The Lithomachy

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The Lithomachy, also known as the Extirpation, is an unofficial name for the war waged by the newer Hours against the Gods-from-Stone. The degree to which it was a single event is unclear, but it includes the killings of The Seven-Coiled by The Colonel, The Wheel by The Moth, The Tide by The Red Grail, and The Flint by The Forge of Days. The Egg Unhatching fled into the Glory to escape, but is currently dead along with all the others, according to the Recitation of Lost Hours. The Horned Axe was the only God-from-Stone who survived. The Lithomachy was concluded with a peace treaty between the Axe and the newer Hours in which the Grail destroyed The Thunderskin who loved The Ring-Yew, in revenge for the killings of the Axe's loved ones.

Background[edit | edit source]

The six Gods-from-Stone were, according to the "Magus of Quartz" Micah Xi, the first Hours to arise in the Mansus. Long before the dawn of human civilization, the Gods-from-Stone were worshiped by the Carapace Cross, who were implied to be insect-like beings. For unknown reasons, the Carapace Cross went extinct, though one survivor apparently managed to persist long enough to share some of its knowledge of the Cross's rituals with Micah Xi.[1]

As humanity came into its own, new Hours appeared from The Glory or were created by human activity, displacing the Gods-from-Stone. Eventually, this struggle for power between the emergent Hours and the ancient Hours came to a head, and the new embarked on the extermination of the old. According to apologists for the newer Hours, this was a necessity: the Gods-from-Stone were a threat to humanity, "old", "cowardly", "vile", "their time had passed", and it was "the shining destiny of humankind to seize the Mansus in glorious battle".[2][3] The Barrowchild, a rare detractor of the newer Hours, also associates the Lithomachy with The Glory, but notes that "then it cannot be that Glory is merciful".[4] This may be related to The Watchman's saying that "Mercy is found only in shadow".

The exact beginnings and chronology of the Lithomachy are extremely unclear. Certain sub-events can be associated (to a greater or lesser degree) with certain historical events, such as the beginning of the Bronze Age (c. 3300 BCE) or the beginning of Mycenae (c. 1600 BCE), and by all accounts it was completed before the Intercalate (probably 46 BCE, definitively before 200 AD). However, this still gives a multi-millennium range of time in which it may have occurred. It is possible that it took place over thousands of years.

Flint[edit | edit source]

The Forge is said to have "first eclipsed then shattered" Flint. [4] This may correspond with the Rite of the Rebel Striving, a teaching of the Forge in which an artisan shatters a tool, which would later come to be associated with the Lionsmith's shattering of his sword and betrayal of the Colonel. If this is the case, it suggests that the Forge's killing of Flint was a betrayal. The principle of Forge seems to have been once called Flint [5], which implies that Forge renamed it after killing Flint.

Wheel[edit | edit source]

The Moth is said to have "usurped The Wheel from within" and stolen its skin. The Memory derived from Holiest Hemolymph describes the "hunt at which the Wheel was first brought to earth", and describes the Moth hunting, which is difficult to reconcile with the Moth's usurpation of Wheel from within. The presence of a lock of hair and human hands on the Moth's tarot card suggests that the Alakapurine Shears may have been involved in the Moth's killing of Wheel, as they describe the removal of hair and fingers from a "great protector of the world". The Forge's renaming of the Flint-principle suggests that Moth may once have been named for Wheel.

It is said in the mirror version of the Mansus ruled over by the Meniscate, "the Wheel still turns". This suggests that perhaps the Wheel was not completely destroyed, and the "Kinship" victory suggests that one day it will return to the Mansus and create new Names.

Tide[edit | edit source]

The Grail "drained" or "devoured" Tide. Very little is known of Tide, or of how it died, although given the Grail's connection with thirst it may have literally drank the Tide to death. The Forge's renaming of the Flint-principle suggests that the Grail-principle may once have been named for Tide.

Seven-Coils[edit | edit source]

The Seven-Coiled was slain by the Colonel. He was assisted by a priestess, who scarred him all over and blinded him to protect him from the Seven-Coiled's magics, as the sight would have destroyed him.[2][6] He killed the Seven-Coiled, possibly in seven different forms,[7], and the priestess became the Mother of Ants through Coil's blood. Accounts differ as to whether the Colonel bathed her in it, or she drowned in it, or the Mother of Ants simply arose from it fully-formed. Afterwards, the Colonel founded Mycenae, and he and the Mother of Ants rose to assault the Mansus.

It is unclear whether the Colonel was already an Hour when he killed Coil, or if he ascended in the process. Crowkiss Hill suggests that he received his scars in the service of "a certain merciless Hour", which suggests that he may have been a Name who ascended by killing Coil - however, it is unclear which Hour is meant, precisely. The use of "merciless" suggests that he served a Lantern Hour. The most likely candidates are the Sun-in-Splendour, who is otherwise conspicuously absent from the Lithomachy, or possibly the Watchman depending on the timeframe. It could be the Colonel himself, as he is an "Hour which knows light", and associated with both Edge and Lantern.

The Egg Unhatching[edit | edit source]

Prior to the Lithomachy, an Unwise Mortal used the arts of Flint to ascend to the Egg's service (probably Namehood).[5] When the Lithomachy occurred, the Egg fled to the Glory to escape. Somehow it eventually ended up Nowhere. [8] However, some remnant of it seems to have been incorporated into the Watchman, who is a God-from-Flesh.[9] The most likely candidate for the mortal form of the Watchman is the Unwise Mortal, who would have a strong connection to the Egg. How the Egg fused with the Watchman is extremely unclear, but it is possible that the Egg died in the Glory, and its corpse descended to be picked up by the Unwise Mortal.

The Horned Axe[edit | edit source]

The Horned-Axe is the only surviving God-from-Stone. It is very probable that the newer Hours attempted to kill her, but failed. The Stag Door is guarded by a Name called Ghirbi, a decapitated head who speaks of being one of the first human occultists and breaking down the doors of the Mansus. It is possible that Ghirbi attempted to kill the Axe, who (being an axe) decapitated him, and then made him a Name and installed him to eternally guard a door as punishment. This would be concordant with her role as guardian of the thresholds of the Mansus, but there is very little direct evidence for it.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The Lithomachy was brought to an end by a peace treaty between the Axe, the Grail, and the Ring-Yew. The Grail had previously officiated the ascension of the Witch-and-Sister/Sister-and-Witch in order to gain control of the Heart principle, but grew jealous of their power. Thus she took a great musician (identified in certain texts with Marsyas, and in other texts with the hunter Zagreus) to become one of her Names, in the hopes of making him a competing Heart-Hour.[10] However, the musician fell in love with the Ring-Yew. For reasons of her own (perhaps jealousy, or simply spotting an opportunity, or some mixture), the Grail brokered a treaty with the Axe. The treaty specified that, in recompense for the killings of Axe's loved ones, the Grail would destroy the Yew's lover. She flayed and gelded him, or inspired him to flay and geld himself, and from his corpse rose the Thunderskin.[11] The Thunderskin was banished from the House, but returned through the Peacock Door. This was considered rather unseemly, even by partisans of the Thunderskin.[12][13]

The Hours who committed the Lithomachy attempted to keep it a secret, but the Elegiast refuses to let it be forgotten.[14] [4]

References[edit | edit source]