NPS 56

The Apocalypse of Travancus

  1. The Apocalypse of Travancus, which our Great Mother Maratrea gave unto him, to show unto the people of the Cause the true nature of things; which she revealed unto him in her heavenly Cave, and thorugh her Emissaries unto whom she entrusted him, to guide him in the learning of wisdom; chief among whom was Navaletus, the captain of the spirits vowed faithful to her Cause.

  2. And the most holy Travancus bore record of that which was revealed unto him, of that which he saw; and this is his testimony. Favoured are they who read and hear these words, and who are faithful to what is written therein; for they are the forerunners of the days of glory, two triumphs.

  3. I, Travancus, having been born to great power and great wealth and great learning; for my father Vandarus was one of the chief officials of the land, being an assistant to the royal treasurer:

  4. My mother was named Melerta; I, the youngest of four brothers: the eldest, Borenes, who succeeded in the offices of my father; then Traculus, who attained office in the royal courts; next Contactus, who fought in the war and perished in it; he never married nor fathered any children; and lastly was I, Travancus.

  5. And my sister Tarana, elder than all us brothers, yet she died when she was but one year of age.

  6. Now I came to desire Nesuva, for beautiful was her body, and the sight of her inflamed the depths of my soul.

  7. Yet she desired me not as I desired her; instead her heart longed for Paranus, whom she married; yet Paranus was not among the most noble of creatures, although Nesuva did not see at first the true nature of his being; but then she saw him coming out of the brothel, so she delivered unto him a writ of divorce.

  8. At last did I find my dreams were fulfilled; or so at first did it seem to me. And we were wed, Nesuva and I, and she became was child. Yet, much to my immense sorrow, difficult was the birth, and thus Nesuva died; and our daughter perished also.

  9. Thus did I suffer to have my love and my dreams taken from me, as it seems they always are. And thus I grew tired of life, and the wealth of the house of my father.

  10. And I was taught well in all the learning of my father, of my people and my ancestors, the works of the poets and philosophers and priests; yet this knowledge I received I came to find wanting in the time of my great grief.

  11. But amidst this misery the most sublime wisdom came to me, I know not why, for without doubt I am unworthy of it; even as it is a heavy weight upon my shoulders, more a curse than a blessing to me; the blessed ones are without the heavy weight of prophecy upon their backs, for how can one so weigh down receive blessing?

  12. Favoured are those whom it is given to follow rather than lead, to come later rather than be among the first, in establishment or re-establishment.

  13. Yet, though it is at times to me a great weight, how much I must say have I been favoured by my heavenly Mother, favoured in all my days with the favour of her Cause, and with the favour of being, and the favour of the foretaste of Blessing.

  14. For I have been granted true knowledge of the true nature of things, of the truly good and truly beautiful and truly true, of the great beauty, of the truth of the Cause. And upon me has been imposed by heaven the duty, which I have come to accept, and vowed myself to obey, to bestow this knowledge upon the entire world; thus I make a record of that knowledge which I have received, and the means by which I received it.

  15. And I make this record in the language of my ancestors, in the common tongue – not in the sacred language which was revealed unto me from heaven, and unto my beloved Claretta, my High Priestess and appointed successor – for I desire that it be comprehensible to the many. And this record which I make, I know to be true; this which I have written by my own hand, according to my own knowledge.

  16. So I went to my father, and said unto him: Father, I wish to depart from you, to go forth in search of truth. And my father said unto me, My son, you have my blessing — I have your elder brothers to carry on my name.

  17. Thus I went forth from the house of my father, and for many years travelled through many lands, hearing the words of many teachers, studying numerous scriptures, serving in many temples and the priesthoods of many deities. Yet, through all this, though I heard many things, I had not yet heard the truth which I sought.

  18. Many came to believe I was a wise and holy man, and honoured me as such, yet this wisdom and holiness which they saw in me I did not see in myself.

  19. I had travelled through many lands, in search of happiness, and of truth; but wherever I looked, I could not find what I sought.

  20. Weary of the world, and its many tragedies and disappointments, I came upon a green and leafy tree – tiring of life, I lay down beneath its shade. There I meditated on the nature of things.

  21. Beside the tree flowed a clear stream; its bubbling comforted me as I drifted off to sleep.

  22. And the people of the nearby village came and gave me food to eat, for they believed I could bestow blessing; though I lacked their faith in my own power; yet I humoured them, and let them believe what they wished to believe, and behaved as they expected a holy man to behave.

  23. And I thought to myself: What benefit would accrue to them were I to discourage their faith in me? Knowing not whether anything is or is not, how could I say that what they believe about me is untrue? At least I have food to eat!

  24. While I sat meditating beneath that tree, I journeyed through the heavenly realms, and I met many deities and spirits who dwell there. Many before me have made the same journey as me; they journeyed to the palaces of the great deities, and received from them instruction, and returning to this earth they thus established of these various great deities.

  25. But under the inspiration of the Goddess, I eschewed all these palaces; for She alone among the deities is not found dwelling in some heavenly palace, for She is far beyond them all. So instead I made discourse with the minor deities and spirits, which I met during my wanderings; and strange indeed were the many tales that they told. For as strange are the rumours and tales told upon this earth, far stranger are the rumours and tales that are told in the heavens.

  26. And others before me, have heard the same tales; but they could not understand their meaning, so they did not propagate them upon this earth; they were eager to travel onward to the great palaces of the great deities, so they did not give their full attention to that which they heard. Alas, if only they had listened, they might have gained true wisdom, not the appearances which the great deities love to bestow.

  27. One night, while I was seated in meditation, when an ethereal tablet, inscribed in an impossible tongue, descended from the heavens, and assumed its seat in my heart, containing the truth concerning the nature of things.

  28. A seed fallen from a star-tree, over successive nights it grew and flowered and bore fruit, and I came to understand the meaning of all things.

  29. For I fell asleep beneath that tree; then awoke in a great cavern, stalactites and stalagmites adorning the walls. The cavern was filled with a dim golden glow, I could not tell from where it came. In the middle of the cavern there was a pool, perfectly still. And beside the pool stood a young woman, with long flowing dark hair, smooth skin on her face, eyes that shined like moons, wearing exquisitely decorated robes of fine fabric.

  30. I said unto her, Who are you? She replied, I am Maratrea, your mother. I objected, You are not my mother, my mother is Melerta. But she said, As she is the mother of your body, so am I the mother of your soul; as your body came out of her womb, so did your soul come out of mine. I continued to object, You look too young to be my mother, even if it is only of my soul; but she replied, Though young I look, I am older than everything else that is, for I am the mother of every soul, and the mother of all that is.

  31. I pondered what this meant; as I thought back over the events of my life, and the things I had seen upon his journeys; and I became filled with emotion. I said unto her, So it was you who made this horrid world, filled with tragedy and woe? Where those we love are cruelly taken from us by death, even in their youth? Where there is forever betrayal of friendship and family ties and even of love? Where we always suffer, filled with pangs of want, for what we cannot have, and even those things which we can have are taken from us no sooner than we have received them?

  32. But she replied: Yes, it was I who caused all these things to be. But do not think I know not your woes – I saw them all: I saw how for years you longed for Nesuva, though she would not be yours, preferring another; at last, having gained her love, you thought that happiness was yours for good, yet within a year of your marriage she was dead. And I have seen every other tragedy which has befallen you, or which you have seen befall others. But, Travancus, even though I made all these things which bring you misery, believe me that I love you more than you can comprehend. And equally do I love all my children.

  33. I said unto her: If you love me so, why did you let these things be? If a mother sees her child drowning in a lake, does she dive in to rescue him, or stand there and watch him drown? If a mother sees her child in a burning house, does she rush in to rescue him, or stand there and watch him burn to death? If a mother sees her child being attacked by wild animals, does she rush to defend him, or stand by and watch him be devoured? My real mother would have sought to save me every time, even at the risk of her own life; yet you, have sat there and watched me suffer!

  34. I had become irate, and I am sure my state would have been clear to her; but she was calm as always. She said: I understand what you say; but if you would let me explain it to you, it will all become clear. And I responded: Very well then, explain yourself to me.

  35. And the cavern disappeared around us, and we were in a room. A woman was sitting on the ground in the middle, crying. Immediately I recognized her, and called out: Mother! Mother! Why are you crying? Yet my mother Melerta showed no sign of having heard me; so I called out once again: Mother! Mother! Can you hear me? It is I, Travancus, your son! Yet still she appeared to have heard nothing. I reached out for her, and touched her, yet she did not react to me. I tried to shake her, but was powerless to move her. I called out once more: Mother! Mother! Why won’t you answer me? What is wrong?

  36. It was then that Maratrea said to me: Travancus, she cannot hear you. I asked her, Why can she not? She replied: I have brought you to this place and time, as a form which can observe, which can sense, but which has no power to change what it is observing. I asked, Why is she crying? And she responded: This is the day on which your older sister Tarana died. I asked, It is then, before I was born? — to which she replied, Yes.

  37. I continued, I always knew that my mother cried when my older sister died, but I never thought I would see for myself those tears. Why did you bring me here? What did you hope to achieve? This only proves my point, that if you were the loving mother you say you are, you would never have permitted this tragedy to occur.

  38. And she responded, Let me show you. My mother, Melerta, still crying, then disappeared, fading away into nothingness, though the room remained. Then a young woman appeared, sitting at a desk, reading. I said, Who is this? I do not recognize her. But Maratrea responded, This is your sister Tarana. I objected: But my sister Tarana is dead, she died before I was born, when she was not yet even one year old. Maratrea replied: Yes; but in this world she lives.

  39. I asked her, What is this world? Some mirage, some dream, some might have been? She responded, No, it is another world, yet as real as yours. For although you know only one world, I know many; for much as I have given birth to many souls, so have I also given birth to many worlds.

  40. I asked her, Well, if you made this world, why did you make my own? Do you think this is some kind of excuse, what you have done here? It is like the tyrant, accused for destroying one village, defends himself, saying, but on the next village I have bestowed my wealth!

  41. She said to me, Watch and you will understand. Then I saw a younger man enter; he and Tarana kiss each other on the cheek, and begin to talk about the events of the day. I asked Maratrea, Who is he? She responded, He is her brother, Tacarnus. But I objected: Her brother Tacarnus? We have no brother Tacarnus; it is myself, Borenes, Traculus, and Contactus who died in the war. She said to me: Indeed, in your world, after Tarana died, Borenes, Traculus, Contactus and then yourself were born. But in this world, she lived, and none of you were ever born. Instead, to your mother and father was born Naborvus, Tacarnus, Lotartus, and then finally Melana.

  42. I asked her, Why have you not made a world in which she lives, and my brothers and I are also? She responded: I can make no such world, for no such world could be. Even if there were born four brothers following her, with the same names and in the same order as you and your brothers, they would not be you and your brothers, and you and your brothers would not be they.

  43. I said: Why not? Our lives might have be a little different, but we would still be we. She responded: In the broad outlines, your lives might have been the same; but in countless little details, they would be different. All those conversations with your older sister that you never had? The fights with her? Her influence on you? Your lives would be different enough in detail that they would not be the same lives; you would be different enough in detail that you would not be the same you.

  44. I thought about these words she said, and then I asked: So I would be not, and someone similar to me would be in my place? Would that be so bad? She replied: But Travancus, I have loved you, you exactly as you are, not someone else who is similar to you in various ways. If I have made them also, then I loved them also; but they are not you, and my love for them is no substitute for my love for you.

  45. I said to her: What of my mother’s tears? You caused her so much heartache, so much pain, for the sake of these loves of yours. But she responded: Yes; but do you think she loves you any less than I do? I love you exactly as you are; she loves you exactly as you are also. She would no more wish you replaced with someone similar, but different, than I would.

  46. I sat silently for a while, and thought about what Maratrea had said. Then I aked: I understand then why you did what you did; but tell me, why then this other world in which she lives? She said: My children, they go through life wanting things, not merely trivial wants, but also wants that reach to the depths of their souls; yet these wants they receive not. Yet I, their mother, loving them, earnestly desire to fulfil these deep wants of theirs; that is why I give birth to these other worlds, in which these wants of theirs are fulfilled.

  47. I asked, But what good does it do to my mother, to know that there is another world in which my dead sister still lives? If I am not in that world, nor is she; it is another Melerta there, whose Tarana lives; while this here Melerta, the one whom I love, her Tarana dies. She responded: Indeed, but these two worlds, your world and this world I have been showing you, while separate worlds, are not entirely separate. For, shortly before her first birthday, your older sister Tarana fell gravely ill.

  48. But while in your world she perished, in this world she survived the illness and went on to live for many more years. But up until the time of this illness, this world and your world were completely and absolutely one and the same, and everyone therein was completely and absolutely one and the same. So, now there are two souls, the soul of your mother in your world, and the soul which she is now in this here other world. And yet, before then, these two worlds being one world, these two souls were one soul also; and at this one world split apart into two, so did every soul within it, including that soul, split apart into two.

  49. I asked, Did my mother fear, when she held newborn Tarana in her arms, whether she would live to become a woman, or die in childhood? For that which befell my sister has befallen many others also. Maratrea responded: Yes, she had that fear in her mind, even though only briefly.

  50. And I asked: So, did what she feared come to pass indeed for her? To which she responded: When her soul divided into two, each successor soul was equally once her, as much as her soul in any other moment was once that which it was in the preceeding moment; her soul, prior to the division, is equally that which will be each succeeding divided soul, as much as her soul in any other moment in that moment will be that which it is in some subsequent moment.

  51. And then, I was as yet young in true wisdom, and these profound words which she spoke made to me as yet no sense. So I said unto her, Can you not just answer me simply, instead of trying to confuse me with long and complicated sentences? Tell me, did what she feared would come to pass come to pass for her indeed, or did it not so come to pass? She said: Yes, what she feared would come to pass did indeed come to pass. Yes, what she feared would come to pass did indeed come to pass not.

  52. Stil vexed by her words, I objected: I asked you for one or the other, not yes to both! Is it midnight? Is it midday? Would you say yes to both of those too? But she responded with a gentle rebuke: O Travancus, you know so very little; whereas I know all there is to be known. Should we be surprised then, that these matters which are so obvious to me are to you terribly confusing? You now cannot understand these things I have been telling you. But, can you trust me, that with time you will understand them better and better, until at last they become as obvious to you as they are to me?Yet I was as confused as ever; I said to her: I do not know.

  53. She said: Ask yourself, does anything I have said make sense to you? And I thought about her words, and I turned them over in my mind, and I stood there in silence for a moment, I know not how long, it felt to me like the passage of many hours, though I know not that it was that long in fact. Then at last, I said to her: You are right, had Tarana not died, none of the good I have ever known would I have ever known, for without her death I would not have been to have known it.

  54. And thus I began to grow in wisdom; and she instructed me in countless things.

  55. Many strange and obscure tales did I hear from the minor deities who dwell alongside the courses of heaven — many a sage before has passed by the same minor deities, and heard from them tales as strange, even stranger, yet they did not recount what they heard in heaven upon the earth, for they did not comprehend its import, and they were distracted by the sight in the distance of the immense palaces of the major deities.

  56. But I having served under numerous deities and studied under countless teachers, who taught the teaching which these deities had taught them, and found them for me lacking, I was not tempted by such sight, and thus stayed by the roadside with them and listened to their teachings, and because it is the will of She Who Is that I be appointed her Prophet, I could understand these teachings and their true import although those who came before me could not. Let me now recount to you one of the strangest of these tales.

  57. Behold that the heavens have innumerable levels, some lower and some higher, and in a cavern located in some very distant heaven, unimaginably far above us, such that none from this heaven have ascended so high, nor shall they ever, nor has any from that heaven ever descended this low, nor shall they ever. Now in that cavern dwells a strange and impossible god, unspeakably beyond all the goddesses and gods of these here lower heavens, and that god has dwelt there forever shall dwell there forever, without beginning and without end.

  58. And in this cavern he possesses his ritual implements, which like him are without beginning and without end. Now, first among these ritual implements are the glowing red gems. Now this here heaven has so many gems, who could count them? And yet, his gems are utterly interminable in number; even so, they fit into a single chest! And this chest is made of the finest wood of the heavenly trees. Thus he possesses as much gems as he requires for his ritual purposes.

  59. Next, a most peculiar item which he possesses, made of gold, in the shape of some mystic subterranean creature with two mouths, it is like two chests conjoined, or one chest having two separate compartments, such that the lid of only one of them may be open at once — there is a left and a right compartment.

  60. Now, at the beginning of his Great Age, this golden chest contains not any gems. He opens the left compartment — lo, it is empty. He closes the left and opens the right compartment — lo, it is empty. So he closes the left compartment again and reopens the right, then he places thereinto a gem taken from the wooden chest. He closes the right and opens the left — it is empty. He closes the left and opens the right, the gem remains. So he closes the right again, reopens the left, places therein a gem from the wooden chest, closes the left, reopens the right — and behold, the gem which was there was gone. So he closes the right, reopens the left — the gem in there remains, so he returns it to the wooden chest — then closing the left and reopening the right, the gem was therein has reappeared!

  61. Behold what he has here is not one chest with two compartments, nor two chests, but an endless number of chests or compartments, such that the number of gems present in the left compartment determines which chest or compartment is present tot the right. And like the wooden chest, there is no limit to the number of gems which may fit in the left or right compartments, albeit the number of gems in the chest is at any one time limited, but there is not limit to how large that might be. Truly, enchanted are his possessions!

  62. Now he also possesses a scripture, containing instructions on the performance of his rituals, and it is written on the finest parchment, of a strange creature found only in the heavens. Many a priest of this earth has lied, and claimed their scriptures are eternal and uncreated and without beginning, even though they were created by the priests and their predecessors — once they were not, and they shall be not once more — yet this scripture is truly uncreated and eternal and without beginning and without end, and it is written in a mystic tongue, known only by those in that far distant heaven where this great caverngod dwells.

  63. Even so, this minor deity purported to possess a translation of this scripture into a more common heavenly tongue, which a certain strange spirit, who had once travelled upon that heavenly road, once seen and never again seen, had recounted to it, and recounted it to me in that tongue in turn, which by the power of heaven I have attained knowledge of and let me now translate it for you into the language of this city, and this thus is it so translated:

  64. Behold, great and obscure god, uncreated and eternal ritual instructions! This great scripture, recounts the rituals for all occasions; lesser scriptures shall you devise, to recount the details for the specific occurrences. Behold the gifts which you have received from eternity, the wooden chest, by unknowable artisans ornately carved, of finest wood of heavenly trees, the precious glowing red gems, filled with mystic power, an infinity of which are somehow stored therein, even though the infidels would say there is no near enough room! But great and obscure god, how perfect is your faith!

  65. The golden twomouthed mystic subterranean creature, creature with an infinity of stomach chambers, strange creature of infinite entrails, O strange god, filled with piety, reverence and devotion, to this blessed idol you offer sacrifices faithfully, in accordance with these here ritual instructions, and the lesser scriptures also. The ivory chest, made from fang of great sea monster, filled with infinite blank sheets of parchment, of strange creature in these heavens only found.

  66. The chest of black stone, of unending capacity, the eternal tomb of the sheets no longer required. The pot of blood of star-deer, never exhausted and always full, the golden pen, heavily bejewelled, with which the lesser scriptures are to be written. Behold strange and obscure god, far beyond as you are, gods even further beyond there be: a stone altar, covered with carvings, before which you might bow, and to one of them offer prayer.

  67. Now this is the script and the language, in which the lesser scriptures are to be written — behold, it consists of four signs, which are the first, the second, the third and the fourth! The first divides the steps of the ritual from one another; the second divides the aspects of each step the third; and the fourth together indicate numbers, for each aspect is a number and this is how the numbers are indicated:

  68. When the third and the fourth signs are absent, that indicates nothingness, the third alone indicates the number one, the fourth alone indicates the number two, the third followed by the third is three, the fourth by the third is four, third by fourth is five, fourth by fourth is six, third by third by third is seven, fourth by third by third is eight, third by fourth by third is nine, fourth by fourth by third is ten, third by third by fourth is eleven, fourth by third by fourth is twelve, third by fourth by fourth is thirteen, fourth by fourth by fourth is fourteen, third by third by third by third is fifteen, and so forth without limit.

  69. And the first aspect of each step indicates the action to be performed in that step; and the subsequent aspects indicate which and from where and to where and how many and so forth and the number of aspects is dependent upon the action, but each action has always the same number of aspects.

  70. Behold the rite of sacrifice to the mystic subterranean creature, from the wooden chest take jewels to sacrifice to the left, then revealing the right, take that gift, offer more up, or count out as many, leaving those there alone, as many counted out to be used, in accordance with these ritual instructions having done so, close the right and open once more the left, take the jewels therein, return them to the wooden chest, then reverently close the left once more.

  71. Behold the law of the numbering of actions, by which all actions are bound in their numbers, save that whose number is nothingness, that the numbers are odd or are even, we shall recount for you the actions numbered odd, each numbered even is the same as that immediately before, save that the subsequent aspects denote not what they would, but rather a number of jewels to be sacrificed, to the left mouth of the mystic subterranean creature, such that however so many jewels are found in the right, that is the number of that aspect, according to its usual denotation; yet leave the jewels so found in the right as they are, rather counting out as so many from the wooden chest.

  72. Now this is the action of one, having two aspects, each of which are jewels to the left sacrificed, all the jewels uncovered upon the first sacrifice, removed from there are offered up to the right mouth of the second. Behold, the action of three, having two aspects, each of which are jewels to the left sacrificed, all the jewels uncovered upon the first sacrifice, let they remain as they are, but be the same number counted out of the wooden chest, and then offered up to the right mouth of the second. The action of five, having aspects one, that aspect being jewels to the left sacrificed from the right all the jewels are taken as a gift and returned to the wooden chest from whence they came. The action of seven, having aspects three, the first and third numbering jewels to the left sacrificed, from the first right they are taken and to the right offered, but only as many as the second aspect provides, count out no more than that from the first, as many if there be as many, less if there be less, but if there be more, leave there however more there be, and offer however many counted out as a sacrifice to the third.

  73. The action of nine, having aspects three, the first and third numbering jewels to the left sacrificed, as many jewels as are revealed by the first sacrifice, are counted out from the wooden chest, and offered as a sacrifice to the third; and yet, no more than is given by the second; as many if there be as many, less if there be less, but if there be more, count not those out of the wooden chest; however many counted out, offer as a sacrifice to the third. The action of eleven, having aspects two, the first numbering jewels to be offered to the left, taking as a gift those jewels on the right revealed, but taking only so many as the second provides, taking less if there be less, as many be there as many, but be there more, leaving the excess, and returning those gifts to the wooden chest from whence they came. The action of thirteen, having aspects two, the first jewels sacrificed to the left, see if any be revealed if jewels be found, leave them there, and continue to the next step; but if there be none, then go instead to the step by the second aspect numbered one signifies the first step, two the second, and so forth, but nothingness signifies the completion of the ritual and if it numbers a step which is more than there are, it is as if it numbered nothingness. But the action of nothingness, that which from the law of numbering is excluded, strange and obscure god, sing a hymn in honour, of a god far beyond you, before his altar.

  74. Then at last, in her cave, a sacred amulet she gave to me: and upon it was embossed a sacred symbol, a tree with many branches leading to green leaves, rising out of the waves of the sea. And she placed her hands upon my head, and I fell asleep; then awoke, and I was no longer in her cave, but underneath my tree. And in my hand I found the amulet which she had given me – by which I knew, that she was real, and what she had spoken was true.

  75. Then a heavenly voice, the voice of my mother, Maratrea, spoke to me and said: As you have received the gift of enlightenment, go forth and bestow that same gift upon the entire world. So I arose, and went to the road, where I met a traveller. Possessing the appearance which was ascribed to holy men, thus the traveller was eager to receive my wisdom and blessings. So we sat, and the traveller gave me food to eat. I earnestly desired to share the gift of enlightenment with this traveller.

  76. And yet, as I spoke to him, I realised it was a gift he was unready to receive, and could not comprehend. So instead I shared with him some platitudes, and the traveller was pleased with what he heard, and continued on his journey; and I returned to my tree disheartened once more.

  77. That night, the heavenly voice of my mother Maratrea, spoke unto me again: Do not be disheartened, for surely you will succeed in the end. Go forth, and whoever will follow you, let them do so. Teach them of the truth whatever they may comprehend; through them, one will come and follow you who understands completely this truth which you have received; through that one shall your lineage descend.

  78. So I went forth, and gathered to myself many disciples, and with them I travelled throughout the lands. And I taught them the worship of Maratrea the Goddess of the Sea; but although they worshipped Her, I alone understood the true nature of She who was so worshipped.

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