Size / / /

Ten for the Ten Commandments.

In the iron deserts of Kent, the traveler is advised to carry spare ammunition and a sufficiency of supplies, especially potable water. Assistance may be sought from the caravanserai at the foot of Maidstone Mound at certain times of the year, but once the last rains have stopped that establishment is shuttered for the season.

Almost halfway between Maidstone Mound and the Canterbury Shieldglass, the trail drops into a shallow valley that widens until it is indistinguishable from the Estuarine Salt Flats to the north. There the red sands and scarred bedrock temporarily give way to a curious formation -- a depression that traps sufficient moisture to sustain its own microclimate.

A single great oak of unrivalled antiquity stands within that depression, of a size to rival even the banyans of Normandy. This desert giant is surrounded by ten steel pillars twice the height of a man, each bright as the blade of a sword. Known as the Deka Logos, these pillars are inscribed with words in an ancient language, now interpreted only by tradition. They are:

Elohecha, or Divinity.

Lashav', or Unpurposed.

Pesel, or Image.

Shavat, or Rest.

Kabed, or Honor.

Retzach, or Extinction.

Ne-of, or Betrayal.

Ganav, or Deprivation.

Emet, or Truth.

Khamod, or Desire.

Are these injunctions? Instructions? Perhaps commandments to the faithful? None can say, though theories abound. An entire section of the Bibliotek Subterranean at Cambridge is dedicated to glosses on the Deka Logos.

The traveler is advised not to linger long. The self-styled keeper of the place, a small man with a greenish complexion and curious garb of leaves and flowers, will capture you in conversation. Some travelers have lingered for years under his spell, talking of the ancient ways of the world and the morals of men, the sum of which he claims is documented on the Deka Logos. If you encounter him, gift him with fruit and seeds -- and, if need be, your slowest traveling companions -- and be speedy on your way.

 

Copyright © 2003 Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Reader Comments


Jay Lake lives in Portland, Oregon, with his family and their books. In 2003, his work is appearing in diverse markets such as Realms of Fantasy, Writers of the Future XIX, and The Thackeray T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases. For more about him and his work, see his website. To contact him, send him email at jlake@jlake.com.

Previous:
Brightly Shining
  Next:
Eleven Went to Heaven


Bio to come.
Current Issue
2 Dec 2019

Winter has finally ended, and here you are, on the first day of summer, stuffing your pink feet into the sand.
By: Sheldon Costa
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Sheldon Costa's “The Garden's First Rule.”
small bones / holding flecks of ash / rigid in her hands.
By: Mari Ness
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Mari Ness's “Gretel's Bones.”
Issue 25 Nov 2019
By: Nisa Malli
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nisa Malli
Issue 18 Nov 2019
By: Marika Bailey
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alicia Cole
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Nov 2019
By: Rivqa Rafael
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Mary McMyne
By: Ugonna-Ora Owoh
Podcast read by: Mary McMyne
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 28 Oct 2019
By: Kelly Stewart
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kelly Stewart
Monday: Aniara 
,
Issue 21 Oct 2019
By: Omar William Sow
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Amy H. Robinson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Oct 2019
By: Kevin Wabaunsee
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ruben Reyes Jr.
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Oct 2019
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Davian Aw
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Sep 2019
By: Kali de los Santos
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Heitor Zen
Podcast read by: Julia Quandt
By: Sérgio Motta
Podcast read by: Sérgio Motta
By: Isa Prospero
Podcast read by: Solaine Chioro
Monday: 3% 
,
Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Sep 2019
By: Marie Brennan
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Hester J. Rook
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Hester J. Rook
Load More
%d bloggers like this: