Apotheosis – divinization – also deification: the glorification of a subject to divine stature; ‘elevating’ an individual to godhood.
the Ophelia – “You made me into a goddess, she thinks. And a goddess demands blood.”
When she breathes for the first time, the air is knives in her bleeding chest. When she opens her eyes for the first time, a star from the earth touches her pale open cheeks and sews her body closed, and the air no longer stings and the world no longer hurts and she is no longer raw.
The world is raw and weeping still, and she journeys with the woman who covered her, across falling mountains and wild oceans and falling stars and trees taller than the sky. She has no place in the world. Her sister walks past oceans and cities and stars until there is only the dark expanse of nothing. And it is there that her sister opens up her bleeding chest and all the waters pour forth, and along the water and the river her sister scatters each of her bones, and from each bone sprouts a tree, a flower, a rock, a possibility, until the nothingness is full of rushing water and all life imaginable.
There the Ophelia bled, her water touching every wound and root, and soon from around the world people came to drink from her waters. But she would, once every year, once every month, once every week, once every day, take one soul into her depths and wash away all that they had been and return them to the world raw and bleeding and blue. And they remained by her ever after until she had a dozen, a hundred, a thousand souls surrounding her and singing her praises. And it was they who crowned her with a circlet of reeds and leaves and blue death flowers, and it was they who wove a throne and called her King.
But it was always Her, Her waters and Her breath and Her blood, that gave life to the world and fed each crown She wore and throne She sat upon.
the Laetha – “He had burned his entirety up, and since that day he could not stop burning.”
It is not power that leads the Ophelia to hunt down Her opponent, but fear. Fear of change and fear of possibility – it is this that leads Her to hunt down and slaughter the only creature that can cause Her downfall.
Her brother and sister, though, will not let the mortal be so easily slain, and mixing stars and soil and autumn leaves they created a new body. Ke takes to the Court of the Ophelia and there sets kerself aflame, enveloping the King Herself. Before the entire Court, the Ophelia is burned and thrown to the ground by the fire that rises and spits and hisses to the heavens, and the land that She had created from Her own blood is undone by the blood of Another.
There is only the sound of fire and birdsong as Ke flies across the sky. the Ophelia flees to the depths of Her Well, but all creatures that walk on land or see the sky fall asleep under the spell of the Firebird. Ke dwells for an age or more in the mountains, screaming and singing, and every creature beyond the Gate remembers the song and the sleep that seemed unbreakable.
the Dierne - “He was like all other beautiful youths, but his arrogance was another tragedy entirely.” AND “Two Stars fell in the West – the first Jealousy, bright and shining and beautiful, and the second Fear, more beautiful than his brother and hidden away for an age.”
The first boy to catch the Laetha’s eyes is the Boy Before Stars, and it is this moment that spirals out to cataclysm. When the Boy Before Stars woke from the endless sleep, he rushes along the wind and air to find the mortal that was his lover. In the autumn, in falling leaves that catch fire before they touch earth, in fire that doesn’t burn, the Boy finds the Bird – but the Bird does not remember him. Or, if Ke does, Ke has no compassion or care for a Boy that glitters like the stars in the heavens.
The sorrow that overtakes him is crushing, and it seeps into the land like poison until his Sisters come, wrapping him in cloth and shawl and letting the sorrow bleed into it, turning each fabric rich blue. And it is the Ophelia, seeing Her brother and son bloodless, that takes the shroud and flings it over the Firebird, forcing memory and loss and loneliness to envelope the God and pull his burning heart out. It was this – revenge for the pain Ke had caused Her, revenge for the pain that Ke had caused Her brother, revenge for the pain that Ke would ever cause, that brought back to Ker some trace of mortal knowledge.
But when Ke woke, the Boy Before Stars was already gone, resurrected in the halls of the stars and celestial beings. Each day the Firebird would fly to the heavens, but Ke could not touch the stars or the shining halls. Ke shrieked and screamed for the Boy, but in the stars nothing was remembered and nothing moved. The louder and longer the Firebird screeched the wider the gap between the worlds became – until at last it seemed the stars were nowhere and the mountains had lifted from the earth and the seas had fallen below even their deepest depths.
It was only when the Clarene – the sister to the Ophelia that had sewn Her body shut, the sister-mother to the Boy who had crafted his body from crystal, the guardian of the Firebird that had woven Ker body again and again – created a lion with wings and bird claws and flew to the stars and their Court that the worlds began to slide together again. And it was only when she stormed into the halls and to the throne where the Boy Before Stars sat and cursed him and his name and his forgetfulness and spoke of Love that he remembered and fell, falling through clouds and sky and sunsets into fire and flesh. And it was only when he became flesh again that he was crowned King.
the Clarene – “She spent too many of her days watching over fools, but she smiled all the same.”
She has always been a God. Whether She wishes that known or not is an entirely different matter. She comes, sometimes, always on soft-feet, as a knight or as a sprite or as an idea. She touches all that is exposed and aching and heals it, gives it skin and flesh and form. She is the one that ascends to the heavens to right the worlds, and She is the one that gives body again to the Firebird, and She is the one that gives Her Sister, the Ophelia, home. Every mortal and immortal that meets Her knows their debt, but She has yet to claim any payment.
She watches as each of Her family falls and flies, while She remains on the earth, tied forever to the land that She gave Her bones and flesh to. She needed no Court or fire or timeless immortality to divinize Her – only Her self, Her body, Her entirety. She chose, Herself, to be a God.
So it was three deifications that took place, not four – as the fourth had always been and simply waited for the others to be.