Pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, contaminates fossils and destroys them. Fossils are important because they contain the history of the Earth. When fossils with the mineral pyrite become oxidized, the whole sample becomes corrupt and causes it to crumble. Pyrite disease in fossils is irreversible. In beautiful Syl Anagist, the people believe that they have struck gold with their creation of the Plutonic Engine and geoarcanity, which would lead to a never-ending supply of magic. In their mind, their beloved city would soon become a real Eldorado (mythical city of gold). But to make this golden city a reality is the oppression of the Niess people. The Niess people became the fossils, archaic remnants of a time gone by. The Syls Anagist community saw themselves as progressive and modern people. Using the Niess’ power to better their world was a brilliant, modern idea. We know using and abusing people who are different is a timeless sin.
Geoarcanity turned out to be the cause of the city’s destruction, not its savior. It was not gold. Although the Neiss were gold; precious, using them as virtual slaves destroyed the whole culture of Niess people and like the fossil, crumbled and became obsolete as a result of this pyrite-like Geoarcanity. The Syl Anagists won the gold medal in a rigged competition much like the sports of Ancient Rome.
The people of Syl Anagist never discovered the evil of their ways. Without warning the tuners punished them. Their optimistic, Golden Age viewpoint was replaced with the pain of reality. Their guaranty for everlasting comfort was fake and had expired. “Syl Anagisst is built on delusions, and we are the products of lies”( Jemisin 212) Their golden idea devoured an entire group of people, the Neiss.
This Plutonic Engine was meant to carry out the goal of Geoarcanity, but it became a weapon of mass destruction. It corroded the golden city and ate away at everything in its way. They thought that it had to be done. In order to survive, Syl Anagist needed the magic that would come from the Plutonic Engine. It was a way to preserve their quality of life. To them, Niess life was only valuable as a resource, but like fossil fuel, it could not be replenished
Sylangnistine’s search for perfection was greedy and evil. The wise tuner, Kelenli supports this idea saying, “I’ve studied what I could of the Niess and their culture. There isn’t much left, and I have to sift the truth from all the lies.”(Jemisin 213) This is reminiscent of what European explorers did to the Native Americans. Hoa says this in response, “You’ve decided to carry on the traditions of a dead people?” Many of us say this when we are bogged down with history lessons or consumed by analyzing work by “dead poets”. However, we need to do this in order to learn from past mistakes and try our best not to repeat them. Perhaps, Kelenli’s understated response, “Why not?”, just says this more concisely. There is no need to justify what is right to study. Nations, cultures, and people deserve this attention.