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Poem: "The Base of the Pillar" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Base of the Pillar"
This poem came out of the July 2, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] rosieknight, Siege, and John Palmer. It is posted as barter with [personal profile] kajones_writing; I'm using it to sponsor a batch of her stories also set on the continent of Mothar in the world of Quiar. This poem belongs to the World Walkers collection.

The following stories began as setting adoption stories that I got to read privately. I sponsored them as barter for my poem "The Base of the Pillar." They all deal with different aspects of the continent of Mothar on the world of Quiar. If you want to rent a setting, you'll get stories like these that highlight its key issues. I'm really pleased to share them with you. The World Walkers: Quiar: Mothar: Tanith: The Breeding Program deals with the tension of trying to do the right thing while cleaning up someone else's ghastly mistakes.
The World Walkers: Quiar: Mothar: Takara: The Missionary
follows one of Mothar's missionaries as she questions her religion and practices.
The World Walkers: Quiar: Mothar: Kenichi: Converting
explores why a raven from Larnach would move to Mothar to worship the fae.
The World Walkers: Quiar: Mothar: Yasmina: The Jaguar Moonjumper
introduces a jaguar with the power to travel between worlds, and how that changes her perspective.
The World Walkers: Quiar: Mothar: Frode: The Strangest Group
stars a quetzal storyteller and his family of choice.


"The Base of the Pillar"


In the capital city of Mothar stand
the Bright Pyramid of Solas and
the Dark Pyramid of Dorchadas.

Between them rises the Gray Pillar of the Fae,
around whose base is written
the Fundamental Theorem of Morality:
A person, having brought their resources
to bear on making a moral decision,
having decided that an action is the correct one,
has an obligation to follow through on that act
.

This fragment of wisdom, it was said,
had been passed down from one of the fae
who created the races of Mothar.
It held together the religious government,
drove their missionaries to distant lands,
and occasionally caused violent schisms.

A chinchilla named Apac,
who made religious supplies,
traveled through the villages of Mothar
and the settlements where there lived
converts from far-away Larnach.

During his travels, he crossed paths
with the missionary Takara,
who had traveled to Larnach
to teach the people there
about the worship of the fae.

They were both curious folk,
and so they asked questions,
in a roundabout way coming to
the Fundamental Theorem of Morality.

"I'm not sure that it comes from the fae,"
said Takara, which was heresy,
but here on the jungle road
there was no one else to hear it.

"What makes you say that?"
asked Apac, tossing twigs into the fire.

“Almost all the fae chose to hide away
in warded settlements after they made
the choice to create the Web,
because they weren’t comfortable
with making the choice even though
they felt it was their only option,"
Takara explained.
"We worship a race who couldn’t live
with the decisions they made.”

"Perhaps," said Apac,
"that is precisely why one of them
felt that it needed to be said."

They parted company not long after that,
but the damage had already been done.
Apac could not get the ideas out of his furry head;
they made his huge ears twitch
and his long whiskers wiggle.

He no longer felt that the fae
were necessarily worth worshipping,
but he could not quite bring himself
to set aside the Theorem,
which seemed like an excellent rule
regardless of who had said it.

Apac felt compelled to set aside his trade
and become a revolutionary.
This was hardly a novel event in Mothar,
but it was somewhat enhanced by the fact
that Apac had above-average magic.
His greatest strength lay in the field
of balance and polarity, while he had
the most finesse in spiritual magic.

The chinchilla used his wagon of religious wares
to gain entrance to villages and churches,
where he whispered things that made people think.
He used his spiritual magic to bestir their senses,
causing them to question what they believed.
When the priests came after him,
he used balance and polarity to trip them up,
for the priests were muchly given to extremes.

Apac himself, a crepuscular person,
did best in the betweens of life --
neither light nor dark, neither good nor evil,
though of course the priests
were quick to label him a villain.

When they sent the guards after them,
Apac bounded away over the sharp stones,
leaving them holding nothing more
than a few tufts of fur.

He was, they began to say grimly,
as elusive as the truth itself.

* * *

Notes:

The pyramids of Mothar were partially inspired by the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon in Mexico.

The Fundamental Theorem of Morality is paraphrased from a prompt by John Palmer, and bears some relation to sources of moral obligation.

Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents native to South America. In Quiar, they are among the sentient races of Mothar.

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Comments
From: technoshaman Date: July 4th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Crepuscular. I like that word, though I fear the creatures that are defined by it, in particular: deer. To someone on two wheels, deer can easily bring unpredictable death.

Interesting setup... very thinky.

There are priests of extremes, and priests of balance and inclusivity. I have a *strong* preference for the latter....

Very chewey, this. But you know I like thinky bits...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 4th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Crepuscular. I like that word, though I fear the creatures that are defined by it, in particular: deer. To someone on two wheels, deer can easily bring unpredictable death. <<

Yeah, I keep a sharp watch on the road during dim hours.

>> Interesting setup... very thinky. <<

Yay! I'm glad you liked this.

>> There are priests of extremes, and priests of balance and inclusivity. I have a *strong* preference for the latter....

Very chewey, this. But you know I like thinky bits... <<

In that case, I recommend that you read the other Mothar stories when kajones_writing posts them, especially the one with Takara that partly inspired this poem. I've been wanting to share this stuff with folks -- I got it backchannel because I adopted the setting for a while -- and I can't often sponsor in cash, so I had to wait until I could barter for it.
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