[XXIX. 344.88] “On the Properties of the Elements: How far can someone see on the ocean?” by Clement Longhair of the Nochet Lhankor Mhy temple
As is well known Light, like Fire, is a manifestation of Aether and thus properly belongs in the Sky World. The elements always seeks their own proper level in the bubble that is Glorantha, thus light tends to curve upward slightly as it flits along at a great pace. This is why you see the top of a mast as a ship approaches, then the sails, then the body. Some crude drawings may make this more clear:
At this stage the light from the mast barely skims the waters, making the top visible, but the path that light from the sails would have to take intersects the ocean’s surface and is absorbed by the hungry waters. A little thought reveals this to be the true explanation for the ‘horizon’ of seafarers and for why the tops of objects are seen first as a distant object approaches. Note also that an observer higher up may see farther, thus we have lookouts atop the masts of ships and observation towers (this phenomenon is seen on land as well but is less obvious.)
As for the so-called arguments of the deranged Columbus Mercator, these rest on the principle that light travels in straight lines. Obviously this must be false, as we know that Light is but the subtle form of Fire, which, seeking its proper level, tends to rise. Thus it is insupportable that light should not curve upward in it path.
Objections of the Ignorant:
1. That Light descends from the Sun and Stars, invalidating my Claims.
I answer this as follows: beyond the Sky Dome is a Shining World. Of the Shining World’s great Light, but a small Fraction descends to us along the paths pioneered by mighty Yelm and his lesser descendants and followers. The Will of these divine Beings is to send light to the mortal world, hence the light descends, against its Nature. However, it always yearns to return unto its true Home.
2. That El-Metal (Gold) falls Down toward the Earth with great Force, against the Tenets of my Theory.
I answer this as follows: Yelm’s metal indeed falls down with great Force, but in the oldest records this is not so. In Godtime, before the Darkness, it was the Lightest of Metals and would even Leap and Dance about, from the Yearning of the Fire Within to return to the Sky World. See [list of references deleted for brevity], and lastly “The Sun Wheel Dancers” by Hector the Wise of Sun County for a compilation of the works of the Ancient Authors I have cited.
Only after the Sunslaying (familiar to all who love the Lightbringer Saga) did Gold become heavy and lifeless, seeking to join the Celestial Emperor in the Underworld. Thus through the actions of Great Orlanth did Gold become the heaviest of Metals.
[XXIX. 334.89] I, Columbus Mercator shall not of course need to resort to rank insults to prove my argument, unlike my unworthy colleague Clement Longhair, whose beard (I am reliably informed) is held on with paste. I refer Clement to my notes in Vol. XXIX of the Nochet Collectanea, which demonstrateth that the true shape of the Earth Rune is not in fact a square or cube, but a SPHERE!
In order to prove this I plan a great journey of circumnavigation around the world. Once I find an agreeable captain, the boat shall set sail from Nochet and travel east, only to appear at some indeterminate time in the west. Many sailors fear that they would sail off the edge of the world, despite my assurances. But when the ship undoubtedly appears again on the western horizon, its mast will be seen first, not because light “bends” as Clement Longhair would have it, but because the world is round, not flat!
[XXIX. 334.89.supplemental] Carpocrates the Orthodox, Sage of Truth: You, Mercator, are mad. Stark, staring mad. What will have happened, if your ill-conceived expedition does indeed return as you expect, is this:
As your captain (hopefully accompanied by your good self) sails beyond the Eastern Empire of Vithela, he will be caught up in the great encircling current of Sramak’s River and swept around the far North of the world (where the River flows beyond Valind’s Ice Palace) to reenter it along the Banthe Current. Thus he will have sailed off the Eastern edge of the world, around it widdershins to the North, and reentered from the Western edge. If his crew have successfully fended off the offended Altinae, Hollri, and other denizens of the Northern Edge of the Outer World, that is.
Alternatively, you could set your course along the Sky River, sailing up through Heaven itself to descend by the far side of the Sky Dome. Though in view of your heresies against True Light, I fear your course would be rudely interrupted by Star Captains incensed at your blasphemous rantings.
Light clearly “bends”, tending towards its heavenly home. Rays of Light are akin to arrows or javelins. And the path of an arrow or javelin plainly curves downwards — down and not up because the arrow is of a gross material substance and not of celestial light. An arrow enhanced by Speedart tends more nearly to the horizontal — that is, adopting a flat path (I make this clarification because you, Columbus, would presumably assume the horizontal path to be curved!) — as it is charged with more Light energies.
Even Dormal only sailed as far as Luathela. Your hypothetical captain would undertake a voyage many times as lengthy, and for what reward? Your own Academic renown? Your madness has taken you beyond the bounds of reason. I weep for a fellow sage sunk so low, and cannot help wonder what Sin against Knowledge brought the Brain Flayers to your cranium. Yet all the same, I wish you luck in finding a captain mad enough to take you and your fervid scribblings beyond the Eastern Edge of the World, never to return. With any luck, you could be departed before the Matriarch’s Guard unman you for heresies against Our Broad-Bosomed Mother of the Four Corners.
[XXIX. 334.90] Urrr… All this arguing about the “true shape of the world” sounds like God Learner talk to me. Who are these Mercator and Longhair guys? Do we know that they’re reliable. Maybe we ought to subject them to a few divine Ordeals to test their spiritual purity. I suggest a dunking chair to be followed by branding. Then they should be tossed into the air, encased in lead after they land, and finally buried. This will test them against all of the basic elements. I leave it to my Humakti colleagues to suggest how the other basic Universal traits should be tested upon them. Anbjorn Ragnarsson, Storm Voice of Orlanth
[XXIX. 334.91] Anbjorn Ragnarsson, Storm Voice of Orlanth is unfortunately confusing the defense of orthodoxy with propagation of heresy. If he would like to debate this matter further, I can give him the number of Mercartor’s room in the temple (being sworn to the God of Truth, I could scarcely deny him this interesting factual snippet). Clement Longhair.
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