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The Procedure

Hierarchy Empathy Creation ꩧဥꧠ

Know this first of all, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ that has been promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

Second Missive of Ertep

For the sequential reader this laminaAfterworlds that are each aligned with a particular set of facets. The twenty-seven laminae are layered on top of our reality and interact with it in myriad ways.Turn to chapter may be an unusual introduction: the Procedure is one of the most incomprehensible of realms, and, while not so dangerous as the KylixOrdinary thought is impossible in the baffling avalanche of the Kylix: sensations strike with such speed and force as to crowd out thoughts of a conscious mind, and upon returning from this manic dream no clear memories remain, only a flood of images and a delirium that can last for hours. As a result it is nearly impossible to describe this lamina, and quite dangerous to venture there, but recurring images provide some insight as to its properties.Turn to chapter or the KnotEasily among the most dangerous and unintelligible of all laminae, the Knot is a maelstrom of cloud, mud, ocean, rock, and fire through which towering alien behemoths stumble and squirm, striving to devour themselves.Turn to chapter, it is not a place intended for mortal visitors, whose faculties seem insufficient for perceiving it. Upon arrival your vision is that of tremendous forms, shimmering and iridescent and overlapping one another and you, accompanied by a cacophony of blaring tones, discordant to the ear yet perfectly arranged, appearing to ever rise in pitch. Merely turning your head causes these shapes and sounds to shift in unpredictable ways.

Navigating the Procedure seems impossible, but it is at the very least safe: the landscape contours around you to keep you steady, meeting your feet with solid ground and even supporting you should you stumble.1 Though there is no getting used to the harmonics, after some time the eye learns to pick out meaningful elements in the holographic jumble: prismatic figures deep in conversation, repetitive geometric landforms, and crystalline scaffolds. The petitionersSouls of the dead that have re-manifested on the most well-suited lamina, where they perfect and reshape themselves while carrying out pursuits in accordance with that lamina's principles.Turn to chapter that reside here, known as Looms, are everywhere once you come to see them, luminous forms with faces like marbled ink in water, willing to patiently speak with visitors in warm tonal voices that arrive as if from many mouths and directions at once.

The Looms say that they are in the process of creating “the Pattern”, and this visitor will do her best to relate their description of what that entails. Everywhere they are busy with this task, instructing the gods of cardinalThe cardinal worlds make up our foundational, everyday reality over which the laminae are layered.Turn to chapter worlds in their ways and cultivating mortal cultures that they believe likely to give rise to the shapes they seek. They then pull beads from the great web of being into this realm to overlay them in potential patterns on the reticulated structures of their observatories, or to temporarily inhabit them and play out their ramifications before councils of sympathy.

Observing this process you will find Looms taking on personal roles and abstract forces: a group of three may seem to reflect your mother speaking to you and a childhood friend, playing out some scenario that you recognize, while to another visitor this same scene may be observed as two scholars debating with a personification of jealousy. These interpretations are simultaneously correct. From the perspective of Looms the cardinal worlds exist as a substrate atop which they can build and observe patterns. Their simulations and discoveries unfold at a breathtaking scale and the Procedure teems with experimentation and calculation and the trying on of things.

None could comprehensibly describe what their Pattern might be like nor what it is for, but concluding a lengthy conversation one Loom, ascertaining that this visitor intended to share her understanding in the present text, asked that she record a final articulation:

Why don’t you think of the Pattern as that which is coming, that which has been approaching from all eternity, that which will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves you are? You must project this birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and live your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy. Don’t you see how everything that happens is again and again a beginning, and could it not begin the Pattern, since, in itself, starting is always so beautiful? If it is to be the most perfect, must not what is less perfect precede it, so that it can choose itself out of fullness and superabundance? Must it not be the last, so that it can include everything in itself, and what meaning would we have if that for which we are longing for has already existed? We start that which you will not live to see, just as your ancestors could not live to see you. And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in you, as predisposition, as burden upon your fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time and reaches for the Pattern.

It is difficult to describe the sensation of hearing these words from every direction refracted through the harmonic crescendo of the Procedure. In mere ink they seem to only grasp weakly at meaning, yet the Loom that spoke them did so with such precision and grace as to impart upon this visitor some conviction of their significance, along with no small sadness at the impossibility of transmuting the experience into text. This instance is not the only such challenge that befalls the present work.

[This chapter has not yet been translated. Please turn to the Inevitability, the Bloom, or the Unfolding for completed chapters. Recent additions can be found in the Translation Log.]

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