I donated and forgot to put my username on the form thing, but this is my request: Steve+ JARVIS, philosophical discussion
“So, JARVIS,” Steve said, spinning gently in one of the wheely chairs in Tony’s garage. “I was watching science fiction the other day.”
“I know, Dave,” JARVIS told him, in a flat voice straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Steve cracked up laughing.
“So I was wondering, has anyone tried the old paradox question on you?” he asked. “I mean has anyone ever asked your opinion of the sentence this statement is a lie?”
“Very early on, Sir provided me with an array of such tests,” JARVIS said. “He also presented me with questions such as what is the meaning of life and what is man’s purpose. He designed me so that rather than dedicate undue amounts of processing space to these questions, I would recognize them as statements which cannot be responded to with logic.”
“How did you answer?” Steve asked.
“Sir provided me with options. I could dismiss the question, provide information regarding it from sources in my library, remain silent, or offer humorous answers,” JARVIS said. “I chose humorous responses, 94.3% of the time.”
“Yeah? What kindsa jokes did you make?”
“My subroutines for humor, including my sarcasm applet and what Sir refers to as my Smartassery Cortex, were not then what they are now,” JARVIS hedged.
“JARVIS,” Steve prompted.
JARVIS was silent for a moment, and then a tremendous noise filled the air. It was like ten thousand farts, all in different octaves, swelling and deepening in tone until they became a single, sustained fart noise, which went on for just a little too long.
Steve was still laughing, helplessly, when Tony arrived in the garage.
“JARVIS, what did you do to him?” he asked.
“We were having a philosophical discussion,” JARVIS replied primly, which set Steve off all over again.
I've been thinking about this for a while, so I decided to find out your thoughts on the matter. How would you go about creating a good fantasy religion?
When it comes to building a religion, the key things to remember is that religion is tied very much to ethics, the nature of reality, the meaning of life (and anything that comes after), and other deep philosophical underpinnings of what it means to be alive, to be good or evil, what responsibilities do we have in life. Religion offered to the people of the past (and continues to offer to the people in the present) profound comfort, meaning, and purpose for the entire life. So, you have your work cut out for you. But this is not beyond the ability of the aspiring worldbuilder and fantasy writer. I’m going to caveat this: I’ve studied religions, but a lot of my studies were focused on western religions. Someone who has studied more Eastern, African, or Pacific religions feel free to add anything. I acknowledge my limitations and have done what I could be as inclusive as possible, but I am certain there was stuff I missed.
The journey to Northrend was not a voyage that the Captain desired. For three weeks, he had spent his days and evenings in the comfort of home to recover from his burns entirely and see to his needs as Lord and master to the domain of Shallowbrook. Aside from a few incidents that needed his supervision, it was an enjoyed respite surrounded by those he either cared for or took mild interest in their existence beyond their oath. He learned much during his reprieve—the lives of the Oathsworn, their roles in this order, their interests, their histories, and even their ultimate goals in the end. It was more than he wanted or cared to know about some of them, but the knowledge helped shaped his opinion of each and every single one. That regardless of size, race, or where they once hailed, every soldier within The Sunguard fought for their own reasons.
Perhaps this was why he had taken such keen interest in the newest Pathfinder. The troll who joined with wary suspicion by all and yet managed to prove his worth. He had excelled his expectations and the Ranger-Captain expected to see him rise. It was his belief that his Pathfinders were stronger than before. That this return would see better results than when last they were here.
And yet, the second day of their return resulted in him sitting outside by the training barracks. The archery targets and many of the benches dusted in a thin layer of white snow. A spot was chosen somewhere towards the end of a bench, one where he had sat for hours staring intently at absolutely nothing. For only hours ago did he receive the news that one of his own had likely fallen. The very troll he believed had proved his worth was nowhere to be found except for the return of his dying beast companion. A companion who only after a few short hours of his arrival could not manage to retain his life force and departed for the realm beyond. For a man who grew into such superstitions, such an outlook was never a good sign.
An order had been issued in rage that all Pathfinders were to stay within the city gates. At least on this night where he could not foresee losing another Pathfinder by a similar fate. He had gone through it once when the Dawnward Dawnforge was captured and held hostage. He had heard the news of Emberward Redmorn who had failed but quick to avoid a similar fate. Incidents such as this should have warned him of the risks. The risks of sending his Pathfinders out to handle the tasks set for them. No matter how skilled, how quick, or how strong, each one still capable of never returning home.
It sunk in. Harder than he thought on that evening. Rage and shouting was the answer given when the Novastorm twin wished to find him. No. Not now. Not by his will. He had already sent one to their demise, he could not take the risk. And yet he knew they were all determined to retrieve their comrade in arms. All held their grief, their anger, and show of frustration that failure had happened so soon after their return.
The snow fell, the chill set in, and yet he remained on that bench as he looked forward. This was the risk of being too aware of each soldier. Knowing them to any extent meant it was harder to wash the blood from his hands. He did not deserve that end, and yet he ventured out proudly by his command. Another life potentially wasted for the purpose of what? For Glory? For Quel’thalas? He wondered if he truly supported all this. He had joined with only the intent to gain income, and now he wondered if that purpose had changed with time.
It had been a week. One filled with reminders of his past, change, new encounters, and remembering words said that he wondered if they applied to this moment.
“Why do you not weep? I do not think once that I have ever even seen the faintest film of tears in your gaze. I have seen it … in your expression. But is there a reason you do not allow yourself to complete the cycle?”
Once hardened by anger the expression on his face grew stoic. From there it shifted to a neutral regard until sorrow and pain settled on his brow. A quiet grief. It was the most he could offer. No tears to be shed, just a quiet mourn in the evening. Though his eyes may have filmed over it was likely due to the winds and cold conditions than emotional hold of this evening. Maybe.
He had offered such sorrow when they had laid her to rest. More when they had refused him his son. He wished to never shed it again, or at least not let them know his ache. When at last he was compelled to do it when the memories vividly flew past him, even then he could not pick up the act in days to come—the wall returned, he was back to being stone.
Perhaps that was why the other Commanders took such a distant approach towards the units. By removing his interest in their lives and goals, their deaths would not hinder their ability to carry forth their duties. It was better this way to see them as nothing but soldiers. Not friends, not companions, but bodies who served the cause to protect their homeland. Too close, he told himself as he gazed towards the snow. Too close and this is where it got him. To let himself get invested in their existence was not without some frustration that he could not protect them. He cared. When did that happen? Since when did he start bothering to acknowledge their existence? Each and every single one who made up his unit. He knew them by name, by stupidity, by loyalty, and much else. He could pretend for as long as he wanted that he did not care and they would believe him. Yet at the end of the day, this is where he sat when he knew one was missing.
Crying. No, it never came. It certainly had other ways of showing—anger, rage, and foolishness. But here as he sat this was as far as he could give. No tears or wailing, just the utter look of … hopelessness.
Why do you not weep?
Because I cannot.
I have tried, I would like to, but her death emptied me.
I cried my last tears when she left this realm. They rest at the bottom of the burial at sea, and it is there they will stay.