There are a lot of ways to do this, what it is that I do, but I’ll begin with an introduction. My name is Adiemus Breen, and I am a Tear. Depending on where you’re reading this, that is, what side of the Veil you're on, that could mean Magus, Helix, Wizard, etc. I am a member of the High Council of Joran, part of an Order known as the Mazhira Hermitage, and my mission is watching epochs unfold, so I can record them to the best of my ability.
Afterward, I can use those abilities to travel back through time, to periods in which I am authorized, in order to analyze the events with further precision, and in the interest of preparing my investigative reports.
Reports like the one you're reading now.
So, in a manner of speaking, what follows here happened live, although the process necessitated more than a fair amount of work in post-production.
Now, you might think, due to the nature of my work, that I should write strictly in present-tense prose. I won't lie, I used to think I should, too. The problem is, I have found in what is now my considerable experience, that even in the best of cases, that sort of narration is inadequate for my purpose. Come to think of it, now that we're on the subject, I'm not sure why people use it period.
Sentimentality, maybe? Is that the appeal?
There are others of my Order who swear it is needed for proper posterity's sake, but that is not what I find.
I don't know.
You can't see me right now, but I'm shaking my head.
Whatever its purpose, in matters that involve the literal saving of worlds, like this one did, I find it particularly useless. Not to mention, pretentious as hell.
I was trusted with this task — the Ciridian file — because of, what some have called, my strange gift for plainness. I’ve been told that I have an ability to use words as daggers; daggers that go straight to the point. So if you’ve come seeking lessons in the fine art of flowery prose, or in painting engaging landscapes with your colorful characters, I'm sorry, that's just not what I do.
The matters I deal in are, indeed, intensely dramatic, but they are also historic events, and far too important to be cheapened by any artistic interference I might try to inject. By the rules of my Order, it is a terrible sacrilege. By my own, it would be nothing short of a betrayal of all I hold dear and believe in. Alas, as much as I have often wished it so, this is no fairy tale. I can harness these events, but I am not their creator.
Now, it is also not in my purview to spoon-feed these chronicles to my audience. That being said, especially if you're on the Earth — not Ara — side, I understand this might all be confusing.
All I can say right now, is that if you try bearing with me, I promise you will understand in time. I have done my best to present these matters in the most straightforward manner imaginable, but I cannot simplify or dilute what was an exceedingly dynamic and infinitely intricate chain of events.
Especially at the start.
Even if I had the time, desire, or ability to do so, to come up with some bare-bones, abridged version of what I witnessed, and later, assembled and analyzed for years, I never, ever, would.
I would refuse.
I have seen, far too often, the results of what such shortcut efforts bring. I have seen what happens to those who try, who sell out; when a craftsman, such as myself, tries to hold their audience’s hand. The work becomes all about themselves, the story of what happend, an awkward, subconsciously self-serving spew of professional or academic idolatry.
I just don’t have it in me to do that.
I really don’t.
And it's a lesson I learned the hard way.
So, I'm going to trust you to follow me, instead. Even when prudence dictates I jump around the timeline. Even when a “flashback” pops up out of nowhere. Just remember what I said about it earlier:
You see, I’m not a writer.
I’m not really a historian, either.
At least, not as you know them.
That doesn't mean I don't want you to enjoy what you’re reading, because if you do, you will inevitably learn a great deal. The people whose account I have endeavored so diligently to present here, would thank you. Because that would mean I served them, these events, myself, and my Order quite well. It is my deepest desire to reflect great credit upon all of the above. That being said, fervent searches for acceptance through others is nothing but the service of self, of nothing, and that is not what I'm talking about.
It isn’t what I do.
They might claim otherwise before the podium, or lectern, but it is a simple matter of acting for the clever, uninspired scribe to dabble in pleasant fictions for their own selfish ends. Inevitably, these pursuits all end in the same place and way. Even if their financial goals are met, and there is money in it, don't get me wrong, they wind up achieving nothing but devotion to an endless parade of mind-numbing pages. In the name of an exercise called going meta, they succeed in nothing but alienating themselves, completely, from the essence of things.
My aim is history, and I only get this one shot.
My work is not merely words stretched out over a page.
It isn't based on, or influenced by, the boring, voluminous lectures of some cloistered ascetic, whose insight compels the mind to wander and eyes to drift out the window.
Fantasy is what we wish could have happened.
What we want to be so.
History is real people engaged in real events.
These things happened.
They were remarkable.
If not for these events, I would not be here to write this.
If not for these people, you would not be here to read it.
That's what we're dealing with here.
I hope to see you on the road.
Mazhira Hermitage, Republic of Joran