Letters from Mozher Sound
(Excerpted from a longer work, in progress.)
I think I’ve been at this too long. People are beginning to tease me for the way I talk, because I have fallen into the habit of speaking the old form of English! It should be no surprise, I suppose – I have spent so much time reading the books of the twenty-first century, it seemed apropos that I should start writing in the style of the ancients. After years of it, the language has become part of me, a “step-mother tongue,” which falls as naturally from my lips as Amic itself once did. I think in English, I write in English, I speak it as well. But, because it is the root language to our more modern Amic, I am understood by my friends, even if they suggest that I should begin dressing as the people did in the 600 year old pictures we see in the Cheyenne Library!
Speaking of the Library, I recently returned from a trip to the mountain home of our great store of benevolent knowledge. I found a key piece of information, which has put a few straggling shards of the past in order for me. I’ve composed a new Essay for you, to be placed in the Nyagrodhic Archive, in which I postulate a solution for the long-standing question of the origins of the super-diversified life in the mazes and mires of the Russian Interior jungle. I look forward to reading your response to the Essay, which you will find at the end of this correspondence.
The Sound has been unusually quiet. Ever since the clans who had lived at the northern-end moved on (to the coast, I believe) there has been very little activity here. This is the state I prefer, of course – a thin population, peace in which to do my work – that is why I chose the Mozher Sound in the first place. As researchers, we dedicate our lives to the re-discovery of knowledge. I suppose you would not truly understand, being a different type of priest than I, but I am sure you must have an intellectual understanding of my heart. I felt almost alone when I came to your office in the northern range! Surrounded by your bustling network of priests, coming to and fro, working on projects and ideas the likes of which I can only begin to grasp, I felt like an abandoned child, hungry, and small. When I am inside the Library, under a mountain of rock, in darkness broken by a lamp so small that it only makes the black air surrounding its circle of light seem even darker, I feel connected to the souls of my millions of brothers and sisters, who rely upon my every thought – every word I read – though they know it not.
But I wax nostalgic. I need to let you know about a few things: First, the pigeons will not be able to reach you for a while. This will probably me the last message you receive until after the incoming storms subside, we estimate 4 weeks, but it could certainly be longer. If you are travelling, let me know – the birds can probably make the southern route, if you are down that way. Second, I hear rumors that there will be a gathering of the Southern Guild near the Grand Canyon, presumably in the area of New Flagstaff. I know you want to keep tabs on this group, so I wanted to make sure you knew of this event. (Again, the pigeons can reach you there, if you go.) Third, we have decided not to hold Rites at the Chamber anymore, due to interruptions from the local wildlife. Instead, we are moving all Ritual services to the school, which carries a double benefit: that of recruiting students to priesthood.
That is about all the important news. However, I did want to mention an odd thing that has been occurring. At first, I paid this no attention, but now, I am finding it a little spooky. For most of the past week I have been finding strange coconuts on the shore, one each day. The fact that these nuts – which have only rarely been seen here – are arriving at a consistent rate of one per day is unusual enough, but the really weird thing is the markings: each coconut, still in its green outer husk, has a single letter emblazoned upon its face! These seem to be burned onto the fibrous encasing layer, as if something hot had been pressed against it. There is no actual charring, simply brown patterns on the surface. The characters are not perfect, but are clear and distinct. I have no idea who could be doing this. In fact, I have no idea how someone could do this – to make the coconuts wash up from Mozher Sound at a specific place daily would be no small feat, while the production of such subtle letters seems almost inhuman.
Well, perhaps my superstitious streak is simply running away with me, and this is only a joke on the part of some of the scholars, I can’t say. I began piling the things together after the first few days, and reviewing them I find five letters: A, L, R and two E’s. I don’t know the order in which they all arrived, except that the last two were E and A. I don’t suppose you can spell anything with that? Ok, I’m really stepping out of reality to imagine that they would, but what could these Letters from Mozher Sound be, if not a message? (I laugh!)
I hope this finds you well, uncle Waden, and that you continue to have all that you need.
Essay: The City of Chernobyl
Om Namah Sivaya. I walk a path that leads from the setting sun to the morning light. My path shall not divide that which is upon either side, nor will it disturb that which is under foot. My goal is the betterment of my own self, including the shadow selves I share among those with whom I am rooted. When I see truth, I record it in keeping with the Nyagrodhic Charge, and everything I record herein is true. I walk a path that leads from the setting sun to the morning light, and along this path I have found a scrap of the greater cloth.
It has long been held that the unusual fauna found in Europe were the results of irresponsible use of the Ritual of Genesis, and that such mutations as are seen were simply side effects of the quest for desirable traits. A traveller came to me years ago and, although not a researcher himself, he had taken notes of his adventures in Eastern Europe. His name was Demetri, and by his account, the biological anomalies were more prevalent the further into the Russian Interior he went. Further, he found that it was not just animals, but there were wide genetic variations in the plants he saw, as well. At the time, I recorded his findings, but considered the information simply evidence of wild experiments on the part of some unknown group, perhaps rogue priests who had sought personal gain at the expense of safety. However, my most recent trip to the Library caused me to reconsider the accounts of Demetri and others in the light of new information from the mid twenty-first century.
During my most recent trip to the Cheyenne Library, I decided to focus on the unsorted books piled in one of the main chambers. As is the case whenever one searches these massive heaps of manuscripts, I was not looking for anything in particular, I was simply combing the past for anything of use. I ran across a volume which peaked my interest, primarily because of its date. Written in 2035, it must have been among the very last of the hard-copy books printed, and is certainly the newest major publication I have yet read. Titled “Economies of Eastern Europe,” the book details the collapse of the industrial system in the west Russian border region, in particular Poland and the Ukraine. Although the book focused upon the finances of these countries, the authors made mention of many other related things. Among these, I found out about Chernobyl.
Chernobyl was apparently a small city in the Ukraine, although it does not appear in any of our maps. In the book, Economies, the authors use Chernobyl as an example of work unfinished, due to a lack of funding. It seems that the city was the site of some kind of industrial accident in the late 20th century, resulting in the outpouring of radiation into the world. We know about radiation from other references, most notably the World Book Encyclopedia housed in Cheyenne room 2179, but it is not clear what the source of radiation was in this case. Whatever the source, references cited in this work claim that something called the “Reactor” at the Chernobyl site will be toxic for thousands of years, and marked the beginning of the exodus from Northern Ukraine.
The example in Economies describes a series of events which I believe relate to my thesis. The polluting radiation was contained in a temporary structure named the “Sarcophagus,” built in 1986. This containment building was intended to last 20 years, during which time it was to be replaced with a more permanent edifice. After 30 years, construction began on what was termed the New Safe Confinement (NSC), but was beset by problems stemming from political changes, and – more importantly – finance. The NSC was less than half complete when the responsible governmental powers suffered large scale economic collapse. On the heels of this, the original Sarcophagus finally disintegrated. The year was 2031. The Ukrainian government had no money to complete the project, and relied heavily upon donations from the other major countries of the world, which were not doing well either. The NSC was hastily completed with extreme shortcuts in materials, and human labor replacing machines which could no longer be maintained.
Economies of Eastern Europe cites this as an example, and poses questions: “How long will this improvised structure last?” “Will the region be able to support replacement of the NSC when it fails?” Of course, there exists no literature from any future period which could answer these questions directly. However, we have records of stories carried out of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia which seem to suggest that the NSC did fail within the following 150 years. Mario Henskie described a feeling of “pins and needles” in his face as he approached a crumbling heap, in an area he considered Poland. Could he have been standing at the Reactor in the city of Chernobyl? The Encyclopedia identifies a similar sensation as an effect of exposure to very high levels of radiation, and these symptoms seem fairly unmistakable. Since Henskie’s account was recorded by one of our priests in 2165, it seems clear that the NSC had fallen some time before that.
On top of this, the Mario Henskie records make mention of animals with extra limbs in the area we now call the Russian Interior. Although we have no direct knowledge of radiation causing such mutations, however, I have made a connection in this way: the Ritual of Genesis mentions the Energy of the Sun as the mother catalyst for the natural process we control in the Rite. In other words, it is this energy which naturally causes minor mutations in plants and animals, leading to the slow changes in species known to the ancients as evolution. Since we have been given the Ritual of Genesis, we have taken control of this process, of course, but here is the interesting bit: There are books in the Library which refer to the sun’s energy as “radiation.” Is it possible that there is a commonality between “solar radiation” and the toxic emission from the Reactor at Chernobyl?
I now suggest that there is. We have long noted that there exists a tract of nearly impenetrable jungle in a land once filled with dense cities, surrounded by continuous farmland. While the world abounds with abandoned cities, nowhere else do we find such a profound splendor of life supplanting the Old World as we do in the Russian Interior. Furthermore, our more recent records show that the deeper one penetrates this dense forest, the more bizarre the biology becomes: there are forms of life – beings – which exist in the Interior which do not seem to have parallels anywhere else in the known world.
As I mentioned above, we had once thought that experiments in Europe had gotten out of control, and been release into the wild unchecked. However, that does not really explain why the plants and animals both seem to become more removed the further east you look. And now, there come very recent rumors from our reclusive friends in Finland. An unidentified group of gleaners travelled out of Helsinki, scavenging the old ruins of Sankt Peterburg. Failing to come up with much of interest beyond a few scraps of metal, several of the group decided to continue south, while the others headed back.
As the story goes, they began to have difficulties as they entered the fringe of the Russian Interior. Several of their pack animals were lost to predators, and the small band became disoriented in the woods. Apparently they holed-up for a while in an area that they later decided must have been the outskirts of Moskva, working to replenish their provisions by foraging in the dense jungle. They remained camped for several weeks, sending out short expeditions in all directions. The journals of these people have been copied and sent to the Nyagrodhic archives, and present the only account we have of exploration into the northern edge of the Russian Interior.
The gleaner’s stories bear a striking similarity to those of the well-known travelers from Europe: the further one travels into the densest parts of the interior, the more unique the beings become. I found this so interesting, that I began to map the positions of the different records that we have explorations, recent and old, of the jungle. From these points of reference, it became apparent that there is a definite mid-point of its density. It seems that the mutated plants and animals all radiate outward from a center, getting more diffuse as the distance increases. On my map, the center of the Russian Interior is not even in Russia at all, but Ukraine: it is exactly on a city named Pripyat.
I have no way at this time of determining the proximity of Pripyat and Chernobyl. It is possible that the cities are near each other, but one is on the maps we have and the other is not. Perhaps Chernobyl lay across the border in Belarus, for which the maps we have are not as good. However, the location information given by Mario Henskie coincides with my projected center. All indications are that the radiation pollution leaking from the Reactor at Chernobyl is responsible for the lush and remarkable jungle which today covers most of Eastern Europe, and constitutes the most densely teaming mass of beings found anywhere in the known world.
What does this say about our methods? The Ritual of Genesis gives us command of the living world, shaping it to be what we decide is best. We have been performing the Rite for at least 460 years, since the founding of the order of Nyagrodha, and with it have removed many beings from the random influences of evolution. Perhaps I am making assumptions which are incorrect. Was it really an industrial accident which took place in this ancient city of Chernobyl? Perhaps the myriad mutations were by design, intended by the inventors of this Reactor, whatever it is. It could be that the powers which sought to cover the Reactor up were actually in opposition to these plans, and sought to destroy the work of these forward thinkers.
I walk a path that leads from the setting sun to the morning light. My path shall not divide that which is on either side, nor will it disturb that which is under foot. My goal is the betterment of my own self, including the shadow selves I share among those with whom I am rooted. In keeping with the Nyagrodhic Charge, I have recorded the truth I have seen. I offer this, a scrap of the greater cloth, to my shadow selves. Namaste.
In the Cheyenne Library there is a book named Economies of Eastern Europe, which tells us that the Reactor was leaking radiation in the ancient city of Chernobyl. All of this has been recorded in keeping with the Nyagrodhic Charge.
In the Cheyenne Library there is a set of books named The World Book Encyclopedia, which tells us about the principles of radiation. All of this has been recorded in keeping with the Nyagrodhic Charge.
In the Nyagrodhic archive there are copies of journals from an unidentified group of gleaners in Helsinki, Finland, which tell us about the number and diversity of beings in Northern edge of the Russian Interior.
Stories have been told about the number and diversity of beings in the Western edge of the Russian Interior. I have recorded this in keeping with the Nyagrodhic tradition of namaskar.
Other stories have been told about the number and diversity of beings in Western edge of the Russian Interior. Fellow priests have recorded these in keeping with the Nyagrodhic tradition of namaskar.