Thursday, October 22, 2009

136 - My true Second Threshold

“Birf’day cake! Get up, Min! Get up!” He wiggled and jumped on me, knocking the wind right out of me. I caught a glimpse of Kaita, lurking surreptitiously in the background, ostensibly not there, and I had to smile.

She could not leave her charge alone though Jitzmitthra called for it, so she ended up tracking him through the Palace, out of sight, and ‘just happening to be there’ if he got into any kind of difficulty. I nodded at her.

Ilesias picked up a badly wrapped box. “Bless’d birfday.”

“From you? Ilesias! That’s wonderful! Thank you!” He had obviously wrapped it mostly by himself, more ribbon than paper, and it took me a while to unwrap it with him draped over my shoulder. He tried tickling me with his donkey tail while I did.

“Donkey. An’ lesias an’ Min!” I could see it. The blur on the donkey resolved itself into Ilesias and what I thought was a tree was me. In the folded picture was gold pendant depicting the same scene, on a fine chain, that spilled into my hand. It was him on the donkey, on skates, and me leading. I recognized Shikimibas the Jeweller’s work. I found water standing in my eyes and blinked hard. His nurse had obviously helped him, but I’d never had a better birthday present.

I caught him tight in a hug. “Thank you Ilesias!” Thank you! I love it.” My chest was so full I almost couldn’t breath. He painted this picture just for me. His nurse had obviously helped him… She must have suggested it… but he picked what to paint for me. I couldn’t call Binshala on Jitz… but Ilesias and I found some push pins in my desk and pinned the picture up to the headboard of my bed where I could see it every day and I put the chain on over my neck right then and there.

And that was when four devils burst out of the companion’s room, grabbed me and Ilesias, carried me into the Lesser baths and tossed me in. I came up with my mouth full of water and spat it at Tom and Ord and Def and Fil who whooped and hollered and danced and slapped their bare, red-painted buttocks at me, wiggling their tails. “You need to get cleaned up – “ The Imperator’s chime sounded over the city, so Father was awake. “And give He Whose Will is the World’s his father gift… and then we are going to put you in a costume!”

“What? I don’t have a costume…” They were all speaking to me equal-to-equal. They knew they were all going to be sent out of the city and why and here they were, trying to be good to me. I ducked under the water to hide my tears. They are telling me goodbye, that they understand.

I dressed in my cottons and went to give Father his gift for my being born. All I felt when I looked at the new little glass statue was a little sad. It was a black-glass rose and I had the artist make it just a bit past its prime. The glass-maker had perfectly captured the almost dying flower without compromising its beauty.
Father was indulging himself watching an acrobatic troupe instead of rising. He sat up in the Imperial Bed, with the chains drawn back to give him a clear view. They were creating a human tower that didn’t look human because of the way they were bent, the boy at the top, lying over the rest as though he’d just died and fallen, draped elegantly over the altar of their bodies, wore a black, curly wig.

I didn’t dare look twice when the chamberlain let me in and they held their pose, Father applauding their contortions. “Yes, yes, my son. Happy Birthday… I will give you your gift officially...” He waved a hand at me and I put my Father gift into it. As usual he didn’t open it but just put it in a niche by the bed for later. The Chevenga boy lay quietly on top of the covers on his stomach, his face turned away from me. Father held him in place with one bare foot in the small of the boy’s back.

“… officially on Muunas First after this madness.”

“I quiver with joy, Divine Sire.”

“Go on. We will see you then.”

“Yes, honoured Father.”
The four devils waiting for me in my room had known that I had not ordered a costume and had plotted with someone else. When I came back they pounced on me.

“No arguing, you!” It was Definas, hard to see through the red paint and red mask and fangs.

“No! Gods! No! Don’t if Father finds out you planned this --- no! Gods, no… I’ll fight you to save you, you idiots!”

They had the matching costume in their hands, the net and the captive eagle costume. I caught them looking at each other. “Told you, he would.” I think it was Ord. “Yeah, well… we’re all going very far away, right? So if he fights then it fits the costume…”

“Wait--- no!” They had obviously talked about it. Like a team they flung the net around me, bundled me up and put the eagle’s head on me when I couldn’t move. The feathers were part of the net itself so it looked as though they were mine.

I cursed them and swore at them as they carried me out of the Marble Palace, whooping and howling to cover up my yelling at them.

“You shen eaters! You’re all crazy!”

“We’ve got the Fire of Heaven!” They danced me around and sang the Devil’s Victory and I finally quit fighting them and let them carry me around the square. I hung in the cords, surrounded by my companions with their naked, red-painted bodies, their forked tails bouncing over spiked feet, spikes on all their joints, their claws sharp enough to defend me if they had to.

The crowd around me roared in my captive ears. I wondered if Chevenga would accept my offer, would parade me through the streets like this? No. It was not his style, even if he hated me now. He’d probably kill me quickly, unless his people demand my torture. Semanakra. Always as his people willed.

I looked through the eyeholes of the mask, not even able to twitch a limb, into the face of a woman lying in the square… completely drunk, her laughter high and shrill and wild. Her partner held her wrists down and took her there in public, in the middle of the day. He wasn’t too drunk to act and I felt my gorge rise as my vile organ twitched and tried to rise. She was dressed as an aitza and he was dressed as a Lakan gladiator.

There was wine and harder liquors spilled on the stones and vomit already. I saw a fight where the men had blood pouring down their faces and over their gloves. A man dressed as the Fenjitzas held up his false holy crook in one hand and a herb-pipe in the other, preaching wildly to an invisible crowd around him. “Repent! Repent you forzak or you are all lost! Lost!”

The fountains were dyed pink where someone had poured red dye into them and I could not laugh, thinking of the color my pool had turned when Father had cut the young man’s throat with my hand. This Jitzmitthra was far darker than any I could remember.

A group of people came by with drums and whistles and gongs, squeeze-bag flutes and bells. One group had two men carrying one enormous drum, with two heads, between them while two more beat on both ends. I thought my head was going to split.

“Please take me back. Definas. Please.”

He couldn’t hear me, the noise was so overwhelming. I cried out louder and he turned his head to me, sinister red face the same as the damned in Hayel must see. I was swinging in the net and he finally realized I was not enjoying their joke. They cut their circuit short and trotted me back up to the Marble Palace.

“Min…” Inside the Marble Palace they paused long enough to pull off my head piece and the air on my face relieved me a little. My face was enough to pass us through. They set me on my feet just inside and I stood looking at them all. They had hoped to make my Jitzmitthra a happier one. But what they had done is give me the perfect excuse to get them all away from me. Thank you, my friends, goodbye. If I succeeded in killing Father… if I survived the Yeoli onslaught… I’d be able to apologize.

In the entrance hall in view of servants and guards and Mahid, slouching in their whites, watching with interest instead of passively like usual, I tore the Eagle mask in half, even though the internal structure cut into my hands. I dropped the pieces and stamped on them, holding my breath to make my face red.

“I don’t care that it’s Jitzmitthra,” I said, letting my voice spiral up to a completely petulant shriek. “Some things aren’t done! What where you thinking!?” I stamped on the costume enough to make it completely unrecognizable and kicked the remnants right out the open Steel Gate. “You go home! All of you!” I picked a stray feather off my face, turned my back on them and tripped over the net, clumsy, like Father, thrust my nose in the air and went back up to my rooms.

I didn’t want them to die because they were my friends. I was moving into a place in court where I could not afford to have any friends at all. I would have to try and kill my Father, depending on what Chevenga answered me, if he bothered to answer me at all.
Book of Muunas

A New Creation

These are the words of God, given to me from His glorious vision, His Divine Eyes. I so swear before the ArkCo all the people of the chosen, blessed are they, elevated to the stars above the dross of the vile, polluted world below.

I am Iannas, son of Iannatan.

1: I am that I AM. I was the first and the last. I made and will remake the world for my children the Chosen. The Earth below is of My making and of My destruction. When the sinful world is cleansed it will be the place for My children. We are ten. Selinae, whose eyes shine like the Moon. Aras and Dimae, who will protect Us. Mikas and Risae who delight in the brilliant and diligent professionals who maintain heaven. Imbas and Anae, Oas and Mella, the industrious workers who manifest our dreams.

2: Selinae is the mother of Our creation. She is perfect in every way. Her value is above rubies. I will sing the praises of Her to the stars.

3: Aras is My brother in arms and I would face the Universe with Him. He is the Sword in ArkCo’s hand against the enemies of the Chosen and the shield at My back.

4: Dimae is the huntress, the hart in the forest, the death at night. Her form is fearsomely beautiful. Fleet of foot and Chooser of the Slain.

5: Mikas is the Cunning one, the Sly one. He is the Singer, the Joker, My Maker, My Creator. He is the Keeper of My Character.

6: Risae is the Crucible of Our form, the Scalpel of Our Perfection. She cuts deep to root out all stain and imperfection.

7: Imbas is the ta-okas who creates Our dreams and makes Our will Manifest with the labour of His hands. His strength is the strength of stones.

8: Anae is the ta-oka who creates support for creation. Her purview is control of the filth of the earth and it will not stand before Her. The chaos of the Universe will not stand against Them.

9: Oas and Mella are the Gods of the lower orders and so We will bring them into the shelter of the Kurpaion, the Temple. So, We will save those who were not of the Chosen.

10: I AM the Voice. I AM the Word. The Earth shall be made new and the Chosen of ArkCo shall inherit the Earth and have dominion over Land and Sea and Sky. The misguided, the forsaken, the lost We will correct. And when the Fires of Destruction have diminished and evil, the devil’s tools, the blackened filth of the Earth is cleansed; when all Mankind is perfected, ArkCo will ascend once more to re-take the Celestial Realm.

Chapter Two:

1: The lost peoples of the earth crawl below, dying of their folly and their poisons. The weather raged across the land and the sea and the people called upon the mountains to hide them and the rocks to fall on them and keep them safe from destruction.

2: But they knew the Gods not and blood and fire flowed in their veins and though the mountains were merciful and covered them, they were not saved. Their flesh was devoured from within and sores grew on it until the flesh fell from their living bones.

3: We watched the forzak below die in their sin and darkness and filth. Fires blossomed as the Gods burned the worst of the animals who dared to pretend to be human. The fires of the earth engulfed whole countries of the damned and the sea rose.

4: I will smother forever those who rise up against the Chosen and the truly human. I will smother them and their fathers and their children. They are anathema in My sight.

I closed the book and put my head down on it. It was as comforting as ever.


  1. "Ilesias and I found some push pins in my desk and pinned the picture up to the headboard of my bed where I could see it every day and I put the chain on over my neck right then and there."

    It's wonderful, but I hope that doesn't get anyone killed.

    "It was a black-glass rose and I had the artist make it just a bit past its prime."

    ... or that ...

    "They had the matching costume in their hands, the net and the captive eagle costume."

    ... or that, and sure enough everyone has gone batshit crazy this Jitzmithhra.

    "I so swear before the ArkCo"

    Hmm ... Ark Company/Corporation? Or Ark Covenant?

    "I am that I AM. I was the first and the last. I made and will remake the world for my children the Chosen. The Earth below is of My making and of My destruction."

    That whole dogma section is a disturbing hash of world religions. Very effective.

  2. I was raised as a fundamentalist christian, though I am not one now. There is a lot of Book study and tied into a lot of my classical studies. Of course now I'm preparing for Samhain.

  3. And... ArkCo? that would be telling...

  4. Of course the solas goddess is a Valkyrie. But the fessas one being a chirurgeon was a bit of a surprise.

    This captures the feel of scripture beautifully: it is grandiose and impressive, sure and comforting, and makes me feel ill.

    If this started out as corporate propaganda, it's even worse.

  5. Thank you. Yes it was written originally from a business perspective.

  6. I find it interesting that even though the book of Muunas seems to describes the female gods as equals with the male gods, the Arkansas have managed to remove women from active participation in society. Unless I misunderstand their culture.

  7. Darn auto correct has messed that post up, but you can probably catch the drift.

  8. I got it, thanks. It is interesting how different the written word is and how it is taught and how it manifests under different Imperators. The hatred of the female comes and goes over the centuries and in this Age it is particularly virulent!

  9. The Book of Muunas was very interesting. All the world-building you have done is very impressive!

  10. Thanks, Stig! I try and we try!