Garden of the Prophet > Libraria Chroniclis

Raised Above the Blood of Heresy

By order of the High Ordained, who speak with the Prophet's voice, let the Field of Gerbea nurture the Libraria Chroniclis.

Let Technists come from spired Chapels and peasants from the lowest levels to plant metal in broken crete; let the Faithful raise great and burnished vaults while the blood of Heretics and rightful anger of the Pitiless Order still soaks this most ancient Old Holy of the Cathedral City. Let all the Lords of the Prophet's Garden exhort their chroniclers and bring forth histories of the glory of the Faith.

Let the great Libraria to come stand as warning to those who would waver in soul and body; let it warn that Contagion is death, even upon those who pretend to Faith and hide Heresy under sight of the Ordained. By this shall the Faithless know that even their foul souls - and the unquiet resting of their disarrayed remains - shall support the Holies of the Faith, praise be to the Prophet.

[ Posted by Reason on May 7, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Procession of the Seven Thin Vaults

I will relate the first I recall of Aelth and the Unresting Order, for it is of importance to events thereafter.

On the fifteenth day of Awe I was summoned before Lady Mese, favored concubine of my Lord: I learned that Aelth, youngest of the Lord's sons, would bring the Lord's pennon to the Procession of the Seven Thin Vaults. All Rue had we abided within the Outer Spires above the red half-desert, for the chill sand-winds blew strong upon the walls of fortress Turyth, and the Lady Mese would not travel lest the view was pleasing and suitable for nobility. This time of procession had come upon us, and it pleased Aelth and my Lady for him to go forth into the fortress proper.

Upon the twentieth day of Awe, I accompanied the close-guard of my Lord's son through the deep vault-ways of Turyth. My Lord was blessed even then by an even twelve artisans of renown, of craft unmatched in the desolate red realms; thus a youngest son rode atop tread and wheel of hard forgen, with noise enough to hide the sand-wind and cries of guards.

Sand fell above, but unwashed peasants of half-desert and lowest levels still came from every part to make festival of the holy procession that day - a thousand or more, may the Prophet judge their souls. Half sullen in the way of the wretched, half of cheer to see my Lord's guard, they crowded about and above in the vault-works.

But a single Preacher and ten Brothers held the war-shrine at the rift wall of Turyth. This Preacher Gare came down amidst the peasants of the great-vault, a greying man of strength and heat-scars, there to bow rightfully and place the blessings of the Unresting Order upon my Lord's son Aelth. The peasantry he had marshalled with speech most strong, in the manner of the true faithful, to make ready the Lord's Chair in the Seventh Thin Vault. I thought it a wonder to see the lazy peasant so put to work with a will, and in the Prophet's name!

Preacher Gare told the history of Turyth while all was made ready; this holy Procession to honor the Prophet recalled victory over the faithless, brought by the Anointed Brother Ulseph. While battle raged amidst the great-vaults, Brother Ulseph exhorted the armor Lessete to tear a way through the Seven Thin Vaults and put the heretics to flight by fist and righteous fury alone. The Preacher was one to make the tale live and breath as it is told; the close-guard who stood with Aelth that day tell it still in their encampments.

Over fine repast brought from the war-shrine, watched over by Preacher Gare, I watched peasants don strange costumes to play the part of heretics. They held forth amongst themselves, cavorting as animals or pretending base acts, to the great amusement of Aelth and his most trusted companion of the close-guard. For all and thereabout, the small-cannon of the guard stayed ready upon the benches; such was the charge of my Lady Mese, but the Preacher took no offense.

The coming of the Unresting armor was announced by great grinding, as of forgen dragged on stone-ways, and the cries of peasants lining the first Thin Vaults. The peasant mummers stumbled hither and hence, and closer came the great noise. Cloth painted as vault-works billowed as it hung across the second vault-way, then torn away by the fist of the armor Lessete. Five men broad, that vault-way, and the armor went sideways and crouched - and into the Seventh Thin Vault with a leap and great crash of spread arms from vault-work to vault-work abreast, swept above head and pennon!

Aelth behaved as a Lord, while my Lord's close-guard all but fell and ran, save for but one who cast up small-cannon as though to fire before coming to his senses. All the while, Preacher Gare laughed and laughed, until overtaken by coughs and spasms; these, I attended as best I could. This tale, the guard do not tell; it is left for me to tell in their stead.

The Unresting Brother within Lessete exhorted the armor with great craft, making a dance with the peasant mummers; the wretches picked up and shaken, or a play made of smashing them to the very floor. Each footfall shook the Vaults and all within, yet each footfall fell clear of any peasant. All the while, peasants of the procession flowed like sand from the vault-way to crowd, call and cry.

With a darkness come upon the fortress, we dined with the Unresting Brothers; Aelth and his close-guard were as neonates, wide-eyed before a host of the Anointed. These were truly the Prophet's Hand! The youngest Brother, like as not, was just as scarred on the day my Lord took his title as a child. Brother Hura of Relys, who danced with Lessete, was devout in the way of Preacher Gare; a mountain of a man, shorn of head, he spoke well and long of the Order and of service in the name of the Prophet.

The Prophet's seed showed strong in Brother Hura's palm, this his fourth right hand. He pulled aside his vestment so all could see the never-healing scar upon his chest; holy sign that beneath his ribs, Preacher Gare's second right fist clenched strong with faith and the will of the Prophet. This I recall well, for I saw the look in Aelth's eyes, and that which passed between Preacher and Brothers. Men, as women, may talk and agree without speech in their ways, and agreement had been made.

So was much of consequence set to motion.

[ Posted by Reason on May 17, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Least Festival of the Anointed Tasan

The snow falls deep this second winter after the departure of my Lord and his guards at the call of the Ordained. The great war-cog of his grandsire, mighty Dasu, stands burnished still after all those years, but empty as an Unhallowed tower and without Voidmaster or beating heart-vault. This just as the echoing artisan's vaults and the long-sealed war-shrine in our towered fortress Witan. A single war-barque of the Hateless Order, pennoned with treasured litanies and the scars of long-past Void-battle, carried my Lord and his close-guard away to the lush heart of charred Afrik.

The Rur realm lies now in deep chill beneath white, yet more so on the Least Festival of the Anointed Tasan. The peasants grow accustomed to the emptiness of the upper vaults; they creep like serpents from the frozen lowest levels, and no loyal guard chastens them to their rightful nests. Lowing tachen in their winter coats hide from the valley winds behind garden deck portals and gave poor winter milk. The red-breast corven roost in the lee spires still, just as when the Hateless Preacher Tuth came to Witan for the Least Festival.

Preacher Tuth ran a hundred leagues from the high mountain Cathedral, carried faster than a rider by armor of the Order - and such uproar from the peasantry, for two years it has been since such a Holy of the Faith has come into the valley. The Preacher is faded as the fortunes of the Rur realm; the Prophet's seed has all but left him; his hair is white as that of my Lady's mother, his face is thin as thin. Yet still he exhorted the armor Megane to hold peasant children high in the air as though a giant of a father, and to kneel before my Lady, Magister Albret and patient Wagen of the Prophet's shrine whilst he proffered much-needed blessings upon my Lord's realm of Rur.

Upon the night of his arrival, Preacher Tuth joined my Lady to dine by torchlight in the upper vaults, for all that little worthy fare remains in Witan on the Festival days. This would be the last winter he would bring the words of the Prophet to our Least Festival, the Preacher explained, for his time draws near. The Hateless Brethren called it rightful for Megane, that once carried Preacher Tuth to battle, to be before those faithful of Rur - for he was the Prophet's hand for all, even the least peasant of shaft and low vaultway. My Lady was much affected by his speech, and she would give what Witan does not have to further the holy works of the Order.

[ Posted by Reason on May 26, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Black Lord Umbere's End

With the first sand-wind storms of the twentieth year of the High Ordained Rusul, Lord Umbere - whom peasants called Umbere the Black for his foul deeds - was cast from the Faith by the Anointed Cerre. That great and holy Hand of the Prophet took armor and close-guard to the fortresses of Great Olimpan, there to plunge sword and the pennons of Anathemen to the hilt in the forgen portal of the High Cathedral.

Faithful Lords of the red realms were come to great fear in their duty, for the close-guard of Umbere the Black cast war-poisons of the Unhallowed upon his enemies. Yet worse, artisans of the Heythe realm had turned craft to two fearsome cannon-works of mighty treads and wheels, of size to match the holy war-cog Espheban that once brought the Prophet to Great Olimpan.

While Lords and their guard trembled, those true to the Faith came forth from Cathedral, war-shrine and fortress to kneel before the armor of the Anointed Cerre. While sand-winds howled from the Great Desolation to burnish forgen and the souls of the faithful, Brethren of the Unresting Order swore to follow the Anointed as their Ordained until the Prophet's will was done.

With war-cog Tasaphe and great-cannon of the Chapel Technis, with the armor of the Anoited Cerre at their head, the Unresting Order brought the blood and fury of war upon the guard of Umbere the Black. Many were the faithful who fell in enactment of Anathemen, many were the armors pierced by cannon, the Holies despoiled. Yet these most virtuous Brethren ever prevailed, scattering their enemies in disarray, charring fortresses of the Heythe realm with the Prophet's Fire of Tasaphe's vent-works.

Soon, magisters of the realm came to plead with pennons lowered before the Anointed Cerre, who judged each by his actions. All loyal to Umbere the Black hung from cages of peasant's forgen upon high fortress spires, there to suffer sand-winds from the half-desert.

Yet Black Lord Umbere and his most loyal close-guard fled their rightful end in the burning war-poisons of forgen-walled Heythe. The Voidmasters of the ancient war-barques Mefeb and Ulsehab of the Lords of the Heythe realm did not heed the duties of the Faith; across the near Void to Foros they fled, to that lesser fortress-realm of the Unhallowed. The Prophet's Fire of Mefeb and Ulsehab burned bright to the Anointed Cerre and Unresting Brothers, and soon the most faithful of their number followed into the Void within Tasaphe.

Umbere the Black had found Unhallowed seal-gates yet closed from the Void, and worked mightily to gain shelter - but the Hand of the Prophet was turned against him. Voidmen of the Ocular shrine within Tasaphe discovered the errant war-barques where they hid within forgen and Void-touched rock. Unresting Brothers took the Long Breath to leap into the Void, falling upon Umbere the Black and his close-guard with sword and fist of armor. So was Anathemen complete, and did Black Lord Umbere and all loyal to his foulness meet their end, the Prophet be praised.

[ Posted by Reason on June 2, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Pilgrimage to the Haired Star of the High Ordained Ferele

Upon the winter that the soul of the High Ordained Ferele was consigned to the Prophet, the greatest haired star of two centuries lit the cold night above the Cathedral City of the Faith. Soon thereafter, Anointed Hase of Bethehen was acclaimed to become High Ordained; thus the holy Procession of the Prophet's Vow across sands and broken crete to the First Spire took place in a winter of omens.

The ribald Essebe wrote that peasants of the low levels and villages around the Desert of Old Holies gave to great unrest and fear that winter; sand-serpents slid through portals to test the faithful, and the Ten Wells of the forgen-vaulted Broken Plaza ran low beneath the light of the haired star. Upon the coldest night of winter, when even sheth-herders drew their flocks to shelter, the Prophet's realm shook twice underfoot; great crevices opened in the crete of the Field of Gerbea, to reveal ancient and sealed vault-ways of the Unhallowed.

While the Anointed Hase knelt alone within holy vault-works of the high First Spire, his procession of close-guard and Brethren of the Order, arrayed in pennoned armor, lay encamped far below. By light of torch and fire, those faithful gave praise to the Prophet upon the commencement of the High Ordained. Long is such a night; as the first light of morning met the haired star far across the Void, a vision of the Prophet came upon High Ordained Hase, who cried out in a fervor. Through shaft and vault-way ran the High Ordained, once Anointed, to call pilgrimage to the Brothers within holy armor. Pilgrimage across darkest Void to the haired star of the High Ordained Ferele!

Whilst frost yet gathered upon crete and forgen, and peasants beset Preachers in their fear of the Prophet's judgement upon the realms, the war-cog Amerma stood provisioned - burnished by the High Technist Tersage himself, pennoned and blessed by the Faithful. Voidmen and Brothers of the Order made procession within, led as pilgrims of the Faith by the good Voidmaster Embrelen - he who had stood beneath each of the Lesser Suns and brought succor across the Void to the hundred Technists who crafted yet the Great-shrine of Statues - and the most devout of all Ordained, Urras of Ruska. A might of mountains amongst the Faithful, the Ordained Urras was as a shaggy ursen of the forests, he who journeyed a thousand leagues of char and wild to take the Prophet's seed and fist of the Order within his chest.

Exhorted by faithful Voidmen, Amerma rose to the Void upon the Prophet's Fire of heart-vault and vent-works. Within the Chapel Oculis, upon the edge of the Void, Voidmaster Embrelen and Ordained Urras swore the completion of their pilgrimage upon the very Holies of the Cathedral, and so set their vow upon the records of Order and Voidmen. This great vow yet stands within the Station of Humble Duty of the Void-fortress Gerest, there to inspire the Faithful in their defense of the Garden.

Far from the realms voyaged the Faithful of Amerma, beyond the Void lit true by the treasured litanies of the Prophet. When litany spoke false, a despair rose amongst the Voidmen and speech of return was whispered, for Contagion swims the Void to prey upon the very souls of men. Yet the faithful Oculist Persive, he who grew to a thin height in the shadow of Great Olimpan, stood forward to entreat the Faithful upon a gathering of the garden-vault. The haired star shone brighter yet while the Oculist Persive spoke - let the eyes of the Oculist guide the Faithful, for is it not Ocular shrines that Voidmen trust to settle safe upon each new realm? This most dutiful Oculist was much acclaimed by Voidmaster and Ordained; the pilgrims of the haired star were carried deeper into the Void by the eyes of the Chapel Oculis.

Brethren of the Order prayed greatly upon each new day, and Voidmen redoubled their holy rites of the Void. Contagion was upon them, close beyond thick and burnished forgen; only the beating of Prophet's Fire from the heart-vault and prayer of the Faithful kept dread fate at bay. Gallas-vines died within the garden-vault and four Voidmen gave unto madness while Amerma strove mightily through the trailing hair of the star. Yet unwavering were Voidmaster Embrelen and Ordained Urras, and the Oculist Persive stood sleepless and strong as one Anointed within the Chapel Oculis.

The holy pilgrimage came at last to the blackened star-realm behind shining hair; there was rejoicing and calling forth to the Prophet, even while Voidmen ceased their exhortations. The Prophet's Fire withdrew within Amerma's beating heart-vault and forgen decks no longer pulled as the crete and soil of the Prophet's realms. Great pennons of the Order and Cathedral City were brought forth in honor of High Ordained Ferele, leagues of linked forgen woven as though cloth, the better for the star-realm to carry the Prophet's word through the Void.

Oculists and Voidmen pilgrims spoke their most trusted prayers and turned burnished forgen to direct the light of Prophet's Fire from the heart-vault, but lo! There upon the Void-touched char stood a great foulness - a Contagion-shrine of dread circle-meshes and many-pointing dark spires, such as no true amongst the Faithful should ever see! A great and rightful cry of fear and horror came from the Oculists, and thence Voidmen, but not so from the Ordained Urras. To the seal-gates, beset with the fury of the Prophet's Hands, went the Ordained - so too the Brothers of the Order. With Long Breath and sword of unbending forgen, these instruments of the Prophet's will leapt from the seal-gates to tear apart Contagion and hurl it once more to the Void.

So the Prophet's design was revealed to the Faithful - this was to be a rightful war-pilgrimage of the Order; the haired star bore the name of the High Ordained Ferele, yet Contagion befouled the star-realm. The Prophet taught that where Contagion stood, Contagion will once more stand, lest each smallest grain is cleansed in holy Fire. With the true strength of the Faithful, Voidmaster Embrelen returned heart to his Voidmen and duty to the Oculists; when the rage of Brethren faded, the Prophet's Fire of Amerma's vent-works would char all Contagion from this least realm.

As the Voidmaster spoke, so was it done. With yet Void-frozen bones, twice clothed in black char-dust of the realm, the Ordained Urras and Brothers of the Order carried forgen pennons through the seal-gates. Beneath shining hair, they anchored pennons of Order and the Faith upon the Fire-cleansed realm with great chains and pins. Praise be to the Prophet!

Let all of the Faith recall the War-pilgrimage of the Haired Star of the High Ordained Ferele, for by such is shown the devotion of the Hands of the Prophet to the Garden and the Faithful.

[ Posted by Reason on June 9, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

My Lady's Tapestry of the Fall of the Unhallowed

A reckoning there would be between my Lord and Aelth, youngest of his sons, but that would not come until two full years past the peasant's festival of vaults within spired Turyth. The seed was planted well in Aelth's heart by Brother Hura, and by my Lady Mese, was it her intent or otherwise.

The sand-winds died to their very least with the first days of Char, and my Lady's thoughts turned to journeying once more. Within tread and wheel of stern forgen, eased little by bright pennons of fine craft, my Lady knelt in prayer for the souls of the red realms whilst we crossed sands and grasses. The highest spire of Turyth's forgen walls soon enough faded from view, and few peasants of the half-desert sought to petition or follow my Lady's modest procession. Broad Rephe of the guard dealt roughly with such within the Outer Spires of Turyth, as was his wont, and all beggars and ribalds soon knew my Lady's complexion as his. I was gladdened we had not to suffer the stench of peasant souls.

Aelth did not share our noisesome travel of clanking tread upon forgen wheel, and was joyful for it. He and his favored of the close-guard had swathed themselves in gere-fat and leather many days past in Awe, the better to travel in the manner of peasants. Afar they went to the great Cathedral and vaults of the Unresting Order upon Great Olimpan, whilst sand yet blew high, harsh and about. That pilgrimage is worthy of record, and such I have vowed to accomplish before the Prophet calls upon my soul.

All knew what lay in the heart of my Lord's youngest son, for he was given not to hidden intent, even from his earliest years. Upon his tongue was naught but the Orders of the Prophet and questions of the Faith across the days of Awe spent beneath Turyth's high spires. Those close-guard most loyal to my Lady spoke better of my Lord's youngest son than ever I had heard - even scarred Rephe, who was most faithful for all his peasant's countenance. Truly, to accept the Prophet's calling is to stand higher upon the flanks of Great Olimpan in the sight of men, no matter what has passed before. Aelth's soul was in my prayers in those days also, for all I saw the mighty sand-storm to come.

Many days from Turyth, the Great-bridge of the Disciples stood just as before; sand-drifts against forgen vault-works and a league of bridge-deck muffled from tread and wheel by spreading hard-grass. The deleth seeds thrown down by my Lord so long ago had grown fine and thin across the sword of Arteheban - enough to give pause to the faithful for reflection upon the passage of years. Not since the time of the High Ordained Rusul have men journeyed in great number to the mighty chasms. The realm of hills and half-desert beyond has fallen into desolation, its tall fortresses empty save for one: the destination of my Lady Mese, the Cloister of the Prophet's Footfall.

I have long commended the good women of the Cloister in word and deed. In their faith, they burnish and sweep clean the road-shrine of the secondmost step of the Prophet upon the red realms. For all their peasant blood, these cloistered stand far from the would-be brigand of the half-desert and the stench of low fortress decks. In this, I follow the affections of my Lady, for she had endowed an ample chantry upon the Cloister: prayer for the strength of our souls, and tapestry for the high vaults within my Lord's strong fortress.

The sourge-cough that so wracked Preacher Gare of Turyth had brought misery to the Cloister spire in the year that passed before. The eldermost maid passed to the care of the Prophet, blessings be upon her soul, and thus it fell to my Lady to bestow approval upon a new sequesten of the chantry.

For all that the greater part of the Cloister fortress stands empty and unkept, my Lady's close-guard were given to wait beyond the deleth groves and wall of piled crete from ancient, unhallowed years. My Lady set forth in modest ornament of coarse cloth, guided through canted forgen vault-works of old by the least of cloistered maids. At the very center of the fortress, the great portal of the Cloister-vault stood closed yet, its workings choked by sands then as now. Thin-wood stairs to the lowest arch window sufficed for the cloistered, and for my Lady also - past were the years in which such was an insult to my Lord's blood.

My Lady talked long with the elder maids within their least-vaults high and low. All the while, I dwelled upon the great tapestry then unfinished - years from a journey to my Lord's fortress in triumphant procession. Even then it was fit to stir the souls of the faithful. The cloistered maids turned their craft to declaim the fall of the Unhallowed of the red realms, whence the Demos city-realm was cast down from the Void - fell burning with Fire untamed by the Prophet. Into a thousand parts the Demos realm broke, each a hammer upon the red realms to throw up sands fit to cloud the skies for a century, poison the half-deserts and pound out the Great Desolation.

The faithful of the cloister emboidered the faces of the Unhallowed, crying out for the Prophet before His time. In this did they speak most truly of the faithful who would come after. It was not mine to speak of it, but the tapestry alone would merit the chantry of a Lord of the Prophet's realm - rare is the work that speaks as much of the Faith as the most earnest Preacher upon Great Olimpan.

[ Posted by Reason on June 16, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Pilgrimage to Holy Fraberg

Just once, when not yet of years for the eyes of men, I traveled with my mother to the great Cathedral of Fraberg upon the mountains. Few journey so far from these forgen decks now, save but to seek a place in Fraberg or the valleys below. It is a hard toil across the empty Rur realm, even in the gentle season of vines and flowers over the vault-works of Witan - and my Lady has become more demanding of her maids as the years crease her skin.

This past Censen, the peasants of the lower fortress speak of naught but rumor; of brigands who live by cannon upon the char and poison circle-lakes where nothing grows, or hide in forests set with Unhallowed vaults. Lay-brother Wagen is ever stern with such fools' words, but to no avail. His hair is yet black, but he has tended the Prophet's shrine beneath the broad-deck since my mother's birth; blessed is he who has heard all that might be spoken by the least of the faithful. Whom would brigands prey upon now, save for peasant fantasies?

The year of my journey was a pilgrimage in truth, given the Prophet's speed by a glad procession of pennons and tidings to the great-portal of Witan. Men of the close-guard bore the bones of my Lord's grandsire to Fraberg within a forgen casket most ancient. The Ordained of the Hateless Order so honored his service that a place within the Cathedral sepulcher-spire was given to his relics. Scarce less was he beloved by the least peasant of the Rur realm, and with his bones went the heart of Witan. May the Prophet watch over the soul of my Lord's grandsire yet, and that of my Lord and his guard in the far, steaming Afrik realm. I pray often for the third year of the crusade in service to the Order.

Those years ago, the close-guard were faithless men; brigands, harlots and ribalds of small-cannon tamed by my Lord's grandsire from each of the Prophet's realms. Vile of speech, but strong of hand and loyal to Witan's forgen decks - all are gone now to the Afrik realm or their souls to the Prophet's judgement.

A harsh travel it was through all Rue, and long the last climb into mountains, for all the few faithful in valleys nigh unto Fraberg aided our way. Char-mixed rain fell for days on end, yet the high walls of deep-scarred forgen rose above us at long last. Fraberg is a bitter, ugly sight yet for those of Witan: then, cages of judged heretics hung at each great cannon-vault upon the walls. Corven flocked about to redden their beaks, and made nests upon bones picked clean of heresy. Yet further, higher above forgen vault-works, the Cathedral set mighty decks and spires upon the greatest mountain as though a cloak. Far across the near realms can the Ordained see from their high spire vaults, but a stench was about the vale of high peaks, and middens lay cast beyond the walls. A plague of flux was upon Fraberg in that year; peasants sickened beneath the vault-works raised by the faithful of old.

The close-guard took away the casket that was their task, and passed within the great-portals of Fraberg. Brothers strong and true strode down from the Cathedral to speak of faith and a resting place within the sepulcher-spire - those who had not taken up sword, cannon and the Prophet's banner to crusade in the charred heart of the Afrik realm. Thence to the lowest decks of whores, rags and tomb-vaults of the least peasants did the close-guard descend, true to their lewd countenance. The Prophet would judge them for their faithlessness, as He judges us all, for the flux took their bowels - and unto death for the elder of their number.

I did not enter the great-portals; my mother led me past stinking middens and beneath judged heretics, about the outer walls and a climb of steep thin-paths to the Chapel Technis. Mighty is the Chapel at Fraberg; a great forgen pillar standing before the vault-works of the Cathedral. Tall seal-gates face away from fluxed Fraberg - which then cast forth a great noise and shower of steam at the nearest mountains.

I was afeared, for all our pilgrimage was in truth to my mother's grandsire, Brother Erek, who had pledged his heart and soul to the Prophet for half a century. Forgen burned red, flowed and crashed within the Chapel; Brothers gave loud chantry to their craft within the factora. When first I saw him, Brother Erek gave guide to crashing factora-knives of half a rod in height upon steaming forgen, just as I cut sheth-cheese for my Lord's trencher. Such life the Prophet gives His faithful, who bear His seed and the fist of the Order! My mother's grandsire was broad yet, face full and hair fair as the guard who tryst with maids in the darkest shafts and vault-ways of Witan. With great surprise and gladly he blessed us, for all this was a place for the holy of the Order alone. His Brothers bade us well when they learned of our blood, and shared their char-stained bread amidst the noise and strange vapors.

The Order is the family to a holy Brother - this I understand now, if not then. My mother sought prayer and a blessing upon my grandsire's soul, and that Brother Erek gave in the quiet and echoing great-vaults of the Cathedral, for all he was troubled in some way by such. A tear in her heart was healed in this way, by her demeanor as I remember it, but I know not what.

Once only did I embrace my great-grandsire, for the black sickness took my mother into to the Prophet's arms three winters thereafter, and my Lady would naught give a maid leave to journey to Fraberg in these years. May her soul be well guided by the Prophet.

[ Posted by Reason on June 22, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Changed by Contagion

It was upon the eve of the Procession of the Anointed Etesephen that word arrived from my Lord in the far Afrik realm. These tidings came many leagues from the mountain Cathedral - whence the Prophet's Fire had borne it - carried by dutiful Brother Murmus. Peasants yet toiled in the fields and upon the garden-decks, to take in the last of my Lord's harvest before the holy procession day. The youngest followed the laden Brother from the forest edge to the great-portal of Witan's walls, as sheth after the herder.

Brother Murmus is yet a face of old Witan, for all he is given to the Hateless Order and the Prophet's seed. He is of a rude stock gathered from all the realms by my Lord's grandsire, and once a Voidman exhorting the Prophet's will within echoing, root-choked Dasu. This was long years past in Witan's greatness, when Dasu's heart-vault beat with the Prophet's Fire, a Voidmaster sat beside the Lord and his Magister, and the fortress war-shrine spilled forth the prayer of faithful souls. So much are the tales told by the Lay-brother of the Prophet's shrine, and by my Lady's mother to her maids - but Brother Murmus lived those years just as he lives now.

With small-cannon, sword and faith, the holy Brother walked a hundred leagues from Fraberg through barren, poison char and trackless forest. Pelts of four wolven from the near-forest he brought as a gift for Magister Albret, slain by his own hand - and the meat good for a traveler away from his Brethren, or so was his word. Other gifts he had besides: tales of faithful crusade in the Afrik realm, tidings of Fraberg, and the speech of my Lord carried in his heart.

The eldest Lord of the Afrik realm had in truth fallen far from the Prophet's teachings, and such was the call to crusade from the High Ordained of the Faith these three years past. Many took the Prophet's service; Brotherhoods of the Garden and close-guard of many a Lord had stood in siege about the fortress-mountain Kilemjaro for a year and a day before Brother Murmus returned to Fraberg upon the war-barque Tibene.

The Brother told the noble-blooded of Witan of the noise of great-cannon and steaming jungle set to char by the Prophet's Fire; rivers cast to vapor in a single breath, and forgen black with heat. The holy Brother told further of pennons of the Mercyless Order carried through breached vent-works to reclaim the Void-fortress Obeja from foul heresy. That great holy of the Faith towers above jungle and river upon a cradle of forgen and crete, as it has since years of the First Order; Brother Murmus spoke of Obeja as a great-shrine of the Faith, just as those shown in the books of my Lady's vaults and embroideries sealed within the war-shrine.

It gave much comfort to my Lady and the Magister to hear of the success of the faithful and the words of my Lord from afar. My Lady soon gave promise that would see even the last dust of Witan's dry coffer-vaults bestowed upon the Order, and a heavy chantry-tithe upon the peasants. So it was to be, the least of the faithful to be grateful for a greater burden, and Witan to lessen in the name of the Order and holy Fraberg.

Darker tales had Brother Murmus for Lay-brother Wagen and the peasants who burnish the vault-works of the Prophet's shrine, retold by my Lady's guard of the upper vaults many days later. Of foulness from Unhallowed vaults, pennons of the Faith cast asunder, and dark-men of the Afrik realm driven mad by voices from the Void. The peasants of the lowest levels whisper of the Changed, and of war-blooded guard sent screaming by what hides within the vault-ways and shafts of despoiled Obeja. I shudder yet to set these words in ink - it is the Prophet's will for Witan in harvest and holy days to be far from all that is foul and heretical, praise be to His name.

Whilst darkness was told to few by night, Brother Murmus brought tidings of Fraberg to Witan for the tales of day and trencher. Of these, I recall clear and well his voice upon telling my Lady of Preacher Tuth. He who brought holy armor before the peasants of Witan upon a winter festival had passed into the Prophet's arms; at the bidding of my Lady, the Brother gave a blessing upon the gathered, and spoke well of the Preacher's deeds in long service to the Prophet.

In the way of memory, the words of Preacher Tuth at my Lady's table returned to me with the dark tales of Brother Murmus. A foolish maid, raised from low by one who should have known better the place of peasant blood, asked if the aged Preacher journeyed in fear of Unhallowed places and Changed who hid to spite the Faith. In the voice of the Prophet from a body so frail, with great, vaporous breath in the snow-chilled vault, Preacher Tuth gave harsh Peniten to the maid; the holy Rur realm is cleansed of such foulness these past centuries. The Faithful of the Orders guard against both Contagion from the Void and the faithless whispers in the hearts of men and women - who amongst the faithful would speak such peasant's tales? The maid ran from the high vaults of my Lady, down shaft and vault-way to the least of the faithful and the lowest decks of rags whence she came.

Preacher Tuth had spoken then in low earnest to my Lady, his words of the Changed and the fantasies of peasants; such was lost to me until wakened by the black tales of Brother Murmus, hidden from my Lady and come to me through lame Rudel of my Lady's close-guard.

Said the Hateless Preacher: the least of the faithful must by guided well in the Prophet's teachings, for their hearts are given to wander from the true path of the Faith. In the heart of Witan he trusted, for my Lord and his guard showed well their duty in the Prophet's service - but each faithful heart hides whispers that yet call to the Void. The madnesses and false superstition of peasants cannot blind the faithful of noble blood, nor those who bear the Prophet's seed: there are yet Changed in the Prophet's Garden. They who were once of the Faith and to whom the Void hath spoken madness; who call further than a voice may carry; who see further than the eye may see; who know your memory as their own; whose hearts burn to spread Contagion as the cancen within the old; who are cursed and Unhallowed in the Prophet's eyes. The Orders call Purgen upon the Six Revulsions, enacted by the hands of the Prophet, lest these fallen bring a doom upon all the faithful.

That winter, I heeded the maid's Peniten and not the quiet exhortation of the Changed. The faith of Witan is strong as the forgen of fortress walls, for all my Lord and his guard are at crusade, and in this the Rur realm is well in the Prophet's eyes. May our prayer in the Prophet's name keep it so for centuries yet.

[ Posted by Reason on June 30, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Far Pilgrimage of the Rageless Order

Upon his commencement, the High Ordained Besephen proclaimed the Garden of the Prophet to encompass all the stars themselves. The Rageless Order - of the thousand-league Mereken realm betwixt the Prophet's Arms of Sunrise and Sunset - stood forth in rightful faith to claim the brightest star Sekti for a Cathedral to honor the Prophet. Ordained Brother Debeham was carried across the oceans upon the Prophet's Fire to call for pilgrimage before the assembled Faithful of the Prophet's Cathedral City.

Voidmasters warned of a great and unknown journey across the Void and into Contagion, farther than the Crusades of the Lesser Suns, farther even than those few explorations of the darkest Void recorded in the Libraria Chroniclis. Preachers of the Order journeyed to exhort all from Lords of the Prophet's realms to peasants of the lowest Cathedral levels, but the Rageless Ordained heeded the Voidmasters - and planned long and well.

The Void hides much, even that near-Void touched by the great Arms of the Prophet, that divides the Lune realm from the Prophet's realms. Voidmen talk low of least-realms of darkened crete; of ancient Unhallowed Void-towers that yet shine like stars to entice the Faithful from the Prophet's words. The greatest of Void-towers was long called the Anathemen-realm; peasants of field and garden deck averted their eyes and prayed for their souls should they see it's procession in the dark sky.

In the twelfth year of the High Ordained Besephen, the Rageless Order stood ready to hallow the Anathemen-star in the name of the Prophet. With great prayer and zeal, Technists of the Order had toiled upon the vent-works and charred vault-ways of the Void-cathedral Yeuve those long years. That holy of the Faith had faltered in service to the Prophet's war-procession, pierced and sundered, and lain thereafter in the great glass char-desert of the Mereken realm. Upon the twelfth year of toil, High Technist Fareph exhorted mightily the Hopeless heart-vault, whereupon the Prophet reached down His hand to return life to Yeuve.

The Rageless Ordained rejoiced in the miracle of Yeuve's heart-vault and the Prophet's blessing upon their crusade; word was carried forth to war-shrines and journeying Preachers - there was great prayer across the Mereken realm. The most zealous of Voidmasters exhorted Oculists to the chantry of treasured litanies; faithful Technists the souls of the Brethren with war-prayer and burnished forgen of the Chapel factora; Rageless Brethren gathered in their holy armors to call blessings of the Prophet upon the Order.

To the near-Void upon mighty columns of Prophet's Fire rose Yeuve, Rageless Brethren led in procession by the bright-pennoned war-barques Irkoi and Temphese. To the Anathemen-realm they went, guided true by chantry of the Ocular shrine. Thence from great seal-gates of many-spired Yeuve, twice a hundred Brothers leapt across Void-touched forgen to lay the Prophet's banners upon the Unhallowed tower. So was the Anathemen-realm Hallowed by the Rageless Faithful; Ordained Brother Debeham blessed the Void-tower with the name Shekagen, after the ancient fortress-vaults of the inland seas of the Mereken realm.

Great was the toil of the Faithful upon the vault-work leagues of Shekegen, within which even the garden-vault came to stand broader than any fortress of the Garden of the Prophet. The Cathedral of the Rageless Order was made again within circle-vaults of great expanse, and the Chapel Technis within the mighty heart-vaults. Even peasants and artisans of the Mereken realm were carried away from the tug of the Prophet's realms to tend the vault-ways in service to the Prophet.

Upon the fourty-fifth year of the High Ordained Besephen, great Shekagen lit all the sky of the realms with Prophet's Fire of vent-work and heart-vault. Mighty spires trailed great forgen-link pennons of twenty leagues, cut with Void-litanies and the Prophet's word: so did the Rageless Order and their faithful of the Mereken realm begin the great pilgrimage to the brightest star Sekti.

Praise be to the Prophet that His chosen, who bear His seed in their flesh and the defense of the Faith in their souls, yet carry His word to the farthest Void.

[ Posted by Reason on July 2, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Pestilen Upon the Great-shrine of Statues

In the tenth year of the High Ordained Dalseban, a terrible pestilen fell upon the Faithful who had labored long upon the broken crete, char and tall-grasses of the Lune realm. Holy Technists had raised statues a league in height in the Prophet's name, but the whispers of Contagion had come from the Void to be within their hearts.

A great Chapel Technis, of spires to rival the Great-shrine, was set upon war-broken forgen in the years of the High Ordained Ferele. From the alchema-vaults spread a pestilen in service of the Prophet's will; a terrible ague, pocks of the flesh and mortificen came upon all those touched by Contagion. Medicists of the Prophet's Orders prayed most fervently for pestilen to strike the fallen from the Faithful, for none but the Prophet and his most holy Hands may see into the heart where Contagion festers.

Unto the twelfth year of the High Ordained Dalseban, ever more brown-wing vraal roosted within the Chapel Technis and upon the mighty statues. The Faithful lit banefires of the dead in Prophet's Fire of the heart-vault, bringing new char to old. Thence, upon Awe of that year, the Anointed Serref came across the Void to divide by long-cannon and sword of holy armor: those who had given to Contagion; those who might return to the Faith; those yet Faithful. Purgen of the Prophet's Fire came upon a third of the Lune realm, long into the thirteenth year of the High Ordained Dalseban, and strong seals of pennoned forgen were put upon the portals of the spired Chapel Technis.

With devoted praise to the Prophet, the Faithful burned the whispers of Contagion from their number, so as to complete their holy toil upon the Great-shrine of Statues.

[ Posted by Reason on July 8, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

The Hag-feast of Purgen

Upon the last snows of Purgen this thrice-year, the peasants set with fervor to their preparations for the Festival of the Anointed Hasem. From the shaft of my Lady's spire, I saw the old men fish sleeping palen from the river-weeds. Yet the rain fell cold and hard enough to shadow the forest edge and vault-works of great Dasu in those days; even corven hid within the roosts and highest vaults. Would that the least of the faithful gave such devotion to my Lady's duties in the chill, high vaults!

The peasants name this festival day the Hag-feast, for of the holy works of Hasem of the frozen Kalask realm, her Purgen upon hags of the ice-forests is most told in Witan. Lay-brother Wagen has spoken wroth and rancor of this complexion of a holy festival, for he is oft to preach against peasant fantasies of hags in the Rur realm forests and Unhallowed forgen-ruins. Yet each thrice-year, the Lay-brother is laden once more with festival-works and the dreams of peasants ever more embellished.

The Prophet has brought a peaceful realm to the faithful of Witan, and His holy Order shields us from Contagion. I have spoken ill of the coffers of my Lord and the very heart of Witan emptied unto high-walled Fraberg and the Hateless Cathedral, but it is for the faithful to open their souls to the Prophet's will upon the Rur realm.

Close-guard descended the spire-ways as the sun came low upon the forest, for my Lady cannot abide the festival night. Her high vaults stood sealed to maid and guard as though ordered by the Ordained, and thus to the close-guard went pick of roast palen and pie from the long tables set upon the broad-deck.

A festival procession of peasantry masked as hags of the forest, loud in the chill vault-ways, came upward from the great-portal at dusk, as much as for each Hag-feast past. Yet Lay-brother Wagen had caused the old wooden feast-works to be prepared once more; the procession came atumble upon the broad-deck before twenty lusty peasants within a fulsome image of the Anointed Hasem's war-barque Revesk. With great fervor and strength, whither and back they blundered, with shouts for great-cannon and pennons for holy Prophet's Fire upon the false hags.

Magister Albret came from his wall-vaults to the broad-deck when all had quieted and the feast-tables emptied. He spoke the Prophet's word by high torchlight of the great-vault above the broad-deck, as was his place. I thought it well told, and worthy of the faithful of Witan in the years of my Lord's grandsire.

[ Posted by Reason on July 12, 2006 | Permanent Link ]