#1339 – Winter Solstice

Do you know why the Moon first rose up to slay his lover the Sun? Some say it was sorrow or jealousy or fear that moved his hand, or that the Moon had gone mad in the darkness and did not know himself again until he knelt with the dying Sun in his arms. There may be a fragment of truth in all of these – does love not encompass all such emotions? – but I have glimpsed another sliver of truth. Perhaps the Moon raised his blade not to punish or sacrifice his lover the Sun, but to spare him. To save him. Perhaps the Moon wanted only a way for them to never be parted, to cease the chase which kept the lovers forever a horizon’s length away, and did what he must to change their fate. Can you deny that it is better to perish in your lover’s arms, rather than never feel their embrace at all? At least in death the Sun remained with the Moon, as the Moon would remain with the Sun when his turn came to embrace the blade and spill his silver blood. An ill fate, yes, but no worse than the agony of constant separation.

You must hold tight to the thing you love, for it can be taken from you without warning. Do you understand, now? I cannot allow you to be taken from me. It is better, this, than leaving our luck to fate. I spared you the blade, though, and I doubt you ever tasted the powder. (Though I wonder, darling, if even knowing, you would have drank anyway?) The Moon required suffering for his pact, but not I. You need not bleed, darling, only drift to sleep and fear neither pain nor loneliness; I am with you in this, as in all things, and I will hold you safe. You are mine, now, and only mine.

#1248 – Summer Solstice

If I stick a knife through your eye, beloved, will the darkness within come spilling out to fill our lungs and drown us both?

If I put a bullet through your temple, darling, will the nightmares inside break free and raze the world as they’ve razed your mind?

If I crack open your sternum, angel, will the ice in your heart creep out to cover us over in an everlasting winter, freeze us in a grotesque tableau?

If I cut your throat, dearest, will the screams you’ve choked down all these years finally burst forth in a banshee’s wail to haunt me in waking and dreaming?

If I slit your wrists, lovely, will the sickness coursing through your veins infect my blood as well, rotting me from the inside out?

Would I drown for you? Be razed and frozen, haunted and rotted, for you? Oh, I would, Daren, I would infect myself with your madness to know just once the richness of your blood, the tremble of your whimper, the wet warmth of your last dying gasp. Let me cut you, my love. Let me break you. Let me rend and tear and open you wide. Let me know you inside and out.

 

 

[ Ah, another solstice. A good excuse for Tanim’s darker side to come out and play. There’s as fine a line between love and obsession as between the Sun’s heat warming one’s skin and burning it to a crisp… ]

#1157

There comes a moment in every man’s life when he must decide between the easy way and the hard. It seems I have faced more than my fair share of these moments and my preference has always been to choose the path of least resistance. Not out of laziness, I assure you, or uncertainty, but simply because the leaf which allows itself to flow with the river’s current worries far less than the one striving for shore. It is safer to become an anonymous component of the greater whole than draw attention by pushing upstream.

This, too, was the easier path, though I doubt the man at my feet would agree. He took the hard way every time; that’s why we would never have worked. We were always pulling each other in different directions like prisoners chained at the wrist, one wanting to run and the other to stand and fight. Sometimes the only solution in a case like that is to hack off a hand and be on your way. Might hurt, sure, but it’s better than being bound to someone else for the rest of your life, vulnerable to their influence, their fallibility, their loves and fears and cruelties. That’s the ultimate hard path and not one I desire to walk any longer.

“It’s easier this way, darling,” I explain, forgoing metaphor or elaboration; there isn’t much point in either now. His reply is the bubbling of blood out his lips, the slight twitch of fingers that may long to wrap around my neck or pull me close for a final embrace, who knows? Those expressive eyes are already dulling over, fear and confusion faded to a kind of understanding, or perhaps simply resignation. Maybe he does understand. A knife in the chest tends to clarify things, or at least clear out all the unnecessary thoughts and worries you’ve held onto for so long. Maybe now he’s seeing how much easier, how much better it is to let go, to stop fighting. Not that he has much choice.

“Love’s a bitch,” The sticky blade in my hand feels strangely light for all a man’s life gleams and drips from its edge. “One way or another it ruins you. I’m just hurrying things along.”

[Another winter solstice, another bloody death for poor Tanim. You gotta love tradition.]

#1067

[ For those who don't know my story of the solstice and how it relates to Tanim and Daren, this retelling of the myth will explain what Daren is talking about. To read past solstice entries, check out my solstice category. I particularly liked the piece for the most recent winter solstice. ]

 

Put down the blade, beloved. You need not pierce my flesh this time. Whether you raise your hand against me or not, the cycle will continue. Fulfillment of our fate is written in my genetic code; my very cells are branded with the judgment of my crime. They turn against me now as punishment and payment for my betrayal so many countless lives before. My body eats at itself from the inside out like a seed of rot spreading slowly through veins and marrow until I taste blood with every swallow. I am my own murderer and cannibal, an unwilling suicide requiring neither rope nor razor to finish the job. There could be no more fitting penance than the constant agonizing consumption of this disease. A blade is too cold to hurt and a bullet too impersonal. Yet dying by small degree, wasting away one cell at a time, that is an execution worthy of one who betrayed brother and lover both. So fear not, my love; there will be no blood on your hands this time. Only on my lips, and yours should you deign to gift me one last kiss in parting.

It’s easy to say you would die for the sake of love. Death is a paltry price to pay for the assurance your beloved is safe.

His hands are sure as he opens the kitchen drawer and selects the sharpest blade.

And it’s easy to say you would kill for the sake of love. Any other’s life is meaningless compared to the one you adore.

His steps are even as he crosses into the living room and approaches his unmoving companion.

But if you are asked to stand aside and do nothing for the sake of love?

His heart is calm as he steadies Tanim with one arm and raises the other, pressing the blade against the taut rope which binds the man to the rafter above.

If you are asked to stay your hand and willingly watch the one you love destroy themselves? Could you let them make that decision, knowing their misery may end but you will never be whole again?

His body is steady as Tanim’s limp weight collapses onto it, and he bears his lover to the floor with utmost care.

Dying for love is no great martyrdom; it’s easy to be the one doing the leaving. But choosing to set your love free and remain behind despite the loss, despite knowing you will wake each morning alone, forever alone, is another ordeal entirely. Yet if that is the sacrifice love demands, could you deny its supplication?

… the sun blackens his skin, roasting away layer upon layer of crackling flesh. Raw muscle sizzles as it’s exposed; steaming blood and bubbling blisters glisten wetly beneath the flaking char. Pressure builds in his skeleton as the marrow cooks, releasing with the sick splintering of heat-brittled bone. His mouth gapes wide in a howl of agony but his lips have long burned to a crumbling crisp and his vocal chords shrivel and snap like overburdened violin strings.

The sun’s blaze blinds him. He cannot escape it. His eyes are nothing but melted pools in scorched sockets yet still the white light fills his vision, searing all thought and coherence from his mind. The only sound is the roar of his inferno prison as its flames lick at his body. He is trapped in an endless cycle of constant dying, an eternity of final agony without the mercy of death’s cool darkness beyond. It has become his past, his present, his future forever. He burned. He burns. He will always burn.

For a moment he is almost sure the fire hisses with pleasure as it consumes his flesh …

The walls are all of black polished stone, so thick no sound or light may penetrate. There is only one door, only one way in and one way out: between pillars as tall and gilded as Heaven’s gates. Inside, the vault is suspended by a circle of columns wider than a man’s arms may stretch, their heights lost in shadow. No torches burn in the sconces along the walls to dispel the darkness enough to illuminate the mosaic which patterns the floor. In the center of the circular chamber rests the sarcophagus. It is nothing but a weighty presence in the darkness, but I watched the procession to the mausoleum from afar and glimpsed its gold and silver scroll work, the celestial scenes crusted with glittering gems. Even now the stones seem to wait in the dark, eager for the glowing touch of my torchlight to wake their beauty again.

Yet the extravagance of the tomb pales in awe before its noble inhabitant. I push aside the heavy coffin lid and gaze upon the last king. He is not as I saw him in his final moments, pierced by his own battered armor and drowning in blood like rich wine. No, the filth has been washed from his flesh and his fatal wounds sewn tight with gold thread. He has been dressed in the finest golden robes, silks as light as air and velvets as soft as untouched snow. On every graceful finger sits a ring, each set with a different precious gemstone, and upon his brow rests a golden crown wrought in the shape of the rising Sun. Even his skin, pale and cold as marble in death, glows handsomely with scented oils and his thick hair shines as glossy as ravens’ feathers. But his spirit finds no comfort in perfumed soaps and ruby collars, nor can the gold dust on his lips lessen the grief which rends his face. This finery binds him to the harsh world of men as tightly as does his sealed crypt. He is not meant for condemnation below the earth. He does not deserve to rot in darkness. How may he ever ascend beyond this prison when even starlight cannot breach his tomb? How may he ever know peace in this private hell when even the wind cannot kiss his lifeless flesh? He was the King of Light, the Master of the Sky, the radiant Lord Sun himself. How could they bury him inside cold, dead stone? They know not their own blasphemy; it is up to me to make amends.

I lift him from his bed of silk and stone and carry him out the great pillars of the mausoleum. Out on the open earth, beneath the clear night sky and its field of silver stars, I have built him a proper pyre. The interwoven oak and ash branches which form his pedestal were nourished by the Sun, and now their many fingered arms will lift him back to his true kingdom. I have no flowered water with which to anoint him, only plain lamp oil to wet his skin and slick down his sable tresses. I remove the weighty charms and jewels, the multitude of velvets and silk ribbons. What use are such frivolous mortal baubles to one so glorious, so transcendent? He is of the dawn and the dusk, the spring and the summer, and so he should return to his vaulted kingdom. I touch the burning torch to the base of the pyre; the fire leaps to the oiled wood and spreads with a hungry crackle. The inferno welcomes him back as the Lord of Flame, relieving him at long last of the burden of mortal flesh. It returns him as weightless ash to the waiting sky, and thus he transcends. I have given him his pyre. Now it is for the winter to mourn him and the spring to witness his resurrection.

[ A quick (and not particularly elegant) rehashing of the solstice story so I don't have to keep referring to the one I wrote six years ago. ]

In the beginning there was only day and night. There were no seasons, no summer or winter, autumn or spring. In the beginning the Sun and the Moon were brothers and lovers, yet ill-fated to be forever a vast horizon apart. The Sun ruled a realm of light and warmth, while the Moon was lord of ice and darkness. They were alone in their separate worlds, never together save for the fleeting moment when the kingdoms of eastern dawn and western dusk were equal. And so every day as the Sun rose and the Moon set, and every night as the Moon rose and the Sun set, the lovers touched but once.

Yet one morning a terrible thing happened. As the Sun lit the land with light to banish the Moon’s darkness, the lovers met. And as they did, the Moon rose up and drove his cold blade into the Sun’s chest, spilling his own beloved’s blood. The Sun collapsed into the Moon’s arms, choking on golden blood that bubbled on his lips and soaked into his elegant robes. Grieving, the Moon pulled from his shoulders the cloak of midnight and wrapped his lover within it, veiling the Sun’s light with his own darkness. The land grew cold and silent as the Moon cradled the Sun close and pleaded for his lover’s understanding. With his dying breath, the Sun kissed the Moon and forgave him.

The Moon’s mourning sank all the world into the first black, icy winter. Nothing grew; nothing lived. The land starved, the oceans froze, and darkness reigned. It seemed as if dawn would never come again and the world never awake from its grieving hibernation. Even in his misery, however, the Moon knew the eternal night must eventually end; no night should last forever. So with the darkness and his lover’s cold corpse to witness, the Moon surrendered half his heart and half his life to resurrect the Sun. One kiss upon the Sun’s blood stained lips sealed the sacrifice and completed the pact.

The Sun arose, then, bringing glorious summer to a land which had forgotten the touch of warmth and light. As the oceans thawed and the first green shoots broke through the melting snow, the Sun drew his own shining blade and drove it into the Moon’s pale chest. The Sun caught the dying Moon and held him close, wrapping his slain lover in the golden cloak of morning. The Sun begged forgiveness for his crime and with his dying breath the Moon kissed and forgave him. The day the Sun arose became the Summer Solstice, longest and brightest of days. When half a year had passed, the Moon rose and slew the Sun once again. The day he awoke became the Winter Solstice, longest and coldest of nights.

And so the cycle continues, each lover’s death and resurrection ushering in the change of the seasons. The legend never reveals why the Moon first rose up and slew his lover the Sun. Perhaps the Moon was weak and the never-ending darkness of his night realm drove him mad. Perhaps he wanted the Sun to himself and the loneliness poisoned his heart. Or perhaps he simply understood that they were ill-fated and the betrayal inevitable, even necessary. The Moon’s reasoning is lost now, but all that matters is that he slew his bonded, his lover and brother, and sacrificed himself to undo the crime. All that matters now is that both betrayed and were betrayed, forgave and were forgiven. Murder and sacrifice, heartache and death, all in the name of love.

This moment is perfect. Dawn falls across our shared bed in brilliant stripes, a golden cage for the angel who slumbers at my side. I long to wake him, with a touch to his bare chest as it rises and falls in sweet breath, perhaps, or one kiss upon his smooth lips, but I should not. He will wake soon enough. Instead I rise slowly, with a care not to disturb my companion, and drink in the sight of him. He has never seemed so relaxed, so peaceful. His eyelids tremble as he dreams; his fingertips twitch and dig into the cream colored sheets. The subtle motion sends a tremor of hungry memory all along my body. I have known those fingers. They have touched me, tested me, taken me and claimed me for their own. I am part of those fingers and they are part of me. But I will never have him so completely again. When he wakes, he will leave me. When he wakes, this moment will be taken from me. I will be alone again. I will be empty again. I will–

He stirs, shaking me from my thoughts. The sunlight has shifted and a bar falls over his lidded eyes, making him wince and turn his face away. Even now, retreating from the cruel morning light, he is beautiful. I want to say “good morning, my king”, but hold my tongue. I must not rush these things. I settle for a murmured “good morning, my love” and a wandering kiss upon his sleep-warmed shoulder. He shivers and begins to draw away from my touch, but my arms catch him and pull him close. “Did you sleep well?” I inquire, unable to keep my lips from seeking out all the delicious dips and hollows of his body. His chest presses against mine as he exhales gently.

“Like the dead, deep and dreamless.” Like the dead? I restrain an amused chuckle and continue to explore the body I have already mapped and memorized. For a moment he responds to my curious fingers, but then wriggles from my embrace with an apologetic, “I should go…” and untangles his limbs from the cool sheets. Before he can rise, though, I catch his wrist and press my lips to the place where the sharp curve of his radius strains beneath his smooth flesh. His radial artery is a steady pulse there, his heartbeat a flutter against my lips. “Oh, don’t go,” I beg. “Please. Stay with me.”

“I can’t, darling,” he replies with a laugh like a silver bell. “What are you afraid of? That I won’t come back?” My hand tightens around his thin wrist. “Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m afraid of. So don’t leave me. I forbid it, Daren.” I try to draw him back into my arms but he slips from my grasp with another peal of laughter. He drapes one sheet over his shoulders as he rises and turns to deliver me an amused smile.

“Forbid it?” He stands framed in the window, illuminated from behind by the rising Sun. The light gleams in his pale hair like a bright crown and transforms the sheet clinging to his naked body into a golden robe. “As if you could forbid me anything, Tanim.” Tears spring to my eyes, though in awe or love or envy I cannot tell. He could be a king. He could be a god. He could be mine. Now is the time. I have been patient, I have waited, and now I am blessed with this vision: the creature he can become, with my help. I hold out one hand to him and repeat “stay with me.” This time it is a command, not a supplication, yet he does not heed my warning tone. Instead, he grimaces irritably at the edge in my voice.

“Stop, Tanim.”

As he turns his back to me, tiring of this game, I slip the knife from beneath the mattress and rise from the bed. He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand that he is the master, I the servant, and that together we shall reshape him. But I forgive him for his ignorance. He has not seen the golden crowned god-king as I have, so he couldn’t possibly comprehend his own potential. So I will show him. I will transform him. By my hand he will fall, and by my hand he will be reborn.

“Do you know how beautiful you are, Daren?”

Before he can turn from the window, I cross the distance between us and plunge the blade into his sunlit chest. He gasps and shudders, a full-body tremor so much like a quiver of ecstasy, and sinks back into my arms. “I have been waiting for you,” I murmur into his ear as he struggles against this violation, “my lord; my king.”

“Tanim–” He whimpers, pain and confusion twisting his angelic face into a mask of misery, but does not cry out. Only his labored breathing and bloody fingers digging madly into my hand betray his agony. I brace his heavy body against myself and tear out the knife, causing him to convulse and groan. “Hush, hush,” I instruct patiently. “I know it hurts, but it has to. This moment will never be so perfect again, don’t you see? It’s the only way, my love. You must die so that you may be reborn.” I gather his body into my arms and settle onto the bed, cradling him in my lap. Crimson blood soaks the pale bed sheet entwined around his torso and smears his alabaster flesh. He no longer struggles to speak, sinking into shock, but his glazed, panicked eyes meet mine.

“Don’t be afraid, beloved.” I take one of his bloody hands in mine and kiss the same small curve in his wrist, but this time the heartbeat under my lips is shallow, and slowing. I smile. “You aren’t alone for this. I’m here. I will always be here. I will never leave you.”

The stain on his chest continues to blossom, a vibrant rose against his pale flesh.

“. . .”

The liquid in his voice softens his consonants so that I must lean closer to discern his words.

“What was that, darling? You will have to speak more clearly.”

“Y-you…” He chokes on his own voice. “You’re a cruel bastard, you know that?”

I smile and touch my hand to his flushed cheek. He winces at the contact.

“I learned from the best, my love.”

His glassy eyes are a miniature sky mottled by the shadows of passing clouds. He refuses to meet my gaze as I brush my fingers gently through his tangled hair.

“I don’t want to be crazy anymore,” I explain patiently, though I doubt my reasons matter much to him at the moment. “I don’t want to be so many people at once. They hurt, you know. They are incomplete and they ache, they mourn, they hate. And that hatred overwhelms me. You understand, don’t you?” He does not respond, only fights to draw in a steady breath. Watching his chest rise and fall unsteadily, his heartbeat a panicked flutter, I wonder how much time he has left. This must seem a very long night to him.

“You must understand, beloved – you made me like this. I am defective because of you. Incomplete because of you. I hurt because of you.” I caress the line of his jaw lovingly, where tears and blood have left a salty mess. “But I forgive you. I always forgive you. Maybe that’s part of the madness. I will never be free of you. I will never be free of this place. We are damned, you and I.”

His fingers twitch at his side, struggling to grasp the bloody blade on the floor. I cannot help but chuckle softly at his feeble attempt and pick up the knife in my own hand. Now he meets my gaze, and there is a beautiful fear in his eyes.

“Do you know why the Moon first rose up and murdered his lover the Sun, Tanim?”

The man in my arms shudders and does not speak.

He paces.

“Everything is changed. We have become insignificant. Meaningless. Powerless. When did this happen? How could this happen? All the old gods are dead. All the monsters have been pierced with wooden stakes and silver bullets. Not even their ghosts remain now. They are all gone, all dust. Everything is finished. What more is there? This must be the end.”

He passes the empty glass from hand to hand restlessly.

“We were all that was left, you and I. We, monsters of a different sort. Heartless but human. Dark new gods for this modern world. We were kings in our own right, beautiful and terrible. We were all that was left but still not hardly enough, not ever enough, and now even you have left me. What am I to do? What have I left, now? I cannot continue this. I feel so old–”

“Tanim?”

Momentarily startled by the interruption, Tanim blinks from his reverie and glances to the far doorway. Leaning against the door frame, Jonathan crosses his arms and frowns.

“Who are you talking to?”

Tanim surveys the empty library, then shakes his head as if to chase away lingering ghosts.

“No one.”

Jonathan adjusts the tie of his dark suit and eyes Tanim dubiously.

“Well, are you coming? You’re one of the pallbearers, you know.”

Tanim nods slowly and feigns a properly apologetic smile, blank as it is within his distracted eyes.

“Yes. Of course. Just a moment, Jon. I’ll be right down.”

He waits for the other man to leave, then reaches over and fills his glass once again. He stares down into the alcohol, searching for an answer to his questions within the amber liquid. Finding none, and no comfort in a glass half full, he raises his glass to the empty room.

“Cheers, darling,” he mutters, and downs the drink.

They bathed my skin in milk and lavender, dressed my body in silver and silk. They placed the weight of a crown upon my head and the burden of wings upon my back. They made me a god. Their god.

How could I ever live up to such a thing? How could I ever be reason, purpose, the very world itself? They are so sickened by their own heartbeats that they must live by mine. They are so accustomed to silence that they hang on my every word. They name me Beloved. They brand me Only. They call me Master.

Master.

Tonight I do not want to be a god. Tonight I want only to be a man, fallible and mortal as I become. Make me neither angel nor devil, you that love me so. Do not rest your world on my shoulders or place your future in my trembling hands. I am tired; my words fail and my heart aches and I am sick, so sick. Can I not be granted a moment’s piece? Can I not rest on this one long, dark night?

Let me be. I am not your god.

He’s even more beautiful like this. It’s true. I kiss him once, gently. I close his dark eyes and brush a lock of hair from his face. Slowly I take my hands from his throat, where light bruises are already blossoming on his flesh. Dead. His trembling lips form one last word, and then he’s gone. He shudders and convulses, but slowly ceases struggling, and his hands over mine go limp. I tighten my grip and watch those stunning eyes go wide. He mouths something to me, unable to speak yet still wasting precious air. His are so dark, so empty, that I can lose myself in them if I’m not careful. Our eyes meet. His hands tug at my wrists, a half-hearted attempt to loosen my grip as he gasps for air. His body jerks beneath mine as he is wrenched from sleep, gasping for breath. I slip my fingers around his slender neck and squeeze. His eyelashes tremble and I wonder if he is dreaming of me. I kneel over him carefully. He has waited for this moment, as I have waited, for an eternity. For a moment I stand over him, watching the rise and fall of his chest as he sleeps. Silently I slide from beneath the warm sheets and dress. So beautiful. The moonlight dusts his pale skin in silver and shadow. I wake in the night and glance to him laying beside me, sleeping peacefully. He is the Beloved, the one I have been waiting for, and it is time. He came to me to die.

“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ – which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

- – -

In the dark of the last night the Sun stripped off his golden robes and with his shining sword cut the great white wings from his back. As he did he sang in his crystal voice,

Love me broughte     (Love delivered me)
and love me wroughte     (and love created me).
Love me fedde     (Love sustained me)
and love me ledde     (and love guided me)
and love me lette here     (and love abandoned me here).
Love me slou     (Love killed me)
and love me drou     (and love dragged me)
and love me leyde on bere     (and love laid me on the bier).
Love is my pes     (Love is my peace)
for love I ches     (and for love I chose)
to buyen dere     (to redeem you at great cost).
No dred thee nought     (So you should fear nothing),
I have thee sought     (for I have looked for you)
bothen day and night     (both day and night)
to haven thee     (in order to be your haven);
well is me     (I have done well),
I have thee wonnen in fight     (for I have won you in battle).”

Soon the wings lay upon the ground and the sword was slick with golden blood. The Sun fell to his knees, then, sick with pain and blood loss, and did not move again.

In the morning the creator mother and lunar brother came together to bear the Sun to the place of his death. They wrapped him in a robe of black and placed a golden crown upon his fair head. They gathered him into their arms and bore his body reverently to the cross. There they lifted him up and, having removed the robe, pierced his wrists with sharp nails. From his wrists and the wounds on his back, where once his angelic wings had been, his golden blood flowed in shining rivers.

Thus finished, the Star mother placed a kiss upon the Sun’s right palm, and the Moon brother one upon his left. The darkness began to descend, then, a slowly consuming eclipse, and the mother looked to the heavens above.

The Sun shall be turned into darkness,” she spoke, “and the Moon into blood.”

Grieving, she turned away and left her cherished son to face his death alone, the final sacrifice.

Now alone with his lover, the Moon stood before the crippled Sun and pulled from his robes an ornate silver dagger.

Forgive me, my love,” the Moon said softly, then drove the serrated blade through the Sun’s chest. The Sun cried out in agony, betrayed as always by the one he loved, and the Moon’s hands became stained with his hot, bright blood. The Moon drew out the dagger, then, and turned his back to the Sun. He disappeared into the growing night.

Alone now and slowly dying, suspended on the cross, the Sun could not defend himself against the darkness that hungered so for his holy blood and body. The darkness crept upon him, touched him, entered him. It tainted his blessed flesh and poisoned his loving heart, his sacred soul. It defiled him; it violated him. It flooded his mind with madness and his heart with hate; it burned his skin and spilled his blood. The Sun refused to beg for mercy from this most vile of entities, though, refused to give in to the wickedness it filled him with; he would not give it that satisfaction. He called instead to his creator and his brother, to those that loved him so, but there was no answer to his pleading. No lord grated him clemency; no lover came to give him sweet relief. The darkness consumed him, tore at his heart and his soul and his mind. Death did not come to free him; the torture was unending.

Why am I so forsaken?” the Sun howled to the heavens above as he broke. “Where is he that I love?” Still there was no answer.

In the Sun’s final moments, as he struggled for breath and the cruel darkness and agonizing pain became all he knew, the Moon returned. He came to the Sun and kissed him once upon each closed eye, where salty tears glistened, and once upon the lips, where coppery blood dripped down his skin.

Do not fear death now, darling. You will awaken again,” the Moon whispered against his cheek. “And until that moment, I shall watch over you. I shall hold vigil for your body. Go now and find peace in your death. We will be reunited.”

The Sun shuddered.

Beloved, into your hands I commit my spirit,” he answered breathlessly, and thus succumbed to his injuries and let death claim him.