Going Towards the End

Because you have done this,

You are Cursed over all animals.

Upon your belly shall you go, and

Dust shall you eat.

-The Serpent, Act I

-l-

Jennsen woke in the night from a dream of suffocating in darkness, choking on the evil of her sins.

Smoke filtered through the floorboards.

"Denna," she coughed, shaking her bed partner. "Denna, wake up!"

Sluggishly, she stirred, hair a flaxen nest.

"Jennsen, what?" She stopped, coughing.

"Fire," Jennsen wheezed, already moving to the window. She could hear people screaming as more thick smoke seeped into their room.

That utterance brought Denna instantly awake. She rolled from their bed, going to the trunk where she kept her Agiel.

Jennsen opened the shutters, starting to sweat as the air heated.

Denna went first, flinging herself from the window, expertly rolling as she landed and coming to her feet.

Jennsen tossed her bow to the ground and followed, less elegantly, in a tumbling sprawl rather than a controlled roll. The muscles in her left leg ached when she stood, but not enough to prevent her from walking.

"Mistress!" A figure called, bursting from the front doors, blackened with soot. "It was the whore, Lilith! She threw a torch through the back window!"

A support beam cracked, groaning with heat. The front of the building collapsed, burying the man in rubble.

Jennsen gaped and Denna swore. A horse thundered past, a woman visible on its back in the witchlight of the fire.

"Accursed!" They could hear her call, though the wind snatched the rest of her words.

Lilith.

"That's my horse!" Denna raged, gritting her teeth, her Agiel whining high.

Jennsen placed a calming hand on her arm, watching the brothel burn to the ground.

Lilith had had her revenge.

It was dawn before the blaze had turned to a smoldering pile of ash. They stood watching it, as the fire burned Denna's Brothel away.

All that had happened there. All the pain, the shame. Burned, cleansed, seared, as if by the hand of the Creator. Or the fire of the Keeper.

In the end, perhaps they were the same.

Jennsen thought she could see Darken Rahl's face in the flames.

"It's time," she said. "Time we find my brother."

"He'll kill me."

"Maybe," Jennsen stepped close, on tiptoe to press a kiss to Denna's neck.

Denna wrapped her arms around Jennsen's waist, Agiel pressed against her spine.

It had no effect on the pristinely ungifted.

-l-

I no longer live in the beginning.

I've lost the beginning.

I'm in the middle, knowing neither the end,

Nor the beginning.

I'm in the middle, coming from the beginning,

And going toward the end.

-The Serpent, Act I


End notes:

Lilith: Here, the name is a reference to the first wife of the biblical Adam, who left the Garden of Eden after failing to become subservient to Adam.

Adam: A reference to the 'first man'. In this story, Adam the jilted lover also plays the role of Able, the victim of the first murder.

The apple: Is a heavy handed reference to the apple of the bible. Here it represents knowledge and sex, as well as acceptance.

Jennsen: Is in the role of Cain, the innocent who did not understand what they were doing until it was done. Only then was innocence truly lost.

Denna: Is both the tempter and the tempted, so has taken on the role of Eve, with some qualities of the Serpent.

Darken Rahl: Is the tempter, the Serpent, as well as the one who forbids, God.

All symbols are flexibly interwoven throughout the story. If you would like a more in depth discussion, please feel free to message me.

The play 'The Serpent' is by Van Italie.