Shadows Are Shadows

The most important thing to remember about the Shadow Realm is that it does not exist. “Cyberspace” is a null concept.

The selfness of the Transcend is a distributed, heavily parallel, sophic process-set. It runs on the fractal chandeliers of Corícal Ailék, as close to a central node as the Transcend has. It runs on AI machines scattered across the Empire, buried under unity spires and in contemplationaries and as free-floating moon-brains. It runs on vast forests of cyborg-fungiplant organic computers. It runs on the pervasive nanites of every Imperial world’s nanoecology. It runs on spare computer time and data space purchased upon the cycle spot market. And, of course, it runs within the soul-shard-implanted mind-states of each and every one of its constitutionals.

But none of this is a world. Random access memory has no volume metric. Information has no inherent representation. Processes do not have intrinsic personality.

The faces in the storm are weather-control automation. The islands of the quicksilver sea are representations of process groupings. The data-spirits, from the least elemental to the greatest archai, are masks worn by ineffable Transcendent cognition, not independent entities.

While it is easy to forget when confronted by the timelessness of the kami, the vastness of the Pearl-Bright Ocean, or the majesty of the Twilight City, the Shadow Realm is merely a virtual user interface built for our convenience, shaped according to our mythopoeic semiotics, without “real” existence – a mask, computed only when we wish to observe it.

(Of course, if the information physicists are correct, you could say the same thing about the universe.)

– introduction to The Realm of Shadows and Fire: Inside the Hyperconsciousness

Elmiríën’s Truths

The following is an extract from the Word of the Flame, the record of the series of dream-visions the seeress Merriéle experienced on the side of the mountain Tirias Calémon in the year 1,199 pre-Imperial.  The contents of these visions formed the basis of the mainstream Eldraeic religion.

 This particular excerpt are the fifteen verses of the book of Truths, which – while elaborated on in other works – form the core of her religion’s ethos.  Essentially, these are the equivalent of the “Ten Commandments”, or other similar precepts.

In dreams I walked
The streets of the Twilight City
Under the sky lit with starlight,
Amid the buildings wrought from words,
And the towers woven of song.

There Elmiríën spoke to me
Patterner, Bringer of Order.
In the light of the Flame,
That burns at the Heart of Creation,
He revealed these truths to me.

Aldéré, Enkindler, Divine Ignition,
From base matter She made you,
But in your hearts set this Fire,
That you might know yourselves,
And your will might shape the world.

All that live partake of the Flame,
In the heights as in the depths.
The candle that glimmers in the darkness,
The suns that illuminate the world,
Each burns with its own light.

The Fire burns in the Heart,
Through choice its blaze is stoked.
Can a fire burn without fuel?
When one man takes another’s will;
By this the Flame is quenched.

This is the first Darkness.
Vile and accursed are they
Who would command another’s soul.
They shall know death beyond this world,
The Twilight City denied them.

As fire lives in a lantern,
The Flame dwells in the flesh.
Can light shine without its vessel?
To wound the vessel is to mar the light;
To destroy the vessel to extinguish it.

This is the second Darkness.
Those who bring the swords against another
Without right or provocation
Damn themselves in Saravóné’s sight
Her fires shall rise against them.

All the works of your hands:
Stone and metal, wood and water, fire and wind.
All that your will creates.
These things are forged in your Flame;
That which you create is yours.

This is the third Darkness.
Those who take what is another’s
Lay hands upon his soul.
The Flame they steal shall burn them;
No fires shall warm their hearts.

To give your word is to give your Flame.
Two fires commingled burn brighter still;
The hoarded flame can only dwindle.
A promise kept gives light forever;
The heart of the faithless is ashes and dust.

In the light of the Flame truth is revealed;
All things are seen as they are.
To deceive yourself chokes off your Flame.
To deceive another casts you both in Shadow.
Beware, lest Darkness find a dwelling there.

Light burns away the Darkness;
Shadow cannot stand against Flame.
Blessed are those who stand and do not falter
Against those who walk in Shadow.
Dúréníän accepts them as his own.

A man is judged by his creations alone:
All your works partake of your Flame;
By them shall its worth be known.
Above all, create yourself;
The well-tended Flame burns brightest.

Let all your works be wise,
For knowledge is the light of the Flame;
Let all your works be beautiful,
For beauty is its warmth;
Thus is your Heaven built.

– The Word of the Flame, Truths 1-15,
as dictated by the seeress Merriéle,
Chosen of Elmiríën and Namer of Eikones