The Way is a code of honor based on the writings of the great dragon Adeen. The Way is a philosophy, a set of laws, a legislative guide, and a social architecture governing the dragonborn of Indus. The Way defines the role of everyone and everything in the society of the Indari (“People of The Way”), regardless of whether it is spiritual or mundane. For example, some Indari are raised as soldiers from a very young age. They are expected to be strong, disciplined, and stoic, adhering without fail to the tenets of honor and duty as defined in The Way. Fanatical in this devotion, the Indari are prepared to wage war throughout their entire lives as part of their attempts to “enlighten” all other races in regards to their philosophy.
As The Way covers a broad and complex range of topics, summarizing or explaining it to those not raised within it is difficult for those not trained to do it. Most inquiries from outsiders will be met with refusal, not out of ill will, but because most dragonborn know only those parts of The Way that affect their specific duties. Only the priesthood is equipped to convey it, and even they have to study it rigorously.
An important concept in The Way is the idea of “Asit tal-eb”—”It is to be”: the idea that everything and everyone in the world has a nature, and all these things come together to form a proper order—such as the locust devouring crops. It is every individual’s choice whether or not they act according to their nature and the nature of the world, or oppose the proper order, and as such fight against themselves and the world. The individual is not truly “individual”, but part of the whole. Their own nature contributes to the larger nature of the world, and so their struggle against self-balance disrupts the balance of the whole, thus hurting themselves. Because of this, society is not considered artificial, but part of nature.
Every aspect of the Indari’s lives is dictated by The Way, which they follow unquestioningly, and see it as their moral duty to forcefully “educate” those who do not comprehend (to these dragonborn, The Way is not “believed”, it is “understood”). To the Indari, The Way is the true source of morality, and all societies that reject it will live in debauchery and suffering. To bring these societies to The Way is to liberate them from their own self-inflicted torment. Even dragonborn attempts at trade with other races and nations are done primarily to size up potential opponents, rather than to amass resources or wealth.
Dragonborn who have abandoned The Way are called Mal-Indari and live away from the Indari homelands, often working as mercenaries. All Indari are defined by their social role, which is supposed to be a defining part of the person’s nature, unchangeable and fundamental. Indari value their tools highly and consider them part of their worthiness, as extensions of their role and duties. For example, an Indari soldier must never be separated from his weapon; such an individual will likely be shamed and/or executed upon returning to the homeland, as it is considered the object that carries the “soul” of the individual (as opposed to the body, which is only a vessel). Others, like the priests, are allowed to use whatever tools they see fit to do their job, as most of their duties are more cerebral.
Extracts from The Way
- Struggle is an illusion. The tide rises, the tide falls, but the sea is changeless. There is nothing to struggle against. Victory is in The Way.
- “Doubt is the path one walks to reach faith. To leave the path is to embrace blindness and abandon hope.”
- “To call a thing by its name is to know its reason in the world. To call a thing falsely is to put out one’s own eyes.”
- “Existence is a choice. There is no chaos in the world, only complexity. Knowledge of the complex is wisdom. From wisdom of the world comes wisdom of the self. Mastery of the self is mastery of the world. Loss of the self is the source of suffering. Suffering is a choice, and we can refuse it. It is in our power to create the world, or destroy it.”
- (about the dangers of mages) “An Indari walked among the fields once, observing the laborers at work. Flax bloomed all around him, the color of still water. The air rippled like a curtain. As he stopped to examine a blossom, a bee stung him on the hand. The Indari turned to a laborer for aid, and noticed for the first time the heavy gloves and coat she wore. As she tended to him. the Indari asked them why she was dressed so in such stifling heat. “To avoid your fate.” She replied. “But there are many thousands of bees here,” the Indari said to her, “and only one stung me. Surely your caution is unwarranted?” “The stinger is always a surprise,” agreed the laborer. “But so is the bee that simply passes one by.””
- (about the world) “A great Indari during his travels came upon a village in the desert. There, he found the houses crumbling. The earth so dry and dead that the people tied themselves to each other for fear a strong wind would carry the ground out from under their feet. Nothing grew there except the bitter memory of gardens. The Indari stopped the first man he saw, and asked, “What happened here?” “Drought came. And the world changed from prosperity to ruin,” the man told him. “Change it back.” The Indari replied. The villager became angry then, believing the Indari mocked him, for no one could simply change the world on a whim. To which the Indari answered, “Then change yourself. You make your own world.””
- Long ago, the Indari lived in a great city by the sea. Wealth and prosperity shone upon the city like sunlight, and still its people grumbled in discontent. The Indari walked the streets of his home and saw that all around him were the signs of genius: triumphs of architecture, artistic masterpieces, the palaces of wealthy merchants, libraries, and concert halls. But he also saw signs of misery: the poor, sick, lost, frightened, and the helpless. And the Indari asked himself, “How can one people be both wise and ignorant, great and ruined, triumphant and despairing?”
So the Indari left the land of his birth, seeking out other cities and nations, looking for a people who had found wisdom enough to end hopelessness and despair. He wandered for many years through empires filled with palaces and gardens, but in every nation of the wise, the great, the mighty, he found the forgotten, the abandoned, and the poor. Finally, he came to a vast desert, a wasteland of bare rock clawing at the empty sky, where he took shelter in the shadow of a towering rock, and resolved to meditate until he found his answer or perished.
Many days passed until one night, as he gazed out from the shadow of the rocks, he saw the lifeless desert awaken. A hundred thousand locusts hatched from the barren ground, and as one, they turned south, a single wave of moving earth. The Indari rose and followed in their wake: a path of devastation miles wide, the once verdant land turned to waste. And the Indari’s eyes were opened.
Existence is a choice.
There is no chaos in the world, only complexity.
Knowledge of the complex is wisdom.
From wisdom of the world comes wisdom of the self.
Mastery of the self is mastery of the world.
Loss of the self is the source of suffering.
Suffering is a choice, and we can refuse it.
It is in our power to create the world, or destroy it.
And the Indari went forth to his people.
—An excerpt from The Way, Canto 1
—From Codex entry: The Way
When the Indari looked upon the destruction wrought by locusts,
He saw at last the order in the world.
A plague must cause suffering for as long as it endures,
Earthquakes must shatter the land.
They are bound by their being.
Asit tal-eb. It is to be.
For the world and the self are one.
Existence is a choice.
A self of suffering, brings only suffering to the world.
It is a choice, and we can refuse it.
—An excerpt from The Way, Canto 4
—From Codex entry: the Indari – Asit tal-eb
A traveler asked the Indari:
What was your vision of our purpose?
The Great Indari replied: I will tell you a story.
A vast granite stature stands on an island, holding back the sea.
The heavens crown its brow. It sees to the edge of the world.
The sea drowns its feet with every tide.
The heavens turn overhead, light and dark. The tide rises to devour the earth, and falls back.
The sun and the stars fall to the sea, one by one in their turn, only to rise again. The tide rises, the tide falls, but the sea is changeless.
Struggle is an illusion. There is nothing to struggle against.
The deception flows deeper. The statue resists the ebb and flow of the sea.
And is whittled away with each wave.
It protests the setting sun, and its face is burned looking upon it. It does not know itself.
Stubbornly, it resists wisdom and is transformed.
If you love purpose, fall into the tide. Let it carry you.
Do not fear the dark. The sun and the stars will return to guide you.
You have seen the greatest kings build monuments for their glory.
Only to have them crumble and fade.
How much greater is the world than their glory?
The purpose of the world renews itself with each season.
Each change only marks
A part of the greater whole.
The sea and the sky themselves:
Nothing special. Only pieces.
—Tome of Koslun, the Soul Canto
—From Codex entry: The Soul Canto