by Grant Smuts

Drawing closer to the end of the second book – I think it’s time to do a bit of world-building again.

Light and Silence

Lectures on Grace,
Gerold Black, ca 967 YoA

Light and silence. It is this dualism that guides the blades of Audren’s holy warriors. To understand its meaning, one must understand what it opposes. Magic is the power that allows man’s knowledge of primeval chaos to manifest, with which they might step into the realm of godly power. To perceive that power, they gaze into the heart of chaos itself.

The spectrum of perception of this chaos is as varied as the races of Amarith, but all perceive it first as a roar – distant at first, and almost peaceful like the ocean… But as one draws closer to the abyss, it becomes clear that there is no peace to be found – the roar is of a thousand voices.

Still others perceive chaos as the sea, a roiling mess of colour. Yet the colour is but a cocoon for the dark formlessness of raw potential, that which mages draw from the abyss through the circular gateway to the realm of forms.

To dispel magic, the Light is given, first to illuminate what is simply potential, which then vanishes in the midst of its gestation, and silence, which cuts off the roar and with it, the siren’s call of magic. Some mages, aware of its advantages over them refer to the knight as mage-killers, and the Grace of Audren as anti-magic, a sentiment that betrays their insecurity, for the knights only ever wield their power against those who betray their Academies or do harm to common-folk. The attempts to levy sanctions against the Order is acknowledged as a thinly veiled attempt to curtail their influence throughout the continent.

Light and Silence was originally not used against mages – its effectiveness against them was discovered mostly by accident, when the first Hierophant of the Order, a former battlemage herself, realized that she could not use her magic in tandem with the Grace of Audren, noticing that it deadened magic within her. Rather, the power of the Grace was primarily used against the monsters and devils spawned from the Wilding Wall, its god-blessed light more effective than the old bogatyr traditions of silver weapons or salt. Against monsters, Audren’s Grace is particularly effective, causing them greater pain and inflicting wounds that circumvent the powerful healing abilities of creatures formed of pure chaos. It is assumed that the use of Light and Silence – the Grace of Audren – is the assertion of order and stability over the formless abyss of nightmares.

This argument holds when one considers the source of the ability – Dumah, the god of order, who blessed Audren and gave him the ability to stand against the Impossible Beast Rykisedek. By piercing the nightmare wall and standing against him, Audren asserted both the strength of men and the will of the gods of this world, who would not allow the chaos of the abyss to overwhelm Amarith. When Rykisedek was defeated by Audren, his beloved Yearne implored the god’s power to re-establish peace in the world and safeguard the free people from the beasts that still walked among them.

In response, the god commanded that a tower should be built, to serve as a monument to Audren for his sacrifice and a place of training for those who wished to follow his example. Dumah blessed the foundation stones, which would alight and infuse the souls of those who took the oath within the bounds of its walls. And so the Tower of Dedication arose, a beacon of light in a world darkened with fear; and those who wished to save themselves and others turned to Valharrow, where once their greatest nightmare resided, where now a dream of freedom and peace was forged with the power of Light and Silence.

Tower of Dedication, seat of the Order of Saint Audren