Born under the auspices of maypole merriment, my bastard brother Myrddin McBarenton was two years my elder. Calculated cuteness quietly concealed the enigmatic roots, and mother’s ridiculously anachronistic sidhe invocations irritated my late father (I cannot rightfully call his current state of being life) to no end. John Bacon first met Gwendydd on a business trip; he was to enlighten the ignorant masses regarding the wonders of the World Wide Web. Following Myrddin’s birth, Gwendydd acquired a second wind in her too-long life, and little by little she quenched her aquatory cravings. Mondain.com’s trial computer, brought by Bacon, had a new tactic for revitalization; it wrenched her kicking and screaming back into the world of the living dead. Achondroplasty and mucopolysacc haridosis struck the year-old Myrddin on the very day that Mr. John Bacon arrived.
I have since done a great deal of research on the topic of the faerie changeling, which is little more than a euphemistic excuse for infanticide. My mother, however, rejected all scientifically sound analysis in place of folkloric hogwash. Myrddin’s “ginormous” (Bacon, I admit, had a cruel streak: Myrddin is described as a “travesty of human existence”, a “massa carnis” in the Lutherian sense) head grew and grew until the horrid wretch’s spindle of a neck shattered under the weight of the massive extremity which it had long since despaired of holding upright.
Within the hour, the sticky crevasse of Gwendydd’s womb erupted under the attack of my father’s knife; she had reacted poorly to Myrddin’s death. Wisely desirous of scandal avoidance, my father gathered all his belongings (myself included) and returned to New England. Here begins the telling of my tale.
A note for the reader- Please be patient: it is with acute displeasure that I invoke my weaker self!
“The world is your oyster, son. Take no heed of criticism; take rather what you can while the taking is good. You never know when you’ll be struck blind in the street as I was.” My father was a technologically minded man. He has always preferred the ‘jpeg file’ to the juniper fir, and I have considerable trouble looking on him as a human and not a machine. My tale unfolds around the bend of his blinding:
“I can recall the day clearly. I had just finished piecing together the linux-patch for the mondain’s html coding and was treating myself to the rarity of a walk. A strangely melodious song emerged from the forest, and I followed it entranced. The meaning of all things was in that song, and with its wild gesticulations and undulations I felt the waves of the Earth roll over my estranged soul. I began to trot; I was enthusiastic to plunder this beauty.” My father loved asinine plays on words… “I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that what follows is a fancy of my dying imagination.
“Eventually I reached a clearing, and hanging pendulously from the branches of an impossibly ripe apple tree was your demon brother, healthy as an apple and aged not a day. The moment his eyes met mine he vanished, and with him he took my vision. We are both the better off for the trade; he has his revenge just as I no longer have to look on our imperfect, too imperfect world.”
Thus it was that as a young man of seventeen I ventured forth into the citrus-orange Eden that is fall in Vermont. My heart, torn between the iron simplicity of Bacon’s weltanschauung and the quiet dissident murmur which awoke in me the presence of azure beauty, was at once vengeful and questing. The natural instinctive longing of my soul for an earthly connection was soon wiped out by the forest’s beauty; how dare the World steal the gift of sight from my father? The sexually dank smell of grass trodden underfoot aroused my senses, but my ears were without song.
Impatient to be free of nature’s too-potent embrace, I made a quick affair of lunch, leaving in my wake a wantonly strewn hansel-and-gretel trail of wrappers and half-consumed morsels and only stopping momentarily to munch whimsically on some potent red-capped agaric mushrooms. My father’s clearing struck me with absolute presence, and for a moment the mores of the modern world flowed from me like water from a sluice gate. Never before in my life-away-from-life had I understood the enormous complexity of something so apparently simple (or, for that matter, the enormous simplicity of something so apparently complex). Fractillating crystals of verdurian moisture invaded my welcome nostrils while the beauty of a sun-bathed mound ringed in seductive bluebells encompassed my being.
“Hey! Material waste has no place here!” Rather a rude awakening, I must say, and in more ways than one. The man’s voice pierced for me the veil of an apple tree at the hill’s apex, which now gone could somehow never have been. My eyes dutifully followed his akimboed arm, but it was with little surprise that I surveyed my grotesque trail of commercialism. Accustomed to lying, I responded dutifully with the words my father had so often used:
“Oh, my! I’m awfully sorry, I must have a hole in my knapsack!” I then proceeded, in an absurdly theatrical act of drama, to inspect the solid seams of my bag. Upon raising my chagrin-reddened cheeks, I was shocked to find standing before me an utter ambiguity. His attire was comprised wholly of simply knit earth tones and a modest owl’s feather, and yet somehow managed to look amazingly chic (in an earth-tone-and-feather kind of way). The primal undulations of his webbed (truly, like a fish!) body reminded one of the skitter-jitter of a leaf tumbling in the wind, and his visage, a perfect mask of serenity, betrayed no emotion. The abyss of his eyes rooted my feet to the ground.
Myrddin spat in my face.
Upon awakening, it took a moment for my categorically oriented mind to replace its original impression (‘jeez, that’s a big horse’) with naked terror. A monstrous entity honed on me its single red eye (which shined maliciously in the night’s dimness) as if seeing me for the first time. I have since discovered that the Nuckelavee Kelpie is definitely the most awful of the Scottish faeries, and had I known better I would have wondered why it had ventured so far from the sea (or from Scotland, for that matter). The creature’s flippered hooves splurshed in carnal anticipation as his monstrously large head hung limp below the frail neck of his massively grotesque torso. As I realized that the foul excuse for equininity whose enormous arms were drawing near was without skin (even now the thought of his black blood pumping through the coarse fabric of his sinewy yellow veins chills me to the bone), the stench of his putridity knocked me cold.
To this day I associate the reek of rotting flesh with the synthetically smooth ambience of my alarm clock’s lulling call. I awoke with a start, but was, upon an inspection for telltale signs of somnabulence (dirty feet, an open door, a general state of dishevelment), quick to assure myself of the previous day’s nonexistence. I anesthetized my still-racing mind with a piercing jolt of conveniently materialized water.
“Jesus, boy, next time you decide to come barging in the middle of the night at least have the decency to keep your voice down. Your drunken sobs were… disconcerting. What are you so upset about anyway?” With these words a carefully constructed pretense of reality crumbled before my eyes. Myriad pinchings ejected my stomach’s contents into the sink, and the miniscule redcapped goblins swimming in my vomit would have soon been given company had I not already excreted the previous day’s lunch. I looked in the mirror.
My brother’s spittle path had sullied my face with reflectively white bleach, and my milky-white left eye was a victim of this tincture-killing orgy. In a frantic cleansatory effort I ran the faucet and began to wash violently, only to find that the process was singularly displeasing (both for myself and for the gremlins that I was myself rubbing furiously against my increasingly scarred countenance).
While washing, the partial and discriminating concealment of my eyes led me to the realization that Myrddin had bestowed upon me the gift of glamour discernment. It was only with this knowledge that I was able to make my way into the next room, well aware that I traversed invisible Fay seas in my journey. A glance at my computer revealed a living monstrosity of seething tubes and pulsing pores. Thanks to Myrddin’s blessed curse, I was beginning to see the inherent monstrosities of what father lovingly coined “this modern world of law and logic.” Suddenly overwhelmed by the gross reality of my dwelling place, I firmly shut my eyes and made a simple wish. A plea, if you will.
The vast expanses of my local territory presented themselves to me as I had never before seen them. Upon realizing my past iniquities I felt not unlike Jill Pole whose affected vanity caused Eustace Scrubb to fall from the highest of high heights. My Aslan, however, is quick to forgive a penitent soul; Bacon Jr.’s transformation was sudden. One moment I was a sniveling, littering, apathetic (the parade of adjectives could march from Broadway to 42nd street without wearing itself thin) brat, and the next I was proud to call myself a harmonious child of nature sitting in the branches of an idyllic apple tree.
“Are you in awe now, Mr. Bacon? Have I punished you sufficiently?” My half-brother, whose visible presence next to me accompanied his gentle chidings, looked upon me curiously. While originally I had seen ambiguity in his gait and mannerisms, Yggdrasil had blessed me with an understanding of his oneness with the natural world. I was beginning to understand the truth of all things: my father’s blessed logic is blighting the land. Ok, I remember thinking, two and two may be four, but what is the meaning of four? The modern world struck me at that particular moment as a hodgepodge of jester’s caps and ouroboric flibbertigibbeting that while frantically searching for the concrete dives in and exclaims triumphantly that the bark of a particular oak tree is composed of X number of molecules, while the fact remains obviously clear to the less ‘discerning’ eye that the forest is undoubtedly present and alive and speaking to us in words that the modern world cannot comprehend but could it if would simply listen. I realized that my brother had asked me a question, albeit a rhetorical one (I was rather shook up by this whole incident, and my reaction time was quite shaky).
“Maybe so, Myrddin, b…”
It seems as if this is where I’m supposed to grasp the reins of authorial innovation to break the fluidity of chronological coherence in favor of the fluidity of logical coherence, but as I have recently come to be of the mind that all things develop in their due time (if they are to develop at all) I shall adhere to the dicta of time. In layman’s terms, bear with me.
From the depths of our tree emerged a monstrous, hide-clad anachronism. He stood at eight feet tall, sported shark-like teeth above a cucumber chin, and was wielding a massive cudgel that I feared was at any moment going to strike me down. The chaos of his hair evoked thoughts of Creation Day, and a glance at his eyes told me beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was an utter lunatic. As I lay melting in a pool of abject terror, the giant turned to my maternal brother and began to speak (his words remain alien to me, as I am not versed in Latin), his zodiacal robe all the while billowing majestically. A chuckle ensued, followed in turn by a rapid gesture and a muttered incantation; the result seemed to me to be little more than an acrid ‘tanginess’ on the tip of my larynx.
“Yes?” Said the Behemoth.
“I…I…who are you?” I replied in a crudely xenoglossic tongue.
“I am the master of this land, and you are in my house. Did you not call me?”
“Ah, father,” interjected my brother in a superbly polished tongue. “You see, Mr. Bacon Jr. here is under the silly impression that I am Myrddin. I don’t know quite how to tell this to you. This young man’s father incurred, unbeknownst to him, the death of your sister (and my death too, I suppose, though I never thought of it that way). In her dying days she spoke quite often of you, giving John the “Myrddin” fixation which was most easily taken out on myself.” (I transcribe this speech secondhand, for while Myrddin’s spell granted me the ability to speak Latin it did not confer upon my the Fay tongue, ‘a mixture between the twittering of blackbirds, the prattle of a stream, and the murmur of a breeze through the forest’) It took in excess of two minutes for both the true Myrddin and myself to assimilate the implications of this revelation.
Myrddin turned to me with a new look in his eyes that was at once respectful and accusatory. “Well, it’s possible…you have the right nose…no, no…Arthur, this simply cannot be…this child is mired in the Taint!”
“A sad tale, I know, but true nonetheless. When Gwendydd’s house was pumped with industrial waste, she moved to the forest. When the forest was cut down, she relocated in the open plain. When a road was built on the plain, she was forced to build a house. And when Mr. John Bacon brought technology, she, cut off, withered away and died. I am truly sorry and had hoped that you would not have to bear the burden of this news for quite some time now. My deceit was foolish, but I feel that neither you nor I are fully prepared for the battle to come. We shall leave you now.”
Nodding, Myrddin absently waved his preoccupied and wizened hand in our general direction, loosening the heart-wrenching contortions of his face only for the few moments necessary to utter his runes.
“Man, that tree burns fast!” A massive oak falls victim to the iniquities of a child-pyromaniac…the Toxic Avenger strikes again… “aw, come on. Recycling is for wimps.” … “shut up, you. What difference can I make?”…”Why would I ever want to come see your damn dam (oh, I crack myself up) when I could play on my LAN connection with all my friends.”… “What’s the point, anyway? I’ll be dead before the world wastes away, so why should I care?”… “Hey, whatever, man. It’s not my problem.” And so on.
Evidently, Myrddin has mastered the art of temporal flux distortion. If the “my life flashed before my eyes” cliché truly exists, mine did at that very moment. In the intermediary point between A and B (whether my recollection was a part of Myrddin’s spell or my own invention I will never know) I repented time and time again for my iniquities, keeping a mental tally of all the moral and psychological debts I had incurred against the innocents of the world. After a full seventeen years of agony…yes, agony, for while a life of sin is acceptable to the ignorant, the penitent man can take no pleasure from his evil-doings…Arthur and I arrived at our destination.
“This is my home, boy. Look well upon the havoc your follies have wreaked” Before our astral bodies stood Yggdrasil, the tree of the world. In full bloom, it appeared healthy, but even I (new to the pure life) could plainly tell that something was askance. The air was rife with static electricity, and the discerning viewer could see the fluctuating patterns of instability underlying the tree’s presence. For the minute quantities of time in which the technological mask faltered, I caught sight of the tree itself. Let it suffice to say that I often question whether or not I would have preferred to remain ignorant. The roots of the tree fed on the corpses of the tainted dead.
I have yet to discover the manner by which my father kept me enthralled. In any case, upon returning from Yggdrasil Myrddin deemed it necessary to drop me off at home. As you have no doubt guessed by now, my brother’s “Zen-slap” awoke the faerie blood that courses through my veins; it is the Faerie in me whose averse reaction you shall witness.
The stench of decay was overwhelming as my father came shambling towards me; his being was composed entirely of defunct cogs and sprockets, but what appalled me, paradoxically, was specifically the fact that I was not averse to the gruesome machinations of his world. I was after all of his blood, at least in part. My Fay half, however, was by then dominant, and I escaped to tell my urgent tale.
Sons and daughters of the technocracy be warned. Beneath your stable ground there exits a rebellion of mammoth proportions waiting, constantly waiting, to rise up and return the Earth to its rightful owner: itself. Only he (or she) who can understand without contemplating, who can react without thinking, and who can know without knowing will be able to survive in our world. We herald the dawn of The New Age, the emergence of a return to the Golden Age. It has been said that if you run forward fast enough you will catch up to yourself (what with planetary circularity and all…). By the decree of Earth, humanity must either evolve into regression or devolve into extinction. Prydwen has returned, and all willing souls may accompany us to the Isles of the Blest.