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Long ago, the Ashkaari lived in a great city by the sea. Wealth and prosperity shone upon the city like sunlight, and still its people grumbled in discontent. The Ashkaari walked the streets of his home and saw that all around him were the signs of genius: triumphs of architecture, artistic masterpieces, the palaces of wealthy merchants, libraries, and concert halls. But he also saw signs of misery: the poor, sick, lost, frightened, and the helpless. And the Ashkaari asked himself, "How can one people be both wise and ignorant, great and ruined, triumphant and despairing?"

So the Ashkaari left the land of his birth, seeking out other cities and nations, looking for a people who had found wisdom enough to end hopelessness and despair. He wandered for many years through empires filled with palaces and gardens, but in every nation of the wise, the great, the mighty, he found the forgotten, the abandoned, and the poor. Finally, he came to a vast desert, a wasteland of bare rock clawing at the empty sky, where he took shelter in the shadow of a towering rock, and resolved to meditate until he found his answer or perished.

Many days passed until one night, as he gazed out from the shadow of the rocks, he saw the lifeless desert awaken. A hundred thousand locusts hatched from the barren ground, and as one, they turned south, a single wave of moving earth. The Ashkaari rose and followed in their wake: a path of devastation miles wide, the once verdant land turned to waste. And the Ashkaari's eyes were opened.

Existence is a choice.
There is no chaos in the world, only complexity.
Knowledge of the complex is wisdom.
From wisdom of the world comes wisdom of the self.
Mastery of the self is mastery of the world. Loss of the self is the source of suffering.
Suffering is a choice, and we can refuse it.
It is in our power to create the world, or destroy it.

And the Ashkaari went forth to his people.

—An excerpt from The Qun, Canto 1

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