So he came to realize that learning a language was perhaps the most profound thing a man could do. Not only did it require wrapping different sounds around the very movement of your soul, it involved learning things somehow already known, as though much of what he was somehow existed apart from him. A kind of enlightenment accompanied these first lessons, a deeper understanding of self.
Screens of tumbling water, breaking the world beyond them into glittering lines and smeared shadows. Kellhus had ceased trying to penetrate them.Power, Anasûrimbor Moënghus said, is always power over. When an infant may be either, what is the difference between a Fanim and an Inrithi? Or between a Nansur and a Scylvendi? What could be so malleable in Men that anyone, split between circumstances, could be his own murderer?You learned this lesson quickly. You looked across Wilderness and you saw thousands upon thousands of them, their backs bent to the field, their legs spread to the ceiling, their mouths reciting scripture, their arms hammering steel Thousands upon thousands of them, each one a small circle of repeating actions, each one a wheel in the great machine of nations You understood that when men stop bowing, the emperor ceases to rule, that when the whips are thrown into the river, the slave ceases to serve. For an infant to be an emperor or a slave or a merchant or a whore or a general or whatever, those about him must act accordingly. And Men act as they believe.You saw them, in their thousands, spread across the world in great hierarchies, the actions of each exquisitely attuned to the expectations of others. The identity of Men, you discovered, was determined by the beliefs, the assumptions, of others. This is what makes them emperors or slaves Not their gods. Not their blood.Nations live as Men act, Moënghus said, his voice refracted through the ambient rush of waters. Men act as they believe. And Men believe as they are conditioned. Since they are blind to their conditioning, they do not doubt their intuitions Kellhus nodded in wary assent. They believe absolutely, he said.
The Men of the Ordeal do not march to save the World, Proyas--at least not first and foremost. They march to save their wives and children. Their tribes and their nations. If they learn that the world, their world, slips into ruin behind them, that their wives and daughters may perish for want of their shields, their swords, the Host of Hosts would melt about the edges, then collapse.