More Leftover Stuff

(I had this scene written for forever but couldn’t ever find a point to INCLUDE it. Also it needs an update now because when this was written, the monster had actively called the King to him, but now, he hadn’t.)

**

“He was shining,” Micah says. “I will have you know that in that time he was shining, was the King. He was bright. He was a thing of virtue, all mixed in with the pain.”

“What is done by the Kings is right,” Liril says.

“That’s so,” says Micah.

He hesitates.

“Is that so?”

She gives him half a smile. “Who are we to judge a King?”

“He came upon the monster, who stood on the building’s roof, and the monster was looking at him with this weird and twisted smile. ‘I’ve called you here,’ the monster said, ‘to break the bonds of Lia and Amiel.’

“And the King, he bowed his head.

“And the King was vaster than the sky; he was the roiling of green and purple clouds, he was the hollow metal drumbeat of the chamber of the world, he was the strangeness of the lights that moved within the sky, and all around him death, and mold, and life, but still he bowed his head, one monarch to another, and then deeper, in submission, and then came tumbling down like falling stones upon the monster’s brow.

(Though I want to include something like: “It came down to Elm Hill,” Micah says, “and the monster stood before it, holding the Thorn that does not Kill in his pale hand. And it was bright, and garbed not then in its vestments of indigo and green, but rather lightning.”)

“But the monster was afraid.”

Liril shakes her head.

“He was,” Micah repeats.

“Nuh-uh,” Liril protests.

The darkness beats vividly in her mind with the memory of the monster’s wings.

“In that moment,” Micah says, “he understood that if he were freed from the bonds of Lia and Amiel, he would cease to be the monster, but only a man, in possession of his sins; and so he struck the King with the Thorn that does not Kill, and punctured the membrane boundary of that life.

“And if you were to ask me why it is that life must war with life; if you would ask me why the flesh doth move unsettledly in our kingdom; if you would wonder why we to Elm Hill do not go, I would say: for this, for that the monster broke the King of Life with the tip of his brutal Thorn.”

Leftover Stuff

(I queued up a bunch of spoiler/out-of-buffer emergency posts back in like October? in case my move to Taiwan completely blew up on me, then progressively kicked them forward a few months at a time when things didn’t blow up but didn’t normalize to a functional environment either. They’re currently slated for the end of this month and some random times next month, so, well. I’m sticking this parenthetical on top. Things may actually be better at this point but I’m not sure enough to kick it back further.)

From an early version of Micah’s birth scene

**

Micah’s eyes are having trouble getting used to the light in the office. He is reaching around him. He is trying to adapt to the presence of the world.

His hands are still slick with the substances of his birth.

He coughs up liquid on the monster’s shirt.

“The next name on the list is Preston,” the monster says. “You don’t seem a terribly useful god, but you’ll forgive me for noting that you’re mine, and I can hurt you, or her, at any time I please.”

Micah looks blankly at him.

“What are you for, Preston?” the monster asks.

“My name is Micah,” Micah says.

“That’s not an answer,” the monster points out. “That’s just defiance.”

Micah flounders around in his brain. Liril makes a pained noise; his heart leaps in sudden panic, he is moving to try to console her; but a twitch in the edge of the patterns of his will drags his attention back towards the monster once again.

“I have a surprisingly relevant knowledge of historical trivia,” Micah says.

“Oh?”

Micah consults his knowledge of historical trivia.

“Please don’t eat me,” he says.

The monster frowns at him.

“Because sometimes monsters eat people,” Micah says. The monster gives him a deeper frown and adjusts his tie. Micah babbles, “It’s surprisingly relevant!”

The monster sighs.

The monster touches Liril’s hair.

“Small experiment,” he says.

He places his hand on Liril’s chest. He puts pressure on a broken rib. She cries out.

Micah has gone very still.

“Nothing to stop me with, then,” the monster says. “That’s good to know. Unless there’s some bit of surprisingly relevant historical trivia that applies?”

“You don’t want to break her flesh,” Micah says.

The pressure of the monster’s hand lightens.

“Is that so?” he says.

“She is tainted,” Micah says, “by the passage of a King.”

**

(Later)

He is searching around him in the dark. He puts his hands against the bars of the cage. They are still slick with the substances of his birth.

The cage is one unbroken trap.

Something terrible is approaching in the dark.

He sits cross-legged. He pulls her head into his lap. He says, “You do not need me. You are already in a cage.”

It hurts him terribly that she is damaged.

“I need you,” she tells him.

He bites his lip. He looks around, pointlessly. He thinks.

“I have a talent for surprisingly relevant historical trivia,” Micah says. “Would you like me to use that to set us free?”

“OK.”

Micah sits there in the dark.

Liril coughs.

He suspects that there is blood.

“Let me restate that,” Micah says. “Would you, ha ha, like me to use a talent, ha ha, for surprisingly relevant historical trivia to break us free from this cage and the miles of horror that surround us?”

“Oh,” Liril says.

She coughs again. The fact that he is being sarcastic bludgeons the solution space of her thoughts like a sledgehammer upon a melon.

She ignores it.

“OK,” she says, again.

“Oh,” Micah says.

He looks up. There are red eyes in the darkness, staring down at him. They are swaying a little. They are quite large. He does not like to imagine the mouth that must be attached.

He licks his lips.

He tells the story.

“There is,” he says, “a King.”

The Frog and the Thorn: Chapter One

or, how Melanie offered Micah a name tag,
but he didn’t put it on

Because Sometimes You Just Slip . . .

FORGOTTEN HOW WE GOT HERE?
The prologue to “The Frog and the Thorn” is here.
Even earlier stuff about Liril and Micah is here!

The No-Good Bird

In a Time of Cages

1: Anthropomorphizing the Crucible
2: Eliza and the Frog
3: Formica
4: And the Birds Fall Dead
5: Exposition Answers Emptiness with Digressions
6: “And Break.”
7: Little Faces

Oh, Harold Dear

The Rabbit and the Wolf

How Micah Fought the Monster

1: The Shepherdess
1a: Later. . .
2: The Boundary between Liril and the World
3: The Measure of a Monster
4: Sympathetic Magic
5: The Lion
6: “I will make you cry”
7: What Do You Do with a One-Winged Cherub?

The Frog and the Thorn: Prologue

or, how Melanie met the grangler,
and what happened then

To Serve the String

COMPLETELY LOST?
Start here, instead, with the first canon storyline!

The Elephant in the Room

2: The Soot-Web
6: Why is Six Afraid of Seven?
1: Anatman
3: What’s Purple and Incarnated in Human Form to Save Us All From Suffering?
7: A Study in Entanglement
5: Free
4: What’s Gray and Hurts More than You Can Imagine?

Lament for Amiel

1: Stupid Words and their Stupid Power, Anyway
1a: There is a King
2: Forsaken of their Gods
2a: Bam
2b: Haunted
3: And Sometimes You Just Slip . . .

Whoever Can Bear the Weight

I will tell you a story.

I will tell you this story because it is time that you heard this story. I will tell you this story because it is true. I will tell you this story because you have wondered for some time, dear child, who it is that stands upon the throne of all this world.

And stand he does: stands, with the forces of the world constellating around him, stands with the fates of all the world like strings tied to the rough reins of his right hand.

He stands with his palm thrust out, and from that hand a mandala of energy once grew; and seven more formed about it; and each touched the others, each orbited the others; each was the center of the pattern, and among them were faces, wings, fires, jade, and gold.

He flung back his head.

He laughed.

There was a great wind before the throne in Heaven and the seraphim cried out. The sun and stars and the planets froze in their procession and the whole world shook.

Thus it was when the monster first ascended to the throne—

Unless, of course, that was somebody else entirely.

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

Let us speak of time.

You don’t need time to become perfect. Time’s just the expression of it.

The maze of us is self-unraveling.

The corridors of our paths to perfection contain the germ of our walking them; and so we can say that seen from four-dimensional space we are a rose that navigates itself, a compass that finds itself, a perfect thing under the veils of its imperfection.

That we suffer is a trick of perception. It is a grain of distilled falsehood caught inside our eyes. If we could pull ourselves away from Time we would see that there is only beauty. Our beauty is hiding from us in the past, in the future, in the flow of things: looking at a single moment, life might seem atrocity instead, but pull back your gaze and even atrocity becomes life

But wait.

Laughing in the fields, sure; taking joy in the unraveling of the riddles of our lives, certainly; the already perfect takes joy in the discovery of that perfection, in the slow shedding of the scales from its eyes that kept it from seeing the perfection of itself, oh, dharma moves, and all is beautiful—

But wait.

The Elysian fields come necessarily to us all, and drifting in that joy we are ourselves, and complete, perfected—

Wait, I say. This cannot stand.

Listen.

I tell you that to drift in endless joy and solitary perfection cannot stand. It cannot be the end.

It is missing half the story, to be perfected and alone.

There’s a girl in the sun
And there’s girls in the sea
And in Elm Hill’s cages
There’s a girl like me

To live, to really live, we must give over our perfection to the fallibility of the earth. We must crack it. We must break it, dear child, our terrible perfection. We must incarnate again in flesh. We must redeem the mortal clay.

We who are fire must wake the meat to knowing joy.

We have nothing. To be perfect is to have nothing: it is all entangled. So the only thing that we may sacrifice in this is the perfection and wholeness of ourselves.

We are perfect, and yet we must stagger back towards imperfection. We are perfect, yet we must break our godhood on the altering of skin.

To this agenda we have nothing else to give, save our own selves.

We must feast the woglies with them. We must make feast to the woglies with them. And it never ends. It never has. I fear it never shall.

We pour ourselves into the flesh and the flesh keeps failing to wake.

God is that which gives itself away, to the last portion, and gets nothing in return. And in Eleusis we become like God and break ourselves upon the rock that is the world, give out our truths as grain in mortal sacrifice, and yet it does not rise.

Where are the people who were meant to be arising from the ground?

Where is our companionship in the stone?

We laugh at those who long to live forever, for that was the first thing given; what we need is the power to save others from their pain.

It is so still.

The world, it is so terribly, terribly, still.

And yet it yearns to wake.

[The Frog and the Thorn – INTERLUDE]


The nature of the Third Kingdom of the world says, We may change.

We may change.

And in the last days of the Third Kingdom, when the wind fell from the sails of that change, when the wave that was that change broke finally against the meat-nature of the flesh, the woglies were all that remained to us of hope.

This is how things are? they laughed.

This is unfixable, unalterable, this is a place without recourse? they laughed.

And they ate into our dilemma like our hopelessness was their meat, and they said, see? It was not so.

They are the crack in every prison.

They are an uncertainty that moves.

And as for Zeus, he took the treasure of the world and he slipped away; slipped out from under the burden of the throne, he let it fall like a great weight from his back. And the seraphim who’d besieged him, crying out, “Holy, holy, holy,” as if in war, burst in the doors, but Olympus was empty of its gods; there was only the scent of olives, and an olive branch left behind, in honor of the seraphim’s great Lord.

Zeus the son of burden-bearing Cronos took the power of the world and gave it to a woman whom he thought could bear its weight;

And then he went away.

See also The Tip of the Iceberg, An Unclean Legacy, and The Summoning of the King.