Tag Archives: science fantasy

Sumanguru Is Here!

Sumanguru Zine Cover

The zine of thrilling adventure

is now available!

Four cuts of exciting escapist writing to get your brain charged!


Fantasy (regular)
Science Fantasy
Role-playing ideas

Fiction by Ashe Thurman and Jesse Harlin
Non-fiction by Ian Williams
RPG material by J Onwuka
and cover art by K. Thor Jensen

How You Can Get It

There are 3 ways that you can get a copy of SUMANGURU: Paypal ($5) for hardcopy, Patreon ($1-5) for electronic copy, or E-mail (FREE) for an electronic copy


Send US$5 to www.paypal.me/writejonwuka and list Sumanguru in the note. I’ll send you an e-mail to get your shipping address, then send you the zine post haste! (I will be treating any money sent in without a note as a simple donation, so if you are expecting a zine in the mail, please make sure to put the note there or send a follow-up email to requests@nearzone.com.) Also, you’ll get a PDF copy free of charge!

For non-US readers: If you’d like to have a hardcopy delivered, I may need more than the standard $5 to cover shipping. Please first send me an e-mail at requests@nearzone.com with Sumanguru Zine Request in the title, give me your address and let me know that you’re looking for a hardcopy. I’ll work things out with you from there.


Subscribe to my patreon (www.patreon.com/nearzone) at the $1 level or above to get access to an electronic copy through there. Also, until the end of December 31 2020 (11:59:59 PM EST) I will be mailing out hardcopy versions of the zine to anyone subscribed on patreon at $5 and above.

Note: If you’re not in the US and subscribe at $5, I may need to talk about shipping costs with you.


If you don’t want to subscribe to the patreon or aren’t able to, you can just send me an e-mail at requests@nearzone.com with the words Sumanguru Zine Request in the subject. I’ll send you an electronic copy of the zine free of charge.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Bad Magic: Ninefox Gambit

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]

This book is bad. I’m not going to talk about why the book in general is bad but you should know that I think this going in. I had enough issues with this book that even if the magic system had been revolutionary I wouldn’t have liked it. But the magic system wasn’t revolutionary, it was complete and total nonsense. The rest of this piece is going to explain why.

I’m talking about the book Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. If you haven’t read it this piece won’t spoil much, so don’t worry. I will give you a brief summary, though, if you haven’t: We follow a soldier named Kel Cheris who is chosen for a strange mission by her government the Hexarchate. This mission means that she will have the consciousness of a dead general called Shuos Jedao implanted into her mind; his mind will ride sidecar to hers, which remains in control of her body. Jedao (given name) is responsible for a massacre far in the past which made him the most despicable war criminal in the Hexarchate, but his military prowess meant that they didn’t want to execute him forever. Together, Cheris and Jedao have to try and get their way into an impossible-to-assault fortress.

First I’ve got to step back and talk about spoilers. I said I wasn’t going to spoil much. There is a main effect of the magic that I would classify as a minor plot point that I do have to talk about. If you think you’ll have a good time with this book, the reveal may be a bit deflating, but it’s not character-based in the slightest. The reveal is on the order of finding out a letter marked for “TOD” actually said “TODAY” originally. Anyway, last warning.

Second, I am only reviewing Ninefox Gambit‘s magic system. I’m not touching the rest of the series. I would hope/assume that the system develops further in later books but, for one, I barely dragged myself through this one a second time (it’s bad) and, for two, I think a book should develop its magic (and everything else) enough within itself for me to appreciate it, I shouldn’t need to do homework on a novel. Alright, here we go.

Basically, the problem with the magic in this setting is that the saying “science sufficiently advanced is equivalent to magic” is taken to heart but with the wrong message. This is the charitable reading. The uncharitable reading is simply clumsy and unfocused writing. Though the setting is extremely future-tech, it’s just impossible to describe the “exotic effects” in the story as anything but wish fulfillment magic because we never get a handle on anything. We have people interacting in mechanical ways with the magic — performing equations, finding shapes, plotting trajectories — but we are never given even the slightest shred of context for what the equations mean. You could cut out all the descriptions of how things happen in this book and not lose any understanding of the story.

Reading this book is a lot like listening to jazz musicians talk about playing jazz but not having any grounding in music. If you’re just in the crowd of a show, you can enjoy the music just fine without knowing about music. If you’re listening to them talk about how they played, though, the conversation is totally incomprehensible unless you know about notes or feel or swing. If those concepts don’t mean anything to you, you get the words but you don’t understand how they are put together. Even if the people involved find it very interesting, you can’t do anything with it.

What parts of the context aren’t we given? Fundamental things about the way magic works in this setting are simply not explained. The magic in this story is based around the calendar that a given society believes in, and believing in a different calendar is heresy to the Hexarchate. The calendar has a set number of days in the week, and they also have feast days and “remembrances” (all we’re told is that people are tortured on these days and some people don’t like it). There’s no further information. Take the fact about the days of the week. We are told that changing the days can make one type of magic not work in a specific area, but even rebels against the Hexarchate generally stick with the Hexarchate calendar. Changing the days provides all kinds of problems. Does it provide any clear bonuses? Not really, no.

The first thing you’ll say is that obviously changing the week length protects rebels against the Hexarchate, but it doesn’t. In the first chapter, Cheris has her squad using calendrical swords in a situation where her calendar was not in effect, but the swords still killed who they needed to kill and they got the mission done no problem. This type of malfunction also never comes up again. So what did changing the week’s length really achieve?

One thing I wondered was if having a 6 day week was somehow more stable than having a 7 or 10 day week, or if it powered different types of effects, things like that. The book doesn’t say. If calendars are changing something called “calendrical rot” occurs, but beyond the simple fact that it’s bad we don’t get any information on what it does. Does calendrical rot make people becoming heretics more likely? Does it actually shut down magic in a way that just having a different calendar type doesn’t? We aren’t told. We’re given no information at all.

I hate infodumps as much as anybody and I’m not saying that the issue was that we didn’t get enough infodumps. The issue is that there are no consequences for anything that’s brought up in the story. I’ve already mentioned how calendrical rot didn’t ever seem to hinder anything. There’s also invariant ice, which is built up as a major bugbear of a defensive system because it blocks across calendars, but then they find out – gasp! – it’s not invariant after all! So what was the point of all this? We didn’t get a chance to see how the magic works against something it can’t fight head on, we just turned the set-piece around so everyone could see it was cardboard and then tore it down.

The best example of all these issues in the story is the threshold winnower. It’s played up as a badass weapon that kills anything in an x-mile radius (again, no details!) but we really learn nothing about it other than it can kill a lot of people and sometimes it can shield a small area. That’s it. Here’s the only physical description of it:

The winnower didn’t look like its function. If you didn’t realize what it was, you might mistake it for a pretty kinetic sculpture, all looping wires and spinning wheels and interconnected shafts.

That’s it. Does it shoot anything? No idea. Does it just radiate lethal energy? No idea. Where does it get energy from, how is it powered? Shrug. How many people need to operate it? More than one, I think? How big is it? Don’t know! We’re told that they can break easily but this never matters because every time they need to use it, they have like three or four of them and only one malfunctions, so they always kill everybody when they’re supposed to. I mean, it’s a good job by Hexarchate logistics but it doesn’t tell us anything about the threshold winnower at all.

Basically, this is not technology. It’s not “sufficiently advanced technology”. It’s a fucking 3rd grader’s popsicle structure that goes bang and knocks down all the action figures. It works because its job in the story is to work, not because there’s anything to get about it. Therefore it’s just not interesting at all.

So why is this a problem? I’ve certainly read, and loved, books that don’t describe magic much at all. I’m one of the few you’ll probably ever meet who will defend Tolkien on prose. The issue isn’t simply that the magical properties aren’t described, it’s that the story itself deals with them intimately. To bring back the jazz conversation analogy, what we’re doing in this story isn’t listening to Gandalf and his cool cats playing a standard, we’re listening to them talk shop, and since we never got the understanding of rhythm or melody it’s impossible to enjoy that conversation.

Gandalf and Lord of the Rings magic works because we really don’t interact with it at all. Gandalf just does things and we see that they work, but he never says “hmmm if I move the two pebbles on the right over here perhaps I can see into the future”. It has a wondrous quality precisely because we interact with it almost like it’s a personified act of nature. Even the person doing it might not necessarily understand it, the way that we don’t think about firing up each of our nerves one by one when we want to move our bodies or have a thought. The mysterious nature of the magic is borne out by how it’s treated in the story itself.

The Wheel of Time takes the opposite tack. Channelers like Nynaeve know exactly what they are doing and they do precise things with the One Power to achieve their magical effects. They can take a concept and apply a little fire and a little air and make it something else, and we get the descriptions of how this is done. Obviously, we can’t get a scientific understanding because this is fictional magic. However, we are given clear principles for the magic to stand upon: fire does things associated with heat and combustion and perhaps anger, water with healing and emotion, earth with solidity and cohesion, and so on. We understand how people can gain access to the One Power and how they can lose it, what they can use it on, etc. We understand what society feels about magic and the authority that channelers had. Therefore, when we watch Nynaeve working out how to heal something that’s thought unhealable, the description has meaning for us.

In Ninefox Gambit, we get descriptions of how Cheris is plugging in equations, how she’s interacting with field grids, how she’s worrying about her formations, but again we have no context. We don’t know the extent of what formations can or can’t do, even theoretically. We’re told that certain formations are heretical but never why. We just don’t have any context for the fake detail that the story goes to. And I say fake detail because, like the winnower description above, every description of what’s happening is just vagueries thrown about and technobabble that could just as easily be a part of Star Trek or 2000s Battlestar.

This lack of consequences for the magic system even goes into character reactions. In the first chapter, Cheris discovers that her squad is under an assault that the orthodox formation won’t handle, so she has to change it. Apparently, the formation she’s changing to is slightly heretical, so some people in her squad object. She cuts them out of the formation and they get vaporized. How does this make any sense? Surely, every person must know that their only protection in this situation is staying in formation, which means following the leader or at least the general flow (and these objecters were in the minority). If the whole point is that they’re suicidal (which I don’t believe is the case), why would they commit what’s basically a senseless suicide in the middle of battle? They would definitely not be blamed, even if they had some kind of reprisal later. Also, wouldn’t the people in her squad know that sometimes the formation needs to be changed to compensate for bad situations? There’s never any indication that acting in a different way would ever succeed. So again, the fact that the formation failed etc is just because at that time it needed to fail in order to tell us something about the formations. The problem is that since there are no rules at all ever established, this actually doesn’t tell us anything. What can we glean from this? The soldiers are dumb? Cheris is heartless? There’s really nothing great to pull out of this scene at all.

“Calendrical magic” could be an interesting system, but if it isn’t developed, it’s just a buzzword. We don’t even get scenes of how the masses are having to obey the Hexarchate to keep this going. We’re not around for a feast day or a remembrance. None of the things about this system that could have been interesting are ever delved into. Wouldn’t it have been interesting if Jedao’s influence got stronger on some days and weaker on others? Or what about if they couldn’t fly their ships on Sundays because that was the day of rest and even the spaceships couldn’t be flown, so that changes their whole military strategy? There are interesting ideas you can pull out of this system if you want to. You just won’t get any of those ideas in the book itself.

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]
Mass Effect screenshot

Mass Effect’s Many Distractions

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]

Storytelling in video games is one of the biggest challenges in front of a game developer. A gripping story gives shape and meaning to the obstacles of each stage. What makes video games unique is the participation of the reader, the viewer, the gamer. In a traditional storytelling mode like prose fiction or cinema, we as the audience are just observers in the action. Because we-as-the-audience are actually playing in a video game, we want to feel that our actions have an effect on the story. The Mass Effect series is one of the most ambitious tries at melding storytelling with participation. Yet even in Mass Effect, we’re still mostly observing the plot. False choices abound in the game and, goody-goody or violent bully, the conduct of main character Shepard is pretty much the same. It proves that there are still real conceptual boundaries to how we think about stories being told.

The first Mass Effect game is much different than the later two but they are all in the same genre: pause-and-cover-based shooters with fantasy powers. That basic game gets expanded upon by the roleplaying aspects of the other parts: world-roaming gives new tools and powers to use as well as promising interesting encounters with planted characters, and the cutscenes give the bulk of the story context. The first game’s system of equipment and skill training was simplified in Mass Effect 2 as that game focused on the shooting gallery aspects, downplaying the original long pauses for power usage and its more explorable spaces.

The story being told is an epic science fantasy about humanity and its non-human allies facing down an existential threat from the unfathomable past. Regardless of the method they take to get there, the Mass Effect games deliver that story in a very polished way. That doesn’t mean that the player is involved in the story. Just like in a less-epic action game, the role of the player is primarily to kill the baddies. If the baddies are killed, the story advances. If they aren’t, the story stalls; usually, the player is given enough chances to eventually get the story going again. Mass Effect presents the player with a lot of choices that ultimately have very little effect on the story. The fate of the Council from the first to the second game is a key example: what should be a monumental event has no effect on the situation that unfolds beyond changing a few lines of dialogue. The chances of the Alliance are not significantly better or worse given your decision. You don’t even gain the promise of allegiance or not due to it. As players of Mass Effect we are ultimately just observers being kept happy with a few trinkets.

Mass Effect does provide engaging trinkets to keep our attention. Borrowing from sports games like Madden and the NBA2K series, Mass Effect allows not only player character creation but porting from one game to the next, giving the impression of continuing the same story. Its planetary exploration parts differed from game to game but were interesting diversions. The ability to buy useless items was a nice touch, a way to further personalize the experience (though I don’t believe these items transferred from game to game). Not only this, the Mass Effect games are fairly tight and the action bits reward some attention to the less-action tasks, helping to link everything together. The fact remains that they are trinkets. The problem with trinkets is that they’re a distraction.

I believe that there is a way to more directly marry the gameplay experience with storytelling, so that playing the game can advance the story in significant ways other than the simple success equals advancement equation. Of course, direct game experience is not the only way to tell a great story. As I’ve said, traditional stories have been told for a long time with we-as-the-audience serving as observers only. If that’s the mode that Mass Effect wants to pursue then they should dispense with the false choices like the paragon/renegade system which very rarely has an effect on what you do and never a major one. The story of the games would be much clearer and more exciting without the distractions of trying to be rude enough to get your evil points or laboriously spinning globes and reading mountains for resources. I don’t believe that Mass Effect is particularly well-suited to direct gameplay driving the story; its focus on action combat and insistence on an exposition-heavy story stand too much at odds for them to complement each other. Still, if the idea is to give the player some choice, make at least a few significant. In Mass Effect 2, the ability to remain with Cerberus or rejoin the Alliance would have been a major choice that could have in effect created two unique branching paths with different missions and approaches, even different endgames. Then, at least, a decision made can really alter how the story turns out.

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]
Idyllic valley (artist uknown)

Fatima and Jerod

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]

A short sketch I wrote years ago, I believe in college.

Fatima and Jerod were married in a small chapel called the Canticle of Light. Fatima’s family — her mother, two sisters, and brother — attended and dabbed at their eyes in the pews. Jerod had no family he cared to invite. The pastor was a tall thin white man with white hair and a friendly smile. They were the sixth couple he had married that Friday. He had performed marriage ceremonies for thirty odd years and he was tired of it. He smiled still.

Fatima’s mother cooked them dinner in her house, which was a tiny spartan flat on the twenty-sixth floor of the Newsom rise. She was still wide-eyed at the prospect of Fatima’s marriage. Jerod would take her to live in a house out in the country while he worked on a share-farm. It was the sort of thing she had dreamed about all her life.

Here, in Sachang, there was no space. The Newsom was where the poor were born poor and died poor or floated here from some other rise to meet the same fate. The community floors were always lousy with people. Most worked to support their ragged destitution, shuffling like graveborn husks from one place to another. It felt at times as though you couldn’t take a breath without stealing it from your neighbor. The crowding wasn’t much better in the other rises. Just a bit cleaner.

Fatima’s mother remembered their younger days when Jerod would moon over her daughter. Fatima was very beautiful. Raven hair still worn long despite changing trends. Smooth skin of dark olive. A full-lipped smile that always brought joy into Jerod’s heart. In those days she had dated the stronger boys, the athletes. They thought they would be drafted into one of the hexball leagues. How could all of them be drafted? And of course none of them were. Fatima and her mother tittered and Jerod’s cheeks burned.

But of course Jerod was a smart boy. Fatima’s mother had always said he was smart. She had always told Fatima to be nice to Jerod. Now Fatima joined Jerod in embarassment. Jerod had saved up for the thing that Fatima really wanted: open space. Freedom. And now they were happy and ready to start a life together.

Jerod smiled and reached across the table and Fatima gave him her hand. He squeezed it and smiled at her.

You must call me to visit, Fatima’s mother said. I’ve always wanted to see the country but could never find the money.

It’s hard to get the money these days, Jerod said. Things are hard all over.

But we’ll survive, Fatima said.

Of course. And thrive. The country will be wonderful.

When they were younger, they had gone to the roof of the Newsom house and looked out. Everyone did it. To see the soft green expanse, the purity of the world outside the city Sachang. A world they might observe in vids or read about but never be a part of. The promised land, where four years of honest work would bring a comfortable fortune. They had gone up separately in those days. Now they would see that dream together.

Two days passed while they packed for the trip. Neither had much to take with them.

A skycar met them on platform G-North. The bearded man that met them called himself Dalton. He was shorter than Jerod but broader, more solid. Dalton sized Jerod up and was unconvinced, but he was not being paid to judge Jerod’s fitness for work. They got in the car and soon were streaking through the sky over Sachang and out to the south, toward distant mountains blue-brown against the Earth-like sky.

Fatima stared below her as they crossed the vast countryside. Lush green crop fields were arranged in orderly rectangles below them. Here and there were groups of houses, mostly smallish, each suitable for three or four at most. These were separated from the others by many miles. There were also many buildings that must have been used for farmwork, some grouped, some separate. Her eyes grew large when she saw a very long building with a rich red roof. She called Jerod over and he said it must be a patron’s house. A great landowner. Fatima felt as if she were in a day drama.

There were some low grassy patches against the long fields of crops. Portions of these fields were fenced off and she saw big fat four-legged animals and sleeker four-legs and puffy ones and more. There were men tending to them, and dogs near the men. Fatima asked what the animals were.

Cow. Horse. Sheep, Jerod said.

You’re looking at a pad aren’t you?

How else would I know?

The skycar landed on a square of drab gray endurite at the edge of a group of five houses. The houses sat on a parcel of brown dirt. Each was of the same sort: whitish walls of composite, a brown roof of one enviroplast slat sloping forward over the front. Dalton pointed out his house then led them to their own. Fatima frowned at the houses. Jerod patted her arm.

Their house had been lived in before. Two of the chairs in the living room had broken legs. Dalton did not offer to have them fixed. Against one wall was an inter-cook unit, tall white complast appliance with range, oven, and nuker. Dalton informed them they would have to use matches for the range and the nuker was shoddy. They had a bedroom and a cramped bathroom with a shower. Their bed sagged in the middle.

Dalton was the facilitator for this living group. Every second Monday, they would get their req list to him. The next day, he would take the skycar to Sachang and buy supplies for two weeks. There was only one skycar for the group and Dalton had the run of it. Any issues, come to Dalton. If they were a problem, he would find them. At that he left.

This was not what Fatima had expected in the country, but now she chided herself. What was she supposed to expect? A life of unearned luxury? Foolishness, foolishness.

Up until Jerod her life had been a litany of missteps. She had been the same as the others in the Newsom: destitute, aimless, destined for the same poverty she was born in. Perhaps real sorrow at the way her life unfolded had been burned out of her because there were no tears now. She sat on a leaning chair and stared.

Jerod threw himself into unpacking. After some time, she came to herself and joined him. He told her it would be alright. Just let him start making some money. They would fix this place up. They would be happy here. Fatima smiled and imagined it. For him.

In the morning, Fatima stood on the doorstep while Jerod joined the group of men milling around outside. They were all dark, by birth or from the hot sun. She shaded her eyes as the pale sun rose.

Two of the men were looking at her. They wouldn’t stop. Fatima glared at them. Jerod caught on eventually and put a stop to it. She smiled, small and private.

Jerod returned. Planting would begin soon according to the other men. Three days, Wednesday, and then he’d be gone working the fields of Ignatio Oudeen. Only one day to figure out what they’d need. What she would need.

Tuesday brought them two cases of paloaf. Each red tin contained a brick of pink marbled meat whose origin was not animal but experimental. In Fatima’s narrow room in the Newsom she had the same. Paloaf could be cooked to a blend of flavors with the inter-cook, tangy chicken had been her favorite, but it always tasted like gristle besides. She’d eaten few meals that didn’t include it. Very few.

They also got a catalog for stores from the city.

That night they drew the curtains low and had sex. Fatima could tell that he was sorry. Sorry he was leaving for so long. Sorry he couldn’t stay with her. And she was sorry also, not just for them but for herself. They had come so far to be together in happiness but it meant this. This place. This distance. So they enjoyed each other because they fought for this and because they would be apart for some time and because they were tired of being low so they lifted each other up.

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]
Tower of Babel (top) by Pieter Bruegel

The Houses of Humanity

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]

The universe of Ansel Gedden’s time is dominated by the Sublime Organization, commonly known to humans as The Org. This vast multi-galactic empire is controlled by an enigmatic race called the shen and governed by their three paragon races: the military woad, clerical domos, and the technical carpenters. The twelve worlds which make up human space are a very recent and relatively minor portion of this state. They are one of the gathered races, those with no rights in the eyes of the paragons. Only gathered peoples can be sold as property, and the exotic, attractive human species has become a sought-after commodity. Their self-rule is limited; though the everyday touch of the Org is light, the immense phalanx city-ship that serves as the sector capital can wipe out any of the human planets.

There are six Houses of Humanity following from the death of their first home Earth: Mars (often Old Mars), Ibetida, Far Britain, Savane, Endeavor, and Nuevo Salvador. Each is split into around 200 provinces and each of these is independent of the others. There is no planet-wide human government on any planet except for Mars, through a special dispensation. The Org’s governors of each planet reside on the phalanx and conduct their business from there. This keeps humanity divided and prevents rebellion.

Before their subjugation by The Org, humanity was remaking itself as a spacefaring people. The Consumption of Earth killed that planet, but before it died, eleven worldships were sent out. Only five arrived and it’s from them that the outer Houses grew (Mars had already been colonized by the Consumption). It took centuries for humankind to rebuild the capability first to communicate across lightyears and then to discover fastlight travel. They were on the cusp of a true reconnection when they were set upon by The Org. The five year war which ensued is known among humans as the War of the Tears. At once, the Org crushed the religious and governmental centers of humanity, which were at that time the same.

The deliverance of that small portion of humanity out of the Consumption was regarded as a miracle by those who re-emerged on their new worlds. Soon, the descendants of those who had launched the worldships were regarded as divinely touched, worshipped as radiant and wise, and then acknowledged as the god-like Ascendants. They became the total rulers of their Houses and the center of all religion. In the War of the Tears, The Org largely annihilated the Ascendants, breaking humanity from their link from God. Only the wife of an Ascendant was spared. She took the honor of Ascendant for herself but called herself Matriarch. From that time, the Matriarchs of Ibetida have been the spiritual center for much of the human population, Ascendants in all but name.

Mars stands apart from the general story of human exodus. It was settled in ordered fashion centuries before the Consumption was irreversible. It watched, horrified, as Earth died, too small and poor to do anything but accept those refugees who could make it. As the worldships floated through space and then its people built itself up, Mars grieved. Its faith became one of constant vigil, placating the wailing ghosts of those abandoned on Earth. When the War of the Tears came to Mars, they fought but surrendered quickly. The Org’s hand fell somewhat lighter on them than on the other Houses. It is still, to the other human populations, backwards. They are still, to Marsees, naive.

The presence of Org races on human planets is minimal. The vast majority of the work done, even for The Org, is done by humans. Each province’s government is split into four circles: the Circle of Exchange, dealing with commerce and industry; Circle of Administration, for public safety, utilities, general welfare; Circle of Mediation, for trials and arbitration; and the nefarious Circle of Coordination, responsible for ensuring compliance of human populations with Org writ. It isn’t force constantly applied which keeps them in line. It’s the distant threats of phalanx bombardment and invasion by woad battleclans, as well as the memory of Tears.

The issue of slavery has always been contentious. Human governments have never permitted it; even under Org rule, slavery bills often greatly diminished a sitting government’s numbers as votes were tortured out. Instead, the Circle of Coordination has taken under its own control areas of each province which are called Freetown. Here, only the commands of Coordination (and The Org) must be respected. This has helped to create two different societies in humanity: citizens, who are bound and protected by the law, and outlaws, who can be sold as property and who can deal in slaves. Yet even though this arrangement has gone on for centuries, it has not become amenable to most of humanity.

Revolts against The Org are not uncommon but are all small and all doomed. This hasn’t yet crushed their spirit. They all wait for the fulfillment of a prophecy, spoken of by Hagia Saress the first Matriarch, that there would come a child of two Houses. Both of the Matriarchal House of Yesod and of another, a Hidden House which had escaped the full wrath of The Org and would, at the appointed time, return to create the savior of humankind.

[wpedon id=”566″ align=”center”]