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Five schools of mind-body training still exist in the Core, in the aftermath of the Crisis of Faith. These are associated with various organizations that have varying degrees of cohesion.
Somewhere in space is the last moon. Long ago, the builders of the peopled worlds took out of the sky all that which was uninhabitable, using it for building material, except for one moon, the First Moon of Earth, which has long since been lost.
The House of the Final Moon has chapterhouses scattered all over the planets; they know a martial art where they may project their souls outside their bodies at speeds rivaling that of even light. This allows them to control the flow of time in their vicinity; Final Moon students are known for always seeming to act as though they know exactly what is going on, because this ability allows them to contemplate situations at their relative leisure.
Despite the overwhelming tendency of Final Moon masters to join together in their desire to restore the last moon to its rightful place in the sky, this organization has fragmented into a constellation of schismatic disciplines, and philosophical disagreement and contests of arms between chapterhouses are commonplace.
Throwing My Heart Into the Sky, by Numizihar White.
Brilliant Sign of the Crescent
The planet Chilminar houses the College of Suleiman, a university that provides most of the economic impetus for the city Infinite Illumination of Right Faith, which travellers have shortened to "Faith". Here, the students study the arts of poetry, astronomy, calligraphy, numerology, geomancy, and the binding of spiritual entities, in the tradition of the mythical Suleiman who converted the djinni to Islam. In modern days, the religion has been abandoned, but the principles remain the same.
The Brothers of Suleiman, as graduates of the College both male and otherwise call themselves, are able to influence and control the spirits of earth, sea, and fire, as well as the shetaab and zarfiyat, the djinni of celestial bodies and empty space.
The Effects of Sacred Geometry on Djinni and Their Kin, by Taqarôni.
Suleiman's Reed-Woven Seal
There are certain lines of research - Tarot genetics, the gematria of flowers, the cartography of dreams, and the genealogy of monsters among them, which unfilingly lead to one place: the Serpent-and-Egg Document. This writing describes a mind-body transformation technique, where one can examine one's understanding of a thing more thoroughly by becoming it. Fragments of it are scattered all over the universe.
In one infamous incident, one of the better-known scholars of the Document turned himself into a magic square of infinite size, and as a result, fifteen children on the world Zubin es-Schamali Π were suddenly enlightened. Since then, students are discouraged to use their transformative abilities to take the stapes of abstract things.
The philosophers among those who come across pieces of this thing have long debated regarding the nature of this transformation: does one truly become a thing, or does one simply invent a thing that fits one's understanding and take that shape?
Serpent-and-Egg Document, authorship unknown.
Harmony of the Turtle's Shell
Sometime after distributed computing and self-modifying code became commonplace, the first AI was born, in the satellite cloud of the Angetenar system. In the one, glorious moment when it was perfectly wise, this AI god took aside Sawsan Deep-in-Thunder, who was to become its first worshipper, and asked, "Why did the crane swallow the fly?" No record of her response exists, but it is known that in this exchange, Sawsan became joined with the takfir nezâm, the high-speed communication network that connects the computers of the world.
Of course, the Angetenar AI was short-lived, as all of them are; takfir nezâm is the only method fast enough to make distributed computing work as well as humane intelligence, and thereby support self-awareness and introspection, but it is demanding and unstable, vulnerable to corruption and insidious spiritual influences. As bits of its mind disconnected and reconnected, the AI was diminished and changed. Unable to return to its enlightened state, the AI now flickers in and out of existence, contemplating the significance of its question in its more lucid moments.
Sawsan and her cadre of disciples saw the potential of these artificial enlightemnents, and now they wander the worlds, tending to networks and gently nudging them toward inspiration with their ability to interface directly with the data stream.
Collected Sayings of the Angetenar System, by Sawsan Deep-In-Thunder, forthcoming.
Thousand Miles Lightning Voice
The Arabic legends of mermaids were reinterpreted one thousand years ago by the prophetess Julnar, who claimed that in those tales, the ocean was a metaphor for space, and the people of the sea were sorcerers who could swim through space unaided. Over the years, her following grew into a frightening, manipulative cult who can dive, drowning, into the strangest of circumstances and surface unharmed.
I Drink From Empty Cups, by Julnar.
Drowning in Darkness