ARC: TTT Chapter 6

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TheCulminatingApe

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« on: January 20, 2019, 06:58:05 pm »
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Of course we make crutches of one another.  Why else would we crawl when we lose our lovers?
- ONTILLAS, ON THE FOLLY OF MEN

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History.  Logic.  Arithmetic.  These all should be taught by slaves.
- ANONYMOUS, THE NOBLE HOUSE
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 09:10:31 pm »
The Holy War travels across Enathpaneah.  They wear Fanim clothing, ride Fanim horses, drink Fanim wine, and bed Fanim women.
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They had been transformed, and in ways that struck far deeper than mere accoutrements.  The men Achamian recalled, the Inrithi who'd marched through the Southron Gates, were but the ancestors of the men he saw now.  Just as he could no longer recognise the sorceror who'd wandered into teh Sareotic Library, they could no longer recognise the warriors who'd marched singing into the Carathay Desert.  Those other men had become strangers.  They might as well have brandished weapons of bronze.
The God had culled the Men of the Tusk.  Over battlefield and desert, through famine and pestilence, He had sifted them like sand through His fingers.  Only the strongest of the most fortunate survived.  The Ainoni had a saying: breaking enemies, not bread, made brothers.  But being broken, Achamian realised, was more potent still.  Something new had arisen from the forge of their collective suffering, something hard and something sharp.  Something Kellhus had simply lifted from the anvil,
They're his, Achamian would often think, watching their grim ranks file across ridge and hillside.  All of them.  So much so that if Kellhus were to die...

Do the Ainoni have a saying for everything? ::)
Elements of foreshadowing of the Ordeal here.  Broken men forged anew, and if Kellhus dies...

Akka and Kellhus ply the skin-spies, to no avail.  They freak Akka out.
Eleazaras has taken to drink.  He is terrified.
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Against all reason, Achamian actually pitied the man, the way those of hale constitution might pity those of weak in times of sickness.  There was no accounting for i.  The temper of every man in the Holy War had been tested.  Some survived stronger.  Some survived broken.  Some survived bent.  And all of them knew who was who, and which was which.
At no time did the chanv addict, Iyokus, attend any of the meetings, nor was he mentioned - small mercies for which Achamian was thankful.  As much as he hated the man, as much as he wanted to kill him that night in the Apple Garden, he could do no more than extract a fraction of what he was owed.  When the Hundred Pillars had taken the knife to his red-irised eyes, Iyokus had suddenly seemed a hapless stranger... an innocent.  The past became smoke, and retribution an act of abominable conceit.  Who was he to pass final judgement?  Of all the acts committed by men, only murder was absolute.
Had it not been for Xinemus, Achamian doubted he would have done anything at all.

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...Sometimes, during moments of boredom, an odd sense of detachment would overcome him as he watched Kellhus.  The surreal glamour would fall away and the Warrior-Prophet would seem as frail as the warlike men about him - and far more lonely.  Achamian would go rigid with terror, understanding that Kellhus, no matter how godlike he seemed, was in fact mortal.  He was a man.  Was this not the lesson of the Circumfixion?  And if something were to happen, nothing would matter, not even his love for Esmenet.
A strange zeal would creep through his limbs then, one utterly unlike the nightmare-born fervour of the Mandate Schoolmen.  A fanaticism of person.
To be devoted to a cause alone was to possess momentum without direction or destination.  For so long, wandering had been his twilight mission, beaten forward by his dreams, leading his mule down road and track, and never, not once, arriving.  But with Kellhus all this had changed. This was what he could not explain to Nautzera: that Kellhus was the incarnation of the abstractions that gave their School purpose.  In this one man lay the abstractions that gave their School purpose. In this one man lay the future of all mankind.  He was their only bulwark against the End of Ends.
The No-God.
Several times now, Achamian thought he had glimpsed golden haloes about Kellhus' hands.  He found himself envying those, such as Proyas, who claimed to see them all the time.  And he realised that he would gladly die for Anasurimbor Kellhus.  He would begrudge no sacrifice, despite his unrequited hate.

Presumably you have to 'believe' in Kellhus to see the haloes.  Akka is the sceptic, so doesn't often see them.  Serwe is the first to see the haloes.  Proyas is a man of faith.  Kellhus sees his own haloes - believes his own bullshit?

Esmenet remains Akka's greatest distraction.
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Women were windows through which men could peer into other men.  They were the unguarded gate, the point of contact for deeper, more defenceless selves.  And there had been times, Achamian could now admit, when he feared the raucous crowd that scrutinised him through her almost guileless eyes.  All that had consoled him was the fact he was the last to bed her, would always be the last.
And now she was with Kellhus.
Why was this thought so unbearable?  Why did it cramp his heart so?
Some nights he would lie awake and remind himself, over and over, of just who it was that Esmenet had chosen.  Kellhus was the Warrior-Prophet.  Before long he would demand sacrifices of all men.  He would demand lives, not just lovers.  And if he took, then he gave as well - such gifts!  Achamian had lost Esmenet, but he had gained his soul.  Had he not?
Had he not?

'Though you lose your soul, you shall gain the world'.  The Mandate Catechism turned on its head.

Akka goes to Proyas pavillion.  Xinemus is there and so is Esmi.  She is very beautiful.  Xinemus has a heightened sense of smell.
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..."There's beauty - so much beauty - in what we see", he said with eloquence.  "But there's truth in what we smell."
Their laughter became brittle then, suddenly keen to a dangerous shift in his manner.  In a moment it trailed away altogether.
"Truth!"  Xinemus cried with savagery. "The world stinks of it!"  He made as thought o stand up, but rolled back onto his rump instead.  "I can smell all of you, " he said, as if in answer to their shocked silence.  "I can smell that Akka's afraid.  I can smell that Proyas grieves. I can smell that Esmi wants to fuck-"
"Enough"! Achamian cried. "What's this madness? Zin... who's this fool,you've become?"
The Marshall laughed, possessed of a sudden, improbable lucidity.  "I'm the same man you knew, Akka."  He shrugged in a drunk's exaggerated manner, holding his palms out.  "Just minus my eyes".

Akka gets up to leave.  He realises Proyas has made Xin his punishment.  Xin mocks both of them.

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"Ah, yes, Proyas the Judge."  The Marshall leaned back into his drink and cushions.  When he continued, it was with a strange, dislocated voice - one that had discarded hope.  "So he bade Horomon," he quoted, "to offer his cheeks into his hands, saying to the others, 'This man, who has put out the eyes of his enemy, the God has struck blind.'  Then he spit once into each socket and said, 'This man, who has sinned, I have made clean.'  And Horomon cried out in wonder, for he had been sightless, and now he could see."
He quoted The Tractate, Achamian realised, the famed passage where Inri Sejenus restored the sight of a notorious Xerashi criminal.  For many Inrithi, "seeing with Horomon's eyes" was synonymous with "revelation".
Xinemus turned from Proyas to Achamian, as though from a lesser to a greater enemy.  "He cannot heal, Akka.  The Warrior-Prophet...  He cannot heal".

Can Xinemus smell Kellhus - and if so what does he smell?  Can Xin 'see' through him?

Akka tells Esmi about the Cants of Compulsion.
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..."Zin lost more than his eyes in Iothiah"...
..."Souls compelled", he continued, "are souls possessed"...
..."They used him against me"...
..."The great paradox of the Compulsions is that their victims in no way feel compelled.  Zin sincerely meant everything he said to me, he chose to say them, even though others spoke the words"...
..."He said that pity was the only love I could hope for"...
...Of all the world, only she truly understood.  Of all the world.
Longing crashed about the pilings of his resolution - to crush her in his arms, to press her back tenderly then kiss the faint saddle of freckles across her nose...
..."H-he said things," Achamian continued, coughing against a voice-cracking ache.  "He said things without hope of forgiveness.  Now he can't bring himself to stop."...
...Blinking, Achamian looked to the sky, saw the Round of Horns glittering in an arc over the northern hills.  It was an ancient Kuniuric constellation, unknown to the astrologers of the Three Seas.  "Think of the soul as a network of innumerable rivers.  With the Cants of Compulsion, the old banks are swamped, dikes are washed away, new channels are cut... Sometimes when the floodwaters recede, things resume their old course.  Sometimes they don't".

They kiss.  Akka asks if she loves him.  She tells him Kellhus 'knows' her like no other.  But he knows everyone.  But he loves her.

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how could one loves one's oppressor?  Achamian didn't know, but he loved nonetheless.  He loved them both.

Akka teaches Kellhus the Gnosis.  He learns Gilcunya, the Nonman tongue in less than two weeks.
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To say that Achamian was astonished or even appalled would be to name a confluence of passions that could not be named...

He moves onto philosophy.  Sorcery depends upon meanings, which depend upon systematic comprehension. The same words mean different things to different people, or in different circumstances.  The example given is love.
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"Preserving and expressing the pure modalities of meaning," he continued, "this id the heart of all sorcery, Kellhus.  With each word, you must strike the perfect semantic pitch, the note that will drown out the chorus of reality"...
..."The sheer otherness of Gilcunya serves to insulate the semantics of sorcery from the inconsistencies of our lives"...
"To speaks as the Gods do," Kelhhus said.  "Far from the concerns of Men."

Cants require two meanings, utteral and inutteral.
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"So the inutterals serve to fix the utterals," Kellhus said, "the way the words of one man might secure the words of another".
"Precisely,"  Achamian replied.  "One must think and say two different things at once.  This is the greatest challenge - even more so than then the mnemonics.  The things that requires the most practice to master."

Kellhus asks about whether anyone has ever used two inutterals. There is a myth that Su'juroit the nonman Witch King did this - but Akka doesn't tell Kellhus.

When Akka comes to teach Kellhus a Cant, he cannot speak.  Seswatha is protect the Gnosis.  Kellhus ask to speak with Seswatha - he appears to hypnotise Akka.  Akka remembers speaking, but recollects none of the words.  Then he teaches Kellhus the words.
It took Akka seven months to master the utterals and inutterals.  Kellhus does it first time, in bold letters.  His eyes glow
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...Like coals beneath the bellows.
Terror clawed the breath from his lungs, the blood from his limbs.  If a fool such as him could bring down ramparts of stone with such words, what could this man do?
What were his limits?...
...And at last Achamian realised...
I have not the concepts to comprehend him
.

Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 08:04:19 pm »
Akka tells Esmi about the Cants of Compulsion.
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..."Zin lost more than his eyes in Iothiah"...
..."Souls compelled", he continued, "are souls possessed"...
..."They used him against me"...
..."The great paradox of the Compulsions is that their victims in no way feel compelled.  Zin sincerely meant everything he said to me, he chose to say them, even though others spoke the words"...
..."He said that pity was the only love I could hope for"...
...Of all the world, only she truly understood.  Of all the world.
Longing crashed about the pilings of his resolution - to crush her in his arms, to press her back tenderly then kiss the faint saddle of freckles across her nose...
..."H-he said things," Achamian continued, coughing against a voice-cracking ache.  "He said things without hope of forgiveness.  Now he can't bring himself to stop."...
...Blinking, Achamian looked to the sky, saw the Round of Horns glittering in an arc over the northern hills.  It was an ancient Kuniuric constellation, unknown to the astrologers of the Three Seas.  "Think of the soul as a network of innumerable rivers.  With the Cants of Compulsion, the old banks are swamped, dikes are washed away, new channels are cut... Sometimes when the floodwaters recede, things resume their old course.  Sometimes they don't".

Is the Round of Horns actually there in the sky above Xerash, or is Akka seeing with Seswatha's eyes?
What would a third inutteral do to the Cants of Compulsion (we later find out what it can do to the Cants of Calling)?
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.