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Explain Aon Rao to me.


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My apologies for the three new threads. I had some questions pop up after finishing Elantris, and I thought it might be best to keep them in their own threads rather than lumping them together in a way that could make things complicated later (if the discussions became long).

Aon Rao, to describe it simply, is a square (with a dot in the center) that has a circle outside each side, and each circle is connected to its nearest side with a line. The city of Elantris and its four satellite cities are a large version of Aon Rao. The Shaod failed to work properly after the Reod because this large Aon Rao hadn't been edited to include the Chasm Line. When Raoden added it, the engines of AonDor began to work again.

But why was he able to do that where he did it?

We make maps. Maps are scaled-down representations of geographic areas. Aons work (due to an unknown mechanic) because they, too, are scaled-down representations of geographic areas. Curiously, the Elantris Metropolitan Area (ha!) is a scaled-up version of Aon Rao (which, in turn, is a scaled-down version of the EMA? Oh, the infinite loop makes my head hurt.). Getting back on track, we could say that the EMA is a 1:1 scale map of the geographical area represented by Aon Rao. (And suddenly I've derailed myself again by being reminded of Steven Wright's joke about buying a 1:1 scale map.)

This brings up a couple questions. Firstly, 1: Why did he have to draw the Chasm Line? It was already represented in the scaled-up Aon Rao (that is, the geographic area of Arelon) as the Chasm itself. Did it need to be drawn by an Elantrian in order to make it "Real"?

Secondly, 2: Why did it work when he drew it in Kae?

2a. Due to the scale issues, shouldn't he have drawn it in the Chasm itself?

2b. "Kae", we're told, means "east" - as in, Kae is east of Elantris, and it is the eastern circle in the EMA-aon. When he ran down from the pool, he ran into Kae. And this is where he drew the line to represent the Chasm Line. The Chasm, however, is south of the EMA.

I might be able to buy it if we were to say that, due to the symmetrical nature of Aon Rao, north does not have to be up, and Kae could be representative of the bottom circle if the Chasm Line were drawn properly. However, 1: Raoden was inside the city of Kae, drawing the Chasm Line inside the city limits. The Chasm is south of the EMA, so the Chasm Line should be below a circle, not within it. And 2: The manner of drawing Aon Rao gives the square in the center two curved sides, with one of those sides being representative of the mountain range. If north does not have to always be up, due to the geographic nature that AonDor seems to require, the Chasm Line should be drawn "south" of a circle on a straight line, not on a curved line.

I'm guessing I just missed some minor detail, and as a result I'm just over-thinking everything. I would appreciate some insight into this matter.

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Maybe not a complete answer, but I do think you're confusing yourself with the up- and down-scaling. Let's say, for the sake of simplicity, that the Elantris-Aon, Rao, is a scaled-down version of Arelon, not the Elantris Metropolitan Area. This would be accurate, as Elantris itself is only a small part of the land of Arelon.

This would put the Chasm Line in the southern portion of Arelon, and thus in the southern portion of the Aon Aon within Aon Rao. It has already been stated in previous threads that the map in Elantris is inaccurate, but even that doesn't account for Raoden being able to put it in Kae instead of the city. The answer may be in the annotations, but if it isn't this hole isn't something I'm sure I can explain, and seems more like a question for Peter.

Edited by Cuaiir
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Okay, I think I'm starting to dig it. Even though the EMA is a large representation of Aon Rao, the Chasm Line shouldn't be drawn in relation to Aon Rao, but rather it should be drawn in relation to the initial Aon Aon, the starting point of all the more complex aons. And that's why the Chasm Line should have been drawn in Elantris rather than Kae (or even south of the southern suburb, as I had initially thought).

This would be so much easier to explain with pictures than words. Maybe I'll sketch something out. (Or bug Chaos to add an oekaki to the board? Nah, sketching would probably be easier.)

Edit: Thanks, you two. That helped.

Edit 2: And zas, I read that thread, but for some reason it didn't click that it was covering this very topic. That's my mistake. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

Edited by darniil
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