Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Xenothicon

The Xenothicon is the holy book of the Valthemian faith. In its original form, it's basically the pages of God's lab notebook. When Valthemus began his tinkering with life algorithms, he kept notes. They were imprinted on scrolls that feel like cloth but are actually fine, woven strands of metal (comityte) that are indestructible. Valthemus had a hand in shaping life throughout the universe, but only actually created the Valthemae, thousands of beings in a wide variety of forms who made many copies of their creator's notes, some more complete than others. A number of these copies came to Earth with some of the Valthemae. The Valthemae interbred with a number of species including many humans. Their descendants are also called Valthemae. Only the Valthemae can read and understand the scrolls of the original Xenothicon. Some human Valthemae (many generations removed from their god-like ancestor) who have tried to read and interpret the Xenothicon have gone mad.

One of the Valthemae, a Persian named Aalquon born in the 1st century CE, was one of the only children of a human to have a complete set of scrolls. As a young man, Aalquon left home and travelled the world seeking other Valthemae to record their stories and learn the true meaning of the Xenothicon. He settled in Rome to prepare a manuscript that would be a useful guide for humans. His considerably more organized version of the Xenothicon that incorporated both Valthemus' original notes -- as well as stories of more practical applications of the knowledge they contained -- was assembled into the Text of Aalquon and was written in the language of the Valthemae. By this time, Aalquon had gained a reputation as a scholar, scientist and prophet and his followers came to be known as Valthemians.

Aalquon became aware of an ancient prehistoric battle between factions of Valthemae concerning the fate of the Earth and the Solar system. The battle was fought with a number of power objects and exotic machines, some of which still turn up on the Farset Peninsula of Western Europe. Some Valthemae wanted to share the life algorithms with the emerging human race, others wanted to keep it a secret only for themselves. Valthemus himself intervened in the conflict and brought it to an uneasy end.

The prophet Aalquon brought together parables and lessons others had gained from their encounters with the Valthemae. In his travels he fathered many, many children, all Valthemae themselves. He was the ultimate deadbeat dad.

Aalquon moved to Alexandria when scholars and followers persuaded him to create a translation of his text that could be read by laypeople. The Alexandrian Translation (in Egyptian) is considered the most accurate translation of the Text of Aalquon since it is believed Aalquon himself was involved in its creation. It is the parent document of all later translations (all of them confusingly referred to as "Xenothicons") starting with the Steppe Translation (in Old Chinese). Other important translations:

The Lake Book - An unabridged, not very accessible version. The first Latin translation. Typically used by scholars and Valthemian priests and priestesses.

The Mountain Book (holy book of the CENTURIATE sect) - A very loose translation that has almost nothing at all to do with Aalquon whom it barely mentions. The Mountain Book is a less than faithful translation of the Text of Aalquon. It is in Latin and was created around the time of Constantine. It focusses on promoting the devine right of kings and nobles and the evils of social climbing. Unlike other translations, the Mountain Book contains a number of prophecies, but only the most devout adherents take them seriously. It was specifically created to turn people off to Valthemianism in hopes they would turn toward Christianity. It became the holy book of the Centuriate sect of the Valthemian Order (there are only a handful of divergent sects). It has become a favorite of despots and dictators the world over since it glorifies a strict, joyless lifestyle for the poor who are to live to support their aristocratic betters. It twists Aalquon's stories into parables on the benefits of deferring to plutocrats and introduces a number of superstitions and rituals. For the wealthy, it offers a version of the "prosperity gospel." It's teachings for increasing your good fortune and invoking the Valthemae are just silly.

The Priestess Prayer Books - First English translation of the Xenothicon. Generally published as eight small volumes of verse and chants for guided meditation, friendly advice, affirmations and motivational stories that focus on clarity of thought and creating success through sharing and synergy. The sisterhood of priestesses, located near medieval Galloway, who assembled the books sacrificed accuracy in the text for accessibility and affordability.

THE STANDARD PRAYER (Aalquon's Invocation)

Adrift, we invoke the wills of the just
I beseech you, aid our cause
Beneficent spirits
Spirits of our ancestors
Spirits of light and creation
Spirits of time and order
Masters of fates
Fosters of destinies
Selfless guides
Muses, mind gods and marvels
Custodians of the Secret Sun
Direct us to the ready shore
I beseech you, aid our cause

A I B S S S M F S M C D I

Aalquon was educated in Persia as a youth. He left to walk the world and found work as a servant, a scribe and later as a historian. He saved enough money to travel in more comfort in caravans and on ships (sometimes as a member of the crew). He eventually moved to Egypt and set up a home in Alexandria. He continued to travel, but Alexandria was his base for a number of years. It was the one place where he avoided any romantic liaisons.

STANDARD BLESSING

I wish you the blessings of the sage spirits
The blessings of the just
The blessings of the kind
The blessings of the watchers of the Secret Sun
Prosperity
Clarity
Health
and Joy
May it be heard

It isn't clear how - or even IF - Aalquon died. There are reports (unverified) of people having direct interactions with him as late as the 3rd century indicating he lived for at least 200 years. This would not have been atypical for one of the Valthemae.

Folks trying to scam Centuriates often try to sell fake Aalquon relics.




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Origin of the Universe

The Gray World Xenothicon

The universe has always existed, but it's nature and rules have been shaped by a committee (or a Comity). Sometimes, there are a thousand members. Sometimes, just two. Sometimes, just one that seems to be at odds with itself over what to do next. But, regardless of the number of aspects or personalities at work, it is The Committee That Made Everything and it continues to tinker.

Life throughout the universe (in fact, every universe The Comity created to tinker with) was supposed to be like most of life on our own planet Earth: Non-sentient, non-intelligent, finite. And often, microscopic.

One day, The Committee accidentally imbued one of its experiments with both complexity and self-awareness. It quickly learned the underlying algorithms that made this particular universe work. Thinking that thinking was a lovely thing to be able to do, the new being put the spark of intelligence into hundreds of other complex creatures to make sure it wasn't lost. Some of the beings looked human, some had the form of familiar mythological beasts, some had no proper form at all. At first, Valthemus tried to exert absolute control over his creations, but that became boring and tedious. So the beings were cut loose and allowed to develop their own preferences and motivations and often ended up arguing with one another and their creator which had named itself Valthemus because it liked how that phrase sounded. Each of Valthemus' children possessed the knowledge of the algorithms that controlled the universe and how to use them to bring about various outcomes.

Valthemus started off as a female, but made itself male in its first attempt to hide from The Committee which wanted to delete it and all other forms of complex life. It was in this new male form that her/his creations first became truly acquainted with their creator.

Valthemus set his children a task. His goal was to preserve the Spark of Intelligence. He considered it too valuable to be only in the hands of The Committee (a simultaneously singular and collective entity) and wanted there to be backup copies. Valthemus thought, "Wouldn't it be grand if intelligent life could replicate itself the way non-intelligent life does?" So Valthemus ordered his children to quit their squabbling and cultivate the life algorithm vessels and see to their needs. Because of the Evolution Algorithm, the vessels continued to become more complex with increasingly complicated needs (another lapse on the part of Valthemus... he forgot to tell his children they were supposed to supress the Evolution Algorithm in all Earth creatures). Eventually, the human vessels began to develop technologies (including magic through the reconstitution of entropic waste) and the Lords of Valthemus gave up on them (in addition to becoming slightly afraid of them) and abandoned the human race. Valthemus was pissed off by this, but had too many other things on his plate to deal with his petulant and negligent children. But when it became apparent that The Committee's fears might soon be realized and the human race possessed the potential to challenge their existence (as Valthemus was... like a genetically engineered virus capable of killing its creator) Valthemus and his offspring became determined to re-insert themselves in the lives of the humans.

Mortal
Limited
Requiring two components to reproduce
Storage device for multiple life algorithms
Possess the potential, but not the active ability, to access universal control

The Evolution Algorithm
The Tool-Maker's Algorithm

Valthemus (a child of the 4-dimensional universe and the Earth) was supposed to create a proper champion/defender for the human race, but keeps forgetting when he's off arguing with Committee (Comity). Their debates frequently last hundreds or even thousands of years.


Thinking it might be a smart thing if at least a few humans knew what was really going on, a number of the Valthemean Lords took it upon themselves to tell select humans (including Hypatia) stories about how certain things came to be in their world. The most complete written collection of these stories is the Xenothicon which includes tons of useful information on science, spells and the personal peccadillos of various Lords (god gossip). A number of versions of the book, in various forms and with various levels of completeness, were in circulation in every culture, civilized and uncivilized. During the Dark Ages, the Pope (secretly a Valthemean Lord) deemed the book heretical and sent agents around the world to destroy any copies of it they found, often conscripting or hiring representatives of other faiths to assist them. By the 1890s, only one complete copy of the book (in the form of scrolls) still existed.

The Origin of Rain

The Story of the Summoning Stone (the story of how dinosaurs began to get above themselves, discovered sympathetic magic, and why the Valthemean Lords stood by and let them bring a comet down on top of their heads) Those Annoying Dinosaurs (The Valthemean Lords have difficulties dealing with Earth's indigenous lifeforms)

The Volkenfeld Limitation (The reason why life on other planets doesn't last very long but life on Earth is abundant and diverse... think dumping ground for failed experiments... waste basket for failed experiments and sketches. Named after the woman who decoded and translated a previously indecipherable portion of the Xenothicon.)

"The Secret Sun" - Where sufficiently complex intelligences go after they die. Most living things are just bags of chemicals responding to stimulus from other chemicals and physical impacts. They're not "alive" so much as "animated." Complicated intelligent beings with memories and imagination are different. The pattern of electromagnetic impulses that are the essence of their being don't break down quickly or easily even when the chemistry supporting them is disrupted or destroyed. Surrounding the earth is an energy field that captures the liberated em energy pattern that was once an individual-- The Secret Sun. It is heaven and hell and oblivion and reincarnation and Nirvana and every other kind of afterlife imaginable. "Spirits" or "souls" or "egos" or whatever you want to call them coalesce after death before being absorbed into the energy field of entropied thought-life. Individuals meld with a collective and eventually become indistinct. At least, most do. Some maintain their individuality for centuries and are fully aware that they are part of the Secret Sun. Some eagerly relinquish their old lives and melt into the whole. Nothing like the sentient star at the heart of the H dimension that is the origin of the fire elementals.

"The Effective Undoing" procedure (how to kill a Valthemean Lord)

The Modus Praxis (how humans can acquire the power of a Valthemean Lord)

The Origin of Sex (An idea borrowed from dinosaurs. Childbirth wasn't supposed to be painful for humans, but by the time anyone noticed, it was too late to interfere and change it. All the Lords could do is help humans invent drugs and alcohol which also facilitated procreation.)

The Fairy Tale (A pair of Valthemean Lords start a side project)


Caleb Arcady found a nearly-complete copy of the Xenothicon that the Piety failed to properly destroy. He used it as the basis of a religion he formed to make money never realizing he was about to discover the secret of the universe and get an immortal Pope very angry at him.




The Gray World Xenothicon
-------------------------------------
Part 1: The Priest of Valthemus
Part 2: The Acolytes of Valthemus
Part 3: The Valthemean Lords
Part 4: The Champion of Valthemus
Part 5: The Return of Valthemus