There are two main sources for the information
on Ael Peloran: his own work Reflections, and the Life of Ael
Peloran written by one of the monks at Biscor
Abbey. Secondary sources include the published sermons of the saint and references in other works during and after the period of his life; these are of limited
usefulness, however, and serve mainly to corroborate already known facts. It is fortuitous, if perhaps not intentional, that the two main sources, both incomplete,
cover the entirety of Peloran's life, with no real overlap. Reflections is of use only for information on the time the saint spent in the Church, and it is to the Life of Ael
Peloran that one must turn for details of his life before becoming Matakea.
Notes: St Peloran was born in the 1130s/40s in
Pinide, the son of a clothier. Though this was his home throughout his
childhood and much of his adolescence, he
travelled with his father when his expanding business increasingly took him to other population centres, including several trips to Aleath. It was not until he was a
fair-sized boy (~10?) that he began to receive any education outside of that of his parents' craft. A young tutor, a Laranian, perhaps himself a student of another
master, taught him in a number of skills and subjects, including reading, writing and history. Peloran was a good pupil, though he seemed to have little interest in what
he was made to study. When he reached the age of 16, the tutor was dispensed with, and the young man became a full part of the business. Some five years later he
found himself alone and responsible for a small shop in Aleath, where he was to buy cloth for sale in the city and to be sent to his father in Pinide.
He did well, and over the next decade his operation
expanded into a mercantyler's outfit of some note. It was at this moment
of great prosperity that the armies of
the Balshan Jihad marched south and besieged the city. There was no escape for Peloran, who was not selected by chance (?) to escape by ship. When the city fell
in 1172, Peloran miraculously survived the slaughter that followed, saved by Larani's hand. When the great Church of Larani was pulled down and destroyed by the
Morgathians, the statue of Mendiz fell down upon him, pinning him beneath its great weight. For many hours he lay there hidden and unnoticed. At dawn he was still
alive, and he became determined that he should walk boldly upon this earth. Though the statue was heavier than any man could lift, it rolled off him at his first push,
and he found to his amazement that he had been unharmed by its great weight. He got up and walked openly through the devastated city. Though soldiers of the
Jihad were all about him, looting, burning, killing, he passed untouched through the bloodfilled streets and out past the shattered gates of once proud Aleath.
Peloran did not know what he was going to do,
nor where to go, and for some days he simply wandered the land as if in
a daze (what about his family in Pinide??).
One day, as he crossed an open field in the countryside, he saw a rabbit that lay dying from the wounds of some predator's attack. Lifting up the now dead animal in
his hands, Peloran asked why this simple creature, innocent as it was, had to suffer this fate. Immediately the rabbit blinked its eyes and lept from his grasp; in two
bounds it had disappeared through a hedge. Peloran was amazed and pleased at this miracle and got up to continue on his way. At that moment an eagle plunged
down from the sky, striking at his exposed arm. With its talons and beak it tore at his flesh, flying off with a prize of human meat. Though his pain was great, Peloran
did not curse the eagle, but instead called up to heaven, vowing to become a priest of the Goddess, and sacrifice himself to the people. And this he did, though it was
many years before he was made Matakea, and the Theocracy had then collapsed.
At this point the Life ends, apparently unfinished.
Of Peloran's time as an acolyte, living under the Theocracy, there are
only the a smattering of references in the
saint's own works. Enough, however, to clearly show the extent to which the man, and his thought, was influenced by the horrors he witnessed under that terrifying
Went to live at Biscor Abbey in 1211, and died there in 1217, a very old man.
Ael Peloran only began writing in his later years,
after he had become a Matakea. His list of works is nonetheless impressive:
a collection of his sermons; Ills of Evil,
a short and graphic description of the sufferings induced by the Demon Agrik, and the grim treatments they require; his masterwork, The Trials of Heaven; and the
unfinished Reflections, begun during his stay at Biscor Abbey and still being written at the time of his death.
Note about how quickly he started writing after
becoming Matakea - perhaps his age and experience meant he already had
a lot to say. Also, his long time
(possibly?) spent as Ashesa during the Theocracy meant that he was probably very well versed in the sacred literature, its philosophy and imagery, by the time he
His descriptions of hell and the torments of those
who failed the Goddess mirrored his personal experiences of the horrors
of the Morgathian rule, and in particular
the agony of Aleath.
The original text was compiled in 1201, but was
added to and revised several times over the next five years. This may have
led to multiple traditions for the work; if
this is in fact the case, the discrepancy between different copies has not been widely commented on.
The sermons that make up this text date from approximately the time of Peloran's advancement to Matakea, that is to say about 1190, until 1201/1206.
Ills of Evil
This work can be dated to 1194/95 (for some reason I don't know yet).
The Trials of Heaven
In the case of Peloran's master-work, the question
of dating is made simple by the author's own testimony. On the first folio
of the original manuscript he himself has
written the date of its dedication to his friend and colleague Matakea Alesyn: the 3rd Belsirase of Ffresyaelon (Darthell) in 1207. This gives a clear terminus ad
quem for the completion of the work. Since it is also known that Matakea Alesyn was at this time a resident of the same temple as Matakea Peloran, it would not be
unwise to place the finishing date for the text close to the occasion of the dedication.
That the dedication is in Peloran's own hand is
without doubt. The writing is markedly different from that of the text
itself, which is the work of a scribe or copyist
(even at this time Peloran was probably unable to write a great deal; see above); it is inconceivable that the shaky hand of the dedication is that of a third person,
rather than Peloran.
The question of how long Peloran had worked on
this manuscript is rather more difficult. Stylistic analysis of the text
is inconclusive on this matter, as one might
expect from the author of a collection of stylistical uniform sermons written over the course of ten or fifteen years (see above).
The subject of this work is the self- and Goddess-imposed
trials of the soul which must be continuously undertaken to prove the worth
of the Laranian soul. Peloran
examines their form and meaning, and shows that...
[This work plays a small part in the story of the Passage of Souls tapestry.]
Peloran's last, and unfinished, work was begun
some time after he moved to Biscor Abbey in 1211; he was working on it
still when he died six years later. It
received its name from the same monk who wrote his Life.
Reflections is an exceptional work, for
it is written in a personal, rather than impersonal, style. This was not
the norm for any written work at the time (a fact equally
true for the following century also), and particularly not for a work far removed from the popular songs sung in the streets, courts and taverns.
Notes: Reflections recounts his stay at
Biscor Abbey. In contrast to his other works it is peaceful and gentle
in tone. He makes many observations about his own life
and those of the monks around him. Though the whole is informed and infused with his spiritual vision, there are few passages which treat the Divine separately from
the Human as with his other works. His accent is on the small routines and happenings of life there. Perhaps, as the saint came to see the Goddess more and more in
the mundane world around him, he had less desire and reason to focus on the temptations and evils that seemed so far away. The work is quite extraordinary in
being almost autobiographical; and though much of it is well ordered and organised along thematic or subject lines, its final sections are more diverse and almost in
diary form (because he didn't have time before he died to go back and edit them, presumably). It was Peloran's wish that he be buried along with those he regarded
as his brothers in the abbey grounds; in the event he was accorded the deserved honour of a place in the underground sepulchre (along with the Abbots and so on).
He died of old age. He was made a saint (Ael) four years after his death; it was not for several more years that his final manuscript became widely available outside
the Abbey. A Life of Ael Peloran was begun at about this time by one of the monks who had known the man, but it was never finished, though it provides the only
details known about his early life. This anonymous work, plus the final pages of the Peloran's work, are often contained in copies of Reflections, though some have
only one or neither. (Most of those with the Life attached also have the final pages.)
Author: Jamie Norrish