Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mist Magic part 12

The story beings here. The previous week begins here
"It was a time of wonder. You would call it scientific progress, but the ancients knew nothing of science, only of craftsmanship. Even the concept of a craft, an industry of dedicated specialists who shared techniques and training was new. There were great inventions in those days, not only in the physical crafts such as building, ship making, metal working, but also in the more abstract crafts such as writing, arithmetic, navigation. Some moderns think that today's technological advance is exciting, what with flying and computers and cell phones; but let me tell you, in those days the very idea of advancing technology was new and exciting --the idea that an entire craft could deliberately set out to advance the state of the art. That was the true invention of the Aghianara, progress itself.

"And in those days there were signs and portents and divinations and there was a craft of diviners. Among the Aghianar this craft was not priest nor wizard, but something in between --not servants of the gods but exploiters of the gods. They knew the secrets of beguiling and tempting the gods. And these sorcerer/priests were called the Valangzar. And there came a time when the other crafts began to question the necessity of the Valangzar. 'We are discovering the secrets of building sturdier hulls and we are learning the mystery of building larger and finer buildings,' they said, 'And what are the Valangzar doing? Are they finding better ways to influence the gods? Are they learning the mysteries of the weather so that our ships do not sink?'

"And the Principles of the Valangzar heard the rumblings of the mundane craftsmen and they became angry and afraid. 'Shall we lose our power?' they asked each other, 'Shall the other crafts prove greater than ours?' And so they held council and the council said that the Valangzar too must advance and improve their methods. The Valangzar must learn the mystery of progress. The Valangzar must discover gods that are easier to control."

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