820 - We are One
Shefenkas/Performing the Ten Tens continued:::
If the statue of Muunas in the Great Temple stood up from His throne, His head and shoulders would shatter the roof. Yet He stood now, as if the ceiling either expanded to fit Him, or He grew less tall, though nothing about Him diminished. “Do you give Me your fealty, My son?”
The inclination came to kneel before Him, my hands pressed together before me. “Yes,” I said, as I did it. He leaned down massively over me, the heat of His presence like the feel of sunlight. His hands enclosed mine, almost burning. “I accept you. Look at Her.”
O most familiar of the Ten… Though I was in the state, a pang of sadness hit me. This might be the last closeness I ever had to Her again. When I was finished in Arko I would fly home, and I had never seen Her when I was outside the borders of the Empire.
Marble softened into flesh, taking on its living glow. The brilliantly-chiseled stonework that formed Her apparently weightless marble locks suddenly had the sheen of silver and came alive, rippling around Her down to Her ankles as if in water, bright as moon-coloured flame. I felt my intimacy with Her hair, as Her hair had been intimate with every cell in me.
“Look.” His love for Her was banked in me. He did not let me feel all of it, only a sliver, because if He did and I opened myself to it, I would be as a tree to a bolt of lightning, an insufficient vessel and so blasted apart and slain in the act of conveying. Even what I did feel, blowing through me like a wind made of light, strained my heart almost to pain. This is a lesson, I thought. In how to love. The philosophers say it is like war-training; in love, too, go beyond where you think you can go, and your capacity will expand.
The Goddess gazed at me with Her eyes of unyielding sky-blue under silver-white brows, and touched Her finger to Her lips, which were the shade of the most delicately-pink rose. Then to each deep red nipple. I felt my lips part, my tongue yearn for their taste and hardness. I felt the hot urging between my legs, and knew vaguely I was naked and the crowd was bearing witness.
The Goddess smiled permission. From the crowd came a crooning hum in a woman’s voice, husky and nurturing both at once. Another joined her, then more. I heard my name in the chanting, and Hers. There seemed to be voices I knew, though I couldn’t put names to them. As one, they sang me through the Goddess’s Ten Steps, which I knew by the memory of Her hair imprinted forever on the inside of every sinew in me. The God did not need to lead me.
On the last movement, I reached out my hands to Hers, our fingers touching. She began to brighten, as if moonlight more intense than from the moon were gathering in the air. I closed my eyes against it, as She drew me in to Her lips. “I give myself to You,” I whispered.
Her kiss was the Earthsphere in one point of warm liquid existence, the universe in the caressing of tongues, infinity in the fact that Her divine mouth would accept the unworthy clasp of my mortal one.
“You give yourself to Me. I share Myself with you.” The thousand thousands of strands of Her hair wreathed around my limbs and drew me to Her, subtle as threads of breath first, then smooth as silken cords, then strong as Zak-wrought wire, though I felt not even a pinch of pain, offering no resistance. It is only resistance to the will of the Divine that causes us pain.
I fell to my knees without a sense of falling, brushing my lips downward between Her soft-as-white-owl-down breasts, across Her flat navel-less belly, through the wheat-field of silver curls caressing my chin and cheeks. Her light shone so bright it hurt my eyes even though I had them clenched shut. I pressed my tongue between the hot tensing petals of Her loins, and all that exists stood still.
“Feel Her.” Was that Muunas who spoke, or the Voice of the Temple again? We who are merely mortal cannot easily measure things so immense. I felt the God’s sun-like heat on my back and the soles of my feet as I knelt, growing more burning as He came closer. His huge hands gently clasped my sides, and searingly brushed my nipples, as I lapped Her, making Her gasp and throw Her head back. “Feel Me.” He lifted my hips so I was standing bent forward, and entered me, not as a God does, but as a man does another man. I was pierced as by the sun itself.
“Feel Us,” They said together. Each of His thrusts drove my tongue harder on Her, making Her gasp and cry out with joy to His rhythm. For this moment, the love between them took the form of me.
I’ve had to break from writing here, the page blurring too much in my sight from tears of joy, just from remembering. I have received many accolades in my life, been granted many honours, but this one—to serve as the link between two great deities in Their making love to each other—was honour so beyond what I can bear to think I deserve, so beyond fair that I almost can’t stand to recount it, to remember it happened, to publicly acknowledge that it did.
The closest I ever came to fleeing from the Ten Tens, and so risking death by the sword of my own beloved alesinas, was then; those cries you heard were of ecstasy and terror mixed, the ecstasy so great that it shaded into terror. Their love streaming through me was so much I felt as if it would kill me; my own pleasure I felt would tear me apart. I stayed only by keeping myself in the state of total surrender, telling myself, I may die only if it is by Their will.
All through I kept my eyes clenched shut to protect my eyes from being burned in their sockets; the din was no less than the light as the crowd roared out its own ecstasy. There was music too, high and wild and metallic and glass-like and mixed with the voices; each note turned itself into a spark of a colour more brilliant than the world we touch contains, flashing for a moment in my mind like fireworks. Light and sound and pleasure and the God’s speeding thrusts drove me to serve Her more and more wildly, brought me to a kind of berserk state, beyond thinking or intention. I and They brought us all to the very edge of climax and kept Us there so long I felt as if I were going mad.
How it felt when it happened, I cannot begin to describe; I can barely remember. Time slowed, as it does when I am on the edge of death, so it lasted what seemed a century. I was beginning to pass out from it when, even through the light and my closed eyes, I knew that the Temple floor around us had erupted in waist-high flames. I was done, and did not pass out; all Ten were there, sustaining my strength. And then I heard the last thing I would ever have imagined I’d hear here, as it is utterly Yeoli: the singing wind.
“You know Me.” It was as if the Voice of the Temple and the song of the wind, of the Yeoli harmonic singer, were one. “I/We know You.” Now the voices of the Ten were joined to it as well, Ten more divine harmonies. Underneath, a myriad human voices yelled “Ten of the Tens!”or begun the sacred chant, “Yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever!”
“We are One.”
I barely knew up from down or where I was, so I said something a Yeoli would say who feels like that. I didn’t expect the singing wind, the Voice and the Ten all to speak it with me, so deafening that I thought it might kill us all.
We said Kahara, “All-Spirit.” Then, as if all the Earthsphere were struck speechless, there was an astonishing silence. I opened my eyes, saw everyone in the crowd lying flat in the prostration. Then a gentle note rose, and split into two, mixed in perfect harmony with the sound of Arkan glass bells. There was a harmonic singer there, a woman of the senaheral, whom the Gods inspired; likewise the bell-player.
The Voice said “Zyztah min ititah.” Then began repeating, with the singer and the bells, “Kaaa-haaa-raaa” and all the names of the Ten.
What was happening? I had no more reasoned understanding than anyone else did; only in my body, and my heart, and my soul. It was as They had said: We are one.
Common Arkan belief and feeling, and Yeoli too, in its way, are full of delusions of separation; of imaginings that we are different, that there is no unbreakable bond between us all, that we are somehow apart from the Earthsphere and the universe, from all other living things, from the world of the immaterial. They are delusions. And these scratched words that I lay on paper cannot truly convey it; it is a truth can only be fully known by being felt as well as thought. The secret of mastering it is acceptance. In accepting everyone and everything else as it is is the unity that solves all problems.
I found myself standing with my arms wide and my head thrown back, amidst fading flames. I had to go into the crowd; I had step through the last of the fire; when I did it was all extinguished. I was still singing, Kahara Anae Imbas Mella Oas Risae Mikas Dimae Aras Selinae Muunas. Everyone was. I heard Their last whisper in my ear: “We accept you. Again. And how you returned.” The closing bells chimed as I clasped the first mortal hands.
“Sitae desan,” I said. “Your fodaisin and your right of fodaisin is divinely ratified.” As they lifted me, meaning to put me on someone’s shoulders—Kall was right there—I lay back in their hands, stretching out full, to let as many people as possible touch me.