Amalgam

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Name
Name Amalgam
Date
Date Jan. 1, 2018
Location
Location Imported
Entries
Entries 60
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#1 Copy

Questioner

Tell us about the most dangerous piece of furniture or collection of furniture in the house of blades.

Will Wight

Never question the dominion of the Devouring Sofa, whose hunger is never sated and whose thirst for blood is never quenched.

#2 Copy

Questioner

What's the most unconventional weapon of Valinhall?

Will Wight

By accident, Valin once created a living whip. He was trying to improve on the whip, which isn't really a combat-capable weapon, by weaving together Nye cloth with threads from other Territories that he found could move independently. He ended up creating a squirming, wriggling length of leathery rope that indeed could end up killing someone in the right hands, but only if it was in a helpful mood. He tried various methods of increasing its intelligence, perhaps in an attempt to make it an advisor, but ultimately gave up. It's currently in storage.

#3 Copy

Jayce

Are there religious sects in Travelers Gate?

Will Wight

I have a meta answer and a story answer for you, Jayce!

(Story)

Yes, there are, though perhaps because of the influence of Territory culture, organized religion never grew as widespread as you might expect. There's a sect that worships the Incarnations, a people who believe that Territories are holy ground and they can only take from naturally occurring Gates, and isolated groups who worship powerful artifacts that fell from Territories.Enosh still swears by the "saints above," which reflects what they believe happens to people when they die: they are purified and become saints, to watch over the people below.

(Meta)

I find that including religion in stories is more trouble than it's worth.House of Blades was almost banned from a school, I once found out, because the administration believed it was promoting religion. I have no idea what that was about.There's also a subset of people who lose their minds whenever you write a fantasy novel with religion in it. If you write a story with a pantheon in it, you're promoting polytheism. If you write a story where there's one creator god, you're promoting monotheism. If I wrote a story where the characters sincerely believed in their religion and it was a positive force in their life, I guarantee you I'd get complaints from atheists about my promoting religion.I've already gotten such complaints, and that's WITHOUT religion in my books. I can't tell you how many people tripped up over my use of the word "soul" in Cradle.So since I can't create a fictional belief system without people taking it as a statement of my actual beliefs, I find it's easier to just skirt religion entirely.

#4 Copy

Questioner

When not strangling the inhabitants or acting as the caretakers of Valinhall, what do the Nye do in their free time? Do they have any particular hobbies or favorite pastimes?

Will Wight

Yes, Nye actually do get time off, and they do enjoy it.

They have a number of games that they play to fill the time. Especially Nye children. They will sometimes play hiding games, or their equivalent of tag, or race from one room to another. When they're older or feeling rebellious, they'll go to the edges of the House--where the rooms are unstable and dangerous--and see who can return with a piece from a wild room.

Older Nye spend their time with one another, in typical social gatherings, and they often place bets. The dolls picked up this habit from the Nye.

#5 Copy

Questioner

Bets you say...

I'm assuming there were some bets on whether or not Simon would survive the house?

Was the Elder in on that bet and if so did he win or lose?

Also what were his odds? I'm assuming many bet against him and maybe a few prospered greatly?

Will Wight

People don't bet against the Eldest anymore. He's right too often.

It's pretty common for him to ruin bets between other Nye by making cryptic comments that cause them to second-guess themselves. He thinks it's hilarious.

#7 Copy

Questioner

Thanks for answer my first question! Here goes number two: Are there any "dark" or "evil" magics on Amalgam? (something that requires blood sacrifice or is socially unacceptable to practice)

Will Wight

There are some answers to this question that I don't want to go into too much detail about, pending spoilers and/or me changing my mind, but each Territory has its dark side.

In general, Ragnarus is considered to be the "evil" Territory. But there are birds in Avernus that can twist and warp the personality of humans, addictive parasitic flowers in Asphodel, and terrible weapons left buried in Lirial. Most of the Arbiters of Naraka obtained their power from the acts of brutal injustice perpetuated against them, and it has left them twisted and broken, willing to commit unspeakable deeds in the pursuit of their ideas of justice.

#8 Copy

Questioner

How much of the Traveler's gate world have we seen? Are there explorers/colonies lost within a territory Robinson Crusoe style?

Will Wight

We have seen one small area of the Traveler's Gate world. Like a medium country, or a large state.

Why such a small area, if they have Territories to travel long distances? That's a great question, and hopefully one that I will have a chance to answer in the next book.

Most stories of lost colonies come from Asphodel, both because it is easy to get lost and forgotten there (the Mist is known to devour thoughts and memories) and because there are more colonies in Asphodel. It's the best Territory for farmland, so it's actually the Territory with the greatest number of Travelers. They just don't typically fight; they usually focus on raising crops and keeping farmers safe.

#9 Copy

Questioner

Is Damasca a notable power? You said "medium country or large state," but they also have the only* Elysia and Valinhall travelers...

*that we are aware of

Also, are there any magic artifacts that are not nor have ever been connected to a Territory? Or are they ALL tied to a Territory, whether it is known or not?

Will Wight

All of the known artifacts with supernatural powers are believed to be connected to a Territory. Is that belief correct? Who knows?

Damasca used to be larger and more important than it is now. Though it could have the chance to rise again...

#10 Copy

Questioner

Do u have a name for Amalgams energy Traveler's use or does each territory have a different energy that's used or do they adapt to Amalgam?

Will Wight

The Territories each have their own small, half-formed magic system, and Amalgam is kind of the container in which all of those are mixed.

#11 Copy

Questioner

Why is the sky blue?

Will Wight

All the creatures of Helgard have blue blood because they are descended from the original ancient titan, he whose blood covers the sky. Every sunset, he comes back to life and his blood retreats. Every sunrise, he is slain once more.

#12 Copy

Questioner

We have never seen further into Ragnarus than the single room behind the door and it doesn't sound like people tend to travel the other direction. What else is there in Ragnarus? Is it an expansive territory with a lot to discover?

Will Wight

Once, there was a king that ruled a vast realm. He dove deeply into the power of his world, which rewarded sacrifice: everything he loved was slowly consumed by his collection of magical artifacts.

The scope of this travesty grew to encompass his whole world, until the population of his enormous kingdom served only to feed his magic.

Finally, the fabric of his reality crumbled to dust. Faced with what he'd done, the king managed to preserve the one thing that still mattered to him.

And so his Vault drifted through the oceans of chaos. Until, at last, it found a resting place.

#13 Copy

Questioner

What would happen to the Crimson Vault if it had inhabitants?

Will Wight

The Vault itself is actually the tip of the iceberg. There's much more to Ragnarus than Leah or any of her ancestors ever discovered.

#14 Copy

Questioner

If Simon had to pick an animal he would be, what would he pick?

Will Wight

When Simon was a child, he found a badger burrow behind his family's house. The badger largely ignored humans, but viciously attacked any other animals who get close to the burrow entrance.

Simon enjoyed watching it, and he was impressed with the way the badger completely ignored anything that wasn't a threat, but wasn't afraid of anything. And it spent a lot of the day nestled snug in its den.

This left an impression on him, so he'd pick a badger.

#15 Copy

Questioner

Are there any (successful) tartarus travellers who traverse the labyrinth alone?

Will Wight

Tartarus Travelers still tell the story of Nasha, a young girl who was, according to legend, born in the Steel Labyrinth. She learned to crawl its corridors and bring its mechanisms to life, scavenging food and water from within the endless network of living gears.

Some Travelers swear that, when they were separated from their squads and lost in the corridors of the Labyrinth, they encountered a girl who silently guided them home.

#16 Copy

Questioner

Who out of all your series is your favorite character to write?

Will Wight

I know this is your least world-building related question, but I'll answer it anyway: I enjoy the more colorful, less grounded characters. Kai, Bliss, Eithan, etc. They're just fun to write, and I can basically ad lib their dialogue and have fun with it. The problem is getting that type of character to care about what happens to them and have a relatable goal. So I have to try and humanize them as well, which can be difficult. There's a middle ground there, and I'm seeking it. If I could write more of that sort of character, I'd have more fun, and I feel like my characters would pop more. But it almost feels like there's a slider between making them interesting and making them relatable and organically motivated. There isn't, it just FEELS that way. I'm trying to hit the happy medium.

#17 Copy

Questioner

How do you probe your with to use the valinhall toilets

Will Wight

I don't understand this question except for the words "Valinhall toilets," so I'll answer what I can! The Valinhall toilets are basically bottomless outhouses. There appears to be nothing down there at all, forever, but no one dives deep enough to find out. Only the waste goes down. Also, the bathrooms are haunted.

#18 Copy

Questioner

In The Traveler's Gate series, where do the Common people (non-travelers in the unnamed world) believe they go after they die.?

Will Wight

Villagers mostly believe they go to the Maker to be judged, but instead of sending them to a Hell- or Heaven-equivalent, he assigns to them a personal reward and/or punishment depending on their accomplishments in life.In Damasca, there was an ancient belief that good people went to Elysia and bad people went to Naraka, and references to this belief system still remain in some turns of phrase and works of art. However, modern people don't really believe that; they believe that souls go on to become part of a Territory in some way. In Enosh, they believe that the dead become saints: white-clad beings who are constantly judging and determining the fates of men.

#20 Copy

Questioner

Are Incarnations as powerful as a Traveler can become?

Will Wight

Essentially yes, but there are many measures of "power" depending on the Territory. Incarnations aren't necessarily the most skilled, or the best at using the powers they can call upon.

#21 Copy

Questioner

In ‘Crimson Vault’ Denner uses a bell that returns everything to its respective territory. Does that also mean that the Tartarus sword that Erastes uses would have also returned? If it would, did a bunch of Damascan officers lose their swords as well?

Will Wight

Good question, but Tartarus steel is typically taken from the Territory and worked in the Unnamed World. It doesn't have enough of a connection to the Territory to be banished.

#23 Copy

Questioner

What is a useless item that can be won in valinhall

Will Wight

A fork with one prong bent. Valin once dropped it, and the inhabitants of the House hoarded it like a treasure. It's just a fork.

#24 Copy

Questioner

What is the weirdest, creepiest room in Valinhall?

Will Wight

I'm tempted to say "Kai's bedroom," but I've made you wait two weeks for an answer, so I have to give you something decent.There's a deep room that is only roughly connected to the rest of the House, and it's something like an aquarium for spectral fish. The room is completely dry, but these pale, ghostly, aquatic creatures "swim" through the air as though on the ocean. They look horrific and alien, and their moans pierce the ear. If they cut you, your blood drifts up into a wispy cloud, as though dispersing into water that isn't there.

#26 Copy

Questioner

Using a sinister vibe integrate Barbie horse into travelers gate world as a fragment realm.

Will Wight

The air swirls in front of you with a vibrant pink light. Startled, you take a step back, but the light soon snaps into a recognizable shape: a pink-edged doorway into another realm. An endless, perfectly flat field of plastic grass stretches out before you. The clouds seem painted onto the sky. A glossy horse turns to stare at you--it seems to be covered in brown chitin instead of hair. Its eyes bulge as though it can never blink. A woman stands next to the horse, her hand on the animal's mane. Her smile seems to wear her. She looks like a mannequin wearing the face of a human woman as a mask. Though you lock eyes, she says nothing. Her teeth clack together as though she tries to speak, but cannot. You turn from the portal and run. It's best to let a Traveler deal with this.

#27 Copy

Questioner

What other food sources exist in Valinhall? Since Kai could disappear deep within the house for long periods of time, he obviously didn't need to come back to the garden, do what else is there?

Will Wight

The deep part of the House contains some spoilers, because presumably I'll want to get into that when we return to Traveler's Gate, but there ARE other rooms with food in them.There are animals in the house that can be caught and cooked, and there are edible mushrooms that grow in many rooms.

#28 Copy

Questioner

How would you, using cradle lingo in the blackflame empire, ask someone if they wanted to "Netflix and chill"? Same for in Damasca (Im think both what Simon would say and what Leah would say).

Will Wight

If you're asking what Simon would say and what Leah would say, I have to imagine Leah would be smoother about it than Simon.

#31 Copy

Questioner

What would have happened to the house of blades or any other terrioty fragment if humans didnt discover it?Would it break apart and be consumed by the unamed world or would it just reach an all time low of power and sit there?

Will Wight

A fragment would slowly dissolve into the void if not bound to the Way by human will. This is true even for corrupted fragments, which is the preferred outcome: they drift off into nothingness until they dissolve.

#32 Copy

Questioner

What is Kai’s favorite food? Simon’s? Leah’s?

Will Wight

Kai enjoys sautéed mushrooms on steak served with a glass of red wine. Simon likes honey-frosted cakes. Leah has a soft spot for sharp cheese.

#33 Copy

Questioner

Is it theoretically possible to have a connection to all territories or are some bloodlines or tests incompatible with each other?

Will Wight

Theoretically yes. It's not realistic simply because most of the tests involve spending large amounts of time in the Territory. And also you'd have to be connected to Travelers of each Territory who were willing to administer the tests, which most Travelers probably wouldn't be.Ragnarus is the only one that would be difficult, because it's limited to the descendants of Queen Cynara.

#34 Copy

Questioner

What would happen if a nation's worth of people moved into a Territory?

Will Wight

As you might expect, that would depend on the Territory. There's usually a reason why nations don't form there.

In Asphodel, which is actually one of the most inhabited Territories, a nation-sized settlement would draw the Mist by the strength of their collective emotions. They would have to constantly contend with it, and would likely find it more worthwhile to settle elsewhere.

In Naraka, they would either leave or die of thirst. There isn't enough water in Naraka to sustain such a population.

Helgard might be able to support them. Some Helgard Travelers believe there might already be a nation-sized population somewhere in the Tower, there being huge floors and lots of nooks and crannies in Helgard.

#35 Copy

Questioner

How much can Simon lift?

Will Wight

As far as how much Simon can lift...I'm not sure how to answer that without contradicting something in the books or irritating somebody who already has a specific answer in mind.I know how strong I think he is, but I'll leave specific estimates to you.

#37 Copy

Questioner

What level of power could Simon earn?

Will Wight

This is kind of a meta answer, but I haven't decided yet.Totally depends on where I want to take the series. If I go where I've been planning to go, and keep the story relatively grounded but focused on Valinhall and giving Simon a satisfying arc of emotional development and growth, then yeah, probably Sword Sage level.But there's nothing that stops me from scrapping all those plans and having him ascend beyond his world just like Lindon is trying to ascend beyond Cradle. It's even easier for Simon, since he just needs to figure out how Valin left.

#39 Copy

Questioner

Does valinhall have plumbing?

Will Wight

It does not. The pool has a weird organic system that cleans and drains it, and the toilets are haunted and flush waste beyond reality.The air comes from magic.

#40 Copy

Questioner

Which is stronger, Elysia or Ragnarus.

Will Wight

I don't know how to do a battle of one place against another. In a war, obviously Elysia would win, because Ragnarus is uninhabited (OR IS IT?) and Elysia has a ton of soldiers.But I will tell you that, when I'm writing the books, I think of Valinhall, Ragnarus, and Elysia all on the same tier.

#41 Copy

Questioner

Northstrider vs Kelerac, or Northstrider vs high ranking elders

Will Wight

Unsealed Elders no, simply due to the nature of the fight. At that point it's not a power level thing. Using sacred arts to fight unsealed Elders is, by and large, like trying to use your fists to fight a virus.But sealed Great Elders (like the ones the Emperor dealt with)...yeah, easily.

#42 Copy

Questioner

Lucan, Meia, and Shera vs. Simon, Elaina, and Andra

Will Wight

Hmmm...I think the Gardeners have the advantage if they have time to plan and it's more than just a "run out there and fight RIGHT NOW" battle. If they have to face three Valinhall Traveler's head-on immediately without preparation or anything to use in their surroundings, I don't see how they could overcome the advantage in strength and speed.The most even matchup would probably be sealing both teams in a small town for three days, by which time the team with the most surviving fighters will be declared the winner. A tie results in being tossed into a ring and made to fight straight-up.This gives a chance for Lucan's Reading to come into play, both in tracking the opponents down and preparing weapons or other items. He finds them, Shera goes in to kill them, and Meia fights to cover their retreat....in the meantime, Simon and the others are going to be using the powers of their advisors (Korr senses sources of danger, Caela senses movement, and Andra's advisor--whose name is escaping me and I'm too tired to look it up--has a perfect spatial memory) to find their opponents and try to trap them into a battle.The advantage the Valinhall Travelers have is that they're very difficult to surprise.The Gardeners have the advantage of being perfectly willing and trained to kill people unaware.In that scenario, I think Shera and her team get it unless Simon-and-company get lucky.

#43 Copy

Questioner

Who would be a good matchup for Valin?

Questioner

I have trouble matching the Cradle power scale to other realities too, because the Cradle scale only works relative to its own magic system.I have some minor characters who might be a good matchup for Valin, but they won't be introduced until Blackflame (or possibly the next book, depending on where I end up). So...spoilers!

#44 Copy

Questioner

Can you give info on the origin of Simon’s dolls both in the book and IRL? Or anything else. That works too. Excited for the Christmas short story!

Will Wight

I wanted Kai to be crazy, so I needed a prop to show how crazy he was. The first thing I thought of was a girl's doll that he whispered to. But then I asked myself, "Wait a second, is he hallucinating this, or should the dolls talk back?"

#47 Copy

Questioner

Out of curiosity, what rank would Simon be on Cradle? Both with his mask and without.And would he be practicing the Path of Valinhall?

Will Wight

This is a tricky question, because while I know what you mean, they're practicing different magic systems. Simon hasn't worked on his madra at all, so if he were plopped down in Cradle, they would see him as completely untrained.If we're talking parallels, yes his chains are like a Goldsign, and the dolls would be something like a Remnant.In terms of combat potential, he'd be at Underlord level physically with his mask on. In fact, he might have an advantage even at that tier (WITH the mask on, in a head-to-head confrontation).But that's purely a physical measurement. He'd have to ghost armor his way through their techniques, and hope that Nye essence makes him faster than their Enforcer techniques so they didn't break the armor, lock him in place, and cook him alive with fireballs or something before he gets close.Then again, let's say there's a fight between Simon and a sacred artist with similar powers. Path of the Steel Chains, or whatever. It focuses on Enforcer techniques and making the body stronger and faster, and uses giant weapons.Simon would have the advantage in a shorter battle, but if the sacred artist hangs on past the first few minutes, Simon is going to start running out of powers. The sacred artist isn't. Sure, he'll exhaust his madra eventually, but it's not on a timer like many of Simon's powers are. The mask extends that, but of course the mask itself has a time limit.And because of the Iron body, once Simon runs out of Nye essence OR steel, the sacred artist is going to dribble him like a basketball.

Eithan, for instance, would just dodge until Simon gave up, retreated, or had to take the mask off. A lot of an actual matchup would come down to information. Does the sacred artist know that Simon has a time limit, and does Simon know that he has to finish the fight quickly? Does Simon know what Path his opponent is on? Does he have Caela with him? How do the sacred artist's techniques interact with ghost armor?Then again, if some Abidan plucked Simon out of his world and dumped him into Cradle, Simon WOULD be able to learn sacred arts. In addition to his Traveler powers.He'd have to adjust to the planet itself, which is bigger and has higher gravity, and some of his Traveler abilities wouldn't work--notably, he probably wouldn't be able to cut open a Gate, so there goes the healing pool. But he'd still be able to call steel, essence, and so on, and he'd be able to use the mask and doll as long as he had them on him to begin with.Summoning Mithra would PROBABLY be possible, but it would certainly take longer.

To expand on the theory behind what I just said:Amalgam (the TG world) has a bunch of tiny fragmented worlds stuck to it like ticks on a dog. Those are the Territories. It's easy to cut Gates to and from these miniature worlds because they're close, and they're already somewhat connected to the main world. They're like the elemental planes in D&D, if that means anything to you.Cradle is NOT close. So anything Simon takes from his Territory will still work the same, but anything he has to call on the Territory for--like cutting a Gate, or summoning a weapon, or calling more power from a room (as Simon and Kai have both done before)--is going to either take much longer, reflecting the greater distance, or isn't going to work at all.This is metaphysical distance, by the way. These are worlds as in dimensions, not worlds as in planets. Although they are also planets. Suriel gets into detail about this in Blackflame, in a scene that I had originally written for Soulsmith and then cut.But there's a reserve of steel and of Nye essence inside his body, and those will work. Anything he carries with him and all his internal powers will function as normal, just like they do when he's inside someone else's Territory.

#48 Copy

Your Benevolent Dictator

1. Do the Nye have actual bodies besides Cloth chains and essence? 2. What was Valinhall like before Valinhall got there 3. How did Valin get gold from Elysia if it hadn’t been opened in 300 years

Will Wight

1.) No. 2.) It wasn’t. 3.) He slipped in.

#50 Copy

Questioner

Can other territories from amalgam attune artifacts from each other or is that something specific to the house of blades?

Will Wight

They all do that, over time. Valinhall somewhat speeds up the process using the workshop, but every Territory can assimilate pieces from other Territories eventually.

#51 Copy

Decadakon

How would someone bind ghostwater into a new territory? Very carefully?

Will Wight

If you were in the void outside of Amalgam, you could travel through the Way to Cradle, seize fragments of GW as it shattered, and then travel back to Amalgam and attach them to the world with the strength of your will. However, to make it stick, you would also need people from the Amalgam side to enter it and start living there, so you’d need to create a way for that to happen.

#52 Copy

Your Benevolent Dictator

what was There before valinhall

Will Wight

fragments of broken worlds that he bound together as rooms into a house. The house was the greatest of the fragments, and contained the Nye.

#55 Copy

ThomasC

There were two powers used but not mentioned that belong to valinhall; one let Kai shatter the green shields Alin can summon, the other allowed indrial to knock someone out. do these abilities have a name at this time?

Will Wight

Kai's did, at one point, but it's been so long since I wrote CoL that I would have to delve deep into my notes to find it. However, I'll need to do a complete inventory of the House before I return to TG, so that will be explored!

#56 Copy

AntiSqueaker

Exactly how tough is Tartarus steel? Is it literally unbreakable, or is it just simply vastly tougher than other mundane metals that Amalgam can produce?

Will Wight

It’s conceptually unbreakable. You have to break that supernatural property of the steel first if you want to physically break it.

#57 Copy

Questioner

What is Gilad's least favorite floor in the tower of Helgard? Also, did they skip floor 13 on the elevator?

Will Wight

If they had an elevator, they would skip Floor Sixteen. It's the worst. Gilad is most afraid of Floor Twenty-Two, where serpents of razor-sharp ice devour heat and light. He can't use his Naraka powers--not that powers from foreign Territories are very reliable in the Tower, but on most floors they can at least be used as a fallback--and he can't carry any torches or lights with him. His personally least favorite floor, though, is the first floor. It's usually well-populated, and many of those people know his name. He doesn't enjoy the attention.

#58 Copy

Questioner

Out of curiosity, did Valin ever learn about Cradle? It seems like a few of Valinhall's powers mimic abilities from Cradle.

Will Wight

No, but both worlds are in Sector 11. They tend to have similar or overlapping powers.

#59 Copy

April

So, did Valin ever visit the Blackface Empire during his wanderings?

Will Wight

He steered clear of the Blackface Empire. It gets SUPER racist.

Footnote: This is a troll due to the typo.
#60 Copy

Joe

This isn't necessarily related to this particular post, but thinking of the immortal nature of the Abidan Court got me thinking about this. Are there any beings in any iterations that have not ascended and yet are inherently immortal (at least apart from being killed)? 

The Nye are partially what made me think of this, as the Eldest Nye has evidently been around since before his world was splintered and has been living in that splinter for some time. So even if the Nye aren't immortal, are there any naturally immortal beings?

Will Wight

Yes, there are immortals in the Iterations.

But the Eldest Nye hasn't been around since before his world was splintered. He's telling tales that have been passed down for generations.

Event details
Name
Name Amalgam
Date
Date Jan. 1, 2018
Location
Location Imported
Entries
Entries 60
Upload sources