Coming Soon: The Book of Horab

Contributed by Jack Peredur

With Book 16, Rain in the Garden now in print my next task will be to finish Ravenwood: A Seeker’s Memoir with the final Book 17, By Fire and Water. It's now in complete rough draft and in review prior to editing and formatting for publication.

“But wait, there’s more!” As readers of Book 9, Again to Live will recall, out among the many worlds waits the Silent Museum whose countless objects on display sometimes come available for the taking.

On a visit there in 2016 my wife Suzanne was allowed to bring away such an object: “a thick book, about nine inches by twelve, bound in red leather: someone’s journal, I think. An artist’s, for there are also many sketches!” It proved to be an account of love and adventure in the life of Horab, a priest’s son in Marsan’s World, eight centuries (!) after the Ravenwood Thirteen were flung there in the Disaster.

Sue is now reading that book aloud to me from trance a few pages at a time as I transcribe it word for word, while two other Associates are working to reproduce the illustrations. Look for The Book of Horab coming soon, to be followed by two perennial classics from Marsan’s World, The Book of Joys and The Book of Silence, we plan to re-create for Earthly publication once Horab is complete.

Here's a quick sneak peek at the first few pages we've managed to bring home to Earth so far:




The room is dark now, which so lately was bright with your presence: silent, which rang with your laughter, breathed with your sighs. The cup from which we both drank this morning is dry now, and the bread knife lies amid the crumbs of our breakfast loaf. The bed is cold where the warmth of our bodies mingled. But the pillow remembers the shape of your head, and in its hollow, like a strand of bright copper wire backed by the cloth’s deep red, still gleams a single hair.

And will I see you again? In Temple court or mountain valley, by Fire of Day or Glow of Night, will our hands touch again, and our lips meet? Will our minds be again as one? Will we find again that shared ecstasy which leads beyond the limits of this world? Or will some power, some Fate, some act of Man or God or blind accident, keep us forever apart?

For the first time in my life, I know what it is to be truly alone. And I, Horab of Wolcenn, Bearer of the Red Standard, Acolyte of PHALEG the Patron of Warriors, the Lord of Strength, Master of Battle, find I cannot control the fear within me.


As it is said Jack Peredur of the First World found comfort and solace in writing after the loss of the Ravenwood Thirteen, our Founders, so perhaps now to write of my own life will help me cope with the fear and loneliness of separation from Vasha. So…

I was born some twenty-four years ago, in the year 848 after this world’s creation, on the day before the Feast of the Rising Light, in the Hall of Priests which adjoins the Great Temple of Wolcenn, the city anciently called World’s Center. My mother is Faron, Priestess of HAGITH, Lady of Love; my father is Motab, Priest of PHALEG, to Whose service I too am sworn. The Gods smiled upon my birth, for it was on a Tuesday, PHALEG’s Day, yet in the Third Hour which on that day is HAGITH’s. Perhaps I owe my life to this, for an older brother died in infancy and since my birth there have been no more.

My name, like those of all born in the Temple, was drawn before the Gods…and again They must have smiled, for three of those first five tiles held letters of my father’s name. From the moment my own name was composed, then, it seemed my destiny was set: nothing would do but that I follow him in the service of PHALEG in hope that I, too, someday might become a priest.

Nearly all of my childhood was spent within the Temple walls, in its sunny courts and endless corridors and dim forgotten crypts. Motab and Faron were both of the Second Circle then, and I lived in their rooms in the Hall of Priests. They taught me speech and song, letters and numbers, and what lore a young child may learn. My earliest memories are happy ones, of those private rooms and the sunlit court below with its flowers and shallow pool where goldfish swam.

At the age of four, though, I lost my father. Fezar, First Servant of PHALEG, growing old and weak, selected Motab to take his place in the Third Circle of the Priesthood, the Circle of Seven, subject only to the High Priest and Priestess and the unseen Gods Themselves. Motab accepted the honor, though it took him from us to a life of service beyond the Seven Gates. I remember how proud I was to see him wearing the Clashing Kilt with the Red Sword, forged by Franquar himself from carsteel of the First World, at his waist in a scabbard of crimson. And I remember my tears as with a young child’s conviction I vowed to follow him someday into the Sanctuary where only those thrice warded, by Fire and Water and terrible oaths, may enter.

Many years would pass before I could keep that vow, but my resolve never weakened. Three times more the Great Wheel turned while Faron taught and tended me, and I learned to read and write, learned the days of the week and the Table of Hours and our world’s history as it is commonly taught to children, all progress and glory with the Dark Decades glossed over and the Lord Mayor’s dungeons just a backdrop for Kofar’s heroic escape. Then, on Midsummer’s Day of my seventh year, I walked – clad in a new tunic, sewn by Faron’s own hands and brilliantly white beneath the Fire of Day – up the steps of the Temple School to begin my formal education.

Within those halls I learned the outer rituals of our worship, and the long tale of the eight centuries and more since Hadrian Marsan and his companions formed this world from chaos, and a little of the history of Earth, the First World from which they had come. I learned arithmetic and geometry in mind-numbing detail, and read some of our own world’s great classics and a few preserved or reconstructed from the world before.

In a science course, required to sketch leaves, flowers and insects, I discovered an aptitude for art: soon progressing from biological drawings to portraits of my fellow students, rendered in charcoal and colored chalk, and from those to entire landscapes, real or imagined.

I finally kept my Temple vow, at least in part, in the summer of my twelfth year. After rigorous trials of mind, body and spirit I donned the Clashing Kilt of scarlet leather and ringing black iron which marks a servant of PHALEG and with my hand on the Book of Silence took the Acolyte’s Oath. From Hallowmas, then, I tended one of the thirty Jack-lanterns on the gallery in the Great Rotunda. It was my responsibility to appear without fail at Sabbath and lesser rites there, day or night: to keep the lamp filled with oil, its wide wick properly trimmed and reflectors free of soot; to direct its light here or there, open or close its shutters or swing its heavy glass filters into place or out as the rites demanded now darkness, now illumination with this color or that.

To help me in my new duties, I entered a special class wherein I was drilled again and again in the rites of the eight Sabbaths which are the spokes of the Great Wheel, as well as the many lesser observances which form the yearly cycle of its rim. I had to learn to recite every one word for word, including all the lighting changes, slept often with my own small copy of the Book of Silence under my pillow, and – to the perpetual annoyance, they complained time and again, of the boys sleeping to either side in the long dormitory room – I sometimes did recite them unconsciously in the late hours of the night.

That was the year when my body began to grow and change, the boy fast becoming a man. Hair sprouted on my face and elsewhere, other changes came too, and I found myself unaccountably bashful even with my dormitory mates. Worse, my voice discovered a lower range into which it would dismayingly drop whenever I least expected it. The other boys, their own changes not yet arrived, thought all this hilarious and made my life miserable with requests that I sing for them.

Near that school year’s end the schoolmaster Thufir called me in for more tests: a physical examination more thorough than any I had had before, followed by an interminable series of questions on private subjects which my newly-turned-thirteen-year-old mind found acutely embarrassing.

Having found me ready, then, as the next school year started he invited me to move from the long dormitory into one of the smaller rooms on the Temple School’s upper floors. I jumped at the opportunity, for it meant no longer would I sleep in that long room with eleven other boys, enduring their snoring and their jokes at my expense. Instead I would have a single roommate, a female student matched with me as First Partner through our scores on those embarrassing tests and questions…

Jack Peredur

Jack Peredur

Merry meet! I’m Jack Peredur, author of Ravenwood: A Seeker’s Memoir. You’ve probably read my bio on the main Associates’ page, so I won’t say more here. If you want to know, read the books or ask me in the Forum. Got lots of random knowledge to share!