Thursday, December 8, 2022

100 Texts of the Atûmaic Mysteries

"It is easier to pull a tooth from an elephant than to get a straight answer from a man of An-Hehm."

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01: Against Canon - A lost work by the Venerable Deneleon, wherein the sage argues that the formalization of texts and their interpretations signals the stunted growth and eventual death of spiritual development at both the social and personal level. Known to us only through a later list of banned works; the short, dismissive description is followed by mention of Deneleon's execution for heresy.

02: Conversations with a Learned Elder - A fragment of a longer treatise on natural history, occult practice, medicine, astronomy and alchemy. Surviving chapters focus primarily on a dialogue between the author and a non-human but otherwise undescribed entity referred to only as "the Learned Elder". The author summarizes cosmological and philosophical arguments made in missing books of the test, and the Elder responds with probing questions, denials, corrections, and color commentary. (Indeed, many later scholars characterize the Elder as exasperated with the author's lack of focus and the ignorance of his more outlandish theories). The Elder presents a description of deep history, but much of this segment has been lost.

03: The Road of Incense - A lost work; Believed to contain sacramental procedures of the proto-orthodox Atûmaic tradition.

04: Gods-in-Chains - Describes a collective of deities that have been forcibly stripped of their Crowns. Too weak to maintain individual essences, they are bound together under a single Crown crafted (or more accurately, twisted into shape by the cadre of sorcerers they serve) by their human orchestrators. The component gods are rendered pale, silvery shades, each indiscernible from the rest and each speaking and acting as part of the whole. The text calls both the the god-collective and the sorcerer cadre the obet, leading some scholars to believe that the work does not describe gods at all, but wizards who are akin to gods.

05: The Wound-Bearers - Fragmentary work; Focused on the aftermath of wars among the gods, where the losers are so brutalized by the victors (so that they might never be a rival again) that their essences might never heal and their Crowns are forever damaged. This injury is often compared to hobbling or lobotomy, and the authors states that "in the sight of such damage even the theomachists might be moved to pity or mercy."

06: The Life of Epidaemus the Elder
- Hagiographic account of the stylite Epidaemus, who was said to have been fed by the birds daily for sixty-five years and to have learned their mystic language. The narrative ends with a mystic vision of the Peacock of the Sunset; Epidaemus, overcome by the miraculous visitation, falls to his death off his own pillar.

07: The Varagashrata Tract - Rambling pamphlet stating, in the typical aggressive style of the cynocephalon-school swordsmen, that the Lord Tree has not only been severed, but that it has become a trap where ascent is now impossible. The paths are now filled with the abortive results of  or consumption of the ascendant by the Conqueror Worm

08: The Great Secret History
- A text that has been in the progress of construction for the last four hundred years. The monastery responsible has been extremely secretive  regarding their great work, providing the outside world only with claims that it will, on completion, contain the entire scope of the history of the world. That it has taken so long to write, the monks say, is due to the nature of knowledge, and how new insights might render the work of decades obsolete in an instant. It is not expected to be completed for another two centuries (if optimistic) or at all (if not).

09: Against the Kingmakers - A rambling screed against the efforts of the Kingmakers to pierce the center of the Labyrinth, calling them dangerous zealots obsessed with attaining the impossible. Edited by a later redactor who shared the author's disposition towards the Kingmakers, but was significantly more coherent and balanced in their arguments.

10: The Triple Liberation - A compilation of the three principle Chainbreaker texts; Till All Souls Be Won (on liberation of the soul from the rigid precepts of atûm-rama, attaining personal enlightenment), Till All Flesh Be Freed (on liberation of the body from the madness of the Demiurge, attaining total bodily autonomy), and Till All Strife Be Ended (on liberation of society from the cycles of Blade-Law, attaining escape from the enslaving violence of mankind). Has been equal parts praised and censured with the tides of history, hated by those in power and beloved by those underfoot.

11: Queen of the Inner Earth - An account of the Inner World, the isolated people that inhabits it, and the reclusive god-queen of their civilization. The Queen remains in mourning for an unspecified loss and is tormented by an enormous demon, but despite the title there is little more information about her. Most of the work is dedicated to the customs and culture of the subterranean people, or as much of it as the author was allowed to witness.

12: The Great Isolation - The text that codified the doctrine of the Obscuration - the force or power that separates the material world from the atûm in its fullness. As presented here, the Obscuration is a natural consequence of the material universe and features no moral component - later thinkers diverge from this, introducing such concepts as the Eclipse, the Heirotyrannos, the Veil Maculate, the Blessed Ignorance, and others.

13: The Ptamnarruk Tablets
- A series of six granite tablets, with contents said to be copied from the Pillars of the Sky. Contain a list of bans and prohibitions from the Celestials, promising catastrophic retribution if they are violated. Unusual for this genre of theological text, the the majority of the proscribed actions listed were well out of the technological, social, and conceptual abilities of the bronze-age people that initially transcribed the text. While much of the tablets' prohibitions have been deciphered and correlated, modern scholars hold that between a quarter and a third of the instructions still describe actions humanity is currently incapable of performing.

14: The Tinsmith and the Devil - Folktale of an impoverished rural tinsmith who is offered a magical sack by a mysterious old man, with promises that its contents will solve any problem he might face. Each time he draws an item out of the sack, the consequences of solving the problem at hand causes a greater conflict, and the cycle of escalation continues until the tinsmith has inadvertently led to the ruin of his fortunes, the deaths of most of his family members, the destabilization of the duchy, war with a foreign nation, widespread famine and plague, and his own suicide. The story ends with the old man retrieving the sack and saying "Some times, best not to take your chances."

15: Law of Degredation - Fragmentary work. Author purports to have discovered a natural law, underlying the entire universe, that contains within it seeds of total self-annihilation.

16: Blade of White Fire - One of the few books of spirituality to be found among the laconic cults of House War. Living up to the stereotype its prose is workmanlike, its metaphors barren, its teachings blunt to the point of boredom. Indeed is was this work's chalklike dryness that inspired the formation of the Slaughter Discipline and the New-Grostesquery movement.

17: The Dreaming City - Fragmentary text; an account of vast dream-city bathed in the golden light of a sunset that never ceases, peopled with masked beings not entirely unlike men in bright patterned robes. The author claims that it is a greater oneiroscape than anything that might be crafted out of the dreams of slumbering megatherians, and that it might be reached during the ascent of the Tower Unto Heaven. The few that have reported anything at all describe only half-remembered hopes and impressions.

18: Whence the New Gods? - Collected sermon notes from the leader of a minor new religious movement (The Pure-World Rebirth Church), attempting to explain to the cult's members why no miraculous sign appeared on the moon on the appointed day, and to adjust the criteria for the beginning of the Age of Neo-Theon. Written some six weeks before the triple-murder that broke apart the movement. The writer, currently serving a life sentence, has declined all requests for interview.

19: The Amakodani - A collection of stories of the anthropogami, in three parts. The first, being the mythic story-cycle of the Theft of Fire and passage through the Age of Ice to the Lands of Spring. The second, being a collection of folk-tales and teaching stories of those gods and assorted culture-heroes. The third, a series of sermons delivered on a variety of practical ethical concerns.

20: The August Record - Legendary lost work; A potentially mythical codex detailing the names and natures of every type of supernatural being to inhabit the earth, as dictated to the First Sovereign by the wisest of all beasts. Meaningful information is scant, misinformation is rampant. Dozens of falsified versions have emerged over generations, each one an exercise in the author's use of the legendary past to justify their own theories on the nature of the world's inhabitants.

21: Book of the Mandate
- Lost work, also called Book of the Great Work. Supposedly contains a full account of the High Houses' long-term plans for the cosmos, stretched far into both past and future deep time. Most commentary that survives about the book indicate it was focused primarily on the activities of House Au.

22: The Godan Fragment - Single scrap of papyrus, as follows: "[You] need not be confused. I am a FRIEND." The anomalous majuscule lettering pattern is unexplained.

23: The Path Below - Partial text; Most known (and most violently contentious) for its conclusion that the Lord Tree possesses roots in the Underworld just as it possesses branches in the heavens, and that there is a unexplored path of ascension in a direction opposed to the traditional Triple Court - potentially with its own High Houses waiting to be claimed.

24: To Strive Against Heaven - An account of the slave called Botfly, later the atûm-rama master Akaro Do-Vedth, detailing his youth in Port Miser, his participation in the Midnight Rebellion and the 10,000 Banner War, his training in the arts of An-Hehm with the wandering knight Oras Bha, his failed ascension, and his eventual incarnation as Vatharadu of the Blackened Name. Later additions by other authors have, over the centuries, expanded this narrative to include the stories of Do-Vedth's children, students, rivals, lovers, players in both the Rebellion and the War, the rise of the Empire of Names, the Dancers' Revolution, the Four Swords Against the City of Thrones, and thousands of additional minor characters.

25: Towards Restoration of the King - Lost work; Allegedly a text of the secretive Kingmakers, detailing the purpose of their expeditions in the Underworld and the rationale backing it. Several supposed copies have surfaced over the years, all of which were later confirmed as hoaxes. Unlike most lost texts it is generally believed that copies survive, though the general agreement is that they remain firmly in the hands of the Kingmakers themselves.

26: The War of Gold
- A narrative of a primordial war among the Celestials. The victors of this conflict go on to form the High Houses, with the survivors of the losing side fleeing to the hidden places of the cosmos. An incredibly popular work both in its time and in the modern day that has shaped theological discussions for centuries, despite the author having no formal priestly training. While most of the book is clearly an extended allegory, it has been vindicated by modern science's discovery of Celestial conflict-remnants in the cosmos.

27: The Book of the Bastards of the Celestial Court - A list of the inhabitants of the Low Houses - in this context, the offspring of unions between the High Houses (that is, Au-War, Au-Flesh, and War-Flesh). These minor Celestials are often confused with those gods who have not taken any steps of ascent, who are likewise called the Low Houses. A contentious work, often criticized for being simultaneously too overt in its salaciousness and utterly pat in its logic.

28: The Right of Crowns - Lost work; One of the first major Coronist texts, it was lost during the wars with the theomachists.

29: The Book of Leviathans - A codex detailing the three orders of megatherians (the Abaians, the Cthonians, and the Simiurgh) noteworthy individuals among them, their attendant servants, cults, and mysteries, their interactions with humanity, and the nature of their dreams and the worlds contained within.

30: Seeds of Amber - Suppressed work; Contains ritual directions for the conception, gestation, surrogacy and birth of gods by mantling the processes of the Lord Tree. Excerpts appear in the world from time to time, but all known full copies remain accounted for.

31: Indivisible, Undimmed - An otherwise ordinary treatise of atûm-rama practices and meditations upon the Lord Tree, remembered for its ever-prescient and often-quoted warning: "To achieve perfect harmony with the atûm will collapse the form of the soul with catastrophic violence. Thus it is prudent to be imperfect."

32: Where Shadows Are Cast By Self - Anthropogamist exorcism manual. In this tradition, demons are believed to be formed through subtle imbalances in the human soul and feed off of it, growing and evolving according to interactions between the soul, the mind, and deeds. The text covers all levels of exorcism, from the removal of proto-demons, to the casting out of possessive spirits, and combat methods effective against manifested demons.

33: On the Splitting of the Monad - Core of the Monadist tradition, which states that the universe was created through the violent separation of the atûm into diverse components. Cited by both sides of the main dogmatic division among the tradition as evidence for the existence / non-existence of a guiding will with regards to the atûm. The splitting has been characterized by assorted parties as an inevitable natural occurrence, a divine suicide, or a directed murder.

34: Book of Invasions - Legendary record of the Fivefold Wars, where humanity came into repeated conflict with the Gods of the Tree. The storming of the Axis Mundi was met with a brutal retributive campaign that laid waste to the world for generations.

35: In the Womb of the World - Lost work; One of the first texts re-evaluating the origins of earthly life and its connection to the divine.

36: Litany of the Path of Suns - Standardized hymn and prayer book of the Celestial Church. Simplified greatly for use by the masses.

37: Book of the Starving Years - A single fragment remains of this anonymous wartime account. A woman with a red parasol arrives in the village, announcing that the army will arrive soon and is in need of provisions. When the villagers say they have nothing to give, that they have already started eating their dead, the woman notes that this is acceptable under the law of Heaven, but that the approaching army will be just as hungry and far more able to act upon it. A fight breaks out among the villagers as she leaves. The section ends as an elderly man's head is caved in by his rock-wielding son.

38: The Stone Phallus - Lost work; Believed to contain theories regarding the origin and nature of life within the Labyrinth.

39: Book of Saints and Watchers - Central sacred text of the church of that name; Recounts how at the formation of the universe, the greatest of angels attempted to contain the atûm into itself and was driven mad by the attempt. A certain number of lesser angels, seeing the suffering caused by this mad tyrant and the obscuration of the divine light, descended from the heavens in secret to teach the divine arts to humanity. These Watchers have aided, as best they can, holy men and women across the ages, in the hopes that they might find at last a sage to join together all the secret arts and forge a path out of the broken world, a sage that might be granted the tiny sliver of true atûm that the Watchers secreted out of heaven.  

40: A Tower Unto Heaven -  A rare text containing the third schema of ascent, called here both the Path of the Fool and the Path of the Wise, using the allegory of a pilgrim climbing a great mountain. Popular with those outside the traditional hierarchies and power structures of religious authority, and those otherwise inclined against the Crowned Gods, as it focuses primarily on human paths of ascent and means by which the ascendant might keep their humanity intact in the journey.

41: The Mark of Decay - Extremely fragmentary work; Implies a central thesis that the Demiurge has already been consumed, in part or in total, by the Conqueror Worm, and thus has gained the power to assault the Axis Mundi.

42: Book of Small Mercies - A slim tome of mystic reflection and ethical teachings. Of quoted for its Hearth Sermon, which centers on the belief that it is best for human beings to concern themselves with human affairs and avoid the attention or imitation of the greater powers. Ascension through the Lord Tree is both self- and socially-destructive. "Let the gods of the Tree have their tree - they are not our gods, and their ways burn too hot and bright for us to bear."

43: In Still Waters - A short booklet of prose poetry describing the coastal islands of the author's childhood. Primarily concerned with natural elements - flora, fauna, water and weather - but will occasionally draw focus further afield to the ocean and powers below it. Repeated imagery of a desolate island, covered in cypress tress, that once set foot upon can never be left.

44: Upon the Pleached Alley - A comedy of manners, of the sort popular with women of the rural aristocracy and often overlooked by most other parties. Discovered over a century later to contain a coded philosophical treatise in support of Princely's Theory of Biotic Cultivation (as laid out in The Gardened World), a theory which is quaint to the modern audience but would have been political and social suicide to say aloud at the time of writing.

45: Songs of the Concordance - Lost work; A collection of hymns, wisdom-literature and praise-poetry from all four priesthoods of the Concordance of Birds. Surviving texts that cite the Songs are near-universal in their praise of it.

46: Crown, Throne, and Domain
- Principal treatise on the study of the Crowned Gods, regarding the stages and branches of ascension, the types and ranks of Crowns, and the attributes of those gods. Significant detail is given to those ranks of gods that are deficient in some manner - lacking one or two of the traits in the title. An alternate version, rearranged according to sectarian dogmas of the time, exists under the title of Upon the Axis Mundi; it is generally regarded as unreadably dry.

47: Rites of the Dead - A slim volume of burial rites and rituals of hospitality and honor to be used with the cthonogami and affiliated psychopomps. Typically paired with The Tale of the Night Watchmen, though that work was not written until several centuries later and is concerned solely with the death-guide of the common laborer.

48: In the Domain of the God-Kings - Travelogue of a hellmerchant journeying along the God-Kings' Road during the Middle Sedevacantic Period. A breezy and easily-digestible read (as far as works regarding the Old Domain can be); the author ends up participating (or claims to participate) in a guild war, the mysterious death of a high priest, a conspiracy to re-instate a power on the Domain Throne, oversoul politicking, a journey into the Labyrinth, and a fistfight atop the Tower of the Vulture. Despite the obvious exaggerations, it is still one of the best guides to the varied cultures of the Red Lands and the West-of-West as a whole.

49: Lantern of the Gods - Lost work of popular wisdom literature. Has been partially reconstructed from aphorisms copied into surviving texts.

50: Powers of the Deep - Lost work; While early mentions in other texts indicate that it engaged with both the Eclipse and Underworld, misattribution and over-enthusiastic amateur occultists have transformed it into a lost work of ancient wisdom supposedly supporting certain theories of Abaian cults regarding the history of civilization.

51: The Eridani Accord - A legal document, often cited but rarely read, wherein the Church of the High Houses agrees to a truce with the Board by claiming only the spiritual in its dealings, leaving the material to the workings of the Chain.

52: The House of 0 - Borderline-incoherent work of theoretical mystic-physics. As best as can be determined, it proposes the existence of a location or entity (the House is described as both throughout the text) outside linear space-time, leftover from the initial generation of the universe. The author had no formal training in the sciences or theology and likely suffered from undiagnosed mental illness - however, certain fringe sects have incorporate the House of 0 into their belief systems.

53: Descent Into the Red Machine - Extremely fragmentary narrative work; Of what can be reconstructed, it depicts a band of soldiers descending into the Labyrinth, seeking to destroy a threat at its center. Much of the text appears to be action, with most surviving passages including combat of some kind - against megatherian-human hybrids, beings of inchoate Flesh, aspects of the Worm, Labyrinthine entities, and human servitors. One fragment implies a sequence involving the theft of a House War dreadnought, though this is thought to be from another lost narrative.

54: The Folding - Fragmentary work; purports to contain the methods of tay al-atûm by which the sorcerer might gain passage through the Fires of Inner Heaven and step across the world in an instant, or in greater workings across the very cosmos or through time as a river. The process is described as requiring a soul kept in strong resonance with the atûm through sacred practices, which allows the practitioner to temporarily become one with the emanation of the atûm into the universe and allows them to emerge at any place where the atûm is present. Along with this overview come warnings of the dangers present, both in malpractice by the sorcerer, and in interactions with those entities that live within the atûmaic corona. The latter half of the text, which ought to contain the instructions, has been completely lost.

55: Ethnographic Survey of the Indigenous Peoples of Daro, vol 4 - Describes rites of hospitality, purification, propitiation, thanksgiving and reconciliation for use with local agriogami, as well as guidelines for land and resource stewardship.

56: The Maramachy - Few surviving fragments, all in extremely poor condition. Leading interpretation is that the full text depicted a group of Celestials from House Au committing a killing of another entity, though the identity of this target can't be surmised from available information. Served as the basis for the controversial (unpublished) pulp novel Assassination at the Beginning of Time.

57: Manual of Death-by-Blade
- First of the sword manuals of Taran Kom. Concerns the practicalities of swordsmanship, beginning with basic principles and ending with those courses described as "sufficient for any fool to teach themselves all that remains to learn of the blade".

58: Manual of the Line of Division
- Second of the sword manuals of Taran Kom. Concerns those sword-arts that exceed the scope of ordinary combat. A foundational work of atûm-rama battle technique.

59: Manual of Swords Against Flesh - Third of the sword manuals of Taran Kom. Concerns the hunting of entities of inchoate flesh and other servants of the Demiurge.

60: Manual of the White Sword and Black Sword - Fourth and final of the sword manuals of Taran Kom. Concerns the path of ascent to the House of War. Ends in the middle of a sentence, well before it has completed its descriptions of blade-law rituals and divine combat forms. A later redactor, presumably a student of Kom's, added the final line "Let it be known that he, at last, found a worthy adversary".

61: Shapes and Shapelessness - A teacher-student dialogue, posing the question of whether the atûm possesses pre-existing qualities that defined the High Houses, or if those observed qualities are the result of the atûm emanating through a particular vessel and taking on its qualities.

62: MEAT - MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT

63: The Book of Splendor - A series of beautiful illuminated mandalas, as painted by an artist visiting the cthonic monasteries of the Dhuryma Mountains. The elaborate mazes, while stated to be as accurate a recreation of the sand-art as the artist was capable of, lack additional context or explanation of the symbolism - the artist knew very little of the monks' native or liturgical languages and did not wish to accompany the art with his own conjecture, stating that "I was straining their hospitality enough by simply sketching out the designs. While though none of them sought to stop me, I sensed my presence was not altogether welcome - I was another foreigner come to gawk at their work and take home wild tales of exotic rites."

64: The Reversed House - Through the principle of spiritual mirroring, the author proposes a parallel triad of High Houses located in the depths (or indeed, the very center) of the Labyrinth - The Red House, the House of Tears, and the House of Stone. The logic behind these choices and the descriptions of their traits is difficult to follow and in many places contradictory, as it was born of a logical exercise rather than direct observation. It is likely, given some of the easily-disproven statements made regarding the nature of the Underworld, that the author never set foot in it.

65: The Oliphant Sage - Narrative of a mute youth orphaned by famine, who is happened upon by a band of elephants. In time he learns their language, and is taught of the Earthsong by the matriarchs. He comes to be considered a great prophet or wizard by the human inhabitants of the land, and a great many tales of his accomplishments, interventions and miracles are summarized or only briefly mentioned - presumably because they were common knowledge at the time of writing. After his death, the sage's bones are brought to the graveyard where the Great Grandmothers of the elephants are laid to rest.

66: Parasites Upon the Corpse of God
- Monadist tract on the study of demons, claiming that they are spiritual scavengers evolved to consume the remains of the Monad (that is, the physical universe) after the Splitting of the One.

67: Book of the Ursupations - Epic poem in eighteen volumes detailing the cyclical ascent, corruption, overthrow and replacement of the High Houses. Ends with the apocalyptic Breaking-of-Wheels, wherein the Axis Mundi is toppled, the upper realms are laid to ruin, and the usurpers of the High Houses find themselves unable to maintain their station.

68: The Seven Zoea -  Creation myth, in which an apelike being wanders out of the desert and rises to divine awareness by eating the fruit of the Tree of Life. Thus being elevated, the Eoanthropos gathers seven women (the Zoea) to him, with whom he sires the peoples that would inherit the earth. While beginning the narrative in a state of ignorance and even noble ambition, the Eoanthropos grows to become a violent alcoholic and paranoid tyrant unable to handle his knowledge of the divine. The Zoea rebel against him, and he is left crippled in sight but out of reach of the Tree. The Zoea, now self-liberated, hold council as to how the world might be shared among them and their children. The names, number, nature and future of the sired peoples vary so greatly by the telling that a full summary is impossible. Among the countless variants, some noteworthy inclusions are: At least one pregnancy is terminated. Two Zoea pair off and sire children with each other by consuming the sap of the Tree. Another uses the Tree of Life to transform into the Dueteroanthopos and fathers a dynasty in the wasteland. One Zoea ascends to the heavens while another descends into the earth. One splits into two beings. One attempts to graft the Tree into her own person, or her person into the Tree. One discovers a door in the desert. One gives birth to a perfect copy of herself. One commits suicide. One attempts to take the Eoanthropos' position and is cast down by the others. Many more remain to be told.

69: Madness of the Blind Tyrant - Text concerned with the Heirotyrannos and its influence on worldly affairs. Lengthy warnings against those in government or religious office who seek to understand its mindless ramblings.

70: Book of the Ten Families - One of the core texts of Atûmaism across sects and schools, which has diversified into dozens of variant schemas. Several widespread variants are shared in the table below.

Schema ASchema BSchema CSchema DSchema E
High HousesAuHigh HousesAuAtum
StarsWarLow HousesWarEclipse
Gods of the TreeFleshGreat CrownsFleshZoentropic
Obet & AzdatLow HousesLow CrownsAu-WarFossil Gods
Fossil GodsGreat CrownsGods of the WorldAu-FleshMegatherians
LabyrinthinesLow CrownsLabyrinthinesWar-FleshLabyrinthines
MegatheriansTheoamniotesFossil GodsThe Lord TreeAgriogami
AnthropogamiMegatheriansRoot GodsLow HousesBythogami
AgriogamiLabyrinthinesReverse HousesMegatheriansCthonogami
CthonogamiGods of the WorldEclipseGods of the WorldAnthropogami

71: Of the Courses of the Heavenly Bodies - A manual of astronomy and astrology, so accurate in the former that translations remain a common reference for naked-eye skywatching and most world calendars are based off of its calculations. Greatly concerned with the influence of the unfixed stars have upon the world. Maps out the seasons of activity for the Gods of the Heavenly Sphere - their wars, their revels, their lusts and their quiet years.

72: The Taboo of the Heights - Suppressed work. Long thought lost, before a near-complete copy was excavated by a contractor during basement renovations; Details the mechanics of forbidden unions among the Celestials and claims that these are not merely hypothetical sins, but that such events regularly occur in the depths of the Labyrinth, hidden from the prying eyes of heaven. Additionally, the author proposes that such unions, if enacted in a lengthy chain and in the appropriate pattern, will produce the seed of a new Monad, and that a human engineered in a similar fashion through the hierarchs and scions of the High Houses might be capable of mantling it.

73: Book of Vast Pleasures - Fragmentary erotic work of the pornotekton-priests of Bai-Ando. All known copies and reprints have been censored to near-uselessness by church and governmental authorities, leaving only secondary descriptions by the censorious authorities themselves as to its contents. An unredacted copy was rumored to have been in the possession of the Sorceress of Zan, but if she did indeed own it, the book was lost with the rest of her library in the eruption of Velterias.

74: Autopsy Report 1032-403-B - Incomplete paperwork regarding the autopsy of a "man that fell from the sky". Subject described as having golden-hued skin, extreme frostbite in the extremities, a lack of body hair, and a series of internal organs of unknown purpose made of a "tough, glossy, black substance, similar to but divergent from ordinary flesh".

75: Road of the Broken Sword - The semilegendary principle text of the aghoric saints-militant of An-Hehm. A single, extremely damaged copy survives. It has been rendered completely unreadable due to careless handling, degradation of the vellum, poor handwriting, severe fire damage, application of a bladed instrument, and repeated immersion in blood. Its provenance remains questioned, though most archivists will point to its extreme degradation as appropriate for both its contents and its kapalika writers and thus a sure sign of its legitimacy. Despite many attempts, no scholars have been able to pinpoint the location of An-Hehm, or even to confirm that it is indeed a place.

76: The Debates of Anticthoniasis - A series of letters between opposed philosophers on the subject of ethics, and whether human behavior should be in alignment with ascension through Lord Tree (Archodendronic Ethics), or aligned to existence and participation within the world (Ecumenical Ethics). Under Archodendronic Ethics, man's place in the lower world is of secondary or even negligible importance in comparison to the spiritual quest of Crowning, while under the Ecumenical school ascent entails the loss of humanity and thus damages the workings of the world.

77: The Threefold Crown and the Threefold House - A central text of the Celestial Church, providing the spiritual, political, and historical justification for the rule of the Triple Hierophant, as well as descriptions of those practices and sacraments it is the duty of the Hierophants to perform. Tends to get lost in the weeds regarding the symbolism of the Tripartite Marriage and the Hierophant's spiritual conduit to the High Houses.  

78: In the House of Flesh - A scholarly overview regarding the relationships of House Flesh to the other Celestials, humanity, and the cosmos as a whole. Numerous schools of thought are compared in detail, including:

  • True Demiurgists (Solarists / Aurists) - House Flesh is responsible for the Obscuration and is treated as interchangable with the Conqueror Worm. Flesh considered architect and / or devourer of brutally flawed cosmos and obstactle to full pneumic attunement with the atûm.
  • Pseudo-Demiurgists - House Flesh was driven mad in its attempt to take the atûm into itself after the splitting of the Monad. Similarities in function with the Heirotyrannos.
  • Khruskhanoi - As above, but House Flesh was not driven mad, and indeed is no different from Au or War's attempts to sustain the atûm within the physical universe.
  • Adversarialists - House Flesh is neither the Obscuration nor of a special atûm-bearing position, but is still otherwise opposed to the other Celestials and kept from destroying Au only through only War's martial interference.
  • Kosmonatalist - House Flesh was impregnated by Au with the atûm, thus creating the cosmos.
  • Maculatists - As above, with House Flesh consenting to the act.
  • Jahists - As above, with the act performed at House Flesh's initiative.
  • Protein-Agnostics - House Flesh has no special connection to the material universe or any hand in its creation.
  • Sarkhani - House Flesh is chief of the Celestials, with Au and War diminished to near-impotency by the Obscuration.
  • Cults of the Meat Gods - General category for all sects centered upon an aspect of House Flesh that reject cosmological arguments beyond the practical. Trend towards themes of consumption of flesh, cutting of flesh, acquisition of flesh, mortification of flesh, modification of flesh, and pleasures of the Flesh.


79: Dreams of the Deep House - Lost work; Also referred to as Dreams of the Dry House. Contents unknown, save inclusion in a book list of Underworld-related texts.

80: The Way of Ten Thousand Corpses - Extremely fragmentary work; A book of wisdom literature, supposedly granted to the author by a hierodule of House War during the Broken-Foot March. Of less interest to scholars for its contents than for the primary record of the March that it provides, and the paradox of a servant of House War acting in such an atypical fashion.

81: To Gaze Upon the Tree of Life - Highly-allegorical Zoecist codex, explaining the history and structure of life as it pertains to the Tree of Life, which in spite of its name, has no link or relation to the Lord Tree or any of its affiliated practices. it is commonly confused for a Coronist text by inexperienced students of the occult, and has caused several centuries of frustration on that end.

82: Most Delicate Flower of the Dawn - An extremely unflattering biography of Raoqanzi, who rose to the position of Solar among the Triple Hierophant after the sudden and unexplained death of the Hierophant Ptarassos. Raoqanzi was profoundly unpopular with both the nobility and religious authorities for her attempts at reform within the Celestial Church, and was commonly mocked for her low-class upbringing, her informal speech and heavy accent, and the gigantomastia she suffered from for most of her life. Modern scholarship, especially in the last two decades, has seen a revived interest in her writings and a rehabilitation of her image as a theologian and philosopher well ahead of her time.

83: Of The Paths Between High And Low - Lost work; Said to have been an exploration of the connections between the heavens, the cosmos, and the underworld, and a guide to their safe traversal.

84: The Garden of Plenty - Raunchy, farcical satire of imperial politics, with noteworthy personages translated into members of the Golden Harem. The author was sentenced to fifteen years in a colonial labor camp for his portrayal of the Minister of the Right as "a shame to the great profession of the pornotekton; equally incapable of pleasing lovers and subduing enemies; possessing of no friends and many adversaries, and in constant confusion of the latter for the former." When news of the Minister's death reached the camp three years later, the author is said to have responded, in a fit of coughing consumption, "At last, I am satisfied with life."

85: [REDACTED] - A text that has, with impossible precision, been excised in its entirety from the historical and scholastic record. The premise is entirely unknown, though some scholars have attempted to reverse engineer its subject and time period through the gaps in the record and in other texts where it is hypothesized to have been.

86: Eclipse of the Central Fire - The author of this text proposes an alternate cosmology, where the cosmos is sustained by the interplay of three great forces instead of the singular atûm of orthodox belief. The Eclipse is treated not as enemy or impediment to the atûm, but its equal, alongside a less well-understood (for its chapters are difficult to parse and poorly preserved) Zoentropic Principle. Only House Au draws from the atûm itself, with War and Flesh taking the others.

87: On Retraction and Emanation
- A work positing that the atûm is neither the remnants of a greater Monad, nor obscured by an interfering force; rather, the universe was formed by momentary condensation of the atûm (thus permitting the existence of lower-energy ontological categories and the formation of matter), after which the atûm emanated back out into the newly-made universe, suffusing it with spiritual power that is then shaped by the myriad material and energetic components of the cosmos. Widely criticized, despite its sound logic and construction, by those who maintain physicality to be illusary.

88: In the Depths of the Earth - The published logbooks of the Dhatsari Expedition. While the largest and most well-equipped expedition into the Labyrinth since the time of the Silvered Legion, Dhatsari and his men were unable to pass beyond the Third Gate and nearly half of their number died on the return to the surface due to supply loss and unexpected environmental changes. Still, the data brought back proved instrumental in establishing modern studies of the world beneath, though Dhatsari's dream of great international colonization efforts and subterranean utopias never came to be.

89: Gods of No Family - A list of all known and suspected gods and other divine beings that do not fit into the Ten Families schema. Suppressed for decades by pro-schematic factions.

90: "Where Are The Children of the Earth?" - A eulogy for the departure of the agriogami from the world. The original poem is generally considered overly-sentimental and mediocre in construction; a work of the same theme and title was written decades later by a much more skilled artist has since superseded its predecessor.

91: Burn Perfect Soul - Foremost enchiridion of atûm-rama practices as well as devil-sorcery, this work still serves as one of the base texts for modern study of the soul-power arts. Remarkably well-preserved across multiple languages.

92: Book of the Worm - Partial work; Theorizes a principle of universal degradation of both matter and spirit, a trend towards the violent self-destruction of complex systems and overall movement towards lower-energy states. Original title unknown; the text is older than the adoption of the Conqueror Worm as a concept and thus its common name was appended by a later scholar.

93: Great Book of Wonders - Lost work; Described as an account of the great heaven-spanning constructions of House Au.

94: On the Ordering of the Cosmos - A proposed "grand answer" to the universe, arranging all spiritual forces and powers into a detailed and rigid hierarchy. Greatly favors the authority of the High Houses, the central importance of the Lord Tree, and an interpretation of the 10 Families so unyielding that it was once described as "taking a hacksaw to the gods just to make them fit."

95: Against the Ordering of the Cosmos - A spirited refutation of the above, arguing that if any spiritual structure exists to the universe, it cannot be completely known nor accurately described. Furthermore the current cosmological model is, by virtue of its understandability, vulnerable to disastrous misinterpretation by those who believe it to accurately represent reality. A core assertion of the text is that the High Houses are not representative of underlying cosmological principles, but only those beings that have achieved ascension and successfully defended their position.

96: By Falsehood Gained - Coronist tract decrying the Pyroklope as a dangerous violation of natural law, as it wrongfully bypasses the stages of Lord Tree ascension and thus confers the benefits of a higher station on those who have not, according to the author, earned it.

97: At the Close of the Divine Year
- Contentious, obtuse eschatological narrative depicting, among much confusing and no-longer-culturally-relevant symbology, a final combat between the Conqueror Worm and the High Houses. While all versions share a similar premise - the Worm devouring the cosmos, ascending to the heavens through the Lord Tree, and warring against the Houses in an attempt to consume the atûm - the end varies greatly between versions. The Worm is destroyed either by a few Celestials that survive the onslaught, by its own self-destructive hunger, or by the Monad Reformed. A few Celestials might survive, or all might be killed in the attempt. The cosmos might be remade, either through the surviving Celestials building it anew from the corpse of the Worm, the Worm bursting asunder from its final meal, or the atûm simply emanating a new creation. At least one version has no remaking whatsoever.

98: The Manvantara Divergence Report - A 1600-page report by the World Ontological Monitoring Organization, summarizing 30 years of study into the apparent temporal-ontological irregularity in Earth's history. The authors of the Report conclude that a major ontological restructuring event occurred between 25,000 and 11,000 BCE, and that up to four additional events may have occurred since 300,000 BCE. Most controversially the Report suggests a grand-scale restructuring event wherein the universe was re-started in its entirety. No claims towards the parties or forces behind such events are made, citing lack of meaningful evidence. A second volume of the Report, containing an overview of the state of the world pre-Divergence Event, was published six months later.

99: An Appeal For Justice - A brutal, emotionally-devastating text written in the midst of the 80 Years War. The anonymous author decries with fiery rhetoric the inaction of the High Houses and demands that the great powers be held to account for their tacit permission of the atrocities of the age - atrocities which it is clear that the author has directly experienced. The text ends with the author despairing that justice may be impossible in a cosmos defined by the Principle Act; they offer only the self-described futile hope that the High Houses might destroy each other so catastrophically that it might topple the Axis Mundi and thus never be repeated.

100: The Book of Comfort for the Afflicted - A single passage survives, as follows: "There appeared then a fire upon the mountain, blinding-bright even at many miles' distance. Following it there was a great boom, and the vast sound of thunder rolling down the hills. Lifting his head and setting his sight upon the light, the Mighty-Among-Men spat blood and foam at the feet of his adversary and said "I have done my duty, and you have failed in yours. The line has held. She is here."

13 comments:

  1. Now this one requires some commentary
    * At least 5, potentially 6 settings went into this, some of which have never seen the light of day, and that doesn't count additional material. I could never settle on a single cosmology, and that has worked out quite well for me.
    * None of these books accurately describe the cosmologies of Mother Stole Fire, the Great Chain Setting, or Lighthouse. Those that appear to reference those settings do so from a distance.
    * There is no hidden list of true books - While it would be possible to narrow it down to my favored interpretations, not only will that run in circles (as I carry contradictory elements simultaneously and let their edges bleed together)
    * Cosmology is fun! But do not let the borders become too set or the walls too thick. Let is breathe and grow and mutate.
    * I really, really, really like Kill Six Billion Demons, y'all, except for everything that's happened since the end of Book 4.

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    1. Also: this format was inspired by browsing the Cultist Simulator wiki

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    2. I'd love to hear your thoughts on KSBD book 5 so far.

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    3. I knew it! GODS, but that game/setting is fun.

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    4. @Tatterdemalion - I think I might do a reread post of it in the future. For now, the short form of my opinion is "if I had a nickel for every long-running serial narrative that made a huge status quo change at Part 5 that destroys the pacing, removes everything I loved about the series, and goes in a direction I really don't like" I would have 15 cents. Which isn't much, but it's enough to establish a pattern

      (Jagg fight was boring and overly long, Jadis arc started out strong but the pacing remains whack and there are so many better ways to depict Allison's state than "get monologued at", and honestly it's really showing how much better of a character White Chain is than Allison)

      @GateKept - I have never played it, but I love me a good wikicrawl, a good batch of fake occult books, and a novel cosmology.

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  2. Is entry 25 supposed to be incomplete?

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    1. Nope, one of my classic hanging sentences! I've fixed it.

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  3. God lord I'm in awe of your creativity! And I do love treatises on fictive arcana.

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  4. Would you be okay if I used some of these in my campaign? It's a brilliant list and I very much like the implied societies and mythologies.

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  5. I applaud the Oliphaunt Sage, and I'm terrified by the implications of whatever a "megatherian" is.

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