Archives for posts with tag: Akzasosan

‘There are some expressions which, when heard, convince you instantly that their author is a man or woman of great subtlety, that their illumination is intense and pure. This expression of Rygansogun’s is one such: Only a man of flames can live in a house of fire. Of course, knowing Master Rygansogun was a RoMayZine philosopher, one can see that this epigram may be applied to war – that, surely, is one sense of the “house of fire”. Anyone who has fought with the Forbidden Army would feel this: unless a man becomes a thing of flame himself, he cannot live in the house of fire, he must burn, and perish. I have walked there, in the house of fire, and I know something of burning. And yet’ the young Lord went on, lifting his pale blue eyes to look at Zysoshin, and apparently blithely unconcerned that he was addressing his thoughts on complex philosophy to an eight-year-old boy, ‘perhaps the house of fire is not just the house of war, but the house of life itself. Certainly, this is the inflection placed upon the epigram by a much later philosopher, the genial and gracious Serensobel et:denu, a man of Fine Rank, of the Bullrush Mark and the dominant figure of the Ploughing Oxen Era, a master of synthesis, who did so much to try and draw the main traditions of pure philosophy together. Serensobel wrote: Only a man of flames can live in a house of fire. Only a child can live in the house of children.

Excerpt from Fire House, Volume 6 of Dustless

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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

What fury, the storm,
the rain in violence striking down upon the lake.
The waterlilies shake, the surface of the water boils.

But then the clouds pass.
What victory has the rain won,
adding itself to still waters?


Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 18 | The Lover in the Snow [iii]

Dustless | Volume 1

In winter, when I was old, so did the world seem old.
In my heart, there was a memory of you, and no more.

In a bare house, a single blossom shines.


Poem, written by his ancestor, Lady Esayoma Reku, recited by Lord Akzasosan Suli to Lady Shirosakira Kabu on the occasion of her visit to his villa.

Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 18 | The Lover in the Snow [iii]

Dustless | Volume 1

‘…Many of the convict songs were of a low sentiment, impure and ribald; but some, slower ballads or laments, had a kind of base beauty. I have heard a choir of convicts, in a lumber camp in the Central Chun sector, singing in the evening: there was such a terrible sorrow about the song, and the voices, I was unable to listen for long.

When human voices are raised in song sometimes, the word bursts, and the world seems to melt into a state one cannot understand. But even now, gifted by the ancestors with my return to walk again under pure skies, sometimes, in dreams, I hear those deep voices singing, out in the forest as the sun went down. I am unable to encompass with my narrow mind the mix of emotions the sound of those voices stirs in me. What is one to do with the singing of murderers? It is distressing. And when I hear that song, I wake in tears.’

Excerpt from Flowing House, Volume 7 of Dustless

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Re-post

… ‘But the horrible thing was, we didn’t play like children: it wasn’t a game like that. There was something horribly dead about it. I mean, please don’t misunderstand me, I know children play very seriously; and I’m not trying to say they’re just innocents, and can’t be cruel, or whatever: but when they play, Suli, they play. And we weren’t playing like that: we were playing at playing – do you understand? We were just pretending to play – but we couldn’t, anymore: we had no joy, Suli, not even a cruel joy. We were serious – honestly! Holding our little printed rectangles of card! And it was all random, you see: the rules, I mean. Why a King higher than a Queen? Or a four a three? It was all made up: we all just agreed that a King was higher than a Queen. There was nothing in it, Suli: nothing behind it, nothing real. It was just water floating on water. We all agree to play by the rules. Ridiculous!’

Excerpt from Flowing House, Volume 7 of Dustless

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Re-post

How subtle, this world of ours:
threads of thought for spiders and for stars.
Upon a single breath all life depends.
Upon each snowflake glides the avalanche.

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 on Kindle


SPOILERS

Dustless is a unique novel, almost 3.5 million words long. Less a conventional narrative than an open-ended literary world, it nevertheless pursues two main stories: the first, the journey of a group of riders across a vast empire; the second, the journey of one of those riders, a young boy, Zysoshin, into the infinite world of the mind, to a state where, ultimately, the imagination is able to construct reality.

The excerpt above comes from Volume 18: The lover in the snow [iii]. This volume features an encounter between Syon Keto, an official of ShimThet – the empire’s “police of heaven”, responsible for maintaining spiritual order within the state – and the disgraced lord (and one of the heroes of Dustless), Akzasosan Suli. As cultured members of the aristocracy, both men find it natural to express themselves in poetry. Keto uses this poem both to illustrate a point, but also perhaps as a subtle threat to Akzasosan…

…Looking more closely at Alzu now, however, Zy was not so sure. Did he like this man? Well, liking was above Zy, really – he was the mere son of a sentinel, and Lord Kurososhora was from what amounted to a different world, the world of those with commanding and not obeying voices. Did Akzasosan like him – that was Zy’s ultimate method of judgement: did the Shion Suli like the Shion Alzu? And Zy wasn’t sure. There were certainly moments when the two men appeared to be floating closer to each other – dancing – and they had obviously discussed things of some importance to grown-ups, Zy could at least understand that. Kurososhora Alzu was certainly magnificent, and yet his magnificence was not (like Akzasosan’s) something internal, Zy sensed, something integral, but was less inherent, and less structural.

It was true, even in the metallic brilliance of his shillo garments, the Lord looked less Xor than Alzu – less rich, less splendid. The plump and supple furs seemed to encase Lord Kurososhora in an armour more convincing and more impenetrable, somehow, than actual mail. But even the furs were slightly deceptive: Zy noticed now that the hem of Alzu’s coat was rather threadbare, as were the ends of the sleeves; and the sheen of the coat wasn’t even – there were patches where the fur appeared hardened and worn, and the hat looked a little motheaten. Moreover, the coat wasn’t fastened properly: one of the buttons, Zy spotted, hung on a long, loose thread.

Still, Alzu was the most splendidly dressed person Zy had ever seen. But even this splendour didn’t quite run in complete accord with the picture Zy had of the man as a whole. Lord Kurososhora was really very thin – it was as if his bones had eaten away at his flesh, or as if his flesh was not, as with ordinary people, a vital part of him, but more a kind of afterthought. The shion’s skull was alarmingly present in the face – the shape of the bones, the sockets of the eyes, the teeth – Zy could almost see the bones, and the way the teeth were set into them, as if a light had shone on Kurososhora Alzu and flashed away the living tissue, revealing the basic skeleton beneath. His dark eyes – the irises were a deep brown, but the pupils were unusually large, for some reason, giving Zy the impression of glittering blackness – were shining shadows: they dwelt in the caves of the sockets, and gazed watchfully out. So thin was the face that even when looking forward, it seemed almost half a profile: and when the head was in profile, the cheekbone, brightened with a hectic flush – the only colour in the face – knobbled out at Zy, stared at him like a kind of blind, bony eye.

The black pencil moustache, and the eyebrows, which also looked as if they’d been drawn on with a ruler, and the elegantly razored prongs of the sideburns, gave Alzu’s face an even more angular, cut-up appearance.

So, the coat didn’t quite go with the body and head, but there was more, too: the manner didn’t quite fit with the man, either. The indolent drawl, facile and bored; and the aloof, amused languor – there was something else in there, Zy felt, something stirring and moving around beneath the surface of the man’s attitudes; and not only moving around, but moving against – kicking out at them, a little, or waiting, rather like a predator, to fall upon Kurososhora Alzu from the inside, to make him its prey, either by disturbing, or by completing him.

Re-post | original post January 2015

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Dustless | Volume 1 on Kindle


SPOILERS

Dustless is a unique novel, almost 3.5 million words long. Less a conventional narrative than an open-ended literary world, it nevertheless pursues two main stories: the first, the journey of a group of riders across a vast empire; the second, the journey of one of those riders, a young boy, Zysoshin, into the infinite world of the mind, to a state where, ultimately, the imagination is able to construct reality.

The excerpt above comes from Volume 7: Flowing House. Flowing House deals, in part, with the themes of gambling and risk, and much of the narrative involves a kind of duel, fought with stories, between two very different men. The first of these stories is told by Lord Alzu, a stranger the riders encounter on a remote road in winter. Zysoshin – Zy – studies Alzu as a sleigh carries these strange bedfellows along a frozen road through desolate country…

And then came one of those moments – increasingly rare, it seemed to Zy – but astonishing when they occurred: a moment when Akzasosan appeared to slip out of the limits of himself, and rise up, unpredictably, towards an entirely different kind of life.

The Lord began to sing.

From the Emperors of Steel to Moin III,
one thing has kept this world pure,
and forged together sky and sea,
made to shine, made to endure:
in the sounds of hammers and the ring of swords,
in the chains of blood and in all our words,
from Moin III to the Emperors of Steel
one thing has bound us, wheel to wheel:
that thing is metal.

Metal daughter, metal son,
we are the Metallic ones:
metal son and metal daughter,
calm in peace, calm in slaughter,
cool, fluent, indestructible,
through our veins runs purest metal,
and – oh, my noble daughter,
oh, my faithful son,
therefore, we are the Metallic ones.

Well, the world it turns and the world it burns,
but always, the world must learn
who alone will rule beneath this lonely sun –
we will, the Metallic ones.

Sleep then, Baby, right through the night
like soft silver, glowing, bright,
sleep my Babe hard and sweet
until Evening and Morning stars meet:
sleep like a metal beyond all dust,
sleep like a metal, through all rust
pass, pure and straight,
through the dawn’s defenceless gates:
and when you rise, rise like a sun,
always a Metallic one.

Fall, my sweet, as light on a lake,
fall, my dear, like white snowflakes:
and when you wake, wake first, wake quick –
for you are my child,
and you, my child,
are Metallic.

Metallic.

Metallic…

The Lord’s singing voice was lighter and higher than his speaking voice: he raised it. The wind had died down, and his voice went up through the cold calmness that had descended on the Sea of Trees.

From the first moment and the first word, Zy felt intensified, alerted, almost painfully so: he stopped breathing. How strange it is, he thought, the difference between the voice that speaks and the same voice entering into song. There is a kind of leap. With the transition from his wry, rather drab speech of the past few minutes to the haunting, twilit melody of the song, the Lord appeared to jump from being one kind of person to another – he seemed expanded, loosened, set free.

And the song itself – was it a kind of lullaby? – had something magical twisted into it, a profound power that instantly called to Zy, and emphasised its own difference from the conditions of normal speech. This was no jahzig song: it had its own beauty, but it was not that of the sunburnt, drought-dazed, aching, empty horizons of peasant melodies – there was a frightening coolness to Akzasosan’s song, its refusal to be quite one thing or another. Its rhythm was irregular, its structure asymmetric. It refused its own order, disdained its own laws. It was warm, and tender, but it was icy, and detached as well. It was gentle, but it was violent. It was a lullaby, but it was a call to arms. And there, out on the wild track running through Ahamuji Forest, when Akzasosan sang into the freezing winter air, it was like lifting a lantern up, and showing it to the world.

Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless


Re-post, with additional text | Original post, April 2015

There was a soothing, very familiar atmosphere of sound and movement as they rode. The padding of the horses’ hooves on the snowstruck ground; an occasional clink of gear; the soft, heavy wrapped-up noises the riders themselves made as they changed position; even Akzasosan’s cough, painful as it sometimes sounded: all of these intimate, close-hung noises, belonging to the riders, were intensified in their intimacy a thousandfold by the sense of the surrounding emptiness of the great forest of the MerZirvora. The riders carried their sounds with them as a firefly carries its light, and in the immense, passive wilderness, the act of riding impressed Zy as being at once reassuringly humdrum, and yet also weird, spectacular – the small scale of people on this wild earth made their feelings at once very unimportant, and yet also precious, somehow, and essential.


Excerpt from Dustless, Volume 10, Mask [ii]