Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Koreshi Chronicles: Titan's Tale - TN 1921, 16 Spring

The lake was completely becalmed. Not a trace of wind appeared, and beneath the apparent tranquility one could sense distressing stillness. This was not peace, but death. No fish jumped, no skimmers skated across the glassy surface of the water. In the still air, no birds hung. Stagnation was death.

Ti shook himself out of his reverie. The image was of no comfort. For a moment he imagined that maybe he had grown beyond this image, beyond that childhood dream, and that his cycle of travels and reflection had born a new ideal. He pictured the citadel of St. Bosco, high in the Pacifica range where he had spent a season meditating and training with the monks and nuns. There was so much tranquility there, so much to learn in the library but also from the religious order. Even in silence, they could communicate more clearly than most. Maybe, Ti reflected, because of that very fact. But comfortable and comforted as he was, hidden away from the world in the citadel, he felt the calling of the world bellow and travelled again.

Now he was in the Great White Desert, determined to push himself again, to seek answers he was sure were locked deep inside himself if only he could break down the barriers of consciousness and physical mater. A deep emptiness resonated in his soul, and he found nothing with which to fill the void.

“Hello.” Ti was not immediately startled. The voice was so kind and so close that for a brief moment he wondered if he was experiencing religious epiphany. Was this the voice of the gentle prophet, he wondered. When he realized that the voice was that of a mortal man who had somehow appeared by his side, Ti was still unsure if this was reality or dream. How could someone appear in the desert next to him without Ti having noticed him kilometers out?

“Hello,” Ti coughed, still baffled and unsure of his voice, which had gone unused for some weeks.

“May I ask you what you are looking for?” The gentle old man asked as he sat on the bleached white sand next to Ti. Corovan looked about, still unsure of his senses before focusing once more on the gentleman. He was a Sand Ryder; it was apparent in both his features and his apparel. Ti reminded himself that no one else could survive out here, though he had not guessed that they could be so stealthy.

“Looking for something? No, I’m just uhh, I guess I’m looking answers and I wanted to be alone.” Ti stammered.

“Hmm.” The old Sand Ryder nodded pensively as if considering something very sage. Then his face stretched into a smile. “I think I can help you.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t think so. This is something I need to find alone.” Ti said politely, though still somewhat baffled by the exchange.

“You will die if you stay here. No one but we Koreshi can live in this desert, and I have your answer. So there is no need to die in vain.” The man smiled again, satisfied he had made perfect sense. Ti began to object, but the Sand Ryder smiled again, though somewhat more compassionately, as an adult would to a child who had said something clever but didn’t realise it.

“The answer you seek is not in the question but in the questioning. You seek to be alone to ask if you are alone. The answer is obvious, of course you are, because you wish to be.”

“What?” Ti asked, dumbfounded. The Sand Ryder nodded.

“You are alone. You wanted to know if you are, the answer is yes. But that doesn’t matter. The real question is why are you alone, why do you feel empty, why do you resonate with a hollowness that has brought you here. It is sympathetic harmony. The desert resonates as you do, with emptiness.”

Ti had spent some time with religious men and woman, though his most recent experience was with some who had chosen vows of silence, but he was sure he had never spoken to a mystic, until now. Ti had come to this hostile place seeking answers. Apparently this man had some, and Ti wasn’t so arrogant he would not listen. They spoke for some, time and the Sand Ryder took him to his tent, which Ti was amazed to find was quite close. They spoke for days. Once Ti became more familiar with the idiosyncratic manner of speech of the Koreshi, as he called himself, it was like talking to an old friend, or a wise uncle. After three weeks of walking, talking, collecting dew and sitting out corrosive sand gusts, Ti brought the conversation round full circle.

“I guess I’ve spent so much time relying on myself and living within myself just to survive I came to believe that I was better alone.” Ti had been speaking much more than the Koreshi over the last few days, using him as a sounding board. His statements were often met with little more than a friendly nod or shake of the head until Ti forced the desert sage to make a deeply reflective statement.

“A great pillar in the desert bears no weight and so gives no strength. It is exposed to the sands that strip it bear until potential is nothing but more sand in the wind. You, Titan, are a pillar, and your strength is meaningless unless you support a structure. This is why you are lost, why you are empty. You feel alone for the most obvious reason, because you are alone. But whose choice is that but your own?”

“Then I have to go and be with people. Okay, I mean, you could have just told me that three weeks ago.” Ti said somewhat jokingly, he never resented the wisdom of his companion, even when he felt stupid for it.

“I did, Titan, but you could not hear. But now you do, and now you see as well. I know you’ve made up your mind and know what path to follow, so why do you still share my tent?” Once again, Ti realised there was little he could hide from the Koreshi.

“Come with me. I know you’re lonely. I can tell you’ve experienced great loss, like me. I know how we can make a difference. You’re the wisest person I’ve ever met. I could really use your help. I need your help and a lot of others do too.” Ti tried to plead with the Koreshi, but he knew it was in vain.

“Thank you, Titan. I have lost much, as you felt. But my duties and yours are in different worlds. It is time I bury my pain in these deserts and return to my people and serve my purpose.” Ti became very emotional, not only because the words of his mentor reflected Ti own purpose but because he felt he had shared something. In the process of understanding, they had both healed, and he knew he could repeat this with others, that he must repeat with others. Like the Koreshi, he would commit to his duty.

It was only a few days later, as he rode a caravan to KAD, that Ti wondered if the whole thing had been a dream, a mystical experience or a delusional one. Apart from his own survival, which seemed tangible enough, he had no proof that the experience had ever occurred. He hadn’t even known the name of his desert sage.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.