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Growing Out of the Slip


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ripvanwormer's picture

The following is a popular children's story among the githyanki people. For those unfamiliar with the githyanki language, "Growing Out of the Slip" is a euphemism for the maturation process. Githyanki spend the first three decades of their life outside the astral plane, in hidden underground lairs where time passes fast enough to allow them to grow. When they've reached their full strength, they're finally allowed to slip (or seep away, from jez'rathki, seeping- through-the-cracks, the githyanki term for planeshifting) back into the Astral Plane from which they were conceived. Another interesting feature of the githyanki language is their habit of referring to immature members of their species in the future tense, and the aged in the past tense.

Kakras-That-Would-Be sat on a rock and watched the sun leak across the sky. Color, a blood-red pool of pain, had invaded his pale yellow face in the places where too much light and time had hit it. He ignored it and continued to watch the flow until Master Hrokk called him to the drill. Quickly, he jumped upright and ran over to the training fields, his whip-thin body moving efficiently despite the cruel current pulling him towards the ground."Where were you?" demanded the master. "You were slow arriving.""I was staring at the sun," said Kakras-That-Would-Be.

"Why would you squander so much time?" Hrokk asked."I hate the sun," Kakras-That-Would-Be explained. "I was trying to kill it with the flow from my vril, the astral space within."Master Hrokk threw his head back and laughed. "Ha! Ha! Ha!" he said, his merry exclaimations cutting the ubiquitous air like sword strokes. Despite himself, Kakras-That-Would-Be joined in, his shriller laughter helping his master attack the hateful air. Hrokk bent his knees slightly, and allowed his gaze to hit his student in the face, the black windows of their eyes connecting for a moment."We all hate the sun," said Hrokk soothingly. "Its flows burn our eyes and flesh, and its light floods this place of becoming with a most unwholesome hue. But as much as we hate the orb, the illithids hate it infinitely more. It dries their foul slime, and blinds them in a way that it cannot blind we of the People. It is therefore an advantage to us, during our raids of extermination.

"Warrior-That-Will-Be, it is true that everything outside the People is deserving of nothing but hate, but you must learn to be selective in your full fury. By channeling your anger one target at a time, the flow of your strength becomes proportionately stronger, as strong as all the things there are to hate combined.""By the Queen!" exclaimed Kakras-That-Would-Be, astonished.

"Check your blasphemy," Master Hrokk warned. "Now, join the others in the drills. We are practicing the ha'ha'ro, the cut that causes agony without death. Your practice human is already bound.""Yes, Master Hrokk," said Kakras-That-Will-Be. He ran to join the others.

Samloyal23's picture
Joined: 2004-05-25

I'm working on a glossary of githyanki terms. What would the roots of the terms "ha'ha'ro" and "vril" be? Did you just make these terms up for this article, or have they been used elsewhere?


I'm Samuel M. Wright, and you're not.

Kaelyn's picture
Joined: 2004-05-10

The first I made up. "Vril" is a term for psychic life-energy used in certain threads of occultism. Its origin is a science fiction novel by written by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1871. It has nothing in particular to do with githyanki, but seemed like a decent word at the time.

Nemui's picture
Joined: 2004-08-30

As always, your articles are interesting, thought-provoking, and very well written.
The gith races become you...

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