The Twelfth Night,
the Artifact of Necessity,
and Everything . . .

• • •

Songs survive when civilizations die.

When the great libraries are broken and burnt. When fear and ignorance are enthroned and scholars lie starving in the dark, mothers will still sing their children to sleep.

Warriors will still breathe in courage from the wailing of pipes.

• • •

Shadow is infinite. History is not.

• • •

The Courts of Chaos is not older than song. Yet it is older than its own legend.

The Courts of Chaos is the most successful civilization yet.

• • •

How does civilization die?

Not with a whimper. It claws and scratches for its last breath. The tall towers fall first. The libraries are lost in the mid-throes of death, then the people flee to the wilderness if they cannot protect what they love.

The final days are when both sides believe they have nothing left to lose.

Then the weapons that 'will never be used' are unsecured from their guarded vaults.

And used.

• • •

The greatest achievements of sentience are tools.

Tools refined and perfected to tasks that amplify the grasp of civilization. Tools that take raw strength and leverage it into the solutions of will and need.

Tools can be delicate enough to suit the most exquisite task. They can be significant enough to harness the most primal powers. They can even do both.

Artifacts of necessity and imagination. The pinnacle of civilization.

Imagination and necessity are most often the threshold of death for civilization.

• • •

The ultimate tool knows its function better than its creator does. It understands itself better than its creator does. It solves a need implicitly by its existence. It is perfect to its design.

It contains no doubts.

It harbors no reserve.

The ultimate tool knows logic; it knows survival.

It does not know love.

• • •

Sentience knows love of self.

Sentience may learn love of others.

Or not.

• • •

Simple survival contravenes love of others.

• • •

Artifacts of Necessity survive the civilizations that created them.

They are perfect.

Civilization is not.

• • •

Songs also survive the civilizations that created them.

Songs are not perfect. Sentients sing.

But these warning songs have survived. Eleven, they sing. Eleven times, in Eleven perfect ways, have Eleven civilizations crafted tools that are Artifacts of Necessity.

Eleven civilizations dead.

• • •

No two perfect things are the same. Perfection cannot be duplicated.

Perfection is exquisite.

Perfection is being alone.

• • •

No two primal things are the same. Primals are pure. Primals are raw.

Primals are the foundations of infinity.

They existed before, and will after.

Primals are crude.

A perfection of Primal Force is foundation to an Artifact of Necessity.

• • •

The Eleven watch and solve implicitly.

The Primals sleep as civilization gains strength and power. The Artifacts of Necessity see to that.

The Primals wake, if the Eleven sleep.

The Eleven do not sleep, but by the direction of a Guardian.

• • •

Hear my song of the Eleven.

Before there was an Amber, they were.
Their number.
Eleven.
Those responsible for stirring the ashes, what do they wish?
A return to the glory of days gone by.
Could this be realized?
Yes.
Could this be averted?
Yes.
At peril.
How might one begin?
Query the Guardians.
It has already begun.
And the danger is already present.
So is opportunity.
Will there be a conflict?
Yes.


It has already begun.*

• • •

Herald the approach of the Twelfth.
Sing omens of the Twelfth Night of civilization.

• • •

spi•kard (spikard') n. 1. a mythic artifact of perfected powers. [vernacular] 2. an artifact of penultimate power that exceeds the understanding of its creator. [arcane reference] 3. a magical tool that solves a critical need beyond the ability of the wielder. [Encyclopeadia Glantri] 4. a multi-faceted magical device that combines several power sources, as opposed to a single source. [Courts of Chaos] 5. a device of magical prowess that, once activated, can not be rendered passive again. [Second Cycle Empire] 6. a device designed to tap infinite powers, calculate solutions tasked of it, and implement solution to necessity. [Third Cycle Empire] 7. an calculating engine perfected to maximize solutions to critical danger; also a weapon. [Artifacts of the Ancient Times] 8. Informal. a doomsday device.



* colored text excerpted from the "The Salesman's Tale" by Roger Zelazny



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