Before we dive in again I should warn you that there always are two sides to every tale, and Pat can be quite the expert in misdirection as his clues can usually be read in two ways, if you really want them to be: one that is more patently obvious to the general readership, and one that is far less so. There is an old crossword saying that states ‘I do not need to always say what I mean, just as long as I always mean what I say.’ which is a bit technical but basically means that at the heart of it all, its just a question of translation, which is a sentiment that Elodin can relate to. Being a right clever bastard means that Pat can have all sorts of fun with the quirks of language and it’s up to you to interpret things correctly if you wish to better understand his little game. Now the chances of information being wrongly interpreted in a two horse race are 50/50 however the popular Pat vote will usually swing the odds on one answer into dominant play with for example 99 % of people thinking the most obvious way, and only 1% thinking otherwise. More and more often these days I stand with the 1%. But being outnumbered doesn’t always make you wrong, sometimes it is what marks you out as being smarter than the average bear. For all of these interpretations to fit together will require some of the more ‘unlikely’ versions of certain quotes meanings to come together for what will be a pretty long odds accumulator, but I was born lucky and feel pretty confident that my version of events will stand up straight at the end, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the start. A situation which does not happen if just the favourite interpretations come in.
Where & When?
The answers to the questions Where and When the moon was actuallly stolen can be summed up by the same answer. The Creation War. This fact isn’t explicitly stated in mortal history, neither by Skarpi nor by the Adem for that matter, and yet it is undeniably true when we ask these same questions of the fae. This gives us three different peoples histories to consider and, as before, we really ought to consider them all as all being considered true if we are going to find an answer that fits all three. All stories are one story after all.
Hespe and Felurian both give us stories about the moon’s plight chock full of clues that bring us right up to the the night when she was stolen, but precious little about what happened next? Felurian does at least mention a war.
‘that was the end of it all. until he stole the moon there was some hope for peace.’
‘…he stole the moon and with it came the war.’
‘and with it came the war’ is an odd sort of line, almost as if the two were inexorably linked, and I suspect that this is a refence to the theft of the moon also creating the pathways between worlds (which we know she has influence over) for the very first time and so made a faen/mortal war possible. Of course you would think that the stealing of someone elses moon would certainly justify reasonable grounds for the injured party to wage such a moon war against the shaper thief in order to win her back again, naturally, and you would have to assume that her recovery was always the number one war objective for the namer powers of Ergen to aspire towards. But as far as we know, that scenario never actually happened.
Before her theft we also know that she used to be always round and full in the mortal skies, both of our ladies stories agree on that point, but nowernights she shares her time equally across the two realms meaning that the half of her which was initially stolen has never, ever been successfully won back again. This war was fought solely on mortal soil as far as we know but all the wars in all the world haven’t altered her fate one jot which seems to imply that the theft was an irreversible act and that winning the war ultimately changed nothing. But on the flip side, this line of thinking will also mean that neither has their enemy Iax ever managed to successfully steal her other half away, too… obviously… perhaps… we shall see.
‘Once there had been hundreds of proud cities scattered through the empire.
Retaliation would be another standard reason for fighting a war, fighting back against a sudden and unexpected invasion from the newly minted faen realm. That thought might explain how the enemy forces made all of their early war gains against ‘hundreds’ of Ergen’s ancient cities, enemy forces suddenly appearing through greystone portals and catching the empire in surprise attacks, perhaps, like we are told they very nearly did at Belen! But the tides of war pull both ways we are told that after many long years the two sides eventually reached the situation where the eight remaining cities of Ergen had managed to stabilise their losses. Through unity they had then managed to actually push the enemy back enough into a position where the could force them into a fight-off at the most decisive battle of this large and terrible war at the Blak of Drossen Tor. This battle was regarded by Skarpi’s history as being The major turning point in this long and terrible war and this was the point where, largely thanks to Lanre, the Ergen empire emerged victorious and the Faen enemy were defeated. Now, you would think that winning the decisive battle should have been a winner takes all situation and put an end to the moon war but even Lanre’s stunning victory against the swallowing darkness didn’t bring their full moon back home to mortal again, or did it?
‘They fought unceasingly for three days by the light of the sun, and for three nights unceasing by the light of the moon. Neither side could defeat the other and both were unwilling to retreat’
Now according to this line, the moon was still shining away in the mortal sky, and down below we have the big battle where everyone was fighting for her fullness with neither side prepared to accept any half measures regarding the outcome. Was this report really of a full moon though? and how did the moon come to be still in mortal if, as we are told, she had already been stolen by Iax? The most obvious though is that this battle must have coincided with one her ‘full moon in mortal’ phases, which is also a night when we know that the fae could cross between realms most easily, attempting to steal the rest of her away no doubt. Whilst everyone knows that one night is not three nights we also realise that a Terran full moon looks virtually the same for three nights running and with twice the synodic period to roll through Ludis has an even finer scale of phases.
Perhaps a more unlikely answer might be that the moon theft was never actually achieved by Iax in a single night, as most people might assume, but rather that this theft lasted for as long as the entire creation war did. He might have been ‘pulling’ at the moon for years uncounted, and it was only when he was made to stop his pulling that her fate was actually sealed. That would mean that if Iax had won this ‘final battle’ then he would have won the whole moon war outrright and pulled her completely over into the faen skies, but the enemy didn’t win at the Drossen Tor, did he, which means that he lost, his pulling powers were bought to an end and so the unceasing moonlight which was seen in mortal skies during the battle remained unstolen after it.
This moon war, (for that is what is truly was) was also always going to feature a heavy dollop of revenge since even the half stealing of a moon is an act that could never be forgiven or forgotten by the suddenly moonless victims of Ergen. The leader of the Erganites, most powerful namer, guardian of the empire and therefore Iax’s direct opponent in the moonwar was wise lord Selitos, someone whom we know from Skarpi#2 is exactly the type to hold very long grudges against all people who wrong him. This trait of his also tells us that when Selitos lists for us the three names that were equal in power to himself, the name of Iax was the one which he must have considered to be his greatest enemy.
However, at the point in the war when we gain that important piece of knowledge, Ergen’s enemy Iax, had been long defeated and banished beyond the doors of stone to a place where he could do no more harm, supposedly, and so it seems that wise lord Selitos was now guilty of letting his guard down, a slip which ultimately led to the fall of his own empire. Selitos blaming Iax alone for his attempted moontheft was perhaps a bit short sighted of him since it appears that whilst the moon was Iax desire, there was an even darker hand at work behind the curtain with a desire of it’s own who now had another piece to play, something that was only revealed to Selitos after it was too late. He saw the Cthaeh’s hand when his eyes were unveiled and he used the power of his sight to look deep within Lanre and discovered that Haliax had also gone and spoken to the Cthaeh. Which brings us on to Bast.
‘Iax spoke to the Cthaeh before he stole the moon, and that sparked the entire creation war. Lanre spoke to the cthaeh before he orchestrated the betrayal of Myr Tariniel. The creation of the Nameless. The Scaendyne. They can all be traced back to the Cthaeh.’
Now, the thing about Bast’s Cthaeh knowledge is that given his age we know that this list of events has been an accumulation of history lessons learnt, and not personally experienced (although who might have taught him anything at all about the Cthaeh in the first place is yet another mystery.) This might seem a trivial point but if Bast had indeed listened to his history teacher then it could well explain the explicit ordering of these events as he calls them, an order which is almost certainly going to turn out to be a potted history of the Cthaeh given in true chronological time, as any good history lesson should be.
Breaking Bast’s quote down into seven seperate stepping stones gives the whole sentence a cause and effect appearance.
First Cthaeh spoke to Iax. Second Iax stole the moon. Third came the war. Fourth the Cthaeh spoke to Lanre. Fifth came the fall of Myr Tariniel and by default the fall of the entire ergen empire. This is an ordering of events which I’m sure is all quite obvious and acceptable to everyone reading as being chronological. Now whilst this Bast’s quote does indeed mention the moon theft, that is not the main point he is trying to explain. His entire outburst is all about the Cthaeh and the catastrophic chain of events that it has instigated and so it must be said that the theft of the moon (step#2) was therefore only a single stepping stone leading towards the cthaeh’s own preferred vision of a darker future coming to pass. Maybe the fall of Ergen was just another stone (step#5) towards even darker deeds, and so following this pattern of events further should allow us to predict some future Cthaeh inspired events into a time beyond Skarpi#1 and we can then safely assume that it was only at a date after fall of MyrT that steps #6&7 occurred, the creation of the Nameless and the Scaendyne,but they are a story for another day
If we look carefully we can also spot stepping stones #3 hidden among the Adem memories, and this is where the moons supposed timeline really begins to unravel.
‘Since not by strength could the enemy win, he moved like a worm in fruit.’
This line is actually an oblique reference to Iax and Lanre as they are the two actors in the real enemy Cthaeh’s masterplan as told by Bast. Acting on the Cthaeh’s advice Iax was responsible for the attempt to win the war by strength, but that plan was defeated at the Drossen Tor. A more successful outcome was achieved by stealt and what the Cthaeh then said to Lanre who should then be though of as the fruit in question to the Cthaeh’s worm. Sheyehn’s story then proceeds to tell us more about about how exactly this worm moved and in doing so it talks about the fall of the seven cities, which splices the Adem story in neatly with Skarpi’s story. But then comes the end of Skarpi #1 with the fall of empire and the grief of Selitos leaving only this old Adem memory to give us our hint towards exactly what happened next, a clue which is repeated for extra emphesis.
‘The empire has fallen, and since that time the land has broken and the sky changed.’
‘(this information) …has been carried through the crumbling of empire, through the broken land and changing sky.’
When the Adem talk about the changing sky, they must of course be talking about changes to the moon, this being the only plausible sky reference imaginable. The timescale of Temerant hidden behind these lines dictate that this was the actual date when her fate was finally settled and therefore the When for which we are searching. That the moon was technically stolen not before the war and not during the war, but only after the war was over was her fate finally sealed. It is that lovely word since here which cannot be denied as it twice tells us catagorically that the empire had to fall before the sky could be officially classed as changed.
One theory that could explain this discrepency with Bast’s opinions is that the moon might possibly have been stolen on three seperate occasions. Originally by Iax which sparked the war. Then she was stolen back by Ergen again through victory at DT, but her third and final theft coincided with the fall of empire and this last time is the one that the Adem recall. But to the victors go the spoils and when we consider our history lessons we know that both Iax’s Faen shapers and Selitos Ergen namers have now officially been defeated in the creation war which means that at the end of stepping stone #5, the moon still belongs to neither realm and to neither Iax nor Selitos. By default then her fate really should now be in the hands of Lanre instead who has during his lifetime managed to defeat the powers of Iax and Selitos both!
Now that is quite a big tinfoil revelation that many will find hard to accept and so I will deal with that line of thought elsewhere on another day but there is some written evidence of a power link existing between Haliax and the moon which comes from the scenario which has been immortalised for us on the Mauthern Pot. Haliax standing at the epicentre of all the different phases of the moon. As above, so below.
Before I finish we should add Trapis tale to the story for good measure. Now this shouldn;t take long because Trapis does not mention the word moon in his entire tale, almost as if she wasn’t there…. raising the possibility that perhaps she wasn’t! He may be guilty of suggesting this absence through implication. Just like Pat does in chapter 58, and without any proof we cannot say for sure what the moon was currently doing at this time. One possible hint comes with the forging of the iron wheel, a deed which took all of the night and ended with the very first ray of dawn. Now this was famously a black wheel, one whose name was terrible and that is the colour of a moonless might, which might well suggest that there wasn’t a single drop of moonlight in Tehlu’s whole creation, and yet one ray of sunlight was allowed into the darkness which suggest that adding this one drop of anylight was a very deliberate action indeed, lighting a single candle in the darkness. Sometimes saying nothing means there was simply nothing to see.