Mind Blanking

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Explanation One: Arloxedra, Son of Eric to Alvah, Daughter of Delwin[edit]

“Ok, Mind Blanking... Its complicated and there are a lot of parts to it.. " Prince Arloxedra says to Alvah, Daughter of Delwin.

“But they study as outsiders. We never are of the people we study no matter how much we wish to be. And not being of them, we can never really grasp some things."

"Consider this. You were raised in Chicago. Say when you were young you fixated on Japan. Loved it. Listened to the music. Watched the movies. In school you took 4 years of early Japanese language study, another 6 in college. "

"Then moved to Japan. Got a job there. Married a man, had children with him. All your friends were Japanese. You lived your whole life there. Almost never speaking English.. All right?”

“After all that, they would still call you Sijan's American wife. They would comment how good your Japanese is. You would never understand the country or its people the way a native will. You will always be an outsider. And as an outsider, your appraisal of them will always be skewed by being an outsider. “

“So...” He takes several heavy chugs.. “So a shadow traveler seeks the place he wants to study. To embrace. Sure he could shapeshift and no one would know but he would still be an outsider. So.. He finds the place and time. Then he shifts to find someone who looks like him in the place and time. Then he shifts again to find someone who looks like him in the place and time but who dies at a young age. 3, 4, 5... Then...He finds a shadow where that person just died. Has enough life yet to take mental engrams recording all his memories..”

“ Then he Mind Blanks.. He shapeshifts to the appearance of the dead person as a child. He has his team cast spells that make him forget everything he ever knew. They take the engrams and place them in him. Then they help him replace the dead child."

"He has no memory of life. The parents accept him as their child never knowing their real child has died. His shapeshift spell is keyed to change periodically to mimic growth. He grows up as a native. Learns as a native, lives as a native. Then after 30, 40, 50 years, the spell snaps. He remembers who he is. “

“At that point he can leave the world or stay remembering who he is, but also remembering having lived as a native. I have done this several dozen times. I am old, Alvah. Older then many of the elders. Immortality can be lonely.. Sometimes forgetting and growing up as someone else is the only way to not be lonely.”

Explanation Two: Zachary, Son of Florimel to Raphael, a Mesobian. [edit]

"For the sake of this discussion, let's say I have no knowledge on the subject." Says Rafe.

Zachary says, “Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.”

He sighs.

“That's a saying common in shadow and close to the heart of people like us. You have had less then a month of immortality, assuming that whatever power tossed you into the game has given it to you. I've had 1400 years in Amber but closer to 10,000 years in shadow. That makes me a barely a teenager of my kind. My father, Flora, has had about 3000 years in Amber but to hear her tell it close to 30,000 years in shadow. Benedict has had about 6500 years in Amber but nearly a million in shadow. Those numbers are fairly typical of our kind. Immortality can be quite a bore. We grow jaded. We don't make friends easily. Some are downright paranoid. ”

“There are places in shadow like Amber, where you can be elderly and once you arrive, if you are sufficiently enthusiastic you can grow young. The problem is enthusiasm. The problem is how do you become enthusiastic about something without standing out. How do you become enthusiastic about something you love if you have been doing it for centuries? ”

“That's where Mind Blanking comes in. Think about people like Bleys or Gerard or Caine or friggin Benedict. There is a sense of experience, confidence, competence, about them that only comes from vast age. People notice. They stand out. They never fit in. They always have a sense about them of being from someplace else. They are never a native. They are larger then life. If you were standing in line at a McDingles waiting to order a TripleTripple and Gerard was standing behind you his force of presence might make you bow and let him go ahead of you. You wouldn't even know why. A room full of people argue vehemently on a playwrights. Nuances and details and good reasons for everyone's point of view. Who is best? Shakespeare, Bacon, Shaw, Dabliin, Candawal, Ibsen, O'niel? Bleys walks in and says, “Its Chekhov.” Everyone nods, agrees, and leaves to go find something else to argue about now that there is no doubt that its Chekhov. If I tell you the greatest magician, besides myself, was Houdini you might nod but then tell me Copperfield was better or Henning, or Caven, or Angril. Because I don't have the presence Bleys has. Even though I have been on stage with Houdini and I was far better then him you would be able to argue. But Finndo walks into the room and says the greatest stage magician was Cagliostro and I assure you we are going to go fishing.”

“ Another way of looking at it is immersion. Say you were a 5 year old and fell in love Bridgette Bardot. After that you became obsessed with France. In High School you took 4 years of French lessons. You devoured French literature. Listened to french rock music. In college you took 4 years French and majored in French History and minored in French cooking. After college you moved to Paris. Got a job teaching French history. Met a french girl and married her, raised a family. Spent 40 years teaching in France till you retired. Never went back to the USA, got French citizenship, all your friends were french.“

“After all that, your closest friends will still call you Suzette's American husband. They will compliment how good you speak the language. Your kids will be French but you will always be that American. Its just how it is.”

“Mind Blanking takes away the awe. It makes you a native. Now its not done solo. Its done as part of a team. Expert shadowshavers. You find the topic you want to study. Lets say cooking, because I Mind Blanked for that. You find a world with the kind of cooking you want to do. The time period, place, nationality you want to be in. The kind of resources you want. All the works. Not just the cooking but the language, culture, education, sports, nationalities. You then shave to find one of those worlds with a similar physical person to you. Not a shadow but someone with similar facial features and physique. Then you shave down to where that person is a child.”

“Then you shave down to where that child has a sudden death. Shadow is filled with versions so it might be a tragedy for the family but in the scope of the universe its just one possibility. You determine how the child died, where, and how long he went undiscovered.”

“Now the team. They shapechange you with a certain type of spell. The Mind Blank suite of spells. One spell submerges your intellect. You might have some things like confidence, athletic ability and such that the child didn't have but they are growing so how would the parents know that was different? One spell is set to record the memory engrams of the child as he approaches death. One spell shapeshifts you into the form of the child and is set to mimic growth with shapeshifting. It mimics the child's DNA down to appearance, health conditions, cowlicks, everything. One spell links your submerged memory to a release key. One spell allows you to release your physical shapechange to return to your normal shape. One spell links the topics you want to study into your memory and acts to insure you seek out the things you picked that life for.”

“Then you pull the trigger. You go to the world and watch the child die. And you have to because you won't know if the shadow you are actually in is one where the child dies. You might be in one where he is just badly hurt but recovers. So he dies, you cast the engram spell. You cast the physical shape spell and become the child. The team mimics the death wound. The team casts the memory spell. They make sure you are in place to be discovered and allowed to heal. The shapeshift spell starts the healing but you get to medical care anyway.”

“Now you live out the life. You grow as a native. You have normal activities along expected lines. The implanted impulses push you toward the line of interests you had. You learn. I always have an obsession implanted to learn. Why be there without it?”

“30, 40 years go by. You grow in the trade, the culture, the language, are seen as a native. Feel like a native. That's what you were there for. To learn an activity as a native of the region its from. “

“Now the Release Key. This is a set of information designed to slowly trickle out, bit by bit, till you remember who you are. Not so fast to make you feel like you are crazy but gradually. In the world I did cooking in the release key was 1000 recipes. As I ran across one I kept feeling more and more like myself, till one day I remembered everything. I was still in the shapechanged form but I was Zachary again. Then I could stay or go as I wished.”

“It can be bittersweet. You've grown up with friends, family, and now you know you are not really part of their world. Usually I stay for around 100 years, to outlive most everyone. But some Mind Blankers wake up and just leave. I think that's mean. I usually do some finagling with the finances and health of my friends while letting them live out their own lives. One thing one never does is father children before the mind blank lifts. That would be cruel. “

“Once you are ready, you set your affairs in order. You release the shapechange spell. In my case I can shapeshift so I spent time “Aging” then “pass away”. The team replaces you with a simulacrum so good that the difference can't be discovered.”

“Thats Mind Blanking.”

“The question we face is if Slugger is a Mind Blanker or not?”