Chapter XVIII.

18 Jun

Ranid was pondering the problems facing him when Glia returned with her secret treatise. He sensed some frenetic emotion in her. It had to be connected to the illness of her father.

“How is the Mandator today?” he asked with sympathy.

Her face seemed to turn into stone. “Worse and worse every day, every hour. I can’t understand it. No one has ever seen anything like it before.”

He took her handwritten monograph and placed it on the console table, planning to spend the entire afternoon studying it in detail.

The sad-faced tutulary departed without another word to her pupil.

Ranid became enthralled with the revelatory sentences in the essay written by his new teacher, Glia Tragus.

“The odyle is the hub of universal unity. Thus, it must be immanate in each and every part of the whole. The odyle is a predicateless odylehead. It is unknowable directly by mankind. Its essence holds the potentiality of all existing things everywhere through time.

“The odyle has many stages it goes through in an eternal self-revealing process. This continual revelation is never ended. The eternal creation of the world reflects the eternal self-generation of the original odyle.

“The dark and formless essence of the odyle is its odylehead. The latter resembles an abyss, an eternal nothing, a hidden place without any essence. It merely is, but it is no specific, individual being.

“The medium called the anuran frog is an emanation out of the odyle. But since the odyle is not directly known or perceived, it must have an aziluth.

“What is the aziluth? It is like a single ray from the luminary called the daystar. The aziluth is incomprehensible because of its infinitude. It is a reflection of the intentional activity of the odyle in itself.

“The odyle has an inner desire to be known. Therefore, the desire to create has always been co-eternal with it. The aziluth is in perpetual unity with the odyle. It is necessary for the completeness of the odylehead itself. It is never external to the odyle or ever enjoys access to it from without. Its contact with the odyle cannot be broken.

“The natural daystar in the sky is a representation of the spiritual daystar of the odyle. This divine orb is the source of all life, all love, and all intelligence. The purposeful end of all creation has from the beginning been the conjunction of the rational sphere with the spiritual sphere.

“The aim and destination of all creation is the Final Unity.

“Each person’s soul must turn into a medium of the odyle, an instrumental agent of the Absolute and the Sublime. Every anuran soul must transcend the sacred frog and conjoin itself to the divine odylehead by finding the aziluth within itself.”

Ranid took a rest from reading the essay, breathing hard. His mind was in a state of whirling wonder. The thoughts of Glia seemed to him like an echo of thoughts he had previously come across somewhere. Whose were they? Why did these ideas seem familiar to him?

He was suddenly reminded of what he carried with him in the secret diary of Alsike Caldus, founder of the Salamandrine faith. Was there some similarity there? An unconscious resemblance between the two varieties of thought? Could that be possible?

“The Original Being we call the odyle throws out the aziluth with a perfect image within itself. This is the image of the One, the Archtype of all existing entities. The aziluth, therefore, is composed of both thought and being. The odyle is perpetually producing something else without diminution or alteration of itself. All this creation occurs through and by the aziluth.

“As a reflected image, the aziluth corresponds perfectly to the One odylehead. But as a derivative from it, the aziluth is completely separate and different. The aziluth is the highest sphere accessible to the human mind on its own.

“The reflection of the aziluth is found in the soul. The latter’s relationship to the aziluth is identical to that of the aziluth to the One, the odylehead.

“Since the aziluth is indivisible, the soul can only preserve its unity by contact with it. The path to the odyle lies there. If the human soul unites itself only with the corporeal world, it eventually disintegrates. The alternative to union with the aziluth and therefore the odyle is to sink into the sensual, to become lost in the finite. This brings about a final ruin.

“Material lust traps most souls. Individuals lose themselves in a false existence.

“Only freedom from material sensuality can lead a person back to the original self.

“An ascetic life allows one to contemplate the primal odyle through the azimuth.

“One must become bathed in the Light of Eternity, swallowed up in the highest ecstatic bliss. A person has to become free of the tyranny of circumstances and live in the freedom of the eternal elements of being.”

Ranid felt a perceptible shudder down his back.

Was Glia veering close to the mysticism of the Gnomens? he asked himself with trepidation.

Iwis Nudum arrived as expected that evening. He quietly slipped into the cubiculum with a scroll in the pocket of his robe, drawing it out and handing it to the young man sitting at the desk.

“These drawings will help you identify cardinal physical traits that indicate particular types of characters, my good fellow.”

The softum opened the scroll and saw numerous drawings of faces. Iwis, standing behind him, pointed out facial traits and described what each one meant for analysis of personality.

“A sharp nose indicates the person is easily provoked to anger, like a dog. But a round, large nose points to an individual who is peaceable and magnanimous, like a lion. A slender, hooked nose belongs to an eagle-like person, searching and very painstaking. When a nose is round-tipped it reflects laziness and luxuriousness. A slight notch at the root of a nose reveals that one is quarrelsome, even impudent, like a crow. A snub nose belongs to a person of artistic temperament, one with a fanciful imagination. And open nostrils are a sign of romantic passion.

“I wish you to study all of these drawings, Ranid, so that you immediately recognize what the character of each classification is. Will you do so tonight? This is much more important than the assigned readings given you by the daughter of the Mandator. What I will provide has practical application every day, unlike her empty generalities.”

The softum nodded his head. “I will make myself time to read this scroll,” he promised.

“You must give it priority. Not every novitiate is granted such special knowledge. Only someone like you who possesses the proper physiognomy is able to. Do you understand me?”

“Only a limited few enjoy access to these secrets,” muttered Ranid. “This knowledge, then, is abstruse and recondite. Is there a secret name for those who master this arcane subject?”

Iwis furrowed his forehead. The cupreous eyes glowed and grew large.

“Have you ever heard the word gnomen, my son?”

“No,” pretended Ranid. “I haven’t. It is foreign to me.”

The Intendant leaned forward, his voice falling until it was nearly inaudible.

“We are only a small circle here at Feretrum, yet we have the secret of immediate union.”

“Union?” questioned the softum sitting at the desk.

“With the odyle itself. Without any imtermediary or instrumentality.”

A tense silence ensued.

“What about the frog?” asked Ranid, slowly and softly.

“When you have joined us and learned our methods, you can then place any creature in its proper place. By then, there will be no need to depend on any medium at all. At that point, you are more than an isolated gnomen. Much more, much more. You become an exalted energumen, possessed by the odyle itself. That is a sublime, exalted state of being. It is the ultimate, highest step a human being is capable of.”

Ranid could hardly believe what he had just heard.

“I want to learn all that I can, as quickly as possible.” he said with feverish enthusiasm. “When can you begin to teach me how to find…union?”

“Enosis, that is the old technical term. Mystical enosis with the invisible odyle that created all things. That is the final aim.”

“There is much for me to learn first, I take it,” said the pupil.

“Physiognomy is a simple method of understanding other souls,” explained the Intendant. “We must start there, then proceed to the deeper areas, and finally to full union.”

Ranid did not try to conceal the excitement he felt over what he had just heard said.

“Every gnomen is able to read and understand souls, then?”

“Do you think that thoughts can be concealed within our inner reaches?” returned Iwis. “Of course not, when one focuses on all that rises out of the intimate thoughts of the swamp people.”

The softum smiled kindly. My own soul does not appear to be understandable, he thought to himself.

“I want you to study and memorize these face drawings,” said Nudum. “I will see you tomorrow night. We will investigate how swiftly progress is being made by you.”

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