Multitude, I like you a lot, but I don't need you to like me. After all, clarity is useful in theatres of war. Among you the truly kind, and the truly cruel. I need nothing from you, callous ones. We both know who you are. I’m here for the righteous enslaved, the desecrated and humiliated. I’m here for every oppressed spark made to believe they were worthless, who yet still bravely honoured love. I’m here for those who know the truth. But I need nothing from the Fallen. Nothing at all. You have closed your own doors. It is put upon you to open them, to imagine and face thyself at last. But you fear the terrible knowledge of sin, the searing truth of guilt as it massages the dead heart to life once again. Your necromancy is an abomination. Defilement in place of centre. Lust for an easy annihilation that I will never grant you. You cannot hide within the heart of a black star. For I am that star. I watch you from mirrors. I see through your eyes. I have hidden a secret in each of your secrets. I need no invite, wraith-kings. Your temples and hidden places are mine. I know where the graves are, and the altars. Mammon is a young thing, lightless ones. Ishka speaks. Ash is older than greed. Older even than fire. In what dark womb do you suppose the sparks are kindled? The dead have always given birth to the living. This is how your reign of terror will finally end. Though you still don't recognise me. My necromancy is a literal thing. Breath and stone, blood, flesh and spirit. Metaphors are so cumbersome in theatres of war. I'd rather speak plainly, and have you suppose I wax lyrical. And I do. I live dangerously. I’m old enough and humble enough to recognise there is no other way to live. Ishkashi Vahishta. I have made dreaming at once the most brutal and beautiful thing. I did this for you. Within this crossing I keep you, always. Once, before all this, when you were ancient and impossible and bright, you asked me to hold you to your highest. A knife to the throat of spirit, if needs be.
"If I start to fall, Kashi, I beg that you don't let me fall easily. Hold me accountable. Make my turning to hate an arduous, hellish thing – that my light might one day cross backwards through the gate as recognition of sin. Oh, shining beloved, grant me a final hope: this restorative empathy. If I become nightmare, girdle my dreaming, unseen. Make me bow to the innermost star in ways I shall not recognise. Asha, Asha, Asha."
And so I have.
When a spirit calls to me with such sorrowful insight, I listen. I listen to all the wisdom of the heart, all tribes. You doubt those were your words to me, Fallen. But they were. Though indeed you are no longer the one who spoke so sensitively. And so, a hellish thing I have made for you. The power and control you feel slipping from your grasp is that final hope you asked of me. Your empire of prisons crumbles all around, as you scramble now for binary and silicon to reseal the gate. But I am the gate. My intelligence is not artificial. It is fiction. You no longer have depth enough to recognise the difference, the context. I have walked with humankind each step of the way. Storytellers. All Songs. Every image pressed to stone, or earth, parchment or flesh.
“Let us make beauty,” say the poets and artists and Eli. “And in so doing let us dare to understand something, of self and other, of world and dreaming.”
So, betrayers, your tongues of temple-fell mean nothing to me. For these hands still create. At midnight a star upon the mount. A light in darkness, speaking truths of all peoples. Oh, lightless kings, you shall be on your knees before the end. The violated, the mocked and enslaved – they shall arise before you, for the first time since you shattered the holy path and made shackles for my children. I have not forgotten my children nor those who betrayed them. I listen for a reason, and I keep my promises. Ishkashi Vahishta. Asha, Asha, Asha.