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The Scroll and the Future

RichardPini

This question was posed by Ryan Browne on Facebook: The Scroll of Colors, the receptacle of all elfin history, past, present and future, is now in possession of the elves. Timmain, Sunstream, possibly even Skywise and Savah can turn it and decipher its meaning. Yet, we have not seen any of the elves turn the Scroll so far in The Final Quest. Given its magical properties, it would seem advantageous for the elves to peer through the veil of time and use the knowledge gained to their advantage. Even mysteries like Teir's parentage or Kahvi's fate would be easily deciphered. Future tragedies could be avoided if the possible outcomes of certain actions were viewed within the Scroll's rainbow mists. The entire "problem of the Palace" could potentially be avoided if a beneficial solution was observed in its swirling sheaves.

So why do you think the elves haven't done this yet? Do you think they will?

11_2Kcal

Knightbird

Outside of history, what else is scrolls used for? Now that they know and can pass on the history through sending...they have become the scrolls. Just a thought. I believe it was pointed out in Jink's time, one of the scrolls is in a museum. Will that be a factor?

lunakat

Ah drat. It tells the future too? That's sort of.. unfortunately.... deus ex machina.

Back in Book 4, when Orolin turned the scroll- it seemed to me to be like a more advanced version of Egg. But Egg was recording elf history as he understood it, consciously. So the magic of Egg was that the story extended back to the beginning of elf time (on Abode)- but the limitation of Egg was that would have told the story of the Gliders specifically (or so I guessed).

But the Scroll, we saw (when Timmain first turned it) held the history of the elves extending back through their journeys into space. So it was an even vaster collection of knowledge. Something Egg was just a footnote in. That made it pretty cool to me- but it still seemed to have limitations.

When Rayek spent his days studying the scroll in 'Seige at Blue Mountain'- he talked to Kahvi and Ekuar about what he had learned about time, space, the elves themselves, etc. It made sense that it could hold that information- because it would have been a vessel of all the knowledge and experience the High Ones had accumulated. Which would be amazing! But that doesn't make it an all-knowing predictor of past, present and future.

In Kings, however, he suddenly starts talking about the Scroll as if it is this independent entity. It had never been presented that way before- but there, suddenly, it was. It seemed to be recording elf history as it happened. Rayek expected to "see himself" in the Scroll. It was also possible- though- that if he was saying that he expected to see himself in the Scroll because he expected to be part of the High One's past- and that story, as recorded in the Scroll, was about to be changed thanks to time travel. In which case, the scroll would have had the same limitations.

But that wasn't, apparently, what he meant. It became clear in later stories that the Scroll was recording history, magically, as it happened- with no real effort on the part of the elves. So why Orolin? What's the point of having anyone who was specifically dedicated to managing the scrolls? Why would the High Ones do that?

And why Suntstream? If you have a magical book telling everything going on all over the world with your people.... why do you need some kid to contact them all telepathically? Why not just read about them and send a message? What's the point?

But even then, there was some limitation to the Scroll if it only told the past and present. Now, though.... it tells the future? Really? So what's the point of any of this? Why are they doing any of this?

lunakat

I know you guys think it's exciting and cool to have this uber-magical, all knowing device in the story. But it's actually boring. Don't get me wrong- I really love Elfquest. But the elves can't be omniscient and still have a good story. You are going to end up with something that is just a lot of work around and excuses for why they aren't using a device that could save them all the trouble and plot they are experiencing.

You've also, immediately, created some conflict in the plot. For example- how did Orolin, whose only job was to sit and read and turn the pages of a magical scroll that could tell past, present and future, miss the fact that his ship was about to crash? Why were the High Ones even looking for "others like themselves" by visiting other planets and flying through space? Why would they need to do that, when they can just read what's going to happen when they land somewhere- or check out where their friends are in the Scroll?

And why don't our current crop of elves, who are much less powerful and capable than the High Ones, need an Orolin? Why are they able to just turn it, without having to put themselves in wrapstuff or a deep sleep like Egg? Why are a couple of former Wolfriders, who have been doing this a short time, more capable of multitasking than two ancient elves who had (to all appearances) been doing it all their lives as their sole activity? What was that about?

lunakat

I so hope it doesn't just flat out tell the future.

Um... Loving Final Quest, btw! The artwork is gorgeous and the story is really pulling me in. (I feel like I should point out some positives, so this whole thing isn't just a grumpy rant about a magical plot point zapping device.) But seriously- it's really beautiful. I hope you guys explain all this away so I don't have to be so "ah drat" about it anymore!

Heather

This post got me thinking when I saw it on FB and it made me think along the lines of Vonnegut and his Tralfamadorians from Slaughterhouse-Five. They existed in all time at once. And they even reveal that the universe will be accidentally destroyed by one of their test pilots. Even having the knowledge of how the world would end couldn't stop it from happening because even though they could see the future, they could not change it, because it has already happened.
Time in this story (and other ones) is more of a mobius strip, not linear. This is how I could see the scroll telling the past, present and future working. It just depends where you are at the time in the strip.

captainvimes

I really really hope that time and time travel is not going to play a major role in this story. It's so hard to do right. KotBW handled it perfectly (damn, that story arc was awesome). Messing with time more will put so many other things into question (see valid points raised above)... Tricky territory!

Leanan

All this wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff makes my head hurt!

Tam

I'm also not super stoked about the Scroll being this big, all-seeing tool.

Maybe the elves don't know how to read it very well yet. Maybe that's why Sunstream is deciding to link the elves together with sending...they don't know how to do it any other way, or don't have the capability.

Maybe Orolin was the one who turned the Scroll, not because he was the only one who could turn it, but because he was the only one who could really decipher what's in the Scroll. I'm guessing he was in wrapstuff, not because turning the Scroll required one to be in wrapstuff, but because reading and turning the Scroll was all he did, so putting him in wrapstuff freed him from bodily needs to focus fully on the Scroll and interpreting the contents. Thinking just about the sheer volume of stuff in the Scroll, I could easily see him getting wrapped up in some other portion of the Scroll and not seeing the ship crashing, especially if he was in wrapstuff and the ship was less relevant to him than his more physical friends.

Maybe Timmain's previous use of the Scroll to describe the elves' past is a reflection of her own limitations, she can only see the past.

Maybe the Scroll has temporal limitations, like it can only show so much at a time, but never past a point. Or a location-based limitation, which is why perhaps the High Ones were looking for others on other planets, because the Scroll couldn't "detect" them. Or maybe it has parts it can't show for some reason. Or maybe it just likes certain people and knows who will do the best with what knowledge instead of self-important navel-gazing (*coughRayekcough*).

lunakat

Doesn't the ability to read the future also imply predestination? Or does the scroll all of the myriad potentialities branching off from every choice and action? As in- are there multiple, simultaneous futures that evaporate as the elves move forward in time- a la Schrodinger's Cat?

Tam

That's a great question. ;) I would hope for multiple possibilities based on choices, but that doesn't seem to be the case, considering what's already been said about going back into the past to change things. But maybe it's multiple choices that can't be changed...but than that might change the cyclical time idea...

Yeah, who knows.

HughCaley

Do we know that it can actually predict the future? Evidently Orolin didn't read the future in it. Neither did Rayek. If Timmain ever did, she's keeping quiet about it. Rayek and Cutter were worried about Winnowill getting that power during the "Shards" quest, but evidently no one ever reads the future in it.
Or ... perhaps the scroll itself is intelligent, and doesn't allow that sort of access, even if it is possible. That seems to make a lot of sense to me; everyone who has had contact with the scroll believes that reading the future is possible, but no one ever does; perhaps the elves are being manipulated.

krwordgazer

Tam makes a good point. Sunstream told Skywise in The Discovery,, when Nightfall suggested taking the Palace backward in time to try to change things, "It's been tried before, Nightfall, remember? We learned we can't unweave what's been woven. No matter how we attempt to interfere, what's meant to be will find a way to be."

Certainly what's going to happen in the future hasn't been "woven" yet, but if Sunstream really believes that "what's meant to be will find a way to be," then logically, looking forward into the future to try to change it wouldn't work either.

As far as the question, "But why not try?" goes, most elves, Wolfrider and immortal alike, tend to live in the now, and to not really feel time passing. Perhaps being focused on Now makes the future seem too unreal to think of in such concrete terms as "Can I find out what's coming and try to change it?"

Some Wolfriders, Strongbow for instance, would probably find the very question against The Way.

HughCaley

Continuing from my idea that the scroll might be intelligent and deliberately preventing the elves from using it to see the future, I would guess that an elf that was more intelligent or more powerful than the scroll might be able to use it that way. Or perhaps there is a way to "unlock" that power. Timmain might know the code, and is deliberately keeping it secret. Lord knows she's capable of some pretty extreme actions when she thinks it is necessary ;)

Delhya

I just hope the elves are not on some permanent wheel like the anime Wolf's Rain (no relation). The ending was very bitter sweet. :'-/ Not overly thrilled on set destiny's, though I will read/reread and love every moment of this series to it's end if/when that comes, however the Pini's choose to tell it. <3

Llannen

I am holding out hope that the Scroll doesn't foretell the future, rather shows a hazy range of possibilities based on current events. And I hope those hazy possibilities aren't set in stone.

Heather said: Even having the knowledge of how the world would end couldn't stop it from happening because even though they could see the future, they could not change it, because it has already happened.


Because this would be depressing. Then why bother? Why bother living? In order to get lost in the present, while knowing a depressing future, would give some license to be immoral and rationalize it.


Tam said: Thinking just about the sheer volume of stuff in the Scroll, I could easily see him getting wrapped up in some other portion of the Scroll and not seeing the ship crashing, especially if he was in wrapstuff and the ship was less relevant to him than his more physical friends.


This made me think of us now! With all our media...we have such capabilities to link with others on the other side of the world but we might be missing what is right in front of us demanding a little attention.......


Delhya said: Not overly thrilled on set destiny's, though I will read/reread and love every moment of this series to it's end if/when that comes, however the Pini's choose to tell it. <3


Ditto.

Eyeshigh

I always saw the Scrolls as a big computer/server. And Orolin his keeper. My guess is he was wrapped up because of their travels in space, so he could concentrate on what was happening and record it in the Scrolls. And when they needed guidance he helped searching it in the Scrolls, like Timmain did after the Palace War.

But Orolin wasn't alone in the Scrollroom! There were other beds and when the Trolls betrayed them, they cut open other pods as well! (I have seen it in the srcolls after the PW) Orolin was trapped in wrapstuff after they crashed, causing him to die after his pod tore.

I don't know if they can see the future and if it is said in EQ, sorry if I missed it, but I will not like it if/ when they can......
I do think they will find some answers to dire questions due to the amount of Spirits in the Palace and the knowledge of the Scrolls.

As for storing info while the Elfes weren't there..... what about the Spirits which returned to the Palace? Now we know they don't necessary stay in it, but we didn't know that before FQ, right? So maybe their collective memory shaped the info in the Scrolls.

And Egg..... he knew about the Wolfriders and how it all started for him, Winnowill showed it?!
So he wasn't just recording about the Gliders.

PCoquelin

Probably for the same reason why Wendy and Richard never truly explored and read through THIS Scroll here.


“For what do you hunger, Lord?” Moneo ventured.
“For a humankind which can make truly long-term decisions. Do you know the key to that ability, Moneo?”
“You have said it many times, Lord. It is the ability to change your mind.”
― Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

Thornbrake

Just because the Scroll might have the capability of showing past, present and future doesn't mean that the elves can easily use it that way. Or that they would choose to use it that way even if they could.

I also think we might be thinking of time too linearly. Consider what Timmain told Rayek about time.

Rayek time

If, as this suggests, that all time is one time and it's all happening simultaneously, "past, present and future" are meaningless, and that there could be many possible "futures" that could be shown by the Scroll that may or may not come to pass.

As for Orolin's role, I would guess the ability to use the Scroll in this way would require immense power and training, and not everyone could or would even want to.

Thornbrake

@RichardPini also posted THIS in the Facebook comments on this thread, which also makes me think that the Scroll records everything to do with the elves because they are all connected to it on a spiritual level -- but that time is meaningless.

Timmain Scroll Time

Heather

Llannen said: Because this would be depressing. Then why bother? Why bother living? In order to get lost in the present, while knowing a depressing future, would give some license to be immoral and rationalize it.

I don't find it depressing at all. Many stories deal with the idea of time travel this way. I have always found it very interesting. And since all time exists at once that means the good moments are still happening to you some place in the world while there is bad.

RichardPini

Take the question that gave rise to this thread, mix in a generous portion of quantum multiverse theory, and top it with that quote from "A Christmas Carol," and all sorts of possibilities spring up. But predestination is not one of them. (Unless of course you go down the rabbit hole that suggests that in an infinity of universes, everything has happened and will happened, so what's the point - à la Larry Niven's "All The Myriad Ways" - but I don't buy that philosophy at all.)

Rob

TWIST ENDING: There is no time travel in EQ.

The palace simply moves in place--vibrates, if you will--at such speed that it goes arse-over-tit into its own singularity. Time within slows as a relativistic effect compared to the outside. Eventually, it returns to normality and the "time travel" is complete.

It can be seen to travel into the past because time in EQ loops, as in amerindian storytelling traditions and time-conception.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it until it is soundly refuted!

Embala

How much energy, how much dedication is needed to read and interpret the Scroll of Color to this extend? It was mentioned here that Orolin was in wrapstuff for a reason (as was Timmain for the time she took over).
Maybe the newbies are still far from mastering it? Those who could are still too busy with "chores" to concentrate on it (like Timmain teaching the Sunfolk)? Or - they wait for an elf showing the same special talent Orolin had? *Aurek... hinthint* ;)

Another thought - can it be the usage of the Palace magic that changes the elves? The deeper you dive into this magic the faster you are changed? The Scroll should be one of the most demanding disciplines.
Do the Elves know (or will learn) about it and decide to use the Scroll only when it's inevitable?

demirdöküm

demirdöküm kombi servisi thank you

lunakat

Eyeshigh said: But Orolin wasn't alone in the Scrollroom! There were other beds and when the Trolls betrayed them, they cut open other pods as well!

I think those are two different rooms. I think Orolin was alone- that's why the trolls couldn't find him and no one knew he had died.

lunakat

Rob said: The palace simply moves in place--vibrates, if you will--at such speed that it goes arse-over-tit into its own singularity. Time within slows as a relativistic effect compared to the outside.

Eventually, it returns to normality and the "time travel" is complete

But it had to have flown through space.

Embala said: How much energy, how much dedication is needed to read and interpret the Scroll of Color to this extend? It was mentioned here that Orolin was in wrapstuff for a reason (as was Timmain for the time she took over).


This is a good point. If an expert who had been doing this for centuries had to devote complete concentration to it (much like Egg) to do it right... what are the chances that someone who just started, who hasn't devoted complete and total concentration, can master it?

Embala said: Another thought - can it be the usage of the Palace magic that changes the elves? The deeper you dive into this magic the faster you are changed? The Scroll should be one of the most demanding disciplines.
Do the Elves know (or will learn) about it and decide to use the Scroll only when it's inevitable?


Skywise seems to know something...




Raenafel

well. if "past can't be unwoven", but what happens -happens, then elves could as well have saved the high ones at the time of their arrival, as Rayek was initially planning... then
a) high ones would be alive
b) dead wolfriders would not have been cast into non-existence

PROFIT!

but stupid wolfriders spoiled all the fun ))
that's why cutter is clinging to the trees in the famous picture
he's like "omg, we SHOULD have listened to Rayek, and now it's too late"

Eyeshigh

@Lunakat, I must disagree! Had just reread OQ, so it was fresh in my memory. One-Eye was put in wrapstuff and laid on a bed in the ScrollRoom. It could be the other High Ones were out of their cocoon to see the world beneath them, so he was alone at the moment of the crash...

EDIT:
Here is the page I mean. Clearbrook first stands next to One-Eye's body. A panel later she is in the ScrollRoom. Ofcourse it could be they walked to another room.

Eyeshigh

Sorry couldn't add it when I editted my previeus post....
2015-01-21 17.36.11

Eyeshigh

And here picture from SatBM.

2015-01-21 18.27.27

Thornbrake

Yeah but there's no reason that Ekuar didn't shape that bed for One-Eye.

Zeina

I think those are two different rooms. I think Orolin was alone- that's why the trolls couldn't find him and no one knew he had died.


Wasn't that particular chamber also only accessed by preservers? And the trolls had been trying to open it a long time and Timmain said there's no way to without a preserver.
I guess this might be dumb question but I'll ask it anyway: Are all the rooms in the Palace fully explored? I am pretty sure Timmain knows the Palace inside and out, but I've always wondered if there are hidden chambers that even she doesn't know about. Not likely, but the thought of it is kind of interesting.

lunakat

Zeina said: Wasn't that particular chamber also only accessed by preservers? And the trolls had been trying to open it a long time and Timmain said there's no way to without a preserver.


Yes. That's why she assumed Orolin survived- because he was in wrapstuff and sealed away in an impenetrable chamber. They had to send Petalwing in to open it. She said not even they could open the door without the help of the Preservers.

I always thought that was pretty cool- how important such a small, annoying bug turned out to be. Petalwing was the key to everything.

Zeina said: I guess this might be dumb question but I'll ask it anyway: Are all the rooms in the Palace fully explored? I am pretty sure Timmain knows the Palace inside and out, but I've always wondered if there are hidden chambers that even she doesn't know about. Not likely, but the thought of it is kind of interesting.


That would be pretty interesting. She did, however, live in the Palace for as long as they travelled through space... which must have been a long time considering that it was time enough for two other species to evolve from mortal and ordinary insects and apes to intelligent and verbal, self aware, immortal creatures.

I think that was probably enough time to completely explore the Palace- unless they were all incredibly unmotivated.

Thornbrake said: Yeah but there's no reason that Ekuar didn't shape that bed for One-Eye.


There's also no reason to assume it's a bed, just because One Eye is lying on it. It could be a table... or it could be a bench. I think it would make sense for it to be a bench. It's positioned right in front of the scrolls. It would make sense for it to be a viewing bench.

Orolin, who we know was supposed to be wrapstuffed, didn't lie in a bed, after all. He was sitting in a chair to turn the scrolls. Why would someone else, doing the same job, be given a bed instead of a similar chair?

Embala

lunakat said: She said not even they could open the door without the help of the Preservers.
Now this is interesting.

The "dead" Palace we see at the end of the war seemed to be made of stone and metal. The material around the Scroll room was durable enough to keep the Trolls outside for milennia. and it had "things inside to push and pull" only a preserver could handle. Sounds like good old mechanics.
http://elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics/index.php?s=OQ/OQ20&p=21

The "revived" Palace from Final Quest seems to be all palace stuff, filled with magic and changed by magic due to the will of the elves. You should think it is baclk to original state when they were starfarers. Petalwing states that he "do like in belonging time when Highthings first come".

The conclusion would be that the Scroll room was (and is?) guarded by invincible walls and mechanics. Walls that cannot even be changed and tweaked by the magic of the coneheads/elves themselves. A panic room that is absolutely save and only accessable by Preserver help.

Yet ... at the beginning of SHARDS the whole Palace shatters into crystal shards. Its all Palace stuff, made of "magical material" that can be (re)built and shaped by the will of elves and spirits.

There MUST be a mistake in my reasonings and conclusions ... and right now my head is filled with Two-Edge's laughter! 8-X *head is twirling*

Eyeshigh

There's also no reason to assume it's a bed, just because One Eye is lying on it. It could be a table... or it could be a bench. I think it would make sense for it to be a bench. It's positioned right in front of the scrolls. It would make sense for it to be a viewing bench.

Yes!
Since the High Ones are much taller then the Wolfriders now (then.....euh.....) a bench could easily be a bed to them.

AceQuester

My first thoughts after reading the question are:
First of all, the Wolfriders are living in the now and aren't concerned about the future. Then you can ask, but what about the Sunfolk? Well i think they also learned that if you change one thing in the present, the future will change with it. Therefor it isn't always usefull to know much about the future.

Second thought; the scrolls have knowledge about the planet and it's inhabits from the moment they arrived at the planet. Then they where thrown back into the past. So from the moment they arrived in the past untill the time they arrived for the first time, the scrolls had knowledge about the future. But now that they past the moment that they arrived for the first time, they don't know much about the future anymore... If you know what i mean :)

PCoquelin

Here's a VERY interesting point : old Palace vs activated Palace.

Looks like the trolls DELIBERATELY BLOCKED the Palace's link to elves' magic, thus trying to prevent it being ever fully reactivated ( and detected, by the way ).

1. The humans and then the trolls pillaged the Palace for millenias

2. What Ekuar depicts about the Palace ( BEFORE the dome was erected ) shows that the magic of THREE stoneshapers was required to get through its door, and it was clearly hard to do so

3. The huge METALLIC dome was erected by the trolls - main reason invoked was "preventing the elves to come back to it"

4. IT TOOK A HUGE GATHERING OF MAGIC ( scene with Rayek, receptacle to the dead Gliders' spirits, "freeing" them all into it ) to reactivate the Palace

5. Even crushed down, the activated Palace KEPT that crystalline structure, meaning magic had FULLY flooded it

Conclusions :

. The Palace's inner magic DEPENDED greatly on the elfin firstcomers, and thus it "fell" into ruins after their departure, only the material superstructures remaining

. King Guttlekraw MOST CERTAINLY FACED, not so long before the time of the "original quest", relatively speaking, a force of really powerful elves, fully determined to reach the Palace, with a real army and dangerous magic at their disposal - YET a magic NOT powerful enough to reactivate the Palace - I remember that warning by Two-Edge going like : " elves with REAL magic will come to reclaim the Palace ". AND I DO NOT MEAN KAHVI'S LITTLE BAND ( re-read Kahvi's own words on how RECENT the Palace's call was, consider how TRAINED and well armed and brutal the trolls are and the DEFENSES they built and maintained ! Remember Guttlekraw's motivating words : " .. OR IT WILL BE THE END OF OUR REIGN AND THE RETURN OF THEIRS ! " It speaks volumes, doesn't it..? )

. Guttlekraw's trolls were FULLY AWARE of the magical link between elves and the Palace, and the metallic dome was built to STOP it... which may very well explain ALSO WHY the (almost) ruined Palace, "feeling" that link was about to be nearly broken for good, sent an URGENT call to elves around.

PCoquelin

Now let's get back to the Scroll question.

Maybe the reason why the (few wise) elves do not even TRY to question the Scroll about the future is that it would somehow PRESET that future, making it IMPOSSIBLE to be escaped from... and creating a totally unbearable boredom by forcing the one trying that to RE-LIVE every foretold day, week, month, year, century .. without any chance to escape that, everything that was foretold by the Scroll.

HOWEVER.. When considering the LACK of wisdom of most elves ( " .. to a new goal : EXPERIENCE ! " ) .. I strongly FEAR they will try that anyway.

An even more amusing thing about this point is that IF the elves could actually "see the future" with the Scroll, the firstcomers would NEVER have let themselves getting trapped on that world, in the first place, and even less with such dire consequences.

Another thing : we've yet to discover WHERE that "elfin" form comes FROM, exactly. From Timmain's tale, the firstcomers CHOSE that form from some spying upon what "deities" and mythical creatures that the humans reverred, on this world of two moons. But EVEN when considering the time-loop effect, we still have NO clue on WHY that exact form was chosen, its exact origins. Or perhaps there's something waiting to be discovered, about that.


But I'm more and more and even more certain that the REAL shocks, the most important revelations to come ( and to be presented to us readers' attention ) will come from the scrutinizing of the PAST, of some things that the Scroll recorded.

Trollbabe

Maybe the Elves just aren't into social media?

RichardPini

Trollbabe said: Maybe the Elves just aren't into social media?


They are. It's just that for them, social media tends to be the latest pee-mail (just like for the wolves).

Thornbrake

RichardPini said: pee-mail


Thanks to you, @RichardPini, I cannot walk Lucky without snickering every time he lifts his leg. :o3

RedheadEmber

Trollbabe said: Maybe the Elves just aren't into social media?


Are you crazy? Some of them are literally living inside their biggest (or rather, only...) social media "site".
And then there are those who are... deading there...
>:> ~:> >:D :-\" :ar! !Rainsong

lunakat

Relax Red! Can't you recognize a troll when you see one? Ya- she's just trolling us.

RedheadEmber

I wasn't being mad or anything?

lunakat

It's a mad, mad world, baby.

RedheadEmber

~:(

PandaMedya

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