The Ivedon Fragment

The Dark Lady claims dominion over the parts of the self that come to her Twilight Kingdom after passing from the mortal world. Thus it is that her priests and adherents have more knowledge of such matters than others. Some of this lore they keep to themselves, and there are rumors on which we will not dwell. But in studying the works which the Deshengu share openly, and older tracts which date in some cases to the time of the Annataru, it has been learned that there is broad agreement among the various societies of death-worshippers, wisdom derived ultimately from the Queen of the Afterlands. The names given below are Dravanu in form and used in the Imperium, but also elsewhere, even by sects which do not exist on Great Suratha at all and have no mundane connection to the temples there.

Firstly there is the sharát, the outer shape or form, the body which dwells in the material world. It is sustained by food and drink and by the interactions of the higher forms, a cycle which is ultimately destructive to it. There exist powers which can employ the physical body after it has been vacated by the higher self, but such things are in no way self-willed and must be directed to action, although such instruction may be complex. All things, living and unliving, possess the sharát, from the smallest fly to the world itself. It does not endure beyond death.

The sharát is the vestibule which holds the teng ghanol, the vessel for the things unseen, which is the mind that reasons and remembers. It is this which separates men from beasts and other living things that lack this and are thus mindless. Black sorcery can cause this to remain after death. Such abominations can feel and reason, but they are disconnected from the cosmos and cannot feel true love, friendship or affection, although they can carry the memory of these things. The teng ghanol endures beyond the death of the mortal form, but only for a time, slowly fading into the Afterlands of which it becomes a part, for the Twilight Kingdom is the Kingdom of Memories.

Too, there is the narách lir, the shape of the flame within the vessel of the teng ghanol. It is personality and instinct, and common to all things that live and move. Beasts possess the narách lir, while plants and trees do not. At times the narách lir may persist in the world after the death of the physical body, enduring in the name of rage or hate, or sometimes the shadows of what was once love or memory, for the interactions of the higher forms imprint one another in the course of life. Sometimes the physical shape is inhabited by the teng ghanol, or serves to anchor it to a particular location, but at other times the ghost is or becomes a wandering entity, typically malevolent. This is a debased state, and the Deshengu hold that such ghosts must be laid to final rest, to find their way to the Afterlands and be reunited with the other parts of the self. How long the narách lir endures there is not known.

Lastly, there is the athlán, the flame itself, that is a shard of the Universal possessed by all things having true thought and sentience, and which defines the reality of the self. It is shaped by, sustains and nurtures the other parts of the self, and holds them together, and reflects the place of the four as one in the ordering of all that is. It is the empathic and moral self, which understands in a way beyond reason its responsibilities to the Universal. All living things, self-willed or not, possess the athlán; this is the distinction between life and non-life, and between the living and the undead. The foulest magic can sever this from the self, resulting in a horror which given sufficient time will become gnarled and evil beyond redemption. It is said that the athlán is eternal and unfading, and that sometimes it returns after the withering of the teng ghanol to the lands of the living, sometimes carrying with it the narách lir.

The old races, and even the Gods themselves, possess these same four components of self and nothing more. Yet for the Gods, the athlán is far greater, a deeper connection to the Universal and the source of enlightenment and power unmatched by any mortal.

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