A to Z – Get Your Words In!

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]Hey, readers! This challenge that I did last year?

It’s starting REAL SOON NOW. As in LESS THAN A WEEK.

So if you didn’t take the opportunity to nominate a word to prompt me with last time, you’d better hurry.

Just for your reference, the letters we currently have suggestions for are A, B, C, K, M, R, and S – so you have a whole NINETEEN untouched letters to make suggestions for. So there’s plenty of room.

Hit me!

Click here to suggest!

No limits on how many or how few letters you may submit for, or how many suggestions you may make in total – just send ’em in, and I’ll take a look at them.

(No promises, either, for the person already thinking that “quetzalcoatl” is a word deeply underused in science fiction writing. But I’ll at least try to use suggestions.)

Trope-a-Day: Alien Sea

Alien Sea: Obviously – not all oceans are water, y’know. Just look at Ólish, or Galiné, with their golden-black hydrocarbon seas. Or the molten metal lakes on Eurymir’s day face, or the reddish salty brine of terraformed Elémíre, or the literally wine-dark seas of rusty Talentar, or the colloidal algae-gelled oceans of Pentameir, or the copper-salt-blue waters of Daliethe, or…

…and that’s before we even consider non-terrestrial planets.

Balances

The book of Balances is one of the most significant segments of the Word of the Flame as it addresses the eldraeic character. To be specific, it takes the form of a lengthy debate between Kanáralath, Bringer of Clarity, the eikone whose concern is reason, logic, and truth unalloyed, and therefore that quality of spirit which we esteem as talcoríëf, and Elárion, the eikone representing liberty, individuality, and volition, and therefore the quality of valxíjir.

The debate dissects the question of these two qualities that lie at the heart of our nature as eldrae (q.v. the Parable of the Crystal and the Flame). At first, this is almost conducted as a duel, as Elárion praises our driving energy, qalasír, and the great deeds it has inspired, while Kanáralath speaks on the virtue of wisdom. Then, in answering each other’s points, Elárion decries (with appropriately fiery rhetoric) the bloodless contemplation of his counterpart, while Kanáralath coldly dissects the great tragedies of passion.

Both, of course, are correct. We are, as Elárion teaches, creatures of Flame, not mere creatures of clay, born to exert our will upon the world. But a flame untended runs easily wild, as the bloodier centuries of our history demonstrate in great depth.

The next section of the debate has the eikones discuss the interactions between the two – and the failure to balance them property – in detail. This section of the Word indeed describes six of the Antithetical Heresies, which such an imbalance can give rise to. A deficiency of valxíjir is the straight and narrow way to the Heresy of the Deedless Cripple, that of those who do not strive and depend upon others for their worth; while an excess leads one into the Heresy of the Uncaring Rider, who negligently exerts his will heedless of the rights and hearts of others. Likewise, a deficiency in talcoríëf is the path of the Thoughtless Churl, who obeys and enforces without understanding; while its excess delivers one to the Heartless Philosopher, whose contemplation paralyzes action. Talcoríëf curdled begets the Heresy of the Obstructive Naysayer, who disdains the thoughts and ambitions of others; while corrupted valxíjir is the way of the Defiling Nihility, who finds satisfaction only in exerting power, ultimately only to destroy.

The final synthesis of the debate discusses the empowering balance of passion and reason, and the way in which each quality must be fulfilled by the other. Reason superdominant is impotent: contemplation exalted to inaction, if not empowered with the will to use it. Overriding passion is dangerous: folly, destruction, and chaos alone come from action without mastery of the will exerted to give rise to it.

Reason, therefore, must be enlivened with passion; passion, ruled by tempered reason. The enlightened sophont seeks and rests upon the balance point from which both valxíjir and talcoríëf may simultaneously be affirmed. From within this place, they may make choices in cool rationality, neither ruled nor controlled by their passions, and then act upon those choices with an absolute and pure will.

– Commentaries and Insights, Vol. IV,
the Luminous Sessily Arkonides of Atheléä

Trivia: Old, Older, Oldest

Something that came up over on G+ – in the course of discussing how many pre-spaceflight eldrae are still around (answer: lots, even if you discount the deep-submergence infomorphs and Transcendent afterlife, and even if some of them spent a while as frozen heads) – which I repeat here for general edification:

Namely, the oldest eldrae currently extant would be Esitaria Cyprium-ith-Avalae Linlethar was born in -284, which makes them 7,406 at the time of the Core War. (Imperial years – call it 7,322 T-years, once you correct for different orbital parameters.)

For scaling purposes, that’s like having someone born, let’s see, post-Alexander and pre-Rome. Or, since they never had a set of Dark Ages there, approximately 1,000 years before the fully-functional steam engine.

(Non-exo) archaeology and history are a very different disciplines, at least until you get well into the pre-Imperial period.

 

Landempty

SLABTON, KALACHA ETH (BANNERS) – An attempt by a local consortium, ReClamation, ICC, to set up a recycling and resource extraction outpost upon the Magen “garbage world” of Brak Tífel ended today with the full shutdown and withdrawal of corporate assets and personnel. In a statement to the financial press, the CEO of ReClamation, Malk mor-Tirek, specifically denied that the withdrawal was related to developments in the ongoing lawsuit pressed by the owners of Brak Tífel, Impalpable Waste Management, JSC, and added that a further attempt would be made in the upcoming year. On being pressed for further details, he offered only the following laconic statement: “Not enough gun.”