Note: Based on the Vedas and Calasso's interpretations of the Vedas, specifically the goddess of the Word, Vac, soma as language, and the clothing oneself in meters. Also Grant Morrison's ideas on higher entities being made of living language.
I don't remember exactly how it went, but I think Rip mentioned something about Multiversal waters, or possibly planar rivers, and someone asked "Does the Multiverse have waters?"
"words are very, unnecessary, they can only do harm" -Enjoy the Silence, Depeche Mode
"Does the Multiverse have waters?"
Yes, yes it does. It has waters in the darkness and in the light, in the air and stone, even in the fire. I find myself forever drowning, seeking Vrtra, Drought, for comfort. But I suppose we should begin at the beginning – but even that infuriates me. Because before then there were no beginnings nor endings for my kind. We existed as darkness stretched out in darkness.
When did the children of the Abyss first stumble on us, when did they first breach the cold emptiness that was our comfort? We existed with no perception of time, so that is an impossible question. The Obyrith brought the waters, the flood that is Indra freeing cows hidden behind mountains that is Hermes stealing the cattle from Apollo.
The waters are Vac, Word, Goddess.
As we looked upon them we looked upon each other and worst of all upon ourselves. The foolish Old Ones of the Abyss had rooted us from slumber. What greater crime than to make us lead lives of waking where once we lived lives of dreaming? We were content as absence, but now our Void had become a claustrophobic cocoon, a damnable womb in which we were forced to gestate, to
transform, to become.
The brood of the Misshapen lands realized their folly, and retreated from us. The presence of Void threatened to dissipate their spirit-flesh into wayward monstrosities or roaming nightmares. Perhaps that happened anyway. Alone again, many of us tried to return to the Unflow. Yet one among us hungered for being -- not to wholly Become but to stand at the threshold.
As sensing my surroundings was new to me, at first I did not comprehend what was before my gaze. Someone, born of the Vacuum as I was, did not abhor what the Abyss had brought but instead -- how to explain? It feasted on the flesh of the cows, it made love to the goddess, it drank of the waters.
Something soaked out of its form and I was struck by the horror that comes from seeing stars burn against night, from feeling young being born. Though only later could I ironically make such analogies, then I only knew the pain that ripped through me at my sibling's betrayal. Logos, the taint that hangs
over Everything. It was infection this one carried, for in the next moment I felt Vac's lips brush my own -- And when did the boundaries of form close around me? -- as I railed against the traitor.
"Who are you!?" I cried out, in confusion and recrimination. In truth the words it first said to me were unheard or at least were not comprehended. Perhaps it too saw me and wished to know who I was. Perhaps I was the one that made the first echo in the Void.
At times I can still hear that first wound aching, whispering back at me. But it isn't my story that you long to hear.....
"Language determines how we think and what we can think about" -Benjamin Whorf
I remember, and how that very action galls me. To recall is to recall when there was no past, no future. Only Nothing.
I remember when they first came, the Abyssal Precursors, stumbling into our silent dark. Their mouths gaping with voiceless screams that never-the-less brought us Vac. And Vac who is Logos who is Words, in her legendary promiscuity, spread through us. Even as I attempt to reject her I cried out and was thus seduced.
As were we all, for suddenly we could reflect upon on our existences, we could express ourselves to ourselves. And this curse, sentience, drove many of my siblings mad. They had never spoken to themselves before, and while it has become second nature to me -- as I suspect it does to all of us from the Before -- I still feel as though I am betraying those fallen to the infection of Logos.
At first I resisted, retreating into the Void where I might take comfort in isolation. I tried to return to my dreams, but I could no longer find the doorway back. I cannot even describe them, or rather because I could describe them I had lost what true meaning they had for me. I tossed and turned where I once simply floated, and as my body churned my new found self-speech whispered to me. I was too young to take caution against my own inner voice:
"The Abyssal Ones are the cause of your pain. Destroy them. It is only just – and perhaps once they are gone there will be Silence once more."
Though they had fled in terror at our presence, in truth I too feared them. I feared that I might hear more words, and become more infected with their language. That I might continue to Become. Vac had written herself into our existence, but I hoped to untie myself from her threads.
I would learn that darkness is strong, stronger than any light. And that dreams, themselves betwixt between what is and is-not, had strength all their own. A woman with a crown of stars took special exception to the dreams I cast beyond the Void. Her fear gave birth to war and she set into a motion a
history where the Precursors were broken. They had given me voice, and I had repaid them by granting final silence to as many as I could.
Sadly, orchestrating their near annihilation would prove to be a dangerous distraction.
At last we come to where I can speak properly of the one you call Sun Sing. But I hope you can understand the weight of what has happened to my people. I am telling you a story of who we were, and this is the crime we find unforgivable. That we have been enveloped in the Telling, the Words. Even to speak of these things is to remember how I found myself in this prison of beginnings and endings.
The Void is infinite, and yet so is the Logos. It carried over the expanse of absence to reach me, no matter how far I retreated. Vac's whispers reached my ears, though I confused these outer voices with my own inner one -- I was unused to language, and it was hard to differentiate between the two. It
seemed that one day I awoke from another attempt to return to Dreaming to find myself moving through nothingness of a different kind. It was something, even as it was nothing. Even the Void was becoming.
I was outraged, and I blamed the demons of the Abyss for this travesty. I regretted I could only annihilate them but once, and now I began to think of how I might make the survivors suffer for all eternity. Fearing my home lost forever, I decided I would become, become something so great and terrible I would destroy the Abyss. I draped myself in this material darkness, and it was then that I came to recognize the voice that created this shadow matter.
It was the one I had found eons ago, gnawing on the syllables the Abyss had deposited in the emptiness. I moved toward the core of the shadows, seeking to confront my wayward sibling. When we had last (and first) met, I had been too shocked by my own speech to act as I should have. I had thought then that it was simply foolish, choosing Being over Nothing. The danger of language was then unknown to me.
I passed by many more of my kind, molding themselves out of shadow, taking on varied forms as they pulled themselves into substance. Is that what I look like? -- and I was sickened that I might look like anything at all. My kind, my people, were leaving themselves behind to be gods and demons.
I push onward, dragging these hapless shades in my wake.
And I found the Eater of Words, and stared at the hole it had made in the Void. Beyond was a place of matter, of substance, where Logos had formed whole infinities from ideals, ideas, beliefs. I was stupefied by the horror – the Eater was attempting to drag these planes of language into the Void itself!
And I echoed my first words, crying out in thunder. It turned to look at me, and I could feel its sneer. I had spent so long trying to return to time before Time, while it had grown fat on the milk of its lover. With Vac as its consort, what hope did I have against it? Even its gaze spoke volumes, poisoning me with communication. Its minions swarmed me, attempting to assimilate me, injecting me with speech even as I tried to deafen myself.
It was my former enemy that saved me. A flash of ghostly moonlight, and the Eater screamed. A guardian on the other side of the spacial-tear, a woman glowling with sickly lunar fire. Floating there in blessed silence, driving back the gibbering madness of the traitor. An inverted goddess of the Abyss, one the few my machinations of having the angels slaughter them had spared.
She looked at me, now almost fully made, dazed in the creation forced upon me. Her eyes shined, not with recrimination, but with purpose.
I knew what I had to do.
--end part III--
The Darkness that Was was poisoning the Void that I came from, the true nothingness.
The Eater continued to devour more and more of the Abyss, and in turn polluted the purity of the Vacuum with echoes - the excrement that comes from the Word. I found myself allied with that phantom demoness -- she had bought me the time I would need to find others like me.
My potential allies were not pleased to hear my words. Like them, I had hoped to retreat into the emptiness and rediscover my dreams. But this was what had doomed us, for while we retreated into isolation the Eater had brought many of our people to its side. Even as I begged and pleaded for others to aid me before the Void was consumed, I found the very words I used confusing. When did we know of war against our own? When did we become a people, when it was still possible to recall a time when we did not even have an awareness of each other?
And what I suggested was a betrayal of sorts as well -- to take form so that we might do battle. What was the gain in that, when we would lose the very thing we might fight for? My appeal would be nonsensical to you, Listener of Words...or perhaps not. Perhaps a few of you might understand how I pointed toward the emptiness that was being swallowed, and called on my race – if that is what we were -- to defend its beauty, its right to not Be. We could never find the dream again, I said, because we had been cursed with meaning, with analogy and metaphor. And thus we must fight for the cause that there might be others innocent and untouched, dreaming out there in the darkness.
This was all that was left to us, but the Eater would take even that away. I do not know how you might sympathize with us, if our purpose is akin to your racial pride or desire to protect your children. Perhaps you see us as horrors, caught up in a cosmic war outside your understanding. Yet, in the
end, we fought to defend our homes, our way of life.
But we had no banner, and Silence was our rallying cry.
We met the Eater and our traitorous kind even as the pallid proto-demon faltered, her forces being broken against the shades. It was strange to hear the gurgling and wheezing cheers of the abyssal armies as we crashed against our siblings like a tide. The Eater had sought to conquer Being and Non-Being, and forces on both sides now assailed it. I broke through my traitor kin, killing without compunction. They had spoken so much they no longer resembled anything I might have pity for. Yet in their deaths they cried out, releasing more words that in turn bred in their echoes. Permutations of phonetics flowed as tributaries to the Eater, the Adversary.
The Logos was bright, blinding, flashing golden. The waters dripped from its word-cursed form, shining meters clothed the Eater in radiance. The vibrations of invisible strings formed weapons of lightnings in its hands. Vac had made this one strong. I said nothing, proclaiming who I was and what I fought for with that lack of speech -- I wanted nothing less than an end to the words, an impossible drought that might bring things back to the way they were before Vac's arrival. Yet every scale on my hide was a piece of some alphabet – I was part of the story now as well. But all this is story, language, a way of communicating something too big even for Vac, for Words -- these forms are poetry used in an attempt to translate experiences indescribable. Yet how else could you know it?
We crashed together, the Eater and I. Where I struck sounds faded away, disconnected from any purpose or harmony. Where I was wounded, silence fell like blood. But there was no escaping it -- Vac had made herself a part of us and her chains were firm and binding. Still, I fought for the Dream that was lost, for my people who had only wished to touch that state beyond meaning, beyond purpose. And that silent phantom on the other side of the breach, I shed my empty blood for her too. Though she was demon, bringer of voice, I could not hate her. That pale one, I knew she understood.
Language as liquid had stained the Void, the "quantity that is quality" (Calasso) prized by the gods for it sustains their paltry immortality. In between the vastness of our forms I could sense them drawing on it like insects. But still the Eater would not relent, it drew its power from both Void and substance, something and Nothing. How does one kill a devouring dream? I did not know.
All that was left for me to do was to tear away as much as I could from its form, ripping away the substantive dark and taking it within myself. With a final thought to peaceful slumber I stepped from what I was to what I am. I became. My past was of the Void, my present of Substance. I felt a hand touch me, steadying me. That woman, the anti-angel, looking at me with phantom eyes, telling me with silence what must be done. She pointed at the Eater and with a pained expression, granted me the weapon I needed to end this war.
"Sun Sing", she said, naming it.
--end part IV--
We come to where our paths diverge, Listener of Words. I dare not call it the end of the story, for I know to my pain that stories do not end. And in truth, the conclusion to this tale has yet to be written.
Sun Sing is the Eater's true name, given to it by the faceless lady.
But the true name is a lie, for how can something that is not truly is be named? Yet it was enough to break its designs for a time, and break its strength long enough so that the Abyssal Lady and I could bind it to the plane of Vacuum... though I would have preferred to expel the traitor from my former home. It took much language to do so, the faded echoes of which became the lesser Arcane now used
by the candles and flickers that have come to populate this new Everything. These are not as painful to bare as the "words that are not just names for things but are things." (Morrison)
As for its power, the substance it made from the Void, I sealed that away from it in a vault with infinite holes that has become my home. For this ironic action the Eater has not forgiven me, and it sends it minions to attack the place of shadows that is my creation even as it continues to pull against the Abyss in its hunger -- tied to that place by the voiceless mouthings of the first obyriths that stumbled and woke us.
But I no longer hate them for that, if not them then another would have come. And as Pale Night and I continue to ally against the power of the Adversary, there is almost a marriage to be found in our shared vigilance against the Eater...
I will not call it by its name, not outside the story I have told you. I do this out of love, or at least compassion. Having become, I know the restriction of name, the weight it places on those of our kind. Where once I was vast, darkness laying with darkness, now I am a small thing, a mere god ruling over all darkness.
I sit in the Shadow and try to Dream. I know it is futile, but at times I glimpse a sun winking out or the disintegration of a planet entire and then I am overcome by hope that there might be Silence once more. And what is Being without hope, without some purpose to strive for?
"And now there is merely silence, silence, silence, saying all we did not know." - William Rose Benet