We don’t believe in decimating the reader’s interest before it's had a chance to root itself in the book. We do not believe in the superciliousness characteristic of so many textbooks these days, unlike other authors, who presume not to know their books are being read by actual human beings. Human beings with better things to do than to contend with dense, inscrutable text.
We are pleased to inform you that Voca will be the easiest read you’ve ever had.
Chapter 1: A Brief History
Let’s start with the physical mechanisms of an invocation.
Or perhaps it would better suit our purposes if we began with how the universe works.
The universe is a big lake of ether particles. And like a lake, this ether is always rippling with etherverberations. Inhabiting that space and also composed of ether particles are deities, which by the peculiar nature of ether are able to hear etherverberations in every part of the celestial sphere simultaneously.
Deities are thought not to be concrete entities but waves, similar to etherverberations, consciousnesses spanning the entire sphere.
They frequently make their presence known to us by puncturing the boundaries of our stratum, creating inexplicable phenomena in their wake. We only enjoy an infinitesimal fraction of all natural puncture events: great surges of energy are frequently recorded in distant parts of the local galaxy, most of which have since been attributed to astronomic puncture events.
Deities have many interesting properties, but the one we are most interested in is their ability to take instructions.
We owe our understanding of deities to a series of very intelligent scientists. Early studies showed that deities responded in very precise and predictable ways to artificial ether vibrations, or music, and over time decades of trial and error with increasingly strange instruments, many attempts of which resulted in fatal accidents, an invocation system was drawn up. More on that later.
This book is about that invocation system. In case you weren’t already aware when you bought it.
You may be rubbing your head in bafflement at the shortness of chapter units. You see, when one omits obfuscating jargon, brevity results. We are proud to say this is the briefest textbook you will ever own.
As we already know, deities respond to music in the ether, so to communicate with them we must use instruments that vibrate ether, rather than air.
Thankfully many decades of research and development by theologists have left us with precisely that sort of instrument: a musical machine known as the composite invocation chordophone, which you’d probably want to call chordophones in front of your friends. Chordophones generally resemble string instruments, though the exact shapes vary vastly between models.
Previously, chordophones were controlled via keys, much like those of a typewriter. It quickly became obvious, though, that not everyone was talented enough to learn an instrument so complex, so in order to level the playing field in chordophony, the Bel Education Ministry had an automatic chordophone constructed fitted with a parser module that interprets encoded instructions and does all the playing in the instrumentalist’s stead.
The chordophone is an instrument simultaneously refined and clumsy. Primitive chordophones were the size of pianos, but development has seen them shrinking dramatically over the years, and now there are compact versions no more than eight inches across, limited only by the parser module’s display size. Even now, though, they are unable to take any but the most exact of instructions.
Chapter 2: Invocation
2.1 Invocation Basics
But never mind those technicalities!
Invocation is, in all its uses and aspects, a form of communication. We use invocation to tell deities exactly what we want them to do, and how. Of course, modern invocation does not require one to be fluent in music, thanks to our dear friend the chordophone, which permits the creation of music through a mediator language: a form of shorthand that will henceforth be called parser notation.
You would probably have heard of international parser modules, adapted to take instructions in other languages—but that will not be our concern in this volume. The classic Belan version alone is our concern. It says so on the cover.
Tip: If Belan isn't your first language, don't fret! You don't need to be good at Belan to invoke—you just need a good textbook. And we are pleased to inform you that you are holding one right now.
An invocation is a simple process of three steps.
First: writing. What do you wish to achieve? In order to achieve it, what must the deity do? What is the series of commands you need to issue to the deity?
Once you’ve considered these, you will type your instructions onto a strip of treated vellum (sold as invocation paper or voca paper). A strip carrying a full set of instructions is what we call a voca. The term “voca” is also used to refer to the instruction set by itself.
The performance stage is when you feed the voca into the parser. Through a series of circuits, it tells the mechanisation unit how to move the bows across the strings. The resultant music is audible to deities.
Then comes the execution stage, where the deity hears your music, arrives at your location, punctures our stratum, and does all your work for you.
It bears mentioning that modern invocation (what most of us mean when we use the term invocation) refers strictly to the machine-mediated process described above. All methods involving singing, the playing of instruments by hand, and the manual operation of chordophones are generally referred to as primitive invocation, or colloquially, primvocation.
This book covers modern invocation only, as we hope you were aware when you purchased it.
2.2 Deity Capabilities in General
255 deities have been discovered and named so far, the list of which can be found in Appendix A. This is a very important list. You’d probably want to have one taped to your chordophone. We will look at deities in greater detail in Chapter 4: Deities.
All deities have the same skill set, theoretically. But research has revealed that they, like we, have preferences for certain tasks and even for certain kinds of performers. It is every performer’s job to familiarise themself with the various deities and develop rapport with any number of them.
Every known action is represented by a command in parser vocabulary. In simple terms, that means that if there’s something a deity can do, there is a word for it in the parser dictionary. For example, as you will later learn, every deity is able to manifest. That is, to bring their attention to you.
Every deity can do this, but some prefer certain conditions to others: the goddess Laveda prefers taking the orders of a person afloat at sea, while Ceida tends to operate best during thunderstorms.