Readers may be interested in a fragment of Old Aristasian literature that has recently come to light. It appears to be from a blank-verse drama concerning the Novacairen Princess Ithelia. Whether it is a translation of an older text or was originally written in Westrenne is not known, and, frustratingly, the subject of the conversation does not come to light.

Ithelia was a famous queen of Novacaire. This story is clearly set in her youth, when her mother, Ehrejene was still on the throne. While the story remains unclear, the piece provides us with a pleasing example of this style of rhetorical verse and gives a strong flavour of the ancient Aristasian East particularly in its powerful assimilation of the royal maidens to the sun and moon, which, we must understand, would have been for the writer far more than a mere literary simile.

The only points of elucidation that are really necessary is that “Rayin” (pronounced as one syllable) is the old term for “Queen”, and a Rani is a schoolmistress.

Ehrejene: Welcome thee Daughter, and enter thee close to our presence,
Speak freely the words that thy heart has engaged thee to say.

Itheleia: What is to say, shining Sun, that is not said already?
Or what words of mine can recolour the hue of thy heart?

Ehrejene: Speak you again, good my child, of these wearisome matters?
Wherefore come you nigh the great throne but to trouble me thus?
Are they not settled and done, O most radiant Daughter?
And wherefore should the Child seek to colour the heart of the Rayin?
Should not the heart of the Rayin be steadfast and unchanging?
Should it not weather the storm-winds, withstand the high flood?
Alter not in its bearing by even the breadth of a finger?
Alter not though a Child may weep tears that shall call forth her own?

Itheleia: All you say is most true, O most royal and radiant Mother.
For the words of the Rayin are like Scripture writ down in a book,
And whoso shall alter the book hath forsaken the pathway,
The pathway that leadeth the soul into radiant light.

Ehrejene: What is there more to be said, O most wise among childer?
All I should teach thee is by thee already beknown.
Go then thy ways and let peace ever cradle thy spirit,
Thy turbulent spirit that troubles herself without cause.
Go then thy ways, or yet better, remain with thy mother,
With thy Mother that loveth thee near; and disturb not the Rayin.

Itheleia: To my Mother most lief will I fly, like a bird at the even;
Like a bird that is young and whose small wings do tire from long flight;
Like a bird that hath held herself up on the wind’s mighty stairway,
Hath held herself up by a strength she doth scarcely possess.
To my Mother most lief will I come when my long flight is ended,
And that it were ended betimes doth my heart most desire,
Yet desireth in vain, for still must I bear myself upward,
Ever up must I climb to the radiant feet of the Rayin.

Ehrejene: O, Ithelie, my Child-

Itheleia: no, I pray thee, break not my flight’s rhythm,
For it cometh not easy, this scaling the wind’s subtle thread;
Neither call me thy Child, for I speak to thee not as a Daughter:
I speak to thee now as a Princess may speak to the Rayin.
O, most far-raying Sun, ’tis the Moon that has enter’d thy presence,
Who would tell thee of what she hath seen by her own lesser light.
For the words of the Rayin are like Scripture inscrib’d on a tablet,
And whoso shall change the least jot of them, surely she sins,
All these things know I well, and it needeth no Rani to teach me
For the Scripture is sure and eternal-but not so the Scribe.
The Scribe is a right goodly maid that is true to her calling,
Yet her finger may slip: and the light, may it not fail her eye?
And the Rayin, at the last, is a Scribe; and the words she declaimeth,
Are they not copied from those that are written on high?

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