me: I'm seeing something not unlike Spice and Wolf -- sort of Renaissance, but it's a different renaissance, on a different Earth. Tess: (Wow, thanks brain. I really needed to imagine a live-action parcour/drinking game called "Keggle".) me: XD Sent at 12:44 on Tuesday me: I'm thinking that the civilization behind the Starreader codices is very old and widely-dispersed. Sent at 12:46 on Tuesday Tess: Oh, it is. There's supposed to be a story in Tre'ana's book called "The Clash of Skies" which talks about how that came about. Sent at 12:48 on Tuesday Tess: (Not sure if it fits in the current conception of the story, but it goes back a long way.) me: If I were going to go with OTL historical analogies, imagine that a Paleosiberian civilization whose last remnants or neighbors include Ainu and Koryak, which spread across all of northern Eurasia and included a few relatively large city-states in some places, but mostly stuck to lower population densities, existed a very long time ago, and fell apart into dwindling remnants so early that the proto Indo-Europeans often weren't sure if they still existed. Mmmm, tell me? Sent at 12:49 on Tuesday Tess: There was a celestial event that caused the first StarReaders (even older than the ones that wrote the book) to fear the world they came to was about to be destroyed. They gathered together, prayed, and begged the Earth to save itself. The only way this could work, however, was to make a trade. The StarReaders believed that when one dies, the return to the Earth, and thus, after many eons, back to the stars. Unfortunately, to save the planet and themselves, they must give up on that cycle. Break it, and instead of returning to the stars, they would be condemned to roam the Earth disembodied. me: blinks wow... Tess: This was written back when the story was supposed to be a video game. Sent at 12:55 on Tuesday Tess: Although I can see it as a morality tale emphasing that preserving human life of any source and kin should take priority over religion. me: nods Tess: Thoughts? me: brb actually Tess: k Sent at 12:58 on Tuesday Tess: "In the beginning everything was One and One was everything. And from out of the Void came the Cold and the Fire; and the Fire shattered the one, spreading it to the four corners of creation." Although, I keep wondering if originally it was six corners, and not four. Sent at 12:59 on Tuesday me: Back Six sounds nice :) Sent at 13:08 on Tuesday Tess: Number of sides on a cube, of course. me: "In the beginning, long ago, after the end of the last World, the first peoples descended to the Earth from the stars and came into the bodies they found waiting there." I'm getting a sense of their mythic cycles re: history... Sent at 13:10 on Tuesday me: The World is not the same as the Earth. The Earth is envisaged as eternal, but the World is more like, well, the Aeon in Greece or the idea of the Age of Aquarius/whatever in New Age thinking. It's the state of things on the Earth, which is a deeper and more complex thing than the World. The Earth has been many worlds, endless in number past and future. It is meaningful to speak only of what happened in this one. Sent at 13:12 on Tuesday Tess: Hm. StarReaders don't really have a concept of "souls" was my understanding. The Clash of Skies was considered a dramatic abberation. Sent at 13:14 on Tuesday me: "The Earth was angered by the theft of its creatures, but it did not lash out. To be born hungry and uncertain, to worry and suffer and die was punishment enough for the People's presumption. The Stars though were saddened, and they prayed to the Earth to relent. The Earth offered a deal to the Stars: the Peoples would not persist forever in this world, but it would give them wonder and joy to bring back to the Stars when they died." I'm actually thinking that the StarReader equivalent of a soul isn't quite viewed as a literal metaphysical double... Tess: Hmmmm, liking. Sent at 13:16 on Tuesday me: The People is the culture, the language, the life of mind. The person is the People made manifest in a specific individual. The People, and the individuals, are really the Stars exploring this world sort of remotely. We find and create meaning and beauty, or experience anguish and horror, from what we find on the Earth. Our lives bring those things to the cosmos. Tess: ^_^ me: "We are the cosmos seeking to understand itself", as Carl Sagan said. Only it's seeking to understand and comfort and decorate and injure and explore and upset and harm and restore and etc itself. Joy, beaty, comfort and all positive feelings are the Earth's consolation for the horrors of the World. Passing out of the World is how we show respect and deference to the Earth. Destroying and recreating the World periodically is just what the Earth has always done, and will always do. Humanity's pact with the Earth only applies to this World, and only for as long as the Earth decides to keep it that way. The StarReaders believe that a People can be return to the Earth after a time, or an individual. But it's not your soul coming back... Just the things that originally came from the parent star, returning into this World in a new form. History is neither a circle nor a line. It's both -- a spiral. Events have a tendency to repeat themselves, yet time does march on, the World really does change, and the Earth decides when an indiviual, their People, or the whole World passes out of existence. The Earth dances with the Universe itself, as do the Stars. Tess: ^_^ I'm really liking this. Sent at 13:25 on Tuesday me: As for the actual Clash of the Skies... Some set of the StarReader People views itself as having agreed to pass permanently from this world, and not return. Ooh. A supernova... Their star erupted, and it was seen as a portent of imminent doom. The largest and most widespread portions of the StarReader cultures disappeared during the events loosely chronicled in the tale. Leaving only scattered remnants. Who became unto the proto-Indo-Europeans (or equivalent) something like the Romani, and something like the Basque, Saami or Siberian natives. This happened so long ago, though, that even what this world consider ancient history proper doesn't recall it well. The remnants of the StarReader cultures are now very, very few in number. Many are decidedly obscure. Tre'ana's codex is a relatively modern one.