Alternate title: Viv thinks wayyyyy too much about the location of certain points on a circle.
In the process of looking over the Guide to MAGIQ again and trying to come up with some possible answers to the many questions that at least I have had about the six guilds, I wanted to post a short examination of some theories about the guilds, based on what we know about them from the Guide, their corresponding elements, and particularly their locations on the Chronocompass.
So, six guilds. Six is apparently an important magimystical number. Each guild has a corresponding element, but also a corresponding direction on the Chronocompass. The Chronocompass is laid out to represent the sun’s position relative to the horizon, circling from dawn to dusk to dawn, etc., so the guilds also fall into either the Sun or the Moon area of the compass (Weatherwatch and Ebenguard technically appear on the horizon line, but more on that in a moment.) The corresponding positions are as such:
Furthermore, regular, non-magimystic compasses work because the needle is magnetically attracted to the magnetic North Pole of the earth (which is actually the South Pole of the earth’s magnetic field, if you want to ponder something confusing). I have a theory that the Chronocompass does something similar, except by pointing towards strong magimystical currents, but the inner workings of the compass aren’t really the subject of this diatribe. What I do want to consider is the idea that guilds that sit opposite each other on the Chronocompass have some sort of opposing (or attracting) magimystical properties.
This combination seems to me the most obvious case of opposition and attraction. Although they correspond to the “inbetween” hours of dawn and dusk, Weatherwatch takes the element of Light, while Ebenguard takes the element of the Tides. Of the six elements these have the most direct connections to Sun and Moon, as light comes from the sun, and the moon controls the tide. Interestingly, both guilds appear to be ordered by constant motion, but motion of opposing types. The Further Fire calls Weatherwatchers onward, constantly seeking new horizons just as the sun moves continuously through the sky; preserving the Golden Balance drives Ebenguardians to a constant movement back and forth over a single point, shifting constantly as the tides, but maintaining the overall impression of peace, of stillness. These two guilds’ opposing types of motion, hold the Sun and Moon in balance.
This opposing pairing is the most intriguing to me, but difficult to explain. The best way I can describe how they might oppose and attract is that Gossmere and Thornmouth reflect inverted means of experience: the many and the one, the group and the individual. Gossmere moves through togetherness - the Common Drum, the universality of the present moment, tied to the unseen-yet-cosmic element Aether, the sky that fills the space between all things. Thornmouth moves through the individual - each member a unique point of light in night’s darkness, stoking the Mindflame in the “solitude of learning” and tied to the element Thought, an abstract property that occurs uniquely to each individual.
This isn’t to say that either guild ignores or diminishes the value of the individual or the common. Gossmerim recognize and seek to share in the beauty of each person’s unique skills and experiences, the diverse many that make up the cohesive one. Thornmaw, in their pursuit of knowledge, gain access to the greater whole of the universe across time and space, unraveling its truth and its secrets and sharing that knowledge with others. Put another way, Gossmere looks through the collective at the individual, while Thornmouth looks through the individual at the collective.
In some ways, it seems like Balimora’s Great Chaos should sit opposite of Ebenguard, defenders of order and balance (On a related note, I highly recommend Professor Robert’s treatise on chaos for those who are curious about the Great Chaos and Balimora generally. And goldfish.) I can honestly find a lot of commonalities between the two guilds: both seem to have a great capacity for making and unmaking, both seek change. The opposition and attraction between Flinterforge and Balimora is that they represent themselves in the split between nature and technology. Flinterforge expresses its calling through an aesthetic of order: systems, machinery, invention, ideas put into practice through skill and process. Balimora expresses its calling through an aesthetic of chaos: that which is untamed by humanity, wildness, lack of restraints, the cycle of growth and decay. The Flinterforge element of Ore is destined to be mined and refined into a new and better shape; the Balimoran Wilds are destined to grow and branch out, shifting as it grows into what is needed.
Again, this doesn’t mean all individual Balimorans are nature-lovers and all individual Flinterforged are industrialists. Both guilds can and do act through nature and technology. But I think Flinterforge reshapes boundaries from within, while Balimora does so from without.
I want to stress that this is just a thought experiment, to see what more we can learn about the Guilds and how they compare with one another. I’ll openly admit to lacking firsthand knowledge of any guild except my own, and of course even that knowledge is by no means exhaustive. If you’ve made it through all of this, feel free to post any additional thoughts, or draw attention to any points where I may have misstepped or left something out. But all this stuff has been building up in my head, and I thought it should go somewhere, so let’s see what everyone makes of it.