ARC: TTT Chapter 17

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TheCulminatingApe

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« on: March 03, 2019, 12:37:34 pm »
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Faith, they say, is simply hope confused for knowledge. Why believe when hope alone is enough.
- CRATIANAS, NILNAMESHI LORE

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Ajencis, in the end, argued that ignorance was the only absolute.  According to Parcis, he would tell his students that he knew only that he knew more than when he was an infant.  This comparative assertion was the only nail, he would say, to which one could tie the carpenter-string of knowledge.  This has come down to us as the famed 'Ajencian Nail', and it is the only thing that prevented the Great Kyranean from falling into the tail-chasing scepticism of Nirsolfa, or the embarrassing dogmatism of well-nigh every philosopher and theologian who ever dared scratch ink across parchment.
But even this metaphor, 'nail', is faulty, a result of what happens when we confuse our notation with hat is noted.  Like the numeral 'zero' used by the Nilnameshi mathematicians to work such wonders, ignorance is the occluded frame of all discourse, the unseen circumference of our every contention.  Men are forever looking for the one point, the singular fulcrum they can use to dislodge all competing claims.  Ignorance does not give us this. What it provides, rather, is the possibility of comparison, the assurance that not all claims are equal. And this, Ajencis would argue, is all that we need.
For so long as we admit our ignorance, we can hope to improve our claims, and so long as we can improve our claims, we an aspire to the Truth, even if only in rank approximation.
And this is why I mourn my love of the Great Kyranean.  For despite the pull of his wisdom, there are many things of which I am absolutely certain, things that feed the hate which drives this very quill.
- DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, TEH COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR
« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 02:16:04 pm by TheCulminatingApe »
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 03:07:17 pm »
Achamian is being carried across the sky by Zioz.

And then he wakes, at the sea shore.

Then he is - presumably asleep again - in Golgotterath.
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Into a golden labyrinth of horrors more vast than any Nonmen Mansion, where a student, who was more a son, gazed at him with horror and incredulity.  A Kuniuric Prince, just beginning to fathom his surrogate father's betrayal.
"She's dead!" Seswatha shouted as much at the unbearable expression as at the man.  "She's gone to you now!  And if she lives, then what you find you will not keep, no matter how deep you think your passion!"
"But you said", Nau-Cayuti cried, his brave face broken in grief.  "You said!"
"I lied".
"How?  How could you do this?  You were the only one, Sessa!  The only one!
"Because I couldn't succeed", Achamian said. "Not alone.  Because what we do here is more important than truth or love".
Nau-Cayuti's eyes gleamed like bared teeth in the gloom. This, Seswatha knew, was the look that had sealed the final heartbeat of so very many - Man and Sranc alike.
"And what do we do here, old teacher?  Pray tell".
"We search," Achamian murmured.  "We search for the Heron Spear".

He is woken by a little girl.

For days he is tended by a woman and her daughter.  When his fevers break, he dreams.
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For years now, and inexplicable sense of doom had hung upon the horizon, a horror that had no form, only direction...  All men could feel it.  And all Men knew that it bore responsibility for their stillborn sons, that it had broken the great cycle of souls.
Now at last they could see it - the bone that would gag Creation.
Bashrag beat the ground with their great hammers, while Sranc heaved in imbecile masses.  They swallowed the surrounding plains, loping in armour of tanned human skin, gibbering like apes, throwing themselves at the ramparts the Men of Kyraneas had made of Mengedda's ruins.  And behind them, the whirlwind... a great winding rope sucking the dun earth into black heavens, elemental and indifferent, roaring ever nearer, come to snuff out the last light of Men.
Come to seal the World shut.
The storm clouds firmed their grip on the sun, and all became twilight and thunder.  Clutching their groins, the Sranc fell to their knees, heedless of the mannish swords that fell upon them.  Then, through the snarling mouths of its children, Seswatha heard it, the million-throated voice of Tsurumah, the No-God...
WHAT DO YOU SEE?
"What," Anaxophus said, "do you see?"

Anaxophus repeats the words of the No-God.  He won't take up the Heron Spear.
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This isn't how it happens.

Achamian awakes and cries out.  The woman's husband comes in and hits him.  He leaves and heads towards Shimeh.  There is something wrong with his leg.

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He is wrapped in a blanket, which is tied with rotted rope.  He has a staff of sea-worn wood.

He wanders through the remnants of the Holy War's encampment and the battlefield, and passes into the city.  He notes a Scarlet Schoolmen, turned to salt.  He see no one for a long time.  Two Conriyans shout 'truth shines' at him - he spits on them.

There are crowds in the First Temple. They make way for him.

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Then he heard stern proclamations, the kind that made so many shiver with awe.  And he recognised the voice of Maithanet, the Holy Shriah of the Thousand Temples.  He could almost glimpse him through the concentric forest of pillars.
"Arise, Anasurimbor Kellhus, for all authority now resides in thee..."
A moment of silence, sullied by the gentle sound of weeping.
"Behold, the Warrior-Prophet!" the obscured Shriah bellowed.  "Behold, the High King of Kuniuri!"
"Behold, the Aspect-Emperor of the Three Seas!"
The words winded Achamian as surely as a father's blow. While the Men of teh Tusk leapt to their feet, crying out in rapture and adulation, he staggered against one of the white pillars, feeling the cool of engraved figures pressed against his cheek.
What was this hollow that had so consumed him?  What was this yearning that felt like mourning?
They make us love!  They make us love!

Kellhus addresses the throng
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"With me", Kellhus declared, "everything is rewritten. Your books, your parables, and your prayers, all that was your custom, are now nothing more than childhood curiosities.  For too long had Truth languished in the vulgar hearts of Men.  What you call tradition is naught but artifice, the fruit of your vanity, of your lust, of your fear and your hate.
With me, all souls shall find a more honest footing.  With me, all the world is born anew!"
Year One.

Achamian limps forward.
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..."Th old world is dead!" he cried out.  "Is this what you say, Prophet?"

He sees Maithanet, Proyas, Saubon, the Lords of the Holy War, the Nascenti, and the Mandate.  He sees Esmenet.  He doesn't see Serwe, Cnaiur or Conphas.
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But he saw Kellhus, sitting leonine before a great hanging Cicumfix of white and gold, his hair flashing about his shoulders, his flaxen beard plaited.  He saw him drawing the nets of the future, just as the Scylvendi had said, measuring, theorising, categorising, penetrating...
He saw the Dunyain.

Kellhus asks him to take his pace at his side.  But Akka has come for his wife and nothing more.

She refuses
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"Esmi", Achamian said, his eyes and outstretched hand directed only at her.  "Please..."
This was the only thing that could mean anymore.
"Akka", she sobbed.  She glanced about, seemed to wilt beneath the rat gazes that encircled them.  "I'm the mother of... of..."
So the hollow could not be shut.  Achamian nodded, wiped the last tear he knew would ever shed.  He would be heartless now. A perfect man.
Sh approached him - with longing, yes, but with wariness and horror as well.  She clutched the hand he had held out, the that did not lean against his staff. "The world, Akka.  Don't you see?  The very world hangs in the balance!"
What will it be the next time I die?
With a savagery that both thrilled and frightened him, he snatched her left wrist, twisted and bent it back, so that she could see the blurred tattoo that blackened the back of her hand.  He thrust her away from him

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"I renounce!" Achamian roared, sweeping his scathing gaze across all assembled.  "I renounce my station as Holy Tutor, as Vizier to the court of the Anasurimbor Kellhus!"  He glanced at Nautzera, not caring whether the old man sneered or no.
"I renounce my School! he continued.  "As an assembly of hypocrites and murderers".
"Then you sentence yourself to death!" Nautzera cried.  "There's no sorcery outside the Schools!  There are no-"
"I renounce my Prophet!"
Gasps and sputters filled the galleries of the First Temple.  He waited for the uproar to subside, staring for what seemed an unblinking eternity at the otherworldly aspect of Anasurimbor Kellhus.  His last student.
Somehow his gaze found Proyas, who looked so... aged with his beard squared.  There was prayer in his handsome brown eyes, the promise of return.  Bit it was far too late.
"And I renounce..."  He trailed, warred with errant passions.  "I renounce my wife".
His eyes fell upon Esmenet, stricken upon the floor.  My wife!
"Noooo, she wept and whispered.  "Pleeaase, Akka..."
"As an adulteress," he continued, his voice cracking, "and a... a..."

He turns and walks away.  Men fall away at his approach.

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Then, through the sound of Esmenet weeping...
"Achamian!
Kellhus.  Achamian did not condescend to turn, but he did pause.  It seemed the future itself leaned inscrutable against him, a yoke about his neck, a spear point against his spine...
"The next time you come before me", the Aspect-Emperor said, his voice cavernous, ringing with inhuman resonance,  "you will kneel, Drusas Achamian".
Retracing his bloody footprints, the Wizard limped on.



« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 06:33:39 pm by TheCulminatingApe »
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 06:30:52 pm »
Anaxophus repeats the words of the No-God.  He won't take up the Heron Spear.
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This isn't how it happens.

False Dreams?  What's going on?
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 06:35:40 pm »
Quote
Into a golden labyrinth of horrors more vast than any Nonmen Mansion, where a student, who was more a son, gazed at him with horror and incredulity.  A Kuniuric Prince, just beginning to fathom his surrogate father's betrayal.
"She's dead!" Seswatha shouted as much at the unbearable expression as at the man.  "She's gone to you now!  And if she lives, then what you find you will not keep, no matter how deep you think your passion!"
"But you said", Nau-Cayuti cried, his brave face broken in grief.  "You said!"
"I lied".
"How?  How could you do this?  You were the only one, Sessa!  The only one!
"Because I couldn't succeed", Achamian said. "Not alone.  Because what we do here is more important than truth or love".
Nau-Cayuti's eyes gleamed like bared teeth in the gloom. This, Seswatha knew, was the look that had sealed the final heartbeat of so very many - Man and Sranc alike.
"And what do we do here, old teacher?  Pray tell".
"We search," Achamian murmured.  "We search for the Heron Spear".

This relationship is inverted by events later in the Chapter - student betrays teacher.
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2019, 06:40:57 pm »
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So the hollow could not be shut.  Achamian nodded, wiped the last tear he knew would ever shed.  He would be heartless now. A perfect man.

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"Gasps and sputters filled the galleries of the First Temple.  He waited for the uproar to subside, staring for what seemed an unblinking eternity at the otherworldly aspect of Anasurimbor Kellhus.  His last student.
Somehow his gaze found Proyas, who looked so... aged with his beard squared.  There was prayer in his handsome brown eyes, the promise of return.  But it was far too late.

Heartless, perfect man - that's what Cnaiur tried to be.  But Akka is all about heart.
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.