Middle Carathan: Book III

An account of the people of Carath, being the period after The Sundering and before the Rise of the Battlemaster.

  • Book I: Retelling the flight from danger, the formation of the Seven Houses, the martyrdom of the daughters of Carath and construction of the Dragon Gate.
  • Book II: Retelling the expansion of the Empire, the construction of Tol Carath, the expulsion and return of Magister Kerezain and the martyrdom of the heirs of Carath.
  • Book III: Retelling the aftermath of Kerezain’s invasion, construction of Tol Nordia and the ascension of the Congregation of the Saints.

The Cleansing

“Give them no rest. Give them no quarter.”
– Emperor Virellin, The Younger, 1102 years after the Ascension.

“…driven north to the fords at Ban Eullon. The Second and Third Cohorts pinned them against the river while our heavy cavalry, under Captain Garanos, marched east to make the crossing at Ban Girhen. Their main force, spent from their fighting retreat across the fords, was easily ridden down by Garanos’ charge at dawn. I have sent outriders to harry the survivors. Judging by the reports from the Twentieth legion, to our west at Ban Porwys, the bulk of the enemy is still moving north. I have reformed columns of march and we will continue to press the attack. Soon…”
  – fragment of a report found in the effects of General Kerrick ban-Ruwen, Warmaster of the Empire, 1102 years after the Ascension.

“It came to pass that He went into the North. The disciples were cowed by the mountains and the distance, to which He replied, ‘Embrace your fear, for it is only through fear that we may see the shackles of dogma’.

And the disciples cried out, ‘We are bloodied from the battle, and our enemies pursue e’er closer’. To which He replied, ‘Embrace your pain, for it is only through pain that we may see the shackles of our flesh’.

And the disciples were dismayed at the emptiness of the lands, to which He replied, ‘Embrace your sorrow, for it is only through sorrow that we may see the shackles of comfort’.

Thus were the faithful made anew in the vastness of the holy wastelands.”
  – from “The March of Kerezain”, Liber Apocrypha Hereticus

“No longer shall we suffer injury and injustice from heretics, traitors and infidels. Suffer not the witch, my children, nor the shaman nor the blasphemer! Take the Creed into your hearts, children. Arm thyselves with the Litany, the Lists and the Songs. Go now and cleanse this taint from our lands. Go now and make the Ancestors proud!”
  – Emperor Virellin, The Younger, 1102 years after the Ascension.

“And Man did turn his face away from despair and chaos and impulsive creation. Foreswearing all taint of demon and elemental, Man took up the words and deeds of the Seven Angelic Brides. Honour thine Ancestors. Obey the Laws. Follow the teachings of the Saints and their earthly instrument. These are the works of good and true children of Carath.”
  – Chapter III, Book XVI, Liber Epistlea of the Litany of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Hide not from the priest, for he is blinded by his devotion.
Hide not from the lord, for he is blinded by his greed.
Hide not from the judge, for he is blinded by his law.

Hide yourself from the ordinary man, for he fears what he does not know. Practise your arts in the secret places, the dark places. Show not your art and power in view of the ordinary man, for he will turn on you and your works will be for naught. Take not the ordinary man as your pupil, for he will learn in fear and so seek to turn your works against you.”
– from “The Cant”, Liber Apocrypha Hereticus

Northwatch Citadel

“Stand your ground! There’s only two things Chaos Marchers love – fighting and dying! So let us give them a fight! Let us give them death!”
– Spear Sergeant Limnus, Twenty Second Legion, Battle of Ban Nordia, 1632 years after the Ascension.

“So began the Winter of Decay, where the holds of the North March were laid to waste and ruin. From out of the Chaos March the great enemy came, with murder in their hearts. Their black and bloody banners filled the sky and the earth trembled at their approach. The grass withered and died where they marched, and the air became poison. So it came to pass that the Children of Carath could not sit idle. Taking up the spear and shield, they fought the great enemy. With Song and Word, they smote the black host. At Ban Eullon they fought, at Brinnen Ford and Ban Porwys they fought, until the great enemy came at last to Ban Nordia.”
  – Chapter XI, Book CXXXIX, Librus Annualia of the Chronicles of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Thy brother is thine shield and thine spear. Fight as one being, guided by the Ancestors through the holy Cadence. Should you fall, thy brothers shall close the ranks around you. Should you falter, thy brothers will lift you up. And thou must offer them the same loyalty. If thy brother should fall, thou must stand over him as his shield. Should thy brother falter, thou must strike his blow as his spear.”
– from the Codex Castellum.

“At Ban Nordia, where the tide was turned, there shall be a great undertaking. The saints have shown me a mighty fortress that will stand as a bulwark against the ravages of Chaos. We will build this fortress, so that our children will not suffer as we have. As the Ancestors will, so shall it be.”
  – Emperor Tylus, 1633 years after the Ascension.

“Thus it came to pass that a fortress rose from the labours of Man. With foundations as deep as a mountain and walls unscalable, even so the Emperor was not pleased. Carve upon these stones the names of the Saints, he said, and so it was done. Raise here the towers as our Ancestors have prescribed, he said, and it was done. For a generation the people of the North did labour, and a generation again. There, at last, stood Tol Nordia.”
  – Chapter XXIII, Book CXL, Librus Annualia of the Chronicles of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Anchor thine shield wall in strong ground, with obstacles to your flanks, and the enemy shall break upon you as the tide breaks upon the cliffs.”
  – from the Codex Castellum

The Eternal Empire

“So ends the nineteenth Dynasty of House Ordu. For one thousand and fourty six winters have the scions of Liann guided our path. Our lands have been healed of the Winter of Decay and the Heresy of False Hope, the sixteenth Famine and the Grey Scourge. As the ancestors will, so now we shall mourn for seventy seven days before we choose a new Emperor from the worthy Scions of the Houses of Carath.”
– Lord Sylus ban-Amadris, Castellan of the Imperial Court, 2178 years after the Ascension.

“Seek refuge behind walls of law and order. Bolster thyself with the wisdom of thine Ancestors. Such is the path to salvation and life Eternal. There can be no redemption for the inventor and innovator, for they spurn the wisdom of the Ancestors and travel unto Chaos. There can be no salvation for the questor and explorer, for they travel far from the sight of the Ancestors and find only ruin.”
  – from Chapter XIV, Book LXXII, Librus Exhortia of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Annen mopped his brow. ‘Going to be a hot summer’, he grumbled to no one in particular. He would have to take himself to Temple tonight and offer a Beseeching to Saint Audroth to protect his wells. It was only proper – his father had done so, as had his father, and his father before that. Such offerings to the Ancestors had seen them through the Grey Scourge, not to mention the famine.

He surveyed the fields proudly. Orderly furrows, straight as a spear, stretched out before him. Such was a mark of the Ancestors’ favour, and a sure sign that his farm would prosper. ‘No thanks to Jannen’, he thought sourly. He could not tell whether his son’s fascination with Elves was a passing rebellious phase – surely a sign of the Ancestor’s displeasure, although he could think of nothing that should have offended them – or an omen of something more sinister. He resolved to take the boy with him when he went to Temple.”
  – from “The Sword of Mirrors”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“So ends the twenty second Dynasty of House Liann. For four hundred and sixty seven winters have the scions of House Ordu guided our path. Our lands have withstood the Six Plagues and the Host of Thorns, the seventeenth and eighteenth Famines, and the Aronite Resurgence. As the ancestors will, so now we shall mourn for seventy seven days before we choose a new Emperor from the worthy Scions of the Houses of Carath.”
  – Lord Ancrest ban-Ruwen, Castellan of the Imperial Court, 2684 years after the Ascension.

“Armour thyself with the Words and Songs of thine Ancestors, the Litany and the Laws. Such is the way of the righteous man. The road before each of us runs straight and true – a sure path to salvation – should we have the courage to follow it. Fix thine eyes forward and do not stray. Seek not to see what glimmers beyond the road’s edge for such is the way to temptation, the way to ruin and the way to damnation. The righteous man walks in the footsteps of those who have come before him – to do otherwise is the mark of the unwise, the unclean and the wicked.”
  – from Chapter XX, Book LXXII, Librus Exhortia of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Bythany mopped her brow. She could feel summer’s heat already, though first thaw was but a moon gone. She would have to take herself to Temple and offer Beseechings to Saint Audroth and Saint Merelor to protect her wells and livestock. To do otherwise would be improper and dishonour her forebears. After all, she thought, such offerings had seen her family survive the Famines and the Plagues, not to mention the Gray Scourge all those generations ago.

She surveyed the orchard critically. Each year it became harder to keep the rows straight. The vines themselves seemed to resist all efforts to restrain them, constantly growing into a tangled mess. ‘It’s those filthy Aronites to blame’, she thought, spitting into the dusty soil. A sect of the cult had come through the village seeking converts last summer, spreading their lies and stealing away her son. She resolved to make an extra offering to Saint Belethor, the Scourge of Heresies, to cleanse her family of that taint.”
  – from “The Sword of Mirrors”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“So ends the eighteenth Dynasty of House Orwen. For three hundred and twenty four years have the scions of House Orwen guided our path. Our lands have withstood the Third Rising, the Red Winters and the Host of Cathalan. As the ancestors will, so now we shall mourn for seventy seven days before we choose a new Emperor from the worthy Scions of the Houses of Carath.”
  – Lord Tormyr ban-Liann, Castellan of the Imperial Court, 3008 years after the Ascension.

“Seek not comfort nor succour in the arms of the heretic. The Ancestors have given thee a road to follow, hard though it may be, but the sinner leads thee only to sloth and ruin. Cast out thy questions and thy doubt, for these are but the whispers of demons. The righteous man has no need of questions. The righteous man has no doubt.”
  – from Chapter XLII, Book LXXII, Librus Exhortia of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Maress mopped her brow. Spring had passed with little respite from the drought and the summer heat was rising earlier than last year. Seven years, she thought bitterly, and seven crops that could barely feed her family. She would have to go to the Temple again tonight, to offer a Beseeching to the Saints. She had long since ceased caring which of the Ancestors was listening, so she prayed to them all. Her family had been loyal to the Creed for countless generations now, and she would not be the exception.

She surveyed her fields. The rows had been plowed straight, as was proper, and planted at the prescribed time – though little seed now remained. Surely the Ancestors would take note of such things and bring the rain they needed. Maress couldn’t help but worry that she had missed something, some ritual or observance, during the winter Birren had succumbed to the Red Fever. Even blind with grief she had prayed to Amadris for guidance and made the offerings of the Widows Pact. Still – the ire of the Ancestors was obvious in the drought stricken land. She couldn’t help but worry.”
  – from “The Sword of Mirrors”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

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2 Responses to “Middle Carathan: Book III”

  1. Looking good. I like the “Order” flavour given by the repetition of the various themes.

    D

  2. That’s exactly what I was trying to impart. I worked hard on that – it went back and forth through several drafts – so I’m glad it showed through.

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