Excerpts from The Book of Ages, Book One of THE MALLO-REAN GOSPELS:
Now These are the Ages of Man:
In the First Age was man created, and he awoke in puzzlement and wonder as he beheid the world about him. And those that had made him considered him and selected from his number those that pleased them, and the rest were cast out and driven away. And some went in search of die Spirit known as UL, and they left us and passed into the west, and we saw them no more. And some denied the Gods, and they went into the far north to wrestle with demons. And some turned to worldly matters, and they went away into the east and built mighty cities there.
But we despaired, and we sat us down upon the earth in the shadow of the mountains of Korim, and in bitterness we bewailed our fate that we had been made and then cast out.
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And it came to pass that in the midst of our grief a woman of our people was seized by a rapture, and it was as if she had been shaken by a mighty hand. And she arose from the earth upon which she sat, and she bound her eyes with a cloth, signifying that she had seen that which no mortal had seen before, for lo, she was the first seeress in all the world. And with the touch of her vision still upon her, she spake unto us, saying:
“Behold! A feast hath been set before Those who made us, and this feast shall ye call the Feast of Life. And Those who made us have chosen that which pleased Them, and that which pleased Them not was not chosen.
“Now we are the Feast of Life, and ye sorrow that no Guest at the feast hath chosen ye. Despair not, however, for one Guest hath not yet arrived at the feast. The other Guests have taken their fill, but this great Feast of Life awaiteth still the Beloved Guest who cometh late, and I say unto all the people that it is He who will choose us. Abide therefore against His coming, for it is certain. Put aside thy grief and turn thy face to the sky and to the earth that thou mayest read the signs written there, for this I say unto all the people. It is upon ye that His coming rests. For behold, He may not choose ye unless ye choose Him. And this is the Fate for which we were made. Rise up, therefore, and sit no more upon the earth in vain and foolish lamentation. Take up the task which lies before ye and prepare the way for Him who will surely come.”
Much we marveled at these words, and we considered them most carefully. We questioned the seeress, but her answers were dark and obscure. And so it was that we turned our faces to the sky and bent our ears to the whispers which came from the earth that we might see and hear and learn. And as we learned to read the book of the skies and to hear the whispers within the rocks, we found myriad warnings that two spirits would come to us and that the one was good and the other evil. Long we labored, but still were sorely troubled, for we could not determine which spirit was the true one and which the false. For truly, evil is disguised as good in the book of the heavens and in the speech of the earth, and no man is wise enough to choose between them.
Pondering this, we went out from beneath the shadow of the mountains of Korim and into the lands beyond, where we abode. And we put aside the concerns of man and bent all our efforts to the task that lay before us. Our witches and our seers sought the aid of the spirit world, our necromancers took counsel with
the dead, and our diviners sought advice from the earth. But lo, none of these knew more than we.
Then gathered we at last upon a fertile plain to bring together all that we had learned. And these are the truths that we have learned from the stars, from the rocks, from the hearts of men and from the minds of the spirits:
Know ye that all adown the endless avenues of time hath division marred all that is—for there is division at the very heart of creation. And some have said that this is natural and will persist until the end of days, but it is not so. Were the division destined to be eternal, then the purpose of creation would be to contain it. But the stars and the spirits and the voices within the rocks speak of the day when the division will end and all will be made one again, for creation itself knows that the day will come.
Know ye further that two spirits contend with each other at the very center of time, and these spirits are the two sides of that which hath divided creation. And in a certain time shall those spirits meet upon this world, and then will come the time of the Choice. And if the Choice be not made, then shall this world vanish, and the Beloved Guest of whom the seeress spoke will never come. For it is this which she meant when she said to us: “Behold, He may not choose ye unless ye choose Him.” And the Choice that we must make is the choice between good and evil, and the division between good and evil, and the reality that will exist after we have made the choice will be a reality of good or a reality of evil, and it will prevail so untU the end of
Behold also this truth: the rocks of this world and of all other worlds murmur continually of the two stones that lie at the center of the division. Once these stones were one, and they stood at the very center of all of creation, but, like all else, they were divided, and in the instant of division they were rent apart with a force that destroyed whole suns. And where these stones come into the presence of each other again, there surely will be the fast confrontation between the two spirits. Now the day will come when all will be made one again, except that the division between the two stones is so great that they can never be rejoined. And in the day when the division ends shall one of the Atones cease forever to exist, and in that day also shall one of Ij&C spirits forever vanish. –“fliese then were the truths that we had gathered, and it was
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our discovery of these truths that marked the end of the First Age.
Now the Second Age of man began hi thunder and earthquake, for lo, the earth herself split apart, and the sea rushed in to divide the lands of men even as creation itself is divided. And the mountains of Korim shuddered and groaned and heaved as the sea swallowed them. And we knew that this would come to pass, for our seers had warned us that it would be so. We went our way, therefore, and found safety before the world was cracked and the sea first rushed away and then rushed back and never departed more.
And in the days that followed the rushing in of the sea, the children of the Dragon God fled from the waters, and they abode to the north of us beyond the mountains. Now our seers told us that the children of the Dragon God would one day come among us as conquerors. And we took counsel with each other and considered how we might least offend the children of the Dragon God when they should come so that they would not interrupt our studies. In the end we concluded that our warlike neighbors would be least apprehensive about simple tillers of the soil living in rude communities on the land, and we so ordered our lives. We pulled down our cities and carried away the stones and we betook ourselves back to the land so that we might not alarm our neighbors nor arouse their envy.
And the years passed and became centuries, and the centuries passed and became eons. And as we had known they would, the children of Angarak came down amongst us and established their overlordship. And they called the lands in which we dwelt Dalasia, and we did what they wished us to do and continued our studies.
Now at about this time it came to pass in the far north that a disciple of the God Aldur came with certain others to reclaim a thing that the Dragon God had stolen from Aldur. And that act was so important that when it was done, the Second Age ended, and the Third Age began.