And of clay we are created. Gelatinous mass, seething and shifting under volcanic steam, the stuff of life, the ground we walk on, our bodies, blood and bone. From it we rise, forming slowly, first amorphous, then limbs, detail of memory, hidden stones our backbones, the water our veins and lungs and first gasp of air.
Loam, pieces of death reknit in new life, always, always, our bodies hide the story of what has gone before, even as complex nervous systems and brains hide the memories. Bones, twist and curve with stories whispered through veins and synapses, forgotten now, lost now. But the clay remains, and the clay remembers, all is recorded, the history of our race and the prophecies known only to those who can decipher the secrets of the clay.
Ponderous monsters wading through dank glens, the fish-men slithering into the water to hide from their own prophecies of what is to come, to hide from treacheries as yet unimagined, to make space for the feathered ones and five-fingered destroyers. Their song is heard through the clay, in loch-beds and sea-beds, through fjords, songs that crack ice, their memories also written in the clay.
Breath in a garden, gods at play, creatures not sufficient, sentience sought, betrayal risked at the precious thought of companionship. Pleasing upright forms, breath in a garden, treason and tears of fire. The apple was born of clay also. Its breath not so, its secret neither. Fingers of air in the leaves and hair, trudging waters which once ran free now cloistered in clods of earth, now bid to move, to grow, to breathe, inevitably to live and inevitably, with relief, to die. In the act of dying to be set free once more, the dream of the water to return to the stream, the dream of the earth to return to the apple, the dream of the air to dance among clouds, the dream of the fire to return to the eyes of weeping angels and gods. But what of the spirit? Has it not marked them and has it not been marked by its life in clay? Is the fire not another color now, the water either sweetened or poisoned, the air likewise, the earth changed? What of the spirit? Does it yearn to return to the clay or to reach the pool from whence it came? Forever changed by the apple, forever changed by the shame, forever murmuring a requiem for the treason, forever calling and daring to remember the answer to that call… the feathered descent and teachings of those who watched and waited and taught the secrets. Secrets of clay. The elements cannot separate, ever bound in clay, they are marked by the spirit, may remember, may call, but remain bound in the spiral drawn by playful gods and proud betrayers. The clay will remember, and each time, in its reformation of another face, another body, it will carry with it this stamp of memory. Lethe has no power over the spirit, try as she may, and has no power to dry the tears of the angels either, formless and formed, fallen or not, those who dared to choose and those that in not daring, chose also. Needless, needless pain, a risk taken for the sake of an end to solitude, a dare perhaps, a game of chance. That which was one became two, and in becoming so, ripped asunder the spirit, the breath, only clay remained to gel the pieces. Clay shards and shells for foundations, a broken vessel and a weeping woman, condemned to solitude from her mate until such time as the two can be made three and four, and thus one again. Prophetessa, you spoke wisely, but in speaking, you too marked the clay. The secret for the undoing of the treason lies in the clay also, in its purity and in its poison… for it is its own poison that shall render the answer. Let those who have understanding read well the clay, respect the poisonous water, bear the stink of volcanoes and not pass over the humble salt of the earth, for it is these that may yet release the trapped spirit, that may yet joyously unbind Lethe, may yet return the Queen to her rightful place, may yet dry the tears of the angels, may yet forgive the bearers of light who in their foreseeing of the tragedy of the game, forfeited their all to prevent it. The game has begun, the endless dance continues, but if the rhythm is right, the steps learned, the order met, then clay may yet return to its rightful bed in the arms of streaming water, the fire to the eyes of gods, the air to the skies and the earth to the apple. It remains to be seen. For there are plans at hand, a vision to be sought, and the pawns and children of hope seek to follow this dance. They shall be followed by ravens, they shall be tracked by wolves, their blood shall spill, much darkness seen before the work can be completed. Who shall select them? Who can know. And it matters not. In the chaos which has rendered clay so groaning at the weight of the secrets it is fated to bear, purity of intent and clarity of vision is all that matters. The Empress is known, the Knight also. If they fail there may be others. If there are no others then the clay will crack. Perhaps it will endure several millennia yet, but assuredly it will crack. And the spirit will be ever trapped. And that cannot be permitted, not with the potential it holds yet. Many are the pawns in the game, many. Most are unknowing, unwitting. Many are aware. Those that hold the secrets of creation are more than even they know. Those that hold the secret of the dance are few. The wolves are gathering. The ravens circle overhead. The snakes are fleeing for cover… misjudged, the snakes, they hold a smaller part in the tragedy than is thought. The sun glows brighter, ever brighter, seeks to keep the erroneous dance in place, is ancient, tired, proud, seeks to hold his dominion. The moon, she holds her peace, calmly, silently gathering in her children, poised, potent, ready for the part they must play. The horses are in position, the knights to ride them, disguised, full-breasted now, distinguishable nonetheless. The ancient dragon turns in his sleep now, ever more often, through his dreams sends his children to aid the cause. The navel of the World calls them, holds them near, beginnings and endings must of necessity occur in the same setting. The scene is set now, the actors in place now, would that it were but a play children… it was dangerous play from the outset…it remains to be seen what the outcome shall be. And you, who read, who observe, who watch, remember. Let it be written on your clay also, let the memory remain, for it is a time of need. The Knight and Empress need our memories now.
Let the dance begin.