The Seer's Parables

Posted in Feature on August 5, 2008

By Rei Nakazawa


The seer sat before me,
Wrapped gently in smoke and satin.
A small smile in purple-painted lips
Peeked out from under her silk veil.
Her crystal on the table before her
Swam in an inner light
That set my heart pattering.
"What is it you want to know?" she asked.
I swallowed the rock in my throat.
"Tell me, O seer, how will the world end?"

Her smile widened.
Her white, white teeth
Gleamed at me.
"That is a deep question, my dear,
As deep as Inkfathom, and just as cold.
The answer
Will surely not bring you any joy."
"I know," I replied,
"But know I must."
Even if I did not know why.

Her smile dazzled once more,
As if I had made light wit.
"You are not ready for my answer.
Perhaps there are other things
You wish to know?"
I nodded.
Her hands embraced the crystal.
The light within it
Swam and jumped
Writhed and stretched.
"Then ask."


Overbeing_of_Myth"Tell me, seer:
Where did this world come from?"

"I see a void
Deeper than the night
That now enshrouds us.
It is all.
It is absolute.
It is limitless.
Nothing dies,
For nothing is born,
Nothing fears
For nothing thinks.
But such perfection
Cannot last.

Was she born of the void?
Or did she arrive
From some other place
Impossibly far?
She hungers,
Not for meat,
But for knowledge.
Her eyes
Ring round
Drink greedily
Of everything around her.
Her hands itch,
Constantly grasping
For what is out of reach,
For the unknown.
Her feet do not touch
Any ground
As she glides
Towards the next discovery
The next new being
The next satisfaction.

When she beheld
This perfect void,
She wept.
What was there to see?
What was there to do?
What was there to learn?
Except herself
And the black.
Her brow furrowed,
But only for a moment.
If she could not find
What she was looking for,
Perhaps she could make it herself.

She spoke words
In a language never created,
Wove magics
With her hands the loom,
Her essence the thread.
She made this world
In her own image.
From her hunger
Sprang the boggarts,
Her joy
Created the elves,
Her caution
The kithkin,
Her anger
The cinders,
Her despair,
The giants,
Her ambition,
The merrow,
Her mischief,
The fae
Her stoutness,
The treefolk.
She tried to wreathe
This world in light,
But the void,
Angered at the disruption
Of its blanket,
Fought back.

And even when it won,
She did not despair.
In fact, she rejoiced.
Her sired things altered
In such interesting ways,
That she had new purpose.
She walks among us unseen,
Learning from our imperfections,
Watching over her creations.
As all things sprang from her,
Is she watching
For the time
When all must return to her?"


Deus_of_Calamity"Tell me, seer:
What causes
The mighty quakes
That scare my children
And send me tumbling?"

"I see a juggernaut
Greater than giants
And far older still.
He sleeps beneath the earth
Among those whom once he slew.
He bears the marks of ages upon his skin,
Memories of dreams long dead
And best left buried.
Whenever cracks split the ground,
An old peak falls,
Or hills roll like water,
That is the demiurge
Muttering in his slumber.

But one day his sleep will end,
As any sleep but death must.
He shall rise
From his forgotten bed.
His is an ancient doom,
Never spoken of
But always known
If only in flashes
Of trembling fear.
And he will walk
The world that tried to forget him.

None shall ever pass
Where he walks.
His footprints are marks of grieving.
The greatest mountain
Is sand under his feet,
The eldest forest
A single blade of grass,
Bent and crushed under his heel.

All shall see his
The shadow of his coming,
Feel his stride,
Shaking their lives apart.
And know that death is upon them.
They will scream.
They will curse.
They will beg.
They will run.
Yet all these acts, and yet more,
Will cease in the same moment
Trod under his implacable step.

When he has reached his goal,
A trail of blood and silence
Stretching behind him,
He will say words
Never spoken before or since
That will be etched upon his skin.
Then he will lie upon that spot
And slumber once more.
As the dust that falls upon him
Grows into hills
And the wrenched fields
Claw slowly back to life,
He will sleep.
And one day,
When foolish folk once again flourish,
Their arrogance blinding them
To their own mortality,
The demiurge will again awake.
And begin his journey anew."


Demigod_of_Revenge"Tell me, seer:
Why does our night
Stretch to everlasting?"

"I see a plain
Grass dyed red
Buzzing with flies
And scattered with remnants
Once housed within skin.
He dances amongst
The fleshy remnants.
He bathes himself
In gore,
Then licks it clean.

He laughs,
A bellowing, deathly din,
As he slices through the heavens
Making them bleed.
Yet he does more than laugh –
He revels.
The tearing of limbs
Is a thing of beauty to him,
Art writ across flesh.
Screams of torment
Are his favorite lullaby.
His pride beams
Beholding a misshapen thing
Of his own design
Gurgling its life
Out onto the soil.
Pray to always see his glare,
Brimming with hate
And the heat of bloodlust.
You do not want to see him smile.

Once upon a time,
He was alone,
A single soul
Screaming pitifully
In a sea of life.
It thrived
No matter how much he reaped.
Joy was an anathema to him,
Peace an obscenity.
Light shone upon all
Buffeting and blinding him.
He scoured the world
Searching for surcease,
The barest hint of flaw
In the gem,
As he knew there had to be.
He found it –
A tiny hole in the sky,
Oozing blackness.
He picked at it,
Scrabbled at it,
Yet even his strength
Could not widen it.

In his frustration,
He hacked at his own flesh,
Rending it, clawing it
Searching for comfort, victory
In his own pain.
Mortals shuddered at the sound
Of his ribs spreading,
His organs bursting.
Finally, he lay on the ground,
Panting from his exertions,
When his form
Began to knit together
In strange ways even he did not fathom.
When all limbs were joined anew,
And life returned to muscles,
There stood now
Two of him,
Where there had only been one,
United in purpose
And hate.

Roaring with unholy joy,
The two tore at each other,
Reveling in their agonies.
Then those four did the same
Those eight the same
Those sixteen the same
Until a damned army
Hurtled towards the sky.
They tore wide the hole
And chortled at the darkness
Now gushing forth.
The hole grew wider
A swallowing mouth
That consumed the sky
And all its light.
That, my dear,
Is why we live in darkness,
And why we
Live in fear
Of what lies within it."


"Tell me, seer:
With the gloom all about us.
Why do elves still hope?"

"I see a sun,
A great sphere of light
Brighter still than the moon,
Yet it sleeps.
Does it fear the depravity
That it would behold
Were it awake?
Is it bewitched?
Or is it merely ignorant
Of the suffering it causes
From its slumber?
Whatever the truth,
It has its worshippers.
It has its protectors.

She always runs.
There is always somewhere
She must be
With great haste.
She is all that mortals desire,
But do not deserve:
She blinds herself
With a cloth
Over her eyes
For she does not wish
To give herself
The gift of sight
Until all the world
Has something they wish to see.
She holds a shield
Not to guard herself
But that which she holds dear.
She holds a spear
Not to slay foes
But to warn them
Before they draw near,
And thus
Avoid bloodshed.
She is a living bastion,
A fortress that walks
To offer her walls
To those in need.

Some say
She hid the sun herself,
A desperate act
To save it
From its ultimate extinction.
Others claim
She seeks the sleeper,
A quest that spans
More generations of mortals
Than are capable
Of recording it.
Still other claim
There is no sun,
That she deceives
Those she most loves
Lest they wither
From the despair
Of the truth.

Of all
The children of Shadowmoor,
The elves are her favorite.
Their dawnglove
Is marked
With the barest hint
Of her touch.
The glowmoths
Are her tears
Fluttering on the wind.
As long as she runs,
As long as she fights,
The elves
Will always hope
Even in the midst
Of crushing night.
But should they ever
Forget her
Or should she ever fall,
Some say
It will not only
Be the doom of the elves
But the doom
Of us all."


Nobilis_of_War"Tell me, seer:
Why must there be war?"

"I see a great chariot,
Hear the snap of the whip
As its flame
Arcs against the sky
Like a bloody smile,
The snorting of the rams,
Their heated breath
Scorching the ground.
Its driver,
Its master,
Sees the world
From behind the pommel
Of an upraised sword.
His enemies are legion,
For they ever shift
With the content of his troops.
He knows no loyalty
Except to himself
And those he claims
To know –
The better to find
A willing army.

Many peoples
Know him
By many names.
Yet the myths are the same:
His great coming,
Shining in his godhood;
The speeches,
The rallies,
His sugared tongue
Setting torch to the kindling
Of prejudice and fear;
The great war
Led under his crimson standard,
That scythes down
All that once
Stood tall
And proud;
The aftermath
Of wailing and pain
In which he
Never figures
At all.

He is a smith of war.
He stokes fervor
From glowing ember
To white flame,
Hammers hot
And pliable minds,
Forges soldiers
Out of the rough dross
Of peaceful life.
His conqueror's voice
Never meets silence.
It is answered
With shouts of rage,
Roars of approval,
A deadly din
That lifts his spirit.

You see, blood is his wine,
The clash of swords his song.
He does more than revel in it:
He feeds off it.
A great siege
Is a banquet to him,
A long and terrible battle
The most exquisite delicacy.
Each life crushed
Under the heel of war
Is a grape,
Its sweet juice
Trickling down
His throat.
He cares not
For the lands he conquers,
Nor the ones
Left burning and fallow.
He always knows
There is another land,
Another army,
Over the bloodstained horizon.

Without warfare,
Without all its aspects –
The fervor,
The pride,
The sacrifice,
The bloodshed –
He would cease to exist.
And that, my dear,
Is why we cannot even imagine
A world without war.
He won't let us."


Dominus_of_Fealty"Tell me, seer:
Why can some not act
As one mind, one soul
As we kithkin do?"

"I see a scepter,
That has met many a brow
In a ringing impact.
The hand that holds it
So tightly
Wields it
With careless.
Yet oh so careful,
His eyes
See only
What other eyes value:
Lucky coin,
Trusted sword,
To him,
Nothing has worth
Unless it belongs
To someone else.
It is not the lust for wealth
That drives him
Simply the hunter's thrill,
And the moment
Of acquisition.
Nothing is truly your own.
It is his –
Whether you know it or not.

The scepter is a relic
Of a famed victim.
Once there was a king.
Whether of elves, kith, boggart,
Or something else entirely
Only the dead can say.
He had gold, jewels, silks,
All the riches of the world
At his command.
Until the day
The demigod came,
His power
Wafting off his skin
Like heat.
Struck with fear,
The king asked
What the demigod wanted.
The reply:
'Simply the most precious thing you own.
If I get it,
I will spare the rest of your wealth.
Will you give it willingly?'
The king pondered.
Was it his diamond,
As clear as a child's eyes?
Or his tapestry,
Woven from the rarest cloths?
Whatever it was,
Surely losing it was better
Than losing the rest.
The king agreed.
In the next moment,
His soul was sucked from his body
Into his scepter.
As the king fell dead,
The demigod took the scepter,
Its former owner's soul
Still screaming within,
And left.
The two keep counsel
To this day.

Do you see, my dear?
With such a threat,
Clutching hands
Grow tighter,
Suspicious eyes
Scheming minds
When those who have
Must constantly defend
Against not only those who have not,
But a demigod,
How can they unite
Against a more serious threat?
They cannot.
They can only die."


Deity_of_Scars"Tell me, seer:
Why do we desire
To keep on living
Even if that life
Is empty and hopeless?"

"I see a great wolf
Fur black as a soul,
Fangs broken
By bone and steel.
It is an old beast,
Slashed by many winters,
It enters life's twilight
Crossed with puffed scars.
This battle,
Fought since the day
Of its birth,
Is nearing its end.

It howled
To the skies,
Screaming injustice.
Why, it demanded
To the powers beyond,
Must it give up its life,
A life that still blazed
Hot within its fur,
The outcome preordained?
Why must this struggle,
Its greatest struggle,
Be futile?
Why, it snarled,
Could it not have a chance?

What powers, great and terrible,
Heard it then?
What powers, light or dark,
Granted its wish,
Changed it,
Made it into the demiurge
That now stalks the land?
Not even I know that, my dear,
And it is better for me that way.

The Deity
Is no longer that wolf
In flesh,
But in heart...
That is a different story.
His hands
Crush tree trunks
With the slightest squeeze.
His voice
Shatters ears,
Brings knees to soil,
And summons a pack
Far mightier
Than ever he commanded
As an alpha.
His skin
Cuts swords,
And a single swing
Of his axe
Hews the legs of giants
In twain.
Yet in his deepest heart,
Where it pulses night after night,
Is fear.

He became what he is
To survive.
How long will that gift last?
Who may come
Mighty enough
To slay him?
Every challenger
No matter how slight
Is a deadly threat.
Every battle,
No matter what the stakes,
Is raw,
Strewn with gore,
And tainted with panic.
Thus is he
The fang and bloody claw
Of nature
The primal, savage urge
To survive
No matter what the cost,
No matter what the casualty.
And this urge
Infects us all today.
Do you fear the night, my dear?
Perhaps you should
Fear him more.
As he fears you."


Godhead_of_Awe"Tell me, seer:
Why does the moon
Wax and wane?"

"I see a single eye
A wet, iridescent orb
That cuts through untruth
And self deception.
It humbles the mighty,
Brings titans to their knees,
Quails the dead
And shudders spirits
To their nonexistent bones.
The eye is in the center of a great face,
Her lips curl
In something like loathing.
Her blade gleams
With an arrogant light
A pinprick of brightness
In the gloom of Shadowmoor.

Every sin
She sees.
Every scheme
She knows.
Every kept thought,
Every shameful secret,
Every dark desire
That we struggle to lock
So deep in our souls
That we refuse to say it exists...
She hears.
How does she regard us?
This watcher above?
It is impossible
For one so great
To truly understand
The ways of mortals.
Can a kithkin
Who lives amongst his own kind
Truly know
The thoughts of the raven
Or the dreams
Of the wolf?

It took eons of time,
By mortal minds
For this godhead
To begin to open her eye.
What she saw
Crawling upon this world,
Repulsed her.
Yet she could not tear
Her gaze away.
For reasons
Lesser beings
Will never understand,
She continued to watch.
Night after night
The world
Was her looking glass,
The sky
Her window.
Her eye
Weighed upon those below
As if their chests
Were being squeezed
By a vise.

'We beg of you!'
They cried to the eye above,
'We cannot bear your gaze
Any longer!'
They sank to their knees,
Their energy gone,
Humbled under
The oppressive presence
Of nothing but
A single eye.
Long moments passed
Perhaps an eternity.
Ever so slowly...
The eye began to shut.
The weight lifted
If only for a moment,
The mortals rejoiced.

And that, my dear,
Is why the moon changes.
It is the eye of the godhead,
Giving respite
From her judgment,
But only for a while,
For the impulses
Of such a being
Cannot long be denied."


Ghastlord_of_Fugue"Tell me, seer:
What lies
Beyond death?"

"I see cold mist
Plucking at skin
And stabbing bone
With chill.
I see eyes,
Pits of gloom,
That draw in
The horrified gaze.
He takes not a breath,
And his every gesture
Crackles like ancient bones
Snapping under an iron boot.
His claws
Have caressed eyes,
Tongues, and veins,
All with loving care.

He is a ghost
That has never known life.
He passes through stone
As if it were water,
Flesh and soul
As if they were a baby's sigh.
He knows the true name
Of every being that is
Or ever will be,
And he hates them all.
Is it the warmth
Of blood and breath
That he despises so?
Or does he believe
That his bitter not-life
Is perfection itself?

The mists
That blanket our world
Are his eyes,
His fingers.
They probe, they search,
They seek
Dying souls
Souls that are weak
From age or youth,
Corruption or naïveté,
Despair or hope.
In the dead of their dreams
He finds them.
He tells them their true name,
And oh so gently
Holds them
In his chill embrace.
'Child,' he whispers,
'Let me relieve
All your burdens.'

Those who awaken
Are indelibly marked:
The lidded eyes,
The wandering mind,
The little jump
At the innocent touch.
They remember naught
But a shudder in their belly
And an ill-formed blot
In their thoughts.
He visits again
His icy hand
Sinking deeper
Drawing no blood –
Only cries and sobs
Muffled as though
Smothered under a pillow.
Each slumbereve,
He comes,
His words harsher,
His cut deeper,
Until he tears at entrail and sinew,
Sucks at marrow,
And plucks at the mouth,
Tooth by tooth.

Yet when his favored
Are found in their beds,
Their bodies are whole,
Their skin pure,
Except for the horror
Stamped forever on their faces.
Now, my dear,
That you know how one can die
Do you really wish to know
What comes after?"

I did not.


Divinity_of_Pride"I have asked many questions,"
I said.
"But my first still remains:
How will this world end?"
The seer smiled
That white smile.
"I can tell you that, my dear.
In fact,
I will tell you
So much more."

And her skin
Fell away.

Her wings,
Shimmering black,
Cast shadows across my eyes.
Her gown
Danced like leaves
Awash with wind.
Her haughty gaze
Struck me to my knees.
"Long have I waited
To impart my gifts
To one so curious,
So worthy."

"Please," I begged,
"Leave me be.
I thank you
For your praise,
But I cannot accept
Such wonder!"
I tried to run
But my palsied legs
Would not even twitch.
"Ah," she said,
"But you must.
All is preordained.
It all must pass
As I have seen,
Lest you rouse my anger."
I squeaked.

"Now, my dear,
I shall reveal all.
The end of your world.
The purpose of your existence,
All the greatness and horror
Of all creation
Will be yours
She spoke of mystery and portent,
Of occult and whispers,
Of such unfathomable things
That my mind
For pity.
It did not come.

Even now, I try to forget.
But I remember.
I remember!
And I must
Spread her word
Spread her truth
Or she shall impart
Even more upon me.
Laid open
To me.
Too much
If you could see
What lurks
Beyond the moonlight
You would
I beg of you
Those who read these words
Think as I think
Dream as I have dreamed.
You must understand
Must understand
Must join me
Join her.

It burns
My brain
Oh heavens
How it burns.

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