Before I launch into my story today, I would like to point out a few things about Internet security and safe use of the Web.
- Different dialects of languages tend to be spoken in different places. For instance, the dialect spoken in the American South is distinct from that of the Midwest: certain terms are used differently, different words mean different things, some words are not used at all, etc. The dialects of America are very different indeed from those of the United Kingdom.
- It is recommended that you not tell your real name, age, occupation, birth date, or where you live on the Internet.
- However, the way you talk may be giving you away. If Sherlock Holmes was to look at my blog, he could probably tell my occupation (both current and dream jobs,), age, gender, and perhaps even my hometown. *gulp*
I’m not saying that anyone should try to change how they talk on the Internet (it probably is somewhat different from the way they talk in person, in any case!) I’m merely pointing out that your virtual “accent”, aka your turn of phrase and even your word choice may be a dead giveaway. Ironic, isn’t it? Of course, people like Sherlock Holmes are few and far between, so most of us are probably safe.
Maybe. *creepy laugh*
Now that I’ve thoroughly creeped you all out, welcome to the third day of Star Wars week (wow, that far already?! Yikes.) For today, we have a bit of an intellectual treat for you, my readers. The archaeological group of the Exploration Corps recently turned this up. It’s an original copy of the legends surrounding the Angel of Death in Telosian mythology, transcribed as closely as can be into modern Basic for reading ease. Enjoy!
Telosian Mythology: Esaroch Vaenn
The Angel of Death has been known by many names here on Telos, but it has been often said that his true name he will not reveal to the living until the end of all things. To the dead, he tells this name, and by its power they are protected from the Evil One. He is known, however, most commonly by the name Esaroch Vaenn.
In recent centuries, due to cultural immersion and blending, Esaroch Vaenn is mostly feared. In cultures that fear death, death’s angel is always an omen to run from. But in the ancient traditions, Esaroch Vaenn was more than a mere grim reaper. He was the avenger of wrongs, the bridge builder, the one who came to warn the people if their ways were wrong.
But most of all, and in the sacred traditions, he was known as the Savior.
Listen now, my children, and I will tell you the story.
Long ago, before time had a name, Esaroch Vaenn was the messenger of the gods, and the means by which they spoke to men, and their protector when they traveled the dark paths of death to the afterlife. But men grew wicked, and no longer respected and paid piety to the gods, and grew deaf to the warnings and speech of Esaroch Vaenn. And, since they no longer respected Vaenn, they grew to fear him, to shun his touch, and he became invisible to them; only when their delusions fell away like glossy water from hard black obsidian and they were near to death could mortals see Esaroch Vaenn. And they called him the Lord of Death, and thought him to have power over life and death, which he did not, and this illusion they worshipped as times grew darker. The gods were angered, but rather than visiting their wrath upon evil men, they withdrew themselves further, until only Esaroch Vaenn walked outside of the halls of heaven.
But not all men had turned to wickedness. There was one Zaiirr, a humble householder, who still could see Esaroch Vaenn, but the gods had forgotten him and only Esaroch Vaenn would speak to him. Zaiirr the fool men called him, but he kept to himself and was content.
As men’s hearts grew darker, the gods at last determined to show their faces once more, and they decreed that one man of every ten, including all the firstborn no matter their age, would be taken in death. The Angel of Death alone spoke against this decree, saying that the whole race of humankind should be spared, as he still believed in the goodness buried deep within each man’s heart, but he was overruled, and he had been sworn to serve the gods since the beginning, so he must do their will.
Zaiirr, the good man, was among those destined for death, and as he was a good man, Vaenn was loath to guide him through the paths of death and into the dark place destined for men ever since they had become evil. The day in which the decree was to be carried out came, and Vaenn at last decided what to do. For he must truly bring one soul of every ten men to judgment that night. The night’s work was long, and many wailed, and many more were paralyzed with terror, but Vaenn did it, for he had no choice.
Zaiirr was to have been the last to die, and when Esaroch Vaenn arrived at his friend’s dwelling, he laid aside his cloak, and where it fell there sprung up a mead of flowers the like of which the world had never before seen. Then he entered the house, shoeless, with no head covering, as a mendicant beggar who comes to ask for alms. Zaiirr sprang up with a cry of gladness as he saw his friend enter, but as he saw the Angel of Death’s mien, his face fell.
“My friend, why so?” he asked. Vaenn smiled weakly.
“There has been a decree among the gods,” he said, “that because of the wickedness of men, one man of every ten should be taken this night in death, and your name was drawn in those unlucky lots.” Zaiirr’s wife gave a cry of surprise, pain and terror. Vaenn gave her a heavy, burdened look. “But your husband I will not take, lady.” he said. “For I, too, am a man.” Zaiirr gave a gasp of surprise, but lo! It was true. For many, many lives ago, Vaenn had been about to die before his time, caught over a precipice and in danger of falling, and Cuvranoc the Trickster God had come and saved his life, and in gratitude Vaenn had given his life to the gods’ service. But Cuvranoc had laughed at that.
“What need have the gods of one man’s life?” he asked. “For your kind is swiftly passing, and dies too soon, while we are ancient and outlast the greatest kingdom of men.”
“All the same, my life is yours, until my very death, and yet beyond,” Vaenn had repeated stubbornly. Cuvranoc laughed.
“So!” he said. “A brave little one! My brave infant, I tell you this. You shall be as long-lasting as the gods themselves, and you shall be their servant until your death, never aging and always as faithful as the day of the gods is long. But a man you were born, and a man you shall always be.”
In Zaiirr’s cottage, Vaenn remembered that day. But before he could speak again, Zaiirr interrupted him.
“But my friend, I can not let you die in my stead,” he said. “For I have tried to walk in faith, but there are times when I have fallen, and again other times when I have willingly fallen.”
“All the same,” Esaroch Vaenn repeated, “A man I was born, and more than a man I never shall be.” So he repeated Cuvranoc’s words in that hour, and in that hour he chose to die in the righteous man’s stead, and passed alone into the shadows to the gods’ judgment. Of his path through the underworld no tale tells, out of fear, for with no guide himself, the paths which Vaenn had often guided now were dark to his mind and dangerous to his soul. But at length, when time to him had no more meaning, he came before the gods for the judgment of his soul. And far from being angered at his choice, they were awed, and decreed that Esaroch Vaenn had renewed their belief in the remaining goodness in the hearts of men; and their anger was appeased. They restored to Esaroch Vaenn his life, and decreed that forever he would guide the souls of men, as a sign of mercy and of hope. Zaiirr lived a long and happy life, and men changed the name they had put on him and called him Righteous, instead of Fool, and in memory of the sacrifice of Vaenn they called him Savior, and he shall ever remain guide to the race of men until the world’s end.
Translator’s notes: Esaroch Vaenn may be seen as a Christ figure, though it should be noted that none of the parallels are exact. More recent versions of the legends around Esaroch Vaenn show him as a sort of terrifying Grim Reaper, but this could not be farther from the original legend. The translator believes this to be due to the fear of death that is present in many cultures, contrary to the original Telosian attitude that death is merely a passing into eternal life and not something to be afraid of. In effect, the legends were corrupted by outside influence.
Also, the name “Esaroch Vaenn” is nearly a homonym of the personal Deshann name “Obi-Wan” to a Shendi speaker, and the original name is close enough to the personal name that in some cases Esaroch Vaenn is mistakenly called Obi-Wan. It should be noted that ‘v’ and ‘w’ are nearly interchangeable in Shendi.