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Fear* Returns

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Fear* was the second Star to fall, and he became the most beloved of the gods in the West. But before he became the Dierne and poured forth diamonds from his fists, he was the Hidden Boy, the boy buried in the River Ophelia by his brother Jealousy*.  Before he became the Dierne and walked with the fire of the sacred Bird, he was the Wanderer, cast out of the West and cursed to walk the worlds alone and away from love.

Fear* walked farther from his home each day, but he did not forget - the sharp hills to the north where dragons lay; the River sweet and fierce; the forest his lover had set alight with fire that did not warm. He told every soul he met of the wondrous land that would one day be his own, and none believed him. For there were stories of a land beyond the Gate, a land ruled by a fist full of diamonds and cruel hot eyes and Jealousy. For there were stories of souls cast out and alone for daring to ask after love or kindness.

"It exists," Fear* said. "I have seen it. It was a land that was my own. It is my home."

"Give it up," each soul said. "It is gone. What is broken cannot be undone."

Fear* did not listen. Though he wept and screamed, he did not give up. He walked until his feet bled and his body would not move. He sang the songs until his voice was rough and would not speak. He prayed until his lips were bloody and would no longer say. He fell and he dreamt in the land of glass and fire, and all who passed him would mutter - "Oh, how sadly he lies; he has died from sorrow..."

In his dreams, there existed the West as it was - wet and green and endless, the River Ophelia singing and drowning, the Orchard full of fruit. The sound of horse hooves came to him and left him and came again, thunder following their wake, and he reached up with weak arms for the world that had been his own.

I have seen it, he thought. I have known this place. It is my own.

Horse hooves came and left and came again, and the thunder in their wake grew so loud and raucous he could do nothing but wake to dark skies and the darkest cherry horse he had seen rearing up over him, and he knew then -

I have known that place. It is my own.

With sure fingers, he lifted himself onto the horse and bade the wind and stars to light his way, and as he rode with thunder at his feet he called to all that would listen that the West would be open again, love would come again to that world, and he was retribution and righteousness and the Gate would open before him as proof.

Fear* felt then all the power that had been stolen from him since he had touched the world, and starfire took his hair and heart to burning heights, and as he raced the world to the West he seemed more shadow and light than boy or man.

"I am Fear, beloved of the gods!" he cried, and the Gate opened to the thunderous fall of the cherry horse, and Fear* was again in the lands of the West - but no sweet River ran fiercely, no Orchard bore heavy fruits, and all around him was the shrieking cry of the Firebird as he pleaded to skies and sun for Fear* to return to him.

"I am Fear, beloved of the gods, here to make right the world and steal all hearts won through Jealousy!" he cried, and the shrieking silenced and the world woke to starfire.