When the Mothers of Creation left their children, feasting was about to begin-a celebration of life, truth and the acceptance of the gifts they were being offered-gifts they were still not fully aware of. All of that would change when the last morsels of meat and vine had been consumed; for it would be the fruit their mothers had left them which would be the last thing to pass through their lips. And the promise of answered questions, increased understanding and true knowledge of their existence was at the forefront of their thoughts as they quietly finished their meal.
Not so quietly, Inion’s twin soul, Mac, confronted his disobedient, remorseless son on the surface of his dark world. Would he ever be able to reach this creation of his to change the twisted core where the seeds of shadowy vines had taken root so deeply?
Our story continues….
Mac struggled to find balance before confronting Ar’tine on Domhan Eile. The instinct from his ego was to descend upon the darkness in his son’s being, to thrash and beat it out of him somehow; but deep within his soul he knew this would only fuel the burning embers that lay smoldering in that lowly place of despair, longing to rage up and out of control. He knew his Dark Son, perhaps better than Ar’tine knew himself. How could his beloved creation begin to know himself when all that he processed were outward emotions, those that were of the darkest hues and bitterest content?
When Mac found his son walking by the shores of his silvery lake, he knew the god’s attention must be drawn away; for already he saw images of the Garden being etched upon the surface of the dark, smooth water. He could just begin to make out the edges of Foirfeachta’s friends, gathered within their circle of communion; and he caught a glimpse of the crimson, ripe fruit..a hint of red glinted within the black window. Inion’s twin knew he must act quickly to distract Ar’tine. But it was the dark himself one who turned away from the vision, ending the moment of anxiety for his father, before he turned bitter attention to Mac.
“I wondered how long you would ignore me here, Father. Surely my dear Bandia must have told you of the recent events that took place on her world-events which..regrettably, she was quite displeased with. But I will tell you just as I told her. There was no malice in my actions.” Ar’tine shrugged and looked his father in they eye. What was it Mac saw there? Belligerence? Arrogance? Oblivion? Feigning innocence the best way he could, the god continued, “I was merely trying to answer the desperate call of the lonely Mother of her world, reaching out to one in need; as all the while you conspirators continued busily devising your plan. Ahhh, you know the one the one I mean…and well, lets’ say it appeared to be seriously “lagging behind“. So smug, thought Mac, so without remorse, so…empty. If the god was angry within his cold shell, he was not showing it to his Father.
Bitter frustration welled within Mac’s core, but he stilled it so that he could speak. “Well, I believe this is your story Ar’tine, but we all know how well you spin a tale.” He paused to look into the dark holes upon his son’s face, eyes that held no spark of emotion within their depths and, incredulously, continued. “Perhaps as well as you spin a web?” Mac felt certain this would light the fuse for a true blow out with his son; and he waited for the explosion that always followed any hint of accusation.
His father’s words should have stung the god; but the ego, so strong within Ar’tine, felt only the surge of pride pride that coursed through his veins at the mere mention of his deceptive prowess. It mattered now that within his soul he knew they were not meant to be complimentary. A small grin tugged at the edges of his gray lips; and he stifled the urge to laugh. He must not show these things to Mac. It was so contradictory to his agenda, after all.
“Unfortunately, that was the only way the Mother of Domhan would have accepted my help, you see. Otherwise, she might have deduced that I had come to do her harm.” He smiled sheepishly, shrugged and went on. “And that would not bode well for any of us; for she may have felt compelled to do battle with me. And we both know that no good could have come of that.” His eyes flashed a red glow as his grin faded, while Mac fought the urge to send him hurtling into Eternal Light, never to return.
Once again Mor’s son reached deeply for the Love of a Father, the same Love his own Mother had given him. But in that dark moment, tolerance was the best he could produce; and he continued this game of dodge with Ar’tine.
“Ahhh, yes, oh clever one; but why, if you were so concerned with the “poor creatures” on Inion’s world, didn’t you bring this marvelous plan to your Creator where it would have been shared with the others in Eternity? We might have been able to help M’na without the need for deception or betrayal..”
Ar’tine instantly tore the mask of cool detachment from his face as he cut Mac off vehemently. “When have I brought any of you any request or idea that wasn’t mulled to death and ripped into pieces of Eternal Light before anything was done!”
The bitterness in his words reverberated throughout Mac’s essence, for he was not a stranger to this emotion. It had been his own surrender to the same emptiness that had borne this pitiful Creation into being. Mac fought the vines that tried to curl around his regret and drag him once more into that abyss of despair; but Ar’tine began to gaze into the dark lake once more, and Mac knew he must act quickly to draw him away from its knowledge. The others were not done there yet..
Urgently, he went on, appealing to the god’s sense of camaraderie. “Do you think that I have not been without betrayal in this Existence?” His tone became more urgent as he worked to draw his son’s undivided attention. Ar’tine faced his Creator, a smirk curling the corners of his lips into mocking amusement. Relieved, Mac continued.
“Do you think I have not suffered the restraints of Eternal Light in my own Creations while I had to stand behind the brilliance that is my twin?.”
(‘It is a mistake to show your weakness to this one’, thought Mor, but It understood the sense of urgency in Mac’s attempt to keep the dark one occupied.)
Mac felt the old pangs of jealousy and pride awaken within his core, eager to be acknowledged once more. It would be a delicate juggling game to keep them at bay and yet to speak of them to his son. He must choose his words carefully.
“I stood in the shadow of my sister Inion before Great Spirit. All that she did, all that she desired, seemed hers for the wanting. Why did my Mother deny me the things she had granted to Inion?” He could feel Ar’tine’s sympathetic energy increasing, but how was he to win it over without becoming a victim to the bitterness that was its companion? He had to try.
“It was while in such a state that I created you, my Son. I know you. I understand you. But without the Love of Eternity at the center of my work, you were born with a huge rift in your soul. You carry the worst of me inside you as you listen to the call of the dark chasm that cries out to be filled. I tell you now that the voices will never stop crying until you fill the void-and nothing but the Light of Eternity will suffice. This is why you were sent to the deepest seat of the Realm after what you unleashed upon your daughter. Have you not learned anything from all that you have experienced thus far? Has not any part of your darkness been brightened so that all lies may be uncovered and ultimate truth be recognized within your soul?” Mac felt pain and sorrow for them both-for his own error in Ar’tine’s birth and for the cascading error that seemed destined to continue following that darkest of his moments.
Ar’tine was actually feeling deep compassion for his Father until his speech turned to the subject of Light; and he paused for a moment to consider Mac’s words. He really had enjoyed his new union as co-creator with Bandia in his new status of “reformation”. It was satisfying to feel accepted by the little group of Eternal Light “harbingers”. But nothing ever compared with the Love he had felt for his own creation-his precious As’me. With this thought overshadowing any Light that might be awakening in his Essence, he refused to accept anything that did not hold the promise of her return to him.
Mac knew his sons’ thoughts, so closely were they connected in that moment-breathing as one soul, one vibration-and he became enraged at his son’s insolent self absorption.
“But she was never yours to be returned to! She became an independent soul at the moment of her birth. Nothing belongs to you, Dark One! We all exist in harmony or we cannot continue to exist at all!” he shouted. He couldn’t allow this dark soul to be his failure. There must be a way to reach Him. Fearing the rising of darkness within himself, he softened.
“And now M’na will await the birth of another child. You know that As’me is ready to return to physical life; and you also know that she will take up her new body on the world of Domhan. You must also know this means that you will not be near to her. You must be content in knowing she is healed and is given a new chance for living a beautiful life.”
Sensing the presence of his Twin and the Goddess Bandia within the Realm, Mac reached out to them, “Go. Now. Finish this before I lose his attention.” Understanding his thought, they returned to the group in the Garden.
Mac was buying time, he knew it. He hoped the others would finish soon so that he could be done here. The darkness within his Creation was infecting his own Essence.
Ar’tine, too, was stalling-and impatient; for as soon as his Father was gone, he could return to his gazing pool. For this was how he intended to remain close to As’me. If he could not be with her every moment, he could watch her moments on Domhan. He felt if there were any real chance of Light being manifest within his soul then surely she was the only one to strike the spark. He must make a bargain with his father if he were to ever know any peace and be left to his workings.
“I understand my limitations, Father. It is with sincere regret that I offer my apologies once again for not consulting the wise and loving team of Eternal well being before advancing the desires of the lesser creatures, such as myself and those upon the physical world. It won’t happen again… I assure you.” And he meant it, for he vowed this would be the last time he apologized for anything that he did. It seemed to Ar’tine that there was no comfort in Love if it only created a sense of guilt and remorse.
(Only, when you do not act from a place of Unconditional Love, thought Mor. When would they remember Its promise?)
Power is a more gratifying sensation, thought Ar’tine; and it was one with which he was so very familiar. Still, to be given time with As’me, he must try to have these troublesome Light ones convinced of his reformation. So the charade would continue, for the sake of having his creation within his reach once more. The deeper truth was that somewhere in his core a part of himself wanted to be exactly as they were which, of course, was the original desire of Mac from the moment of his inception.
In the garden….
The feast complete, the garden dwellers and their guests were preparing to eat the precious fruit left them by their Creators.
Naofa offered a blessing for the gift, cut the fruit, and placed some before each present at the table. She called for the return of Spirit as they took up their share. In unison they raised it to their lips and tasted the fragrant perfection of it. To those who had already known its sweetness there was now detected an underlying bitterness-and that bitter nectar lingered in their mouths even after the flesh was swallowed.
The Mothers were with them as they began this ritual, although the circle of friends were not aware of their presence. Too much food dulled their senses; but as the nectar warmed their throats and awakened their taste buds, so it began to flow as life blood within their veins. As the seeds of Knowledge germinated within their consciousness, their vision of the Protectors from the Spirit World appeared before them as the veil of illusion fell away.
Inion and Bandia watched their children, staying close should there be a need, for this was a tremendous gift; but it was one that came with a consequence. As the true nature of Creation dawned within their perfect souls, each mind began to grasp what had been known only to those within the Eternal Realm before; and each reacted in their own way.
The fruit revealed the knowledge of the Original Thought of Mor which led to the creation of Inion and Mac. It showed the Unconditional Love which that Thought holds for all in Existence and which It holds as Its one true gift to all of Creation. They saw the inception of their world and felt the joy that Inion knew with its creation. They felt the pain in her soul as the Dark one rent it asunder with His first breath. They understood her ecstasy with the birth of her Daughter, M’na.
They knew Mac’s pain of separation, his sense of jealousy for his Twin, his feeling of inadequacy in the shadow of her accomplishments, and ached with his longing to be accepted by Great Spirit.
There were gasps around the circle when Mac en Mor rose from the dust and ashes of Domhan Eile, thrashing into existence as pure chaos. They watched in horror as he shamed his Father into seclusion, becoming then the god of his world. Lastly, they watched in horror and grief as he created and assaulted his own beloved As’me. The females recognized her deep Love of her Creator and agonized through the pain of her descent into terror and betrayal at his hands.
Eolas, Eagna and Naofa had visions of their own births as seen through the eyes of the Creators, the Unconditional Love they had for each of them woven in, as well as for those whom they had been brought forth to Love, counsel and protect.
They saw Mac en Mor banished from his World, stripped of his power to create; then they saw as he emerged from the internal realms, the Light anew within his soul, learning to Create from that Light alongside Bandia. They felt the pain of Separation and guilt he carried within him over the loss of his As’me, and of the longing he nurtured for her return. They saw his Essence dim as the internal struggle between Light and Dark continued within his soul.
Rising in their minds and hearts came the hope of Eternity as Amhain was brought into being to return Unity to the soul through physical life; they smiled to see his beauty and perfection as a bright star that shone among them. Each felt the emptiness that existed within each other, each became aware of the deepest longings that stirred with their souls, brother and sister; and they understood the depth of their soul’s searching. All this was known to them in an instant.
Tears streamed down M’na’s face, spilling onto her folded arms. She felt the loneliness within Ar’tine, a loneliness so strong that he deceived her in the Sacred Garden. She understood how he longed for the return of his beloved; and this longing reminded her once more of her own urgency to bring forth new life into their world. As she felt his pain, she left her anger and guilt in the wasteland of forgotten nightmares. For through each and every sensation and truth that dawned upon them was woven the Love of Mor. It enmeshed every moment of being, every thread of Existence, every molecule of their essence. It could not be denied, for it was the one absolute Truth in Existence. All else was Illusion.
Now tears fell upon the rough cheeks of the males at the table, as they understood the pain of childbirth for M’na and shared the fullness she knew within her heart at the time of her son’s birth. They accepted the great responsibility they had in protecting their loved ones. Each present at the table reached out for the hand of another, clasping it tightly, fearing to let go of this truth that was showering down upon them. In the face of this brilliant circle of honest Love, the Mothers spoke their final words to the Light Ones.
“Now you have witnessed Eternity in its glory and vulnerability. Now you have known the only Truth that exists, that there is only Unconditional Love for all that is. Now you have seen the Seat of the Soul as it exists within the core of Great Spirit. This was necessary for your future as a race on Domhan.” Mother Bandia withdrew as Inion continued.
“My Leanai, you have never disappointed Spirit. You must work to remember the promise of Unconditional Love. Beneath our gaze this love is easily recognizable and alive; but when we have moved beyond your vision, your mind will once more be filled with chatter. You will become distracted by life on your physical world; and the chance for forgetfulness will be strong. Because the veil has grown heavy, we cannot be assured that you will hear us when we come to you. It is due to this and to the act of deception which has now infected your world, that we are opening your mind to the knowledge that you are all Creators and your physical world belongs to you. You will be its stewards, its physical fathers and mothers, and must keep the Light alive upon its face.
M’na, Eagna and you, Naofa, all have the gift of life within your physical bodies. There must be union with a male companion for this to happen, for it is the way of creation in physical life. But you will choose the time and place; and we hope you will be in connection with Spirit for these miracles. Do not forget your Eternal Family. All in the Realm are with you even when you cannot see us. The call to Love will never be ignored. You must understand that your minds are full of illusion; and what is whispered by the dream may not always be truth. When it seems your most fervent prayers go unheard or that your desires are unrealized, perhaps it is that you are being protected until your thoughts realize a grander dream of creation.”
Bandia came forward again. She was ready to reveal one last piece of information that was crucial to those present as well as the one who was awaiting rebirth. Her first thought was to protect young Amhain by excluding him; but he was truly the gift of Unity in the physical, so she allowed him to remain.
She turned her attention to M’na and Eagna. “We have a gift for you both. You shall know the miracle of creation very soon. It was our hope that As’me would be able to join you, M’na, here in the Garden; for with Amhain as her brother, we knew her second chance for joy in life would be successful. We have had to reconsider now, after Ar’tine’s interference and continued disregard for the good of the All. Now we fear for her safety if he knows she is here.”
They looked at one other in apprehension. M’na felt a pang of sorrow, for she would have welcomed the chance to Love As’me as her own physical child. She wondered if Mor had decided to delay her return. Surely her soul would be in great sorrow over this new delay.
Bandia interrupted these thoughts, “We have decided that it will be Eagna and Eolas who will take As’me into their lives joining life on Domhan as their child, created from their own great love and respect for one another. With their combined wisdom and knowledge, she will grow in a safe haven under the influence of the Light of Eternity. We wish you all to understand this decision was made solely for the protection of the soul of As’me and does not speak to the qualities which you all possess and the great capacity for love which lives within you.”
Before M’na could voice her next fear Bandia spoke once more. “We have other souls which have been prepared for life on Domhan since Amhain’s birth. They, too, eagerly await the time that they can enjoy physical life.” M’na was flooded with relief at her Mother’s words.
“Many souls have been prepared to join you here, and already we have added new life to Domhan to increase the light of the realm upon its face. We have kept their presence hidden before now, but they know of you and are willing participants in this creation. Before your children are born you will encounter these tribes. Each will be unique unto themselves, but when their knowledge and ways are shared, your world will flourish and increase. Our greatest desire is for life upon Domhan to be magnificent. We will leave you now to create your world, with the understanding of Eternity to guide your intentions.
The Goddess Mother grew more solemn. “You must remember one thing, however. After tonight, do not speak of the destiny of As’me to another soul, living or in the Realm. Her path must not be revealed to her Creator before the time is right. We cannot know what he will do if he realizes his plan has been stalled.” She smiled warmly at those in the circle before her.
“We leave you now to your new day, your new life and the hope of creation that arrives with it. Finish the remnants of fruit and you will understand the final truth. All cycles on Domhan must come full circle. There is no way to determine when that will be for each of you. It must be a part of your individual creation. Remember that even the leaves of the trees arrive as buds and flourish for a time before they whither and fall to the ground where they crumble into oneness with their host once more. So, too, do you have an energy which is eternal. So shall you move through your lives. Though your physical body may wither and return to the Earth, your Essence lives on, and your Consciousness will never end.”
Turning to M’na, she addressed the first Mother of Domhan. “My Daughter, when I created you, I gifted you with immortality in the physical. It is true that you will never wither and your body will age very slowly, even as those around you are affected by the cycles. No one can strike the life from you, although I cannot know what illusions may be cast upon your consciousness when I am no longer here to shield you. You must know, however, that should you become weary of this life, you may call my name and I will deliver you back to Eternity where you will find rest…and perhaps rebirth.”
Mother Inion spoke one last time as they faded from the circle. “Never forget our forms before you now, knowing every time that you see one of these creatures, we are ever constant and with you. Spirit walks in all of Creation, even in the creatures that do not speak. But, be mindful of any creature that beckons to you with a voice beyond its natural calling. It will be the message it carries which reveals the intent of its soul. May the love of Mor remain in your hearts, for without it, there would be no Creation.”
As Bandia’s voice drifted away, the pair of birds left the circle in the Garden, winging their way skyward and fading, their forms shrinking as they cleared the tops of the trees that encircled Foirfeachta.
Finishing their fruit in silence, those at the table tried to absorb and remember all that had been revealed. Eolas knew now that every thing must be recorded. Already he had been devising ways of putting the spoken Word into a writ; for he felt with certainty that it would be easy to forget the Truths they were now coming to understand, truths that quivered before the shadows of this physical life. Quietly and solemnly they cleared the remnants of the ceremony before going to their beds.
Eagna and Eolas were thrilled with the news of their gift, but both had the faintest tinge of fear at what would happen if Ar’tine got wind of the change in plans. They vowed to put the identity of their child completely from their minds. Before they lay down together that night, they found a tiny cup of sticky, dark nectar beside their bed. There was a clump of Naofa’s oil covered incense smoldering next to it. It smelled of lavender. They both dipped their fingers in the nectar and tasted its blessing. It awakened their desire to create as they saw one another with new eyes; and nothing would ever be the same. Just as M’na and Fireann, their bodies ached with the fire of longing that only union could satisfy.
Naofa heard the muffled moans and giggles from the other dwellings and smiled to herself. She was so happy for them; yet another feeling was working its way up from her insides. This one wasn’t as easy to define-or as pleasant. Envy was a new emotion joining her essence and she whispered prayers to her Mother to be relieved of it quickly. Slipping out of her her tunic, she lay naked atop her bed and turned to gaze through the single window into the dark shadows of the forest. Suddenly her mind wandered away from the Garden as she wondered what their friend Laoch was doing this night, so far away in the land of the rocky cliffs.
M’na and Fireann lay next to each other in the dark, arms entwined, his hand upon her stomach, already bonding with the child he knew was growing within it. Would this child be like Amhain? He still hoped it would be a female, to bring comfort to his beloved and ease her loneliness.
M’na didn’t care now whether the child would be male or female, only that its soul be as complete as her son’s. She thought of Eagna and Eolas and the gift she had left for them by their bedside. Her sense of happiness for them was tinged by a shadow of envy. Theirs was a great honor in welcoming As’me back into the physical. But It was only a small thing, after all, she reasoned; and none of them was to think of it again after that night. She looked into the room where her young son was already breathing deeply in sleep and felt overwhelming peace at the sight. If only she could have gifted him with immortal life. She couldn’t bear the thought of a world without Amhain or Fireann. No matter, she reasoned. Their lives will be long and full. She would see to that. Her thoughts were broken by sounds on the wind. Somewhere an animal cried out in the night. How close it seemed….
Naofa smiled to herself as she turned to face the room. Soft moonlight filtered through the cracks in the walls, falling in delicate splinters across the wood floor. A splendid wood floor, she thought. The animal cried again. Yes, it was an animal, she thought, amused. One of the most willing and satisfied kind. The scent of lavender wafted through the window, filling her head as she drifted into a sleep full of visions, clearly seen through the eyes of her Sorceress’ soul.
to be continued….
Thank you for reading. As always, I welcome comments and thoughts.
I wanted to add this piece of music. I always loved the Osmonds’ music; and their faith kept them a very strong, loving family. While I am not a practitioner of the Latter Day Saints’ religion, I do appreciate the story, the message and the common thread among most religions of the world. The message in this song always struck me as beautiful. I hope you have time to take a listen.
4 thoughts on “Tasting Truth/Forever Never”
Sometimes I pity Ar’tine. I understand M’na’s compassion for him, although he wronged her. He is misled; he is vulnerable and weak. But when he speaks, he is recalcitrant. He is smug and full of himself, disregarding authority and the love he is shown. I hate him for this. But he is an integral character in the story, more integral, in fact, than Fireann, Eolas, and Amhain, who have a tendency to fade in the background.
I shall just wait and see what becomes of every single one of them.
And I thank you for this my friend. The inhabitants of Domhan were born guileless, but its dawning upon their lives will teach them things they were happier not knowing.
Envy. It is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. And it is in Domhan yet. How frightening it is for me to see the lives of these beings, hitherto lovely and innocent, seeking only Unconditional Love, become dark and envious, with death now prowling ahead, waiting! The burden of bearing Ar’tine’s daughter is removed from M’na but As’me still has to come back through Eagna. I wonder if Ar’tine will not discover this. Surely, he must; he is no fool, as exhibited by his skills to be cunning, guileful, a liar. And Naofa is envious of the people she herself protects. I sense loneliness beginning to desolate her, the one that comes from feeling that everybody else is happy except you. It leads her to remember Laoch; she is stark naked in bed when she does it. Lovely, wise M’na feels jealous of her firm friend, Eagna. She dismisses it as a small thing, but big things start small.This society has gone to hell despite the reassurances of Bandia and Inion.
And I think I missed the part where Mac is overcome with jealousy for his sister to the degree that he is led to create Ar’tine, who eventually brings this downfall of Foirfeatcha. As I had predicted, Foirfeatcha is now being forfeited. It’s virtue have begun to die. Of what purpose will it be then but a reminder of a terrible fiasco.
Where Mac first gets the nasty emotion, I cannot tell, and I don’t know if I will ever know. I compare it with what the Bible says happened to Lucifer. I think it says something like “You were holy until iniquity was found in you” somewhere in the Book of Ezekiel. But where did the iniquity come from that it germinated in him?
Mac is flawed. He is rash and impatient. He is jealous. Though he regrets his actions, the consequences cannot be undone. He is foolish. And Mor, regarding with greater favour, his daughter Inion, when he knows he has two children, has fallen short of divine wisdom. Where is his unconditional love when he favours one more than the other?
The truth revealed by the fruit is dark and scary. Having to witness all the dark things from the beginning, like Mac’s failure and Ar’tine’s assault of his daughter As’me, the deception of M’na and this eventual revelation by the goddesses. It goes so that Unconditional Love here seems transient, even forced. Darkness has always been here, suppressed, waging a violent war to be set free. And now it’s free. I wonder.
It has lately occurred to me that the fall of Foirfeatcha is through a male, whereas the fall of Eden was through a female. And that the leading angels here, or the goddesses, Inion and Bandia, and even Naofa, are females, while those Bible in are all males. The comparison is open to anybody with a knowledge of the Bible who wishes to see it. A critic may argue that this story is a war of the sexes, a rewrite of creationism from a female perspective, a substitution of the relentless and cruel biblical patriarchy with matriarchal tenderness, vulnerability, and a hunger for love, even unconditional love, which, itself, is rather a fictional phenomenon. Please do not get me wrong, my dear. I know your purpose in writing this story. It is noble. But just so that you have a defence in case one of those people who call themselves critics remarks thus, or to such effect, about your work, which work I myself think is delectable and praiseworthy, as noble as the heart that engendered it. Thanks.
All that I can say is that you are a very stute reader, my friend. Nothing misses your keen perception. Firstly, you should read the first chapters to understand Mac’s sense of slight. It is very integral to the story. And yes, because this was a work I chose to create as a means of examining the state of humanity’s decline spiritually, there stands to reason things must go dark eventually. But I am trying to understand that darkness and its source as opposed to metely cashing in on blatant mayem and destruction. I could create an idyllic world devoid of all negative influences but it would end up being quite unbelievable for most people.
Yes, I understand how this would be torn apart by someone offended by the feminine deity. That is an age old problem, and it is one that I feel drove ancient man to creat their own versions of the word of God to reflect the feminine in such a degrading light in so many ways. I don’t wish, however, to label either gender as good or bad, but to share equally for their part in the illusion of fear. Within each character fall vices based upon thier individual sense of lack. She..the pkeaser, and willing to do whatever is necessary to gain love. He…the jealous one, ready to fight for his share of it. I do hope you will continue this journey with me even though it may have bumps in the road. And as always, I thank you for reading. I do urge you to read from the beginning though. And as for it being merely male influence to the downfall of Fiorfeachta, remember whise love for Ar’tine brought him back into the fold and also who was decieved by his flattery. The goddess is very insecure and seeks his attention and admiration as much as he seeks the power that it gives him.