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Takór Salenár
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« on: 28 September 2007, 19:49:36 »

   


Religious (Divine- and Spirit-) Magic  


Introduction and General Overview

Foreword

Religious Magic as a whole is more than a magic construct, more than a world view, more than an offhand dismissal: „what clerics do when using magic“. Different approaches towards perceiving the world and diverse kinds of practise have led to a multitude of concepts. Some have many views in common - such as the Santharian and Aeruillin Clerical Magic, although  different gods are worshipped. Some differ entirely from each other, like the Himiko Magic and the Ancestor Worship practised in Aeruillin. But all can brought together under the term 'Divine Magic‘, for all  are dealing with one subject: The magical interaction of sentient beings with their gods (or essences), be it the Aviaría of Santharia,  the K‘ahn‘uck‘tscha of the orcs of Northern Sarvonia or the   Vikthi of the Drifting woods in Nybelmar. There are plenty of aspects of Divine Magic which need to be addressed and many controversial views to be covered: Not all religions rely on magical interaction with their gods in the way that the majority of the Icetribes of Northern Sarvonia do, for example; some scholars who deny the existence of gods have tried to explain Divine Magic in terms of Ximax, more or less successfully; some concepts are far away from the Ximaxian view of magic, some have astounding similarities.


Overview

This entry can, due to its nature, only be very general. Divine Magic is so diverse, that it cannot be covered by a single entry. Here the intercommunity of all Divine Magic will be presented, some differences touched and further readings recommended.



Prevalence


Divine Magic is  practised nearly everywhere in the known regions of Caelereth by most races. Due to the location of the Great Library and the Compendium for which this essay is written, the focus will lie for now on Sarvonian Divine Magic, primarily those of the main races. Some other cultures and their habits in this respect will be mentioned and described as best as is possible. Although not much research is done (from our side) on other continents, hopefully this will change in the future with the expeditions King Tiandor has encouraged. In addition, the discussion about different topics between the Viarían magic, the Santharian Clerical Magic, and Ximaxian magic will find a place as well. (See list of essays below)



Concept/Worldview


Divine Magic, as the term is used by scholars, deals with all magic practise, where a „belief“ is important in some way. That is of course all magic that is correlated with the worship of gods, and other kinds such as druidic magic or the ancestor worship of the Aeruillin Djíeaa-Kirrúu as well; these were recently categorised as Spirit Magic. What most of these concepts have in common is the belief, that the gods are interacting with the world, especially with the sentient beings, that they take often an interest in the well-being of all living things,  that they appreciate the devotion of their followers and reward faith (Aviaría) or following their will (Aeoliran gods) with turning towards the worshipper or rewarding them with whatever is desired. How the interaction between the gods (or substitute) looks like, how the gods (ancestors) benefit their followers or what the followers have to do to please the gods changes from culture to culture, from race to race. However, nowhere spells are cast - though the prayers may look alarmingly like spells - but through various other means like  songs, meditation, fasting or other options the attention of the gods is sought out and the gods may - or may not  - answer.  This answer however may not be to the liking of the pleader. Spirit magic seems to be not so susceptible to failure though if the addressing of the essences or spirits is done correctly.
if the essences or spirits are appeased correctly.  

It can be assumed that, all users of divine magic believe in the existence of their gods. However, „belief“ is a  thing too difficult to grasp and so any description has to fail. Faith is an essential part in many religions and for the success of the practised magic. More about the problems under basic principles.  

Quote
Trel

You're not clearly conveying your point here.  I think you're trying to say that 'belief' is not enough to ensure that clerical magic is successful, but that faith is necessary to allow priests to cast their spells.

HMM, yes, in German belief and faith is both „Glaube“, but I think I got the difference, belief is more - shallow?, where faith means as well confidence, assurance… oh no, belief is ‚Vertrauen‘ ‚ as well, but I think I got what you wanted to say.  What about:

It can be assumed that, all users of divine magic believe in the existence of their gods. However, „belief“, or better „affiance“, the unquestioning (unconditional?) trust in the god is a  thing too difficult to grasp and so any description has to fail. Faith is an essential part in many religions and for the success of the practised magic. More about the problems under basic principles.  




Basic Principles


It is not really known, how divine magic works. There are several attempts to explain it, one of them a Ximaxian (1), but it is always an attempt to explain the unexplainable.

Clerics claim, that divine magic is based on the interaction of gods with their followers. The gods exist not only, but take interest (in a positive or negative way) in the well-being of all living things, especially the sentient beings, and do respond to their approaches, though the intensity with which it happens varies throughout the religions.

The followers seek contact to the gods through different means like prayers, songs, meditation and various rituals, asking them for assistance, praising them for help granted or seeking to pacify them. The gods hear these pleas and react if they wish to. They may grant  a wish, they may not. The likelihood of a follower receiving what he has asked for depends heavily on the kind of divine magic practised, but often the faith in the god is of utmost importance.

There are differences in perception of the religions as to what is needed to please the gods though. The Aeoliran Religion for example teaches, that the good deeds of the followers please the gods and their chance of being heard by the gods grows with each good deed, while the priests and clerics of the twelve Santharian gods are convinced, that faith alone is the key to the heart of the gods. More about these different views in the respective entries.
 
In many religions, but especially the Santharian, no tools or other  means are principally needed to practise clerical magic. (2) For throughout all beliefs it is the gods (or the ancestors) who fulfill your wishes and mostly nothing else as your  simple prayer,  your outcry to the gods is needed to bring your wishes forward.
Quote
I'm not sure this is completely clear.  Are you saying that all someone need do is wish for something and it will be brought to the gods' attention?  The Santharian gods must be very busy!
(Trel)

Well, no, the gods are greater than humans can imagine, you may not compare them to humble human beings ;)  

However, from the beginning people have sought for means to ensure, that the gods will hear their pledges. So either methods have developed to deepen the contact to the god (like the meditation used widely throughout Santharia, but known elsewhere as well) or artefacts or natural means like a water mirror are used to help focus on the „task“.  A special „help“ in this respect are the  Santharian Twelvern or Dreamstones, as the elves call them. These are stones, which, once they are polished and blessed, help to intensify the contacts to the gods. (3)

Often Divine Magic shows similar results to Ximaxian Magic. This leads some scholars to the assumption, that a similar process is at work and that praying is nothing more than another form of spellcasting. The author has to disagree here impetuously. Though he agrees, that magic is a „manifestation of will“ (4), he wants to emphasise, that in contrary to the Ximaxian belief, it is , as long as it concerns divine magic, not the „will“ of the priest alone, who sets things in motion, but the „will“ and the assent of the god who is called as well. Of course the focus of the cleric, the „will“ to solve a problem must be strong as well to change a current situation. Others, as the sage Artimidor Federkiel, try to explain the working of Divine Magic with the concept of „believing in other possibilities“.

Quote from his standard essay: “Magic in the World of Caelereth“ (4)
  
  „Clerical Magic is the kind of magic which deals with believing in other possibilities of the aura, depending on the caster's faith in certain deities and supernatural support. Clerical Magic is original as well as meta-magic, meaning that clerics may cast either own spells but also Raw or Elemental Magic in an indirect way. What spells clerics can cast depends on their religious membership and in case other persons are involved the effect of the spell is determined by these persons' beliefs as well“.

From a clerical standpoint the above hypothesis does not contradict the faith in the gods. Religious Magic in general asks very rarely (and only recently) about the „How“ of its working. It is not important how the gods bestow upon us their gratitude, but that they are doing it.

Asking whether the gods exist and  whether the gods or the clerics themselves do magic is too complex a question to explain it in more depth in a few sentences. The same is valid for the ‚problem‘ Sage Federkiel addressed in above mentioned essay:

„As a matter of fact the magical powers of clerics can't be denied, but the explanation of their sources has to remain questionable - or how would it be possible that two clerics of different cultures/races both can receive blessings of their Gods, who both claim to not tolerate any other Gods?“ (4, p.34)

 The reader might want to take a look at below listed essays of the author „Prayer and Spellcasting“   (5) and  „Belief in Different Gods - Why does Divine Magic Work Worldwide?“ (6)




Abilities, Limitations, Restrictions and Practice


There is nothing, divine magic cannot achieve. At least this is what many clerics believe, even though this lies not within their own abilities. But the conviction, that what can be done with clerical magic is a gift from the god, leads to the assumption, that, if nothing is impossible for the gods who had part in the creating of the world (the Aviaría e.g.), everything can happen, be it the vanishing of whole mountains, the stopping of a river to flow, the defeat of entire armies through prayer or the raising of the dead . However, stories about such miracles date far back and are considered even by  some educated clerics as lore, built over the centuries to emphasise what gods are able to do and never meant to be an actual event. Out of the same reasoning there are no limitations as well.

However, though there thought to be no limitations which confine a cleric from practising his magic through prayer, restrictions limit what he is principally able to do, restrictions based on moral values and the humbleness which is appropriate when dealing with gods.

XXXXXX Trelstahl‘s comment needs to be still addressed
Quote
There is some potential for expansion here.  You mention a few 'alternative' scenarios below, however, I can think of other circumstances.  For example, I think that some deities - whose names I fear to mention here so I will not do so - might actually look upon this with great pleasure.  And what about a priest who asks for the favour of her or his deity to 'smite' an enemy with evil intentions?


So individual prayers to a god which would result in doing harm to another person are seen as misusing  the generosity of the gods for the own low desires and not only not worthy to bring forward, but detestable. It may even arise the wrath of the god molested with such a wish.
That sounds easy on a daily level where common people are advised not to pray e.g. for the death of the neighbour‘s dog just because this dog has killed one of your favourite foals. However, problems arise if in times of war when opposing sides believing in the same gods pray for the respective success in the upcoming battle. More about this theological conflict can be found in the essay about “Morals in prayers“ by XXX.  (7)Not yet written, who wants to do it?
How what really is accomplished with Divine Magic  cannot be described in detail here.


(Only a few exemplary examples can be given:)

I have to think about that a bit more in detail still, be free to add your ideas. Probably this can only be added when some of the entries for the special god related magic is up. (Is coming - Queprur and Nehtor are on the way!

Generally,  Divine Magic varies throughout Caelereth; similarities can be found, depending on which two communities one is looking; the differences are  too numerous  to list them all.



Locations


A prayer can be spoken in every situation and a god can be approached in every place. However, there are often established places like temples, sacred groves or places  which are said to allow an easier  contact with the gods.  In addition, many people have forgotten, that the gods do not restrict themselves to certain places, even if these buildings are erected for the purpose of worship exclusively.   A man from the Djíeaa-Kirrúu likely would not speak with his ancestors outside the sacred hut nor would a follower of Pariya do so outside a temple. As a summary we can say: Though the gods are normally worshipped in special places, there is generally no restriction in where and how to call for them.



Origins


Nobody can say, if Religious Magic has a beginning. It lies in the mist of forgotten millennia like the origin of the races. For, as far as we can say, all races worship their gods from the beginning of their existence. No race nor tribe is known, who does not try to talk in a way with their gods, and if they only do something (like burning essences) to prevent harm done to them, be it by nature , which they believe is the arm of a raving god or by other people, which may be seen as a curse sent by a mischievous god. But most advanced  tribes try to actually speak to their gods, asking them for a favour - the prayer and with it Divine Magic is born, though this form was of course not recognised as such.

Divine Magic was, at least in Sarvonia, for a long time not considered as magic at all, though the priests often accomplished things not unlike that of secular mages. But it was never seen as so mysterious and unknown as profane magic. One was accustoomed to it and that was  the difference which led to the acceptance which Ximaxian magic has not had until today. (Not so with Spirit Magic, which shared often persecution with the secular pre-Ximaxian magic. In contrary, where Ximaxian magic gained reputation again, Spirit magic was often mixed up with Wild Magic and shunned throughout all levels of the society.)

Only this way can be explained, why after the War of the Chosen priests were not as detested as mages. Everybody still prayed to the gods and asked the priests for their benefits - like healing, finding water, blessing the fields or preventing a bad harvest by asking a priest of Grothar to push the clouds away. This was seen as prayer - not magic. As far as we know today, this did not change over the millennia until the magic academy in Ximax was founded again 621b.S. .

When this school of magic was opened by Xarl Bluestride, a lot of research was conducted to answer the (theoretical) question as to how some achievements of mages resemble so closely what priest can do when praying like pushing clouds away when a harvest is threatened or gathering them when a drought takes its toll on the lives of the people.
In an essay which is unfortunately lost today,  Lohoán Windsweeper the Great,  a Ximaxian archmage who wrote about this matter, created the word „Divine Magic“ and it was soon used by all mages, though it took a few centuries till the council of the Viarían priest accepted it and used it for themselves.

In our modern time scholars foment discussion among non-believers or believers, clerics or non-clerics,as to whether there is a true difference between Ximaxian magic and Divine Magic. They also question whether Divine Magic can be described in Ximaxian terms as well, if not priests cast with their prayers spells, though they have a different way of doing it. That there is no interaction of the gods needed, but only the will of the priest. This „will“ manipulates the world as does a mage with spells. (See discussions under ‚basic principles‘.)

However, how this discussion will end and what for results are found - it will not affect the beliefs in the gods. Even if in the centuries to come Ximax finds out, that prayers work either with changing the ca‘rall and pushing ounia around as well or altering the possibilities“, who can proove, that it was the will of the priest (or any person who prays) who did this and not the god himself? After a long life as a mage and a cleric alike, I have come to the conclusion, that the gods, who created the world, are the originators of  the laws of the Ximaxian magic as well, the laws the mages have just started to find out.


Takór Salenár
(Methar)

***************************************************************


 
Footnotes



(1) Viresse: „Clerical Magic“ (Note from the editor: A Ximaxian View) , New Santhala 1662 a. S. , Great Santharian Library

(2)
Please note the use of the word „practise“. Other verbs as „achieve“ or even „cast“ would not be approbate here, for the cleric does not cast spells, nor it is his „achievement“ if the magic succeeds - after the belief of the clerics it is the god who does the miracle or grants you your wish which is brought forward with a prayer e.g..

(3)
Artimidor Federkiel: „The Twelvern Gems“, New Santhala, 1667 a. S. , Great Santharian Library

(4)
See also the standard essay of Artimidor Federkiel „Magic in the World of Caelereth“ where he speaks about magic as follows: „...that the essence of magic is mainly manifestation of will - and it is this principle on which all other magical theories are based.“

(5) Takór Salenár: „Prayer and Spellcasting“, Milkengrad 1663a. S. , Great  Library of Elsreth An answer to the publishing of the Ximaxian view of prayers by the compendium-writer Viresse. (1) It deals with the Santharian Viarían magic, but is generally applicable to many Divine Magic world-wide.

(6) „Belief in Different Gods - Why does Divine Magic Work Worldwide?“ Milkengrad 1664 a. S. , Great  Library of Elsreth.

I have to rewrite this, somehow it didn‘t work anymore when I read it again. Too many similarities! ;)

(7) “Morals in prayers“ by XXX. [i]Who wants to write it? [/i]


Further Recommended Readings:


The Viarian Magic...

.... the list of Religious magic out of the magical organisation?



« Last Edit: 07 December 2009, 17:01:43 by Takór Salenár » Logged
Miraran Tehuriden
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« Reply #1 on: 29 September 2007, 02:18:58 »

Quote
check Nybelmer religions
Did you mean NybelMAR, or NybelMERfolk? In the latter case, the basics should be in the Nybelmer Overview i posted.. erh... somewhere?

edit-> ah, its right here. No real divine or spirit magic there, and i don't think the source and methods of their powers are ever going to be revealed.
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« Reply #2 on: 29 September 2007, 04:18:26 »

Thanks Mira - I meant Nybelmar!
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« Reply #3 on: 30 September 2007, 10:19:40 »

From a quick read over, there's one question that is a very big knife in the side of divine magic's viability that was put out in Arti's entry that isn't answered here (that I can see from a quick read, at least): "How can a cleric of one faith rectify the fact that clerics of other faiths can also cast divine spells, when that cleric denies the existence of all other beliefs?" In other words, how would clerics acknowledge the spells of other gods if they don't believe those gods exist?


Quote
(need an Ximax mage here for an example: Can you push clouds away or create one in an otherwise #6666FF sky?)

Yes a Ximaxian mage can both push clouds away and create them (though "creation" would be quite a high level spell, dealing with gathering of stray wind ounia into a single area and manipulating some property or another to give it a cloud-like structure. And even then, it'd only be a 'wind' cloud, rather than a storm one (which would require the aid of a water mage). Earth mages might be able to do it as well (by thickening the air, maybe)).

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« Reply #4 on: 30 September 2007, 11:14:26 »

Just poking my nose in here for a quick minute, and taking the real chance it could get cut-off......

Could the Clerics of one faith see the magic of another as abominations?  Accredited to some sort of evil force?  My thinking goes back to early missionaries that traveled to other cultures and encountered strange customs and religious practices in the form of shamans and witch doctors.  Things that they could not explain were openly denounced as belonging to the devil, and then systematically rooted out and destroyed.  I'm thinking the Spanish colonization of Meso-America here.

Just a thought, though admittedly, I stay away from magic in a big way.
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« Reply #5 on: 30 September 2007, 19:42:09 »

Thanks for having a look you both!

@Fox:

Are you speaking of that line?

Quote
As a matter of fact the magical powers of clerics can't be denied, but the explanation of their sources has to remain questionable - or how would it be possible that two clerics of different cultures/races both can receive blessings of their Gods, who both claim to not tolerate any other Gods?

Well, I think this is not really a big question and applies only for those religions which claim that their god is the only existing one and I can't think of one right now except the   Brownie belief in the One. This is a problem we know coming from our Christian background where the trinity is declared as only existing deity.

I don't know (we have never talked about this) , if the Santharian people e.g. deny the existence of the Aeolian gods, if they think much about them anyway. for them the aviaria is what counts, they believe in them and they surely know about Dalireen who they probably don't worship if they are not Hobbits.

So, if they believe in several gods anyway, they might not have problems with other gods neither.

For scholars and philosophers who believe in the gods that might be a problem, for they believe that their respective gods created the world and not the other group. Surely the reason for many scholarly disputations - for the fact exists, that it works everywhere. Atheists of course have it easy, see Art's elaboration.
Well, as a summary - it cannot be explained by believing scholars, but they have surely come up with a lot of different explanations and theories. (which could all be written ;) )I may point this out as well as an unsolved question.

This article I mentioned which could be written could be expanded to cover this problem as well.

@Altario:

Yes, that surely could happen, not just between divine magic, but magic general (that bloodmagic practise might not be to everybodies liking) I will see that I can integrate a sentence hinting at that. For now, the problem is that not much is developed in this respect and so no examples can be found which could be named (xx despises the practise of yyy)

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« Reply #6 on: 30 September 2007, 23:41:13 »

Well, I think this is not really a big question and applies only for those religions which claim that their god is the only existing one and I can't think of one right now except the   Brownie belief in the One. This is a problem we know coming from our Christian background where the trinity is declared as only existing deity.

I don't know (we have never talked about this) , if the Santharian people e.g. deny the existence of the Aeolian gods, if they think much about them anyway. for them the aviaria is what counts, they believe in them and they surely know about Dalireen who they probably don't worship if they are not Hobbits.

So, if they believe in several gods anyway, they might not have problems with other gods neither.

For scholars and philosophers who believe in the gods that might be a problem, for they believe that their respective gods created the world and not the other group. Surely the reason for many scholarly disputations - for the fact exists, that it works everywhere. Atheists of course have it easy, see Art's elaboration.
Well, as a summary - it cannot be explained by believing scholars, but they have surely come up with a lot of different explanations and theories. (which could all be written ;) )I may point this out as well as an unsolved question.

This article I mentioned which could be written could be expanded to cover this problem as well.

Yeah, that was the line I was referring to.

I was under the belief that most religions on Santharia followed the idea that their gods exist and only their's, no others. I didn't know they were tolerant of the faiths of others enough to accept the existence of other's gods. Most religions IRL afaik do not accept the existence of others as truth, not just Christianity.
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« Reply #7 on: 05 October 2007, 18:03:05 »

I tried to address the questions from above in green, especially Art's explanation of clerical magic which I must have lost during the process of writing, though I postponed at least one of the problems.

Feel free to add more comments - for now I'm done.

There remains just one thing I have to ask Art, that is if he wants to change his entry and remove some of the sentences refering to "clerical spells" or if I should just desrcibe this as the "Ximaxian" way of dealing with the things. Maybe that is easier.
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« Reply #8 on: 05 October 2007, 19:15:51 »

Given the diversity of divine and human interaction across the spectrum of Caelereth, I think this is a very effective and thorough summing up.  If I had any quibbles with the entry, it would be with its tone - which is a bit too ... how can I say it?  ...dispassionate?  omniscient?  uninvolved?  Surely the author (Takor Salenar) must have his own beliefs which might show through here and there - even some fiery denunciations of the intolerance of certain clerics who don't tolerate alternative beliefs would be amusing and a nice indication of both character and attitude.

It needs a few spelling corrections here and there (ancestors, beliefs, research, controversial, etc.) but it's clear, as concise as possible considering how much needed to be covered, and well-organized.  I don't know if any of the content is disputable or if you've simply collated and summarized what already exists, though.

I might be interested in writing the "Morals of Prayer', although probably not with Bard Judith's quill... :)
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« Reply #9 on: 05 October 2007, 20:20:26 »

Thanks for reading, Judy - and sorry for the spelling errors, there were quite a few left - how could this happen to me who does spellchecks not only once , but several times.  speechless

To that "dispassionate" feeling - it is somehow intended, for he is quite old to have distance to the worldly affairs and  here he would try especially to be not "emotional" to be a proper counterpart to the secular mages who try to explain divine magic without gods, including the great Sage Federkiel whose opinion has such a great weight throughout Santharia. Maybe you like the Viarian magic (Santharian gods) better.. they are nearly done as well.
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« Reply #10 on: 06 October 2007, 16:23:48 »

Any more comments or can I go on to the next?
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« Reply #11 on: 06 October 2007, 20:28:22 »

That makes sense (Takor's age => dispassionate viewpoint - especially if you can make a specific note to that effect!) , and we can always have 'side' entries which are clearly 'prejudiced' and written from a specific point of view if we want to add character or clarify how a particular devotee might feel or might worship (such as the creation story I wrote told by an aged priest, or the Dwarven funeral description).  But of course the overview should be as academic and 'detached' as possible.  Bravo again.


Do you want an Uri-check at this point now, or are you waiting to incorporate other stuff?  I'll gladly look for any last little typos or errors of place (sometimes spell-check doesn't catch words that are incorrect in context but correct words in themselves - for example, something like "I felted that he was unfair" ('felt' is of course the correct past tense, but 'felted' is a verb meaning 'to make into a fabric' - so dictionary-based spell-checking computers won't catch such an error) when you're ready to put this up.
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« Reply #12 on: 06 October 2007, 21:06:42 »

That's so true, a spellchecker can't catch all errors - unfortunately. :(

Thank you for your offer to proofread - it is always needed and appreciated, especially if it comes from you or Coren.


From my side it is finished for I don't know what to add in the moment and I'm a bit blind as well regarding this entry after so much thinking and editing. But as I don't know, if Artimidor approves the content generally, the new name or the new categories Spirit Magic or Wild Magic (though I think the last is not mentioned here??) and I don't want to bellring him with his work on his flat, I don't know, if an uri-check now makes sense.

But thank you!

Please look in your bell-ring thread!
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« Reply #13 on: 07 October 2007, 01:29:28 »

Do I still need to add anything here Talia? or has the cocument I sent you answered your questions (feel free to extract the necessary summary from there). Have you been able to look through it yet btw?
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"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Takór Salenár
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« Reply #14 on: 07 October 2007, 04:43:53 »

No, for the moment I don't plan to add anything. I went through your draft only quickly; here I just avoided references to Nybelmar, where I  thought it might not fit. I will have a look at your draft tomorrow (Sunday) where I hope to have some more time. (You know, Coren submissions need your full concentration ;) )

(Saturday+good weather= garden)
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