Author Topic: Kushan Magic and Pishacha  (Read 2125 times)

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Offline ApostleBob

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Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« on: October 20, 2015, 03:16:03 PM »
During my latest re-read I noticed something that I’d glossed over several times since the Kushan war was still ongoing.  But I’ve just finished the siege of Vrittanis and several things jumped out at me, specifically about the mystery of distinguishing Kushan magic, apostle powers, and the mixing of the two in the case of the artificial beherit.  Some starting points to note.

-We know how the daka are created from the artificial beherit. They are human fetuses plunged into the astral layer inside apostles, while Kushan priests surround it in prayer (to direct it? Out of superstition?)
-The Pishacha are wild animals turned monstrous by some unspecified magic.
-The Pishacha are controlled or directed by Kushan priests as well as the Daka (We see the Daka lose coordination when Guts kills one in Vrittanis).
-We’ve seen that the priests and Daiba are inhailing Ganishka’s fog, using it as a method to control the Pishacha and Daka
-The Daka retreat when Ganishka’s fog recedes (which could mean they are under it’s influence, or else are just demoralized)
-Garuda doesn’t seem to be a pishacha, nor something like the Daka.
-The Kunadlini appears to be unique, perhaps an eastern God that appeared before the merging of the worlds.
-Ganishka can project his apostle form from far away, something unique to apostles we see. It’s unclear if this is apostle power or some outside magic (or both)

So on to questions:

What exactly are the Pishacha and how do they work?  They appear to be different than the daka, as they revert to a natural form when they die (much like an apostle).  And it seems ridiculous that the Kushan are dropping whales and elephants into the artificial beherit.Are they animals possessed by Ganishka’s fog in a way similar to pseudo apostles? 

If this is the case, why does this same fog not turn the priests and Daiba monstrous, but rather give them a level of control?

Do we have a solid grasp on exactly how the Kushan army uses magic to create some of these creatures. Is it magic or just Ganishka using his unique Apostle properties to influence and create entire armies.   :ganishka:

Is Garuda just a supernatural creature from the east, akin to trolls?  The same with the Kundalini?  Seems like it. 

I know this is kind of a broad post, but I find the type of and the amount of supernatural in the Kushan forces to vary quite a bit and not have explanations as clear or obvious as apostle power or Schierke’s magic. I wanted to see if the community can help nail down the accepted explanation on how some of this works. I know parts of this topic have been covered piecemeal over the years, but a lot of it was speculation before this part of the story was fully finished and it's spread across threads stretching 10 years back. I'm hoping we can tackle this topic in one centralized area now that the Kushan part of the story is mainly over.  :daiba:

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2015, 07:07:54 PM »
To be honest I feel like I've already explained these things many times, but here goes once more.

I’ve just finished the siege of Vrittanis and several things jumped out at me, specifically about the mystery of distinguishing Kushan magic, apostle powers, and the mixing of the two in the case of the artificial beherit.  Some starting points to note.

So to begin, I must clarify that "Kushan magic" doesn't actually exist. That is how it is presented in the story at first, but Schierke eventually realizes how it all works, and we understand from Daiba's own lack of understanding that there is a relatively big gap between these two characters' knowledge. Essentially, Daiba seems to be a mostly self-taught magic user who's built a lifetime of experience but still lacks fundamental aspects of the discipline, like the ability to leave his fleshly body in an astral form. As a result, and maybe it's a cultural thing but we can't know for sure, he leans heavily on familiars. That is his area of expertise. Please note however that Schierke can also charm animals (and humans), and that in itself it's not very impressive.

-We know how the daka are created from the artificial beherit. They are human fetuses plunged into the astral layer inside apostles, while Kushan priests surround it in prayer (to direct it? Out of superstition?)

The Kushan magic users present there likely serve to oversee the transformation and make sure it occurs correctly. Whether it could happen at all without them is unsure, but it's beyond doubt that they facilitate it. They use Ganishka's power to do so (acquired by inhaling his fog).

-The Pishacha are wild animals turned monstrous by some unspecified magic.

They are transformed by Ganishka's power and are controlled by Kushan magic users (who inhale the fog). That is how they are created. This is shown in part by the teeth some of them (tigers, whales) sport.

-The Pishacha are controlled or directed by Kushan priests as well as the Daka (We see the Daka lose coordination when Guts kills one in Vrittanis).

Yes, both the Daka and the Pishacha are controlled by magic users, all of whom use Ganishka's power and report to Daiba.

-We’ve seen that the priests and Daiba are inhailing Ganishka’s fog, using it as a method to control the Pishacha and Daka

Yes.

-The Daka retreat when Ganishka’s fog recedes (which could mean they are under it’s influence, or else are just demoralized)

They are under its influence.

-Garuda doesn’t seem to be a pishacha, nor something like the Daka.

It's kind of a technicality depending on how you interpret the word Pishacha. What's clear is that they do not depend on Ganishka's power to exist, so that makes them different from the other creatures Daiba used. As a reminder, those include the crocodiles, elephants, Makara (whales) and tigers.

-The Kunadlini appears to be unique, perhaps an eastern God that appeared before the merging of the worlds.

The Kundalini is explained by Schierke to be a very powerful astral creature. In short, a kind of "Super Kelpie". But despite its power, it is an animal, which is how Daiba (likely with Ganishka's help) could manage to tame it/partner with it.

Ganishka can project his apostle form from far away, something unique to apostles we see. It’s unclear if this is apostle power or some outside magic (or both)

He can move around in his apostle form, but there is a mix of elemental magic added in during the raid on Vritannis. It's explained by Schierke that he was using wind and water elements to create his giant cloud form.

What exactly are the Pishacha and how do they work?  They appear to be different than the daka, as they revert to a natural form when they die (much like an apostle).  And it seems ridiculous that the Kushan are dropping whales and elephants into the artificial beherit.Are they animals possessed by Ganishka’s fog in a way similar to pseudo apostles?

The short answer is yes. They are animals who are possessed and controlled through Ganishka's fog.

If this is the case, why does this same fog not turn the priests and Daiba monstrous, but rather give them a level of control?

They are human, are trained, and more importantly that is not Ganishka's goal.

Do we have a solid grasp on exactly how the Kushan army uses magic to create some of these creatures. Is it magic or just Ganishka using his unique Apostle properties to influence and create entire armies.

I believe I have already addressed that question above. The Pishacha were all created using Ganishka's power, but they could grow to the scale of an army thanks to Daiba's magic knowledge, since it allowed Ganishka to delegate the control of those monsters to underlings.

Is Garuda just a supernatural creature from the east, akin to trolls?  The same with the Kundalini?  Seems like it.

There is no doubt about the Kundalini. It's less clear regarding the Garuda however, but at this point I would indeed assume them to be a kind of astral creature native to the Kushan lands.

I know this is kind of a broad post, but I find the type of and the amount of supernatural in the Kushan forces to vary quite a bit and not have explanations as clear or obvious as apostle power or Schierke’s magic.

If you pay close attention, it's actually all shown/explained in the manga. :slan:

Offline ApostleBob

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 08:06:48 PM »
Thanks for the quick reply Aaz and sorry to have you repeat yourself.  My hope was to collect all this in one area, especially after we've had time to view it all in a somewhat complete form versus the issue by issue analysis. 

The last issue we just saw actually re-enforces the view that Daiba is mainly an animal and person charmer, but does have other abilities such as levitation.

When you say the Pishacha are transformed by Ganishka's power. are you basically saying they are pseudo-apostles? If so, this is really interesting, and intelligent on Ganishka's part to put this to work on a grand scale and to use animal charmers like Daiba to control them.  This would also explain why he used animals instead of men.  :ganishka:

If they are not pseudo apostles, where would you say the distinction lies?

Also, it's interesting that there was some speculation before that Falconia might do something similar to bolster their army with pseudo-apostles. If the pishacha are in fact pseudo apostles, then we've already seen that this can work in the Kushan Empire.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 08:40:48 PM »
The last issue we just saw actually re-enforces the view that Daiba is mainly an animal and person charmer, but does have other abilities such as levitation.

Yeah it evokes the classical fakir representation after which he's modeled.

When you say the Pishacha are transformed by Ganishka's power. are you basically saying they are pseudo-apostles? If so, this is really interesting, and intelligent on Ganishka's part to put this to work on a grand scale and to use animal charmers like Daiba to control them.  This would also explain why he used animals instead of men.

If they are not pseudo apostles, where would you say the distinction lies?

Well the problem is that these words don't exactly have precise definitions. If I had to decide though, I would say that the term "pseudo-apostle" usually refers to humans, so I would not use it here. But it's related. However there is no doubt that what Ganishka did, with Daiba's help, was pretty unique. A hybrid use of apostle-based magic and traditional magic that created monstrous soldiers the like of which we'd never seen before and likely won't ever see again.

Also, it's interesting that there was some speculation before that Falconia might do something similar to bolster their army with pseudo-apostles. If the pishacha are in fact pseudo apostles, then we've already seen that this can work in the Kushan Empire.

I think if Griffith were to try to strengthen his troops by having apostles transform humans (an alluring scenario), the process would significantly differ from what Ganishka did. If I were to speculate, Griffith would probably rely on apostles who are especially gifted in that regard and have them chain-demonize the humans as much as possible. It would likely yield better troops than what Ganishka did.

Offline jackson_hurley

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 08:56:10 PM »


I think if Griffith were to try to strengthen his troops by having apostles transform humans (an alluring scenario), the process would significantly differ from what Ganishka did. If I were to speculate, Griffith would probably rely on apostles who are especially gifted in that regard and have them chain-demonize the humans as much as possible. It would likely yield better troops than what Ganishka did.

In that case, another beherit-apostle would have been helpfull in that matter. 4-5 pseudo-apostles created in one shot. Bingo.  :slan:

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 08:59:32 PM »
In that case, another beherit-apostle would have been helpfull in that matter. 4-5 pseudo-apostles created in one shot. Bingo.

Hehe, unfortunately that is another very unique apostle, and we're not likely to see another one like him.

Offline ApostleBob

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2015, 09:04:16 PM »
Yeah it evokes the classical fakir representation after which he's modeled.

It's really cool.

Well the problem is that these words don't exactly have precise definitions. If I had to decide though, I would say that the term "pseudo-apostle" usually refers to humans, so I would not use it here. But it's related. However there is no doubt that what Ganishka did, with Daiba's help, was pretty unique. A hybrid use of apostle-based magic and traditional magic that created monstrous soldiers the like of which we'd never seen before and likely won't ever see again.

Yeah, I'm just using the term Guts uses to describe monsters transformed by apostles without a sacrifice. Mozgus and his disciples, Rosines Guardians, the Goat, Zondark, etc.  The methodology appears to be different in each case, with some being somewhat uniform like Mozgus and others being pretty varied such as the guardians. It's pretty impressive that Ganishka was able to team up with Daiba to do this on a massive scale.  No doubt without the Kushan priests and Daiba to direct them, they'd pursue their own ends or at the very least be difficult to use in an army.  The whole thing makes me view Ganishka in a new light. His armies strength didn't rely on outside magic so much as it did an industrious use of his Apostle abilities. Truly a worthy foe for Griffith and his new Band.

I think if Griffith were to try to strengthen his troops by having apostles transform humans (an alluring scenario), the process would significantly differ from what Ganishka did. If I were to speculate, Griffith would probably rely on apostles who are especially gifted in that regard and have them chain-demonize the humans as much as possible. It would likely yield better troops than what Ganishka did.

That would be something to see.

Offline jackson_hurley

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2015, 09:26:43 PM »
Hehe, unfortunately that is another very unique apostle, and we're not likely to see another one like him.

So true. But the possibilities! haha.

But I guess it's better to have your "Savior" appear then keeping an apostle that can spawn pseudo-apostle as easily as that.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Kushan Magic and Pishacha
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2015, 09:27:57 PM »
Yeah, I'm just using the term Guts uses to describe monsters transformed by apostles without a sacrifice.

I know, but since you asked me, I think it's better to differentiate those from Ganishka's troops.

No doubt without the Kushan priests and Daiba to direct them, they'd pursue their own ends or at the very least be difficult to use in an army.

Ganishka would have had to concentrate on controlling them at all times, which would have been impractical — if at all possible — given their numbers.

The whole thing makes me view Ganishka in a new light. His armies strength didn't rely on outside magic so much as it did an industrious use of his Apostle abilities. Truly a worthy foe for Griffith and his new Band.

Indeed, Ganishka was great!