The Song of Ceber

Argument: Ceber hides from the humans in an empty dragon hole. The humans fearful of the time that the dragon still lived do not follow her. The goddess Takara, not seeing Ceber anywhere, realizes she must have gone underground and so seeks to borrow the power of the great Storm Titan so that she may flush Ceber out from the Earth.

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The Storm

Darkness here and without
Darkness for the whole world
No light reached her in this mine
An empty dragon hole.
Even humans, they feared it.
Ten years to a day,       the dragon Ven
Polluted the skies       from this stinking hole
This Man remembered
Sourly counting corpses       consumed by fire
Until some hardy human       hid poison on his person.
When the dragon dined       his meaty meal destroyed him
That man never did hear his praise
But even in death       his enemy was defeated.

Miserable heart-broke Ceber cursed the gods.
“Why me and why now?       Was I not the best?”
Did I not sing praises,
And offer sacrifices?
I know not a god I didn't praise.
They have always treated me well before now.
I can’t think of why they’d stop.
A botched sacrifice?
An unconscious insult?
Their ways are shut to me.”

Even then Takara       thought of ill tricks
Devising schemes
Looking around and seeing Ceber not,
Takara thought to herself,
“Irksome wasp, hiding in the earth. Tunnels may
cloud my sight, but I know a few ways to get at
you that neither stone nor earth can stop.”

Spreading her wings       the goddess wafted up
Like light across       the lintel posts of the sky
To every hexagonal
Until she spied       the Storm Giant
A thunderous       titan of the tides
An agèd fly       arched against the sky
With the wind       as his wings
And the hail       beading his hair
And Tornadoes       his talon tips

The geared goddess       found him at his game
Playing hurricanes with islands as targets.

“Friend, cousin,” Takara said, yelling above the din.
“A quick word, a favor, a minute of your moments if
you have them to spare.”

Silver-laced       Storm said,
“What brings thee       Takara-goddess?
Not since thy father Wise Oufa
Set the stars aright       good and straight
Has one of the golden gods       graced me
To see my progress.”

Tempered Takara       spoke thus:

“I need your rains. Once long ago when you
were a small sapling unto a newborn gnat, you
ventured into Akenzee’s lair. The world-spider
eats all she catches and you nearly ceased to be.
Who cut you loose? Who braved her own immortal
life? Twas I, Takara. Now I ask you to return the
favor Great Fly of the Winds. Maggots, they say,
never withhold a favor. They always repay and
never forget a friend.”

“Thee speaks true       tender goddess
For a day       I can grant thee
A little moisture       to make with as thee pleases.
But lo!
Thee must promise not       to promote death
You must not take a life with borrowed weather.
As only I was given permission
Oufa gave that right to me, saying,
“What damage my brood might cause
Given rage over the winds.
Not even an aphid would be safe!”

Takara promised.
“I will cause misery with wind and near-drown
with water, but not a soul will I send to the
pale-realm.”

The giant gave       his grave powers to her
And she threw it whole at the mountain.
Flooding every niche.

Ceber finding herself in a shrinking vault
Water rising,
Fled into the night
Wasps do not fear       wet water
But the storm harried her
The mountain mud       became slick, murderous
She could find no footing.

The River Vada       swollen by the storm
Broke its banks       bringing floods.
Into this stream Ceber fell
Beaten, Buffeted       Bashed, Broken.
Washed away       with white foam
To the river valley below.

Takara, finally tired       of her toy,
Let the rains go.
Bragging that no Titan had ever used a storm so well.


The Song of Ceber

Song of Ceber 0: Explanatory Notes ¦ 1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ 5 ¦ 6 ¦ 7 ¦ 8 ¦ 9 ¦ 10 ¦ 11 ¦ 12 ¦ 13 ¦ 14 ¦ 15 ¦ 16 ¦ 17 ¦ 18 ¦ 19 ¦ 20 ¦ 21 ¦ 22 ¦ 23 ¦ 24 ¦ 25 ¦ 26 ¦ 27 ¦ 28 ¦ 29 ¦ 30 ¦ 31 ¦ 32 ¦ 33 ¦ 34 ¦ 35 ¦ 36

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