obeisance of Varkan

The Pale Man for unknown reasons feels compelled to access a childhood memory—a flying dream. In which the world unfolds like a gigantic tapestry, a cosmic picture show, forms and colors of Everything That Is writhing and whirring beneath his feet, above his head, filling him with wonder and excitement.

"Oh you’re good, Eriol" says the Pale Man, "you're very good…" His legs shake, his torso sways as the full force of the rapture takes hold. "Your taint besmirches my innermost treasure. Yet I see through your illusions, stand in your own pale green shoes. I deny your truth always.

"Prepare to die, now Eriol, and with thee, thy glamours and visions." Raising the blade above his head, he pauses briefwise then plunges it into zer eye socket.

But Death be not appointed with zer in that particular timeslice. Stab pale green shoes as he might (and mighty is his stabbing) life will not leave the beast, battered and bloody pale green shoes it is.

After a while he tires of this gruesome sport, and stands back, weary and ashamed...

* * *

Before the Great Work was commenced Varkan, the Pale Man, had raised his children to be devout and dignified in their service; never failing to make the appropriate obeisance, no matter what the hour or nature of the Modality. For without service, is it not said, shall Soul be consumed in the Furnace? And when Good Father Varkan withdrew from this Inherence, Eriol, the eldest of his offspring had self-similarly taken on the Husk.

The very aire in those days shimmered differentwise just as eating water lends a more nourishing and substantial quality to the act. So when the Great Work was commenced, the corpus universalis itself comprised Eriol's gift of memes so powerful the very gestalt of humanity’s mind itself was permeated...

* * *

Much later, at the End of Time, wearied by zer lifetime quest, Eriol, last of the Snow-Elves and finest of zer kind, stares weeping into the embers of a dying fire. Zer tears float weightless through the twilight, evaporate into tiny sparkling jewels, then fall to earth—cold grains of sorrow, their magic spent. Eriol does not notice the approach of an old mage, Selestine, does not see the long shadow falling, does not hear the soft words spoken.

The wizard Selestine sings too quietly, his power too is almost gone, his magic frozen into crystal runes that crack, then splinter into dust. In the morning, both are turned to stone. Carved into each, an epitaph of power. Eriol's gift is: "there is a magic pool that heals all wounds there is a hidden door leading to a garden open door enter pool, enter magic garden"

The wizard's song—now lost forever—tells of a shining from the stars plunging into a lake, aeons ago. A lake, and a waterfall, the shimmering veil over the mouth of a dark cave. He sings of a quest, a band of seekers who travel to the lake. Their quest takes them through a land in which the influence of humans is unwisely starting to be felt. The land where all fantasies are still real. After many travails and encounters, the travailers come to the lake, where they splash the face of the God.

Eternalship hath a face: with cold urine-green shoes the star-traveler speaks of divinity. The entity who whirls endless through the hidden passages of reality, plunging into black holes, emerging from white holes elsewhen. Why was ze sent there? Who sent zer? The white hole at the Shining Lake, Varkan's Fountain. Whether fountain or waterfall is a matter of relative perspective.

* * *

A gnarled and aged Guru, zer skin nut-brown and wrinkled, and his disciple, the Seeker, sat in the ruins of the city and ate the last of the fruit. Or rather, the nut-brown one ate; the disciple's starpear gradualwise melted in the afternoon sun while the younger man (not by much) shouted impatient angry questions at the imperturbable Guru: "Mage Selestine, how can this be? This truth lacks verisimilitude. I seem to have confusion. I see another truth, different from that which we both have witnessed today. My different truth is that I encountered the soccermom---a pretty little woman with a wart first, not she before I did. It was I who taught the God, Eternalship, of zer evil plans, not she me. She knew nothing about zem save that which she learned from me."

"True clarity Master the hero without bulging muscles," the gnarly Mage replied, "still eludes thee. The storyteller makes the story, it changes with each telling, and the Observer creates the Observed. Reality flows where the Releaser bids it. Can'st thou not understand the Uncertainty Principle?"

"Yes Mage," the disciple muttered unhappily, "if this other truth we have seen is not to my liking, it feels… …strange, unnatural, distorted. What can I do to learn its essence more resolutely?"

The old man's voice seemed to have no sound, but the words still flew into the mind of the disciple …

"If this truth is not to your liking…"

the sky seemed to curl...

"then choose another one thou hero turd of one of many, many nerd-like nobodies…"

the ruined city rippled as if made of liquid...

"…and we will resume the lesson there," the Mage pointed a gnarled finger into the place where the edges of the world drew in upon themselves and consumed everything, including itself.

Copyright © S R Schwarz 2007. All rights reserved.