Monday, January 24, 2022

A Note on Prophetic Poetry: a prophesy resource

This post is Part 2 of a series to augment the Codex of the Known World available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other worldbuilding resources are gathered in my Codex Directory for you to explore.

Find more prophetic poetry in my Portents Directory.

In Part 1 of this series, I discuss the cultural reasons why I always use an /s/ to spell the word prophesy. The elusive merfolk are gifted with the ability to prophesy, and the poetry quoted throughout the saga is just a small sampling of their latest portents.

These prophesies of the merfolk predict events from the Tales of the Known World saga, some of which have come to pass in published books, and others which will come to pass in future books. When sequenced by the date at which they come to pass, these portents reveal the unfolding events of the saga, well in advance of the novels themselves. They are poems that tell the story.

But the prophesies are also riddles. Each portent is a single piece of an ongoing puzzle, and the pieces must be interpreted in order to determine the events that they predict.

Check out the Codex of the Known World for more resources!

Due to the volume of prophesy that is recorded every day, events in some portents inevitably overlap with events from other portents. This phenomenon is called the tattering, and interpreters study these overlaps to infer an unbroken stream of future events. Countless scholars have devoted their lives to the tattering of prophesy, which spans generations.

Prior to this tattering, prophesies must be indexed by the date on which they were said, as opposed to the dates at which the portents come to pass. This is the only way to keep uninterpreted prophesy organized. In this Portents Directory, you can browse the untattered prophesies from each published novel. Try your hand at interpreting them yourself!

After prophesy is tattered, the dates of future events can be deduced and used to arrange each portent into correct story order. The merfolk then publish anthologies of tattered prophesy into story books for public consumption. Check out the story book companion to the saga, Portents of Mother's Gate.

These story books are considered the epic poetry of the merfolk, and oral readings are a popular pastime. These readings are often paired with musical accompaniment, and sometimes visuals produced by light magic.

Download the Prophesy Appendix:

The merfolk culture is built on the prophetic Gift. Nearly all men produce a portent every twenty days, and they devote their lives to interpretation. For more about the role and inner workings of prophesy, check out the Prophesy Appendix above.

However, the tattering of prophesy can make it difficult to sequence full prophesies chronologically, since certain sections may come to pass at different times. In these instances, a prophesy is annotated into its disparate sections, called tatters, so the prophesy can be sequenced in multiple locations.

The tatter of chronological significance is further annotated with the date it comes to pass, which cues readers to sequence only the events of that particular tatter in story book order. For a thorough explanation of prophesy tattering and annotation, see the Prophesy Appendix available above.

This free download details the jargon and terminology that relates to prophesy, and it explains the meaning of the strange dates that accompany each quote. It also further explains how the tattering of prophesy works, as well as the prophetic cycle itself, and the cultural impact of prophesy on the merfolk and the Known World at large.

That's it for this post! Up Next: Withholding the dates of future events...

For the Prophesy Appendix, enter your email above.

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