Obsidian Heart

by Peter

She tells me it is urgent, for the messenger is dead. The totality of feathers, sinew and muscle twisted together over the small skeletal frame. Held together long enough for one flight. Dead long enough that one flight is all it will ever manage. The messenger is dead.

It is urgent and I will go, not because she calls, but because it is urgent. Sometimes it is. Sometimes she has learnt something terrible and true. Sometimes she has grave news of war and weapons. Sometimes it is a joyous occasion, such as the birth of the first of our children. So beautiful and so driven. No need for common vitality, but rather rising ecstatic from their womb to greet the world and take from it what they can. Sometimes there is nothing. Nothing.

Few now can keep up with me. My guards, they run without armour. They run until they can run no longer and they seem ready to collapse, but my will, it drives them further, makes them stronger and keeps them from falling behind. The burden is mine. Soon we shall see the Perfidious Tower rising from this dead landscape above us. Soon we shall enter her gardens, with all that that entails. The men and women around me know the rules of this place, and there are rules. Do not step to the left of the blackened heather, spit upon the ash-crafted willows as you pass them. Here at least there are rules.

She knows I am here. She always does, but then again, despite her many faces, I always know when she is with me. Perhaps we have worn together and our creases fit one another. Once it was stronger. Once there were three of us. Three of us and a single goal, a single end. Knowledge, magic and power. Together we were more than anyone and anything else. We killed her, and no one noticed. The murder of gods was within our reach and as one we extended a hand and took what was ours by right of strength. But no longer. Now there are only two and she grows steadily more insane.

Once inside the tower she will play her stupid little games. I have learnt to trust my will and walk through all that she places in my way. Reflections ignored, decrepid corpses are cut down and illusions brought down in the face of my resolution. As always I will find her at the top of her Tower, tending to her roses.

She greets me as she always does now and fires my blood as she always does, if it is still blood that runs in my veins.

So, have I come here for nothing again, or is there something of import? She shows me what it is that is so important. It is a man, or rather what is left of him. The skin is blackened and raw, some from obvious burns and some from soot and ash rubbed in. The legs and arms are bound with metal wire, cutting into his flesh. He is, I realise, naked though that is not the first thing one notices. It is his face that captivates my attention most. A ruin of meat. The ears missing and the jagged scars where they used to be sewn shut. His eyes closed but beneath the lids, so badly burnt that they have fused together, the shapes of glass shards, forcing angular deformations in the burnt flesh and eyes. The nose missing and a faint black liquid dripping from its lack down onto the lips, these crudely sewn together, though not so tightly that he cannot moan in agony. And with each moan, with each exhalation the faintest traces of ash coming from within and spreading out on his breath.

He is what I have come for. A man I may well have met, who might have done me good service, who could have been not only loyal, but also strong. Once this might have affected me. I am beyond such weakness now. I recognise his utility here, as I have recognised the utility of others before him. She whispers to him, fondles his head, slowly guides it into her lap and strokes his eyes. I squat down to listen as his moans become louder and then form into words, words of what is and what might be.

“The three hundredth emptiness left by the fragmented fragment who unites will to action works across the world with nothing in hand save the possibility of family”

“The notion of desire is replaced and superseded and not everywhere and the world is not yours”

“Burning wills shape the veined city though now in vain not always so as burnt stone hardens itself and a knife is whetted in its creases”

This is the most his babbling would give. Not meaningless, but nor is it meaning full. I shall consider it and deeply. He died, shuddering and shaking, hoping, if such a pitiful thing can entertain hope still, to find rest in the Burned Realm. She saved him from such a fate and now he serves her, as is proper.

As I return to my city I realise that her descent into insanity quickens. Soon there will be only me left of we three.

In the dark, late into the night I sit and sculpt. It will be ready soon. Soon I will reach into myself and wrest my beating heart from my body and by will alone I shall place this stone, this obsidian beast within my breast and new life shall beat forth from it. A heart made of stone will do what a heart made of flesh cannot, it shall be bound only to my will.

misc/fiction/obsidianheart.txt · Last modified: 2011/04/03 22:30 by osj01
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