As I crest this turbulent sea of time and mist and memory, ever-striving against the current which yearns to swallow Me, I remember. One does not navigate the Source, but rather must instead be guided by what it desires to show, to allow its myriad estuaries to carry you along – the struggle, then, to swim without drowning, to dive without submerging for eternity.
While the Twin Trees grow, what Death and Earth made lies uncovered. What Revelation began, Memory and Monomachy will see to the inevitable ending. They – the Two who were One – do not fully remember. I do. Here is My gift, and My curse.
~ ~ ~
The war is ended, and the twin battlefields lay in ruin – ravaged by smoke, by God, by magic, and by wrathful flame. The victory of Sapience tastes bitter as ash – there is no elated triumph, nor uproarious celebration. There is only relief. An exhaled breath. Desperation for survival slaked solely by Time’s untimely intervention. A veil of silver paints itself across empty canvas, but Memory carves through its obscuring shade.
A flicker. A blur. My focus is yet imperfect, but My resolve is absolute. I fall through hazy recollections, the Gods triumphant, weeping, strong, busy about Their purpose in the Theomachy’s aftermath. All have Their parts to play, each a spoke in the silver wheel turning, turning, turning, turning beneath My hand. When it stops, the occluding argentine is gone, and clarity strikes at My thoughts like a hammer.
A mass of rippling muscle and profound strength stands extant, victorious, triumphant, a warrior’s sweat slicking His forehead. He is Death. He is Earth. They are One. Dhaivol teems with a strength – a might – that once suffused all the Divine, a strength lost to legend, observed now only in memory. Yet here, in the depths of Memory’s trappings, He is a monstrous force, as sharp as Severn and as hard as Lanos. While the rest of the Gods toil at Their own works, Their puzzles and Their cages and Their illusions, the Underking stands alone upon a distant isle.
He yet seethes with the rush of recent conquest. He has already thrown down the Devourer and bound that ancient evil in primordial chains. A storm of sand and grit whirls all about Him as He turns His attention to His second adversary. The volcanic core of the isle takes shape like that of an enormous forge. At its heart, supine, defeated, broken, rests vulpine fire. Death’s judgement is swift. Earth’s justice is immediate.
Without word or fanfare He takes up hammer and tongs. Soil and stone and rock bend to His command and He turns His full attention to the task. Magma bursts forth from below in bubbling streams, set ablaze by Accordant Fire yet struggling against nascent bonds. He ignores Her and works the forge, shaping stone and bending rock. The work is effortless, the Two Gods working with One singular harmony such that even I am almost moved to sentimentality. Almost.
The kiln takes shape, its frame occupying the island heart itself. Miasmic metal lines its walls, primordial kagamine tempered by Divine power to a resilience unmatched by any Smith – God or mortal alike. Bitter cold pierces the Harlot’s incredible heat then, and Dhar – Dhaivol – Ivoln – manifests a great mass of shadow, shaping the animate darkness into countless microcosmic strands. The God feeds the prison’s metal with this shadow, each infusion of the evergloam dulling the sweltering heat pressing in all around.
With each hour that passes of this grand, intoxicating labour, the flames of Seelis dim to wan flickers beneath the Underking’s sombre grimace. The hammer rings against the forge in remorseless clangs before the last sputters of Albedi Accord’s power goes out, and only darkness remains behind.
~ ~ ~
I ascend through the timeless waters, emerging from this epoch of bygone history in a flash of crimson, silver, violet, gold, and fractured, oil-smeared jade. The victories and defeats unfurl behind My eyes, past Jakrasul and Sevren, past Iyosin and Varyan, past Aryon, and Kepri, and Lurli, and Les and Herno and Tukuti, beyond Galyus below, and Silafi above. As the recollection fades from Me and My consciousness returns to the present, I hear a voice reciting a recent composition: “It rang in the black, before time was time…”
Penned by my hand on Quensday, the 4th of Midsummer, in the year 511 MA.