The Truthseekers, or Down and Out on the Westfalls 6th
Truth is absolute, and only Mimir can reveal it to you.-– Sutra 93, "The Two Noble Truths, One of Which is Probably Wrong", Jinsa's White Book
I argued to my compatriots in the mine that if we banded together and demanded more equitable stakes in the profits, management would have to give in to us. They agreed, but someone did the math and realized that fewer shares meant more equity and ratted us out to the boss. Not wanting to spend the rest of eternity stuffed and mounted on Rasmusson’s wall I ran. I figured, lay low, wait for things to simmer down at the mines and then maybe pick up work in Nacklebun’s. I’m no gnome, but experience has to count for something, right?
But first I had to get clear. The money was gone, Rasmusson’s thugs were after me and my so-called comrades treated me like a communicable disease. I wound up in the Temple District having been thrown out of every tavern on the arse-end of the 6th. I just needed a place to get straight. But where? I was never a religious man, but my old mother she had a copy of the White Book by her bedside, and I thought well, why not?
I was greeted at the temple by two acolytes – Truthseekers, I would later learn – in mirror masks. I say “greeted,” but it was the most circular and confusing encounter I had ever had. The two priests couldn’t seem to agree on anything, and when I asked for help one of them said “Yes, of course, the temple is open to all who seek truth” and the other said “begone, you soot-faced wastrel!” That one continued to berate me and demand I leave at once the entire time they led me into temple residence. They gave me a bunk, and showed me to the baths, and with a final shouted insistence that I begone from this place, they left me to myself.
Feeling profoundly unsure of myself, I nevertheless cleaned up and put on the basic garb the acolytes had left for me. I emerged to find the head priestess waiting for me. One of the big jobs, human, I guess. She asked me my name, and I gave it, and asked me why I was there, and I fed her some horseapples about wanting to start over, a fresh life me mum would be proud of; you know, rubbish. But she just nodded and smiled and said, “The world is secrets and lies but the Truthseeker cleanses the falsehoods and shows us the reality of how things are. This is, of course, impossible.” She handed me a robe and a mirror mask, and directed me to a small courtyard behind the temple.
So began the most baffling, confusing, infuriating turn of seasons of my life as a Truthseeker of the Temple of Mimir.
My religious instruction began with two other initiate Truthseekers. We were instructed to wear the masks at all times when not in residence, and at no time were we to use our names or speak of our past. “Names are the first lies we are told,” our instructor told us, “and our deeds the first we tell.”
The spans passed, and while the mask was hot, the priesthood infuriating and the work menial, none of it was worse than sweating to death at the bottom of a shaft. I found myself looking forward to the hours of instruction in the courtyard. I and my companion Truthseekers would spend hours constructing elaborate logical proofs that were self-contradicting, or reciting passages from the White Book, or taking turns at temple duty greeting parishioners with the same kind of confusing, circular responses that I received when I first arrived. It was frustrating, true, but while I did not understand the point of these teachings, I began to greet the dawn with something like anticipation.
And then one day, I was expelled.
I was shaken awake before dawn, dragged from my bunk, and thrown to the cobbled streets in front of the temple, my old miner’s clothes thrown after me. The head priestess stood passively by upon the steps watching my expulsion, and as I looked up questioningly at her, she held my gaze, placed my mirror mask beneath her heel, and smashed it. “You are no Truthseeker,” she said calmly, “You never were.” In that moment, understood. I stood up, collected my meager belongings, and with a nod to the head priestess returned to the temple.
The folly of the Truthseeker is that all things are true, and falsehoods doubly so. When you understand this, you begin to grasp the mind of the Goddess.
– Satva Gravelsson, Uman, 3198