September 6, 2012   1,209 notes

Mage of Doom: The path, at a price.

Mage seems to be the more active counterpart to Seer; if Seers illuminate the path for others, then Mages walk the path themselves.  More than that, a Mage is a trailblazer: a Mage forges a path, guiding through actions where a Seer might guide with instructions and plans.

(Potentially of note: during much of her session, Rose was approximating a Mage of Void.)

And Doom?  The word “doom” doesn’t mean death.  It means condemned to an unpleasant and unavoidable fate.  Doom comes from Anglo-Saxon dom: judgement, law.  You probably already knew this meaning of doom, without quite being aware of it - it’s why in Christianity, “Doomsday” and “Judgement Day” are two names for the same thing.  In Homestuck, “doomed” has another special meaning - it is what characterizes every timeline save the alpha.  When Doc Scratch describes a doomed timeline, there is a strange implication that some kind of judgement is involved - that doomed timelines are judged and found wanting, and accordingly condemned.

So Doom can be laws, boundaries, rules: knowledge of the full dimensions of a system, and of the best way to work within it.  (This is why Sollux is an excellent hacker; he understands the system and its rules and constraints, and he is magnificent at working within them.)

It can be judgments, in any sense of the word.

Sollux says it’s his own fault he was blinded and maimed?  But it’s not surprising a Mage of Doom would judge himself harshly: what happened was well within the rules of Sgrub.  

But the facet of Doom most useful for understanding Sollux’s arc is one particular rule:  

Everything has a price.

Sollux is the one who adapted the game, and he did it for a specific reason.

And he knew that in playing, he and his friends would all die.  

Sollux believed that he was making a bargain with fate:  the lives of twelve trolls in exchange for the lives of billions.  It was a price he was willing to pay.

He tried to back out when he learned that his bargain with fate had never actually existed.  As it happened, his attempt to convince Karkat not to play led to Karkat running the ~ATH virus that ‘cursed’ Karkat and everyone he’d ever meet, brought about the death and prototyping of every lusus, and incidentally prevented the early onset of Gamzee’s murder mode.  This curse and its consequences happened to be the price required by the alpha timeline.

When the Vast Glub begins, Sollux is talking to a Karkat who’s in the past relative to him.  He could have taken the time to get across to Karkat the importance, when the time came, of bringing him into the game as fast as possible.  But Karkat probably would have wanted to argue about it, and Sollux didn’t have time to spare if he was to bring Feferi in safely.  The price for saving Feferi’s life was his own death - a price he paid willingly.

We don’t see much of what Sollux (or anyone else, for that matter) does during the session.  There is this example of a perfect Hero of Doom tactic, though:

Because if the game allows Black King to use meteors as a weapon, then using meteors as weapons is part of the game.  Heroes of Doom should excel at working within a system while making it work for them.  Incidentally, this is why I suspect that having two dream selves is not unknown for Heroes of Doom; if part of the game is the availability of supernatural insight or direction, then access to Skaian visions and to communion with the Horrorterrors are both part of the game.  If both are part of the system, then why shouldn’t one way the Doom aspect can manifest be the ability to access both?  Doom, after all, covers the full dimensions of a system, and all the options its rules allow.  When it’s revealed that the universes are connected, it’s even visually represented by Sollux’s glasses!  

After their game ends, and the trolls are prevented from entering the universe they made, Sollux is the one who actually connects the trolls and the kids.  Dave and Terezi’s friendship is a predestination paradox - they became friends because Terezi talked to Dave, but Terezi talked to Dave because he sent her money, but Dave sent her money because they were friends -  but Sollux is the one who showed them the way.   Sollux is the bridge between humans and trolls.

(Walking the path Sollux opened to her led Vriska to: cause Becquerel’s prototyping, making her responsible for the failure of the humans’ session as well as her own; murder Tavros when he confronted her after finding out what she’d done; and ultimately to die, when Terezi chose to stab a friend in the back rather than let Vriska’s actions cause the deaths of those few trolls still alive…  And the contact that Kanaya and Eridan have with Rose eventually leads a concerned Kanaya to make Eridan a wand in a bid to distract Rose from her apparently-suicidal plans…  Sometimes Sollux isn’t the only one who pays the price, but it is always paid.) 

Sollux forged the path of troll/human interaction, yet he had no interest in it himself.

Why?  Because Sollux finds the path within the existing rules and boundaries and laws.  He believes that talking to the humans can’t change the fact that they are sitting in the Veil, waiting to die.  Sollux can’t see the possibility that talking to some aliens would lead to escaping from their Incipisphere before Jack finds them.  Within the boundaries of Sgrub, the only potential outcome he could see of talking to aliens was just that - talking to aliens.


It wasn’t until after he ‘underestimated’ Eridan that he stopped feeling useless, and started feeling there might be options besides waiting for death.  His blinding was the price he had to pay before he could forge the path to the Green Sun.    

(If his vision was the price Sollux paid to become a true prophet, will the price Calliope pays to earn her wings be her life?)

All Sollux wanted to accomplish through Sgrub was the salvation of his race.  In a distant session, spawned by a distant universe, there is a future for the few trolls left alive, and there is some hope they won’t be the last of their kind.  And so, a true prophet of Doom, Sollux forges one last path.

And pays one last price.

And why is the Doom symbol reminiscent of a skull?  Memento mori.  We are all of us playing a “game” that has boundaries, so to speak, and if we play within them we are fated to lose.  One day, we will die.  You can try fighting fate, but how often do you hear of anyone who succeeds?  But a Hero of Doom who embraced their aspect would know destiny, and would know there was no point in trying to resist.  Instead, they would take their fate, turn around, and do the most they could with it.

Tags: homestuck homestuck theory Doom aspect Sollux Captor Mage of Doom hey there would you like to talk about aspects

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