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Poaca'tli

The Smoke at Twilight, the Flameless Ash, the Enactment

by Aramander the Sage

"In the smoke before the fire of the First Thought, there I am. In the smoke after the last ashes, there I am also. I am that which precedes the knowable. I am that which survives the Knowing."
— Poaca'tli
  Like many necessary forces in Halûme, Poaca'tli stands utterly unique from others. The entity is neither a god nor entirely sentient, but rather one of pre-creation origins that defies traditional classification. The majority of knowledge about this force is almost entirely speculative (beyond that which the force provides about itself), but the following summarizes what the majority of scholars agree on.   Poaca'tli is the embodiment of transference in its oldest, most primal form. It is the twilight between sentience and the non-sentient. To phrase in a metaphor, if the whole of knowledge is fire that has been burning since it was stolen from the gods (or indeed, fire the gods stole from whoever they stole it from), then Poaca'tli is the smoke that came before the flame, and the smoke which will slowly burn in the ashes long after that knowledge is lost in the End.  

Classification

  If Poaca'tli is a god, they are an entity incomparable to the known gods; they have no proper origin. Rather, the concept of any "origin" whatsoever cannot be applied to them, because it necessitates a time in which a being was Not, before they Are. These arguments are effective when they are applied to demigods, gods, and even the Regents themselves on the condition that no matter how powerful, the entity is bound by time, place and causality.   This line of reasoning has led some scholars to insinuate a connection between Poaca'tli and On, which while possible presents a host of conflicts with nearly every established fact known about the Maker. Even those who suggest an omnipitent duality between the Nameless one and On would have a better time making such an argument.   A more favorable line of reasoning suggests that Poaca'tli be considered cousined to elements primordial, metaphysical, and noospheric. That is to say, Poaca'tli has more in common with time, air, and the mind than it does with any deity.   Herein lies the reason why debates about Poaca'tli are so arduous. It is not simply that Poaca'tli lies outside of time and place, but that the concept of causality itself seems to be entirely nonapplicable to it.  

Thought Experiments

  A person is given a hooded lantern and walked into a pitch-black room. From outside the room, a friend instructs them to raise the hood from the lantern, and in doing so, light the room. They do. Now they see they stand in a simple room of four clean walls made of stone.   Consider: Where did the darkness go? Was it consumed by the light? Following the fourth Planar Law, all things that exist cannot be made or unmade. So one of two things must have happened: either the darkness was transformed, or it was driven to another plane. If this is true, then what happens to the darkness?   The implication is that the darkness has always been, and will forever be after the light dissolves. If all of light is a construction, it is the exception to the rule. Let not this confuse the issue however. The darkness itself is not analagous to Poaca'tli. Poaca'tli is that unmeasureble space between moments which acts when reality is affected by change.

Divine Domains

Transference, Smoke.

Divine Symbols & Sigils

The divine symbol of Poaca'tli is known as the Smoke Without Flame. Because patronage of Poaca'tli is so rare, there is little other ornamentation or art used to capture its essence. In rare circumstances where a mortal forms a pact to Poaca'tli an iron band is sometimes worn at the wrist to indicate patronage. Besides this, there are two historic examples of religious art attributed to Poaca'tli.   The first—in a time that some claim can be dated back to the hundred years of the Ashcurse—is simple hovel hewn from the side of a cliff. The archaeologists who stumbled upon it found it covered in a littany of icons and sigils that were shaped in the form of smoke. Technically this record is hearsay from aevum past. In the case that such a space truly did exist, it is more than possible that the people of the time were worshipping the Ash itself.   The second is an altar dating to the fall of the Eldian Imperio, shortly before the Mending of the Nineflow. Found abandoned in a small field at the edge of the world, there is no context beyond an inscription in ancient Illuvari which read,  

"To the One of Smoke, the Twilight [mist of poison]"
  This altar would later become the location of the Mast event.

Divine Goals & Aspirations

If Poaca'tli is considered to have goals, they are even more difficult to grasp than the indeterminable will of the known gods. The one thing that Poaca'tli is known for is protecting and overseeing transference, which it does from the shadows. This has led many scholars to believe that Poaca'tli is causality itself, or that its nature is to guard causality from being violated by the dangerous and permissive acts of the gods.


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