Friday, May 8, 2015

Beyond the Rim Installment 7

That evening Oorgo went out into the street for the hour of relaxation that was afforded him most days. Up one terrace of the hill there lived an old man who never left the street, living on what would be given him. In the last hour of the evening he would often be found, telling a story to the children of the village. Mairda typically accompanied Oorgo, but had retired as early as she was allowed on this evening, so Oorgo went alone. He ran with the haste with which he always moved when out of doors, this time because he hoped not to miss the beginning of the old man's tale.
He was not disappointed. How the elder kept from ever telling the same stories was the man's secret; most believed he made them up during the day while he sat, and told them in the evening, but they never contradicted one another, though the same character arose many times.
This evening the man told the story of the struggle between two of the gods, Cyllgod, the Great Queen, and a rival. Cyllgod proved the stronger, dragging her enemy to the moon and smashing him there, and that was why the moon was not smooth any more, but full of holes. A small child interrupted the man, "What did they look like, the great gods?"
"The gods can take on many appearances, or take on none at all if they prefer. In such form they fought through the space that lies betwixt us and the night's lantern, shapeless but not empty."
"But when they were on the land, and when they walked among humans. What then?"
"The green god whom our great Queen crushed often walked about in shape like a human, but either charcoal black or otherwise, when his power was strong, like a chunk of cloudy ice, ribboned in colors." The children comprehended little of this picture, but in each of their minds the imagination formed an appropriately grandiose image.
"And Cyllgod appeared as a beautiful woman. That was her principal strength, back then, that she was beautiful."
"Has that strength shrunk?" asked a child. "I saw her once, on a parade..."
The old man looked in every direction and spat, "No! Not even a little. She is most beautiful. Now children, that is the story. Our great Queen, Cyllgod, smashed her enemy with little effort and no assistance, carrying him away to the night's lantern so that we need never fear him. Now run along."
This had been a shorter story than ever. Oorgo knew Cyllgod to be great and powerful, but to learn that she was also beautiful, and even the goddess of beauty itself, his marveling at her only increased. As the children scattered, Oorgo asked quietly, "Sir?"
"What?" the old man whipped his head in the direction of the child's voice.
"The gods. Can they do anything?"
"Cyllgod the Queen can do as she pleases. She works miracles with the flick of her finger," he said, loudly, looking every way.
"Thank you, mister," he said, and tossed the old man the small brown coin he was told to give him each week. The old man heard the clink on the ground and blinked fiercely, then processed what had been said to him.
"Ah, yes, of course. I mean you're welcome. Now run along."
Oorgo bounced to his feet and scampered away as he always did. As he lurched around the turn of the terrace he heard above him a heavy clank, followed by another, like footsteps. Oorgo hastened his pace, if that were at all possible. Someone, somewhere in the village, had committed a crime, and the town golem had been awoken to track the criminal down. The golem was old, and poor at completing only its mission. It often crashed through the edges of buildings, or in zealous pursuit leapt from one terrace to another, crushing the paving stones. Still, the golem was how Cyllgod protected the village from threats.
Oorgo happily pressed through his home door and went immediately for the stairs up into the family living space. He then climbed the stairs quietly and plopped onto the bed of mountain hay on which he had always slept.

The next morning Oorgo awoke as the town gong was rung, the most peaceful of the golem's duties. The sound would ring twice, then echo off the mountains side and be heard again. Oorgo had grown accustom to waking at the first ring, and being downstairs ready to work by the last echo.
He found on the the table already a small loaf, still warm from the oven. Father always rose earlier and had loaves on the table for each. Oorgo took a deep bite into his while the final echo rang, and he heard his mother yawn loudly upstairs. Mairda was beginning to descend, looking already weary as though she had not slept, when Oorgo's second bite encountered something hard. His father never let something pollute the dough. Oorgo looked in and saw the golden edge of a coin sticking back out. Just as he opened his mouth to say something his father looked at him sternly and said, "Finish your breakfast while you carry this loaf to the Quonin house. I heard they had unexpected company arrive, and they will need a fresh loaf for the day."
Father had never returned to Oorgo a tip he had received before, nor had he ever told the boy to deliver while eating. Oorgo understood quickly what he was told to do, and only after leaving the house did he figure out why.
Visions of what he might do with that golden coin began to impress themselves on the boy's mind even as he passed down the street towards the Quonin house. A single gold coin was worth more than some of the whole orders for bread his father received; only the rich and generous Henlick could have afforded to pass on such a gift to a small boy. Henlick dealt in yeti and manticore fur, alongside the usual fur of goats, bears, and lions. The capital had a rich demand for each of these, as they were the preferred drapery of Cyllgod, and, by extension, all her most loyal, and wealthy, subjects. Even for the rich, a gold coin was worth, at the least, a small favor to a child.
Then from nowhere, a truly spurious idea struck Oorgo's mind. He knew the chance might never come, but if it did, it would be worth the saving. Tucking the coin into his little pocket, Oorgo rushed ahead to deliver the surprise loaf to the Quonin house. He knocked on the door lightly, knowing himself to be unexpected. The door was flung open by a flustered looking man, who upon seeing a fresh loaf in Oorgo's arms opened his eyes wide. Oorgo recited, "The compliments of my father, in case you were in need."
The man smiled, "Can always trust your father to pull through for a man in a pinch! Tell him his thanks will come on the next order."
Oorgo skipped away, thoughts distracted by a wonderful chance.

Beyond the Rim Installment 6

"Oorgo, child, you must deliver these loaves to Mister Henlik. He wanted them by this afternoon for the party for his daughter, and the sun will reach zenith soon."
"Yes, mother." Oorgo ceased from stirring the embers under the round loaf in the oven. He stood and collected the sack of bread in his two arms, a bundle of nearly his own size. He skipped around the hearth and bolted for the door, eager to be in wind without smoke. Just as he reached the door he hopped back onto his heels as his elder sister burst through the door.
Oorgo's mother snapped, "Mairda, you were too long on that errand. By what were you distracted this time?"
Mairda immediately looked down to the ground and stepped sideways to clear Oorgo's path. She said nothing, but the blush of embarrassment told all. Oorgo pushed the door open with his back as struggled cheerily under the load, and as his head filled with street noises he last heard his mother say, "You know he will never pay any attention to you, Mairda. If you're to have any hope of a husband you must..." but Oorgo did not care to hear that conversation again.
The little boy ran along the gutter of the street, barely keeping his feet out of the mess that slid down the edges of the road. He bustled past the doors of many other tradesmen, most too busy to notice that the baker's son was on another errand. He would pass their doors many times some days, and only the butcher ever took notice.
Oorgo could barely see over the sack he carried in his arms, the ends of the long loaves protruding towards the shop side. With that little vision he tried to pick out any new threats to his route; he already knew every loose paving stone and deep spot in the gutter where the grime might collect into puddles. He had only to get to the butcher's shop and then he could skip down a level.
Mister Henlick lived two terraces below the Durnath bakery, but the butcher's house spanned a whole terrace. Oorgo had got special permission to use the exterior stairway by the side of the unusually tall home to shorten his routes, mostly out of pity from the butcher's wife, who always gave a little cry to see with what speed and under what loads Oorgo's bare feet would traipse the streets. Oorgo took the sharp corner, catching the little gate latch with the fingers of his right hand without so much as glancing down. He listened closely and stepped more lightly as he took the stairs, as over his load he could not see if anyone was coming up.
He heard a door on the stairway yanked open and slowed his gait, only to hear the butcher's wife, "Oorgo! Not so fast on stairs little one. You could have taken me all the way down with you!" 
Oorgo slowed to about a stair a second, carefully avoiding the weak plank he knew was about a dozen steps above the ground level. "Sorry, ma'am," he said. "The order is late getting to Mister Henlik."
"Ooh, Henlik has all that bread coming has he?"
Oorgo knew that it was impolite to run away from adults asking him questions, and knew better than to be impolite to the lady who secured him a much shorter journey up and down the hillside. "Yes, ma'am. Mother said it was for a party."
"No doubt. His daughter's just been betrothed, and he must thank the young man's family appropriately. No wonder he ordered bread from all the way up the hill. Any prospects on your sister?"
Oorgo had never been asked this so directly before, nor had he been taught how to answer it. He merely stood still until he realized that she actually wanted an answer. "None but perhaps in her mind, I'd guess, but perhaps I am just not told..." he said, though he knew there were none.
The butcher's wife sighed. "The homely girl..."
Oorgo heard the dismissal in her voice, and plunged on down the hill. It was only a minute more to reach Mister Henlick's place.
Upon arrival, Oorgo rapped on the door. The sign was not out, indicating that Henlick was not open for his usual furrier business. Oorgo knew the place by memory.
The door was hastily opened and Oorgo looked up into the flushed face of Henlick's wife. "Oh, it's the bakers' boy. Bring them in, and take them where he says." The lady pointed to her husband.
Oorgo stepped inside and immediately felt the soft of fur on his feet. He looked down for how to avoid the rug, knowing his feet were dirty. "Never mind the rug, my boy, it's a gift after today," called Henlick, winking at his daughter. "Just drop the whole sack on the table over there.
"Congratulations to this house," said Oorgo as he dropped the sack in the indicated place.
"And thanks to yours," Henlick responded. As Oorgo turned for the door the man of the house handed him a small pouch, "A gift for the friendship of your father," said the man, and then, glancing over to see that his wife paid no attention, he pressed a golden coin into Oorgo's hand, "And take care that you tell no one I gave you this. It's for you to enjoy something that'll put meat on your bones," and with that he slapped Oorgo in the back, pushing his light frame out of the house.
Oorgo had been tipped for his work before, and occasionally given the same admonishment to actually spend the coin on himself, but he had never heeded it. Every time he would go and bring it back to his father, receive hearty thanks, and hear his mother wish that he would stay a small child forever so that the hearts of families might continue to bestow on him their extras. His father had once verbally resented the implication that his son was a beggar, but after the respondent tongue-lashing had never done so again.
Oorgo came again to the butcher's house and ascended the stairs rapidly, hoping for no delay from the lady. As he reached the top stair he heard the same door as last time open and the lady call up to him, "Oorgo, you'll tell me if a man ever comes for your sister?"
Oorgo hardly stopped but called behind him, "Of course, ma'am," with no intent of putting any extra effort into doing so. He always answered her questions, whether they be of his family or of another. He saw it as a sort of fare for passing the stairs.
He returned to his home, passing under the baker's sign and rushing through the door, only to find that he wished he had for once been slow on his errand.
Mairda was holding back what looked like the last few tears of many that had preceded them, and his mother was kneading dough far too energetically, facing away from Mairda who had taken Oorgo's place tending the fire. His father sat idly sharpening a bread knife, staring into the familiar wood work of the work table.
"Ooh, there's the precious child back! Did they give you extra?" his mother inquired.
"A gift for the friendship of my father," he said as he passed the pouch, made from a scrap of the furrier business.
"And anything else."
"A coin to me, as well, mother," he said, and handed the coin to his father.
His mother gasped, "Henlick is in a generous mood!" Oorgo turned, and for the first time recognized that the coin was gold. For a small moment he wished he had kept it, but not long.
"Henlick is a generous man," said his father, setting down the knife. He counted the money quickly, seeing that the pouch contained the expected value of a gift to someone contributing to an engagement party, and then a bonus coin. He then swept the coins into his own money pouch, but stuffed the golden coin into his apron pocket while his wife had returned to the dough.
"Well, if Mairda does not learn to be a more excellent baker, we may never need to save for her party. That skill is the only quality that might recommend her, and the only one she can hope to obtain."
Mairda choked back a sob that had already been ready. Then at last Oorgo spotted the spark that had ignited the cruel words. The ashes of a loaf, unfortunately tipped into the fire, were still visible in the back of the hearth.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Beyond the Rim Installment 5

"Thurgod, great among smiths, what brings you again to this hall?"
"I require a new servant."
"What became of your last? Humans are a limited resource, Thurgod."
"Rarer still are my creations. The spikes and golems that secure your halls exist because I work, and I cannot work unassisted."
Cyllgod sat alone in her hall, the seats left for an assembly empty. She made a bright smile and said, "Tell me, Thurgod, how it was you smithed before you came to work for me."
Thurgod turned his face towards where Cyllgod sat. "As I have always, at a bellows and anvil, with the assistance of a human."
"So even the great smith god cannot work alone? Were you made feebly?"
Thurgod crashed to the ground, and Cyllgod laughed. "Ahah, you cannot tell me, but I hear it. And I would be offended at your thoughts, were I not so amused. Fine. You shall have your new servant. I shall choose one for you from among those who owe me a great debt."
Thurgod stood, sweat pouring from below the metal band that encased his head, and raised his hand. "My lady, if I may, may I not select him?"
Cyllgod turned to the white golem next to her and whispered to her. It left, and she asked, "I think I can measure the size of a man's arms, Thurgod. Do you doubt that I will choose well for you?"
Thurgod winced as he held back a forbidden thought. "It is more than the man's arms that I would measure. I must speak with him, and learn his heart. For he must join in the work of a god, and among us, it is our spirits that do more work than our forms. The nearest a human has that I can find is a heart, and I would know that mine and his would work well together. Otherwise I might find him an unsuitable servant, and be forced to come before you again, lest my work be made inferior."
Cyllgod smiled. "Choose as you will then. I must have your best, Thurgod."
"I always do my best," and then Thurgod tripped on his next word, collapsing again.
Cyllgod chimed merrily as she exited the chamber, "I can see that speaking to me is a pain to you, Thurgod. Learn to rule your own mind and be your own master." She turned to her golem, which was returning with a dozen humans in train. "Let him talk to them, and then choose one to take away."
The moment Cyllgod was out of sight, Thurgod pointed his face at the golem, "You will tell her none of what is said here." The golem remained motionless as Thurgod stood in the middle of the stone circle at the base of the chamber, turning his head to consider each human in turn. They only stood, petrified. He pointed at two of them. "You two might do. The rest will not do. Escort them out." The golem attended at once, and the rest did not dare to disobey its prodding outside, where they were met by another, which herded them down another hallway.
Thurgod turned to the two that remained. "You would each be more comfortable if you sat."
Both of the humans sat down at once, but their bodies remained tense. Thurgod asked, "You, strong-bodied one, what is your name?"
"I am Triannin."
"To know you better, I must know how you came to be within Cyllgod's halls."
"I was destined to become the leader of our tribe, the eastern hunters. We live by slaying manticore and yeti, and sold their bodies to the valley. When it came time for me to be made chief, my lessor half-brother was advanced before me. When Cyllgod's army came demanding tribute we fought them and were overrun, for my half-brother is no commander of war and has little for wits. She would have had all my people destroyed, but instead I named myself the chief's eldest son, and offered to be her slave if it would spare my life and the life of my people. Now I am brought below, and have served Cyllgod since."
"The eastern hunters were the last to ever fall to her. Your people are strong, as are you."
"How do you know I am strong? You can see nothing, blind god."
Thurgod grinned, "Blind, yes. God, yes. And the second answers the first. The smith god knows what he must for smith work." Thurgod turned his head to face the other human. "And you, little one. I would like to know your name."
"My name is Oorgo, master."
"I would like to know how you come to be in Cyllgod's halls. It is odd to see a frail child in Cyllgod's debt."
Oorgo sniffled childishly, then began to tell his tale.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beyond the Rim Installment 4

The ascended Corsinial stood on the void, floating in space between the stars. The moon swirled near her, making no wind as it passed by. The sun was still distant, bathing the emptiness in its cold brightness. Corsinial had abandoned her form, unable to contain herself within the old body in which she had been since she was made. Now a shapeless blaze, she radiated beauty through space, from the ground of Earth appearing to be like a moon herself, a pale blue luminescence floating where no thing that needed to breathe had ever passed.
She awaited his presence. He had agreed to come. Corsinial balanced her mind within herself as his astral form approached from around the edge of the earth; she had to calm her frenzy. No One would know.
"I am come, Corsinial, and you have done as you promised. First God is dead."
"Good, Meldus," Corsinial chimed, her two words forming a tiny song. "If First God is dead, we may each make our own way."
"Yes, Corsinial. You may sing of whatever you like, the smith may forge as he chooses, and the storm god may strike what he will. Every god may do whatever he or she desires."
Corsinial feigned ignorance, "Every god? What of the humans? Shall we even tell them that First God has died?"
No One turned his attention more closely to Corsinial. "They must know by now. The magic as they knew it has died." His form began to swell in size, rainbows of light twisting about him, struggling to escape his grasp. "Their temples are empty now; his glory has departed them. They are lost, knowing not what to do." His voice rang in volume with the last words.
"Shall we announce to them that they may do as they please now?"
No One looked back towards the earth. "I think not."
Corsinial did not shake her form at all, remaining a placid storm of beauty excarnate.
No One twisted about, "Just as you were made to sing songs, to proclaim and exude beauty, I was made for something, Corsinial." A shrill green began to twist about No One's radiance. "You were made to sing, and I was made to lead."
Corsinial said, "You wish to lead the humans?"
No One flashed in brightness, a green core of solid brightness visible within the rainbow that nearly escaped his grasp before he roped the lights back in. "Yes. At last, I am free to lead whatever I wish." He lurched towards earth, but a soft projection, like a hand, emanated from Corsinial, and recalled his attention. "You wish to go one doing as you have done? Leading?"
No One cried, "Yes!" and the red of his rainbow was lost, screaming into space, away towards the sun. He moved to drop to earth, but was held back again.
"I wanted to thank you for teaching me a new song, No One."
"Thanks enough! I must go!" an orange beam strayed from No One's grasp.
"I wanted to show you what I have learned."
No One tugged at the arm that slowly encircled him. "Show me another time. I must go."
"I realized something you had hidden from me, No One."
No One heaved against her restraint, heedless of her words, as a yellow band dropped from him, descending below the earth, into the starry clouds below.
"I have not yet sung my own song, No One."
No One froze, and a violet strand snapped, disintegrating into shadow. He pushed lightly on the arm that had now encircled him. "In the cave, Corsinial, I heard you sing. And I heard you sing as you came to the Temple of First God. I have heard your own song, Corisinial, the song that First God did not want."
Corsinial's blue hue deepened. "You heard a different song than I had ever sung, but you have not heard my own."
No One's indigo band cracked and split, fraying into ends too fine to see.
"I was singing your song, No One. Now I sing my own."
No One leaped up to escape her arms, but was caught. The blue ring that last encased his core vanished with a flash, and he was left, a glowing green gem surrounded by dark, shapeless, emanations.
Corsinial lurched towards the moon, dragging No One with her. She knew, though she had never seen and never been told, that to fight one of her own kind, they must be reduced to a physical form. No One screamed and clawed, imitating every fierce thing in creation, and with every scratch Corsinial shed ever more of her blue, leaving only the dark traces behind.
The moon shuddered with the impact of the gods, and in its strength of heaviness they both were forced into form again, Corsinial shaped like a human woman, but giant, clad in her natural beauty. No One likewise tumbled along the ground across the smooth grey stone, at last standing still as a tall man. He shouted, "You fool! You have no xerphyn here!" No One reached within his shape and pulled out a metal band, like a square with round corners. "I knew a god would come against me, and if not blinded by ambition, I would have realized your betrayal the sooner. Now, Corsinial, kneel and let me be your master, or it will be your form that never leaves this sphere."
Corsinial dropped to to the ground with a melodic sob, stuttering an apology. No One approached, saying, "Remember your place, Corsinial. You were made to be beautiful."
Corsinial pounced from her position and tackled No One to the ground, stealing the metal from his hand. "I was not made for anything, pawn! I am Cyllgod, and I will follow no one's song. Not First God's, and not yours!" She swung her arm full circle, bringing the metal ring directly to No One's face. With an exploding ring and a crack the metal made contact.
"No, Corsinial! We must each have our way. I must rule, and you must sing."
"Then who makes himself a master now, Meldus? There is no master."
She struck him again, his squirming protest subsiding. "There is always a master, Corsinial."
"Corsinial knew a master. I am Cyllgod now." Then she swung her arm one more time, and the metal crashed through No One's form, and he ceased his moving. The glow in his green core ceased, and the darkness that had given him a body lay, deflated and flat, upon the surface of the Moon.
Cyllgod stood and sang a single note in triumph, then leaped off the dusty ground, radiating a mighty cloud as she launched through space towards Earth again, a dark comet with a single bolt of pale blue wriggling in her wake.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Beyond the Rim Installment 3

Corsinial had never encountered this cave before.
She had floated her way among many gardens of many kinds, each burgeoning with life and beauty, all made more lovely by her presence. Terraced mountains gleamed with polished stone that sang deep tones when her feet pressed against them, and the trees floated their falsetto on the wind as Corsinial passed under their branches. Flowers chimed with merry chirps, and rivers kept time with babbling bubbles. The turf reverberated with every sound, knitting together every piece into a beautiful song, which Corsinial effortlessly conducted with every twitch of her arm and dance of her legs. They were beauty latent, and she could call out more than they had. The First God enjoyed the song.
Caves, too, were made more beautiful when Corsinial danced there. The undisturbed pools, devoid of life, swam in circles to match her spins, and the cave walls allowed her sung notes to echo together into exuberant chorus. Columns of stone vibrated, emanating sounds too deep for any human to have heard with their ear, but so strong as to shake the body.
This cave sang a key which she had never heard. The notes grated on her soul, and she ceased her dance. No longer merrily skipping, Corsinial stepped deeper into the cave, with little cries echoing from each footfall. The magic of First God that made each created thing exalt the god which passed near it, the magic that made the ground bring forth vegetables for the gardener and minerals for the miner, the magic that made water for the thirsty and wind for the weary, the magic that ruled the world was here, but it had never wrenched such sounds from the ground.
Corsinial wondered what god or man might be near, that the earth would answer it so. "Is there someone here?"
"No One is here. It is I who change the ground."
"My song is different here than it has ever been. I feel as though I cannot dance. What do you do to the ground?"
"Deeper, Corsinial. The true beauty is deeper in."
Then with the pop of wind rushing away, the ground changed and Corsinial heard the pebbles humming a song like it did when she was alone in the wild. The presence of other gods had changed her song before, but only as the songs were melded into another beautiful thing. When she walked with the smith god the flowers rang like bells, and when she danced with the storm god the trees groaned deep as they grew. Never before had another god prevented her song from being beautiful.
Her song paused as an echo emanated from a crack in the wall. "Deeper, Corsinial. The true song is deeper in."
Corsinial drifted between the slabs of stone, hearing them hiss unmusically. She did not understand what god this might be. She arrived on the other side in a chamber of crystal, each spike of rock glowing with its own light.
She heard the voice again, "Welcome, Corsinial, to my home."
"Which god are you, voice? For no human could make such a magic."
"It is No One. Have you never heard my voice?"
"I have never heard that name, nor do I know the voice which belongs to it."
The crystals gleamed brighter, a shrill green, and the form of No One was revealed, stretched across a couch of stone which sat on a platform at the end of the long chamber in which Corsinial stood.
"You have a form I do not know. Tell me now who you are."
The form of No One groaned, and he stood, revealing a tremendous height. Like a million tiny pearls of many colors No One appeared. In the brightness she recognized him.
"It is you, Meldus. Why did you not say so? And why have you extinguished my song? When once we walked together, on the bank of the river far from here, you made every note more strong, and even my own leaping was loftier."
"I have not extinguished your song, Corsinial. Indeed, I have never heard it."
"You have sung it with me. Just as you command the larger stones to come to the mason gods, so you commanded greater harmony as I danced."
"That is the song you were given to sing, and not your own. You have never sung your own song. I invite you to sing it now." No One raised his hand, and the cave became filled with silence, waiting to be broken.
Corsinial was wise, and perceived innately what he said. Of course it was the song given to her. just as each garden, leaf, and clod was given to her. How could she want another? But there it was, the idea, the offering, that here, in this cold cave away from the First God's face, she could sing a song other than the one that First God wanted. She could sing a song with freedom in it.
Corsinial ventured a single note, a fluttering tenor in the middle of her range. And she thought it was beautiful. With a gush came out many more notes on scales she had never sung, notes that lurked between notes and came against each the other with an exciting bang. There was clamor in her chorus, a discord so perfectly arranged that none could doubt but that it came from the goddess of beauty herself, and the crystals gleamed. The song exploded in sound from which the cave walls rang for a few seconds, and she was done.
Exhausted, Corsinial stood up from her collapsed position. "Meldus! Never before have you helped me make a new song," she said, beaming. But Meldus' appearance had changed. He had grown taller again, and his pearled body gleamed with more vigor.
"I will help you sing many new songs in the days to come, Corsinial."
Corsinial giggled contentedly, the song still buzzing in her head. "Now, Meldus, why did you not answer when I called you first?"
"You had to come deeper into the cave. First God is always listening to the ground."
And Corsinial knew immediately, without learning, but only unlocking her innate understanding, that she had done something the First God did not want. And she immediately knew why Meldus had called himself No One.

Beyond the Rim Installment 2

"Thurgod, you are summoned here to answer for your crimes."
"I have committed no crimes, Corsinial."
The golem that held Thurgod's arms behind his back shoved Thurgod's face into the flat stone floor of the judgment hall. Corsinial answered, "You will never call me by that name again, Thurgod. To do so is a crime."
"A crime against who, Corsinial? Surely not our master, for you were given that name." The golem bashed Thurgod down again, but he continued speaking. "It is a beautiful name. It expresses you perfectly, because you were made for it as much as it was given you. Beautiful."
"Beautiful and terrible, Thurgod. You will not speak it again. You are brought here to receive punishment for your betrayal of your own kind."
"Corsinial, that is impossible. I have only ever served First God," the golem struck him again, "and we were made to do so. Where is my betrayal?"
"There is no First God, Thurgod. First God is dead, we were the executioners. We are the only gods that there are, and you shall never speak of any other."
"How can I not speak of that one? I was made to speak always of the First God." The golem relented of his beating as Corsinial glanced at him and shook her head. "I speak of First God with my mouth, I speak of him with my arms when I forge new metal and hew old stone. I cannot do otherwise."
"Yes, Thurgod, you can."
Corsinial raised her hand, and two golems of pure white stone entered, carrying a square of metal with rounded corners.
Thurgod turned and saw the small thing, and knew it at once. He cried, "You will always be Corsinial, and I will always be..." but then he was struck down and his next few words were muffled. He turned his head sideways on the floor and called out to the assembly, "You are Corsinial, made to be beautiful, and whenever I look upon your beauty I will know it, and I will not be able to forget the First God."
"You will not look upon my beauty again, Thurgod. Forget your old name, and remember your smithcraft, for metal is strong, and never stronger than when forged by your hand."
The white golems forced Thurgod into a kneeling position while the grey one held his head straight up. Then with a rearing force the white golems crashed the square over Thurgod's head, smashing the metal through his flesh down to his eyes. The band crushed in against him, and Thurgod could see no more with his eyes, though the sight of spirits remained to him. The divine blood streamed down his already red flesh.
The judge continued, "You will never speak of a First God, nor of my beauty, nor of any secret held by the gods. If you do, the Korlythe, the Silence Band, will deny you, and you will feel the terror of Cyllgod, of my own self, whom you once called Corsinial."
Thurgod sought to speak, but could only scream in the pain which each thought conferred, as the Silence Band, forged by his own hand in ignorance, denied him expression of his name before Cyllgod had called him Thurgod, denied him of sight, denied him expression that Cyllgod was once Corsinial, and kept him from speaking of the First God.
Cyllgod stared on with neither distaste nor glee as Thurgod wretched in the center of her hollow judgment hall within the mountain. The other gods said nothing, sitting in silent approval.
At last Thurgod gasped out, "You know this band keeps me only from speaking. I still know. I still know."
Cyllgod at last smiled, "That is your punishment, Thurgod. For seeking to assist the First God, you are condemned to always remember that the First God was, and that the world was different once, yet never say it. The Silence Band will keep all of the gods' secrets, and you will make us more excellent metal, for I know you, and you cannot help but practice smithcraft."
Thurgod sought to explain that he did so because he had been made to do so, but only an inarticulate yell belched from his lungs. Cyllgod smiled, "No, no more talk of for what you or I were made. Now we make our own purpose, we choose our own path. We are the gods, and none shall say us nay."
Cyllgod lifted her hand and the grey golem dragged Thurgod out of the hall, blubbering in pain and bathed in his own blood.