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Authors: Dr. Paul-Thomas Ferguson

The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids

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THE

PORTS AND PORTALS OF

THE ZELAZNIDS

 

 

Being an Historie of the Zelaznid Peoples and their Philosophies,
with sundrie Remarks concerning the
placement and use of Portals

 

 

 

 

 

 

R
.
C
.

Pubs
.

 

 

 

Replicated with

Preface and Annotations by

Paul-Thomas Ferguson

 

 

 

 

For Peg,

because
she asked.

 

 

 

Thanks also are
due
to
:

Amandia Priest Daigneault,
Deborah Shippy,
and
T
eeocka McGrath Sylvester

for
their careful reading
;

 

my
wife, Roberta,

for
her
constant
editing
and
more
constant support
;

 

and
, of course
,

H.P. Lovecraft and Roger Zelazny

for
the inspiration.

 

 

 

Dark Highlands Productions

Rock Island, Illinois, United States

 

© 2009 by Paul-Thomas Ferguson

 

All rights reserved.  No part of this book
may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any
i
nformation storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author
.

 

This is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to actual arcane texts is a result of the author’s skill and the reader’s fancy.  Then again, it is possible that the author
has, while in a fevered dream-state, channeled
the contents of an actual mystical tome.  In the unlikely event that this is the case, the author bears no responsibility for whatever psychological or spiritual damage
from which
the reader might suffer
as a result
of opening this volume. 
So… best of luck!

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

Preface to the Annotated Edition
. .
. . .
.
vii

 

 

The Ports and Portals
of the Zelaznids

 

Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

 

Introduction:
The Valley of Hope
.
.
.
. . .
. .
5

 

Part I - The Origins of the Zelaznids

 

    
1 – The Child
ren of the Sun . . . . . . . .
. . 7

 

     2 – The Tea
chings of Zelaznu
.
.
. . . . .
17

 

     3 – The Com
in
g of Qutughai . .
. . . . . .
35

 

     4 – The al-Ha
zr
edi Dynastie  . .
. . . . . .
52

 

    
5 – The Enlighten
ed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
75

 

Part II - The Placement of Ports

 

     6 – The Univer
se of Ports  . . . . . . . . .
.
92

 

     7 – The Ancient Wor
ld  . . . . . . . . . . .
.
97

 

    
8 – The Dark Ages
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
111

 

    9 – The Age o
f Machines . . . . . . . . .
.
123

 

    
10 – The Enlighte
ned
.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
129

 

 

Part III - The Function of Portals

 

    11

The Heart of the
Faithful . .
. . . .
138

 

    12

The Locat
ing of Portals
.
.
. . . . .
144

 

    13

The Usage
of Portals . .
. . . . . .
. 148

 

    14

The Dange
r of Portals
.
.
. . . . . .
155

 

   
15

The Enlightened
.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
164

 

 

Bibliography
  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
167

~
vi
~

 

Preface to the Annotated Edition

 

 

Introduction

     This edition of
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
comes
as
a
result
of interest
generated by
the publication of my novel,
A Life in Chiaroscuro
(Dark Highlands, 2008).  Numerous readers have asked if the former volume, which featured so prominently in the latter work, is an actual book and, if so, where they might obtain it.
  I
ndeed, there is such a book
, but
the only known copy is part of the Arcane Manuscripts Collection in the Metaphysics wing of the library at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts.  Moreover, access to this collection is
quite
restricted.

     However, a
s queries about
Ports and Portals
accumulated, taking up an increasingly large percentage of
my incoming correspondence
, I began to wonder what it would take to make the extraordinary Zelaznid tome available to the public. 
Without question, t
here were barriers to doing so.

     The Arcane Manuscripts Collection at Miskatonic University
was established
in order to collect, preserve, and safeguard volumes of ancient lore deemed too dangerous to be entrusted to an ignorant public.  I say ‘ignorant’ not to cast any aspersions, but because this term
is often utilized
by curative and archival personnel when discussing those who are
unaware of the potential dangers inherent in the casual perusal of such works; it is not a reference to those who have a general lack of education or who suffer from common idiocy.

     Miskatonic University
is the protector of
a great many unusual volumes, some of which –
De Vermis Mysteriis, The Book of Eibon,
and
The Necronomicon
among them

are
best
kept behind lock and key for the
sake o
f mankind.
 
In the case of
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
, however, two essential facts occurred to me: 1) the book presents no particular danger; for, unlike the previously mentioned tomes, it does not contain the sort of incantations, invocations, or other rituals that have troubled researchers through the centuries; in fact,
Ports and Portals
is little more than a recitation of the hi
storical background and mysti
cal views of an obscure Middle Eastern tribe; 2) any danger, if such existed, would come as a result of delving too deeply into, not this, but rather the
second
Zelaznid volume, no sign of which has been seen in nearly a century.

     I brought these facts to the attention of
Dr.
Jonas Ward,
director
of the Arcane Manuscripts Collection.  He was not, at first, moved by my arguments, it being the natural inclination of archivists to
restrict
rather than
grant
access to the materials
with
in their keeping. 
In a fit of pique, I did not aid
when I noted
that trouble
s
linked to the misuse of esoteric
books
stemmed
,
more oft than not
,
from their utilization at the hands of
authorized and overly-educated scholars rather than the public at large – arguing, essentially, that such
volumes
are far more dangerous in the hands of a metaphysician than a mechanic.

     This line of thought might have resulted in my swift ejection from the Metaphysics wing of the library, if not for the timely intervention of Professor Emeritus Alejandro Salaverria, one of the world
’s foremost experts on obscure
and dead languages.  Ov
erhearing my conversation with D
r. Ward, Salaverria
confirmed my supposition that
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
was not
inherently
dangerous and therefore
should be considered
a candidat
e for publication and release.

    
D
r. Ward argued that – dangerous or not – publication of the work would create an undue interest in the
second
Zelaznid volume, thereby increasing the likelihood that someone
would
stumble across the lost work and use it improperly.
 
Professor Salaverria retorted by asking Ward if, in his opinion, the Roman Catholic Church had – by spending centuries campaigning against
Satan

created an undue interest in sin.  Salaverria
further
reminded
Ward
that the second Zelaznid volume – if
indeed
it had ever existed –
had not been verifiably seen
in recent human memory.  This essentially ended the conversation and the argument.

     With Mr. Ward’s reluctant assistance, I received permission to prepare a new edition of
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
,
as long as
both Ward and Salaverria appro
ved of the final product.  The p
rofessor has
now
given his blessing and we believe that Ward would have done the same had he not vanished mysteriously from the library
in
early
May.  We
dedicate
this volume to
Dr.
Jonas Ward, wherever he might be.

 

 

An
Explanation of Method

     Once
it
was decided
that
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
would be returned
to the public sphere, we next
needed to determine
what form it would
take.  Ward suggested a completely new edition,
wherein we might
use a modern typeface and edit out typographical and historical errors made by the original author(s), thus improving the clarity and accuracy of the work.  Salaverria and I rejected this proposal.

     Archaic linguistic patterns and folkways cannot and
should not be restrained
by modern cultural preferences and mores.  In add
ition, the historical ‘mistakes’
of which the authors of
Ports and Portals
seem guilty might in reality be the product of a unique
societal framework of which we a
re
simply
unaware
,
one which is narrowly de
fined
according to
these very
errors
or
mis
understandings.
 
W
e could not
in good conscience
start
fact-checking
the collective cultural matrix of the Zelaznid people. 
As such, w
e
decided to present
the work
more or less
intact
, maintaining its original linguistic form and
adhering to the ideas contained within its pages
as much as possible
.

     In order to give proper respect to the original material, we
decided that
it would be optimal to replicate
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
, maintaining a semblance of the original typeface, and changing
the
page layout only insofar as
it became necessary while
accommodat
ing
explanatory
footnotes.  Through annotations,
in accordance with D
r. Ward’s concerns,
we could then address various inconsistencies (without necessarily correcting them) and expand upon some of the more obscure references found within the volume,
as well as
provid
e
additional historical and bibliographical information.

     The reader should note that
the
footnotes
have been formatted
differently from the body of the work so that they
are
easily distinguishable from the Zelaznid text.  Page numbers, absent from
Ports and Portals
,
have likewise been added to ease the reading process.

     When
ever
possible, I have let the authors of
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
speak for themselves.  As annotator
,
I
have avoided questioning either the
motives or the sanity of this relatively unknown people
, largely
confin
ing
myself to providing additional info
rmation rather than correcting
facts, except where a preponderance of historical evidence has dictated otherwise.  Where the Zelaznid text gives an archaic name for a location
that we have
subsequently identified through our research, I
have noted the more popular or modern name.  Where there is uncertainty as to the location of a place mentioned in the tome, I have been careful to indicate where
we have made ass
um
ptions
that stretch
beyond
the realm of historical fact.

 

 

A
Note on the Research Team

     Ancillary pieces of information presented in the footnotes are the result of research I conducted
along
with Professor Salaverria and D
r. Ward, assisted by
several
Miskatonic University
graduate students.  Of this latter group, I would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of R.
Barton, J.
Blanco, and C.
Clark – our capable research assistants –
as well as
those
who survive
d
HST 459 (Advanced Philology and Textual Criticism)
this
spring
.

     With me as project leader, and Salaverria directing the students, we conducted several months of research and analysis, dissecting every line of
Ports and Portals
, and assigning each unit of the text to separate five-member groups.  The students did yeoman work and Salaverria and I supplemented their analyses with material gleaned from our own extensive research. 

    In order to ensure coverage of the material and
its analytical sub
categor
ies
, each group contained at least one student versed in: Arabic, Middle Eastern history, pre-Islamic religion, and medieval
technology.  I served as the final judge of historical and religious material while
Salaverria clarified all linguistic notes before their inclusion in this volume. 
More than anyone,
Professor Salaverria
assured that this manuscript took the form that it did;
I would like to state my
sincere gratitude
for his efforts.
  I am also indebted to Dr. John Robert Ring
of
the
Physics Department
at
Maguire University in Chicago
,
for
his
assistance in deciphering the mathematical formulae with which we had to contend.

 

 

The
History of the Original Publication

     Until the commencement of this project, most believed that
The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
was a compilation of several historical sources – most likely oral accounts – rather than the work of a single author.  After much research, we have concluded that this long-held belief is overly simplistic.  Although the manuscript
is neither signed nor dated in any formal way,
several internal clues offer
additional evidence pointing to
specific authorship, as well as to when the work
was likely written
.

     Early scholars, noting a
striking inconsistency
in
both literary quality and form within
Ports and Portals
, logically concluded that the volume was
the work of more than one person
.  Part III, for example – which is, compared to the first two
sections
, a
somewhat stunted and
jumbled mess – certainly seems to be the product of several hands.  However, the obvious difference in quality between this latter section and the
two
which precede it
led our group to
a
nother
conclusion
: namely that, while Part III might have come from several authors, Parts I and II –
being st
ylistically identical to each other – were likely penned by a single individual.

BOOK: The Ports and Portals of the Zelaznids
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