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The Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon

Helton

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This post contains character (as opposed to plot) spoilers for Planescape: Torment. The thread could easily involve plot spoilers. Don't read if you haven't played the game.

I never quite understood Dak'kon's Unbroken Circle. The noteworthy circles are 3, 4, 6, and 8.

In the third circle Zerthimon submerges his will to hide the growing resistance from the illithids. Dak'kon suspects this circle is a lie. He believes Zerthimon became an agent for the illithids.

The fourth circle tells the story of Vilquar the traitor. Dak'kon thinks this circle of out of place because it, to a degree, glorifies betrayal. He suspects it is there only to justify Zerthimon's proclamation of two skies.

In the sixth, Zerthimon fractures the gith ranks. Dak'kon feels the circle was wrong in it's reasoning, that Zerthimon did this not to save the gith from themselves but to save the illithids due to his secret allegiance.

The eighth circle speaks about the strength of unity. About not abandoning a path because the path will be hard. If anything this circle should condemn Zerthimon, yet it does the opposite for Dak'kon. When he's told of this circle his faith is restored.

Why?
 

Gragt

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The Circle is a creation of the Practical Incarnation, something he made to help Dak'kon focus, nothing more. So the teaching of the Circle might not be accurate or even false.
 

Helton

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Gragt said:
The Circle is a creation of the Practical Incarnation, something he made to help Dak'kon focus, nothing more. So the teaching of the Circle might not be accurate or even false.

Objectively speaking, perhaps. But I guess I'm more interested in Dak'kon's reactions. The eighth circle should confirm his doubts. It all but out-right says "Zerthimon cripples his people", which is what Dak'kon suspects. Yet this is what upgrades Dak'kon.

Now that I think about it, it makes a certain kind of sense. He *knows* Zerthimon was a traitor instead of being consumed by doubt. It doesn't matter what the truth is, just that Dak'kon is sure of it. If that is the case, I wish the game had elaborated a little.
 

Hory

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Gragt said:
The Circle is a creation of the Practical Incarnation, something he made to help Dak'kon focus, nothing more. So the teaching of the Circle might not be accurate or even false.
It might be false, but it would be silly for Practical Incarnation to write a self-contradictory story, and even less likely that MCA would have written something self-contradictory without a reason.
 

Lurkar

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Because it's centered entirely around unity, hardship, and removing doubt, Dak'kon realizes that Zerthimon didn't want to split the people, but did it because it was best for his people, and that his (Dak'kon's) doubt has been feeding itself because he let his will weaken.

"*Know* that if you *know* a course of action to be true in your heart, do not betray it because the path leads to hardship. *Know* that without suffering, the Rising would have never been, and the People would never have come to *know* themselves."
 

Lurkar

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Also, I'm pretty sure the Practical Incarnation made JUST the circle, not the actual stories inside.
 

Gragt

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Guess I misread the question, I'm tired.

Lurkar said:
Also, I'm pretty sure the Practical Incarnation made JUST the circle, not the actual stories inside.

Might be though the way he talks about it, it seems as if he made the whole thing up. You might be right though.
 

gamefan

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The circle is a circle of life.

You see child the sun may rise in the east but it always sets in the west. but in noon the sun's shadow form parts and goe's back east to become the moon. the west sun is also a cowboy.


so you see its all a big circle and it goes around 359.9 degreeeeees.

There are circle's everywhere though, like the circle of life.

But not all circle has its dark side attached, i mean just look at mars

a reese cup is also a circle but not all circle's are one dimensional. a reese cup may look like a piece of shit but its actually chocolate with peanut butter on the inside and it tastes really good in my mouth and feels nice coming out of my asshole later.













































black people dont skate board
 

gamefan

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sportforredneck said:
gamefan said:
black people dont skate board
Niggers don't do anything. That's the problem with them.
except steal my wallet and my job and my car and my wife and my self respect and my trust and my faith in hunamity'
 

Helton

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Lurkar said:
Because it's centered entirely around unity, hardship, and removing doubt, Dak'kon realizes that Zerthimon didn't want to split the people, but did it because it was best for his people, and that his (Dak'kon's) doubt has been feeding itself because he let his will weaken.

"*Know* that if you *know* a course of action to be true in your heart, do not betray it because the path leads to hardship. *Know* that without suffering, the Rising would have never been, and the People would never have come to *know* themselves."

But Zerthimon's motive is what is in question. What if the war was in the best interest of the gith and he tore their forces apart because it might be hard on them? That's the entire essense of Dak'kon's doubt, that Zerthimon's will was not his own. The disc saying "follow your will no matter what" would not resolve the crisis. Then there is this:

"*Know* that there is nothing in all the Worlds that can stand against unity. When all *know* a single purpose, when all hands are guided by one will, and all act with the same intent, the Planes themselves may be moved."

Zerthimon divided the gith and even now they hate eachother.



The Sixth Circle said:
Upon the Blasted Plains, Zerthimon told Gith there cannot be two skies. In the wake of his words, came war.

So it came to pass that the People had achieved victory over their *illithid* masters. They *knew* freedom. Yet before the green fires had died from the battlefield, Gith spoke of continuing the war. Many, still filled with the bloodlust in their hearts, agreed with her. She spoke of not merely defeating the *illithids,* but destroying all *illithids* across the Planes. After the *illithids* had been exterminated, they would bring war to all other races they encountered.

In Gith's heart, fires raged. She lived in war, and in war, she *knew* herself. All that her eyes saw, she wanted to conquer.

Zerthimon spoke the beginnings of that which was against Gith's will. He spoke that the People already *knew* freedom. Now they should *know* themselves again and mend the damage that had been done to the People. Behind his words were many other hearts of the People who were weary of the war against the *illithid.*

*Know* that Gith's heart was not Zerthimon's heart on this matter. She said that the war would continue. The *illithid* would be destroyed. Their flesh would be no more. Then the People would claim the False Worlds as their own. Gith told Zerthimon that they would be under the same sky in this matter. The words were like bared steel.

From Zerthimon came the Pronouncement of Two Skies. In the wake of his words came war.

And what of this contradiction?
 

kingcomrade

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What contradiction? I think the pronouncement of the two skies refers to the statement that there cannot be two skies, and so they fight a war (to eliminate the other contending, er, sky)
 

Helton

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kingcomrade said:
What contradiction? I think the pronouncement of the two skies refers to the statement that there cannot be two skies, and so they fight a war (to eliminate the other contending, er, sky)

Yeah, I think you're right. I was reading it wrong. But that's interesting as well. Zerthimon wanted the people to *know* themselves and not war so he... Started a war?
 

Lurkar

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Helton said:
kingcomrade said:
What contradiction? I think the pronouncement of the two skies refers to the statement that there cannot be two skies, and so they fight a war (to eliminate the other contending, er, sky)

Yeah, I think you're right. I was reading it wrong. But that's interesting as well. Zerthimon wanted the people to *know* themselves and not war so he... Started a war?

The people *knowing* themselves was the most important bit though. The reason he went to war was because he saw Gith leading his people into (Speaking of which, seeing how the Githyanki turned out, I think it's safe to say he was right). Better to go to war to ensure the survival of the People then let them lose *knowing* of themselves.
 

OSK

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Helton said:
kingcomrade said:
What contradiction? I think the pronouncement of the two skies refers to the statement that there cannot be two skies, and so they fight a war (to eliminate the other contending, er, sky)

Yeah, I think you're right. I was reading it wrong. But that's interesting as well. Zerthimon wanted the people to *know* themselves and not war so he... Started a war?

Zerthimon didn't want to start a war. The war was inevitable. Since Gith couldn't be persuaded to stop fighting, his only options were to either follow Gith and allow all his people to be consumed by bloodlust or to separate and create a rift between his own people.
 

Helton

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If either path leads to war, why would Zerthimon choose the path that divides his people? The eighth circle speaks of unity, Zerthimon did not unite his people. The only way the eighth circle could have restored Dak'kon the way it did is if it confirmed his suspicions. How could the eighth circle possibly show Zerthimon in a positive light? How can it redeem his actions or make transparent his motives?

I don't think it can.

And as for the githyanki, they might have turned out very different had Zerthimon taken the other path. Zerthimon's followers ended up getting the "good guy" side of the exchange but Zerthimon was still a traitor.

*Know* that when Zerthimon was faced with the Pillars of Silence he did not submerge his will, he surrendered it.
 

gamefan

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gamefan said:
The circle is a circle of life.

You see child the sun may rise in the east but it always sets in the west. but in noon the sun's shadow form parts and goe's back east to become the moon. the west sun is also a cowboy.


so you see its all a big circle and it goes around 359.9 degreeeeees.

There are circle's everywhere though, like the circle of life.

But not all circle has its dark side attached, i mean just look at mars

a reese cup is also a circle but not all circle's are one dimensional. a reese cup may look like a piece of shit but its actually chocolate with peanut butter on the inside and it tastes really good in my mouth and feels nice coming out of my asshole later.













































black people dont skate board
 

Helton

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I'm bumping this.

To recap:

Dak'kon caused the fall of his home in Limbo because of doubt. He suspected that Zerthimon did not submerge his will on the Pillars of Silence. Instead, Zerthimon became an agent for the illithids. This betrayal is what compelled Zerthimon to make the Declaration of Two Skies, which granted the *illithids* peace and crippled the gith.

Vilquar's tale seems out of place, and Dak'kon feels it is there only to justify Zerthimon's betrayal.

Dak'kon reveals these doubts to TNO after he believes their lessons to be over, he has accepted that he will never know the truth.

But TNO finds two more stories within the Circle which Dak'kon was not aware of. The seventh of little consequence, but when the final, eighth circle is revealed to Dak'kon he loses his doubt and is restored. This last circle is about the strength of unity.


A half-minded interpretation, the one I naturally assumed on the first playthrough or two, is that Dak'kon is broken because he has lost his faith in Zerthimon. That is not the case. Dak'kon is not an idoler, he does not worship Zerthimon. Dak'kon is broken because he is consumed by doubt while his entire philosophy and nature requires he know. That he be certain.

The eighth circle does not somehow restore Dak'kon's faith in Zerthimon. Instead it condemns his actions. Dak'kon is restored because his suspicions are confirmed.
 

Qwinn

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Not sure I agree. I saw the 8th circle as about a -mind- not being divided, not as much about a People being divided, though I do see the bit that supports what you're saying.

When you hand Dak'kon the plate, you say to him:

"It speaks of focus and discipline... about how not *knowing* oneself can physically divide the man. It also speaks of the weaknesses that division causes. It seems to me that it tells one to not only *know* themselves and take strength from that, but that your focus can reveal weaknesses in your enemy."

That's more about an individual mind than about the collective will of a people. Most of the reading of the 8th circle is similar, though yes, there is the one passage - which you quoted - that seems to refer to a collective will being undivided rather than an individual will. But it seems that TNO himself, and Dak'kon also, are more interested in the individual will bits than the collective will bits.

"There are two plates here... we should both study them, you and I. I think when you *know* the Eighth Circle, perhaps then you will *know* Zerthimon's heart when he made the Pronouncement of Two Skies. His words were not those of the *illithids*, but of the People."

It is when you say this that he gets his upgrade and stuff.

I think Dak'kon interprets the 8th Circle as one that supports what Zerthimon did in the pronouncement of 2 skies. That it wasn't just a command from the illithids, but one born of his own philosophy.

Cause even if you interpret the 8th as about collective will, I do think it still backs up what Zerthimon did. Gith was intending to take the collective race on a rampage of destruction across the entire universe. The githzerai had a 3rd choice, they could've just gone pacifist, -let- Gith go on her killing spree, and not done anything about it. Unity required that the githzerai not just refuse to participate, but actually seek to subjugate the githyanki and keep them from trying to destroy everything and everybody else.

I don't think it helps him because he's convinced that Zerthimon -was- a traitor. That would've shattered him even more deeply than doubt did, I think. You underestimate how much they despise illithids.

Qwinn
 

Liberal

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This post contains character (as opposed to plot) spoilers for Planescape: Torment. The thread could easily involve plot spoilers. Don't read if you haven't played the game.
You could have just written **SPOILERS**.
 

Helton

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The Eighth Circle said:
"*Know* that a mind divided divides the man. The will and the hand must be as one. In *knowing* the self, one becomes strong."
"*Know* that if you *know* a course of action to be true in your heart, do not betray it because the path leads to hardship. *Know* that without suffering, the Rising would have never been, and the People would never have come to *know* themselves."
"*Know* that there is nothing in all the Worlds that can stand against unity. When all *know* a single purpose, when all hands are guided by one will, and all act with the same intent, the Planes themselves may be moved."
"A divided mind is one that does not *know* itself. When it is divided, it cleaves the body in two. When one has a single purpose, the body is strengthened. In *knowing* the self, grow strong."
Qwinn said:
...
"There are two plates here... we should both study them, you and I. I think when you *know* the Eighth Circle, perhaps then you will *know* Zerthimon's heart when he made the Pronouncement of Two Skies. His words were not those of the *illithids*, but of the People."

It is when you say this that he gets his upgrade and stuff.

Mmm. That's an interesting point. I guess I have to say TNO was wrong. I think that's an absurd interpretation.

I think Dak'kon interprets the 8th Circle as one that supports what Zerthimon did in the pronouncement of 2 skies. That it wasn't just a command from the illithids, but one born of his own philosophy.

I do not see how anything the eighth circle said could cause Dak'kon to adopt this point of view. Know that the original doubt was towards Zerthimon's motives. The Circle indeed tells you that the action and the motive should be as one. Should be, to have success and be strong. Not that they were in the specific case of Zerthimon.

So knowing that the will and action should agree yields absolutely no insight into Zerthimon's motives. His motives are the issue. TNO quotes certainly weaken my position, as those are just a step removed from MCA saying outright what the eighth circle is supposed to mean. I just can't reconcile that, though. There is nothing in that text which should redeem Zerthimon.

What does a divided mind do? It cleaves the body in two.
What did Zerthimon do? He cleaved the people in two.
Then, yes, the passage I quoted about collective will.
So while there is nothing here to give insight into Zerthimon's motives, which is what would be required to restore Dak'kon in the standard interpretation, there are several lines which might condemn Zerthimon's actions. This is the only way I can match up the text with Dak'kon's reaction in game.

Cause even if you interpret the 8th as about collective will, I do think it still backs up what Zerthimon did. Gith was intending to take the collective race on a rampage of destruction across the entire universe. The githzerai had a 3rd choice, they could've just gone pacifist, -let- Gith go on her killing spree, and not done anything about it. Unity required that the githzerai not just refuse to participate, but actually seek to subjugate the githyanki and keep them from trying to destroy everything and everybody else.

That's valid, I suppose, but it seems stretched. Our people are at eachother's throats, so we will redefine who "our people" are. Now look, we are united!

I don't think it helps him because he's convinced that Zerthimon -was- a traitor. That would've shattered him even more deeply than doubt did, I think. You underestimate how much they despise illithids.

Qwinn

That damage was already done, I think. Dak'kon needed to heal, but could not because he was never sure if he was right. He could not accept Zerthimon's betrayal and move on. Once he is certain, he can and does.
 

Tigranes

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Helton: The eighth circle of Zerthimon speaks of the power and importance of unity, of a singular, determined will: that does not necessarily mean that the philosophy of Zerthimon (and/or the circle) espouses unity at any cost. In other words, it is not in fact 'unity' as an isolated principle that is advocated by the eighth circle, but the pursuit of one's goal and philosophy in a united and singular way.

Thus, if we assume for a moment that Zerthimon's will was not subverted by the illithids, but he merely submerged it, on the occasion of the Pronouncement he is faced with two clear decisions (as Qwinn elaborated); either to pursue unity as an isolated principle at the cost of what he believes to be the correct path for the People, or to risk temporary or permanent division so that some of the People may pursue the right path as he believes it.

According to such a logic, following the Pronouncement of Two Skies, the Gith are no longer of the People in Zerthimon's eyes; they are Other, cast out so that those who remain may be, in fact, united. Unity is achieved the only way it could have been in such a situation, since it would have been even more contradictory to Zerthimon's principles for him to have allowed the People as a whole to step the wrong path.
 

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