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Confessor
A Tale of Ancient Oth
© 2022 James LaFond
JAN/21/23
Copyright 2019 James LaFond
A Crackpot Book
Lynn Lockhart: Publisher
A Tribes Yarn
Dust Cover
Conductor Wyethstone has traveled to the depths of Foundation Seven in search of a dangerous heretic. With Foundation One and the other five pillars of Oth now lost to Time’s uncaring hand, Foundation Seven stands as the last Node of Generation, the last link to Man’s past, the residence of the last of Humanity’s seven Confessors. Will the Confessor hear his prayer and place him on the path to Conduction?
“They were not men who gathered for the charge,
But demons of a blood-black elder world.”
-Robert E. Howard, A Crown for A King
For Jakob the Apostate, my friendly Phane
Notes on Units of Measure
The origins of humanity on Oth are known to be identical and simultaneous, if not singular. The various nodes of Foundation, Conduction and Observation are thought to have played a role in the similarities of Othian languages and the general acceptance of human dimensions as units of measure.
Lineal space is measured according to:
-The Foot
-The Pace
-The March [a day’s travel on foot]
Vertical space and the dimensions of tools and devices are measured according to:
-The Nail [thickness of a man’s thumbnail
-The Knuckle [width of the middle one]
-The Hand [distance between the thumbnail and small fingernail of a spread hand]
-The Span [the distance between the fingertips of a man’s outstretched hands, generally equal to his height]
Depth is measured by the fathom, the height of a man, and the league, the distance to the horizon.
Contents
Foundation Seven 7
Confession 20
The Curtain Undrawn 37
The Path Untaken 47
The Stair Unclimbed 67
The Bridge Uncrossed 86
The Tree Unpicked 94
The Pit Unplumbed 109
The Word Unheard 134
Induction 141
Conduction 148
Foundation Seven
Awash in the Sea of Quam, rising from those tentacle-writhing waters at the girthy waist of the world, soar the heights of Foundation Seven, shear from the ivy-choked beaches, where Conductor Wyethstone tethered—or rather ordered it done—his zeppelin. It is impious to approach Foundation—and it being the distinction of Seven to be the last and only functional node of Foundation, its designation henceforth would simply be Foundation—any way other than the ancient stair. It being yet impossible to sail the waters of Quam, the very plant-life seizing any ship and holding it fast for the vines that feed on its pulp and the watery minds that feast upon the crew, one could only fly to Foundation. The zeppelin could not be tethered to the rocky glass beach lest the vines creep by night and pull the thing to ruin.
A hundred fathoms from the cliff face of Foundation, which glassy rock face cannot offer purchase to the life-drinking vines until they are broken by lightning, according to some foundational blessing, rises the Obelisk of Starfall, fifty fathoms high, rooted to the sea floor and of imperishable platinum. Here the majestic craft tethered, floating above the shinning eminence even as the many-tentacled sea heaved with famished curiosity, tasting the air for flesh, blood and soul. Other than downpours daily, this strange sea rested quietly, mirror to lazy cumulus clouds and restless thunderclouds in their vary-layered stacks.
A hundred fathoms long hung the Pontific Bridge, made of countless links of inorganic meltwood [1] set with planks of wood carved from the forests above. For 200 fathoms above the stair climbed, zigzagging up the black rock face, through the hanging canopy of cloud, above the misty cling of the breath of Quam—the sea which exhales death in the form of rain’s breath—in tier upon switchback tier of glassy steps, a span broad and a span deep, yet only a hand high. Despite the easy incline the stairs were treacherous, being burned from volcanic glass by some long-forgotten art. An acolyte had fallen to his doom and all watched in horror from among the clouds as he was gathered by the vines far below, his shattered form handed from one lithe vine to the next and swallowed by the slow-churning shallows.
The elder acolytes remained at the base of the stair, in the spacious monastery of smoked glass block, pierced by portals of opalescent looking glass. The Nine Reliquaries of Induction and the Holy Archives of light-scribed books in their compressed multitudes were kept by the automatonic monks there.
To further safeguard his return, his paladins remained at the top of the stair, where the Church of Fatefall glimmered in brass and platinum above the sheer obsidian cliffs, the Four Altars of Beginning kept by the automatonic priests and their bio-deacons, one altar for each of the Great Races of Man.
A march inland rose Foundation, as tall again as the island of volcanic glass it perched upon. The ramparts of the extinct volcano held in the earth and water that fed the body of the Forest Vale, before pooling and spilling over the east side of the glass caldera besides the Grand Church of Brass.
His personal guard of seven loyal men, shaven-headed stoics all, Disciples of Foundation to a man, accompanied him across the verdant, forested land, a forest that shaded pythons and tigers, aurochs and lions, apes and leopards, elephants and giraffe, all the most majestic beasts of the verdant habitat which remained around the waist of the world.
Foundation suggested the spire of the church supported by the sweeping buttresses of the cathedral, reaching for the very void beyond the sky, the void from whence it was said that all mankind descended.
Only a Conductor of Foundation might enter its confessional—since the kings of man had long ago ceased pleading their guilt at the silent confessionals of Oth. For only the confessional of Foundation Seven, the last living Node of Generation, remained to give voice to the Laws of Foundation, to hear the confessions of kings—and what kings might traverse the Soul Eating Sea of Quam in their miserable sailing ships?—and the reports of Conduction.
Therefore, only the Conductors of Foundation, yet seven in number, remained, though none resided at Foundation Seven, the Imperishable See which was designed to outlast humanity and shepherd its errant charges into Eternity, to a Netherworld Undreamed when Oth’s sun at last gave out.
On such grave business came Conductor Wyethstone. For the Eye of the World, faithless Ais, font of Lemurous Heretics had belched forth a being of mischief, a man aimed at the orderly heart of Foundation by the Accursed Conclave of the Covered Sea.
Powers disruptive to mankind’s limited consciousness had been unleashed among the Necropoli at World’s End suggesting hope where there should be faith, blood where there should be sweat, postulation where should reign resignation. A challenge to the system was afoot, heralding the call of the most powerful Champion of Conduction, not the eldest or most pious of The Seven Conductors of Oth, but its youngest, strongest and most vigorous defender.
So did the towering, armored, robed and upright form of Conductor Wyethstone, broad-shouldered and confident in the prime of a righteous life stride alone, to the stentorian clomp of his own Sathurhide boots, up the Stairs of Foundation Seven, through the Navel of Conduction and into the presence of the Confessor, the last potent strand of a mind that once spanned a galaxy and now sat in counsel to the strident will of the most pious representatives of a dying race.
Note:
Sathur are feral demi-humans of apish build with limited articulation and absence of literature, who sport tusks, are known to relish human flesh and harbor a great jealousy of the Human Condition, as favored by the Doctrine of Foundation.
Vetting Confessor     ‹   confessor   ›     Confession

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