This is the second in the Eoss Trilogy. It is told in the first person by Clexa, the daughter of the Horse Goddess Eoss, who begins as a servitor and aspires to become a goddess, like her mother.
Bound in service to the magician who made her, she finds herself forced to explore the aethyrs of the Enochian magic system with him, and to carry out a revenge curse on a girl when she would prefer to spare her. Clexa thinks for herself about how to respond, which results in her being pursued and having to evolve much faster than she anticipated.
“I want to see all the wonders in this aethyr.” I recited obediently the words my master had asked me to say.
The lady to whom I had spoken was sitting at a desk in the lobby of a large building, with a sign over the door that proclaimed, ‘The Panda House.’ An interesting name-was this a zoo? I was eager to explore it and find out. Behind the desk was a hall with long tables all around the edges. The tables were covered in random objects like the stalls at a jumble sale, and at the far end was a till with another lady seated behind it.
“All right-come in. But don’t disturb anything.”
I entered the hallway and trotted around looking at the wares on the table. A shining pearl necklace caught my eye and I leaned forward and nuzzled it with my mouth, but it was difficult for a horse to pick up, so I left it.
When I reached the till at the end, the lady who was sitting there exclaimed, “you can’t go any further! You’ve stolen a necklace.”
“No, I haven’t,” I answered.
She went to get the pearl necklace. Then she laid it down on the table, divided off a section and reached for a pair of scissors. She cut the section completely off the necklace. “Right,” she said, “these are the ones that YOU touched. You will be tried in the courtroom for stealing these pearls.”
Of course, I wanted to turn around and gallop away, but I knew I should obey Ethaniel. He had charged me with the task of investigating this aethyr prior to journeying into it himself. The thirty aethyrs are non-material realms described in the writings of John Dee, and those who study the Enochian system of magic enter into these realms one by one in trance journeys, to explore them. My master Ethaniel was a dark sorcerer who studied many occult paths, including Enochian.
I was supposed to obey him because I am his servitor. What does that mean? According to the lore of chaos magic, it means he made me: he constructed me especially to be his servant. How could that have happened? How could a human being make a horse?
Sometimes when Ethaniel is writing in his journal, I look over his shoulder and read it. There was a day when he flicked back to consult some earlier pages, and I saw something about myself.
“I caught the Night Mare Eoss and held her. It surprised me that she wasn’t black or ferocious as I expected. She was a white horse, and apparently benevolent. I cloned a servitor from her, a daughter, and then I let her go. The daughter is my Clexa.”
In most cases a servitor is given a single task to accomplish, or a related series of tasks. To give a random example, a musician might want good guitars to come his way, and the servitor has to attract adverts for guitars and information about high quality music shops. In my case, Ethaniel wanted me more as a familiar. A witch or wizard’s familiar can be a small animal, like the shamanic power animals, or a junior demon.
Alternatively, it can be like me: a servitor that has been created specially and designed to help with a variety of different tasks. A servitor has to be fed with some form of energy as fuel. Ethaniel feeds me on residual energy from the many spells he performs; he is good at raising energy, and there is always more than enough left over.
Eoss is what the magicians call an egregore, independent and proud, made from the thoughts of a whole group of people. Egregores eventually turn into minor gods and goddesses. So that is my heritage: my mother is a goddess. The magicians say that in time a servitor can grow into an egregore. I knew that I could become a goddess like my mother Eoss, and then I could disobey Ethaniel all I wanted.
But for now, I had to obey, and keep on finding out information about this realm that could be useful to Ethaniel. That meant keeping the dialogue going with the inhabitants of this place, however unreasonable they were being. However, in this case I was convinced they were not real: they were thought forms, like the characters in dreams.
I reared up on my hind legs and cried out, “you are all illusions! Thought forms! Because you are illusions, you can’t hurt me.”
At these words, everyone froze as if they had suddenly had all the life sucked out of them, and I turned around and trotted back to the door unchallenged. I went out into the street, planning to wait a little while and then re-enter the building and try again.
I trotted around in a large circle and began to head back towards the building.
Then I spotted a van marked ‘security’ parked by the roadside. A man in a yellow uniform got out and began to walk behind me.
I confronted him. “Why are you following me?”
“You’re a trespasser and a thief. I can’t let you get away.”
“But I want to see the place with the pandas. Are they black and white bears?”
“Panda CARS. Come here, you’re under arrest.” He leaned forward and tried to grab me by the forelocks.
I paused in limbo, part-way between the two worlds, and then cautiously moved forward again.
The next thing that happened was that I heard a bark and felt surprisingly sharp teeth grip my bottom. “That’s it-a biting dog. I give up!” and I returned to Earth where Ethaniel was waiting.
“Well?” he asked, eyeing me searchingly.
“You don’t want to scry into that aethyr: they’re obsessed with security. They think you’re stealing something if you just touch it.”
“Interesting. I’ll have to read the description again. Aethyr number 11, Ikh.”
“I’m going to the field to lie down.”
Ethaniel had bought an old farm for his magical studies. I loved the extensive grounds and the pastures, and that was where I went to recover from my experience, and my dog bite.
I couldn’t exactly graze, because the energies that I subsisted on were of a subtler nature than grass. But I liked to bury my nose in the green clumps and enjoy their fresh scent, and then to canter as far as the fence on the borders of the estate. That was on normal days-today, having been bitten hard on the rear, I simply lay down and rested. It was unfair of Ethaniel to expose me to that-he must have had some idea of what would happen, and he had sent me in first before visiting the place himself, like a servant who tastes the king’s food to find out whether it is poisoned. I didn’t want to be his poison-taster.