The Vagaries of Destiny

Some ninety years ago Tamil of the House of Damaskar, a sangoma house of the Goblynfells, penned the apocryphal work on the subject of destiny, predestiny, prophecy, and the role of the weave of Bahru in the shaping of the universe. His meandering collection of treatises and works, accumulated over a lifetime as a scholar at leisure in that house, was compiled under the title The Vagaries of Destiny, and carefully reproduced copies from intricate woodcuts have found their way into some of the finer collections as far as western Iria.

Type: Work of Philosophy (Treatise)
Language: Vush
Authenticity: 90%
Forms: Folio

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The bounties granted we, the faithful of almighty Bahru, him that in the south they call Rindurh, are many. But knowledge of His design is an oft cryptic thing. When we speak of Bahru we speak of His design - we liken it to a pattern woven in cloth, with each life a thread. The diviner seeks to glimpse signs of what the final design for the entirety of creation, but in picking out a single thread to admire he must always take care not to unravel it, lest all he has done be in vane.

Chapter One: The Nature of Fate

We know that from the beginning of time, that is to say that we define the very inception of time, to be Bahru's birth from the brow of the Maker. In that instant might Bahru conceived the fate of the world, from the beginning to the end. To begin the pattern, he chose where it would end, and he charted all of time, events great and small, on the path there. But mortals are merely earthly vessels of souls, and souls exist in the other world, beyond time, and outside Bahru's design. They have free will, and so Bahru must plan carefully, and when the will of a mortal goes against the pattern of destiny He must steer destiny gently back toward the end of His making. Indeed, it is said that when one thread goes too badly awry the whole weave is abandoned - a whole world abandoned, and a more compliant one established in it's place - nigh infinite beginnings eroding down through time until all that remains is a single ending of Bahru's choosing. The culmination of an infinite number of possibilities for the destiny of all that is, in a perfect finality.

What we mortal beings think of as 'time' is not a continuum, spiralling before and after us until the begging and end of all things, but merely a moment where a single, perfectly woven past branches out into the countless possible threads of an uncertain future. What we think of as now, as the moment in which we are - a moment past even as I acknowledge it, is merely the point where the loom of destiny weaves what could be into what was. A single tiny point, where all that is hinges on what passes, before branching out again into the inconceivable breadth of past and future. Dwindling, inevitably, to one perfect moment of culmination that completes Bahru's design. What is past is merely a pattern left to lie - not abandoned part-made into the aether in favour of another. What is ahead is merely possibility - the intention of a future. Only now truly exists. All else that has ever been or could ever be merely contributes a definition to what this moment, this infinitesimal instant, is.

Chapter Two: Doubtful Destiny and its Reading

What we can learn from the junction of past certainty with future possibility, is that when the diviner seeks signs of the intended lie of a single threat within the greater pattern, in that moment he is seeing what is planned - he is seeing great Bahru's intention for that thread. But mortal creatures have souls of their own, and will of their own, and they will not always cleave to Bahru's design. Thus the diviner sees, not what will come to pass, but merely what is intended to come to pass.

This the diviner must take care, for many things can change his foretelling, and make his efforts little more than wasted moments stolen from his own destiny. He must take care, and remember that while mortals are contrary things, and will change their path in an instant, the greatest misdirector of fate is knowledge of that fate. For that reason, a diviner must take care with what he reveals, lest in doing so he change his very foretelling. A diviner seeking to know his own destiny is inevitably changing what is planned for him, even in the knowing, and so such vane ventures are almost always doomed to failure.

Chapter Three: The Certainty of Prophecy

But yet Bahru, in His wisdom, must nurture the final outcome of his design. And though he must allow for the will of the mortal creatures of the world, he cannot allow his design to be ruined, merely altered. And so He lays prophecy. Where destiny is a flimsy thing that must be maintained, guided and husbanded with care and thought, prophecy is the driving inevitability of the procession of fate. Prophecy will come to pass regardless of mortal will, if Bahru must break the very world to make it so.

Prophecy can be foreseen just as any design of fate can, indeed prophecy is clearer, stronger, more prominent than any other weave of His making. But because prophecy must be true, by necessity it must also be achievable by many turns of the pattern. For this reason prophecy will not speak with certainty of events, but only outcomes, because these things must come to pass. The uninitiated accuse prophecy of being vague, uncertain, and interpretable in many ways. But what they fail to understand is that this is the very nature of prophecy. Because it must come to pass, because it cannot fail in the face of mortal intervention, it must have many routes that it can travel, should its initial design be ruined by a thread straying out of place.

When Bahru lays down these certainties, even he himself knows only the destination, and not that path that will lead there. But there can be no subverting the march of prophecy. Not ever.

Chapter Three: The Gifts of Bahru

And so we must ask ourselves, can we detect Bahru's design in the world around us? How can mortal eyes perceive the pattern of Bahru's weaving? Why this is the simplest of things! For it is in those things that are entirely thrall to the physical world, to Bahru's divine will, that we can see the plan of the pattern. Watch the birds and the beasts, for they have no souls of their own. Look to the stars in the sky, for they are the first of Bahru's patterns. Look to those things that fall into the hands of chance, for there is no chance, only the will of Bahru. By knowing the behaviours of these things as well as we know our own minds can we read the pattern to come as easily as we might anticipate the weaving of a tapestry.

To know the pattern, and to husband it with care, and take what little boon we are afforded for our labours. That is what it is to be sangoma.