6.6 – Totality of Being
All fell silent. There was nothing but the song. The light pouring out of her mouth split as it touched his anthers feeling their way with utmost tenderness all across her face, her chest, her deepest Deepheart. It split and split again. Three. Nine. Seven-and-Twenty. And more and more and more. The melody, soon consisting of uncountable threads of light, each one a clear voice in a chorus of multitudes, spun, encircling the gigantic tree like a slow-moving shoal of fluorescent fish, trailing a path of brilliance in their wake. Even the deafening crackle of the ever-closing fires could not compete with this outpouring of love. Tears ran like waterfalls down Brittle’s cheeks, as the song kept going, flowing, glowing. She couldn’t believe, couldn’t fathom how this could be expressed through…her?
[totality of being]
Seen from a singular perspective. The song lines started condensing, creating a thick shimmering spiral equal in size to her heart tail. The song of infinite voices landed gently on the black surface of her pain-born appendage firmly clutching the trunk of the tree. It fit perfectly. And sunk in. In the same instant, all the red thorns transformed into flowers, rainbow flowers of the kind that bloomed from Cutting’s center, larger, more radiant, every single petal shouting
All of the forest was here. Here, at this point. Expressing itself, defying death through her and Cutting and the song of songs. It was unbearable and wonderful in equal measure. „I can’t contain this“ she thought. And found release. As the flowers exploded with a cloud, no, a geysir of sun-coloured pollen filling the smoke-ridden skies, spreading out across the forest with lightning speed.
Brute trashed out of the fires, his face a skin painting of madness. Raising his sword to strike his mother, her flesh folded hands held up towards him in supplicaton, he inhaled. The pollen in the air was sucked into his lungs.
Brute stopped, grimaced, fell to his knees, dropped the sword, threw off his headdress. Brittle felt how love, in its purest form, was running through his veins like stampeding mountain stags. She felt it, because she was it.
She was love. A thousand times stronger than when she had planted the seed of Cutting under the light of the blood moon. She was love for every being, every blade of grass, every pebble, every whiff of air. She was love for Brute. Love for the chasm of despair yawning in the middle of his gut, where he had invited Scourge to feel whole. Love for the rage of Scourge that had no outlet except for laying waste to it all, so the wasteland could become a mirror to the excruciating hollowness in the core of its being. A hollowness surrounded by flames, in a desperate search for peace in the only way it knew how. She was love, in every single grain of pollen, diving into the deep of that hollow.
She saw a giant bull of burning metal. A thousand metal dresses and a thousand swords lined up in a chamber far below the ground. She saw a gem with seven facets floating in a void, projecting a kaleidoscope of terrible beauty and beautiful terror. She saw a twisted mirror bending back into itself, pushing out weird black feathers and darkened mist from its infinite cracks. And she loved all of it, seeping into every single opening.
Brute looked at his hands and started to weep. Ancient tears of a child that swallowed them long ago in fear of drowning. And as his tears fell, the flames died down. With a whimper. Like an afterthought. As if they were never really there to begin with. The burned forest came into view, but its mourning dress was not black, it was golden. An ocean of glimmering pollen covered the wasteland as far as Brittle could see. Like a promise of spring. From the wreckage stumbled others like Brute. Metal clad men, puffed eyes, bewildered, shocked. All was silent. The song was no more. But its seeds were all around them. The former vessels of Scourge, dozens of them still alive, stumbled like sleep walkers up to the tree. But for some reason, they were all still carrying their swords. Even Brute, who had joined them, had reclaimed his own. „Why don’t they throw them away?“ Brittle wondered aloud.
[the smell of discharge after a bolt of lightning]
„What is that supposed to mean?“ She noticed how all of their sword hands trembled. Cutting emitted a far too sweet smell reminding her of boneharrow weed, a plant Briar always had admonished her to stay away from, since it was
Slowly, Brittle understood. „The swords….they are made of iron, twisted blood. That’s where the curse of Scourge resides, and it still resonates in their being. It…needs an outlet. The rage must ground into the earth like…“ she remembered Cutting’s former smell. „…how lightning spills its charge into a…“
His heart flower bloomed stronger than ever before. „No. Nonononono.“
She knew then, that there was no other way. Though part of her did not want to accept it, she knew. Branch and Breeze both appeared next to her. Bray’s heartbone hung peacefully around Branch’s neck, covered in pollen. They leant into her back, supporting her wordlessly as she kept on clinging to the tree with her arms, her tail, her Deepheart. Cutting looked at her, seeming to wait for her agreement. „I love you too much“ she whispered, in between sobs.
[seed. sapling. tree. seed]
„I’ve told you before, you wood head. I don’t think that much like a tree.“ From behind her back, she felt Branch murmur something that reverberated through her spine. „Everyone returns“. „Even you?“ whimpered Brittle, looking at Cutting’s one eyed face.
[a meadow of wildflowers]
„If I don’t see you again, in this life or the next, I will be terribly angry with you“
[same meadow erupting in an explosion of mirth]
She sighed from the very depths of her being. „Well. Go on. Save this day, my dearest“
That last scent worked as an invitation. The swordsmen surrounded the trunk and with shaking limbs and tearful faces they raised their swords over their heads in a thrusting position, both hands clutching the hilt.
[sweet, dripping nectar]
And with a uniform shout of raw anger, they stabbed their blades as one into the tree, into Cutting. Brute stabbed his heart flower.
The swords remained like hedgehog needles. The men collapsed to the ground. Golden red sap pumped from Cutting’s chest down onto the green, green grass. The liquid pooled and expanded and mingled with her neverending flow of tears. It was over. All of it. And at that moment, that seemed to include her life and her reason for living it.
That is, until the pool moved.
Up into the air.
With gaping mouths, they saw what had once been Cutting’s life’s blood, now transformed into a formless flying being, iridescent, translucent, beautiful beyond compare. It kept on rising, and as it twisted in the wind, long shining threads grew down from it, like anthers, like song lines. Reaching the top of the tree, the wondrous shape turned slowly a few times before starting to float over the untouched parts of the forest. A trilling polyphonic melody accompanied its flight.
„Well, come on!“ Brittle shook her head, confused, trying to understand who was speaking to her. „What?“ It was Branch, her eyes wide with purpose. „We have to follow it! Clearly. If that there is not a sign, I do not know what is.“ Slowly detaching herself from her birth tree, Brittle took one last look at Cutting. His eye flower dropped and fell into her hand. She put it gingerly behind her ear and ran to follow eager Branch. The heartbone around the girl’s neck was swinging from side to side.