Monday, April 10, 2017

Souldancer: Prologue

In the eternal realm of Kairos, Gen hero Almeth Elocine has been spurred to action, to intervene in history to mend its wrong course. He is confronted by an old friend, Cleolin, who stabs him when Almeth will not relent from his course. For his treachery, Kairos removes Cleolin, while Almeth falls down and waits...

Almeth Elocine is mentioned twice in Nethereal. The first time, Jaren namedrops him when mentioning how strange it was to talk to Sulaiman, a priest of Midras and an adherent of a religion purged by the Guild. Since Almeth is Gen and the Gen were also purged, perhaps Midras-worship is a Gennish religion. The second time is during the gossip accompanying the Exodus's return from Hell, where rumors of Almeth Elocine's return spread. I suspect that a "king under the mountain" myth might surround Almeth, similar to how the twin stories of King Arthur and Francis Drake will return in England's time of direst need. But the Gen genocide and Cleolin stabbing him are arguments against that particular myth. What is certain is that Almeth Elocine will return to the Soul Cycle again.

Kairos as a name for an eternal realm is also a poignant choice. One of the two words ancient Greeks used for time, it is used for a multitude of meanings depending on context. These include "a period or season, a moment of indeterminate time in which an event of significance happens," and "a propitious moment for decision or action." In this latter sense, kairos has many of the same connotations as the idea of schwerpunkt. However, the term also has history in science fiction and fantasy as the name for the series of books by Madelene L'Engle that include A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.  She would describe kairos as:
Real time, God’s time. That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time. In kairos, we are completely unselfconscious, and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we’re constantly checking our watches for chronological time. The saint in contemplation, lost to self in the mind of God is in kairos. The artist at work is in kairos. The child at play, totally thrown outside herself in the game, be it building a sand castle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos. In kairos we become what we are called to be as human beings, co-creators with God, touching on the wonder of creation. This calling should not be limited to artists, or saints, but it is a fearful calling.
And the books of her Kairos cycle all deal with the events of a time apart from time and how those affect chronological time. Likewise, the stabbing of Almeth is likely to have chronological ripples, although what those might be have yet to be seen.

May Brian forgive me, as I know that the Wheel of Time is not quite so beloved in Puppydom as it once was, but this prologue reminded me of the prologue of The Eye of the World, with the same sense of betrayal, broken friendship, and sorrow that introduced Lews Therin Telamon in that story.

(I know I started late, and started slow, but who doesn't love a challenge?)

1 comment:

  1. No apology necessary, sir. I still love the Eye of the World prologue. Thank you!