ARC: TTT Chapter 14

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TheCulminatingApe

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« on: March 03, 2019, 12:32:51 pm »
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Some say I learned dread knowledge that night. But of this, as with so many other matters, I cannot write for fear of summary execution.
- DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, THE COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

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Truth and hope are like travellers in contrary directions.  They meet but once in any man's life
- AINONI PROVERB
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 03:19:48 pm »
Esmenet remembers her possession

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Esmenet dreamed that she was a prince, an angel fallen from the dark, that her heart had beaten, her loins had ached, for tens of thousands of years.  She dreamed that Kellhus stood before her, an outrage to be blotted, an enigma to be dissected, and above all a burning question...
Who are the Dunyain?

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Ever since reading The Sagas, a foreboding had grown within her, an accumulation that had filled her heart and limbs with a sense of rolling heaviness.  The night in the Nansur villa - the night of her possession - had stained this listless dread with a bewildering urgency. Every time she blinked, she saw things penetrated and penetrating. She could still feel the creature's hands upon her flesh, and the memory of her obedient lust seemed ever present. The hunger she had suffered that night!  A thirst that only terror could touch, and that no horror could slake.  At once bestial and remote, it had been a wantonness that eclipsed obscenity.. and become something pure.
The Inchoroi had taken her, but the want, the insatiable desire... those had been hers.
Of course, Kellhus had tried to console her, even as he plied her with endless questions.  He said much the same thing that Achamian had said when explaining Xinemus' torment: that the self never stood apart when one was compelled, because it was the very thing possessed. "You can't distinguish yourself from him", Kellhus explained, "because for a time he was you.  That's why he tried to provoke me into killing you, because he feared the memories you might have of his memories".
"But the things!" she could only reply. "The things I ached for!"  Grimacing faces.  Grinning orifices and gaping wounds.  The rush of hot fluids.
"Those desires weren't yours, Esmi.  They only seemed to be yours because you couldn't see where they came from...  You simply suffered them".
"But then, how does any desire belong to me?"

She bumps into a former customer, who is drunk and forgets who she now is.  She threatens to have him flayed alive, and thins about having him hunted down.
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..Though she had always detested the brutality that her new station had forced upon her, the thought of his screams thrilled her for some reason.  Scenarios roiled through her thoughts, and though she knew they were both petty and absurd, she exulted in them nonetheless.
What was it? Her shame?  His smirk?  Or the mere fact that she could do these things?
I am she breathlessly thought, his vessel.

She finds Kellhus.  She is worried that he is leaving the Holy War.
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No matter where they turned, men found themselves encircled by greater things.  Usually they ignored them.  And sometimes, moved by pride and base hunger, they warred against them.  But either way, those things remained just as great, and men, no matter how lunatic their conceit, remained just as small.  Only be kneeling, by offering themselves as one might offer the haft of a weapon, could men recognise their place in this world.  Only by submitting could they recognise themselves.
There was rapture in submission. The vulnerability of another towering overhead - precarious, like letting a stranger touch one's face.  The sense of profound communing, as though only those who acknowledged their insignificance could themselves be acknowledged.  The relief of surrender, the disburdening that accompanied the yielding of responsibility.
The paradoxical sense of licence.
The nattering voices fell silent.  The exhaustion of endless posturing melted away.  She found it narcotic, even arousing... the domination of another.

Kellhus tells her he loves her, and that she should fear what is about to happen.
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"Fear for the future, Esmi, not me".  Fingers combed through her hair, drew tingling lines across her scalp.  "This flesh is but my shadow".
Does this imply he has been possessed?, or that he has a plan beyond his mortal life?

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Kellhus heads off to Kyudea.
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"I know you can hear me", he said to the world, dark and sacred.  "I know that you listen"...

..."What was I to do? Tell them the truth?"...

...He ran.  Not once did he stumble, nor did he slow to determine his bearings.  The ground was his... Conditioned.
Everywhere, all about him, one world.  The crossings were infinite, but they were not equal.
They were not equal.

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Something appears in the First Temple of Shimeh.  Zioz - a Ciphrang, summoned by Iyokus.

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Akka dreams again of Seswatha and Nau-Cayuti

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Through endless dark they had climbed, higher and higher, knowing that sooner or later the emptiness had to yield to horrors.  It began with raining waste: urine, excrement, trailing from seams, spilling in skirts they had to leap through.  They passed wells that had once been corridors, where streams of slurry toppled down into endless dark.  They circled great pits of rotting flesh, where corpses - some fetal and malformed, others full-grown - had been thrown from unknown heights.  And once, they had even crossed a lake filled with brackish water - what must have been the accumulation of thousands of years of rain.
They had wept for relief while bathing.  It was no mean thing to be cleansing in such a place.

Eventually they find...
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A city.  Thy found themselves staring across a city. The steaming hart of Golgotterath.
He should be awake!
A cavernous void opened before them.  It reminded Seswatha of a ship's ribbed hold, though pitched on its end, and far too vast to truly resemble any work of Men.  Sheer golden faces reared into obscurity, hazed by the smoke of countless fires.  Structures of mortise and hacked stone climbed their foundation, crusting their sides like stacked hornets' nests, not dwellings but open cells, squalid and innumerable.  It all would have looked like something revealed by low tide were it not for the fires and the figures teeming like mites across it.  Lumbering files of Bashrag.  Gibbering masses of Sranc.  And among them, human captives, untold numbers of them, some shackled to sledges in great groaning trains, others scattered across the open-air harems of their captors, gagging beneath convulsing shadows, their mouths working, their eyes rolled up to the dark, pink and naked and bloodied, countless men, women and children.  The bodies of the Broken choked the alleys below.
He should be awake...

Akka is awakened by Cnaiur.

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Eleazaras and Iyokus watch Shimeh.
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... Circles of blood had been painted across the flattened grasses...
Whose blood?

Eli has doubts about using Zioz.  Iyokus tells him the Cishaurim must fear them.

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The bizarre terror of awakening to a mortal threat: a pang wrapped round with a sluggish incredulity, as though something deep believed he slept.  Like a knife probing wool.
"Scylvendi!"...

Cnaiur wants know where Kellhus is.  Akka will give his life to protect Kellhus' trust.  Cnair offers to trade...
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"The truth of him"

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"You know nothing!" the barbarian snarled.  "Nothing!  Only what he has let you know."  He spat in the corner next to Achamian's uncovered feet, wiped his lips with the hand holding his Chorae.  "The same as all his slaves".
"I'm no sla-"
"But you are!  In his presence all men are slaves, sorceror".  With the Chorae clutched tight in his fist, the fist Scylvendi leaned back to sit cross-legged.  "He is Dunyain".
Never had Achamian heard such shaking hate in a word, and the world was filled with such epithets: Scylvendi, Consult, Fanim, Cishaurim, Mog-Pharau... It sometimes seemed there were as many hatreds as there were names.
"That word", Achamian said carefully, "'Dunyain'... it simply means 'truth' in a dead tongue".
"The tongue is not dead", Cnaiur snapped, "and the word no longer means 'truth'."
Achamian recalled that first meeting outside Momemn, the Scylvendi standing proud and savage before Proyas, while Kellhus had held Serwe amid Xinemus' knights.  he hadn't believed Cnaiur then, but the revelation of Kellhus and his name, Anasurimbor, had overturned all his suspicions.  What was it Kellhus had said?  That the Scylvendi had accepted his wager?  Yes, and that he had dreamed of the Holy War from afar...
"What you told us," Achamian said, glimpsing the sheen of teeth, "that first day with Proyas... you lied".

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"You think Kellhus was sent," the Scylvendi said in a hollow voice, "when he was summoned.  You think he is unique, when he is but one of a number.  You think he is a saviour, when is nothing more than a slaver".

Cnaiur tells him about Moenghus.
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"Shame!  Wutrim kut mi'puru kamuir!  I could not stop thinking!  I could not stop thinking!  I laid eyes upon my degradation, I understood, and I stamped my heart with that understanding!"
Without realising, Achamian wrung finger against finger, joint.  There was the Scylvendi's shadow and the pit that was his Chorae.  Nothing else existed.
"He was intellect.. He was war!  That is what they are!  Do you not see?  With every heartbeat they war against circumstance, with every breath they conquer!  They walk among us as we walk among dogs, and we yowl when they throw out scraps, we whine and whimper when they raise their hands...
"They make us love!  They make us love!

Akka gives up Kellhus
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He knew the Scylvendi meant to kill him, his final, greatest student.  He knew what the two shadows behind the barbarian had been.  As they exited his tent, he had seen her face in a shaft of moonlight, as perfect as that night it had swayed and moaned above him.  Serwe...
You gave him up.  The Warrior-Prophet... You told the barbarian where he goes!
Because he lies!  He steals what is ours!  What is mine!
But the world!  The world!
Fie on the world!  Let it burn!

He redraws his word map.  Adds names, and connects them all to Shimeh, including Esmenet.
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Her name he connected last of all, for he knew she needed Shimeh more than any other - save perhaps himself.  Once the black thread was drawn tight, he returned the tip of his quill and drew it out once more.  And again. And again.  And again.  Quicker and quicker.  Until he slashed the vellum sheet in a frenzy.  Cut after cut after cut-
For he was sure that his quill had become a knife...
And that flesh lay beneath the tattooed skin.
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

Dora Vee

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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 04:39:14 am »
I lost a bit more respect for Esmenet at this point. I can never hate her, but as time went on, I became more and more indifferent. Forced by station? Please. That's an excuse. At least she's introspective about it. Conphas wouldn't have thought twice about it. But, the talk about submission made me ill. Screw that.

Faith is the truth of passion. Since no passion is more true than another, faith is the truth of nothing.   
                          -Ajencis, the fourth analytic of man

Redeagl

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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2019, 08:05:08 pm »
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Vast was the night. Great was the ground.
And yet they yielded. They yielded.
Step-step-leap. Incantations of space. World crossing world.
The hares darted from his path. The thrushes burst from his feet, hurtling into the stars. The jackals raced at his side, their tongues lolling, their loping limbs tiring.
“Who are you?” they panted as their hearts failed them.
“Your master!” cried the godlike man as he outdistanced them. And though humour was unknown to him, he laughed. He laughed until the sky shook.
Your master.


Masterclass. Also, a good reminder why I hate Kellhus.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 08:17:20 pm by Redeagl »
“The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before?”

- Chronicler of the Chroniclers

Wilshire

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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2019, 11:49:19 am »
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Vast was the night. Great was the ground.
And yet they yielded. They yielded.
Step-step-leap. Incantations of space. World crossing world.
The hares darted from his path. The thrushes burst from his feet, hurtling into the stars. The jackals raced at his side, their tongues lolling, their loping limbs tiring.
“Who are you?” they panted as their hearts failed them.
“Your master!” cried the godlike man as he outdistanced them. And though humour was unknown to him, he laughed. He laughed until the sky shook.
Your master.


Masterclass. Also, a good reminder why I hate Kellhus.
What a great passage.
One of the other conditions of possibility.