Archives for posts with tag: Excerpt

Following an attack by a strange marine organism, Lord Naro enters a profound state of delirium.

Several nurses who had been instructed to sit with me during the critical phase of my delirium found the experience too harrowing, and asked to be relieved of this duty. Patients in nearby rooms were taken to other, more distant rooms. Faced with these unprecedented symptoms, even Woya was troubled out of reason: he later confessed to me that his mind wandered towards the impure and barbarian notions of possession by evil spirits. Certainly, he had never witnessed such torment. Only Virsodanva Veka proved strong enough to undertake long sessions of vigilance beside my bed.

When the doctor recounted to me the convulsions that had shaken me then, I pitied myself, though (at the time, while speaking with him) I could not recall anything at all of those intolerable hours. Often, I cried out: almost always, I seemed to be in great fear. One peculiar effect of my disorder, which many found most troubling, was that sometimes when I shouted out it would not be in my usual voice but, as it seemed, in the voices of others.

Woya-tsa himself, for all his professional and inherent calm, admitted that he found himself questioning the nature of the world itself on encountering this unsettling phenomenon. He said his reason could not bridge the gulf that opened up between his knowledge and what he saw and heard as I lay there crying out. For not only was my normal voice distorted by terrors the nature of which he could not see, and not only was it bent by agonies the cause of which he could not ascertain, often my voice would change, grow deeper, and seem to be emitted from a hitherto unguessed region of my being. And it wasn’t merely that, in my delirium, I was impersonating other people, pretending to be a child or woman: uxo, it was worse, because there were moments when the voice that came out of my mouth appeared not to belong to me at all.

Only when I seemed to have recuperated fully – a matter of several weeks after first recovering consciousness – did Doctor Woya give me some account of what he and others had heard at my bedside. Sometimes, he said, my voice was so deep, and so contorted, it sounded inhuman, though it spoke our MidImperial tongue. Sometimes – more disconcerting still – it seemed I was communicating in my normal voice, but in no language the staff in the hospital had ever heard. And yet it was definitely a language, Woya believed: there was a fluency and an articulacy about the sounds that convinced him this was not the gibberish of a completely unravelled mind. At other times, my voice issued odd clicks and grunts and hisses and whispers, something subhuman, Woya said, reminding him of the language of insects. Any of these manifestations would have troubled all sensible witnesses, but there was yet a further variation in my distress, one which actually caused nurses to flee the room; and even Woya himself, on one occasion, said he found it unbearable, and had to leave me in the sole hands of the redoubtable Virsodanva Veka.

For not only did my voice sometimes sound like that of another man, or other men, it changed eerily and grew more strange still: it slipped from the tenor of the masculine altogether, and grew light and female.

While it was technically possible for a male voice-box to produce these different effects, the doctors agreed, not Yamgo of the Five Stars, nor Samisama, not the most brilliant actor of the Kunobun Ventriloquists’ Theatre could have commanded such an amazing range of voices. Male, female: they all sounded utterly real, as if they belonged to some individual. If you had turned your back, you would have thought a third person had entered the hospital room, and was speaking while I lay unconscious on the bed.

Woya said it was difficult to comprehend: when I was speaking as a female, there was no question that the words were coming from my mouth, but there was also no question that the voice was that of a woman, and not a man; and Woya could not put the two certainties together to form a rational whole. But most extraordinary and moving of all, he told me, were the moments when the timbre and intonation of my voice seemed to shed years, and I spoke not as a grown man, nor as a mature woman, but as a child.

This was too disturbing, Woya said. Most of the voices that spoke out of me were bearers of distress: some were angry and hostile, some were in pain, some fleeing pain; some were uttering bizarre orders; some were panicking, some grieving. Sometimes, at the height of the hallucinatory stage of my illness, different voices would chase one another out of my throat, and I would seem to be speaking in quick succession almost as if a line of beings queued inside me, wishing to communicate, and even squabbling among themselves. Then, abruptly, I would speak in my own voice, or in another voice, and utter something completely banal, a comment about the weather or the expression of a desire for a particular food for lunch, and it was precisely the ordinariness of these remarks which, juxtaposed against the chorus of other voices, highlighted the eeriness of my condition.

When the child, spoke, though, it always cried for help, and Woya found this nearly unbearable. He recounted how the child was a young boy – and to Woya, this boy was real, it seemed to me, even though the child spoke out of my mouth, and from some unaccountable region – and how the call for help was deeply affecting. Of course, there was no possibility of help being given, and so Woya felt both frightened, and concerned, and completely helpless. He said he definitely wanted to be able to give the child some reassurance, to soothe and calm it, because the fear in the child’s voice was palpable, and there is surely nothing quite as poignant as a child looking out for help. Woya-tsa felt torn and so disorientated that, as he told me, he began to worry not only about my sanity, but his own; indeed, he began to grow worried that, after his experiences by my bedside, the very notion of sanity itself was being thrown down before him, and he was entering a domain in which he was poorly equipped to survive.

Woya-tsa also told me that he had even tried to speak to the child, to call out to him. Woya-tsa attempted to learn the child’s name, but there seemed no real contact possible. Woya-tsa was unembarrassed and unashamed of his actions, even though some of his colleagues thought his behaviour eccentric: nevertheless, no other doctors called in to assist on the case remained unshaken by what they found. Most stated their opinion that what I was undergoing was a state of profound hallucination, and that the voices speaking out of me were fragments of memory or illusion, which had been chameleonised in my distress, taking on the properties of people and episodes I’d witnessed during my life. However, most also accepted that such a diagnosis was very limited, and that the case had a certain freakish fascination.

Woya-tsa described the child’s voice as not panicked, exactly, but possessing a kind of calm fear. The tone was plaintive, somehow rather distant, as if speaking out of another element, or through a distorting device. Not only was the child concerned for his own safety, but he also seemed very intent on passing on some information, or a warning.

Of all the voices that spoke out of me during those awful days, the child’s voice was, by common consent, the most alarming. “Help me,” he would say: “they are coming. They are coming. Please – help me. Why don’t you help me?”

Few of the doctors invited to give their opinion on my case believed I would ever recover. The general prognosis was that, even if something like consciousness returned to me, my wits would have been cast to the dusts, and I would never really be Lord Sokosozuin Naro again.

In this, I believe the doctors were right. And yet, finally, one evening I opened my one remaining eye, and looked out of it.

The day before, the jelly-like secretion had abruptly dried, and could be brushed off my face in a kind of powder.

The first words I said – although I don’t recall them myself – were: “They are coming. They are coming. They are coming.”


Dataslivers

Woya | Family name of the physician responsible for Lord Naro

Virsodanva Veka | The name of the captain of Lord Naro’s bodyguard

Uxo | “No”

tsa | Honorific, given to doctors and other members of a certain class

Names in Dustless | Naro, is the family name | Sokosozuin = Soko-so-zuin, Soko, son of Zuin


From Comb | Volume 8 of Dustless

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Cradle, hearth and towers gone,
the road will be our home for now,
for now, tomorrow, the years to come,
the years to come our lives to pass,
to pass bearing our heavy load

TANZO-VACCARA • TANZO-VACCARA
we are born and die upon the road
our whole lives upon the road

So, traveller, as you ride the road,
ride the road, look down and see,
see the work that we have done,
have done to make your journey free:
free, we lay down our bodies’ load

TANZO-VACCARA • TANZO-VACCARA
we are born and die upon the road
our whole lives upon the road

We worked that you could travel free.
Your road is made of our bodies.
TANZO-VACCARA
Look down as you ride on home.
Your way is made from our bones.
TANZO-VACCARA
From ourselves is your road made.
All people are people of the Way.
All people are people of the Way…

The tanzo-vaccara road gangs hold a special place in the culture of O. Roads — tanzo — are seen as physical manifestations of TanZo, the pure Way. The empire is vast, and keeping the way open — often in remote regions, with hostile climate and terrain — is considered a task that combines sacred duty with harsh, unremitting, physical labour.

Over the centuries, the members of the tanzo-vaccara have become an enclosed, semi-religious group of people — predominantly men, but with a sprinkling of women, too. Their numbers include ex-convicts, returned from exile, who consider their sentences insufficient penalty for the crimes they’ve committed. They see in the hard work and difficult conditions of the life of the vaccara a form of expiation. Sometimes, too, people following the Way join the vaccara for a certain set period, and use the time in the community to train their bodies and spirits to respect and transcend the world of matter: for these people, the vaccara is a kind of endless pilgrimage.

The core of the vaccara is formed by people who devote their entire life to the repair and maintenance of the empire’s roads. In come cases, they literally work themselves to death.

•DUSTLESS-FIN-1

‘Yes, and the dreams were strange. They were unprecedented, unstoppable, recurring. They happened with a vividness that was a shock to consciousness. The light in them was phenomenally sharp, the clarity of every detail super-defined, colours rich, shadows etched, the whole beyond nature. Their content was gruesome, and yet fascinating. They were disturbing! Night after night, as the summer wore on, I dreamed these dreams. And slowly, I realised two things that made them so perplexing. The first, and lesser thing, was that the same dream appeared to happen each night. The same events occurred: the same conclusion. And so eventually it seemed to me that I was dreaming the same dream. Not, you understand, different versions of the same dream, but the same dream. It was as if the dream went on, and I revisited it. The dream was like a river: it flowed on, and I visited its banks nightly. I came and went, but not the dream. The dream was real and permanent, but I was unreal, and temporary…

This was troubling enough. But then the second and most disturbing thing about these dreams suddenly struck me – and once it had, I could not shake my mind free of the sense of the truth of it. It was not that the dreams themselves were so disturbing – although they were – it was that they were not my dreams. Ugh! Even now, I shake a little at it – I, Igangsogun dex:rikoji, prince of this world! – I do admit, though no longer do I suffer from them… I was dreaming someone else’s dreams


from The Governor of the Desolate Cantons | Dustless | Volume 14

%e2%80%a2dustless-fin14

‘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

%e2%80%a2dustless-fin-6

River, river, take your time.
In winter, skates and flocks of geese;
and in summer, dragonflies.
Armies ride by the riverside,
armies rise and armies fail;
and lovers walk by the riverside,
mothers with sons, and merchants to sail
down to the city with white wool in bails,
the old with their troubles,
the young with their pride —
but the river does not care
whose figures flicker in the water there,
flicker and are gone:
the river flows on.

River, river, take your time.
In spring, pussy willow and tinkers with knives,
and in autumn, dun oak leaves.
Nobles ride by the riverside,
greatness in bright show of gold;
and beggars trudge by the riverside,
fathers with daughters, and monks who hold
a  treasure of emptiness in their hollow bowls,
the sick with their boils,
the contented with lies —
but the river does not care
whose figures flicker in the water there,
flicker and are gone:
the river flows on.

River, river, take your time.
The singer with songs, the poet with rhymes;
the toothless with laughter, the children with tears:
but the river does not hear
whose voices call by the water there,
call and are gone:
the river flows on.

The river flows on.


Dustless is one of the longest novels ever written, and creates a densely imagined world, and a society with a richly realised culture.

This song comes from Volume 20, The Lover in the Snow [v]. The resonance of the song is amplified by the context in which it is sung: on a pleasure barge, in the mist of a cold winter’s day, on the Siloso — the circular river, in the capital city, Shar.

Please explore…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

 

So the boy slept. He woke again, and I will tell you of that in a moment. But let him sleep for a while now. He deserves a little peace, doesn’t he?

It will be obvious to you, I imagine, that I have some affection for the boy. I have followed him closely through this story, never letting him out of my sight for very long.

It will not always be like this. There are too many voices, and too many stories.

We are not set up to listen to one story alone, however much we may want to. But equally, we are not set up to hear every story.

We must choose, for the most part, which stories we attend to, and which stories we tell.

Only the damned, perhaps, have no choice in this matter.

And yet, as we turn away from this story, and listen to that – as we grow deaf to this story, and attentive to that – isn’t there a kind of betrayal going on?

I think so.

Only, even now, I am not sure who is betrayed.

Well, well – never mind. We are not set up for too many stories. Let us concentrate on the one in hand.

For after all, only a man of flames can live in a house of fire. Only a child can live in the house of children.

Listen, and I’ll tell you about it.

Excerpt from Fire House, Volume 6 of Dustless

•DUSTLESS-FIN6


Re-post | Original post December 2014

Between two peaks, the night sky rests;
between two lovers, silence.

I sing a sad song.

Between two seasons, a wind blows;
between autumn and summer.

I sing a sad song.

Between two banks, a river flows;
between two lovers, silence.

I sing a sad song.

Between a bell’s chimes, no bell sounds;
between silences, tolls a bell.

I sing a sad song.

Between two moments, midnight comes;
between two lovers, silence.


 

Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 20 [in preparation],
The Lover in the Snow [v]

Please explore…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
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ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

 

Here we sit, the mirror, my shilka doll and me.
It is still early: the moon, hardly risen, has a long way to go.

What great light upon the lake. What cheerful company.
Yet we are quiet, the mirror, my shilka doll and me.

I wonder, who will be the first to speak?

ooo


Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 20 [in preparation],
The Lover in the Snow [v]

Please explore…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

We walked by the SilOso
on the fire side of the city
among the market crowds
near the Bridge of Dreams.

It was cold, and the first snow fell
among our footsteps.
Winter snow falling, and footsteps falling
slowly, by the Bridge of Dreams.

Thoughts, and the memories of thoughts.
Boats, and the reflections of boats –
the empty boats, tied up beside
the SilOso, rocking in a gentle breeze.

What is the fall of snowflakes?
We parted, as winter came.
You went to your home
across the Bridge of Dreams.

Your home, on the side of ice.
My home, on the side of fire.
And the snowflakes of winter falling,
and footsteps, in between.


Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 26 Master Darkness [vi]

Be Dustless | Master darkness…

Dustless | Volume 9

The Way is the pure Way, the Way of compassion and of men and women being together for the sake of men and women, who are the Way of the Way * The Way is the Way of human mind, and of the serenity of mind…

Although all things move upon the Way, for human beings, who are the Way of love and compassion • the Way should be simple and straight * To guide confused men and women, there is this book, and this law, and this law guards over the Way * If men and women maintain and honour the law, those men and women will inevitably find themselves upon a Way which is simple and straight * However, should a person neglect or dishonour the law, that person will inevitably find themselves upon a Way which is complex and crooked * To describe these men and women who neglect or dishonour the Way, we speak of “deviation”…

Deviation is to be guarded against at all times * Good conduct depends upon good principles • and the best safeguard of good principles is purity of mind * Purity of mind will ensure purity of action * Even if one’s mind is impure, and one remains unilluminated, providing one follows the rules of good conduct, then the Way will be maintained, and the consequences of one’s actions will be pure * But if one neglects to follow the rules of good conduct, then the Way will be neglected, and the consequences of one’s actions will be impure…

Do not make the error of believing there are large things and little things * or actions of great consequence and actions of no consequence * All actions are actions of the Way • and upon each and every action, the meaning of the world depends… Remember, upon each action depends the whole meaning of the whole world… For action is also the world…

It is the easiest thing in the world to deviate from the pure Way * It is a glance, a yawn, a moment of inattention * It is the easiest thing in the world • to break a world * But it is hard, once you have left the Way, to return * And meanwhile, you will have broken a world, which will be a world of other people * It is one thing to break your own world • but quite another to break the world of other people * It is the easiest thing in the world • to break a world * But what will you do when you have broken the world? * You will find, it is not so easy to live at peace then * How do you live in a world which is broken?…

If you pursue the Way, and remain vigilant, you will maintain the Way | which is the Way of gentleness and non-engagement * You will abstain from self * This means, you will abstain from actions that depend upon the erroneous belief in a creature you call your self | This false creature, this creature you call your self, supposedly possesses the quality of standing apart from, and superior to, the world * This erroneous belief in the creature of self | and the erroneous ascription of powers to this creature | is the root of all impure thought and of deviation from the simple Way * Therefore, wise men and women of the Way | abstain from thinking of themselves as creatures of power | standing apart from the world, with interests separate from, and superior to, the world

Consider: your heart is not your own | Your heart is inside you, but can you reach your heart? | If your heart sickens, with damaged blood or limping beats, what can you do? | You may not reach in and take out that sickened heart | or replace it with another heart | for you depend upon your own heart | and may not escape it * Is this not true? * Are you separate from your own heart? | Are you stronger than its beating? | Consider: you are clad in air | Air surrounds you, and holds you intact, giving shape to your body | permitting you life * Are you stronger than your body? * Are you separate from your own flesh? * Is this not true? * Air surrounds you, and is necessary to all human beings * You hang to a thread of air every moment of your life * Are you stronger than the air? * Are you separate from your own breath? * In the stillness of meditation, in the stillness of the Building which has no motion, in this stillness you will find that you are not a creature of power | but a cloud moving through space | a spider in a sparkling web of mist | or a stream which must flow…

One should at all times strive to purify the mind of impurity: of the poor habits of anger, jealousy, hatred, all habits which deviate from the pure Way and lead to loss of care and of compassion * The Way is the Way of respect for other creatures… People of the pure Way abstain, above all, from physical violence * Violence is a catastrophic loss of respect for oneself and for others * Violence is a mistaken belief in oneself and a mistaken perception of others * A person who is violent spreads chaos and ruin through the cascade, polluting the ancestral stream of events * To harm another person is to harm the world * Even to think of harm depletes the world | for cruel thoughts are cruel, and demean people of the pure Way, who are the Way * If, at any moment, one is thinking an ugly thought, then that ugliness is in the world, and the world is reduced by one ugly thought * But if, at any moment, one is thinking a gentle thought, then that gentleness is in the world, and the world is enlightened by one gentle thought * Therefore, human beings should strive at all times to be vigilant over their thoughts | for a thought is a lever upon the whole world…


Please, follow the Way of Dustless…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU