"What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

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ErrantFan
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"What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

Post by ErrantFan »

After Ian fought with some elves in Saus, Ian and Meji were separated. Sarine had the choice of pursuing Meji or pursuing Ian, and chose to pursue Meji. She eventually met Jon and Meji, and they began traveling together. But...

What if Sarine had chosen to pursue Ian, instead? Their first meeting would probably have been very rocky, with Ian assuming that Sarine had tracked him down to kill him for being a half-elf. Meji assumed the same thing, and even attacked Sarine on sight when they first met...but they eventually calmed down and became traveling companions. Would Sarine and Ian have become traveling companions, too? Or would Ian have absolutely refused to become friends with an elf?

Assuming that Ian would refuse to cooperate with Sarine and would have fought her to the death, she would have had to kill him. Then, she would have obtained the book he was carrying around, and would have been able to read it, eventually learning about Anilis and Senilis' resting places.

After obtaining such valuable information, would she have immediately returned home to tell the other elves, or would she have just tried to visit Anilis/Senilis herself? And if she visited Anilis, would she have - like Ian did - accidentally imbued herself with the powers of a slumbering god?

If it was Sarine who obtained Anilis' powers, what direction might the story have taken from there? Sarine seems a lot more composed than Ian, so she probably wouldn't have made a lot of the careless and destructive mistakes that he made. She might have turned out more like Meji did, after obtaining Senilis' powers; benevolent and trying to create a utopia, without any GENOCIDE! involved.

I'm curious to know what you think! What do you think were the biggest turning points of the story, and what might have happened if those events had occurred differently?
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

Post by Graybeard »

Very interesting stuff here, but one part of it doesn't compute:
ErrantFan wrote:
February 24th, 2022, 9:06 am
After obtaining such valuable information, would she have immediately returned home to tell the other elves, or would she have just tried to visit Anilis/Senilis herself? And if she visited Anilis, would she have - like Ian did - accidentally imbued herself with the powers of a slumbering god? [my emphasis added -- GB]
We have it from a very reliable source (well, Nookie) that that couldn't happen, at least for Senilis, and presumably for Anilis as well. Entertaining thought, though.
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

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Ah! Interesting! I had forgotten about that comment from Nookie.

If Sarine had chosen to pursue Ian and had tracked him down before he reached Anilis, what do you think their first meeting would have been like? Ian probably would have assumed that a ranger had been sent to kill him for what he did to the elves in Saus, and would have been hostile towards Sarine - but as Sarine showed with Jon and Meji, she has a talent for persuading people to stop trying to kill her and hear her out. Not sure if it would have worked out with Ian, though, since he holds a much deeper grudge against the elves.

Could Sarine have befriended Ian, or would that option be completely off the table for him? It definitely determines what would happen next in this "what if?" scenario.
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

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Well, when Sarine first met Meji, Meji tried to kill her despite Sarine's approach being polite and pleasant. Somehow the relationship managed to survive that ... rocky start ...

Due in no small part to the fact -- let's put it bluntly -- that Meji was female, and reminded Sarine greatly of the daughter she'd lost at birth two thousand years earlier. That was made clear in my favorite arc in the whole comic, as Sarine tucked her in. Ian obviously wouldn't have triggered that memory. Instead, it would all have come down to whether she saw him as well put together or as a potential Errant; Misa characteristically gets down to brass tacks about that, and so, equally characteristically, does Sarine.

I would not see the chances of a happy ending as being very good. Ian would certainly conceal the fact that he's from Santuariel, never mind that Sarine was one of the elven protectors of the place; he wouldn't know that. This couldn't help but make Sarine suspicious. Couple that to Ian's elf-phobia, and I don't see a good outcome as likely.

Incidentally, I'd love to see the opinions of some other, straggling forum readers on this one. It's an interesting topic.
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

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I think you're spot-on. Ian would not have triggered any maternal instincts or sentimental feelings in Sarine, making a positive outcome far less likely.

Pre-godhood, Ian seemed to have a relatively good heart. He didn't try to take advantage of Meji even when she was trying to entice him, he apologized to the people he had to knock out (even when they couldn't hear him), and his original motivation was simply finding a cure his sister's condition. Although he totally went off the deep end later in the story, he started out as a likeable guy. It's possible that, if he and Sarine met each other under the very best of circumstances, they might have left a positive impression on one another, and she may have been able to see the good in him...

...but, after nearly being killed by elves in Saus, Ian was probably paranoid that elves were tracking him down, anticipating that he was being hunted, and preparing to fight any pursuers to the death. He definitely would not have been expecting the next elf he encountered to want a polite and civil conversation with him. Even if Sarine tried to approach him peacefully, their first meeting would probably be fated to turn into a fight before long...and - because of the several-thousand-year gap in combat experience between the two of them - Ian's death would be a very strong possibility, unless Sarine was feeling extremely merciful, and decided to simply knock him out or something.

What I'm curious about, though, is what would have happened after Sarine rummaged through Ian's surroundings and found the forbidden elven book. Would she have read it and decided to investigate the coordinates, or simply brought it straight to her superiors?

And, if she tried to investigate Anilis' resting place herself, would she have been stopped by the anti-Elf devices? Ian got past them, but as a full-blooded elf, would Sarine have any chance at getting past?
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

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Last question first: remember that when Sarine encountered the anti-elf field, it stopped her cold until Jon and Meji knocked it out. There's no reason to believe it wouldn't have done the same if she was there solo. What then? Dunno, but Sarine is not lacking in determination...

As for the book, there's too much of the story that we just don't know; specifically, we don't know what she knows. She knows the book about the Lorenzel Excavations is important to the elves, and at some point in the story, I forget where, she learns that among other things, it contains info on the separate, highly secure travel-platform network that goes to where Anilis, and Senilis, and ... we-never-learn-what-else are. (Come on, Poe, PLEASE publish that sequel!) But we don't know whether she grasps any, or how much, of that network's significance, nor whether it's couched in terms that lead her to want to give it to the council or peruse it herself or Luminosita knows what.

One thing we can safely assume is that she does know how screwed the elves are unless something is done. She is well aware that Misa is not only her minion and friend, but also the only elf born in the last fifteen hundred years. My personal guess (from someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about Sarine over the years) is that she'd recognize a possible tie-in, deduce that the problem is way above her pay grade, get the book back to Praenubilus Astu, and bug out as fast as possible so that she can resume helping sound half-elves and reluctantly dispatching Errants. But there's no way to know ... until that sequel comes along.
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

Post by ErrantFan »

I see! Logical deductions, honestly.

Judging by what the council said to Sarine in this comic, it sounds like the senior elves have known about Anilis' and Senilis' locations for a long time, and were perfectly content to just leave them dormant, rather than trying to do anything with them. So, if Sarine had brought the book to Praenubilus Astu, they probably wouldn't have launched any important operations, and would have just continued to keep the status quo exactly as it was.

One more question, though. If Meji and Jon had continued to travel together and reached Thranel without Sarine, would they have eventually been eliminated by Melrin (Dennis)? If two newcomers arrived in town and started asking merchants to sell them a map to guide them through the woods, Melrin definitely would have learned about them and ambushed them at the best opportunity. Meji and Jon are capable, but a stealth attack from an elf wielding a Durus Flamma might be more than they can handle. Would that have been the end of their journey?

By the way, has Poe actually expressed interest in a sequel anytime in recent years...?
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

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Last things first:
ErrantFan wrote:
March 16th, 2022, 6:08 pm
By the way, has Poe actually expressed interest in a sequel anytime in recent years...?
Yes.

As for what would have happened to Meji and Jon minus Sarine, nothing good. Somewhere much earlier in the story, there was a reference to the woods at Thranel being a place where people went in and didn't come out again. That wouldn't have been entirely because of the bandits.

An interesting question, though, is: how did Ian make it to the travel platform on his own? True, he was a remarkably powerful magic user considering his backstory, given the way he fared against the elves in Saus. Still, his final combat with the elven commander required a stroke of luck for him to survive. He obviously didn't have a run-in with Melrin, but he might not have survived if he had. (Then there's also the question of how he got past the wards, but that's a different story.)

How would a party consisting of Jon, Meji AND Ian have fared? Who knows?
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Re: "What If?" Hypothetical Alternate Timeline Questions

Post by ErrantFan »

I never thought about that. How did Ian make it to Anilis before Meji and Jon, and reach Anilis' resting place, and how did he do it all without being noticed or stopped by Melrin?
Graybeard wrote:
April 3rd, 2022, 11:10 am
How would a party consisting of Jon, Meji AND Ian have fared?
It's a good question, since we don't know exactly how strong Melrin was. He was tough enough to prevent anyone from finding Anilis over the course of several thousand years, but not powerful enough to defeat Sarine. Maybe he was only a hair less skilled than her, and that slim margin made all the difference.

Assuming that Melrin was nearly Sarine's equal, he probably could have taken out Ian, Meji, or Jon easily if they didn't suspect him as a threat. His initial attempt to kill Sarine was a sneaky stealth attack from above, and if Ian/Meji/Jon didn't have quick enough reflexes, he probably could have picked them off one-by-one without much difficulty.

If all three of them were fully aware that he was a threat and tried fighting him head-on, I feel like they actually might have stood a chance against him - over the course of the story, Jon defeated multiple elves just by shooting them when they didn't expect it, so if Ian and Meji could cooperate to take up Melrin's full attention, Jon might have been able to use his usual "just shoot 'em" strategy. A fast and anticlimactic end to Melrin, but Jon didn't seem dispositioned towards prolonged battles.

I'm more curious to know how things might have played out if Meji, Ian, and Jon had all reached Anilis' resting place while traveling together as a party...
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