Retrieving the Heart

sciborg2's picture

You have listened well so far my lovelies, but there is still much to tell. You awaken to your new life, my lovelies, and I have told you many secrets, answered the many questions that threatened to drown you when you first opened your eyes.

And now you must understand that though you have been born in this moment just passed, I have been birthing you for eons. You must come to understand that if you are to fulfill your purpose. Before I came pregnant with you, all of you, I was someone else. One among Many. You have to understand that we were children--powerful children yes, but unable to comprehend the Truth that I have given to you freely. Only now can I see It so cleary...but let me continue with my story....

We polluted the womb of the Mother to birth our children/tools, we ravaged the Maiden into negation so that we might see without the blinding light of purity in our eyes, and now we came to the Crone. We found her in a cave that stank of things unknown to us then--age, decay, regret. We were the beautiful ram-horned youth of Hades, king-queens that stood above all others. Yet because we watched the unfolding monotony from the Apex, we became obsessed with the horizon. And chasing that ever-fleeing line in the distance, we had come here before this earthen mouth stretched open to reveal only darkness.

"Come out hag.", we cajoled, "you are but one third of yourself now, and no match for us." It was the first time I recalled being weary of lightlessness, and the seven other instances did not fill me with such trepidation. Her laughter echoed out from her home, a flock of bats flying out and screeching with the same mirth.

"Yet here I find my heart two-thirds lighter for all my supposed diminishment. Nay sweet sexless, you have butchered the Maiden and enslaved the Mother, but in doing so you have unchained the Crone." We glanced at each other nervously. Had we miscalculated in our attempt to bind the Archetypal? Yet what choice did we have if we were to ever understand? Our ignorance was gnawing our organs, our obsession clawing at the soft smoothness from the inside out. I stepped forward, thinking to reap the respect of my associates. Admiration was our currency among each other you see, how we bought and sold ourselves.

"We can put you back, make you abstract again. Come out and you won't have to fade back to the World of Forms." This time the laughter had an air of madness, the smell of her breath carrying itself to our fine aegagrian nostrils. I felt a strange tightening of my cheek, sudden and almost painful, as the foul air touched me. Later I would realize it was the slightest wrinkle that had formed in that defining moment when her breath caressed my faced. Terrifying it was, to look upon the flaw, though unlike the others I would escape the worst of it...

Ironic, is it not? That is a story I long to tell you my newborn children, but I want you to understand the significance of the past and the order in which it happened. So back then I was a child, and my black heart quickened its beating. Everything stood on the cusp of change.

"Too late, little ones, far too late. That time when I was part of Three is done and gone. I have been given a name." Suddenly it occurred to me that perhaps we, who had thought ourselves as players might very well be pieces in someone else's game? Who had dared to name her? The horizon offered little in the way of answers, on one side the glint of ruby like a lonely star and on the other the taste of brine. There were so many facets to this Beautiful Thing, so hard to see that it was maddening, this promise of beyond. I felt the eyes of my sister-brothers upon me. They were afraid of this one, just as they had feared the Mother and the Maiden. It was hard for them, because they did not understand the potency of gender as I had, crafting the necessary parts from the distort gestations emerging from the endless grey expanse. And so they needed me still, and hated me for it. I could feel the envy amidst the desperation, and I stood there and savored every drop. Even then I knew it could not last forever, with them every joy seemed far too short. Finally, one of them spoke up and paid the price in pride for my services. Daru was its name, I still remember the name of my student, my lover, my betrayer. One of ten thousand, but still that one's face I can recall, the sound of his-her voice I can still hear. Yes, I remember it all perfectly. But then of course I do, for what am I now but the endless river of memories moving through corpses?

"Lead on Apomps," she says, his exhalation tickling the back of my neck, an intimacy burning with humiliation and anger. "Lead on."


It was I, you see, who went first into the lair of the Crone. The others, the cowards and weaklings, they are merely echoes of my glory and my greatness. The smell was of something unfamilar to us then, but intimately known to my siblings now. The scent of time, the perfume of decay. The essence of the Crone. There was a darkness in that cave that even our powers could only narrowly pierce.

We saw hints of walls and outcroppings of rock, enough to navigate. But the owners of the chatterings and gigglings that we heard, that remained a mystery. How strange it felt, to not know things that transpired upon the Grey. We found the Crone after walking out of time, for seconds that were hours that were years.

Even in the shadows, we saw how her ugliness contrasted with our beautiful symmetry. She was a wrinkled thing, yellow-brown like dried mucus, grey hair existing only in patches on her blistered scalp. She was like a corpse still standing. She stood there, stirring a cauldron in an almost comical fashion. She was so ridiculous, but so powerful. What had we done?

"What then is your name?" I asked, hoping to deduce our enemy from the language, but it was nothing I had ever heard. Celigune. I wondered who had named her, and what the name even meant. As far as I knew it was a meaningless collection of syllables, yet it had given the Crone substance. Names have power, are power, but it would take great power to solidify a concept. Power that we thought had been restricted to we baern alone. The Crone---Celigune's runny jaundiced eyes met my own flawless golden orbs. Even her pupils were malformed, unlike the perfect black spheres that rested within my own beautiful eyes. My cold sanity contrasted with her mad gaze.

"I looked upon my reflection, and I named myself. My name will be first word in a new tongue, the language of my peo...but I get ahead of myself. Why have you come, Apomps?"

"You know me?"

"I can see your name in my mirrors, just as I can see all your kind wandering the Grey. You search and search, and now your search has led you here. Blood of the Maiden, Womb of the Mother, and Wisdom of the Crone. You killed two parts of me, and yet you freed me. Do I offer vengeance or thanks?"

My brother-sisters started at the thought of battle. They muttered in Dark Speech, and the blackness of the cave churned as her Darkness pushed against our Darkness. I raised my hand to signal them to be calm.

"We did not come to battle. And even if you could defeat all of us, there are other forces at work in the Grey and even beyond its endless shores. You would be easy prey after the battle was over. Come, Celigune, let us parley."

The Crone seemed to brighten at the sound of her name, it made her more real to herself. She smiled, revealing jagged yellow outcroppings that passed for teeth. We were the flawless Angels of Malice before what remained of the Triptych. By all rights we should have slaughtered her, we should have been able to slaughter her. Yet here we stood, my brother-sisters and I, bargaining with a being we had torn two-thirds from. It was all part of the unholy mystery that seemed always to be on the edge of the distant horizon. Would we ever understand It's beautiful majesty? At that moment I felt a touch of cold despair in my heart.

Ignorance could not be an option.

"What is it that you seek then, Apomps?" The Crone's foul breath was wet, dew clinging to the insides of our nostrils.

"There is a riddle that plagues us. We seek to understand something we are part of, but because we find ourselves part of its vastness we are not sure we are capable. Tell us Crone, can you help us look at Evil from within and without?"

The Crone seemed to think on our plight, her eyes rolling up until only the dirty whites showed. It was as if she communed with that place she was once a part of, where the Archetypes existed over (or beneath?) our base Multiverse. She shuddered like a fly against the window, and finally she answered.

"You are not capable of understanding." My colleagues, my fellow baern muttered in anger. One moved to strike at the goddess, but I grasped his/her wrist. Turning to the hag, I asked why this was.

"You must purify yourselves, or you will be confounded by reflections when you wish to look through windows." My fellows pushed foward, menacing the hag...and myself.

"Why did we come here Apomps!? This one cannot understand what we seek!" "We have lingered too long, we must understand what eludes us!"

The hag only smirked, unconcerned by the King/Queens of the Waste .

"You wish to understand all its facets. I know much of facets you see..." There was a flash of fire as she lit the wood that lay under her cauldron. With those dancing flames a thousand flickering stars lit the cavern walls. Gemstones of varied hues and colors, each distorting our gorgeous reflections, showing us haggard faces wasted by the madness of our search.

I pushed past my companions, and asked our famous question. "What is it that you want?"

Celigune smiled widely.

"I can never be Maiden, but I suspect you can make a Mother out of me yet."


And so we baern gave the Crone back what was left of the Mother, as we had the means of creating our children. From the dry and bloodless uterus came the hags of the Multiverse, foremost among them the hags of night. Even now they draw nightmares to the Waste, so that we may track the infinity of dark thoughts. And in return she gave us something as well, a gem unlike any other, ever changing the number of its faces, an artifact that took away the taint of law and chaos. But the price to drive out these conceptual forces was that we needed to drink in the essence of the archetype, the Crone. And we gave her our essence as well, to make guardians of our race that we called the altraloths. Of course these things do not concern me, for the Crone had another fate in mind for myself. As we left with that gem which would be redemption and damnation both, the Heart of Darkness, I heard a whisper for my ears alone. "Mother, Maiden, Crone. A triptych Apomps, there must always be a triptych. Someday you'll see, little one, someday....."

Nemui's picture
Joined: 2004-08-30
Is it Celigune or Cegilune?

Oh, and, does this tie into the idea of the Queen of Air and Darkness being the Maiden and Titania being the Mother?

Nemui's picture
Joined: 2004-08-30
Is it Celigune or Cegilune?

Interesting piece, in any case. So, the Triad Archetype no longer exists? There's only the Crone, but the Maiden and Mother are destroyed?

I'm not sure if I like Apomps as the first among equals. BTW, if he did "understand the potency of gender" so well, why are the 'leth asexual?

Was that wise, Celigune giving her name to the baern just like that? Or did the whole names-hold-power thing function differently back then?

sciborg2's picture
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Retrieving the Heart

So super late commenting on this, but Celigune is not bound by her name so much as made real by it. She has to become a goddess to survive the archetypal maiming the 'loths enacted.


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