I watched him
sail away from me
astride a tiny skiff,
a fragile thing
or so it seems
would give in a moments grip.
I watched him part
the sun-stained depths
unaware what lay beneath,
I thought to myself
as he slipped from sight
did I win? Did I win?
Did I beat the angry swords of fear
and fashion his armor right?
Did I strengthen the walls of his pliant heart
not too hard and not too soft?
Did I temper the mettle of his precious soul
to bend but never break?
What measure have I
for success or failure
but to set this skiff adrift?
and hope one day
he returns to me
a neatly crafted
In the beginning there was Chaos. Chaos was and knew nothing of itself but to perform infinite permutations and spew out infinite probabilities. Eventually, Chaos stumbled upon the permutation for Order and burst asunder. Into this order were born the Gods who were without form. Into this order were born the beings of Flesh who were without astral graces. One locked into the astral realm, the other to the physical. Each longed for the other.
The Gods found that each being of Flesh born took a small piece of each of the Gods with them and returned it when they died. Because of that connection the Gods found that they could influence and guide these base creatures, even cross briefly into the physical realm. The beings of Flesh found that they could transcend the physical for a time through communion with their chosen god and receive guidance. But there were many worlds and even though the Gods existed infinitely, they could only do and see so much.
The Gods were twinned, existing in both male and female aspects; they named themselves, names unpronounceable to the beings of Flesh for they had no sound; and gave themselves domains that comprised the essence of the Flesh to create a virtual form in the astral realm. They were the Gods of Blood, Heart, Spirit, Mind and Conflict. Earth and Sky belonged to the realm of the physical.
The beings of Flesh, existing in both male and female aspects, named themselves- different names for different worlds- and named their gods. Some chose to follow the Gods as they are, some chose to put one above all others or all into one, while others imagined many more. Still, some lost belief all together. And names changed.
Yet, there was still chaos in the universe; it was not gone, merely shattered and flung wide. And there was that which was created before Order. From this came beings that could traverse both realms, unhindered by the laws Order set down, for they existed before and were not bound by them. From this there were the places where maddened creatures roamed, while in others were creatures of pure beauty and gentleness. Many times the two mixed, yet it was not evenly cast- some places were thickly inhabited, others thinly, and still others not at all. Chaos was still in everything, creating chance and instability.
The Gods were not perfect, but beings without flesh and thus made infinite. There were those that wanted to guide the beings of Flesh to find peace and happiness, freedom and free will. But there were those who wanted to control them, make them serve their desires, require worship and sacrifice in exchange for their guidance.
The Gods warred and split forcing Order to bring Good and Evil into the universe. As Order created balance, there could not be one without the other, so each domain broke from its twin and each aspect took a side that fit their desire; one focusing on force, led by the God of Blood; the other of free will, led by the Goddess of Heart. Each side gave themselves a name, unpronounceable to those of the Flesh.
And still they war.
It came to be that Order caused those of the flesh that died following the Blood Gods, returned all their astral parts to them; and those following the Heart Gods to them. But still, each newborn took from all, so it is that the power of one side growing greater than the other ebbs and wanes.
So they war for souls, through the beings of Flesh.
The Gods of Heart came to Ylinresh before the others, finding those of the Flesh in a savage and beastly state, beset by foul creatures of Chaos and warring with each other. They called themselves Ylin. The Heart Gods endeavored to raise these ylinnu up and guide them to civility, and the ylinnu gave them a name- the Ylinraewylra, or more simply Raewyl; Gods of the Selfless Path. And they gave each god a name- Ofaer, Goddess of Heart; Ryslan, God of Spirit; Galaea, Goddess of Blood; Jovin, God of Mind; Foenaea, Goddess of Conflict.
But the Chaos creatures were great in power and number, so the Gods created a great weapon forged in the bosom of Heart, tempered by Conflict, consecrated by Blood, imbued by Spirit, and Mind, finding the wisest and strongest among them, granted the Spear of Awakening- called in their tongue the KdeshniMareshkajovylin- to Beshmarr who carved the First Realm from the darkness and chaos for his people, guided by the these gods who brought ylinnu from beastliness to grace.
The ylinnu prospered, spreading far and wide over the Ylinresh, eventually forgetting their origins. As they spread over continents and across oceans the words of the First Tongue became lost, except those relating to the Gods. Languages became many and varied, and culture changed. So, too, the tools of their awakening became forgotten- myths in time.
With ylinnu being who they are, comprising astral parts of all the Gods, in time they fought amongst each other, yet it was not influenced by any god; it was pure nature. Still they dedicated themselves to the Gods of Heart so devoutly that these Gods held sway in the astral realm.
The Gods of Blood, seeing the power of their rivals sought out its source. Eventually they came to Ylinresh, infiltrating the ylinnu with false promises, lies, and deception, stroking those astral parts that linked them. The ylinnu gave them a name- the Ylinbekwylra, or more simply Bekwyl; Gods of the Selfish Path. And they gave each god a name- Yaezl, God of Blood; Kadlek, God of Conflict; Aggaruz, God of Heart; Lumidaea, Goddess of Spirit; Fireyl, Goddess of Mind.
They brought tools of conquest, too, but it was not a weapon of iron, stone, or wood. The Wyl had discovered Wyldaeng, Gods-using, by which they could channel their ethereal power through the bond with the ylinnu, who then could use this power and become Wyldaer. The Bekwyl learned how to chain the demons born of chaos, the Fraek, which crossed realms and this they taught to the ylinnu who followed them; the way of Yaewyldaeng, Bloodgod-using.
The Raewyl taught Ofaewyldaeng, Heartgod-using, to ylinnu who followed them so that they could defend against these Fraek and other atrocities born of corrupted blood.
And still they war for the souls of Ylin.
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The sun was brutal this season, rising as it was from the house of Juth, an occurrence that transpired every one-hundred-and-sixty-two circuits of Nengath’s Chariot. It always foretold struggle, and this time it was no different as the rains had not come to refresh the oases; but that was not all.
Aras k’an Thril surveyed lands that were not his as his leathered-skin shell beat back the burning rays. The Juroikar had come, as they always did when the people and the land were afflicted by deprivation, somehow sensing weakness as though it were a scent, or a beacon for their atrocities. Yet, he was not unprepared; he had studied the histories and consulted the star-seers, unlike those before him. The Devotes of Ytisa had been ridiculed in the past by the Ghari tribes as charlatans, practitioners of false omens, and sometimes slain during the dark times when the ways had become forgotten. But Aras had embraced them, needing the wisdom of their visions.
Many Ghari had been put to the sword in his conquest of unification, but those that remained were his and would follow his direction. They were the elite; the strength in his arm and without them all else would be surely doomed. He had won them and he would wield them like a great spear, stabbing at the heart of his enemy. Once he had become Uthara of the Ghari, neighboring peoples such as the Bolokur, Ostyeni, and Pe’elan had come readily to his banner; a united Ghari was not a foe any of them were prepared to face.
Aras turned to his Shatrah, sitting astride her beast like a queen upon her throne, “Escah, tell me, am I fortuned this day?”
She stared vacantly out over the expanse, seeing the camp situated in the dead-space of the Illari wash. “Aye, my Uthara, but only slightly. Field your forces wisely or else victory will slip through your grasp. The field is even, but your vision is greater. The commander you face is but a stripling, yet his forces are quick and determined… and there is something else I cannot determine. Indirectness is your ally.”
“Your vision matches my thoughts, Escah. Fortune will indeed be with us this day. Your advice is a blessing on my heart.”
The Shatrah of Aras looked at him then, her fiery hair bound by many bands, but her piercing, almond eyes unrestrainable; unafraid of the judgment of her Uthara. “When we are one, then Ytisa guarantees the rightness of our actions. Victory is ours.”
A flicker of mirth glinted in his grey eyes as he regarded his stately, stoic Shatrah. “If such is the case, Escah, then perhaps a smile can cross your lips for once in the time that I have known you. Your beauty can only be enhanced by it.”
In her typical fashion, Escah lowered her eyes to him, for she was a tall woman, and remarked, “Beauty is arbitrary; the way of Ytisa is paramount.”
Aras sighed good-naturedly, flicking an imaginary speck off of his hardened leather armor. “Ah, Escah, you break men’s hearts.”
He thought for an illusory moment that he saw a flicker of a smile as she responded, “Men are weak.”
“Truer words have never been spoken, especially in the presence of the likes of you. Tell me then, how is one to free a caged demon such as you? Am I to walk the fire-plains of Durel? I would do this.”
At this she sighed resignedly, never shifting her gaze from Aras, for in truth, she found him compelling. “Uthara,” she began, “you have a battle to wage and my duty is to Ytisa. I am of the chaste. The desires of the flesh hold no influence over me.”
“Hah! I say, hah! Your blood boils as all Qa’reni do, and yours more than most, I dare to say. But, you are right; there is a battle to be fought, and my fantasies of what secrets your barusa holds will have to wait for another day. However, make no mistake, I value your words.”
“Yours too, Uthara, I value, for there is truth and strength in them.”
“And do not forget that I see how you have not answered my question. I will get my answer.”
“As I have commanded before, you may call me Aras, as we are in a sense, equals.”
He sensed amusement in her eyes as she locked her gaze with his. “No, Uthara, I may not. The service of Ytisa prohibits it. And you may never command me, as you well know.”
Aras studied her again, following her long legs that rested comfortably in the stirrups of her Klath; noting how spectacularly her emerald tunic fit her body, and the way she sat so comfortably in the saddle. He was a man that got his women, and yet she was so unreachable to him; so incorruptible in her devotion to Ytisa.
“Shatrah, will you ride beside me in battle?”
She hid her shock at this request, for only the Uthara’s most trusted arm was given this honor. Each time it might be a different soldier, depending on the exploits of the previous battle, but to her knowledge no Devote to Ytisa had ever been offered this position
Escah swallowed hard as she contemplated the consequences of her decision and the chance to bring respect to her order. “I would be honored, Uthara. My blade is yours,” she invoked the traditional acceptance.
“Your blade is my shield,” Aras responded in the traditional manner. His offer was no idle offer to gain her interest. The Devotes of Ytisa were also women of the sword as theirs was a Goddess of Wisdom, War and Healing. They could hold their own as well as any of the peoples of the Qa’reni, save the Ghari. He had seen her fight and trusted her blade.
Aras turned his reptilian Klath around and headed back towards their concealed camp, Escah followed, glancing back once more towards the enemy. Something bothered her and she could not figure it out.
“Tarseg!” Aras called as he passed the sentry into the minimal camp. There were no tents up, only small lean-tos to provide shade as this was a battle camp.
“Uthara, coming!” Tarseg responded trotting over to his leader, then taking a knee as he rested his hand on the Klath’s snout; a sign of respect and trust.
A Klath was highly attuned to its rider and would bite the arm off of anybody it sensed its rider disliked or mistrusted, or even sensed for itself some danger to its master. For Tarseg to offer his arm in this matter meant he was no threat. Only Ghari rode Klath and those the Uthara favored, such as the Shatrah of Ytisa.
Aras regarded his top Ghari commander a moment before issuing him orders. “Take three Hreqarra once the light fades to the east end of the Illari wash; our enemy seeks to remain hidden from us there. Have Ughayr take one Hreqar to the west end.”
“Four Hreqqarra, Uthara? A thousand riders?” He asked surprised. “That will only leave you with two Hreqarra and the rest of that rabble that call themselves warriors. You can’t hope to assault with that!”
“Yes, as you have noted, it is not enough, that is because you will be the main assault. Ughayr will be the first feint, I will be the second, but I hope they will think I am the main. Once I have their forces turned and drawn out, then you will attack.”
“You honor me greatly, my Uthara-as you command!” He brought his fist to his chest and bowed.
“You honor me with your skill and tactics, and have earned this glory.”
“Each is to take a Devote with them,” Escah added before he left, “so we can communicate the orders, as I will be the honored sword in tomorrow’s battle and will know the time.”
A brief look of surprise flitted across Tarseg’s face. “As you wish, Shatrah!” He sped away to make preparations.
“Wise counsel, my Shatrah, but then, that is why I have you.” Aras had not discussed that with Escah, but what he had researched and learned at the Sanctum, and what the rest of the Ghari had trouble accepting, was that in the Time of Juth, the Uthara and the Shatrah were to become as one voice, one authority.
Aras smiled to himself. He held a secret that he had also learned in his studies, one that he would keep to himself until the appropriate time came, and then he would share it with Escah.
A Freedom’s breath
from the brink of death,
so narrowly saved
from lefties depraved,
promoting a craven woman.
with no regret,
the man before
is leader no more,
far greater is the nation.
His legacy removed,
the economy since improved;
his legacy jaded,
the “greatness” faded,
America great again.
The greatness of me
has not been foreseen
by the great books of old
with prophecies foretold;
I do not understand
how Nostradamus did not brand
my name in his pages
to be read through the ages;
it is baffling and vexing
my absence perplexing
in ink and in spirit
I’ve been given no merit;
so great is my Id
with nothing I did,