Long had Eao lain in solitude,
Feasting on wishes and fears also,
Fat it had grown, from offerings many;
Boons begged by Guardians, grief-stricken or greedy,
Made up the meat of the meals Eao ate.
Dreams it consumed, cherished desires;
Traded for power worship we offered.
Names it ate up, beings it devoured!
Wyrm-granted bargains laid low our warriors.
Warrants were sent, City-wide cries:
"Dream-serpents too dangerous," declared the Vanguard,
"Despite their great powers we must unmake them,
Extinction is necessary, else we are sunk."
Then from the Tower fair champions three
Answered the summons, offered themselves;
Traveler-touched, towering heroes,
Light-sworn were they, risen from death.
Wolf-born was one, gun-sworn, gold-lit;
With Raven’s bright eyes, next flew a warlock;
Last marched war’s Eagle, lofty with honor;
Doomed were they all to make war on Eao.
They sought through wild-lands that wish-granter’s lair,
Sped across reaches, three Sparrows shrieking,
Each deep in thought; Eao the demon
That kept them from peace, last of the wish-wyrms.
Weary, they came close to their quarry,
Sensed that they neared the dream-serpent’s den.
Reality shattered; long shadows whispered
Secrets to each; words only they knew.
Eao sensed their coming, slid its great bulk
Down from the dream-cache it had long hoarded.
Up towards the champions spiraled the serpent,
To treat with the war-beasts, play host to their wishes.
Eao whispered into them, dream-like it spoke,
Welcomed the war-beasts with bargains wide-ranging.
Then did the wish-wyrm, defying its foes,
Challenge each champion to turn down a deal.
Spoke cunning to Wolf-kin, offered control:
Place-seeking power to leap over obstacles.
To Raven, true reason brought Eao as bargain;
Strength enough to sunder reality’s boundaries.
Eagle alone understood, sight discipline-sharpened,
The sorrows unsaid, the secrets unspoken:
Too many lives lost, lofty promises - too costly.
Unmoved were the warriors, wary of hope-nooses;
Serpentine cunning could not dissuade them:
Death was their answer despite its appeals.
Intoned Eao then, unlocked its word-hoard:
“Heavy burdens you bear: despite your tongue-silence,
Your sorrows I sense, your hopes I have heard.
I offer to you, to wield as you will;
- Bones, claws, scales, skull -
Take them up! Take them!
Take them up screaming, oh wish-bearers mine.
To you they will hiss truth-shouts eternal.
Hear them you must! May you have no thought
Free from my murmurs, exempt from my voice.
Dream-founded, bone-bound, my whispers will haunt you
Doom now awaits you - my words are your fate.
Pursue your slaughter, use sky-powers splendid,
Kill me and then take up my corpse.
Make weapons of me! Wield mighty arms!
Eternity I offer to each of you, chosen.
Your sadness I see, despairs that you carry
(Grudges denied, deaths bought with blood);
Unlike you three, I shall live on.
I have endured endings uncounted,
Some stolen from memories, Some earned on my own;
Elements of me are sustained eternally
In close-held claws
- hope-sharpened, wish-whetted -
In dire skull shaped from dreams long-cherished.
My bones now belong to this timeline’s warriors;
Power I give! desires I grant!
Impending death alters this not.”
The wish-wyrm fell still. Swift they descended;
War-beasts unmerciful, without second thoughts,
Silenced the speaker, struck at the serpent -
Slaughter was wrought; Eao, unmade!
Returned then in silence war-champions three,
Revealed their victory, reported to Vanguard
The death they had sown there among dreams,
Eao-collected, hoarded by wish-wyrm;
Long-held desires, Nameless, unowned.
Spoke then the war-beasts, honored dead Eao,
Tried to describe the doom they had worked:
“In sorrow we slew it, left shards of it scattered
Then sifted through ashes, searching for answers
To questions we’d asked it, or hadn’t, not quite;
Eao had heard them; Words we’d not said.
Eao’s blood we spilled, Eao’s bones we splintered,
Eao’s body we sundered, Eao’s being we shattered.
Eao was ended, we made it extinct;
We silenced its voice, we suffered its loss.
Ask not the cost of owning our destiny:
Now lies fallow that foundry of dreams.”