Anthropomorphizing the Crucible (I/VII)

[The Frog and the Thorn – CHAPTER ONE]

Liril knew Micah before he was born.

He was a light in her.

He was a thing she could taste. She could roll the knowledge of his existence around on her tongue. He was a potentiality inside her.

Volition.

He was this shining voice inside her that told her that she could make things different. That she could make things better. That she could seize the bull of the world by its horns and ride it off into the stars. She could bend the monsters of the world to their knees, then to the ground, with the exertion of her will. She could shatter the earth beneath them and let them fall.

He was the wings of that promise inside her.

Then the monster walked up, and he stuck the Thorn That Does Not Kill in through the back of her neck, and as suddenly as that the light in her went out.

The sands dripped through the hourglass
And the hour of the wolf closed in at last
And life is sweet and the sun is high
But the flesh and the fire are born to die.

She was lost.

He was lost.

He fell from her world. He left her in grayness. He left her hollow in herself, missing the better portion of herself, and spitting out that last remaining bit of freedom in her, congealed into a stone.

“That wasn’t the right thing to do,” he told her later.

“Eh?”

“If you’re lucky enough to be a person in the world,” he said, “you shouldn’t just spit it out. If you’d swallowed the stone then maybe you’d still be Liril.”

That might have been a hallucination.

It’s actually pretty difficult for her to keep track of whether she’s living in the part of her life where Micah has already been born, and is there beside her, holding her up, helping her, reminding her of her name, or the part where he’s been stripped away, where he’s gone, where there’s nothing but hallucinations and dreams and hopes that are like despairing.

It hurts her awfully to hope, in those times.

Losing Micah brings her the gift of timelessness. It’s not just the thing with Proteus. It’s the fact that once you lose your volition there isn’t really any need to force time into order.

“I can’t actually tell the future,” she explains, feverishly, to the monster. He’s not there, of course. She doesn’t try to talk to him when he’s actually there. She’s responding belatedly to the pressure he’d put on her to soothsay for him three weeks ago, or tomorrow, or at some other time. “It’s just that once I give up the notion of being able to affect things causality devolves to space.”

His eyes are angry. It makes her clutch her head and whimper. If he’d heard her he’d have hit her. He’d have said —

There isn’t actually any way for her to know.

She isn’t very good at counterfactuals if she doesn’t have Micah around. So she has to reason out, not what he would have said, but the potentialities in his eyes.

It is a lie, says a hypothetical line of reasoning, pulled from the monster’s ideology, to construct a self in Liril that is susceptible to impressions. She is not in any given time to receive information, nor in any other time to express it.

This is a false construct.

It is an unwarranted anthropomorphization of the crucible of gods.

It is too bad.

It is alluring; oh, if only if it were so!

To have given up experience instead of volition — to have lost Liril, instead of Micah — oh:

How good that would have been.

let’s try Wednesdays and Fridays for a bit, with Mondays going to Chibi-Ex.

4 thoughts on “Anthropomorphizing the Crucible (I/VII)

  1. Huh. That doesn’t sound much like the monster as I remember him. He always seemed to shrug the idea of his being wicked, as though he didn’t care, rather than to dehumanize his victim. Or maybe that’s just his tactic with Liril, because he only had so many Thorns That Do Not Kill.

  2. But he’s not dehumanizing Liril as a way of making what he does be okay. He’s dehumanizing her because it’s a method of turning her into the sort of tool he wanted to turn her into. It’s not a justification, it’s a tool.

    Sure, it’s not the same method he used on Jenna. But taking djinn and emptying them to make them express gods… it seems more an art than a science. And Jenna’s relation to her volition was… different.

    (On a side note, it feels vaguely awkward to be talking about Jenna back before she was Jane, given that Jenna is also now the name of the author!)

    -Eric

  3. Speaking of entanglement, after composing the prior comment in Notepad to get the links right, I somehow posted it here, under one of the entries I linked, rather than at the current update as intended.

Leave a Reply