Thee Mottl'd Tyxte (book)
Thee Mottl'd Tyxte:
A Controversial Discussion of the Infamous Grimoire
As Written by Heritage Keeper Phildonius
Many people have had books written about their lives and experiences, but it is rare for a book to be of such notoriety that volumes are written about it. Thee Mottl'd Tyxte is one such book, its ancient secrets a mystery to mages for millennia. While others have been the subjects of research journals, none have been the center of such a heated controversy as to its origins, its intents, and its very nature. Never has there been a book that has simultaneously offered vast historical and enchanting insights while also the target of destruction requests and attempts. Hence, my labeling of this discussion as undeniably controversial.
Chapter One: Origins.
In the three hundred and ninth year after the Victory of the Redeemer, a young Moon Mage by the name of Mortom Saist happened upon a derelict library and discovered a tome of legendary reputation. Eagerly, and certainly rashly, he began to read the sanity- blasting horrors held between its covers.
Of his caravan and expedition, he was the only survivor.
In the many years since, Saist has moved on, becoming officially recognized as a great speaker and Guildleader. He has done some remarkable things, including sealing himself inside a magical sarcophagus, presumably dead to the rest of the world, and then reawakening as the Mirror Wraith Prophecy reached its conclusion. Yet, he rarely speaks of the incident at the forgotten library or of the manual known as Thee Mottl'd Tyxte.
From the small things that Guildleader Saist has chosen to share, we know that the structure was one of unusual design, bearing a remarkable similarity to some of the discoveries within the Su Helmas excavation. Since the location of this place has long been lost, and Saist has shown no desire to assist in locating it again, we can only guess from the second-hand descriptions and comparisons that this library was originally constructed by G'nar Pethians. Few scholars believe that the book was originally written by Sect members, and even the Pethians themselves have refused to take responsibility for the act -- of course, as ancient as Thee Mottl'd Tyxte is, pre-Empire Pethians could indeed be the authors without the modern members even knowing it. The grimoire itself references the G'nar Pethian Book of Prophecies, which makes for an interesting coincidence on this speculation.
Scattered texts reference the work on occasion, with the most shocking being a seemingly innocent antique inventory of a Saesordian's gear. The description of one of the tomes this early Tezirite carried is a frighteningly accurate match to the features of Thee Mottl'd Tyxte. A few hints in The Arte of the Black Cockatrice also seem to indicate that the Saesordian Cabal had it in their possession at some point, and many believe it to be the source of Heronyus Kalestraum's horrific Bonegrinder spell. Strangely, Alycia Crowther, who some argue would surely have known something about Kalestraum's possession of the book, never mentioned it. The Tezirites are quick to point out that the Saesordian Cabal split into Kalestraum's Children and the Progeny due to the crazed leader's blasphemous practices, and thus the tome is likely to have escaped notice by the young Lady Crowther -- especially so if she ignored its existence on purpose to gain respect for her fledgling group.
A handful of scholars have surmised that Thee Mottl'd Tyxte was not only in the possession of the revived Saesordian Cabal as led by Kalestraum, but in the original group as begun by the infamous sorceress Tezirah Eilsina. Most members of the Progeny call this a ludicrous claim, and they may be correct.
Chapter Two: The Grimoire's Format
The first thing one notices when perusing the pages of Thee Mottl'd Tyxte is the unusual language used across the majority of its contents. Numerous words are apparently Old Gamgweth, but linguists will quickly notice that a wide variety of dialects are cobbled together in seemingly random placement. Elements of bastardized Gerenshuge, Elven and even Ancient Imperial are evident in many of the passages, oft times within the same sentence.
How the mages in Pre-Empire times understood such a cryptic warping of the written word is not exactly known. Some scholars claim it is likely that the sharing of forbidden knowledge was done in this format to dodge persecution. The obviously somber, morbid, macabre and dare we say, illegal practices within the tome tend to contradict this belief, unless one subscribes to the idea that Pre-Empire mages were woefully lacking in the skill needed to hide their intents. Most scholars believe this was actually a commonly used tongue, perhaps created by the mages themselves as a working language, but freely understood by any with magical training.
The Sage Scyndoryn has made the unusual claim that the Pre-Empire mages used a deciphering spell, and that the vile rituals and blasphemous rites are little more than a trap for the unwary to disguise what the grimoire truly holds. He further states that if such a spell were found, the contents of Thee Mottl'd Tyxte would be shockingly different in design and intent. Few agree with this train of thought, and with good reason, as the Sage has put forth no real proof to back up his wild speculations.
Unfortunately, any proof at all to back up speculation on Thee Mottl'd Tyxte is hard to come by. Very few artifacts have survived from the days of the Empire, and virtually none exist from the time when the grimoire was thought to have been written. A single basalt tablet was uncovered in an excavation in northern Therengia, and appears to be a non- magical block detailing an aristocrat's family tree. It is written in a similar language as the infamous tome, though no one can really guess as to why this is.
It is the author's belief that Thee Mottl'd Tyxte was not written at once, or by the same group of people, but instead used as a working manual and magical sketchbook by many groups of varying cultures over the course of centuries. This does account for the incongruities within the work. However, this hypothesis is lacking in proof. Surely some of the cultures that had contact with this tome would have made reference to such a unique work, but alas, there are none to be found but in the rarest of circumstances. This tends to go against the "popular usage" theory, as I have called it.
The answers may be found in the paradoxical words of the tome itself. On page seventy-three, the following, submitted for grammatical discussion. Note the combination of Old Gamgweth and Ancient Imperial within the same sentence structures.
Page 73, Passage II:
An anhtler, jaw of man, leg of unman, Seven Elven hond unbroken. Roond flames breathe; Thee bohne yet braek, en thay whych be not nomenclated, Be rede with magick en sweete En upon thee morn, fynish thee grym faest, Yet fore Xibar's eyes ryze.
We cannot be sure of the translation of this passage, nor does this portion hint at its purpose. The first two lines could be a list of material components, and if so, this would clearly be a Necromantic ritual. Alternately, this could be the instructions for the procedure of the incantation. "Jaw of man" could refer to the main speaker, and requires that he either be male or Human, or perhaps both. The next item in the listing, "leg of unman" is possibly a reference to either a female, or non-Human race, while the "seven Elven [hands]" could be implying a joined circle of seven people. Or, as noted earlier, it could grotesquely require the use of seven Elven hands, severed.
Disturbingly, the line "[And] upon thee morn, [finish] thee grym [feast]" lends credence to those who suspect this is indeed a Necromancy. As this is an abomination of magic, it is the author's suggestion that this passage be destroyed rather than further research carried on to its purpose.
Chapter Three: The Controversy Thickens.
Perhaps the most peculiar references within the vast tome are the ones that speak of Grazhir, the fourth moon eons since shattered. What makes Thee Mottl'd Tyxte's comments on the moon notable is the recurring usage of its existence in the present tense -- as if Grazhir was still intact during the grimoire's writing! This is seen by many as preposterous, and is generally accounted for by chalking it up to errors in the admittedly difficult translation process. Others have an unshakeable belief in this, and so the lines have been drawn on one of the more contested issues within the book.
Of the most controversial sections in the Thee Mottl'd Tyxte are the so-called "New Katamba" pages. These passages consistently refer to Katamba as recently tarnished, or recently blackened. A handful of very vocal sages insist this is proof that the book was begun before the destruction of Grazhir. For your perusal, here is such a reference, taken from the Devourer enchantment creation:
Page 83, Passage XI:
Childe of daerk, theos pearly eoge is borne of flat liquyd snayls, Wyth Katamba's newe tarnish, taech in straemes. En wyth Nightshayde magick, fyll en be of hungered lyfe.
Notice the usage of the term "eoge" for "eye." In other passages upon this same page, the far less archaic term "eye" is used. The "flat liquyd snayls" on the first line is a twisted reference to oysters, as modern usage of the Devourer enchantment easily proves. Also of interest is the reference to the Nightshade spell, which by the following description, sounds surprisingly like our modern Shadows spell.
Page 82, Passages III - VI:
Nightshadye magick en shadeow eart fro daerk mona, Chantse, pushe awayt all lighte, en all lighte is pushed awayt, Shadeow surroond, lurke en eart unbeknown.
Even novices can see that the second line, which refers to the "pushing away of all light," is identical to what could be said about the Shadows spell. However, this is actually a minor point considering the accompanying pictogram on the same page, in the place of passages IV, V and VI, which clearly shows a very Shadows-like spell formula.
This has led a number of mages, especially those who are rather anti-Tezirite in their political views, to cry foul over the Lady Erzebet Crowther's reputed perfection of the modern Shadows spell. It is claimed by these men that the renowned spell-crafter and Progeny member did not in fact create the spell, but stole it from Thee Mottl'd Tyxte. Such allegations have been hotly debated by Tezirites and Celestians alike. My own opinion is irrelevant in this matter.
Sadly, when Saist recovered the manual and triggered a use of its contents, portions of the book were utterly destroyed. Presumably this was a result of whatever magic Saist attempted to comprehend, but in the process the entirety of the spell research chapters was lost. The damage showed signs of unusual and possibly premature aging, and the only page not too fragile was apparently removed with a sharp knife long years before Saist found the grimoire. Those against Lady Crowther point to this as their sole evidence of her treachery; the Progeny holds fast to the fact that so much of the spells section was destroyed. In any event, we may never know the truth about the similarities between the Shadows and Nightshade spells.
Less controversial than the New Katamba and Shadows- Nightshade debates is the information about ancient sigils and enchanting. Most agree that the phrase "taech in straemes," or the shortened "taech," means to bind a sigil to an object. This is unusual in the fact that the word "taech," or at least its variations in both Old Gamgweth and Ancient Imperial, means simply "to touch." Could this mean that those who wrote Thee Mottl'd Tyxte used magic so heavily and thoroughly that it was thought of as mundane as any other action? Take for example, the following, from the creation of Unbending devices:
Page 127, Passage V:
Footswell to Redestone en fro Eycemool in crones thay lay, Awayt Durgaulda's taech in straemes, taech, en wyth thee two, Aet for all mona magick, en all mona magick fell awayt.
Here, we have a classic literary device used in Thee Mottl'd Tyxte. The first line outlines material components or amounts required for the processes. Next, we have a line or group of lines detailing the creation steps. In this case, the Durgaulda reference is misleading since it implies that such a sigil would be scribed twice, or that it does more than just lay the foundation for a working Conjunctive sigil. The final line or lines indicate what the expected result would be. In this particular example, the material component line is cryptic until one assumes that "crones" refers to precious metal, or some form of currency.
Again, the usage of commonly found items further enhances the idea that the authors of the text considered magic and non-magic to be interchangeable entities. Curiously, mages can't explain why a single platinum works as well as an equal value of copper, though alchemists believe it has to do with the "natural and invisible properties of the ores."