And The Stars, And the Earth
“At the beginning, there was God, and God was All, and All Was God, and God Slept.
From God’s dreamings there came first the Greatest of the Thirteen Holies, There came Time,
Time that Is, and Was, and Must Be. And Time Spoke, and the Universe Began. And Time was called Angelus.
And the beating of the Heart of God had Rhythm, And the Ebb and Flow of Eternity had Rhyme,
And God Dreamed.
And from the Dream of God there came other Angels, and other Things, but first was Time.
Second came the Four Elders, and Creation took shape in the Shadow of their Wings,
And the Oceans, And the Clouds, And the Stars, And the Earth, and they were called the Elements.
And of the Earth were born the other Angels, From the Dream of God.
Sun and Moon were Born, to dance and fight and live and die, for as long as the Heavens endured.
Order and Chaos, there were, the Strong Line and the Flowing Ink.
Growth (Called Life, Praise Be to Angelus) sprouted from the Earth, and Decay (Called Death, Praise be to Time), fell from the Heavens.
And the last of these were Wrath, when God and Time dreamed of justice, and Mercy, when Time and God dreamed of joy. And these were the last born before we mortals, and so they are most familiar to us.
And of these Thirteen our ancestor’s ancestors were born, their bodies of the elements and their souls of the Divine, and they made covenant with the Messengers of God.
And they did raise up Temples to the Angels, and they ate of the herb of the field and the fish of the stream, and they drank of the milk of the cow and the juice of the grape, and they lived to the Rhythms of the Archangel Time, who Is, and who Was, and who Will Be, until the End of Itself, and the End of Creation.
Praise be the Angelus, Amen.”
From the Song of the Angels, Manuscript possessed by the Abbey of St. Fedahin, Realm of Earth.
Things just aren’t what they used to be.
It’s not just here, wherever here might happen to be when you read this. It’s everywhere. Stick a pin in a map, if you can find one. Last map of Annuntia worth the parchment it was marked on was probably made more than 200 years ago. And chances aren’t bad it’s been burned for kindling already.
No more kings, no more courts. Oh, sure, there’s people call themselves “king”, but everyone laughs in their sleeves. The Temples are filled with horrors. The roads are thick with bandits and monsters, where there are roads at all; leftover masterpieces from the Old Kingdoms. Last real king, near as anyone can put it, lost his Temple about 175 years ago. But things had been going downhill a long time before that, pal.
Maybe Time and God are sick of us, and they’re leaving us to rot. Maybe some Angels have been getting too powerful in whatever conclave or court they’ve got up there; maybe Decay and Moon and Chaos have Order and Mercy tied up in some celestial dungeon. Or maybe there’s no reason at all, and we mortals just can’t stop fucking it up.
Anyway, it is what it is. The world seems to have moved on, the great Kings are dead, and if there’s any powerful cities or enlightened universities still around, they sure as shit ain’t here. Wherever, again, “here” is. Things are looking pretty grim.
What are you gonna do about it?
Colfer Vertraren, Bard