- "The Tale of Imvttr", "Aesma Asks a Difficult Question", "Blissful Division" and “What is Royalty?” are unofficial titles.
The Song of Maybe is a collection of sacred texts that contains the religious history of the Wheel. Originally written in Universal Metaconstant, its author and date of creation are unknown. As testament to its influence, the Song has only undergone minor revisions in the last few kalpas and is still sung, listened to, and carefully studied among vastly different peoples.
- 1 Contents
- 1.1 Song of Maybe 4:15
- 1.2 Third Middle Hym
- 1.3 The Tale of Imvttr
- 1.4 Aesma Asks a Difficult Question
- 1.5 Blissful Division
- 1.6 What is Royalty?
- 1.7 The Weight of Manflesh
- 1.8 Pankrash Circle Fighting
- 1.9 Starfire
- 1.10 Prim and the Mendicant Sage
- 1.11 The Wheel Called Truth
- 1.12 When Yemmod came to Lam
- 1.13 Divine Law
- 1.14 Enyis and the Boar King
- 1.15 Striking with Understanding / Striking with Fear
- 1.16 Intra in the Vale of Stalks
- 2 Goofs
- 3 References
Song of Maybe 4:15
- Main article: "Prim Leaves Her Father's House"
Third Middle Hym
The Third Middle Hym is a prayer used primarily by the Mendicant Knights:
- VM ASRA, VM ITTM (To the sky, to the other-side that is not sky)
- YISUN PATTM ATTRA AM (YISUN is the Universal Lord)
- AUN VS UTTR (Of nothing he was)
- AUN VS YA (And nothing he is now)
- YTTR AM! (What a paradox!)
- ATOMUS UNSM (We must constantly seek salvation and perfection through division.)
- VM ITTR A VSK PRET (Seek heaven through violence.)
- YISUN ATUN! (Praise YISUN!)
The Tale of Imvttr
YISUN sat with the Attendants one day in the twentieth palace of Bone and Silver. There was a great feast laid out and YISUN directed all in attendance to forgo the custom. Black bread and spirits were served, salt was cast upon the throats of the repentant.
YISUN's attendant Imvttr was fond of violence and skilled in the art of separating men from their wealth and bodies. He had long hungered after the secret name of God as YISUN's other disciple Aeshma had, but the sorry and torn sight of Aeshma's pus weeping eyes had dissuaded him. At this feast he attempted through other means to coax some secret and dread knowledge from the universal King.
'Oh master of masters,' asked he, as the salt came around, and plucking absent strings upon his glyphic quorric and palming his flayer he spoke a bird into the air which sang a singular song and dissipated.
'What is the great art known to your royal mind?' sang the bird.
YISUN smiled in the third way for this question was anticipated for a long time.
Imvttr spent three centuries trying to learn the equivalency of this utterance and resigned to hermitude where he went mad.
Aesma Asks a Difficult Question
Only once was there a question which YISUN hesitated to answer. Strangely enough, it was asked by Aesma, the least wise of their companions. They trod a stony road together, and Aesma's feet grew hot and sore. She swore and spat, and clutched her feet, and asked YISUN a stupid question.
"Lord!" said she, in roiling frustration, "Before you said there is no such thing as Universal Truth!"
"It was so," said YISUN.
"Then what is all this! This foolery!" said Aesma, with an exaggerated sweep of her ashen arms, "Isn't creation itself, the entirety of your own grand work, a self-evident truth? The only self evident truth, in fact!"
"It is not so," said YISUN, stopping their pace.
"Then what is it?" wailed Aesma, starting to tantrum. This was the question that caused YISUN to hesitate. They meditated on it for a short time only, but Aesma was aghast with wonderment at the power of the question.
"My opinion," said YISUN, finally.
"Is it a correct opinion?" said Aesma, awestruck.
Their very first instinct was to make reality-shaking war for 7 days, then, after, to make reality shaking love for 7 hours, after which they birthed the whole Multiplicity and were blissfully divided, YS ATUN.
What is Royalty?
Lord Intra gathered his retainers, who were hungry for tutelage. “Lord Intra!” said his sandal bearer, “What is the first step on the path to Royalty?”
“There are no steps,” replied Intra, “It is zero-sum with your reality. It is not measured in finger-lengths.”
“Lord Intra,” said his bodyguard, “Is the path to Royalty the path of struggle, then?”
“No,” said Intra, “One may attain it without any effort at all. It is, in fact, the antithesis of struggle.” Intra’s steward was very discontent with his master’s evasiveness.
“Lord,” he said, “Allow us lowly men some small measure of understanding. For sympathy’s sake, and the sake of we good and loyal servants, please tell us in plain language the nature of Royalty.”
“I will tell you precisely what Royalty is,” said Intra, “It is a continuous cutting motion.”
The Weight of Manflesh[edit | edit source]
“Here is a quandary, Ogam,” said YISUN once, “Which has the greater weight, a mighty stone, or a man?”
Ogam was intelligent, but was frequently found in his cups during the nightly debates at YISUN’s speaking house. He was very fierce and had little patience for little aside from combat, of which he was the undisputed master. In his Red Aspect, he had once bloodied fifty five thousand gods of war and ended the feud between the Lunar Solace and the House of Year Turning. He knew only sword law and gambling, and thought often with his spear. It was because of this that his answer was short, but very well-shaped.
“Cleave a stone to pieces, and you only make smaller stones. Cut down a man and cut down a great many people. To start, you slay all his former selves. You kill a enemy and a comrade, a son and a father, a mentor and a student. Then the great net of his life drags its hooks out and sinks all he was attached to, tearing a terrible hole in the web of being,” replied Ogam. “Men have a great many attachments, and a great many former selves. Manflesh is very dense, in the grand scheme of things. It makes war difficult.”
“Ogam is observant,” said YISUN.
– The Song of Maybe Seeker of Thrones 9-115
Pankrash Circle Fighting[edit | edit source]
“Lord Intra,” said Intra’s sparring partner one day, “You are called Lord of Swords. Yet you are a man, and men make poor swordsmen.”
“It is true,” said Intra, for nearly all of the famous sword masters of the day were women and the ya-at, who were three sexed. This tradition was rather long in the bones, and rumored to have been started by a famous vagrant who rarely cut her hair and lived in a barrel. There was popular theater about it, in those days.
“Men are too preoccupied with their swords,” said Lord Intra, “They get distracted.”
“You mistake my meaning,” said Intra’s sparring partner, “What I mean is this: you are a mere man. What can you do to the new gods of the Red City, with their whips of fire and their heavy chariot wheels?”
“I am not concerned with enmity,” said Intra, “I am very skilled in Pankrash Circle Fighting”
“It is true you are very fierce,” conceded his partner, “But my son’s fighting beetle is also very fierce. Could his beetle fell a lion?”
“That depends,” said Intra, “How skilled is the beetle in Pankrash Circle Fighting?”
“Beetles cannot learn Pankrash Circle Fighting, Lord Intra,” said Intra’s attendant, and made a bitter motion.
“Don’t tell the beetle that,” said Intra, who was very skilled at smiling. “If you don’t tell him he will learn it anyway and cut the lion in half with a single blow.”
-The Song of Maybe Wielder of Names 6-117
Starfire[edit | edit source]
“A beggar I passed in the market once remarked to me that if the gods’ brows were wreathed in starfire, their heads must get awfully hot,” said Lord Intra to his sparring partner.
“What a strange remark,” said his partner, “How does one respond to that?”
“I told him he was right,” said Intra.
– The Song of Maybe Wielder of Names 6-119
Prim and the Mendicant Sage[edit | edit source]
Once, on the road, Prim met a mendicant sage. The sage was chewing umbral blossoms and sitting in a ditch, filthy and ragged. Curious, Prim crouched down and asked the man what he was doing, for the day was quite hot, and there were beasts and worse about.
“What makes a man the most powerful?” said the sage. “I’ve wondered about this question for a good three days now. I’ve scarcely drunk a drop, or eaten a morsel, or got a moment’s sleep!” Prim itched to leave and continue her journey, but instead gave the man water and sat beside him, as at one point in her life she had been an excellent daughter, and old habits die exceedingly hard.
“Is is the strength of a man’s arm?” said the sage, “Is it the timbre of his voice? Is it his luminous gaze? Is it the way the light strikes his face?”
Prim was sure it was none of these things, and told the man so. “I thought as much,” said the sage, “so I considered further. Is the root of power buried in the soil of violence? Must it be nourished with blood? But many violent men are overthrown with ease by those who use only words. So it must not be so. Does power lie in the throat, then? Does a truly powerful man keep it in his body like a deep and mighty lake, boiling and bubbling in his guts, only to spill forth when he parts his steaming lips?”
Prim was certain it was none of these things, and told the man so. The sage nodded and continued, chewing on his leaf. “I think so too,” he said. “In truth, my conclusion is that the most powerful of men are neither wholly violent, nor strong of voice. The most powerful of men are radiant. Their power suffuses the air around them, and enslaves the will of others around them, by their own unwilling consent. It is an illusory power, which makes it all the more dangerous, since it feeds off belief. Such a man can kill without thinking, if he so chooses. He is sovereign from the laws of other men.”
“What do you think?” asked the sage, looking equal parts exhausted and pleased. Prim didn’t have an answer. “Well, none of that! I’ve been on this for three days!” sputtered the sage. “Which do you think? The violent man, the vocal man, or the radiant man?”
Prim thought of the violent men who had passed through her father’s house, and the iron rod of her father, with which he had not been sparing. She thought of the silken-voiced men that whispered near her father’s hearth. And she thought of the royal men, who came in processions to consult with her father, carried on their palanquins.
“None of them,” said Prim, at last.
“What?” said the sage, aghast.
“The most powerful man has the capability to be violent, charismatic, or sovereign, all,” said Prim, “but he chooses to be none of them, because if he does, he has become cruel, and a cruel man has lost all claim to power.”
She stood up and dusted herself off. “If God were a mere fisherman, he would earn my respect,” said Prim. She gathered her things and returned to the road, leaving her canteen with the sage, who remained there a day longer. He then gave up on the question, and later abandoned his sage’s rags to become a successful farmer.
– The Song of Maybe Wielder of Names 4-65
The Wheel Called Truth[edit | edit source]
“And then was given to him a mighty wheel, all heavy of iron, and rimmed with brass, and inside the wheel was a thing called Truth. And it was said to him ‘Hear, if ye wish to lift the burning wheel, ye must first be broken upon it’. He agreed, for he knew his holy duty, and he was taken before the priests, anointed, and ordained, and broken for seven times seven days. Such screaming has ne’er been heard since that time.
But at the end of that time, they took him off, and they cast his limbs in steaming metal, and even though he never healed, he could lift that wheel, though no man could have hoped to. And inside the wheel was the awful thing called Truth, and he broke a thousand times a thousand sinners on its rim.”
– Song of Maybe Wielder of Names 5-85
When Yemmod came to Lam[edit | edit source]
Yemmod, storm-crowned, came to Lam, the Blue City
His men were like flies upon the earth and over the earth. They set upon the land a terrible blaze. The heat of the flames consumed the land about and licked the tops of the great walls around the city, and there was much wailing.
Yemmod said, “For every man of age to fight, hack off his right hand,” and it was done. “And his sons too,” and it was done. Then the hands were set in a pile, like pale driftwood, and the people could see his cruelty. The shrine of the Goddess was burned and its idols defiled and smeared with filth and excrement. The angels of the shrine were driven back and abandoned their sanctuaries.
An angel came to Umman Ap, who was king of that place. “See the defiler Yemmod,” said the angel. “He stacks the bodies of the people of this city like the autumn harvest. He provokes your power. Ride forth and drive him from this holy place.”
“I cannot harm Yemmod,” said Umman, blue-eyed. “He has consumed the hearts of many of my kin and is swollen with their star magic.” This was true, but the angel was enraged nevertheless. His kind lashed together steeds of fire and clay and abandoned the city to its fate. Umman had expected this. He gathered the remaining people inside the walls of the Blue City, which had never been breached.
The others were on fire, for it was a time of war. The yellow city had recently been consumed by great gales and fell into the void. This was the way of things.
At last Yemmod rode to the gates of Lam. He had a spear three times the length of a man and its point could burst through shields like matchwood. It never missed its mark. It was called Amija, or heart-piercer.
Yemmod said “Open the gates, and grant me passage.” But the gates did not open.
“Open the gates, lest I make the dead to outnumber the living.” But the gates did not grant him passage.
Yemmod called for star fire and smote the gates with one blow into ten thousand pieces. This was the way of things.
There was one way the city could be saved, so Umman sent for him. The sword-saint Intra was there. But when the men of the Blue City found him, he was very drunk.
- The Song of Maybe Seeker of Thrones 130-133
Divine Law[edit | edit source]
UN-Medam is the chief of the gods of law. He has a staff so heavy no man or god can lift it, except for Medam himself. Medam does not lift the staff, even though he could. It is a terrible thing, banded with iron and hewn from a twig of the Flaying Tree, a thousand miles long and weighing four hundred million tons. The mere presence of the staff is enough to make the most hardened demon quake. If Medam must call order in the court he merely lifts it a millimeter off the floor and lets it drop, letting forth a mighty shockwave that crumbles mountains, flattens buildings, and causes gods and their servants to topple off their feet for twenty miles around.
If one is to understand the law of the gods, you must understand this: Medam does not need to lift his staff.
– The Song of Maybe King of Swords 1-6
“During the last years of the Gods, when Un-Medam died, his mighty staff weighing four hundred million tons lay inert in the great House of Law. Demons and beggar gods crawled out from the stones of the red city and ran amok. Aesma was called upon to drag the staff up from its resting place and bring things back to order, but she had already torn herself apart in a rage. There was nothing to be done. Nobody could lift the staff.”
– The Song of Maybe King of Swords 1-10
Enyis and the Boar King[edit | edit source]
- Main article: "Enyis and the Boar King"
Striking with Understanding / Striking with Fear[edit | edit source]
“Listen, O son/daughter of mine. Strike without understanding, and the blow will bite your hand. Strike with anger, and the blow will mangle your arm. But strike with fear, and you might as well hack off your own head.”
– Song of Maybe King of Swords 9-111
Intra in the Vale of Stalks[edit | edit source]
Once, Lord Intra came to the Vale of Stalks. It was a broad land with a hardy and beautiful people that wove stems of grass into elaborate mats. There were frequent harvest songs and offerings to the God of Pigs.
Unfortunately, at the time, the people were starving. The land was ruled by Yem Yeddo and his family, who had sucked the life out of it for some time. That was the way of things in those days. Though the soil was quite fertile, Yem Yeddo had surrounded himself with thickset and well-fed men, who lacked in brains but made up for it in muscle and the same kind of canniness found in very smart dogs. These men he used as tax collectors, and he drained the land of every third, fourth, and fifth bale of crop, and sold it for crude coin, feeding the scraps to his thugs.
Lord Intra arrived at the local way house and was served black bread, as was the custom, but skesh was strangely absent, and the bread was thin and mealy. When Intra asked why, he quickly learned of the lands’ plight.
“What of the peregrine lords that tend this place?” He asked.
“They were killed by thirty men, and hung from a tree for seven days,” said the inn proprietor, with a look like a beaten animal.
Intra could not abide this. He called out to Yem Yeddo in the spare and decaying market square, who brought his thirty men.
“Preem Yeddo,” bellowed Intra, “You are a cruel and petty man. How can you scour this land so and not feel for the people that call it their abode?”
Yem Yeddo laughed. “Let them eat the stones, for all I care,” said he.
Intra, who was not one to balk at such matters, picked up a particularly large rock and said, “So it shall be. I shall feed the people with this stone.”
– Song of Maybe King of Swords 10-166
The lord of the vale and his thugs laughed at Intra and his preposterous proclamation. But their mirth was cruel, so they stayed to watch his futile labor.
“I will turn this rock into fire,” said Intra. The men roared with laughter.
“Fool!” they cackled. “The rock shall not become fire, no matter your wish.”
Intra ignored them, turned the rock in his well worn hand, and dug a shallow pit with it, piling the earth carefully at the sides. Then he gathered dry brush and reeds and piled them high in the pit. The sun was hot and bright overhead as he worked, and his traveling clothes were soiled with sweat as he worked. The men bade the villagers of that place gather water for them to drink as they watched Intra’s labors.
From his traveling cloth, Intra produced a sword. The thugs watching him leaned forward at this, but then quickly relaxed. It was a decrepit and battered thing, well used and pitted and chipped.
“I no longer use this to kill men,” said Intra. “But it’s very good for cooking dinner.”
Intra struck the rock against his sword, and a spark flew into the dry brush. Intra fanned it with great care, and soon a roaring fire blazed in the village square.
– The Song of Maybe King of Swords 10-167
“Now I will make of this stone Earth and Water both,” said Intra, standing in front of the blaze.
“And air too, I suppose,” jested Yem Yeddo, the richest man in the vale, and all his men laughed.
But Intra did not. He took his proclamation very seriously. At this point, he had been sober for months and had a headache.
– The Song of Maybe King of Swords 10-168
Intra took the stone, and his terribly damaged sword, and began to set to work by the side of the fire. Using the edge of the sword, he slowly chipped at the rock, flattening its shape. As the rock was of a reasonably large size, this took quite some time.
Once he was satisfied with his tool, he took off his kafeyen and traveling cape, so he was clad only in his underclothes, then found a good spot in the barren and muddy town square and began to dig.
Even the people in the square who had filtered in to see the Sword Saint and had some hope he might yet prove their savior felt their resolve sag at the sight of his starved body, laboring and sweating as he toiled in the muck and filth. The cruel master of the vale laughed and had a tent set up to shade him as he watched Intra’s struggles. “If you are done with your farce, I will happily geld you and make you my jester, lord Intra,” said he. Intra said nothing, but kept digging, only emerging to feed his fire. As the day dragged on and his fire burned to coals, he had quite a sizable amount of clay, which piece by piece he molded into bricks and let dry by the light of the sun and the heat of the fire.”Behold the earth,” said Intra.
As the sun began to creep lower towards the horizon, his craft quickly became apparent. Exhausted, and muscles quivering, he emerged from his hole and began to stack his bricks into a sturdily made bread oven. Then he asked for a vessel, and went down into his pit, emerging with it filled to the brim with muddy water, as he had dug deep enough to coax it from the dry earth.
“Behold the water,” said Intra, and set it to boil clean over the fire. He began to shovel coals into the oven, to prepare it and set it.
At this sight, more people began to gather at the square. They could sense that something was afoot. Yem Yeddo would have beaten them back into their homes, but he too was transfixed by the strange spectacle that was unfolding.
“Clever,” said Yem Yeddo, with the slightest tinge of anxiety in his voice, as all tyrants are wont to have when confronted with an honest man. “Do you mean to bake bread for the people? That will not work despite your powers of transfiguration, as I have all the grain.” His thugs, like the loyal dogs they were, sensed their master’s discomfort, and gripped the hilts of their weapons.
“I tire of this,” said Yem Yeddo, without realizing the gravity of his own situation. “Break his limbs.”
“Next,” said Intra, “I will turn this rock into air.”
– The Song of Maybe King of Swords 10-170
The thirty strong men of Yem Yeddo drew their beating staves and started to approach Intra, slavering and yelping at the thought of snapping his legs like dry twigs and the food they would get as a reward after. Intra was a handsome man who did not have the look of a warrior about him, and the men were very stupid. His eyebrows were thin and delicate, like a woman, and he had lashes like a spider lilly. This made the men laugh uproariously at his effeminate appearance.
Intra, for his part, merely took the rock and raised it high. After all the work he had done with it, it had become quite small, dense, and sharp. Then with a flick of his wrist, he skipped the rock off the air so fast that it cracked like a whip. A sound like thunder rippled across the valley.
Intra was extremely good at skipping rocks, as it had become his famous pastime in his sobriety. He could skip rocks off anything, be it god or man. In this particular case, he skipped the rock off the ribcages of all thirty men in half a second. They blew open like an old basket and the wind whistled merrily through the empty and sputtering spaces where their chests had once been.
‘Behold the air,” said Intra.
– The Song of Maybe King of Swords 10-171
Yem Yeddo was astonished, and a great terror overwhelmed him. He was a quick and cowardly man, and fled. The people rejoiced and the granaries were broken open. The bodies of the tyrannical lord’s men were burned without rites and stomped upon. Flour was dragged forth by the sackful, the well Intra dug was quickly filled with fresh water and reinforced with stone, and soon many loaves of bread were emerging, steaming, from his oven. A goat was slaughtered and a great feast was had.
“Thankyou for the hospitality,” said Intra, when the night had grown long. “I will not impose upon you any longer.”
The populace were desperate for him to stay. “Lord Intra,” said they, “Yem Yeddo may yet return, with more men!”
“That is true,” said Intra, “And that I cannot help with you. But remember, men like him have forgotten their mothers. Their feet do not touch the earth, and they grasp at feeble things. They are like a mangy dog fighting over a fetid corpse. They have forgotten that with their brothers, working together, they could bring down a magnificent ox.”
He reached down and picked a goodly sized rock from the floor of the valley.
“This valley is broad and beautiful. It may have one Yem Yeddo, but it contains many more stones.”
– The Song of Maybe King of Swords 10-172
- According to 82, YIS and UN fought for seven years before procreating, but the passage claims says they only fought for seven days.
- Abbadon (November 19, 2014). KSBD 4:68. Chapter 4. Page 68.
- Abbadon (June 9, 2013). KSBD 1:17. Chapter 1. Page 17.
- Abbadon (December 12, 2013). KSBD 2:34. Chapter 2. Page 34.
- Abbadon (January 21, 2014). KSBD 3:37. Chapter 3. Page 37.
- Orbitaldropkick (November 4, 2013). After YISUN performed division of self.