The Origins of Writing

The Sacred Sound

By Greg Stafford and Nils Weinander

When Korudel the Architect uttered his first sound it was Dhan, the Great Word. As it moved through the void other sounds came, and these made creation possible. Dhan then inspired Chaquandarath the Priest and Genderatha the Priestess. To honor Dhan, Genderatha made the first hymns, which are sacred sounds uttered to praise and give prayer. Chaquandarath made the first rituals, which honored Dhan through worship. Dhan then spoke the ritual speech and sang the hymns and the creation of the world was begun. When it was made Dhan gave birth to her son, Yedere, the Great Scribe.

In the time of High Gods everyone knew the sacred hymns and rituals as soon as Genderatha and Chaquandarath had uttered them. But not all gods were as wise. As time passed and the gods multiplied in the time of the Gods, there was an increasing number who did not know how to sing and act in worship. To spread wisdom, Yedere borrowed Korudel’s drafting tools and created the Yederjalif, the First Sacred Scripture and presented it to Govmeranen. The Yederjalif is also known as The Books of Honoring the Music. It is composed of five parts. The first two are the hymns and rituals of Genderatha and Chaquandarath. The third is a list of the sacred words of Korudel, and their uses and dangers. Fourth is Vith’s Words, commentary upon the first three, summary of Vith’s world order. Fifth is Oorduren’s Words, the essential teachings of mysticism.

After Seneb was destroyed in the time of the Demigods almost no mortals remained who could read or understand the Yederjalif. Instead people turned to the pernicious learning of the Taladii, the Cursed Scripture of the Antigods. Yedere then manifested as the sage Kadi who created a new script and wrote the Kadijalif, the Second Sacred Scripture. Kadi instructed the Sea Eagle Dynasty of Memb with the Kadijalif so that they could save the last high priests and priestesses.

Now, in the time of Mortals, there are few who can read the Kadijalif and perhaps none who can read the Yederjalif.

Fenvalo’s Memory or How Writing was Invented

By Nils Weinander

Fenvalo was a student of Larn Hasamador, the Great Sage. He was a dedicated student, but his progress toward the goal of Nothing which Larn was teaching was slow, because Fenvalo had a weak memory. What his fellow students learned and remembered, Fenvalo had to hear over and over.

He was, however, a resourceful man and undaunted in his wish to learn Immotion, Fenvalo set out to learn the writing of the Yederjalif. If he could write down what the Great Sage had said immediately after it was said, he could review it the same night and the morning after, to aid his memory. So Fenvalo sought out the High Priests of Avoroma and studied the sacred writing. Learning to write is difficult, and the writing of the Yederjalif is the hardest of all scripts to learn. But Fenvalo prevailed, despite his weak memory and learned the sacred runes.

With his new knowledge, he returned to Larn Hasamador’s peaceful grove. But the runes of the Yederjalif are a vision of the Sacred Voice. When you read them or write them you see with the eyes of the High Gods and hear with the ears of the High Gods. Fenvalo found that what he wrote was pure and perfect, but the words were those of the Dhani, not those of the Great Sage.

Fenvalo was used to setbacks, this one was no worse than others. If the Yederjalif writing couldn’t help him, perhaps the script of the Kadijalif could. He travelled to Memb and learned the pictures and symbols from the disciples of Kadi.

Again, Fenvalo returned to Larn Hasamador’s grove and resumed his study of Immotion. The script of the Kadijalif is made for the description and explanation of holy words. This suited Fenvalo well, but the complex pictures and symbols of the script take a long time to draw and connect. Fenvalo found that he could not write them while listening to the Great Sage and when he tried to write after the lessons, the result was not good enough, because he had already started to forget.

Now Fenvalo did not know what to do, but he was determined to find a solution. He sat down to meditate under a pearl leaf tree and after eight days he saw a third way to record the words of the Great Sage. The next morning, Fenvalo listened intently to Larn Hasamador’s teaching. Instead of trying to write the words down with the Yederjalif runes or describe them with the Kadijalif symbols, he drew little pictures of things which sounded similar to the key words. For example, in the dialect which the Great Sage usually spoke, the word for mind is similar to the word for seagull, so whenever Larn Hasamador spoke of the mind, Fenvalo drew a flying bird. Not all words have homonyms of course, so Fenvalo had to develop his new way of writing. Several pictures together, with lines to connect them in certain ways, mimic the sounds of a sequence of words.

Now Fenvalo could write while listening and review the lessons each night. This support for his memory was what he needed to learn the secrets of Immotion. But he didn’t enter Nothing until he had taught others to write like he did. For that, the king of Maloto rewarded him by building a great monastery to house the sage and his library. But not all followers of Larn Hasamador approved of the monastery and the books. They said that Nothing cannot be captured in words and cannot be found within stone walls. They became the Wandering Motionless Monks who may not build houses or write anything down while Fenvalo’s followers became the Sitting Motionless Monks.

In later times, the Fenvalic writing has been used for puzzle games as well: the rebus.

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