The Song of Ceber
Argument: Flying to the sky, Ceber finds the Gate of Heaven and enters into the gods' realm. She makes her way to the palace of the gods.
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Heaven’s roof high above
Stretched marmalade in sunset
To every point.
With orange wings over her
And an orange sky above
Fair Ceber’s body was back
If not her mind made mad by
The unfair fate issued by the world.
With mercy only for Melè, most like her mother,
Who now burned with rage.
Vowing vengeance if her valiant mother never returned.
Up Ceber went
To the clouded cap of the highest peak.
Here the world widened the whole map bared.
Comely below, Valayis, The River Vada to
Blasted Mount Cran.
At the top of the world
Ceber Carapace-breaker spied a gate.
Studded with starlight,
Crystaled with gold,
Crossed with silver,
Sown with emeralds,
Draped in velvet,
Gems vying for significance
In a bed of sapphires.
Elsodonalay, the Gate of Heaven
Called such by Oufa
Given as a gift to the god
By the craft-spiders Scope and Hatan.
Jeweled-giants, gem workers of skill.
She flew to it and
Paused in front of that portal saying,
“I don’t know what waits for me
Behind that door daunting with its gems,
Yet open with no obstacles or opponents.
It stands silent to my presences.
An open door is an offer, an invitation.
I’ll cross the threshold of that betreasured door
Whether death or dire danger wait.”
She crossed the gate
And it thundered shut behind her.
Before her bore a path
The clouds made hills on either side
Still white while gathering gloom.
Above the stars had started winking.
The moon was bright and the road a river
With snowy banks and visible vapor.
She tossed her head and closed her wings.
Walking warily to where she saw a sign
A way post writ in runic scrawl
Topped by a sleeping honeybee.
“I cannot read the writing,”
Ceber said, “since it is not my letters.
The language of this land is lost on me.
Hello,” she tapped the honeybee.
“Sorry stranger to wake you from sleep
But please read to me where this road runs
As the speech of the sign is strange to me.”
“Sorry,” said the bee scratching its head.
“I cannot read.
Never learned my letters.
If the sign is honest it will say,
‘This way to Wyrm-Wunian’
Twenty leagues or twice as more
From there you can go any place,
From garden gate to goddess’s glen.
Every place possible.”
“Why then make a road?” the wasp asked.
“I am but a bee, brave wasp,
A spirit of productivity,
Pathways are out of my purview.”
Ceber thanked the bee then began walking
Until the clouds cleared to cut grass
And Oufa’s palace rose up before her
Like a needle threaded into the sky.
The park around provided pleasantries
To various visitors on vacation
Who would gaze on the wonderful towers
Taking back with them bare-truthed tales
About the awesome sight
Oufa had built at the top of the world.
Fifty waterfalls fell around the fortifications
And iced in incomparable splendor
Below on the mountain.
Crystal windows, azure tiles,
Magisterial marvels made to perfection.
Every balcony shown bright and brilliant.
O! Never knowing such a sight before
Much harried Ceber momentarily hesitated
For her eyes dazzled dazed in delight.
The mark of wonder wide upon her face.
Curious Ceber stopped to ask
An airy sprite about the architecture.
This brave dragonfly with eyes of brass
quoted, “Quite a curious wonder, isn’t it?
In there the gods hold court
Calling the land to their whims.
Infinite Oufa raised it from rock
Stepping into the sea securing the chain
To haul his heavy water-dripping prize up.
Once it was the ornament of the orient
Built by the giant Time.
Destiny and Fate followed his hands
But he gave them up to his issue:
The great Weaver Worms.
They worked against him,
Siding with the Sky Cracker, Sunny Oufa,
Who stole the titan’s towers up through the tides.
Like Lyr, the luckless cuckoo wasp,
Time gave his children charge over his kingdom
And they turned him out. Traitors.”
Ceber sat viewing the scene,
Until courage coaxed her up to the castle
Where the watchman waited.
Invincible HolHammas square-headed harvester ant
Whose name means Hammer.
A earthen spirit sworn to Essa.
Essa, Star-Painter pallid beauty
Who called all Earth up to her service.
“Whoa, stranger! State your name.
What you are named and where you were born.
If I find you friend not foe
And honest without deceit
You may pass into the palace.
But if you be a broker of lies
I shall slay you where you stand.”
Honest Ceber knew her own heart
And replied, “Your regal masters
May help me in my quest.
Their daughter, dangerous Takara
Has hurt me, has harassed me.
I need counsel and their blessing.
Without their holy help, I cannot succeed.
My name is Ceber I come from Comely
And I am honest.”
HolHammas saw her honesty and said,
“Your heart is true your mouth follows it.
Head straight through the doors
My lady will know you.”
So Ceber walked in.
The inside as impressive as the out.
The ceiling was high; bas-reliefs rose to meet it,
Torches touched every tapestry with golden light.
Had I wider words I would break the page
To place that palace in plain sight
Stronger than the guidebook
To hit the senses and bowl them over.
The goddess grinned, leaning in the hallway.
So like a wasp with wide wings
Lace with dew, lined with silver,
Lacquered in ebony.
Her diadem was the Crown of Heaven
Studded with sparkling burning stars.
Her antennae were attentive always waving.
“Milady, I might be misled,
But I need your help.
Your daughter, Takara of the Counting Clocks,
Has killed my family,
Driven me from dry and wet lands,
Pursued me across pasture and fields,
Murdered my friends,
rent wreck and ruin upon my head.
I ask for help. Honor me.
Goddess give me the gift of insight
How to hold a goddess responsible.
I’ll accept any action against me.
Any price, any punishment
If I can punish her.”
Enduring Essa answered,
“Ceber Starlight, slaying a god
Is impossible for a mortal.
Yet your rage can result revenge.
My daughter has done much damage.
The world wearies of her wars.
An infinitely clicking mind
Of great and small gears grows a burden.
Her enemies hate her.
She now has far more enemies than friends.
Fly to the crack of Heaven, brave Ceber.
Talk to the wise Weaver Worms.
They will work wonders for you.
Think of Takara like a tarantula.
Go and fear no censure from the gods.”
“O!” Ceber said. “I scarcely
Could conceive of such fortune
Thank you gilded, great goddess.
I will avenge my daughters.
I will fulfill my mandate.”
The Song of Ceber
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