Why Knot Work?

Quoyan Hayal

When he arrived at the University, Kvothe came in from the East with the sun on his back. He had left Imre two miles behind, crossed the Old Stonebridge and walked onto the University campus for the first time. His first stop was the archives, which we are told has only one door. He said that he had to circle around the building to find it so we can take that as read that he walked a half-circle in one direction or the other and found the way in on the far side. This door faces West. Inside he found Wil who directed him on to the interview hall, which is a part of the complex called Hollows.

‘Hollows.’ He gestured to the outer door. ‘Down, then left. Short building with…coloured windows. Two big …trees out front. Maple? Is that the word for a tree?

Using this as a beginning, we could, if we so wished, start to draw up a map of the entire university complex itself!! I believe that it is possible… if you read the pages closely enough for all the clues.

However, that is a big project for another day, maybe, and today I only want to focus on the archives front doors. Carved above are three words ‘VORFELAN RHINATA MORIE’. The language is unknown and we are told by Kvothe that it is definitely not Siaru, but may possibly be Yllish or Temic (Warning: other languages are available). Six months later, Kvothe asks his Siaru speaking friend Wil if he knows what it means and, with a glance, he came up with the phrase ‘The Desire For Knowledge Shapes A Man.’ with the caveat ‘or something close to that.’ because this translation is clearly not three words long, and seven into three don’t go. Now Wilem’s own language skills have clearly come on in leaps and bounds in the past six months, but surely not enough for him to have learnt to casually translate ancient Temic by himself I would think. However, since Wil works at the archives he has probably asked this very question himself before, or perhaps it is one of the common questions asked by many curious new students, like Kvothe, and so it could be that Master Lorren may have drilled his staff with this answer during interviews.

But the true font of all knowledge in the archives is actually Puppet, with whom Wil says he ‘dapples’ a bit sometimes, and Puppet would know exactly what it means since |I believe that he is most likely the one who wrote these words there in the first place.

The courtyard that stands in front of these words is as old as the greystone building itself. Once upon a time, students called it the questioning hall and played a game with the ever changing wind that always blows there. They wrote their questions out, let them go, and answers were divined… ‘Yes, No, Maybe, Elsewhere, Soon.’ It is also the place where the pennant pole is found and has has become Kvothe’s favourite place to sit, and think, and watch the wind and perhaps find some sort of balance in his own life, a word which, when Wil once found him sitting here before his first whipping, translates it into Siaru for no significant reason, which means it’s probably an important thing to know. The word for balance is Sheyem. Now I’m a bit stuck at the moment because this is currently a two piece problem. I have two major pieces which don’t quite want to balance…yet, and with no triangles in sight…yet, I need a different approach on how to best sheyem the findings of my latest investigation and how to best present an answer of the correct shape, and so the house of wind seems a good a place to look as any for some inspiration. After a little patch of writers block on the subject, I decided that the courtyards five answers yes, no, maybe elsewhere, soon might not all apply to my problem. Questions always begin with six specific words. Who, What, Where,Why, When, Which and sometimes, for luck, How? ‘Where?’ might tally nicely with ‘elsewhere’, and ‘When?’ might be answered best by ‘soon’ so perhaps by going through this questioning list I can come up with a better pattern to most easily organise what will come next. Not everything can be answered by a simple yes or no, there is an awful lot of maybe out there too, but accepting chance as a fact of life lowers the bar a little. This is another tall question with many shorter branches to it as it is made up of part forgotten language, part secret history, part religious myth and the rest is just plain guesswork, pure and simple. My question then. What in Temerant does ‘Rhin-‘ actually mean ?

The Tangled Web

‘who? who? she hooted’

Who and What.

A Rhinta is a bad thing, a man who is more than a man, yet less than a man. Old things in the shape of men. And there are a handful who are worse than all the rest. They walk the world freely and do terrible things.

The Adem have a word that applies to the bandit’s leader, he is one of the Rhin-ta, and that is said to be a better word to use than chand-rian, although there is nothing to indicate the number ‘7’ about the word itself. Rhinta is a word for one individual piece of the puzzle, and one finger is not a whole fist, indeed Shehyn says that there are ‘a handful’ of rhinta which are ‘worse than all the rest’. Now, this handful of rhinta includes the one we know as being Cinder which gives us a firm answer to our Who, and so collectively, the Rhinta are going to be all the other chandrian, too.What this actually means is that whilst we can happily state that all Chandrian are Rhinta, it is also true that not all rhinta are going to be chandrian, only a handful of them deserve that collective title, which means that the rhinta as a whole can be split into two groups, giving us a double handful…at least!

When and Where and How?

‘That’s the mystery of the Chandrian, Where do they come from? Where do they go after they’ve done their bloody deeds?Are they men who sold their souls? Demons? Spirits? No one knows… though every half-wit claims he knows…’

‘They ain’t demons.’ Jake said firmly, ‘They were the first six people to refuse Tehlu’s choice of the path, and he cursed them to wander the corners-‘

Jake might possibly be a half-wit, but there is some clarification to his ‘firm assertion’ of When and Where they bagan as they later appear in Trapis tale where we are told that there was a group of people in Perial’s village who did indeed refuse to cross to Tehlu’s side of the path, although in that tale there were 7 of them. Now 6 is not 7…or 5 ..or 8 for that matter, but it also reported that one of them was not a man, but a demon hiding in a man’s body which Tehlu ‘broke apart in his hands and cast it out into the nameless void that is the home of their kind.’ This leaves his fellow six deniers, and the exorcised remains of the one who has had his demon cast out, on their original side of the path to suffer the attentions of Tehlu’s hammer, and his curse, between them. So that may well be Jakes belief right there, 6 +1 = 7 chandrian who are a group of ‘very bad rhinta’ of which Cinder is but one. This tallies up with the six named Adem Rhinta and probably their un-killable Lord, too. Later in her tale we hear all the individual long names of this original rhinta handful which as a group are apparently worse than ‘All the rest’. All is a vague number to guess at, but it is, I think, implied as being the greater part when compared to the original handful , (but not too much more I don’t think…). As an unknown figure we shall call it ‘N’ for now. This N would be referring to at least 7 more ‘less bad rhinta’ so as to at least balance out the handful of ‘very bad rhinta’ to which Cinder belongs. There really ought to be a collective noun for a group of these lesser bad rhinta, too, but that can wait, and for numbering purposes N=8 should be the first possible number to consider.

Which Side’s Which?

There is another reference to a group of N-men who also refused Aleph’s will. Selitos and his Amyr.

Selitos went to Aleph and knelt before him. ‘I must refuse, for I cannot forget, but I will oppose him with these faithful ruach beside me, I see their hearts are pure. We will be called the Amyr in memory of the ruined city.We will confound Lanre and any who follow him.’

This means that we have two seperate groups who both refused God’s will for different reasons. Cinder and the ‘worst rhinta’ are one group whilst Selitos and his ‘pure-hearted ruach’ are the other. Now as far as power is concerned, if your aim is just to confound your foe, your plan is not to actually have a plan of your own, just to block the plans of your enemy. Sheyen says of the rhinta that such things are not easily killed, but according to Selitos, they can certainly be confounded, which means the Amyr’s task would necessitate themselves being as equally hard to kill in order to maintain the balance, or Sheyem, on our scales of what Aleph decreed was and wasn’t allowed within his new world order of how things were going to be. But for the Amyr to confound the chandrian from achieving their plan….they must not only be able to wield the same sort of powers as them, but also to possess a similar lifespan to the chandrian, which is going to be (as close as matters), eternally. Given that both sides still exist in the world shows that they have been living in a period of eternal stalemate ever since. We also know that ‘the 7’ are still looking for something, and still hope to achieve their plans fruition, and so if follows that the Amyr have been successful in their rhinta confounding efforts thus far.

However, there are still just as many chandrian around today as their name suggests and so the Amyr numbers really ought to be unchanged too, because having a superior numerical advantage would obviously be an influencing factor in any fight, just ask Tempi. That may well be an unwelcome, tip in Aleph’s delicate balance of such things. And so this ‘Rhinta war’ would appear to be an internal struggle between two equally matched groups of hard to kill beings and I will therefore suggest that all of the original potential rhinta-to-be were never, any of them, ever human and all were of a ‘species’ whose long-names all meant ‘long-lived’ …and that is the nub of what some of them refused to give up when Aleph offered them change. Both new groups are still perfectly balanced. They are possessed of similar powers are of an exact same number and will be that way for evermore, unless some thoughtless twenty year old with a sword comes along and kills one of them, without fully understanding the consequences, and in doing so, tip’s the balance of things, which would make things very interesting indeed!

Every rhinta has the same thing in common, they all have, at some time, refused the Lord Aleph his divine justice in some way, and so they should all be grouped together in the great shape of the world, and all of them count as being among the ‘old things in the shape of men’ group the Adem people call Rhinta. They are a famous list which has been specifically remembered for secret Adem reasons. It seems as though the main qualification for being named as a rhinta is to have chosen to walk on the other side of Tehlu’s path, which they Adem would equate with being ‘not of the Lethani’. It is the same side that everyone in the world originally stood on to receive a curse or a blessing, the original Adem founders included. Everyone once stood on that side of the line and Everyone there was once deemed to be wicked.

Where and When?

Aleph’s choice of path was the most defining point in history. Those Seven who first refused to cross are the ‘very bad Rhinta’, and ‘all the rest’ are among those who did choose to cross and then having done so, chose to refuse Aleph’s second task on a technicality and so chose to cross back over again in order to be able to confound the Seven originals!! When they did this, all of the Amyr who stepped forth again did so from among the ranks of the Ruach, who seem to be the third party of our elusive triangle, and since there were never any human amyr so, by default, none of these ruach could ever have been human either. Selitos and his Amyr actually crossed the line twice! Once to receive Tehlu’s justice and become members of the ruach and once more to resign this name in protest and to form their own vigilante order of Amy-r-uach. We can imagine all of this this crossing and choosing to have happened during the same set time frame which would put all of those on Tehlu’s side, all of the ruach collectively, together in Atur for the four days when the threat of Encanis was finally dealt with. The Ruach would therefore be all those who helped Tehlu in bringing the iron, and in working the bellows, and in digging the pit and in kindling the fire. It is said in Trapis tale that Tehlu gathered the people who were watching and appointed a priest among them, like the priests that he had appointed to care for the people of the six ruined cities. This then is an account of the first ever full 11 day span of the new age, the first ever days of Felling, Reaving, Cendling and Mourning and that was the new shape of things thereafter and so marks the beginning of the Tehlin Era.

How many?

Now! Seven cities were betrayed by Seven rhinta meaning one ‘chaen-d-rhinta’ must have originally come from each city in order for them to be in position to do such a deed in the first place.

Selitos was Lord over Myr Tariniel. Just by looking at a thing Selitos could see it’s hidden name and understand it. In those days there were many who could do such things, but Selitos was the most powerful namer of anyone alive in that age.

‘The other cities, lacking Selitos power, found their safety elsewhere, they put their trust in thick walls, in stone and steel. They put their trust in strength of arm, in valour and bravery and blood. And so they put their trust in Lanre.’

The Seven must have had the original trust of their citizens to be able to betray them and also would have held the power to do so which would mark them as important folk. Power comes through naming and we know that Lyra held a power just as great as Lanre’s in that she knew the names of things. Other cities leading Lords and Ladies are similarly supposed here to be among the ‘many who could do such things’ and such naming power may well have been the reason that some folk managed to survive the coming betrayal despite, like Tall Kirel for example, having been burnt but left living in the ashes of Myr Tariniel. Perhaps Kiril knew the name of fire? The Ruach that later choose to became the angels named in Skarpi#2 were recorded as being assorted survivors of various betrayed cities and so we would hope to be able to find some representatives from each and every city amongst the other surviving ruach too. Naming is a powerful tool and so perhaps all of the ruach were also once namers in their own right?. Something that Tehlu may have taken away from them as punishment for their wickedness. Let us assume, for now, that this is so and that the Amyr’s membership will also follow a matching survival pattern and those who stepped forward because ‘they remembered Myr Tariniel and were filled with rage and hurt at Lanre’s betrayal’ were equally representative of all the Seven cities in which they once lived. They may have been the priests which Tehlu appointed when he arrived at their respective ruins, and that they still wished to be powerful figures in the world for Lord Selitos to lead them in their grief at such a betrayal by actively confounding those rhinta behind the crime. That will give us a matching set of two equally balanced sides of powerful namers in the latest round of the creation war, Selitos and his Seven Amy-rhinta to confound Lanre and his chaen-rhinta giving us sixteen rhinta in total, making the new scenario look a lot like the two sets of piecess that oppose each other in a game of chess.

It we take Tehlu himself out of the Ergen-Ruach equation, since he was born from Aleph’s desire for justice after it’s fall and so had no city to actually call his own, we should expect his angels to also follow the same ‘city to angel’ pattern too and, yes indeed , they number 8, and we are told that two of them came from a specific city. The first to step forward who was once a resident of Myr Tariniel, and another was in Belen when the walls fell. The other six angels we must just assume for now to have each had an individual city link but these potentiel angels-to-be have already crossed to Aleph’s side of the path and are therefore not to be counted among the rhinta on the far side. The angels have also left this world behind them now and so have a different game to play. But they were, for a while, counted among the original ruach. But then we have the final consideration, we have the remainder of the ruach to consider, those who crossed over but who then chose to follow neither Lanre nor Selitos, nor Tehlu. those who were afraid and did not want to be a part of great matters, perhaps there were 8 more of them too…but thats just guessing.

All-Most there now

‘Most of the ruach hung back from Selitos, too…’

We have come full circle now from ‘Everyone was wicked’ to ‘all the rest’ to ‘most of the ruach’ and are still none the wiser as to a total figure for N? How many ruach there ever were. But the big question we can answer is who else, apart from Selitos, did they hang back from? Well the is only one answer really, Tehlu wasn’t a choice yet and so most of the ruach decided that they wanted nothing more to do with with either Selitos or with Lanre. They had been given a chance to forget Ergen and to start the world afresh, they had received their punishment and they wanted to have their reward. Being described as most means that they were still the majority ruach party, even without counting those among them that did bravely take on Aleph’s role of becoming an angel and it was up to them to find their own place in the new world safe from the exploits of all Rhinta.

But there is an unexplained break in our circle, and that is the most important piece of the puzzle. One of the original powers of Ergen also changed his mind along the road to Tinuë. Once, he was expected to betray his city, but then remembered the Lethani and in doing so, betrayed Lanre’s trust in him instead!

So our two questions are now: Which side of the path is he currently on? and How does he fit in the grand shape of the Rhint-ae today? And the best question, Why, and How, did he do what he did?

‘Why?’ The Cthaeh echoed, ‘What a good question. I know so many why’s.’