Arlat: The First Ward of the Pallbearers

The Talevala
excerpt from the Song of the Rifar

Empty now the pavement passes
Laid in place by drays and draughtsmen
Steel girded to reave the heavens
Empty now forlorn forgotten

Black and sharp the spire is risen
Over a table until now forbidden
From its bulwark the water when riven
Reveals a gibbet both hard and hidden

An empire might be established
If there were a hero to fashion it
Among the bones of men and rabbits
Champion found, empire fashioned

The Kalevala is the national epic of Finland, a poem set in a distinctive meter with specific rules and a whole lot of vowels. I am not going to create my own 22,795 verses, but I did create these three as inspiration for The Peaceful, Brave, and Just. It describes the land of Malvada, where all roads have been turned into matter transporters, which have then broken, cutting the world apart and causing the collapse of society. How’s that for high-concept fiction?

The picture is Arlat, the first ward of the pallbearers, where the secrets of genetics have been stored for the use of humanity. I am shopping the first novel in the series right now and working on the second, about Birrigat, the ward of time. I changed the name from “Kalevala” to “Talevala” because the bad guys in the story are the Teilarata, the ruling class who have decided that science and learning brought about the downfall of civilization and must therefore be evil. Their name comes from their chosen punishment. In Finnish, the word “teilata” means to punish on the wheel, and refers to the rejection of new ideas and innovation. The Teilarata bind their victims to a heavy iron wheel and then break their bones with clubs. These rounds are also called Catherine wheels, and there is one in the picture, over Arlat. It is the symbol of the Teilarata, and it burns on the side of Mount Goliath.

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