Once Upon a Time, The Wild Man sat in his cell, surrounded by cold iron, which burned his skin and caused agony at the slightest contact. His mind touched on the infinite, an evolving structure like a plant or a symphony, capable of experiencing memories as though he were present, experiencing every sensation again and again. Such a scale was not the gift you would imagine, but he had made the best of it. We cannot know the infinite, so let us refuse to fail and watch him awhile. He refused food and water, and despite the threat of torture, his encounters with Paul were polite, chill affairs which ended with Paul leaving the cell in thwarted silence. The air was dry and cool here, and each breath brought knowledge of his surroundings to him.
He tasted the thwarted ambition of Paul, bonded to injuries which roared within him at such a temperature it inspired pity within The Wild Man.
Pity and fear.
It reminded him of a broth, too much salt and not enough meat to give nourishment. Each swallow tasted of bile and he was grateful when Paul passed by.
He caught the warm, fresh scent of the servants and guards above him, heard their footsteps as the patter of rain through spring foliage and sipped from the goblet of human activity to quench his eternal thirst for connection. It did not feed him but The Wild Man knew the truth of a place or a person through his senses.
A banquet of tiredness, exhaustion, love, hate, fear and indifference.
Eilhu was here. His scent allowed The Wild Man to taste his grief and it was bitter, raw on his tongue like the meat of something which fed on poison. The Wild Man wanted to spit the taste from his mouth but he knew there was power in fluid. Blood, saliva and semen. He sought to reach Eilhu but the cold iron seethed at his attempt, sent the single, hopeful thought dashing to the ground like a bird with an arrow through its breast.
The Wild Man knew there were other forces here with him. They prickled with hatred and pain, a million nerves stretched and strained, played like a cacophonous orchestra to an audience they hated. Within the pain and hatred was a power to rend earth and sky, called from places no man reached without paying a terrible price for the journey, let alone the destination. It knew he was there, and it seethed to touch him. It offered the pleasure of power, but the gift was an exchange which would see him trade one cage for another.
He made his cell a home, a place to rest and observe. The Wild Man refused to gnash and wail in his bonds, he offered no plea or excuse for his actions. He was.
Instead, he waited and thought. A single seed taking root in inhospitable soil and thriving without sustenance.
All was as it should be, and judging by the screams from the adjoining cell, another fate altered and set on a different course. The Wild Man could touch the infinite, but never predict it. He read the signs available and where the portents were uncommon and vicious in their turns of fortune. He saw ends and beginnings in everything, apart but defined by the surrounding reality.
Darkness. Something gave a second breath, warm and fetid like an interred grave. Eyes which would never see the light, blinking and within the riot of new anatomies, poisonous organs bloomed and swelled, tasting and raping the air around them as it adjusted to the reconfigured limbs. It was a man once but now, shat from darkness into darkness, it adjusted itself and cried out in a terrible joy. It was appetite taken beyond limits, loyal beyond death and it represented a new front in a terrible, ancient war fought across millennia. The appetites of gods and monsters slaked on the flesh and fortune of men.
It was a weapon in search of a war.
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