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Lazarus and the Gimp
03-06-2002, 13:46:00
(OK- I admit it. I wrote this for the poly Civ3 stories forum. Still, I think it holds up on it's own. Hope you enjoy it.)


Strip back history. Clear away the clamour of the modern age and turn to the dawn of our humanity. The northern hemisphere blanketed under dense forest for thousands of years, before the controlled use of fire and agriculture drove back the trees, pushing back the heart of the woods and what could be found there. In the steaming woodlands, shadows danced and whispered.

The ancients feared and worshipped, clinging to their paths and clearings and steering clear of the darkwoods. For one hundred millennia they made peace offerings to their spirits. The names they fearfully accorded them may have changed, but the faces remained the same. One was the Mother, from whose mountainous loins and vast breasts all life flowed. Her face was in every corner of life, and the terrible mothering embrace was escaped only through death.

Her consort was a lesser power, but an elemental force nonetheless. The horned god, named Cernunnos by some. To others, he was Bo. Their later ancestors called him Baal, and even when temples of carved stone had supplanted the sacred glades the priests spilled the blood of infants to appease him. Their altars were stained black from the flow of opened throats, the blood of the babies. By then he was already dormant, having shrunk back into the woods into hibernation, abandoning his people to their fate. If, indeed, he had ever cared for, or even noticed them.

The temples of the horned God were torn down over hundreds of years of conflict, until his worshippers were crushed. Their conquerors corrupted his name again, and called him "Beelzebub". In time they came to regard him as an integral part of their own faith, as a by-product of it rather than the wild force of the darkwoods he had been. The priests of the new faith named him "Liar" and "Fallen angel". They denigrated the Mother too. Confronted by her raw fecundity they recoiled in horror, and called her "Whore of Babylon", whilst turning to their altar-boys for comfort.

Yet in the woods, some remember. In the oldest carvings, the vaguest dreams, and most pagan of traditions, the Mother still pours life from between her splayed thighs, and the horned God still howls at the harvest moon, and heads the Wild Hunt, as it rages through the forest in a bacchanalian fury. The farmers still touch wood or iron, and threw salt to ward off the goblin minions of the Wild Hunt.

But back in that time, in the darkest heart of the woods our oldest gods, Baal and the Mother, were sleeping. At times, the horned God's great boar's head, crowed with the razor tines of a red deer, twitched fitfully.

Almost as if he was waking.

__________________________________________________ ________________

The temperature hovered slightly over freezing, and the thick mists swirled lazily around the ancient elms, which dripped condensed dew into the still black water of the creeks. A shriek in a hidden copse betrayed the presence of a fox, but other than that all was still.

Under the poor shelter of a fallen tree, the mad youth shivered. Another spasm struck him and he retched, but spat only bile. There was nothing left in him to come up. He pulled his tattered and stinking otter-skins around him and curled into a tighter ball. He moaned and sweated in his fever.

A pale and skinny boy with a fresh scar across his brow from where one of the stones had struck. They had driven him from the village because of the bad spirit screaming in his head, making him howl like a dog and foam at the mouth. He bit them, when they were unwary. For five years he had been the lowest of the low, the groveller after scraps. His mother was long gone- five years back she had given birth to twins that were joined at chest and hip, so her neighbours took mother and babies out to the creek and drowned all three. Now their patience with her older, feral son was exhasted and they drove the snarling youth away into the woods.

He knew enough to steer clear of the red fungus that grew by the creekside, for it woke the ancestors and made them curse the diner with terrible dreams and sickness. But four days of hunger proved more cruel than the fear, so he had crammed handfuls into his mouth. Now he moaned and whimpered as the toxins ate into him.

The sun was almost at it's highest point when the crisis struck. A terrible spasm ripped through his body and he screamed and thrashed in the dirt. His heels drummed on the ground and a bloody froth exploded from his mouth as he chewed his tongue into a pulp. Every muscle and sinew creaked as his body arched back like a bow. He screamed, choked, screamed again. Then he fell limp.

A weak sunlight was streaming through the bare trees, but he saw only red mist and a rising darkness through his tears. The cursing and howling in his head had died away, for the first time in his life. In it's place was a steady and terrible whispering. For the first time, he understood.

He saw a burning tree in the dead of night.

He saw the blood spurting from the throat of a slaughtered hog.

He saw a gale ripping through the darkwoods.

He saw a thousand shrines sprayed with the blood of babies.

He saw the cold, dead eyes of a striking adder.

He saw the weak and maddened spirits of a hundred thousand ancestor-spirits shaping themselves into a handful of silent and terrifying shapes.

And finally, he saw the great, scarred and antlered form rise and blot out the sun. The horned God threw back his ancient and new-born head and howled at the sky, while the immensity of the mother poured out life and sucked in death. Dragging hinself to his feet, the boy spat the blood from his mouth and screamed in reply.

__________________________________________________ ________________

It was the next day that he entered the village. They had picked up stones when they first sighted him, but froze when he draw nearer. No longer was he the scampering and grovelling mad boy- he stalked into the enclosure with an eerie calm. His eyes stared clean through them as if fixed on some distant and terrible horizon. When they looked into those eyes, they feared him. Even more than the ancestors, they feared him, and a cold and empty wave lapped up their bowels. Yet they stood back, and let him enter among them.

Almost as if they had always been waiting.

Lazarus and the Gimp
04-06-2002, 08:53:31
(Note to self- another forum nonplussed. My work here is done.)

Funkodrom
04-06-2002, 09:11:19
I haven't had time to read it yet, I'll do it when I'm at work. :D

Guy
04-06-2002, 12:17:47
I like it. Mythological/occult stuff appeals to me for some reason, especially when it's laid into an historical/factual structure. The H.P. Lovecraft stories that dealt with the Ancient Ones, for example, or the comic book series Hellboy. This has a lot of promise if you can keep it from descending into "devil terrorizes small villiage" territory, a la most Stephen King stories. Keep an epic/historical/big-things-are-happening perspective and this will do quite well.

Got any more?

King_Ghidra
05-06-2002, 08:39:15
nice! I really liked it.

Just need to post/write the rest now :)

It reminded me of some of the old Slaine stories in the 200AD comic, which is no bad thing at all.

Noisy
05-06-2002, 08:55:29
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
<snip>

It reminded me of some of the old Slaine stories in the 200AD comic, which is no bad thing at all. Ah, yes. Those stirring tales of the fall of the Roman Empire!

King_Ghidra
05-06-2002, 09:18:53
:lol: bastard

ok 2000AD :D