Archives for the month of: May, 2015

Dustless | Volume 7

It is RoMayZine to understand: battle is endless.

Men and women struggle in the act of love, they battle: and in the act of birth, women struggle with their child: they battle. Born, a child struggles with the first blazing of the light: the battle of sight begins, and of all the senses.

Decision is battle: life is fought by decision.

Having won the first light, children battle to see and to grow. Men and women battle to keep their children safe. Death battles to take all the living prisoner, to subdue all armies of life, to grow greater the already vast armies of dust.

In a remote province of the Desolate Cantons, two exiles meet, and speak of decisions, speak of war.

One describes a duel with the King of Swords. The other describes life by the sword, in a place humanity may be cast off: the Place of No Footsteps.

To each, battle brings a kind of liberty, freedom from a world of laws, a victory for intense life.

Yet, when their battles are over, have they not drawn closer, after all, to joining the ranks of the armies of dust?

•DUSTLESS-FIN7

Dustless | Volume 6
New worlds are being born all the time. These are young worlds, and young worlds, like young children, grow.

Old worlds await them. Into the old worlds, these young worlds rise.

If worlds are made of dust alone, like people they must age and die, and their dust blow into the wind, and fall away.

Must all growing be dying? Must all the young age, and all youth only fall away?

If there was something more than dust — greater than the dust, higher than the dust — would that mean a life that could keep growing, and not die? An ageless life, forever open, never closed?

Is there a life beyond the dust?


Into an old world, a young child travels, further and further, from the edge of a great empire slowly towards the centre.

And the edge, abandoned by the centre, withers in the freezing depths of a northern winter.

Dereliction and negligence: immense distances, isolated settlements where people survive or flee, and little more.

The law has retreated, the teachings of the book become confused, His Majesty no longer shelters and protects his subjects, no great clan orders and guards the struggling villagers of the Endless Plains.

To a dying world, what can a growing child bring?

From a world of dust, may a Dustless vision rise?

•DUSTLESS-FIN6

Dustless | Volume 5
The sun is hot, and the fields are wide.
I walk, head bowed, towards my village.
The path is hard, the earth is dry.
There is dust on the road, but no horses.
I am thirsty, but the well is far away.
The plains stretch on towards the horizon,
where my way goes.
This is all there is –
and all there is, they say,
fits in a hawk’s eye.

All places, it is said among the Pure, are places of TanZo. Yet, if you are not Pure, what might you think of a place?

For a civilised person, the Endless Plains are famously empty. The air is polluted, the climate extreme – ferociously hot in summer, gnawingly cold in winter.

A civilised person, in a civilised place, may enjoy many aspects of life, but for those condemned for a time to dwell in the Endless Plains, life may well dwindle down to consist of one master wish, a single, essential aim: survival.

A RoMayZine general once looked down at the pitiful remnants of a barbarian force, taken prisoner near the BisMarian Mountains. “They have survived – but what has survived?” he said.

“A human being plots a course between the animals and the angels”, an old ZirCong philosopher once said. And in a SurGaKu amendment: “A human being is a contract between an animal and an angel”.

What might happen, should that ‘contract’ be broken? What might a human being then become?

•DUSTLESS-FIN5

Dustless | Volume 4
It is natural, when embarked upon an arduous journey, to wish for shelter, to seek dwellings. And it is also natural, when circumstances within a particular dwelling place prove too much to bear, to wish to move on, to embark upon a journey, even if that journey should prove to be an arduous one.

The land wants nothing of us, it is only the land. Rocks seek no destiny, thorn trees ask no future, but simply adhere to the natural laws of thorns and earth, winds and water.

Upon a barren road, in the north and east of the empire, three travellers face the challenge of the wintry land. Here, shelter is hard to come by. The tanzo is unyielding. This is a place where space and time have settled, where space eats up the days, and the years dine on the endless plain.

For a poor human being, there seems no escape: it is a place the body must be, and suffer.

What does it avail a traveller upon such a road, to wish and to dream and to question? Is it that, faced with the bitter cold and the hostile earth, the delicate things of dreams and wishes and questions might give some form of shelter? And that questions and dreams and wishes may be the very things to help the traveller to survive? Or do they merely lead further into delusion, back to the bones of the hands and the skull?

•DUSTLESS-FIN4

Dustless | Volume 3
The purpose of a road is to connect one thing with another, and to enable travellers to traverse the landscape with greater ease. Yet, what happens when the land seems too great for the road? and when the road seems endless, connecting the traveller to nothing? What becomes of a journey once it appears to have no destination?

Is this not TanZo? Is this not the Way?

Through remote cantons, on humble beasts, a great lord for a guide, the travellers must follow the road, and endure the land – because there is no other road, and there is no other land.

It is said, among the SurGaKu: “For us, all things, eventually, turn into stories | and only by following the story | do we ever come to know of things”.

The SurGaKu teach: “And all stories, of course, come from the past; and to the past, of course, most stories return”.

And some among the SurGaKu add: “The past is a lost place. Do not go there”.

Dustless | Volume 3

Dustless | Volume 2
At the heart of all things, there are moments; and at the heart of each moment, there is change [Dust Sutra]

It is said, among the ZirCong, that “each thing is complete | yet each thing is also incomplete | and it is us, poor human beings, who bring our incompleteness to all things | with our yearning for power or with our yearning for | the resignation of power”.

Even a world that seems entire to itself, contained within its own boundaries, may neighbour another world. Is not the world of the seen forever at the mercy of the world of the unseen? And the known world, fragile before the jaws of the world of the unknown?

Change is inscribed in the heart of the atoms. The young grow older. The innocent grow corrupt. Those who have homes, lose them. Those who have lost homes, seek them.

Although yearning is a great power, sometimes, even in a vast land, protected by the emptiness of a continent, it is not enough.

•DUSTLESS-FIN2

Dustless | Volume 1
Far to the east and north of the empire, there are roads untravelled for years. What can it mean to keep watch over a road along which no one travels? What is the purpose of such vigilance? To a true sentinel, any tanzo is the TanZo: any road is the Way; and a man of TanZo will always be vigilant, even if those who charged him to keep watch have long ago forgotten his existence…

Unfathomably remote, this is a world unto itself, a polluted and a desperate land, which surely even the Dustless One has abandoned. Yet, even here, where so much is dying, life is stirring. What is it? And how will it grow?

Dustless | Volume 1

After the milling crowds of the centre of BerKur, and the hissing, sighing, panting locomotive device, and then the bright colours and unusual sights of the Maruki Theatre compound, this trudging across the more or less empty field (there were a few other people dotted about, but none close) made Zy feel relaxed and reflective. Having been pelted almost uninterruptedly with sensations, the boy rather welcomed this lull within these unexciting surroundings. The frozen, nondescript piece of ground opened up around them, offering nothing but glimmering blue-grey snow and shadowy space.

And then the sound of Berensota’s footsteps had ceased. Zy, still holding the shion’s hand, was forced to stop: the RoMayZine lord, apparently just becoming conscious of the night sky above him, now stood quite still, impelled by some instinct or desire, and looked up into the stars.

Zy, too, glanced upwards. What was the lord looking for? Did he think he would find something up there, in the chill, star-dusted RezIsimgrian darkness?

Zy could see nothing out of the ordinary: there were just stars, the waning moon and the darkness of empty space, visible through the circular hole in the grey clouds. There was just the night.

Still, the wild young lord peered upwards, right up, craning his neck, his mouth slightly open as if he were gasping, his gaze inspecting, and perhaps interrogating, those cold heavens. Wrapped up in his riding cloak, but with the hilts of weapons and the collar of his armoured jackolets glittering, the bearded, unconventional warrior – usually so swaggering, so proud, so full of himself (as the common people said) – possessed a kind of ardour, perhaps even an innocence. He seemed to be stretching to make himself as aware as he possibly could be. He was bathing himself in the darkness, and opening himself up to the gigantic, star-salted void of the universe.

What did he expect? Did he think the night sky would speak to him? He was attentive in that way – just as if he thought the night would somehow bend down and put its face close to his, and whisper to him.

It did not, of course. Or, if it did, Zy didn’t hear what it said. Yet, when Berensota looked down at Zy, the lord smiled, and his gaze was somehow very pure, as if there was nothing of the warrior left in it at all. Berensota was looking at the boy now just as, a moment before, he had been gazing into the stars. For a few instants, it seemed as if the wild young lord had been told something – as if the night had revealed a secret to him.

Then, giving Zy’s hand a little squeeze to signal they should move on again, Berensota gave two brief nods of his head, and the riders began walking, heading for the centre of BerKur.


Excerpt from Mask [iv], Volume 12 of Dustless

Please enter, and never leave…

Dustless | Volume 1

A man is a subtle engine, a wonder of nerves and sinew, a thing of shadows and bone, hard, delicate and bound with vision. He is a mix, with heavy stuff rounding with the light. But no one can look closely at the opening of a human eye without realising that here is a focal point of wild beauty, a moment where the universe bends back upon itself and flowers with exhilaration at its own radiant sensitivity, and may recoil in an instant understanding what a hurt may be, and who may cause that hurting.


Excerpt from Stories in the Falling Snow, Volume 3 of Dustless

Dustless | Volume 3

Zy had been asleep most of the day, but now he felt intensely wakeful. And there was so much to see: his field of vision was saturated with movement, incident, and things. He found himself stirring with a very strange sensation: it was a kind of expansion, a rising, a good feeling. For a few moments, when he became conscious of it, he wondered what it could be – and then, he realised. He was happy.


Excerpt from Mask [iv], Volume 12 of Dustless