Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A people steeped in history.  Generations blessed and cursed, rampant both in liberty and tyranny.  Wire hands grip at empty stomachs, sustained only by the fascination, some would say obsession, with a force greater than themselves, which without remorse will lay them low despite their dutiful observance.  It is more than the pages themselves that take in these contrite spirits.  It is less than fiction, stricter than truth, a taller tale than many historians would care to tell, but nevertheless, it is them.  Stricken from the hearts of those lonely, humble speakers of the cheyr'emeth.

With an intolerable ache for knowing, let them lay down their lives, their passions (as cogent as these may be), where from they will throw themselves ever forward.  Having taken from them all that has been, there is only left what will be.  In contrast, though, they will never give up the past, for these are creatures of history, spectres of libraries, wraiths of ancient cities, guardians and students of what has gone before.

They are smaller than those they came from.  After years of knowing too well the sas'arael, the Iaerae, their brethren and former kindred, tower above them.  In contrast to these, they are weak and frail.  But where the bliss of awe has been banked by centuries of cynicism and neglect, the Es'mensis will not give up the hunt for aetoras. 

They are a people of shades, of practicality, one might almost say, garbed as they are in their layers on wasted layers, and their minimal adornment.  What regalness possesses them comes only from their demeanor.  Shoulders square, neither hunched nor thrown back, but given to an air of defiance nonetheless. 

Eyes, yellow and amber, pass judgment from hollow sockets.  Their faces not skeletal, but burned away by the seeking and staring for too long into the face of glory.  It is a surprise their visage does not run and flow like candlewax, such things have they seen.  Having bound otherworld's inhabitants, as slaves and soldiers, having endured hatred and spite from their fellows and guardians and captors, suffering betrayal from their would have been liberator, how is it that this people has survived?

Only through countless strength, unbelied by their diminished bodies.  Only through courage of the rarest sort, yet epidemic to this curious race.  The eternal hunt for truth, whether in the day that comes or the day that does not.  What are dirty nails, pale skin, burning eyes, dry and ashen lips, maddened hair, and a demeanor fey and wild in recompense for the things they have learned?  Should they all be struck blind they would wander the streets with their canes and their hopes, finding some manner, even in their disability, to sense the change in texture of writing and written, to the end that all should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
Finding her low with pride, full with courage, a leader not of men but those who preceded them and have fallen since.  Some would call her a servant, but others a warrior.  All at once both slave and seeker of aetoras, which she cannot hope but to find, cannot believe but that she will fail. 

Tall, tall almost as the Iaerae were tall, with eyes cast eternally high towards the horizon, with hands thin like twigs, arms gaunt like branches, eyes like fool's gold, a face sharp and harsh and never shapely, but hollow with courage and fear.  Bright skin like the light of dawn, hair white like the ragged clouds of morning.  Sickness and health war for her, the taint that occupies a thousand generations and lineages, the purging of the sas'arael. 

Over her unforgiving form layers have draped themselves, trying as they might to hide her, without success.  Of shades that vary slightly, tossed on like they matter less than the path behind her.  Without remorse they are tattered, ragged, shorn of hope but full with life.  Feet bare, she walks solemn.  There are things on her hands, made of wood but crafted with glass and filled with worries and seawater.  On the one, a ship, on the other, a road; all telling where she has been. 

Through countless miles she walks, ever in search of aetoras, in hungry wilds and hollow hills, past day and night, beyond the rising of the sun and the setting of the same, she ranges both east and west, ever in praying that one particular name, that light that blesses most generously the gates of the first-city, which we call aetoras.

When her time has come she seeks no more, yet was the first of the seekers.  Abroad she dies, far from the Edgelands, the Orvelai-mai-Ith, beyond where pass the aurel, beyond where sun meets sky and water, land. Beyond home, beyond hope.  Where the sky is low with pride and full with courage, where it meets her lonely form to make her way back home.