-gorgas, gorgas, all hail gorgas. we are all part of him, and he will be, someday, in part of us. yes? let us get the loyalty out of the way, because it is not important to admit what is true, that i am loyal, before i tell you what i know about gorgas.
-everything i know about the world begins and ends with gorgas, is what i say, because i am younger than gorgas. my father says the same, but he is older than gorgas. he has whispered to me many truths not even my mother is willing to hear. i believe them because they are whispered in the dark. nothing is less plausible than a shout on a sunny day.
listen, this is what my father says. the monster king was born a boy but did not like it, so he attached animal arms and eyes to his body to become something greater. the arms were never enough. bodies were next, sewn and pumping blood from beastly limb to beastly limb. gorgas should not live and yet he lives. we sit upon a mountain above the valley of the king and watch him breathing in the night. breathing, always breathing, being always being. parts die and other parts remove those parts. new parts come in from all over the world as our proof that the world is real beyond gorgas, beyond the vineyard and the mountain slopes. the pieces return and come to tell us of the world, and sing for gorgas, always gorgas, everything is gorgas and what is not will become gorgas, and beasts and people are brought in cages pulled by the loyal peons of gorgas, his loyal cast-off pieces. we trade with the peons of gorgas for meat and watch the great king grow in the valley. the peons are all pieces of the king, still loyal. they are arms and legs and torsos all connected and disconnected, different people and beasts. some with tongues can speak the will of gorgas. they worship their master.
-he is king, yes, but not a god. gorgas was a boy.
-gorgas is so much more.
-but he did not begin with the stars and the sky. he was a boy. his name was gorgas. he was born to my mother’s cousin when there were more than gorgas in the valley. now we live above gorgas, and serve gorgas, but we do not mistake gorgas for a god. he was born a boy. at the center of gorgas, inside all the torsos and arms and heads and eyes, there is a boy’s heart and a boy’s brain, and he is our kin, always.
-worship gorgas. join gorgas.
-no. have you any meat to trade for turnips?
-gorgas has need for all the food we grow, but we space it out. we trade meat for garden. we take turns walking the fields at night to chase away the servants of gorgas. we pay a tithe, instead, when gorgas demands our contributions. gorgas gives us the meat we grind and salt and keep fermenting against the winter.
-yes, yes… everything i know about the world begins with gorgas. now, he journeyed far and wide before he returned to us. he plumbed the icy depths of the island mountains in the farthest southern reaches, on the bay of storms. he rode the tether up into the sky to reach the moon and the secluded mystics there. every corner of wisdom and power was his to seek, until his return. he had run away a boy, and returned a boy. no one knows how long he was gone, for it is very little to say that boys run away from mountain villages, but when he returned he was still a boy. he had not put the first pustules and limbs upon his body. we were his cousins and watched over him while his father worked. we were spared.
-we were spared, and we do not have to pretend to be impressed, like the peon pieces that fall off of his flesh.
-his father was a farmer like we were farmers, but he was in the valley where the rain rarely fell. he grew cactus root and acorns, there, and begged for water for his mule from the farmers above him who had redirected all the snowmelt to their grapevines.
-the day before gorgas changed, he killed his father and carried his body up to the snowline and buried him in snow. the vineyard men were scared, and when they tried to capture gorgas, he turned his eyes upon the workers and spoke a single word that made them flee, a powerful word of powerful times. lean in close and i will whisper softer than this whisper of the word, but do not be afraid how i may use it for i have no study of the mystic. (arcanum, he had said.)
–the first thing he attached to his flesh, despite what is rising up from the valley, now, was not a beastly arm, or a piece of manflesh or looming elephant limbs. it was the root of an oak and the limb of a redwood. he anchored himself. for one year, he was a tree, and only a tree.
-of course they came for him, while he rested and reposed, growing deep oak roots and high redwood limbs. soon, the shadow he cast of gorgas was a great temptation to the axemen, but… the word is powerful. the power he showed was frightful. when the courage of the axeman, a cousin to gorgas, rose up against the word, he brought his axe and swung his axe and it lodged deep in gorgas’ fleshy and wooden leg. my father was there, so listen, what happened was the axe remained, and everything the blood touched merged with gorgas. the spray of the blood on his cousin’s face was enough to draw the man to the wound. he placed his face over it, and closed his eyes, becoming the first man of gorgas. all will be gorgas, you see, because to oppose gorgas is to become gorgas. the worms and insects rose up to staunch the wound, all rising from soil where the blood touched them. birds came for the wriggling insects. wolves and dogs and cats lapped at the precious meat. all became gorgas.
-we fled, to our mountain. gorgas needs us. we have a good farm. gorgas is hungry.
-father says we are probably already a part of gorgas, but we do not know it. when we die, we will not be buried in the orchard like our ancestors. we will sink into the valley, and join our great and terrible lord.
-get out while you still have legs beneath you.
-have you eaten of the flesh?
-do not eat the flesh of gorgas. do not drink his sap.
-here comes my mother with the milk of the earth.
-remember, drink nothing.
EVERYTHING IS GORGAS! HAIL!