Tom’s power level

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    A very good question, both are good options. Tom would not be experienced enough to separate the 3 options (real, umbra, higher level)

    There is some exploration of this in Book 2…so I can’t say too much. But it is about as real as the Styx. Whatever that means. I forget.



    You are very correct about doing nothing I haven’t commanded you. Popping the soldier was definitely disobeying/circumnavigating that.

    He didn’t really fly much off course though, and taking the nap is generally something you could do within the time frame, as long he got back on time.

    If he’d flown to another town off the general path…that would have been wrong. But varying off course by half a mile or so is not so much a problem as long as his path was accurate to the resolution of the hand drawn map. On that front, the command is much more about Tom’s intentions than what he actually does through no fault of his own.

    For example if the map was wrong, but he followed it correctly and ended up somewhere else…Lenamare would have had a problem on his hands. It’s exactly such situations that demons love to exploit.

    If he’d really wanted to be sure, Lenamare would have used an actual compulsion spell on top of the longer term bindings to force Tom’s more explicit obedience. Instead he relied on the basic binding between him and Tom to enforce the order. So, yes it was sloppy of Lenamare in dealing with a 4th order. But to be fair, he’d never had a fourth order demon to control before.


    [quote=Tizzy;1569]He didn’t really fly much off course though, and taking the nap is generally something you could do within the time frame, as long he got back on time.

    Not to be super picky, but the the nap is okay even though Lenamare commanded him to [i]immediately[/i] return?

    [quote=Tizzy;1569]If he’d really wanted to be sure, Lenamare would have used an actual compulsion spell on top of the longer term bindings to force Tom’s more explicit obedience. Instead he relied on the basic binding between him and Tom to enforce the order. So, yes it was sloppy of Lenamare in dealing with a 4th order. But to be fair, he’d never had a fourth order demon to control before.

    That’s very helpful, thanks!


    Well….perhaps…however, knowing wizards, Lenamare was probably far more concerned about Tom sticking around and munching on Zilquar’s people.

    He did immediately turn around and started returning, he just delayed, and then things caught up to him…

    So I, myself, would likely have interpreted the “immediately” as deliver the message and don’t stick around, head right back home.

    So, he immediately began returning, however, the real constraint was the time constraint of when he had to be back by, and Tom felt that he could
    stop for a bit and still return by the time constraint, and technically he could have, he wasn’t lying to himself, if he had been, he couldn’t have stopped.

    This is why giving demons instructions is always dangerous. Instructions are often up to interpretation, if the demon can figure out a way to sincerely and “truly” believe they are abiding by the letter of the command, they can generally get away with it. However, they have to convince themselves, legitimately that they are obeying a reasonable interpretation of the command.

    Now, that being said, the wizard might disagree, and when the demon gets back and the wizard is ticked off, the wizard can then punish the demon with lots of different torments and punishments. An experienced demon would have been aware of this as well…Tom, probably not so much.


    You are completely right.

    Fortunately for wizards, your average demon on the street isn’t much brighter than your average humanoid on the street.

    Given that so many demons come from Earth like worlds, I wonder if most higher demons were originally Politicians, Lawyers, Mathematicians, Logicians, Poetry Majors, Writers, Used Car Salesmen, you know people that are good at twisting logic and words…


    Turns out I confused things when I typed in the orders that I’d copied by hand. I hadn’t realized that Kindle had a copy/paste function. Here’s the full text of all of the orders:

    You will go directly to the tower and demand to speak to Zilquar.
    You will harm no one nor anything at this point.
    When Zilquar identifies himself, you must give this canister to him, sealed, unopened, and undisturbed in any manner, and state that you were sent by me , Lenamare.
    You will then depart his tower, leaving Zilquar and all that is his or his subjects’ intact and unharmed. This includes all people who work for or are slaves to Zilquar.
    You will immediately return to me for further instructions.
    You will not deviate from your course to or from the tower in any way. ***
    You will do nothing that I have not commanded you.
    You are to say nothing to Zilquar that might harm me or mine in any possible manner, indirectly or directly; however you are free to speak as otherwise necessary to carry out this mission

    The one that’s interesting is the “You will not deviate from your course to or from the tower in any way”. Later in the book (from Tom’s point of view):

    “Since he had three days to do his mission, and the trip was only about twenty-four hours, Tom decided to take a slightly different route back to Lenamare’s. This time he flew further west, since there seemed to be a forest over in that direction, and Tom thought that perhaps a stroll through the woods might be relaxing and calm his nerves.”

    Although I am being really picky, but this seems like he’s deviating. I guess the original question I had was, does Tom’s ability to ignore or disobey orders allow us to infer anything about his power level? Does the fact that he is able to kill the guy (disobeying an order) mean he’s greater than a Greater Demon?


    I can see where it sounds like he deviated.

    But the key is that he took a different route back, but assuming the two routes (follow a road or go as the demon flies) will work within the time frame, I’d say he’s within the rules of the order.

    For most demons, if the demon thought/believed/knew that the other route was definitely longer, then they would feel a compulsion to not take it, or shorten it.

    Given that Tom did have a very strong compulsion on the time element, and he didn’t seem to feel one on his alternate route, I would say he was within the rules.

    I would think that if he were overriding the rules due to being more powerful than expected, he’d have at least felt the compulsion, resisted it, and did it anyway.

    Now, of course taking a nap was not directly back, but depending on how you read “directly” as in does that imply a time constraint? That would be a point of contention, however Lenamare did give him a time constraint, so in that case “directly” would allow for the nap, if there was no deviation and he stayed within the overriding time constraint.

    Now…popping that soldier is definitely harming someone else…however, that wasn’t so much willfully harming someone as it was horrified reaction/response that ended up gutting someone, e.g. an accident.

    Compulsions about not killing people don’t apply to accidents, unless the demon is specifically creating an accident with the purpose of killing someone.

    So, in short, I probably wouldn’t read too much into the rules thing making him higher level, in part because he wasn’t purposefully trying to disobey, and the compulsion did hit him when he did run late. If he’d been able to resist the compulsion at the end of the journey, then that would be a sign. If he doesn’t really test the boundaries of the orders, then we can’t know much for certain about his strength.


    Personally I would be very hesitent as a wizard to give the following order though: “You will do nothing that I have not commanded you”

    At that moment you have given the demon so much ammunition against you that it is not funny anymore.

    “Master, you never told me how to get to the tower? Fly? Sure. At what speed? Fast as possible?”
    “Master, you never told me to breath? What do you mean I don’t breath? Semetics.”
    “Master, …”

    I would dare say that by that single line Lenamare completely screwed up his own orders. He basically gave an impossible command. Which does raise the question, what happens if you give a demon a command he cannot follow*?

    * Reminding me of the Twilight story were a math teacher accidentally summons a demon who then must be paid the teacher’s soul for a service unless of course the teacher requests something the demon cannot give. Getting lost is apparently impossible for demon who knows everything 😉


    I think you are now seeing that if not for the good grace of us kind and loving demons, most wizards would be toast in an instant!

    As I’ve said before, Rosver clearly thinks exactly like a demon. Unfortunately, everyone in the Abyss has to use a demonic proxy to reach Earth’s Internet, so I wouldn’t be able tell if Rosver is reading this forum from the Abyss.

    That would be a clear indication of demonhood. Other than the Tuna Can over here in the corner yammering about not being a paladin, there aren’t that many non-demons in the Abyss.


    Tom is just too gentle. I mean, Lenamare’s order has so many holes, though he did take a little advantage of that, but at least he could have some fun.

    Well, I’m a Major Demon now. Hahaha!


    Ah hah!

    See! I told everyone so!

    I’m glad you finally admit that you are a Major Demon pretending to be a human/earthing/reader.

    I’ve been suspicious of you since you sound so much like all my demon friends, or acquaintances since my only demon friends are really Boggy, Tom and Rupert, and maybe, someday Antefalken…

    For some odd reason, most other demons want me dead or to torture me. Not really sure why.


    As for being a demon, I will not tell. I think to myself as a master manipulator and holding back information is a great way to manipulate people. Also, such information is a great advantage in many situation, I will like to keep my advantage for now.

    Hmmm. From what I understand in psychology, creatures want another creature dead if they fear it or feel that the creature is a danger to them (to their health, power, wealth, sanity), like how humans kill snakes and spiders (they fear them). You might be, from being nosy it seems, gathered knowledge that other demons don’t want to share with others. They fear that you might divulge it to others. Getting rid of you is a great way to do that, though they might not feel it urgently since it seems you aren’t spreading those (except is certain cases like pointing out Bess to Tom as being a demon even if she is in her disguise).

    There is also those who love to kill and/or hunt but it doesn’t seem to apply to your situation.

    Also, if there was a proof about the effect of the compulsion on the demons, then the ‘purge’ that is done on the city is a mighty proof. Tom isn’t able to withstand it. The archdemons isn’t also. I was also trying to see if the ‘purge’s’ effect correlates to the power of the demon. That is the weaker the demon, the stronger and faster the effect of the spell will be. It seems so. The weaker ones are the ones who fled first and the stronger ones last. Of course there is a margin of error. Some weaker demons might stay longer due to circumstances or will alone, and the stronger ones might just fled even if the compulsion is not that strong enough (like the case of Tom).


    Hmm, I like your theory on other demon’s nastiness.

    The purge thing again. Really didn’t notice it over the normal ruckus going on in my head. Just saw everyone fleeing the city and wanted to know what was up. So I can’t say for sure. From the description, the compulsion was like an overwhelming anxiety, a panic attack or something that forced them to flee. Which is pretty much my normal state so, again, didn’t notice. At some point you just have to learn to live with being in a constant state of anxiety, paranoia, panic and fear and just learn to embrace it, to revel in the anxiety, uncertainty, unease and queasiness and go with the flow.


    So in the end we won’t really find out about power levels much more until the next book is out, i guess? It’s going to be a long few months…

    – [i]Dirk[/i]


    [quote=Tizzy;1610]Well, based on what I’ve dictated to The Author Guy, I think the power level question might get more complicated as other beings begin to enter the picture.

    I think an important thing to remember is that the whole power level thing was pretty much devised by wizards for their own classification system.

    We demons have basically adopted it for ease of use, but really relative power is very hard to determine. Sure, there are obviously weaker demons and obviously stronger ones, but if you were to ask, was Orcus stronger than Asmodeus or Sammael for that matter? Perhaps he was, but he’s dead and Asmodeus and Sammael are not. So part of “power” is knowing when to extend yourself and when not to. Orcus pushed too far and got his ass kicked in Etterdam, Smody and Sammy have been smart enough to not go head to head with Tierhallen. [Tierhallen is where Tiernon makes his home, so I’m referring to his host/forces][/quote]

    You do realize that this comment clashes with the mirror? 😉 The mirror is not as digital as the wizard’s system, but it does show a clear differentiation in power.

    Obviously, if you are physically and/or magically more powerful there is no guarantee you are going to win except perhaps in a direct fight. Hack, even in a direct fight you can take an opponent by surprise and win as long as the difference in power is either not too big or, when it is, your opponent is foolish enough to play with you (think hare and the turtle fable). Something tells me that this discussion is about the measurable power of Tom and not his ability to use said power (let alone the incredibly hard to measure and potential extremely powerful power to make friends/allies/dupes) in a long term conflict with another force. After all, most of your readers are humans, and just like those human wizards they want to categorize demons in a nice and easy categories 😉

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