Archives for posts with tag: Desolate Cantons

Dustless | Volume 7 | Flowing House
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 still 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-FIN-7

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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]

Dustless | Volume 8

It is known as the Still Building.

It is the building reached through the mind: the building of a different world.

But what happens if the world of the mind grows greater than the world outside the mind? And the ordinary life of pebbles and trees, of family, of work, grows dim and unreal? But the illuminated life of the mind grows brilliant and free?

People speak of delusion, of delirium, of madness: but have they ever truly entered the Still Building?

There is an old ZirCong saying: When the mind swallows the world in which the mind lives, that is the beginning of a new truth.

Along a remote road, to the north, in winter, travellers meet with a man who has entered the Still Building, and become lost there.

Can the travellers believe the strange tales they are told of a world reached through delusion, delirium, madness? If you remain in the world of the Building, wandering without end, will you find in there only loss and decay, the same dust that is found in the ordinary world?

Or is the Building greater than the world from which it rose? Might it be Dustless? Might you find inside you the beginning of a new truth?

•DUSTLESS-FIN8

The Lord undergoes a medical scan, using ancient Metallic equipment


…The Lord now sat up on the bed, then rolled off it, stepping down gingerly onto the black metal floor. It seemed strange to Zy that the Shion should not be almost hypnotised by the fabulous show of lights and colours, and the beautiful Metallic devices at work. The boy wondered whether there was an element of defiance, a snub, given by the Lord to the whole world of Doctor Gosa? It was also true, though, that the specialised information being displayed could mean little to Akzasosan – perhaps he had merely become saturated by the images.

The Lord regathered his towel around him. Even here, even now, Zy sensed something of the Shion’s inexorable restlessness – the desire to move on, to discharge his responsibility, deliver the letter, and go home.

Zy, though, continued to gaze, fascinated and delighted by what he was seeing. He intuited that there was some sort of systematic flow of information across and between the three separate scans: although it was too quick for him to follow in detail, he could see how, at times at least, an area of the Shion’s anatomy was being selected on the left-hand image, and Gonfi would appear in their circles, seemingly written upon the breast or solar plexus of the pale flesh; then the same site would become the focus of the central scan, where the flesh had been made translucent, and the bones glowed; finally, the scanner would pursue the problem down, further, through enlarged displays on the third screen, at magnifications that seemed to dissolve corporeality entirely, and produce pictures of geometric abstraction, of life beneath life, within life, of structures underlying vision – the very building-blocks of bodies themselves.

Zy watched.

Was this really what lay under his own skin?

He saw a new world. As represented across the fluid scans, the interior of the human body was a thing of pulses and routes, of pumps and junctions, of gases and cavities, valves and lubricants. It was more than a machine: it was a continent, a galaxy. He saw liquids being forced at high pressure along highways. When he had first intuited that the scans were showing him the internal organs of the body, he had looked for a bright red, soft, arrowhead of the human heart, as it was always drawn by children. But there was no such thing: instead, there was a pulsating, muscular creature, something he imagined lived on the seabed.

Teeth grinned at him, lipless, fleshless. The bones of the head had a dummy-like simplicity. Encircled, magnified images showed the boy installations of phenomenal fineness and intricacy. The Lord’s flat belly was revealed to contain a bewildering worm of coiling intestines. At unknown levels of magnification, Zy saw things coursing along through constricted thoroughfares, dashing by, irradiated by deep-hued, electrical light. The Lord’s bones seemed impossibly slender. The basket of the rib cage appeared fatally delicate, dangerously open, as if things should slip out of it easily.

The more he looked, the more Zy found it hard to relate what was appearing there on the wall-screens with his own physiology. There was something slightly monstrous about this splayed and avid thing. Some of the Shion’s disdain for it seeped into the edges of Zy’s feelings. The body was too complicated. There was too much of it. It was not – human. Laid out there, it seemed other. It seemed – unreasonable. Zy could sense why the Lord had sometimes appeared, as he struggled with his infirmity, to regard his own body as an opponent, and an enemy.

But what an implacable enemy…


Extract from River Direction | Volume 13 of Dustless

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