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chauni

Of Royalty and Religion


We were the naive kings of all we surveyed, lingering on the hilltop as we stared at our kingdom of ash, of ruins, of dust. Our subjects were bitter memories, wars of blood and chalk, of monsters born from selfish desire, and neither of us could truly move from the spot even if we wanted to. Our hands snaked over the distance of air, fingers threading warmly through gloves, and together we bowed our heads in prayer.

Alchemists don't pray, they say; they believe in a higher power than God.

They believe in Man.

But we have seen the Gate, and with that came Hell. Brother heard the rumblings of a religion in the other world, a breath of Christianity, and he brought it back to me.

"Science would bring me here," he had whispered one night in a cheap hotel room, our limbs tangled, knotted, wrapped up like netted fish. "But it's by a higher power's grace that I see your face again."

He taught me to pray, and though I didn't direct my thoughts and effort to any God, I sent them to Mother, wherever she hid, wherever her soul did sit. Gate. The world. Inside our blood. Nowhere. It didn't matter; she heard them, just as Father did, as Brother did when he stood beside me and watched my soundless whisper. His eyes were on me, on my profile, and his hushed, "Amen," sealed the kiss of our lips under the fiery maple leaves that were igniting the sky over us.

"We can remake our Heaven," he hissed against my mouth, his breath warm and thick with fervor, with need and desire. This was when he was at his pinnacle, when he stroked my hair, long and thick since I grew it out while he was gone; no one could deny him, could turn away from those haloed eyes. Were these the icons he told me of, painted eons ago by sanctified hands? Was he as hallowed as any of them?

"Brother..."

"We can," and he ate the resolve from my palms, from the heated cavern of my mouth. "We will. I want Eden. I want to lie in the fields again; I want to be inside the house we burnt away."

His hands were on my shoulders, pushing me down to my knees amid the ashes of our ruined Hell. My pants tore on a jagged piece of wood, parting fabric and skin alike, and I bled onto the skeleton of all that we had, all that we see. Fingers parted the gold of my hair, tarnished and darker than his, sins committed to get us here all showing up in my nimbus, and I bowed my head in reverence.

He could own this world if he so commanded, if he so willed. The masses would follow him, would be his lemmings and drop from any cliff for his passion, for his smile. He had won over all, had the hearts of endless followers in his palms, military and common alike; I could hear them whisper, could hear their heated words. He was a king. He was a golden calf. He was a deity, in their hearts, their minds.

I worshiped him on my knees in the dirt, leaned forward and followed his direction. I pledged my confession of my envy, of my lust into the fire of his secret flesh. Let them come after; he knew which of his followers, his beloveds was the first, was the most loyal. He knew which could be the avatar, the priest, the faithful and the prophet.

They would come. They would come, even if all he ever wanted to was sit in his garden and tend to the glories of this...Eden. They would come, and he would send them away, telling them, telling them that the glory of Heaven was found between the sheets with me, was buried in heat of my body.

And together... we would become an avatar for each other.