What Happened Next?
”But how’d they find him?’ the boy interrupted.
“And why din’t they kill him when they had the chance?”
These are excellent questions from young Aaron, and are worthy of their place on the opening page. We never actually get to hear Old Cob’s answers, but having made a study of such things I can confidently suggest that the answers will most likely be ‘By using Naming powers’ and ‘Because he cannot die.’ but explaining the full working behind these theories is already proving to be a long and intricate work in progress.
Both of Aaron’s questions refer specifically to a famous story about the life and times of Taborlin the Great, and if you have read some of my earlier ramblings then you should know by now that TTG is just one of many names that have been given to the ‘eternal man’ who was originally named Lanre by his mother. At various times during his life he has appeared under a variety of different names, but for the past 5000 years his outward appearance has always been hidden under a cloak of shadows, thanks to the Curse of Lord Selitos. This unique apparrel of his is the reason why we can always spot him whenever he makes an appearance across these pages of history, no matter what name they happen to be calling him by today.
But to constantly keep updating these brief notes with all of these assorted name changes will soon become very confusing and annoying for the reader to follow along with any clarity. That is a distraction that we can well do without, to constantly have to keep mentally juggling of all these calling names, not to mention all my own constant typing of all of these small names, and all just to write down one mans story and to get one basic point across.
The method I have (eventually) dedided upon using is simply to give Lanre yet another title to wear, an unofficial one as it were, and to use that as his default setting across these pages. So during this chapter ‘he’ will now be labelled simply as AOD which stands for Agent of Darkness (no matter which side of the line he is currently standing on!) Be he Lanre, Haliax, Alaxel, Tarsus, Taborlin The Great, ‘Something the shadow hamed’ or Lord Haliax… you can mentally insert which is the appropriate tag as we go, if you wish, but always remember that no matter which calling name applies to AOD at any given moment is all really immaterial since we will always be referring to the exact same original underneath, and always will do as far as AOD is concerned, since death is like an open door to him.
‘All lives end in death, excepting one.
That’s him! right there. Tehlu said that and he was talking about our old friend AOD. His first death was at Drossen Tor, until Lyra called him back, and that’s where all of his troubles began. A bit later he killed himself in despair, but death will not take him and so he was forced to return again. Some stories claim he has searched the land of the dead for Lyra, but obviously came back again after. Lord Selitos, the most powerful namer in the world, said that he could kill him, but only for an hour…. or a day. Encanis then took over posession of AOD, using him as an eternal return ticket in order to become immortal himself, which worked for him right up until Lord Tehlu caught and killed them both with his hammer. But of course this was also just another temporary death that only lasted for that self-same time span of a single day which Selitos spoke of earlier (Why one day? IDK…yet, But I just know that answer’s going to turn out to be a moon thing!) Tehlu knew exactly who he was dealing with here, the one man in the world who is the exception to death’s dominion. He knew what was coming next and sure enough, right on time, AOD returned once more, ‘pulled like iron to a loden stone.’ and still wearing his famous cloak. During this reincarnation process he was also dragging his parasite Encanis back to life along with him, but Tehlu was ready for them and this time and so when they awoke it was to find themselves bound to Tehlu’s Iron Wheel of Truth.
This was when AOD finally broke free from the bindings that held him, repented his wickedness and crossed over to Tehlu’s side of the line, but whether this time spent bursting out of the fiery pits of Atursus also counts as being killed again or not I couldn’t say. However one thing that we can be sure of is that once he was exorcised from his demon and was standing back on solid ground again, he would definitly be his own man with his destiny in his own hands once more. But being finally rid of Encanis grip hasn’t altered what AOD still represents, ie the eternal man. The four doors of the mind are, and will always be, wide open to him. That fact will never change.
On top of all this he still has to wear his damned shadow cloak all the time which would make any attempt at integration with society ‘awkward’ to say the least. Despite the fact that he has repented all of his past wickedness to the satisfaction of Lord Tehlu himself, that news apparently hasn’t swayed Lord Selitos one-eye enough to relent in his feelings towards him or to make him lift his famous curse which means that the shadows hame is still his to bear ‘until the world ends and the Aleu fall nameless from the sky.’
The appearance of a mysterious terrifying shadowy man shaped form walking about the world has probably given rise to all of the folk stories about Drauger, and maybe Shamblemen that have sprung up across the four corners ever since. This cloak doesn’t give him a chance of anything like a life and Since AOD still knows that he cannot die, and given that life still holds no joy to him we can suppose that the future will weigh as heavy upon his shoulders as the past. So despite him taking this huge step on his path to salvation he finds himself once more at a crossroads in his life. The last time he stood here he decided to go and seek knowledge where knowledge is best left alone and having just arrived back from the unfortunate consequences of that particular life choice he must once again ask himself the question ‘What am I going to do with my ‘life’ ?’
1 AE (After Encanis)
Being the first day of a new era then this is a question which all the good folk of Temerant should be asking themselves. The common folk will, of course, continue to make the best of their lot and do what they have always done, try to survive as best you can. There might be some help for them from the new established church since before he left, Tehlu appointed priests to care for people as they started along this new path which they all have chosen. They will doubtless rise as high or as low as their talents allow and the highest ranked among them will likely be those who actually recalled Tehlu and the fall of Ergen. These bloodlines run strong, a touch of fae in them perhaps, and this select group will later become known to us as the Ruach. Their cities may have fallen but with their enemies now vanquished, the empire can be rebuilt again to their desire. The noble houses of Modeg and Vint would have their first roots established today and from this day onwards they will climb their long way up to reach the sort of power levels that they enjoy today. The site of the burning pit of Atur will soon give rise to the capitol of the new church of Tehlu, and we will also see the beginning of the Aturan empire and all that it entailed… and somewhere out in the world, possibly sitting barefoot in a cave somewhere, Selitos One-Eye is probably thinking about AOD.
The question What do I do next? will also apply to Old Lord One-eye as he sees the four corners of the world around him descend into civilization. He understands all about the need for strong leadership and would surely see himself as the natural candidate to lead all of these assorted Ruach back to their former glory once more, with peace and love and fraternity for all. All except for the6 of them who refused to cross Tehlu’s line, that is.
Now The6 undoubtedly had their own wicked reasons to abstain from Tehlu’s mercy and take the cursed path instead. That part is now over though and with the start of the new age and the departure of Lord Tehlu they doubtless have some future plans of their own to implement which means there is still going to be wickedness abroad in the land for all of the good folk to fear and contend with.
Old One-Eye also knows the history of The6 and being a see-er he could easily foresee that if they were thought wicked before, in the future they will become even worse. He also still holds a grudge against them for their earlier betrayals which all told would make wise Lord One-Eye the natural choice to be the man to come up with a plan to eradicate them once and for all.
Now, by denying Tehlu permission to rename them The6 have retained their old names which will make them fundamentally different from all of those who did step forward and got themselves renamed. This means that The6 still posess names of power, old names from the days of Ergen which we know contain some power because we are told that even speaking such names aloud is enough to summon their special attention. Names are Important.Retaining their plenary power was likely the only reason why they chose to walk on their side of the road. Clearly they decided they preferred not to give up any of their original names in order to retain their former powers. If this is so then it will imply that any other Namers who have crossed over must have perforce ceded up to Tehlu their own naming powers during his anti-wickedness program! I’ll work on that a bit more later but for now, only these six names of Ergen now remain and a list of these six old names and the appropriate signs is remembered by the Adem in case it ever comes in handy one day.
Selitos would have known all about them too, since he was once their overlord back in Ergen, and he thinks enough of them to have included them in his curse of AOD when he stated
‘This is my doom upon you and all who follow you. May it last until the world ends and the Aleu fall nameless from the sky.”
Now whilst all roads end in death some roads are clearly longer than others. At this moment in time The6 are not strictly followers of AOD but for all that they should be considered almost as unkillable and neither are they likely to just grow old and die any time soon. The6 might not be considered immortal in the same league as as AOD is since they now stand on opposite sides of the line but somehow their fate is going to be forever tied to that of AOD and that thorny problem for the future was created by Selitos own hand.
We are told of these rhinta that ‘such things are not easily killed.’ which implies that it can be done, although quite how Sheyhyn knows this to be so is beyond me. The Cthaeh is fascinated at the very thought of Kvothe doing exactly this but it doesn’t declare it to be an impossible task either. Anything is possible, given enough time, and so I think it is safe to say that whilst breaking one of Lord Haliax’s tools might be technically possible, it just hasn’t happened yet. We can say this with some certainty since all of the classic chandrian names on our list are still all known to be abroad in the world today, showing off their signs and then doing their terrible things.
Millennia have also passed for them in the company of their Lord who talks of having had a long relationship with Cinder. After all this time, these original 7 are still abroad and are still rightly feared by all walks of life. Fearsome opponents that even the powerful fae Bast knows he couldn’t survive a fight against, they also seem to feel no physical pain as we witness one of them take an arrow in the leg which doesn’t inconvenience him at all. They have a reputation for being deadly killers who leave a trail of corpses in their wake. Years of experience have only honed their skills and Cinder wields his sword quite impressively so having an impressive Ketan would be necessary to survive against one. So if the plan was to hunt them down and bring them back ‘Dead or Alive’ then who in all the four corners would be considered the best man to bring them all to Justice?