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The Lost Story

 
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Mighara Sovmadhi
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:44 pm    Post subject: The Lost Story Reply with quote

[A tale of the Appointment to the Guardianship of the One Tree.]

Ages before he thought to build Ridjeck Thome, modeling it after the lore of beings whose origins and mutilation he had implicated himself in with entire premeditation, Lord Foul the Despiser had not believed himself to be what he was.

Oh, he had known, assuredly so, as the contemptible Insequent might have said. Though he cloaked himself in the name or title of a-Jeroth, the Despiser recognized deep within himself his nature, his deceit. His true name did not exist, or was no mystery to him. Such a thing he could not possess. And thus he sought to possess the truth of all else.

Yet it was further back than the desolation of Vidik Amar---than the time of his ravening amidst the swirling Soulbiter---than the croyel wars on the Last Islands in the Ocean of the Moon---than the murder of the Father of Horses or the forging of the skurj---that a-Jeroth had come to accept the truth for himself. Encased in a meager, ochre-robed body, he slept near the shoals of a lost sea, listening to the dire lapping of the forsaken waves, and wondering when he awoke, troubled by perfect dreams.

In each of them, his vision divided its attention between two realms---or worlds---or times. To his mystical right, he saw what he should see, wheresoever he would be. To the left, a Worm roiled aimlessly, satisfied and entranced.

Nothing a-Jeroth did dispelled the vision of the Worm. So he too had become entranced by its glamourous light.

But he knew not where to find it.

From the shadow of those restless shoals to another land the Despiser wandered or fled. The moon became a thousand smiles before he reached creatures with whom he could palaver, and they were weak, useless to his cause or plight.

The unbelieving Lord did not smile.

After he had killed the weakness he had encountered in that era, he left to one of the lands of the arguleh. There he practiced icons of his desired castle, describing them upon the glacial mountains from the spent blood of the frozen monsters he managed to massacre.

Locked unto himself in his dark retreat, watching snow and morning become an alloy of light raying through his crystal demesne, the Despiser knew himself, but he did not believe in himself. He believed instead that he needed a map.

* * * * *

Appointed to ward against the Despiser, Galahace shadowed a-Jeroth wherever he went. Changing shape allowed the Elohim lord to evade detection---until the Despiser had come to the ur-North, a host of plateaus and summits crowned with the winter of the quickened sun. For here only the arguleh dwelt, and no Elohim was of a mind to assume such a form. Whatever their impending desperation might mean to them, they would not.

So Galahace waited on the edge of the Despiser's occulted realm. In a twinkling of bells like the song of the falling snow, Infelice appeared unto him, already fixated on the same horizon as he was, with even more gravid intent.

"Remember," she said at last, granting Galahace permission to listen to her, "that it is not this being who names himself as a-Jeroth with whom we must finally contest. It is not against him that our power might be spent."

The lesser Elohim sighed his incomplete concordance. "Yet it is with him that the shadow of the world will make its alliances and false treaties, is it not? He is trapped in this world, that we know. And his power is older than our very Wyrd. How should we heed not his omens?"

"Kastenessen would say such things," Infelice remarked absently, humming for no apparent reason. Addressing herself as much as Galahace or the horizon, she said, "His might is both greater and lesser than we can conceive. If bound to the channel of wild magic, it would suffice to end all creation. But without such an implement, a-Jeroth cannot exercise his energies unto the ruin of the Earth and Time. And he cannot obtain such force save by the intervention of outsiders, their acquiescence and subversion to his designs."

"He does not know this. He lies always, everywhere. He admits not the falsity of his name, even in his own mind."

"Then he is even less perilous a being than if otherwise, Galahace. What will he even attempt to do if he thinks not that he is equal to the task?"

* * * * *

[to be continued?]
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So are the elohim succumbing already to the manipulations of the Despiser? You imply that Galahace may have been detected. Or are the elohim seeking to cultivate the Despiser for their own purposes?
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Mighara Sovmadhi
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I was quite troubled by Infelice's unexplained awareness of the Despiser's "deeper purpose." Like, how did they know? Did he "whisper a word of counsel" on this score, to them, or what?

I also made up a backstory for the origins of the skurj as resulting from the self-murder of an Elohim who had gone insane after monitoring Lord Foul for ages.

And generally they seem like pseudomeddlers, like, rarely they meddle directly but when they do... Anyway, I figured they would have had someone observing the Despiser, to guard against him, at least at some point in time. Conceivably they were arrogant enough to deal with him and, if they thought they had easily "defeated" him, going on to assume that their estimate of the danger to the Earth from him was correct.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A timeline for the Land's Earth

Going off the "scores or hundreds of centuries" (IIRC) remark in AATE, I came to the conclusion that you could map events from the deep history of the Earth onto that scale. So, for some examples/ideas:

    10,000 YAB (Years After Berek): the Last Chronicles
    6,500 YAB: the Second Chronicles
      The Harrow and the Vizard came into conflict around this time: the Harrow is not an adept of Time and though presumably long-lived, he seems likelier to have come into being long after the Viles and their kind (as his knowledge of them is said to be gleaned from inference primarily IIRC).

    3,000 YAB: the First Chronicles
    2,000 YAB: the Ritual of Desecration
    0-1999 (somewhere in there): the extermination of the quellvisk
    ?500 year period? Berek's victory/reign (IIRC the first three High Lords held the seat for five centuries each, Kevin for 1,000)
    -10,000 YAB: the sealing of the skurj
    -17,000 YAB: the origins of the skurj
    -20,000 YAB: "an age of failure" [edit 2: switch with next entry]
    -23,500 YAB: the desolation of Vidik Amar
    -27,000 YAB: the birth of the Mahdoubt and the murder of the Father of Horses
    -30,500 YAB: the origins of the Insequent and the placing of the Interdict
    -34,000 YAB: the Appointment to the One Tree
    -37,500 YAB: the Giants begin wandering
    -41,000 YAB: the Appointment to the Blood of the Earth (there was one in this fanfic subverse)
    -44,500 YAB: the god of the lurker is born
    -48,000 YAB: The first Celebration of Spring in Andelain


EDIT:

The overarching Razz principle of the timeline is to trace the different forces in the Land's reported history, to intersecting origins, in light of the Despiser's long-term planning and the machinations of the Elohim and the Insequent. So, the Insequent are explained as able to simulate white gold by using marrowmeld rings, with the first Insequent being the Mahdoubt's mother, their aptitude for Time an effect of their relationship with the lore of the Ranyhyn (by which the marrowmeld rings are devised). The killing of the Father of Horses is done by the god of the lurker, which rends the Ranyhyn's soul, planting the seeds of the Ravers in Mount Thunder. The Haruchai have an important special relationship with the "Indifference" that Covenants pairs SWMNBN to in the beginning of AATE. But so anyway, after the Despiser tries to wake the Worm up directly, he discovers that there is a special relationship between the One Forest and the One Tree, so that if he can erode the former, he can weaken the latter. Therefore, regardless of his other efforts, he always works towards undermining the Land, in the period after the Appointment to the Guardianship of the One Tree. He tries the quellvisk gambit as a side-shot at the same goal but he's not too confident in it and besides, it just goes to serve a totally oblique purpose down the road (leading to Jeremiah's mind awakening, that is). He's not directly involved in the skurj but they are in part a side-effect of a bane he left in a remote arctic region.

The role of the Insequent in the Land's history conceivably increased (or re-increased) around the time of the Sunbane, I'd suspect. So a story about how the Land dealt with the first dawnings of the Sunbane, would perhaps do well enough to have its protagonists aided by or inclusive of some or another Insequent.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

* * * * *

Giants sojourned near to a-Jeroth as he left the land of ice for new, more vibrant shores. He saw a great ship of theirs, out on the waters. Immediately he hacked down a tree and set its corpse aflame, to signal the distant beings.

After some hours they reached him. "Hail, isolate stranger or friend! Have you need of our aid?"

Bowing, the Despiser nodded. "I pray for shelter as well as guidance, Giants," he said. "I seek maps of the Earth!"

"Then you called to us not only for succor but by design!" a second Giant said. "You know our kind. Let us be grateful that our prowess is so renowned, that the first man we should encounter in this unnamed realm would be of us and ours, in some chapter of his life ere he found himself lost in these reaches."

So a-Jeroth and the Giants shared ale and viands, mirth and myth, on nights like unto an age in themselves. Though the laughing beings could not discern his true nature, they did read uncertainty and unease in the Despiser's words. His manner and meaning disturbed them ineffably; hinted at intentions they did not understand and could not accept for their own sake.

When a-Jeroth summoned a cyclone from the Soulbiter to destroy the Giantship, no one else on board was prepared. And he had memorized all the maps he had seen there. The Giants had shared a legend of the Earth's origins with their guest, one that illuminated his visions of the Worm. In what direction the Isle of the One Tree lay, a-Jeroth now knew.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

* * * * *

Galahace feared Infelice as much as Kastenessen. And the Despiser inspired him with the most dread of all. The first knew not the third's true malice; the second voiced doubts that one day might lead to worse outcomes than elsewise; the third...

The third approached the One Tree.

"One must be Appointed to stop him."---Maurdin, an even darker Elohim than Findail's affiliate.

Galahace nodded. The chiming of bells or stars sang from his motions, here in Elemesnedene. Infelice, echoing the song with her light, bowed entirely.

"Then let it be upon Galahace to stand in the name of the One Tree. This do we the Elohim command and vow of ourselves. For the sake of the Wyrd of the Earth: hail!"

The Appointed Elohim thrashed with glory as power secreted in his essence erupted Earthwards, his passage from the clachan to the widefaring seas a transition of iridescent instants. Bleeding into the water, Galahace sailed on his own shadow towards the Isle of the One Tree, shuddering.

For there, the Worm of the World's End slept.

If it ever should awaken, the first things it would feed on were the Elohim.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

* * * * *

From fragments of the desecrated Giantship did a-Jeroth build a skiff, guided by his innominate influence on the dire weather. When the skiff perished, drowned by the churning of Nicor, the Despiser floundered until he summoned ice from the halo of the Soulbiter, a fragment of those dark currents called across the seas to the Despiser's side.

From floe to floe, Foul walked, leaped, cavorted. Isolate glee smeared smiles like a rictus on his face. The gyring phantasms of the Worm intensified as if echoing the invoked wind and its frozen children. And tt was on a night of many stars that the Despiser sighted the Isle of the One Tree.

* * * * *

Galahace esteemed the Nicor as he did not the arguleh, and thus assumed the form of the Worm-spawn as he writhed below the wandering Despiser. The eternal man would not die if devoured; could not drown. He might lapse into torpor if his frail body suffered too much damage, or if he expended too much of his occult vitality.

But he was too near the Isle---

Millennia ago, as the Elohim ventured forth across the mystic edges of the Earth, they had set a warden under Melenkurion Skyweir, in the strange and tenebrous Land. For there, the only Earthpower equal to the Elohim subsisted on its own. There, the Power of Command might be wielded, and the Worm of the World's end roused from its sleep. Thus to preserve the creation, the Elohim established their tradition of questing, of Appointed plans, of self-proof of life.

As he swirled closer to the Isle, Galahace began to transform himself.

* * * * *

Caught in an unexpected storm, the Despiser growled at the mirage or shadow of the Isle of the One Tree. Lightning pulsed across his planks of ice, shattering them, steaming the ocean. The storm burned in a spiral, converging in a ring around the Isle. A tempest like the Soulbiter's redemptive and redeemed brother or sister surged from the Nicor-tiered depths, and a-Jeroth felt the crystal structure, the mystic symmetry, of the Earth here shift, as if the home of the Elohim had fused with mortal clay and space here.

In the gravid tides, the Despiser's ice-road retreated unwillingly from the ambit of the Isle.

* * * * *

United with the spirit of the seas, Galahace forged a shield for the Isle from his transubstantiated being. None who sought the Isle would find it, now: neither the Despiser nor anyone else save those permitted by the will of the Elohim.

But the Appointed felt his mind dissolving---or absolving itself of the responsibility of action. As he merged with the Isle's environs, blending their Wyrd with his own, he entangled his power of judgment with the branches and roots of the One Tree. Into his heart's spectral blood he washed the waters lapping on the Isle's shores. Galahace's osseous essence grafted itself into the cavernous stone.

Drawing visions of the Worm into himself, the Elohim set knowledge of the Earth aside, and came to dreaming. In his dreams, he was a man posted on the shores of the Isle, a Guardian against all who should assail the lovely Tree of life. And the dreams became nightmares when delusions or prophecies infested them, foreshadowing to Galahace the power of outsiders and interlopers to yet circumnavigate the barricade he had sacrificed his freedom to raise.

Above the demesne of the Worm as he was, Galahace knew as no other Elohim ever had, what it would mean to be able to die.
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