Daughter Of Her Silence And His Solitude

Fermín Moreno González

Once there was a time of hopeful quietness in Memphira. It was then that its yoke-enslaved denizens dared to look up at the unmoved divinities of the sky and downwards at the yearning deities deep down buried into the underground with a grimless smile, unlike it was their custom. Rumour had it that the ivorish witch had grown fond of Lirannus the necromancer in an unexpected nightly meeting.

Lirannus left this once his well beloved damp-oozing vaults emerging from his dwell to stride along Memphira´s graveyard in the light of the alight sun. Had the watchmen been courageous enough to stand by, they would have noticed Lirannus was not in quest for decaying corpses, but for gladioli, rhododendron and bougainvillea, whose liveliness formed a sharp contrast with the necromancer´s emaciated lividness.

Alarainar dwelled anywhere in the witches´ broom of the wych-elm forest, fearfully avoided by Memphira´s townspeople, for it was known many a lustful man pretendedly on errands abroad had wandered from his path just to have a look at the elusive sorceress of childlike face. Now that she was being wooed by the master of the restless dead, such daredevil´s fate was awkwardly ignored even when gossiping.

Alarainar´s lofty beauty did not need any fixed abode, she herself being a heathen scholar of the alchemy of the elements. The weather excepted her from its windy rainy claws, bent as it was to her will. The earth itself transmuted into gasping sheltering caverns, the sun but kissed her gently despite the chilly wintertime, and bonfires spared her their flailing touch.

So for a yearned while, the crystalline chalice of love blessed their unlikely linkage with the luring smell of a thickened summer wine. Then the chthonian winewaiter slipped up on marbled tesserae adorned with libidinous motives pouring off the stenchy fetor of rotten venomous vinegar.

Whenas Lirannus wanted to pay visit to his eluding lover, he would turn up at Alarainar´s worship shrine, which had been raised on a glade into the elm forest. Therein the tortured trees reached out for the obsidian altar, as if in tongueless, perennial cult.

As it was her custom, she was knelt down to Khorabra´s solitary altar, cobra-like, paying tribute to the obscure ambiguous goddess of the elements, of whom the cult was neither barely spread nor known due to its selfsame crypticness, even for one used to commanding the dead if necessary.

Turned her back on though she was, murmuring aloud a sharp ahuman litany, the clad in sable gown necromancer delighted himself foretasting her snow-white face, bejewelled with two brownish tourmaline eyes niched shyly-slyly beneath a goddess-like broad forehead, which would bemire Lirannus willpower once and again. She was carelessly dressed in a manner which made stand out captivatingly her callipygous beauty.
"It´s me, oh Khorabra´s maiden," he spoke, addressing her the way she liked to.
"The ceremony cannot wait. Prithee you to wait."
Then Alarainar faced Lirannus. She was an inch taller than the necromancer. For a while she gazed at the awkward bunch of flowers offered. Next, she gave him a smile and went back to her duty.
Lirannus stood aside forestwards to sit himself down on a fallen trunk and waited.

For many an afternoon, Lirannus met Alarainar that way, not returning until dusk to the cosy solitude of his dwelling down below both the humble ash tree tombs and the imposing granite mausolea. So many were his silent comings and goings, indeed, and so much neglected he his own heathenish delving into the graves that Memphira´s denizens almost became forgetful about his own grim penchant. Their offspring were allowed to have a furtive glimpse from behind closed windows of the lonely pale figure wandering around somber alleys who seemed, if anything, a grinning, ungainly revenant gone yet after his maidenly betrothed. They did this way until they noticed a sad look in the twilight walker. It was then that they forbade children to come out, and devil-fearfully started chanting age-old forgotten prayers.

That night, it was an eager Lirannus who was invoking Aphorgomon, the sullenest oracle of the dead, by oozing his own blood from his sternum into an orichalcum vat amidst a dozen undesecrated corpses. It was not until he had his feet ankle-deep in that Aphorgomon deigned to become apparent. His words echoed out of the exhumed congregants´ scraping vocal chords, struggling their way through phlegmatic ducts already forsaken, and their thunderous pitch filled the lower cavern in which such impious ceremonies had to be held. "Who hath called on me?" the corpses screamed.
"Lirannus, Death and Decay´s servitor."
"What is thy pleading raised for?"
"I beg thee, oh Aphorgomon, for Gyar Vlamuult to be officiated at on the morrow overnight," Lirannus uttered, still upon the blood-stained vat.
"The dead shall claim revenge for this whimsical rebirthing," thundered the corpses.
"I do revere their righteous wrath."
"So may it be."
Aphorgomon´s footmen´s fading words echoed throughout the underearth domains of the bleeding, yearning necromancer.

The following afternoon she presented herself at the graveyard to see its guards fleeing animallike, vaguely perceiving the impending maelstrom of ungodliness to be unchained at the main crypt of the impious cemetery.

The cave floor was bare except for a naked townswoman, tied down to a lambda-shaped stake firmly put in. Above her an iron cage crammed with unclothed children was hanging over the maiden. The whole scene was lit by oil-burning torches niched up aloft all around the cavern, spreading their dim glow over the twelwe laid supine cadavers.

That sacrilegious awaiting night, Alarainar stood beside her enamoured Lirannus so as to witness so secretive aberrant a rite, by virtue of which the dozen cadaveric left-overs would be breathed back into a blasphemous life. Gyar Vlamuult was to be held for Alarainar´s sake. Without any delay, Lirannus stepped forth, bronze curved dagger in hand, towards the trembling captive. Once close by her, he started intoning the pagan litany of revival, and age-old words out of a dead language not to be heard of reverberated athwart the stony cave. Simultaneously, he was brandishing his blade, carving a shallow blood stream upon the maid´s umbilicus. Her screams beyond hysteria mingled with the necromancer´s psalmody and the living-to-be began to quiver in the dim torchlight.

Even as they started to sit up, Lirannus, close by the rough wall, reached out for a greased lever half hidden in it and lowered it. An ominous creaking toiled up inside the wall to meet the hung iron cage. Then it began slowly to shrink by gnashing and fitting the cutting edge of its heavy bars in an abyssal jaw-like way. The inside blood was aforethought to drip down the overbulging-eyed woman´s own blood.

The most precocious corpse, a former catamite dismissed from Memphira´s distant court, knelt up to grope its way along the surrounding cavernous uterus towards the woman´s detached legs. Once arrived, he knelt down to crawl beneath her vulva. Therein he waited for a while until the crimson dripping sprinkled him, and it rose again amidst both woman and children´s whining, frenzied moan.

One by one, before the silent gaze of both lovers, the rest of the bodies underwent the sinful initiation rite. The blood ran out just when the latter abhorrence had completed its snaking along.

Later on they formed up in a clumsy semicircle and staggered to the sorceress.

So much surprised was then Lirannus that he froze while she reacted to it. The pagan witch of the elements invoked unthinkably chilly gusts out of nowhere in the rancid air of the cave, and the dead´s joints stiffened. Natheless they still moved grimly on. Alarainar´s alabaster fingers made a brisk gesture, following aptly arcane airy pathways, and their sinuous dance resulted in a sort of living conflagration from the former oil torches. Lirannus controlled himself finally, and met Alarainar´s hazel eyes. Aught in his gaze warned her to restrain herself. "Get thee behind us!" Lirannus told them sternly. "We want our mother," a dozen deafening throats replied, still slowing down against the unnatural wind. "Do take the bloodstained one, who really and truly has just given birth to thee. This done, you will leave." So the dead did, and left the graveyard cave, amidst cool winds and raging flames on the watch for their departing. Then Lirannus looked once more at the sorceress, in a silent apology. Notwithstanding, Alarainar appeared to be pleased in a certain unfathomable way.

After that, the flustered necromancer did try his best —so much so that bare liches danced before her the phrenetic ball of the nine desecrated maidens, in the light of unknown stars, and better shunned weird semihuman breeds strongly related to bone-gnawing cults came in to pour her out amaranthine liquor in carnelian-incrusted ambergris chalices obtained by late skindivers at the tempestuous Nigrescent Sea. An army of demoniac manhunters was told to devastate both Memphira´s and the neighbouring cities´ quarters and be back with the most beautiful slaves for her to immolate in Alarainar´s own unwholesome masses. She remained distant, discourageously aloof, although flattered.

Gradually, she went into seclusion, wrapped up in both her own sullen gods and maddening scholar silences, although their relationship was not broken off, but disregardingly frozen and put aside, and briskly dusted down for Alarainar´s own sake. Then she would demand the most from a lover, to give naught in return.

It was after two years of rare scattered passionless meetings filled with overdone inhuman exigencies that the necromancer sent one of his thralls to the elm forest.

Lirannus, lord of the dead, who spoke evenly with the charnel gods of decay and the worms of the earth, had discovered, to his dismay, that there were words he could not even utter before her —extraneous words of love, quarrel and grief, words of flesh and desire he could not bear incomprehensibly. She virtually had retired into herself, but these hushed up words still lingered. And hurt.

Elphiria, the liche-woman, sneaked about the nightly town of Memphira forestwards. There were few townsmen under the moonless sky who would dare even to peep through a window now, on the assumption that they could notice the thing´s muffled footfalls.

Once Elphiria made her furtive way to the wood, she edged out to the glade to see Alarainar knelt down, fully lost in her self-abusing cult of silence, only broken by her quiet droning on behind the slate lectern of Khorabra´s shrine. Engrossed in the cryptic lore whose impious enchantments had always been her true and unbeatable betrothed, Alarainar did not catch Elphiria´s approaching around the edge of the forest. Neither the viper-demon the liche-woman freed upon the cotton grass. The serpent snaked along hisslessly, unnoticed, and buried its fangs in the sorceress´ alabastrine ankle. Alarainar crumpled up. The liche-woman picked up both the devilish snake and the corpse, heading for the wizard´s abode.

For many a night, deep down into a drill vaulted mausoleum, whose former dweller had departed from his marble carved coffin —following the necromancer´s will--, protected by its airy vaults, Lirannus slept lovelornly with Alarainar´s corpse, deluding himself eagerly, childe-like, with her silent willingness which easily was taken for a lover´s desire by a lovesick sorcerer. The silken profound bottom of the bier, a long while back uninhabited, witnessed both his desperate caressing and the blaming, still acquiescence of death. Lirannus´ mind was slower than his body to accept that it manoeuvered the limp Alarainar marionette-like night after night.

Once the raw revelation grew up, Lirannus´ raving rose reverberating athwart the gloomy tomb. Then, ere decay took over her, he transmogrified her into a lyche, and sealed Alarainar into an orichalcum urn.

For a while, Lirannus did delve dementedly into the ominous mysteries of his own, secluded and detached from everything in his pestiferous catacombed domains but deadlore. Still, his bereavement imposed itself, like a huge bloody-winged vulture hovering round uncontested maggoty carrion, and eventually he must release the captive lyche-sorceress out of her confinement. The heinous transmutation had rendered a pristine eldritch pallor unto her, so much so that the slightest glow seemed to originate in her, halo-like, as though a pagan goddess in a banned reredos. Alarainar stood again, loftiest of the loftier, even in this spoofed death.

From then on, Alarainar´s deadness presided at Lirannus´s hewn-rock study, ever-straight, never weighed down, like an impending hex, watching on and on the necromancer´s getting absorted in his own frowsy dusty incunabula. She would behave herself liche-like, almost exquisitely, staring at him continually with her lidless mien, paying absolute serfdom to his will but for one thing —she spake not, to Lirannus´ great and baffled vexation.

It did not last long for the lovelorn hermit, driven by a maddened unquenchable lovesickness, in the gnawing loneliness of his catacombs, to throw down his archaic voumes, succumbing to his former love´s deadpan reproach, and conceive the morbid idea of engendering a son born from the mute liche that was now his beloved. A well-nigh impossible intention, liches being infertile, however yearning their paramour is. Aught Lirannus foreknew was not going to obtain from Aphorgomon.

Late in one ill-fated night, Lirannus was toiling along athwart the wych-elm forest, fearfully shunned by Memphira´s denizens —but the late ones. The ones Lirannus had risen. Khorabra´s shrine still stood on the grassy glade, its obsidian altar tarnished, its prie-dieu empty as if for ages untold, and the tortured trees still laid out their branches, more twisted than ever, towards the solitary heretical chapel.

The mournful necromancer was on the point of leaning his scrawny lovesick frame upon the prie-dieu when he heard the muffled footfalls of an ominous throng. A score of scraggy people was approaching him with the relentless tranquillity of the dead.

The manumitted liches paraded to shape a wide circle shutting in both Lirannus and the shrine. Then Aphorgomon spake.
"Doest thou dare to forsake my will?" the deadmen roared.
"I want but an heir of mine to be taught, oh Aphorgomon."
"A sacrilegious brood of yours to become arch-heretic? That shall not be!"
"It is not thou who I beg from."
"It is me who thou shalt offend against if so," yelled the corpses.
"Agreed!" retorted Lirannus.
Amongst the encircling cadaverous crowd, Lirannus did lean and worshiped Khorabra, Alarainar´s abstruse deity, and made the foetid goggle-eyed dead to become the sacrifice of the heathen mass in a ferocious claw-to-claw, teeth-to-teeth fight, being they bound yet to his mastery with intangibly grim geases, before Aphorgomon´s silence.

The offering done, a ravening chill wind hung over the putrefied entrails vulturinely, like a lappet-faced vulture asserting its birthright upon the charnel-glade. And this wind mumbled what to do for the sorceress´s corpse to become gravid —in spite of Aphorgomon´s warning-- in a yearned voice, luringly, almost beseechingly. Alarainar´s. Lirannus bowed down to it.

It was not until after yearlong unheard-of emaciating rites of blaspheme desecration and horrific self-punishment and atonement involving both Lirannus and Alarainar´s pallid body in ways never to be unveiled, that the liche-woman gave birth without even blinking to a crippled baby into an ebon-carved bier, before the astonished sight of the weakened Lirannus, whose scarred face, body and soul would have constituted the nightmare of the most relentless penitent. Lirannus´s daughter.

Strangely enough, eager as he was for a male to be initiated into the deadlore, the born female did not seem to disappoint him. Much on the contrary, her invalid beautifulness, her snow-white necropolitan features, so much Alarainar-like, her wasted away little limbs, her disquieting languorousness, all were the strains unto which Lirannus danced, like a hamadryad lured by a sibilant snake-charmer, delving wildly into forgotten waxed scrolls and papyrus parchments in quest of healing spells for her, paying no heed either to rest or feed, sustaining himself with pestiferous phials and pernicious philtres originally intended for the dead´s keep standing, before the mute staring of his undead well-beloved. The offerings to Aphorgomon turned out to be of no avail. Furthermore, Alarainar´s spellbinding voice was not to be heard evermore carried by the wind. Slowly, the obsessed Lirannus, neglecting everything but his haunting daughter´s care, began to bend down along the path of the dead, due to his unconscious mortification. The corpses under his command, which he heeded not, except for Alarainar´s, started to rot throughout the necromancer´s underneath abode, pervading the upper graveyard with so sibylline a malodorousness that mourners avoided the unwholesome place, which was sealed, amongst hurriedly whispered prayers.

At an implacably soft pace, the more cadaverous Lirannus became, the healthier his lame daughter got.

Eventually, Lirannus felt death hovering round his lean bones, and determined to pay his last homage to both mother and seed. Stumping along, he entered the private cavernous chamber in which, amidst the miasma, both of them were.

Alarainar remained bolt upright close to the stony altar covered with a thick silken veil which served as a cot, her sheer voluptuousness preserved against decay by the heart-stricken black magician. The offspring of her silence and his solitude, upon the stone, did not appear to notice her moribund father´s showing in.

With wavering gestures, Lirannus strove hard to lay his hands on his up to now still untouched baby, but fell short and crumpled up to quietus. His healed daughter glanced at her lidless staring immobile mother. Then descended awkwardly from her petrous cradle thudding upon her defunct progenitor, to crawl away silently down the recondite oozing nooks of her brand-new queendom.

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