I just finished the most amusing discussion with my human friend about symbols. We’ve all heard that old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, likewise a symbol can embody complex ideals.
Take the kenaz for example:
This rune is vital to the slannic bards. Displayed on necklaces, it tells others that we serve our race as lore-keepers, judges, and entertainers. Even the material the pendant is made from is significant. A novice bard’s is made from leather. A master bard’s, carved from wood. If one is a Traveler, or a true-master bard selected by the god Taliesin, the kenaz is comprised of a special metallic stone imbued with special properties.
What special properties, you ask? Well, all a Traveler need do is think of an instrument and the kenaz becomes it. Whether you want a drum, a tin-whistle, a harp… or even in modern times, yes–an electric guitar. It’s a convenient way of ensuring we aren’t burden by an veritable orchestra of instruments.
You can imagine, wandering on footpaw that would become quite heavy.
There is a danger to wearing the kenaz as well. For when everyone knows that you are a source of logic and reason, you quickly become a target during upheaval. There was a time when we Travelers had little choice but to cast a guise over our runes for our very survival.
Like my experience with the mixtured nature of symbols, my human friend reflected on a story of a man who became defined by them. She has been recording some lost chapters of his life for the world to come to know the core of this man.
From his birth, Erik hid his face behind a mask.
He had every reason, for despite his extraordinary gifts, he was disfigured and the world was reviled his monstrous face. But his spirit craved beauty. He collected things that fascinated him. He accumulated the most astonishing skills to build devices and buildings that left onlookers in awe.
None of it mattered. The world only saw the mask– the monster beneath.
Weary of humanity’s game and heartsick after the loss of his greatest treasure, Erik exiled himself and tried to begin a-new. Only in America he found that his strange mask was not the only barrier.
Here he was an immigrant! Though he may have brought a meager fortune with him, the shine of the coin mattered nothing. He was an immigrant to be confined to the Bowery ward for that reason above any other.
This new world underestimated his ambition to create. Fettered by society’s bias Erik put his boundless spirit into one goal–sharing his visions with the world through his architecture.
Against the odds he earned enough to commission the one thing he would need to show the elite he was a gentlemen. His signet ring.
The silver compass: a tool gifted to him by his stone-mason mentor. The most prized possession of an architect essential for creating master works.
The quill: the writing utensil that documented his other passion, music.
And of course his one and only initial: E. For Erik possessed no sir-name. Despite this, he claimed the status of a gentleman by his own merit.
Mask and signet. Shield and pennant. Sometimes they protect us, sometimes they define us. Sometimes they endanger or even fight us!
For Erik, his symbols have been all of these… if you like to read his story, my human friend has been recording it here: Nightingale’s Odyssey
Until next time, my friends.