II · THE THREE SKIES · CHAOS OF THE SOUL · A PRAYER FOR DEATH

She knew not Her own power, but so it was that the Goddess’ desires melted the Darkness from Her soul; and Her Sacred Womb became fertile of its own accord, ripe with children made from Her hope and Her divine goodness. Each child She carried for much of time, and as this time passed, she created for Herself a home. She made the first sky which rose out of the Darkness, its name Aethre, but Chaos reached upward through it and cut Her, taking blood from the Goddess’ lovely, pale ankle. She fled, and made a second sky, Aethre Oreš, and in it the six Holy Spheres, and then the stars, each a sparkling tear shed from Her sorrow, all to govern the world from upon high. But Chaos, though He could not extend so far, sent up the silence-eaters to feast upon the stars, and when She vanquished them, He sent more to torment Her haven.  Finally, She made a third sky, and proclaimed that for all those that would come to be, this sky, its name Celeste, would be haven when mortal life had reached its end, when body had rotted, mind had darkened, when there would be only innocent souls at her side. Here, Chaos could not reach, and She created the great marbled Elysium where She and Her children would live in harmony, far from the abyss of the Lord.

He raged in fury from far below, yet had not ended his torment upon Her. For in the wound on her lovely, pale ankle there was a curse, where a poison welled from the depth of His body. As the silence-eaters crushed the Light of the stars in their maws, the Darkness of her wound spread inside Her, and in the still throats of each child that grew there, there was a piece of Darkness left. So it was that when the day of labour came and She delivered each unto the world, their first breath was of the Darkness, and within them it grew and fouled their souls. This Darkness was great, it was the Lustreless Void, the matter from the depths of the universe, the Darkness from which the Goddess had made Light. As each child sprang from Her, no second breath uttered in them, and their hearts beat not a single pace. Overcome, the Goddess clutched them in Her hands and looked upon them, unforgiving of the monstrous forms that had risen from Her. They were the five eyeless children, who could look not upon their Great Mother, nor cry out in agony as the Void devoured their souls. They stretched their deformed, imperfect bones to Her, sustaining their lives to know and embrace Her as their love and creator. But She, horrified, left them unloved in marmoreal Elysium and departed to the lowest sky, where She could bear Her sorrow no more. Forming a silver blade, She cut Her pale throat, spilling Her golden lifeblood across the darkened hills to fall into sleep as She had once been, unborn.

But Death did not come for Her.

The End

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