An Aut to Fraa Stephenson, author of Anathem

Anathem: (1) In Proto-Orth, a poetic or musical invocation of Our Mother Hylaea, which since the time of Adrakhones has been the climax of the daily liturgy (hence the Fluccish word Anthem meaning a song of great emotional resonance, esp. one that inspires listeners to sing along). Note: this sense is archaic, and used only in a ritual context where it is unlikely to be confused with the much more commonly used sense 2. (2) In New Orth, an aut by which an incorrigible fraa or suur is ejected from the math and his or her work sequestered (hence the Fluccish word Anathema meaning intolerable statements or ideas). See Throwback.

— the dictionary, 4th edition, A.R. 3000

My name is fraa Arturus the Laterran, tenner at the concent of Saunt Orolo. Ma family was on the Daban Urnud, and after the Second Reconstitution opted to join a colony of Laterrans on Arbre. Those folkes were later the builders of the shrine of Saunt Lise at Ecba. I was collected some thirty years after the founding of the concent by Saunt Erasmas (the Second) and Saunt Ala,  on the site of the launch pad rodded by the Geometers during that short war. By the time of my arrival it was no longer the original timber construction but a magnificent stone building, or rather walled town, almost rivalling the concent of Saunt Tredegarth in its splendour. Aged twenty at the time of my Eliger, I elected and was admitted to the Edharian Math of this concent. You can imagine my joy and pride then: following the steps of Saunt Orolo and Saunt Erasmas! Not a small feat for a descendant of poor Laterran farmers…

Saunt Lise on Ecba This is an important Apert for me as, for the first time in ten years, I am now leaving my concent, for a few years, to retrace, in reverse, the journey of Saunt Orolo, from this concent and over the northern waste, all the way to the concent of Saunt Edhar, for the pilgrimage of a lifetime. I will stop at Ecba to kneel at Saunt Lise’s shrine, visit the new Temple of Orithena, rereading the Dialog of Saunt Orolo and Saunt Erasmas, where they discuss quantum theorics, worldtracks and Saunt Grod’s Machines. On the long journey I will see again the terrible images of the sacrifice of the Valers, the poignant speelie of the return of their coffins and that of Saunt Lise, listen to the Anathem, and to the glorious aunt celebrating the Perelithian Liaison of then Fraa Erasmas and Suur Ala… I will meditate on the mysteries of the Hylean Flow and of the Mathic world that inspired Fraa Stephenson to write this immortal narrative of Fraa Erasmas’s quest.

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