The Second Apocalypse

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This page include quotes from all of the books included in R. Scott Bakker 's "The Second Apocalypse" series.

The Prince of Nothing Trilogy[edit]

The Darkness That Comes Before[edit]

The Darkness That Comes Before (2004) by R. Scott Bakker. The first book in the Prince of Nothing series.

Quotes from throughout the books[edit]

  • "Things holy ... became mere versions of things unholy ... as though the words "holy" and "unholy" were as easily exchanged as seats at a gaming table. And the recent simply became a more tawdry repetition of the ancient."
    • Drusas Achamian, Page 39 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "Achamian had crisscrossed the Three Seas, had seen many of those things that had once made his stomach flutter with supernatural dread, and he knew now that childhood stories were always better"
    • Drusas Achamian, Page 39 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "Avarice, it seemed to him, was the world's only dimension."
    • Drusas Achamian, Page 39 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "There was nothing the ignorant prized more than the ignorance of others ."
    • Drusas Achamian, Page 43 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "Above all the mighty detest change"
    • Drusas Achamian, Page 57 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "Answers are like opium: the more you imbibe, the more you need. Which is why the sober man finds solace in mystery."
    • Ikurei Conphas, Page 190 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "War is intellect"
    • Ikurei Conphas, Page 190 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "Some events mark us so deeply that they find more force of presence in their aftermath than in their occurrence."
    • Cnaiur, Page 191 (USA Paperback edition)
  • " 'But measure' the slave replies 'is not something accomplished and then forgotten, Skiotha. Old measure is merely grounds for the new. Measure is unceasing."
    • 'The Slave', Page 192 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "Complicity makes unforgettable, carves scenes with unbearable clarity, as though the extent of condemnation is to be found in the precision of detail."
    • Cnaiur, Page 192 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "With his own feet, the dead chased him."
    • Cnaiur, Page 193 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "The young can never see life for what it is: a knife's edge, as thin as the breaths that measure it. What gives it depth isn't memory. I've memories enough for ten men, and yet my days are as thin and as shadowy as the greased linen the poor stretch over their windows. No, what gives life depth is the future. Without a future, without a horizon of promise or threat, our lives have no meaning. Only the future is real"
    • Skeaos, Page 240 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "He wondered whether the old drab had taken Skeaos as a lover. Likely, he concluded, and winced at the accompanying image. Like a prune fucking a twig, he thought"
    • Ikurei Conphas, Page 240 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "There was something curiously pathetic, he thought, about the notion of the man plotting with his grandmother, like two beggars sneering at those too poor to give more than coppers."
    • Ikurei Conphas, Page 241 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "Stupid men, Conphas had found, tended to be excessively proud of their few brilliant moments."
    • Ikurei Conphas, Page 246 (USA Paperback edition)
  • "In desperate times, Cnaiur knew, men rationed nothing so jealously as tolerance, They were more strict in their interpretations of custom and less forgiving of uncommon things"
    • Cnaiur, Page 369 (USA Paperback edition)

Chapter Headers[edit]

Frontispiece:

  • I shall never tire of underlining a concise little fact which these superstitious people are loath to admit—namely, that a thought comes when “it” wants, not when “I” want . . .
    • FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL

Prologue – The Wastes of Kûniüri

  • If it is only after that we understand what has come before, then we understand nothing. Thus we shall define the soul as follows: that which precedes everything.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN

Mid-prologue – The Wastes of Kûniüri

  • Nonmen, Sranc, and Men: The first forgets, The third regrets,And the second has all of the fun.
    • ANCIENT KÛNIÜRI NURSERY RHYME
  • This is a history of a great and tragic holy war, of the mighty factions that sought to possess and pervert it, and of a son searching for his father. And as with all histories, it is we, the survivors, who will write its conclusion.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter One – Carythusal

  • There are three, and only three, kinds of men in the world: cynics, fanatics, and Mandate Schoolmen.
    • ONTILLAS, ON THE FOLLY OF MEN
  • The author has often observed that in the genesis of great events, men generally possess no inkling of what their actions portend. This problem is not, as one might suppose, a result of men’s blindness to the consequences of their actions. Rather it is a result of the mad way the dreadful turns on the trivial when the ends of one man cross the ends of another. The Schoolmen of the Scarlet Spires have an old saying: “When one man chases a hare, he finds a hare. But when many men chase a hare, they find a dragon.” In the prosecution of competing human interests, the result is always unknown, and all too often, terrifying.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Two – Atyersus

  • I write to inform you that during my most recent audience, the Nansur Emperor, quite without provocation, publicly addressed me as “fool.” You are, no doubt, unmoved by this. It has become a common occurrence. The Consult eludes us now more than ever. We hear them only in the secrets of others. We glimpse them only through the eyes of those who deny their very existence. Why should we not be called fools? The deeper the Consult secretes itself among the Great Factions, the madder our rantings sound to their ears. We are, as the damned Nansur would say, “a hunter in the thicket”—one who, by the very act of hunting, extinguishes all hope of running down his prey.
    • ANONYMOUS MANDATE SCHOOLMAN, LETTER TO ATYERSUS

Chapter Three – Sumna

  • If the world is a game whose rules are written by the God, and sorcerers are those who cheat and cheat, then who has written the rules of sorcery?
    • ZARATHINIUS, A DEFENCE OF THE ARCANE ARTS

Chapter Four – Sumna

  • To be ignorant and to be deceived are two different things. To be ignorant is to be a slave to the world. To be deceived is to be the slave of another man. The question will always be: Why, when all men are ignorant, and therefore already slaves, does this latter slavery sting us so?
    • AJENCIS, THE EPISTEMOLOGIES
  • But despite stories of Fanim atrocities, the fact of the matter is that the Kianene, heathen or no, were surprisingly tolerant of Inrithi pilgrimages to Shimeh—before the Holy War, that is. Why would a people devoted to the destruction of the Tusk extend this courtesy to “idolaters”? Perhaps they were partially motivated by the prospect of trade, as others have suggested. But the fundamental motive lies in their desert heritage. The Kianene word for a holy place is si’ihkhalis, which means, literally, “great oasis.” On the open desert it is their strict custom to never begrudge travelers water, even if they be enemies.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Five – Momemn

  • The difference between the strong emperor and the weak is simply this: the former makes the world his arena, while the latter makes it his harem.
    • CASIDAS, THE ANNALS OF CENEI
  • What the Men of the Tusk never understood was that the Nansur and the Kianene were old enemies. When two civilized peoples find themselves at war for centuries, any number of common interests will arise in the midst of their greater antagonism. Ancestral foes share many things: mutual respect, a common history, triumph in stalemate, and a plethora of unspoken truces. The Men of the Tusk were interlopers, an impertinent flood that threatened to wash away the observed channels of a far older enmity.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Six – The Jiünati Steppe

  • It is said: a man is born of his mother and is fed of his mother. Then he is fed of the land, and the land passes through him, taking and giving a pinch of dust each time, until man is no longer of his mother, but of the land.
    • SCYLVENDI PROVERB
  • . . . and in Old Sheyic, the language of the ruling and religious castes of the Nansurium, skilvenas means “catastrophe” or “apocalypse,” as though the Scylvendi have somehow transcended the role of peoples in history and become a principle.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR


Chapter Seven – Momemn

  • The world is a circle that possesses as many centres as it does men.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN

Chapter Eight – Momemn

  • Kings never lie. They demand the world be mistaken.
    • CONRIYAN PROVERB
  • When we truly apprehend the Gods, the Nilnameshi sages say, we recognize them not as kings but as thieves. This is among the wisest of blasphemies, for we always see the king who cheats us, never the thief.
    • OLEKAROS, AVOWALS

Chapter Nine – Sumna

  • And the Nonman King cried words that sting: “Now to me you must confess, For death above you hovers!” And the Emissary answered ever wary: “We are the race of flesh, We are the race of lovers.”
    • “BALLAD OF THE INCHOROI,” ANCIENT KÛNIÜRI FOLK SONG

Chapter Ten – Sumna

  • How should one describe the terrible majesty of the Holy War? Even then, still unblooded, it was both frightening and wondrous to behold, a great beast whose limbs were composed of entire nations—Galeoth, Thunyerus, Ce Tydonn, Conriya, High Ainon, and the Nansurium—and with the Scarlet Spires as the dragon’s maw, no less. Not since the days of the Ceneian Empire or the Ancient North has the world witnessed such an assembly. Even diseased by politics, it was a thing of awe.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Eleven – Momemn

  • Reason, Ajencis writes, is the capacity to overcome unprecedented obstacles in the gratification of desire. What distinguished man from beasts is man’s capacity to overcome infinite obstacles through reason. But Ajencis has confused the accidental for the essential. Prior to the capacity to overcome infinite obstacles is the capacity to confront them. What defines man is not that he reasons, but that he prays.
    • EKYANNUS I, 44 EPISTLES

Chapter Twelve – The Jiünati Steppe

  • I have explained how Maithanet yoked the vast resources of the Thousand Temples to ensure the viability of the Holy War. I have described, in outline, the first steps taken by the Emperor to bind the Holy War to his imperial ambitions. I have attempted to reconstruct the initial reaction of the Cishaurim in Shimeh from their correspondence with the Padirajah in Nenciphon. And I have even mentioned the hated Consult, of whom I can at long last speak without fear of ridicule. I have spoken, in other words, almost exclusively of powerful factions and their impersonal ends. What of vengeance? What of hope? Against the frame of competing nations and warring faiths, how did these small passions come to rule the Holy War?
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR
  • . . . though he consorts with man, woman and child, though he lays with beasts and makes a mockery of his seed, never shall he be as licentious as the philosopher, who lays with all things imaginable.
    • INRI SEJENUS, SCHOLARS, 36, 21, THE TRACTATE

Chapter Thirteen – The Hethanta Mountains

  • Even the hard-hearted avoid the heat of desperate men. For the bonfires of the weak crack the most stone.
    • CONRIYAN PROVERB
  • So who were the heroes and the cravens of the Holy War? There are already songs enough to answer that question. Needless to say, the Holy War provided further violent proof of Ajencis’s old proverb, “Though all men be equally frail before the world, the differences between them are terrifying.”
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Fourteen – The Kyranae Plain

  • Some say men continually war against circumstances, but I say they perpetually flee. What are the works of men if not a momentary respite, a hiding place soon to be discovered by catastrophe? Life is endless flight before the hunter we call the world.
    • EKYANNUS VIII, 111 APHORISMS

Chapter Fifteen – Momemn

  • Many have condemned those who joined the Holy War for mercenary reasons, and doubtless, should this humble history find its way into their idle libraries, they will blast me as well. Admittedly, my reasons for joining the Holy War were “mercenary,” if by that one means I joined it in order to procure ends outside of the destruction of the heathen and the reconquest of Shimeh. But there were a great many mercenaries such as myself, and like myself, they inadvertently furthered the Holy War by killing their fair share of heathen. The failure of the Holy War had nothing to do with us. Did I say failure? Perhaps “transformation” would be a better word.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR
  • Faith is the truth of passion. Since no passion is more true than another, faith is the truth of nothing.
    • AJENCIS, THE FOURTH ANALYTIC OF MAN

Chapter Sixteen – Momemn

  • Those of us who survived will always be bewildered when we recall his arrival. And not just because he was so different then. In a strange sense he never changed. We changed. If he seems so different to us now, it is because he was the figure that transformed the ground.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR


Chapter Seventeen – The Andiamine Heights

  • The event itself was unprecedented: not since the fall of Cenei to the Scylvendi hordes had so many potentates gathered in one place. But few knew Mankind itself lay upon the balance. And who could guess that a brief exchange of glances, not the Shriah’s edict, would tip the balance? But is this not the very enigma of history? When one peers deep enough, one always finds that catastrophe and triumph, the proper objects of the historian’s scrutiny, inevitably turn upon the small, the trivial, the nightmarishly accidental. When I reflect overmuch on this fact, I do not fear that we are “drunks at the sacred dance,” as Protathis writes, but that there is no dance at all.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Eighteen – The Andiamine Heights

  • . . . and that revelation murdered all that I once did know. Where once I asked of the God, “Who are you?” now I ask, “Who am I?”
    • ANKHARLUS, LETTER TO THE WHITE TEMPLE
  • The Emperor, the consensus seems to be, was an excessively suspicious man. Fear has many forms, but it is never so dangerous as when it is combined with power and perpetual uncertainty.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Nineteen – Momemn

  • . . . even though the skin-spies were exposed relatively early in the course of the Holy War, most believed the Cishaurim rather than the Consult to be responsible. This is the problem of all great revelations: their significance so often exceeds the frame of our comprehension. We understand only after, always after. Not simply when it is too late, but precisely because it is too late.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

The Warrior Prophet[edit]

The Warrior Prophet (2005) by R. Scott Bakker. The second book in the Prince of Nothing series.

Chapter Headers[edit]

Chapter One: Anserca

  • Ignorance is Trust.
    • ancient Kuniuric proverb

Chapter Two: Anserca

  • Duty measures the distance between the animal and the divine.
    • Ekyannus 1, 44 Epistles
  • The days and weeks before battle are a strange thing. All the contingents, the Conriyans, the Galeoth, the Nansur, the Thunyeri, the Tydonni, the Ainoni, and the Scarlet Spires, marched to the fortress of Asgilioch, to the Southron Gates and the heathen frontier. And though many bent their thoughts to Skauras, the heathen Sapatishah who would contest us, he was still woven of the same cloth as a thousand other abstract concerns. Once could still confuse war with everyday living …
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Three: Asgilioch

  • The proposition "I am the centre" need never be uttered. It is the assumption upon which all certainty and all doubt turns.
    • Ajencis, The Third Analytic of Men
  • See your enemies content and your lovers melancholy.
    • Ainoni proverb

Chapter Four: Asgilioch

  • No decision is so fine as to not bind us to its consequences. No consequence is so unexpected as to absolve us of our decisions. Not even death.
    • Xius, The Trucian Dreams
  • It seems a strange thing to recall these events, like walking to find I had narrowly missed a fatal fall in the darkness. Whenever I think back, I’m filled with wonder that I still live, and with horror that I still travel by night.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Five: The Plains of Mengedda

  • Why must I conquer you ask? War makes clear. Life or Death. Freedom or Bondage. War strikes the sediment from the water of life.
    • Triamis I, Journals and Dialogues

Chapter Six: The Plains of Mengedda

  • One sorcerer, the ancients say, is worth a thousand warriors in battle and ten thousand sinners in Hell.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR
  • When shields become crutches, and swords become canes, some hearts are put to rout. When wives become plunder, and foes become thanes, all hope has guttered out.
    • Anonymous "Lament for the Conquered"

Chapter Seven: Mengedda

  • Sleep, when deep enough, is indistinguishable from vigilance.
    • Sorainas, The Book of Circles and Spirals

Chapter Eight: Mengedda

  • All men are greater than dead men.
    • Ainoni proverb
  • Every monumental work of the State is measured by cubits. Every cubit is measured by the length of the Aspect-Emperor’s arm. And the Aspect-Emperor’s arm, they say, stands beyond measure. But I say the Aspect-Emperor’s arm is measured by the length of a cubit, and that all cubits are measured by the works of the State. Not even the All stands beyond measure, for it is more than what lies within it, and “more” is a kind of measure. Even the God has His cubits.
    • IMPARRHAS, PSÜKALOGUES

Chapter Nine: Hinnereth

  • One can look into the future, or one can look at the future. The latter is by far the more instructive.
    • Ajencis, The Third Analytic of Men
  • If one doubts that passion and unreason govern the fate of nations, one need only look to meetings between the Great. Kings and emperors are unused to treating with equals, and are often excessively relieved or repelled as a result. The Nilnameshi have a saying, “When princes meet, they find either brothers or themselves,” which is to say, peace or war.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Ten: Atsushan Highlands

  • Love is lust made meaningful. Hope is hunger made human.
    • Ajencis, The Third Analytic of Men
  • How does one learn innocence? How does one teach ignorance? For to be them is to know them not. And yet they are the immovable point from which the compass of life swings, the measure of all crime and compassion, the rule of all wisdom and folly. They are the Absolute.
    • Anonymous, The Imprompta

Chapter Eleven: Shigek

  • If all human events possess purpose, then all human deeds possess purpose. And yet when men vie with men, the purpose of no man comes to fruition: the result always falls somewhere in between. The purpose of deeds, then, cannot derive from the purposes of men, because all men vie with all men. This means the deeds of men must be willed by something other than men. From this it follows that we are all slaves. Who then is our Master?
    • Memgowa, The Book of Divine Acts
  • What is practicality but one moment betrayed for the next?
    • Triamis I, Journals and Dialogues

Chapter Twelve: Iothiah

… the ends of the earth shall be wracked by the howls of the wicked, and the idols shall be cast down and shattered, stone against stone. And the demons of the idolaters shall hold open their mouths, like starving lepers, for no man living will answer their outrageous hunger. —16:4:22 THE WITNESS OF FANE

  • Though you lose your soul, you shall win the world.
    • Mandate Catechism

Chapter Thirteen: Shigek

  • Men are forever pointing at others, which is why I always follow the knuckle and not the nail.
    • Ontillas, On the Folly of Men
  • A day with no noon, A year with no fall, Love is forever new, Or love is not at all.
    • Anonymous, "Ode to the Loss of Losses"

Chapter Fourteen: Anwurat

  • It is the difference in knowledge that commands respect. This is why the true test of every student lies in the humiliation of his master.
    • Gotagga, The Prima Arcanata
  • The children here play with bones instead of sticks, and whenever I see them, I cannot but wonder whether the humeri they brandish are faithful or heathen.

Heathen, I should think, for the bones seem bent.

    • ANONYMOUS, LETTER FROM ANWURAT

Chapter Fifteen: Anwurat

  • Where the holy take men for fools, the mad take the world.
    • Protathis, The Goat's Heart

Chapter Sixteen: Shigek

  • Men never resemble one another so much as when asleep or dead.
    • Opparitha, On the Carnal
  • The arrogance of the Inrithi waxed bright in the days following Anwurat. Though sober-minded demanded they press the attack, the great majority clamored for respite. They thought the Fanim doomed, just as they thought them doomed after Mengedda. But while the Men of the Tusk tarried, the Padirajah plotted. He would make the world his shield.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Seventeen: Shigek

  • In terror, all men throw up their hands and turn aside their faces. Remember, Tratta, always preserve the face! For that is where you are.
    • Throseanis, Triamis Imperator
  • The Poet will yield up his stylus only when the Geometer can explain how Life can at once be a point and a line. How can all time, all creation, come to the now? Make no mistake: this moment, the instant of this very breath, is the frail thread from which all creation hangs. That men dare to be thoughtless ...
    • Teres Ansansius, The City of Men

Chapter Eighteen: Khemema

  • To piss across water is to piss across your reflection.
    • Khirgwi proverb

Chapter Nineteen: Enathpaneah

  • What vengeance is this? That he should slumber while I endure? Blood douses no hatred, cleanses no sin. Like seed, it spills of its own volition, and leaves naught but sorrow in its wake.
    • Hamishaza, Tempiras the King
  • ... and my soldiers, they say, make idols of their swords. But does not the sword make certain? Does not the sword make plain? Does not the sword compel kindness from those who kneel in its shadow? I need no other God.
    • Triamis, Journals and Dialogues

Chapter Twenty: Caraskand

  • The vulgar think the God by analogy to man and so worship Him in the form of the Gods. The learned think the God by analogy to principles and so worship Him in the form of Love or Truth. But the wise think the God not at all. They know that thought, which is finite, can only do violence to the God, who is infinite. It is enough, they say, that the God thinks them.
    • Memgowa, The Book of Divine Acts
  • ... for the sin of the idolator is not that he worships stone, but that he worships one stone over others.
    • 8:9:4 The Witness of Fane

Chapter Twenty-one: Caraskand

  • We will give over all of them, slain, to the Children of Eänna; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire. You shall bathe your feet in the blood of the wicked.
    • TRIBES 21:13, THE CHRONICLE OF THE TUSK

Chapter Twenty-two: Caraskand

  • For all things there is a toll. We pay in breaths, and our purse is soon empty.
    • Songs 57:3, The Chronicle of the Tusk
  • Like many old tyrants, I dote upon my grandchildren. I delight in their tantrums, their squealing laughter, their peculiar fancies. I willfully spoil them with honey sticks. And I find myself wondering at their blessed ignorance of the world and its million grinning teeth. Should I, like my grandfather, knock such childishness from them? Or should I indulge their delusions? Even now, as death's shadow pickets gather about me, I ask, Why should innocence answer to the world? Perhaps the world should answer to innocence ... Yes, I rather like that. I tire of bearing the blame.
    • Stajanas II, Ruminations

Chapter Twenty-three: Caraskand

  • For men, no circle is ever closed. We walk ever in spirals.
    • Drusas Achamian, The Compendium of the First Holy War
  • Bring he who has spoken prophecy to the judgement of the priests, and if his prophecy is judged true, acclaim him, for he is clean, and if his prophecy is judged false, bind him to the corpse of his wife, and hang him one cubit above the earth, for he is unclean, an anathema unto the Gods.
    • WARRANTS 7:48, THE CHRONICLE OF THE TUSK

Chapter Twenty-four: Caraskand

  • They strike down the weak and call it justice. They ungird their loins and call it reparation. They bark like dogs and call it reason.
    • Ontillas, On the Folly of Men

Chapter Twenty-five: Caraskand

  • What is the meaning of a deluded life?
    • Ajencis, The Third Analytic of Men

The Thousandfold Thought[edit]

The Thousandfold Thought (2006) by R. Scott Bakker. The thrid book in the Prince of Nothing series.

Chapter Headers[edit]

Frontispiece:

  • In pursuing yonder what they have lost, they encounter only the nothing they have. In order not to lose touch with the everyday dreariness in which, as irremediable realists, they are at home, they adapt the meaning they revel in to the meaninglessness they flee. The worthless magic is nothing other than the worthless existence it lights up.
    • THEODOR ADORNO, MINIMA MORALIA
  • All progressions from a higher to a lower order are marked by ruins and mystery and a residue of nameless rage. So. Here are the dead fathers.
    • CORMAC MCCARTHY, BLOOD MERIDIAN

Chapter One: Caraskand

  • My heart shrivels even as my intellect bristles. Reasons—I find myself desperate for reasons. Sometimes I think every word written is written for shame.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Two: Caraskand

  • I tell you, guilt dwells nowhere but in the eyes of the accuser. This men know even as they deny it, which is why they so often make murder their absolution. The truth of crime lies not with the victim but with the witness.
    • HATATIAN, EXHORTATIONS

Chapter Three: Caraskand

  • If soot stains your tunic, dye it black. This is vengeance.
    • EKYANNUS I, 44 EPISTLES
  • Here we find further argument for Gotagga’s supposition that the world is round. How else could all men stand higher than their brothers?
    • AJENCIS, DISCOURSE ON WAR

Chapter Four: Enathpaneah

  • Like a stern father, war shames men into hating their childhood games.
    • PROTATHIS, ONE HUNDRED HEAVENS
  • I returned from that campaign a far different man, or so my mother continuously complained. “Now only the dead,” she would tell me, “can hope to match your gaze.”
    • TRIAMIS I, JOURNALS AND DIALOGUES

Chapter Five: Joktha

  • To indulge it is to breed it. To punish it is to feed it. Madness knows no bridle but the knife.
    • SCYLVENDI PROVERB


  • When others speak, I hear naught but the squawking of parrots. But when I speak, it always seems to be the first time. Each man is the rule of the other, no matter how mad or vain.
    • HATATIAN, EXHORTATIONS

Chapter Six: Xerash

  • Of course we make crutches of one another. Why else would we crawl when we lose our lovers?
    • ONTILLAS, ON THE FOLLY OF MEN
  • History. Logic. Arithmetic. These all should be taught by slaves.
    • ANONYMOUS, THE NOBLE HOUSES

Chapter Seven: Joktha

  • Every woman knows there are only two kinds of men: those who feel and those who pretend. Always remember, my dear, though only the former can be loved, only the latter can be trusted. It is passion that blackens eyes, not calculation.
    • ANONYMOUS LETTER
  • It is far better to outwit Truth than to apprehend it.
    • AINONI PROVERB

Chapter Eight: Xerash

  • That hope is little more than the premonition of regret. This is the first lesson of history.
    • CASIDAS, THE ANNALS OF CENEI
  • To merely recall the Apocalypse is to have survived it. This is what makes The Sagas, for all their cramped beauty, so monstrous. Despite their protestations, the poets who authored them do not tremble, even less do they grieve. They celebrate.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

Chapter Nine: Joktha

  • In the skins of elk I pass over grasses. Rain falls, and I cleanse my face in the sky. I hear the Horse Prayers spoken, but my lips are far away. I slip down weed and still twig—into their palms I pool. Then I am called out and am among them. In sorrow, I rejoice. Pale endless life. This, I call my own.
    • ANONYMOUS, THE NONMAN CANTICLES

Chapter Ten: Xerash

  • Souls can no more see the origins of their thought than they can see the backs of their heads or the insides of their entrails. And since souls cannot differentiate what they cannot see, there is a peculiar sense in which the soul cannot self-differentiate. So it is always, in a peculiar sense, the same time when they think, the same place where they think, and the same individual who does the thinking. Like tipping a spiral on its side until only a circle can be seen, the passage of moments always remains now, the carnival of spaces always sojourns here, and the succession of people always becomes me. The truth is, if the soul could apprehend itself the way it apprehended the world—if it could apprehend its origins—it would see that there is no now, there is no here, and there is no me. In other words, it would realize that just as there is no circle, there is no soul.
    • MEMGOWA, CELESTIAL APHORISMS
  • You are fallen from Him like sparks from the flame. A dark wind blows, and you are soon to flicker out.
    • SONGS 6:33, THE CHRONICLE OF THE TUSK

Chapter Eleven: Holy Amoteu

  • Of all the Cants, none better illustrates the nature of the soul than the Cants of Compulsion. According to Zarathinius, the fact that those compelled unerringly think themselves free shows that Volition is one more thing moved in the soul, and not the mover we take it to be. While few dispute this, the absurdities that follow escape comprehension altogether
    • MEREMNIS, THE ARCANA IMPLICATA
  • As a miller once told me, when the gears to not meet, they become as teeth. So it is with men and their machinations.
    • ONTILLAS, ON THE FOLLY OF MEN

Chapter Twelve: Holy Amoteu

  • Death, in the strict sense, cannot be defined, for whatever predicate we, the living, attribute to it necessarily belongs to Life. This means that Death, as a category, behaves in a manner indistinguishable from the Infinite, and from God.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN
  • One cannot assume the truth of what one declares without presuming the falsity of all incongruous declarations. Since all men assume the truth of their declarations, this presumption becomes at best ironic and at worst outrageous. Given the infinity of possible claims, who could be so vain as to think their dismal claims true? The tragedy, of course, is that we cannot but make declarations. So it seems we must speak as Gods to converse as Men.
    • HATATIAN, EXHORTATIONS

Chapter Thirteen: Shimeh

  • What frightens me when I travel is not that so many men possess customs and creeds so different from my own. Nay, what frightens me is that they think them as natural and as obvious as I think my own.
    • SERATANTAS III, SUMNI MEDITATIONS
  • A return to a place never seen. Always is it thus, when we understand what we cannot speak.
    • PROTATHIS, ONE HUNDRED HEAVENS

Chapter Fourteen: Shimeh

  • Some say I learned dread knowledge that night. But of this, as with so many other matters, I cannot write for fear of summary execution.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR
  • Truth and hope are like travelers in contrary directions. They meet but once in any man’s life.
    • AINONI PROVERB

Chapter Fifteen: Shimeh

  • If war does not kill the woman in us, it kills the man.
    • TRIAMIS I, JOURNALS AND DIALOGUES
  • Like so many who undertake arduous journeys, I left a country of wise men and came back to a nation of fools. Ignorance, like time, brooks no return.
    • SOKWË, TEN SEASONS IN ZEÜM

Chapter Sixteen: Shimeh

  • Doubt begets understanding, and understanding begets compassion. Verily, it is conviction that kills
    • PARCIS, THE NEW ANALYTICS

Chapter Seventeen: Shimeh

  • Faith, they say, is simply hope confused for knowledge. Why believe when hope alone is enough?
    • CRATIANAS, NILNAMESHI LORE
  • Ajencis, in the end, argued that ignorance was the only absolute. According to Parcis, he would tell his students that he knew only that he knew more than when he was an infant. This comparative assertion was the only nail, he would say, to which one could tie the carpenter-string of knowledge. This has come down to us as the famed “Ajencian Nail,” and it is the only thing that prevented the Great Kyranean from falling into the tail-chasing scepticism of Nirsolfa, or the embarrassing dogmatism of well-nigh every philosopher and theologian who ever dared scratch ink across parchment. But even this metaphor, “nail,” is faulty, a result of what happens when we confuse our notation with what is noted. Like the numeral “zero” used by the Nilnameshi mathematicians to work such wonders, ignorance is the occluded frame of all discourse, the unseen circumference of our every contention. Men are forever looking for the one point, the singular fulcrum they can use to dislodge all competing claims. Ignorance does not give us this. What it provides, rather, is the possibility of comparison, the assurance that not all claims are equal. And this, Ajencis would argue, is all that we need. For so long as we admit our ignorance, we can hope to improve our claims, and so long as we can improve our claims, we can aspire to the Truth, even if only in rank approximation. And this is why I mourn my love of the Great Kyranean. For despite the pull of his wisdom, there are many things of which I am absolutely certain, things that feed the hate which drives this very quill.
    • DRUSAS ACHAMIAN, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

The Aspect-Emperor Trilogy[edit]

The Judging Eye[edit]

The Judging Eye (2009) by R. Scott Bakker. The first book in the The Aspect-Emperor series.

Chapter Headers[edit]

Frontispiece:

  • But who are you, man, to answer God thus? Will what is made say to him who made it—Why have you made me this way? Does the potter not have power over his clay, to make, from the same mass, one vessel for honour, and another for dishonour?
    • ROMANS 9:20-21

Prologue:

  • When a man possesses the innocence of a child, we call him a fool. When a child possesses the cunning of a man, we call him an abomination. As with love, knowledge has its season.

Chapter One: Sakarpus

  • upon the high wall the husbands slept, while ’round the hearth their women wept, and fugitives murmured tales of woe, of greater cities lost to Mog-Pharau …
    • “THE REFUGEE’S SONG,” THE SAGAS

Chapter Two: Hûnoreal

  • We burn like over-fat candles, our centres gouged, our edges curling in, our wick forever outrunning our wax. We resemble what we are: Men who never sleep.
    • ANONYMOUS MANDATE SCHOOLMAN, THE HEIROMANTIC PRIMER

Chapter Three: Momemn

  • On my knees, I offer you that which flies in me. My face to earth, I shout your glory to the heavens. In so surrendering do I conquer. In so yielding do I seize.
    • NEL-SARIPAL, DEDICATION TO MONIUS

Chapter Four: Hûnoreal

  • For He sees gold in the wretched and excrement in the exalted. Nay, the world is not equal in the eyes of the God.
    • SCHOLARS, 7:16, THE TRACTATE

Chapter Five: Momemn

  • Where luck is the twist of events relative to mortal hope, White-Luck is the twist of events relative to divine desire. To worship it is to simply will what happens as it happens.
    • ARS SIBBUL, SIX ONTONOMIES

Chapter Six: Marrow

  • Ask the dead and they will tell you. All roads are not equal. Verily, even maps can sin.
    • EKYANNUS, 44 EPISTLES
  • What the world merely kills, Men murder.
    • SCYLVENDI PROVERB

Chapter Seven: Sakarpus

  • … conquered peoples live and die with the knowledge that survival does not suffer honour. They have chosen shame over the pyre, the slow flame for the quick.
    • TRIAMIS I, JOURNALS AND DIALOGUES

Chapter Eight: The River Rohil

  • The will to conceal and the will to deceive are one and the same. Verily, a secret is naught but a deception that goes unspoken. A lie that only the Gods can hear.
    • MEREMPOMPAS, EPISTEMATA

Chapter Nine: Momemn

  • A beggar’s mistake harms no one but the beggar. A king’s mistake, however, harms everyone but the king. Too often, the measure of power lies not in the number who obey your will, but in the number who suffer your stupidity.
    • TRIAMIS I, JOURNALS AND DIALOGUES

Chapter Ten: Condia

  • Look unto other and ponder the sin and folly you find there. For their sin is your sin, and their folly is your folly. Seek ye the true reflecting pool? Look to the stranger you despites, not the friend you love.
    • TRIBES 6:42, THE CHRONICLE OF THE TUSK

Chapter Eleven: The Osthwai Mountains

  • Since all men count themselves righteous, and since no righteous man raises his hand against the innocent, a man need only strike another to make him evil.
    • NULLA VOGNEAS, THE CYNICATA
  • Where two reasons may deliver truth, a thousand lead to certain delusion. The more steps you take, the more likely you will wander astray.
    • AJENCIS, THEOPHYSICS

Chapter Twelve: The Andiamine Heights

  • Little snake, what poison in your bite! Little snake, what fear you should strike! But they don’t know, little snake—oh no! They can’t see the tiny places you go…
    • ZEÜMI NURSERY SONG

Chapter Thirteen: Condia

  • Damnation follows not from the bare utterance of sorcery, for nothing is bare in this world. No act is so wicked, no abomination is so obscene, as to lie beyond the salvation of my Name.
    • ANASÛRIMBOR KELLHUS, NOVUM ARCANUM

Chapter Fourteen: Cil-Aujus

  • The world is only as deep as we can see. This is why fools think themselves profound. This is why terror is the passion of revelation.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN


Chapter Fifteen: Condia

  • If the immutable appears recast, then you yourself have been transformed.
    • MEMGOWA, CELESTIAL APHORISMS

Chapter Sixteen: Cil-Aujus

  • A soul too far wandered from the sun, walking deeper ways, into regions beneath map and nation, breathing air drawn for the dead, talking of lamentation.
    • PROTATHIS, THE GOAT’S HEART

The White Luck Warrior (2011)[edit]

The second book in the The Aspect-Emperor series.

Chapter Headers[edit]

Frontispiece:

  • The heavens, the sun, the whole of nature is a corpse. Nature is given over to the spiritual, and indeed to spiritual subjectivity, thus the course of nature is everywhere broken in upon by miracles.
    • HEGEL, LECTURES ON THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY III

Chapter One: The Meorn Wilderness

  • Without rules, madness. Without discipline, death.
    • NANSUR MILITARY MARCH

Chapter Two: The Istyuli Plains

  • We belittle what we cannot bear. We make figments out of fundamentals, all in the name of preserving our own peculiar fancies. The best way to secure one’s own deception is to accuse others of deceit.
    • HATATIAN, EXHORTATIONS
  • It is not so much the wisdom of the wise that saves us from the foolishness of the fools as it is the latter’s inability to agree.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN

Chapter Three: The Meorn Wilderness

  • The bondage we are born into is the bondage we cannot see. Verily, freedom is little more than the ignorance of tyranny. Live long enough, and you will see: Men resent not the whip so much as the hand that wields it.
    • TRIAMIS I, JOURNALS AND DIALOGUES

Chapter Four: The Istyuli Plains

  • All ropes come up short if pulled long enough. All futures end in tragedy.
    • CENEIAN PROVERB
  • And they forged counterfeits from our frame, creatures vile and obscene, who hungered only for violent congress. These beasts they loosed upon the land, where they multiplied, no matter how fierce the Ishroi who hunted them. And soon Men clamoured at our gates, begging sanctuary, for they could not contend with the creatures. “They wear your face,” the penitents cried. “This calamity is your issue.” But we were wroth, and turned them away, saying, “These are not our Sons. And you are not our Brothers.”
    • ISÛPHIRYAS

Chapter Five: The Western Three Seas

  • As death is the sum of all harms, so is murder the sum of all sins.
    • CANTICLES 18:9, THE CHRONICLE OF THE TUSK


  • The world has its own ways, sockets so deep that not even the Gods can dislodge them. No urn is so cracked as Fate.
    • ASANSIUS, THE LIMPING PILGRIM

Chapter Six: The Meorn Wilderness

  • Everything is concealed always. Nothing is more trite than a mask.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN
  • If you find yourself taken unawares by someone you thought you knew, recall that the character revealed is as much your own as otherwise. When it comes to Men and their myriad, mercenary natures, revelation always comes in twos.
    • MANAGORAS, ODE TO THE LONG-LIVED FOOL

Chapter Seven: The Istyuli Plains

  • ... and they scoff at heroes, saying that Fate serves disaster to many, and feasts to few. They claim that willing is but a form of blindness, and conceit of beggars who think they wrest alms from the jaws of lions. The Whore alone, they say, decides who is brave and who is rash, who will be hero and who will be fool. And so they dwell in a world of victims.
    • QUALLAS, ON THE INVITIC SAGES
  • Ever do Men use secrets to sort and measure those they love, which is why they are less honest with their brothers and more guarded with their friends.
    • CASIDAS, ANNALS OF CENEI

Chapter Eight: The Western Three Seas

  • Complexity begets ambiguity, which yields in all ways to prejudice and avarice. Complication does not so much defeat Men as arm them with fancy.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN

Chapter Nine: The Istyuli Plains

  • The shape of virtue is inked in obscenity.
    • AINONI PROVERB

Chapter Ten: The Istyuli Plains

  • There is morality and there is cowardice. The two are not to be confused, even though in appearance and effect they are so often the same.
    • EKYANNUS I, 44 EPISTLES
  • If the Gods did not pretend to be human, Men would recoil from them as spiders.
    • ZARATHINIUS, A DEFENCE OF THE ARCANE ARTS

Chapter Eleven: Momemn

  • This one thing every tyrant will tell you: nothing saves more lives than murder.
    • MEROTOKAS, THE VIRTUE OF SIN
  • No two prophets agree. So to spare our prophets their feelings, we call the future a whore.
    • ZARATHINIUS, A DEFENCE OF THE ARCANE ARTS


Chapter Twelve: Kûniüri

  • Skies are upended, poured as milk into the tar of night. Cities become pits of fire. The last of the wicked stand with the last of the righteous, lamenting the same woe. One Hundred and Forty-Four Thousand, they shall be called, for this is their tally, the very number of doom.
    • ANONYMOUS, THE THIRD REVELATION OF GANUS THE BLIND
  • Know what your slaves believe, and you will always be their master.
    • AINONI PROVERB

Chapter Thirteen: The Istyuli Plains

  • Gods are epochal beings, not quite alive. Since the Now eludes them, they are forever divided. Sometimes nothing blinds souls more profoundly than the apprehension of the Whole. Men need recall this when they pray.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN

Chapter Fourteen: Momemn

  • The truth of all polity lies in the ruins of previous ages, for there we see the ultimate sum of avarice and ambition. Seek ye to rule for but a day, because little more shall be afforded you. As the Siqû are fond of saying, Cû’jara Cinmoi is dead.
    • GOTAGGA, PARAPOLIS
  • Any fool can see the limits of seeing, but not even the wisest know the limits of knowing. Thus is ignorance rendered invisible, and are all Men made fools.
    • AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN.

Chapter Fifteen: The Library of Sauglish

  • In life, your soul is but the extension of your body, which reaches inward until it finds its centre in spirit. In death, your body is but the extension of your soul, which reaches outward until it finds it circumference in flesh. In both instances, all things appear the same. Thus are the dead and the living confused.
    • MEMGOWA, THE BOOK OF DIVINE ACTS
  • Yet the soul lingers like a second smell. A sailor wrecked at sea, it clings. Lest it sink and drown in Hell.
    • GIRGALLA, EPIC OF SAUGLISH

Interlude: Ishuäl

  • The heroes among us, they are the true slaves. Thrust against the limits of mortality, they alone feel the bite of their shackles. So they rage. So they fight. We only have as much freedom as we have slack in our chains. Only those who dare nothing are truly free.
    • SUÖRTAGAL, EPIMEDITATIONS

The Unholy Consult[edit]

The third book in the The Aspect-Emperor series.

Chapter Headers[edit]

Sourced[edit]

External links[edit]