Dæmon Crab

Anèriklés rested from his planting.
He looked beyond his Garden
To the dry land.
Here and there, he saw a garden oasis.
He bent down
  And sowed vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
In the soil and the seed as nowhere else
He was right in the right place at the right time.

Anèriklés stood before the Oracle,
  Surrounded by the solid rocks of the cave,
  Her caldron burning bright,
  Students in shimmering robes
  Holding torches in an enclosing arc.
She glared deep into him.
  You bear a sign within you,
  A sign that governs your future
  Of life or death.
  But I know not which.
  The Wizard can determine your fate.
  Go to him and receive his incantations.

Anèriklés departed from her cave
  Into the shadows cast by Helios,
  Into sunlight clouded on a cloudless day.
In front of him the Mountains Diabolic
  Reached beyond, disappearing into the sky.
Through the Mountains a river carved
  A road, dark and obscure, to the Wizard's Lair.

Upon this road into every-narrowing ravines
  Anèriklés trod with eyes front,
  Daring not to look right nor left
  Into the shadows.
Each step drew him deeper and deeper
  Into darkness closing in on Helios.
The Wind whispered down the road:
  Death. Prepare for Death.
The shadows followed Helios.
  But within the shadows shades followed Anèriklés.

He rounded a bend and was stopped by a rock.
  Behind it a light beckoned him:
  An aura of glowing brilliance of sheltering hope.
As he approached it the whispers faded away.
The shades withdrew
And Helios filled the ravine with transparency.
But when he reached for the light,
  It fled.

At last Anèriklés emerged into the Lair.
The Wizard raised his staff and said,
  Have you any sign before?
  No, never. I've been free of sign and mark.
  I see a sign that is dark and doomy.
  Return when I've prepared an incantation.
  Before you come, you must be cleansed.
  I will give you a potion.
  Then my incantation will reveal the truth.
  Now, go! His voice reverberated.

Anèriklés dreadfully left for the Mountains.
Out of the shadows emerged a shade
  Blocking his way.
Beyond he saw his Garden
  And its rightness,
  Engraved on Sòtería.
The shade's pincers struck at him
  As close as can be
  And not touching.
Again it struck and again it struck.
He froze; all the world stopped
  Except the pincers.
Then Psyché wailed:
  And he escaped, fleeing --
But an atom of his soul stayed
  With the phantasmorphic crab.

At last before him stood Gynéa, his true lover.
  With open arms she greeted him.
  He fled into them.
There he remained with her through the night and day.
He dreamed:
  Unformed darkness
  Dropping to death
  Pincers converging
Anèriklés started awake,
  Climbing out of the Abyss.
He went into Gynéa's soul
He dreamed:
  Sòtería hung upon the hightest peak
  Of the Mountains Diabolic.
  He with brilliant Pístia climbed towards it,
  Rhemia sheathed, having warded off the shades.
  But then he slid and tumbled back down the peak.
As night gave way to Aurora,
  He beheld about them an aura of light:
A shield, Pistía, hovered next to him.
He held it up and hope stirred within him.

Now Gynéa bound on him Alethéia,
  Her knot curves faded, but visible.
Together they hoed and planted their Garden Amnesia
With Pistía against an Oak shining on them
And Helios showering nourishment into the soil.
And the plants offered their fruit:
Beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant.
The land rejoiced in its fertility.
Anèriklés and Gynéa rejoiced in the right moment
And Alethéia glowed.

As Anèriklés plucked out unwanted invaders,
He found a Ruby in the soil
And thought of Thygátrion.
He said to Gynéa,
  The sign within me cannot be evil.
  She has lost once.
  Surely Theos would not have her lose again.
He fastened the Ruby into Pistía.

Dear Philos, insightful and caring,
  Crossed over the land to Anèriklés:
  You are not here.
  Are you well?
  I have a sign deep within me.
  The Wizard has not calculated its danger yet.
  I am with you through this,
  As is Theos.

Now Anèriklés prepared to return to the Wizard.
The potion he drank:
He strapped Dikáia over his heart
  Sparkling with the new found Ruby.
He bound Alethéia to his waist
  Now dully glowing,
And clasped Rhemía, sheathed, onto Alethéia.
And lifted Pistía,
  Now shining with Dikáia.
Thus armored he advanced to the Mountains Diabolic.

As he approached the Mountains' portal
A storm gathered, hiding Helios, blackening the sky.
Pistía faded overwhelmed by the gloom.
In the shadows and in the electric air
Shades gathered.
Anèriklés stooped to avoid the pincers.
As once again he traveled through the ravines,
The shadows advanced.
The shades struck with piercing pincers,
  Just held back by Pistía.

As he stepped into the Wizard's lair
He was taken into a cave deep in the cavern.
There he was ordered to leave behind
  Pistía, Alethéia, Rhemía, and Dikáia,
Determined, though, he grasped Rhemía.
The wizard entered and ...
  With his wand reached into him.
He brought out the sign's image.
  I must take this to a Wizard who knows this sign.
  I will return in a week.
Unsheathing Rhemía, Anèriklés asked:
  How damning is it?
  I cannot be sure, but I've seen this before.
  It may not be evil -- indeed likely it is not.
  And even if it is, we can fight it off.
Anèriklés bound himself with Alethéia again
  She glowed brightly.
He fasten on Dikáia and Rhemía,
And with Pistía headed home.

Again the shades haunted him on the journey.
He espied a Ruby in the crevices
And thought of Nymphé.
She too had a sign -- but outside.
He prayed to Theos,
  She too comes to the Order of Wizards
  And fights the shadows.
  O Theos, should a life be taken,
  Let it be mine.
And Dikáia's rubies sparkled brilliantly
And Pistía shined out.

Gynéa and he watered and fertilized their Garden.
The plants reached for Helios
  Hour by Hour they grew.
From the yellow and white blooms
  fruit emerged.
As Helios shined,
Uranos opened with nourishing water.
Pistía covered them.
Alethéia bound them.

Dear Philos crossed again,
  How went it?
  The mystery will be resolved soon.
  I carry Pistía always
  As I do.
  How goes your Mother?
  Day by day.
  Pray for her.
  I will.
Dikáia glowed.

Again Anèriklés went into the Mountains Diabolic.
  Alethéia glowed,
  Its light obscuring the shades.
  Pistía shined, hiding the shades.
But as Anèriklés approached the Lair
  Alethéia faded; Pistía darkened.
  The shades solidly
    Followed him into the Lair.

He waited --
  Stripped of his armor,
  Grasping for Pistía,
  Feeling the pincers approach
  In the dark fog

The Wizard at last appeared.
  The sign is innocent.
  You are free, except ...
  Another sign is coming.
  Wait. Return three months hence.
  And I will observe again.
  We will banish it!

As Anèriklés left
  Alethéia glowed brilliantly.
  Free at last -- almost.
As he entered the Mountains Diabolic
  Alethéia's light guided his way,
  The shades cowering,
  Withdrawing from the light.
Before him, obscured by Alethéia's brilliance
  Was Sòtería, just out of reach.

Anèriklés returned to the Garden of Amnesia.
Helios shone bright and transparent through the green.
Gynéa side by side worked with him
As Alethéia bound them hip to hip.
Pistía leaned against the Oak glowing faintly.
High above in the azure sky,
  Sòtería waited.

His nights were peaceful and oblivious,
  While the crab slept in its lair.
Then he fell
  Into formless darkness.
  Around him the Garden withered, rotted.
  Its soil died, Helios clouded, Uranos closed tight.
  He and Gynéa wandered, starving.
He woke from the Abyss in sudden panic.
He reached for Pistía.
Alethéia, dull, would not bind.
Though Sòtería's light glowed,
  He could not don it in the shadow of Dæmon Survival.

He fled to the Garden of Amnesia.
There he worked
With Pistía shielding him
And Alethéia binding him.
But still he looked only to the soil,
  And not up to Sòtería.
Only here was
  He right in the right place at the right time.

Anèriklés now hung up
  Pistía and Alethéia on the Oak.
  There they faded and dulled.
  Sòtería faded and faded into the breeze.

Anèriklés lived in his Garden of Amnesia
The fairy queen and her tribe,
  the weather leprechaun,
  the shadow fairy,
  the mushroom gnome
  the crow and crow man
 watched over the garden.

Helios and Uranos nurtured the garden.
Anèriklés tended it
  and breathed in its soul.
But in the brilliance of Helios
  and the qunenching of Uranos
Anèriklés was shadowed.

The garden bloomed
  and the fruit ripened.
Gynéa and Thygátrion partook
  Of the fruit of Amnesia
And Anèriklés rejoiced in the harvest.

As the Garden grew and matured
Each day when Helios fled
  Hypnos crept over Anèriklés
  And blesséd Limbo embraced him.
But in the dark light before Aurora wakes
  Mnemon crept into his soul
  And the threat of the shadows
  Cast him into deep darkness,
  The shadows pulling him down and down
Until he folded his soul into Gynéa's,
  Embraced once again by Amnesia.

Yet unrelentingly came the time
  To return to the Wizard
To finally expose the sign,
  To learn whether he would live or die
  To the Garden.
Once again Anèriklés faced
  The Valley of Shadow
  In the Mountains Diabolical.
About his waist was Alethéia,
  dull and plain,
And carried across his heart, Pistía,
  plain and faded,
Except for its shining Ruby.
The shadows hovered close --
  never touching, never gone --
  always threatening.

There in the brightly lit cavern
  The Wizard again peered deep with him.
His wand, like a crab's pincher,
  Exposed the sign.
Again the Wizard left for his Wizard
  To return in a week or more.
Anèriklés shrugged and departed.

He returned through the Valley of Shadows,
  Alethéia and Pistía still faded;
  But now even Pistía's Ruby was dulled.
He, swift-footed, fled the Valley
  never looking back,
  never looking side by side,
  curled up,
  fleeing to his womb.
At last he arrived in the Garden;
  But now to wait and wait.
  Each day, bright, clear, brilliant, cast in shadow.
  Each day, overcast, rainy, deepened in shadow.
  Each day, he stood to resist
    the pressing weight of the shadows
  Tired, oh so very tired.

Dear Philos crossed once again,
  Have you learned your fate?
  No not yet ... not yet
  I will pray for you
  I will report to you ... oh, I hope soon.

And by Theos' grace,
  He learns that the sign of Nymphé
  Is innocent.
O Theos, let it be so with me!
  Let me live and die in the Garden!

The days dragged on.
  The shadows creeped over the Garden,
  Mnemon following, sweeping them up,
  Leaving the Garden agéd.
The fairies undaunted
  Bound Mnemon to the Garden.

One day the Wizard arrived at the Garden
And to Anèriklés said,
Your sign is innocent.
You are spared... for now.

Anèriklés put on Alethéia
  And took up Pistía,
  Its Ruby glowing fiery red.
And stretched his arms
  To Uranos and Helios
And stretched his legs
  Into the Garden's depths.
The Ruby's light arc'd ...

Anèriklés wandered in the ashes
  Of his Garden;
Mnemon appeared before him
  And the phantasmorphic crab overwhelmed him.
He held Pistía against the crab.
But the crab stripped off Alethéia
  And left him naked.
Then Pistía's Ruby glowed
  and glowed and glowed
  from red warmth to blue hot to white super-hot
  and struck his heart ...
And he and the Garden were one.

No longer did Amnesia cover him.
  Now he ... garden and human ...
  Seared and melded,
  Were encased in a Ruby red egg
Stripped of everything:
He ... no longer they ... empty and free.
He felt his arms and legs
  stretching and stretching,
Breaking forth from the egg.
Out of the ashes,
  Out of the egg,
    Now a phœnix,
He rose up,
  Sòtería upon his crested head,
  Alethéia encircling his neck,
  Dikáia engraved on his breast,
  Pistía in his right claw,
  Rhemía in his left claw
  and he
Soared upon the wind.
Alethéiabelt of truth
AnèriklésThe Male
Dikáiabreastplate of righteousness
GynéaThe Female
NymphéThe Daughter-In-Law
PhilosThe Friend
Pistíashield of faith
Rhemíasword of words
Sòteríahelmet of salvation
ThygátrionThe Child

©2009 John A. Mills