The next few decades were hard on him. In his brother’s castle, his new body had been about eight feet long. On Earth, he was barely eight inches. He became used to his new legs as soon as possible, but it didn’t matter. He could race away from humans, but there were always more. And he could chase his food all he wanted, but he could not eat. Martal had not given him a mouth. Food did not matter, as gods did not need sustenance, but he missed the act of eating. It had always made him feel alive. He guessed that was why Martal had taken the pleasure away. And as he was the only of his kind, he had no one to talk to. Martal had denied him company, another of his pleasures.
The greatest pleasure he was denied, though, was the pleasure of spinning tales. His father had created him to be a storyteller. Martal had taken away his voice, making storytelling impossible. And without a voice, he could not gain an audience. Martal had left him as impotent, as his innocent story had left Martal.
The loneliness started to feed off him long before he realized it and soon, it made him blind to his whereabouts and deaf to his sister’s call. Attalla was looking for him, but he didn’t want her help. If she helped, Martal might harm her. In the beginning, he ignored her. Then he simply didn’t hear her, wandering about without thought, needing so much but unable to have any of it.
Centuries he wandered the earth, running from humans and hiding where he could, until, finally, long after he had forgotten his true form, he wandered into the Caves of Sorrow and found a quiet place to sleep. Tucking his legs in close to his body, he closed his unchanged eyes and fell asleep.
How long he slept is uncertain. Time passed and Theraphose slipped from the memories of man, and away from the Halls of Reality. But gods are immortal, and when humans forget them and stop praying to them and lay their rituals to the side, the god grows weak and fades away, until all is left is the shell of the god. Theraphose chose to spend his time sleeping, in order to contain whatever strength he had left. He felt that one day, his brother would forgive him and wanted the strength to travel home when Martal called him back.
So he slept and the Caves of Sorrow shifted, as they were prone to do. Eventually, without his knowledge, Theraphose, youngest of the Sons of the Weaving World, found himself waking to the sound of dark laughter, and knew fear again. But the fear was welcomed, as the emotion helped him find his mind, for fear cannot change to courage in an empty mind.
As memories of himself came back, the voice and the words it formed continued to terrify him. He knew the voice and knew the thing it was connected to. He scuttled closer, one insect among many and listened to the plans his family’s greatest enemy was hatching. War was coming, or had already come to the universe and he was stuck here. But he could be useful. Theraphose sat and listened, staying as quiet as he could.
Some time later, when the Dark King had quieted and gone to bed, Theraphose lifted his body and slowly crawled out of the caves. It took a good long time, as he had forgotten the way out and nothing was as it had been. But he took his time and followed the insects.
Cold, tired and old beyond knowing, he finally found the sun again and sat at the entrance of the caves and allowed Martal’s glorious other form to warm his body. Sighing a deep heavy sigh, Theraphose continued on his way, calling to his sister as he traveled to the entrance of his family’s realm.
Traveling took less time during the night, as Attalla wished for his return. She lit his path for twelve days straight until he begged her to be carefully. She followed her brother’s wishes and grew thin, going back to her normal cycle. Theraphose continued on his way, staying away from humans and other predators, going as quickly as he could. Attalla offered him entrance through her gate, but he refused, knowing he had to tread carefully. He wanted to see Martal first and beg his brother’s forgiveness first. If Martal refused, he would give The Dark King’s plans to his sister and let her give the King the news.
Time became meaningless again, as travel was hard for the small creature. Theraphose continued, growing in strength the closer he came to the Gate of the Weaving World. The Gate was in a forest, hidden amongst the trees and leaves. A shaft of sunlight was the pathway in, the arching branches of two ancient trees its gateway. Afraid but calm, Theraphose set one foot on the path. When he heard nothing, he set another, then another, then another, until all eight of his well used legs were touching the sacred path.
When no guard stopped him, he continued on the path and passed under the sacred arch. When his first foot touched the other side of the gate, he experienced vertigo and almost passed out. When he opened his eyes again, he was in the throne room, and Martal was standing before him with Attalla at his side. When he appeared fully, Attalla ran to him and threw her arms around one of his legs.
“You’re here! I’ve missed you.”
Theraphose felt tears coming to his eyes as Attalla’s tears wet his hairy legs. He sent his thoughts to her; unable to voice what he was thinking.
“Why are you here?” Martal was looking at him with disdain, as if he were nothing more then a speck of dust on his otherwise spotless floor. Theraphose pushed Attalla away gently and bowed in the only fashion he could. He lowered his head before his brother, trying to seem subservient.
To speak with you. To give you news.
“And why should I listen?”
Theraphose tried to tell his brother the tale, but found that without his voice, he could weave no tale. He bowed lower. Impossible to relate with no voice.
Martal felt hands on his arm. He looked to the side and found himself staring down into his sister’s green eyes. “Give him his voice back Martal, please. I saw were he came from. He has much to tell.”
Martal sighed heavily. It was time for truth. “I cannot, sister. I was so angry with Theraphose for ruining my first night with my intended that I made the transformation permanent. I cannot give him his voice back.”
Theraphose shrieked louder then when his voice had originally been taken away. He reared back on his hindmost legs, spreading his forelegs wide. The shriek continued long and long, causing Attalla to fall to her knees. She cried for as long as her beloved brother did. Martal, still stoic and unmoving, glanced around the room and cleared it with a look. When just his brother, his sister and he remained, he fell to his knees in front of Theraphose.
“Forgive me brother. I was angry. I didn’t know how much I would miss your tales. I have regretted the act every day since. I cannot give you your voice back, but I can give you a new one, if you allow.”
He had spoke through the shriek, knowing his brother would hear. Theraphose stopped when his brother did and lowered himself to the floor. He looked his brother in the eye. I need my voice. Give me what you can.
Martal stood, nodded and walked to within touching distance of his brother’s head. Placing his hand on Theraphose’s massive head, he bowed his and spoke the words that would give the storyteller back his voice. A shudder ran through both their bodies as the spell took hold.
Theraphose fell to the ground, his legs unable to hold himself up any longer. He let everything go and let the transformation take over. A wave of energy surrounded the brothers and then faded to nothing. Martal stepped away as Theraphose stood. He was still on eight legs, which was fine by him. He enjoyed moving his large form on eight small points. It made him feel light as a feather, and made him quiet as the wind.
An odd feeling came over Theraphose, so he closed his eyes to allow the thought fruition. When he opened them, he knew how to spin the tale, and knew that his family would be able to understand him. Theraphose turned and went to the far wall. He climbed into the rafters and spun his tale with the fine sticky silk his brother had given him power to create. He took his time, making sure to show everything he had seen and everywhere he had been. Then when he had shown his travels, he showed the plan the Dark King had spewed from his mouth of tangled teeth.
Attalla, too young to remember the last war they had fought with the Dark King, cowered near Martal, taking comfort from his always stoic form. Martal slipped an arm around Attalla and held her close. He knew what the story showed, and knew there was only truth in his brother’s tale. He could no longer weave falsehoods. Theraphose was warning of war. The Dark King would be trying to come through some of the smaller less used gates. Before the story was completed, Martal turned and went for the doors of the throne room. He bellowed for his advisers and ordered all but the main gateway closed. All the gates were to be heavily guarded.