Mythos 004 - Provenance I - Air
Once upon a time, there was a book. It was an old book, bound in leather that had been stained
by time and travel. The pages were brittle and yellow, like the last leaves to die before winter.
There weren’t words in it, at least not all of the time. This book was magic. If you opened it, it
would sing. It would sing and whisper and scream, not stopping until the story was over. And the
story that it told was great and terrible like gunfire and lamentations.
Many many years ago, there was no city; there was no town; there was only dejected farmers
and mistrustful priests. The ground was hard, but not barren. The water was cold, but not
freezing. The few joys and light everyone did have were shared easily, with smiles and even
laughter compensating for the most bare of dinner plates.
But one day the sun did not rise. One day, the sun congealed upwards, as blue as nightshade.
Dogs walked backwards in circles, foam in their jaws and eyes rolling relentlessly. Babes at their
mothers’ teat received only blood; siblings fought with tooth and nail; cattle screamed like dying
And then the Beast came.
It flew on wings of carrion, moving slower than snow without wind. It held in three of its hands
knives of astounding brightness and impossible angles. Above its head circled a golden ring that
seemed to sing out every misdeed, every bad intention, every evil. Where its claws and hoof
touched the ground, the very Earth seemed to shrink away in agony. The only sound was from
the ring above the Beast’s ever-changing faces, and the labored breathing of one old man.
In the panic of fleeing, his family had left him behind, and the old man was tired.
He had been plowing the same rocky field since before he could walk alone, his Paw guiding
him and laughing when the oxen kicked dirt into his face. His hands were twisted with age and
wear; his back was curved and stiff; his weak lungs wheezed with each horrified breath.
The Beast looked at the Old Man. The Beast looked into the Old Man, and saw his fatigue. The
Beast felt his aches. The Beast tasted his regret. The Beast smiled, and the Old Man wept for
he was sure that his life would end where it began: in dirt. The Old Man closed his eyes and
And then The Beast spoke. It spoke with a voice like perfumed velvet disguising razors; the
voice was woman and man, young and old, wonderful and awful; The Beast spoke with a voice
like a lover’s kiss wrapped in silver and stained glass.
The Beast said “Art Thou Not Tired? Wouldst Thou Like To Rest On A Bed Of Feathers?”
The Old Man wept, for he was tired.So very. Very. Tired.