ARC: TTT Chapter 15

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TheCulminatingApe

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« on: March 03, 2019, 12:34:50 pm »
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If war does not kill the woman in us, it kills the man.
- TRIAMIS I, JOURNALS AND DIALOGUES

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Like so many who undertake arduous journeys, I left a country of wise men and came back to a nation of fools.  Ignorance, like time, brooks no return
- SOKWE, TEN SEASONS IN ZEUM
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2019, 09:24:35 pm »
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Soundless light broken through beads of dew.  Dark canvas faces steaming.  Shadows stretching from engines of war, slowly shrinking.  Hues of grey bleeding into t panoply of colours.  The far reacts of the sea flashing gold.
Morning.  The beginning of the world's slow bow before the sun.
Slaves stirred smoke from the firepits, used dried grass to conjure flames from buried coals.  The sleepless roused themselves, sat in the chill, watching the twining smoke, disbelieving...
The first of the horns pealed raw across the distances.
The day had come.  Shimeh awaited, black against a fan of rising light.

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Kellhus arrives in Kyudea
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The Warrior-Prophet wandered the debris, a future mapped with each exhalation.  His soul forked into the blackness of possibility, following the calculus of inference and association.  Thoughts branching, shoot after shoot, until he filled the immediate world and struck beyond, down into the exhausted soil of the past, out across the ever-receding horizon of the future.
Cities burned.  Entire nations took flight.  A whirlwind walked...

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Achamian realises he has been used all along.
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"But I'm not like the others!" Achamian had protested.  "I don't believe for my heart's sake!"
A shrug of powerful, many-scarred soldiers.  "Which is why he would conceded you your concerns... make them the ground of an even deeper devolution.  Truths are his knives, and we are all of us cut!"
"What are you saying"...

..."That even you, the proud naysayer, are his slave.  That he hunches at the springs of your every thought, draws you as ate to his cup"
"But my soul is my own!"
Laughter, dark and gutteral and vicious, as though all sufferers, in the end were no more than fools.
"He prizes no thought higher"
Achamian had found certainty in Kellhus, despite losing Esmenet to him.  He'd even made his torment into a kind of proof.  So long as his charge pained him, he told himself, it must be real.  He did not, as so many did, believe for flattery's sake.  Seswatha's Dreams assured that his importance would be more a thing of terror than pride.  And his redemption had been a thing too... abstract.
To love one who had wronged him - that was his test!  And he had been rooted - so rooted...
Now everything toppled, hurtled across steepening moments in an avalanche of hungers and hatreds, rushing toward... towards...
Shimeh.
He knew not what.
"Truths are his knives, and we are all of us cut..."
What was happening?
To know anything was to know, in some measure, where one stood.  Small wonder he clutched his chest for fear of falling, even here on the wide ground of Shairazor- in the long shadow of Shimeh.
"Ask yourself, sorceror... What do you have that he hasn't taken?"
He had much preferred his damnation.

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The Holy War begins the assault on Shimeh.  The Fanim watch perplexed, then realise the Scarlet Spires are there.  The sorceror's attack.

Proyas rides a siege tower.  He gains the walls.

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Kellhus finds 'the only tree in Kyudea' and passes beneath it into the darkness.

Back down the trail, Cnaiur and the skin-spies follow.

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Esmenet realises that war had given the world to men.  She has stayed in the encampment rather than go to watch.

A man arrives, and asks her to come with him.
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For a moment she refused to look up.  She knew who it was.  Even more, she knew what he looked like: the desolate eyes, the haggard posture, even the way his thumb combed the hair across his knuckles...  It seemed a wonder that so much could be hidden in a voice, and an even greater wonder that she alone could see.
Her husband, Drusas Achamian.

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Kellhus wanders through the ruins beneath Kyudea.  They are not the work of humans.  he is reminded of Ishual.
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Kellhus forged ahead, the scattered detritus cracking beneath his feet.  he watched the walls resolve from cold blackness, studied the mad detail that thronged across them.  Statuary, not reliefs, had been carved into them: figures no taller than his knee, posed in narratives that outran the light of his lantern, and stacked one atop another, even across the vaulted ceiling, so that it seemed he walked through stone grille work.  He paused, held his lantern before a string of naked figures raising spears against a lion, then realised that another frieze had been carved behind this first.  Peering through miniature limbs, he saw deeper, more licentious representations, depicting all manner of poses and penetrations.
The work of Nonmen.

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He knew only that the inhabitants of this place had celebrated deeds in all their ambivalent complexity, rather than - as was the wont of Men -reproducing only flattering surfaces

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Upraised palms braced his every step.  Blank eyes studied his every angle.  The Nonmen who had authored this place had possessed more than a fascination with the living form; it had been their obsession.  Everywhere, they had cut their image into the dead stone about them, transforming the suffocating weights that hemmed them in into extensions of themselves.  And Kellhus realised: the mansion itself had been their devotional work - their Temple.  Unlike men, these Nonmen had not rationed their worship.  They did not distinguish between prayer and speech, idol and statue...
Which spoke to their terror.
Collapsing possibilities with every step, Anasurimbor Kellhus followed his father's trail into the blackness, his lantern raised to the issue of artisans, ancient and inhuman.

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Akka leads Esmi out of the encampment towards the hills to the west.  He shows her the siege of Shimeh from a distance.
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"We've gained the heights," she aid - a murmur that somehow became a cry.  "The city is ours!"  She turned to Achamian, who seemed to watch with the same horror and wonder - awe - that numbed her expression.
"Akka... Can't you see?  Shimeh falls!  Shimeh falls!
There had been so much in these words - far more than fervour, far more than the tears that clotted her eyes.  Love, rape and revelation.  Disease, starvation, and massacre.  Everything they had survived.  Everything she had endured.
But he shook his head, his eyes still fixed on the vista before them.
"It's all a lie".
Horns pealed to the lowing clouds.
"What?"
He turned to her, his look possessed by a terrifying blankness.  She recognised it, for the same blankness had owned her eyes the night he had returned to Caraskand.
"The Scylvendi came to me last night".

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The Scarlet Spires pass through the ruined walls into the city.  Eleazaras
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... could sense the Chorae out here, buried in cellars, crouched in lethal vantages, waiting...
Everywhere.  Hidden enemies.
Too much... too many.
"Fire cleanses!" he cried.  "Raze it! Burn it all to ash!"

The Thunyeri follow the sorcerors, whilst the Conriyans fight across the northern battlements and the Ainonoi approach from the south.
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Soon the Kianene and Amoti were dissolving in panic.  Everywhere they looked, they saw chain-armoured myriads, loosed like blond wolves into the streets.

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Kellhus reaches a vast cavern with waterfalls, and a platform with braziers on.  He hears a voice speaking Kuniuric.  His father, Moenghus.

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Achamian has told Esmi what he has learnt from Cnaiur.  He tells her that he thinks Kellhus wants her to give him children.
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"So he breeds.  Is that it?  I'm his prized mare?"
"I know how hateful these words must-"
"Why would you think that?  I've been used my whole life."  She paused, glared at him with as much remorse as outrage. "My whole life, Akka.  And now that I've become the instrument of something higher, higher than men and their rutting hunger-"
"But why? Why be an instrument at all?"
"You speak as if we had a choice - you, a Mandate Schoolman!  There's no escape.  You know that.  With every breath, we are used!"
"Then why the bitterness, Esmi?  Shouldn't a prophet's vessel sound ex-"
"Because of you, Akka!" she cried with alarming ferocity.  "You!  Why can't you just let me go?  You know that I love you, so you cling to that, you dig in with grubby nails and you yank and yank and yank, you bruise and batter my heart, and you refuse to let me go!"
"Esmi... I asked and you came"
Long silence.
"All this," she said, her voice almost inaudible for the crack of faraway sorceries, "everything Cnaiur said... what makes you think that Kellhus hasn't already told me?"
Achamian swallowed, ignored the light that flashed across his periphery.
"Because you say you love him".

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The Scarlet Spires continue the advance though Shimeh.  Nothing can stand in their way.  The Cishaurim are nowhere to be seen.

They send demons into the First Temple.  Zioz, Setmahaga and Sohorat.
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They flattened like beetles against the slate.  They could sense the eyeless ones within, waiting.
Fall upon them! the Voice screeched.  Rend them!  Only in their midst will you be safe from the Chorae!

They smash through the roof and the demons feed on the Cishaurim, but then others arrive with Chorae.  Setmahaga and Sohorat fall.  Zioz flees into the sky.
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Return me, manling!  Throw off these chains!
But the Scarlet Schoolman was obstinate.
One last task... one more offending eye

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Moenghus speaks.  Kellhus realises his father remains Dunyain, and that he stands on conditioned ground.

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"And what of you, Akka?"  Smenent said, her voice become scathing.  "Haven't you yielded your precious Gnosis as readily as I've yielded my womb?"  Why couldn't she just hate him, this drab and broken sorceror?  It would all be so much easier then.
Achamian cleared his throat.  "Yes... yes, I have..."
"Then tell me why, Holy Tutor.  Why would a Mandate Schoolman do such an unthinkable thing?"
"Because the Second Apocalypse... It comes..."
"The very world is at stake and you complain that he makes weapons of all things?  Aka, you should rejoi-"
"I'm not saying he's not the Harbinger!  He may even be a prophet for all I know..."
"Then what are you saying, Akka?  Do you even know?"
Two tears threaded his cheeks.
"That he stole you from me!  Stole!"
"Picked your purse, did he?  That's funny, because I feel more shit than gold".
"It's not like that".
"Isn't it?  You love me, yes Akka, but I've never been anything more than a-"
"But you're not thinking!  You see only your love for him.  You're not thinking of what he sees when he gazes upon you."
A moment of silent horror.
"Tell me, Esmi!  Tell me what he sees!"
She shook.  Why was she shaking?  The earth seemed like stone beneath her knees.
"The truth," she murmured.  "He sees the truth!"
Somehow his arms had scooped her to her feet.  And she clutched him, sobbed and wailed into his shoulders.
He whispered into her ear.  "He doesn't see, Esmi...  he watches".
And the words were there, at once deafening and unspoken.
... without love.
She looked up to him, and he stared at her with an intensity, a desperation, she knew she would never find in Kellhus' endless blue eyes.  He smelled warm... bitter.
His lips were wet.

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Eleazaras is intoxicated on his own power.
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And, yes... omnipotence.  Like liquor burning through his veins, or opium sweltering his soul.

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"Behold!" he spat contemptuously.  "Behold what we - we! - have wrought."
The soot-stained sorceror stared at him in horror.  Lights flashed across his sweaty cheek.
Eleazaras turned back to exult in the wages of his impossible labour.
Shimeh burned... Shimeh.
"Our power," he grated.  "Our glory!"

Proyas stares in disbelief at the sorcerous destruction.

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Moenghus continues his lecture.

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Akka and Esmi make love.

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As the defenders flee and the Men of the Tusk rampage through Shimeh, Proyas realises that the Fanim are only pretending to defend their city.

The Fanim have undermined their own walls, which suddenly collapse, and the Kianene horsemen race out across the plains.

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Beneath Kyudea, Moenghus tells Kellhus that it was inevitable that the caste-nobility would make a move against him.
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"This,"  the eyeless face said, "was where the Probability Trance failed me..."
"So you did not anticipate the visions?"  Kellhus asked.
His father's face remained absolute and impassive.
"What visions?"

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The Scarlet Spires can sense Trinkets.
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"There are Chorae near, Eli!  Great numbers of them... Can't you feel them?"
It would be good to bathe, Eleazaras thought inanely.  To scrub this madness from him.
"Of course,"  he snapped.  "Beneath the ruin.  held fast by the dead".

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The world about him seemed black and hollow and glittering white.  Kellhus raise his palm.  "My hands... when I look upon them, I see haloes of gold."
Scrutiny.  Calculation.
"I have not my eyes with me," Moenghus said, and Kellhus understood instantly that he referred to the asps used by his Cishaurim brethren.  "I walk these halls by memory".
For all the signs he betrayed, this man who was his father could be a statue of stone.  He seemed a face without a soul.
"The God," Kellhus said.  "He doesn't speak to you?"
Scrutiny.  Calculation.
"No."
"Curios..."
"And from whence does his voice hail?" Moenghus asked.  "From what darkness?"
"I know not... Thoughts come.  I know only that they're not mine."
Another infinitesimal pause.  He dips in the Probability Trance, the same as I...
"The mad say much the same," Moenghus said.  Perhaps your trials have deranged you."
"Perhaps"
Scrutiny.  Calculation.
"It's not in your interest to deceive me."  A stone-faced pause.  "Unless..."
"Unless," Kellhus said, "I've come to assassinate you as our Dunyain brothers have decreed... Is this you apprehension?"
Scrutiny.  Calculation.
"You have not the power to overcome me."
"But I do, Father".
Another pause, imperceptibly longer.
"How," his father finally said, "could you know this?"
"Because I know why you were compelled to summon me".
Scrutiny.  Calculation.
"So you have grasped it".
"Yes... the Thousandfold Thought".
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 09:13:36 pm by TheCulminatingApe »
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

Madness

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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 03:54:19 am »
I know I keep swooping and not adding much but this is another amazing chapter - as the end of TTT should be.

I've said it before and I'll repeat it again but I parallel TWP/WLW&TGO and TTT almost then directly seems to structure the same as TUC. Even some of those quotes seem to have fairly obvious counterparts in TUC - (I can even track line by line siblings between the two books).

Rereading the summary of one of Moenghus' quotes (along with FB's recent post) makes me wonder if the Gods are unable to inhabit the Cishaurim as they can non-Cishaurim...

Some very interesting thoughts to chew on but I'll have to post them in a TUC thread.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 03:56:49 am by Madness »
The Existential Scream
Weaponizing the Warrior Pose - Declare War Inwardly
carnificibus: multus sanguis fluit
Die Better
The Theory-Killer

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2019, 09:15:02 pm »
Rereading the summary of one of Moenghus' quotes (along with FB's recent post) makes me wonder if the Gods are unable to inhabit the Cishaurim as they can non-Cishaurim...

Note he's hiding underground like a Nonman - where the God's can't see him?
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 09:20:20 pm »
A very strong contrast between the extremely dispassionate Moenghus and the highly emotional members of the Holy War - for example Eleazaras, Akka and Esmi etc

Also
For all the signs he betrayed, this man who was his father could be a statue of stone.  He seemed a face without a soul.
Yet another correspondence between the Dunyain and the Consult
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

Madness

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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 11:45:21 pm »
Note he's hiding underground like a Nonman - where the God's can't see him?

Yeah, I think we've assumed that before but Mallahet does appear in Momemn to meet with Xerius.

The Existential Scream
Weaponizing the Warrior Pose - Declare War Inwardly
carnificibus: multus sanguis fluit
Die Better
The Theory-Killer

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 07:45:49 pm »
"I have not my eyes with me," Moenghus said, and Kellhus understood instantly that he referred to the asps used by his Cishaurim brethren.  "I walk these halls by memory".

Moenghus seems to be going out of his way to remove sight as a factor in whatever transpires with Kellhus.  Not only is he himself physically blind, but he has left his surrogate 'eyes' elsewhere.  The meeting between father and son takes place in a very dimly lit underground room, and Moenghus spends a lot of the time obscured by running water (which may also be obscuring his voice).  The implication would be that Kellhus is unable to see (and hear) with the clarity he normally would, and therefore is unable to read Moenghus in the same way he would read others. 
Moenghus is up to some sort of deception, or wants to keep Kellhus in check?
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.