Archives for posts with tag: Metallic ones

There was something ominous about this stain, as if the fingers of Decay itself had been made visible, and could be seen reaching slowly over the Metallic confection of the pavilion, gathering it in, scooping it slowly into shadow…

Fight the shadow…

•DUSTLESS-FIN8

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The political system in O (the “western lands”) is a four-thousand-year-old empire, the SolTanZoZon – “the Empire of the Pure Way”.

After an indefinite period of time known as the Clouded Era, the empire was created, and in some ways based upon, the lost ancient civilisation of the race known as the ‘Metallic ones’.

The empire was initially created by armies of clans originating in the geo-political centre of the continent, the Metallic city of LuinShar. These clans followed certain traditions, and grouped together in Marks — a Mark is thus an association of like-minded clans.

At the centre and summit of the city — well over 1,000 metres above sea-level — is the SuMu, the sacred, Metallic citadel. Here, the court (the GoMin-U) is housed.

The emperor – the ShionDo (the “lord over the lords”) – is a dynastic ruler. When, for whatever reason, a dynasty comes to an end, a new dynasty must be inaugurated.

The organisations responsible for inaugurating a new dynasty are known as the Five Bodies. These are all ancient, pre-imperial institutions, and were all based in the SuMu, a place considered sacrosanct by even most degenerate warlord of the Clouded Era.

The Five Bodies are:

ShimThet – the ancient “celestial” police force, who used to police the SuMu.

ShoKun – the Mark of the Hatching Egg, who since time immemorial, have been responsible for collecting the blood of all aristocratic families, and of overseeing the matrimonial arrangements of the clans of the western lands. Their responsibility is to ensure the “purity of the blood” of the people of O. Their headquarters is based in the complex of buildings around the great Library of Blood, up in the SuMu.

ViwaShar – the Mark of the Five Towers. The body of people who, before the formation of the empire, guarded the SuMu from any external threat. With the foundation of the empire, the Five Towers Mark becomes an organisation dedicated to guarding and serving the emperor, and of ensuring continuity across dynastic changes. The ViwaShar organise the emperor’s household, and supply him with his personal bodyguard.

MarZom – the political body responsible for governing the Marks. The empire is a clan-based system. Each clan is governed by its aristocratic head, and each noble clan is known as an hereditary House. The heads of the clans (Isens) are in turn governed by the head of whichever Mark the clan belongs to. The heads of the Marks meet in council and are governed by the MarZom.

MuKesho – a highly revered monastic body, whose monks and nuns were responsible for guarding and maintaining many of the most precious buildings of the SuMu. Above all, the MuKesho are responsible for the metal books — books of sublimely complex signs, known as “hypergrams”, or “Shofi” — which are the indecipherable texts of the Metallic ones, and are stored in SharAmor, the “sacred tower”, at the absolute centre of Shar.

Perhaps most of the worlds of all the universes possess no language, and are dumb, utterly inexpressive – silent as the airless moon – but O-yon is not like this.

Language is born of language | Languages possess architecture, and in O-yon, there are many lost and buried tongues, branches that are broken from the tree or do not blossom, or blossoms which, caught in the desert of time, become like fragile fossils, dry, perfect, but without scent…

In O-yon, it is said, there was a time before speech, but of that time, necessarily, we are ignorant || Then came the oldest language, the hypergrammatic language of the Ancients, the ‘Metallic ones’ | Their mysterious characters, inscribed in metal books, without date, without lexicon, are too complex for modern minds to comprehend, and so their beautiful, miraculous world remains closed to us, a matter of yearning, debate and controversy.

After the Ancients, came the LateAncients, whose language, made up of ‘Gonfi’ – ideograms – permits us the tantalising sense that we may understand their greater minds, and even that we might touch the glory of their forebears, the Metallic ones. For it is into the Gonfic LateAncient language that certain key Metallic books are said to have been translated, and of these books, the most wonderful book of all, the book of Metallic sutras, known as AmorZineZirIramOAram­TanZo, which means, transcripted into our common tongue, The Sacred Book of the Whole World of the Word of the Law of the Beautiful and Simple Way – the book to which all signs are ultimately drawn, and from which all signs ultimately proceed.

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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

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 and 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…


RoMayZine lullaby

Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless

The culture of O is in many ways obsessed with and dominated by the number five.

The original reason for the importance of this number is lost in the Clouded Era. However, the number five also appeared to be crucial to people of the revered ancient civilization, known as the OnDomin, and the remnants of their culture have floated down the millennia and been incorporated into the current order.

Examples abound of the way the number five is inscribed into the culture of O:

The dynastic succession of the imperial clan, or the accession to the throne of a new clan, is overseen by the Five Bodies, the KorBan.

The imperial Mark, the ruler’s household Mark and the imperial bodyguard, is ViwaShar, the Five Towers Mark.

The ancient Han-nah Camellia Map – a map contained within one of the famous metal books of the Ancients – divides up the territory of the Land of O into fifty cantons. (In fact, there are fifty-one cantons on the Han-nah Map, but the central canton, Oron, with the great capital city LuinShar at its heart, is known as the “sublime canton”, a place of transcendent spiritual purity, and considered to be beyond the power of “description by numbers”.)

The culture of O is TanZo. “TanZo” is made up of two Gonfi (LateAncient characters), “Tan“, meaning “simple”, “pure”, “undivided”, “unadulterated”, and “Zo“, meaning “path”, “direction”, “way”. In the current tongue, TanZo is translated as “the simple Way”, or the “pure Way”.

TanZo has “five essential tenets”. People who live by the rules of TanZo perform the “five essential prostrations”.

TanZo is supported by the “five pillars”.

These are:

TineZo | The Way of Blood | rules governing the flow of ancestral resources

QuingZo | The Way of Harmony | rules governing intimate customs and social behaviour

HungZo | The Lawful Way | law over property and social behaviour

ZorZo | The Marked Way | rules governing the organisation and behaviour of Marks

MarZo | The Way of the Clans | rules governing the organisation of clans

The “five pillars” are designed to implement the wisdom of the Way across the whole of O.

MarZo, the Way of the Clans, is a set of laws designed to ensure that the basic unit of society, the noble clan, is run according to TanZo. The noble heads of households are responsible for ensuring that all the members of the clan behave according to the Way, and seek to follow the teachings of the sutras, and to live peaceful, gentle, vigilant lives.

ZorZo, the Way of the Marks, is designed to ensure that clans behave according to TanZo. Nearly all clans are members of Marks, which are associations of clans. The member clans of each Mark behave co-operatively, and seek to assure mutual safety and well-being. Thus, the Isen (“head”) of the Mark has power over the noble heads of individual clans.

HungZo, the Lawful Way, is the set of laws that apply to all people and all social bodies in O. There are two organisations charged with implementing HungZo: KinChogan, known as “Protecting Hand”, who have power over all non-noble households; and ShimThet, colloquially known as “Black Star” – their Mark is Black Star – who have power over all households, both noble and common, and whose elite members, known as “erasers”, have the right to take life in the pursuit of justice. In theory, even the imperial household and the court must submit to the rulings of ShimThet.

QuingZo, the Way of Harmony, is an intricate system of rules designed to ensure that people treat each other according the wisdom of the sutras, and particularly the Strict Order sutra, one of the sutras making up the AmorZine. “Quing” literally means “smooth”, “silk”, “frictionless”. QuingZo governs every relationship in O, and seeks to ensure that everyone shows appropriate vigilance and respect, as laid down in the Strict Order sutra.

TineZo, The Way of Blood, is a set of laws relating to matrimony and succession. In O, the ancestors are revered, as the ancestors were responsible for maintaining the Way over eras of generational struggle. All people of a certain rank in society are obliged to have samples of their blood taken by ShoKun, the Mark of the Hatching Egg, who oversee the matrimonial arrangements of noble clans. The great Library of Blood, in LuinShar, is supposed to contain millions of samples of blood, and ShoKun is responsible for ensuring the health and purity of the noble bloodlines of O.

Thus, from the ground up, from the lowest to the highest, bonds of TanZo are formed. The lowest class of citizen recognized under imperial law is a Murli, a serf, whose family has been bound to a noble clan for five generations. Murli have the right to life and protection, and the Lord or Lady of the clan is responsible for ensuring the Murli are allowed to live according to TanZo. Even the Murli, whose freedoms are strongly curtailed, have the legal privileges known as the Five Bearing Rights of the Strict Order sutra. These Five Bearing Rights are: the right to meditate and follow the Way, right to cleanliness, including care for health, right to shelter, right to food and right to respect.

The clan’s retainers, who exist in a hierarchy, from the humble Murli to the educated and sophisticated chamberlains of the household, must ensure that the “lowest” are allowed full TanZo. All the clan retainers are ultimately responsible to the Lord or Lady of the clan. Should the Lord or Lady themselves prove to be corrupt, then the Isen of the Mark should step in, and seek to ensure that the Mark is cleansed of any impure clan. The Isens, although often tremendously powerful, are still accountable to ShimThet. And ShimThet, in theory, is accountable to the Ministry of Resolution, one of the Five Ministries, who together make up the imperial government.

Thus, it is said in O:

From the Five Bearing Rights to the central summit of the Five Towers, Mark of the Dustless One, from the ant to the lion, from teardrop to ocean, from a lone flame to the heat and light of the sun, all is TanZo

 

Five Towers Mark