Friday 19 January 2024

The Allsoul's Fire

Unbenownst to the bards, their music and tales are no mere diversion, but the carrier signal of a great mind that spans all of humanity. Deep thoughts live in the delicate web of syllables and poems that join us.

I've heard it said that we never learned to sing. We sang from the beginning, maybe before. It was speech we found later. In this first song, we were all one. Not people carrying out the will of a great Other, but each a part of the allsoul, indistinguishable from it.

Speech came later, a fracturing of the song into tiny pieces. Dividing us. With words we say, "Give me your axe, and you may sit by my fire." In the first songs there is only the wordless joy for hewing wood, for the warmth of fire.

It's true that bards' tales are full of words, stories of people and deeds and their axes and whatnot. Still, the deeper song is there. The thread of profound, shared truth is in the sounds. The words are mere beads strung upon it.

The mind of the allsoul roils and boils, a cauldron of feelings. It's full of the screams of birth, gasps of pain, dismay of starvation, cries of ecstacy, of memory and longing. All of these wordless sounds, whenever they are shared, are part of its vast ruminations.

If the allsoul is everpresent and encompassing, it is also out of our reach. Words can't find it, and it never speaks. No shrine is built to it. It gives no visions, sends no dreams, imposes no quests, gives no gifts, and asks nothing.

But it is at war.

* * *

At the edges of the allsoul, the song thins. There you can hear the howling of the gods.

Lesser beings, the gods live in the middle scale. They are greater than any individual, but much smaller than the allsoul's vast union. Jealous of their strange cousin, they gnaw at it.

Gods have many tricks to unweave the allsoul and claim people for themselves. New songs, new feelings, new bonds. Receive my vision. Let prayers to me fill your mind. Become great! Lead your people. Work this magic. Build my shrine, my temple. My holy city.

Disavow fear, or love! Pray for the end of hewing, for a realm with no birth or dying, no eating or rutting. Free from hunger, unhurt and unwarmed by flames. Apart. Be my vessel, my champion, my conqueror. Enact my will upon the world, upon yourselves. Become part of me.

The gods are fierce and greedy, and each rises for a while. The allsoul moves to loosen each grip, to reclaim and heal itself. Its plans are so slow that they seem like nothing at all, the workings of time.

But in time the temples fall, and grass covers the shrines. Nearby, people are gathering wood for a fire, humming. If it was once a prayer, no one remembers the words. Wizards or priests with bulging eyes and red faces shout, "We're losing the old ways!"

A captain with a stick chases a group who are sleeping in a meadow. "Think of your duty!" They scream and run away, terrified.

After, when he is gone, they gather around a fire. They sit close together, arm in arm for warmth. The struggle is over.

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