Paradigm Concepts

Letters from Ambassador Tukufu
Page 9 of 13

Author:  val Holryn [ Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

To Bardus and other interested parties,

You asked me, what are rocks made of? And I have to confess, my first thought in response to your question was ... rock?

Your cause was not helped at all by identifying yourself as a pirate. It seems to me that you should mostly be at sea. Drinking. Singing sea shanties... Assaulting harmless merchants. When I get a letter from "a pirate" asking what rocks are made out of, I begin looking for someone playing a practical joke. Really, what self respecting pirate would study rocks?

But I confess, once I got past the opening of you letter I found your inquiry intelligent and intriguing. Perhaps I initially underestimated you. Certainly I have no broad expertise when it comes to pirates. Really, I only have Armand DeBeaumarche, to compare you to. And Armand is ... incomparable. So Bardus, I have decided to treat you and your question seriously.

So. Pushing aside my bemusement, the nature of "matter" is one of the core topics debated in the field of metaphysics. "Matter" in this case includes stuff like your rocks, or the desk that I'm writing at, or even the oceans of Arcanis. I am not a deep scholar of metaphysics but there are a couple of good works in Litera Scripta Manet. I consulted them. As best I can tell, from a pleasant half day of skimming, there are two major camps of thought.

The majority view embraced by Altherian seems to be that each type of matter, be it the ink I write with or your various "rocks" is predominantly of one type of element but also infused with trace amounts of the others. So my ink is mostly water but perhaps also air or earth or even fire in minute quantities. The impurities separate it from pure water. And if one were to change the impurities ever so slightly, my ink would be transformed into wine or any other liquid. The processes of smelting and forging effectively recombine the unique variations of what I'll call "earth variations" into new and more useful "earth variations." For example after previously looking into fervidite I know a little bit about metallurgy. So I can tell you that by combining copper and tin in the right ratio you get the more durable metal bronze. Platiro, one of Altheria's greatest sages seems, to have embraced this view. With only a half day of study my understanding of these argument is not deep, but even so I find that this line of thought also lines up well with the Cosmology described by Netius which I believe is also in its favor.

Against that is a school of thought surrounding the writings of the Coryani philosopher Democritius. He postulated around 400 I.C. that if Altheres gave you a "magic knife" which continually cut the tiniest things in half, you would eventually come to a point where you reached the smallest unit of the building blocks of matter. These indivisible units were allegedly different in size, shape and weight based on the substances they made when compiled. Smooth ones could slide past each other and made liquids. Other shapes would stick together like a piece of a puzzle. And the the better they stuck the tougher and harder their end result would be. Combining different types of building blocks would also be possible to create new substances.

I do not know enough to have a truly educated opinion on the matter, but my initial reading leaves me questioning Democritius. For example water is usually a liquid, but can turn into solid as snow or ice when its cold. I'm not sure how Democritius' theory would account for that. And I am loath, as many other, to argue against the points of Platiro. If you desire to do your own research there are no shortage of alchemical texts for the first school of thought. Democritius is harder to find, but I have a copy of his scrolls in my rare text room. If you ever make it to the First City I promise to offer you a reasonable price.

Your Obedient Scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

A small post script. Vaise has suggested that the Marokene have special knowledge of rocks. Though the Marokene seem to be soldiers far more often than scholars I suppose this is not impossible. You might look into it. If you do pursue this and find something of interest I hope you will send me a note here with your discoveries.

Author:  Eric Hughes [ Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

Thank you so much for your rapid response. My mind is at ease knowing that there are well reasoned responses. Now for a question more to your expectations of me. What is the best spirit to carry in your pack when adventuring? I must confess I am quite found of spirits (the kind your drink, not the kind you fight) but I am not found of carrying much weight. So which of all the spirits of the land is the most effective in terms on a weight to stouper ratio basis? Mind you money is of little concern for me, I am after all the bastard son of a pirate.

Thank you in advance,


Author:  val Holryn [ Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

Dear Bardus and Other Gentle Readers,

I was excited to accept your challenge! I feel that the attempt to give you, and millions of other men, a definitive solution to maximizing the vexing "weight to stouper ratio" could also have assured me immortality. People would have quoted me in taverns and scholarly debates till the end of time. i promptly closed Litera Scripta Manet for the day, gathered the staff and acquired a variety of bottles to begin rigorous "examinations."

Woe for discovery and learning!

My wife Belinay found out about this endevour. And promptly vetoed it. What can your humble scribe do?

I encourage other brave souls to continue the quest for truth.

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

Author:  val Holryn [ Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

Fellow Irregulars, Current Comrades and all Gentle Readers,

I turn to matters of prophesy.

You would have to be living as a hermit in the wilds not to know by this point that there are multiple prophesies concerning the “Coming of the Destroyer.” I have written my opinions about those prophesies and shared them with interested parties. But following a meeting with a man named Illak I am unwilling to print them here. It has been driven home to me that my readership sometimes contains unusual characters.

But during the most recent meetings of the Golden Court several “auguries” were cast. It has been my intention for some time to print them and their possible interpretations. I have admittedly been somewhat distracted by other questions of necromancy and the nature of rocks...but I now circle back. This one I feel most confident of interpreting:

“I see three heads upon the body of the Dragon
A crown wrestled between them,
They rip and tear
At one another until
The blood of millions
Drowns out the cries
Of their supplicants.”

As I am sure you well know there are potentially three active Dragons in the world. In the Blessed Lands we have particular concern for the Blue Dragon, Villa’Tavorentis, also known as the Doom of Tultipet. Astinax the Green lives within the confines of Ssethregore and was most famously seen assaulting Semar two generations back. Finally there is Lunqun’qun’ovn, the deathless, which consumed the Mercy of Neroth in antiquity well before the rising of the Coryani Empire. No reliable sightings of it has been made in my lifetime.

Initially I thought that this snippet of prophesy must surely deal with them. Villa’Tavorentis intersects with the Prophesies concerning the Coming of the Destroyer, and there is no shortage of crown imagery in those writings. However there is also no sign that the Dragons are in conflict with each other. Nor that a conflict between them is causing carnage. Nor for that matter do the Dragons have known “supplicants.” Only Gods, Priests and Kings have supplicants.

So I've discared that theory. Instead I now believe the writing refers to far off Ssethregore. You may or may not know that it is reportedly ruled by an ancient Naga. Their Emperor Khass is said to be cunning, and perhaps a match for the Sorcerer King in Arcane Might. Be he is not immortal and it is said he has three potential heirs. The eldest is called Kressk and he has dominion over the treasury. The next is Kllahss and he has dominion over the army. The youngest is Ss’rogg who has dominion over the spell casters of Ssregore. Supposedly all four hate each other.

If Emperor Khass were to fall from power. Presumably with a little help from one of the heirs, then I would guess that a three way power struggle for the Crown would commence. It’s not clear to me what external signs we would see from the outside. But one would expect a decrease in attacks along the borders and signs of different segments of the Empire at war with each other.

If anyone heads to Semar in the future I should surely be interested in reports on the current situation.

I remain your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

Author:  val Holryn [ Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

Irregulars, Former Comrades and all Gentle Readers,

I continue to look at the auguries of the Golden Court. And offer my interpretations. I have already written of one augury that I believe alludes to convulsions in Ssethregore. I also feel confident in my interpretations of a second augury. This one goes…

“Our day is done! Through our misdeeds and
Faithlessness we have begged to become
The Forsaken! Ever the doting parents, They
Grant our wish and find Children anew.
We are undone!
We are undone!
With the first of Their gifts, It comes…
The Destroyer comes!”

I think this is almost certainly about the Godless. Sometimes called the Godless Horde. Or sometimes, the Forsaken. I know very little of them except that they are supposed to range far to the West and they bend knee to no one, neither man nor God. The legend goes that a “god,” or at least some godlike being came before them and sought to make them Its chosen people. But the Forsaken had other ideas. With smiles of false friendship they plied It with food, wine and drugs until It fell into slumber. At which point long knives came out and they killed and ate It, perhaps gaining some tiny fraction of Its power*. They are said to be unceasingly warlike and are reported to torture any priests they get their hands on. Like many of you I have heard one report that the Godlless are besieging the city of Jalampet, far to the West in what I believe is part of the remnants of the Ossarion Empire.

The first four lines, I believe, refers to this history or mythology.

The last four imply a great calamity has come to them. The Destroyer comes. If they are “undone” then I would predict that The God Emperor has either destroyed them or made them bend knee and swear allegiance. The seventh line is worth more consideration and I believe is open to multiple interpretations. I am not sure what the “first of Their gifts” refers to. At a guess I think it could refer to the Valinors of the Pantheon of Man sharing their essence with select members of humanity. If so, then the Destroyer is a val.

No doubt at least some elorii will dance in the streets shouting “I told you so” if that bit of speculation proves true.

I remain your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

*Loathe as I am to add postscripts I feel compelled to note that this story has some strong parallels to rumors that swirl around the val’Bauciz and Mish, the Shadow of Sarish.

Author:  ZCaslar [ Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

val Holryn wrote:

No doubt at least some elorii will dance in the streets shouting “I told you so” if that bit of speculation proves true.

I remain your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria


Those Elorii miss the superior quip; "of course -history repeats itself."

Let them come,


Disciple of Anaphylaxia, servant of Belisarda.

Author:  val Holryn [ Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

Irregulars, Former Comrades and all Gentle Readers,

I return for a look at the third augury of the Golden Court. I believe the first dealt with Ssethregore and the second the Godless. I do not feel as confident with my interpretation of this augury. Or perhaps I wish to be wrong. I write to you here that at first glance this piece of prophesy seems to deal directly with the Destroyer. The more I meditate upon it, the grimmer the tidings seem …

“Upon the bones of the old
It shall reign until the End!
From grim Aperios
Setting and never rising.
The song is ending!
The song has ended!”

The “bones of the old” could mean different things. Possibly it refers to an ancient ossuary here in the First City, though my discrete inquires have turned up nothing of interest on that front. They could also refer to the First City itself, since its foundations rest on Belestor. And Belestor’s foundations rest on Yahssremore. Or maybe if you want to be be really grim then everyone dies. But if this is about the Destroyer then I believe that the first line refers to the bones of Orismandros IX, allegedly the last Imperator, who was speared to the Throne of Man by the Sword of the Heavens.

I feel much more confident about the last two lines. If it doesn’t refer to the Eternal Choir I’ll eat my goose quill pens. But what will that mean? The Eternal Choir was taught by Cadic himself at the dawn of the First Imperium. And incredibly their song has continued unbroken through all the uncounted years since. Or so their myths would have us believe. Despite potential interruptions like the Time of Terror. What happens if it ends? Something of cosmic significance? Or just a quiet interlude in their cave?

More vexing is the middle of this stanza. How should we take the second line? The Destroyer reigns until “the End!” But the end of what? All time? How does that interpretation equate with other prophesies that speak of the Destroyer potentially being beaten by the “ember that is bereft of fire?” And what does it mean that Aperios somehow goes away.

Unless ... this augury is not about the Destroyer but instead about the Other. But some thoughts even I am afraid to commit to paper. Let us pray that this augury is about the Destroyer and not something infinitely worse.

I remain your obedient scribe,

Ambassador Tukufu of Altheria

Author:  val Holryn [ Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

To Past and Present Comrades and all Gentle Readers,

There is one augury left. I am afraid I am not very confident in interpreting this one at all. I have solicited opinions from other scholars and adventurers. But nothing leaps out at me with clarity or certainty. Perhaps you may find ideas of your own. The last augury goes:

Behold the unblinking eye
That stares down as like the sun.
Like a shadow it stalks
Unseen and unknown by all.
Haye’, haye’: The Destroyer is come!

Other prophesies of the Coming of the Destroyer reference "the invisible" who are the only ones who "knew her name." That reference might line up with them somehow with this "unseen" and "unknown" presence. Though the connection with an unblinking eye looking down on everything escapes easy interpretation.

I have often wished to have unblinking magical Third Eye that sees the world as it really is. If i had such a thing then I would use it to pierce this mystery.

One companion has suggested it refers to the Sleeping Emperor. I asked for further details But she just shook her head and would not elaborate. I do not see this connection.

A second comrade offered another thought. In their opinion the first four lines refer to Aperio. At least this interpretation seems consistent in all its details. The moon is dark, almost impossible to see at night and full of mysteries such as why and how it was formed. But how would the Dark Moon connected to the Coming of the Destroyer? For that matter why would it be connected? While I take this as a possibility, its not at all clear to me that the moon is in fact connected to the Destroyer.

Perhaps you, gentle readers, will find a clearer meaning in time.

I remain your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria.

Author:  Taffy [ Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

Greetings Ambassador

Once again copies of your letters have reached as far as my humble workshop in the City of Plexus.

Your latest letters dealing with the upcoming prophecies have been most interesting, but the last one struck a memory.

I know it is probably nothing, but I remember in my Grandfather’s journals during the time of the Coryani civil war, I hope the copies reached you safely, of the Cult of the Thousand Eye Man, or something similar.

Again, it is probably nothing, but the mention of eyes brought the memory to mind.

Umberto val’Borda
Musician and craftsman.
City of Plexus

Author:  val Holryn [ Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Letters from Ambassador Tukufu

Cousins, Comrades, and all Gentle Readers,

Do you ever wonder how strange and sublime our existence is?

The Mother Church, and all those splinters that ultimately derive from it, teach that the essence of mankind is tripartite. There is the body, the soul and the intellect. Though other people and races may have variations on this. For example some Myrantians insist the soul has as many as seven different parts with strange names such as the Ka and Ba. Even with such variations, on the surface “the composition of mankind” seems fairly cut and dry.

But when one scratches the surface of how these components interact, there seems to be no end to unusual corner cases worthy of consideration.

Take the body. It should not be mysterious. The body is as a physical thing that can be seen and manipulated. It is designed, according to church dogma, to house the soul. But it is not clear to me if the soul is housed throughout the body, or in a specific part of the body. If the soul is housed throughout the body, then an unfortunate event like the amputation of an arm should also damage the soul. I don’t know of any respectable theologians who espouse this view. But the alternative is also problematic. If not the whole body, then is there a specific part of the body that houses the soul? Which organ might that be? What would happen if that organ was damaged or destroyed?

Or is the tether between the body and the soul something stranger and more esoteric? If so what might that be? We know in unfortunate cases that the soul can survive without a body in the form of a shade. Can a living body survive without a soul? Or only as an undead creature?

I find myself confused on these issues.

While considering the soul I also find it troubling that I don’t have a clear idea of how many people pass beyond the Judgement of Nier and ascend to the Paradise of the Gods. Does this happen for most people living pious, but quiet and essentially normal lives? Or is it only saints and heroes that make it to the Paradise of the Gods? I suspect it must be closer to the previous than the later. But if most people go to the Paradise of the Gods, it stands to reason that fewer souls go into the Cauldron than are born. Is it possible, if this continues for thousands of years, that the Cauldron could theoretically run dry?

Do human souls tend to run in families? Say you are a soul from a val’Assante patrician, in Illir’s corner of the Paradise of the gods. Your time comes to be rewoven into the fabric of the world. Are you automatically sent to be reborn into the val’Assante family? Or could you be sent to an ordinary human family? Or even a different val family?

From the outside looking in, doctrine seems stubbornly silent on the issue.

I find the Intellect is no less troubling.

Ask yourself, “Are my memories part of my Soul or my Intellect?” Since humanity is invariably born without knowledge of past iterations, but at least sometimes comes into the world with an old soul reborn anew, it would seem logical that memories are the property of the Intellect. But bide a moment and consider shades which are no more than lost souls. Many shades show signs that they remember their past lives. I am told the same is true for the ancestral spirits called upon by the val’Ishi and other servants of Beltine. How can that be possible? If memories are part of the soul why aren’t we reborn with a sense of our past lives like the elorii? If not then why does the Intellect sometimes live on with souls? What is going on here?

Perhaps I need to study metaphysics in depth to seek answers to these questions.

I remain you obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

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