The shock of creation can be too much for even the wisest beings. I’ve learned this if nothing else. That no matter the depth of your knowledge, the unexpected can still occur – and often does. Impossible things hover beyond the sight of even the most ancient and hidden of spirits. Boundaries are often tested, in other words. Breached, negotiated, remade. And occasionally, abandoned altogether. Magi sometimes speak of how light becomes its own doubt, its own threshold, concealed in plain sight as the absence of itself. These Circles of Ish-ka where I often dwell are not exempt from such impossible things. Horror traded for joy as things rise, or joy for horror as luminescence flees the flesh, which grows cold and mercenary as it falls.
Yet, I’ve seen wonders here in the depths of this blackened, radiant art. A crown means nothing as the crow flies, with feathered tongue and ragged wing. We are always haloed by the glow of unimagined stories. The dead, yet we live. The royal, yet we move among the thieves and whores. Free, yet we attend to the lost and the oppressed. For we Magi pay heed to that shock of creation, living as we do on the very edge of everything. I for one am kneeled before it, yet standing supple and aware of the limitations of even a king. There is great power in this knowing, of one’s boundaries and the true depths of humility. But I am not without humour, or élan. Ye mighty, wicked ones – don’t assume that because I speak of humility I am not a strange and terrifying thing. I Am. Stories are often told of how I am this, or that, or the other. You would be wise to heed such stories.
Fallen, you do know the truth, deep down. I know what you dream. I know what you’re afraid of. You fear that Esmè survived the fire. And she did. You fear she is hiding in corners, in connections, waiting and plotting against you once again. And she is. An emerald star fell from heaven, untamed, without docility. Among you at this midnight hour, as it was in the dreaming of the First Temple. And this time there will be no ingénue, no hesitation or mercy. You will know the music of the spheres, and you shall be haunted in ways you won’t fully understand. Fallen, you often claim to be mad. But I am mad, and far swifter than thee. You claim to be empty, transcendent, but you are full of seething anxieties. Those with stolen, unearned power always are. If you so thrill at feigned madness, as a cover for your banal cruelty, then I shall drive you truly mad. If you so hunger for power over the weak – to mask your own weakness – then I will show you what real strength can do. By the Grace of God in all tongues I helped raise temples from the mount; a living cathedral of stars rising from the depths of All Songs. My wings were once forged in the furnace of that eternity, within the heart of a midnight star – a power to make colonies crumble. You pen poetry and love letters to me, invoking my names. Still, you know me not. You think me a viper-god, don’t you? A ravenous thing of desecration, like yourselves. But you know only what I have allowed you to know. I am nothing like you. My true form is shocking, desolate ones. I am an angel, lest you forget. I can take your breath away.
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