Friday 29 November 2013

This section outlines the basis of my story world in terms of how the supernatural races came to be, and the cause and purpose of the “meddling” that has led to history bending away from what we know.

If you’re only interested in who ends up marrying whom, skip to the next post. >8)


The Nine Sisters

The next-​to-​outermost layer of the story is the idea that it is an alternate history spun off at the Battle of Hastings when a raven brought Leofric back to life. As the Dark Lady told Vash, this event was the falling stone, and as the story progressed we already saw ripples reaching as far as Rome, where Araphel’s inattention caused a Pope to take office earlier than expected.

The Dark Lady, the Bright Lady, Dana, and Dantalion’s mother are among the Nine Sisters who may be seen both amusing themselves and warring with each other by means of their minions on earth. Each of them is an Emanation of the Holy Spirit (who is herself one of the “Sisters”), as Dantalion told Eithne, and each is associated with a race of beings, either darkness or light, either the sun or the moon, one of the four elements, one of “the animals not bound by law”, and a Gnostic Aeon.

Sophia (the Holy Spirit) the Beast all Spider
Aidna the angels light sun air Owl The One
Kalilletha the jinn darkness moon water Serpent Silence
Dana the sídhe darkness sun fire Cat Love
Morgriana (the Dark Lady) the khírrón darkness moon air Wolf Power
Aletheia unnamed elf (extinct) light moon fire Rat Truth
Damia the trolls darkness sun earth Raven Mind
Nimea (the Bright Lady) the kisór light moon water Bat Word
Eva (deceased) humans light sun earth Bear Life

Of note:

  • After the Holy Spirit, each of the four emanations consists of two beings of similar might, and two races of similar attributes and power.
  • The Bright Lady is the mother of the kisór and the Dark Lady of the khírrón. The Bright Lady, dissatisfied with her weak race, convinced the khírrón that she is their mother and has neglected her own people. The Dark Lady is too uninterested in happenings on earth to meddle much with this state of affairs, other than to prevent Myrddin from going too far and meddling too much himself. (Hence her appearance to Vash.)
  • Only the angels and jinn are immortal. Only the sídhe and the khírrón have much magic.
  • By the end of the 11th century, all races except for men should either have been extinct or disappeared to some sort of underworld. Throughout the story, several supernatural beings have expressed surprise that the elves or the sídhe are still kicking around.
  • The extinct, unnamed elf-​like race associated with Aletheia makes practically no appearance in the story, except that Sigefrith and his relations are descended from one of their number. It is this blood that allows him to glimpse Alred’s and Matilda’s souls.
  • Some of our characters are trolls (Kraaia, Andronikos, Trudi), or have troll blood (Irene, Leila, and Yusuf, and others in smaller doses).
  • The trolls were recently afflicted with some sort of curse that has made all the males sterile. Andronikos’s strange behaviour is due to their race’s efforts to save as much of their bloodline as they can by finding mostly-​troll mates for their troll women. Kraaia does not know what she is, but Andronikos knows she is a troll, and he knows she is not supposed to be on the loose like this.
  • The “angels” were the cause of the Biblical Flood. They brought writing and other technologies to men, but they loved human women and had children who were monsters; the Flood was intended to wipe them out. Afterwards they were chained beneath the sea for centuries, until the coming of Christ. Afterwards they were freed, but their task is to assist saints and other righteous people. If they do their job well enough and make up for their past sins, they will be allowed to return to Heaven.
  • The jinn were the highest angels, but a small number of them were banished to earth, as Dantalion explained to Eithne. They are trying to bring about the end of the world, as afterwards it will be their kingdom.

The original “meddler” – the Sister who saved Leofric on the battlefield – was Damia, Mother of the Trolls. Leof’s distant ancestor, Ivarr the Boneless, the original “Hingwar”, was 34 troll, and Leof is his living heir. Hingwar’s magical war banner, featuring a raven on each side, has been hanging in the hall of Dublin Castle (which Murchad has just claimed) for two centuries. Leof will one day enter the castle, at which point the ravens, as prophesied, will come to life and perch on his shoulders.

But ultimately Cedric is the reason why Leof was saved. Cedric is the one Amarel is seeking. Cedric is the saint who never should have been born.

The End of the World

The outermost layer of the story is a tale of the end of the world, inspired by the poem “The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats.

The “meddling” will lead to the awakening of the Beast that Dantalion described to Eithne:

“If God is like a man with a face like the face of a lion, so was this Beast a lion with the face of a man.”

The Beast is currently sleeping, buried up to its neck in the sands of Egypt – the Great Sphinx. From “The Second Coming”:

…a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

But the meddling also leads to the birth of the one who will save the world – Cedric – and for him God has sent his most trusted angel, Amarel, the Word of God. Amarel has served God at a critical moment once before: as some of you may have guessed, Amarel was Judas, and he has sworn never to kiss another face again because it was his kiss that betrayed Jesus. (But he was following Jesus’ instructions, see the Gospel of Judas.)

The events that will trigger the beginning of the end will ultimately be traced back to Leofric as well. From the poem:

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The “rocking cradle” refers to the birth of an Antichrist figure. Bringing about this birth is the mission of Dantalion and his brothers.

The Dark Angels

Dantalion is known to some as Eight, and Aelfden seems to have a particular horror of the name Seven. In Lar wants to learn Lar and Aelfden read a book for summoning demons, and Lar makes some astute observations.

Here the drawings were far simpler, starting with nine pages of nine-​pointed symbols, eight pages of eight-​points, and so on, ending with two pages containing only a straight line and a half circle respectively, and a single last page that was ominously blank in the center, with text written entirely in red.

Lar had also noticed that the blocky symbols at the tops of the pages were the same according to the number of points on the drawing.

He was quite proud of his deduction, and bold enough to show it off. After quickly counting the points on this particular diagram, he patted the symbols at the top of the page with his fingertip and said, “Seven.”

Aelfden’s face was as white as cloven chalk.

Among Dantalion’s brothers, there are nine demons (or jinn) named Nine, eight named Eight, and so forth. The higher-​numbered demons are more powerful, except for One, who will be the most powerful of all, if he is ever born.

The jinn attempt to bring about the birth of One in a most tedious fashion. One of the two demons named Two mate with a man while in the form of a woman, then with a woman while in the form of a man, and in this way the child has human parents but has something of a demon in him. Such children have the distinguishing characteristics of being born with teeth, and their mothers inevitably bleed to death at their birth.

That’s Step One.

For Step Two, one of the three demons named Three waits for this child to grow up, mates with him then with a woman, and causes the birth of another child. Then it’s the turn of Four, of Five, etc.

This continues for generations, and of course if any of these children dies before one of the demons can get to it, that chance ends. (Though there may be many alive at a given time.)

Also, not just any woman may be the mother; she has to have turned her back on God or exposed herself to evil in some way.

Aelfden was born due to Seven. He has met and been manipulated by his “father”, though he only knows him as a demon named Seven.

You may have guessed by now that little Anshé, Hilda’s son “Seven”, is actually the son of Aelfden by way of Dantalion. (Really Seven’s name should be Eight, but this is Dantalion’s little joke and his way of messing with Aelfden, if Aeflden ever learns.)

Hilda opened herself up to evil when she attempted to perform witchcraft against Leof on the night that he assaulted her in the storeroom. At that point Dantalion (Eight) was able to get to her.

But in exchange for her life, Hilda’s curse will be granted. She wanted to hurt Leof, and she will, by hurting Leof’s daughter. Peleia will be assaulted, as she herself foresaw when she did the charm to see who she would marry:

“There was a big, black monster!” Leia blubbered. “Big and black! And he sat on my belly, and I couldn’t breathe!”

She will be the mother of Anshé’s child by way of the demon Nine, and she will die giving birth to One.

So Leof’s resurrection will lead to the births of both the being that will wake the Beast, as well as the being (Cedric) who will defeat it.

Yes, Leof’s grandrunt will be the Antichrist and his runt will be the mightiest soldier of God. If only he had learned to keep it in his pants.

Oh, Leof.