Part 1 – The last day
It’s been a bad day for me.
Everything is breaking and dying, and there’s nothing I can do to save those that we’ve lost already. The beautiful fields and deserts of Bahá’í were the first to fall, torn apart like paper in the great fury. She toyed with the citizens, innocent lives, for what felt like aeons before finally moving on.
The grand city of Tian fell next. She broke every stone into motes of dust, and tore them into nothing. We saw the fires of destruction across all the land. None of us could help them, not then, and not now.
She’s just finished with Olympos; the city of a million voices silenced in a single breath. All that remains now is my tree. Well, my tree, and the sea; this infinite ocean just as much a part of this great tree as any of its branches; if I’m right, that is, and there’s a lot at stake on my being right today.
So that’s how I know she’s coming here. My home. She saved it for last; I think she may fear this place. Fear me. But that won’t stop her. As I lie at the roots of my great home-tree, Yggdrasil, I only pray I can stop her.
So let me reiterate; it’s been a bad day. My name is Eumenides, and this is the end of the world.
Who is ‘she’? She has a great number of names, and many of those have no written form, but her most common name is Moirai, or fate. She also isn’t a single entity, she’s three women, a maiden, a mother and a crone, all bound by a single, impossible presence. She’s a complicated person, is what I’m saying.
I mentioned my name as well: Eumenides. Just as with Morai, that is neither my sole nor my true name, however it serves the purpose it must. In every great kingdom, I have a different name, just as she does. In Bahá’í I was called Semnai, and in Tian they called me the Kindly One. I think my favourite came from the now long gone Valhalla, where they called me the Furious Mistress, or just Fury. But, with their lands gone, so gone has my name. In the greatest of the recent lands, Olympos, I was called Eumenides, and that will serve for my story.
I stand here at the base of Yggdrasil, the tree that was created of the first chaos, and which sparked the rest of reality, and order itself with it. I have lived under this tree my whole life, as only here do I feel the pull of Chaos unbound, my home. Moirai could not bear the feeling of what she once was, and left as soon as she was bound to a physical form.
She’s close. I can feel her, the old her. More of the original essence is being freed, and she returns closer to her true form. She comes.
‘Moirai. You return to the place of our birth.’ I cannot help but smile, seeing my sister once more.
‘How could I not? You brought me here, and now I must act as I once did.’ All three of her forms speak in unison.
She remains in the same manifest image she took when we were first forced into corporeal bodies.
We are not ‘beings’ so much as forces, constants. Before the great kingdoms that we’ve lived in for so long, there were the Powers That Always Must Be. There were hundreds, thousands perhaps at first, and then through wrath and ruin most were lost or burnt in the fires of those more powerful. Of all the great Powers, there were two far stronger than the rest; the force of Destiny and the force of Fate. For countless ages they fought, the impossible carnage caused by their wars leadings to the sparking of existence, and the gods that inhabit the lands today. As more of the other Powers That Always Must Be were bound to this physical realm that had been burnt into existence, it became harder for these two great forces to avoid its pull. Eventually they were the only Powers left unbound, and that is when the draw of reality became so great, it engulfed even these great beings.
And that’s where She and I come in. Moirai, Queens of Destiny and Death, and I, Eumenides, Fury of Fate and Retribution. Having destroyed everything else, she knows the only place she can turn to is my home, to me. It’s funny, she’s the one who wanted to stay bound within Order, and yet she’s the one who’ll return us both to Chaos. Of course, I don’t want to return to the pure Chaos either, much as she may argue that point. The thing is, much as Chaos was fun, I know that, without Order, I have no character; I’m just a force, and no longer a being. Moirai knows the same, but her hand has been forced into this destruction, just as mine was forced in kind.
‘So, do we fight now? Are you going to attack me?’ I can’t help but ask, genuinely curious as to how a fight between our corporeal forms could even possibly work.
‘You make it sound like I chose this!’ Moirai shouts back at me, voices still in almost perfect harmony.
‘Didn’t you?’ I utter almost silently, looking at the destruction she’s caused.
‘You know I didn’t. You did this!’
I can’t answer her. She’s right, and I know it. So long ago, when we were first made flesh, I made a decision.
Part 2 – The first rule written
So many aeons ago, and yet so recently, I can remember the burnt chaos that first made us flesh, gave us form. We were the last to arrive upon this great world that we had unwittingly created. Life was already thriving, the great deities were living, having children and dying all around us. All these concepts were new to me; I didn’t understand.
Moirai and I were both born under Yggdrasil, where we stand today. She ran almost immediately, and I can’t blame her. To have been a force of pure chaos, an entity of raw power, and then to be shackled and bound within Order and life, was agony. We suddenly had feelings, opinions and emotions, all signs of life, not of power. So her forms fled, and soon disappeared across the horizon. I regained more of my sanity, as the force of Destiny always should when faced with the force of Death. I wandered until I found a tavern, where I first met Loki and Thor.
They were sitting, and drinking of course, at a great stone table. I went to sit by them.
‘Hail, a fair maiden approaches!’ Loki yelled in a drunken stupor. Tall and lean, he looked out of place in a tavern otherwise filled with burly, battle-ready men and women.
‘Quiet, trickster!’ Thor berated him. ‘Can you not see the shades following her? She is recently bound to this world.’ Thor looked more typical, a massive man with huge muscles and a belly to match. His rough beard fell to his waist, and by his feet rested a hammer so massive I doubt any normal being could have lifted it.
‘Maiden, is it true? Are you new to this physical realm? Can we help? My name is Loki, and my companion is Thor; be not afeared by this place, ‘tis as safe as any other.’
I had to speak. I knew it, but my mind was new and difficult to understand. I turned to face a man in the back of the room, watching our discussion silently.
‘You.’ I addressed him, ‘You will die this night.’
Unsurprisingly, he didn’t take kindly to such a greeting. He stood up, overturning his table in the process, and marched over to where I had sat.
‘At least you know how to make friends,’ Loki whispered in my ear.
‘Mistress, are you threatening me?’ The man shouted. He was big, not quite as large as Thor, but still huge.
‘No, Ha-Horus, she was not!’ Thor interjected. ‘She is recently made flesh, and still confused. You will have to excuse her raving.’
‘Excuse her? I accept insults from no-one. Newly formed or not, I will not let you go unpunished!’
As this went on my mind began to take logical form, allowing me to understand more of the physical realm.
The man named Ha-Horus swung his fist towards me. I knew that this blow would not make contact, so I did not flinch. Inches from my face, Thor caught my aggressor’s hand in his much larger one, and forced Ha-Horus to the ground.
‘Thor! You are on this simpleton’s side?’ The man looked both shocked and bemused by this turn of events.
‘I’m not on her side, but no-one should be against her either. You are still young, Ha-Horus, you should still recall the troubles of first binding.’
‘I-I…She insulted me!’ He whimpered, his hand being crushed by Thor’s.
‘No. She was right.’ Thor muttered, almost silently.
And with those words spoken, Thor pulled on Ha-Horus’ arm, forcing him up, only to then kick him back down to the ground. Thor took a moment to pick up his hammer, lifting it with an ease I would not have thought possible. Ha-Horus could never have stood up to a blow from such a hammer, and in fact never stood up again.
‘You…you would kill him, over this?’ I couldn’t help but ask, after he, Loki and I had left the tavern.
‘Ahh, maiden, your head is new, I will have to explain. We are deities, immortals, such as you are now. When we die, our characters and forms die, and our bodies are returned to the endless sea. When a maiden wishes to birth a new child, she will bathe in the shallow waters of the beach, and her child will be en-souled with one of our own dead. Our population is, and shall always be, the same.’
The rest of the conversation is irrelevant. I had discovered all I needed to know, and had realised my purpose. As a force I had been Fate, the diviner; I would be the same now, I still had the power of divination, just as I was sure Moirai had the power of true death.
These great beings were powerful beyond belief, each of them the manifestation of a raw force, each of them still holding some of the chaos within them that burned in me as well. I quickly realised that with Moirai in this realm, death need no longer be so fickle. I also understood then that should true life, stemming from Order rather than Chaos, ever exist, it could never hope to comprehend or co-exist with these beings of power.
I saw at that moment how pointless this whole world had turned out to be. With no true life or death, there could never be any progression, or true movement towards any sort of meaningful goal. I had no way to correct this problem, so I had to find a way to make sure that, somehow, one day a solution would be found.
So, as I have done so many times since, I prophesied. As with any that I write, I knew that mine would come to pass just as it was written. I divined that; Should any being born of Order and having of both life and death ever be brought into existence, all that the Powers That Always Must Be ever have been or shall be will be unmade, removed from the Order it corrupts, so that true life may form free from Chaos. So it was written, and so it would be done.
Part 3 – Chaos unbound
‘I did this. I know I did.’ I mutter, my memories flooding my mind.
‘Why? Why force my hand like this?’ Moirai looks genuinely upset, her forms all wiping tears from their eyes and fixing their gazes upon me.
‘No…Moirai, my dear sister. We are not dying. When unmade, we will not “die”.’ I begin to explain.
‘What do you mean? You realise I have not sent our brothers and sisters to the unending sea? I have broken them into nothing, as I am forced to!’ Her forms yell in unison.
‘Exactly. I worked it out a long time ago. When you unmade the citizens of this realm, you expelled them from Order, but not from existence. They have become one with Chaos again, acting as forces, and forces alone. Just as they should. Thor, as he was once called, will now be the force of Honour for eternity, not constrained by form or name. Loki will now always be the force of Subversion, and the list goes on for every being. And, as they went, so must we both.’
‘Why? Why must we be destroyed with them?’ She’s yelling now, tears falling freely.
‘Because of them’ I utter, pointing to the heart of the tree.
‘Because of two abominations you created, I have been forced to destroy every deity and being there was or shall be?’
‘Yes. But they are not abominations. They are beings, like us,’ I reply.
‘But with no power!’
‘But with death. And life, and names and stories to tell. And you know as well as I, all good stories must end.’
‘Names? They have names?’ She whispers, the shock visible in her eyes.
‘I have seen all, yes I know their names. They are called Adamah and Chava.’ I tell her.
‘So…what needs to be done?’ She looks resolute, though she does not stop weeping.
‘Do as you did, my sister; you must return us to Chaos, and as we pass, pull Yddgrasil away with us.’
‘Destroy Yggdrasil?’ She looks shocked.
‘Yes. The life tree must be sundered.’
‘But why? Why do such a thing?’ she begs.
‘It is like us, dear sister. It is the force of home and hearth, and with its unmaking a true land will form.’
‘Sister! We are running out of time. Release us, let us become great forces once again so that we may rule this world of theirs from afar, governing their lives so that they may live truly. And sister, you have the most important job of all. You will govern their deaths, you will end their lives and make sure that the journeys ended never begin anew. There must be no cycle, do you understand’
‘I…I understand’ She looks up, a slight smile of comprehension shining through her tears.
‘Goodbye, sweet sister.’