Hope

The Inundation of Hashladûn

Scream of me, o Thralls! Let the Knights beat their weapons on their knees and tear at their plates, let the Wizards shout my name in the speech that sunders, let my name come out of you like an itch comes out of skin!

I am Hashladûn, spawn of Crota. From the day I spilled from the egg, I possessed great strength; I was huge of crest and thick of arm, I was a Thrall who contended with Knights. I was large, as the storm is large upon the fundament, as grief is large among the grieving.

Seeing this, my father said “Let this one be inundated in the old way of floods; let her greatness be reduced to only what is greatest, for she has an excess, and excess is the capacity to be stringently purified.”

But I would not be taken to the floodplain; I was afraid; I contended with a hundred Thralls and ten Knights and was not beaten; I contended with an Ogre and I was exhausted; only then did my father, who is Eater of Hope, who burned with the secondhand melamu, who trampled the netherworld as hooves trample hands, come down from His throne, saying, “Do you love Me so hugely as to defy My edict, and so test the verity of My will? In this capacity you are also great.”

Then He brought me in His embrace down to the deep place between worlds, where I was impaled in six places to the floodplain. And the waters rose over me, and I was inundated.

Five times I was flooded. The first inundation is of bloodied hydrogen, which is like unto acid. The second inundation is of fire. The third inundation is of light, which is like unto the light of cloven atom. The fourth inundation is secret and rattles the bones. The fifth inundation is of words, and it aches at the joining-place between flesh and worm.

I was scoured, I was burnt; I was burnt again by the slow fire, I was tested on the rack of time. My flesh dissolved, it cracked and parted, it turned to black ash which peeled away. All the pain I had ever felt before would fit in one eyelash of that pain.

Then I was left to die.

But I broke the six impalements, and I crawled alone up the way to the outer world, gaunt, wounded, missing eight in ten parts of what I had been. And I killed the first thing that I found and ate it all.

Seeing the reduction of me appear before His throne, my father said, “You are great now, and you cannot love Me. For the parts of you that were Mine have been taken from you; the parts that were His remain.”

I saw the melamu upon Him, which is the light of god, and I assented, for I knew whence that light had come, I knew it for the light of Oryx Edge-and-Point.

And Crota cried out in joy and grief, and cut the sky, and sent me forth, lost to Him in triumph, never to enter His court again.