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Who Is Esher?

#1 User is offline   Capella 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:31 AM

I was writing an Esher piece for MC/GoArch's Fanfiction February/March, and it was made more difficult by the fact that we don't really know much about Esher. He says almost nothing about himself in-game. And while I know that there's some out of game information about Cyan's plans surrounding him, how much of that is confirmed and how much of that is ideas being tossed around is hard to define without being Cyantists ourselves. So I was hoping we could have a discussion incorporating both what we're presented with in the games and what's going on outside. I know there's at least one pet conspiracy theory on this board, let's make more!

In End of Ages, Esher tells us very little about himself. He speaks much of Yeesha, the Bahro, and of D'ni, but he doesn't get into his own life before the game. For such a proud man, and one with such grand ambitions, I was surprised he didn't brag more about who he was pre-Fall - which naturally leads me to suspect that he's concealing something. Is his name really Esher? What was his social status? Why did no one ever find the Noloben Book? How did he get back to the Cavern? How old was he when D'ni fell, and how did he survive until 2005 and yet not look doddering in age?

This post has been edited by Capella: 01 April 2013 - 12:18 PM
Reason for edit: added link to the Suahrnir post

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#2 User is offline   Kaelri 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:43 AM

I had the sense that Esher, like Gehn, used the Fall as an excuse to dramatically magnify his own stature. He strikes me as someone who was fairly young at the time, and did not have many prospects for future advancements in existing D'ni society - either because of his background, or simply because he was not a very bright or talented guildsman.

Unlike Gehn, I do think that he understood his culture well, and likely belonged to a sizable stratum of mid-level Guild elites who were tribally committed to the idea of the D'ni's racial superiority. He would have had strong feelings about the Ti'ana scandal, but was probably too timid to actually join Veovis's revolt, or anything else that required such personal agency. (His ambition for the Tablet may have reflected some attempt at compensating for his past cowardice.) His chest-thumping in Laki'ahn makes me think he was an emotionally sensitive person, and not without empathy for others. But he depended on tradition and propriety as psychological models, and was not good at living in a world without rules, which would help to explain his animosity for Yeesha. In short, I think Esher wanted to recreate the old D'ni in a way that put himself at the top of the food chain.
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#3 User is offline   Lostthyme 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:59 AM

I don't think I can top Kaelri's post. It pretty accurately summed up my feelings on him. I always assumed Esher was around Gehn's age or possibly even born post-Fall. I think someone more familiar with the material could draw some interesting parallels between Gehn and Esher.
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#4 User is offline   Veovis17 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:22 PM

One question that has spoilers:


If Eshr was born before the fall and is still alive, then how did Atrus, who was born after the fall, already die?
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#5 User is offline   Kaelri 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:55 PM

View PostVeovis17, on 01 April 2013 - 01:22 PM, said:

One question that has spoilers:


If Eshr was born before the fall and is still alive, then how did Atrus, who was born after the fall, already die?

Spoiler

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#6 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 07:10 PM

I figured that Esher was able to return to D'ni after he perfected linking with his Bahro skin. The timing of his escape isn't clear, nor is how much he knew about other survivors or about Releeshahn in particular, but I'd guess that at this point, after his years on Noloben, he saw the world in terms of Esher versus the Bahro, and that claiming their power was the only way to keep them from using it against him.

It would have been nice to have a journal from Esher's first arrival on Noloben, but alas. :mellow: Noloben is actually so barren that I prefer to believe that the house mentioned in Marie Sutherland's letter is on some other island, and that Esher used the boat to go between his house and his lab before he was able to just link between the two.

As for conspiracy theories, I think it's pretty clearly implied* that a time-traveling Esher was the real culprit of the theft that resulted in A'gaeris's being cast out of the guild. The missing book was the Noloben book, which Esher arranged to fall into the hands of his younger self who was fleeing the Fall, to bring about the circumstances under which he could master the power of the Bahro. Although he probably never knew it, Esher was therefore responsible for the Fall of D'ni, adding a bitter irony to his contempt for Yeesha's belief that the Fall was necessary for a greater good.

*It's not.
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#7 User is offline   Capella 

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:32 AM

View PostKaelri, on 01 April 2013 - 09:43 AM, said:

He strikes me as someone who was fairly young at the time, and did not have many prospects for future advancements in existing D'ni society - either because of his background, or simply because he was not a very bright or talented guildsman.

Unlike Gehn, I do think that he understood his culture well, and likely belonged to a sizable stratum of mid-level Guild elites who were tribally committed to the idea of the D'ni's racial superiority. He would have had strong feelings about the Ti'ana scandal, but was probably too timid to actually join Veovis's revolt, or anything else that required such personal agency.


Low-status Guildsman makes sense. it also means that he came from a position of relative privilege in society, regardless of his level within his class. It's been said that outside sources put him as an Archivist. IIRC we don't get any in-game confimation that that was so, do we? What Guilds might make sense, given what we know of him?

View PostKaelri, on 01 April 2013 - 09:43 AM, said:

(His ambition for the Tablet may have reflected some attempt at compensating for his past cowardice.)


What makes you say that?

View PostKaelri, on 01 April 2013 - 09:43 AM, said:

His chest-thumping in Laki'ahn makes me think he was an emotionally sensitive person, and not without empathy for others.


Esher sensitive and with empathy? Elaborate.


View PostLostthyme, on 01 April 2013 - 11:59 AM, said:

I don't think I can top Kaelri's post. It pretty accurately summed up my feelings on him. I always assumed Esher was around Gehn's age or possibly even born post-Fall. I think someone more familiar with the material could draw some interesting parallels between Gehn and Esher.


Can I ask why you assumed Esher was so young at the time of the Fall? Unless he was trapped on Noloben with others who later died, I couldn't imagine a kid surviving well alone in an Age.

View PostTalashar, on 01 April 2013 - 07:10 PM, said:

I figured that Esher was able to return to D'ni after he perfected linking with his Bahro skin. The timing of his escape isn't clear, nor is how much he knew about other survivors or about Releeshahn in particular, but I'd guess that at this point, after his years on Noloben, he saw the world in terms of Esher versus the Bahro, and that claiming their power was the only way to keep them from using it against him.


I really wish we could pin down when and how Esher left Noloben.


View PostTalashar, on 01 April 2013 - 07:10 PM, said:

It would have been nice to have a journal from Esher's first arrival on Noloben, but alas. :mellow: Noloben is actually so barren that I prefer to believe that the house mentioned in Marie Sutherland's letter is on some other island, and that Esher used the boat to go between his house and his lab before he was able to just link between the two.


Good headcanon. It would be nice to have Esher journals. Like with Gehn, he lies to us when he speaks, so seeing the things he wrote more privately would give us a glimpse into what he doesn't say publicly, his fears and doubts and everything the pride and bravado hides.

View PostTalashar, on 01 April 2013 - 07:10 PM, said:

As for conspiracy theories, I think it's pretty clearly implied* that a time-traveling Esher was the real culprit of the theft that resulted in A'gaeris's being cast out of the guild. The missing book was the Noloben book, which Esher arranged to fall into the hands of his younger self who was fleeing the Fall, to bring about the circumstances under which he could master the power of the Bahro. Although he probably never knew it, Esher was therefore responsible for the Fall of D'ni, adding a bitter irony to his contempt for Yeesha's belief that the Fall was necessary for a greater good.

*It's not.


Speaking of Esher and time travel...

Spoiler

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#8 User is offline   Shinkansen 

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:37 PM

View PostCapella, on 05 April 2013 - 11:32 AM, said:

Low-status Guildsman makes sense. it also means that he came from a position of relative privilege in society, regardless of his level within his class. It's been said that outside sources put him as an Archivist. IIRC we don't get any in-game confimation that that was so, do we? What Guilds might make sense, given what we know of him?

My own personal headcannon was that Esher is a member of the Guild of Healers, what with all the "experimentation" on the Bahro he did. Though, with Esher probably being 8-14 at the time of the Fall, I doubt he would've had enough Guild training to actually stick.

Really, having Esher be a member of any of the Guilds save for the"major ones (Maintainers, Writers, Book and Ink-Makers, Miners) would work. He also doesn't really strike me as being a member of the more "scientific" Guilds like the Surveyors, Mechanists, Engineers, and so on.

I would imagine then, that he would be either an Archivist, a Legislator, a Healer, or a Messenger.

Having him be in one of the smaller Guilds would put him outside the elite of D'ni society, but still have access to a good enough education that he has a basic understanding of the Art and D'ni culture. Additionally, having him stuck in one of the bureaucratic Guilds might give him a bit of an obsession with perfection and trying to prove himself. Him surviving the Fall when so many others in more important Guilds gives him a bit of both a superiority and Messiah complex. He lives, and thus must carry on D'ni's legacy.
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#9 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:39 PM

View PostShinkansen, on 05 April 2013 - 05:37 PM, said:

My own personal headcannon was that Esher is a member of the Guild of Healers, what with all the "experimentation" on the Bahro he did. Though, with Esher probably being 8-14 at the time of the Fall, I doubt he would've had enough Guild training to actually stick.

Really, having Esher be a member of any of the Guilds save for the"major ones (Maintainers, Writers, Book and Ink-Makers, Miners) would work. He also doesn't really strike me as being a member of the more "scientific" Guilds like the Surveyors, Mechanists, Engineers, and so on.

I would imagine then, that he would be either an Archivist, a Legislator, a Healer, or a Messenger.

Having him be in one of the smaller Guilds would put him outside the elite of D'ni society, but still have access to a good enough education that he has a basic understanding of the Art and D'ni culture. Additionally, having him stuck in one of the bureaucratic Guilds might give him a bit of an obsession with perfection and trying to prove himself. Him surviving the Fall when so many others in more important Guilds gives him a bit of both a superiority and Messiah complex. He lives, and thus must carry on D'ni's legacy.


All the guilds you mentioned were Major Guilds, though. The implication in the Book of Ti'ana that only Maintainers, Writers, Book-Makers, Ink-Makers, and Miners could become Lords is incorrect.

(A partial list of Minor Guilds from MystLore is archived here.)
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#10 User is offline   Shinkansen 

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 07:53 AM

View PostTalashar, on 05 April 2013 - 06:39 PM, said:

All the guilds you mentioned were Major Guilds, though. The implication in the Book of Ti'ana that only Maintainers, Writers, Book-Makers, Ink-Makers, and Miners could become Lords is incorrect.

(A partial list of Minor Guilds from MystLore is archived here.)

You know what I meant. :p
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#11 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 06:34 PM

View PostShinkansen, on 06 April 2013 - 07:53 AM, said:

View PostTalashar, on 05 April 2013 - 06:39 PM, said:

All the guilds you mentioned were Major Guilds, though. The implication in the Book of Ti'ana that only Maintainers, Writers, Book-Makers, Ink-Makers, and Miners could become Lords is incorrect.

(A partial list of Minor Guilds from MystLore is archived here.)

You know what I meant. :p


Yes, I misunderstood you. :blush: But all of the eighteen guilds were part of the elite and the governing structure of D'ni, even if some (such as the Writers) were particularly prestigious.
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