Sunday, 5 December 2021

Who shall rid us of these Seers?

Sitting, as I do in my tower, in the peace and (relative) safety of our twilit Kingdom, in the one-thousand and sixth-hundredth Year of the Sleep, I face the testing question of any History; where to begin?

For if History teaches anything, it is that beginnings are not beginnings and endings not endings. There are no subjects in Nature or chapters in Time.

A question double-mazing for even our memories and records of the Prescience Wars, which raged for uncounted years before the Coming of God and the Years of the Sleep, are partial, deeply affected by the shattering events of the Wars themselves, which sallied forth across the collective unconscious of mankind and  which besieged unreality itself - dragging continents of dream into the waking world, not to mention the ever-partial records and histories which descend to us from those times.

Many great events, strange terrors and storied names pass through those Histories. 

Of the Siege of Red Rock, which hung like a vile tooth in the wounded air, with men climbing and dying like ants as they clambered over the red stone and fell in ropes.

The Synopticated Legion, ever-drumming, their banners and totems glitched and maddening -  for to see their sign and hear their drums was to be infected, altered on the spot, so that one must fight the legion deaf or blind, and how they were fought, and defeated by a general both deaf and mute, who spoke their strategies by touch.

Of the half-fictional armies of the King in Yellow, which could never be defeated while the memory of them remained, (and so still do remain, in-potentia at least).

Of those who made compacts with fire, or who promised the darkness all things.

Of those who raised the dead and the fractured terror-memories that those dead raised, for they had slept beyond the veil and, hearing in their slumber, the music and tapping of that infinite realm, dreamed in their black sleep, things of which the living should have never been aware. Of the Legion of ghosts who moved through nightmares and burst from the mouth of dreamers like vomit.

Of the five hundred sons of the moon who married the sky and who each walked with a star-wife, ladies of constellations, voids of great beauty and inexpressible hunger.

Of the devil-binders who bred with demons, and their self-bound half-demonic daughter-son dauphins, their abyssal half bound by spellcraft in the womb to their mortal flesh.

But History, or at least Historiography, has answered me already, for in all the Chronicles of the Prescience Wars, there is a rare meshing of viewpoint at the start, and while not all historians agree, all at least mention to begin with, "This Plague of Seers", and the birth of the Iron Path, in Albraneth, (a city of which no other record or ruin now remains), in the early morning, on rest-day, the citizens awoke to find, scratched with an arrow-head into the wood of the Temple doors;



THIS PLAGUE OF SEERS

"Who shall rid us of these Seers?

they kill the day

our hours are not our own
neither king nor slave
but are a great trikery

that a man shall look at his sufferings as nought but a tumble of dice
his works as the turn of a kard

these reeders of dreems take more than can be took
they whore us to the future and we krawl
they pik the poket and unpik the seem
taking more than is within
leeving less than emptyness
a space which even Nothing passes through

shame shame on the reeders of dreems and the dreemers of deeds

who heer is not among the foul?
who has not feerd its tricks

take the Iron Path

this path is cold but it is pure
the iron path chilleth the soul
but what you have you hold
what you are, you have done
a road not to be tilted or cast aside

and it is Strait
an arrow without twist or branch

let what is, be
let what was, stand
and that which is to be remain unknown

stand for the Iron Path
and water it in the blood of seers
the teeth of witches are its seed
and the ashes of astrolagers charts its soil
shattered bones of prophets are its keys

cursed be all fortune tellers, prognosticators, haruspex,  diviners, soothsayers, oracles, augers, elfin tricksters, ponderers of orbs, changers of fates and reeders of dreems

there is One Fate, One Truth
and it is Iron"




So with these words was the Iron Path born, appropriately enough, in blood. 

The words were discovered first as the sun rose and before the Temple Authorities were even aware of them, had spread throughout the city. Initially the only response was a great gathering of crowds and a general hubbub, fevered discussions in corners, fights in taverns, (which may have a more accurate claim to be the first casualties of the Prescience Wars, though no record remains of the individuals in question). 

By mid-afternoon the Temple Authorities had removed the doors themselves, which proved to be an error they would pay for later that night.

By evening several fights had coalesced into a riot in one part of town. 

It was about this time that the first printed broadsheets bearing copies of "A Plague of Seers", had left the city in the packs and wagons of various merchants and travellers. (For type to be set and printed that quickly some printers must have gone straight from the Temple Doors in the morning to their print shops and begun work immediately).

By this point it is likely that only the destruction of Albraneth and the all remaining copies of, or knowledge of, "The Plague of Seers" could have prevented what was to come.

By nightfall the city authorities lost control of the streets, in part due to several desertions and the evaporation of many formations of the City Watch who had joined the riots they were send to quell.

The pogrom which engulfed Albraneth that night was only a drop of blood compared to the oceans which were to come. Perhaps twenty alleged Seers, along with their families, defenders and a handful of individuals who tried to stop the violence, or who simply got in the way or said the wrong word, were killed, beaten, burnt in their own homes or lynched in the street.

This earnt the Pogrom its tavern name in years to come; "They-Didn't-See-That-Coming-Day".

Though, as the land was to learn much, much later, several of the more capable Seers very much did see it coming, and had fled Albrenath in the hours, days, months and perhaps years preceding the Iron Path massacre.

(The lateness of their leaving Albraneth eventualy became something of a mark of power among Seers, "an hour out of Albraneth" meaning a Seer so weak they could only escape the massacre by the skin of their teeth.)

It would be later still that some began to think in terms of meta-prognostication, and it became evident that "She who sees first, acts last", for among the very last prescient refugees to leave the city were a handful of the most powerful known, disguising the depth of their prescience even from their own kind by the lateness and hurry of their action. Prescience hiding from Prescience itself.

As for the Iron Path, its nature changed and shifted as the Prescience Wars ground on, the massacre became a movement, a cult, a crusade, a philosophy, an alliance of peoples and an alliance of things which were not men. So many changes that Historians could, and still do argue over whether or if one expression of the Path was truly related to another. Yet in whatever form it took, it kept at its heart,  the Canticle of the Temple doors;

"Who shall rid us of these Seers?"

9 comments:

  1. I am very glad to read this.

    Is arrow referred in the verse related to the symbol of Arrow of Order by any chance?

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    Replies
    1. Not specifically or deliberately but it seems to make sense there would be some convergence of meaning

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  2. I always love meta prescience. Any connection between the Iron Path and the later growth of the Men of Iron? They seem to share DNA as reactionary movements

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    1. Not intentionally but we shall see as things develop

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  3. I've read this and the previous post several times,the skin of which has a deep tenure. Looking forward to more. Thank you.

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