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The Chaos Marches

Meanwhile... A Dialog.

New Blood Logs:

Tom Noon's Tale


In Chaos

Voyages of the Nones



Mother Goose Chase

Ancient Oz


Adventures of the Munch

Lanthil & Beyond

Jim has asked me to circulate this piece of "off-stage" role-playing. It is a dialogue between Fr. Paddy and Tom, probably on the "Zephyr," to or from Last Valley:

Fr. P: So what do you make of our little ones, these Marginalia?
Tom: I was going to ask you that.
Fr. P: Well, as I said, to look at, I took them for fays. Something in the way of pucks, or elven children. But they're not children, however child-like they speak. And they're not pucks. Indeed, I'm not sure they're fays at all.
Tom: And why would you say that?
Fr. P: Well, as I've said, even though we -- back home I mean -- divide the fays into the Seelie and the Unseelie, it's not really the same as good and bad men. They're so ... wholehearted, for one thing. All the Unseelie hate humans with a passion, and all the Seelie are loyal to Auberon, for instance.
Tom: It's like that in Old Faerie, too, though the issues are different. Whatever fays give themselves to, they give all of themselves.
Fr. P: Exactly, and in a way, that precludes the issues of morality that perplex the children of Adam. There's less room for choice. Or less occasion for it, perhaps I should say.
Tom: Do the Marginalia strike you as perplexed over issues of morality?
Fr. P: Well... That they do not, but... But neither are little children and they are very like little children.
Tom: Human children, you mean? Well, one hardly ever sees fay children. Our youngsters are a great exception. But I think I know what you mean. Frankly, I saw what you felt about it, when we were in rapport.
Fr. P: Oh!
Tom: Shall we say, the Marginalia seem as unsure of themselves as mortals?
Fr. P: You could put it that way, I suppose.
Tom: Is that the issue? Whether or not they are mortal?
Fr. P: Nearly. The heart of the matter is this: Are they children of Adam? If they are, then we as Christians and I as a priest have certain duties to them. If not, we still have duties, but not the same ones.
Tom: Ah. Well, I'd hate to try to determine that by their demeanor.
Fr. P: Yes.
Tom: Let's consider their origins. We find them in the Chaos Marches off Old Faerie, and Memory tells us a tale traditional with them that they sprang into being from Chaos, along with their land.

Now, Chaos cannot be their only source. It is astronomically unlikely that pure chance would produce living beings, but still more unlikely that the living beings so produced would look so very much like the inhabitants of the nearby domain. I mean, why should Marginalia look like elves, if they spring from chaos? It'd be just as likely they would look like elephants or octopi.

Fr. P: So where do you believe their likeness to come from?
Tom: I think they're an echo or reflection of Faerie, or a piece of it. That accounts for both the likeness and the proximity. Now, if their story is wrong, they might just be migrants, but in that case, migrants from Faerie.
Fr. P: So you think they are fay after all?
Tom: I'm still not sure. I just think they are derived from fays in some way. Humans are derived from apes, but they aren't apes.
Fr. P: But in any case, they would not be Adam's children, would they?
Tom: No, they would not. If they are mortal, they are non-human mortals, I'm pretty sure.
Fr. P: I suppose that is the main thing for my purposes. It is not for us, then, to offer the specific path of salvation offered to humankind by Christ. Rather, I'll just try to tell them of the general love of God for His creation.
Tom (dryly): That should be plenty.

Father Paddy pauses in thought a while and then continues.
Fr. P: Tom, you'll recall that book ye lent me? The wee silver one, "On the Races of Earth." There's a thing or two in it that sets me to thinkin' further on this. First of all, wasn't Faerie itself built along a path 'twixt the Heavenly Courts and Earth?
Tom: Yes.
Fr. P: Well now, when asking why is it that the Marginalia resemble feys so much, or children, aren't we asking why it is they should have, as the book calls it, the Form of Thought? And when you put it that way, does not question hint at its own answer? What form would a thinking being that came to be there, just off the path from Earth to the Celestial Courts take, but the Form of Thought on Earth?

Tom nods.
Fr. P: And, not knowing when it was that they came to be, can we say that 'tis any more the likely they are reflections or echoes of the Fair Folk than they are any other who bears the Form of Thought? Does it not say that, before Lord Alvirin traveled the Path 'tween Earth and the Courts, the dragon kings took their folk to another realm that's also off the Path? Could the Marginalia not be echoes of Man or Dragon or even the Eratsarin, who I take to be the angels? Or even echoes or expressions of the Form of Thought itself, Chaos adoptin' that form as it were?
Tom: Well, they were found near Faerie, though I grant "near" is a fuzzy idea out in the Marches. They may also have sprung into being "near" Lilith, between her arrival in Chaos' Rim and her enslaving of them. And of course chaotic "geography" changes. So there's certainly the possibility they are not specially linked to fays. There's just the physical resemblance and the current proximity. Nothing definite.
Fr. P: I cannot say it makes the notion of their moral position, or our duty any clearer to them, but it seems a possibility.
Tom: No, it just makes it clearer that we know very little about them.
Fr. P: And I cannot help but recalling the Lord's words that we cannot come to him unless we do it as children, meaning like children, not while we are children. And these little ones, they are so like children. Might it be that they are in their natural course destined to go to Him?
Tom: I could hardly imagine any other fate for them, whether they are enrolled as "children of Adam" or not.
Fr. P: Well, what fate do you imagine for the clever beasts or clever machines or the folk from other worlds 'round other suns? Myself, I think it likely a merciful God may choose to call them to Him, but then what of those machines and beasts a might less clever and so on down to clocks and fish?
Tom: I don't claim to know details, just to know that God loves, and He'll call anything that can answer. Even fish. Clocks? Hm...

Father Paddy shrugs philosophically.
Fr. P: I cannot say I can imagine only one fate, but what I was meaning was that unlike us, the fate of the Marginalia is universal...
Tom: I don't suppose blessedness is the same for any two souls, much less souls as different as humans, fays, robots, aliens, and, uh, fish. I didn't meant that. In "Revelation," Christ gave each soul a stone with a secret on it known but to the soul and Christ. But what do you mean "universal"?
Fr. P: Meanin' they all go to Him by their nature as opposed to us. After the Fall, our nature is to require salvation and grace to go to Him.
Tom: Ah. Unfallen. Yes, they might well be unfallen.
Fr. P: And that brings me back to a thing that's troubled me. They're like children, too, in being eager to learn. You must have noticed how Three, the scout, stays with us when he can, and how the notion of names fascinates both him and the Leader. You may not have seen how eager the Makers were to learn from Dafnord and Robby.

Well, now, if they learn our ways, and if they thus become less like children, mightn't we be taken a great burden of responsibility in teaching them? Mightn't any teaching of them bear with it something of a pastoral burden?

Tom: And I remember what Jesus said about those who distort the minds of children. It would be better to be tied to a millstone and tossed in the sea, he said. Oh, brrr! I DON'T want to rescue them from Lilith's children only to play her part of the serpent myself!
Fr. Paddy drifts of into thought.

Updated: 7-Oct-06
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.

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