The Quatrian Symbols Explained
THE MEMLEN is the third of the sixteen “Experienced” Powers.
Who can speak to the Memlen? In over one hundred years of Quatrian studies, there has been no more controversial concept than this untranslatable term, but it appears with such frequency it cannot be ignored by any serious scholar in the field. What are the Memlen? This intellection, so difficult to emerge from the real of abstraction, remains one of those rare ideations that is immune to publication. Any attempt to pin down the Memlen is defeated by the very nature of these entities.
In oral discussion among students of Quatrian lore, a few common descriptors are generally agreed upon. We may approach — but not conclude — an appreciation of the subject by discussing a few of these descriptors, with the caveat that each is ephemeral; only the Memlen can really determine what the Memlen are.
- The Memlen are scary. They are said to steal children, to curse pathways, to obstruct plant growth. Memlen could replace sap with ink, or cause rain to fall that never puddled, or granted eyesight to the blind but only a single color. Every member of Middle Quatrian society received a special whistle upon coming of age, with which they could defend themselves if beset by Memlen in dark places.
Memlen north and memlen south; Memlen east and memlen west. Keep a whistle in your mouth If you’d fain avoid this pest. — Early Quatrian Folk Rhyme
- The Memlen cannot be detected. Said to be smaller than the smallest grain of pollen, it’s possible to conceive of Memlen as what we might think of as “microscopic” entities. As microorganisms to the human biome, so Memlen are to “spirits” — but with far greater license and self-determination. Some say the Memlen speak in a language which can be ‘seen.’
- The Memlen are unbound by form. A mysterious black drink offered by a human-sized pigeon, labelled “MEMLEN Elven Cola.” An exact replica of a constellation which appeared ten thousand years prior. A mask, scented with perfume, containing a single feather. A table. An acorn.
- The Memlen are generative forces. It wouldn’t be correct to claim that the Memlen are malevolent by nature. Instead, they forge paths that humans simply can’t explain or conceive of. In some old tales, they are even said to have benefited those deserving of assistance by generating positive momentum.
The Symbol in Magical Practice
Only those who were exceedingly desperate would request assistance from the Memlen. When traced with a Spell Stick, the Memlen sigil could be used as a last resort; however, should the Memlen agree to assist the caster, they would bind themselves to him or her family for four generations. Only a klastern — a magician specially trained in the art of reading Memlen paths — could remove this influence.
When one receives this symbol during a divination, one must conclude the reading immediately, as it implies that the diviner has drawn the attention of the Memlen, and they are approaching.