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The Prophecy of Zarack the Flier


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The Prophecy of Zarack the Flier


The abode in which I dwell is high upon the Sunlit Wall, in the Sunlit Lands, but deep within the darkness of a cave by my preference. The hole by which I can view my domain, which starts in my Ambush, through the stranding of my weave, and continues along the Sunlit Wall to the flat, shiny rocks of the Wet Wall almost two strands distant, is exactly large enough for me to back into comfortably, with only my forelegs gripping the edge of the cold metal visible from the outside. My inner sanctum is spacious once past the tiny entranceway, expanding rapidly in all directions, although the bottom is filling quickly with the discarded remnants of my meals. Eventually, I will have to relocate to the upper entrance, although it will pain me to do so. The upper entranceway is not nearly so intriguing as the current one to the fliers for some reason, perhaps because of the heat from the Sunlit Wall, but more likely they are drawn to the entrance closest to the lingering odor of slow putrefaction as their countless brothers and my hapless husbands flake slowly to dust in the nether reaches of my home. Fliers seem to be cannibals of convenience also, but luckily, that is the only trait we share.


From my Ambush, I can see the hairy behemoth basking in the Wet twice per Sun. The first, at Sun Birth, is often very fast, with much splashing of the Wet and an overpowering scent of liquid Death from the obelisk the behemoth breaks and repairs each time it enters the Wet. The obelisk itself is only one strand high, but I would never scale it due to the smell of the thing. Clear as solid Wet at the bottom, the top is capped with a strange, round stone that the behemoth removes and replaces to pour the vile contents of the obelisk into it’s malformed claw and then massages into its upper covering of hair. The second bask, after the Sun Death, is a longer soak in the Wet far below my abode, in a lake fed by a pipe that protrudes from the Wet Wall. The behemoth has control of the Wet, stopping and starting the flow with impunity, which has given rise to the blasphemous notion that they control the weather. Some weavers, primarily weak and worthless males, maintain that the two-legged behemoths are gods; but the true Daughters of the Webmistress, upon whose red-marked belly the world of both behemoths and weavers rides, know that the behemoths are mortal creatures also, despite all their size and strange ways.


While they are not gods, the behemoths must be hardy indeed to survive such a dousing in poison twice each Sun, but it is no matter to me. The behemoth seems to be aware of my abode and occasionally even chases a flier towards it. The first time this happened, I was with my third husband, a male named Rysix, and I was just about to complete our mating by draining the fluid from his body to help nourish the new eggs he had fertilized when he stopped me with a shout.


“Wife Skirix’ir! Look there! The behemoth is also an eater of the fliers!”


I craned my head around, searching the sky beyond the entrance with all six of my eyes, willing to let Rysix escape for the moment to see if the behemoth would really take away my food supply. I knew that the behemoth would not be satisfied with a flier or two every other season of Suns as I was, and that if we began competing for food, undoubtedly, I would be the one to relocate or starve to death, despite my innate superiority. I stared out of my hole that day, listening to the flier scream obscenities and taunts at the behemoth as the behemoth’s claw followed it’s path through the air, all the while herding it closer and closer to my weave. I kept a running commentary for the fearful Rysix, who was huddled in a corner, all eight of his legs poised to run should I approach,


“Husband Rysix, you cowardly fool! The behemoth does not eat the flier, but has pushed it violently into my weave with its claw made flat and then abandoned it. The behemoth is watching the flier, but making no move to eat it. Now it returns to basking in the Wet and the flier is mine!”


I hurried out of my Ambush onto my weave, where the flier was twisting itself ever more securely into the sticky strands and screaming curses at me, the behemoth, and the world in general,


“Bad god to throw Zarack into weave trap! Evil weaver to eat Zarack!” the flier was still struggling, but growing weaker by the moment as my weave tightened around it, “God give food to Zarack! Bad god to make Zarack think Prophecy is come to Zarack and then kill!”


I could hardly understand the flier due to its emotional state and the incessant buzzing of its wings, but I did hear the comment about the behemoth giving him food. My curiosity piqued, I kept two eyes on the behemoth and the rest I focused on the flier,


“I am Skirix’ir the Huntress, True Daughter of the Webmistress, your name is Zarack?”


The flier stopped struggling for a moment and met my gaze with the multifaceted orbs that it used for eyes,


“Yes, weaver. Weaver is great, weaver is nice... surely great Skyrexer will not eat Zarack?”


I approached the flier, plucking my way over the weave. It was truly a pitiable sight; thin wings of poorly spun weave, coarse hairs protruding randomly from its skeleton, a fangless mouth far too large to be useful, and those eyes… those eyes were truly grotesque. Since it smelled absolutely delicious, however, I tried to focus on the repulsiveness of its appearance instead of the appetizing aroma of its innards,


“My name is pronounced ‘sky-RIKS-eer’ and of course I’m going to eat you, Zarack. In fact, I will eat you right away if you tell me what you meant when you spoke of the behemoth giving you food.” I paused to clean my fangs, which were dripping with venom, “Of course, if you don’t tell me, I’ll have no choice but to leave you in paralyzed agony for many Suns until you go mad and wish you could move that oversized mouth of yours to beg me for death.”


The flier began struggling anew, giving me the answer I did not want, but would now enforce. I reached down to just below the Sign of the Mistress on my abdomen with my forelegs and began the strand that would eventually cover Zarack’s entire body as it hung in my domain for the next few Suns. As I efficiently weaved the strand around the struggling flier, I avoided covering its mouth in case it should change its mind and opt for a quick and nearly painless death. I was rewarded with success as I began the strand that would eventually wrap completely around its head,


“Zarack will tell! Do not hang Zarack until Zarack goes mad! Zarack will tell Skirix’ir of the Prophecy!”


I held the strand poised above the flier’s head, waiting for him to continue, and after verifying that no help would be forthcoming from the behemoth, who had finished its Sun Birth bask and had passed through the behemoth sized weave into the Twilight Lands, Zarack resignedly said,


“Zarack knows the Prophecy of the Endless Food. Zarack will tell the forgiving weaver now.” my claw lowered the strand and rested once again on my weave, which trembled slightly with each of Zarack’s motions.


“Zarack learned of the Prophecy from Glorga’il the bloodsucker, who heard it from Ru the Flier, who heard it from Citix the Weaver, who heard it from…”


I interrupted him,


“Hold, Zarack the Flier! You expect me to believe that a weaver, even a weak and simpering male, would tell a flier of this Prophecy? Does this so-called weaver still live? Are there many mentally deficient weavers in the Twilight Lands?”


Zarack shook its head violently back and forth, “No, weaver! Citix lives no longer. He too was killed in pursuit of the Bountiful Land mentioned in the Prophecy. The mindless ones swarmed him until he was cut into a thousand pieces by their powerful jaws and brought back to feed their grubs, but what Skirix’ir calls ‘the Twilight Lands’ do hold other weavers, although none as intelligent and wise as Skirix’ir.”


The flier was still attempting to flatter me and bargain for its life, but I would not be sidetracked into a promise I had no intention of keeping. I did notice that his speech was getting more intelligible. No doubt a byproduct of my wise influence,


“So, the Twilight Lands hold weavers? Are any there marked like me?” I displayed my abdomen, where the Sign of the Mistress gleamed against the black of my armor like a spot of the behemoth’s blood (which I saw many groups of Suns ago when the behemoth ripped open its own skin with a strangely-shaped stick to remove a patch of hair and then placed the stick below my domain),


“No, Skirix’ir. There are none marked as you. The weavers share a color with me in the Twilight Lands.”


I was very interested in this, even more than the Prophecy. If there were no other Daughters of the Webmistress in the Twilight Lands, then those Lands were mine by right also. I would no longer have to worry about filling my domain with carcasses, for I could acquire another outside in the Twilight Lands and there would be no other Daughters there to contest my claim. I was very interested now and motioned for Zarack to continue. He said, as if I had never interrupted him,


“Citix the Weaver, who heard it from Bridic the armored flier, who heard it from Flornig the Swift, who heard it from the undying one, Nibor Five Legs, who said that he heard it directly from the behemoths.”


Again, I had to interrupt,


“There is only one behemoth in the Sunlit Lands and it does not speak.”


Zarack again shook his head and steeled himself to contradict me, “There is the one that was here but a moment ago, that is the male. There is a female also, who communicates with the male by using sounds that Nibor Five Legs claims he can understand, but nothing like real speech.”


“That one is the male? It is huge! How much larger is the female?”


Zarack made a snuffling noise… he was getting more brash as well as more articulate, “The female is smaller than the male. She is just as tall, but the male is much more massive.”


I scoffed at this as a poor attempt at a joke, “I don’t believe you, flier. Why would the male need to be large? Does he lay eggs too?”


“Does Skirix’ir want to hear the Prophecy or not? Zarack is not the weaver’s teacher, Zarack bargained only for a clean death and no more!”


I looked at the struggling flier in shock. I had not been spoken to in this way since I left my brood and did not know how to respond. Zarack took my silence as a cue to continue his story,


“Nibor Five Legs overheard the behemoths, which were lying prone on the White Mountains and staring at the Wall of Images, speak the Prophecy…” he stopped, and then intoned by rote,


The fridge door has a gap in the gasket – Yeah, I gotta fix it before the bugs figure it out and go live there instead of under the oven – Ha, yeah, it would be like the whole world was made of food. Especially to the ants – No shit, did you put more bait out? – Huh? No, not yet – You really need to get some more quick or the bug messiah is going to lead them into the promised land of the fridge – Alright, yeah… I’ll stop on the way home tomorrow and get some."


He slumped in defeat and stopped struggling,


“Eat Zarack, weaver. The Prophecy belongs now to Skirix’ir.”




Obviously, I was the “messiah” mentioned in the Prophecy. I would go forth to the Twilight Lands and unite the weavers I found there under my rule to take the “world made of food” as my own. Had I known that the Twilight Lands were habitable, I would have reconnoitered them previously, but now was as good a time as any. I began fortifying myself for the journey ahead by ingesting Rys’ix completely and by laying my new clutch around the paralyzed body of Zarack, who cursed me with a slight exhalation every time I passed him for breaking my promise to kill him swiftly, I explained to him that promises made to lesser creatures than weavers are not binding in the least, but it did not stop his complaints. I also explained what he had to look forward to when my new children would eventually awakened, and found a fresh food supply near at hand. They would drain him of his vital fluids over many Suns before leaving his dried and lifeless husk to the darkness and going forth into the new world ruled by their mother.


After sating myself on my husband and seeing to it that my egg pods were securely attached to the interior of my domain, away from any of the splashing Wet that the behemoth freed twice per Sun, I set forth upon my journey down the Wet Wall. I first attached a strand firmly to the metal corner of my domain and then explored the best way down the Wet Wall.


It seemed that the Wet Wall was composed of perfectly square stones, held in place by a gritty, porous substance. The stones of the Wall themselves were slick enough, especially after the behemoth’s morning bask, to impede my movement directly down them, but the substance between them offered many clawholds and strand anchors should I lose my footing. I decided the direct approach would be best and immediately stepped off the cliff while simultaneously lengthening my strand. The initial foray from a high point to a low point is always the most entertaining one, the spinning landscape growing from light and dark patterns into clearly-seen objects and features makes me glad indeed that I am a weaver and not cursed to wander forever in the air like a flier.


I began proceeding at an excellent pace, the stones slipping by every five or six seconds, when I realized that if I continued my present course, I would end up in the bottom of the currently dry (but all too often flooded) lake bed. With the horrifying image of hot, rushing Wet firmly entrenched in my mind, I altered my course, gripping the edges of the slick stone I was currently traversing and starting a new strand on the porous stone.


I swung myself back and forth while lengthening my strand until I reached the next clawhold and then anchored there. I repeated this process until I had reached the corner of the stones and by that time, I had also reached the lip of the lake. The lakebed itself was composed of a strange substance; slick like the stones of the Wet Wall, but unlike them, cold to the touch. It felt similar to the metal of my abode, but the sound of my muffled clawfalls indicated that it was not metallic. No doubt, this was a creation of the behemoths, perhaps they were more intelligent than I had initially given them credit for, but still, most assuredly, they were not gods.


Once I had reached the end of the not-metal lake, I was faced with another descent, but this one, because of the angle of view from my abode, was new to me. To my immediate left was the round, aboveground lake whereupon the behemoth reclined before going into the Wet, making strange noises and holding a floppy object that rustled like a thousand hollow corpses. Before the behemoth stood, he would rub a portion of the round-shaped weave that I could see in front of me onto his backside several times and then stand. He would deposit the by-then silent object onto the back of the aboveground lake, which was part of the Dry Wall area, and then push down on a metal stick attached to the aboveground lake with his claw. This caused a sound to emerge from the aboveground lake that was almost deafening in the close confines of the Sunlit Lands. It sounded like both rushing Wet and a roar from the Hidden Hunters baying close upon their prey, although the sound did not seem to be intelligently motivated, and therefore, held no fear for me.


I glanced to my immediate right, where the Dry Wall held the round weave in a shiny grip, and noticed that the Dry Wall had thousands upon thousands of clawholds, despite its shiny appearance. With these sturdy grips, I could descend to ground level if I wished, or I could make my way across the dry wall to the portal of the Twilight Lands and hope that I would not have to traverse the Sea of Grass.




I stood on the metal ridge that separated the Sunlit Lands from the Twilight Lands and stared across the Sea of Grass. My hope that I would not have to cross it was ill founded as the terminus of the Dry Wall led to a confusing jumble of portals into other lands that I had not imagined existed. There were five portals; the one behind me led back to the Sunlit Lands, the one in front to the Twilight Lands, and three more besides. I gave the other Lands as exacting an examination as I could manage while stumbling around on the Sea of Grass. The one to the left of the Sunlit Lands’ closure was engaged, but I slipped under it to see to what other environs this portal junction held the entrance.


Upon slipping under the closure, I was ready to swear that I had been struck blind by the darkness that greeted me and immediately named this the Dark Land. I could see nothing at all, but I could hear quite a bit… and what I heard; Hidden Hunters on the prowl, was enough to send me scurrying back to the junction.


Even a true Daughter of the Mistress had reason to fear the Hidden Hunters. They were strong, cunning, and fast with hair covering every part of their body, only their sharp, white, front teeth and eyes as dark as mine showed on their faces. Their claws were like miniature versions of the behemoths', but tipped with far sharper ends. Their pink, hairless tail could crush my armor with but a flick. They were capable of ignoring the venom in my bite long enough to consume me, which made them foolish foes for a weaver indeed.


As I pulled my rear leg free from one of the innumerable loops of dun colored weave that the Sea of Grass was composed of, I cursed under my breath. I had looked down into the grass in order to unsnag my claw and caught a glimpse of one of the mindless ones, hurrying along on its appointed destiny with the determination given to her by the Mind of her hive. It seemed that I would have unwelcome company for most of my journey into the Twilight Lands if the mindless ones were scouting mere strands from the entrance to the Sunlit Lands. I repeated to myself over and over that they were only dangerous in large numbers as I prepared to scout the second portal.


It was just as dark as the first one, and I had a moment of panic when I though I could hear the scurrying noises of the Hidden Hunters, but it was readily apparent that even the Hunters could not live in this Land. My ears may have deceived me, but my sense of smell was honed as sharp as ever and what it detected was poison, and not in any small amount. It smelled as if the entire Land was coated in a mixture of the vile effluvium that the behemoth doused itself with... and something worse besides.


I could smell a terrible odor coming from the interior of the Land. Clinging and sweet, like the innards of a fat flier, but undercut with a scent so horrible that it must mean instantaneous death to one of my kind. I named what lay beyond the portal the Poisonous Lands and did not explore this portal further. I hurried to the open Land and as I stood at the threshold, I stared in horrified wonder at what I saw.


At least two of the undying ones were engaged in mating to my immediate right upon entering the strange Land, with a clutch of eggs behind them as large as my entire body. There seemed to be marks of continual habitation in the narrow passage where I espied them; chunks of the stinking waste that they ate, a spattering of dung on the dry wall behind them. I was trying to count the eggs, but could not, there being at least several hundred legs more than I had ever laid. I had not known that the undying ones were so prolific, which gave me pause.


Perhaps the undying ones could be killed, but there were already so many of them that it looked as if none had ever died? Many illusions about the world had been shattered already on my journey and I was less than twenty strands from my home. What else would I learn? Were the behemoths the gods that all the other denizens of the Lands had purported them to be? I injudiciously chuckled aloud at this ludicrous thought, bringing the attention of the male, who had finished his activity and was showing curiosity at my appearance. I had not heard him approach and was therefore startled when I heard from very near me,


“Who the fuck you is?”


I rose immediately to my defensive posture, forelegs raised, fangs exposed, but even as I did so, I realized that his words held no threat. I understood him, of course, there being only so many words in the Language, but his meaning was unclear. I gathered that he was attempting to determine my identity in his own particular way, and being a stranger to his Land, I could not be expected to understand everything that went on, I replied,


“I am Skirix’ir the Huntress, True Daughter of the Webmistress, Ruler of the Sunlit Lands and soon to be Messiah and Ruler of the Twilight Lands.”


The undying one showed blatant shock at my words and then erupted into gales of laughter. I did not understand why, but the female, who had by then approached the conversation as silently as her mate, explained it,


“You can’t rule all the Lands… the behemoths rule all that, weaver.”


“Do they indeed? I fail to comprehend how. They cannot even communicate with me, how then could they order me about?”


The male had recovered from his mirth sufficiently by that point to rejoin the conversation. With barely concealed glee he said,


“The gods speak they own language… spider. They don’t got to learn yours ‘cause they’re gods. Why should they got to learn the Language? You ought to learn theirs.” He paused for a moment, evidently for effect, “I did.”


“Spider? What is that word?” I was truly curious; the announcement that he knew the behemoths’ language was less astounding to me than hearing a word of which I did not know the meaning.


The female waved a negligent foreleg at her giggling mate and said,


“He just happy to know what a weaver don’t… you ignore him.” She continued, “’Spider’ is the name given your race by the gods. We ‘roaches’ to the female god, but ‘cockroaches’ to the male. The gods like to name the lesser creatures.”


I was scandalized and outraged by this casual comment by the undying one, which I considered blasphemy,


“Lesser creatures? You are mad! Do they not live upon the belly of the Mistress as all creatures do? Are they not mortal? Do they not suffer the weaknesses of all flesh? Well?” I stared right into the black eyes of the undying one, “Female, you answer, for your husband is ill-suited to converse with me.”


The female undying one seemed to be taken aback by my strong proclamation of faith, but she answered me with a serious tone, rather than the sarcastic one I would have expected from her husband. It seemed I was correct in assuming that the female would be better at civilized conversation,


”No. Them gods don’t live on no belly and they ain’t mortal. The gods live in the world they made, and so do I.” She glared at me, and raised a foreleg in my direction, “And so do you, spider.”


White hot rage ripped through my body, I could feel the venom reservoir in my fangs doubling as I rocketed towards her,


“Blasphemer! The Mistress awaits your apology in her web!”


Like a flash, I was on her, plunging fangs deep into the soft area behind her head and then retreating to a defensive posture to await her husband. My theory on the undying ones would be tested now, for good or ill.


I did not have long to wait for my vindication. The female convulsed in a paroxysm of agony as my venom coursed through her body in an instant. She screamed once as she flipped over on her back and began twitching. All six of her legs were jerking spasmodically as the soft flesh beneath her armor began dissolving, starting at the junction between head and body. I could smell her liquefied innards as they began to stream out of the holes my fangs had created. The male could not help but to see what I had done, but like all of his sex, he was a coward. He turned tail and retreated from the threat posed by my fangs faster than I could ever run on the clinging, leg-catching grass. He would probably not even return for his young, if indeed they were his. The undying ones had ways strange to me even considering all that I had seen.


Once the male was out of sight, I slowly lowered my forelegs and approached the now paralyzed undying one. She was still suffering, her eyes rolling back and forth, her useless jaws gnashing and twisting in pain as everything below her head dissolved into liquid. She should have already been dead with the amount of venom that I had injected her with, which gave me pause; but even should she not die for a thousand groups of suns, she would never walk or eat or breed again unless she could heal the damage that I was about to inflict upon her.


I lowered my jaws to the puncture wounds in her thorax and widened the holes slightly. I began to suck the now digestible juices from her body as her jaws snapped shut uselessly mere strand widths from my eyes. I gorged myself on her fluids, but still there was more to her. Even after I had sated myself, still she lived. I took the opportunity of her enforced silence to educate her as I reclined near her dried out body,


“In the Beginning, there was only the Webmistress. She had not yet taken form, and was only the potentiality of Creation. She realized that the void was imperfect without a Weave, so She began to spin the world from Her strands. Everything that exists, everything you see, everything that is, came first from the strands of the Webmistress. She anchored Her Weave to both ends of the great darkness of the Void, thereby gaining knowledge of all that ever existed, exists, and even that which is yet to come, from the vibrations it makes on Her eternal Weave. She knows everything from the safety of Her Ambush in the void, including what goes on here and now. As I speak, the Mistress hears; as I act, the Mistress feels. No behemoth could compare to the Mistress in power and majesty… they are less than my cousins who infect your armor,” I gestured to the tiny ones who cavorted through the joints of her armor, feeding from her without killing her, though they were abandoning her soon-to-be corpse now. I continued,


“When the Mistress finished spreading Her Weave across all of the void, She began to weave the world and all of its creatures into an egg sac. Now She watches the world and waits for her offspring to emerge from it to help populate the void. When the world hatches to populate the void, all True Daughters of the Mistress shall take their places as rulers. My essence shall be reborn into a mighty and invulnerable form, like all Daughters, and I shall Weave with the Mistress forever. While you and all of the lesser creatures… including the behemoths… will be taken as sustenance.” I sucked out just a bit more of her fluids, “As you already have.”


Her eyes rolled in unbearable agony as I took a bit more of her miserable life, but since blasphemers were not deserving of mercy, I would not end her suffering. I was turning away to leave her to her fate when I heard what was sure to be her last words until she fed the Mistress on the other side of death,


“…th-the… gods… be cruel… not nice.” Her head swiveled to the side as she exhaled one of her last breaths through her dissolving air sacs, “…you… gonna see…”


I left the Land of the Undying Ones without looking back.




As I entered the Twilight Lands, I glanced back to my former home in the Sunlit Lands. The portal was wide open and gleaming with Sun Birth light and I knew that the behemoth would arrive soon to bask, so I hurried on my way, pausing only to free my legs from the clinging grasses as I went. Since I was making excellent time, I decided to climb one of the Dry Walls to get a better look around the Twilight Lands, which I had never entered before. I began scanning the wall for claw holds, of which there were many, and started straight up, stranding occasionally, in case I should fall. The going was difficult, since I had never climbed this particular wall before, but I eventually reached the top of the Dry Wall and scanned the vistas of the Twilight Lands. I sucked in my breath at what I saw.


Where the Sunlit Lands were small and hard, with either vertical or horizontal surfaces, the Twilight Lands were huge. They spanned farther than my eyes could follow, with white mountains in the middle of the Sea of Grass rising majestically from the dun colored grounds. Some portions of the grass were raised slightly and upon those short plateaus, the grass was colored differently, in patterns of black, white, and a light brown. The Sunlit Wall near my abode was miniscule compared to the Sunlit Wall at the far end of the Twilight Lands, but it seemed to be covered with a loose weave, thereby giving the impression of twilight. Strangely shaped, and somehow soft-looking boulders littered the White Mountains, framing darkness that could hold any number of weavers. I glanced around the Sea of Grass and picked out at least a legs and a half worth of places that weavers could set up their Ambushes.


I was stunned by the soft beauty of the Twilight Lands and reluctant to leave my perch, but I had to find a weaver to tell me where the Bountiful Lands were or I would end up wandering the Twilight Lands forever.


I was just about to begin my journey down the Wall when I heard a soft chitter from above me announcing the presence of another weaver. I glanced back up and was astonished to see that a metal grille embedded in the sky held the strands of another weaver’s Ambush. I announced my presence to her in the formal style of a True Daughter in another’s territory,


“I am Skirix’ir, Ruler of the Sunlit Lands. I am the daughter of Grinix’ir, who was the daughter of Jistix’ir, who was the daughter of Trilix’ir the One Who First Journeyed into the Sunlit Lands, who was the daughter of the daughter of the True Daughters before her. I am the True Daughter of the Webmistress and seek your hospitality as befits my lineage.”


I lowered my head without looking at her, and if she were polite, she would not look at me until the ritual were completed either, but I had no way of knowing whether or not she were breaking tradition because I would definitely uphold it and not look. This ritual was meant to foster trust between apex predators… if any two weavers met each other’s gaze before the ritual was completed, a fight to the death was the only acceptable result. She responded. I could hear her coming out of her Ambush to greet me,


“Welcome Skirix’ir, Ruler of the Sunlit Lands. I am Glon’ir, daughter of Hal’ir, who was the daughter of Glon’ir the Traveler, from whom I take my name. I am a Daughter of the Webmistress and seek the Void between Her strands. My house is large and my hospitality generous for a True Daughter. I welcome you for an eternity of Suns.”


Two more formal exchanges and I could tell her what I was actually here for,


“Your generosity shames me, for I have brought no gift to your Ambush.”


“No gift is needed for my generosity. It is without expectation of recompense, it is the Mistress who shall reward me when next I see Her.”


“Great indeed is your faith, Glon’ir.”


”Great indeed is your Mistress, Skirix’ir.”


I leaned back and glanced up, pulling lightly against my strand in case I had to depart suddenly. I did not want to step into her weave, even though I was technically a guest in her domain. I had no experience with weavers other than my mother, broodmates, and the occasional male. Though she knew the formalities, there was no guarantee that she would uphold them if I stepped within range of her Ambush, so I stayed in my position. I waited for her to speak first because it was her right as a host, but she seemed content to study me from the safety of her weave. I began to grow nervous, until I realized that I was probably the first weaver other than her mother, broodmates, and husbands that she had seen. I decided that it was probably acceptable to study her as well.


We were built along the same basic lines as all weavers; eight legs, two fangs, one head, thorax, and abdomen, but she was slightly more massive than me through her thorax and had a much smaller abdomen. She was dark brown, with a black pattern on her belly that looked similar to the Sign of the Mistress on mine, but with the addition of a line at the top that terminated just under her chin. She was hairy, but not like a flier, the hair was sleek and clean, lying flat against her armor like a weave. Her claws were larger than mine were, but they seemed ungainly and ill suited for wrapping paralyzed prey. They seemed more like grasping tools that might hold struggling fliers or even the occasional undying one who wandered within range of her Ambush. I finally finished my inspection and met her gaze. Only good manners kept me from recoiling in shock from her eight-eyed gaze.


I had never seen any creature with eight eyes! What could she possibly use them for? Did she hunt her prey instead of ambushing it? Could she see me better than I could see her? My conjecturing came to an abrupt halt as she finally spoke,


“So, you are a True Daughter. I thought your race was extinct.”


“Extinct? Who could kill us?”


“The gods have spoken of destroying all of your Sisters in the Outside Lands many Suns ago.”


This comment hit me like a wing blow from an armored flier, and I reacted more violently than was technically permitted by a guest,


“Gods? Pah!” I lifted my forelegs towards her in my agitation.


She leaned back, sensing a threat. Her forelegs were lifted only slightly from her weave, but I got the message and brought my emotions under control. More reservedly this time, I said,


“I was not aware that the behemoths would be falsely worshipped as gods by daughters of the Mistress. I apologize for my distress, but I have had a hard journey and learned much that is distasteful.” I swallowed my pride like the bitter juices of the mindless ones, “Please, Glon’ir… tell me of this extinction, and what you call the ‘Outside Lands.’”


She leaned her forelegs back onto her weave, seemingly mollified by my words. She still kept her distance and did not invite me into her domain,


“The extinction of your Sisters was accomplished by the gods many Suns ago. They trapped each of your Sisters that they found in a glass jar and then poisoned them with the killing Wet.”


“What is a ‘glass jar’?” I asked.


She looked at me expressionlessly, but I thought I could detect a hint of amusement in her voice as she explained,


“Glass is what the clear Walls are made of. It is solid like stone, but as clear as a single finely-woven strand… and before you ask, I do not know how the gods change Wet to make it poisonous to us.”


Amusement at my ignorance was not easily forgiven, but I was a guest. I replied,


“I wasn’t going to ask. I know of the behemoth’s propensity for poison.”


She paused and eyed me with all eight of her eyes,


“Of course you do. You live in the bathroom.”


The ‘bathroom’? What nonsense was this? I would not, however, admit again that I did not understand her meaning,


“What of the Outside Lands?”


“The Outside Lands are everything that is not in the Inside Land. Your bathroom, the living room,” She gestured to the Twilight Lands, “the bedrooms, and the closets are all the Inside Land created by the gods. Each god or pair of gods creates their own Inside Land within the greater environs of the Outside Lands. There is also rumor that the gods create entire Lands that move about faster than a mouse on the prowl.”


Obviously, she was testing me and my knowledge of the world for her own twisted reasons, but I was no longer going to entertain the conversation. I asked what I came to ask,


“Of course.” I paused, “And the Bountiful Lands? Where are they?”


She chuckled softly to herself, but I heard it. She waved her midlegs at me as if attacking a Hidden Hunter… an impolite gesture inferring that I was not in my right mind,


“I should have known! Another would-be Messiah comes to try their luck at the refrigerator. If you go into the kitchen, the gods will surely smite you and yours, foolish Daughter! When will weavers learn not to listen to dying fliers?”


“How do you know that I heard the Prophecy from a flier?”


“Who else would bargain for their life with false information but a flier? My mate heard the prophecy from an armored flier… called ‘beetles,’ actually… and immediately set forth on the journey to bring me endless food to feed our young, the fool.”


“Citix was your mate’s name?”


She lifted one of her hindlegs in a gesture of annoyance, straightening it out and then returning it to her side. She said, almost to herself,


“So, my foolish Citix repeated the so-called ‘Prophecy’ before the gods crushed him. It is only fitting that his idiocy should eventually taint my weave again.” She paused and then met my gaze with her own, “I would be very interested in hearing where in the path of the Prophecy my Citix resides. Do you know the entire lineage of the Prophecy?”


I repeated it to her,


“I heard the Prophecy from Zarack the Flier, who heard it from Glorga’il the bloodsucker, who heard it from Ru the Flier, who heard it from Citix’is the Weaver, who heard it from Bridic the armored flier, who heard it from Flornig the Swift, who heard it from the undying one, Nibor Five Legs, who heard it directly from the behemoths.” I stopped for a moment to clarify something, “Zarack the Flier said that Citix was killed by mindless ones to feed the hive, he didn’t say anything about being crushed by the behemoths.”


“Is that so, True Daughter Skirix’ir?”


Glon’ir was retreating into formality. I trembled a bit, suddenly unsure of myself. She was large enough to ingest me entirely and sounded quite annoyed. One of my forelegs lifted slightly from the Dry Wall as I realized that she had an enormous advantage if we came to blows. She had her entire weave behind her to strand from, while my strand could be cut by her at any time should I retreat. I answered,


“That is what Zarack the Flier said when I asked him if Citix still lived.”


“Why would you care if Citix still lived, True Daughter Skirix’ir? Was he known to you?”


“No, no, of course not! I simply didn’t believe Zarack when he said that a weaver carried on the nonsense of the…”


She interrupted me suddenly, behavior that was absolutely forbidden in host-guest relations,


“Yet, here you are, Skirix. Following the ‘nonsense’ right into my weave, walking right into my Ambush to tell me that my husband was not killed by the gods who I watched crush the life from his body mere strands from the refrigerator,” She gestured to a large white mountain that I had originally taken for a part of the dry wall, inadvertently giving me directions to the Bountiful Lands. Now I just had to live long enough to use them. She continued, advancing on me now, with her forelegs twitching, “You are a fool! The gods will smite you when you enter the kitchen and as you die, you can look up from the crushed remains of your armor at me in my weave eating a juicy flier.”


She continued to advance, so I said,


“Sister Glon’ir, do not come any closer to me.”


My forelegs were raised fully now. I was no longer a guest, but a True Daughter in danger of her life. She would learn the folly of her actions soon; especially the deliberate removal of my mother honorific, but not before I had a chance to prove her wrong about the Prophecy as well. I think she realized what she was doing when she smelled the venom fill my fangs… not enough to kill, but more than enough to destroy any limb that it touched.


She seemed to come to her senses and stopped advancing as soon as I stopped retreating. I had already taken my stance and was unwilling to give further ground. She was outside her weave with no set strands and therefore no longer had such an advantage. I glanced to either side of her, marking clawholds that could be used for a quick movement up the wall to reverse our positions should I decide to take her weave as a defensive position, but it was not necessary.


Glon’ir suddenly turned and ran as fast as she could back into her Ambush. I stood by for a moment, watching incredulously as her weave trembled with rapid movements. As unbelievable as it was, it seemed that I had won the day without having to prove that True Daughters are superior to other weavers in every sense. Glon’ir evidently believed just strongly enough in the Mistress to be superstitious, but I was not going to test the limits of her belief and left her weave.


I backed down a strand and then started another, all the while keeping my eyes on her weave. It was not until I finally reached the flat, brown, plateau that I released my strand and turned my back on Glon’ir’s weave. I had seen how fast she was and did not relish the thought of fighting her, but I would have if necessary.


A True Daughter never backs down from another weaver… especially a heretic… no matter what the odds may be.


After stranding from the plateau to the Sea of Grass once more, I stood at the edge of the Bountiful Lands and stared out across the waste that I would have to traverse in order to reach the ‘refrigerator.’ The white stones that covered the ground looked similar to the ones in the Sunlit Lands, but these were covered in tiny indentations and lacked any color at all. Since the ground was bright white, I would stand out against the background far more readily that anytime since I left my home. I was nervous about crossing already, but when I saw the mindless ones ringing the edges of the Waste Lands, given cover from above by overhanging dry walls, I knew that I would have to either brave the mindless ones or the Wastes.


Of the two, the Wastes seemed less dangerous, except for the fact that I would no more step onto that white stone than I would have surrendered my young to a hungry flier. The smell of poison ringed the open portal completely and seemed to extend up the wall as far as I could smell, although I could tell it was only a thin line of the poison and did not cover the whole of the Wastes. The mindless ones seemed to have no trouble coming and going at one particular point, however, so I began heading in that direction. I assumed that if the mindless ones ignored me for just a split second, I could cross the poison line safely and be away across the Wastes without having to put up an ultimately hopeless fight against legs and legs of them.


The mindless ones ignored my approach, as they do all things not immediately recognizable as food, and once I stood less than a claw’s breadth away from their line, I could actually begin to hear them speaking! I had never imagined that the mindless ones could speak, much less that I would be able to understand them. It seemed the ones that were heading away of the Wastes were chanting, “home, home, sister, home” and the ones heading into the Wastes were chanting, “food, food, sister, food,” but they spoke so quietly that had I been standing another strand’s width away from them, I could not have heard it.


I reasoned that if they could speak the Language, regardless of their single-mindedness, then they could communicate with me if they chose. I found one that was burdened under a piece of vegetable matter twice as large as she was for my experiment, reasoning that she could not alert the others or attack me if she wanted to continue holding the food. I spoke quietly, unsure of how she would react to my voice, which must be very loud for a creature so small,


“i am skirix’ir, ruler of the sunlit Lands. how can i cross your line?”


She did not even seem to hear me, so I grasped her food in my claw and repeated myself… just a bit louder… and the reaction was immediate,


“threat, threat, sister, threat”


I let go of her food, startled. I glanced around, but none of the other mindless ones seemed to notice her words. I had chosen wisely by picking one away from the main portion of the line. I tried again, once more speaking softly,


“no, small one, i am not a threat to you, i just want to cross your line into the wastes.”


She never stopped struggling with the food, but she answered me,


“cross, cross, sister, cross”


Amazing! I actually managed to communicate with a mindless one. I did, however, want to be sure that this permission be communicated to the others before wading directly into them,


“could you tell your sisters to let me cross?”


She stopped walking for a moment and I saw a small puff of gas escape her abdomen before she resumed her struggle. I could not smell anything, but as the next mindless one came across the place where she had let the gas escape, that one started repeating,


“cross, cross, sister, cross”


So it went with every one, until the entire line of mindless ones was chanting.


I was in shock… not only had I communicated with them, but I had gotten them to allow me into their line and accept me as one of their own!


Truly, I was the Messiah!




As I crossed the line of mindless ones, they parted around me, giving me wide berth. It was difficult not to step on them because they moved so quickly, but with care, I was able to navigate their line without hearing the threat chant again.


Once I had moved past the smell of poison, I left the line to its chanting and was startled to hear the ones that had been positioned around me say,


“threat, threat, sister, threat”


I turned swiftly and saw an undying one barreling towards me at full speed. I quickly bared my fangs and raised my forelegs, hoping that it would slow down, because a collision at this speed could break one of my legs very easily. It veered around me at the last possible second into the line of mindless ones, scattering them in every direction as it crashed headfirst into the wood of the Waste’s dry walls. I heard the chanting lose its rhythm, as half of them were saying, “threat” and the other half were saying, “food.”


I watched as the undying one raced out of the line once again, with a large piece of the food that the mindless ones had been carrying clenched in its jaws. I would have intervened, given the cooperation that I had received from them just moments ago, but I reminded myself that lesser creatures are not equal with the True Daughters and I owed them nothing.


I watched as the undying one stopped outside of the now-broken line and began shouting at the mindless ones,


“How you ants like that? HA!”


“threat, threat, sister, threat”


“Ya’ll can’t do nothin’ to me, ya’ll too small an’ too slow!”


The undying one turned to me, with his ill-gotten gains still dangling between his jaws,


”What yo’ story, spida? Why you’s all up in my way?”


“My name is Skirix’ir, Ruler of the Sunlit Lands. I do not believe I have to explain my motives to you,” I thought for a moment, remembering the word that the other undying one had used, “Roach.”


“Oh shit! You the spider what bit the hell out of Gronk lady jus’ a’cause you din’t like her! Damn, but that shit’s cold!”


I was not even going to try to decipher this disgusting slaughter of the Language or to understand his reference to waste and said,


“I am looking for Nibor Five Legs.”


The undying one began munching on his stolen leaf, muffling his words through a full mouth,


“Mibor day.”


“Excuse me? I did not understand you.”


He cleared his mouth of partially-masticated garbage with a claw and repeated,


“You stuck up too, ain’t you? What I say was ‘Nibor dead.’ You can’t hear?”


Again, mostly nonsense, followed by barely intelligible words, I was growing weary of this conversation much quicker than the one with the female earlier,


“I can hear wonderfully. Can you not speak?”


He stopped chewing for a second and said,


“Damn, bitch. I sho’ figure you an’ Gronk old lady a’get along since ya’ll both talk too high off the flo’, but you done kilt her. You goan kill me too?”


“Only if I have to, roach. What is your name?”


“Nibor.” He grabbed another mouthful of vegetable fiber, “Plee a’meetcha.”


It was not just intolerable that I could not understand but one word in five, but now he was lying to me as well? I hissed at him,


“You said that Nibor was dead.”


He swallowed and replied,


“Chill, bitch! Nibor Five Leg’ dead, but Nibor Six Leg’ doin’ jus’ fine. Five Leg’s my pop.”


Ah, so it was a family name. Perhaps that was the entirety of his lineage that he could remember, but I had plenty. I began reciting,


“I am Skirix’ir, Ruler of the Sunlit Lands. I am the daughter of Grinix’ir, who was the daughter of Jistix’ir, who was the daughter of Trilix’ir the One Who…”


”Damn, but you talk a lot, spider!”


I stopped, in shock at his temerity and lack of civility, but he wasn’t done being rude,


“Look, lady spider, I got’s to go. It’d nice talk a’you, but my lady waiting fo’ this.” He indicated what was left of the leaf by shaking his tiny head, “I’ll see ya ‘round, Skricks or whatever yo’ name’s… s’long.”


Speechless, I stared after his departing form… what a strange creature!




I made my way to the Bountiful Lands, also known as the ‘refrigerator,’ rather quickly after the rude departure of Nibor Six Legs. Up close, it was even more imposing than from the edge of the Sea of Grass. The portal was gleaming white metal, with another shiny stick attached to it, doubtlessly made for the behemoth to manipulate. It was ensconced in the wooden dry walls of the Wastes, with a slight gap between them, which was filled with the detritus of both the undying ones and the mindless ones. Since I had entered every other land by slipping under the portal, I did the same here, but what I found didn’t look anything like Zarack’s description of the Bountiful Lands. I racked my brain for the entirety of the prophecy while pacing back and forth under the portal…


The fridge door has a gap in the gasket – Yeah, I gotta fix it before the bugs figure it out and go live there instead of under the oven – Ha, yeah, it would be like the whole world was made of food. Especially to the ants – No shit, did you put more bait out? – Huh? No, not yet – You really need to get some more quick or the bug messiah is going to lead them into the promised land of the fridge – Alright, yeah… I’ll stop on the way home tomorrow and get some.


It didn’t really make sense now that I was actually here. Where was the gap? Was I not in it? I began looking around, feeling more and more despondent that I could not locate the Bountiful Lands when it suddenly struck me…


The fridge door has a gap in the gasket… the bug messiah is going to lead them into the promised land of the fridge


A gap in the gasket… into the promised land of the fridge… gap… into… A gap into the fridge! I wasn’t supposed to be under it, I was supposed to be inside of the white metal box!


I immediately ran to where I had crawled under the refrigerator and began scanning the portal above me for the gap. The portal itself was made of the same gleaming white metal as the rest of the box, but between the portal and the actual refrigerator there was a strip of what looked like dense weave, which must be the gasket. I ran back to one end of the portal and started looking for gaps on ground level, which was neither successful nor particularly surprising. Since not just any creature would be able to find the gap, only me, the Messiah, it stood to reason that it would be difficult to find for any other ‘bug’ to find but me, the ‘Bug Messiah.”


I stood at the corner of the box and glanced up at the gasket, which continued out of sight towards the top of the box. Making up my mind to ascend was much easier than trying to crawl from beneath the box to the surface of it, but I managed it after just one false start.


I stayed on the gasket for my entire ascension, scrutinizing it as carefully as I could, but I could not find the gap into the refrigerator until I got about halfway up the box.


As I followed the gasket higher and higher, I realized that there was a break in the gasket that was not immediately obvious from ground level and promptly abandoned my search on the vertical gasket and made haste towards the break.


Less than a strand before I got there, however, I felt something very strange strike my belly and stopped to investigate it.


It was a tiny rip in the gasket, with edges that looked like frayed weave. The Gap!


What I had felt was wind cooler than the surrounding air being expelled from the entrance to the Bountiful Lands. I poked a leg into the gap and was rewarded with only air beneath it.


It was now or never!


I began the slow crawl into the Gap carefully, unsure of what lie ahead in the darkness, when from behind me, I felt claws digging cruelly into my abdomen! I dropped my head to look beneath my abdomen to see what had me and saw Glon’ir, all eight of her freakish eyes alive with hatred and anger,


“You are not the Messiah, Skirix!”


“Have I not found the Gap, Glon? How dare you gainsay me!”


“My Citix was the Messiah! But the gods have authority even over a Messiah!”


“The behemoths are not gods, you weak-blooded Seeker!”


Her face registered surprise for a split second, then I smelled the sharp tang of venom filling her fangs,


“Then your ‘strong’ blood will nourish me this day and make me stronger!”


For the first time in my life, I felt as if the foe I faced could kill me before I had a chance to strike them with my venom. I tried to pivot around to face her on my front legs, but her claws held me firmly as I twisted and I had to stop before she tore me in half. I felt her tugging on my armor, each pull sending a shock of pain from the serrated holes her claws had dug. I screamed in pain and kicked backwards blindly with both of my rear legs, hoping to hit her in one of her many eyes, I was rewarded with a grunting explosion of air from her as I connected.


Her grip on me had also slackened considerably, so I took advantage of the lull in pain to kick once more, this time bringing my midlegs into the blow. I cringed as I heard her scream, but the pressure she had been exerting had faded completely, so I took the opportunity to free myself and face her head on from the entrance of the gap. It was similar enough to my Ambush to make me feel a bit more comfortable, but not much, considering that she was large enough to simply reach into it with one claw and pull me out whether or not I was firmly anchored. As I looked at her, however, I realized that was one thing I would not have to worry about.


My first blow had cracked the armor just above her right fang, and it seemed that my second had taken it off completely. She was in no shape to pull me out of an Ambush, as she was losing vital fluids rapidly as her venom sacs emptied. I darted forward in an attempt to bite her flailing front leg, but I missed and ended up within range of her one remaining fang… which she promptly brought down directly at my thorax.


I twisted violently in her grasp in an attempt to stop her from injecting too much and felt her fang barely scratch the shiny black armor of my thorax, but I wasn’t out of trouble yet. I kept two eyes on her, but the remaining four were scanning for an escape route. I didn’t want to simply run away, but to face her in a place of my choosing where my superior lineage would carry the day. I noticed that if I simply dropped down between her legs, I would have a probably fatal drop onto the white stones of the Wastes, but if I stranded to her and acted quickly, I could bounce just high enough to get a grip on the gasket before cutting my strand and attacking her from below.


I immediately sent a strand bursting from my spinners to catch a hold of her and was shocked to see that this action probably saved my life as the undried globule sprayed directly into her eyes. I released my grip on the gasket and let out strand as fast as I could, grateful for the overabundance of undying one in my gullet that I converted to weave. I fell straight down, and just before hitting the bottom, I stopped letting out weave and grasped it tightly with all eight of my claws; bouncing back about half the strand and swinging towards the gasket, which I grasped tightly. I looked up to see if she had cleared the weave from her eyes yet and had to duck close to the gasket as she plummeted towards me without a strand at her back to catch her.


I watched as she tumbled; gobbets of my weave still in her eyes, the armor around her thorax cracked where my dropping weight had pulled for just long enough to dislodge her clawholds, her broken fang spraying droplets of venom into the air, her late attempt at stranding to save herself trailing behind her in the wind from her fall. She shot past me, cursing and screaming, blind to her impending doom.


She landed with the sound of crunching armor on the white stones below me, her scream rising in volume to an unbearable pitch and then cutting off suddenly as her air sacs expelled their burden under the weight of the sudden termination of her fall.


I rushed down the gasket, to give her what comfort I could in her last moments, as befit my status as a True Daughter, but she was already a corpse. I stood over her, watching as her fluids drained slowly from thousands of cracks in her armor and spoke the words anyway,


“Mistress, welcome into Eternity this, Your Daughter, a Mother to Daughters. Welcome Glon’ir, daughter of Hal’ir, who was the daughter of Glon’ir the Traveler, from whom she took her name. She was Your Daughter and sought the Void between Your strands. Welcome her, Mistress, for she had faith in You.”


I bowed my head, exactly as I had when I first met her outside of her domain. I would remain thus until I had committed our every interaction to memory, so I could share it with her children should I ever meet them. I was almost done when I heard a skittering sound from in front of me. I glanced up at the intruder, an undying one,


“Do you require something, roach?”


“Hey there, lady spider!” I heard the voice of Nibor Six Legs say, but I couldn’t have told him apart from any of his fellows without recognizing his voice. All undying ones looked the same to me. I responded to him without formality, as it was wasted on him anyway,


“I am very busy, Nibor. What do you want?”


He shuffled his feet and wiped at his slathering jaw with a foreleg, “I was jus’ wonderin’ if you gonna eat that?”


Shocked, I simply shook my head in negation. He didn’t even wait until I had turned away before grasping Glon’ir in his jaws and dragging her under the refrigerator to begin his feast. I stayed in my position for another moment or two, committing this last view of her to memory also, so that her children could mount their revenge against the constantly-eating roach, and then I began my climb back to the Gap.




I stood once more within the Gap to the Bountiful Lands, this time I took the extra precaution of stranding just inside the entrance, in case I was again interrupted, but the only one who would interrupt me in my Messianic destiny was dead and partially eaten four strands below me.


As I crawled my way through the portal, I noticed that the air in the passage was growing significantly colder and the light behind me was fading to invisibility, which gave the impression of traveling into Sun Death, rather than just watching it crawl across the Sunlit Wall. In addition to the lack of light and warmth, there was a curious lack of scent along the passage, which I found unusual, for surely something had traversed it before me, if only the creator of the path. I was therefore both sight and scentblind, and since there was nothing to hear or taste, I was forced to rely on my sense of touch.


I found the termination of the passage as my foreclaws closed on empty air and I stopped for a moment to examine the area around me minutely, desperate for the change in scenery that would tell me that I had arrived in the Bountiful Lands, but such a change was not forthcoming. Since I was unwilling to sit in the entrance to the Gap and slowly grow torpid from the cold, I decided to press on into the emptiness after stranding to the Gap.


I slid down my strand to what seemed to be an outcropping of some sort and paused to take stock of the situation, when suddenly I felt the outcropping beneath me shudder and begin to move. I was trying to cling to the surface, but it was curiously devoid of clawholds and I was forced to hold tight to my strand in order to avoid falling into the cold blackness beneath me. I was thus engaged in survival when the Bountiful Lands came to glorious life before me, bathed in pure, white light like the sun.


The outcropping I was on was blinding in the glare from the light as was most of the interior of the Land. At first glance, I thought that solid Wet made up most of what I saw until I realized that the Land was made of the same material as the Obelisk, with other structures very similar to the Obelisk in attendance; all of them no doubt full of poison, the smell of which was cleverly concealed by the extremely cold air. The realization struck me suddenly that the Bountiful Lands wer

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The behemoth was simultaneously holding open the portal to the Bountiful Lands and toying with the capstone of the obelisk. The stone gave way with a terrible hiss, and poison began bubbling out in a most violent manner. The behemoth quickly brought the poison to its jaws and began sucking on it in desperation, the fuming bubbles trickling out to leave trails of poisonous slime on either side of this new behemoth's mouth parts. The sound of it feeding was horrifically loud in the enclosed space that I had ensconced myself in, and I found my fears mounting and my resolve weakening.


Surely, these beings that could not only douse themselves in poison, but ingest it directly, were not creations of the Mistress! Who had created the behemoths, I was not sure, but I knew that there was no creature woven into life by the Mistress that would be able to consume more venom than a hundred Sisters could create in a hundred lifetimes and relish every drop!


For the second time in my quest, I felt fear… real fear… of an opponent that I may not have been able to defeat. It was one thing to know that Glon'ir could have struck me from behind, but paid with her life before my expiration and quite another to know that even a fair battle with the behemoths would result in my death, with little or no damage done to my opponent.


I waited until the behemoth's attention was fully fixed on the poison it was ingesting and then dropped down my strand to the Wastelands far below me.




I didn't hesitate at all in making my way back across the Sea of Grass, eager as I was to hide my shame from the denizens of the Twilight Lands. I stopped for no one and nothing, pulling my legs free of the entangling coils of the Grass with quiet curses as I made my way back to the Sunlit Lands of my birth.


Ah! I had left a new clutch of eggs with the corpse of Zarack the Flier, no doubt they had been born and were in desperate need of an education by now. I resolved to teach them of neither the Prophecy, nor of the other denizens of the Twilight Lands. I would teach them only what my mother had taught me, thus ensuring their superiority wherever they may choose to eventually live.


Since I happened to know of an excellent Ambush that had recently been abandoned in the Twilight Lands, I would save that knowledge for the most ambitious Daughter among

my new brood. She would carry forth the message that the True Daughters were most assuredly not extinct, and would take her place as Ruler of the Twilight Lands. I had already decided to name her Trilix, after my Great Grandmother, who first brought her bloodline to the Sunlit Lands from The Elsewhere.


I was still entertaining my pleasant thoughts of victorious Daughters as I entered the place of Portals just outside the Sunlit Lands. I looked up at the Portal to my home at long last and was glad in my soul to see that nothing seemed to have changed. As mutable as the Twilight Lands were, with the heresy of the lesser races and the poison-crazed behemoths a source of constant worry, it was good to see that the Sunlit Lands had stayed true to my memories. I was within sight once more of the metal ridge that formed the border between the Sunlit Lands and the Twilight Lands when my senses were assailed with the scent of poisonous fumes just ahead at the border.


I rushed to the edge of my Lands, my musings forgotten as I realized that the stones just inside my home had been inundated with the foul effluvium of the behemoths! I stood upon the metal ridge, out of reach of the deadly liquid and stared in horror at the slick of poison that followed the borders of my domain in a thin, stinking line. I mustered my courage and my strength and gauged the distance to within a strand's breadth before attempting a jump over the killing Wet and having cleared the line of poison, I rushed over the stones of the Sunlit Lands to my domain high upon the Sunlit Wall.


Another line of poison awaited me at the not-metal lake, so again, I chose to ascend the Dry Wall, which, despite stinking of poison, did not appear to have any killing Wet actually upon it. Once I had made it to the not-metal lake's rim, I evaluated the square stones for clawholds and remembered that I had only managed to descend them by stranding to the porous material between them. Unfortunately, this material could not be used to ascend, as the gaps between square stones was very, very narrow. I looked again to the Dry Wall and realized that the stones ended before the Dry Wall did and I would be able to make it all the way to my Domain without ever having to touch another of the behemoth's creations.


I climbed for what seemed like an entire Sun, but which I knew was only a matter of moments, before reaching the topmost portion of the Sunlit Wall. I stranded to it and dropped to the Wet Wall below my Domain where I stood in shock.


My Weave had been removed!


I searched frantically, casting my gaze all along what used to be Ambush before I realized that what was once my Weave was now a tangle of worthless strands balled up in the corner of the Sunlit Wall and the Wet Wall. It struck me as I examined the torn remnants of my Weave that only a creature of great strength could do such a thing… and that only a creature without fear of me would dare it. If such a creature did not fear reprisals from a True Daughter for destroying her home, then the creature was not subject to the rules of the Mistress. If such a creature was not subject to the Mistress, then it followed that the creature was not created by the Mistress… for all who are woven by Her are subject to Her rules.


And the most horrible thought of all was: if the creature was not created by the Mistress, then who, if anyone, could have created it?


Only the behemoths did not fear me. Only the behemoths did not speak my language. Only the behemoths could move mountains. Only the behemoths could release Wet upon command. Only the behemoths could survive by drinking poison.


This line of reasoning was anethema to my faith and I could feel it crumbling about me like the ruins of my Weave. I had never seen the Mistress, nor have I spoken with Her. I trusted in Her existence because I had never learned anything else. I trusted my Mother, who trusted her mother before her. I trusted and had faith, because that was all I had ever known. Now, after a mere Sun's journey away from my home, I had been exposed to the idea that the behemoths were regarded as gods by all the creatures of the Lands. I shuddered, wondering if the lesser creatures had been right when they spoke their heresy. Perhaps I was the one who was faithless and deluded? Perhaps I was the one so entangled in the lies of my forebears that I could not see the truth in front of me? Perhaps I was wrong about more than the Prophecy?


And if the behemoths were gods, and knew the secrets of my heart, would they punish me for my blasphemy?


Of course they would! I would do no less as a god!


Therefore, it was with a sense of foreboding that I climbed to the entrance of my Ambush. I peered inside. By now, I was expecting the poisonous fumes, but I still gagged in pain at the stench of them. After my airsacs stopped fluttering, I saw within my former domain the crushing penance that my arrogance had wrought.


My children were dead.


Their corpses, each scarcely as big as my front claw, were scattered on the floor of my domain to rest on the uningested body of Zarack the Flier. My emotions fled me and my strength deserted me. I could no longer bear to live with my shame, so I left my fate in the hands of the Behemoths. May They have mercy upon me.


I bowed my head in submission and entered my poisonous home, no longer a True Daughter.


Now I am just another dead spider in the bathroom.



Jose Valdes

August 11, 2003

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Awesome work, I really enjoyed reading it! :grin:

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So, you like assfucking?



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