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About Order & Entropy

Book IBook I – (Index) Book IIBook II – (Index) Book IIIBook III – (Index)
Book IV – (Index) Book V – (Index) Book VI – (Index)
imageBook VII(Index)
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For centuries there has been a tenuous peace through the ruins of the Corinthian Empire. One bought with the blood of countless thousands, and floundering in the shadows of a cold war. A conflict fueled by magic, faith, and dragons. The memory of mages may be long, but time begets complacency, and ambition is a wolf ever circling at the door.
 
Three children are cast into the royal court of a small western kingdom. Avrale, a land ever caught between the true power brokers of their world. Yet the forces spiraling around the Ashton children hint at a larger picture. That nothing about them is at all ordinary. Even if all they want is to live their lives, and find their place, the world it seems has other plans. They will learn that gifts can be burdens, and great power is never without consequence.
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VII:12 – Signifying Symbols

Why can you not share the sun, oh tree?
this is more than one could ever hold.
the prideful gnaw at roots that she fail,
but none so grand as bird was bold.

Boughed ones in roots did bay,
as great bird flew up and away,
so stole a twig larger than a man,
fell beneath a burden too grand.

There planted a child in fertile soil,
he who would strive in ageless toil,
oh great son of vales do father ferry,
for singed wings, were ever weary.

– Songs of the Sun

Signifying Symbols

Jovan 29th, 1 S.R.

General Camron strode around a dark chamber. A light orb glimmered blue, drifting, and lagging behind her. Bobbing, and weaving by something that defied one to find the pattern. She looked up across an etched stone at a young man. Tilted her head at his nervous shifting. It seemed to have something to do with how the light moved. “Are you afraid of me, boy?”

“What… ungifted man, isn’t… cautious, with a gifted he does not know.” Adrien stood a little straighter.

Camron half smiled, but it wasn’t friendly. “Your ‘caution,’ is making you annoying.” She stepped around the low etched stone in the foundation chamber. She grabbed him by the chin. “You also, aren’t that ungifted.” She turned his head back, and forth. “Back home, they might have made you a useful line enchanter. Not waste you on some fool notion of being a prince.” She laughed. “Almost pretty enough, but if you are… intimidated by me, you’ve no place ruling anyone.”

“You do not think you are intimidating, General?”

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Commentary VII:11

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Tangential Connection

My only real excuse for late commentary this week is Shadow Lands. Some kind of irony, watching writers far down the line (decades) trying to stitch together old narrative threads, and unanswered questions into new ones, or finally reveal, and expand the details behind them long intended. RPGs are interesting endeavors in which the story teller provides a world, and some characters that inhabit it, and the audience becomes a part of it. Some just live for battle, or fun. The spoils of war, or to pretend to be the hero. Game mechanics and convenience often providing odd questionable measures of heroism.

Any way. Holidays made up the slack a bit. What compelled me to riff on ‘I have not come to praise czar but to bury him,’ I don’t know. It seemed oddly apt in the way an epigraph should be. The uncertainty of the Path, and the perennial struggle to carry on as the world seems most apt to decay.

The title ultimately refers to a lot of hands on hearts, or at least chests. Gains some vague depth out of the symbolism of The Hand in the world, seeing is changing. Life is strange, in a physics sense. It chose to defy the natural order. Without prophecy or precognition, only reason, we can devise means by which to guide, slow, and rollback local entropy. It’s not a violation, because we do not live in a closed system. There is always ‘free’ (in the sense of available gradient) energy from the sun. Well, so long as that lasts.

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VII:11 – The Hand & The Heart

I did not come to praise a man,
but to bury what remains of him,
we do not know if what we believe,
will lead us on the Path to salvation,
only that no other road offers hope.

These wars for material gain dwindle,
they are the avarice of desires manifest,
so long as the fire burns we must fight,
we must stand strong and build a new,
we must look forward in hopes restored,
not back, chasing what we once knew.

– The Life of Darius, 470 E.R.

The Hand & The Heart

“Master Rine.” Lacie set her bundle on a counter, as she stepped into the shop, Kiannae a few steps behind held up the door. Looked around, she had been all through the town.

“You alright?” Katrisha asked behind her sister.

“Lacie, that you girl?” An older man with streaks of gray walked out, a raccoon the size of a small dog dangled by the scruff of the neck.

“Master Rine! I told you, she doesn’t like being grabbed like that!” Lacie strode toward him, her arms out. “She might maul you if you keep doing it.”

“Docile as a kitten, if I get her like this, and about as much trouble, if I don’t. I might maul her, if you don’t keep her out of my…” Rine hesitated, and thrust the raccoon into Lacie’s arms. “Oh, customers. I’m sorry.”

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Commentary VII:10

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Crowns & Other Convolutions

I did not pre-write commentary this week. Over all the chapter went pretty smooth, and I felt like having Sunday afternoon off, so we’ll see how this goes as I come back through. This weeks chapter really almost falls directly out of my thought process around how with these two journeys one is going backwards, and the other is following an old course forward. Not an intentional metaphor for the nature of time within the world, but apt to it certainly.

I feel like a for a while at least there will be a bit more nostalgia for revisiting old locals, and characters from Book II on the one side, and more revisiting the meaning of things as we work our way backwards through the journey of Book VI, and the impacts of upheavals along the way. At least till people get where they are going.

As to the third track of Avrale, well, all bets may be off.

A king without a crown, stood beside the dais of an empty throne where that crown sat. Soldiers filed into the hall flanking mages in long blue coats with golden buttons. It had been near a century since a Lord of Osyrae had set foot in the great hall of Broken Hill. Even invited, they had not come, but uninvited, they strode in with pride. None of them looked particularly impressed.

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VII:10 – Paths Retread

One can only go so far, before one turns back again,
if by sea turned around, or round oceans to worlds end,
oh few have sailed so far, to prove there’s nothing there,
but ruin best forgotten, of ages before men were here,

there are circles so foretold, where lines on maps edges go,
it matters not if flat or round, we all come round again home,
no wander is free, all bound to roads and coast of vast seas,
though some to stars do ponder, what if as Rhan we were wander.

– The Roads End, 433 E.R.

Paths Retread

Jovan 26th, 1 S.R.

A king without a crown, stood beside the dais of an empty throne where that crown sat. Soldiers filed into the hall flanking mages in long blue coats with golden buttons. It had been near a century since a Lord of Osyrae had set foot in the great hall of Broken Hill. Even invited, they had not come, but uninvited, they strode in with pride. None of them looked particularly impressed.

“You Steward Darion?” one with short tightly coiled rows of crimson hair asked, her voice giving away what a loose coat had concealed of her figure. “Former King?” She laughed.

Darion bowed, and with little falter spoke. “Yes, My Lady.”

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Commentary VII:9

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The Marks of Past Failure

I worry almost that I am taking my time too much, as I struggle not to rush ahead. The end is out there in sight, though it will be a journey getting there. At minimum these travelers need to get where they are going. I’m not going to belabor every step along the way, and so I will try to catch the moments that mean something, as we compress passing through towns, and days on the road. I’m sure we’ll catch a few for flavor though. For now I’m lingering on the passingly familiar, rather than long conventional goodbyes.

I also apologize if this weeks commentary is a bit rambling. I’ve opted to go ahead and publish without beating on it any more. Not like it will be the first time. I need to get to this weeks chapter, of which I have almost nothing written. Oi.


Kiannae sat staring at the setting sun over the western range. It was hardly the first time. A spot she seemed to kept returning, and refusing to cross. To return home. The reasons kept getting better, and the desire stronger. Once the middle of nowhere, a dragon had come to watch it. Circling again, climbing on the currents of wind that swept up off the peaks.

Some vague spot here in the West Wood of Helm has had a strange importance since Book I. It wasn’t planned, just returned to as a touch stone, even if we did not visit it in the first mention. Simply it was once stated that the western woods of helm were known to harbor dire creatures. That this was the source of the dire Lynx that came into Avrale through the eastern pass.

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VII:9 – Binding Scars

The scars they mark what has healed,
a history like the rings of trees reveal,
we erase them to seek unmarred glory,
to forget where some have failed in duty,

so wear them within, that these so innocent,
may recover that stolen by those so arrogant,
what shame is there to end undue suffering,
to omit the reminder of another’s fumbling.

– The Healers Lie, 123 E.R.

Binding Scars

Kiannae sat staring at the setting sun over the western range. It was hardly the first time. A spot she seemed to kept returning, and refusing to cross. To return home. The reasons kept getting better, and the desire stronger. Once the middle of nowhere, a dragon had come to watch it. Circling again, climbing on the currents of wind that swept up off the peaks.

Riley walked up, and sat beside her on the rock she’d found. “So, for all the ways that conversation went, I find it didn’t much explain Landri. Why she is going into the blighted Sylvan territories? What does she think is her fault?”

“I’m afraid I don’t have an explanation. Not really. I think she’s possessed.”

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Commentary VII:8

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Wavelengths & the Backs of the Ordinarily

Truly, a last minute epigraph. The chapter came together well for the most part, but not without putting off a title and epigraph to the end. I started doing something non rhyming, but instead found myself falling into an oddball bit of verse. Something written in rhyme half in jest and honor to the subject matter at hand.

The title I’m not completely happy with, but I decided to leave ambiguity. Wavelength and frequency are synonymous since space and time are tightly coupled. Carrier waves can operate both by modulating frequency and amplitude. Perhaps more on this later. Lastly a ‘carry’ is a gamer term for someone who is so geared and/or good, that they bear the weight of others ineptitude, or lack of preparedness. To which there are phrases about the strength of backs. Which is at best tangentially relevant, but came to mind.

Commentary was delayed a bit extra by unexpected illness, but I seem to be on the mend, even if I’m not sure what happened. Probably just mild food poisoning. Still lots of work to do on the next chapter.

“Sit.”

Funny how in retrospect wolves and foxes follow through the chapter. This really didn’t stand out to me until I was late in editing.

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VII:8 – Carriers

Hindsight is clearer, for we remember a less complicated world,
simplify to project, what in comparable conditions might unfurl.
If all past is prologue, and futures are seen, where then does it begin?

Prophets write in rhyme, like mages repeating mnemonic device,
to mind the frequency, the structure, and check the resonance trice.
We cannot discount, what all evidence shows is undeniably true,
though in all wisdom of spell-craft, feedback, all good my undo.

– A Theory of Precognition, 343 E.R.

Carriers

Jovan 25th, 1 S.R.

“Sit.”

The duchess behind her desk seemed then one of the more intimidating people Zale had ever met. On the whole, that said a lot. If those more intimidating, had even been people, was an open question in his mind.

A young man entered the study he had been called to, closed the door, and walked over. The room was more familiar than the larger chamber the prior night. One he’d been interviewed in before, though after a noon meal, and not before breakfast. The light outside tinged with an eerie gray, and swirled with mists. Zale sat.

“Why are you here?” She looked up over a book.

“No where else to be, really.” Zale adjusted a bit.

“The son of the Archdruid of Lundan, has nowhere else to be?” She seemed almost pleased with the agitation under her incredulous glare.

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Commentary VII:7

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As Rams or Dogs

Maybe that would have been the more apt title to the world, I’ll have to consider that again in future. I’m feeling pretty good about this weeks chapter for the most part. Still rushed. The High Grove section as of Friday night was half a spattering of rough, mostly one sided dialogue. Another pull it together Saturday in time for raid, and clean up Sunday chapter, but still, better than last week.

The Epigraph. There was a repeated line for the villain of Cloud Atlas, that the weak are meat, and the strong do eat. This came out here. True-true, also had the smallest influence on Sylvan language in the idea of tete as a common Sylvan expression that never showed up much (if at all?) but was oddly influential in the development of the language. Irony?

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