Do you understand the Emissary’s place in the wheel? His place alongside the other Emissaries? What the Essanti truly are? Father was a liar. Our sister, too.Avestar (Darklaw)
Excerpt | Darklaw
“This chart shows the axes from birth of the body to birth of the soul, from death of the body to dissolution of the soul. This entire, sacred journey is summed up in one Sahran word, spelled from the syllables of these axes: Pah Gol.”
“Great Fish,” said Kami.
“Blood flows,” added Rook.
“Yes,” said Rook. “That’s the most ancient meaning of those letters.”
“I found a chart like this one in Sahrdon, and as I studied it, I thought about the Architect’s book and wondered how the Sahr had moved in their thinking from ‘Godsea’ to ‘blood flows’ to ‘war.’ How did the Sahr get from a world filled with the waters of peace to war as a divine pursuit? In time, I realized the men who wanted war didn’t look back at ‘Godsea’ and the ancient knowledge for understanding. The Architect didn’t want to understand what the ancients meant. He wanted to use the symbols and myths for his own purpose, so he said ‘blood flows’ was about war, when it was really about life. The Architect got it all wrong, as did Demid all those generations before him.”
Rook sat back, his eyes flickering, narrowing, and shifting as if trying to see what wasn’t there. His jaw clenched a few times, and his nostrils flared, and Kami wondered if he was going to yell. When he spoke, his voice was quietly threatening, like Avestine at her most venomous. “What you saw, as what you heard, was a lie. Would you question the Architect and the First Essanti? Who are you to say the greatest men who ever lived were wrong about anything? Who are you to question anyone, Kami? Don’t mistake your value. Don’t mistake the reason you’re allowed to roam this palace or speak at all. You’re a child. You’re arrogant and ignorant. The only reason she tolerates you is for the perversions you perform so willingly in her bed.”
She knew Rook expected her to be hurt, but she understood he was offended, perhaps even frightened. She felt no remorse for attacking the foundations of his life. She believed his faith sprung from lies, and it was just as well he knew sooner rather than later.
“They were wrong,” she said. “They were two men separated by many generations, but their purpose was the same. Power. They each wrote that ‘blood flows’ was about the right to dominate the world, whether by religion or by war, because it served their purpose, not the truth. Yes, Rook, I do question them, because I know blood isn’t the symbol of death. It’s the symbol of life. I know better than you what death is because I know better than you what life is.”
He sneered. “During your training, your dream torment was to be surrounded by death. You fear death more than anything. Only an animal fears death, because only for an animal is death the end.”
Kami shook her head and continued, “The ancient Sahr honored the sea and called their world ‘Godsea,’ and they wrote that ‘blood flows’ because it’s the blood of life, flowing from mother to child. Birth is what matters, not the shedding of an enemy’s blood. Not death. Not war.”