Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Four

Spear's bearer - Firebolt
Bow's archer - Nevercold
Axe's swinger - Worldhauler
Sword's master - Wavecaller
Four there were since times of old

Speeres Träger - Flammenherr
Axtes Schwinger - Weltenschwer
Schwertes Meister - Wellengrund
Bogenschütze - Lebensmund
Vier von alters Zeiten her

The Four are a symbol occuring everywhere in Genius Loci. The number refers to the four elemental forces of the world - Water, Fire, Earth and Air, and Life - embodied by the Four Creators of the world, and their magical foci, the Four Weapons. Each is assigned a cardinal point, colour, and many more associations: character traits, times of day, spells, continents, plants, minerals... Each culture adds own representations and local symbols; the Four Weapons usually take precedence and take many shapes. It is said that the Four maintain the world's balance.

The Four:
  • The spear Lefenned, associated with fire, the colour blue, and the south. Its sign is a bar. Its principle is cycles, new beginnings untouched by the old, and overcoming weaknesses and obstacles.
  • The sword Rwannakah, associated with water, the colour red, and the north. Its sign is a kite-shaped rhomb. Its principle is change and compromise, and ability to adapt.
  • The bow Gajtualih, associated with life, the colour green, and the west. Its sign is a half circle. Its principle is movement, shaping, and optimism.
  • The axe Khachgallah, associated with earth and air, the colour yellow, and the east. Its sign is a triangle. Its principle is foundations, willpower, and both loyalty and unpredictability.

Artist's notes
The Four were one of my earliest decisions about Genius Loci. Red for water because many rivers on Kitas come through rock containing iron and are reddish, especially in Sawa; blue represents the fire at its hottest (its a concern to me whether this will confuse people too much).
The rhyme is also an old invention. I wrote it practicing calligraphy; I was writing Tolkien's poem of the one ring, and wanted something similar for Genius Loci. It is widely used on Kitas, from children's rhymes to the chorus of Nuralk's famous epos "The Four" (the insane often mumble it, too).
The Four are very important to the setting. They're the closest thing to gods in Genius Loci and have many more features which I gradually develop.

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