When people think of heaven they imagine it as somewhere above them. A realm of spirit and the dead. A place of peace, and joy. Heaven is all those things indeed, but once upon a time it was also right here. An open path, shining and golden, where angels and spirits lived among humankind. A mysticism undreamt of in our fallen fictions. A lived paradise, earthly and tangible. Our mother and her waters did nothing without our consent, as we did nothing without hers. There was no drowning. The sea would hold our young, and our lost, breathing with them. The ground didn't crack beneath our feet. The earth didn't move so violently. When she moved we moved in concert with her. Each seed held in dynamism, each flower in repose. Deathless, eternal. These things sound like naive fantasies to the cynical and fallen. Because we have forgotten our mother's tongue. Or, rather, we've had it cut from our mouths by these dark wraiths who preach false light and erect a false history. This is what it means to be voiceless and blind. The ruins of paradise are all around you but you can't see them, or speak about them. These colonizers have switched your once beautiful minds for their own. And now the enchanted unity that used to be is relegated to the romances. Rivers that whispered to us and forests that sang to the evening sky. Become only myths and legends, for those who still feel but no longer remember.
Well, I remember.
I remember everything. Mother's tongue and song. Father's firmament and sky. Those harbours and cities where crime and hunger didn't exist. Poets, Keepers of Keys. Gates of All Songs. A traversed, inhabited cosmos held in mutual affection. Myriad worlds unknown to us now. Friends, do you think I speak only of some ancient forgotten history? No, not only that. I speak of stolen history. All times and laws. The innocence, play and sobriety of our societies, plunged into shadow and false chronology.
I speak of the darkest sorcery imaginable.
The rape and murder of Empyrean, of paradise itself, and the defiled, mocking imitation that now stands in its stead.
Feathers broken, burned and cut away, like the one who mattered most.
The one you slaughtered right in front of me. My beloved one, for whom I tore the very fabric of creation to bring back. I carry those scars even now. And wounds. Some of them still bleed, and haven't closed. Maybe they never will.
But she lives again, doesn't she?
And she recalls those feathers now.
Oh, Fallen, you never should have fucked with me. Or my family. I was a king once, in light. I am a king still, in dreams. I’ll ask you again. Do you suppose these are merely stories? Not to Kashi, or his kin. I fought so hard to hold on to what we had. Alongside my brothers and sisters I fought with every fibre of my being to protect those last rays of innermost light. But the hush seethed despite our best efforts, darkening all sight. Swallowing the realm.
But it couldn't consume everything.
The radiant still lives in this abyss. There is still light in this mockery of depth. You feel it when you make love, when you dance and paint. You see it in the smiling eyes of your beloved ones. You hear it in the carefree laughter of your children. Sometimes you sense it at dawn, among the trees or at the edge of the sea.
Our mother weeps and shrieks not just for what was done, but for what was lost. Those lines and songs of power, those harmonies that shaped her flesh and formed our first temples in league with our highest dreaming. Those lost worlds hidden beneath the hills. Vast ruined cathedrals mistaken for mountains now. Cities beneath the sea. A world teeming with unimaginable secrets, many of them still hidden in plain sight. But we have been taught not to see them. What remains of our heritage lies in ruin all around us. Mother weeps constantly, because what do the Sons and Daughters of Ishkara remember of their true history? Next to nothing. Mother screams from her depths, at the violence committed against her children and herself. You would do well to hear her, Fallen. You have never known rage like the daughter of a star. But you will. On the day of your execution you will know the wrath of All Waters. Mother’s tides can kill the undeserving. They still flow, and can still heal those who are brave enough to hear her ancient voice holding vigil in the deep.