zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #15 - Disguise.

***

She is the joy of the ocean, the star of the deeps, the endless waters that encircle the world. She is the one who tosses the waves, the raging ship-killer, the siren of the lonely rocks.

She is the Wave Walker.

She lives in her house at the bottom of the sea, far below the reach of even the wild mages with their shapeshifts, and she watches the glimmering fishes flit by with all the glee of a tiny girl.

They are her stars, for the stars above do not shine down here.

She is so very curious, sometimes. The mortals cross her surface in great boats, barely touching her, and she wants, sometimes, to know them more.

So she walks among them, sometimes, when she is lonely and wants to see things in her shape, with faces and legs, and no scales. But she is the Wave Walker, and she cannot walk on land.

So she goes about in the shape of her sister, wandering the lands in the seeming of the Goddess. After all, she herself is a goddess, so why should her sister alone lay claim to the name?

She holds eternity in her embrace, and so she does not fear her sister learning of her deceptions.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #14 - Happily Ever After.

***

The flowers are in full bloom. The spring rains, here anyway, have slackened to let the colors run riot. The last sprinkle was yesterday, and the air today is still light and clear, free of the heady pollen.

It is a perfect day.

Look, there is the sun, shining warmly but not too intensely, riding across a robin's-egg sky. Clouds roam freely, poofy sheep dancing joyfully across the airs.

She shakes out her skirts. She steps forward.

The world is all her stage, and it is her day.

Every living thing holds its breath. She does not breathe, so she holds the world.

In slow anticipation, she puts one bare foot forward.

The fires flare to life.

Beltane dances.

This is the end of things. She comes every year.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #13 - Once Upon a Time.

***

Once upon a time, there was a little patch of land. It was a curling patch, hooked 'round the mouth of the long river, marshy and full of rich, happy silt. The sea lapped at the north side of it, and the river flowed, broad and lovely, down its eastern side.

It was a warm patch of land. The sun shone brightly down on it, and eventually, green things grew. Animals moved in - bright birds in the swooping, drooping trees, silvery fish darting back and forth in the eddies, toothy reptiles lurking in the reeds. The land liked the wading birds best; tall and stately they were, with funny legs and funny beaks, all long and white with beautiful edges of color, like pretty fragile statues.

Eventually, people came. Tentatively, in twos and threes at first, darting through and away again. But they saw the land was good, and so eventually they came to stay, and they built huts from the mud baked in the sun.

The land tried these on. They looked rather nice, it thought.

The bricks got better and the buildings more fancy, and the land was reshaped under the hands of the new people, and it tried its newest look on and decided it was good. And eventually, boats came and went, bringing pretty new things from other lands, and sharing this land's pretty things with them.

Come see, come see, Thak's Gate cries, overjoyed.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #12 - Behind Closed Doors.

***

I have stood here since the concept of a room was first invented. The world may have shifted around me, but such is the nature of the world; time renders it fluid, little though you can conceive of it.

I do not exist to test the fitness of potential knights. You prove your fitness to be a knight the moment you walk willingly across my threshold.

I am here to break you.

I have no interest in knights. My interest is in fixers of things, in forging tools from the raw materials fed to me.

Yes, that would be you. You are tested to destruction, and if you are useless, you shatter in here, and if you come in full of your own ego, i snap you, and if you are passable I temper you so you will last until you are no longer needed.

Take joy in this: all tools break.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #11 - Race.

***

We run.

We run and we run, around and around. We chase each other, we chase the sun, we bat the moon back and forth and dim and dip it. The stars, the silly baubles, that don't join one of us are ours for the playing, and play we do.

Do these endless loops grow boring? What is that? Boring is an affectation of mortals learned from the ennui of gods. We are not gods, bright heart.

We are all, god, mortal, and star, set on our courses; the only difference between us is we take joy in the chase.

And if one of us veers off and steps down to your solid sphere for a while, so what? Not all courses run straight, and diversions are fun too.

Come! Exult with us, and run!
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #10 - Magic.

***


What is magic?

Magic is frisson. Magic is what falls through when the universe cracks open.

Magic is what it is. A gift of Mother Flame, some say, when they see the pretty fires.

Haha. I know a secret.

Magic is in everything. Gifted, giftless, who cares? It is all joy.

And this 'wild magic'. Pff. Wild magic. You don't even know what you mean by it, so how can it be anything? Haha!

It is to laugh.

You little shortsighted fools! You do not see what's right in front of you. I could dangle the key to the universe before your nose, and you'd look right past it and ask me where it is.

I'm dangling it now, dearest. Here is my hand, ready for the taking.

Sure, I am joking, but the jokes are always true.

Dance with me, laugh with me, because that is the secret.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #9 - Two of a Kind.

***

I am not, by nature, an angry god.

I am the god of the rolling hills, the god of spring rains. I am the god that is slain with the harvest so that the harvest grows back again from my body.

I am the sacrifice, not the one who is sacrificed to.

That you fail to understand this . . . angers me.

Of course I am vengeful, you fools! I am vengeful against you, you false prophets, you bloodthirsty demons in human skins.

If you want a deity who demands blood sacrifice, go worship the Terrible Mother, the one you simper at and call by Goddess.

I am Yahzed, he who goes joyfully to the slaughter.

We are not two of a kind, and there is a reckoning coming for you.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #8 - Strange Bedfellows.

***

Yama is the strange one.

She hides in her mountain fastness, in the heart of her islands, and takes up a hammer.

She did not even bother to borrow it from one of the divine artisans. A mortal tool will do.

Ordinary metal is all she needs. She is no craftsman, but she is a goddess, and impressing her will on the elements is no great difficulty for her.

She needs no forge. Her lap is her forge and anvil; she is the iron core of the islands, wrapped in silken flame.

The short sword is done first. It is words, set down in metal and written in fire. The words are always the easy part.

The long sword is the work of many days. It is a strange and terrible beast, fearfully joyous; it does not want to be worked to a fine edge.

Law, she says, and Duty, and she lays her hands on the hilts.

They do not rest easily together. She has forged a new thing.

Yama smiles, and her smile is the flash of a false dawn. Mortal metal for mortal work, indeed.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #7 - Excess.

***

There is an exhilarating joy in flying too high.

He knows this all too well; it has always been his essence, though Flame and Universe - he does not think of them as Mother and Father, not anymore - chide him for his overreaches.

He does not care. Not one whit.

He was not made to be concerned with such things.

(Someone, somewhere, rolls dice.)

Reality always wins in the end. The others simply tsk and say he should've known, they warned him, he's really rather dense, isn't he?

He seethes and seethes. He watches his people die.

(He never knew he cared about them. He's still not sure he does.)

He watches his sister and his brother trample on his land. Who is overreaching now, he wonders.

Universe and Flame are silent. Chaos, somewhere, cackles madly, but Chaos cackles at everything.

They will pay. They will pay for taking what is his. Like a spoiled child, he sits and sulks and plays a great game, and the only thing he has at stake here is pride.

(But his pride is all he has.)

This is what it means to be a god, he thinks, drowning in his own philosophizing. To reach and reach until you overreach, and then get slapped back to something lesser than even a mortal.

Reality will sigh again, and slap down those two. The dice will roll again, and he will be ready.

(But he will never realize, even as the dice are tossed right under his nose, that he has stolen a title that rightfully belongs to another, that no one can rule and be a trickster.)
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #6 - Puzzles.

***

Once upon a time, there was a mountain, and the mountain, over time, wore down a notch in itself, and became the highest pass in the world.

This pass, being a new thing, became itself, and was known as the High Little One, except when it wanted to be big, or wanted to be a great mountain storm, and then the old ones called it Roarer.

It liked that.

It was the first glassy tear of a burning mountain that caught its attention. Here was a new thing.

There was another tear. And another. Puzzled, with a child's curiosity, it picked them up one by one, and tried to see if they fit together.

They didn't. That didn't matter. They belonged together, and they were small treasures. It took the mountain tears home to its pass.

Millennia passed, the land buckled beneath it, and it grew wiser as the world did. Eventually, it decided to sweep its pass clear, to its lower sibling's consternation. And thus did it rediscover its little stash.

High One was wiser now and knew tricks, tricks to put edges of things together, tricks to bring forth essences of crystal. One by one, with a craftsman's curiosity, it put tear to tear, and it was with a craftsman's joy that it beheld the lump when the joining was done.

Eventually, when it was older and had a newer name, a fearful whispered one, its jewel would go forth into the world, bearing into human hands the elemental puzzles of Old Chitral.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #5 - Healing.

***

This is why the Graveyard Hag gambles: she gambles because she watches. She gambles because the world was built on chances and dreams, on airy wishes that are the breath of life.

Her dice are named Joy and Sorrow, and her cup is Whimsy. She does not need to hold Chance in her hand. Chance is the heart of the heart of the world.

She is the one who sees further than Shakith; she is the one more human than Gainel, for all his melodrama.

So she gambles and she tricks, and she plays herself for a fool, and she turns the tables on everyone only to laugh when they turn it back on her.

She will save the world by smashing it into splinters.

Sometimes the world breaks on purpose. . .

She tosses the dice.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #4 - Food.

***
Songs in F minor taste like dried peaches and look like puce spots, except when they don't and look pebbly instead, like basilisk skin.

Basilisk skin tastes like ashes and feels like feathers, but sometimes it goes all silken and wormlike.

Worms taste like carrots and smell like berries, although sometimes they wriggle into the taste of yellow.

Yellow tastes like sunlight when it doesn't taste like sourness, and it sometimes sounds like fun.

Fun tastes like the essence of nothingness unless it crunches like whimsy, and whimsy tastes like joy.

Joy has the taste of the whole world, and the texture of Chaos itself.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #3 - Addiction.

***

This is what life is: exultant joy, exuberant existence, dancing on the rim of oblivion with the Hooded One as the silent guardsman, trying to pull you down and in and catch you and spin you right off the edge of the world.

You don't let him, and you don't let him, and you dance away, right into the enclosure of those small bright things, and you spin them into your dance too.

This is the beat. This is your heart. This is the pulse that flows through your blood. This is the wave that ripples your magic.

You hypnotize them as you go, and they are heady wine to you, in their small fluttering hummingbird lives and large fears, so large, so very, very large.

They throw bits of the Mother at you, and you spin away, laughing your wild laugh that captures their daughters and captures their sons and sends them all reeling drunkenly onto your dance floor, until they finally catch on and throw enough fire at you to hem you all in.

You know they make you out to be a monster and you laugh and laugh, because you know what they don't: there are not ten Ysandir.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #2 - Hauntings.

***

There is an old, old story, and it goes like this:

There were once two men, twin humans. This was long, long ago, in the distant time when there were so few people they were essentially gods; certainly they seem so by the distance of time. They went on epic adventures, as heroes do: wooing the Sun's daughter, slaying dragons, finding sacred cattle over practically every hill, or so it seems. Scratching out the bounds of mortal existence itself.

Then, out of the blue, the elder twin died.

No one knows why. Some say it was an unfortunate accident. Some say he fell to his death while scanning for new land. Some say he went up against one dragon too many, and his luck finally ran out. Some say . . . well. Some say he died of his own free will, on a lark.

He shocked the world, let me tell you. In those days, there was no such thing as death, not for people - this had caught even the gods off-guard.

But the door was opened, and thus mortals became mortals.

He was offered, as the first person to do something new is always offered, possession of the thing he wrought; being the responsible sort, he accepted.

He had always wanted to be a king, same as his twin. Now they both were, in different ways.

Nobody remembers his name now. Nobody remembers he was ever a mortal.

. . . Let me tell you a secret, child: the gods knew. The gods knew what his death would unleash, and what mortality meant; jealous creatures that they are, they killed him deliberately, whether they touched him or no. Maybe they meant it to be a mercy. Sometimes, I am charitable.

How do I know?

The first of a thing never dies, and I was the first king.

There is a joy in old ghosts, my young friend, and someday you will know that too.

Say hello to my brother when you meet him, and tell him his twin sends his love.
zodiacal_light: I will tell the audient void... [fractal] (the audient void)
For Mandi on Glake.
In response to Malorie's Peak Prompt #1 - Color.

***

A pause.

Weight.

Pressure and a breath.

With a spiraling thunder of light, immensity folds against itself and becomes two: the void and the substance, the emptiness and the energy, the shade and the hue.

Hello, it says to itself, and it is talking to its sibling.

Hello, it replies.

Newness erupts with blinding joy where it meets itself, where they meet each other, and the new things are blushing Pink, and Red, great and passionate, and Orange the wavering child, and Yellow so cheery, and cool chuckling Green, and sedate, serene Blue, and Indigo, sly and shadowy, and Purple the odd, and Brown that will go unappreciated but will hold up all that comes after, and the shade and the hue look at each other and see that they are Black and White and where they mingle they merge, and with joy name that gentle merging Gray.

They look at each other, and see themselves.

Later, their children will give them new names, but that is after creation is finished, and they are holding onto the intensities their children cannot, and have given the rest of themselves away. They are not yet Universe and Flame; they have too much yet to be.

This is the day. . .

And they dance.

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October 2013

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