Urshaanin's Singularity (book)

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Recorded by Murahhn S'hhrakapo, 295

                      Table of Contents

             Introduction =============== Page 1
             The Four Virtues =========== Page 3
             The Eight Gifts ============ Page 5
             Urshaanin ================== Page 6
             Famed Philosophers ========= Page 8

Introduction

Surely you already know of the great reign of Sarkhhl, hero-king of the S'Kra, and therefore I will not bore you with knowledge repeated. Our people flourished during this time as has no other race since -- not the Elves, even in their longevity, nor the Humans in their vast numbers, nor the Elotheans with their canny minds.

Equally well do we know of a certainty that we were created through the invention of Hav'roth, and therefore the central spirit of what it means to be S'Kra -- called the Singularity -- has a reflective certainty of what it means to live in honor. Although we may honor other gods for their virtues, Hav'roth and His aspects are first in our souls as the Creator of all S'Kra.

We do not unnecessarily concern ourselves with such trifles as the overabundance of utterly useless softness that seems to infect other races. Nor do we hesitate in sending a being, S'Kra or otherwise, to the judgement of the gods if such is deemed necessary.

We know to what we go when we die, and, as that knowledge is universal, there is no shame in sending a dishonorable soul to death if they pose a threat to those who exalt in the virtues of the tail.

And as with all things, our treatment of ultimate dishonor is decisively swift -- those who have earned the title of smozh are not granted the clean death of the ceremonial q'zhalata, but are made to live with all knowing the shame of their tailless lives. Such is just.

Although the Clans may keep to themselves on many issues, some even coming to conflict over these, there once again exists the Singularity among all S'Kra-kind. I offer here the ritual poetry of Avaar Tamigen, called Wildsong.

Nine clans there are, of a spirit bold,
Eight gifts from the gods they harbor;
Seven spears on a star imperial,
Sixth race, but first in honor.
Five limbs to the living vessel true
Four virtues from which all spring,
Three aspects to great Hav'roth blessed;
Two hands to glory bring.
Thus do the gods in S'Kra conjure
One singular soul of pride and honor.

The Four Virtues

It is believed that the Four Virtues -- honor, loyalty, strength, and intelligence-- give birth to all others. Fidelity, for example, comes of a combination of honor and loyalty. Love in S'Kra, borne from all four together, is thus a thing of extreme power and abiding.

Thus are all things S'Kra bound together, and part of an ultimate understanding. This is what makes the S'Kra first among races, gifted in culture, beauty, strength, and, of course, honor.

The adept student will have noticed that there seems no parallel between the number of limbs on a S'Kra and the number of virtues. Most races have four limbs, and S'Kra have four virtues -- but, as is obvious, a fifth limb in the form of the tail. The significance of the tail is often difficult for non-S'Kra to fully comprehend, and more confounding to them is our following of Urshaanin's four virtues rather than what would seem a natural five; these two concepts are in fact directly linked. The four virtues are attached to the manipulatory limbs, so that S'Kra may utilize these virtues as one would utilize a tool held in the hand; they come together embodied in the tail itself, which is a visible symbol of our supreme perfection. See the glory in the S'Kra Mur, that we alone of the races were created with such thought and completion!

It is rumored that there are sentient creatures who also possess tails, unknown as yet to the Empire. Certainly nothing is impossible, and the physical tail as a stabilizing force would be a natural accoutrement to any superior race. However, consider, perhaps, the lion: a noble and fierce creature admired by our race and others. However, the lion's tail is distinctly out of proportion to the other limbs. Philosophically we might interpret this tail as symbolic of dwarfed virtue; only in the S'Kra do we see a solid limb, equal to all others, in the form of the tail, carried as a symbol. It is thus clear that any tail, to be the equal of the S'Kra, would have to be configured thus, and not like the many other tails seen in the world's creatures.

The Eight Gifts

Most S'Kra, whether they call them such or not, are familiar with the Eight Gifts. Granted, when the S'Kra were created, they did not possess all eight, but these "original" creatures were birthed by Ushnish alone without the aid of either Hav'roth or Peri'el, and are certainly not considered the highest of the S'Kra Mur. They were as the Gor'Togs were before our race lent them our hand in guiding their growth -- mere animals, certainly not to be considered a complete race. A S'Kra Mur is not complete until he possesses all eight gifts, and thus the abominations known as the S'Kra Kor, as they call themselves, we splinter groups that fell away from the S'Kra species before all eight gifts were administered. Most certainly we do not count ourselves among these low creatures, any more than do the Humans acknowledge goblins among their own.

The first two gifts were strength and intelligence, given by Ushnish in the dawning of S'Kra existence. The next three -- creativity, magical aptitude, and wisdom (which added language to the sharp and ruthless intelligence of Ushnish's creation) were given by Hav'roth upon seeing the untapped potential of the S'Kra.

Peri'el's additions, warmed by her tears, were the gifts of the tail -- compassion, honor, and pride.

Again, all of this is review, intended to ground the would-be student of Urshaanin in the teachings most basic to our race. Now that these have been covered, let us move on to a study of the noble Urshaanin himself, founder of the notion of the Singularity.

Urshaanin

Throughout our history, as S'Kra we have developed many philosophies, as any thinking race tends to do. Some were not exclusive to our own species, as there were great thinkers among the others races -- Moliko the Balance, for example, gathered a considerable following of S'Kra long after her death. Urshaanin's philosophy, however, came from what most consider to be the core of S'Kra thought.

Much of what was known of the philosopher's life has been lost to time. He existed far back in S'Kra history, yet he was so prominent that all knew him by his given name, and his family connections rarely if ever come into view. Some believe that his close followers intentionally shrouded his origin in mystery the better to make him a figure inspiring awe. We do know that he worked closely with Avaar, renowned poetess and alleged lover of Urshaanin himself. It is thus that her poetry, above any others', is most trusted as a true testament of Urshaanin's thoughts.

Urshaanin believed, as we have learned, that the individual S'Kra was sovereign of his or her own destiny. This tremendous power to shape one's own world and thereby the world of those not wise enough to realize their strength was what he called the Singularity. It was believed that a S'Kra who could truly perceive all aspects of his or her effect on the living world would become as a god among us -- something more than merely mortal, though each one of us possessed this great potential. Certain traits would lead toward this, and those were enumerated in Avaar's most most famous poem, but much is left unknown so that individual S'Kra Murs can look most deeply within themselves without dogma to find answers that present themselves when one's mind is not cluttered with another's ideas.

Regardless of his history, it is clear that Urshaanin believed the S'Kra to be capable of great things, if they would deny the limitations that society's assumptions place upon them. Of him physically we know only that Urshaanin had blue eyes, yielding the expression "the blue eyes of Urshaanin", referring to one who is possessed of much wisdom and the ability to see through to truth.

Famed Philosophers

Like most great philosophers, Urshaanin existed at a time where, for whatever reason, great thinking flourished. The exact dates of his life are no longer known to us, but we believe him to have lived after the cultivation of the Gor'Tog trolls but before the Long Winter. Some other philosophers' names that we have retained from that time:

Zharhati Smolakh, a fine matriarch of a S'Kra. Like Urshaanin, she received entry to Sraan Smolg at an early age for her intellectual accomplishments, and some say that much of Urshaanin's philosophy owes itself to late night discussions held between Zharhati, Urshaanin, and Avaar.

Vorhaal Uurtoth, also a member of Sraan Smolg, but one who came to the sraan relatively late in life. He is said to have been a slow but steady thinker, often defeating puzzles of logic that confounded all save him, though he might take weeks to fully solve them. During these weeks he was said to retreat into his hut and let no one else in. If intruded upon he would grow wroth, but would not break the silence he imposed upon himself during this time of contemplation.

Renshhlak, last name unknown, a high son of Sraan T'Lar. Though more known for its vicious militant strength then for its philosophers, the Drum Clan has a strange tendency to produce one exceptional thinker every three or four generations. Despite what most civilized S'Kra would consider to be a very limited education, Renshhlak baffled the thinkers of his time by seeming to slice through complex arguments and thought systems with a crisp, ruthless efficiency. Some believed he was touched by Hav'roth.

Irneli saarnato, daughter of Sraan Rasha. The flower clan has always been composed of wanderers, and because they see so much of our world, many have the tendency to do a lot of thinking while wandering. Irneli was one of the more widely successful Rasha philosophers as she was able to keep her tail on the ground, as it is said -- most Rasha tend to work on levels of extreme abstraction, which outsiders attribute to their wandering nature.

This concludes our lesson on the philosophy of Urshaanin. Concisely, it most accurately conveyed that Urshaanin's ideas embrace what it is to be S'Kra: we hold most fiercely to our clans and culture, but ultimately it is each S'Kra who will determine what he or she will become.