The Evolution of the Mind (essay)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: The Evolution of the Mind: A Thesis on the Philosophy of Fash'lo'nae

Author: Ishan Tarkisis Castile of the Grot'karesh Hammer Clan, Charlatos 5102


Most scholars are well aware of Fash'lo'nae's place in the Pantheon of Arkati and why it is assumed he holds his place there. His pursuit of knowledge and subsequent granting of it has assisted the lesser races on several occasions. His most renowned intervention, which brought the knowledge of fire to the lesser races, saved them during a time of hardship. While the Drakes as well as the other Arkati suppressed those lesser races in knowledge - he was punished for enlightening them in a manner of survival. What punishment a Drake can bequeath, one can only guess. The resulting study of beings beyond the Veil revealed that not only Drakes could wield power of such magnitude. Perhaps in hopes to obtain the power that the Ur-Daemons possessed, to simply study it or to promote a change in the current sovereignty of rule over Elanthia - his legend of bringing the Ur-Daemons to this realm and the subsequent destruction of the Drake rule is a matter of debate. (1)

His presence in Elanthia is less felt by mortals than most other Arkati (save Marlu, thankfully) simply due to the fact that as mortals, there is little we can do on our own to interest Fash'lo'nae or grant him new knowledge. Being a master of the essence in this realm, he seeks new knowledge and constant expansion. Thus his interests lie in progress and new information that at times must be achieved by less than safe methods. (2) Thus, a follower's ambition is to achieve notice beyond the masses. As a follower of Fash'lo'nae, this is much more difficult than any other Arkati. Value is determined by what Fash'lo'nae can learn from us, thus scholarly pursuits by a follower tend to waver to extremes in order to press knowledge further.

Knowledge always has the potential for disastrous results when applied without consideration or careful thought. Not every opportunity displays the chance to consider the risks, however. Sometimes even then, the risks are considered and viewed as acceptable. Thus, we have what is called "acceptable risk". This is the quality that separates a true follower of Fash'lo'nae. Acceptable risks would be a result ending the lives of a few dozen villagers, but certainly not us in the process. What good is a dead researcher? Others take the risks for us; we do not take the risks ourselves. We would rather see how Elanthia recovers or adapts from a disaster, rather than try and help stop it from happening.

Change is always preferred to putting things as they were or how they 'should be'. The races are no longer children for the Arkati to coddle, if we continue to allow ourselves to remain in that state of ignorance, we shall never adapt, progress and excel.

Ideas turn to thought, which leads to experimentation. With experimentation comes information and with information comes knowledge. Knowledge leads to understanding the unknown...understanding the unknown turns to progress and change. All of this leads to the evolution of the mind.

Culture Affect:

It has been theorized that the direction of the cultures can be directly related to the interests of the Arkati. (3) Several races historically, as well as potentially could indicated Fash'lo'nae's curiosity or his intervention for the sake of knowledge.

First, it is evidently possible that Despana's rise was simply a test, orchestrated by Fash'lo'nae to see how the peoples of Elanthia would react, find a new solution or progress in an undiscovered manner. The Faendryl passed the test. They challenged acceptable risk and revealed the power of progress, much to the astonishment and disgust of the other Elven Houses. However, rather than accept such a radical change, the Faendryl were banished -- as this sort of progress was considered just as evil as what they were trying to fight. (4) The Faendryl accepted their fate and in the ages hence have lost much of the values their ancestors held dear in their desire for acceptance among the other Houses again. It was only the residual magic remaining from the Ur-Daemons that caused the same changes in the Faendryl in regard to magical enhancement and feature changes that the Dhe'nar experienced ages ago, not the actual battle at Maelshyve itself.

Knowledge is power. We have heard this motto often by the Dhe'nar. (5) Though the Dhe'nar left the elves, there is no denying that they also hold the ideals of knowledge and power in high regard. Their path of "The Way" simply is the quest to be the perfect elf, as they were before the elves divided into their subsequent Houses. They seek to achieve greatness without the favor or protection of the ones who currently hold the power in the pantheon, or even beyond. They hoped to achieve perfection as a race, but what was once a method of hereditary advancement, is now merely a matter of survival.

All races were represented at the battle of Maelshyve - humans, elves, dwarves, halflings and giantkin. While ultimately the elves and humans were unaffected either mentally or physically as a -direct- result, three races did undergo some challenges. Dwarves were challenged physically with the influx of the Red Rot into their beloved city of Kalaza. The challenge was met with isolation, collapsing the city. They did not adapt as a result. Halflings underwent an emotional turmoil, which led to the guilt of the Paradis halflings. (6) They too did not change physically or mentally in their abilities.

Rising from the ashes of Maelshyve to evolve faster than any other race in recorded history, the Grot'karesh Hammer Clan became the conundrum of the Age of Chaos. They experienced challenges to both physical and mental capacity and not only survived it - but evolved. Just as the dwarves experienced a physical trial and halflings experienced a mental one - the giantkin experienced both. They were cast out from their clans, rather than leaving by choice. In a single generation they changed, led by Samarak as they came wandering to the Southron Wastes. They were transformed to be nearly the opposite of their traditional way of life. No longer nomads or strictly warriors, they founded a Kilanirij, a city fortress and a library upon the mountain of Asharikan. They became scholars, seeking knowledge in any form. (7) These changes took place without the absorption of residual Ur-Daemon magic at Rhoska-Tor, but it is clear that some other force was at work.

Religious Differences:

Many when they think of Fash'lo'nae, also think of Lumnis. They each represent scholarly pursuits, but their methods oppose one another greatly. Lumnis herself finds herself at odds with Fash'lo'nae at times, due to her value of prudence versus experimentation. Unlike other opposing Arkati, these two simply do not quarrel. The reason is simple. Fash'lo'nae does not care. He is an enigma in the Pantheon, since he would just as readily offer knowledge without recourse to one of Liabo as he would of Lornon. But, just as readily are we targets of Fash'lo'nae's queries for knowledge, the other Arkati found that they are not immune to his tests either. (8)

Then again, one might argue that Lumnis is wise in withholding dangerous knowledge. She determines herself to be the judge of potential. However, by limiting potential and teaching prudence, she limits risk. By limiting risk, and learning to fear it -- one does not challenge it. Without challenging risk, we never learn to excel or advance beyond expectation. Lumnis does not freely give knowledge. She predetermines what possible conclusions we can obtain from it, and if it is dangerous or unacceptable in application, she will deny it.

She has been known to sabotage the efforts of those that follow Fash'lo'nae (2), resulting in a loss of knowledge they might have otherwise revealed. She is an overprotective mother, disallowing excellence and progress in preferences for the safe path. Again, how can the individual evolve, if consistently held back from new discoveries? Following Lumnis' ideals is unfortunately, a stagnant path to follow.


Does a student of Fash'lo'nae seek power? A student knows that power is directly related to knowledge. Striving for knowledge itself -automatically- achieves power. Knowledge is the foundation; a broader and stronger foundation will last longer than the narrow pinnacle of power. Power is fleeting, but knowledge is forever. It is the desire to expand knowledge beyond the simple scope of power that encourages continuous discovery and new information. Only then can we guarantee notice and the possibility to advance beyond expectation and beyond the norm.

Followers or seekers of knowledge have a broader range of applications for the knowledge that they obtain and fewer limits. Since application is not barred, followers of Fash'lo'nae can obtain more power at a quicker rate and without regard for consequences if they so desire. However they may also use that knowledge to promote change to acquire new information by taking the risk necessary for it. Either function could be beneficial, or disastrous -- but it is up to the wielder of its application. We have choice in knowledge. Fash'lo'nae leaves these consequences and applications to us. It is our own decision on what we should do with knowledge. We have more freedoms to diversity, challenge the norms, advance beyond expectation and introduce ideas that will change the world.


1. "Official History of Elanthia," Drawn from the Collected Libraries of Illistim, by Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore, Published Ivastaen of the year 5100

2. "Gods of Elanthia," by Anonymous

3. "History of Elanthia," and "The Faendryl Empire: History of the Faendryl," both by Anonymous

4. "History of Eorgina," by Anonymous

5. "The History of the Dhe'nar Elves," A Compilation by Aeranch Jaern - Chronicler, Library Aies

6. "The History of the Truefolk," by Anonymous

7. "Giantkin History," by Anonymous

8. "The Legend of Soulingen," by Anonymous