Epistle XXV: It’s Possibly Tragic, I don’t know
Hi, Brother, how are you? Everything’s fine here.
Except of course the disappearance of your future wife last week. I’m sure it’s upsetting. Perhaps even tragic. Anyway, it’s been very quiet here this last week. There have been no major mishaps, nothing has caught on fire, no explosions in the kitchens, no inventions running amock, not a single barnyard accident at all. We’re almost all falling asleep as we lean upon our shepherd staffs and count our toys and stick crickets down Karuláta’s neck. In fact I think I feel asleep a few times just in writing this letter.
Anyway, while you’re searching for your future wife, and I’m reasonably sure that’s important, although I can’t be sure, would you mind reminding our peiratical uncles that I need my shipment of raw cookie dough? The Sisters and I wish to bake up a new batch, and honored Fhèrkifher and beloved Xhnófho always know just where to pillage the best dough.
And good luck finding Éfhelìnye! Why, you may even want to keep her with you after you find her. I don’t mind all of this normalcy at all. I do wish that cousin Xataríyona would stop mooning and fussing about Xhás being so busy forging weapons for the war. Yawn! It’s not like her Brother has to fight monsters and fiends and collect toys for his beloved Sister all day long! What’s going to happen to Xhás, is he going to trip on his anvil? The way she talks, you’d think that Xhás was forging on an exploding and crashing ship about to fall into fire spumes of active volcanoes. How operatic is she?
Oh some of the Princess’ toys were lurking around and getting into trouble. I’ve decided to rebuild them and send them on their way. Charming little fellows, really, with lots of sharp knife claws. I think that all childrens’ toys should have movable knife parts unto them.
Good luck finding Éfhelìnye! And don’t hasten to send her home!
Epistle XXVI: Please send her Home
My precious and most beloved Bride,
It took us so many years to find her again. But it is not our honor to keep her for ourself, nor should we strive to do so. No one else can know what she means unto us, but that is as it should be. She was not meant for us alone. She was ours to give away. And, my silver bride, if she were able to escape from the Dragons that I sent to guard her, if her beloved Prince were able to rescue her from the Gardens that I created deep within the fires and dread of my imagination, surely Puîyus will be able to find the asteroid dimension where you’ve tucked her away. He will figure it out soon. Just give her back. She will never be completely happy without him, and her happiness is all that we can desire.
Epistle XXVII: NO!
[And the letter is a spinning shaft of the purity of light, and from it descend memory and thought and tide and time and the very evanescent longing that one feels in dreams]
My dearest Kàri,
Éfhelìnye is mine. She is my work of art. I want her. I waited for her such as no Mortal can understand. She is the only one born of my Clan. I shall keep her. Puîyos can wait. He will live for a long time, is that not true? I’ll let him have her in ten thousand years. Then she will be old enough for betrothal.
Today I feel like a qàsorn swan. I shall dance like unto a Qàsern this even.
I don’t like how Éfhelìnye keeps talking about kissing that young gossoon. I may have to cut her lips off. When they grow back perhaps then she will be old enough for betrothal.
Epistle XXVIII: Concerning my Pious Daughter-in-Law
Be this unto the Regent Empress Khnoqwísi, my friend and kinswoman, the Daughter of Grandfather Thiêfhilos the Sorcerer of the Forest, and Mother of the future Empress of all the Land
From Lady Khwofheîlya of Sweqhàngqu, the Mother of Crown Prince Puîyus of Pwéru, the future Emperor of all the Land of Story and Master of Health and Prosperity of Life
By way of Telàqhawa, the Raven Courier Service Express
Writ by her own hand
In the summer of Jaràqtu
May the peace and blessings of the Ancestors, Spirits, Immortals, and the Father of Stars be unto you.
Holy Khnoqwísi, Virgin Empress.
I just wish to send you a little note informing of you of our continous blessing and goodwill towards you. I also wished to ask you for the formal return of my future pious Daughter-in-Law. Princess Éfhelìnye was quite happy to live with me and Puîyos’ Sisters and family, and we were making some great progress in teaching her how to live in a family and help to run it. Although there are many things which you, deathless as you are, must teach her, perhaps there are far more and far more urgent tasks which she will need to learn. For instance, although in time Éfhelìnye will have to understand her Star nature, as a child it is far more important for her to learn to interact with others her own age, to perform her chores, to be able to live with Siblings, to eat dinner at regular hours, to be able to form friendships, &c. She must first learn to be a young woman before we need to worry about the other part of her nature.
One could argue, of course, that you no longer have any legal right to my precious Daughter-in-Law. Both you and your husband, if one were to consult the Emperor’s Law, are the losing party of the War of Heaven, or at the very least, are a dynasty which is marrying into Puîyos’ family by the left hand. The only one who has any legal right to Éfhelìnye is of course Puîyos; she is by all the laws of the Land his personal property, even if he were not the Cælestial Crown Prince he has with all fairness won her hand in combat. And although it is true that Íngìkhmar and I have permitted you and your husband the Regency of the Imperium, that does not give you the right to abduct one who is by all accounts a Daughter of mine. But surely one does not have to turn unto the law to resolve a family matter.
I shall not permit my Puîyos to be distracted from the battle because of worrying for his future wife. I expect a prompt reply to this letter and am sending copies of this to the War Fleet to be read by mine handsome Íngìkhmar and Grandfather Thiêfhilos and Regent Kàrijoi as well as Puîyos the future Lord of Earth and Sea and Sky. And I think there are a few million former Ancestors in the fleet by now who may be interested in the situation.
Former Queen of the Dead
[scribbled on the bottom]
Khwofheîlya, you’d better not start making a bad situation worse.
Leave me alone, honored Tàltiin. I’m getting Éfhelìnye back. I’m not letting that Star take my Daughter away from me. Who has the paper now.
AUNTIE IS MAKING PANCAKES TONIGHT
LOVE, KARULÁTA KHNIÊMA AKHLÍSA
Epistle XXIX: Still No
I am Khnoqwísi of the Clan of Áme, I am Deathless, Perfect and Complete. No law can hold me. I forbid you to write unto me again. Puîyos will be Crown Prince because I designed it so.
Éfhelìnye tried to escape today when she saw your letter. I have broken one of her ankles because of you.
Do not annoy me.
Epistle XXX: Please!
Please, my beloved,
Please just return Éfhelìnye to Puîyus or unto her family.
If I were unable to contain her, none can.
Epistle XXXI: Have you Seen That Nymph
[The letter is written upon an explosion of feathers and pollen and dust, and for some reason the epistle is giggline all the while]
Is it just me who are you just making everything nuttier! Here I am trying to rebuild these shattered dream dimensions. I have dæmons and Sàqajakh and various creatures you don’t even want me to identify bouncing about my floating castles and leaping Suns and creating so much havoc. Do you know how difficult it is to bring together this mass of myth and conciousness while hiding from my mortal wives and chase after all the Nymphs whom I’ve managed to trap in here, I mean Nymphs who of their own accord and having nothing at all to do with me have snuck into the Otherworld and just won’t leave me alone with their water tresses and diaphanous skin so tasty and shiny.
Wait, I need to finish this letter later. Bevies of nymphs are invading my dimension! Who keeps trapping them here?
I’m sure there was some reason for this particular epistle, but I can’t possibly remember what it was. As I was chasing after an errant Nymph, I mean, while I was busy doing something completely productive and not nympholeptic and completely in the aid of this War, I’m not causing any trouble at all not like the last ten thousand epochs, I was having a little dream of a dream of a dream about Éfhelìnye and I thought she was asking for me. I can’t imagine why. I thought we had already arranged a marriage for her. Is there something the matter? Oh, I can’t be bothered right now. Have you seen all of the Nymphs just pouring through these gapes in reality? I have no time to write at the moment. Go bother Qlarxhnàrxha for a time.
Epistle XXXII: You Forbid Nothing!
[Upon the front of the letter]
Please do not read the following letter. My pious Daughter-in-Law sometimes tends to say or write exactly what she is thinking, and that is not exactly always the best course of action. Please know that we are all honored to have you as a part of our family, and when you soon decide to return Éfhelìnye to us, it will be soon enough.
Tàltiin Xhelilamaramaláma of Sweqhàngqu
LISTEN YOU MISERABLE FORMER MOON EMPRESS!
I’m going to simplify this for you.
My Son conquered Kàrijoi. My Son is the new Emperor. Immortal or not, you were conquered. You are nothing but a slave in his eyen.
GIVE US BACK ÉFHELÌNYE AT ONCE, OR I’M SENDING ALL OF THE FORMER ANCESTORS AFTER YOU AND
[The rest of the letter is torn off. Affixed to the bottom is a new page.]
I’m sorry, I must have accidently torn off what my pious Daughter-in-Law just wrote. However did that happen? I’m sure it’s nothing at all. Please just disregard this letter. If Khwofheîlya were not so intent on mailing something I would have just burnt this entire parchment.
Hi, Éfhelìnye! How’s it like up there in the crazy realms! Everyone’s fighting about you down here. Hope you bring me back lots of presents!
Epistle XXXIII: Command Me Not
No Mortal is permitted to address one of us in such a fashion. If you communicate with me again, I shall petition the rest of my brethren to descend unto Jaràqtu and begin slaughtering bird and beast and kine for such an insult. Your land will be blighted, Khwofheîlya.
Éfhelìnye is too excitable. She grabbed ahold of your letter. I had to break her leg to keep her from running away. I just wish she didn’t bleed so much. It is surely a fault of mortal construction.
Epistle XXXIV: There’s No Way this will End Well
My beloved Twin Sister
I hope everything is going well with you. There may be a slight problem. The Chthonic Lords are all trembling. Death spirits are flying all around me. I have honking and twittering and spitting spirits stampeding throughout the Undergloom. You’re not doing anything rash, are you? One would hardly e'er accuse my darling Khnoqwísi of, say, running away from home and eloping with a Crown Prince and causing all sorts of havoc for the Family …
Just what are you doing? Don’t make me ascend up there. I don’t have a descent skull to wear.
Epistle XXXV: Greetings to my Cousin
My kinswoman, my cousin by marriage
Please, beloved, I want you to know that we all love you and none of us would e'er try to hurt you. Perhaps I can speak for you and get the Sweqhàngqu side of the family to calm down a little. It seems there are some strange rumors involving wing-binding and bone breaking, and you have to understand that such a predicament will surely cause us mortals to pause.
I know very well what it feels like to have dwelt in exile, to have hidden my true face, in a way, to have lived in another world and been within it but not truly of it. And in time I grew to learn what it felt like to have a Daughter who gave her heart to a young man, a warrior, and to give that Daughter away to a rather flighty and crazy family. If you want to talk about the Sweqhàngqu, I can tell you all you need to know about them. In fact, I think I know the Sweqhàngqu far better than Tàltiin e'er will. Be that as it may, I gave Khwofheîlya away, but I lost nothing at all. Perhaps I know how you felt when you met honored Kàrijoi my cousin and decided to forsake your birth clan to stay with him, for I remember when first I met Khangisqrírles upon Cnoc a’ Chléirich when all the wistaria were blooming, and I knew that I would never reclaim the name Pwéru which was mine from birth.
Moreover, beloved cousin by marriage, thou and I have a special bond, for thou and I were the ones instrumental in arranging the marriage of Íngìkhmar and Khwofheîlya. In a way, all that has come to pass in this last day is because of you and me, when we decided that we were going to save the Pwéru and all the Dreamtime.
So please, my cousin by marriage, know that we all love you very much, and we write to you because we miss our darling Éfhelìnye so. None of us are angry with you, we only wish you the eternity of happiness which is your birthright.
Xhàtrajhil of Otòrfhexes among the Pwéru
Epistle XXXVI: Crazy Mortals!
How are you? Everything is fine up here. We’re all dancing.
Question. The dance is a little broken. Is something happening down there? You’re not starting another war are you? Hah hah. Just kidding. Really.
Serious. Something wrong. All the rest of us are having trouble gleaming and leaping and dancing as we did before. Something quite wrong. Aside from the War and ending of realities. Something quite big.
When do we get to see Éfhelìnye again? You are going to purge her of all those disgusting mortal habits, right? Please don’t tell me she’s still ingesting matter. How wretched. Next she’ll be losing consciousness in diurnal rhythms. Gross!
Always consistent, always reliable, always
Khnúl, the Pole Star
Epistle XXXVII: This the Right Address, Question?
This even being the right place for writing? Details a little crazy down here in the fleet.
Question question question question. We Traîkhiim just full of questions.
So, when we getting back to the grammar? Or, to be more preciseling, when we getting back to the Gibberish. And pie. We love pie. Who keep mentioning pie?
So when get to see Éfhelìnye again? I we just want to hold her and bite her and gobble her up and eat her all the time. She just so delicious. You not cooking her now, are you? Find way to seal in her flavor. Feast! Love Feast for the Empress! Hurray!
So just itsy little bitsy questionling for you Khnoqwísiji dearest Empress of Yester. When do we get to eat Éfhelìnye because we they I very hungry and Puîyos wont’ let us have any fun at all. Wants us all to eat qhostaqhìsti lettuce all the time. Yukh yukh yukh yukh yukh.
Wait, some of the wind up toys wanting to write a message for you. Here, we I they passing the paper along.
Fhólus and Aîya and Fhólus
Is this the former Empress? We love you so much. We love you with all of our gears and mainsprings because you made precious little Éfhelìnye for us. We just love to spend time with you. You have her eternally prisoned with you, don’t you? We’ll come along so we can sing and dance for her. There are e'er so many games that we can play with her. We can play at tea and chase each other about and comb her long hair and play dress up. She has pretty little parthenal wings now. Do you want us to brush her wings? We can pluck her feathers and coat her wings in wax. Then we can dance for her.
And we trust that you’re forbidding that disgusting young lad from having any contact with the Princess for all eternity. In fact, don’t you just want Puîyos to be dead and in some horrible way? How about this, we’ll cut out his heart and give it to you, and then you can let us play with the Princess for ever and ever. I think this will be an amicable relationship for us all.
Death to Puîyos! Dance for the Princess!
Tetratríxe and Qwatríxe
How are you dopes getting the right Ravens for sending to the former Empress? I think all of you are altogether daft. You aliens and clockwork creatures, you do know that the former Empress is an Immortal, no? She’s not going to respond in the way that any of us expect or understand. Remember when Éfhelìnye ran away from her Father the Emperor? He began a War, at least that I can understand. Wait, no I can’t. But the Empress, she’s
I’ve got to go. Anyone even wondering how I got here? Because I sure am.
Akhlísa the Best at Everything
Epistle XXXVIII: I’m Coming to Visit
I shall call to visit you this afternoon. I do not wish to alarum you, but the Sweqhàngqu side of the family is quite concerned with Princess Éfhelìnye’s welfare. I am not quite sure whether I made this clear in my last letter, but references to breaking her bones and making her bleed can cause mortal to panick. You may remember that as part of the Song of Creation there was the alchemy of parental love. Mothers and Fathers can, how does one say this politely, go insane if they think something is a threat to their children. You are aware of at least one instance of that, when your beloved husband my cousin Kàrijoi created an entire War because of his only child. It is bad taste to mention this word, but I fear that the adults of the Sweqhàngqu may be falling subject to jhaqexára, the sacred parental wrath to defend their offspring. The fleet right now is in disarray, and if we do not resolve this situation soon, Crown Prince Puîyos will be unable to continue winning battles.
Epistle XXXIX: Mine
[The parchment of the letter is the flayed skin from some creation that no mortal could possibly identify. The ink of the letter is very clearly blood.]
I know you tried to send me an epistle, Khwofheîlya. I have begun the incineration of all Ravens arising from the wretched mortal realms of Jaràqtu. I have asked mine only child to copy out this letter for me in her own blood. I am thinking of completely purging her of all her mortal form. I am not entirely sure how that can come to pass, but it must be possible. I’m thinking of leaving her in fire for several generations.
Leave us alone, of you will be punished as only one deathless can punish you. She is my precious child. I waited eternities for her. If you try to take her away from me, I will make Kàrijoi’s war seem like a good dream.
To ensure that Éfhelìnye does not try to escape from me again, I have broken her other leg.
[The rest of the epistle is filled with broken feathers, the tips of which are covered in blood.]
Epistle XL: Note from Abbá
My beloved Child,
I, the only Father you have e'er known, begs you to reconsider this action. I know how you love Éfhelìnye, and perhaps only I can guess how you suffered to bring her to pass, and the rejection your own Family imposed upon you. I suspect that Raven and Death and the rest of your Siblings may be incapable of showing affection in the way that a poor old man like I can. All I could do was clothe you and teach you as best I could. Your Family creates realities out of their whims. And yet I beg you to remember that Éfhelìnye is not completely yours. She is also of the kindred of Pwéru, and her mortal qualities, her faults, her imperfections, the stubbornness she has inherited from both you and Kàrijoi, make her all the more endearing unto us all. She does not need to be purged or cleaned or changed in any way. She is our Éfhelìnye just as you were once my Khnoqwísi, and I let you go in time.
Puey will find her of course. I suspect he will find her sooner than you think.
Epistle XLI: I’m Very Sorry
Be this unto the Holy Virgin Empress Khnoqwísi, the Bride of the ten thousand viceroy kingdoms, the Daughter of the Sorcerer of the Forest, the beloved of the Emperor of all the Land of Story and Master of Health and Prosperity of Life
From her foster Son and Heir Puîyos
By way of Telàqhawa, the Raven Courier Service Express
Copied by Emperor Kàrijoi
In the War Fleet
May the peace and blessings of the Ancestors, Spirits, Immortals, and the Father of Stars be unto you.
Greetings, holy Mother,
I, your foster Son and Heir all of Earth and Sea and Sky, with humble and contrite heart beg you for the formal release of my future wife, the Starflower Princess Éfhelìnye Kháwa Teîrtlhe Eilyorieyána Stèlyarel Eiyuláriye Kòkhafha Kheyòkhporii Khmelitóte Xhèyol Erstélar Asteranása Áxhneyeméxhe Qhòyeil Eiyàsqrii Éfha Qwasáta Tsetseîlwa Paplínat of Þe Royal House of Pwéru.
I shall arrive soon and in the night, alone, to meet with her. I know where she is. I can taste her thoughts. I have instructed the War Fleet to send some of their first ten thousand warships to follow me within the day. The other millions will start streaming upwards within three days. Thrice-honored Qhalúxha and the rest of the Dragons will be accompanying me.
My beloved Mother by marriage,
One would be honored if you would stay with me and Éfhelìnye in the warfleet after I release her from her place of captivity. Éfhelìnye has been without a Mother’s love almost all of her life, and has much to learn from you. As her future husband and Emperor to come, however, I must say that you are not to change her in any way. I already find her perfect. Not a single bone of hers will be broken. She will be eternally under my protection.
Emperor Kàrijoi will be following me within a day or so. He approves of my taking Éfhelìnye back with me.
Please do not be angry with Éfhelìnye. She just wished to stay with me, and like the rest of us does not understand that sometimes families react very poorly to disobedience.
Epistle XLII: Dreams of Creation
Because I bore a child, the only one born of the holy Áme, my Family devised the most horrible of punishments for me. You cannot begin to understand the exile, the misery, and the death they imposed upon me, without remorse, without any attempt at reconciliation. And now that I am finally reunited with mine Éfhelìnye, through her and your sacrifice, I find that I cannot let her go.
I do not wish for her to be betrothed and married. I don’t care about contracts or fate or law, I never have, I create mine own law and expect the rest of reality to conform unto it. Your Grandmother Xhàtrajhil will remind me that one cannot end a syuîkho betrothal and marriage contract. Mine Husband will say that she is only doing what I did once. I do not care. Éfhelìnye cannot leave me. I wish for her to be a little Star, smaller and cuter and just like me. I will pay you well for taking her away from you, of course. In recompense I shall provide you with one hundred queenly wives and one thousand concubines and ten thousand slave girls, surely those will be enough wives for you in your household. The Ravens and Draems were telling me that you have a prediliction for golden-tressed females, if that is so I can supply you with as many as you desire, or if you would prefer wives with a variety of hair colors, I can arrange that also. I am after all the very essence of justice and recompense. I am not terrible conversant on mathmatics, it always seems like a distraction from the true task of dancing, but I believe that your hundred queenly wives could provide you with about five children each, and your thousand concubines three children each, and your ten thousand slave girls a child. That would be about, by my calculation, a thousand children. That should be enough to create a new Imperial Dynasty and pay you for keeping my Daughter with me for ever. I can also pay you in perfumes, spices, books, rugs, jewelry of all sort, and the various sweet substances that mortals like to ingest and plunder from the horizon. Candies I think they’re call. I can give you lots of candy. I shall contact my twin, Raven, soon, and he can start providing you with many wives. Raven has always been able to find young women throughout the endless timelines. I am not entirely sure how, nor has it e'er been of use to me, but now I see that it can be used to create a bond among our families.
Éfhelìnye will stay with me for ever.
These little wind up toys are beginning to annoy me with their scampering and leaping and capers. I think I’ll vaporize them into nothingness. What odd little designs they are.
I remember the earliest of days. Éfhelìnye has not yet created vocabulary nor grammar to describe it for you. It was not even darkness. It was a silence and shadow deeper than merely darkness. It was beginning. We were all there, without form or substance or matter or energy. We just were.
Imagine a deep thunderous call, and blinding white light. That is what Apálo is to me. I can still feel and touch and taste the original song of creation. It ripples outwards. In the unfolding of time, many more waves of energy came bursting outwards. We sang all the louder. Color and energy came into existance. Everything was rushing outwards.
The energy became a Sea. From the sea the Tree grew. And of the Sea and Tree arose great orbs of light which were like fruit and spheres and energy. The worlds were arising, they were dimensions. They became land and mountain and rock and hill and waters and clouds. They grew green and blue as they blossomed. The Tree became all of starflowers. The Sea became fractals and water. All of the Dreamtime came into existance. I was there. I danced at creation.
I’ve always had an idea for the ending. It can all somehow begin again. The Dreamtime may fade away. But we Immortals shall remain, we shall sing again in the beginning. Pulsations of Apálo will burst out again. The darkness shall bloom. New dreamlands were glow. And soaring high above them, in the changing and unraveling, will arise great fleets of warships and glass and hot air balloons and photonic arks, and all about them shall flutter the birds and porcines and fishes and pterodactyls of the airs, and upon the decks shall rest all manner of creature that walks and creeps and runs. And at the head of the fleet will be the Mortals entering the newness of creation. I used to think that you and Éfhelìnye would stand at the vanguard of the fleet, but I shall keep Éfhelìnye with me, she can dance before the Tree.
Epistle XLIII: Nigh
I shall be arriving with the hour and alone. Please have Éfhelìnye healed.
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