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Showing posts from February, 2018

[7] Volume I, Summer's Night - Part One, Sescut and Cutset, the Mother and Child (f)

Another aspect of what one might call the religion of the Talkers is their superstitious and obsessive terror of the race of beings which the humans in Telluctet refer to as the Dreamers. This takes me to my account of the second race of natives of Sescut.

While the Talkers are the more active, more varied, and more populous of the two races, the Dreamers are by far the more powerful, the more dangerous, and the more intelligent. Life among the Talkers is quick, chaotic, and frequently brutally short, and one gets the impression after spending any length of time among them that it has remained essentially unchanged for a thousand generations or more. An endlessly repeating jumble of events without beginning or end and hence with no meaning beyond the lives and deaths of the participants. By contrast, the world of the Dreamers is staid, careful, and quiet, and one is constantly aware when among them that they have plans and goals which stretch far beyond the repetitive and rhythmic bio…

[6] Volume I, Summer's Night - Part One, Sescut and Cutset, the Mother and Child (e)

The Talkers do not have a religion in the way that civilized beings elsewhere understand it. Instead, each tribe has a pantheon of folk heroes. These are individuals from times past who achieved great deeds and who, it is generally believed, still accompany the tribe in some metaphysical sense, as though imbued in their thoughts and emotions - a process something like possession by a spirit or ghost, except in each living member of the tribe. Thus, every Talker feels as though he is not an individual strictly speaking, but an individual comprising the essence of his mighty and venerated ancestors.

The tales the Talkers tell each other of these folk heroes are especially vivid because, of course, their perception of history is such that the events in these stories constantly confront them in the geography of their physical surroundings. "This is the boulder where such-and-such did this-and-that" is an endlessly common refrain in their conversation as they go about their daily…

[5] Volume I, Summer's Night - Part One, Sescut and Cutset, the Mother and Child (d)

The fungal forests grow in the many valleys which lie in the folds of the foothills of the mountains of Sescut. So there is a curious inversion of the ways of geography in lands which lie under the sun, where narrow mountain valleys are typically darker than elsewhere. In Sescut, the reverse is true and light collects in the valleys, where the fungus grows. It is the hill and mountain tops, where the fungus does not grow, which are the darker.  
These valleys - all of them forged, of course, by rivers and streams - run down from the hills and mountains in all directions towards the sea, and radiate across the land like a dense web of veins. Were one to somehow position oneself above the island, like a bird, one would I am sure see the island as a black mass lying under a jumbled mess of nets or cobwebs composed of pale green light - each line of which a being waterway, lined with fungus forests, eventually finding its way to merge with another and then the ocean from whence all water…

[4] Volume I, Summer's Night - Part One, Sescut and Cutset, the Mother and Child (c)

The extremely close relationship between history and geography in the minds of the Talkers contributes considerably, I was convinced, to the mutual antagonism between their many tribes. For it means that even the most ancient of disputes between one tribe and another does not gradually fade from popular awareness as it would with other peoples with the passage of time and generations, but rather remains fresh within their minds whenever they see or pass by the geographic location with which the dispute is associated. As Talkers go about their daily lives, that is, they are confronted at every turn with places where, at some point in the past however distant, some awful event took place which could be attributed to the actions of this neighbour or that. Forgiveness, then, is inconceivable to them, and wrongs, instead, fester endlessly and, indeed, accumulate over time as new events take place in new locations around them. This, at least, was my thinking as I ruminated on the nature of …

[3] Volume I, Summer's Night - Part One: Sescut and Cutset, the Mother and Child (b)

Sescut's native population is divided into two races, who it seemed to me must have a common origin - though this suggestion was flatly denied by both. Neither calls themselves by any name that could be pronounced - even approximately - by another people, so the humans living in Telluctet and other towns refer to them simply as the Talkers and Dreamers, and these names seemed to me as suitable as any other that could be given them.

The Talkers are the more numerous, more active, and more diverse in their politicking of the two. They are smaller than humans, standing around chest-height on the average man, and they are gracile and lithe, like preternaturally athletic children. Their flesh - if that is the correct word for it - is a purplish grey, and sprouts very fine, short filaments of white that are visible on close inspection as a kind of pale haze close to their skin. To the touch this "flesh" of theirs is cold, slightly clammy, and earthy, like nothing other than fr…