Below is the first of the articles ever written which reveal the esoteric and metaphysical elements in the background of the Sime~Gen Universe novels.
This was written twenty years ago for Ambrov Zeor, a fanzine gradually being reposted into The Rimon Farris Memorial Library with the major fiction by and for the fans of the series, not for the general public. I present it here with some trepidation because I have learned a bit since then. Worse yet, I am currently engaged in writing a six volume series of instruction books on The Tarot for Belfry Books, the first of which, Never Cross A Palm With Silver, is now available on amazon.com. This early article does not do justice to my current views.
Still, it is my personal policy to "leave tracks in the sand" - to let people trace the lines of development of my thinking and writing across the decades. Sime~Gen is a whole universe and did not spring into being full blown. It is in fact still being developed as you read this - by fans arguing the background points on various social networks such as the SIMEGEN Group on Facebook, with possible additions on other sites.
And in truth, the Starred-Cross I mention in the first novel, House of Zeor , was invented to be the key to the entire, invisible, and rarely mentioned Occult Orders, such as the School of Rathor, which always existed as part of my conception of this universe and which are a vital driving force behind the events of Sime~Gen universe history.
There is a drawing of it at the top of the index page on this site, and some more drawings below.
It is first introduced into the Sime~Gen universe in the first novel that was published, House of Zeor. There it is established that there are way stations, places of refuge for children fleeing for their lives, called Shrines of the Starred-Cross. Inside, in addition to basic comforts, one can find a carved medallion starred-cross to take and wear. And the inscription says that if you believe in it, and don't fear, you will be protected.
In later novels, we find that these shrines are established and maintained by the School of Rathor, a secret society whose very existence is not known to the general public. They can do magick as well as ESP.
There is a great deal of as yet unused and unpublished background on the doings of the School of Rathor and their rival Schools, some of which has appeared in the various Sime~Gen fanzines. Here is the early material on the Starred-Cross. If I get a chance to do it, the novel The Farris Channel
reveals more, and that will be at my current level of understanding. Meanwhile, for those curious about my current level of understanding, do check out my science fiction review column posted at ReReadableBooks.
And lastly, I want to point out that one of the regular artistic contributors to Ambrov Zeor, mentioned below, P. S. Nim, is the author of the wonderful science fiction novel with a believable telepath, Double Mobius Sphere by P. S. Nim, Pocket Sci-Fi, December 1978. I've since lost touch with her - so if she finds this page I do hope she'll contact me on the SimeGen Group on Facebook, or on Google+.
Oh - one more thing, as Detective Columbo is wont to say: we all must once again be grateful to Ronnie Bob Whitaker for supplying scanned text and images from Ambrov Zeor's editions that were done on typewriter and mimeo. This is no small feat even when you've washed and darned your winsocks.
Live Long and Prosper,
copyright © 1977 by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
This article is from Ambrov Zeor #5
First, I must acknowledge that Anne Pinzow has been working on this article for many a moon now, and she has turned in a seven-page article from which I am now going to try to compile something readable.
The Ambrov Zeor logo on the cover of each issue of AZ after #3, Signe Landon's design which won the logo contest, is not, repeat, not, the House of Zeor symbol. And the House of Zeor symbol is not the starred cross.
P. S. Nim's logo design (figure 1) is the House of Zeor symbol.
Click here to see Dagger Symbol of the House of Zeor
The starred cross is something else. I invented the starred cross while writing House of Zeor, and although it is not described in HoZ, I did have a specific design in mind (figure 2).
Click here to see plain line drawing of Starred Cross as I invented it originally.
Much to my surprise, as I learned more and more of occult and esoteric theory, I found that the starred cross symbol I had in mind is perfect for the Sime series. I want to share with you here much of what I've discovered and leave you to discover more on your own.
Let's take the elements of the symbol, one by one. Why should we use an equal-armed cross, not a Latin cross? The Latin cross, according to occult theory (see bibliography), represents self-sacrifice. And although this is a strong element in the Sime~Gen relationship, it is not the salient or dominant element.
The equal-armed cross, or the solar cross, has equal arms to indicate the union of the male, positive element (upright), with the female negative element (horizontal), or the union of God and Earth. This is the definition from Mastering the Tarot by Eden Grey.
In the Sime~Gen universe, the Sime~Gen relationship has been likened to the male~female relationship, while I, personally, maintain that the Sime~Gen relationship is not in any way a sexual one. The exact nature of the connection between the male~female relationship and the Sime~Gen relationship lies in the equal-armed cross, as defined above as a symbol.
The male~female relationship is a particular case of the generalized polarity underlying the structure of the universe, i.e. the positive~negative relationship inherent in all things. (see Star Trek Lives! by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston, Bantam, 1975)
The Sime~Gen relationship is another (and wholly new) special case of the generalized positive~negative relationship. The ideal condition of any polarized situation is Balance, stasis, or neutrality.
And it is this situation of balance, stasis, or neutrality, i.e. Union, that is represented by the equal-armed cross.
The star of the starred cross is not a six-pointed star, because it represents dominion over the laws of the great world (Mastering the Tarot). But it is more than that. It is the hexagram, the Star of David, or Magen David, the Shield of David. It is usually depicted with the two triangles inextricably intertwined. The triangle is a basic symbol. Pointed upwards, it represents the spirit yearning for freedom from the gross, physical world, from incarnation. Pointed downward, it represents the gross physical world. The two intertwined represent the spirit of man locked into the gross physical world. Thus it "shields" life, or guarantees continued life. And so it is the wrong symbol for the Sime~Gen relationship.
The five-pointed star, the Pentagram, the Seal of Solomon, is the ancient symbol of magic. But what is magic except science? Magic is the ancestor and child of science--and all scientists are magicians. This is not a treatise on
magic, so I can't explain the various meanings of the word, magic, here. I hope that readers understand magic, in this article, to mean the ancestor of all science, the effort to understand and manipulate the real world.
The five-pointed star, according to Mastering the Tarot, expresses mind's dominion over the elements. It is the symbol of the Word made Flesh. Depending on the direction of its point, it may represent order, or confusion.
In the starred cross, the pentagram is pointed UP, representing order, representing the Gen's ability to control the primal forces unleashed by the Sime by the right use of his mind.
The pentagram is elsewhere called the symbol of Man--the two arms, two legs, and the head forming the five points. It is the symbol of logic combined with emotion. It is the symbol of the only counterentropic force extant in the universe - humanity.
And so it, combined with the equal armed cross, is the perfect symbol of the Sime~Gen relationship.
I want to stress here that I didn't have any idea - no idea whatever - of the occult or esoteric meanings of these symbols when, while writing the chase sequence of HoZ, Hugh and Klyd ended up in the Shrine of the Starred Cross. Then, the thing just popped into my head full blown.
In preparing to write Mahogany Trinrose, the story of Ercy Farris, Digen's daughter, I had to examine the starred-cross more closely, and I found out it is the symbol of the surviving remnants of the Ancients' occult orders. In times of ultimate disaster, the masses invariably blame whatever learned folk are handy for their problems. No doubt, during the Sime~Gen wars before the Chaos, science~technology, medicine, space exploration, and occult study (which is now in a tremendous boom revival as evidenced by the popularization of astrology, another hobby of mine) will come in for their share of the blame and be driven underground.
I discovered the survivors of the occult fraternities and societies of the Ancients had gone underground, retreating into isolated "monasteries" much as churchmen did in the Middle Ages - they kept occult knowledge and theory alive. Being good hearted souls, they could not stand to see every Gen who established in Sime territory killed without a chance, or imprisoned as a breeder. They set up the system of "underground railroads" known as the Ways of the Starred Cross with its shrines and way stations. And they monitor these highways helping stragglers where and when they can. They see to it that the ways are changed often enough to give these kids at least a chance at life.
This, Jean Lorrah and I worked out in correspondence. But even so, until I was called on by Lisa Waters to speak at a Mensa gathering of sf fen, I didn't really know the magnitude of what I had done when I invented the starred-cross symbol. More about that next issue, in the Starred-Cross As A Symbol Of The Age Of Capricorn.
With this article, you will find not only the basic starred-cross, but the starred-cross with the appropriate symbols drawn on it according to the School of Rathor.
The School of Rathor - founded, of course, by a fellow (gal?) named Rathor, is one of the oldest of these occult fraternities secretly living back in the mountains somewhere.
Halimer Grant, one of the major characters in Mahogany Trinrose, left the Order of Rathor because he found out that he would soon be taught how to cast a conception horoscope for a child and determine if the child would be Sime or Gen. He decided that if he knew this secret, he would tell the world--and that would violate his oath to the Order. So, in conscience, he left. The Order still insists that if people knew which feotus would be Sime, they would abort or otherwise kill them in utero. This is 20 years after the end of Unto Zeor, Forever.
1. Waite, Arthur Edward. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. New York: Samual Weiser, Inc., 1973
2. Gray, Eden. Mastering the Tarot. New York: The New American Library, 1971.
3. -----------. A Complete Guide to the Tarot. New York: Crown Publishers. Inc., 1970
4. Fortune, Dion. The Mystical Qabalah. London: Ernest Benn Limited, 1974.
5. Torrens, R. G.; The Golden Dawn. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1973
6. Case, Paul Foster: The Tarot. Richmond: Macoy Publishing Company, 1975
copyright © 1978 by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
This article is from Ambrov Zeor #6
As you know, the earth revolves on its axis, and it wobbles. The axis of the earth points to a certain constellation, and it precesses backwards through the zodiac. Right now, we're at the end of the age of Pisces, because this axis of the earth has been in the constellation of Pisces for about two thousand years. We are now on the cusp or the edge of the age of Aquarius.
Each of the signs, astrologically, has certain attributes or traits, which are characteristic of it. The traits that I want to talk about right now are two-word descriptions, the essence of the dominant trait of the sign. For the sign of Taurus, it's "I have". Taurus is a possession sign. For Aries, it's "I am". An Aries person is a person who's always saying I, I, I, I, I. (Our Sectuib is an Aries. ed.) For Pisces, the trait is "I believe"; for Aquarius, "I know"; for Capricorn, "I use."
When the axis of the earth was in the sign of Taurus, we had religions in which the bull was the primary symbol. In Taurus, you have all of the earth goddesses, you have Isis, and you have all the material images. People used the bull or the ox as a nature symbol, because he was the motor power of agriculture, which had just been invented. The bull or the ox represented power and it represented money -- we still call a dollar a buck, right?
So, if you really study the ancient earth goddess religions, you see that their primary vision of the nature of God, or the message that God is giving to the earth is one of having -- of having power, of having material goods, of propitiating the gods in order to acquire material goods. These were materialistic religions; they have the Taurean character.
Now, if you go into the age of Aries, when the north axis of the earth passed into the sign Aries, all of a sudden God came to Abram and said, "Go away from all this, go out into the desert," and all of these things happened in Canaan, and Israel ended up in Egypt, and they came out of Egypt, and that was the transition period between the Taurean religions and the Arien religions. And God appears to Moses, and Moses says, "Well, O.K., but who shall I say sent me?" and God says, "I am that I am." God reveals himself to the people in terms of "I am". In terms of the Aries mentality, because that is what the people were able to accept.
In the Taurean age, people were open to Taurean influence; they were able to perceive that aspect of God which was essentially Taurean, grasping, materialistic -- which is perfectly reasonable if you're living in a subsistence economy, you're going to want to acquire material goods -- and to be obsessed with having, and to propitiate the gods so they won't take away what you've got, and the gods themselves are pictured as very acquisitive.
And then you get into the Arien age, and if you look into the religions, they're all aspects of God which say "I am". That is what people are able to receive and that is what God gives them. The characteristic religion of the Arien Age is the Judaic religion. And then, all of a sudden, about two thousand years ago, along comes a man who says, "If you believe in Me, you shall be saved." And over the next 400 years, a whole new religion hit the face of the earth and transformed civilization from the roots up, because people were able to receive this message, "I believe." A plus-or-minus 200 year cuspal period is not unreasonable in a 2000 year transit.
But now, in 1977, we're getting towards the end of the Piscean age, and what do we have? We have a lot of people who believe, a lot of people who want to believe but can't; and if you cast a jaundiced eye on modern civilization, what do you find? What you find is that people who profess no religion do believe -- in science. And what is science? Knowledge! And knowledge is Aquarian in character. So we're in transition. We still believe, but we believe in Knowledge. It has been said many times that science~technology has become our religion.
When you go back to the transition from "I have" into "I am", you see that the roots of the Judaic religion also included sacrifice and then the sacrifices fell away as we got out of the transition. At the transition period you have both traits operating at the same time and blending.
When you make up the background of an sf novel, you pick up the threads of what happened historically, then you extrapolate into the future. If this is what happened twice now (two points determine a line), then you can extrapolate. I can see now that the Sime series is going to be set towards the end of the Aquarian age, well after 1000 years of darkness.
Almost every theory of knowledge there is predicts disaster between 2000 and 2250. All of the occult fraternities, the psychics, the seers, the prophets, even the computers (see Limits To Growth) uniformly predict total disaster around the year 2000. Almost any writer who writes in the future -- even STAR TREK -- predicts a dark age around the year 2000. They are all grabbing this off the astral plane? When something is in the air, it's in the air.
The thread of occultism has always been with us, and there's no way to think that a mere disaster is going to wipe it out -- quite the contrary, it will probably strengthen it; in cases of disaster people cling to religion. So I have to ask myself as an sf writer, what is going to be the symbol of this new religion that will arise after the disaster? What would be an appropriate symbol for the age of God revealing himself as "I know?" That's the question I was asking myself when I was taking a course in Qabalah -- and all of a sudden -- right in the middle of class -- I go, "Ohhhh!", and Anne Pinzow looks at me as if I were nuts, because she didn't follow that big intuitive leap. I had already invented the symbol of the Sime religion ... the Starred-Cross itself! (See AZ#5, p. 55)
The solar cross is a symbol. You'll notice that it looks like a plus sign. That's no coincidence. Arithmetic is of arcane origin. In traditional occult symbolism, the vertical arm represents the positive or creative forces of the universe, and the horizontal arm represents the negative or destructive forces. The plus sign is the balance between the positive and the negative, Evil~Good, Man~Woman, whatever pair of opposites you want to think of -- the universe is constructed on pairs of opposites; the solar cross represents union and total balance. In my symbolism, the solar cross represents the Sime. Also, in the Tarot, the solar cross represents the union of man with God, and the union of man with earth at the same time. Man is the locus of tension between opposites and his only hope is balance. The solar cross is balance, but it represents something else, too.
You've heard of the tetragrammaton -- the four letters of the name of God. In mystical symbolism and in the Kaballah, as well as the Tarot, the tetragrammaton is the touchstone, the basis, the primary description of all reality. You can write it on the solar cross; the solar cross represents the YHVH. The YHVH represents thousands of things, but one of the important things it represents is the idea that all reality is process, there is no such thing as stasis.
If you stop learning, you stop growing, then you die. The YHVH is the algebra of description of the primary process. Every ending is a new beginning. That's why there are two H's in YHVH. When the three create the fourth, you again have instability and process. The triangle is stable, when you add the fourth point, it becomes unstable again.
In my universe, the cross represents the Sime's internal selyn need ... each transfer is a new beginning. But it also represents balance, and the union of opposites. Also, you need four parameters to build an algebra (Boolean). (See "Mr. Spock on Logic", More Vulcan Reflections, T-K Graphics, reprinted from Spockanalia #4, my very first STAR TREK article and in many ways the salient basis of the Kraith Series.) That says something very profound about the nature of reality.
Another interesting fact is that the equal-arm cross is the original form of the letter T which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the Egyptian. What it means is that the last letter of the alphabet is used as the final seal to the soul's evolving. The end of the age of believe is the beginning of the age of knowledge, and we're seeing that now, because we're getting superstition, and when you believe in knowledge, you get superstition, and a lot of what's going on in the world today is a kind of superstitious awe of technology. The new does not wipe out the old. The new truth is added onto the old truth. We're in the same situation as the men in the story of the blind men and the elephant when we're trying to perceive God. God is all, God is unity, God is the entire universe. There is nothing but intelligence -- the universal intelligence, but we're only capable of perceiving what we're open to, and what we're capable of perceiving is more or less conditioned by the age we're living in. Each new age that comes into play contains all that went before it. Thus for the age of Aquarius, we look for a symbol that combines I have, I am, I believe and I know. We have to have all four ideas in it. This is the fourth age of recorded human history. So the base behind the symbol of the Age of the Simes has to be the fourfold symbol balance.
The symbol imposed over it is a five pointed star. The five pointed star has a lot of different significances. Almost every religion uses it in one form or another. In my system the 5-p star represents the Gen. And it represents control through knowledge. This is the basic occult~tarot meaning. The 5-p star is known as the sign of man. It's the seal of Solomon, thus the sign of knowledge, knowledge of man. It's the basic magic sign, the pentagram. And what did we say magic was? Science. Magic is anything that operates by principles we do not yet understand. Magic is a branch of knowledge. Magic is the control of universal reality by the mind of man -- imposing his will on reality. (However, in order to command nature, one must first and always obey her laws scrupulously.)
So we have the sign of four with the sign of knowledge. Think of man's mind as the anti-entropic force. The universe tends toward disorder, the mind towards order. Man is the time-binder. Now what is the most important attribute of the 5-p star? "I know" refers to intuitive knowledge. It's not the kind of "I believe" that's unshakable and becomes superstition, it's the kind of knowledge that Einstein had before he'd actually worked out the equations. He knew they were there. Then he went and filled in the gaps. So you get the combined sign of the equal-armed cross with the 5-p star, and when you combine the whole statement you get, "I don't believe, I know that God is" -- that's the combined statement. That's why in HoZ you don't have any organized religions -- the only thing that surfaces as part of the culture is the Church of the Purity, and it's on the wane even at that time. The keynote of the age of the Simes is going to be this combined I don't believe -- and if you don't believe, you don't need the external forms -- I know; there's simply no question. You have a completely different attitude.
In the transition to the age of Capricorn, "I know" becomes "I use my knowledge" -- and in the Sime universe, this transition propels mankind to the stars once again (see Ambrov Zeor #4, "Easy as Hop, Skip and Jump" also Galileo #4, "Channel's Exemption.") Of course, knowledge is power, and the use of power poses certain dangers. ...
Where did the starred-cross come from in the Sime universe? My current theory is that the people who had secretly preserved occult knowledge (secretly because occultism took a hefty share of the blame for the collapse of civilization), nevertheless could not refrain from interfering in the affairs of the world. When the Sime~Gen wars had finally served to establish Sime and Gen Territories separated by distinct borders, members of the secret occult schools, such as the School of Rathor, (moving about secretly disguised as gypsies) established the marked ways out of Sime Territory to be used by children who established as Gens while living among Simes. They built the shrines of the starred-cross (see House of Zeor) and placed in them the starred-cross medallion with the admonition to believe in it and it would protect the Gen (simple psychology, belief abrogates fear). There is also the element of the archetype here -- the starred-cross represents the proper relation between Sime and Gen, and if fully apprehended would indeed protect.
There are of course many disagreements within and among the various occult schools, even in Rathor, but by and large these people agree that they must wait for humanity to outgrow the separation into Territories before they can safely reveal their existence. When Ercy Farris comes along, she puts some strain on this resolution, for she is the first fully functional esper channel (see "Channel's Exemption," opening scene, Yone casually uses psychokinesis.) (1997 insert: this hyperlink is to an htm file which some browsers might not display, or so I'm told: JL)
At this point, many of you who are new to fanzines and fandom may be getting a bit peeved at AZ for the disorganized presentation of ideas, the shreds and pieces of ideas, the vague allusion to things unpublished (even unwritten!). I want to say here that first and foremost AZ is a fanzine -- it is casual, breezy, in-group, intimate and fluid. All of you are very close to me, friends I would like to have around my kitchen table or spread out reading me as it is typed. But there are too many of us, and we are so scattered, so AZ is in effect, my kitchen table. The pieces of the Sime Series are presented here for discussion as they are being created and rewritten, retailored, recreated. AZ itself is an example of process as discussed above. Here you will find the living (if disorganized!) heart of the Sime Series, and through AZ you can contribute to the shaping of the direction of that series as you could not legally be permitted to do to ST. In the end, years from now, you will reread these 'zines with the books discussed, and it will be clear.
Since Jean Lorrah, who lives in Kentucky, started collaborating on her Sime novel, First Channel, the kitchen table has gained a few extension leaves! We collaborate by mail and create by letter. This has an advantage for you -- it leaves a written record of the development of the novel and its background. We have adopted the policy of sending Jan a carbon of each of our letters, and Judy Segal author~publisher of the Kraith Dictionary ( for info email firstname.lastname@example.org) is pondering the wisdom of volunteering to reduce the letters and rough drafts of manuscript into the story of the development of the novel, First Channel by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg. The trouble is that these letters contain bits of Jean's comments on Mahogany Trinrose (which has a Tigue channel, the distinct submutation to which Risa ambrov Keon belongs), and bits of backgrounding for Joel Davis's tv-movie Sime adaptation.
For example: Dec 22, '77, Jean says, "I read over Ercy's perception of Joeslee (the Tigue, JL) and thought, 'That's not how a Tigue would feel,' but then decided it is how a sullen Tigue would feel, and sullen is just what Joeslee is at the moment. Sullenness is not a normal Tigue emotion; stubbornness is. As I see it, a Farris would perceive a Tigue as fire; a Tigue would perceive a Farris as ice. The blue~red of Zeor~Keon is a visual representation of this perception." ... "Each perceives the other as the extreme of the type, but in truth each merely has one element dominating, but is tempered by the others. They clash so on the surface that each never gets down to a true knowledge of the other."
There are no Tigues (yet) in First Channel, but Jean's handling of the Farrises is very Tigue. Do you think Judy Segal should bother to tackle this project? Do you want to see the process of developing background then using it? Write Judy.
(("The Starred-Cross" was a chapter in the original draft of First Channel which was later cut. It picks up the conversation immediately at the end of the first scene in Chapter 5 of the printed version (p. 55 hardcover, p. 78 paperback), at the double-spaced division in the text. Rimon and Kadi are going home to the Gen farm after their first transfer, and are discussing how to get food for Kadi.))
"I know. But ... maybe it will be easier to start with people we know."
"That's what I'd like to do, but you can't go two days without eating. It'll take that long to get home from here."
"What is it?"
"Oh ... I don't know, Rimon. Maybe we can find some more berries, and there are greens this time of year--"
"You should have solid food, Kadi. Cereal, at least. I'd like to get you some cheese or milk. Besides, there's a storm brewing, so it would be nice to have a roof over our heads for the night."
"All right, Rimon," Kadi said firmly, as if she had just decided something very important, "I know where we can have both a meal and a place to stay."
"Don't be surprised. I can still follow directions ... even if I can't do it any better than I could before."
"You know I didn't mean that. But I've been along this road before, and you haven't. Do you know someone who lives around here?"
"No, but I know where there's a shrine of the starred-cross."
She led him a few miles further down the road to where an immense boulder was split neatly in half from top to bottom. There she turned left, and followed the pathless terrain through a brushy area. Dead ahead was a butte. Kadi said, "See the notch in the top?"
"Erosion," said Rimon.
"It's meant to look that way. Notches like that lead all the way to the border."
They rode out to the butte, and Kadi pointed further out, to a hill which seemed just naturally to have a dip in one side, near the top. "You just follow the marks. When you get into the mountains, you know that the other side is Gen Territory."
"And Simes have never even noticed the markers! But Kadi, we don't want to go back to the border."
"No, we're going in here."
In where? Rimon wondered as he followed Kadi around the base of the butte. There was a small blind canyon on one side, and once they had turned into it, Kadi easily found what appeared to be a cave opening. Inside, it turned left, then right--and opened into a rectangular room, man-made and comfortably outfitted!
Dim daylight filtered down through a rock chimney that must have gone clear to the top of the butte. Beneath that was a small grate with kindling laid for a fire, so that at night the opening would be a smoke-hole.
Solid rock on every side meant that the shrine was completely selyn-insulated. A fleeing Gen, exhausted, could rest safely here as long as he required, gaining strength for the last difficult trek to the border.
"What is this place?" Rimon asked in amazement.
"It's a shrine of the starred-cross. I learned about the route and the shrines in Reloc. There ought to be food here ... . Yes, here it is." There was a bin of cereal, a small pile of apples, a chunk of cheese wrapped in oiled paper, and a container of tea.
Rimon went out to tether the horses where they could graze on the sparse grass in the blind canyon. He found a tiny spring, mostly mud, and dug until he had a small pool of muddy water. If the approaching storm broke, they would have clear, fresh rainwater, but if it passed them by, the muddy water would clear enough by morning that they could fill their canteens.
When he went back inside, Rimon found that Kadi had the fire going, and a pot of water heating. She made them tea and cereal, which they sweetened with the last of the honey Rimon had packed. Then she unwrapped the cheese, and reached casually for Rimon's knife.
He started, then froze before he tried to stop her ... but she had noticed.
"I'm not going to use it on you, Rimon," she said softly.
"Of course not," he replied, thankful that she understood. "It may take me a while to get over automatic reflexes."
A sharp instrument in the hands of a Gen was something every Sime feared. To take it away, a Sime had to expose his forearms--and all the Gen had to do was get in one lucky cut for the Sime to die in agony.
Suddenly Rimon realized, "Kadi! There's no reason for Gens to be afraid of Simes!"
She looked up. "Reason or not, they are."
"But they don't have to be! Let me show you."
He held out his hands, and she put the knife down and let him wrap his handling tentacles around her forearms, aligning them as if for a kill. Often, they had assumed this position to aid Rimon through the after-effects of a kill. Now he said, "Kadi, look where your hands are."
Her fingers moved gently, feeling delicately through his skin. Despite her gentleness, he could not suppress a gasp as they slid over the now-shrunken ronaplin glands and met the lateral sheaths. Eyes wide, Kadi said, "I could injure your laterals! But I wouldn't, Rimon; you know that."
"What's important is what you know, Kadi. You've grown up with Simes--and still it never occurred to you, or to any Gen I've ever heard of. Shidoni! It's been so all along, and none of us ever knew it!"
Kadi sat staring at their united arms for a moment. Then she whispered, "The danger is mutual! When a Sime is drawing selyn, the Gen literally holds his life in his hands. One squeeze--" She shuddered.
"Yes," said Rimon, "when the laterals are extended, the transport nerves are completely exposed. The Gen is in a perfect position to kill his attacker with one squeeze, if he were to grip instead of trying to pull away."
But Kadi was trying to pull away. "Rimon, don't even think that!"
He held her, effortlessly. "Don't you see, Kadi? A Gen who knows that has no reason to be afraid. You'll know it, next time--"
"And I'll be terrified that I'll hurt you! Think, Rimon! If you told that to the Gens on the farm, how many dead Simes would you see in the next month?"
She was right. How could Gens who had always been treated as animals be expected to do anything but take revenge if given the chance? "You're right. We won't tell it, except to people we know and trust."
All this time they had remained in transfer position. Now Rimon leaned forward and pressed his lips to Kadi's. He didn't require any of the emotional balancing she had so often done for him, so he allowed the touch to become a kiss, then disentangled his grip so he could put his arms around her.
They came very near to forgetting about finishing their supper. Wolf, however, had been waiting patiently for some cheese ever since Kadi had unwrapped it. Seeing the two humans becoming involved in one another, forgetting him, he let out a mournful yip.
They ignored him.
He tried a yodel.
Rimon broke off from kissing Kadi. "I think your dog is jealous."
"No, he's just hungry," she replied. "Anyway, he's right that now is not the time."
"Any time is the right time for love."
"Not when we haven't finished supper, or cleaned our utensils, or set something out to catch the water if it rains, or--"
"Slave driver," he said affectionately. "Feed your dog. I'll wash the dishes."
Kadi gave Wolf the cereal remaining in Rimon's bowl, and only then a few scraps of hard, dry crust she had cut off the cheese. Rimon understood her reluctance to give her pet food that could mean life or death to a fleeing Gen.
"There's still enough for several meals," he pointed out, "even if we take enough to feed you till we get home."
"Oh, no, we can't take any food with us!"
"Yes, we can, Kadi, because as soon as I can, I'll come back and restock everything."
As he took their cooking pot and bowls outside to scour them with sand, Rimon wondered who saw to it that the shrine was supplied. It had to be Simes, this far in-Territory. Perhaps someone whose child had established and fled? Undoubtedly there were other Simes sympathetic to fleeing in-Territory Gens ... otherwise, there would be no route and no shrines.
The wind whistled into the small canyon, and Rimon moved the horses into a more sheltered spot. Thunder rumbled. He put the bowls and pot out to catch the rain, and rejoined Kadi in the shrine.
As the wind blew over the top of the butte, creating a draft up the smoke-hole the fire blazed up. The leaping flames twinkled on something shining on the wall. Rimon walked over to have a look, and Kadi joined him.
An emblem hung from a peg driven into the wall. Beneath it was carved in neat lettering, "Have faith in the starred-cross, and do not fear the Sime in need."
Rimon took down the emblem and examined it. The design was simple: a five-pointed star superimposed on an even-armed cross.
"That's the starred-cross," said Kadi. "It's the sign they showed me in Reloc."
The same symbol was carved in the stone beneath the peg, but the metal pendant on its leather thong was clearly meant to be worn. Rimon slipped it over Kadi's head. "There," he said, "that will protect you."
"I don't require protection, Rimon. I have you."
"I don't run the world, Kadi. I ... shen, I don't believe in good luck charms or any such nonsense, but there's something about this place, this pendant. Wear it, Kadi. Have faith in the starred-cross, and do not fear the Sime in need."
"I have faith in you, Rimon," she replied solemnly.
Later that night, Rimon lay awake long after Kadi slept, wondering why he sensed some power in that talisman, even though he could clearly see the ambiguity in the statement carved in the wall. Juxtaposing the two thoughts implied that the Gen who had faith had no reason to fear. But it actually was made up of two commandments. The first, "Have faith in the starred-cross," Rimon could not fully comprehend, but he felt intuitively that it had a meaning. The second, "Do not fear the Sime in need," was only too clear: the Gen who did not fear did not die. But how did one teach Gens not to fear?
In the morning, the world sparkled freshly after the night's rain. It wasn't far now to the Ancient highway, and once they were on that they'd be home in a day and a half.
They were still on the winding secondary road at noon, however, when they met another traveler coming toward them. His colorful outfit proclaimed him a gypsy at first sight, and when they approached one another on the narrow road, he greeted them cheerfully.
"Good day to you, young folk."
Rimon glanced at Kadi, who was as surprised as he that she was included in the greeting. "Good day, sir," he replied politely.
The gypsy was looking them over. "You are headed ... in-Territory?"
"Yes, sir. We're going ... . I'm taking K-- this woman, uh, Gen, home with me."
The gypsy's eyes were the clearest deep green Rimon had ever seen, almost glowing against his swarthy skin. Under their gaze, Rimon found it impossible to think straight. The green eyes unfocused, as the gypsy zlinned them, then snapped back to observe them both sharply.
In return, Rimon zlinned the gypsy, and discovered that he was controlling a strange elation. Clearly, he was not offended as the other Simes who had zlinned them had been. But who ever knew how gypsies would react to anything? His father had taught Rimon to respect these mysterious people, but could satisfy little of the boy's curiosity concerning them.
The gypsy said, "Have you been on the road since dawn? I have, and have been hoping for some company to share a pot of tea."
Rathor's Engraved Starred Cross front view.
"Uh ... I'd like some tea," said Rimon, although he had meant to say that he was in a hurry, to escape from that clear green gaze that seemed to pierce his soul.
"And the young lady?" The gypsy now looked at Kadi.
Her reserve melted into a smile. "Oh, yes," she said. "I'd love some tea."
As they dismounted and built a fire, Rimon observed the gypsy carefully. He was tall--at least as tall as Syrus Farris--and had that same sturdy build that Rimon and other Simes who followed his father's regimen had. He had black curly hair, cut short, so that it lay close to his well-shaped head, and an expressive face to which a smile came easily. Yet in repose, Rimon noted, there was a stern dignity about his features, almost as if the easy smiles and laughter were part of a well-rehearsed act.
Perhaps the most peculiar thing about him, though, was the absence of overt curiosity. Although Rimon could zlin that the gypsy was longing to know how this peculiar couple came to be traveling contentedly together, he did not ask.
As he passed out tea, however, he did say, "My name is Lemarcos. May I know yours, young sir?"
"Farris. Yes, I thought you looked familiar. You are the son of Syrus Farris?"
"I have met him--a most honorable man, and one who respects the customs of the gypsies."
"Yes," said Rimon. "My father often hires your people for difficult jobs." Farris's only complaint was that he could never keep them long.
Lemarcos fixed his eyes on Kadi. 'May I ask your name, young lady?"
"Kadi Farris!" said Rimon, without thinking.
The green eyes looked into his soul again. "Oh ... so that's how it is. You have a difficult road to travel, young folk. I do not envy you."
He got up and went to his heavily-laden pack horse, dipping into one of the saddlebags and returning with something Rimon could not see at first. He settled down with them again before he opened his hand to show a starred-cross pendant. "Do you know this sign?"
"Yes," murmured Kadi, pulling her pendant from beneath her tunic.
"Good," said Lemarcos. "All the gypsies honor this sign, but you must never, ever show it to other Simes. Do you understand?"
They both nodded solemnly.
"And you, young sir, if you plan to unite your life with this lady's--you, too, will require the protection of the starred-cross. There is no place for the two of you, together, on either side of the border."
"We'll make a place," said Rimon. "We'll teach others what we know, Lemarcos--we have learned that Simes do not have to kill! We'll teach everybody. We could teach you!"!
"No," said the gypsy, his eyes clouding, "you cannot teach me that, young sir. Nor will you find many willing to learn, nor many who can among those who would. Be wise, and proceed slowly. The way of the world is not changed in a day." He placed the pendant around Rimon's neck. "Wear that, but do not show it. If ever I can be of service to you, show it only to a gypsy, and tell him you seek Lemarcos. I will receive the message, and come to you."
Later, as they rode in the bright afternoon sunlight, Rimon had to feel for the pendant beneath his shirt to be sure the encounter had ever happened. The mysterious gypsy with his knowing air, his strange vocabulary, and his politeness toward Kadi, seemed a figure from a dream. He realized, as he thought it over, that Lemarcos seemed to know everything about Rimon and Kadi, but they had come away knowing nothing about Lemarcos.
Soon they turned onto the Ancient highway. From here on the way was easy. Tomorrow ... tomorrow they would be home!
((Can you guess where Lemarcos comes from? Jean and Jacqueline originally intended to have Lemarcos return later in the book, visiting the Farris homestead to encourage Rimon and Kadi. But the book had to be kept short, and there was no room for the later appearance--so this first appearance of Lemarcos, and all mention of the starred-cross, had to be cut.))
While compiling this article on The Starred Cross symbol, Ronnie Bob
Whitaker and Jean Lorrah and I did a little email exchange on how to DRAW the starred
cross symbol I was talking about. RBW wanted to know which strokes of the cross appeared
woven on top and which on the bottom. I said that the starred crosses left in waystations
for frightened children fleeing for their lives were made to be banishing symbols and
those used by members of the School of Rathor like Halimer Grant were invoking symbols.
And Jean and I did a little exchange on how to explain this in words. As usual, Jean came
up with the correct way to explain it in words - thusly.
Date: Monday, 16-Dec-96 10:17 PM
From: Jean Lorrah \ Internet: (email@example.com)
To: Jacqueline Lichtenberg \ Internet: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Re: Starred Cross Part 2
Jacqueline writes, "Jean - do you recall this tidbit offhand? Invoking is clockwise which puts the final downward stroke on the right side on TOP of the beginning strokes on the right."
And Jean replies:
Almost everyone draws the pentagram clockwise, starting at the left bottom point.
#1 up diagonal to the right, #2 down diagonal to the right, #3 up diagonal to the left crossing #1, #4 horizontal left to right crossing #1 and #2, #5 down diagonal to the left crossing #2 and #3.
To draw it counterclockwise, most people would start at the lower right point and mirror-image the above, ending with the down diagonal to the right.
However, an alternative would be to start at the same point, #1 up diagonal to the right (extended arm, though, not top), #2 horizontal right to left, #3 down diagonal to right crossing #1, #4 up diagonal (to top) crossing #1 and #2, #5 down diagonal to left crossing #2 and #3. It's much harder to do than the mirror image. And therefore more powerful, Jean
And Ronnie Bob Whitaker sent the following illustrations. Compare them to The above.
Click here to view Starred Cross A - counterclockwise, or banishing starting at the upper point, and finishing with the final stroke up leftwards to the top point - used to control fear. Found in the Shrine of the Starred Cross.
Click here to view Starred Cross B - with no final stroke crossing all the others. Think about that.
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