Solar Cycle, Fragments 1
Fragments parallel to the memories of a dead city.
It’s been a month, with floods and drought, inflation and war. Let’s run from that back to a fictional world again. After 6 years I finally published the first volume, the first zine, on the Dead City. It’s been so long that I’ve titled it Dead City Memories.
But this letter isn’t about that per se. It’s a re-telling of some stories from that fantasy.
Some of these legends are confused.
Oh, and the one link to rule them all:
The zine is Dead City Memories, Vol 1: The Memorialists. About 30 pages of city, quarters, delves, creatures, spells, items, etc. etc.
—Luka, September ‘22, Seoul
Mythical era, solar cycle (see Ebét).
Chief divine guide and trickster who brought knowledge and light to the proto-Ebéteen. After the Solar Deity died, the Living God took its place and brought solace to the exiles from the Eclipsed Lands. (DCM)
Living God, the Green Sun
Creator of the City of a Hundred Gates (Ebét), the binder of the Eating Dark, the undying all-commanding omni-telepath at the heart of the Ebéteen sacred industrial complex. Now dead. (DCM)
Living God, the New Sun
Mythical era, solar cycle (see Ebét).
The only begotten son of the Living God, a beacon of light and goodness for the Ebéteen.
When the Naga King brought the Ebéteen through the salty desert to the shores of the River of Life, the Living God was but a holy androgyne. There the Virgin Medusa barred the people, declaring them unclean. Her burning gaze was too strong for the Naga King, who retreated in fear.
Three other heroes, the Dry Brothers, went forth, and each was thrown back by her glare.
Finally, the Living God strode forward, and its divine seed warded it from the flashing brow of the Virgin Medusa. With its left hand, the Living God tamed the demon, but as the demon melted away, the Living God’s left hand melted away, too. In its place was left a perfect ivory egg.
The Living God returned with the ivory egg and declared to the people, “Behold, from this egg will hatch your New Sun, my only-begotten child.”
Three years and seven months and eleven days after the declaration, New Sun was born and acclaimed by the Living God.
Centuries later, when New Sun was ready, it rose into the heavens to watch benevolently over the Ebéteen. (DCM)
Legends, the superhuman.
Three mummified wyrms mark the three frontiers of Ebét. Tremendous, dozen-legged serpentine dragons, the elder brothers of the Living God. They all failed in the face of the Virgin Medusa and thereafter became his first lieutenants. Sinuous and terrible like their father, the Naga King, they protected the faithful of the Living God till their death on the Seven-Step March.
After their death they were mummified, their forms become as mountains to protect the blessed land even after their death.
Their true names are hidden, but lower-caste pop-tales call them Azure Dog, Jaspis Mountain, and Ivory Calamity. Azure Dog guards the wall of sky, where Great Green meets Long Fog. Jaspis Mountain marks the Gates of the Sun. Ivory Calamity strides across the Sea of Sand, most generous of the shifting dunes. (DCM)
mythic era, eclipse cycle
Legendary hero of the proto-Ebéteen escape from the Eclipsed Lands. In pop-tales, the Naga King accepted the ancestors’ gift-curse and became a mile-long snake, protecting his people on their way through the seas of ashes and reeds. Since then, the snake has been the Ebéteen symbol of justice and protection.
According to popular folk lore, the snake remains there, in the seas of ashes and reeds.
Allegory-fetishists claim there was no actual Naga King. That the snake stories are a metaphor for ancestors’ winding search for a new home after the the Great Eclipse.
Moralists claim the King lives within the breast of every disciple of the Living God. A tiny flesh snake, a particle of the God itself, guiding them on their twisted road through life.
Historialists and legalists state that over the aeons of the perfect Ebéteen state grey seawater flooded the seas of ashes and reeds, creating the sour marshes. The hero fell asleep and with time turned into the fabled snake road through those marshes.
The Secret Histories of the Heroes Betrayed asserts that after his people left him, the Naga King tried to end himself. He smote off his head, but as it fell, it became a hill, while two new heads grew from his neck stump. Five more times he smote himself, each time becoming less hero, more monster. At last, six grotesque hills stood where his dead heads had fallen, and his mind was shattered into seven pieces—the seven humours of man. The after-hero, turned monster, crawled into the dark places of acidic water and glowing rock beneath those hills.
The Song of Hungry, Hungry God says the Living God journeyed into the Eclipsed Lands and it/she/he ate the snake, mile by mile, until it/she/he had absorbed all the wisdom of that ancient king.
The Brownwater Heresy says the Naga King was never a snake, but a great catfish, and it grew to become an island in the Lake of Refuge. Upon its back, the proto-Ebéteen rode out the years of ash and vinegar. The faithless (faithful?), who accepted their role in the disaster of that eclipsed time, live there still.
According to the Pustari heresiarchs, the snake king was reborn as a holy woman of their Vulture tribe. They are reborn there still, a zeitgeist tethered to their bloodline, doomed to watch the strange stasis of their far-wandered descendants from the dust and the scrub on the fringes of civilization. (DCM)
Living God, the Pustari Heresy
The heresiarchs of the Green Sun tribe that dwells in the Penumbral Reach claim the Flesh God (Living God) killed its child, when it accused the god of hubris, and ascended himself.
They also say that the Flesh God (Living God) at the heart of the Ebéteen sacred industrial complex is (was) a synthetic. (DCM)
Ebét, Great House of Cosmic Light, Hundredgate
Popular geography, White City coast.
Venerable slave-holding empire on the southern shore of the Great Green. Ebét has a fine gradation of castes built on flesh-sculpting and the use of industrial necromancy to overcome the bounds of mortality. Ruled by the undying collective organism known as the Living God.
Ebét has dominated the River of Life and its nearby seas for a millennium, growing splendidly wealthy on trade and tribute from the known world. Over the last century, Ebét’s gerontocratic priesthood and bickering administrator-nobles have struggled to organize a coherent geopolitical strategy to counter the rising Iksan empire northwest of the Great Green.
Addendum (DS ed., t-7): The indolence of Ebét’s decline proved fatal at the last. After a long and bloody war, the eponymous capital of a hundred gates fell to the Iksan most-rational (hah -ed.) army. In the provinces, splinter biomancer and necromancer autarchies continue their resistance, each convinced they bear the true germ-line of their once-living god. (DCM)
A clone, child, or reincarnation of a demiurge.
Recently, seed or particle of the Living God (now Dead). The vessel of hope for the Ebéteen necromancer refugees. Potentially, the(ir) saviour. (DCM)
Particle of the Flesh God
Popular giology, creature, sentient physioform
Avatar-scions of the Living God of the Ebéteen, born from one of that Flesh God’s hundred wombs and raised by the palatine eunuchs. Each Particle’s brain carries a replicated fragment of the Flesh God’s consciousness.
While the Flesh God lived, they were the motile eyes and ears of that red deity. Now they are alone and confused, yet possessed of the divine self-replicative source of the Living God. The Iksan authorities destroyed the Particles whenever it could.
Their precise nature is unclear, and despite several successful vivisections it remains unclear if any of them has an actual personality. It seems likely that they may be superhuman in grace and beauty, able to neither sicken nor grow old.
However, other research indicates few Particles traditially lived beyond the unlucky age of thirteen. Perhaps this has something to do with their reproduction by asexual budding or fission. In their vat environment, Particles were fed a nutritious divine meat broth and matured by the age of seven months.
Their psychology is unclear as their soul-personalities are incompatible with contemporary crystal mind replication techniques. Quite a few Particles became dysfunctional during backup. However, it seems likely that each Particle is born with all its parent’s memories.
Further, most Particles separated from the Living God’s mental network for more than a month became relatively ordinary individual, indistinguishable from other humans.
In depth autopsies of recovered Particles do not confirm that Particles look less human as they age.
Agents report that Iksan Inquisitors hunt the Particles and use them to create some kind of telemitteilung network. (DCM)
Take care and share the perplexity.
kittens & lasers, y’all
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