Work in progress
This is another three part problem and it is most likely destined to end up in Tomes under the Naming section, and that is a rather big subject as Names are Important. I can see that it is going to be difficult stuff to absorb in just one sitting, El’the level stuff, and I don’t really know quite where it’s heading to just yet myself. However, I feel it is becoming necessary to at least attempt to nail some of these links down for reference before I go too much further into my faerie stories and so, after a few false starts I have decided to simply forge ahead with what I have so far and see what comes out the other end.
This is a study of the Iron Wheel of Atur and, like Auri’s Fulcrum, it is also destined to be solved by three seperate pieces.
The first piece is the Iron hammer used by Tehlu. It’s fate was to shatter.
The Second piece is Tehlu’s wheel. It’s fate was in fire.
The third pieces are the links of Tehlu’s chain which bound Encanis to the wheel. Their fate was also to shatter, also in fire, which makes them a very intersting double link indeed.
Iron, as we well know, is anathema to demons and this fact was a well known truth in Perial’s village long before her son Tehlu begun his metal work classes. Born from a union of God’s holy touch upon the Lady Perial, he began his life as Menda and he came into the world in order to learn exactly what it was like to be a human and to understand men better before judging and punishing the wickedness that he found. You might imagine that his destiny was to come and do some great deeds of good for the race of man, but that is not necessarily true. Menda grew up quickly but even the son of God might be turned to wickedness if that is his natural bent (Loki springs immediately to mind) and mankind has always had the capacity for wickedness to take root within him although thats a bit technical. Now all babes are born innocent and life choices shapes them as they grow up into adults but this capacity for wickedness is a major part of what makes one man different from another and it is the line that seperates man from the animals. (I mean, have you ever heard of a wicked horse? No! I thought not). Born in the body of a man, Menda would have the opportunity to experience these same life choices first hand for himself. This was Perial’s argument, that he needed to try it for himself before just punishing folk the same without any sort of trial. It is man’s nature to follow his own preferred path in life and to do this he must be allowed to ptactice free will, regardless of the outcome. In a parallel universe Menda could easily have turned out to be a wicked twin of himself and indeed there was a moment when instead of helping all of the wicked people he saw he thought about slaying them instead! However, this is not one of those stories and so under some more wise instruction from his loving mother he chose instead a more merciful and less tyranical approach and offered everyone the choice of being individually freed from their demons or not.
He proved his own non-demonic status to the villagers by passing the long established trial by iron challenge as he suffered the touch of the local blacksmith’s iron hammer head without suffering any ill-effects. After he had done this the very next thing that happened was his declaring of himself not to be Menda anymore but that he was from now to be known as Tehlu instead. Perhaps we can argue that it was during his own trial by iron that Menda actually made his own choice and that he changed his own name at that very dame instance to reflect this choice and that Menda became Tehlu by renaming himself tgere and then. His plan for the future of mankind was for it to become a species of a more positive virtue than before in order to create a balance with the dominant but more negatitve desires of the wicked.
The hammer in question that was used here was a heavy iron forge hammer, a tool fit for working iron and swinging at demons both. But apart from it being physically made of good striking iron, there was nothing overtly special about it, it was nothing like the hammer of Thor or anything like that, it wasn’t even Tehlu’s own hammer to begin with since he borrowed it and until he picked it up it was just another tool for a simple craftsman to use. But when Tehlu chose to wield this tool in anger it acted as an extension of his own mighty hands.
Three times this son of God struck the blacksmith, once, twice, thrice! and the third blow sent Rengen to his knees sobbing and crying out in pain. But then Tehlu put aside the iron hammer and embraced the smith and told him of his new secret name whereupon these same hammering yet healing hands took away much, but not all, of the pain which he had inflicted on him and this was to be the pattern that followed suitf or everyone. This pain that remained might well be thought of as being directly attributed to the iron that caused it although we are not talking about smashed teeth and broken bones here like the results of the physical attack that we witness Aaron dishing out at the Waystone Inn. The power that Tehlu wielded was nothing so crass as that but instead the pain was all done via the art of naming.
We are told of Aleph that without the need for any hammer his touch and his naming prowess could turn a ruach into an angel with all that that entails and so the practice of a God renaming folk through hands and speech alone is already established in the books for his son to follow on in the family tradition. It seems likely to me that the addition of iron to the equation was mainly because of its unique power to hurt and banish any hidden demons.
Now three is a lucky number and since this entire process was all part of a master-plan to rename everyone in the world we can likely assume here that each hammer blow will tally up nicely with the three pieces of his subjects three-part names.
‘That is my name. Vashet. The hammer. The clay. The spinning wheel.’ She pronounced her name three seperate ways, each with it’s own cadence. ‘I am that which shapes and sharpens or destroys.’
Vashet is called ‘the hammer’ among the Adem because this nick-name fits her perfectly when it comes to describing exactly what she is, a teacher who decides whether someone is good iron worth striking or not. Lord Tehlu is the teacher today and ‘that which shapes and sharpens or destroys’ is a pretty good description of what any hammer would be when used as a physical extension of the hands of this Master Artificer. God (as Aleph) was the first to discover the names of all things and so all things were his to command. Knowing the longname of iron was just one of his many powers but iron is the name which was best suited to the task of dealing with demons. Names are the true building blocks of life and the allegory of a physical hammer doing the dirty work of God is simply how mankind rationalised this story when in all actuality it was the Name of iron that was being used here to make omnipotent bindings between men and matter.
Of blood and iron.
The changing of longnames is a very dangerous thing to do and forcing of such a change upon another will be even more so. It would be reasonable to assume that since the blacksmith was used to handling iron daily and was not himself being possessed by a demon in disguise then most of the power used in this renaming process would have come from Tehlu himself and that the iron he was holding simply acted as a conduit for his own desire. He broke the undesirable parts of his subject’s old name away, shaped it to his new desire and what was left (now with added iron!) became Wereth, the forger of the path. A name that will both define him for what he is and possibly protect him from the any future demonic possessions.
This is all very complex supposition going on here but the print clearly states that Names have been changed and so ‘those who went before’ have been fundamentally altered into ‘those which are to be.’ With this universal change being made to all of the longnames of the entire population of the world it is clear to me that once this plan was completed then a new age would have begun, one in which nothing will be left to remember the old empire of Ergen by…. except for those7 who refused him and still retained their original names that is.
These7 will now be easily differentiated from the rest of the new Ergenites because of this binding of iron which Tehlu employed to split the world into two groups. Those who chose to follow his own choice of the path and those who would not.
Kvothe speaks of the differences between man and fae by comparing them like water and alcohol. Adding a chandrian into this mix complicates matters greatly but the best approach I can think of to compare the difference between the comppsition of modern manblood and old Rhintablod, or rather between a normal man and a man who is ‘more than a man but less than a man’ is to look tolo the inherent qualities that are present between iron and loden stone. Both are intrincically the same thing but at the same time they are clearly different. It is almost as if during he act of striking them with iron Lord Tehlu is reversing the polarity of the iron present in the bloodlines of Ergen, perhaps even turning it from one state of charge to the other… and possibly/probably vice versa. I will suggest further that until this day, all men of Ergen blood might have featured this ‘wicked magnetic blood variation’ and because of Tehlu’s aactions Temerant man has acquired the kind of blood/ iron levels we can relate to in our own bodies chemistry. This universal action would be the method thst he chose in order to draw a clear division between the longnames of every modern day man and the longnames of all of his ancestors, the original men of old Ergen, which is a very important distinction to make.
Any demons that were to be found lurking under the skin of an iron-struck man would now lose any ‘magnetic’ parasitic purchase which they had upon their hosts and any such attraction that once existed would now become a total rejection instead, creating an immediate exorcism. This change will from this day onwards be fuelled by the desire of God to make man in his own image and the innate power of the name of iron that will feature in the blood of their human hosts, freeing the ex-Ergenites from their demons and fulfilling Tehlu’s master plan.
So, Tehlu took up this common forge hammer and used it to strike the names of all of mankind from histor, casting out all of the demons as he went. But Tehlu is a just god and he knows that without free will, man is nothing and so there had to be an element of man’s own desire involved in this choice,otherwise it is called tyranny, and it is written that seven people refused Tehlu’s plans and chose instead to retain their plenary powers. This means that these 7rhinta will still have retained their original names and because of this their blood is not going to be like that of any other modern man. Regardless of the7’s choice, Tehlu still struck them down with the iron hammer… but only the once, which suggests that this very first blow would be enough to ‘unstick’ any lurking demons within. That was as far as Tehlu’s desire extended towards them and afterwards the7 were left with their pain untended to and were then left like that to wander the corners for ever.
As for those who did cross, they also felt this first binding of iron that exorcised any demonic forces present within but then they received the second blow will, imho, have the effect of shaping the subject unto Tehlu’s great desire. The third blow would likely as not have sealed this change within them as their natural comppsition from now on. Three blows for three part names, past, present, future. That’s my take on such things and that is why the powers that these 7rhinta still display appear somewhat broken and the effect that this breaking of power had upon them is manifested in the signs that they exhibit when they are close by, blue flame, rusting iron , rotting wood etc.
Each of their individual signs clearly has a negative quality about it, they display a corrupt form of what we would normally expect fire, wood or iron to do naturally. This reverse thinking suggests that before they were broken, the7’s true names would have likely exhibited another link to the true names of fire, iron, wood etc. and this is what they refused to give up when they refused to repent their past. Complicated, I know, but however that works out for you you must admit that blue fire is about as far from the colour of true fire as fire can be, red shift might be involved, perhaps, creating some level of polar opposites, a reversal of naming powers which has now seven real practitioners in the world today. All of this change was created through the agency of Tehlu’s power and the application of what was just a common or garden forge hammer. Nothing like the hammer of Thor by any means.
Tehlu found that his chosen hammer of justice worked fine upon each of the demons and men that it struck, all excepting one that is. When Tehlu finally caught up with Encanis his hammer still only struck him the once which is the same number of lashes as even the7 bore. Now under normal circumstances that blow should have been enough to release the demon from the body (as it did with rhinta#4) but instead of that outcome, something else happened. With that single blow Encanis fell but he was not banished from the stricken body like all the other demons because of the unique dual status of this eternal agent of darkness. The body died only to return to life again a day or so later as was it’s fate, but the iron hammer that Tehlu wielded shattered with the impact and fell broken to lie in the dust of the road. Death by Un-naming also came to the hammer that day when an irrisistable force struck an immovable object and since something had to give, they both did.
The eternal body of AOD would of course recover in time but a broken hammer is clearly of no use to anyone anymore and whilst this hammer that was a holy tool in the hand of God but which once belonged to Rengen the blacksmith had done it’s final task and it’s fate must now be consigned to the unknow, a relic left lying at the side of the road somewhere where it can be conveniently ignored for a little while, but not forgotten about as we now move onwards to the nearby city of Atur and the forging of the great iron wheel for part II of our metal working trilogy.