Portents of Mother’s Gate

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Appendix III: Tattering & Annotation

A single prophesy can predict a series of related events, which come to fruition in sections called tatters. These sections are annotated with numerals at the end of the final line in each tatter:

Her first true flight for freedom fails
The second falters, third prevails [I] end of First Tatter
Then back into his grasp she sails
And on into his realm she wails [II] end of Second Tatter

Interpreters study the tatters of different portents and overlap their predicted events in a process called tattering. When tattering prophesy, a new verified dateline is added for every tatter:

Lovynge Njyae Dynde II
2:3:4:1/11, 7:3:2 IX
V:I 1:2:4:4/5, III:IX
V:II 2:2:2:2/5, III:IX

V:I is read Vyanni First, short for Vyanni, First Tatter
V:II is read Vyanni Second, short for Vyanni, Second Tatter

After a prophesy is interpreted, it is re-sorted by verified dateline and published in a story book of relevant prophesy. These story books are considered the epic poetry of the merfolk, and oral readings are a popular pastime.

Because story books are ordered chronologically, a tattered prophesy will appear multiple times, once for every verified dateline. In each instance, the verified dateline of the relevant tatter is annotated beside its numeral:

The second falters, third prevails [I] V 1:2:4:4/5, III:IX

This first tatter dateline marks the first time a prophesy might appear in a story book. Though readers may read the full prophesy, they know only the events of the first tatter have come to pass at this point in the book.

A second tatter dateline marks a prophesy’s second fruition, and it sequences only the events of the second tatter into story book order:

And on into his realm she wails [II] V 2:2:2:2/5, III:IX

Prophesy movements are often published before their final tatters come to fruition. Rather than assign estimated dates to predicted events, publishers use an approximate tatter dateline to alert readers that a tatter is expected to reach fruition at that point in story book order:

And plunges she into the grave. [III] VA

VA is read Vyanni Ari, short for vyehvyannilu songyoari

In official tattering done by interpreters, these approximations are assigned specific dates, which are noted as verified datelines and adjusted as interpretation ensues (see APPENDIX II).

However, interpretive prophesy tattering is quite comprehensive, and post-interpretation story books normally pare down the tattering annotations to the most meaningful or suspenseful tatters. Readers find the best books depict just enough tattering to let them discern unique events as they unfold, without cluttering the story order with excessive cross-references.


A common method of paring down the tattering in a story book is to categorize some tatters as descriptive, rather than predictive. Descriptive tatters help interpreters to identify the subject of the prophesy or the location of its fruition, but not to infer the events that will unfold.

When other portents in a story book predict the unfolding events in greater detail, a descriptive tatter is considered redundant, and its tattering annotation is removed.

As a result, many prophesy movements are left untattered in story books, each portent appearing only once, on the verified date of its final event.

For these untattered movements, the prophesy as a whole is understood to reach fruition by a certain date, and readers are left to extrapolate the timing of previous events based on other portents in the story book.

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