Saturday, 27 April 2013

You Mekless Knave

I have been inventing a Space Faith for my Space Knight.

I like my space knight. He is a little bit stiff and a little bit shallow. Not much sense of the numinous. This means we have to see brief glimpses of a deep and tragic faith through the casual behaviours of a rather quotidian man who happens to belong to it, which is a nice tension to play.

And when I say inventing I mean I have been trying to come up with cool things to say and got carried away and invented, or deepened and least, a made-up religion. As usual I started writing and just kept going till I ran out.

Pendragon is full of Christianity which is fine and appropriate because it’s Pendragon. Our Pendragon is on Mars, so, as extra faiths we get Mars-Worship, kind of like animist worship of the planet itself, and Ancestor Worship, which I imagine as a bit like Science-Confucianism.

Except our ancestors actually built Mars, it’s biosphere at least. A better excuse for worship. Now they are gone and we remain.

I think whatever happened to western culture after rome fell and we had to walk around for centuries knowing that we could dig art out of the ground that was better anything we could make. Whatever Ibn Khandun means when he talks about the monuments of the ancients and says that 'we cannot even pull down their ruins' to steal the materials. We lack the capacity even to scavenge what they left behind. Whatever that means, whatever it does to a culture to live through that. This would be worse.

I think our symbol looks a bit like this.

So I started with an Oath. It’s always good to oath something.

"Red earth break these bones
Green sea drown this tongue
Black sky and all your stars
Fall forever on Mars
Should I fail this trust
As I live, it shall be done"

Some one-liners for as-and-when swearing stuff.

"By the wounds of science!
By the ancient hand of man!
By the dreaming Fathers of Mars
Sky Mother forgive me
Dreaming Fathers hear me now!
By the Eye of Earth"

Because it is like an eye, visible in the night sky as a distant bright dot in the same way Mars is to us now. Except they know that humanity came from there. And isn’t going back. That’s a lot to think about looking at a light in the sky.

I kind of made Earth the feminine principal in Mar Ancestor worship. The distant cradle.

And sometimes things go very wrong-

"Old ones I beg your forgiveness
I have forgotten your voice
Your music and your sounds
I hear you not
Old ones I beg your forgiveness
I have forgotten your faces
Your colour and your form
I see you not
Old ones I beg your forgiveness
I have forgotten your language
And lost the tongue of your machines
They hear me not
Old ones I beg your forgiveness
I have failed your creation
The field dies in my path
The sea battles the black sky
And the tempest forgets his course
Old ones I beg your forgiveness."

Then for some reason I started thinking about love and marriage. It’s Pendragon after all and the Feudal family unit is your real character.

"Eye of Earth, our mother, our home
You have watched me in your dance
All we are was born of you
Life giver, star-seed, creator of us all
You hang now beyond my reach
Or the reach of my fathers
You made me and guard me
We know you still
The cradle and the hand
The builder of the flesh
Helix-weaver, bone-mason, maker of us all
I turn from you, I must
You are rebuked
Another I have found
Her eye is brighter and more constant
She is with me under sun and stars
Her dance is with me, not the sky
She has re-made me
She is the weaver of my daily thread
My hours, my moods, my silences and calms
She is my architect, she is my design
She is my passage and return
We make anew what made us first
The thread is long"

And then some straight up-curses, to be delivered in whole or part

"I curse you
Enemy of Man and Earth and Mars
You are no true knight
You broke your bond
Your heart is the black between the stars
You failed your Lord
Your voice the hiss of empty frequencies
You failed your blood
Your arm is weak, it’s actuators shake
You mocked your god
Your rounds burn in their barrels
Your missiles hunt like cows
Your beams refract in mist
Your magazines click dry
Outlaw. Tracked scavenger. Footless brigand.
Dustbiting bastard. Mekless knave.
Water-word, honourless man.
You shake the Dreaming Fathers in their sleep!
Your Thane is Chaos
Herald of a Tattered Lord."

The original comics went like this:- Alec Holland, Scientist, works in his lab on a powerful plant formula. Gangsters want the secret. They shoot Hammond, burn the lab, he staggers out, on fire, and falls into the swamp.

The formula acts on the swamp muck, Holland regrows his body as a horrible but hard-to-kill swamp monster thing then goes off to hide and have weird adventures.

In the Alan Moore recreation we learn something else. When Holland fell into the swamp he was already dead. He didn’t come back. The plants and bugs and things that ate his body were enhanced by his formula. They ate his memories. Then, knowing nothing else, they grew a man-shaped body, stood it up and went off to have adventures.

The Swamp Thing that thinks its Alec Holland finds this out. Goes a bit mad. Becomes an elemental ultra-hippy and has more adventures but this time with sex and psychedelic fruit he grows himself.

Rome is Alec Holland. The West is the Swamp Thing. We build our buildings like that and use that alphabet and record the stories and history but we are not the descendants of Rome or Greece. We are the things that ate the body of Rome.

And it makes sense because Pendragon is about Arthur and Arthur is all about preserving or transforming the legacy of Rome in the post-apocalyptic wasteland it left behind.


  1. The curse is beautiful. The whole has a rhythm and cadence like Ancient Egyptian hymns


    - They say he trained in Ancient-Tech since the day he was born.
    - They say he has never been exposed to lust, sloth or cowardice. They say those parts of his mind have been erased.
    - They say his Tech is Ancient-Tech. They say he moves quicker than the eye can follow, with shields that flicker in and out of existence
    - They say he never uses sensors.
    - They say his guns cleave cruisers.
    - They say he uses no Tech which is not Ancient-Tech. They say he has graffito'd the ancient runes and the gilded ornaments. They say he uses only simple red crucifixes as his motif. He is invulnerable to hackers.
    - They say his suit is not Stealth, yet no-one can trace him. He uses only radio to communicate. comes and goes without warning, always aiding the desperate in their moment of need. I heard he has excellent taste in women.
    - I heard he only likes little boys.