Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Darkness Falls on a Dark Land, Part 6
There’s an old tradition concerning the name Rejon, that yes it belonged to the other Omoxian within the Alliance of Five, but that it was also an incarnation of Modoc. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction, when so much of human experience in the last hundred years or so seems to be made entirely of fiction.
After the Danab War, when humanity was being offered membership in the Galactic Alliance and it was up for debate in the Alliance Senate, representatives from the Omoxian Emirate visited Earth for the first time, and immediately our impression was that they were entirely too remote, indifferent to us, and so we were surprised when they offered a cultural exchange. We gave them Shakespeare and Milton and Rushdie, and…we worked on whatever we received in return for years. Our best critics spent entire careers attempting to interpret the material, with one contradictory and self-described definitive opinion after the next. Out of all the races we attempted to assimilate into our newfound understanding of community, the Omoxians almost bested us, and there was the considerable belief that they very much preferred it that way, and had chosen the material carefully in that regard, perhaps hoping that we would simply leave them alone.
Humans, however, have a hard time doing that. Even if something disappears from the culture for years, decades, centuries, it always resurfaces. We are above all else a curious people, and never seem to know when to let go of something, even if we’re wrong about it for a very long time. The Omoxians gave us their opinion of our culture in a single word, and that was also “curious,” which probably only a few of us understood. In return we gave them an endless series of essays, and I wonder if a single one was ever read. Our languages were deemed barbarous from the start, if simple to learn. I’m told Omoxian children learn the bulk of them within a span of weeks in school, although why I don’t know, because there are always intermediaries. I’m sorry to say that I can’t grasp Omoxi. Bondquan translates everything. She becomes increasingly patient with me, which is another reason why I think she’s grown affectionate. It’s either that or I’m endearingly primitive, like a pet, who happens to spend his time digging in the dirt in her backyard.
Rejon appears as a name in Omoxian as well as Vitellian traditions. It’s far more common among Omoxians, but my experience with the Vitell surfaces it in that culture as well. The Vitell, it must be admitted, are endlessly fascinating, but in ways that don’t always translate to broad appeal. Given my own peculiar predilections, it’s not surprising that they should interest me, though their neighbors the Vanadi tend to steal even my attention whenever I think of doing too much exploration in that regard. That’s probably the reason why I ended up fixating on the fertility goddess, because it seems to be the one element that crosses cultural lines, on more than one account. That it’s a link between the Vitell and Omoxians only makes it that much more appealing, because there is little overlap between them otherwise, besides the fact that Ureic managed to assume the role that would otherwise have logically fallen to an Omoxian, had Trey lived long enough. The formal title of an Alliance leader used to be Genar, which is a Vitell term.
How Rejon specifically would be cause for such an unexpected confluence of cultural references is perplexing. The name appears in Darkness Falls on a Dark Land, but from the start Rejon takes a subservient role to Trey, meaning either that the earliest rendering of the Alliance of Five’s origin was itself affected by later interpretations, or that Rejon always occupied that role, important enough to be included in the number of founders but little more than that. As I said, he died well before the Galactic Alliance itself was formed. As an incarnation of Modoc, it would be curious indeed to juxtapose the Alliance figure with a fertility goddess, much more difficult than Lord Phan. The more I’ve thought about it, though, the more I have to give credit to the rumors that there was in fact more to Rejon than history generally records. Just as the relationship between Trey and Myrmidon has fallen into question, the one between Trey and Rejon must too be reexamined. Would I go so far as to throw in with the lot that says Trey murdered Rejon, and the latter’s subsequent diminishment is a way of erasing a shameful chapter from the Conqueror’s legacy?
Perhaps it means that Rejon was the driving force, and in essence the true founder of the Alliance, and that the only way for Trey to lay claim to such an honor would have been to eliminate his true rival, not Lord Phan but the only other Omoxian in the equation. Having two out of five in the numbers would have done much to massage the ego of all Omoxians, but to manipulate the role each of them played. Would that be why Modoc totems are now to be found in what may yet prove to be the ruins of Shibal?