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The Unholy Consult Previews 2: Murder Shae Wrote


Rhom

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We do get an interior glimpse into the Fanim world in The Aspect-Emperor, Tattooed Hand. Like I say, in the historical narrative sections, I resort to quasi-racist cliches and types, both heroic and otherwise, trying to mix up assumptions, and to indirectly show how arbitrary and self-serving they actually are, even if they seem 'fair and balanced' to those sharing the selfsame prejudices.

Suffice it to say, we've not gotten much, if any, of that interior glimpse yet.

Also, I'll repeat my contention from the last page [p. 8] that the only POV we've had from a believer is Fanashila's, the slave Esmenet has in TTT, who is replaced by a Skin-Spy to try and kill Achamian.

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Anyone have a theory of why Moe was in TDTCB in the city (forget the name) where the Holt War was gathering? He must have had a purpose or some ground he was conditioning? It's obviously not necessary for him to go, any sufficiently strong Cish would work.

Did he met with his half Dunyain son? Was he checking that Kel made it there? Any ideas?

My semi-serious Moenghus-Grand-Conspiracy-Theory (MGCT) says that Moenghus/Mallahet was there every step of the way:

1. Moenghus was just outside Ishual when he sent the dreams. He trapped his son with 'water' in a stream for a few days while he hunted down and destroyed every last soul in Ishual. Then he released his son and they continued on the journey south.

2. Moenghus kept the path from Ishual to Leweth completely clear of Sranc. Leweth is a pre-conditioned Moenghus plant, and communicates with Moenghus throughout Kellhus' detailed and accurate education of the Three Seas. Note that Leweth rarely directly affirms Kellhus' insights, rather, Dunyain like, he indirectly steps around a direct acknowledgement in a tearful manner that flatters Kellhus and inflates his ego. Kellhus dismisses completely when he notes that Leweth pauses as though listening to someone else. Kellhus is blinded by his belief in his own mastery of others.

3. Theory falls apart with Mek, could Moenghus have conditioned this meeting? Still, Mek may have noticed strange Sranc behavior in the region and was investigating and Moe exploited this?

4. Moe knows that Kellhus can make the journey from Atraithau to the Utemot easily enough so he skedaddles to Kiyuth where he will be needed.

5. At Kiyuth, Moe, acting as a Scylvendi, spreads rumors and reminds people of knowledge that was thirty years forgotten or suppressed in order to undermine Cnaiur's influence. After Cnaiur beat Moe at Zirkirta, Moe reassessed, decided to use him as a tool rather than eliminate him. undermining Cnaiur by passing a thirty year old rumor to someone who grew up thousands of miles from Cnaiur's small and insular tribe allows the Scylvendi to revert to their traditional ways, which allows Conphas to Defeat them.

5a Conphas was a prisoner of the Fanim for several years and was conditioned by Moenghus with the nascent ideas about the Scylvendi that would allow Conphas to think he had made the insights himself on how to defeat them.

6. Knowing that Cnaiur was a valuable asset, Moenghus sent him dreams and at the crucial moment sent him a vision that would disable him--seriously, in the text, when Cnaiur realizes it's Conphas he's going to attack him, but is physically disabled in that moment by a vision of Moenghus' head appearing before him. Moenghus could have possibly nudged things sorcerously so that the paths of the retreating Cnaiur and gloating Conphas would have intersected. Kellhus uses words to indirectly control the paths of mens souls, if Moenghus has mastered the metaphysics of Earwa he should be able to bypass words and just control the paths of souls (and thus the paths of bodies) directly through the Outside, right? (don't worry, I get more and more crazy as I type out more of the MGCT).

7. The Scylvendi now eliminated from the playing field for a generation, Moenghus/Mallahet skedaddles to Momemn where the vulgar holy war has gathered. He has predicted to Skauras that the Nansur will defeat the Scylvendi and he has predicted to Skauras that the Vulgar Holy War will come into existence before the full might is assembled. He plans to leverage this prediction by triggering them to march, thus making it easy for the Fanim to eliminate them, and greatly reducing the amount of cannon-fodder the Holy War could throw at the Fanim. Skauras sees the sense in this tactic to divide the forces of his opponent and so has preplanned to strike this deal through Mallahet with the Nansur to exploit this opportunity.

8. Moenghus, either skedaddles back to the Utemot, and helps the Sranc herd the ATraithau party towards the Utemot, or on the day of Kellhus' arrival he sends Cnaiur dreams that will send Cnaiur to his father's grave to discover Kellhus.

9. Moenghus can return to Shimeh now and await the arrival of his son.

Nah, Bakker isn't vindictive. He'd much rather have Kellhus tame the badger and have the badger serve him loyally for all his days.

Only if he decides to name the Badger Kallhus.
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Here's a crackpot thought.

Lets suppose for the moment that the theory of belief influencing the Outside is true, eg Kellhus convinces people that he is a representative of the divine and therefore he is (or can become so, possibly by sacrificing hundreds of thousand of believers who will mold the Outside). If this theory is true, in the PON trilogy the Inrithi are therefore right and the Fanim and Sakarpi/Atrithau people/random Northern survivor tribes are wrong, since the Inrithi outnumber them and have existed longer (except for the Tusk-followers, but they are very few).

However, what if there are tons of people in Eanna that we don't know about? What if the collective weight of whatever their belief system is is so strong that all of the faiths in Earwa are wrong?

Bad surprise for all of them at death if so...

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If the Outside reshapes itself to belief, I suspect the Inchies would've created an entirely new religion to save themselves via the Tusk.

I'm actually worried the revelations of TUC come out of left field. But then I'm one of those people who didn't realize Earwa had gods until TTT.

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I love the Unified Theory of Moenghus, but I would still put money on the "shortest path turned out to be a dead end" explanation even though I hope I'm wrong.

maybe Moe's shortest path being wrong is just foreshadowing for Kel's shortest path in AE also being a dead end. Sounds a bit lame but would fit with the theme of layers of revelation.
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Another thought to add. In TWP Aurang mentions the ultimate plan behind the Holy War being to destroy the Cishaurim, which could be assumed before then. We know Aurang and several skin spies were in Sumna during Maithanet's announcement. But the revelation is that Moe and his half-Dunyain son created the Holy War as a vehicle for Kellhus, IIRC.

So the question is - did the Consult simply take advantage of the Holy War, or was it involved in its creation? Could Moenghus actually be an agent of the Consult as Kellhus fears?

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I just figured that the Consult had already begun manipulating events in order to push the Inrithi to destroy the Cish. Big Moe obviously knew why they were doing this and used Maitha to speed things up.

The Consult then figured they'd lucked out until Kellhus rose to prominence. They were undone because they couldn't see their own ignorance.

I do like UnJon's idea that Kellhus will learn the limits of his ignorance the hard way.

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+1 Remora Consult.

Half the Three Seas was basically impenetrable to them, [istriya and Skeaos are both pushing for not dealing with the Heathen and crushing Shimeh right from the beginning] - it makes me again wonder if Zeum is infested as well. It also depends how long they'd been unable to penetrate Fanim territory with meaningful replacements, Fane or Moenghus? Lol, Divine (Metaphysical) vs. Dunyain (Mundane)?

Sci, if I was Kellhus I would have absorbed as much myth, folklore, histories, legend, whatever, as I could to understand the Enemy. The Three Seas, at the very least the Schools, must have as much accumulated knowledge as the Sareotic Library, it being the greatest library of the age, allegedly, and most recently in the hands of the Inrithi Scholars as of 3933, [and the previous Thousand Years as the Nansur "inherited" the Ceneian Age]. The Mandate are known for being infatuated with History, which is Kellhus' School. He also probably explored much the world alone. Maybe he crushed Ishual right at the start of his reign and it became his Fortress of Solitude.

So I'd say Kellhus is in a position to be the most knowledgeable human around - obvious contenders for knowing more being Isterebinth and the Consult. I'd say the Histories of the Twelve Original Gnostic Schools of Sauglish either got lost in the Apocalypse or was in Smaug's, I mean Wutteat's, Cofferses[, though - Titirga is probably myth like Su'juroit, if he's referenced at all].

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So the question is - did the Consult simply take advantage of the Holy War, or was it involved in its creation? Could Moenghus actually be an agent of the Consult as Kellhus fears?

But the "WHO ARE THE DUNYAIN?" scene in TWP makes no sense if they were already familiar with Moenghus. Maybe he never used that term, but even still, the story sort of starts to fall apart if we assume that the Consult and Moengus have been allied from the start.

EDIT: Madness:

It also depends how long they'd been unable to penetrate Fanim territory with meaningful replacements, Fane or Moenghus? Lol, Divine (Metaphysical) vs. Dunyain (Mundane)?

Didn't Moengus mention that he spotted the skin spies were different? Now, it's possible that other Cish were able to spot them as well, and he was just the first to see this one, but it seems unlikely. That was why I assumed (unless it got mentioned somewhere that only ~ 20 years ago the spies became revealed? Maybe that is in there somewhere).

I had assumed that the skin spies were only eradicated once Moengus arrived, although perhaps not. After all, it might not even be realistic that one man could eliminate all of the skin-spies in all the Fanim lands (and it's not like he wasn't busy with other things). You would think that the skin-spies/consult would be clever enough to send a spy to get very near one weak cish to see if he was exposed. And if not, then perhaps they would assume that only the stronger cish can expose the spies. And then through trial and error determine that very few cish can actually unmask the spies. This is pretty basic espionage, but maybe that's expecting too much from the Consult.

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Aurang's POV in TTT, I believe, mentions finding out that Moenghus is the father of Kellhus. They're searching for Kellhus' origins in the North at the end of TWP, as far as I read it.

+1 Maithanet.

Also, I think you are right on the timing. While it is possible that a Cishaurim never encountered a Skin-Spy in the 300+ years since their mutual advent, it's more likely that the Cishaurim's Third Sight doesn't allow it to recognize a Skin-Spy... yet they see souls?

However, Kellhus asserts our evidence in that passage and Moenghus never assents (not that it would matter if he did), so for readers the questions are still up in the air. I can't seem to find the passage where Aurang muses some kind of line: "half the Three Seas immune to their poison," talking about the Fanim territories, that might offer a timeframe. Early TWP maybe?

Otherwise, I can't think of any other indication of time, of when exactly the Cishaurim discovered the Skin-Spies or how. Though it makes sense that if the Cishaurim normally stayed out of Scholastic warfare, then finding a Skin-Spy would be reason for the first attack against the Schools. It all depends how much credence we give to Kellhus' perspective.

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But the "WHO ARE THE DUNYAIN?" scene in TWP makes no sense if they were already familiar with Moenghus. Maybe he never used that term, but even still, the story sort of starts to fall apart if we assume that the Consult and Moengus have been allied from the start.

unless of course the non-inchies of the consult formed their own anti-inchie superdoublesecret faction, essentially trying to throw the inchies under the bus.

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It's Kellhus, Sci. But we don't know enough. Maybe the Cishaurim are monastic with no slaves and it was another anomaly. Likely though, as Moenghus has multiple Skin-Spies in the Kyudean Mansion, the Cishaurim are active at court and in the general populace, finding the Skin-Spies amongst the Fanim faithful.

solo, since the Ch.1 excerpt I'm thinking Shauriatas is the big dog when the No-God's not around.

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I don't know if the author fully explained it in a way that means the Cishaurim didn't spot the skin spies, but I don't believe that we, the readers, are supposed to think that they did. I think it's all about Moe. Moe's Dunyain training is what allows him to spot them, and the mysterious nature of the Cishaurim is a perfect explanation for why the Consult, with no knowledge of the existence of the Dunyain, would assume it must be the Cishaurim.

That is not to say that everything that Kellhus says to Moenghus is true, but I suspect that this little bit is.

But this has me questioning whether it would be realistic to think that Moe could singlehandedly remove all (or even a significant portion) of the skin spies in Fanim lands. Because we're talking about a huge empire, and Aurang seems to indicate that they are blind in that portion of the world. Even if political and religious power is centralized in just a few places, it still seems like Moe would have to start patrolling back and forth between major cities almost constantly in order to really eradicate the spies. Would he have time to do that? Would he even bother, if they aren't spying on him personally?

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Moe's Dunyain training is what allows him to spot them, and the mysterious nature of the Cishaurim is a perfect explanation for why the Consult, with no knowledge of the existence of the Dunyain, would assume it must be the Cishaurim.

I suspect Moe just taught the Cish how to spot skinspies.

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Also, I think you are right on the timing. While it is possible that a Cishaurim never encountered a Skin-Spy in the 300+ years since their mutual advent, it's more likely that the Cishaurim's Third Sight doesn't allow it to recognize a Skin-Spy... yet they see souls?

What do you see?

Just because the Cishaurim are blind and can see souls doesn't mean they're not also "blind" in the Dunyain sense.

Think on how people constantly deceive themselves in a skin spies presence, dismissing small oddities of behavior or dialogue out of hand.

I'm thinking that Cishaurim could tell that 'something' was wrong with the skin spies but because these were highly placed personages each individual Cishaurim would find a way to internalize the 'wrongness' as their own problem not as a problem with the highly placed skin spy. and would be too embarassed to suggest to others that there was something up with these particular individuals--especially as skin spies would be asiduous to their piety and overall standing/face in the community. It's hard to impugn saints publically and on a large scale.

There's also the possibility that the Cishaurim tended to see what they expected to see. They literally could not imagine the absence, the vacuum, implied by a lack of soul, their 'blind-sight' couldn't deal with the possibility that some people were soulless, so their brain edited in what they expected to 'see' and they found if they looked hard enough they could see a 'faint' soul (sort of like looking for contact lenses in someone's eye)... They probably just assumed that those individuals who were skin spies just did not shine in the third sight.

So you have culture and traditional human biases at work preventing the Cishaurim from really figuring out what was up. They have the tools at their disposal, but they don't see it because it would disrupt the culture and caste system and because they decieve themselves too easily.

Moenghus could have exposed this implicit bias within the Cishaurim. Once they learned to look with their 'non' eyes they entire sect could probably easily detect the skin spies. Once outing skin spies was officially sanctioned, they might stop repressing their doubts about people. So through this, Moenghus could have taught the entire sect fairly quickly and the region could have seen a fairly rapid 'clean up' of the skin spies.

Moenghus knew cleaning up the entire region would thoroughly unsettle the Consult and would help add pressure and leverage on the rest of the three seas to rise to holy war against the fanim, if he wanted to cause a holy war, he needed the Consult helping things along.

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