A Treatise on Faendryl Historiography (essay)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: A Treatise on Faendryl Historiography

Author: Lord Silvean Rashere

Those readers familiar with my work will best understand the underlying philosophy guiding my approach to the history of the Faendryl. While the traditional historian will prefer a periodization based on individual Patriarchal reigns, I favor a thematic approach. In this way the great mystery of the Patriarchy itself emerges more clearly as something that both transcends and adheres to the individual Patriarch (honor to his name). I also place great importance on the identification of those Blood Prophets who emerge in every era to help guide the Faendryl people toward their destined apotheosis. For a Faendryl historiography to attain legitimacy, it must possess an eschatological vision.

Meachreasim provides us with a history written from so far above that commentary is limited to brief observations on the shifts between chaos and order. The exile of the Faendryl people, the destruction of the Ashrim, and the collapse of the Elven Empire are all markers of chaos. By contrast, the rise of the so-called Sun Throne is broadly represented as a marker of order despite Anodhelesian intrigue. But let me be abundantly clear on this important point. If I let my desk and surrounding study fall into chaos, any person may go about the room restoring a semblance of order. But upon my return, my most-referenced books would be out of reach, the knife I use to sharpen my pens would be hidden, and my voluminous correspondence would be improperly stacked. There is a difference, I assure you, between what is ordered and what is rightly ordered. Those of us with a mind to reflect on history ought to remember that there are metaphysical truths and metaphysical violations behind the catalogue of events.

In some of my published commentary on the Enchiridion Valentia, I develop a metaphor whereby the flow of time is described as a kind of spiral. Had I the power to see all existence simultaneously, perhaps then I would also see this metaphor as woefully misguided. But we are shackled with our perceptive faculties such as they are even as we strain continually against the chains. My model of time as spiral helps to explain the elemental magic of some wizards who seem to skip backward in time: in fact, they may be skipping outside of the spiral on a straight line. And my model also explains those who travel to the valence of Lorae’tyr and return to Elanthia centuries later without aging. Lorae’tyr may operate on a different spiral coiled with our own and those traveling between the valences are, in fact, skipping down whole rings. I raise this point because I believe that my metaphor of spirals brings us closer to the metaphysical truths underlying history.

Human scholars are wont to believe that all of history has developed in a straight line toward the founding of the Turamzyrrian Empire. On the contrary, nations develop in a cyclic fashion through periods of growth and decay. The extraordinary longevity of the Elven Empire under Faendryl guidance is an exception masking this rule. The spiral of time, and the cyclic nature of history, can only be arrested and ultimately sundered by a people with a special inclination toward transcendence. The Dwarves may forge a fine blade and the halflings a fine pastry. It is the unique privilege of the Faendryl to forge a path toward a new understanding of being itself. This is not a view that encourages political quietism or a disregard for historical development; transcendent possibilities exist at every scale. If New Ta’Faendryl is to be rightly ordered, the Patriarchal will and the will of the people must be as one. If the Elven Nations are to be rightly ordered, they must be united under the imperium of the Faendryl Patriarch. If the world is to be rightly ordered, the cycle of chaos and order must be halted by Elven puissance. And should we desire to avoid the mistakes of our past, the horizontal reach of a resurgent Elven Empire must be directed vertically by an ambition willing to tear the boundaries of time and space asunder.

As things now stand, Faendryl historiography must help our people to learn from past mistakes just as we must endure the crucible of the present day. From time to time, I am asked how to properly view the decline of the Elven Empire or the destruction of Ta’Ashrim. In the future I may write on these topics but by now I think it abundantly clear that such events are tragedies indeed. The Faendryl bear a great responsibility to serve as a beacon for our Elven brethren and the lesser races as well. At times that beacon has burned too hot and those we were meant to guide have found themselves seared instead. Look upward into the sun and you will soon understand me when I say that there is a fine line between illumination and annihilation. Throughout Faendryl history there have been times when it has proven necessary to demonstrate our wrath so that our sovereignty might also be known. How quickly this has come to excess and how seriously must we now take our obligation to temper punishment with mercy. To correctly interpret Faendryl history is to understand this point and to understand also that the Faendryl vision is the only Elanthian hope for a lasting peace and meaningful future.