Canticle of the Desert: In the Beginning

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Gensh
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First Grains in the Hourglass

Cecelyne is the Yozi of religion; not faith. That sort of blind trust is Autochthon's domain and one of the Great Maker's innumerable weaknesses. Yet what need do the vast Primordials, makers of all, have for religion? Religion is not simply belief in a higher power but a system of ritual and tradition – and so of vital importance to creatures who are legend embodied.

When the tribe of dreamers first emerged from Time Not and gathered in the foothills of the Mountain Which Is Throne, they were all but unbound. The Mountain Apart stood alone, for even a kindred mount could not make his height greater. The others feared for his safety, but the powers of the Unshaped could take nothing from him, for he was Violation.

The other dreamers had thought to climb to safety, but Qaf was Violation and refuted the concept of being unsafe or any height less than infinite. Even damned, the Exalted could not take his infinity from him, for he was Violation. So he was bound in that form, a great black nacre spear driven into the side of Hell Himself.

But this is not a story of Qaf or of his hermits and mysticism and koans. These were all things he learned from the Mother of Rites in exchange for the concept of Perfection, which was a form of Violation quite beautiful because they did not closely resemble their father.

This too was a later story, for Cecelyne did not awaken among her lessers, to the light of the Divine Ignition.

The Furthest Shore

Only in the most forbidden books of Cecelyne is it recorded how the Empyreal family awoke, and these may be sabotaged by her madness or the schemes of the Exalted. One day, Word became aware of a light which was a signal. Beyond the Burning Sea was the Shore of Eternity, and on that shore gleamed THE INFINITE. HE signaled that HE would come to rule the tribe of dreamers.

Word communicated this Perfectly to his siblings, who were now all quite comfortable with Perfection. They were even now held by the Throne, but the Throne was only a Mountain and the Beast Upon It – and they all felt clever enough to outsmart a Beast. If THE INFINITE were to come, then HE would overwhelm them, and they would have no hope but to pray their desires aligned with HIS own.

We all know what happened next. The Shadow, who was only the shadow of the idea of shadow at the time, acted to ensure he would one day exist. The Burning Sea, who burned and held back THE INFINITE with her own share of Perfection, ceased to do so. It burned her all the more greatly, but she bore THE INFINITE and Eternity over her waters to join the tribe of dreamers.

THE INFINITE showed that HE held within HIMSELF the concept of Kingship, which was more than merely being a Throne. And so after an ageless war, the Mountain's crown was shattered, and the Beast's horns were broken Upon It. Those who senselessly resisted THE INFINITE were quieted first but then became among the loudest of the faithful.

Religion is not simply belief in a higher power, but there was indeed a higher power among the tribe of dreamers.

Scripture of the First Church

Eternity was the elder sister of INFINITY. This was necessary so that she might witness HIS birth and so know everything about HIM which a creature outside of THE INFINITE could. She was not HIS mother, for what could contain INFINITY? Yet she alone was vast enough for HIM to stand aside and atop without lasting harm.

When HIS holy flame touched her sands, beads of glass formed. The flame allowed itself to be encased, for the shining glass created for the flame a new form of beauty. These beads would later be called the Whispering Flame, who was HIS daughter or lover or lesser SELF. She hated being called all these things and would turn violent if it was suggested that THE INFINITE could become lesser.

These three walked always upon the pure sands of Eternity, which sometimes became cathedrals of sandstone and alabaster. It was on the steps of one such basilica-palace that HE declared HIS Kingship, which would stand upon the Church for its own benefit and emanate from all the beauteous windows of the Church but was not of the Church.

It was only at this point that the Empyreal family learned the secret of Perfection. They had not needed it to overcome the Unshaped or the other dreamers, for they were already things without limit. Now, they would require it to bind the dreamers to them. Before this point, THE INFINITE was all things without pattern or limitation, Eternity was endless shifting sand, and the Whispering Flame was a constellar dance.

Taking Perfect assumptions lessened them in the manner of the fae, but in doing so, each became so much more Real and so capable of deeper influence. This influence spread from the Church as ritual and history written in yantra rather than Mountainous echo. Though still mutable by Will, these histories were immediately clearer and more reproducible. One could easily copy a beautiful history, for it might dwell for an hour or a day instead of only the moment of speaking.

It was in this manner that Eternity began to shackle Time, which had mostly been given free rein among the peaks and valleys of the Throne.
 


Commentary:

A more traditional piece this time and one which is more generally usable. I put this together in about an hour so I could stop seeing an empty collection of documents. The rest of the history will come... sometime.

Though I ended up objecting to 3e's mechanics once I saw them, I'd originally made a great deal of noise about having solid plans for an Infernals conversion. Among those plans was to release "codex supplements" for each of the Yozis. A couple of months ago, I was having a conversation about fantasy ethics and mentioned that I would take Cosmic Principle. I've still been interested in building out more of a setting, so "talking about myself" was an easy way of handling it. Though I'm also regularly getting bothered to write one for Hegra.

I intend to write more "Codex: Sand" content as I work out a more solid model of Yozi interactions -- both as landscape and as individual. I'll also probably intermittently stuff in more character bits. I've still not introduced Lillun's nemesis, Cecelyne's opinion of whom is a hypocritical "Ugh. Her."

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andrix
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You're not the first person to share this sort of myth on the site and my love for it is the same as those. Honestly if they shipped an Internal book with this sort of thing as chapter fiction rather than anything else I think it would do a much better job setting the epic, beyond comprehension scale that I love this area of Exalted for.

It's actually inspiration to try and use something like this in my own game.
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Gensh
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andrix wrote: Sat May 22, 2021 4:47 pm You're not the first person to share this sort of myth on the site and my love for it is the same as those. Honestly if they shipped an Internal book with this sort of thing as chapter fiction rather than anything else I think it would do a much better job setting the epic, beyond comprehension scale that I love this area of Exalted for.

It's actually inspiration to try and use something like this in my own game.

I feel like mythic fantasy has spread a decent bit in the last few years, which I expect Kill Six Billion Demons had a hand in. Before, there was mostly a whole lot of misunderstanding the Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec and half-remembered Moorcock stories.

I once intended to run a Primordial War game, but finding players who could pick it up from pure text was an ordeal. Visuals, I feel, are key despite their inherent limitations. I considered illustrating these stories, but I'm not sure I'm fluent enough to depict landscapes interacting without it looking quite like a children's book or just an ordinary setting picture.
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