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A Battle Through Obscurity

From Dark Beginnings

The Chronicles began - in common with the many Great Works it aspires to join one day - with an idea. The seed at its heart which bore little resemblance to what it has become.

It began with a rather simple idea: What if all the stories were true?

All of them, from the very beginning; including The Bible itself. What if each and every story, at least, began as the truth but then, the storytellers, the novelists of the ancient world, got involved?

Of the Tallest of Tales

One thing shared by the umbrella term of writers; novelists, journalists, poets, bloggers and, ultimately, storytellers is this: that ability to observe true happenings and then make them much more interesting than they originally were. To use what we like to call dramatic license.

Imagine, if you will, this scenario.

An initerant story-teller - let us call him Obaro the Crafty - wanders into a village blanketed with thick snow. Obaro has just slogged through snowdrifts taller than he is, battled frigid temperatures in clothing much too old and travel-worm to serve for comfort. The soles of his shoes were letting the freezing slush though his socks into his feet, which he often felt had abandoned him a few miles back. His food had run out back in the pass two days ago when he had 'negociated' with that family of bears, flinging it towards them as he ran. His scrolls may well be useless now, his chance to make a bit of gold from the monks a week's travel away unlikely. He was sure that they were near-indecipherable now.

He had chosen this route on a whim, thinking it would be quicker than the river. The short and sturdy mountain men who ran the series of barges which plied the shallower valleys had raised their prices again and his purse was much too light to cover their fees.

He was half dead, exhausted, and in desperate need of the food, fire, and board he could scarce afford to pay for. If he didn't raise some coin and make it to the monks on time...Well Fargus the Fat would call in his debts very abruptly. Obaro would be strumming no more lutes once Fargus found him....

Now, Obaro was indeed crafty but no thief or merchant was he. His craft lay in the use of one very special part of his anatomy. Many ladies delighted in it, many more men were jealous of its reported skill. Thanks to it, his legacy was growing to maturity in every settlement and town across the length of the Kartai mountains and down into the valleys of Morngah. Little growing bundles of potential which, though they resembled the original in many ways, were fast becoming unique in their own right.

His gift was his tongue and his legacy is, of course, in his tales.

In order to ensure a comfortable stay through the snowy season, Obaro knew that he needed to use this skill brilliantly and entrance his upcoming captive audience (it'd be weeks before the passes cleared of snow enough to safely travel down to the next valley) in such a way that they would want to hear more and more.

To ensure a nice warm bed, amble food and, more importantly, plenty of company (ideally paying company) to hearken to his words and music.

To do that he might need to be inspired by his journey so far. He might have to, for wont of a better term, lie a little bit about the things he had encountered.

A normal journey through the mountains might be interesting in terms of social study and general news but, after a night or two, it would bore even the most enthusiastic of gossips. He needed an angle.

Being captured and having all of his food stolen by mountain trolls sounded better than his unheroic flight from some bears. Fleeing towards the town after his money had been stolen by a band of avaricious dwarves made him sound less like a possibly bigoted skinflint. That he took to the travelling life to escape a dangerous orc gang after liberating a great magic treasure from their exceptionally corpulent leader, a treasure he was carrying to a secretive order of magicians in their mountain retreat, was indeed more compelling to hear that the truth about his gambling problem...

He showed them the arcane scrolls he carried with great reluctance, having harried solemn oaths from them all. Those few who could read claimed the documents were written in no language they had ever before seen.

A story was born. Orcs, Dwarves, Trolls, magicians...who didn't want to hear about those?

Much better than a cowardly, judgemental man who appeared to fear commitment and had a serious gambling problem, right?

Of course, Obara shared other tales once his ability to embroider his own travels started to wind down. Tales he had heard from other story-tellers he had met and shared camp with. Each tale was received, enjoyed and remembered though he never told the same the same way twice...

Eventually, each story would be retold after Obaro left. Parents told their children, traders entertained the crowds in the taverns. Crowds who paid for free drinks, often many free drinks.

With each re-telling, the original facts withered and dried up just a little bit more. An event or two was tweaked or added. Names changed to favour local flavour. The number of enemies slain increased. The number of claws, teeth, and so on grew....

The stories evolved...

A Return to the Point...A Stroll into Controversy

Imagine, if you will, a story. A story of such fantastic scope that everyone that heard it was amazed, inspired, filled with the fires of love and fellowship. Its secret was not buried in meaning, hidden behind heavyily protected codes or within riddles. The message was abundantly and obviously clear...

"Do unto others...." it began...

Now imagine that this message could set all human beings who heard it free from oppression, dissolve national and dogmatic boundaries, encourage fellowship and...well, need no fancily-dressed important people to explain it to everyone. What if the so-called 'villains of the piece' realised that they could not possibly win if people knew anything?

The Interminable Maze of Research

Research for the Chronicles of Enoch was slow to begin with. Of course, the titular Books of Enoch were found and deeply studied, as a first step. Next came the Bible itself and what was, to me among others, quite a few surprises.

The Bible, as we know it today, is one of the most heavily edited and incomplete works in existence. It has been compiled from a wide collection of Gospels, writings, letters, and observations over centuries. Books were added, passages were removed, translations were redone, emphasis was shifted.

What began as a rather simple story became quite different with the passage of time. The Books of Enoch were quietly removed among others, it is rumoured.

The only problem with that is that the same source stated that each and every complete copy of those Books was rounded up and destroyed. Before the dawn of printing presses, the texts were copied and translated by hand using multiple sources. Translation was decided by concensus, sometimes by those not necessarily expert in either the source or target language. Political opinion and biases coloured many of the decisions made and the general population remained much too illiterate to question.

Some inconsistencies remain to this very day, just look at Genesis!

It was almost as if they were left in place to tease people is it not?

The Seed Beginneth to Sprout

Just like the act of undoing a complex knot, progress is often slow to begin with. One must study the mass and try to identify which strand to begin with, to spy out the connection which will lead to the undoing of all the others. Once this junction of string is uncovered, quite often the whole mass comes undone rather quickly.

Or, of course, one can grow tired of all that and simply cut it with a sword.

We might call it serendipity, fate or Meant to Be. Themes which run strongly through the Chronicles from beginning to end. It might mean that we are, in fact, on to something?

To the Victor, the Spoils

One thing of which we can always be certain of is uncertainty. When one studies history one learns one key 'fact' as it were, that facts change. What was once certainty there quite often no longer is. New facts will regularly take the place of the old.

Once it was fact that the Earth is flat, that heliocentricity was a lie, that the New World was found in 1492. Now, we believe that people from much further back were far more advanced than we had believed. History is found to be wanting and questions are being asked.

The facts, much to their shame, are being found to be inadequate.

But what about these gaps? What happ