Beyond the Wall
Which came first – Khitai or the Great Wall? Only the Ancestors know this for certain and they will not say because even Ancestors must have their secrets but the Great Wall has always been with us, just as the Ancestors have always been with us. It is possible, then, that Khitai and the Wall came into being at the same time or possibly the Wall defined Khitai and made it real. Beyond that, there is no certainty.
Yet... yet we do know that there are two Great Walls. The first was not made of the stones we see now when we gaze to the west. That first wall was made of bamboo and bone, knotted, slotted and slatted together so it was 1,000 miles long and 100 feet high. That first wall was the creation of sorcery, the bamboo cut in a single movement of a single scythe and strengthened with the bones of the enemies of the east who had thrown themselves at the emerging wall in a bid to over-run the eastern lands and defile them. The Ancestors, when restless, whisper something of the demigod who protected Khitai at that time; a vast, foul being who was, for all her ugliness, a protector of our lands. She felled the bamboo and wove the wall and then, when the enemies threw themselves at it in their thousands, she felled them and wove their bones into the bamboo so that the two became indistinguishable. This made our enemies fear us – as they still do – because they witnessed the power of the demiurges and knew that Khitai was strong with its gods and unwilling to brook invasion and oppression.
The wall of bamboo and bone was replaced perhaps 1,000 years later when the demigod had gone and God Emperor Z’xang first ruled. He wished to march soldiers along the Wall so that they could keep watch on the enemies beyond it but it was difficult for human feet to tread the bamboo curtain and anyway, men feared the moans and sighs emanating from the demiurge’s wall, for the dead souls of the enemies were trapped, still, in the weave. So Z’xang commanded that the wall be replaced, mile by mile, with stones but that the bamboo and bones should remain. So the wall of stone was built around the wall of the demiurge, following its pattern but made greater with the towers set at each three mile interval. So now the Great Wall is all of stone but is really two walls, for the bamboo wall is within the stone wall and the tormented souls of the dead are contained forever.
Yet the wall still moans, and forever it will. That is what our enemies should know: come against Khitai and your souls will be trapped within our land for forever. No rest, no mercy, not until the prophets of Yag command that time should end and the Ancestors be brought forth to judge all crimes and atrocities. Then, our enemies shall come face to face with the wrath and justice of our Ancestors!
Jung-Kao, Historian Sorcerer of Khitai, writing in ‘The Great and Glorious Scroll of the Khitan People’