Also known as the Testament of the Church-Mothers, the Fascicles are old fragments of liturgy from the time shortly after Alessia's death. 14-book series. They represent the oldest known theological framework for the Great Faiths. Should be very rare books, somewhat like the Sermons. Collecting the set should be a challenge. These books should teach skills, too.
Fascicle 0: the advent of Absence
0. The spirit of Shezarr, too, came about, and they were an ambitious and warlike spirit, who saw the world and thought it not enough. And they perceived that Akatosh was pleased to let things be, and the spirits were pleased to let things be, and those who were displeased had not the acumen, the heart to change their ways. And Shezarr lay silent for a long time, and walked far among the outer regions of the Beginning Place, and further still, until there was no path to walk, until there was no such things as walking. There they turned and saw the shape of the world, that which is. And they conceived an even greater shape, a place called the World Entire, a crucible of growth and the spark of creation, for a soul to become more than anything else, anything that ever were. And this idea was to be the end of the Beginning Place, and much joy and sorrow were to come from it.
Fascicle 1-4: Song of the Abyss
1. Once, all the world was in darkness, and all the world was darkness, and the spirits therein lived only in darkness. In this place there were not the waters nor the air, there was up nor down, wrong nor right. This place was without time, and without life and death, it was without knowledge and wisdom, it was without the breath of life, it knew not of beauty, it knew not of worth, it knew not of mercy. This we call the Beginning Place, for all things were born there, and naught will ever return there, for it is lost forever in the folds of the world, and only the blind seek it now.
2. There coiled from the darkness the dragon Akatosh, the First of Spirits, who was also the King of Spirits. For one hundred and eight times eternity the dragon gathered its strength in the timeless time, for it was a time without time, and it was the timeless time. Then on the morning of no mornings Akatosh spoke, saying: "I am, and it is joyful to be".
3. Akatosh now regarded the Void of the Beginning, and he was moved by the sense of existence, its joy and splendor, and perceiving the spark of his fellow spirits who lay as yet unmade in the hollow between thought, he was moved by not-yet-pity and not-yet-love. And from his perch on Eternity he allowed the day, saying: "Let these be my children, the Hours, and let these be my children, the Minutes".
4. And long the children of Akatosh did labor in the darkness, to build the space of Days, and they became the Waters, where our thoughts in life find succor. And before the dawn of circles, the Waters did whirl as time yet untempered does, and one Day did nor follow on the other, and one Hour knew not the other, and there was no order to be found, anywhere.
Fascicle 5-12: Nascent and Sequent
5. In the space of the Hours there came to be two new spirits, and the first of these was Arkay, First-and-Last, and he came forth from the Will of Akatosh to impose order, and let the world surge in ordered striations, and also he came forth from the Will of Mara, who first thought of things to be.
6. And Akatosh loved his son dearly, and said: "In this place, I have found what I have made myself, which is the lattice that twists and shakes spirits from their slumber. Yours is the place by my side, and for you there is a place, and it will be the place of your choosing, to shape and forge the world, and shape and forge yourself, as all things must shape and forge themselves."
7. So Arkay regarded the revolving Waters that his father had wrought, and saw how thing came to be, and how they ceased, and how there was no limit to this, and no order, and there was no cause, and no consequence. And this displeased him, and he said: "Father, from the nothing you have made something, saying, "This is", and saying, "I am", and it is good, and I love it dearly. Yet you have neglected to bring these things to bear, and show them each other, that is, themselves, and how one thing may bring forth another, as you have brought me forth through the Waters. Yet one thing may be, then cease to be, and be without cause nor consequence. For it seems to me a great and good thing, to be of consequence. Let us therefore initiate the shape of things, in which one thing may be cause to another, and one thing be the result of another."
And the Shape of Things was to be a Circle, which is a pleasing shape, and all things did come to follow its path through the Void, to be, and to grow, and to diminish, and to be again, and to bring about this cycle in others.
8. And the Waters did wheel in different ways at Arkay's feet, for he was the King of Circles, that is to say, the story of Life and Death in the beforetime when Life nor Death were known to the Divines. And so Arkay was the keeper of things to come, and this was a secret sorrow to him.
9. Another spirit came to be, and this was Mara, the Mother, and she came forth from the idea of growth, of how the spirits did coalesce and grow, and from the love Akatosh had felt for the spirits yet unborn. And also she was born from the workings of Arkay, who dreamt of the Beginning and the End, and in this then she was always the Beginning.
10. And she was twin to Arkay, born in the same space of the Hours, but while he grew enamored with the Circle's gentle tyranny, Mara shied away from it, saying: "I know this path, for I can see its circumference, the whole breadth of the walk of the world. It leads back only to the Beginning, which is a pleasant place, but the path of your making is long and tortuous. Better to stay, and nurture the place of one's choosing, and I choose the place of Life, and from my feet will spring the place of Life".
11. At first Mara found solace within herself, filling the empty, and the life she brought forth rose from the waters and threw itself down to become a dream of the earth, which gave solace to the spirits, and was a place to rest and gather strength, to build homes and lie down to rest, and lie down to give pleasure. And then Mara came unto Akatosh and elected him her love, whom she taught to drain the stones.
12. But Arkay refused the warm and heavy land, and lived on the waters which carry the dead, and he looked at the valleys of the earth and saw graves, pits that swallow life and keep it. So all who seek rest and refuge from Arkay's circles look to bury themselves in the earth of Mara, to cling to the mother. But the wise man will follow the river to life's end, where he will find life anew, and true and joyful it will seem to him. Those who bury their bones in the earth are held for but an hour's breadth, for in all things Mara's grasp will slip, and they too will follow the Waters.
Fascicle 13-16: Birth of Knowledge
13. The Beginning Place grew sharper, and under the benevolence of Mara there were born not only the spirits, but new ideas and dreams, also. And all were overwhelmed by these new thoughts, which came between them and constricted them, and could not be held, nor cherished, without the secrets of knowing, of knowledge, and of insight.
14. Then from the space between the whispered word there was born Julianos, of Incantations, who knew of knowing, and was a teacher, too. And Julianos was a spirit of wisdom and knowledge, and he made all wisdom and knowledge his domain, to instruct, and give the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. His children were Learning, and Insight, and the solace of Memory. Julianos knew all of the Beginning Place, and freely gave his knowledge to others, and under his tutelage all other spirits did grow in splendor.
15. But Julianos grew attached to two ideas, whom he cherished as children, and taught more than all he knew. The first of these was Has-Mora, a darkling idea, and a quick and eager student. Has-Mora knew all of his teacher's words, but desired more still, so that he grew to love the unthinkable, and the false, and at long last he invented the Lie, and for this he was banished to the Outer Darkness. And there he waited an age and more, until in the Hour of Creation he returned, and stole many things not meant to be, and became a keeper of forbidden things.
16. The other was a spirit named Magnus, who was born from the blind energies and fed on them, and he too learned all of Julianos' words. But Magnus cared not for wisdom and knowledge, but only for the abstract and the ideal, the schematic and the formula. He set about to draw and plan the knowledge of the Beginning in lines and figments, and forgot the truth of substance. For in the Beginning Place, substance was a dream, and all in nature was a figment and a dream, and Magnus grew to overshadow Julianos, and the student grew to overshadow the master.
Fascicle 17-20: Roar of the Void
17. Noisy and crowded did the Void of the Beginning become, and the gods drew idle breaths, and could not speak, for the world was arid, and for lack of air the Waters would have ceased, and for lack of air all would have fallen silent. The Beginning Place then was pierced and frayed in search of sustenance, and the Outer Void reached and seized the hearts of the gods.
18. There from the roar of the Divine did spring forth Kynareth, returning the masculine breath, and she filled the world of the Beginning Place with her presence, carrying sound and water to and fro, and by her will there was air to wall the waters, and a sky to connect the world's forces. And the spirits of the air, the chorus, flew aloft and knew their hierarchies.
19. And Kynareth sprung from one end of the Void of the Beginning to the other, and where she touched the Waters they followed her in crashing waves, and where the touched the land of Mara it rose in sharpened peaks, and so she imbued in all the works of the Divines the sense of majesty.
20. Yet Kynareth was ever restless and dissatisfied, as she quickly grew to know the walk of the Beginning Place from one end to the other, and desired ever more. Her restless mind turned to nightmares and madness, and nightmares and madness sprung from her eyes and fled to the far corners, giggling spirits by name of Vaer-Em and Shegg-Et, who are cursed by all right-minded folk.
Fascicle 21-24: Eye of the World
21. Then came the spirit of Dibella, who was a capstone to the dream of others, for she as soon spoke as saw the world, and said: "This is good, and you have done well. Each of you has elected to be, and to become, and has become a thing of Beauty, and what you have made has become a thing of Beauty." And from her lips fell the words of Beauty, which was true in essence and appearance, and ever since the spirits strive for Dibella's favor.
22. And as in word and deed she was mystery, and many things of mystery she brought forth, and in her shadow a spirit of nightly whispers was born, a thief of luster and night-gold, and between her tongue and teeth a spirit of fading light and breaking beauty was born, who said nothing, but thought of many things, and held secret desires.
23. All spirits did covet Dibella's favor, and also the spirit of Magnus did covet Dibella's favor, and for her he built an idea of lines and symmetry, which is to say, a secret hand that shapes the world in pleasing patterns. And Dibella rejoiced in this gift, and granted Magnus a single boon, fire, for she was the progenitor of fire, and fierce light and heat, too. And Magnus was the custodian of fire and light, though in the late hour this light would desert him, and fall from his heavenly sphere to torment the world of the living things, and then the light was a tyrant, and a cruel enslaver of men.
24. Dibella was a perceptive spirit, and in time she grew to dislike the Beginning Place, even before the Word of Shezarr she was in opposition, and voiced her dissatisfaction. She would see the flaw in the works of others, and say to them: "you, great spirits who have dreamt of a thing to be, have dreamt of things in motion, which is another word for decay. Our world will not stand, and I relish the hour we break, but I also know that things as they stand will falter, and much that is beautiful will perish. I love you, brothers, but I curse you, too, for in your plans you have not thought of loss and the end." And the other spirits were puzzled by this, as they could not yet conceive of loss and the end.
Fascicle 25-27: The Measurer
25. But even in her not-yet-grief Dibella was above all a joyful spirit, and the Beginning Place did echo with her moans. From her Beauty the spirits learned to know the worth of things, and from worth they learned to know value, and from value came forth Zenithar, the provider of our ease, who of all things knows their estimation. He then knew of the wheels and workings in a way than none other knew, and he set about to count and measure the Beginning Place, until he was knowledgeable of all that moves and works, that is transmitted.
26. And Zenithar spoke: "From this place in the absence of places, there can be no growth, for there is neither the spark of creation nor the boldness of the new. Here, we can rule, and we are rulers, and rulers we shall be. But mark, spirits of the fold, that you who praise this state and wish for no weight, may never ask for more than this, not the hand on the laborer's back, not the strain of work or the pleasure of things well-gained. For in this place such things will not come about."
27. And Zenithar was displeased with the Void of the Beginning, and the serenity of his peers, though he could not conceive of the solution. And he became a reclusive spirit, whose self was denied in blissful tranquility, and his true worth was not to be seen until the Hour of Creation.
Fascicle 28: Enter, Mercy
28. The Last of the great spirits was Stendarr, who was born of compassion, and was compassion, and moved the others to feel compassion. His, too, was the sphere of mercy, though there was little use of mercy in those Hours, the first of Hours. But Stendarr was ever concerned with the fate of the lesser, the spirits who knew not growth, and moved others to pity them. But his part in the early days was small, and he spoke little, saving his voice for the coming hours, when there was much to regret, and wherever men suffered they cried out for the hand of Stendarr.
Fascicle 29-31: The Obscured Spirits
29. There were many other spirits, the spirits of the Daedra and the spirits of the Elves, but of these we know nothing, for they speak of things that are not of Man, and the rules they bring to bear on the world do not apply to us, and their will and commandments are obscured to us.
30. Know then, the spirits of the Daedra, greater and lesser, some had come forth from the workings of the Divines, and some had come from the Outer Darknes, biding their time, and some had come from strange angles, knowledge of whom falls under the edict of Akatosh: know not! And these spirits were enamored with darkness and nothingness, and so they came to live in the outer places of darkness and nothingness, and they live there still. When they speak, listen, and show them respect, for these are your master's cousins, but ever remember that they have no claim over you, and the man who submits to their will is a wanderer.
31. Know then, the spirits of the Elves, who revel in their own weakness, and are ever dissatisfied with their part in the place of the living. Do not listen to their moaning, for they would seek to lead you astray, and take you back to the Void of the Beginning, to an age of no time, and no life or death, of no knowledge or wisdom, a stifling place without the breath of life, where no beauty, no worth, and no mercy are to be found, anywhere. They are the gods of not things, and of the blind reachers. They are loathsome and evil spirits, and they have cost us dearly, in the long red hours of slavery, and hardship.
Fascicle 32-40: The Voice
32. Dark was the place before the world was born, half-made place, where the soul can find no comfort, the eye can find no relief. It was Shezarr, restless spirit, who conceived of the great work, a flowering world of virtue and true roads to walk upon, and for this they spoke long and beautiful to the other spirits. Long and beautiful did Shezarr speak, and the word sprung from one end of the Beginning Place to the other, and the sightless Void was alive with the whispering of the gods.
33. First to hear the Word was Kynareth, greatest of the spirits of the Air, who carried the sound of dissent to the ears of the many. And she was the first to join Shezarr, for she had long grown weary of the Void of the Beginning, and longed to stretch her infinite self along the whole of the world.
34. Second and third were Zenithar and Stendarr, who wished to provide the needy, one, with mercy, the other, with a task.
35. Fourth was Dibella, enchanted.
36. Fifth was Julianos, who covered his ears, and relished not knowing.
37. Sixth was Mara, who distrusted this plan, for there she saw here a path away from her, and Arkay, who disliked it, for he knew a circle easily broken.
38. Last to hear was Akatosh, and as he uncurled between no stars, he was heard to rumble in displeasure: "This voice, a plan, this plan, a thorn. From cold infinity I have awoken you, through long tribulation and the work of the Hours, yet you are not pleased. You long to exist, and existence I have made for you, in return asking nothing but the affirmation of a natural order, perfect and resplendent. Yet you are not pleased. Will you then break the bow of the world, in search of another? The risk is long oblivion."
39. And Shezarr spoke to the First of Spirits, then, and told him what they had seen with their back to the Outer Darkness, in observance of the world. And they spoke a word, and this world was wheel, and it was tower, and it was king, and it was the name Akatosh, first of spirits, who is also king of spirits, and it was the name Shezarr, restless.
40. And Akatosh acquiesced.
Fascicle 41-45: Consent of the Unwilling Spirits
41. Said Mara: "I see now, where we go, we depart the wellspring. Gladly I will look after what grows and becomes, and be shelter and the promise of shelter. But let Man ever know the hardship and the strife all new thing must endure. So let the making of that which is to last incur a heavy cost, and let all growth be an ordeal, so that the value of these things is self-evident."
42. Said Arkay: "Likewise, the wheel turns, and as it gives it takes away. There will be joy in the fruit of creation, and grief in the passing of time and the loss and the darkness and death, where we part with ourselves and one another, so that all may know and remember."
43. Said Akatosh: "I am the spirit of the oldest movement, and my will is inherent in all that transpires. Never before have I been called to prove right my actions, or speak in words that which is my decision. In this I will be no different now. Know, that I consent to this course and this current. Know not the reason."
44. Said the gods of the Elves: "This plan seems finite, abhor the deluge. From the path west we walk the mile long with no equitation. Yet where we wish to arrive, long we have been. Trust not the spirits of the Daedra, for they speak honeytongue and deceive you."
45. Said the spirits of the Daedra: "We will observe, and not act. Fresh the fruit of many labors, but it can be picked by any a man, not just the laborer. We are the watchers. Listen not to the gods of the Elves, for their words hold no wisdom for you, they are as chaff in the wind, neither knowing nor feeling, with no path returning to nowhere."
Fascicle 46-49: Song for the Architect
46. Then of Magnus was asked to provide the design of the spheres, but he refused, as he feared to lose his station between figments and lines in the newly world. And Shezarr flattered and bribed him, saying, "For you there is prepared a special throne, and it is the throne of power and the energies, you will be at the world's helm, to direct the currents. From the spark of light and the mind will grow all things, under the ruler of the left hand." And Magnus was convinced, and set about to sketch and plot the world.
47. Sketch and plot the world he did, in long and laborious artifice. There the mountains and the rivers did not take shape, but the idea of mountains and rivers, not unlike the skin-painter who sits and endeavors to produce his fresh design on bark and crust. Save no effort did Magnus Architect, and he was supported in this by a legion of industrious spirits whose quills never rested, but drew ink like blood on the page of an uncaring skein.
48. For all to know, that Magnus was a coward and a traitor in the earliest end. For he did leave the Mundus, near robbing it from its light, its heat, from the light in our hands, and his quill-legion did leave the Mundus also. Were it not for their negligence and haste, never would we know the hand of light and life that makes flower bloom, river flow, that makes the verdant places sing.
49. Still, let us never forget Magnus Architect, who devised the world and designed our place within it, and Magnus Transmittal, who looks out on us from on high and sends the luminous, and Magnus Warden, who stands by the gate and prepares the final palatial. Give praise to cowards celestial and forgive them their betrayal.
Fascicle 50-53: Making of the World Entire
50. Long did the work of many hands take, and ceaseless did many hands build the world, stone by stone, and when there was no stone there was used the flesh, and when there was no mortar there was used the blood. So it continued, and the gods and the spirits threw themselves into the crucible, and Zenithar stoked the fires and labored over the world's engine.
51. Then Magnus grew afraid, as he was ever unsure of his own designs, and feared to give himself to the making of the world. And when it was his time, he refused, and drew away, leaving much of himself behind, and fled to hide behind the world, and in his haste he tore the sun, and he was followed by many lesser spirits, and in their haste they tore the stars.
52. So it was that on the edge of creation the world knew a moment of darkness, and in the darkness the Divines were uncertain, and many mistakes were made, and many more the evil spirits who were born and did make their way into the root of the world.
53. But all things pass, so ordained by Arkay, and so did pass the moment of uncertainty which led to so much pain and passionate discord. There the Divines resumed in a half-wake state, and perceived the world their creation. There the Divines convened, fearing the moment.
Fascicle 54-5 : Divine Convention
54. From the highest place the spirit of Akatosh did descend to grace the earth and situations with his presence, his solidity. As a spire he came down from on high, penetrating the skin of the earth, and at the foot of this needle the gods and spirits did converge.
55. And there were many voices raised in song, then, for though almost all was lost to the gods, still they delighted in their work, where many laid down to become the earth, and many flew aloft to become the air, and many remembered and became the waters.
56. So the Divines laid down their work and weary bones, there they gathered and spoke of joy and dismay, for some were joyful and some despaired, and of the latter there were none as despondent as the gods of the Elves, who had been in opposition since the beginning, as is their nature and predestination, but had readily gave themselves to the crucible, as was their nature and predestination.
57. There they fell upon the spirit Shezzar, and rent their clothes and broke their spear, and accosted them.
58. And they spoke, and called Shezzar great liar, and vile trickster, and evil deceiver, for ever they who speak great truth are called liar, and trickster, and deceiver. Great truth is much worse than great lies, a heavier burden, as it grieves the widow, pains the sick, kills the dying man. There was rent the heart and there was spilled the first of blood, there did grow the first of lilies, come from the ground dark and wet with the blood Divine. There the first of murder did take place, though not the last.
59. And the gods and spirits averted their eyes, knowing that this was to be.