We know that you no longer sleep. War has come to our lands and we hear you wake within our heads and hearts. We welcome you “Come, lead us into battle.” we say. “Fly to us down the long, yellow, mountain road. We are waiting for you by the dry red stone that will run with new sacrifices, and we make the night full of our fires. They burn red and yellow in the darkness, while above us the eye of the Dog Star, white and black, gazes down on us.”
Our people have named you the Battle Crow; you can be a bird with many black feathers, wings and tail but you are a woman with a fierce beauty and a lust for blood. You are the Morrigan, a goddess of war made from three and we offer you an egg of blood. You sleep when the land is peaceful, when the earth is green and good, but we now walk an earth that is black and full of smoke. Therefore we call upon you to aid us in our plight.
We lie round the red fire; breathe in the smoke, drink water laced with ashes, and burn from both the fires without and within. We all hear you say this: kill. We know with sorrow what we must do.
We give you a pig; and its blood wets the dry red stone making it the egg upon which you can feast. Ashes are cloud the water and the smoke obscures the sun above us, making twilight eternal. The red fire that we lie round burns the fat. We eat the meat, skin and bone. Blood and smoke: we see red and black. We look for you but no word comes…we realise that this is not enough.
So we give you a man who is also made of meat, blood and bone. We say your name as we bite his liver. We kill the man who once stood beside us, who had to offer himself to your mercy.
All around us we have seen trees die, the green leaves and seeds all dry and dead, dry and cold. Their roots and bark turning black…you killed the trees. I know this. I whose heart you know is made of stone. But it is a sign that the sacrifice was good.
You are a queen of terror, a woman who has red and yellow eyes, long black fingernails and a dry tongue. You do not know clean water, green earth and white clouds…You eat stars, sand, and ashes. You have to drink black water, bite black earth that burns with fires, and swim in black clouds of smoke. You are a fish of black clouds, a swimmer of black rain. We all know you and drink the pig’s blood, eat the meat.
Night falls again. I hear your call and I am cold after leaving the fires. I am walking up the long yellow mountain road to you and I give you the skin of the man and my heart. I lie with you and know your warmth, full burn. You give me a vision. I see the yellow mountain walk and the black trees stand as the red fires of man sleep. The moon is full and round and the stars are cold and white.
You say to me, “This blood and skin are good. I will give you a tooth from my mouth. On the battlefield raise it above your head and I will fly to you, and invoke the great mages.”
I hold the gift in my hands and I see that the white tooth is a moon; cold and round. The moon tooth that once bit the earth now lies in my hand. The tooth is good.
I walk back down the yellow mountain road, and sit with my men around the fire. I say you gave the tooth. We know new goodness, but now we will not bite the bones. The man we once loved lies dead. We know that you are not good, you are the killing night.
We stand and all walk down the long mountain road to the field. The long road we walk to our deaths. The road we walk to kill; man, woman, dog and bird. The tooth we hold aloft and the mages answer your call. We know great victory on the field that day.
The fires die. The sun is not dead, not eaten. The trees stand and many know greenness and goodness. Earth is green and good. We all killed. We all died. We all now sleep and know you: the Night Bird, the Phantom Queen, and the Battle Crow.