The Song of Ceber

Argument: Taking instruction from Essa, the Goddess of the World, Ceber enters the spirit realm where Takara's fortress is. Before she can cross the plane, she encounters one of Takara's machines.

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The Lion

Striding out of the palace       Ceber flew into the sky
Up to heaven’s roof       that high place
Where she crawled on sky’s ceiling
Until she found the crack       and climbed through!

Honorable Ceber came into the spirit world
As the blind do       so bright its brilliance
But that faded       and she found herself in a field.
Helkenes Field,       a heath of heaven,
That ranges right       to the red-brick wall
That separates the spirits       from the void.
Beyond is untamed chaos
Vast and broiling       bubbling black.

Here the sky was       the worms’ web
But Ceber found       no flying for
The air currents were too strong.
Yet faraway       a faint ladder stood
Nearly a fortnight       further on foot.

“I’ve stepped more,”       she said.
“What’s a few feet?”

No trouble for her, if she had been alone,
But the geared goddess       sent great trouble.
A clockwork lion       lay in ambush
Striking at Ceber       as soon as she stepped close.
Suicide for a real lion,
Not for a metal one.

Ceber’s sting       struck and bounced.
The beast’s claws       churned her face
Into yellow pulp       yielding pus.

She saved herself,       but barely.
Retreating, as the monster roared,
To a treetop.

She was stuck       Sunset never came
To that realm,
But she slept       a short space.
The beast pawed around the base
Growling and shaking its filament mane.

Upon waking she said,
“Now, these sharp winds
Are high up,       hardly bothering the ground.
If I fly fast and low       no lion could follow.”

Taking flight she       skimmed the grass.
The lion chased,       light leaping from its hide.
No mortal cat could       keep pace with a wasp.
But this beast       broke the wind!
Strong-armed Ceber       saw it following
Below in great leaps.

No brush       nor water       nor mud
Slowed the machine’s       silent stride.
Ceber pushed herself to her limit
Until she thought her wings would snap,
But the god-given       wings would not give.

Reaching the ladder,       she found it was silk,
But she could not slow down.
Leaping up between the rungs,
A look below saw the lion climbing after.

Six legs are better than four, they say,
But the lion gained       grinding its gears.
Forever those legs would run
At the same speed       straight for Ceber.

Seeing her problem,       Ceber, smart-thinking
Severed the strands       below with her claws.
The lion fell two hundred feet
Smashing into thousands       of separate shards.

Much-enduring Ceber       climbed the web.

The Song of Ceber

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