by confrater Qodvo Jr.
I file this final report and leave it to the Synod to debate or ignore. The request of the Curator of Ancient Theology and Paleonumerology Department of the Imperial Library has been fulfilled and my findings have been sent to him in a separate letter (filed under No. 1771).
This report contains a complete and accurate transcript of the correspondence that our opinion was requested about. My interpretation, threat assessment and recommendations follow the transcript in the interest of clarity.
From: Augur Gaible, Orery of Gwylim University
To: The High Chancellor of the Elder Council, his eminence, Ocato of Firsthold
Most respected sir,
I have little hope that you will recall, but we have met seven years ago on the closing ceremony of the False Spring Fistival in Alinor. It was my brother Cainte who bestowed the silk-crystal circlet on your brow that night, after which you held an inspired speech about the importance of looking forward and upward. I hope that you remain true to what you have said then, and that, in your indubitable wisdom, you will listen to what I have to say now.
My youngest apprentice here in the Orery of Gwylim chanced upon an amazing discovery, the implications of which I still don’t dare talk about aloud. This apprentice, being from a good, pure-blooded family, but showing only modest amounts of inquisitiveness and quickness of insight that are so precious to our profession, was assigned a seemingly meaningless task – one which was supposed to take a long time but had little true import – of transcribing and cataloguing the innumerable notes that our senior augurs leave behind after every night of observation. The apprentice – whose name I’d rather not add to the list of trivial details you must burden your memory with, having a position of such significance and without doubt a great many responsibilities – displayed surprising skill in handling long series of sigils and did quite an impressive job; indeed so impressive that I felt it was imperative to include the highest possible instances in the analysis of his final report.
Namely, the records clearly show an annual advance of the azimuthal aspect of both Prima and Secunda in the exact time of passage through the great circle of the Adamantine, as marked by the standing crystals of our Orery. In particular, it is obvious from the reduced data that the aspects have been strictly constant and have shown only the miniscule variations (both advances and regressions from the expected positions – which is a sufficient sign that there was no intention to the variation) that are due to the differing skills of the observers and the weather conditions – for the past three hundred standard years (or simply put, since the Orery has started to take regular Adamantine-passage measurements). The aspects have begun to advance on the year 3E 428 of the Imperial Calendar and have reached, during the fifteen standard years of advancement, the following passage coordinates: [numerals illegible] north for Prima and [numerals illegible] north for Secunda, relative to the position expected (and accurately determined) from the passage measurements prior to 428. Thus at the exact time of passage Secunda no longer shines through the east-most crystal, while Prima does but only with its trailing quarter.
Moreover, the described trend seems to contain a time dependent component of its own, in that it appears that the advancement is accelerating at the rate of [numerals illegible] per year for Prima and [numerals illegible] per year for Secunda. Unfortunately, fifteen standard years, although time enough for the empires of Man to change, is too few for a solid determination of this time dependence of the aspect advances, so I’m afraid I must caution you that these sigils are only approximate.
But I’m convinced the advance of the azimuthal aspects, even if they are not accelerating according to the estimated rates, is reason enough to alert the Elder Council. We do not dare draw conclusions directly without the assistance of authorities on the structure and stability of Aurbis. Therefore I respectfully request an urgent admission by the Council, or the glyphs necessary to access the dreamsleeve transmission channel of the Council, whichever is more convenient to your eminence. I believe that, as a person of education both wide and deep, you will have the wisdom to correctly understand the threat from the heaven which our discovery implies.
High Augur Gaible, etc, etc.
From: The Chambers of the Elder Council
To: The Arch-Mage of the Guild of Mages, his eminence, Raminus Polus
The letter you’ll find tied to my note has arrived several days ago to my desk, and after a tedious deliberation, I decided to send it over to you for inspection. The problem is as follows: I know the name and the reputation of the sender and his affiliation, and there’s nothing but praise to be heard about him. But the contents are almost completely illegible. Well, I exaggerate; the writing is plain. I just have no idea what the man is talking about. And so I can’t deliver it; you know how Ocato is – he wants a summary, nothing without the summary!
Please help me not make a fool of myself and the Guild in the first week?
Aruns Tanicius, personal secretary of the High Chancellor, etc.
From: Raminus Polus, the Arch-Mage of the Guild of Mages
To: The Head of the Department of Astrology and Numerology of the Arcane University, professor Aralmi Dalen
Dear professor Dalen,
I have an unofficial request for you or a capable member of your Department – to give your professional interpretation of the attached letter, in the form of a summary suitable for a layman in your field. I myself read the letter, but as you know, your brand of research isn’t my strongest suit and I admit I couldn’t make out much of what augur Gaible (I suppose the name will be familiar to you) was trying to say at all.
Raminus Polus, the Arch-Mage of the Guild of Mages, etc.
From: Aralmi Dalen, Department of Astrology and Numerology of the Arcane University
To: The Curator of Ancient Theology and Paleonumerology Department of the Imperial Library, Honorable Patrick W. Kingsmith III
An unusual request arrived for me from the Arch-Mage of the Guild of Mages, and one that I find myself unable to fulfill. I am not certain you are the right person to come to with this plea for help, and perhaps my letter will end up like the one Venerable Raminus Polus sent to me, but I have little choice, for I know of no one better suited for this kind of puzzle than your esteemed self.
My request is that you provide an interpretation for a report from one augur Gaible, whom you may or may not have heard about. While I have been able to grasp that part of the report which is directly related to my field of expertise, I fail to understand the broader implications which the author hints at.
This is what I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty:
The augur’s unnamed student apparently analyzed the archived observation notes spanning last fifteen years. It is usual practice with the observers of the skies to put down the times of passage of heavenly bodies through certain fixed spots (like the east-most crystal the augur refers to in his letter). Like the augur suggests in his mention of the whole archive of his Orery, these times are unchanging, and the practice of such measurements serves the purpose of calibrating the observations of other, more interesting celestial events.
What the student has discovered is that such times of passage of Prima and Secunda have actually been changing during the last fifteen years. He has calculated the rate of change and determined that the Moons pass through the appointed spot earlier and earlier, meaning that the lunar months have been getting shorter. But I must make it clear that by “shorter” I mean extremely miniscule changes that haven’t been noticed by anyone else, including the senior staff of the Firsthold Orery, with whom I keep close correspondence. Though I do not doubt the augur’s findings, it is no wonder the trend hasn’t been perceived so far. Namely, the sigils he cites project that it will take three hundred and seventy five Imperial years for the length of Prima’s month to become shorter by an hour than it is today, and six hundred twenty and three Imperial years for the month of Secunda to shorten by an equal amount.
In other words, while I find the report intriguing, I can’t see how it implies that there are any reasons for alarm. Yet its tone is disturbing and serious enough for me to question my judgment. Perhaps your skill with interpreting symbols and relationships will shed some light on the immediate dangers this strange yet seemingly natural phenomenon could pose for the Empire.
With the blessings of the Ancestors,
Aralmi Dalen, Department of Astrology and Numerology of the Arcane University, etc.
From: Patrick Kingsmith, the Curator of Ancient Theology and Paleonumerology Department of the Imperial Library
To: The Synod
Sons and daughters of Marukh,
Hereby we bestow upon you and your wisdom a puzzle that several great minds of the Empire went against and failed, with our contribution probably the most negligible.
You will find attached to this letter a series of other letters of disturbingly similar contents, whereby the original text which is in need of interpretation, went through different hands and was read by different eyes but is yet to be fully understood and sent to its appointed address, which is the office of our beloved High Chancellor Ocato of Firsthold.
How the matter ended up on our desk is not entirely clear. We do believe we are the last person capable of understanding the technical vocabulary or the subtle implications of yet subtler changes in the order of the heavens, which to the tired eyes of a librarian seem perfectly constant. We have tried our best to understand the explanation of the phenomenon that was given by young Aralmi Dalen of the Mages Guild, and have come to terms with the idea that the duration of the lunar months is slowly decreasing, if the conclusions of the High Augur of the Gwylim Orery are to be trusted, and we assume they are. We have also taken the alarmed tone of the Augur’s letter as seriously as we could, given the strange nature of the subject. But Alarmi’s plea, which was to untangle the mythical from the astrological, we could not properly address.
We shall make our small contribution in the hope it will not prove to be completely misleading, as clues are so often in our line of work.
The first thing which caught our eye was the significance of a particular date the High Augur mentioned: namely the year 3E 428, which was the year of the fall of Tribunal and of the Red Tower. If we are not mistaken, it was the precise time the lunar cycles started to decrease. Again, in our line of work such things can rarely be dismissed as coincidental, yet in this case we are hesitant to make a strong statement about a possible connection.
The other thing (which we are sure we need not mention, but shall include for the sake of completeness), follows from the first, and regards the correlation of the Moons with the Missing Divine. Could the “threat” the Augur refers to be related to the idea that the Sleeper is stirring in His slumber? This librarian cannot give a definite answer.
So with shame and some wonder, we transfer the plea onto your scholars, who must be the ultimate judges in this matter, for any insisting on an interpretation must surely be futile if they cannot produce it.
We recommend you and yours to Julianos.
Patrick Kingsmith, the Curator of Ancient Theology and Paleonumerology Department of the Imperial Library, etc.
It should be evident from the enclosed correspondence that none of the recipients, the brotherhood included, were the intended audience for the original communication. With that in mind, I have tried to contact the many-times-mentioned augur Gaible, and ask him to resolve the suspense regarding his vague warnings in person prior to attempting to unravel this unseemly knot of prejudices and misunderstandings. Unfortunately, instead of an answer to my inquiries, I was notified that the augur has died shortly after writing to Chancellor Ocato. I did manage to get a response from the student who has allegedly made the discovery; as it turned out, this individual is as ungifted for abstract reasoning as his late master had described, and was not able to make any sense of the matter beyond confirming the correctness of the sigils as transcribed here.
In summary of the allegations presented in the original letter and the two attempts at deciphering it, it appears that the lunar months of both Moons are getting shorter at an accelerating rate. This in itself is an interesting phenomenon, but it does not represent a threat at this time, nor is it likely to become one in many hundreds of years to come. However, there’s another way of interpreting the Augur’s report, one that professor Dalen either didn’t perceive or considered too obvious to merit explicit mention, as it is in essence equivalent to the one she gave. Namely, if the orbital theory, which places the Moons on circular trajectories around the Mundus, is sound, then not only are the Moons circling faster – they are also making circles that get smaller with each cycle, getting closer and closer to the ground. Like professor Dalen explained, these are all minute changes, and will not produce visible effects for many centuries. But eventually, the Moons will crash down upon the Mundus and without a doubt cause a cataclysm of ultimate proportions.
As a final remark, I caution the Synod to remember that the whole chain of conclusions presented here depends entirely on the accuracy of the reported measurements and the truth of the orbital theory. Like the other correspondents, I am aware of augur Gaible’s considerable reputation, but it does not mean that he is beyond making mistakes or partaking in false beliefs, like every mortal. With that in mind, I have made some calculations of my own, which confirm that the passage offsets could have been caused by a slow deterioration of the Gwylim Orery itself if, say, the main observation tower has started leaning, or sinking, as a result of aging. Though it may seem a mundane explanation, it is certainly plausible since the Orery is more than seven centuries old.
It is up to the synod to weigh these considerations and decide if the matter should be pursued further.
Humbly at your service,
Confrater Qodvo Jr.