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I would entitle this entry "rumination," but in consulting with my Elven to Common dictionary, it tells me that "rumination" also means "the act or process of chewing cud." And I am certainly not going to do that...

Silvenesti has been free of the Nightmare for three years now, although the process of rebuilding what was lost continues still. At the same time, large sections of the forest remain under the control of the Green Dragonarmy, which knowing that the Nightmare has passed, has decided to press again at the forest's heart. However, this time, the people of Silvenesti fight to reclaim what they had, rather than seek to appease outside aggressors.

At the same time, the Silvenesti are now led by Kai'Alhana tr'Caladon, the new Speaker of the Stars. For the last three years, I participated in her nascent Court and have helped wage the war in the woods against men, dragons, and draconians. I have tried to offer my counsel, but most of all my support. Alhana is of my generation, a mere 43 years younger than me, but that is still fairly young amongst my people -- certainly not a revered elder like Ke'Lessien. She must cajole and coordinate the various noble factions in the Court, especially since her reign is so new. I suspect the weight of the position weighs upon her...and she has lost the rest of her family...Ke'Lorac dead after 15 years of thrall to the green wyrm, and her brother Lorath killed in a duel I initiated, even if she did support my claim against him.

This is why I have tried to support her as best as I can, inspiring confidence in her when I can, lightening the mood when needed, and arguing on her behalf often. Of course, many of the others in the Court might believe that something is amiss in the killer of her brother being one of her most ardent supporters in Court, but I have also laid my deeds before them. I was the Silvenesti noble who helped uncover Sorrow's Thorn treachery in the Qualinesti woods, as well as her role in furthering the Chaos cults in Silvenesti. I was the Silvenesti noble who journeyed to Huma's Tomb, bringing both dragonlances and dragonshields to the elves. I was the Silvenesti noble who coordinated the assault upon Bloodbane and the capital to rescue Ke'Lorac, while also insuring that it was Alhana who tended to her father, the Speaker.

I have done my best to convince Kr'yün and the other courtiers that Alhana should receive as much support as possible, although I would not be surprised if many of them are aware of my hopes of wooing the Speaker. However, I am certainly not in the position to be too aggressive, and Alhana cannot afford to show too much undue attention, as well. Still, one hopes...

At the same time, I am still left wondering what direction Silvenesti should take. Currently, we are more preoccupied with waging war within our ancestral borders and outside in the world abroad, as well as cleaning up the mess left behind by the Dragonorb and Cyan Bloodbane, than with the politics of the court but twenty years ago. I have done my best to be a loud, moderate voice in the Court, and even Kr'yün has softened somewhat under the influence of his older sister, restored from her thrall to Chaos...but the process will be slow. Especially since I have yet to discern what the better way, better path, for my people is yet...survival and stop-gap measures against Chaos and the armies of the Dark Queen have dictated much of our activities to date.

I do suspect that one thing Silvenesti needs is interaction with the outside world. When Silvenesti isolated itself from the rest of Ansalon during the Istaran ascension, all of our faults echoed back upon themselves and magnified. The society, already stagnant, became even more so in isolation. In a way, the forced exile and refugee problem has forced Silvenesti's people to interact with the world again, while at the same time destroying much of what we once had (for good and ill). As we reclaim our homeland and rebuild Silvanos' realm, we must strive not to make the same mistakes again.

One thing I have argued in Court, either in unofficial conversations with others, or as part of official business, is that the policy of appeasement cannot be pursued with the Dragonarmies. They have demonstrated that they are perfectly willing to traffic with as many infernal powers as possible to achieve their ends, and that they are capable of being patient and cunning foes, and quite treacherous. I have tried to push towards having a council meet at some point, drawn from the traditional allies of Ansalon: the dwarves, the elves, Solamnia, and Ergoth. We must work together in the face of such overwhelming forces and monstrous evil, or else we will slowly drown in the blood of our kinfolk and friends. If nothing else, the lines of communication must be kept open between the old allies of the Swordsheath Scroll, and we must always recognize the face of the enemies arrayed before us.

In private (or at least non-public meetings), I have tried to discuss many of my feelings about Silvenesti's future and destiny with Alhana, partly to gauge her feelings on the matter, while also at the same time trying to discern other perspectives. The Cataclysm shattered Ansalon, fragmenting even further the people after Istar's mad race towards consolidation and power. That dark age has not ended yet, and it will likely not end until the Dark Queen's armies can be routed and defeated once more.

However, I have not yet found the answer to my initial question, or at least, I have not yet found the solution to the dilemma I set out to discover some 17 years ago. My time in Qualinesti and Solamnia only demonstrated that many of the same problems could be found elsewhere. Perhaps the solution is not merely Silvenesti's solution, but all of Ansalon's.

Tomas, during his time seeing to his interests in Palanthus, penned an academic thesis concerning social and economic philosophy. Well, I should say that it's more of an economic treatise. In it, he argues that personal property rights should be extended to all persons, while quietly questioning the monopoly on property that the Knights of Solamnia enjoy in that feudalistic society. The text also seems to imply that a more cutthroat approach towards economics would be ultimately more beneficial, as competition would force merchants and traders to become more efficient. However, his argument is for a more amoral approach towards trade, believing that individual selfish drives will ultimately balance each other for mutual gain.

The philosophy, while encouraging everyone to pursue their own economic prosperity (and a tacit support for smuggling), also alludes to some social reforms that would facillitate this new "free trade" system. Tomas speaks briefly and vaguely of a "Solamnic republic," but such a system still seems fraught with problems. It merely seeks to distribute the "weight" of the problems across a broader spectrum of the population, but it still has the same problems.

Also, the amoral philosophy would, I think, run counter to the interests of the relatively new Holy Order of the Stars. The average person would be fairly unwilling to risk angering gods, or those who can invoke their benefices and wrath. Still, it is an interesting philosophy, but I do not think it is the answer that Ansalon needs. Especially in the face of demonic hordes and flights of dragons. Although, from what I hear, Solanthus has achieved liberation from the Blue Dragonarmy and seems to be following something of a similar philosophical trend, having formed a semi-republic under the guidance of a foreign warrior named Gythe.

I also suspect that institutions like the Conclave would also not appreciate the finer points of Tomas's system of enlightened self-interest. The Conclave's self-interests tend to be much more...ambitious and arcane.

I have pursued various avenues of research into Chaos, the Tobril or Law, Galen Dracos, and so forth. Having learned something of my father's research, as well as what Gwynn has done in trying to deal with altered timelines and the Chaos-corrupt twin known as Daniel, I have for some reason become wary of devoting myself too much to that same...force (i.e., the Tobril/Law). Also, my experiences with the bakali have caused me to question the nature of Chaos. Is one better than the other? One might get the impression that Chaos is purely maniacal and infernal, while the Tobril/Law/Court of Light is practically angelic and enlightened. Both are extremes, and I believe both can be very dangerous extremes.

At the same time, I was born on Krynn and I exist upon Krynn. My father, in having reached the Court of Light (partly to escape elements of Chaos determined to destroy him, as far as I know), cannot now easily return to Krynn without risking everything he has "gained." At the same time, he has had to distance himself from his family, his homeland, and the world he knew. Conversely, in becoming wholly subject to Chaos, one risks a very similar fate.

I analyzed historical texts, trying to determine whether there had ever been incursions of Law much as there have been incursions of Chaos. As far as I was able to determine, if such incidents exist, they are much subtler and less "vulgar" than Chaos's. Philosophical trends (one perhaps wonders of Tomas's text) and movements might be the most noticable, although one might argue that the Knights of Solamnia and Istar's initial ascendency might be similar examples. There was one vague reference in a text that alluded to an incursion from the Court of Light that Istar fought against several decades before the Cataclysm -- but there is little I can tell about this presently, and most likely the sites in question are now lost under the Blood Sea.

At the same time, the manifestations of Chaos I have encountered to date have tended to be very...similar and of a particular monolithic mythic thread. Surely the Huldre, the hidden faerie folk of Krynn, said to be of Chaos, were not of the same variety of being as Sorrow's Thorn or this Daniel. Indeed, the elements of Chaos my companions and I have encountered have been more of an infection seeking to spread -- a metaphysical virus, so to speak -- than what one would expect of the Huldre, the Scions, or other ancient Chaotic races who remain generally unknown and hidden.

In speaking with Kai'Isil, the fey knight who journeyed with us to Silvanost to rescue Ke'Lorac, I learned that apparently three courts of Chaos exist. The fey court, the domain of the Huldre. Kasa'Anath, the Court of Fire, which is what Sorrow's Thorn sought to unleash. And the so-called Court of the Dead (also known as the Halls of the Siochain). The three courts were something of an echo of the three races created by the gods (i.e., humans, elves, and ogres), but Chaos existed before this -- the Sincal fell to Chaos before this time, presumably, although their fall was spurred on by the Dark Queen. But, Chaos has not always been "this way," and it was obvious that Chaos was not simply the madness that Sorrow's Thorn and Galen Dracos had harnessed.

Galen Dracos utilized Chaos a great deal in his creation of the various Orbs and in the creation of his pet dragons (Cyan, Sable, and the others -- must look up what the others' names are). Cyan is Chaos-tainted. Zeloth, one of his apprentices, is also Chaos-tainted. Galen Dracos continues to "live" inside the Chamber of Orbs in his original Flying Citadel, currently under the "control" of Kitiara, but many remember seeing him crushed by the falling rock of one of his strongholds in Huma's time, including Zeloth's sister, the Master of the Libraries of the Order of the Red Robes in the Conclave. Dracos had a god-complex, and much as Fistandantilus and (perhaps) the Kingpriest, he wanted to become a god. The Iron Lich, an elder Black Robe who existed in the time of Dracos, noted that he believed Dracos hoped to lure the Dark Queen on to this plane in the hopes of destroying her and becoming a god himself.

I find it curious that the Master of the Red Robes, Justarius, has not yet passed along the information that Ke'Lanthinel revealed to him of Dracos's current existence in the Citadel, especially to Sauris, Zeloth's sister, who forsook her birthright in Qualinesti to fight against Dracos, Zeloth, and the other minions of the ancient renegade wizard. Eh well. I can only guess. Although, I must be more careful in talking to individuals such as the Iron Lich, although I think he was cordial enough to one who demonstrated at least the traditional respect due to one of his standing in the Conclave.

However, in speaking with the Iron Lich, I put forward an idea I had had after speaking with Kai'Isil. Galen Dracos sought to tame Chaos, or at least imprint himself and his arcane will upon enough of Chaos to use it as a means of establishing control over Krynn. His Orbs sought to capture the Chaos aspect of the members of the race the Orb was designed for, and use their Chaos aspects (effectively enslaved by Dracos) to control the members of that race. At the same time, the manifestations of Chaos I have to date encountered have seemed to of been of the same camp as Galen Dracos, and the Iron Lich and others have commented that Kasa'Anath is more Dracos's "style" than the other manifestation of Chaos known.

Of course, one has a tendency to believe that because one has only encountered particular examples of Chaos, all of Chaos must be that way. This of course ignores the fact that Chaos is chaotic and capable of being anything, of creating anything, and embodying any particular concept. Given that Chaos encapsulates all of possibility and impossibility, there is of course more to Chaos than the infernal manifestations I have so far seen. At the same time, one supposes that in trying to impose himself upon Chaos and in using Chaos to spread his influence across the world, Dracos sought to impose a particular pattern upon Chaos. This would only support Dracos's god-complex even more, as he took on delusional characteristics of being his own Reorx, Gilean, and High God, all at once. The problem in that instance, however, is that the High God and the other gods originate from outside of this "system" -- they all came from elsewhere to a place where only Chaos existed. Dracos began as part of the system, bound to a great degree by its foundational principles. Although, this might explain why he didn't succeed, even if he gummed up the works on a metaphysical level. Perhaps someone should ask Reorx to take that hammer to Chaos again to smooth it out some more.

So, in essence, I think that Dracos sought to use Chaos as a means of controlling the peoples of Krynn, as well as offering him a nearly unlimited source of power, creation, and destruction with which he might challenge the Dark Queen and the other gods (in time). However, his plans were foiled at the time, but his imprint is still upon Chaos, and indeed much of what might be left of Galen Dracos may still "exist" in Chaos, trying to exert its influence into this world (thus partly explaining the activities of his dragons and the dragonorbs and the Nightmare) and spreading his corruption to all of incarnate creation.

Beyond all this (since there is little I can personally do in regards to this), I began a series of meditations and experiments with the goal of communing, influencing, defining, and reinforcing my Chaos and Tobril aspects. I began with simple active visualization while meditating, but I then hit upon the idea of taking advantage of my ability with performance to combine drama, poetry, song, and magical ritual to create "stories" of Keleren (of course, myself). The Chaos-aspect would be reflected in the inspiration and creative act itself, the energy of the moment and performance. The Tobril aspect would be embodied in the pattern and structure of the artforms and mediums -- the words, gestures, prosody, sound, and so forth. I then began channeling magical energy into these performances, with the goal of (as I said) empowering both aspects of myself, but at the same time laying some claim to their ultimate nature. I hope, in this way, to "create" a Chaos aspect free of other influences, being only that which is truly my Chaotic aspect, while at the same time, "rewriting" my Tobril aspect to be my own creation and pattern. To date, I have only invested minimal arcane sorcery into this line of inquiry, so that in case something bad occurs, it will not be too bad.

I also hit upon an idea in regards to Chaos marks. Chaos tends to mark those subject to it. In the case of those bound to Kasa'Anath, one can suggest that it is literally marks of binding: blood-red runes, marks of torture and subjection, chain-like motifs, and so forth. In talking with Gwynn, Daniel bears a similar floral motif in his Chaos marks, although I would suspect that they are much more...constrictive than the rose tattoo she bears thanks to Cordella the Red.

Of course, the tattoo is a manifestation of Cordella's ultimate spiritual essence, insuring that those who bear that tattoo are already "marked" and thus resistant to passing graffiti artists that might try to mar up the person further. At the same time, the Cordella who exists as a member of the Conclave is an echo of the "true" Cordella, who requires some anchor to this world in order for the tattoo to be effective. Most likely, the incarnate Cordella does not know everything that her essence might know, most likely as a means of safeguarding the tattoo's protective nature.

In a sense, the symbolism of the Chaos marks associated with Dracos's flavor of Chaos suggested to me that Dracos was "marking" his property and binding those who fell to that aspect of Chaos to whatever will exists therein. I accordingly had an idea. Sorrow's Thorn continues to be held by the Conclave at Wayreth. I journeyed there and mentioned an idea to the Master of the White Robes and Justarius: had anyone thought to try to cast a the spell of erasure upon her Chaos marks? They seemed intrigued, and after several precautions were taken, she was removed from the temporal stasis they had placed her in. After securing her, we tried various approaches while she ranted, cried, and cycled through the various fractured personalities in her mind. Finally, one of the White Robes present disjoined the most prominent mark upon her face (a Chaos rune that seems to mean "Sorrow's Thorn"), and then it was erased magically. She seemed to stop cycling through her personalities and merely became hysterical, crying and generally emotionally shattered. At this point, someone cast a spell of calming on her, causing her to pass out. Of course, beyond everything else, the elf that is Sorrow's Thorn also has much more..."mundane" trauma to deal with, as well as the arcane influences upon her.

Also, originally the Conclave planned to execute her as an insane and highly dangerous renegade mage, but Par-Salain, when he was still Master of the Conclave before his assassination, had her merely imprisoned via temporal stasis in the hopes that she might eventually be cured of the Chaos influence -- at which point, she would have a great deal of information that might be very valuable to fighting Chaos elsewhere. Some questioned the motives for his decision, since there was little anyone thought to do at first, but perhaps it has been productive afterall.

Sorrow's Thorn, however, continues to be guarded constantly as her body and mind recovers somewhat. She is most likely not freed of Chaos yet, although perhaps the first of several steps has been taken. Only time will tell. Also, this technique, while potentially helpful for individuals, does not address the source of the initial corruption.

Mind you, I am now kicking myself for not bringing some of this up when I had the opportunity with Sable recently, but I suspect she would provide disinformation more than fact -- unless they were facts that might be useful for them to share with me.

--late winter, 361 AC


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August 2006

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