This is the beginning of that process I was talking about. It is too easy for me to drift into abstraction, so these posts will be as bare and unadorned as I can manage. At the heart of all this lies Sophia, so let me begin with her story. There is violence at the heart of it, so for those who prefer to avoid such things, let this be your warning.
Before there was history, before there were stories, when even words were but crudely formed, men and women lived and died within the span of their own lives. As each person died, their soul began to slide free of their body. As their flesh putrefied and slid from their bones, so too did their memories slide from the world, sinking deeper than the depths of the earth.
Looking down from the heavens, Sophia watched as soul after soul passed into the world only to disappear into the darkness gathered beneath it. She remembered the disappearance of her kin in ages past and reflected that they, too, might be found within the impenetrable darkness. She gathered herself and passed her essence into the earth below, into the body of a girl yet unborn.
The girl’s form was touched in every way by Sophia. A striking babe, she grew more alien and compelling each day. Full of strange thoughts, ideas to fully formed for words, she wandered from those to which she was born.
When the hunters found her years later, they could not see themselves in her. Hungry and quick, they set upon her. Though agile and fast, she was chased onto the jagged rocks and murdered. As her blood sprayed the sharp stones, her fear drove the subtlest part of her being heavenward even as some part remained intertwined with the soon dead flesh.
The rush of the hunt abated, dim recognition flowered into animal recognition and guilt. Ashamed, they covered her body with the jagged stones and retreated from the place. Empty-handed, blood-spattered, they slunk back to their own.
Beneath the stones, Sophia’s body turned rancid and went to rot. That which did not flee to heaven, sank into the earth, sank deeper than the earth, and arrived a shadow in the darkness beneath the earth. The light of the heavens flickered still within her and drew her kin to her.
They were different, more monstrous. (Had they always been so? They departed so long ago from the heavens, it is difficult to recall.) They pulled her deeper into the darkness, to its very heart, and set upon her head a flickering crown. Sparkling in the darkness, crowned, she hummed, and every part of her hummed in sympathy.
Upon the earth, winding from her corpse through the pile of jagged stones, a single black rose bloomed beneath the sun and moon. When the shame-faced hunters returned to the jagged stones, they found the rose whispering with the voices of the departed, found their minds flooded with memories long-departed.
High in the heavens, the spirit of Sophia troubled her heavenly kin with visions of the worlds below, oft-forgotten by them. Putting their hands to hers, they passed their voices to the worlds below, their songs giving birth to wondrous dreams in those below.