Augury of Sen
< Kang Sen
The Great Sen Patriarch waited in patient silence at the base of the staircase that led up to the old, ten-thousand year offering stone, buried deep beneath the Old North Peak in a vast cavern overlooking a yawning void. He had come for the augury, here in this secret place that had never known the touch of sunlight, guarded by the Ancient Wolf-Mudang of the Mountain.
Nobody knew Godae San-Lang's age. Nobody dared ask; asking the wrong question would be answered with an agony only Ivory Claws could tolerate and understand.
Her face was hidden beneath a mask of polished, perfect, gleaming silver hammered out of ore dug from virgin depths beneath Geumgang-San, where it was said Hattis-Ur had Hunted in the early days of Her Sacred Agony. The demon's visage reflected the light of a dozen demon-lanterns, glowing pale and ghostly in the subterranean Hisil, where her voice reached out to the Purest Progenitor and Her Cthonic Brood. Godae San-Lang’s face burned beneath the mask, her skin cooking against the pure, acid-etched metal; she didn’t finch as the smoke rose around her inhuman, Dalu head, mixing with incense.
She chanted the Fell Augur, a hooked, argent blade smoking as it cut through the heart torn from the nameless, shaven, purified Urdaga sacrifice that hung bloody and dead, painted with ancient shadow Maja symbols, face obscured by a tightly tied white sack.
Her legs were crossed beneath her pure, perfect white leather robes, a belt of human hair about her withered waist. Blood dripped into an irregularly shaped, strange jade bowl, overflowing and spilling over the stone table. It flowed down an altar, laden with raw, prepared flesh pleasing to ancient gods surrounded by colorful herbs - nothing grown in the field by the hands of man, of course. It splashed onto the ground, heavy and rich with Moon-Slave essence, and down into a great, black abyss where Hattis-Ur is said to have dug down deep into the Earth for succor from the Mad Traitor Mother's scourging rays.
A voice that seethed with ancient power, dripping from each word and distorting the very air of the Hisil, arose from her withered lips beneath the mask in haunting song.
Oh today, today oh today! May everyday bloom as today! May the sun never set and the slaughter be ever fat But today will end, and shame renders light the quiver
Hear ye Sons and Daughters the name GREAT SEN and know their dishonor Black the grief of the patriarch's howl for brave buknyeos' demise Red the rage of the heir that stains the line of Halla-San!
[Cleave ye to humanity] cleaves both ways in shades of red Every man desires a son and love but karma claims its keep Sen Kang, Son born 'neath a red sun tore life from the womb
Heard ye the tales of children born from mothers murdered? One held the Black Sword; one was Urdelith-Karr; one Many-as-One Bloody-Handed, Kang reached not for the blade but the brush
Great Sen sneered; this child of his Bought with his mate’s life
‘While he lives; never shall your son belong to Hattis’ Pride is a high peak, made slippery and treacherous by assumption And thus the Rites were Unobserved; flesh lain bare for Lunar Chains
Great Sen knows pride; Great Sen knows hate; can this hold firm clans? A father’s hand raised in wrath; can this replace a mother’s love? Two sisters’ leers, disappointment raw; furtive little fish
What is a Prince among men who is omega among pack? Wolves honor not the affairs of Dang-gun’s get, now Kang’s lot Shouldering the sky is an ugly burden for a Sen
Son-Kang strived for Great Sen’s pride Found ignominy
‘Oh today, today oh today! Curse everyday that is like today!’ Slaves in silk all dream of freedom in rags A man among wolves is small, but his dreams may be great
Does not a man’s heart thrum when high hangs the warrior’s face? Wolfsbane saw the dragon coiled about his spine and laughed ‘Listen close little fish, and you’ll have teeth as bright as mine.”
Does a man’s soul not burn at the first sight of sacred magic? Neukdae saw the serpent’s gleam in his eye and hissed “Listen close little fish, and you’ll know why the Shadow fears us.”
“What is the harm? He’ll ne’er be Great Imru such as we.”
Mysterious are the ways of mad goddesses Fickle is the blood of ancients
Though wise and pure the Sisters were, all three knew fear and hate For Father Sen looked yet upon his son and felt disgrace And so the wolf threw his cub to the swine’s dark hole
Half a hundred and half that times did Luna blink The prodigal son in darkness confined, excruciated The silver of his pelt named ‘Shame’, ‘Injustice’, ‘Hatred’
And he never knew just who Had clapped shut his cell
Dire Wolves Eat Drink. Kill All; The mantra of The One The Avatar of the Firstborn of Firstborn cried Taga-Dan The Cannibal’s Corpse lain low by tarnished Moon-Witchery
But what the price? The Firstborn are hungry, hoary Gods New Life can only be spat up when Azrael has its fill So Wolfsbane and Neukdae shall never see Today
Great Sen knows sadness; Great Sen knows rage; heavy is his Dharma Black the fury of a parent who outlives their child Discord at the top knows discord through the whole kingdom
Silver the sorrow of the son Born anew in blood
Oh today, today oh today! Who is the Hunter and who is the Prey? Howl your Holy Hexagram, Purest of Pureborn Hattis And share your transcendent pain with the petitioner
Great Sen burned. None dared speak to him this way in the New World, but here was the Old, where wolves had been hunting since long before Shilla had become Choseon...and so he waited on his knees, bared down to the waist, nothing but a white silk cloth adorning his waist. The stone was hard beneath his knees, his muscles stiff from the many hours that had passed...but he would wait for days, if that was what it took.
And that was what it took.
The blood dried. The incense died, only to be relit. Up above, Helios and Luna traded positions within the sky, Dallim and Haennim dancing their siblings’ dance three times, and when the hunger became difficult to bear, when thirst made his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth…
A low, long, millenia-old howl began to sing from the deep.