VII · THE TREACHERY OF FOUR DAUGHTERS · A GOD MADE BY FLAMES

There came a time when, as the Goddess slept between the blessed Ceryŭa and silver Nyalne, Her four daughters came to the marbled Elysium to gaze upon their lifeless brother, whom only they loved, for they had once been him and had known his agony in the distance of dreams. Demetra, whose hair was of the heliconia, convened her sisters together and said:

“Sisters, we must away with him quickly, and together we must give him life. For our Mother, as desiring as She may be for a son, has now new desires for that half-god of goodness, and may soon give up all hope of cherishing his soul. We must take his form from Her eye, to a place where into She cannot see so as to do our task.”

Upon her back between the blades of her golden wings, Ilmatar took her brother and the four daughters journeyed down from Celeste, seen on their descent by Sonn, who was guarding the bright earth and attending to the life so that it might grow. At once to her, Ilmatar spoke:

“Say not a word of this to the Mother, dear Sonn. Ye are gracious and kind of heart: it was ye who gavest me these wings to fly, I do so remember, so that I could be united with my beloved Mother and my loving, loved sisters. I am grateful to ye for this, as I am to the Goddess for her endless love to me. Yet I say do not alert Her to our actions, for I fear She will remove my dear brother from off my back and proceed to destroy  him; for long it has been since he sprang from Her womb, and since then he has uttered not a single breath nor a word.”

Playing sweet music upon the threads of Time that bound her, as she so often did, Sonn made this reply:

“Time commits me not to move from my perch in Aethre Oreš, and move I cannot until he beckons me towards the marmoreal halls. So I shall not call out to the Mother and awaken Her from Her passionate bed, but when Time does come and we are reunited at the day’s end, then I shall tell Her of your mischief and your brother shall most surely become naught.”

So Ilmatar left swiftly the second sky and touched the grasses of Maegard, beckoned by Demetra to the most secret of places where the Goddess’ gaze could not reach. This deep, hallowed place had a name and it was Cruachan, deep in the core of the Living Earth where the ancient spirits of the universe slept amongst the dust and stone. Mellicit, the governess of death and new life, knew of the sacred magick, and formed a scripted circle in which her brother led, where Demetra had uprooted trees of the groves and placed, forming there a pyre.

“Ancient is this art,” said Mellicit, queen of all-spirit. “With a power that only those with pale fingers and sharp minds can make. With it, we shall light the heart of the brother who was taken from us by another Brother, whose hands made claim of Her and then of ye, our wise sister Amadahy, before ye rose beyond the depths to our side.”

Joined by hands, the four daughters summoned a power which sprang in flames from the uprooted wood. It grew and consumed, raging across the child’s form until his skin was black and burnt and the magick had broken way into his soul, licking at the Void still lingering there. This force was fire, and it tore its way through the brother’s body, tongues of flame reaching down his throat, kindling his heart, setting alight his blood, until his eyes opened glowing and he was born. He rose and the wood bowed beneath him, his dark and burnt skin falling from his form and made anew, and from the roasting coals hatched the salamanders crawling on their burning bellies.

Before Sonn could leave her perch and tell the Goddess of their treachery, the four sisters cared for the brother, each feeding him whilst the Goddess slept, growing him to his full form. Mellicit, Ilmatar and Demetra were lit with desire for the form of man, not having seen the vile Chaos who had poisoned them in the womb, and knowing no companion of their own as had the Goddess now. Only Amadahy, pure and chaste in her soul, resisted, and took him out of Cruachan, there awaiting the Goddess.   Embers of flame floated into the lofty sky, transforming then into the eternal birds, the phoenixes that Ilmatar led to distant lands to die and be reborn forevermore. The Goddess awoke to phoenix cry and was at first enraged, but then consumed with joy as She felt in Her being that Her son lived. She awaited at the entrance to Cruachan, embracing Her son as he emerged at the sides of his sister, she who was purest of heart, naming him Luthorn and proclaiming that he would be the god of blazing Fire.

The End

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