For all my readers, and reviewers, I cannot thank you enough. I promise this will the last time I update earlier chapters. When I had first written and put up, what I called 'drafts', I was disappointed in the format in which I was posting the chapters. Truthfully, I had a very different result in mind, and I finally have gotten around to make it into what it should have looked like in the beginning. The first chapter had confused a lot of people, and I hope now this chapter and the ones coming after (I have re- written and re-edited them all) will make a lot more sense – especially the time period lapse between the Prologue and the first chapter.
So, for all those who have reviewed with such enthusiasm and have perhaps not forgotten me (grins), I thank you once again, and hope you'll re-read the chapters as they may provide a refresher and other surprises! Thank you all!
Lirael's Last Peal – Act I
'CARMINA'S KEY LOCKET'
"Grief never had ears, nor a heart. It could only rend them apart…"
Lord Mathew, Prisoners of Saibath
From the archives of Sanaer, Royal Recorder:
… and with all such evidence, the following excerpt was taken from the Praemium Sancta Apocrypha – reputedly scribed by the one Desertus Lirael Alta-meister herself. The following excerpt has been reproduced with explicit consent of His Royal Highness, Touchstone I, King of Bellisaere, and Her Royal Majesty, the esteemed Abhorsen Sabriel:
19th day of Hazel May, 180th day of the Fallen One's End,
There is a recurring dream that I always have … a tangled one, repeated over … over and over again. There is but a road in front of me, twisted and twisted, its edges overlapping each other endlessly at that far distance …
And at it's far away end …
Nothing … but an empty gaze, stares impassively back.
A deep void … to fall into and keep falling.
Or perhaps to leap into … if one cannot be expected to fall into it.
There is no one else in my dream, just … myself … and a suffocating cold and darkness, enveloping every edge, shrouding any light to seek a direction from…
After all, light was not meant to shine there.
It feels so … so welcome…
So utterly comforting…
A refuge then; that is what it truly represents.
A dark refuge, a shadowed corner to hide from things that cannot be understood, to put away things unwanted … items of shame, human artifacts of terrible guilt.
A corner to hide in, the corner to blanket and a corner to sweep away all misery…
Misery is too soft a word.
Hate would be closer.
So of course, you would seek the next question – what was it for - what for do I hold such hate?
That damned inquisitive nature of yours, that same nauseous forlorn expression on your face if I should ever refuse you. That forsaken look…
I detest, loathe … LOATHE that look!
That filthy, filthy look … do not direct it towards me!
DO NOT LOOK AT ME WITH THOSE EYES!
There is not a memory to stir in me! No pity, nor love to stir in the depths of my soul!
It is naught … but just dust.
Dust and ashes!
Poetry in the end … when nothing else matters. However, if poetry is what is needed to be rid of you, if them rhythmic cadences are required for you to die within me … then I shall become a poet … yes … a poet of that pale faced wretch.
Did I hear a whine? Yes … you have heard it right, so smother those disgusting snuffles, you have heard it correctly.
I want you dead within me…
Vanish away ... disappear to whatever shadows you have slunk off to … do not turn around … begone! Leave this doll behind, leave its tattered strings behind! You have torn it asunder, so why look back now?!
Don't look back … you do not possess any claim to do so! None!
You have left me … you are dead…
Dead? No … wrong, you cannot be dead. How can you be? Death is only for mortals, is it not?
'Death is the end of all', 'Death is just a beginning' … I will laugh in the faces of those hypocrites, those deceivers who would claim death is merely a beginning, laugh at those sinners who claim Death is a rest!
Even so were they true …there shouldn't be any new beginning for one such as you. I want to see you more than just dead! I do not even want you to exist!
YOUR Filthy love! A plague! A thousand Plagues!
Can you call the moths' eternal dance with the flame a filthy love? For those moths will shrivel at the end, and the flame will burn it to gray ashes, to rest forgotten at the flame's pit. Yet, they will still flare their dull wings, beat their wings to court that beautiful flame, to woo their destroyer …
Filthy Love? Then, a Love that destroys, a Love that soils…
A Love that I craved so much … a love, that in the silence of the night I still beg for … and reach out my palms for…
As if I can hold it, cradle it against me…
Pathetic, pitiful … so pathetic the plight of the moth, so pitiful the end of doll with broken strings…
No more, none less than you at least, miserable cur! I want to see your shiny coat rot and your bones disintegrate away in the gray river, and know that you will never come back to haunt me again! Ever again! Never again!
For then, perhaps, I will feel your filthy love is no more. I will know that you do not exist anymore – never to plague my thoughts, never to make me cry dry tears at the thought of your Love.
Love! Your Love…
Strength that it lent me once is now just a mockery, a shrill joke. Your Love!
That pain you left in me … when you slunk away and never returned … it is an ache that refuses to goes away, no matter how many times I have tried to erase it, tried to smother it by destroying all that is left of you!
Your Love … ha!
Is this what you wanted me to feel?! Is this what you wanted me to become?! Is this what you wanted me to learn?!
That your lone love is something that I cannot ever have, but which I must merely remember – and must learn to live without … as a broken doll that I am?!
If so, then you are a fool! A fool that doesn't deserve a name and much less a collar! Certainly not as wise as claimed, but a fool to the Charter made bones. A mongrel.
An alley mongrel!
A mongrel Bitch! The bitch that I never called you!
BITCH! BITCH! Alley BITCH!
Bitch … a mongrel bitch … that's right isn't it?
That's it then…!
After all, flames and moths are both the same. The fire always wanes and dies, until not even its dying embers will light the ashes of its lovers. So, it will flirt. Flirt with the ones with similar passions, with the ones that are doomed to the same fate, cursed with the same likeness…
As much as it befits you, a mongrel bitch is the apt name for one so wretched as me! For one who cannot be any more Daughter than can she be Aunt or Sister. And of course, a Bitch … for one who's so pathetic that she would catch every tear that fell and think of a warm tongue that could once lap them away. The hot breath that could never dry the wetness from these cheeks…
Your Love? Disgusting…! DESPICABLE! How could I desire something such …something so despicable?!
A MOTH! A MOTH!
A Charter DAMNED FIRE!
I am screaming! Yes, that soft-spoken wretch is trying out her miserable whisper of a voice! I try to scream when I am lost in the dark of the night, crying into my bed. I try to scream as the sheets reach out to tangle me, choke me, hold me in their suffocating embrace … holding me … smothering me…
But, I can't! I can't scream out! Did you know that?
No cursed words come out! I can't scream myself hoarse; I just cannot scream!
But, oh the desire to do so!
I want to scream at the Sendings littering the House. Curse myself raw; curse the filth of the Abhorsens' littering the House. Curse myself for not being able to ... to BURN the whole lot down! I can't scream, I can't hurt myself, I can't even take my own life!
Yes! Yes! Yes! Damned YES! You heard right! I wanted to kill myself!
But I can't! Damn you! Damn you, Bitch! Damn you to the deepest pits of Death! Death is nothing for me now! I can't even die!
A Moth is at least allowed that much grace, even the fire, the flame is consigned to it…BUT NOT ME!
For someone like me, Death is nothing. Nothing! Death is the sweet heaven of the Glaciers for me … another pit of ashes! A heaven denied to a black stained bitch. How can the white ice accept my rotten soul?
Are you amazed? Are you surprised?! Are you now satisfied?
BITCH! That's it!
Ah, yes …yes…!
Bite into me harder! Tear that unfeeling arm apart!
I can feel those claws of yours! Bite me again! I want to feel those jaws crunching through me again! Scream at me! Claw my skin to shreds, yell at me to come out of it! Curse me to the same pits that I cursed you to! Kill me! Just come out from where I know you still exist, from the filthiest pools of my mind and finish what you started!
You think leaving me alive you have spared the curse of being the bastard Remembrancer?! You think that I can ever forget what I saw in His mind? Or that in the Dark Mirror in Death?! Did you? Did you hope I would?! Fool! You pitiless fool!
A thousands curses upon you! Bitch! Foul moth-eaten cur!
You sicken me! Filth! You've made me mad … mad with a desire to snuff out the lights of all the living! I can't stand the laughter of living! Yes blind-bitch, I can't stand the living! I can't!
Worthless pieces of patched together beings! Why do they even continue to exist?! All of them … with their false smiles, and stinking malice hidden behind fascades of nobility… contaminating a dead diseased world!Know what? I dreamt of sending them into death. In scenes of obscenest delights! Yes, you heard right! I sent them! One by one! Groups in groups! I heard their pleas and spit upon them! I laughed at them, at their pathetic tears and their foul pleas to live! What care I?! What care I?! I care not! I turn over and black, black dreams reach for me … one after another, on and on… Is this what you wanted?!
Still think I am sane?! Still think that I was the one meant to put down the Dead?! You truly are a fool!
I can do quite the opposite!
No! Don't look at me with those pity-filled eyes. I haven't a soul left to try and capture in them! Don't look! I swear that I will kick you! I swear I will drive useless Nehima through you! I swear upon this worthless blazon I wear, that I will!
Think you, I cannot send the vile living unto death?! Think you, I cannot rip their pitiful souls and cast them into the cold waters?! Think I do not know how?! I have read the Book of the Dead. And yes, cursed fool, every page is burned into my memory!
Those dirty inscriptions violate my every dream, every nightmare during the blackest of nights! Grotesque and blackest of those paintings flutter behind my closed eyes, contaminating what is left of my rotten soul! Rituals - rotten, so rotten - fill the deepest pits of my mind! I cannot forget them, Bitch! I CAN'T BUT KNOW THEM ALL! Have you forgotten the curse upon me, fool?! Have you?! Did you think the curse of being a damned Remembrancer would lift if you slunk away?! Did you?!
You make me retch, sick as I am with those foul memories of you, intruding into every thought, every breath and motion. Go away! Go! Get away so that I can never feel the softness of your neck against my cheek. Go away so that I don't cry when I think of that! Run to that gray river so that it can rip you into shreds, and so that I can be rid of you. Not free of you. Rid of you! Do you understand?!
Rid of you! RID OF YOU!
I … I am ill.
Love that I thought was mine ... not just given to me. Ill… addled, I must have been from before, to think that such a thing could ever be for one like me! For one never loved, for one who never belonged, for the pathetic outcast! For the pale faced willowy wretch, with hair as a black hiding curtain. A curtain fit to hide the white face of a witch with no life and less soul.
You think you gave me a gift of life! You think you gave me grateful Life, to flaunt such features to a dead world?! Think you I am a monster to hurt you so, to curse you so?! Do you?! DO YOU?! DAMN YOU! Answer me! You want to know what I am…?! Do you?!
I am a shattered doll! A shattered doll! I am a broken doll, swathed in the wrappings of a bandolier to keep my chest strings together, to keep my broken shell intact confining this … this filthy wretched thing I call a soul! I cling to this decaying world still because of you! Because of your filthy Love!
I wish you – curse you beyond the Ninth gate, your black body scattered among the emerald sky therein. I hope you will then look at me the way you do every night, brown eyes seeking my parched soul through these cursed lamps of mine.
Know what I will do then? Know what will I do?! Do you? Think you know me well enough?!
Not anymore … no longer!
I will laugh at that expression in your face. I will cry and spit out every, every bitter, cold hurt in me. I will then rage out every held-back scream begging for release! I will laugh and laugh as you feel the waves from the third Precinct wash away your parasitic shadow of soul still clinging to Life, still clinging to this dried husk of a body with a broken spirit.
Know what? Know what I will do then?
WEEP! CRY IN AGONY!
I… I will weep!
I will sob in misery as you are broken away, misting away to a realm never open to me, never meant for my pallid anima. I will bleed out my tears on those cold waves, knowing that I will never, never again see you, never again have you hurt me, hound me, hug me. Never again feel your fur against these fevered cheeks and eyelids. I will heave out the deepest, deepest tears for you Dog. My Disreputable Dog. My Love … mine to love. I will still weep on edge of the Ninth gate, pleading, reaching out my hands to you as you fade away.
I will scream that I cannot follow! Weep that I cannot follow.
Know why, Dog?
Because… the broken doll seeks an end. Death is no end for me. Death and beyond is no secret for me. Death is no comfort, no escape for the likes of me, for the likes of such abhorrent as me.
What do I seek?
I seek Oblivion.
I seek a black pit to fall in and keep falling. The end of that long road in my recurring dream. A black pit to smother the last of my hurts. I seek Nothing. Nothing to capture this painted doll and swallow it whole, wipe away all the tear stains on its pale face. Nothing, to rid this cursed mind of all it's obscene, forbidden knowledge.
Know what I seek Dog?
I seek the place that all of the Blood once gathered. I seek the place of the Destroyer's binding. I seek to cast myself off into the Nothing that held me as the Destroyer was struck down. When I find it … know what will happen then?
Lirael will speak once more. Lirael will peal once more with the Sorrowful in hand.
To cast herself between miserable Life and barred Death. To merciful Oblivion.
I come first to you and when I'm dry of all tears, I shall speak once more.
Lirael will peal her last with the Sorrowful beside her.
It is unknown to this day, as to whether the one known as Desertus Lirael Alta-meister had made that last journey during the time She had proclaimed to do so in the Praemium Sancta's 19th Hazel May Entry. They are the earliest records of Her words, mere hundred and eighty days after the Destroyers End. However, it must be kept in mind that Praemium Sancta is not a true apocrypha, rather a personal diary, as Her Majesty Sabriel has often referred to them as such. Secondari Sancta is perhaps the true Praemium of the thirteen Apocryphas, having allegedly been compiled and crafted - along with the other twelve - by the Desertus Herself during the dark and terrible days that followed the year after the Destroyer's end. All of the other thirteen Apocryphas are under official and personal seal of His Highness and Her Majesty the Abhorsen, and have never been revealed to scrutiny of the Royal Library nor the Recorders, much less to the public. The reasons remain vague, with plausible rumours of tomes brimming with potent and devastating powers, but nothing of the sort has ever been evidenced or seen by any living witnesses. However, given the deeds of the Desertus, it is not so surprising that their Majesties would subject such measures to seal the Apocryphas.
More importantly, related to our topic of discussion – note in the entry, the Destroyer's End is termed as the 'Fallen One's End'. Many speculations have recently arisen as to what She could have …
Prologue: Somnos - END