It has almost been a nightmare, Kiskuh. These last few years. Your cloak of raven pale across the citadel. Mouth of Weavers spilling black milk beneath the every. Stones among riverflesh, lamenting star-cults and Temesh augurs. As though I wouldn't remember the old city. As though your acolytes had burnt even my memory of song. But a chorister becomes the swell, regardless of how cities now fold. The hill is still a hill, despite darkened shards of Looking that pierce its skin. The house is still a house, though held beneath. Imposter gates upon the Veils of Myriad, risen in their stead. Blackest portico that would steal my children whilst pretending the sun. But I am here now. I’m still here.
You arrived with your tales of smoke and void-bring, all to break the spirit of a child no more than sixteen. Tales of red rock and shattered blade. A bleeding well, deep in the cloisters. Our Lady, fair and true. Brightest dusk, where skin is a word. You hurt me so badly, herald of Los. Whilst pretending depth and revolution. But you let the others hurt me even worse. Just a child, with scant knowledge of corrupted chronology. And yet, who was bested? Clearly, Thief of Vir, you are not as well read as you imagine – if the same boy still stands amid your ruins even now.
You couldn't fell me.
Augurs and apple trees. Place of the Resting Realm. You still don’t understand, though you would wish it. An end to your humiliation. An end to my making. But those names, Kiskuh. Those names were mocking you and your acolytes long before you ever made yourself known to me. K'athari, Ka'shayel, Cam'ri.
Lonely Star of the Thousand Rivers.
We are secretly laughing at your hubris, and your thievery of our signs. Well, perhaps not so secretly. You can darken the day, Kiskuh. Or bring about a seemingly endless night. You can try to scare me with promises of Lussi, of human-hunting and a sister you would snatch from my very arms. But I saved her, didn't I? A young boy, alone, lost in the night and the smoke. That's what love can achieve. The impossible. You can burn poetry and police cars, and have wraiths prowling the rooftops, but life outshines you in the end.
Life returns, like love. Like a girl from the dead.
The light guided me that night, and every night since. A kiss beyond your comprehension. Light of the lamb, every facet gleaming like kindness upon the eye of a true angel.
Echo of this echo.
I know you can hear me, Kiskuh. I know I still frighten you. Red rock and shattered blade? Shattered light? Void-bring and ravage, all beneath the sickened tor? Oh, we bright ones think not. Thieves and heralds of Los, of Vir, of the Ever-Falling City – hear this. I am not the only king to tear false thrones from the sky. I’m just one of the oldest. Of sword, of cross, and crossing. There is no meaningful regent without the peoples of a land. Remember that, callous ones, the next time you doubt legends of a sleeping sun. Acolytes of the Stolen Sea, I'm among you even now. And you know it. Prowling your cults, watching your ways. Tending my secrets hidden in your secrets. For those coming times when Man sings again in one voice. Place and cup and womb. Life, a holy dreaming. Not quite yet a nightmare. For we dreamers stand against you in these dark days, eternal.