Our understanding of the "balance of magic", as Ogden Stonehealer once put it, remains as abstract now as ever before. His understanding of this arcane subject is derived from his study of the Map of the All, an artifact attributed to the Margonite known as the Apostate. Ogden believes the map reveals that "too much magic [will cause] the world [to spin] out of control", whereas too little magic will result in it "[crumbling] into darkness". This interpretation of the map is pretty straightforward, especially when the PC scrutinizes the tome in which it is contained. The word "imbalanced" is used and the tome's author does warn, "[s]hould [a magical imbalance occur], the world will tilt and all beings will fall off it into the void".
Jormag's recent remarks regarding balance have given us good reason to question the reliability of our interpretation of the Apostate's work. We should've questioned it long beforehand, though. Notable characters have acted in a way that seems to disregard both the Apostate's and Ogden's warnings about disrupting the balance of magic; these characters include Trahearne, who stated that "the dragons are not stars in the sky...one day, we will kill the last of them". Trahearne was a dedicated scholar. There is no way that he didn't know about the Map of the All, no way he didn't read it. He had to know that killing Zaithan, without installing a replacement, would cause a magical imbalance. Balthazar also appeared to disregard any concerns for the balance of magic.
You might think that, because Glint's clutch was at the ready, a scholar like Trahearne reasoned that he'd use one of her offspring to replace Zaithan. That doesn't seem likely, though. Sadizi, an Exalted scholar, notes that the loss of Zaithan and Mordremoth was "unexpected", causing "[a] void that caused the system to break down and the collapse to begin". In other words, it is unlikely that Trahearne planned to replace Zaithan.
Maybe Trahearne was just mistaken? He's a good guy, after all. Naturally, because Balthazar's a bad guy, he's obviously wrong. But then we get to the Elder races. The forgotten, the race to whom we attribute the plan to replace Kralkatorrik, once fought against Zaithan. So did the mursaat. The list doesn't end there, but the more parties I add to it who acted as though our interpretation of the Map of the All is somehow wrong, the more convinced I become that Jormag's frustration with mortal superstitions is reasonable. We really don't know what we're talking about.
The core of the issue may lie in the nature of the Apostate's warning. Apparently, it's a metaphor. I really do wonder if the entirety of our cognitive dissonance is centered upon an inability to comprehend figures of speech.
So where do we go from here? The Apostate took the time to write his tome; he took the time to warn readers about the consequences of magical imbalances. There must be something of relevance within. Moreover, it doesn't seem honest to dismiss mainstream interpretations of the map, even if they are formed by luddites like Ogden Stonehealer, Sadizi, and yes, the PC. I think that at least some evidence has emerged, within the PC's lifetime, to demonstrate the dangers of a magical imbalance. We've known about the Great Collapse for a long time and, although the true reason behind this disaster has never been revealed, the title "Great Collapse" naturally invokes thoughts about the balance of magic. Here's my take on the calamity: The collapse followed too much mingling between Canthan human and Northern Tyrian human bloodlines. This may not have been solely through interbreeding, but it remains a strong possibility. The other possibility is that the magics practiced by humans of various heritages comingled too freely and this caused the implosion. As I understand it, condensing too many Canthan humans into the same general area (the Canthan District of Divinity's Reach), together with their Northern Tyrian human relatives, created an environment brimming with explosive potential. To mitigate this, following the collapse, the number of Canthans allowed to congregate in a single space was reduced.
Another potential source of evidence from the PC's lifetime is the Thaumanova Disaster. We don't know exactly how the reactor exploded, but I have long wondered whether Scarlet Briar provided the Inquest with a sample of either the Deep Sea Dragon's magic, or even Abaddon's. The latter certainly wouldn't have been too hard for her to obtain, as the Parable of Abaddon indicates.
The final contemporary example is Subject Alpha. This experimental life form, created by the Inquest, successfully combines the magics of the Five Terrestrial Dragons (Jormag, Primordus, Mordremoth, Kralkatorrik, and Zaithan). The Deep Sea Dragon's magic is absent. This doesn't appear to be because the Inquest don't have access to samples of the latter's magic, as a space is being renovated at the Infinite Coil Reactor to accommodate one of the water dragon's minions; rather, it's likely because the Inquest have yet to find a way to successfully mix the Deep Sea Dragon's magic with that of the Five Terrestrial Dragons.
What can we take away from this? I believe that Canthan humanity has the strongest affinity to water magic and that it is safe to assume that they represent it. Thus, water magic is the common variable in each instance.
Why is water magic such a problem? Humans have practiced various forms of water magic for as long as they can remember, and the charr/norn/asura/sylvari PC is an example of a spell-caster from another race that, canonically, can practice water magic as an elementalist, ranger, and engineer. So I don't think water magic is really at fault. As you all know, I believe that the nature of spell-casting traumatizes magic and that, of all the elemental magics, water magic is and water magicians are the most sensitive to this trauma.
This brings us to Jormag's comments about the mortal paradigm that we call the "natural balance of magic". In every example that I can think of, the only elemental magic that doesn't mix well with the others is water magic. Thus, if we were to ask ourselves, "How do we create a magical imbalance?", the answer that is always, absolutely true is, "By incorrectly mixing water magic with the other elemental magics". Humans incorrectly mixed bloodlines strongly affiliated with water magic with those associated with the other elemental magics and...POOF! The Great Collapse. The Inquest incorrectly mixed the traumatized water magic of the Deep Sea Dragon with that of the Five Terrestrial Dragons at the Thaumanova Reactor and...POOF! The reactor blew. What does all of this mean? You can kill quite a few terrestrial Elder Dragons, maybe all of them, and it won't disrupt the balance of magic. But if you kill the Deep Sea Dragon, it likely will tip the All into the void. Why? Think of it this way: Each Elder Dragon ensures that the volatile magics with which they work remain separated from each other and so, in a sense, they prevent all six elemental forms of magic - air, fire, earth, time, water, and aether - from mixing. As water magic is the most unstable form of magic, if the Deep Sea Dragon is killed, no being will be found capable of managing it's volatile magic, leaving the sea dragon's magic to freely mix with all of the other magics and...you know how this goes: POOF!
Now we come to the most important part: Let's say that magic doesn't want to remain separated forever; let's say that magic dreams of unification, a state similar to that presented to us as the City of Arah. What do we learn from the holy city? That once, long ago, all of the elemental magics - each represented by a different deity - successfully and peacefully mingled with each other. This means that, in principle at least, water magic can peacefully coexist with the other elemental magics. The only thing working for or against this union is time.
How would you successfully mix water magic with the other elemental magics? Remember, if you get it wrong, you destroy everything. There is only one example of a union that the PC has witnessed: Malchor's love for Dwayna. In the Tragedy of Malchor, Malchor represents water magic; Dwayna represents air magic. Of all the elemental magics, then, water is drawn to air. And so from the tragedy we learn that the successful mixing of water magic with the other elemental magics is best facilitated by an air magician. And as you all know, I believe that Jormag is the Elder Dragon of Air. Sure, Jormag uses ice, but I believe that this is merely one of a number of different forms of air magic that Jormag employs. It's definitely the safest, given the volatility of water magic. But why would Jormag want to kill Primordus? If water magic is the trigger for explosions surely Primordus isn't a problem for Jormag? I believe that Jormag and Primordus can safely cohabit the same corporeal form. Subject Alpha and Kudu's Monster demonstrate this. I also reckon that Jormag secretly wants to be unified with Primordus and that Braham's decision to become Primordus' "champion" is business as usual. Nothing is presently happening that Jormag hasn't foreseen or doesn't want to come to pass. The Machiavellian machinations of the Elder Dragon of Ice and Persuasion are such that Logan Thackeray's remark is spot on: Mortal spell-casters are just "caught in the middle". When Braham says, "We're going to bring the twin dragons together", he can't know how much what he wants is what Jormag wants. Braham's voice, his mind, and his heart are no longer his own. They became Jormag's during Braham's first expedition against the Elder Dragon and the son of Eir Stegalkin has been living in denial ever since.
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