Earwa > The Almanac: PON Edition

TDTCB, Ch. 16

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--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p500” ---Those of us who survived will always be bewildered when we recall his arrival. And not just because he was so different then. In a strange sense he never changed. We changed. If he seems so different to us now, it is because he was the figure that transformed the ground.

--- End quote ---

Interesting meta-narrative here, especially in a re-read. Almost explicitly refers to the readership.

§16.1 – Kellhus Hits The Sorcerous Jackpot

--- Quote ---Late Spring, 4111 Year-of-the-Tusk

The sun had just set. The man who called himself Anasurimbor Kellhus sat cross-legged in the light of his fire, outside a pavilion whose canvas slopes had been stitched with black embroidered eagles — a gift from Proyas, Achamian supposed.
--- End quote ---

Bakker has made a trend of beginning POVs with Pronouns. He seems to toy with this some by inserting “man who called himself.”

--- Quote from: TDTCB, p501 ---“You must be Drusas Achamian,” the Prince of Atrithau said.

“Proyas has warned you about me, I see.”

The man smiled understandingly — much more than understandingly. It was unlike any smile Achamian had ever seen. It seemed to understand him much more than he wanted to be understood.

Then the realization struck.

I know this man.
--- End quote ---

Achamian is first struck by Kellhus’ Dunyain-ness then the corroboration of his identity by the Dreams.

--- Quote ---Gathered around Momemn’s grim walls, the Holy War was a sight as astonishing as anything from Achamian’s nightmares of the Old Wars — save, perhaps, for the heartbreaking Battles of Agongorea and the hopeless Siege of Golgotterath.
--- End quote ---

Some historical notation.

--- Quote ---One of my seed will return, Seswatha — an Anasurimbor will return...

As remarkable as the Scylvendi’s arrival had been, it smacked of happenstance. But Prince Anasurimbor Kellhus of Atrithau was a different story. Anasurimbor! Now there was a name. The Anasurimbor Dynasty had been the third and most magnificent dynasty to rule Kuniüri — the bloodline the Mandate had thought snuffed out thousands of years before, if not with the death of Celmomas II on the fields of Eleneot, then certainly with the sack of great Tryse shortly afterward. But not so. The blood of the first great rival of the No-God had somehow been preserved. Impossible.

... at the end of the world.
--- End quote ---

Achamian recalls the Celmomian Prophecy while offering us historical notation concerning the seeking of the bloodline. Obviously, to find the bloodline, essentially, would be to fulfill the prophecy.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p502” ---“Proyas has warned me,” Kellhus said. “He told me that your kind suffers nightmares of my ancestors.”
--- End quote ---

Achamian feels as if betrayed and Kellhus offers some comedic relief in order to begin dominating Achamian.

--- Quote ---I like this man. What if he is who he claims to be?
--- End quote ---

And then already cognitive dissonance arises between the possibilities of sacrificing a man Achamian likes – like Inrau.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p503” ---Never before had he met a man quite like Anasurimbor Kellhus.

There was his voice, which always seemed pitched to the timbre of a promise. At times, Achamian actually found himself straining to listen, not because the man murmured, or because his accent was prohibitive — he displayed a remarkable fluency given his recent arrival — but because his voice had dimension. It seemed to whisper: There’s more that I’m telling you... Only listen and see.

And there was his face, the frank drama of its expression. There was an innocence about it, a brevity of display possessed only by the young — though in no way did it strike Achamian as naive. The man appeared wise, amused, and sorrowful by guileless turns, as though he experienced his passions and the passions of others with a startling immediacy.

And then there were his eyes, shining soft in the firelight, blue like water that makes one thirst. They were eyes that followed Achamian’s every word, as though no amount of attentiveness could do justice to the importance of what he said.
--- End quote ---

Achamian offers some secondary descriptions (after Serwe’s) on interacting with Kellhus while not knowing what he is.

Achamian quizzes Kellhus on his dreams, which offers Kellhus the perfect opening to forward his domination. He performs a concise twist by which Achamian cannot doubt Kellhus words without first doubting his own Dreams – for Achamian it sometimes seems as if the Dreams are more real than the world he experiences.

--- Quote ---For a brief moment, the Prince of Atrithau regarded him paternally, almost sorrowfully, as though Achamian had yet to understand the rules of this encounter.
--- End quote ---

… Oh, Achamian.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p505” ---Their conversation was devoid of the intangible rivalries that hung like an odor, sometimes sweet but mostly sour, about the exchanges of other men. Because of this, their talk possessed the character of a voyage. At times they laughed, and other times they fell silent, stilled by the gravity of their themes. And these moments were like waystations, small shrines by which to orient a greater pilgrimage.

This man, Achamian realized, was not interested in convincing him of anything.

Certainly, there were things he wished to show him, things he hoped to share, but each was offered within the frame of a common understanding: Let us be moved, you and I, by the things themselves. Let us discover each other.
--- End quote ---

After our indoctrination of Cnaiur’s POV, it’s almost disheartening to see Achamian’s encounter with Kellhus – so thoroughly outmatched as a worldborn with no previous knowledge of the Dunyain.

Achamian offers some more historical notation, specifically:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p506” ---Centuries past, when the Consult still skirmished openly with the Mandate, Atyersus had maintained a mission in Atrithau. But the mission had gone silent centuries ago, shortly before the Consult itself withdrew into obscurity.

And hence Achamian knew he would be utterly captive to the facts as Kellhus portrayed them. He would have no way of knowing whether he spoke truthfully — no way of knowing whether he was a prince of anything at all.
--- End quote ---

Achamian has a chance here to recognize that he really knows nothing of the validity of Kellhus’ claims: what better reason to doubt?!

--- Quote ---And yet, Anasurimbor Kellhus was a man who moved the souls of those around him.

Speaking with him, Achamian found himself arriving at insights he would scarcely have had otherwise, finding answers to curiosities he’d never before dared admit — as though his very soul had been at once quickened and opened. According to the commentaries, the philosopher Ajencis had been such a man. And how could a man like Ajencis lie? It was as though Kellhus were himself a living revelation. An exemplar of Truth.

Achamian found himself trusting him — trusting, despite a thousand years of suspicion.
--- End quote ---

As the night waxes, there follows an interesting exchange where Kellhus admits to “loving” Serwe and that he “needs her.” He also exhibits that he is laying the foundation of mystery around his person:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p507” ---“I know,” he said at length. “For some reason, she makes more of me than I am... Others do this as well.”
--- End quote ---

Kellhus continues with an anecdote about some man falling to his knees before the Prince because of dreams.

--- Quote ---“Your dream,” Achamian said matter-of-factly. “He thinks that the Gods move you.”

“I assure you, they haven’t moved me otherwise.”

Achamian doubted this and for a moment found himself frightened. Who is this man?
--- End quote ---

Achamian, a Schoolman, acknowledging the Gods.

Kellhus continues to answer one of Achamian’s previous unvoiced questions after some silence:

--- Quote ---“I do believe you, you know,” Kellhus said at last.

Achamian’s heart fluttered, but he said nothing.

“I believe in your School’s mission.”
--- End quote ---

This leads into Achamian introducing the idea of Esmenet, certainly her effect on Achamian to Kellhus.

They continue talking together and after a time, Kellhus asks if Achamian will consent to teach him about the Three Seas, to which Achamian thoughtlessly agrees.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p508” ---Afterward, negotiating the dark canvas alleys leading to his own tent, Achamian experienced a strange euphoria. Though the increments of such things have no measure, he felt subtly transformed by his encounter with Kellhus, as though he’d been shown a much-needed example of something profoundly human. An example of life’s own proper pose.
--- End quote ---

Achamian falls asleep dreaming the Dreams, of the Celmomian Prophecy anew, and when he awakes he experiences a panic attack concerning the possibility of the No-God’s eminent rise during which Achamian thinks he’s not strong enough to meet the Apocalypse.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p509” ---Beyond the canvas of his tent, all seemed airy silence. Innumerable men slumbered, dreaming of terror and glory against the heathen, and they knew nothing of what Achamian feared. They were innocents, like Proyas, filled by the heedless momentum of their faith, thinking that a place, a city called Shimeh, was the very nail about which the fate of the world spun. But the nail, Achamian knew, was to be found in a far darker place, a place far to the north where the earth wept pitch. A place called Golgotterath.

For the first time in many, many years, Achamian prayed.
--- End quote ---

Interesting, the idea that the prayers of the Damned might be heard.

Achamian feels foolish after and bolsters himself with a few choice rationalizations.  He returns to his map to center himself: in those moments of contemplation, Achamian resigns himself to not discovering Inrau’s fate and adds Anasurimbor Kellhus below The Consult.

§16.2 – Lies & Jnan

Cnaiur walks through the encampment, returning to Proyas’ pavilion. He reminisces on counseling the Conriyan Palantines under Proyas’ command – men who attempt to dominate each other in the war of words but fail by comparison to the master Dunyain:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p511” ---Watching them, Cnaüir had realized they all played an infantile version of the same game the Dünyain played. Words, Moenghus and Kellhus had taught him, could be used hand open or fist closed — as a way to embrace or a way to enslave. For some reason these Inrithi, who had nothing tangible to gain or to lose from one another, all spoke with their fists closed — fatuous claims, false concessions, mocking praise, flattering insults, and an endless train of satiric innuendoes.

Jnan, they called it. A mark of caste and cultivation.
--- End quote ---

Cnaiur quickly tires of their banter, especially when the Palatines begin directing their fatuous claims towards the Scylvendi. Cnaiur internally questions again how much he will endure for the vengeance against Moenghus.

He wanders looking at the skies and recalls words of his father, Skiotha:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p513” ---“See, Nayu?” he had said, “see the thousand thousand lights peeking through the leather of night? This is how we know that a greater sun burns beyond this world. This is how we know that when it’s night, it is truly day, and that when it’s day, it is truly night. This is how we know, Nayu, that the World is a lie.”

For Scylvendi, the stars were a reminder: only the People were true.
--- End quote ---

The World is a lie? Truths of Lokung?

Cnaiur wonders what he is doing among the Inrithi and finally what he is doing…

--- Quote ---Then he heard the Dünyain’s voice drifting through the dark.

With his eyes pinched shut, he felt a youth once again, standing in the heart of the Utemot encampment, overhearing Moenghus talk to his mother.
--- End quote ---

Cnaiur continues towards the fire and watches as Achamian and Kellhus finish their conversation.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p514” ---But he quickly realized that Kellhus was playing this sorcerer the way he played all the others, battering him with closed fists, beating his soul down paths of his manufacture. Certainly it did not sound like this. Compared with the banter of Proyas and his Palatines, what Kellhus said to the Schoolman possessed a heartbreaking gravity. But it was all a game, one where truths had become chits, where every open hand concealed a fist.

How could one determine the true intent of such a man?

The thought struck Cnaüir that Dünyain monks might be even more inhuman than he had thought. What if things such as truth and meaning had no meaning for them? What if all they did was move and move, like something reptilian, snaking through circumstance after circumstance, consuming soul after soul for the sake of consumption alone? The thought made his scalp prickle.

They called themselves students of the Logos, the Shortest Way. But the shortest way to what?
--- End quote ---

For the sake of consumption alone…

Cnair feels increasingly troubled by his fears for Serwe and bothered by the dissonance so askew from the concerns of the People, the Scylvendi.

Achamian leaves and Kellhus takes Serwe to bed before reappearing by the fireside.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p514” ---“How long were you intending to wait?” he asked in Scylvendi.

Cnaüir pulled himself to his feet, beat the dust from his breeches. “Until the sorcerer was gone.”

Kellhus nodded. “Yes. The People despise witches.”

“What do you want from the man?” he [Cnaiur] asked, spitting into the coals.

“You heard. Instruction.”
--- End quote ---

Kellhus shocks Cnaiur with information that Cnaiur feels shouldn’t have eluded him: Moenghus summoned Kellhus to Shimeh using dreams, the Cishaurim, the sorcerer-priest of the Fanim dwell in Shimeh, ergo, Moenghus is Cishaurim.

Kellhus needs sorcery, he says, if he is to contend with his father.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p517” ---Cnaüir spat. “I know little of the Schools,” he said, “but I do know this: Mandate Schoolmen do not reveal the secrets of their practice — to anyone. If you wish to learn sorcery, you’re wasting your time with that sorcerer.”

He’d spoken as though Moenghus had not been mentioned. The Dünyain, however, did not bother feigning puzzlement. They both stood, he realized, in the same dark place, the same shadowy nowhere beyond the benjuka plate.

“I know,” Kellhus replied. “He told me of the Gnosis.”

Cnaüir kicked dust across the coals, studied the scatter of black over the pitted glow. He began walking to the pavilion.

“Thirty years,” Kellhus called from behind. “Moenghus has dwelt among these men for thirty years. He’ll have great power — more than either of us could hope to overcome. I need more than sorcery, Cnaüir. I need a nation. A nation.”

Cnaüir paused, looked skyward once again. “So it’s to be this Holy War, then, is it?”

“With your help, Scylvendi. With your help.”

Day for night. Night for day. Lies. All lies.
--- End quote ---

§16.3 – Skeaos the Pig

We join Xerius as he finds out from Skeaos about Proyas’ kutma, the Prince’s hidden benjuka move – finding a Scylvendi who has defeated the Fanim in battle.

Xerius freaks out for some moments before Skeaos reminds the Emperor:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p518” ---B-but this is unlikely to interfere with our divine purpose.” The old Counsel was careful to keep his gaze firmly fixed on the floor. No one may look the Emperor in the eye. This, Xerius thought, was why he truly seemed a God to these fools. What was God but a tyrannical shadow in one’s periphery, the voice that could never fall within one’s field of vision? The voice from nowhere.
--- End quote ---

Xerius bids Skeaos break Antique Protocol for a moment so he might gage his subordinate:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p519” ---Xerius valued Skeaos far above any other of his preening, lapdog advisers. In Skeaos he found the perfect marriage of subservience and intellect, of deference and insight. But lately he had sensed a pride, an illicit identification of counsel and edict.

Studying the frail form, Xerius felt himself calm — the calm of suspicion. “Have you heard the saying, Skeaos? ‘Cats look down upon Man, and dogs look up, but only pigs dare look Man straight in the eye.’”

“Y-yes, God-of-Men.”

“Pretend that you are a pig, Skeaos.”

What would be in a man’s face when he looked into the countenance of God? Defiance? Terror? What should be in a man’s face? The aged, clean-shaven face slowly turned and lifted, glimpsed the Emperor’s eyes before turning back to the floor.

“You tremble, Skeaos,” Xerius muttered. “That is good.”
--- End quote ---

§16.4 – Foolish Schoolmen, Faces are for Consult

We rejoin Achamian as he’s relentless brooding over the fulfillment of the Celmomian Prophecy.

--- Quote ---No less than seven times had he prepared the Cants of Calling to inform Atyersus of his “discovery.” No less than seven times had he faltered mid-verse, trailing into murmurs.
--- End quote ---

Achamian is a self-proclaimed sKeptic (with a K) and, as such, knows he does not share the fervour, the conviction, the certainty that Kellhus actually fulfills anything. After all, he’s a man of some thirty years who is named Anasurimbor – if the bloodline survived til him, then an Anasurimbor was always around; the dream, of course, might refer to an Anasurimbor being found by one of the Mandate, specifically.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p520” ---I gave them Inrau... Must I give them Kellhus too?
--- End quote ---

Achamian weighs his dissention and decides that he knows enough… where is your doubt, Achamian?

Before going to the mattresses, Achamian decides to talk things over with Xinemus.

--- Quote from: ’TDTCB, p521” ---“I don’t know what to think,” he said finally.

“Either that or you’re afraid to say what you think.”

Xinemus glared at him. “You spent an entire evening with him. You tell me: have you ever met a man like him?”

“No,” Achamian admitted.

“So what makes him different?”

“He’s... better. Better than most men.”

“Most men? Or do you mean all men?”

Achamian regarded Xinemus narrowly. “He frightens you.”

“Sure. So does the Scylvendi, for that matter.”

“But in a different way... Tell me, Zin, just what do you think Anasurimbor Kellhus is?”

Prophet or prophecy?

“More,” Xinemus said decisively. “More than a man.”
--- End quote ---

In reading, it almost seems authorial fiat – definitely priming us for the Prophet/Saviour narrative. Why does Achamian, a “renowned Skeptic” and damned sorcerer go from deciding that it is too coincidental for Kellhus to fulfill the Celmomian Prophecy to “he’s a prophet?”

A growing commotion cuts off their breaky and Achamian realizes from a flying banner being beaten through the Men-of-the-Tusk that the Scarlet Spires are here to make his acquaintance:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p522” ---They had both glimpsed it at the same time: a long crimson banner capped by the Ainoni pictogram for Truth and bearing a coiled, three-headed serpent. The symbol of the Scarlet Spires.
--- End quote ---

Xinemus asks why the Spires are flying their banner and Achamian asks Xinemus to get his Chorae.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p523” ---They flew their standard, Achamian realized, for his benefit. They had a choice: either risk inciting a mob or risk startling a Mandate Schoolman. The fact that they thought the latter a greater threat testified to the wretched relations between their two Schools.
--- End quote ---

Xinemus forms a perimeter of Conriyans to keep the enraged mob at bay and tells Achamian to tell the Spire to leave… immediately.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p524” ---The words stung. In all the years Achamian had known Krijates Xinemus, the man had never barked commands at him. The ever-amiable Xinemus had abruptly become the Marshal of Attrempus, a man with a task and numerous men at his disposal. But this, Achamian realized, wasn’t what hurt. The situation, after all, called for decisiveness. What stung was the undertone of anger, the sense that his friend somehow blamed him.
--- End quote ---

Achamian watches Xinemus bolster and lead his Conriyans. Finally, the palanquin clears the border and the Men-of-the-Tusk unload their disdain for sorcerers in the form of “looted plates, wine bowls, chicken bones, stones, and even the corpse of a cat” (p525).

Finally, the slaves lower their palanquin and out steps:

--- Quote ---It was Eleazaras himself. The Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires and de facto ruler of High Ainon.

Achamian found himself struck dumb by disbelief. The Grandmaster? Here?

They stood in the presence of one of the most powerful men in the Three Seas. Only the Shriah or the Padirajah could claim more power than the Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires. Blasphemer or not, a man of such power commanded respect, and respect commanded silence.
--- End quote ---

Eleazaras and Achamian share some witty, jnan prescribed, back and forth.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p526” ---The Grandmaster’s lips tightened into a sour line. “Clever man. Clever little man. Tell me, Drusas Achamian, how is it that after all these years you still find yourself in the field, hmm? Did you offend someone? Nautzera, perhaps? Or did you bugger Proyas as a boy? Is that why House Nersei sent you packing those years ago?”

Achamian was speechless. They had researched him, armed themselves with as many painful facts and innuendoes as they could find. And here he’d thought he was watching them!
--- End quote ---

As the Inrithi hoard starts pushing against the Conriyan links again, Eleazaras asks if they might retire to Xinemus’ pavilion – Achamian replies that it isn’t possible, for Xinemus’ sake.

Achamian asks what Eleazaras wants. They banter – Eleazaras asserting that Achamian took Geshrunni’s face (which we know was taken by a skin-spy watching Achamian) and Achamian admitting to knowing of the Spires “secret” war against the Cishaurim.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p528” ---“Me?” He laughed incredulously. “You think I killed Geshrunni?”

The shock had been so total he’d simply blurted these words. Now it was Eleazaras who was startled.

“You do have a facility for lies,” the Grandmaster said after a moment.

“And you for delusion! Geshrunni was the best-placed informant the Mandate has had in a generation. Why would we kill him?”

Eleazaras studied him for a pensive moment, then shook his head ruefully, as though saddened the persistence of hardened liars. “Why is any informant murdered, hmm? In so many ways so many men are more useful dead. But as I mentioned, it was the manner that sparked my admittedly morbid curiosity.”

Scowling, Achamian hunched his shoulders in disbelief. “Someone plays you for a fool, Grandmaster.”

Someone plays both of us... But who?
--- End quote ---

The Consult, Achamian! First Inrau tries to warn you with his “suicide,” possibly from the Outside, and now someone has taken Geshrunni’s face!

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p529” ---“Indeed,” Eleazaras spat in a tone of condemnation and disgust. “Who else collects human faces?”
--- End quote ---

It’s often been voiced that this will be Bakker’s major retcon – that initially he’d had some thoughts towards the skin-spies needing an actual face to impersonate their marks.

TTT Glossary:

(click to show/hide)However, the Nonmen and the Inchoroi both make cloaks of faces…
§16.5 – What You Don’t Know, Can End the World!

Eleazaras contemplates his encounter with Achamian. He muses about the wrath of the faithful and leasing a villa outside of Momemn. And he relaxes alone, elite, on his sunlit portico, awaiting his Master of Spies, Iyokus.

Iyokus promptly informs Eleazaras that the Spires have lost their last informant in Sumna, that the Spires are blind to the inner workings of the Thousand Temples, before Eleazaras offers us some biography on Iyokus and chanv in reflection:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p531” ---Iyokus was addicted to chanv, the drug that held a greater part of the Ainoni ruling castes within its clasp — except, and this thought often surprised Eleazaras, for Chepheramunni, the latest puppet they had installed on the Ainoni throne. For those who could afford her sweet bite, chanv sharpened the mind and extended one’s life for periods greater than a hundred years, but it also sapped the body of its pigment and, some said, the soul of its will. Iyokus looked the same now as the day Eleazaras had joined the School as a boy many, many years before. Unlike other addicts, Iyokus refused to use cosmetics to compensate for the deficits of his skin, which was more translucent than the greased linen that the poor used in their windows. Like dark, arthritic worms, veins branched across his features. One could even see the dark in the center of his red eyes when he closed his lids. His fingernails were waxy black from bruising.

Despite the disturbing aesthetics of addiction, Eleazaras himself might have succumbed to the drug’s lure, particularly because of the way it reputedly sharpened the intellect. Perhaps the only aspect of chanv that had prevented him from slipping into that wan and strangely narcissistic love affair — addicts rarely married or produced live children — was the unsettling fact that no one knew its source. For Eleazaras, this was intolerable.
--- End quote ---

Eleazaras continues to quiz Iyokus on the loss of their spies.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p532” ---“What does this mean, Iyokus?” he asked. I’ve delivered the greatest School in the Three Seas to its greatest peril.

“It means we must have faith,” Iyokus said with an air of shoulder-shrugging fatalism. “Faith in this Maithanet.”

“Then we must double our expenditures in Sumna, Iyokus. This is intolerable.”

“I agree. Faith is intolerable.”
--- End quote ---

Eleazaras returns to reminiscing of the assassination of Sasheoka, former Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p533” ---They’d been meeting in the council chambers deep in the galleries beneath the Scarlet Spires, discussing the possible defection of one of their number to the Mysunsai School. The most sacrosanct chambers of the Scarlet Spires were nested in Wards. One could not step or lean against bare stone without feeling the indent of inscription or the aura of incantations. And yet the assassins had simply flickered into existence.

A strange noise, like the humming flutter of netted birds, and a light, as though a door had been thrown open across the surface of the sun, framing three figures. Three hellish silhouettes.

Shock, chilling bone and paralyzing thought, and then furniture and bodies were blown against the walls. Blinding ribbons of the purest white lashed across the corners of the room. Shrieks. Terror clawing through his bowels.

Sheltered by a hollow between the wall and an overturned table, Eleazaras had crawled through his own blood to die — or so he thought. Some of his peers still survived. He glimpsed the instant that Sasheoka, his predecessor and teacher, crumpled beneath the blinding touch of the assassins. And Iyokus, on his knees, his pale head blackened by blood, swaying behind the shimmering of his Wards, struggling to reinforce them.
Cataracts of light obscured him, and Eleazaras, somehow unnoticed by the intruders, felt the words boil to his lips. He could see them — three men in saffron robes, two crouching, one erect, bathed in the incandescence of their exertions. He saw serene faces with the deep sockets of the blind, and energies wheeling from their foreheads as though through a window to the Outside. A golden phantom reared from Eleazaras’s outstretched hands — a scaled neck, a mighty crest, jaws scissoring open. With a queen’s deliberate grace, the dragon’s head dipped and scourged the Cishaurim with fire. Eleazaras had wept with rage. Their Wards collapsed. Stone cracked. The flesh was swept from their bones. Their agony had been too brief.

Then quiet. Strewn bodies. Sasheoka a sizzling ruin. Iyokus gasping on the floor. Nothing. They had sensed nothing. The onta had only been bruised by their own sorceries. It was as if the Cishaurim had never been. Iyokus stumbling toward him... How could they do this?

The Cishaurim had started their long and secret war. Eleazaras would end it.

Vengeance. This was the gift the Shriah of the Thousand Temples had offered them. The gift of their ancient enemy. A Holy War.
--- End quote ---

My bold for the first/only specifics of Cishaurim sorcery.

Eleazaras continues to ruminate on making the Spires servants to a Holy War… finally he asks Iyokus of their spies in the Imperial Precincts. Iyokus tells him that they nothing more of the Emperor’s plans for the Holy War, however, that the Exalt-General and Imperial-Nephew Ikurei Conphas received a message from the Fanim after the destruction of the Vulgar Holy War (to which we were privy in a previous Conphas POV).

Eleazaras comments seemingly absentmindedly on Conphas and his intelligence. Iyokus finally asks if he can speak honestly:

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p535” ---Emotion pooled in Iyokus’s face as readily as water in a sackcloth, but his apprehension was now plain. “The Scarlet Spires is degraded by all this...” he began uncomfortably. “We’ve become subordinates when our destiny is to rule. Abandon this Holy War, Eli. There’s too much uncertainty. Too many unknowns. We play number-sticks with our very lives.”

You too, Iyokus?

But he said only: “Patience, Iyokus. Knowing is always a matter of patience.”

“Yesterday, Grandmaster, you were almost killed by the very men we’re to march with... If that doesn’t demonstrate the absurdity of our position, then nothing does.”
--- End quote ---

Eleazaras comments on the riots in the Conriyan encampment, which reminds him of Achamian’s level headed manner and the threat of the Gnosis.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p536” ---How he despised the Mandate! All the Schools, even the Imperial Saik, recognized the ascendancy of the Scarlet Spires — save for the Mandate. And why should they when a mere field spy could cow their Grandmaster?

“The incident,” Eleazaras replied, “merely demonstrates something we’ve always known, Iyokus. Our position in the Holy War is precarious, true, but all great designs require great sacrifices. When all this comes to fruition, when Shimeh is smoking ruin and the Cishaurim are extinct, the Mandate will be the only School left that can humble us.” An arcane empire — that would be the wages of his desperate labor.
--- End quote ---

Iyokus offers some final news concerning another faceless corpse in Carythusal from years ago. The two decide that the Mandate is playing some arcane game beyond being Antiquarian Jesters.

--- Quote from: ”TDTCB, p537” ---Eleazaras nodded. “I agree. The Mandate now plays as we play, Iyokus. That man, Drusas Achamian, left little doubt of that...” Such a gifted liar! Eleazaras had almost believed he knew nothing of Geshrunni’s death.

“If the Mandate is part of the game,” Iyokus said, “everything changes. Do you realize that? We can no longer count ourselves the first School of the Three Seas.”

“First we crush the Cishaurim, Iyokus. In the meantime, make certain that Drusas Achamian is watched.”
--- End quote ---

The buildup nearing the end of TDTCB has some of my favorite parts of TSA. The wretched relations between the Schools and the Inrithi. The arcane aspirations of the Scarlet Spires. Iyokus and Achamian’s reason. The hidden mechanisms of the Consult. Anasurimbor Kellhus being unleashed on the Men-of-the-Tusk.


Eleazarus' accusation also seems to suggest that the Mandate also collect faces.

--- Quote ---Day for night. Night for day. Lies. All lies.
--- End quote ---
Coming so soon on what Skiotha taught young Nayu about Day for night and night for day and that this revelation came from Lokung we should make a connection here Cnaiur misses. 

Lokung taught the People that the World is a Lie.

Moenghus taught Cnaiur that the People are a Lie.

Kellhus reminds Cnaiur of Lokung's lesson, he specifically thinks that what Kellhus does is invert, that everything becomes a lie around him. 

so the connection we should perhaps make is that Kellhus and the NoGod make similar, parallel insights; perhaps this is foreshadowing that Kellhus is the NoGod?


--- Quote ---A strange noise, like the humming flutter of netted birds, and a light, as though a door had been thrown open across the surface of the sun, framing three figures. Three hellish silhouettes.

--- End quote ---

Thousandfold Though later spoiler
(click to show/hide)So very much like our meta-gnostic teleportation, except that it was white. Kell's version had a blueish aura right? Maybe a meta-Psukari could send others, rather than go himself. Afterall, any that could pull off such a feat should not have been blasted away  by the dragon's fire.

Excellent point, a meta psukari, or perhaps a psurkari anagogis hybrid (netted birds is a metaphor, not an abstraction, and a door is a metaphor not an abstraction)?

Also, the description of the Cishaurim magic matches the description of Cishaurim magic emanating from the forehead (the seat of INTELLECT, eh?) in TWP.

Yeah the forehead thing is consistent at least. At no point is anything ever mentioned that says any schoolman could teleport an object right? One would think that is moving a whole person was possible, it would be easier to move items

Random thought WLW
(click to show/hide)Maybe Serwa was exhasted after each jump was less because she was unable to do it, but rather the difficulty of moving others with you increases exponentially. Moving one's self could be done over and over, while moving 2 more would be more difficult, and 3 nearly impossible. This is why Kellhus isn't simply warping his whole army into daugliash :P


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