What we know from the strips (facts, rather than deductions)
: "What power... what Gating are you?" /Yozhik asks /Megaera. : /Yozhik thinks that being a "Tiger's Eye Gating" is a "special case", and therefore should be allowed to have a familiar such as a /Phoenix. /Megaera doesn't want people to know that she is a "Tiger's Eye Gating". She seems embarrassed. : /Yozhik's "Gate rank" is Moonstone. He seems happy with that. : /Megaera's father "didn't think it was worth paying for an Ivory rank". But then she was tested again, in a study. Runes are good for Ivory, Amber or Tiger's Eye. : /Megaera asks /Daedalus for a "Jade channel". : Runes only allow channelling up to Jade. Tiger's Eye is higher than Jade. Amber is probably lower than Tiger's Eye, too. There's a high rank called Obsidian. Possibly the highest, or almost-highest rank. : /Megaera asks /Daedalus for "Garnet". : Dairen McCullough? (/MysteriousEvilDude?) was a Lapis ranking. : /MysteriousEvilDude is an Obsidian ranking. It sounds like the highest ranking. : Ivory is the lowest ranking.
As a side note, the ranking has only been applied to humans so far but this is probably just coincidence.
/Yozhik and /Megaera are practically the only humans in the strip, aren't they? We've got elves, trolls, a satyr, an alien, a faerie... Oh, there is of course the unforgettable /Rin. *.* Whatever a /GateRanking is, I bet she's got one too ;) --AlexChurchill
Ivory (either above or below Tiger's Eye, probably) (probably the lowest ranking)
Humour my stupidity and tell me how we know Ivory is above Tigers Eye... I missed something here...
"They didn't think it was worth paying for an Ivory rank." Cf "Not even for a Tiger's Eye gating?" "How do you know that?" "I guessed."
Oh, I'd assumed that they'd thought she was Ivory rank, but she tested higher later... -- Senji
Hmm. While originally of the contrary opinion, I now share Senji's view that Ivory is below Tiger's Eye, and it wasn't worth paying for magic lessons if you're just an ivory. --CH
I'm leaning towards Tiger's Eye being lower than 'normal' - /Megaera was definitely upset about /Yozhik knowing her rank, and it looked more like embarassment at being bad, than at being good. I also observe that it seems likely that one must have a ranking to attend [Cambridge] (and it's a 'special case' that /Megaera is able to attend with one so low). I'm also drawn to the phrasing 'an Ivory rank' - which implies that Ivory is a class of ranks (the three the runes cover is my guess, but...) Oh, and what's up with a postal course on programming? That *is* degrading... --TheInquisitor
Personally, I now read "an Ivory rank" as shorthand for "a person holding the rank of Ivory", which then leads nicely to Senji's interpretation. I agree that Tiger's Eye appears to be low, but I don't think we need necessarily conclude that it is the lowest - as /Megaera points out, she was tested and found to be of a higher rank than originally thought.
I think and agree with my interpretation.
(PeterTaylor) My Mum did a postal course on programming, back in the days when there weren't many computers. She'd send her program off to Manchester and get the results back a week or two later.
Assuming of course the whole thing is a scale and not just flavoursome (ie tiger's eye people do one sort of magic well, ivory people do another...) Although I don't see why the whole secrecy (I mean, in real Cam even tripos results get stuck up on a wall, anything like a gate ranking would get gossiped about if it were important...) It is very easy to read it as "innocent country girl tests insanely high at something she knows little about" which goes with her defensive embarressed attitude and the fact she got creamed off and whisked away to [Cambridge].... but I get the feel it's a flavourful thing rather than a strict scale. Maybe tigers eye gatings always grow up to be insanely powerful dark mages? ;-) But if it is a test of innate ability then I don't see how you could pay to get a certain ranking, unless Ivory was just some base "you have some talent" bottom end of the scale that most people would pass if they could afford to take the test?
What is a gate ranking system anyway? Are we talking Masonic lodges, degrees, Hindu castes, or what?
Sounds similar to A-levels to me ;) --Vitenka (probably wrong)
I tried to do something similar in a story once, where certain people were able to fight some kind of duel and had a rank corresponding to a certain stone. I spent ages working out thirteen ranks, ranging from jet to diamond. Shame the whole consept sucked so much :) --FR
Now I'm really confused... A Gate Ranking is something you can pay for... and can be tested for? --Kazuhiko
I was wondering whether there were two parallel systems - the Gatings, which are how much raw power you have, and the rankings, which are how much training you have. Based on that, I'd interpret Megaera's situation as having parents who were really really disinterested in magic, so couldn't be bothered to train their daughter up to ivory rank even though she had the insanely powerful Tiger's Eye Gating. Or something. Theory support is provided by the fact that ivory isn't actually a precious stone.
I thought that when it said 'pay for an ivory rank', it meant for someone of medium ranking to teach her, maybe because she had shown occasional signs of magic. Maybe I'm wrong. --FR