I am Avani. I was born of the sun’s flame and a child’s innocence, of the dew upon the flower and the first fall of snow. My hand has guided the rivers and the seas, tilled the soil and smelted ores. I am the mother of a noble race, the Queen of a people proud and fair, the founder of a nation expanding its dominion into unknown lands.
He is nameless, the shadow of creation’s first light, a darkness and void upon the horizon, a twisting, contorting mass hanging in space, hungry, implacable, and cold. He came from outer reaches, seeking life. His presence blotted out the stars as he descended slowly, slowly, to engulf us.
I approached him. Upon the tallest mountain I met him, my slender fingers reaching through the swirling winds upon the peak to touch the oily membrane of his being. Up he drew me, thin tendrils wrapping around my wrist, my arm, until I was enveloped.
Within were narrow corridors that shifted as I walked, coiling about each other and writhing with slow, sinuous motion. No light except my own pierced the black fog. The corridors opened into caverns, empty expanses devoid of sound and movement, where my feet made no noise and my voice shriveled into silence.
Caverns led finally to the well from which deep tremors emanated, the breathing of the great beast, and into which all light and matter made its way.
I descended into this pit. There he waited, the true form of this monster. He was a gray, shriveled creature. He had no eyes and upon his long limbs were claws and his mouth was always open.
I stood before him, and he gazed at me with his mouth. We did not speak, but I understood. He would not be appeased. My world would be his. He had sought it, claimed it, hungered for it. What was green must fade; what flowed must be dried up; what was sung must be silenced.
But I am of the stars and of the earth, of the seed and the storm. In me is beauty and life. And so I began to give of myself in that dance that embodied all that I am.
He devoured the motions; he gnawed upon the grace; he sucked the marrow from the rhythm and licked the hesitations with relish. Below, among my people, time passed. As I poured out my being, the harvest came and was gathered in, the snows fell and melted, the rivers swelled and the grass grew green. I circled around the deep well, which led to the open maw, a silent song in the dark, and below, among my people, there arose a lamentation. The words rose up, a song of loss, and it spoke my name. It was my memorial, the remembrance of Queen Avani who ascended the mountains and entered the void. I heard them sing and I joined my dance to their words. And time passed into the open mouth and below, my people, my children, grew and the cities grew and the borders marched forward until one touched the next and all was peace. Generations passed without me, births and celebrations and new years, and beneath it all was the punctuated sorrow, the annual remembrance of the Queen who entered the Darkness that brooded over the world like a bird hovering over its nest. The dirge beneath the prosperity of my people became the melody of my dance, and its beauty renewed what had been consumed. And below, among my people, rockets were built and launched and the green wake of our expansion continued into the space between stars and upon planets wild and wonderful. And from everywhere, from every corner, came again and again the deep, lonely words to me, the lamentation sung across space and filling it with tears.
And I remain alone in the belly of the first and final evil, seducing the insatiable until light goes out or Death dies, the song of sorrow throughout Creation straining forward toward that final chord that will bring all sorrow to its end.