May 31 2014

WIP Update – 30 May 14

A little more progress on Chapter 4 of Tico4. For a chapter that hinges on dialog to drive it, two or three of the nine sections have the perspective character being silent. Haa…

May 29 2014

WIP Update – 28 May 14

I made a little progress on Chapter 4 of Tico4, mostly finishing the dialog of one section. Seven more to go. I think I’ve come up with a good solution for the problem the chapter poses, but we’ll see how it fares when I’m done.

In other news, with the epilogue of Tico3 set to come out in two weeks, I need to think about doing a full pass through the book and prepping all the appendices. Whee fun. Stay tuned.

May 26 2014

WIP Update – 26 May 14

I just did a little work in the peripheral materials. Nothing too much but enough to warrant a mention. I’ll probably be switching back over to Tico4 and drive myself crazy trying to make progress on Chapter 4. Stay tuned.

May 25 2014

A Brief Overview of the Beliefs of the Church of Holy Light

Now that we’re getting into Gamaliel’s section, I believe it’d be helpful to outline some of the beliefs of the Church of Holy Light to elucidate the sort of belief system that drives characters like Gamaliel.

Photianism is basically a sort of Gnostic heresy that arose when the Neoplatonist scholar Photios of Kairos made a pilgrimage to Antioch to study the Way and developed a syncretic fusion of his Neoplatonic background and Wayfarer orthodoxy. Whether he had any exposure to any surviving Gnostics is uncertain. It is possible, though, as the Church of Antioch was still relatively young in those days and did not have the power or influence to purge heretics for centuries to come.

If you’re familiar at all with the basics of Gnostic doctrine, a lot of this will sound pretty familiar. The crux of Photian doctrine is the following maxim: “God is Spirit, Spirit is Light, God is Light.” All light is an emanation from God and it is the Light that is Spirit that quickens physical matter. Though there is no specific mention of the Demiurge (that is, the creator of the physical world) in the earliest Photian writings, it’s generally accepted that God who is Spirit couldn’t have been the one responsible for the physical world as physical matter is despised. The overarching goal in Photian doctrine is the transcendence of the physical world so that the Light that is Spirit can be reunited with God.

As you might imagine, anything concerning the physical world is viewed with contempt. Women are particularly reviled, the most extreme Photians going so far as to call them ‘Light-trappers’ for their role in clothing the Spirit that is Light in fleshly shells. Now, of course there are plenty who see the practical infeasibility of universal celibacy among the ranks of the faithful, but celibacy is strictly observed among the clergy and contact with females is kept to a minimum.

After Photios’ death, his successor Zacharias commissioned the Book of Light, a reworking of the Bible to better align with Photian doctrine. One thing that plagued Wayfarer scholars on the Planet was their inability resolve the places mentioned in the Bible with the actual geography of the world. This led to the notion that the Planet was on a separate celestial sphere than the one depicted in the Bible (i.e. our Earth). The Photians, however, simply replaced the locations from Earth with those on the Planet. In fact, the whole timeline of sacred history was advanced to match up with the contemporary world.

Zephyr became Canaan, Notos became Egypt, and Euros became Mesopotamia, to include Ur, Chaldea, and Assyria. So, for instance, according to the Photians, Abraham hailed from Euros and moved to Zephyr, only for his descendants to settle in Notos before their liberation by Moses, who then led them on to reclaim the Promised Land of Zephyr. The Dwarves (i.e. Nanoi) of the Delate Mountains became the Hittites, the Dwarves of Vione the Amorites, the Elves (Xotikes) of Goldleaf the Jebusites, and the other Canaanite tribes assigned to various pre-Zephyrian humans. Among the cities of Zephyr, Hesperia became Jerusalem, Ephenes Bethlehem, Kairos Nazareth, and Nulos Shechem. (Every city in Zephyr is given a biblical analog, but I’m only mentioning the major ones for the sake of brevity.) Moreover, Elbana in the Central Continent becomes Syria, Bythia Asia Minor and Antioch Rome. (This plays into the upcoming part of the narrative.)

Now, you might have been wondering about all this talk of ‘the Lucifer’, perhaps even wondering if the Photians were devil-worshippers. Recall that ‘Lucifer’ means ‘Light-bringer’, which is not meant as the former name of a fallen angel of anything like that. (By the by, angels are referred to Eudaemons and what we would think of as demons Cacodaemons.) Basically, the Lucifer is Christ, though interpreted through a Gnostic lens. Old Testament mentions of the Angel of the Lord are recast as ‘the Lucifer’ as well in keeping with the belief that the Angel of the Lord is a pre-Incarnation Christ. Rather than being known as Lucifer, Satan is called the Noctifer (that is, ‘Night-bringer’), but this you probably have figured out already.

I mentioned before that the timeline of sacred history was advanced to match up with the contemporary world. Well, Photios is made to replace St. Paul and so the account of Paul’s ministry becomes muddied by Photios’ own history. Grand Patriarch of Antioch Lucas II takes the place of St. Peter and his predecessors Ioannes V and Andreas II take the place of Saints James and John (the multiple Saints James and John all being conflated in the Book of Light). The early conflicts of the real-world Church’s Jewish and Gentile factions are recast as the battle over doctrines of matter and Spirit and the final split is a decisive one, as Grand Patriarch Lucas condemned Photios’ heresy and Photios in turn ‘excommunicated’ him (which was of course wholly symbolic as the Antiochians never acknowledged Photios’ legitimacy, but much was made of the move among the Photians).

Another part of the history is that King Zephyr was made to represent the Seleucids and so the Photians, following a corruption of the account of the Maccabees, attribute great persecution to his reign of the pre-Church faithful which had no basis in actual history. The Creonic Dynasty was conflated with the Hasmoneans. You would think the royal family would dispute this, but Archbishop Zacharias succeeded in converting King Croesos IX, who was content to believe the Church’s stories about King Solon IV calling for the murder of all the infants in Ephenes (the Massacre of the Innocents attributed to Herod in the Gospel of Matthew) among other things. Croesos’ zeal for his new religion is why the Church enjoyed such preeminence until the time of Solon VI (and, yes, the fact that ‘Solon’ was the name of the Photians’ Herod didn’t go unnoticed).

This is far from a comprehensive account, but it should make things a little clearer going forward. If I judge it appropriate, I may delve into further details at a later date. Stay tuned.

May 24 2014

WIP Update – 23 May 14

I’ve mostly finished Gamaliel’s Chapter 3 of TTWC1 and have gotten started on his Chapter 4. I’ve got a three-day weekend ahead of me, so hopefully I can use some of that time to be making some progress. Stay tuned.

May 23 2014

WIP Update – 22 May 14

I made a little more progress on Gamaliel’s Chapter 3 of TTWC1 and did a little work in the peripheral materials. Not much else to say. Stay tuned.

May 21 2014

WIP Update – 20 May 13

I spent a fair bit of time in the peripheral materials to better flesh out the details of recent developments in TTWC1. This sort of thing doesn’t move the actual story along, but it does better contextualize events going forward. Stay tuned.

May 20 2014

WIP Update – 19 May 14

I’m back to working on TTWC1. I made a little progress on Gamaliel’s Chapter 3 and my work in his section has prompted some changes over to TTWC3. Adding a little more intrigue, streamlining some stuff. We’ll see how much ground I can cover before the week’s out. Stay tuned.

May 17 2014

WIP Update – 16 May 14

I made some progress on Chapter 4 of Tico4, getting through most of the dialog in one section and starting on another. There are nine sections, mind, so I’ve still got a lot ahead of me. Stay tuned.

May 16 2014

WIP Update – 15 May 14

I managed to get through that tricky patch of Chapter 3 of Tico4 and did a little work on Chapter 4 as well. Although I don’t expect to finish it over the weekend, I do intend to make more progress on the latter. It’s going to be quite the slog, but hopefully the end result will make it all worth it. Stay tuned.