Spirits of Rock and Sky > Inked by Scholars and Scribes

Utan Ori Tutors the Utan Family Children

The Map Makers of the Order of the Provider tell us that the World is two thousand kloms in breadth. The Brotherhood of Knowledge have their maps too, tens upon tens, inked on the leather of our ancestors. Here the great Gap, here the Realm of the World Crafter, here the territory of our Families, our Tribe.

In our community, the air moves gently and constantly towards the World Beyond, comforting in its predictability, neh? In cycles to come, our spirits will ride the high air to the World Beyond, there to see our ancestors. Our skulls will stand in our Family shrine alongside our Fathers' Fathers' Fathers. Feel the high Pathway of the ancestral spirits in the moving air, see the Light of the One God in the far Sky and you can never be far lost. Learn the routes well, follow the old shrines and markers and you will not need the divine bounty of the One God! But journey to see the Itmost gathered about the Great Bones of the Dead God - there, the air is warm and moves back and forth, hither and thither.

At the edges of the World, air moves too fast to breath and hoarfrost coats the rock. The cold paths to the World Beyond are far from this dwelling, far across the empty rock plains and harsh hills, but I have seen them with my own eyes. Indeed, I wandered far with the Cru before returning to our Family and the Wayhouse of our community. You would wish more comfortable lives than mine, crafting with the Brotherhoods, wooing the young of the Meten Family, neh?

[ Posted by Reason on March 23, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

On the Kalmet, Scribed by Nasah of the Recorder Sect

There seems to be no pattern to their wandering. I have witnessed two Kalmet surprised by a chance meeting with one another. It seems they have no leaders nor politics. Their meetings are rare, infrequent, and secretive. Kalmet offer no challenge to the established order and present me with nothing but further mysteries. I cannot guess at the qualities that the Kalmet desire. Those who seek out the Kalmet are as likely to become acolytes as not. Acolytes are taught, for tens of cycles, what I now believe to be meaningless and obscuring skills.

Ask any Kalmet to tell you the length or height or weight of an object. He or she will do so exactly, without having to touch, weigh, or guess. Once, many tens of cycles ago, I asked the Kalmet Anik for the weight of the hill we stood atop. After a number of heartbeats, he replied with a very large number. I do not know whether he spoke in jest. Kalmet do not forget. I conversed with the Kalmet Anik a mere cycle past, and he recalled exactly the words we exchanged atop the hill near Hotal.

I have heard it said that the Stronmars have use for the Kalmet. Among the secret records of that Sect, those not shared with even the highest ranks of Recorders, nor yet with the Conclave, the efforts of one Kalmet are worth those of a hundred acolytes.

I have discovered the fragment of an old tale in the Tower of Lesser Records. I will set forth what little of the faded inkwork I can decipher: "The God-King spoke with wroth, and would have known to Him the number of His subjects. Yet still, they were so great in number that none could count them. But thence the last councillor, wiser than the others, brought the oldest Kalmet before the God-King. The Kalmet spoke a great number, and the God-King was satisfied. He offered many bodies of wood in reward, but the oldest Kalmet refused."

I am humbled to find a text paraphrasing my own, copied from long crumbled leather, first written during the early Pathway Wars. The Kalmet cannot have changed since that time.

[ Posted by Reason on March 23, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Words of Eruse, Told to the Divine Susyan

You say that history is as water flowing from a Gift of the Provider - unbroken and smooth. Your brother tells us that history is as the dwellings in a community; discrete events and separate people. I say that neither of you are right. History is this: old words and aging scrolls. Give me your ears and eyes, give me ink and leather, and I will give you any history you desire. But the truth of it ... ah, now there is the question.

[ Posted by Reason on March 24, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Heretic Stronmar and the Words of the God-King

Dried and faded near to uselessness, not hidden but placed amidst the most common of records, I found the Transcribed Words of Meten Ulaar. Said he, "I, Meten Ulaar of the Recorders, state here that these are the thoughts of the God-King, transcribed from fragments collected in the farthest archives. Others of the Sect laugh at my convictions and words, but they shall yet eat theirs."

Beneath the broken seal of ancient Estin's Wood were the Words of the God-King, inked in finest Midrin Expressive on leather once most carefully prepared. This I have copied as best I am able in the quiet times of observance, far from the Great Temple:

Home is so far away. It will always be hard for me to accept that everything I knew is now gone, dust in the winds of time. As time passes and I age, even the tranquillity of Tumnil's woods do little to ease my mood. I had thought to achieve so much! By the standards of my youth, I have attained all I could desire. But, sweet irony, will I ever come to escape this rock? Whatever knowledge brought me here is clearly lost. I, cursed like most of my old friends, could not even build the tools I used in every waking moment of my life.

I force myself to write in this debased script for readers I will never meet. A hundred times I stop, desiring to ink a word that is unknown here. Time, objects, places, memories, and so much else…all lost. When I started to dream in Kinis, I knew I would eventually forget everything that was once important to me.

Why am I taking brush to leather? Will anyone ever come to read the words that I hide so well, I wonder? To you, my reader, know that there is much I cannot say aloud. I am a God to the Tribes, a worker of the divine, ruler of this small world. My voice inspires awe and dread, my every imagined wish sends a hundred servants scurrying. Armies form at my command and warriors die for my name. In this way I am trapped; I must live this lie I have built about myself. Oh if you only knew! There are secrets I must tell, a world I must explain to those who live their lives on barren rock and believe in Gods.

I have come to fear that I may die here. With my passing, my lies become your truth, further damning you all.

To you, my reader, I tell you to imagine Tumnil. But imagine Tumnil ten thousand times over, trees and seedgrass stretching as far as the eye can see. A single warming Light shines from on high. The Sky itself is the same shade of blue as flames in your communities. Imagine the fields of Tumnil and great dwellings many times the size of the Halls there. Imagine them stretched about the surface of a great sphere, a hundred times the span of the World from Great Temple to World Crafter. The sphere circles with other spheres in an endless void of stars, full of life. Ah, the towering communities of my home! It is you who should weep, never having witnessed the realm from which I was rudely taken. But only I can appreciate the loss, and only I shall shed tears. I cry for an entire world.

As you read my words, recall my life. I am the God-King. I rule the World. My word is Law, but I cannot have what I ultimately desire. My descendants, your ancestors, must truly have been Gods to come here and fashion this rock. They were closer to the divine than my own ancestors, I fear. The question that tears at me for wake after wake is "why?" If they could do this, why did they do this here? Why did they do it this way? What went so tragically wrong for these Gods you now worship? So much must have taken place, so much transpired while I slept the cold sleep.

So said the God-King. There was far more, once, but like so much of history, the leather has dried, cracked and crumbled, the ink faded.

"Spheres in an endless void." The phrase haunts me as would some dark spirit. I wholly believe that these are the words of the God-King, and yet why should He write these fantasies? The God-King must have known much and His words feel more than true to me. Yet they cannot be.

The philosopher Tsen spoke much of cosmology in times before the ascendance of the God-King, but her great works say nothing of spheres. Would not everything fall from the underside? What was He trying to illustrate? From the words of Tsen, "the world is an imperfect plane under the perfect dome of the Sky. We, the imperfect, can only dwell here. The perfect Gods dwell above us." Of course, Tsen was of the Divine Susyan and accepted no Gods beyond those of the Sky. She did not believe in the Gods of the World Beyond. She held that it is our "imperfect nature" that prevents us from journeying beyond the hoarfrost and thin air at the edges of the world. The works of Tsen also make no mention of the Underworld below the World. Others have, believing it to extend beyond measure below our feet.

What lies beyond the Sky? The God-King would have us believe in many worlds, as bubbles in heated water. Fantasy! Yet it gnaws at me.

What of an entire world of trees and seedgrass? What of Tumnil a thousand kloms across, painful Lights and green Divine That Grows? It staggers my mind to think of it, so much of the divine in the World! It would be an upset of the natural order and harmony of a thousand kloms of rock, scarp and chasm. Where then would we see beauty in the Light of the One God reflected from the substance of the World? Could this have been the design of the God-King? Did He desire to bring the Order of the Provider to such ascendance in the world that all became Tumnil? What need for the Light of the One God then, I wonder? But such heresy could never come about. The Provider is a weak God, if He is a God at all. The One God is the Divine Will of the world, ascendant over all.

[ Posted by Reason on March 25, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Camnel Une Mefesa Inks Words of Tumnil

I have heard the words each time I have come to this great, most divine place: "This shall be the Law of the Order, so listen well as I speak. There shall be no conflict, no theft and no violence upon the territory sacred to the Provider. The Words of the Order are as the Words of a God. Respect them and you shall prosper. It is forbidden for you to remain beyond the third cycle hence." The acolyte who conducted the Ritual of Welcome found my Brothers and I where Tumnil meets the World, shadows and open rock behind, seedgrass, trees and the haze of divine color ahead.

I have been in Tumnil for long wakes now, enough for my eyes to adjust to the bright and warming Lights of the Provider. So strange and divine are my surroundings that, even forwarned and experienced, I believe I will never become used to it. Each new journey to this, the center of the World, seems like the first. Yet the robed Initiates seem comfortable here, as do their acolytes. Authority comes naturally to the Servants of the Provider; it does not seem strange to take their orders in the fields or amongst the Supplicants' Shelters - even for one of my Rank in the Brotherhood.

The softness of the soil underfoot still troubles me; the Unranked and Lutnens of the Brotherhood complain of sore ankles and stretched muscles. My aches of age are a greater burden, but I have long passed the cycles in which I can work as a Supplicant; thus I remain silent. Let the Sons and Daughters of Families complain while they can yet run the open rock and trade their strength as Supplicants for wood and inkberries.

Fragments and dust from soil and the Divine That Grows cling to fingers and clothes; Supplicants' eyes are red from rubbing. But still - Tumnil! We wake and sleep within the Realm of a God, the Divine pressed close to us with each heartbeat. The Divine That Grows is everywhere; trees, bushes, seedgrass and a hundred other signs of the divinity of the Provider. To touch even the smallest leaf is to touch a divine creation and be reminded once again that this is truly the home of a God.

The colors are unforgettable. The Lights of the Provider give everything that I own and wear new shades and hues; I watch the Unranked turn our their leather packs in wonder when they wake or return from the work of Supplicants in the fields. All that is familiar - wood, leather, bone, flesh, the shape of faces and hair - is different here. The Divine Will of the Provider reaches out to touch everything in His Realm.

[ Posted by Reason on March 26, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Ten Negui Tells of the Staff of Wrath

This is the legend of the Staff, as it was told to me by Irin Tonjen, respected Amral in the Brotherhood of the Path of Scribes, in the last cycles before he Passed to be with the ancestors. In turn, it is time for me to tell this legend - remember it well, for old, dark spirits wish us to recall.

Toorn ruled in ancient generations, long before the coming of the God-King, long before the Cult of the One God. The Tribes were closer to the Gods in those cycles, and Toorn was closest of all.

In his thirst for power, Toorn climbed the greatest mountain peaks to touch the Sky and strode Beyond the World to provoke Divine Wrath. The Gods became Wrathful indeed, yet cunning Toorn was not destroyed. He took the Wrath of Gods as though it were bone and wood, crafting It into a mighty Staff.

Fathers of the Wokhen and Lords of the Susyan feared for the World when one man earned the anger of Gods. The rule of Toorn grew, and so it came to pass that the warriors of the Tribes assembled and gave a great challenge. They were met with the Wrath of Gods and slain, given the fate rightfully due Toorn.

Beneath the sight of Wrathful Gods, ten thousand warriors Passed at the hands of Toorn. Yet Toorn was vanquished, for not even Divine Wrath may let one man stand against the Tribes. The Staff was taken by the Lightward priests to be hidden deep within their God, far from those who would bring Divine Wrath upon the Tribes.

[ Posted by Reason on June 20, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Entering the Hall of Acolytes, From the Recollections of Aruun

Passing through the mighty entry of Divine Will taken material form, passing from seedgrass and the brightest Lights of the Provider into darkness lit by flames of blue, I might have stepped from Tumnil to the farthest Godward community of the World in ten heartbeats. Familiar dwellings stood about me, the roof of this great and Divine hall so dark and far above it might be the Sky.

The dwellings rose up the very walls, as shelves in a hall of wood, crafted by the Tribes. It was as communities within the Great Temple, the Avatar of the One God, and no less wonderous - ancient wood and leather built upon platforms and levels, fading into darkness away from the flame-lights. The acolytes welcomed me, and Meten Asai of the Map Makers beckoned me to the Hall of Ritual, built of wood and bone within the Divine Hall of Acolytes, mighty creation of the Will of the Provider.

[ Posted by Reason on July 4, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

From the Fragments of Tsen's Questions

History has been long in its path from Void to World to World Beyond, a Pathway traveled as the Passed travel the high air to the Ancestral Sky Spirits. We are imperfect; we have forgotten much. Just as the elder crafter falters, her next breath, her skill and the movement of her hands gone from her heart, so too do scrolls, libraries and even tales themselves falter. Can forgotten generations be said to have happened at all? We are certain of our existence, but cannot guarantee memory in cycles to come.

[ Posted by Reason on July 16, 2005 | Permanent Link ]