The Song of Ceber

Argument: Takara tricks her niece and acquires the Jimson Weed, which she then gives to her husband. The effects are not agreeable.

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Sein

Silver Sein       Whylight’s first son
Sung pretty       and perfect songs.
He liked to dance.
His joy was spectacle.
Gaudy, amazing       great shows.
He often performed for Elsalay
His mother enjoyed her belovèd son’s shows

“If I cannot act it perfect       it cannot be performed!”
Sein said a-       ‘suredly speaking
In his lovely silver tongue.
The divine actor
The great singer       gorgeous voice.
Songed Sein mused his days
On the outskirts       of Oufa’s mountain.
The great stormy keep
The cathedral of snow
Wyrm-Wunian       wondrously cold
Topped with snow
But not down by the palisades;
The blazing sky-candle
Settled that place with wild roses
And forget-me-nots tended by bees
And Sein acted for them.
Singing:

Bees bring bright blossoms brilliant to bloom
Ferrying fair fragrance from flower to flower
Spring seeds so some saplings will sprout soon

So, come bees! Pollinate the entire Earth!
All things are connected, disbalance here
Will unbalance things there.”

Yellow-plated Takara heard this last
As she came up       she clapped.
“Your sister has fruit that I've observed, soft and
secret and hidden in her garden, that weren't half so
fair as that.”

“Auntie,” the singer spoke,
“What brings you to Wyrm-Wunian?
Is your fight with my mother over?
Ere even       last evening
She mentioned a town she liked
Vulcanized by       your violence
Volcanoed off the plain of Ayeguay.
A town that offered sacrifices to her
Of an especially good nature.”

Trifles!” Takara said.
“When I speak of your sister I speak true.
She kept in secret this flower here.”

“My sister,”       Sein sighed.
“She keeps to herself in paradise.
Never gracing me with her form.”

“A form that’s a sin to keep away,”
Clockwork Takara said.

“I know,”       the emerald cockroach wasp said.
“A shame she’s       obsessed with flowers.”

“This flower here,” Takara resumed,
“Was her greatest secret. Guarded over all she
possesses.”

Sein said,       “She’s very pretty,
but our parents would never approve
Nor would she, I will bet.
Oh, Aunt Takara!
What is a poor       poet to do?

“This flower is the key, eat it and you will
be irresistible to the fairer sex. She will fall
down and worship your footsteps, following
you down the path like a lost mutt.”

“Oh no, Auntie.
I know better than to eat something
Random from my sister’s garden.”

“It is not random. I asked her myself what it
does. She replied slowly, reluctantly, but
replied none-the-less. She has a good heart,
your sister. She doesn't lie, cannot lie. When
I pressed her, she confessed. Here take it, and
I’ll send you her forthwith.”

The jeweled wasp laughed,
“Very well, aunt.      I’m ready for vast adventure.
If it works       it works
And I shall taste       sweet scented nectar
Straight from Nature’s garden.”

Takara gave him the poisoned flower
And flew to the golden garden
Where beautiful Ausohara built       budding branches
Out of dry dirt       during the day
And opened       orchids at night.

“Returned already?”       she asked her aunt.

“Hurry,” Takara said. “Bring your herbs.
Your brother Sein has gone mad and is
raving in the palisades. He needs cool
ointments to make right whatever burns
in his mind.”

With her best medicines       to magic madness away
Silver Ausohara       sped off in splendid flight
Leaving treacherous Takara       to take the loathsome Datura.

With it she brewed       a vile broth
A tea to overthrow the mind
Strong enough for a god.
Two licks would       have laid out a lion,
Burning the brain down       like besieged battlements.
She flavored it with sweet-smelling       silver-leaf
That grew to great heights       in the garden
To hide the offensive odor       that from her cup reeked.

She took no time to find her husband
And present him the tea
Saying,
“I was wrong to fight with you. Take
this tea as reaffirming our lost oath to
cherish each other and forget any angry
words we might say in heated moments.”

The Dragon said:
“My wife,
I could never stay mad at you
Anger flows out of me
Like the Mighty Run River
That pours from Dora, that land of miners.”

He took the tea       tongued it
Toyed with the flavor
And the madness poured into him.
He raved
He roared
He went off belching insanity into the sky
Brightly colored flames
Up to the wall of heaven
Shaking stars       from the sky.

While the madness kindled
Spreading into the world,
As the sky broke and comets fell
While the sky burned,
And mountains overturned,
While this happened,
Sein attacked Ausohara
And virtue was overthrown.

Sein, out of his senses
Sought his sister       for sex
And had her,       violently
There in the palisades
While the sky bruised purple
With black filthy rain.

Innocence dies once, they say,
But shame is forever.

Out of Ausohara’s shame
Came a new god
Black and withered
A specter of war.
It drove the world mad.
The fire spread out
Chewed out—
Solid nations came down
Their buttresses collapsing.

     Call out the hawks.
     Call out the hounds.
     Call out the horses.
     Call out the hunters.
     Call them all out.
     Send them all out.
Send them to chase all sense and sanity
Out before the storm.
Strike them down in the hurricane.
Drive them out with thunder and tornadoes.
Burn the bridges as they cry from home.

Strong Ceber and Loyal Medy
Fled the sky fire.
Ceber sure that Takara raged after them.
They ran to caves
Watching wrath       rain from above
Wondering       where it came from
How far it reached.
Destruction for the whole world?
Or destruction localized?
Impossible to tell.
But better       than to be out there.
Ceber sought to sit out chaos
As the Earth was lit black with iron fire.
Rocks from the monstrous sky.

Oufa up in Wyrm-Wunian
Awoke and everywhere he looked saw war and chaos.

“What went wrong       in the world?
I chew my dreams
Savoring the flavor       but something sour
Crept in       this clamor
A berry bitter       not quite ripe
Disturbs my dreams.
Keeping Earth ordered       is an arduous task.
The mortals mess it up       every month
And whine to me       to work it out.
When their tender crops fail
And rain runs       away from their fields
They throw up       their thoughtless calls
Never minding the ordaining of heaven
As if I have storms to spare
Sitting around in a cellar somewhere.
Or when their money dries up from bad policy
They call to me.
Yet it is their fault.
Theirs to fix, being of their own design.”

Essa, Allwife, looked over the world and said,
“This is no mortal fault.
Terite rages over the sky
And I spy a       dark shadow-shape
Hurrying horrors       across the land.
Dear husband,       this is a deity’s work
I fear we’re at fault.”

Oufa, skygiant       summoned his own
Calling all his children
To Wyrm-Wudian       for harsh words.

But of all only
Clever Takara,       Blameless Whylight
Lovely Elsalay,       and young Yelsalay
Arrived.

Elsalay, Lady of Love’s leisure
Sought her son and daughter.
She said,
“Father, some of our family are missing.
My own children       and Takara’s Terite.
Gone, missing.
What causes them not to show?
What causes this in our own kingdom?

Oufa said,
“Wise Whylight, seek out your brother,
Find him,
Drag him here if you need to by the limb.
Yelsalay, Elsalay, find your kin
I would like to see their fine faces again.
Takara, stay here for I have questions
Your deceit is like unto the onion
You wrap it in layers hoping to hide
But I can smell it from here, deceitful!
Speak not to me for I know you lied
And counted your husband, brother, a fool.”

Cantankerous Takara said,
“Father, I know not how the War on Earth
was started. Darkness that foul, surely I am not
capable of such evil assailing the vistas of the
world.”

“I can think of no other,”       Oufa said.
“The great dream told me of Terite
Obscured by his       less-than-honest wife.
Under a demon’s spell       he despoils the land.”

“The Weaver Worms do their job,” Takara said,
“but sometimes they lie. My husband and I are
ill matched. That is true. He is a fiend and now
he shows his true form.”

A fiend indeed!       Far below in foul weather
Whylight came upon Terite raging.

“Brother, from what stems this madness?
You’ll bring down the sky!”

The red Dragon was beyond reason.
Turning on Whylight       Terite struck
Red Dragon attacked white
Rose started the fight.

Around they flew,
The red and white       wrapped in fury.
Fangs, claws, fire       venom and thunder
Silver teeth tore       tough scaled flesh
And the sky dragons fell to earth
Their blood boiling       the ground to black.

Terite could not be stopped
And Whylight bit deeper and deeper
Until his brother moved not.
Slain by his twin       brave Terite was no more.

In the palisades,
Sein came to his senses       in the middle of his act.
“What is this?
Sister! Please forgive me!
Accept my apology!”

But asundered Ausohara       would not answer
And struck her brother down       by silence alone.
It killed him inside.
He fled       leaving his sister
Ruined among the roses.
Such flowers as her succor       sweet scented
Held no comfort       for the confines of her mind
Or her body.

Nature exists in balance and harmony
All actions have a dark or light twin.
But actors do not       always suit their actions.

Oufa sent sibling-killer Takara
To the Weaver Worms for their judgment.

“Foolish old man,” Takara said. “Silk worms
are nothing to a wasp. They in their webs spin
out fate, pre-calculating past and present to the
future and putting themselves before all of us.
Before the gods and giving nothing. Their free
ride stops today. We’ll see what rules the world.
Their fate or my will.”

She flew to the weave
Where the worms       work fate’s facts.
The three of them there
Urha, the web-eater;
Devourer and protector of the past;
Linelis, Diviner of the present;
With her single eye;
And Epenè, splendid spinner
Creating as he crawled.
Bold as a comet in their spheres
White as the big moon
Fixed in the firmament       focused on their task.

Thunderous Takara did not hide her purpose.
Could not, for they see all.
She arrived       as an anvil-cloud
With lightning       on her legs.
Shaking the web       as she struck it.
Worm silk is not       spider silk
So she was not stuck.

Straightening up,       she said unto them,
“For those who control fate, you seem to be
sleeping on your watch. No guard?
No protections? I expected a fight. You must
know my purpose.”

Epenè, bloated spinner       said, says, and sayè
“Thou canst not       slay time, Takara.
Thou art at cross purposes.
Break the balance and become
Queen of an empty sky
Of blinkless stars staring       sullenly down at
A frosted       frozen globe that stares up
In terror       at Takara’s triumph?
Or have Oufa       throw thee out
Of heaven as he did Akenzee?
There are the things       thee aspires to?
If so thou art welcome to it.
It is not me thou killest, but thyself,
Noble-fallen Takara.”

The Clockwork Goddess sneered.
“You would try to save yourself with words, worm.
By backwordsing the meaning, reversing the idea
to guide me down the wrong path. An idiodyssey.
You are too devious to live. Titan, giant, fate, or
time, the world was given to us gods, yet you are
using us. Left alone you would level us.”

The worm’s blind eye descended,
The maw opened and Epenè
Said, says, sayè,
“Thy fate has always been death, ‘god’.”

“As is yours!”       Takara struck.
Stinging, chewing,       slashing, biting
Until the worm’s golden ichor
Flowed down the silk.

“Now that prophecy’s eye is blind, the only time is my own.”

The other worms ignored her.
Speckled Urha and sighted Linelis ate the yellow pus up.
Licking it up, until they were bloated.

On Earth, Whylight saw the ghost,
The black spirit of war
And he dived,       destruction incarnate
Slamming into that fog       with fire
But the fire was met eagerly
And the white dragon fought earnestly.
They rolled over the Earth
A fierce battle       fought over mountains
And then streams       and finally the ocean.

Then seeing Takara watching the battle,
Whylight cried out to her,
“Sister!       This thing’s strength is sorely testing.
I cannot beat it on my own!
Let us join as we did in the old days
Brother and sister pulling this beast apart
Throwing it down to Ja-Kara Zăd together!”

But Takara only watched,
Whylight wailed       and waded into the battle
For his immortal life.
He struck and was met with oil, fire, tar in return.
The gunk tarnished his white scales
Dimmed his red-rimmed eyes
Choked his very breath
He rolled into the ocean,
Then burst into the bright sky.

This was only battle now.
No glorious victory could be earned.
Violent enough to wow,
Beast against dragon       bent on destroying each other.
They circled and twisted       the monster the faster of the two
Scoring strikes early
But no poison could bring down that head so easily.
It had to seep around
And tear those slitted eyes asunder
Biting side to side
And chewing into the brain.
The dragon gave it one last bite, swallowing it
Before falling into the sea.

Victorious, Takara walked       to the water’s edge waiting
To see what would come up
Seeing if anything needed to be double-slayed
But no monster or dragon ever rose from those bloody depths.


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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