Holy Wind: a strange Path of wind, light, and dream techniques that create zones of unnatural weather.Golden Sword: a Path of sword madra that uses Enforcer techniques on their weapon. The name of their Path comes from the goldsteel swords they use more than from their techniques.Fallen Leaf: focused on using life madra to guide the growth of spirit-fruits and sacred herbs.

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Questioner

What’s the most popular holiday in the blackflame empire? What does it celebrate how do the people celebrate it?

Will Wight

They celebrate the Emperor's birthday every year with parades that throw scales into the audience. They also celebrate the Empire's founding...although the date for that changes depending on where in the Empire you are.Some people celebrate the founding of the current Empire, after the Blackflame family's fall. Others celebrate the founding of the original human empire, and still others celebrate the founding of the ancient dragon empire (although this date is highly disputed).

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Questioner

Does the board game of go exist on Cradle? If not, what is the closest existing analogue?

Will Wight

It does not, but Cradle's a large world, and there are alternatives. There's a game a cross-hatched board where you place your pieces at the intersecting lines and they grow more powerful each turn they survive (indicated by replacing the pieces with different colors). The name for it, in the language of the locals, translates to "garden of beasts."

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Questioner

Can new types of madra be made artificially? Like if somebody invented the computer on Cradle would it collect computer madra?

Will Wight

All aspects of madra are essentially human interpretations of aura. You might notice a unique blend of aura around a computer, and you could break it down into storm aura and dream aura or what have you, or perhaps you could find a way to cycle it into your own madra and create what you called a "computer Path." What would you be able to do? I'm not sure. That sounds like a confusing blend of madra.

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Questioner

What sports do they play in cradle?

Will Wight

Most sports are combat-related (in some way), but there are a few that aren't. One sport involving getting a ball into a goal revolves around two teams of six people, each positioning themselves strategically on their half of the field. They have to use the sacred arts to maneuver the ball into the opposing goal without letting it touch the ground.Most of the rules exist to prevent them from attacking their opponents.

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Questioner

How does life madra affect other kinds if madra it is mixed with?

Will Wight

Life madra is strange. It's widely known on Cradle that your experience and the aspects of your Path affect how you perceive aura. Some types of less-tangible aura--like destruction, for instance--can't be detected by some people at all. These are usually the aspects that deal with intangible concepts. Therefore, in theory, life madra would be difficult for the average person to perceive. But it isn't. This is believed to be because we are all acclimated to life aura ourselves, as living beings, and because we're surrounded by plants and animals even before Copper. Life madra interacts with the force that animates a living being. HOW it interacts depends on the Path and the technique. Let's take life and fire, for instance. One Path might have a flame that uses life for fuel, consuming the target even underwater. Another Path might have a flame that ignites a life-fire and gives you inexhaustible life aura, meaning you have more energy and heal faster. It's a weird one.

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Questioner

Are remnants capable of having a society? Is there anywhere with particularly intelligent remnants and what do they do on a daily basis

Will Wight

Some of them are intelligent enough and capable of forming a society, yes. However, they're still Remnants: they're bound by the nature of their madra and the impulses that drove them when they were formed. So they don't interact as naturally as people do, no matter how intelligent they are.On a daily basis, they pursue "food," or compatible madra suitable to maintain their form and advance them. Some of the more intelligent Remnants have renewable sources of madra--which means human communities--where they can get their power, either from stealing scales or from making deals with humans.

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Questioner

What can Dream madra do besides read Fate? Are Time and/or Space actual madra aspects?

Will Wight

Dream madra affects thoughts and perception.Space madra is somewhat different than most aspects; it's not shaping madra INTO space, as that makes no sense, but there is a way to develop madra so that it affects space.

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Questioner

What is the Cradle analogue of a TV ? Like what do average people do to chill ?

Will Wight

What people do to relax on Cradle varies wildly depending on where you are. Some people have access to devices that record audio and video, so they have what is essentially a TV. For cultures with advanced dream tablets, they have accessible virtual reality experiences, and use those for entertainment.And of course they have books and games and everything else people did to entertain themselves before TV.

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Questioner

How do people on Cradle get information quickly for the average person? Does somebody come around on horseback delivering mail? Does somebody on a speed path run around delivering and picking up letters? Is there a portal system in place?

Will Wight

Most countries have some kind of a postal system run by sacred artists who can travel long distances quickly. Some of them use sacred beasts as mounts, but others do run it by foot. There are also communication constructs that can relay information over distances. Most of them are more like telegraphs than telephones.

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Questioner

What are some of the best entertainment professions?

I know light and dream mandra would be great but are there any other specialties such as madra that would create fireworks or balance mandra that would make spectacular jugglers?

Will Wight

There are entertainers with many different aspects of madra. Blood artists can sometimes give you physical impulses or emotions directly. There are actors on stone Paths who create their own scenery as they perform. Dream artists can store fantasies in a tablet, to be experienced by anyone. There are wind artists that can give you the experience of flying freely for a limited time.

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Questioner

what is a Cradle calendar like? I know that time basically works the same as here i.e. a day is 24 hours and a week is 7 days, but do the people on cradle count the days the same way as the do in travellers by counting the number of days to big days of each season? do they even have four season or is it more of a wet/dry season than winter/spring ect.

How many moons does cradle have? how many other planets are there in cradle's solar system?

Will Wight

Cradle has one moon, and it appears larger in the night sky than ours does. It's pocked with scars not just from ancient meteor showers, but also from the sacred arts techniques that have struck it over the millennia.

I haven't brought up the calendar in the main series because it changes so often. Sacred Valley had a calendar, the Desolate Wilds had a calendar, the Blackflame Empire has an official calendar and several more colloquial ones, and so on.

In order to keep it consistent in each region, I personally use a calendar based on year and season. That's not what they use in the world, though.

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Questioner

If Luminous Queen Sheia (or whatever her name is, you know, the one that keeps all the chains) and Northstrider had a baby, then that baby grew up and had a baby with the strongest elder, then the baby of those two was given the powers of the way, What would its spirit animal be?

Will Wight

An electric eel.

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Questioner

Is everyone a Sacred Artist on Cradle, or does every community practice Sacred Arts in some way, for example, is it possible on some remote island there would be people not practising Sacred Arts?

Will Wight

When people in Cradle call themselves sacred artists, what they're really saying is that they're actively pursuing advancement. They cycle aura every day, they practice their techniques, they hone their craft, and so on.

So while madra would be a part of everyone's everyday life, and while everyone has technically attained some advancement level in the sacred arts, not everyone is a sacred artist.

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Questioner

How does childhood development work in cradle? Especially in regards to higher tier families that can raise a baby to jade or gold in one pill. Taken to an extreme with luminous queen sha mirara, she inherited her power and is currently queen. Who controlled the super-charged baby when she was having fits? Also she only looks to be 10 or 11, if she is a monarch presumably she ages incredibly slowly, would she have the maturity of her true age? And what happens when she hits puberty? will she be affected by her hormones?

Will Wight

She doesn't age any more slowly than anyone else until after she reaches maturity. Advancement doesn't lock you into your current age so much as it optimizes your body; she won't be sick a day in her life or suffer the debilitating effects of age.

As for the families that can raise their kids to Gold instantly, these families also have the power to easily control an immature Gold. If everyone in the family is an Underlord, a five-year-old Lowgold throwing a temper tantrum has the same relative power as a normal five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.

Danger only comes in two circumstances: when the child is more powerful than the family can contain, or when the child develops the power to hurt itself before the ability to resist/control itself.

Those are the situations they're trying to prevent. Usually, a child with the power to rocket-propel itself into a brick wall can also survive being rocket-propelled into a brick wall.

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Questioner

What is the most powerful path and what is the weakest

Will Wight

The most powerful and weakest Paths are difficult to answer, as that's largely a matter of opinion. I'll give you a very powerful one and a very weak one, though:

Path of the Untamed Spark. It revolves around nurturing a flame of life and fire that consumes anything living and is difficult to extinguish. It's a killing Path, and at its height it can depopulate cities.

Path of Shadeleaf. It's a purely aesthetic Path built around molding and folding shadow madra like origami to create pleasing shapes and displays. It has almost no other use.

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Questioner

Would the body of a sacred artist over the iron stage retain it's heightened abilities if the artist core was cracked/permanently damaged.

Will Wight

In most cases, yes. Even if you're spiritually injured, your Iron body still functions. It's a physical change in your body. But there are Iron bodies, like Lindon's, that require madra. In that case, you wouldn't see much benefit from it. Indeed, it might make your spiritual injuries even worse.

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Questioner

How would you, using cradle lingo in the blackflame empire, ask someone if they wanted to "Netflix and chill"?

Will Wight

In the Blackflame Empire, you'd likely be asking a girl if she wanted to come cycle back at your place. There's no benefit to cycling together, so it's just a thin excuse she's meant to see through.

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Questioner

Ok will I need to know how old is Lindon and what is his birthday is

Also how Long is a day on cradle, a month on cradle, and a year on cradle

Will Wight

As for the time on Cradle, it's the same time as ours. Why? Because it's easier to tell the story that way. I don't want you to have to remember custom details for how long times or distances are.

So they're all the standard measurements.

Off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure Lindon is eighteen now. He doesn't have a birthday, so to speak. In Sacred Valley, they count every child's age up a year each new year.

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Questioner

Does the Will verse have ice cream (or a close analogue)? And if so, what are the favorite flavors of the Abidan Judges?

Will Wight

Of course it has ice cream. I'm not a monster.

Suriel: peanut butter ice cream with real nuts.

Gadrael: mint ice cream. No chocolate chips.

Ozriel: strawberries and cream flavor.

Makiel: he doesn't eat ice cream, because there's no purpose to it.

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Questioner

What is the smallest Sacred Beast to achieve underlord status in cradle?

Will Wight

Nessandarius the Flea, Lord of the Bloodlight Path.

He has grown larger and more humanoid as he advanced, and after refining his body in soulfire, he now looks like a two-foot-tall hooded man.

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Questioner

Can you create a new madra type by mixing two others together?

Will Wight

Yes, and in fact that's how most Paths work.

The classification of madra into aspects is purely a human invention to help them understand the properties of different Paths. You could combine water and fire madra into a burning, fluid, liquid power...if you figured out a way to do it.

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Questioner

Is/was there a country on cradle that leaves dangerous scripts/weapons around that children can accidentally use and kill themselves. And if so, how long did/will that country last before the population dies off?

Will Wight

I'm going to be honest: in most cultures on Cradle, child safety isn't a huge priority. Sacred arts schools often list their mortality rate, and a lower rate of survival is often considered a mark of a difficult, elite school for the most talented.

Most of the cultures on Cradle have techniques, constructs, or weapons around that children could use to hurt themselves. The sad truth is, you have to lose a LOT of kids before it affects the population. And most cultures respond by having more children, rather than protecting the ones they have.

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Questioner

Has anyone ever taken in cradle ever taken a spectre as a remnant to advance to gold. If so what path were they on.

Will Wight

I'm sorry, I don't think I understand the question.

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Questioner

Are the sacred animals bound to their stage, or could one, asy orthos for example, advance further?

Will Wight

Sacred beasts can and do advance. However, they cycle naturally, so their advancement is different from humans. Orthos has been stuck at the Truegold stage for decades, and he has long since given up any hopes of reaching Underlord, even if his consciousness was stable enough to support the advancement.

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Questioner

What's another absurdly weak or isolated place on Cradle and what would their Lindon look like?

Will Wight

There's an underwater, sealed-off city at the bottom of the Trackless Sea that's surrounded by much more prosperous civilizations of aquatic sacred beasts.

The human population inside this city has developed mostly independently, just like Sacred Valley. Their Lindon would be anyone who, for whatever reason, couldn't master water aura and the Ruler techniques required to go outside the city.

That person would be like someone in our universe who can't use a car...not just someone who can't drive, but someone who is unable to get inside an automobile.

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Questioner

What are some of the coolest Cycling techniques on Cradle (like the one that increases madra regeneration, or maybe a technique that would make Ruler techniques easier, or a technique that acts like a Halfsilver Ring, etc.)

Will Wight

There's the Endless Revolving Cycle technique, which focuses entirely on madra regeneration, to the exclusion of all else. Their advancement isn't as fast, and they can't put an enormous amount of power into their techniques, but they can effectively use sacred arts all day long. They have to use elixirs to strengthen their madra channels in order to withstand the strain of constant use.

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Questioner

If Lindon were to die and release a remnant, would he in fact produce two remnants because of his two cores, a single hybrid remnant, or two conjoined remnants?

Will Wight

It would be a conjoined Remnant, not two Remnants. It would be unstable at first, as the pure madra began to dilute the Blackflame madra, but would eventually stabilize.It would be less powerful and aggressive than a full Blackflame Remnant, but it would be less likely to randomly attack people, which would probably increase its likelihood of finding a food source.

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Questioner

Where in your collective works would I go for the spiciest dish? As a corollary, how much trouble am I in for?

Will Wight

Cradle. There's a pepper that grows in chambers beneath active volcanoes, where fire aura is most intense.

Even if you just took the plant out of that area and brought it to the surface, you couldn't go within five hundred yards of the pepper without the heat being so intense it would make you turn back.

This is what those above Archlords use to season their food.

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Questioner

What's life like for the average person in Sanctum? Are they living it up in a post scarcity universe, or are they still doing the 9 to 5 grind?

Will Wight

People in Sanctum have their basic needs met in a peaceful, prosperous world, but their society is engineered so that everyone has the opportunity to play a part. The Abidan see people as a valuable resource, so they've done their best to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to provide a benefit to society.

Some people choose not to, of course. And some people hate doing what they're best at, but they do it anyway. People are people.

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Questioner

Are there any madra viruses in cradle? Like the same way a virus in real life is basically a random peice of DNA which uses cells to replicate itself, are there techniques which implant themselves in someone’s spirit and force a copy of themselves? And if so, would they differ by stage and advancement?

Will Wight

There are techniques like this, but they aren't as overpowered as you might think thanks to a simple rule: your own spirit is sovereign within your body.

It's the same reason why a water or blood artist wouldn't just stop your heart instantly. They can't. Your spirit is far stronger inside your body than anyone else's madra.

You can overcome that by a huge difference in power: a Herald could stop a thousand Underlords' hearts all at once. But techniques that insert themselves into enemies' bodies tend to degrade very quickly and do limited damage.

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Questioner

When it comes to the path of the stellar spear's gold sign, is it all their hair? Is personal grooming difficult?

Will Wight

In fact, it is only the hair on their heads. It used to be ALL their hair, and they altered their Path over the generations to change their Remnants so that it only armored the hair on their heads.

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Questioner

What are some popular idioms on cradle. Something like cradles version of "survival of the fittest".

Will Wight

This is a great question, but it's really hard to do. So I'm going to cop out by sharing with you some Yerin-isms that may or may not have made it into the series so far:

"Between a tiger and a rocky cliff" = Between a rock and a hard place.

“There’s always a higher heaven” = always a bigger fish.

“Hitched to the same wagon” = in the same boat.

“Eating from the same pot” = (see above)

“Flower” = sweetie/sugar. Her master used to say that to women. “Thanks, flower.”

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Questioner

Is there any way to learn a different magic system of another iteration or are people limited to their native magic system? If the answer is no, is an iteration's magic system genetic?

Will Wight

People are not limited to their native magic system. Parts of it are genetic, but a character from another world might come to Asylum, for instance, and find that they were getting faint impressions or visions by touching objects. They are suitable to be a Reader.

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Questioner

Maybe a story about the Paths or lives of the first people who cycled on Cradle? Or something about how they evolved? (I'm talking before the Abidan were a group, so a really long time ago).

Will Wight

I have a potentially disappointing "spoiler" for you. ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU READY TO HAVE YOUR ILLUSIONS SHATTERED AND THE DISAPPOINTING TRUTH REVEALED?

...I've never thought about that. I've planned out the history of the Abidan and the development of most of Cradle's continents, as well as organized sacred arts, but I've never thought about how primitive sacred arts first emerged.

That's an untapped area for me.

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Questioner

Would you ever hold a fan-made Path competition?

Will Wight

Maybe. I'm not against it, and in fact something along those lines sounds like a lot of fun. I've always wanted to work in a world that we as a community designed together, though I usually imagine that as building a world from the ground up with a bunch of fans in a Twitch- or Patreon-like setting.

But it's not like I actually NEED fan submissions to fill out the world. When I run into a new sacred artist and I need to make up a new Path, I just...do.

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Questioner

Do you have tons of notes on a magic system and slowly reveal more over time, or is the creative process more organic in how they develop?

Will Wight

A little of both. I usually start out with a ton of detailed notes and then let it develop from there.

Vital aura, for instance. I know exactly how I wanted aura to work, but I had trouble describing it clearly in Unsouled, so I started tweaking the rules and principles in later books and let it deviate from what I originally intended and found difficult to explain.

...although in doing so I kind of tripped over my own feet a little bit, because describing it only gets more difficult when you change your mind, but oh well. Live and learn.

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Questioner

If Lindon decided to give up the sacred arts to become a tavern keeper (Think Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronically), what would he name his tavern?

Will Wight

Greatfather's Rest.

It's a reference to one of the sacred peaks in Sacred Valley, and there's a mythical inn called Greatfather's Rest that supposedly once existed on its slopes.

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Questioner

If Simon and Lindon both decided to give up fighting and become male escorts, who do you think would make more money per night?

Will Wight

Simon, unless Lindon tapped into a niche client base.

Lindon is taller and broader of shoulder, but he also looks like he wants to punch you as a matter of course. Simon's smaller, more slender, and has more delicate features.

Simon, however, would literally starve to death before he took such a course. He'd rather die on his own terms than sell his dignity.

Lindon would do what he had to.

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Questioner

If all of your protagonists had to take the SAT's and the GRE's, who would score the best? Who would score the lowest?

Will Wight

For everyone on his list, we have to assume that they don't get questions that are impossible for them to answer. Like questions relating to Earth's literature or technology.

Yerin would score the worst, as she's illiterate and would have no idea what to do with the tests.

Simon would be second-worst. His parents only cared about his education until the events of the HoB prologue, when he was eight years old. After that, the only math skill he exercised was counting, and he rarely wrote anything besides his name.

Calder is next up. He received a noble education, thanks to his mother, but not early in life. He would score better in math than in English (assuming we translated the fictional Imperial language he actually speaks into English), and his scores would be decent in both categories.

Leah would do better than Calder, but not much better. She's extremely well-educated, but to the limits of her time period and world.

Lindon's education is more suited to standardized tests; he actually learned math and linguistics (obviously he's not speaking English, as none of these characters are) from textbooks, and while his scientific education is either not applicable to our tests or is downright wrong even by Cradle standards, his mathematical and language skills are solid.

Shera would do the best. Gardeners got a great education and she has a well-trained memory and a precise mind. She would score higher than any of my other protagonists.

...if she could be bothered to finish the test.

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Questioner

On a scale of baby snow bunny to eldritch-horror who is scarier when fully equipped. Simon with the mask and cloak or Lindon with his goldsign and his wriggly arm?

Will Wight

I'd say Lindon when he gets going is basically a 6/horror. He's kind of a rough-looking guy anyway, and he gets the dark aura of the Burning Cloak, demonic eyes, a skeletal arm, and a big, hulking, burning turtle.

#112 Copy

Questioner

What is Yerin’s favorite color?

If Yerin fought against Shera, who would win?

Will Wight

1.) If you asked her that, she would have no idea what to say. But it's lavender.

2.) In a straight-up fight? Yerin. But if they were given orders to find and kill one another, probably Shera.

#113 Copy

Questioner

Has there ever been anyone on cradle who "messed up" their path yet still ascended to the Monarch level? Say someone who, out of ignorance, got a poorly matching iron body, or cultivated a really weird mix of auras.

Will Wight

This is a great question. I like this question.

The Beast King is a Herald (right below Monarch) who was crippled as a child while attempting to gain his Iron body. He refocused his Path into communicating with animals, using a mix of life and dream aura. Despite being unable to walk, he ended up befriending some truly ancient sacred beasts, and with their help baptized his body in soulfire and ascended to Underlord.

He's now many levels above that, and can walk just fine, but without the foundation of an Iron body he's physically not as dominant as his peers.

However, he's guarded by enormous behemoths from the deep places of the earth, so it balances out.

#114 Copy

Questioner

Also, what path would be best suited to creating an army of forged madra garden gnome soldiers?

Will Wight

Path of the Clay Walkers.

Life and stone. They craft clay golems from special clay and other materials, kneading their madra into the dolls and bringing them to life under their control. It's not an especially powerful Path, but it's useful for a variety of mundane tasks.

Like creating a parade of garden gnomes.

#115 Copy

Questioner

How fast can Suriel fly?

Will Wight

Suriel slows down to the speed of sound when she's in atmosphere so she doesn't destroy anything. Usually, she would just slip between space and teleport where she needs to go, but that's most useful over very short or very long distances.

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Questioner

How strong are your characters in comparison to say Goku or Superman.

Will Wight

How much would Suriel be able to lift...that's kind of a difficult question, because it's like asking how much a Star Destroyer can bench-press. "As much as she needs to," would I think be the most accurate answer. She'll have some fights, but fights among Judge-level individuals are less "I'm going to punch you," and more "I predicted where you were going to be standing and I already willed that space out of existence."

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Questioner

How does the Eight Man Empire work?

Will Wight

The Eight-Man Empire operate collectively, not individually. Suriel singles one out in order to give Lindon perspective, but their powers are very limited when they're not working in formation with the other seven.

Not that they're pushovers individually, but yes, Reigan Shen would eat them alive* if they tried to fight him separately.

*Not literally.

...maybe literally.

#118 Copy

Questioner

How would Simon compare to people on Cradle?

Will Wight

Steel reinforces your body in general, so your muscles and bones are able to handle a greater degree of stress. It affects your skin to some degree too, but not like it's going to turn a knife blade. There would just be a little more resistance before it cut you. Turning a knife blade is what the stone is for.

In terms of Iron bodies, the "perfect" Iron bodies introduced in Soulsmith are specialized. So some of them would have tougher skin, others would have greater strength, others heal faster. In general, leaving aside the specialization, an Iron body is just the result of your spirit improving and to some degree perfecting your body. It's a general physical upgrade.

Simon, when drawing on the Valinhall powers, would be better than an Iron body. But a sacred artist would also be using Enforcer techniques, which could compete on the same level. It would depend on the specific situation, but in general, Simon is going to be Underlord-level physically with his mask on. Truegold-level would be his peak without it.

Of course, that's purely in terms of physical strength and ability. Also, there would be some Enforcer-focused Underlords who might be able to trade punches with him in the mask, and then when the mask wore off, they would tear him apart.

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Questioner

I know that splitting your core was created by the rival of the first Empty Palm-user. I just do not think that Simon and the rival are the only people in the world who have thought of this. Surely their must be others. Also, can one keep splitting their core repeatedly. I can imagine how strong Lindon could he be if he had multiple paths in his body. I'm still unclear if splitting your core doubles your madra and if it has a cost. Another thing that comes to mind is can Lindon upgrade one of his cores to jade while still having his other core at the copper-level?

Will Wight

This will be explored in Blackflame, but I don't really consider it a spoiler, as it deals with mechanics we've already seen in the books.

If you're especially allergic to SPOILERS, stop reading now.

Now!

No, the Heart of Twin Stars is not the only technique in the world for splitting cores. Others have done it, and I expect we'll run into them.

Yes, you can split your core repeatedly.

Splitting your core does not double your madra, and there's a very slight loss in energy when you split. So if you had 100 MP before the split, now you have two sources of 49 MP each. The other 2 MP are lost in the process.

He can upgrade one core without the other. At the end of Soulsmith, one of his cores is Iron and the other Copper. But he's considered an Iron, because his body was upgraded.

Here's something else that will be dealt with in Blackflame: an Iron core split into two doesn't make two Copper cores, it makes two very small Iron cores. Your stage of advancement is based on the quality of your madra, not the amount.

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Questioner

Im starting to realize you cant kill Suriel. Anything you throw at her she can banish it. I guess Suriel is too strong. I wonder whst Path she follows.................

Will Wight

Well, she's immortal.

That said, there are entities that threaten her and the rest of the Abidan, but at that point you're dealing with specific power interactions. She draws her power from the Way, the force of pure order that keeps time, space, and reality in the universe on track. There are beings that draw from pure chaos, disrupting that order. There are also entities that could cut off her access to the Way, or out-predict and maneuver her into a situation where she could be destroyed.

...but all that comes in later books.

#122 Copy

Questioner

Okay guys these are the strongest characters1. Abidan Court2. Great Elders before they were sealed3.Strongest Cradle characters, including Li Markuth (not really Cradle universe), Ninecloud Court Princess, NorthStrider, Eithan, Yerins master4 .Sealed Great Elders and Emperor tie5. Urzia, Meia and other enhanced warroirs6. Ragnarus Incarnation7. Valinhall

Will Wight

That's just about right!

#3 is a broad variety of characters over several different power levels--the Ninecloud Court princess and Northstrider are a level beyond Li Markuth and the Sword Sage, who are both a level beyond Underlord. Some of those would defeat the Emperor and the sealed Great Elders easily, some would have a hard time, and some of them couldn't do it.

Also #5-7 are all very close. Valinhall can compete with the Champions, but they would be difficult fights. And while the Ragnarus Incarnation is the strongest Incarnation thus far, and thus a notch above Valinhall/the Champions, in the end (City of Light SPOILER ALERT, I guess) a Valinhall Traveler DID beat him.

But I'd still put him a notch above them in terms of pure power level.

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Questioner

What about Kelarac vs. Suriel? Or any of the Great Elders vs. Suriel?

Will Wight

In a complicated and protracted battle fought on many levels simultaneously, Suriel eventually gets the upper hand. She knows that banishing the Elder will only delay the problem, so she seals the Elder's power and banishes it to a lesser world. A world with special characteristics that will keep the Elder sealed for as long as possible.

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Questioner

I should have expected that. If the humans can kinda do it, why can't Suriel.(referring to the above question)

Will Wight

Suriel did it already. It's how the Great Elders came to be sealed in that world in the first place.

And the versions the Emperor and Estyr Six dealt with were pale shadows of the entities Suriel would be dealing with. When they're inside an Iteration, they're bound by its rules to some degree. Not so outside.

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Questioner

Ozriel vs Suriel. The destroyer versus the Phoenix! Is that the plot of a future novel? Whups.

Will Wight

Ozriel versus Suriel:

Ozriel would go into hiding and Suriel would be sent to hunt him down. She is reluctant to take on this responsibility, so she would drag her feet searching worlds where she knows Ozriel wouldn't go, with Cradle chief among them. While in Cradle, she would distract herself by intervening in a small problem she can control, and then watch events play out in the same way that some people keep plants on their windowsills just to watch them grow. It soothes her. It's like a desktop zen garden.

Then circumstances would force her to get back to her task, and she would continue searching for Ozriel, encountering a number of obstacles and surprising truths along the way.

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Questioner

Eldest Nye versus Suriel 1.0- the prior bearer of Suriel's mantle. In Valinhall. Since I feel location would be important there, maybe. When they give up a mantle does that make them more or less human?

Will Wight

Eldest Nye vs. Former Suriel

They're more human when they pass on the mantle, and they lose access to the former extent of their powers.

However, this only means that she would be unable to tear Valinhall apart with the force of her will alone. She'd still have his millennia of experience and skills, as well as his personal power.

However, she's scarred from killing people so she would likely stall, which the Eldest Nye would not do, and the Eldest has the backup of the entire House.

In the end, I don't think the Eldest has enough firepower to kill even a mortal Suriel. In the end, Suriel 1.0 would probably just find a method to cut through the Way and leave.

#127 Copy

Questioner

Yerin vs. Simon

Will Wight

Yerin wouldn't get absolutely smoked against no-mask Simon, but I do think she would lose. We haven't fully seen her go all-out yet, so it's closer than you might think, but she doesn't have the raw strength Simon does. Yet. Simon (the commenter on this blog) is right about Yerin's master: the Sword Sage would toy with Simon (the character) until Simon's powers ran out and he lost.

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Questioner

Simon vs. Eithan.

Will Wight

Simon would have no chance to win under any circumstances. If he started out wearing the mask and fully drawing on Nye essence, that's the only chance he would have to see what was killing him.

In any other situation, he would die unaware.

#129 Copy

Questioner

The Emperor is way more powerful than a lot of people on the blog give him credit for!

How about him vs. Northstrider or any of those guys Suriel showed Lindon at the beginning of Unsouled. Actually I believe The Emperor would kick any of their butts one on one. How about The Emperor vs. the three strongest people on the planet Cradle? Besides Suriel because she is not a resident of Cradle.

Basically is anyone on Cradle on par with The Elders, or could The Emperor handily destroy anyone on Cradle?

Will Wight

Their powers work differently, but no, the Emperor would not be one of the strongest people on Cradle. The reason the Abidan value Cradle is because it nurtures and produces extremely powerful individuals.

A fight against Yerin's master would be pretty even. Depends on the circumstances at that point, like how well-armed the Emperor is and how seriously the Sword Sage takes the fight from the very beginning.

#130 Copy

Questioner

Yerin vs. Simon with only steel

Will Wight

Yerin. She's trained longer with the sword, she would be physically weaker than him but not so much that she would be overwhelmed, and she can do crazy magic things that Simon can't.

#131 Copy

Questioner

Jai Long's white spear vs. Leah's Ragnarus spear 

Will Wight

Jai Long's white spear breaks immediately and shatters to dust. The Lightning Spear continues on, its momentum barely halted, and runs into Jai Long, who has to expend a great deal of his power to stop it. He lives, but he's wounded, exhausted, and on the back foot.

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Questioner

Elder Whisper vs. Asphodel Incarnation

Will Wight

This would be another one of those really interesting, sort of irritating fights where everyone is trying to figure out what is real and what's just an illusion.

Honestly, I think this probably comes down to chance. One of them falls into the other's trap first, and it's 50-50 who.

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Questioner

Strongest sacred artist vs. a Great Elder

Will Wight

It's hard to say who the strongest Great Elder is, because they each measure strength differently.However, the strongest sacred artist in Cradle would be able to solo any of the Great Elders. Of course, that would only disperse them and make them spend centuries re-forming, since they don't treat death the same way mortals do, but it's enough for the sacred artist to win the battle.

#141 Copy

Questioner

Sauron vs. Sha Miara

Will Wight

This hasn't been explored yet, but basically the nature of Sha Miara's madra is countering and controlling other people's skills.

He could raise armies, and she could banish them or take them over. Any spell he cast, she could break it.

More than that, at her level, she could simply walk into Mordor. She'd leave it a crater. She's the nuclear weapon of her nation.

#142 Copy

Questioner

What about Yerin with Valinhall powers VS. Calder with Valinhall powers?

Will Wight

Man, that's a cool question.I'll still give it to Yerin, for the reasons stated above. Calder has training in fencing and experience using a saber, but it's not like he was trained as the disciple of a wandering swordsman.If they can use their previous powers, Calder being a Reader adds an interesting dimension to the Valinhall powers, but it doesn't touch having an Iron body on TOP of the ability to call steel, plus Striker and Ruler techniques.

#143 Copy

Questioner

I find it more interesting to delve into what Suriel and the Abidan court actually is... are they "gods" or "architects" ???Will we ever know? 

Will Wight

They're like rulers and guardians of an interdimensional system that's sort of like a government, designed to keep the Iterations under their control safe, separated, and as free from outside intervention as possible.

#144 Copy

Questioner

How does the Presence work? Is it a construct. A drudge? Both? Does Suriel even have a Remnant? I think not as she can't die.

Will Wight

A drudge is a particular type of construct. A Presence is something like a construct, only much more advanced.

You could think of it as a magical computer made of thoughts.

And Suriel did not grow up in Cradle. The FIRST Abidan came from Cradle, and MANY Abidan still do, but not ALL of them do.

#146 Copy

Questioner

Northstrider vs. the Eight-Man Empire

Will Wight

This would be a huge, destructive conflict with lots of collateral damage, but eventually I think Northstrider would probably win. The EME don't really have the firepower to beat him quickly, so they would be relying on a drawn-out contest, but he would be coming at them as hard and as fast as possible.

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Questioner

Underlords vs. Underlord+

Will Wight

The Sword Sage and Li Markuth are both roughly two stages above Underlord.

The three entities listed by Suriel as the top of the Cradle food chain are FIVE stages above Underlord, including one big leap (like the difference between Truegold and Underlord, it's only one stage, but it's a big one). The Dreadgods are a threat on THEIR level--and notice that Suriel said the 8-Man Empire, Sha Miara, and Northstrider could save Sacred Valley from them. She didn't say they could destroy the Dreadgods.

The BF Emperor is the one person in the Empire who is a level over Underlord.

The EE Emperor is about his level, although since they're using different magic systems, it's less about stages and more about what they can and can't do to counter one another.

Footnote: Will has since changed his mind about the 5 stages between Underlord and Monarch, As it stands now, it goes Underlord, Overlord, Archlord/Sage, Herald, Monarch.
#149 Copy

Questioner

Eight-Man Empire versus Sha Miara...

Will Wight

She'd have more difficulty dealing with them as opposed to Northstrider, because they're relying on individual power and a formation that manipulates aura when they fight. In the end, it's roughly even, and it depends on a bunch of variables, but here's the bottom line: if Sha Miara can figure out and break their formation quickly, she wins. If she can't, they're sharing and pooling power, and they will overwhelm her.

#150 Copy

Questioner

What qualities did Yerin have that made the Sword Sage take her on as a disciple?

Will Wight

This gets into spoiler territory, because I will be answering that question thoroughly in the series, but suffice it to say that she was born strong. And she demonstrated that at an early age.

#151 Copy

Questioner

Metaphysical Great Elders can rip one apart on the molecular level. You said the strongest Cradle character could solo them. Do they have defenses against that?

Will Wight

Yes, they do have a defense against that. At a certain point, your spirit gets strong enough that your madra gives you essentially complete control over your own body. You can resist forces that would affect you directly.

Also, at that level, they have access to powers other than madra that can fight against the Great Elders.

#152 Copy

Questioner

Are Cradle characters stronger than any other Iteration?

Will Wight

No, but they have the best average growth rate. It's extremely rare for someone of another Iteration to ascend past their starting power scale, but with Cradle it happens reliably 2-3 times per generation.

#153 Copy

Questioner

The people who have been asking how strong Simon would eventually become in the grand scheme of things have been making me think that it would actually be really interesting to see the Cradle universe from the perspective of a character that isn't from Cradle eventually. Especially given how broad the outside world's powers seem to be, compared to the relatively narrow set of powers Travellers have. So it would be interesting to see Simon go beyond the Traveller's Gate world (how does the limitation of Valinhall's chains interact with the seemingly unlimited power in the outside universe?)

Will Wight

Mild spoiler alert, but if you're this deep into this thread and you still care about spoilers...RIP you.

Eventually, we'll get to see how the Cradle magic system stacks up against others.

Also, Valin gathered the Valinhall powers essentially by running around outside.

#154 Copy

Questioner

I was quite disappointed at Kelsa disappearing from the story given she was probably my favorite Unsouled character :p

Will Wight

Early on in development, I had considered having Kelsa traveling with Lindon, and Yerin's character being a guy. But I couldn't justify Kelsa's presence, really, and I thought Yerin worked better as a woman. So Kelsa got left behind.

That's...certainly not the last we'll see of her, though. Spoilers.

#156 Copy

Questioner

Wait, so Elder Whisper is a level above Underlord?!! That is CRAZY AWESOME!

Will Wight

No no, Whisper isn't THAT strong. He's several levels under Li Markuth, it's just that Markuth would be relying solely on the brute force of his spiritual senses to find Whisper, whereas Whisper has hundreds of years of experience as an illusionist for running and hiding.He is, however, by far the strongest active being in Sacred Valley.

#159 Copy

Questioner

Oh by the way is Akura Mercy a refiner or is studying to be one, or did she just have easy to use healing/medical elixir with her in the Skysworn exam.

Will Wight

She just keeps some on her in case of emergency.

For the record, I'm still CONSIDERING doing a story in Sacred Valley after Lindon left. I just have to be careful how I do it, to avoid the dreaded spoilerinos.

As for before Lindon left, that's not a bad idea. Or even before Lindon was born.

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Questioner

The other Raccoon Families have brought up a good point about Gokren, the Sandviper TrueGold. Does BlackFlame hold the power to incinerate not only the human, but their remnant at the same time? Or was it just because Orthos is a walking trash compactor and ate Gokren and his remnant?

Will Wight

No, I just skipped the scene with Orthos and Lindon dealing with the Remnants. The technique didn't destroy the Remnants; I just looked back over the scene, and they kill the guys and then the text skips ahead five minutes.

I had intended to imply that Lindon and Orthos spent five minutes cleaning up the Remnants, but I didn't state that. It's an oversight on my part. I should have said something specifically.

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Questioner

How did the Blood line powers originate and how come the Jae Clan don't have any? Are they not one the "Great Families?"

Will Wight

Not everyone inherits a bloodline legacy. Higher-level sacred beasts can take human form, so some people have sacred beast lineage that gives them certain innate supernatural abilities. That includes the Arelius family, but not the Jai clan.

In most cases, a bloodline legacy means that you're naturally inclined more toward one Path than another, though. Your madra might not be entirely pure, even at birth.

The Arelius are an exception to that.

#165 Copy

Questioner

How are scales made and what are they? An inert Forger technique for storing power?

Will Wight

Scales: pretty much, yeah. It's a way to store inert power. They actually take more concentration and skill to make than normal Forged madra, which we'll (probably) go into in Skysworn.

#171 Copy

Questioner

Who does all of the farming in Cradle? In a society so focused on martial martial abilities. Who would waste time on farming? We know the population of Cradle is many times greater then Earth. So tens of billion of people need to eat. The only real solution I could think of is if there are Paths that happen to both greatly help agriculture and has combat potential. Or as we saw in book two slavery.

Will Wight

There are Paths that are used for agriculture and irrigation, they're just usually low-key. There's a (very) brief reference in Blackflame to the Redflower family, who are in charge of feeding the Empire. By law, they are neutral in every conflict, and anybody who starts a fight with them or tries to pressure them will soon regret it.

#172 Copy

Questioner

How will Lindon act the first time he meets someone weaker then him? While Lindon has gotten to what I would call half-iron (his cores are half the size they should be so he levels them up faster then he normal would, and only one avenged to iron) and that makes him stronger then most people his age in the Sacred Valley. Knowing that and meeting them while stronger then them are different. I bring this up because out side of a few people everyone we have met seems to have no trouble "bullying" those weaker then themselves. I know this is a might makes right society but still part of the honor of that system is to ingore/protect those weaker then you. If you only follow those "laws" when other are watching you then that's not honor its saving face. When will we meet people who follow these codes of conduct not for themselves or for "face" but because they believe in them?

Will Wight

This is 100% a spoiler.

#173 Copy

Questioner

Would a fire path be one of the fastest way to level up? All you would have to do is stand next to a barn-fire and absorb the ambient fire manna it would give off, then refine it. On that note how different would the manna type be, between different types of fire. A hearth-fire warming a family home in the winter, with all the "happy" connotation that come with it, compared to like an arson attack destroying someone's home and possession and just everything that they have worked for. Both are fire but you get what I mean.

Will Wight

A fire Path would not be the fastest way to advance, because the aura would be slightly rarer and harder to collect compared to, say, earth or air. But it's still very fast, as are all the Paths that draw from aura easily found in nature.

There WOULD be significant differences between those two Paths! Fire from different Paths could take on different qualities depending on how it's used an where it comes from; you could have a gentle flame that spreads slowly and provides lots of even warmth, versus a violent flames that consumes rapidly and burns out quickly.

#174 Copy

Questioner

How are everyday tasks handled?

Will Wight

Different places in the world handle the basic necessities of life differently. Some places have sects that focus entirely on farming or whatever, but other places prize independence and self-sufficiency. Those sacred artists value the ability to provide food, resources, and basic societal infrastructure for the people that depend on them.

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Questioner

Word of Will response to :That's a different take on it than I had. At this point, I'm not considering Lindon's personal growth as much as his team's. You've got the sword master with what I assume will eventually be 6 sword arms sticking from her back, the strategist with no outstanding combat strength, and I'm thinking Jai Long and Jai Chen, as well. Overwhelming destructive power was actually missing from their group. Besides that, Lindon's second core is the air of mystery and the unexpected for me. Curious what he's really able to do with it later.

Will Wight

"You've nailed my thought process. My priority is to balance his eventual team more than Lindon as an individual."

#176 Copy

Questioner

it's mentioned there is only one underlord in the desolate wilds, and only a handful in the blackflame empire, so who is the underlord in the wilds? Assuming someone from the cloud hammers or the 5th unmentioned sect, or another unmentioned sect?

Will Wight

The Cloud Hammers are a relatively small sect, but they produced an Underlord and have a pretty good chance at a second one, so their influence is growing in the Blackflame Empire. And the Arelius family is far bigger and more important than the Jai clan branch from the Desolate Wilds. I should have explained that better in the book, using clearer terminology, and I apologize for that. The Jai in the Wilds are the unimportant. The cast-offs. The only reason the main branch of the clan got involved with them at all was because of Eithan's actions, as well as Cassias' and Jai Long's. Otherwise, the main branch would have let them die alone and never noticed or cared. EDIT: And the Cloud Hammer Underlord stayed out of the events of Soulsmith because he considered squabbling for prizes with Golds beneath him. If Eithan had stayed longer (cough cough if the books were longer cough cough), then the CH Underlord would have made an appearance.

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Questioner (paraphrased)

How do Sacred Beast's advance and when do they learn to shapeshift?

Will Wight (paraphrased)

Sacred beasts advance differently than sacred artists. Notably in their interactions with soulfire. So at the Lord realm, they start getting limited shape-shifting abilities, which get less limited as they advance

Lil' Blue (paraphrased)

So, when the Beast King got bathed in soulfire, was that the animal variety?

Your Benevolent Dictator (paraphrased)

Wait really?   So Jay long really could fix his face?

Will Wight (paraphrased)

Neither Jai Long nor the Beast King are sacred beasts

#178 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

How are Sacred Beast's born?

Will Wight (paraphrased)

So some sacred beasts start as normal animals that live long enough that they have been transformed by aura. Others are actually born as baby sacred beasts, like dragons. Or, in Orthos' case, dragon-turtles

#179 Copy

Akrasia

Do remnants exist only on cradle? theoretically, if suriel were to die on cradle, would she leave a remnant?

Will Wight

Great question! Puppet Master is indeed correct: practicing the sacred arts is essentially nurturing a Remnant inside you, so when someone from Cradle dies anywhere, they leave a Remnant. Not if someone from outside dies on Cradle.

If Suriel did practice the sacred arts, she would advance absurdly quickly, and her Remnant could potentially eliminate all life on Cradle. But it wouldn't. It would heal people and fix decaying structures and prop up failing governments until it eventually ran out of energy and dissipated into aura.

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Questioner

It has been confirmed by Will that Lindon does not need his pure core to offset the blackflame madra degeneration of his madra channels, as Lil'Blue can heal the damage caused

Will Wight

I may have said this, but it’s not entirely accurate/complete. With Little Blue’s help, Lindon could replace his pure Path with another random Path and not be crippled from damage to his madra channels. However, he would have to play around Blackflame damage by intentionally limiting the amount he used Blackflame. Basically, he’d use his other Path as the default and Blackflame as backup.

Whereas with pure madra, since it causes almost no strain to the madra channels and even somewhat helps cleanse impurities, he can lean on Blackflame harder.

Point is, he could learn another Path if he wanted, he’d just have to be intentional about managing his madra.

#181 Copy

Ruff

so i think dream madra can be refined to nightmare madra.... i think that is the only way that works.... unless its not meant to be literal nightmare madra and that the feeling of his madra is like nightmares but it still falss under a specific madra type. or at least thats what i thought. I thought there are so many prime madras (imagine as you will the prime colors that can be combined and refined into a whole bunch of other types of colors)

Will Wight

@Ruff I thought there are so many prime madras

There are, but different cultures and sects disagree on what they are. There are greater aspects and lesser aspects of madra. Greater aspects are universal and usually elemental, like fire or water. Lesser aspects are the weird things that practitioners can do to their madra over time to make it take on a certain quality, like making it sticky or in the shape of a snake. Lesser aspects are what make everything confusing.

I'll be going into this eventually in the books, but I haven't up to this point because A.) most characters aren't aware of this, and B.) I'm trying to find a way to explain it so that it makes the magic system less confusing instead of more confusing, which is what I'm afraid of.

#182 Copy

Questioner

How does aging work as you advance?

Will Wight

For the Lord realm, your body is re-forged in stronger soulfire each time you advance, so your body is made more like it was in your prime. If you were younger than your prime, you would look older, and older people look younger. Then, from there on, you age more slowly. It gets stronger each time you advance, but it only happens when you advance, so basically Jai Daishou's only hope of living significantly longer would have been to hit Overlord. Which he accepted that he couldn't do.

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Questioner

When are you functionally immortal?

Will Wight

I may change this, as with anything that hasn't happened in the books yet, so take it with a grain of salt.But Sages almost don't age, and Heralds and Monarchs do not.Most Heralds and Monarchs, I should say.

Questioner

so does that apply to normal Archlords as well, or just Sages?

Will Wight

No.

Questioner

I'm going to assume that means it only applies to Sages

Will Wight

Yes.

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Questioner

Is there another level we haven't seen yet or were you counting sage (or just miscounting) in saying there were 5 levels between Eithan and the Monarchs?

Will Wight

I've been going back and forth on the number of ranks and how to describe them. I knew generally what they were, but I've been messing with them behind the scenes for a while.

So it could either be that I was counting Sage back then or that, at the time I answered the question, there were five ranks. I don't really remember.

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Questioner

What Iron body does Cassius have?Edit: Also, since I don't think it's a spoiler at this point, is there a stage between Lord and Herald?

Will Wight

I don’t remember. I do have a name for Cassias’ Iron body, I just don’t have my notes with me and I can’t remember.

It goes Archlord—Herald, unless you’re awesome enough to be titled a Sage.

#187 Copy

Questioner

Is Hunger Madra an artificial creation? If not, where would it show up naturally? If this is too spoiler-y, then what techniques did the Path of the Broken Star use, and how did its practitioners evolve into the Jai clan?

Will Wight

It is artificial.

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Questioner

Are you able to reverse advancement/progress? For example, it was mentioned that not having a perfect iron body hurts your chances for advancement. Is it at all possible to reverse damage done by not advancing correctly?

Will Wight

Often, yes.

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Questioner

The wastland artist in the excerpt is described as "horned". What does his horn (horns?) look like?A heavy rhinotype horn, like a stag etc or?

Will Wight

Two upward-curving emerald horns. They’re luminous lime green at the base and they run up the gradient to the points, which are dark green.

Footnote: This was written before Ghostwater and is a description of Ziel.
#191 Copy

Questioner

If two monarchs were to somehow fall in love, and get married what would the wedding look like? How powerful would their kids be?

Will Wight

Rarely happens, but the wedding would be a continental event that involved altered weather, lights in the sky, and all conflict forcibly stopped. Their children would have to start from the Foundation level like everyone else, but depending on their inherited abilities, they might be able to exert a Lowgold level of power as toddlers.

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Questioner

So the reason that Blackflame is corrosive to madra channels is because the fire part slighty damages them, and the destruction part speeds that up?

Will Wight

That, and because their cycling techniques emphasize output over safety. The original version of this Path was developed by pure-blooded black dragons for use by other pure-blooded black dragons, so they weren’t concerned about the fragility of humans.

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Questioner

Additionally, those colored rings of madra that Lindon sees around the sword sages remnant! Those just little cool visual effects? Extra soul spaces (will yerin find some presents as she advances?) Or are they indications he has more than one path!?!

Will Wight

They are little extra powers that the Sword Sage gained over his long career that he had stored in his soul. They became part of his spirit over time, and merged with his Remnant when he died.The only spoiler is the nature of what those powers were.

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Questioner

Do the members of the 8-Man Empire all practice the same path from birth, or did they join up with their own and have to change it, or are they able to keep their own individual paths and still join?

Will Wight

They’re a weird case in that they are each practicing an individual Path and one together. The Path of the Eight-Fold Spear is the name of their collective Path.

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Questioner

What happens if you try to Awaken a weapon from Cradle? I don't recall if anyone has asked this before, but can someone use the powers of one world in another world? What about learning a power from a different world than the one you're on?

Will Wight

Yes, you can mix-and-match magic systems.

I’m trying to decide which world they’ll go to after Cradle. Initially I was planning on it being an in-between world called Threshold, which would have been a melting pot of all the Sector 11 magic systems, but those plans have subtly morphed over time.

Now Sanctum might end up being that melting pot.

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Questioner

Will we find out what Eithan took from the Ruins on Yerin’s behalf? Also Will we learn about the black scripted stones Lindon took from the ruins?

Will Wight

I thought he lost those stones. Did he not? I have a file specifically to keep track of Lindon’s inventory, so I’ll have to check.

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Questioner

So in the new Ghostwater excerpt is the construct that may have something to do with ghostwater littleblue or is it a yet to be introduced construct?

Will Wight

It’s yet to be introduced! It shows up in the first couple of GW chapters.

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Questioner

So how does aura become madra?

Will Wight

A sacred artist draws the aura into themselves and into their core, where they make it part of their spirit. If they succeed, they’ve taken control of a small amount of aura, which merges with their current madra so they share properties.

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Questioner

What are the mechanics of a soul oath? Does the oath need to be made with equal consideration on each side? What happens if you break an oath? Can an oath be annulled by mutual agreement?

Will Wight

A soul oath is your spirit holding you to an agreement. When two people’s spirits are holding them to the same agreement, they resonate, and it creates a sort of subtle link.

Therefore, both people have to recognize that they have made an oath. Forcing someone to swear an oath under duress works, but is much weaker, because both participants know the oath is unfair. However, making a false oath isn’t really possible, because your spirit and the other person’s would recognize that you had made an oath.

Yes, you can annul an oath under mutual agreement.

If you break one, your spirit suffers the consequences. So you can have your madra channels or core injured, your madra can become more difficult to control, etc.

In the worst case, you can die, though those risks are exaggerated in rumor. Usually, if you do die from breaking an oath, it’s because your powers screwed up.

Some people with more powerful souls even influence the aura around them to hold them to their oath, meaning the natural world would curse them with consequences for oath-breaking.

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Questioner

If a person breaks an oath and is strong enough to influence aura around them, are the consequences permanent, or temporarily manifested where the oath is broken?

Will Wight

Technically permanent, but there are ways to mitigate or avoid the consequences over time.

Footnote: *relating to soul oaths
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Questioner

How would someone on a death path use an enforcement technique?

Will Wight

They probably wouldn’t, as you wouldn’t want death madra in your body. However, Enforcing a weapon is still an Enforcer technique.

#206 Copy

Questioner

And is there other ways to create illusions than with light + dreams?

Will Wight

Yes. There are light Paths or dream Paths that craft either purely visual or purely mental illusions. And there are other Paths that rely on sensory trickery, it’s just that those are the most common.

Shadow madra is a thing, for instance.

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Questioner

Does remnants have a core, or to they just absorb madra they are given? Can they actually learn new things, or just grow stronger in what they already know?

Will Wight

Remnants have a limited capacity for change. They can learn new things, but they can’t always adapt to the new information they learn.

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Questioner

Are there any people on Cradle who don't cycle at all or is it as natural as breathing?

Will Wight

You can be born with madra and not ever cycle or develop it.They can sort of feel their spirits, even without training, so it requires a degree of deliberate or culturally enforced ignorance to never do anything with it, but there are definitely isolated locations where they don’t learn to cycle and therefore don’t quite advance or use real techniques.

#209 Copy

Questioner

This is probably too spoilery, but in Blackflame Jai Daishou (I forget how to spell his name) mentions how the the six or so truegolds he brought probably could have killed Eithan without him. So, it is possible for truegolds to gang up on an Underlord and kill him. Is this possible with higher ranks too with sacred artists ganging up on those above? For example, could a bunch of sages kill a herald? And could a bunch of heralds kill a Monarch? It seems the gap between ranks gets bigger and bigger so I’m just curious.

Will Wight

As the gap between ranks gets bigger, this possibility gets less likely. One of the reasons Jai Daishou believes this strategy could work against Eithan is because the Truegolds had set up a trap that he believed would work.

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Questioner

Is there anyone who came from a different world to cradle and went unnoticed by the abidan? If so do their powers transfer over? If we follow our heroes out of cradle, will their powers still work?

Will Wight

Powers do carry over from world to world. Sometimes they work a little differently elsewhere.

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Questioner

How old is yerin, I am under the impression she is about Lindon's age.

Will Wight

She’s roughly Lindon’s age, but she doesn’t know exactly. She didn’t track time during her time with the Sword Sage, so she could be 17-19 as far as she knows. EDIT: I didn’t account for enough time passing. 18-20.

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Questioner

Is sound madra a thing

Will Wight

Sound manipulation is based on air madra, but there are certainly Paths of musicians that carry their techniques through music. At least one of them is a famous Herald who I would like to feature or at least reference in the books eventually.

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Questioner

What madra would a path using speech to destroy use?

Will Wight

Wind and destruction? The elemental categories are pretty soft, so I could see wind and blood, wind and life, wind and force...

#214 Copy

Questioner

Would Wind and Destruction cause damage like Blackflame does? Or is that only the combination of Fire and Destruction?

Will Wight

Sure. Blackflame is a good combination because fire naturally releases destruction aura as it burns fuel, which wind doesn’t normally do. But yeah, you could have other combinations that could conceivably work just as well.Blackflame has also had generations of work refining their techniques, so that’s another reason why it’s effective. Other fire/destruction Paths might not be as efficient or complete.

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Questioner

Would Destruction madra strain your madra channels in the same way that blackflame does, or is that only blackflame?

Would it be possible for Lindon to use a technique that only used the destruction aspect of his madra? Kind of like how Jai Daishuo used a force ruler technique in Skysworn.

Will Wight

Sure he could, yeah. He could use fire aura to light fires or destruction aura to...accelerate the destruction of something that was already dissolving.

Destruction aura isn’t as useful as it sounds unless there’s a ton of it or you’re at a much higher level.

Destruction madra alone wouldn’t necessarily strain you the way Blackflame does, but it would also be more difficult to use in any useful way. If you didn’t learn to focus it effectively, a destruction Striker technique would be like spritzing weak acid on something.

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Questioner

So the reason that Blackflame is corrosive to madra channels is because the fire part slighty damages them, and the destruction part speeds that up?

Will Wight

That, and because their cycling techniques emphasize output over safety. The original version of this Path was developed by pure-blooded black dragons for use by other pure-blooded black dragons, so they weren’t concerned about the fragility of humans.

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Questioner

Do higher level Sacred artists still have to deal with blemishes like pimples and wrinkles? Or tanning? Or have their bodies advanced beyond those things?

Will Wight

No, their bodies have advanced beyond such things. For the most part.

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Questioner

Will Cassius children be Aureliuses or Naru? And if they are Naru, will the Naru clan (with much celebration)be getting members with the Aurelius bloodline ability?

Will Wight

They’ll be both, but the Naru clan takes precedence, so mostly they’ll be considered Naru.

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Questioner

If Cradle has a population of 6 billion+, does it really have 60 million+ Underlords and above?

Will Wight

The numbers listed in Soulsmith are not accurate. It’s just an idiom for the sake of illustrating a point.

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Questioner

How do they make pure scales without those machines from the Desolate Wilds?

Will Wight

They have other ways to do it in the Blackflame Empire, but it’s a similar process. Sometimes they have Foundation kids do it for training.

#224 Copy

Questioner

Is Seshethkunaaz the dragon Monarch or is he/she/it someone/something else?

Will Wight

Yes, although I haven’t edited these passages yet, so I might have messed up the spelling.

#225 Copy

Questioner

Is the first elder of the Wei clan simply a jade. Since the first time I read unsouled I've had this nagging suspicion that hes much stronger ? Could he possibly be an underlord cloaking his power ?

Will Wight

No, he’s Jade. He’s just very skilled.

Elder Whisper, on the other hand...

#227 Copy

Questioner

The wastland artist in the excerpt is described as "horned". What does his horn (horns?) look like? A heavy rhinotype horn, like a stag etc or?

Will Wight

Two upward-curving emerald horns. They’re luminous lime green at the base and they run up the gradient to the points, which are dark green.

#229 Copy

Questioner

So there’s multiple examples of Sacred Artists having “living techniques” like the mentioned Path of the Crawling Shades during Blackflame I believe or Jai Long’s own twistedd path. Do techniques like these require a certain kind of madra (dream madra, life madra, Blood madra?) or can any madra or path create “living techniques”?

If they need a certain kind of madra what kinds are needed?

Will Wight

It's not a particular aspect of madra, so to speak. It's another ingredient that we'll go into eventually.

#230 Copy

Questioner

Given a person has two cores of the same madra type, such as Lindon did before blackflame, could one not internalise the “forge a scale, cycle to replenish core, take in scale to expand” by just cycling madra out of one core, closing it off and using the madra now cycling the body to expand the 2nd core, rinse and repeat?

Will Wight

No, that only works very early in your career as a sacred artist, when expanding your core is most of what matters. You'd lose more by splitting your core than you'd gain from that technique.

#231 Copy

Questioner

Who was the most powerful Blackflame and what rank did he/she hit?

Will Wight

The most powerful member of the Blackflame family was an Archlord, unless I decide to go back in time and retcon them into a Sage.

#232 Copy

Questioner

What would an amazing pure goldsign be What would a meh pure goldsign be

Will Wight

Amazing: blades extending out of your forearms that cut through only spirits, ignoring matter and flesh. Meh: endless pure madra tears running down from your eyes.

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Questioner

I've got one, we have Orthos as a Sacred Beast Turtle, but are there also Sacred Beast Tortoises?

Will Wight

Sacred beast tortoises: no. In the language they're speaking, there's no distinction between the word for turtle and the one for tortois. *or tortoise, even

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Questioner

It has been discussed and mentioned in the book and in discord But I wanted to clarify the steps for Underlord that have been mentioned. (i understand the spoilers etc. so if you can't give anything away :ok_hand: ) Step 1 is opening a soul space above the core to place things. step 2 was mentioned being able to weave soulfire but is that just the first part of step 2 or is that all step 2 is?

Will Wight

Soulfire: that's all step two is, but it's more complicated than it sounds. Step 3 is forging your body in soulfire.

#235 Copy

Questioner

What specifically is the difference between cycling vital aura to add it to your core and cycling madra to add it to your core like Jai Long does after he absorbs a remnant with the Ancestor's Spear? I thought cycling was the process of turning vital aura into madra but if you have to cycle madra you acquire directly then maybe I'm wrong.

Will Wight

"Cycling" is just moving madra through your body through certain patterns. You can cycle aura into madra, cycle your madra to prepare for certain techniques, etc.

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Questioner

Are there any betting organizations? To bet on the outcome of a duel for instancethere probably is but how advanced is it? Do they manage to show the fights live using dream madra?!

Will Wight

Are there any betting organizations? Yes, and if I have my way they'll show up in book six.

#237 Copy

Questioner

If, for example, I messed up on my cultivation at iron level and this prevents me from advancing further, is there any way to undo my advancements? kind of like a level reset?

Will Wight

Level reset? Yes.

#239 Copy

Questioner

Hi Will, do you actually quantify madra capacity for Eithan and Lindon and everyone in your notes? Or do you write without thinking of specific values? And will we ever see it explicitly in the story for some shock value?

Will Wight

Sometimes I do. I don't plan on giving hard numbers for it in canon, though.

#240 Copy

Questioner

How detailed are your notes example do you have every ever referenced or to be reference path listed or is most of this as it comes to you, you write it down?

Will Wight

It depends. Sometimes I have a cool idea and write it down and look for a place to use it later, but most of the time I kind of make it up off the top of my head as I need it.

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Questioner

Can Monarch Level items be worn by any sacred artist, or is there a pre-requisite to wearing them? For example, could a lowly Iron wear Northstrider's Robe as seen in the Deathmatch?

Will Wight

Monarch-level items could be worn by anyone, but anyone too far beneath them wouldn't be able to activate the binding. You haven't seen Yerin do anything cool with the Sword Sage's sword for the same reason.

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Questioner

What's the Cradle equivalent of necromancy, assuming there is one?

Will Wight

The Cradle equivalent of necromancy is using corpses as puppets. High-level ones retain a sliver of their power.

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Questioner

I was doing some very important research, and I noticed that none of the cradle books contain the number 'Nineteen' I would like to ask what you have against this magnificent, and very important number?

Will Wight

Shouldn't they? Don't I have a Chapter Nineteen in some of them?

#253 Copy

Questioner

Can new types of madra be made artificially? Like if somebody invented the computer on cradle, would it collect computer madra?

Will Wight

All aspects of madra are essentially human interpretations of aura. You might notice a unique blend of aura around a computer, and you could break it down into storm aura and dream aura or what have you, or perhaps you could find a way to cycle it into your own madra and create what you called a "computer Path."

#254 Copy

Questioner

Quick question Will, did Lindon keep the axe? I don't see any mention of it after the fight

Will Wight

I intended for Lindon to keep the axe, but I wrote several versions of that scene, and it looks like I left that out. Oversight on my part, sorry. I'm already preparing a file with a bunch of typo corrections, but I didn't know if adding a line might be too much of a change.

Questioner

I mean....only if you didn't intend for him to keep it? Don't let us talk you into having him keep something lamer than what you were planning down the line!!!

Will Wight

Oh no, he’s definitely keeping it. I’m just trying to decide whether to add the line or retroactively reference him picking it up in the next book.

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SomeWhoCallMe... Tim

So a presence isn't exactly what Northstrider was trying to make, then?

Will Wight

A Presence is what he was trying to make, but he didn't entirely understand what it was or how to make one. He's fumbling in the dark. So he has focused on the capacity of the Presence more than its nature. He would think of it as a failed product even if he encountered Dross directly, because Dross doesn't have the limitless store of knowledge or processing capacity of one of the Abidan Presences.

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FifthDreadgodLindiego

Was there any specific reason why Northstrider denied Harmony’s pleas for salvation from the collapsing Ghostwater, such as having seen a desire for vengeance in Harmony, or something to that effect, or did Northstrider just not care enough to save him?

Will Wight

Nope, he just didn't care. I initially had him not acknowledging Harmony at all, just walking in and walking out, but then readers were confused about whether Harmony survived or not.Also, I thought the "No." was funny.

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Questioner

In how much detail have you outlined the future of the cradle series, and possibly travellers gate series if that is to continue?

Will Wight

I've outlined a lot of the key events and players in Cradle, but idk when or how I'm going to get to them. Traveler's Blade I just have a bunch of ideas, very little of which I would call an outline.

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Questioner

Will, why do none of your books still not have the number nineteen in them? I'm beginning to think @Hjorth may be onto something...

Will Wight

Question not the greatest number, the holy number, the number before which all lesser digits must bow.

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Decadakon

Did dross just make more ghostwater in the end by mixing all three vials together and ghostwater or was that supposed to be a different substance all together?

Will Wight

That process in the end is just how you make more ghostwater.

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Terrible

What is the history of the Broken Star path (its techniques and their function, madra composition, formation of the Jai clan, etc)

Will Wight

I'm not going to answer that here, mainly because it would be too much effort right now, and I need some time off. But there's been enough interest in the Broken Star that I'll probably do a proper exploration of the Path at some point.

#271 Copy

Kalani

Is Dross's "physical" form just an illusion of dream madra or can it interact with other objects like dream tablets? And if it can interact with other physical things, can other people somehow capture him if he strays too far from Lindon?

Will Wight

Dross’ physical form is now a projection that can’t move far from Lindon. He can interact with small or light physical objects, but if he were to be captured and taken away, he would dissolve and be reborn from the seed inside Lindon. Although it might hurt him, he couldn’t be stolen.

#272 Copy

TransEmo

Cradle map as some point? I love having visual maps to help localise where everything is in relation to each other.

Will Wight

I might be persuaded to do it someday, but I don’t like maps and I don’t like making maps. I have a map for my own reference.

I would give everyone in this channel $100 and a crystallized drop of my blood if I released a map and didn’t get a slew of complaints like “But this region seems like it should be farther away,” and “There’s no way the weather would be like this there,” “Those don’t look like natural rivers,” “Why don’t the roads have a more logical layout,” and so on and so forth. Drives me crazy, and I don’t want to deal with it, so no maps.

Sancus

You could publish the map as drawn by some character who is explicitly mentioned as really bad at maps and without any sense of direction. 

Will Wight

I tried something like that with Traveler’s Gate, and still got a ton of the very nitpicking I was trying to avoid.   So NO MAPS! I’m hearing that in the voice of Edna from the Incredibles. “No capes!”
#273 Copy

Windrunner

Was wondering a bit about Dross and Northstrider, I've read the WoW and we were discussing it last night. I know you've said that Northstrider would think Dross was a failure because he doesn't have the depth of information as a Abidan presence, but I was also wondering if Dross is a bit more aware/independent than Northstrider would like/how the Abidan Presences are

Like Suriel's keeps giving distance units to various places, even when clear context would say not to do that, until she tells it to stop.

Will Wight

We’ll get more into the nature of Presences as the series progresses, but basically they’re each very individual. Suriel’s is very different from Makiel’s in both specialty and personality, etc.

#275 Copy

Questioner

Thanks for the answer, not sure if you do follow-ups, but Northstrider very clearly wants a 'subordinate' mind, is Dross suborindate to Lindon? Or a partner? What if Lindon wants to do something Dross doesn't want to do.

I guess that might too detailed... is Dross what Northstrider wants in terms of independence i guess is my question

Will Wight

Northstrider thinks of a Presence as something like an extra mini-brain, which is not entirely right. A Presence is more like a committee of experts inside your head that speak with one voice. In Dross’ case, there’s one dominant personality speaking for that committee. Dross and Lindon could disagree, and Lindon might lose the benefits of having Dross around, but Lindon could also kill Dross. Plus, Dross still has his essential nature as a memory construct; he doesn’t really mind doing what he was built for.

#277 Copy

AlienFromBeyond

For an actual question, what's an interesting type of aura/madra that hasn't been seen/mentioned in the books yet?

Will Wight

I’d like to get into death madra at some point, and we haven’t seen much of it.

#278 Copy

Sancus

I forget exactly how Monarchs are restricted from advancing further without leaving Cradle(Abidan just threaten to kill them? Or there's some kind of force preventing it?) but is Ghostwater basically Northstrider trying to get around the restrictions by making his power use more effective than other Monarchs rather than just advancing?

Will Wight

The restrictions on Monarchs haven’t been explored yet.

#279 Copy

Sancus

Did Suriel know that Makiel's plan to 'fix' fate on Cradle (e.g. deal with Lindon/Eithan) was to wake the Bleeding Phoenix Early, potentially killing them? Was Makiel's plan actually to kill them, or was he being honest in terms of just trying to get them to advance off iteration faster?

Will Wight

Makiel was being honest, but he was also working on many levels at once. Either they die, or they get forced off Cradle, or they get pushed into a situation from which they can’t affect fate anymore. Win-win for him.

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The Last Reader

So are the Monarch not actively trying to become more powerful then without ascending because that has some backward thinking considering the dreadgods can kill them if they aren't careful

Will Wight

Monarchs have basically tapped out the limits of sacred arts. Which is why Northstrider was looking into alternate means of becoming stronger in GW.

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Decadakon

What is another magic system you want to go into? If you want to talk about it that is.

Will Wight

Magic system: none of them are fully fleshed out yet, because I would only do that when I was ready to write the book, but I’d like to do a creation magic system at some point.

#287 Copy

TransEmo

The river stones Lindon got from the ruins, and recently lost, did they originally have a purpose that didn’t pan out?

Will Wight

Basically yes. They were intended to advance his scripting knowledge in a particular direction.I just ended up going in a very different direction, and all the plans I had along that branch got cut.So the stones ended up being irrelevant.

TransEmo

Same for the bag Eithan grabbed for yerin I assume?

Will Wight

The only reason he hasn’t given it to her by now is that I keep cutting that scene for space reasons. I might have to upgrade it now that it’s become this big thing.

The Last Reader

It would have to be pretty good considering she is now truegold

Will Wight

It’s pretty good.  

The Last Reader

yay OP stuff

Will Wight

It is, and was always intended to be, something that would help her long-term. I’m just now worried that it isn’t dramatic enough to live up to three books of hype, but it is still OP.     So I might have to drama it up a little more.

#289 Copy

Tievel

Oh hey Will, out of curiosity (unless it's a spoiler of course), did Lindon steal any of the dream tablets, or did Dross save their info?

Will Wight

The dream tablets were bolted down, so unfortunately they could not be removed.

#290 Copy

SomeWhoCallMe... Tim

I honestly expected Orthos to bite it, this book     I thought that Lindon was going to use Orthos' remnant to advance, for sure

Will Wight

The #1 response I got from my beta readers was "Man, I really thought Orthos was going to die this book."I had plotted and written the entire book with him living, but after that response I wondered if I should scrap my plans and rewrite the ending to have him die. Just because it would have had more emotional impact in the final scene. 

SomeWhoCallMe... Tim

Man, if Orthos had gotten to drink from the Life Well, got some of that black flame damage healed, and was prancing around so happy because he was young again, and THEN died in the fight versus Harmony. It would have tugged my feelings, to be sure

Will Wight

That was the temptation, especially when all the readers said they expected it, so it wouldn't have come out of nowhere. Still, though, I wanted him around.
#292 Copy

Questioner

What is your view on a possible Lindon x Yerin romance?

Will Wight

All of the reasons listed in this conversations are reasons why I don’t like writing romance. It’s usually out of place and unnecessary, and you have to take time out of the plot to write it. Plus, it’s entirely based on emotional interactions, and emotional/relational interactions are what I have the hardest time writing. They’re my greatest weakness.All that said, a well-executed romance makes the whole story better. I don’t dislike it as a reader, it’s just hard as a writer.So what I’m trying to do is lay the foundation for a romance by creating two likeable characters who care for each other and have spent a lot of time together. Which is the groundwork a lot of stories don’t do, and why a lot of romance sub-plots fail.

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Questioner

What kind of artifact would get every Monarch on Cradle running for it?

Will Wight

The sort of artifact that a Monarch+ would go crazy for is an Abidan artifact, but not because it's so powerful. Rather, it would be valuable because it would have its effect directly, ignoring method and causality. An Abidan weapon that killed a target would just kill its target. It wouldn't necessarily launch a thing or fire a beam that killed the target, it would just switch them from on to off. And only another Abidan relic would be able to stop it.

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tammy

Do you have any provisional names for the Williverse that aren't... that? The current name is... unique.

Will Wight

Well, it's the Willverse, which sounds better than the Williverse. That little i ruins the whole thing. I didn't come up with that name, I just thought it was funny. I'll come up with a name for it eventually, but it's hard to figure out something that doesn't sound like someone else's multiverse.

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Politelydisagreeing

Whose your favorite character from unsouled(or any other book) Who hasn't appeared in later books?

Will Wight

I'm not sure. When I like the character, I usually find a way to bring them back.

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Kalani

Would it be easier for Lindon to veil his unused core? Possible to hide it from others perception completely?

Will Wight

Yes, people have to scan more closely to detect his second core even when he's not veiling it. Blackflame is easier to detect than pure madra, and a core that's in use is easier to detect than one that isn't.

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AJQuestioner

The myth that Lindon read when he was still back in Sacred Valley discussed true badges. Can we expect to hear any more about true badges or are they no longer part of the story?

Will Wight

Some of what Lindon found were real, and others were myths.

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Chris646

If all Monarchs can travel like Northstrider and at least Heralds have a gate key why don’t they run whenever they are in danger? Is it just pride/reputation? Or can someone sufficiently skilled follow them? I’m asking because at one point you mentioned Reigen Shan killed his biggest rival, and people thought Northstrider was dead. Is it just that the rival wasn’t losing but was suddenly overwhelmed or is teleporting way not an option or..? Also, would the trick Jai Daishou used to remain alive work at higher ranks or would that person either be too strong to bring back or would someone better immediately see through it?

Will Wight

That's a lot of questions, but I'm boiling it down to what I think you're asking: >Why do Monarchs and Heralds not just teleport away when they're about to die? They do. But anyone capable of killing a Monarch or Herald can follow them.

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RMvice

Does Lindon need to cycle aura/madra specifically for dross or can dross live off of pure madra (follow up Q:So dross can be sustained off if blackflame madra?)

Will Wight

Dross can live off his pure madra.. In fact, Dross lives off his connection to Lindon, so his madra wouldn't even need to be pure. Dross is tied to Lindon's spirit now. As long as Lindon is healthy, so is Dross.

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Decadakon

How do you balance lightning and storm based paths?

Will Wight

Honestly, I've never been a fan of lightning as an element because it's difficult to balance. That said, yes we will see at least one.

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myzvdr

How does LIndon's new improved body stack up. Combat adjacent, bottom 1/3, mid 1/3 top 1/3

Will Wight

What?

myzvdr

Compared to combat path bodies

Will Wight

Oh, gotcha. He would stack up well against higher-level combat bodies in the Blackflame Empire. And he will do so very soon.

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Reigan Shen

What purpose do Dross' core and Madra channels serve? Can he actually cycle with them?

Will Wight

That was all part of Dross evolving from a construct to an independent spirit. Without some form of madra channels, he wouldn't be able to process power. He cannot cycle aura, though technically Lindon could cycle aura to him. If he wanted.

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Questioner

[Reddit comment tree]

 

 -Is the Sword Sage Really Dead? From what we have seen over the course of Ghost Water sages are really fucking strong and sturdy, so I don't think some poison and a couple of low golds could kill him.

 

--Yerin absorbed his remnant. He might need to still use that if he is alive.

 

---The difficulty of a bunch of jades managing to off the sage is probably due to a combination of godbeast crypt related issues and the lack of clear definitions of power levels at the time of writing

Will Wight

That’s a perfectly reasonable assumption. However! This is one of the few times in which I actually did intend him to be absurdly stronger than the Jades and still die. There is a reason, and it was planned from the very beginning. Many times I can’t say that, but I can this time!

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Questioner

I'm still turning over the line the Beast King had about "two golds he put to a task (mercy and Yerin)." Not sure if I missed something, Will missed something, or it's actually a secret and we didn't notice him influence them. Aside from that, it was the best book in the series for me.

Will Wight

It was meant to imply that the beasts they kept having to run around were in fact meant to steer their path and guide the conflict, but I recognize that was too vague. I cut some of the scenes that would have clarified that.I might just change his line in future editions.

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Questioner

Reddit: Will has actually said that he didn’t consider the “evolution” of sacred arts when creating the system

Will Wight

Hold on there, Skippy. I don’t remember saying that, but I probably did. I trust your memory more than mine, and also it’s true that I didn’t consider the evolution of sacred arts. However, not considering the evolution of the system means I didn’t decide who first practiced sacred arts, or where that term comes from, how the different stages became measured and codified, etc. I do know where the first Remnant comes from for a Path. Sacred beasts leave Remnants, and sacred beasts advance naturally over time. So you might absorb one of these wild Remnants that’s compatible with your own madra. Also, natural spirits (like Little Blue) are sometimes born from convergences of aura, and they can be bonded. They’re basically Remnants that no one died to leave behind. Third, people sometimes capture Remnants and feed them different types of madra or keep them in certain environments of aura until they adapt. This is intended to create a certain kind of Goldsign until your sect or clan or whatever grows large enough that you have a reasonable supply of Remnants from your specific Path.

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Questioner

Eithan mentions to Cassias that the Naru clan ran their own students through the trials. But how did they activite them when each trial requires a Blackflame technique to be used on the crystals?

Will Wight

That's just the traditional way to activate it; there are other ways, like the ward key someone else in this thread mentioned.Besides which, the Naru clan has an extensive collection of Blackflame treasures and artifacts. If they needed to produce Blackflame madra to activate the course, they could.

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Questioner

During the fight between Lindon and Jai Long ..it just seemed like normal fire path at times. This was supposed to the Blackflame! A a path whose copper practitioners were feared...and Lindon was a low gold who just a few months ago destroyed Sandviper Gorkens entire arm with just one attack and yet against Jai long it barely singed him?Also Yerin seemed weaker in this book...and I am not talking about the blood shadow thing.. To me it didn't seem real that Yerin would lose against Cassius in 5-7 moves every time they dueled. She stood toe to toe with Jai Long (A True Gold) at the end of Blackflame and almost beat him. Sure Cassius might be strong but he definitely wasn't on par with a true gold..or am I missing something here?

Will Wight

The Blackflame thing is real, and I do wish I'd expounded on it a little more. It needed a whole scene showing how it stacked up against more than a single opponent (Jai Long), and the one scene where it's shown to be powerful is a brief instance of Lindon punching some guy.As for Cassias not being on par with a Truegold, that's actually what Yerin losing to him so quickly is meant to illustrate. Him being the second-ranked Highgold means that he has ways to go against people more powerful than he is, so he'd stack up favorably against the lower--let's say--fifty percent of Truegolds. It becomes a skill thing rather than a power thing.But I clearly didn't explain that well in the books, so it needs further illustration.

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Questioner

Early in Blackflame, Cassius mentions that his father sent him. Later on we learn that only Cassius and Eithan have the Arelius bloodline sensing ability, I assume that means that Cassius' mother was the Arelius blood member and that she is dead? In which case I would love to hear more about Cassius' story and how the Arelius family survived before they had an underlord.

Will Wight

No no, Cassias and Eithan (and technically Cassias' son, but he's very young) are the only bloodline Arelius in the city at that time.

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Lil' Blue

So, a bunch of discussions about Lindon fighting other people are ending with people saying "But Dross" as if that answers all questions. Can you confirm that Dross isn't going to be an auto win from every fight going forward? (The same usually happens with anything about Eithan.)

Will Wight

Yes, actually. From here on out, Lindon will now easily coast through every challenge.

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Lil' Blue

Also, how as an author do you deal with claims that your characters are too OP? Is that intended or a consequence?

Will Wight

I'm never concerned about it at all. First off, it's normally baseless. People are concerned that a character will be too overpowered because they just got a power-up, and that's not a reasonable concern. A character is only too overpowered if they can easily solve the challenges they face using that power, and usually I don't have my characters in situations where they can easily win with their current abilities. Sometimes, I haven't created a situation with enough tension, but it's not because the character is too powerful. It's because I failed to outline some part of the conflict well enough in telling the story: either the obstacle isn't clear enough, the stakes aren't high enough, the character isn't motivated enough, or something like that. The character is never too powerful, because you can always give them a goal they really want to obtain, but can't using their strength.

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Bearilicious

What happened to Dross's shell the eye of the deep casing? did it just dissapear? is the script still there to yank Dross out of Lindon's soul?

Will Wight

Good question! Dross is beyond such things now.

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Bearilicious

If microscopes exist in Cradle will we find micro-bindings in iron bodies that causes the automation of various effects, super strength/ super healing etc?

Will Wight

That's very astute. Not that, but something similar.

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MachinaMandala

Do you have a list of all the current paths / methods shown?

Will Wight

I do not have a master list of Paths, sorry. My notes tend to be unreadable to anyone but me, thanks to the ancient Wight Cipher.

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Tren

Since your books always get into the explosive anime action without much of an investment, do you feel like they lose some of the emotional weight I'm talking about? You're writing the kind of books you like to write, obviously, and I'm a fan so I don't want that to change. I just like the hard questions.

(If your answer is too personal, I'm totally okay with you skipping this question)

Will Wight

Yes and no. On the one hand, obviously if you invest the reader in the characters and the stakes before you begin the action, the action has a lot more weight and means more. That's certainly true. But on the other hand, if the reader never reaches the action scene because they're bored out of their skull with the emotional setup, then your action scenes do not mean more. The reader never sees them at all, and is not entertained.In what I'm writing, I believe the reader should not be working harder than the writer to extract entertainment from the text. You shouldn't have to push yourself to keep going. I think that is the approach most readers prefer.However, there are certainly stories that are aiming to be slower, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. I think there's probably a happy medium. The better of a storyteller I become, the more I'm hoping to invest weight into the action without sacrificing pace. I still have room to improve, although I'm probably never going to be writing Malazan, for instance.

Nope. Not that personal, and I don't mind being asked personal questions. I'm pretty open, and if it's something I feel leery about answering publicly or in print (or if I just can't be bothered to answer), I won't. No pressure felt!

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MachinaMandala

Will we ever get a Chapter 16.5 a la SAO?

Will Wight

Not exactly, though I have contemplated doing some interlude chapters set between each Cradle book. Exploring what Lindon and Yerin did in their downtime offscreen. Sometimes it could be during the time-skips in each book, while they're training.

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Terrible

Could a powerful sacred artist “corrupt” a Blood Shadow, turning it to an aspect of madra other than blood?

Will Wight

Yes, eventually, though it being blood madra is vital to its function. So it would have to be some kind of hybridized madra, which is certainly possible.

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Terrible

If Lindon and Company wanted to take a relaxing, week long vacation to somewhere tropical, where on Cradle would they go?

Will Wight

There's actually a beach not too far to the west of Sacred Valley. Lindon had no idea it existed, but if they got there, it's a decent beach during the summer months. They just have to watch out for wraiths.

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Kazology

I was really surprised to see Lindon's arm start phasing through things in Ghostwater. In Skysworn there was no mention of this, and Lindon seems to consider the Cloud Hammer arm largely for having a similar property. Was this something that you decided afterwards should be common to all remnant prosthetics, or is there a reason we didn't see this happening before? Followup: Gesha told Lindon that eventually the arm would become as part of his spirit as his original one. Is Lindon's forgetfulness with cycling madra through it a sign this hasn't happened yet, or will he always have to consciously choose to make the arm solid?

Will Wight

That was just a mistake. Full explanation: I wanted there to be something more to the adjustment process for his new arm rather than just periodically losing control of it. The original idea, and the difference between that and the Cloud Hammer arm, was that the hunger madra arm would require him to focus on controlling madra in order to keep it doing what he wanted it to. However, as I wrote, that got shortened to "it phases through objects when it doesn't have enough madra" simply because that was easier to illustrate. So while the original idea was distinct from the Cloud Hammer arm, I completely forgot to keep it consistent in the end.

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madbookworm

Will we ever see more to the paths Lindon didn't chose in blackflame? Like the crawling shadows, or the one that makes water go super fast?

Will Wight

Probably, yes! I'm still deciding what Paths will be represented in the upcoming tournament (and the pre-tournament contest), so it's entirely possible that those will be among them.

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Questioner

Can you tell us when Lindon lost his parasite ring please? We're all wondering why he didn't have it with him inside Ghostwater as it was normally in his pocket up until then

Will Wight

He lost it in Ghostwater. It was in his pack. I thought I had referenced it directly, but apparently I didn't. It spilled out and he didn't find it.

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Terrible

How many Silverfang Carp or Sea Drakes would Lindon have needed to match Yerin in strength?

Will Wight

He would have needed to eat Drakes for another month or two, when he would have reached the limit of that food to strengthen him. After which he would have to find something better.

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Questioner

Is the tournament that has been mentioned going to be similar to the tournament from book 1 and if so what are the participating levels going to be?  

Will Wight

In that they are both tournaments, yes! In layout and scale, no.

>What are the participating levels going to be?

RAFO!

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Terrible

Could Lindon create a technique based off of his explosive failures with the Dragon’s Breath Striker technique that allows him to fly around like a Blackflame Iron Man?

Will Wight

Not Blackflame, no. Blackflame doesn't produce enough thrust. Maybe with a Ruler technique, but that still wouldn't be ideal with Blackflame.

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Terrible

How would someone go about creating a Cradle version of Tony Stark’s power armor from Infinity War?

Will Wight

It might be a spoiler even to say this, but I'm going to do it anyway: this might be too spoiler-y to answer.

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hunch

Hey Will, is there going to be emotional engagement/resolution for the starting scene in ghostwater? (A yes/no answer would be fine). It was a pretty big, character building event for Lindon—the first time he had a large group of innocents/regular strangers depending on him and he failed them, resulting in many of their deaths. Burning horribly before his very eyes as he tried to subdue their killer in time. We don't get an internal monologue on his impressions and thoughts, whether it be self recrimination, anger at the skysworn for mishandling the situation, sheer horror, anger at the phoenix, whatever it may be. All it says afterwards when it switches back to his perspective is that he's 'numb'. Which is unsatisfying, and really leaves a big mystery hole in his characterization. But it's understandable if he's repressing what happened (as has been implied by the numbness and him single mindedly throwing himself into advancement), only to have to confront it later.

Will Wight

At a previous point in the book's development, most of Lindon's actions stemmed from his emotional reaction to that scene. Which is why it's the prologue.That's still happening, but I pushed it to the background a bit. Basically, the reason why he confronts Ekeri directly instead of looking for a way out is because of his emotional response to the town at the beginning. He realizes that he could have won if he had just stood up and fought from the very beginning, but because he thought of himself as weak, other people died. In an earlier draft, that all boiled out in the scene at the end with Orthos, where he erupts in grief and trauma and frustration, but I ended up feeling like it worked better if these were emotional forces that Lindon himself wasn't entirely aware of. Orthos' statement that Lindon is still haunted by the Remnant of his weak self is his response to Lindon's problem illustrated in the prologue. Lindon wasn't too weak to deal with the problem, but he thought he was.So thematically, it resonates in all of Lindon's journey throughout Ghostwater, though Lindon doesn't (and probably won't) confront those emotions directly in a scene.

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Kingtape

Are there any "hidden elders" of the Cradle world, i.e. powerful experts who have secluded themselves , whether it be for cultivation or otherwise? Who is the most interesting of them?

Will Wight

There are hidden elders! The most interesting of them, in my opinion, is a Monarch whose power and crimes were so great that they justified the building of a one-man Monarch prison. It still exists in Cradle, but is it still occupied? Who knows?

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Mahfuzul Alam

Say if Lindon touches the Way can he also touch the Void? And if so, can he harvest madra from the Void?

Will Wight

Yes.“Can he draw madra from the Void?” Probably he wouldn’t be drawing madra.

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Zhanzy

Suriel mentions Li Markuth as Gold whereas we know he is greater than that and possibly an archlord so is this a mistake ?

Will Wight

That was me looking for an imperfect solution to a problem.I never intended Li Markuth to merely be Gold, which is why he says as much when he shows up, and of course Suriel knows exactly what his power level is. However, I didn’t want to throw new terms at the reader in book one, so I had her refer to him in the same way everyone else was.Of course, now it’s confusing. In hindsight, I should have said something like “The stronger practitioner’s core.”

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manty65

How do Remnants cycle?

Will Wight

They feed on other Remnants and similar sources of compatible madra, which is how they stay cohesive enough to avoid dispersing. As long as they do that, they passively absorb vital aura.

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Questioner

Dross has nearly infinite knowledge.

Will Wight

He doesn’t! Let me nip that in the bud right now. To borrow the catch phrase from a certain fictional class rep, he doesn’t know everything, he only knows what he knows. That’s what I was illustrating when they leave GW and he doesn’t know what the sun is.He might know how to recreate the wells. That could be within the scope of his knowledge, because it happened within Ghostwater and under the supervision of people and constructs whose knowledge rested in Northstrider’s oracle tree, but Dross only got pieces of that.This will be explained relatively early in Underlord, but I thought I’d jump out in front of it now. Rebuilding the Wells is certainly a possibility, depending on what Dross knows, but infinitely knowledgeable he is not.

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Questioner

Why do you not like character development?

Will Wight

Yesterday, I saw a comment wherein a reader wondered why I didn't give character development the same attention as the plot, action, and magic scenes. "It would only benefit the story," this person said, and "I can't understand why he doesn't give this aspect of storytelling the same attention as the others." (Paraphrased, because I can't be bothered to look up the actual comment, but it's pretty close.)The thing is, he's not wrong. And neither are you, to suggest that the world-building is shallow. It is shallow. I have all this stuff charted out in my notes, but much of what I imagine about the world is only skated across or touched upon before we've left the area and moved on to the next.However, there's no such thing as a fast-paced, action-focused, character-focused, plot-focused, worldbuilding-focused fantasy novel. There are series that do all of those things well, but they tend to be much longer and they don't come out twice a year. And even they have priorities, because you cannot have every aspect of story-crafting as your highest priority.I have a limited amount of time to produce these novels if I want to keep releasing them regularly. Therefore, I have to choose what is most important to me.I think will is putting too much stock in keeping books close to the same length.There are two reasons why I put a high priority on keeping the books close to the same length. First is story consistency. It's very easy to let each book in a long series balloon longer and longer as the series progresses, because you're always adding new characters and new places and new aspects of the world to explore.Plus, you hear most of your feedback from your hardcore fans (because they tend to care the most and therefore talk the most), so they're always clamoring for more. However, a 120k book is structurally different from a 90k word book. It's not just "the same story, but more of it." You don't want people to sign on for one type of story and end up getting another.That said, I could see a Cradle book stretching up to 120k without it changing too much, and we might end up there. Which brings me back to the other point: release rate. It takes me longer to write a longer book.If I didn't give myself a cap, I would always write longer and longer books, because there are more cool things I want to cram in there. But I have to limit myself, or the stories will stretch and change and the release rate will slow down."Ah, but Will, you snide devil," I hear you say, "why don't you just take more time to write each book?"Two reasons: first, I don't believe most people want that. I believe most readers value consistent releases more highly than you might expect. I am firm in this belief, but I know everybody doesn't think that way, so in comes my second reason: it just doesn't work.If I took as long as I wanted for each book, and they each took more than a year to write and were as long as I wanted, they might individually become more highly rated. But the series as a whole would be less popular. My sales growth comes almost entirely from quick releases and ratings spikes on Amazon, and the way the Kindle store works means frequent releases are far better than infrequent releases, even if the infrequent releases have individually higher sales. My sales charts make it staggeringly obvious. Sales trend way down, and then a new release spikes the sales for all my books (especially books in that series) back up.If I were to take so long between books, I would fall below my minimum monthly income in about eight months. Which means that for the remaining 6-12 months it could take me to write this book, I'd be running off my savings.That is not a viable business model.Even beyond a business perspective and back to the artistic: the same thing happens to fans. Readers forget about me if they aren't reminded every few months. People stop talking about my books. Word of mouth slows down. People don't care as much. Fans are happier, more engaged, and more interested with more frequent releases.This might not be true if I had one Harry Potter mega-hit that sold a million copies and spawned a perpetual motion machine of fan engagement. Then I could take 2+ years for each book and really knock your socks off every time. But since I have not done that, I have to bow to reality.Bottom line: having established that I have to produce books in a finite amount of time, I therefore have a finite amount of space, and I have to choose carefully what I spend that space on.However, that doesn't mean I've given up on improving my world-building!Specifically in the areas of world-building and character development, I know that I can do more in the same amount of space and with the same amount of time. I am trying, and I push myself in these areas every book. There is a way to write an action scene that gives you deeper insight into the characters involved and demonstrates unique aspects of the world without taking up any more page space or sacrificing pacing, but it's hard to do.I am working on it, though! The issues you've brought up are valid, and I'm aware of them, and I'm working to improve, even within the constraints under which I now operate.Thanks! I don’t want to be one of THOSE writers who lets time stretch on forever between books...although Elder Empire fans might say I’m getting there.By the way, part of the “unanswered question” problem is that, when I set out to write this series, I knew a lot of the upcoming plot points but I did not know how long the series would be. So I wasn’t sure when I would reach the right place for those answers.Now, I have a much better idea of where we are and where we’re going.

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Questioner

Will's forte is not with numbers or statistics, and I highly recommend to anyone trying to reconcile the mathematics of population distributions or the like in Cradle to not dwell on the subject, and rather focus on the spirit of the explanations instead of the letter. That way lies madness.

Will Wight

This is absolutely the correct advice, and I encourage everyone to adopt this attitude because I am not a numbermatician, but I’m going to hijack your comment to address these specific numbers.In the Wei clan, they celebrate every Iron like we celebrate everyone graduating from high school. The one example we see (Wei Shi Kelsa’s advancement) is a bigger deal because she’s younger than average, talented, and there’s a competition coming up in which she might actually stand out.As for Lindon’s rank among Lowgolds, he’s ranked so high in the combat rankings because (despite the impression you get from reading the series) most Lowgolds are not really fighters. They CAN fight in the same way that any big guy COULD throw a heavy punch, but they won’t rank high in terms of combat anymore than that random big dude would perform well in a professional boxing tournament.Also, those rankings reflect the perception of what he’s accomplished more than anything. They rank him so high both because on paper he’s doing things that Lowgolds shouldn’t do (in this case, acquitting himself well and surviving the fight with Jai Long) and because he’s a Blackflame. In the Blackflame Empire, which has long records about what that Path is capable of at low levels, that gets you extra points in calculating your ability to fight compared to your peers.

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Questioner

Why has the fact that Lindon's new arm has six fingers never been brought up since he got it put on?

Will Wight

Because it doesn't anymore. If I recall correctly, during the scene where they're altering the arm, he said he tweaks it to make it more like a human hand. I didn't specifically mention that he meant a five-fingered human hand, but I should have.

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ryan

When Lindon first sees Fisher Gesha he is appalled because he thinks she has melded a construct to her body, but later in the series he doesn't seem to have any problem (his own remnant arm, seeing others with prosthetics). Is this a retcon or a Sacred Valley mindset he grows out of?

Will Wight

It is a first impression that he later thinks differently about.

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Terrible

How does the Horseman replicate energy systems from worlds he visits? If that is too spoiler-y, then how do ice madra techniques differ from water madra techniques?

Will Wight

That is too spoiler-y, but I can answer your ice/water question. Ice aura and water aura are different powers. Why? Good question, RAFO.

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Belga

In Blackflame you told us about Titan's Bone.“A stone is a piece of the earth, and it builds earth aura. An ordinary stone has only a mouthful of aura, but as the centuries pass, it grows stronger and stronger. It will continue absorbing power from the earth until it transforms. If left undisturbed, an ordinary rock will grow into a nugget of Titan’s Bone: all but unbreakable" What would happen if a source of fire aura was left undisturbed in the same way ? Inextinguishable flame ? Is this something we will hear about ?

Will Wight

Yes, there is such a flame! I’m hoping we’ll see examples of it soon, perhaps in Underlord, because they will be going to some neat places.

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Decadakon

Can you get another goldsign after getting one from a contract? Example: Lindon taking in Orthos's remnant? Also what goldsign would Lindon have got if he took in Orthos's remnant instead of forming a contract.

Will Wight

Yes you can, and that depends, but probably a flaming shell.

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Questioner

What will be the plot of Underlord?

Will Wight

I don't know how you feel about Underlord spoilers, but this much will probably be revealed in the book description: This upcoming book will be Lindon, Yerin, and Mercy competing with other Truegolds for a spot on the Blackflame Empire's tournament team.

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Questioner

Quick question Will, did Lindon keep the axe? I don't see any mention of it after the fight?

Will Wight

I intended for Lindon to keep the axe, but I wrote several versions of that scene, and it looks like I left that out. Oversight on my part, sorry.

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Questioner

Just out of curiosity, how many more books from the cradle are you planning on writing, if I had my way we would follow Lindon for forever, but that's unfair, so I am just wondering if you are planning on connecting all of the multiple universes or what your plans are, as much as you are willing to tell anyway

Will Wight

It depends on how well I feel the series is going when we leave Cradle (which I don’t consider a spoiler, because obviously). The story might end there, or it might end there temporarily, or it might just keep going. I have roughly 12-15 books planned out in the world of Cradle itself.

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Questioner

Dross’ relationship with Lindon for some reason reminded me of Vampire Hunter D. D is kept alive at one point in the first movie by an independent entity in his hand which lives off D but also allowed D to heal/regenerate (or at least regenerate faster). I wonder if such a relation would be possible in cradle. Essentially a symbiotic relationship (with a parasite or something of the sort), which could leave both parties better off but didn’t necessarily require a contract or sharing of madra. Now Dross is a construct and seems to operates off all madra, so maybe he’s a special case?

Will Wight

Yes, that would be possible.

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Questioner

(regarding mercy's clumsiness)I made crazy theory post a while ago that she's constantly looking briefly (split seconds) into the future, thus appearing clumsy but always managing to avoid enemies.

Will Wight

That’s a cooler idea than the one I went with. I wish it weren’t too late to change it.

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Questioner

Why didn't Lindon's arm grow back, or start to grow back when he was chugging from the life pool? Orthos de-aged and healed a big crack in his shell. Shouldn't Lindon have healed a bit?

Will Wight

It worked the way it did because healing the crack in Orthos’ shell was easier than regenerating Lindon’s arm, and it had been too long, and his current arm is now bonded to his life aura just like his physical arm once was. You could regenerate his physical arm, but you’d have to do it intentionally

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Questioner

Is Dross the Dolls?Not that I have a problem with it, but does Will just like his protagonist to have a battle facilitating comedic voice in his head that nobody else can hear? Now don't take this as hate, I love the dolls and I'm really enjoying Dross so far, and if it works, run with it, but am I the only one noticing the similarity...?

Will Wight

Yeah, honestly this was one of the reasons I was hesitant about introducing Dross in the first place. I developed him for a different reason than I developed the dolls; Simon needed someone to interact with during the many scenes he was alone, whereas Lindon has Orthos and Yerin. I then gave the dolls powers in order to keep them relevant during combat scenes, which is when I most needed them talking. As for Dross, I developed his powers (and his role in the series) first, and then worked backwards to give him an engaging personality. However, I'm fully aware that now any entity that speaks directly into the MC's head and gives him combat advice is going to read like the dolls. They exist for different reasons and they're different people, but I'm aware they fill the same niche. Oh well. I'll try not to have psychic advisors in future series.

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Questioner

Did you hesitant with just dross or when making all the presences for the abidan as well? besides I don't think it matters it just another away your books connect other than the way.

Will Wight

Nah, just Dross. I knew the Abidan needed some kind of magical AI.

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Questioner

Dragon's breath streams crossing during a fight. I wonder what would happen if two Blackflame dragon breaths crossed during a fight? Maybe that's a question for Egon, I mean Dross.

Will Wight

Never cross the streams.

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Questioner

[From a reddit post regarding Little Blue]"Sylvan Riverseeds were natural spirits—beings like Remnants, only born of accumulated vital aura rather than the death of a sacred artist. They only formed in places where the aura was both extremely strong and in perfect balance. If the aura slanted toward one aspect or another, a different natural spirit would form. Typically, you would find that balance of aura in the heart of a forest, next to a spring or a river. In such a place, air and earth, heat and cold, life and death all coexisted at the same point in roughly equal amounts." Location 9460 in cradle foundationInteresting. Except Ghostwater reiterates the life & water line about Sylvan Riverseeds, and explains that Sylvan Dreamseeds are created when a different two elements are in balance:“Sylvan Dreamseeds,” Dross explained. “Just like Riverseeds are pure spirits that are born in areas with a strong balance between water and life aura, these little guys are born under the influence of dream aura. From the dream tablets, you see. The library and the Well are here purely to create the right conditions for their birth.Wight, Will. Ghostwater (Cradle Book 5) (Kindle Locations 2364-2367). Hidden Gnome Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Will Wight

When Dross says what he does about life and water, it’s a simplification. The first answer is more technically correct.

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Terrible

How does Akura Malice pick who she has kids with, and what sort of presence does the father have in the life of the child?

Will Wight

She chooses her consorts from people with talents or bloodline abilities she values. Normally, the father has no contact with the child whatsoever.

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Tristan

Not sure if this has been answered already, but does madra regeneration get affected by the size/depth/whatever HEPW embiggens of a core? Eg does Eithan take the same time to refill his oversized core as any other Underlord given identical conditions or does he have to wait a proportionally longer time for his madra to refill?

Will Wight

A bigger core takes proportionally longer to refill. Someone else asked how Eithan refills it. Good question! Unless I cut the scene, you find out in Underlord.

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FifthDreadgodLindiego

In Ghostwater, Orthos mentioned that there were Paths that take in the power of natural spirits, can you tell us more about them?

Will Wight

Unfortunately, this is a question that would take me too much effort to answer. Someday I'll do one of those "Ask me a world-building question, and I'll make up an answer!" things again, and this would be a good question for that time. It's a great question, it would just take me too long to make up an answer. Sorry!

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Puppet Master

Are there any major ascendant groups that draw on the power of the Void? Additionally, what does the power of the Void do? Also, it's appreciated that you take time to answer questions. A lot of authors ignore their fan base, so hats off to you.

Will Wight

Yes. I will answer this thoroughly in the books, but I can't answer it now without spoilers. Read on and find out! Now I feel guilty for not taking the time to do this for almost two months.

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Bamfious (paraphrased)

When can we expect to learn why Yerin didn't get sword arms at Truegold?

Will Wight (paraphrased)

You can expect that in the next book. Maybe.

Footnote: This was taken from a conversation at DragonCon 2018
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Bamfious (paraphrased)

Did the scene with Northstrider cycling by the dragons hint at soulfire at all?

Will Wight (paraphrased)

No, but it did hint at a different magic system.