Fear of the Future… John French ponders the Fateweaver

With Kairos Fateweaver emerging from the Warp this week, we thought we should learn a bit more about this daemonic enigma, and so sought out Black Library scribe John French – author of ‘Fateweaver‘ – to tell us what he knows.


John: Wouldn’t it be great to know what was going to happen next?

There would be no worries, no uncertainty. You would know how every opportunity would work out. You would be able to plan perfectly. You would never be surprised, and never be wrong.

Hold on, Mr Philosopher, I clicked on this because there was a picture of a two-headed bird Daemon – what are you talking about?

Fair point, but hold with me, we are going on a journey that is absolutely about a two-headed Daemon, and all that stuff about the future is important. Trust me.

The Well of Eternity

Kairos Fateweaver – of two-headed Daemon fame – is the Oracle of Tzeentch. The story goes that all space-time begins and ends in the Well of Eternity, which happens to sit right in the middle of Tzeentch’s Impossible Fortress. By descending into the Well of Eternity, a being can gain understanding of all creation in every dimension and every time. Apparently, Tzeentch could not enter the Well without risking annihilation. So, rather than going himself, he threw his vizier – the unfortunate Kairos – into the Well’s depths.

Kairos was not destroyed, but he was changed. the being that emerged from the Well was gaunt and withered, and in place of one head, now there were two. One head spoke only lies and the other only truth. These twin heads could see all of the future and all of the past, one for each direction in time, but neither could see the present. Having been so changed, Kairos Fateweaver is said to sit ever at Tzeentch’s side, speaking his truths and lies about past and future, while his words are recorded by nine times nine other Lords of Change.

That is the story of Kairos Fateweaver, and is typical of the kind of thing insane mortals might say about the creatures of the Warp.

But – of course there is a ‘but’ – this pleasing little tale of wells and gods has a problem, and that problem is paradox.

The Daemon Paradox

Daemons are not living creatures. Each one of them is a facet of a Dark God’s power and nature. They are semi-independent, but ultimately they are only fragments of a greater whole. The mortal servants of Chaos are also slaves to the Dark Gods, their minds and bodies are twisted by the Warp, but they can still make decisions, hope, dream, and despair. They can plot and betray. That mortal independence, ultimately, is what makes the Gods crave their souls. 

So where does that leave Kairos Fateweaver? Tzeentch wanted to look into the Well of Eternity but would not risk to go himself, so sent one of his Daemons, which is actually part of him… and now Kairos Fateweaver knows more of the future than Tzeentch himself, while existing as part of him. How does that work?

The answer is that it doesn’t. It makes no sense – because that would mean that Tzeentch both knows all of the future and past and does not. It means that part of him is, in one way, more powerful than the rest of him.

And that’s fine.

It’s fine because the story of Kairos Fateweaver, and the Well of Eternity, is just that; it is a story told about something mortal minds cannot understand, and can only describe through metaphor. The Well of Eternity is just a name. There is no hole in the middle of a fortress that does not exist that goes down for ever. Tzeentch does not literally listen to his Daemons. All these things are just skins that are pulled over a part of the vast, intangible malevolence of the Warp. The truth really cannot be known.

How cool is that?

But…

Even allowing for metaphor, Tzeentch seems to both know and not know all of the future. He has let this Daemon, Kairos, be the part of him that knows the future – but why?

 

Well, I think it is because it would spoil the fun. He is the god of magic and change and conspiracy and fate and manipulation, after all. Paradox is not just part his plans; it is part of him. He enjoys seeing huge schemes mutate, change, fail and succeed. If he knew the ending, where would be the space for surprise, and how could there be change?

If you know exactly what is going to happen, then you have basically already lived the future; it would become flat, inevitable, boring. So, maybe, Tzeentch created Fateweaver because, otherwise, he could not enjoy watching and manipulating what will happen next.

And what will happen next?

As the 41st Millennium grows darker, the Oracle of Tzeentch looks out at the black horizon. And what does he see?

Astropaths on the worlds bordering the bleeding wound in reality that is the Maelstrom scream of the feathered lord and the twin-tongued prophet. They scream of blood and darkness and hope and heroes. But if these dreams are the voice of the Fateweaver, then which are lies and which are truth?

I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out.

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