While all men have certain basic motivations in common, it would be highly inaccurate to ascribe all of our motivations to the Nah’wadass. Even though their language, place names, laws, and ideas have a powerful grasp upon the modern world, we do not see the world through the same eyes. The often sharp differences between the ancient Nah’wadass and our age are vividly illustrated in this funeral oration for Naman Wadetess Sefeten, one of the five Law-Kings of the Nah’wadass nation during the Early Decline period, when their capital was still the great city of Wedemetess. The oration was likely to have been written by one or more of the Scribe-Kings, and then subsequently delivered by an Actor-King, as was the Nah’wadass custom. We only have the document itself and the name of the subject to go with, and thus the persons involved in the artistic output will remain unknown to us, even though we have the names of persons who might have produced the work in the time of Naman Wadetess Sefeten.
Naman Wadetess Sefeten: a name that now lies beneath us. He becomes part of the ground we walk upon. He mingles his name with the grasses and crops. He will meet the god we know and the god we know forever remembers the names of all things. We know not the names of all our forefathers, who have lived above our day, but the god we know will list them to us in the bounties of the valleys we enjoy.
Naman Wadetess Sefeten: long did he serve as a man of laws, long did he give service to our great nation, long did he speak the words to govern the nation, long did he watch over us as the Three Mounts of It’hwazsin, green under the snows. His words filled the courts of both capital and province. His judgments became part of the great rivers of governance that sustain the growth and regeneration of our nation.
Naman Wadetess Sefeten: we who know his name, we who will not forget the name generations yet unborn will never know, we who have felt in our own hearts the bounty of his words, we who will no more hear the words of law from his lips, we now consider his life and what god he served. We will then know of his value in the days yet to come, in the lives yet to come, in the bounties yet to be harvested, in the waters yet to flow.
Naman Wadetess Sefeten: Let us now begin with the accounting of his life. Let us judge him as he judged us. Let us look upon the path he walked, to see what road it joins. Let us look down that road to see what destination it reaches.
As the days of his age became burdened with pains and sickness, he did take off the mask of a Law-King and he did take off the robes of a Law-King. But always he kept his dignity and his endurance in his last days was mighty to behold. He did taste of the mint from his garden on his last day to draw breath, and well-deserved was that final sweetness. May his nobility and greatness of spirit flow down to his children and to us as a nation.
When he wore the mask and robes of a Law-King, he spoke carefully the words of the laws that the god we know would want us to have. The god of laws smiled upon this Law-King. We all remember when the cities of Makapess and Tene did dispute over the flow of the river in their lands: it was this Law-King that brought just settlement to that case. We all remember when Ekemenos, the Carving-King, needed a block of granite to honor the mighty soldiers that defended our western shores: this Law-King lent his shoulder and back to bring the granite from the high mount to here in Wedemetess. We all remember when Vinkat Pasan of the Khotikal demanded war from his people to avenge his business losses: it was this Law-King that kept the soldiers in their homes with his wise rulings. We all remember when the floods destroyed the town of Erepe: it was this Law-King who spoke the words that gave them new lands and new lives in the cities of our nation. Let these sacred four acts speak for the legacy of this Law-King.
When did this man sin? Before he did penance. When did this man err? Before he gave apology. When did this man make a mistake? Before he made a correction. When did this man offend? Before he took back his words.
He did do his work as a man of law, as a student, as a novice, as a master, and as a king.
He honored our rituals. He observed our fasts. He let his ancestors speak through his voice. He made his way to the holy places.
The road walked by this man, therefore, is worthy of our own feet. This is a man who pleased his people as well as the god we know. We can commend him as he begins the life of an ancestor, may he speak wisdom to us as long as we have ears to hear it.