Building the Labyrinth

Order and Chaos were the first born of the First Principles, midwives to their siblings, partners in the making of the physical world. They loved each other as only opposites can, looking not for solid partnership but for completion. For a while, Order found her Chaos inspiring, and Chaos found his Order calming. Sometimes they were so close that they were a single being, logic and intuition combining into Wisdom. Then they may grate on each other and fall apart, only to circle back again.

They knew that the pearl of existence had formed around the grain of the void, watching their first creations crumble into entropy as the Voidchild reached out curiously to touch them. They determined to keep the things they made as safe as they could.

Chaos and Order knew their parents had come from the void, somehow, and they tried to teach the Voidchild how to exist, setting it a path through the maze from spirit to physicality, but the Voidchild always pulled away.

From their parents they drew the four elements, their siblings, and with Chaos’s clever invention and Order’s hard work they forged the physical realm – the Serpents first, forming the dark stone heart and cold black veins of the world, then the Wolf’s wild places, jungle and field and desert, then the Leviathan’s seas and rives cutting through them, and above them the Redbird’s skies and bright sun. They wrapped each around the tiny Void, one after another like blankets on a sick child.

Together Chaos and Order tried to build the Voidchild a body of Something, a cloak of existence. It was hard, as they weren’t quite sure what made the Void different from themselves, but they tried nevertheless, taking the non-being into each of themselves to teach it to Be. At first it seemed like they’d succeeded, it still struggled to exist. Sometimes it was Wisdom personified, sometimes it took after one
or the other parent, and sometimes it lost its form and spiraled back into Nothingness.

The Firebird flew over their creation and cast the first Shadow, creating Light and Dark, who were the first spirits to share the forms of the human creatures in existence below. The Voidchild played with them in the forests and the seas and the skies, but it would get excited and forget itself, chewing away at the edges of Light and Dark.

The Powers became afraid of the Voidchild, worried that it would unmake all of them, and Order knew she had to do something. She and Chaos took the Voidchild to the Serpents, to the very heart of the deepest dark waters, and the women who guarded that well allowed them to pass. While Chaos sat with their child at the center of all things, the Architect built the labyrinth around them to protect the Voidchild from itself and everyone else from it.

When it realized what had happened, the Voidchild raged, tearing at itself, at Chaos, at Order, at the labyrinth itself. Order had prepared for this, and the unmaking only served to make the labyrinth more difficult to escape, creating holes that led nowhere, weak spaces and traps. Fleeing and injured, the Architect left a piece of herself behind. When the Voidchild regained its senses, it wept oily tears there by itself and was alone. There wasn’t much to tell time there, so it wasn’t sure how long it sat in the dark. Eventually boredom set in, and it wandered the maze, always relieved when it found its way back to the center.

All at once, there was a sound of rushing water and a blast of light. A woman stood opposite the Voidchild. Her hair was shorn close to the scalp, and the heavy iron necklace at her throat seemed to reflect light from a source that didn’t exist.

“Do you know the way?” the woman asked.

It started to say no, but then reconsidered. “I know some of it.”

“Will you show me?”

And she was the first, but not the last.

It is mad sometimes and sits sometimes like a black hole at the center of the maze. The Voidchild is the intersection of madness and making, the voice that does things just because one can do them.

“I can go this far and no farther,” it says to each person it guides.

Each time, it goes a little further.

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