Archives for posts with tag: Lord Sokosozuin Naro

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.”


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

Be great first…



Life is a matter of moments. Sometimes, we do not feel them: they bond together in easy succession, and whole years can pass without our really sensing the fragility of our own composition, which is momentary. The common people say “life slips by”, and they are right in their idiom. We grow negligent of the basis of our own being, and our vigilance becomes diluted.

But what could be more vulnerable than a moment? What more nude and exposed, incapable of defending itself? A moment happens, and is gone. Their little towers are being endlessly invaded, and thrown down; and with them, our lives.

Only when an unusual moment occurs do we sense the profoundly momentary nature of our being. Then, the moment surges into prominence: what had seemed so stable and secure – our life – is instantly revealed to hang upon a moment. There is a moment in our heart; our thoughts are moments; and if we kiss, our kisses are stained with moments. Only at moments of excitation or violence, of rupture, or of extreme boredom, does the moment announce itself vividly inside us. And then our life is thrown open for the dust or vision to enter us. It only takes a moment to live; and only a moment to die.

From Comb | Volume 8 of Dustless

Be great first…


Now, it seems to me I have seen the universe of time complete its round: and the universe passes to dust.

We, the human ones, enter the dusts, and do not emerge again.

We bear the dust, and call it power.

We crave the dust, believing it power.

We hug the dust, and we hug power.

We consume the dust, thinking it power.

We produce the dust, seeking power.

And power is the dust.

This is the fate of the human Way.

This is the story of Zysoshin dai:ekon, believed to be the powerful one, ShaDhim.

Now, my prophecy is complete: I will say no more. All this has been a swoon of reasonable mind, and the life of dreams. But on the dream is the mind constructed. Poor, poor human mind.

I am the voice of Sokosozuin on:naro, who wears the Gram of the White of Drifting Clouds, shion of the blessed Seashell Mark, a man of Subtle Rank. I end.

Believe what you will, and be what you will. And may your Way be peaceful.

The half-blind hermit lord, Sokosozuin, performs SeriaYi, the formal recounting of an episode from one’s life

…‘There is a play of the poet Aginsozura, from the Perfect Calm Era, which tells the terrible story of the RoMayZine Lord Ysokan of the Clouded Era: and in that bloody play, Ysokan, finding that in a fit of MalSol, he has put to death the members of his own blood family, gouges out his own eyes, so that he may never see the pure light of the wonderful day again – well, it is a harrowing story. To my imperishable shame, I would have wished to gouge out my own mind, in order to rid myself of the dirty illumination that had taken root there, and was continuing to grow like a fibrous and vigorous weed – but I could not, for one’s own mind is the very basis of the universe, and we are taught that the life of our own mind is the foundation of the Way.

Sai. It is so. It is like that.

And still, the rain fell.

Perhaps I slipped into a doze. The story of Lord Ysokan was on my mind. I remembered once, in a small town in Chian canton, a place of wool, in summer, seeing a group of travelling players performing Lord Ysokan for a ragged crowd of souls. The stage was a simple thing, and the make-up and acting loud and rude, with great clashing of swords and shields, when a battle was made out of yelled words, and five actors made up conflicting armies. The performance was beyond the perimeter of the town, in a clearing among the trees, held by night and lit by lanterns. Despite the crudeness of the stage, and the rough-and-ready talents of the troupe, Aginsozura’s poetry shone out and lifted all – actors and audience alike, and even the watching officers of KinChogan, who stood in attendance to ensure no impure scenes were played out there – all were taken from their present mind, and transported to the turbulent Clouded Era, and to the home of Shion Ysokan, over four thousand years ago. And when the time came for the shion to put out his own eyes, the bumpkin audience moaned and wailed, and called out to him to stop, pleading with the shion to show himself mercy, and to forgive himself. And when the play had finished, after the scene where the barbarian killers come, and find their great enemy blinded and helpless, and despatch him, such a silence fell on that clearing for a little while, it seemed as if we might have heard the needle from one of the nearby pines drop to the forest floor and make a soft noise as it landed.

At the time, I had been very struck by the power of art to transform the flow of our minds, to divert their courses, to canalise them along new directions, and to lift us from our substantial state into the world of imagination, where different laws apply.

Now, as I sat, slumped, leaning against the planking wall of that unoccupied beach house, listening to the sound of the rain and to the bash and drawl of waves as the tide heightened, images from that play played themselves across my wandering mind. The work was purely done, according to the legislation, in the old way, uncorrupted, in the Perfect Calm Era Style: the actors’ faces were masked in lurid facepaint, which shone in the hanging paper lanterns; the toy armour tinkled with a trashy sound during the acts of combat; and for long periods the actor playing Lord Ysokan wore a metal mask, which was only removed for the most tragic moments… The blinding scene was terrifying… Even there, shipwrecked on the coast of the MarIsQuess, destitute under an alien sun, I myself dreamily flinched when Ysokan raised his thumbs to his own eyes, and began to speak the words: World, too beautiful for these violent eyes of mine / and eyes which rage with sight of unforgiving blood / tender things, both, will this night meet no more / not even for one particle of a lonely moment…

I had begun to shiver. I saw in the theatre of my mind the tormented Lord of the Mountain Mark unlatch his visor, and the effect of seeing his naked face – and his eyes – so often hidden under the tin prop of his mask, and knowing his intention, seemed to suspend the blood in my veins.

A cold darkness fell across my soul. For a few moments, I assumed my feeling of approaching horror was related to the play. A sense of silence entered me, just like the silence of the audience as they held their breath, mesmerised by the scene before them.

My mind began to tingle. I can describe the sensation in no other way: there was a curious agitation in my mind, as if of wind chimes stirring at the approach of a breeze. And a shadow encroached upon my thought. I felt intensely sensitive. And yet, I also felt impersonal: it was as if my own thoughts were like insects in a nest, running here and there, organising themselves, making preparations for some coming event.

I opened my eye. Two riders were approaching through the dunes…

Excerpt from Comb, Volume 8 of Dustless

…‘When Shion Dezel finally vanished behind the dunes, I felt as if the last of my world were walking away from me. Sometimes, it is hard to be alone. The rain fell around me as if it would fall forever. I had no inclination to move at all. My thoughts lay stunned within me, like fish floating to the surface of a lake after a lightning strike. Even if they moved, they were hardly my thoughts anymore. I felt broken.

There was nowhere for me to go, and I was nowhere. It struck me as ironic, but I found myself virtually in a state of classic illumination – space and time had ceased for me, and my own being had ceased: there was just the sound of the falling rain on timber, a gushing and thrumming sound.

For where is there to go when a man comes to the end of himself? One cannot even die, for there is nothing to die. But one cannot live either, for there is nothing to live. Yet, my state was not one of pure illumination, for pure illumination is a condition of infinite peace and hope; whereas my condition was one of infinite exhaustion and despair. I remembered with chaste sorrow the words of the unfortunate younger son of Emperor Moin II, Prince Marinsomar: “The Way is all… The Way is both life and death, and neither life nor death; the Way is without life and without death, the Way is lifeless, and deathless”… I felt that day, in the remote MarIsQuess, a planet away from my home, as if I understood His Highness’s words for the first time; but, in understanding them, could do no more – I could not use them to further the beautiful Way, or to aid my fellow human beings in the construction of the great TanZo, which is the purpose of our lives under pure skies. Although, intellectually, I knew it to be impossible, still, I felt that I had come to the end of the Way itself. I was desolate, and numb.

In this state, I continued to watch the rain falling.

I have no idea how much clock time passed then. It felt like hours. I kept expecting darkness to fall, though I did not care whether it did or no: but the day continued on…

Excerpt from Comb, Volume 8 of Dustless

With Woya I discussed the nature of the attack by the monstrous organism. The renowned doctor was perplexed by my account. He had never in all his studies come across an entity of the kind I described, nor anything like it. He was puzzled as to the precise nature of the assault the creature had made, but we were very soon into the world of guess and conjecture; any truth of the event was lost beneath the waters of the hot lagoon.

He appeared to discuss with complete frankness the various questions and hypotheses he entertained concerning the events that had befallen me. He wondered what objective the creature might have had when it attacked – was it merely defending itself, perhaps? Was it hunting, but had been disturbed by the arrival of Veka? And what was the aim of the organism’s peculiar method of incision? During my unconsciousness, what had it done to me? Had it injected some substance into me? Or removed some substance from me? Had I been poisoned? Was it intending to paralyse me, and then remove me to its nest or den, to eat at its leisure?

Woya-tsa kept me with him for several weeks. During this time, I understood that he was carefully observing me. Veka-ro, too, was housed in the doctor’s residence, and I believe was instructed to keep watch over me. I did not mind. I was filled with a quite unearthly calmness.
The famous doctor, I could see, was more anxious about my condition than he would have wanted me to know. Eventually, however, he appeared to relax; and then, shortly before my departure for home, and under questioning, he admitted to holding one particularly troubling theory about the attack, a theory he had explored but not communicated to me.

Woya-tsa was afraid that the object of the organism was not to obtain food, or to defend itself, but parasitical: the thing did not see me as a threat or as a meal, but as a nest, and a cradle. The doctor, with his expertise on marine life, had seen instances where one creature lays its eggs within another: and there, within the flesh of the victim, the eggs hatch, and the larvae emerge, to feed upon their own nurse until they are able to break out, leaving their unwitting and helpless host dead or wounded, eaten out from the inside.

Well, it is difficult even for one trained deeply in the serene and beautiful perfect Way to contemplate such procedures of Nature and not consider them vile. Even Woya himself, who in some ways admired the wiles and the complexities of Nature, its inventiveness, its cunning, told me he found these types of parasites peculiarly chilling. Indeed, for most human beings, I believe, even the dumb barbarians of the Eastern Lands, the exploitation of one creature by another in this way seems profoundly offensive. The idea that one creature may live within another, as worms do, feeding off them or using them for other purposes, seems ugly to us, and insults our sense of the deep integrity of individual lives.

To be used by a parasite in this way makes us feel violated, and polluted. And yet, after all, TanZo teaches us to try not to distinguish between inside and outside, or between this piece of the universe or that piece, but to grasp the universe as a single occurrence, limitless and without constraint of idea or emotion; and in a sense, is not a parasite merely proof that we are defenceless against the universe itself? Is not a parasite merely a method by which the universe pitches its tent in us, and dwells there? And what is hatred, after all? Or jealousy? I have long considered these things, aloof in the superstate, when my mind grows untrammelled, and fluent in analogy. One can even see an idea, or a word, as a kind of parasite: an egg, laid within us, growing. In the deluded and dusty circles of an unintegrated one, ideas occur to us, and we speak words – but in the Subtle and lucid condition, we are occurring ideas, and flowering words: it is one process, with neither a here nor a there…

…’Life is a matter of moments. Sometimes, we do not feel them: they bond together in easy succession, and whole years can pass without our really sensing the fragility of our own composition, which is momentary. The common people say “life slips by”, and they are right in their idiom. We grow negligent of the basis of our own being, and our vigilance becomes diluted.

But what could be more vulnerable than a moment? What more nude and exposed, incapable of defending itself? A moment happens, and is gone. Their little towers are being endlessly invaded, and thrown down; and with them, our lives.

Only when an unusual moment occurs do we sense the profoundly momentary nature of our being. Then, the moment surges into prominence: what had seemed so stable and secure – our life – is instantly revealed to hang upon a moment. There is a moment in our heart; our thoughts are moments; and if we kiss, our kisses are stained with moments. Only at moments of excitation or violence, of rupture, or of extreme boredom, does the moment announce itself vividly inside us. And then our life is thrown open for the dust or vision to enter us. It only takes a moment to live; and only a moment to die’…

Excerpt from Comb, Volume 8 of Dustless

‘…I have heard that there are many wonderful cities in the unimaginable spaces of the SolTanZoZon,’ the hermit was saying, ‘but it is difficult for me to believe there is a more beautiful city on earth than LuinZirQuil. It stands upon an intricate harbour, the entrance to which is guarded by two immense headlands; and once the oceanic waters pass through the promontories, they run unfolding into a series of bays, which in turn give birth to smaller coves and inlets, to form a ceaselessly involving landscape, and it is around this complex organism of waters that LuinZirQuil has developed since Ancient days.

Carved from its own sandstone, it is a city of slopes and hills. Wherever you walk in ZirQuil, the city opens up for you, in an endless necklace of vistas, a sense of perpetual variation. It is as if ZirQuil seeks always to surprise and energise you: it seems almost to rotate itself without your needing to move, and with every slight shift of angle, reveals another loveliness waiting to be explored. It is a city of crannies and nooks, niches of vision, tumbled and wayward. The climate is benign, and summer is long there. Sometimes, enfolded in an unfamiliar district, walking along a maze of lanes, from the top of a slope, you will turn a hot corner and glance down the street to find a flash of water where the land reaches into the sparkling grasp of a bay, and where a wooden terminal may stand, and people will be gathered, waiting for a ferry…

Yes. Yes, it is like that…’ Sokosozuin murmured, with a strange, sad excitement, as if he were discovering something new, or finding that his memory, certain muscles of which he hadn’t used for many years, still worked, giving him powers he had forgotten…

Excerpt from Comb, Volume 8 of Dustless

Land | SolTanZoZon | literally “Pure • Simple • Way • Place”. The “Empire of the pure Way”, or the “pure Way state”. The area of land between the BisMarian mountains in the east, and the Surean Ocean in the west. Also known, colloquially, as “the empire”, or “the Western Lands”. And further, known more formally as “the Land of O“, or simply as “O“, meaning “the land of everything”, or “the only land”. map
Clan | Sokosozuin | the name follows the classical clan style: Soko-so-zuin, “Soko, son of Zuin”. enhance