Emrys walked through the great hall rapidly, as though he were looking for someone or something. Which, in fact, he was. He was preparing to attend to an old standing engagement, and he wanted to let his Mistress know that he would be unavailable for a little while.
After a little while he found her, standing in one of the courtyards with her arms spread wide, motes and sparkles of shining blue light all around her. The stars within her amazing eyes whirled and played at a rapid pace.
When he entered the courtyard she turned and smiled at him. “Good morning Master Emrys, how goes it with you old wizard?”
“All is well dear Lady.” He said with a bow. “I hate to interrupt you, but I wanted to let you know I’m going for my annual dive, and so will be out of circulation for a little while.”
She nodded. “Thank you for letting me know dear. Give my regards to the Deep One.”
“Of course Mistress.” He bowed and went from the courtyard.
He walked a short ways to a plain wooden door in one of the great halls, opened it and stepped through into a cozy cottage like room. He was home again.
“Morgawr!” He called. “Are you at home you silly bird?”
He looked around for a moment, and a large raven flew down from one of the rafter and alighted on his shoulder. Instead of the usual depthless black, this raven had deep blue eyes.
“What are you dithering about?” The bird asked in a high scratchy voice.
“I’ve decided to go ahead and take my annual sea voyage, I just wanted to let you know I’ll be out of touch for a little while.” He said. “If anyone asks after me, just take a message and tell them I’ll get back to them.”
“I’m not your personal answering service you know.” The bird said gruffly.
Emrys smiled. “Don’t be uncooperative or I’ll be forced to turn you into a feather duster, silly bird.”
Morgawr made a strange snorting sound and flew back up into the rafters.
“Enjoy yourself old bird, I’ll be back eventually.” Emrys said.
He walked out of the cottage and on to the lawn. Then, he stood for a moment, spoke a few quiet words, and with a quick gesture, he disappeared.
He reappeared instantly on a sandy beach, overlooking a calm blue sea. Waves rolled slowly in and out, the water rushing up over his feet…one booted, one a bare, gnarled claw.
He leaned down and removed his boot, then took of his cloak and folded it neatly. He held it up and spoke a word, and it vanished. He did the same with the great enruned staff he carried.He then scooped up a handful of seawater and sprinkled it over his head.
“Let the Waters flow over me and through me, let my soul be joined to the Waters that flow within and beneath the World, and let them protect me from the dangers of the Deep.”
As he spoke the water around him rose and flowed all about him, and for a moment he was surrounded in a cocoon of seawater. Then the water receded and he calmly walked forward into the sea. He walked till he was knee deep, waist deep, neck deep. Finally, he sank entirely below the waves.
The ritual he had performed allowed him to see and breathe under the water, and protected him from the enormous pressure that built as he went deeper and deeper beneath the surface.
As he descended, he saw shining schools of silvery fish, great hungry sharks with eyes that looked dead, and jaws that brought death. He saw swarms of many-hued jellyfish, waving long arms slowly with the tides. He saw grand arrays of coral, horns and spines and spires, and masses like giant disembodied brains, some heavy, some delicate, all beautiful.
At one point, he passed a great whale, hanging its huge mouth open to take in its food. The creature seemed to give a nod as the mage passed by, and Emrys stopped and bowed his head in return.
As he went deeper, he caught sight of things that mankind had rarely if ever seen. There was a squid as long as a battleship, great serpents to match, and other things harder to describe. Some of the things were huge like whales, some great round masses, others long and thin. There were tall willowy things that waved white tendrils slowly with the tides, beckoning. There were floating things with great wide eyes that seemed as though you would be taken into their depths if you looked to long. There were creatures graceful and clumsy, beautiful and hideous, and the mage laughed silently to himself, thinking of how the people of this world believed they had plumbed the depths of their oceans and learned all it held. In truth, they had but scratched the surface.
And, not all of the wonders he beheld were living things. There were artifacts, buildings, and constructs deep beneath the waves. As he went he passed great cities, some of which had once existed on the surface and had long ago sunk beneath the sea, either by choice or by disaster. Some were cities of ancient beings that dwelt in the depths and built their great edifices when mankind still lived in caves and huts. A few of the great cities were long deserted and decaying, the abode now of strange and nameless things that swam and crawled and slithered among the ruined temples and streets.
Apart from the cities, the ancient mage saw strange statues and edifices of stone and coral that stood alone in the ocean depths, staring with sightless eyes into the deep blue infinity. Their were stone plinths engraved with strange writings, and busts and statues of forms, some human, some not remotely so. Some were tiny, some enormous, all ancient.
As he drifted through the world beneath the waves, the old wizard listened to the songs of the strange denizens of the deep, and to the voice of the Waters themselves, and he learned new secrets, and remembered old things long forgotten, and the voices carried joy and sorrow and fear and alien things that even the great mage did not fully understand for they were older even than he.
He stayed for a while in that region of the depths, listening to the song and voices, and watching the alien beauties of the deep. Presently, he began to descend again, going still further down. As he went downwards the light grew dimmer and the waters colder, till finally he reached the chill, dark depths were the sun cannot reach and the only feeble light comes from the strange bioluminescent creatures of the deeps. Here Emrys created a dim light around himself, and in its cobalt glow he saw things stranger than ever before, but also more alien and more sinister in aspect. Living things nearly impossible to describe in the context of Earthly life, huge, grotesque, unnamed by any but That which Made them. There were, here and there, a few structures which Emrys new to be cities and dwelling, but which uninitiated eyes would never have identified as such.
Emrys did not linger long in the cold depths but continued on toward his goal.
Although many once knew it, few realize the Waters of Creation are all one. The Spirit of the Creator moved across their face before the world was made, and the world was made around and above them. Every ocean, every lake every river stream brook or fountain, all are part of the Waters that existed before the world, and they are joined still at their heart. And it was there, to the deepest heart of the Waters, that Emrys the Archmage was bound. He had an appointment to keep, with an old friend of sorts.
Finally the wizard came to a great chasm in the deep-sea bed. Far down into darkness it descended, and the ancient mage plunged into it, the light that surrounded him barely penetrating the infinite blackness of the chasm. Further and further down he went, surrounded by darkness, but not alone. He sensed things about him, just outside of his aura of light. The creatures of the lightless depths would have preyed upon an ordinary man who ventured into their realm, but they kept their distance from Emrys, sensing the power within him.
After what seemed like forever, Emrys no longer felt the rocky sides of the chasm about him, and a dim light akin to starlight but softer had suffused the deep waters. He had come at last to the heart of the Waters, beneath and within the whole of the World.
Here it was still and cool and quiet. Nothing could be seen in all directions but the dark water just barely lit by the wet starlight. Emrys continued to descend, although there seemed to be nothing to descend toward.
Finally he reached a sort of floor or bottom, and began to move slowly along it. After a time, he came to great rocky walls about a yawning cave mouth. He passed through the mouth, and into a huge open space, vaster than any single ocean.
And in this place were sounds, faint but distinct, the echoes of the Waters. Echoes of the waves crashing upon the shores of a million worlds, echoes of the songs of the denizens of ten thousand oceans all found their way to this place, at the heart of the Waters.
But there were other echoes as well, voices of a younger and simpler kind, human voices and many others as well. And there were other sounds from the land as well, sounds of fighting and crying, death and birth and reconciliation all found their way here as well.
And lastly, in this place, was a shape a form so vast that it filled the majority of the enormous cavern. In the dim light it was difficult to discern the nature of this immense shape beyond its incredible size.
Emrys moved towards the enormous form slowly, and drawing near, stopped for a moment and floated near what seemed to be a promontory of some kind. After a moment, he spoke softly.
“Leviathan?” He called gently. There was no answer, and after a long while, he called again. This time, the response was immediate, and it became clear what the vast shape was. A vast eye opened, an eye so huge that the tall wizard could have walked into the deep black pupil of the eye without ever touching the bright yellow iris. After a moment, the other eye opened as well, and both gave off such an intensity of eerie yellow light that the form of the creature could be seen in more detail. It was a tremendous sea serpent, coiled within the great cavern. One could not tell where or even if the coils began as the creatures body was looped and knotted about itself so that its full length was impossible to determine with an surety, but it seemed that if stretched out entirely the creature would be longer than a dozen rivers, long enough to encircle a planet or perhaps even Creation itself.
The creature looked at Emrys for a moment and then seemed to yawn, its maw like a canyon and blacker than the deepest depths of the Waters. Then it continued to gaze at the ancient wizard.
Emrys bowed. “Greetings, Deep One. I come again, in accordance with our long agreement.” He said.
The creature stirred, at length it spoke: “Greetings Merlion Emrys, Archmage and Herald of the Lady of Mysteries. I am glad you have come again.” Its voice was vast and powerful, and yet smooth and somehow soft like waves at high tide, or the sound of a waterfall. And it was old, so terribly old that even the ancient wizard felt but new born at the sound of it.
Emrys inclined his head. “I have not reneged on our engagement in all these long centuries Great Leviathan, there is no reason for me to start now.” He said.
The great serpent made a rumbling sound that may have been laughter. “I did not doubt you my friend” The Deep One said. “You have honored the request I made of you for many an age of Man, and I have not forgotten. How fares your Mistress?” Leviathan asked.
“She is well, and sends her regards.” Emrys replied.
“Ahhhhhhh.” The great creature sighed, and it sigh was like the tide breaking upon the shore. “It has been long and long since I have seen or spoken to the Great Ones, the Powers that you serve.” It said. Then Leviathan was silent for a long time.
“I know it must be…lonely for you.” Emrys said after what seemed like an age.
“Ahhhhh…. it is, and it isn’t. I am alone, and yet I am not. The life of the Waters flows through me and around me, and the echoes of the worlds are here with me. I am here, beneath the world. I have been here since before the solid world was made, and here I wait ever for I know not what. And End perhaps? Or perhaps a Beginning. I know not. And the Creator’s younger children, I hear their voices. So little do they see, so small is their understanding, even of themselves!"
“Yet, they know you are here…they remember you. Or some of them do at least.” Emrys said. “Many of them feel this place in their deepest selves…they know that the Waters are one, and that something vast dwells at their furthest deep.”
The great creature closed its cyclopean eyes for a moment, and opened them again.
“That is well Emrys, for I know that that is part of why I am here. The Creator wished there to be mysteries for his young children to ponder and explore. Perhaps that is why you and I have such an affinity. I am a Mystery, and you a disciple of Mystery. As long as the children dream of me, know of me, they shall not forget that there are things in the deep places of the world that cannot be found or explained by their machines and theories. They have boxed themselves in, and blinded and deafened themselves to many things, but the World is vaster and stranger than even such as you and I may conceive, and some even among the young will always remember that.”
Emrys smiled. “They all remember. Some just choose not to remember that they remember.” He said. “As you say, their blindness and their limitations are for the most part self imposed, or imposed upon them to a lesser degree by their own fellows.”
“It comes, and it goes.” The great creature said. “I have heard and felt the coming and going of ages upon ages of the World, and ever there is ignorance and blindness, but wisdom and understanding as well. The World and its peoples were made to be of many shapes, many minds, and many lives. The World is diverse. I am the only one of my kind, now, solitary and unchanging and even you Emrys are very singular, and though you have only lived a short time as I see it, you too have everlasting life so long as you wish it, but then there are the young ones who are so numerous and their lives in these Worlds so short, and yet each is different searching ever for understanding of themselves, and of the World, and of its Maker. Ahhhhh….” The Leviathan sighed.
“Yet I seek many of those things as well.” Emrys said softly. “My knowledge is far greater than that of most, and my understanding greater as well, and yet there is so much I do not know or do not understand. I suppose that is a large part of what makes me desire to continue living, that and my desire to help others…both to guard them from evil, and to help them to learn, to see and understand.”
The ancient creature again made the huge sound, which may have been a laugh, or may have been something else. “And so you are assured of everlasting life, for those tasks are both infinite, unending, like the Waters themselves.”
Emrys smiled and nodded. “You are probably right, as is your wont old friend.” He said. “It’s kept me going for quite a while so far.”
“For some it is given to do, to help and to teach by word and action in the World. That is your part, my friend. My part is simply to Be. In the beginning the Creator formed me from the essence of the Waters, as he formed my brothers Behemoth and Ziz from the essences of land and sky. But I was the first, as the Waters were first before all else. I am the Waters, and the Waters are me. Their kindness and their cruelty both find form and expression in my being. And, I listen and I wait…and I speak with you and the few others who find their way here. Who find their way here, and survive. Some are mad by the time they reach this place, and a few have gone mad at the sight of me.”
Emrys smiled. “You are rather a lot to take in Deep One.” He said. “Looking upon you is looking upon all the Waters gathered into a single form, and for some it is simply to vast to cope with.” The old wizard laughed. “Chances are most of those few who saw you and were able to cope deceived themselves out of really seeing you. Many of the younger ones, humans in particular are rather fond of using self-induced selective blindness to deal with things that are bigger than they wish to try to comprehend.”
“Some times comprehension is not necessary. Some times it is enough to simply Be, to allow reality to flow around and through oneself, and to accept what is there whether it is understood fully or not.” The great serpent said.
“The young ones, most of them anyway, were created with a desire to understand.” Emrys said. “Of course some times it gets them into trouble when it overrides their common sense. They forget that they may not be able to understand everything…at least not yet. And they forget that as you say Deep One, there are some things that do not necessarily require full empirical understanding.” He sighed. “They tend to forget some things must be understood with the heart or the spirit, not the senses or the mind.” He said.
The great creature sighed. “Much has been forgotten.”
Emrys nodded. “Yes. But many still remember, though some do not realize it.” He said. “It is as it always has been…the Universe is vast, maybe even infinite, but each part is not necessarily obvious to the next and so those in each place tend to think that their small corner, and what they can see and hear and touch, is the sum total of everything.”
“And so here I stay, in this place of echoes. I can hear the echoes from the wide world, and they can hear the echoes of my Being, and so know and remember that the World is wider than they know.” The Leviathan said.
Emrys nodded. “Exactly.” He said.
“Will you stay and listen to the echoes with me for a time Master Emrys?”
Emrys bowed. “I would be glad to join you for a while Deep One.” He replied.
The ancient wizard floated over and seated himself amidst the coils of the great serpent, closed his eyes, and listened. He heard and learned and knew many things as he listened, long kept secrets of both land and water. The voices of the Waters and its many denizens, and the voices and thoughts of people and creatures from every place where the Waters flow.
He sat amidst the Leviathan’s coils and listened for he knew not how long, perhaps hours or perhaps days. In the place of echoes, time has little meaning. At last he rose and bowed to the Deep One.
“Old friend, I have enjoyed our talk as always, but I must return to my other duties.” The wizard said.
“Of course Master Emrys. I look forward to seeing you next time. Send your Lady my regards.”
He smiled. “Of course. Farewell till next time old friend.” And with that the ancient mage vanished from the place of echoes.
The Leviathan closed its great shining eyes, and lay its head back down upon its coils. The ancient creature listened to the echoes, and slowly, alone in the dark of the uttermost deep it fell into a deep dream of voices and memory, and the echoes of its thought and its Being carried out through the Waters, and into the wideness of the World, to be heard by those who would otherwise forget that the World is vaster than any can truly imagine.
|4 Dec 2005|| Andrijana Ignjatovic|
*First comment dance!*
This was good. It felt like a Lovecraft story without...the weird things. Didn´t HP use the "Deep One" too, but in an other sense?
"The Universe is vast, maybe even infinite, but each part is not necessarily obvious to the next and so those in each place tend to think that their small corner, and what they can see and hear and touch, is the sum total of everything.”
Just wonderful, and so true.
I also like the idea that Leviathan was there to remind man that not everyhting can be solved by science. Did you name the Deep One Leviathan for a special purpose...or just because it was pretty?
Nice story, and in my own opinion, thoughtprovoking. Justin A 'Merlion Emrys' Williams
replies: "I apreciate your praise.There are definitely Lovecraftian elements here. He's by far one of my biggest influences. Lovecraft had a race known as the "Deep Ones." In this case its a sort of literal title.The name Leviathan, and the overall concept comes from the Bible (The book of Job, not sure what chapter) and also old Jewish folklore. The mythic Leviathan isnt nearly as peacable as he came out here. But I've always had a fascination with water-monsters, and the common mythic theme of some immense thing that waits at the bottom of the ocean. I know this story is a bit dense and I was afraid it didnt make much sense, but I'm very glad you enjoyed it."
|9 May 2006|| Blakeslee2|
I am not sure what to say about this. It's very good. I read the previous comment, and I have to agree that this story is a very enjoyable read. I have never read Lovecraft, and I understand I am missing out. I will have to go to the library, I guess. Write some more stories, so I can read more!
~Tawnya~ Justin A 'Merlion Emrys' Williams
replies: "Thank you for your comment!This story is a little strange. Its born out of a couple of things. One is my interpretation of the Pink Floyd song Echoes. Another is my fear/interest/fascination with/of sea monsters. Also it ended up being sort of a vehicle for me to do a bit of preaching through Leviathan's extremely large mouth.Go and get some Lovecraft, right away! Shoo!"
|30 Nov 2007|| Joseph Supina|
Justin: Your works are unique and very satisfying. Well done and well crafted. I will be returning again. Justin A 'Merlion Emrys' Williams
replies: " Thank you for commenting. I have a lot more stuff that I don't post here, since I am interested in getting published, most of which is if nothing else better edited. If you'd like to see more, let me know...I will gladly email you some files. Thanks again for the comment! Oh and by the way, I will check out the other sites you mentioned when I have the opportunity"
|3 Dec 2007|| H. England|
I don't read many things on Elfwood, but every so often I find something worth spending time on. I have to say that this isn't really the style that I enjoy most, but I had fun reading it. You are very good with description (I lack that skill >.<) and I love how the Old One talks. He sounds so wise ^__^ I especially liked the part when he's talking about mysteries:
"That is well Emrys, for I know that that is part of why I am here. The Creator wished there to be mysteries for his young children to ponder and explore. Perhaps that is why you and I have such an affinity. I am a Mystery, and you a disciple of Mystery. As long as the children dream of me, know of me, they shall not forget that there are things in the deep places of the world that cannot be found or explained by their machines and theories. They have boxed themselves in, and blinded and deafened themselves to many things, but the World is vaster and stranger than even such as you and I may conceive, and some even among the young will always remember that.”
Ah, sounds nice.
Perchance, have you read the Dark is Rising sequence? I noticed the name Merlion and it made me think of Gummery *nodnod*. Justin A 'Merlion Emrys' Williams
replies: "Yes, I have read "The Dark is Rising", and that is where it comes from. Although I discovered pretty quickly that Emrys doesnt like being called Merlion, and I dont know how the name got attached to him. Description is definitely one of my strong suites...most people mention that too me. Plot is probably my weakest point..that being part of why I write things like this, that basically have and need no plot. Thank you again for commenting, and let me know if you'd like to see more (and probably better) stuff."
|12 Mar 2008|| Elina Vähä-Mäkilä|
I just adore the ambience in this. The feeling of huge, deep and humming ocean really reached me. Personally I hesitate writing this kind of ruminative episodes since I fear that readers get bored, but I think you’ve managed to avoid that and create a lovely story. Justin A 'Merlion Emrys' Williams
replies: "Yes, I often have the same fear myself. This story, of course, is really more of a dialogue between the two characters. I think it does work though, on certain levels, mainly because of the larger-than-life, iconic nature of these two."