With these words that I inscribe upon paper, in the inks of the Prophets of the Four Gods, I begin a book that may one day find a place within the pages of the Holy Books of the Kae’Rim. Though our home may be long gone and the sands of the deserts far behind us, though our people may no longer exist, it is my duty to write the words as the Prophets once did. This tale may not be true, but it is true enough to instruct those who come after me, and that sort of truth is enough to guide any soul.
Before the Four Gods, I must confess that the oaths of my people have been transgressed. But as was said in the book of Ul-Brana, man may doubt, but only the gods may judge their souls. It was with human madness that I struck a Mhordak, and it is with human piety that I confess that to all who follow these words. In these actions I did judge this being, and I did break the holiest of tenants of the Kae’Rim, that one shall harm no living creature. Though my blade was dull, the creature did fall and die at the hands of those seeking to defend the Outpost of the Wolves. My actions were made in human folly, and for those, I hope to atone.
As Mha’ker did argue with Al-Nulpun when he gave us the laws, so do I intend to consider these thoughts. Should this drive me away from the truth, then atonement shall never come and I shall remain away from the guidance of those who protect the Kae’Rim. I pray for a sign that I am wrong, and that the grace of the Four Gods resides in this distant land, that I may once again know the stars in the skies and know that the minds of the Prophets guide me.
It is written in the Book of the Laws that no living creature may be of evil pure, that all judgment that man may give is absolute or true, and that only the gods may know what evils lay within the hearts of those who choose to follow those paths. We were ordered to destroy only the khaltam, those who walk forth from the shadows of death and mock the embrace of Ul-Weitwe, and that all other life is sacred. These things are known, and they are truth.
But what truth may be found in new lands? What signs lay before us to discover? The poets of the sky are not of my people; they are those of a different folk, the Yl-vhen, wolves of this new home. What guidance may the Kae’Rim draw from these poets, who sing of battle, honor, and the evils of the Mhordak?
Though I feel no doubt that the Four Gods reside here, in the glories of this nature and the land where water runs freely, I question why I am here. The calling to this land was sudden, and came only when the prophecies told us that our people must look away from our home and seek the Light of the West, so that we might find the Ever-Changing Eye. These words meant little to me when I left with my dhara, but in time, I feel these signs will become clear.
I know not if my people survive. We have always walked the deserts, taken the paths that the dwellers of cities shun, and exterminated the corpse-breath of the land. It is our duty, and duty may never be eschewed. If we are the last, then we shall write one final book of these events, to stand with the others. Our guiding words were lost in flesh, but not in the heart, and it is there that they truly matter.
Through all this doubt, I find the question of the Mhordak appear as a wind in the desert; relentless, wearing, eroding all that stands in its path. What are these creatures? Why do they hate all things? Are they as unnatural as the khaltam? A sign is needed, and a sign I shall seek.
With words of anger, I promised a good man that I would make him the poison that steals the strength of any creature. With words of rage, I did cry for their blood. With a mind of hate, I struck another being. In calmer times, in rational times, these words would be forgotten easily, forgiven as the folly of a mortal, full of doubt and restlessness. But in this time, where all is new and little can be understood, I must consider them.
In the coming days, I will ruminate upon these words, and seek the signs of the Mhordak. If the Four themselves grant me wisdom to see through the illusions of the world, then I shall arrive at truth. Not the truth of a story, fragile and weak, but the truth of certainty. I have seen some of these signs; the words I copied at the time of the wolf’s closing jaws were of an evil that no being should play a part in, inscribed on the bones of a creature long-dead, a dishonor to its spirit and a corruption of its form. This speaks of an evil so pure that it may beg the flame of Ul-Brana, that this horror might be cleansed from the world.
As is written in the Great Book of Al-Khara, when he spoke of the rites of death and the role the Kae’Rim must play in them, “Dishonor not the bones, for they become the grains which rattle the dunes. Adorn them with symbols most pure and righteous, and watch them for signs of evil. Cleanse them with fire, and give them no chance to rise again. The soul lives in the bones, for without them, no creature may move.” This evil is beyond that of the Betrayers, the False-Led. To condemn a creature to such evil is beyond any rational thought.
Still, I remain uncertain. With these meditations, those who come after me may derive guidance. I have spotted the stars; now, I must chart them, and discover the meanings within. Ul-Weitwe supports me; Al-Nulpun nourishes me; Al-Khara surrounds me; Ul-Brana protects me. This I know, for the signs of the Four surround me in this land of plenty. Should a sign come, I shall be ready, and these words will be inscribed, so that I may not forget. May they someday join the rest of the Books, if only in the hearts of my people.
Though I am filled with doubt at my actions, one truth remains, and it is certain; a promise was made to the Iron-Handed Wolf. This promise, made in anger, still rings true after the rage has fled. Should the serpent come, so shall it be transformed into a dagger to plunge into the heart of evil.
So is written the first book by the hand of Aram as-Khani im-Brana-Weithe ór-Nalta Isaldi-nor-Eftim, son of the Kae’Rim.