02 – Book One – Toll – Chapter One – Archí

The world and planet I’ve called home since my birth is named Albion. It is a swirling concoction of islands large and small. Some wear great lakes like strange, ill-formed birthmarks; others tiny ponds and pools like moles. Upon them are patches of hair . . . Forests of deep and thick green. Hills and mountains, like strange protrusions and skin formations. You see, to me . . . Albion is a living thing. An entity. I have heard the Earth called as such before. Gaia. Albion truly was alive. Is alive. I assume it to still be so.

I hope it to be.

I have not returned. Since I was taken.

Taken to Ostium.

[Break]

Albion has been in existence for a very long time. Perhaps its time can be measured by those who know more of these ways . . . Scientists . . . Priests . . . Circé . . .

Like I once was . . .

How it was made is an interesting one, and the tale I’m choosing to share with you today. Not in its entirety. That would take a long, long time. But by end, you will ken somewhat of how Albion came to be.

The great goddess of all, Asifá . . . Goddess of the entire universe and all it contains, has existed for a very long time. Hundreds and thousands of times that of Albion’s living. Throughout her long and tumultuous being she has spawned many offspring. Female and male; those that are both; those that are neither; and those that are gradations of the in-between. Some she birthed with male gods; others she birthed with female gods. Sometimes she mated with male and female gods and they in turn birthed her offspring themselves. Sometimes there was no other god involved, just the mighty Asifá, choosing her destiny, her consequences, and what will come next in the universe.

[Short pause]

On this special day, in a very ancient time, she choses to create Albion. She choses two of her male offspring. They are very beautiful. They have never met. She brings them together in a part of blackness somewhat close to a giant sun that will grant them heat and energy to thrive. They know not why they’ve been brought here or what they will do. Brutá and Hasafá are their names. When they gaze upon each other for the first time there is a conflicting duality of emotions: envy . . . and desire.

Envy, for each sees the great and godly beauty and perfection of the other.

Desire, for each immediately lusts after that godly beauty and perfection and wants to partake and possess of it.

And so begins a powerful relationship filled with moments of lust and love for each other, but also moments of anger and violence. Asifá allows them to exist like this for an eon, solidifying their need and want for each other so they will never feel the need to part. Then she encloses them in a flexible, malleable ball . . . an ensnaring core to contain them. Around the core she manufactures a mantle, pulling particles and particulates from the far reaches of space and bringing them together, forcing and condensing them into a thick layer . . . A chewy insulation around the core.

Asifá dreams of the wonderful world this will become with its wide variety of plants and animals and diverse peoples and she is brought to tears by the thought. The tears of the goddess fall and soon form the ocean encompassing the entire planet of Albion.

Asifá picks an assuming large moon orbiting a dead planet and cracks it between her fingers. The pieces of moon crash onto the planet in all shapes and sizes, creating worldwide tidal waves. And thus the islands – both large and small – are made and fertilized, for Asifá’s tears contain not just water, but the very building blocks of life.

And so life begins blooming and growing and reproducing and spawning on Albion. But it still remains a very flat and unassuming planet, until Brutá and Hasafá have their first argument, their first fight, and their first battle. It is violent, perceived as unrequited by each of them. Brutá slams into the side of the rubbery core first, his elbows pushing against it . . . two new mountains form. Hasafá is next, colliding headfirst and creating a new and mighty mountain range. The duel rages on, creating cracks and new shapes on the surface on the planet.

The first, few simple creatures are unable to comprehend the intense earthquakes they are experiencing.

But time passes, and like all things, this fight comes to an end. Brutá and Hasafá resolve their issues, their differences, and fall in love with each other all over again. Then a further period of physical world building begins; a result of their lovemaking. New hills and mounds are formed on the islands until the two gods are eventually sated, and then Albion enters a period of peace and quiet for a number of eons.

Life takes advantage of the abundance of resources on the planet and the quietude. It flourishes and multiplies and evolves.

Asifá has done what she wanted. Completed her task. She moves on to other matters.

Maybe . . . Maybe one day she will return and peak in on the ongoing state of her creation. But for now, Albion is on its own.

Life on the planet increases further in numbers, constantly evolving; adapting to the conditions, as well as changing when those conditions change. People have now evolved and do their best to live alongside the diverse fauna and flora. At times it is a harsh world, very much survival of the fittest; at others it is a thriving one where there is harmony.

Brutá and Hasafá appear to have reached a peaceful coexistence, enjoying each other’s constant company and interaction. Other than occasional rumblings and tremors – a sure sign that the couple is getting along very well indeed – the ground remains quiet. There are, of course, those naysayers – there always are – who decry that one day the battle between the two gods at the center of the world will begin once again, that it will be the battle to end all battles and only result in the complete destruction and obliteration of Albion. Those few in number will continue to proclaim their doom and gloom, while everyone else does their best to ignore them. One day, these prophesies may come to pass; no one truly completely doubts it; but it is far, far in the very distant future.

For a very long time, Albion exists in the very splendor and beauty that the great Asifá originally envisioned when she began creating the planet.

And this is the short rendering of how the world of Albion came to be.

The only world that I have truly ever known.

[Break]

My tale is done. For now. For whomever’s ears wish to hear. There will be more. Many more. In time I will tell you more of my world. Of the lovely Albion. Of its people. Its incredible creatures. Its vibrant and diverse life. I will tell you of my life. My existence. My likes and dislikes. My haves and have-nots. My hates, and my loves. My conquerings and my failures.

Do not expect these tales to be lined up neatly like a marching gaggle of geese headed towards the pond. My powers returning through the stories I tell does not mean my mind is assembled and well arranged. In time you will understand much that I have been through.  Tomorrow I may tell a tale of my birth, followed by a story of my later years, and continuing a few days later with a tale of childhood. If I am to regain my powers, it will by whatever means I am able.

And I will . . . eventually . . . tell you of the love of my life. The woman whose face I see when I wake in the morning and go to sleep at night. Who I believe is still alive, hale and hearty, and awaiting my return.

Awaiting me.

One day I believe it shall happen.

My dear Pragma.

But for now, I will take comfort in the small blossoming heat I feel in my chest. It is where I keep my love. It is also where I keep my magic. I have not felt this heat – in any sense – in a very long time.

This is good.

It means this telling of tales is working.

It means I now have hope . . .

Hope to regain my powers. And hope to one day be returned to my love . . .