The Maw Consuming
The Maw Consuming is the ninth hour, and is written by Arcanuse.
Born from bloodshed, the Maw is the immaterial embodiment of survival, growth, and vigour.
As its lighter aspect, the ever-present reminder to rejoice at the joys found in life, and the acceptance of endings as new beginnings.
As The Bachanal or other darker aspects, wild, drunken revelry, bloody sacrifice, and occasional cannibalism.
|The Maw Consuming|
|""First to the hunt, last to the spit.""|
|Titles||The Temple Enduring, The Bachanal|
|Names||The Maw Consuming|
|Date of arrival||Unknown|
While the Maw Consuming itself was born from bloodshed, the matter of who's blood was shed and 'when' is something that only the Maw could know for certain. Even its arrival to the forest is a mystery, having seemingly been there since (perhaps even before?) the forest's unsubmerged existence at the current mansus.
Of course, not even the Maw Consuming might know. Such days are long since past, and were hazily recalled even when fresh. One theory on the matter suggests The Maw Consuming was "born" between the old and new mansus, dormant and growing on strife/bloodshed all the while. Further, it proposes that the Maw Consuming awoke with the sinking tide, and achieved its limited cognitive coherence shortly after.
A runt among its fellow hours, and semi-living proof that age does not always beget wisdom. Before "The Pact" was brokered (and enforced) by the hours of the mansus proper; the Maw was a violent, gluttonous hour single-mindedly dedicated to the continued procession of Hunter-and-Prey. The Maw Consuming would cultivate murderers, rogues, hunters, killers, and sett them upon one another, granting the greatest of their number the title of Maw, and claiming them as its host.
Following the creation of the pact, it's single-minded dedication was derailed, and perhaps for the first time in its existence; The Maw Consuming was aware. Not just of its current circumstance, but the events leading to that point. (For the mortals, this would be shortly before the "Bachanal" ceased being the dominant aspect, and its lighter aspect would begin to exist.)
The Maw Consuming has no physical appearance of its own, but is commonly portrayed as a vine-snared temple deep within a jungle, or as one of the many hosts the Maw Consuming has resided in. The closest to a factual portrayal would be either the artists rendition of the event leading to the Maw's creation, or whatever the artist believes the Maw Consuming's original host to be.
Heart and Edge for the Maw Consuming's dedication to the survival of the fittest, the urge to climb to the top without equal, (for what is an equal if not a stepping stone to climb ever higher?), the stubborn refusal to surrender. Grail for the decay, the fall to decadence faced by all those who remain unchallenged. It ensures that the throne remains in flux, that each Maw must continually prove their right to be the Maw Consuming's host. (And, to a lesser, extent, the cannibalism. The feasts are quite raucous, but not enough for Grail to be the dominant aspect.)
- The Walakhi 8
- "Swift, hungering, cold. It's breath steams on the warm air, it's shrivelled eyes gleaming like coals in their hollowed out sockets. It notices your observation, and its grin spreads wide. There is hunger in those eyes."
- If the maw treats their faithful as its children, these would be its bastards. They squandered their faith, were consumed by their hungers and sought ever more perverse means of satisfaction, corrupting their devotions of growth and improvement to degrading debaucheries. Yet these wretches still remain as deadly now as they were in their prime, and were once (justly) hunted to near extinction. The remainder have taken to the cold, residing in those regions mortals fear to tread. Their sightings are few, now, though their presence can still be felt. For every hundred slain in the Woods, one escapes to the cold, replenishing their greatly diminished numbers.
- The Maw does not truly control them, but to those who have greatly displeased the Maw, they may find themselves yearning to summon one from their frozen domain. They never ask how they learned to do this, much less how to send it back before it is far too late. Outside this, if the Maw is truly desperate, they will answer the Maw's call to arms, pouring out of the mountains in droves to wreak havoc. This is not done lightly, as they have very little intention of returning.
- The Forest
- The Halls of Skin
- The Maw neither partakes of taxidermy nor approves. Bested foes are to be summarily consumed, not stuffed and mounted as trophies. Nevertheless, even a devoured foe leaves traces. These are gathered, bottled, labeled, and neatly placed on shelves in unlit rooms. A select few are used as molds for flesh, to create a physical replica to fight and learn from time and time again.
- The Mawsoleum
- Here lay the remnants of former Maw’s, indexed and true. The remnants interred here are done so with the highest respect, and the greatest care. This is not the Halls of Skin, where predator and prey is placed for all manner of being to gawk at, but the closest thing the Maw’s have to “sacred”. It is the duty of each and every Maw, present and future, to maintain the Mawsoleum and ensure its contents safekeeping. This is not an eccentricity of the Maw Consuming, but rather a pragmatic decision. Each remnant stores the life and death of its former self, ready to be witnessed and studied time and time again. Thus, each new Maw might garner all the experience of old to fortify themselves against their predecessors downfalls.
- The Halls of Skin
- The Tables
- The Lesser Tables
- FNORD, lesser tables shared both in the forest and the mortal world between murderers. Tends to have good sherry and rum. Great stories, surprisingly difficult to find a seat.
- The Greater Table(s)
- FNORD, The Maw Consuming's table and other dining tables of import. The Maw's personal table has 41 seats, 39 for the Maw's children, one for the current Maw, and an honorary seat for the Maw Consuming itself left empty.
- The Lesser Tables
- Ivory Tablet
- As hours go, the Maw is incredibly lenient on allowing entrance to the forest. This tablet is given to those dreamers who meet the Maw's few requirements... But it is just as easily reclaimed should the dreamer fail to renew their bargain.
"A Slavering Text"
- Wildlings: Vak
- Text1: "Here are my children, numbered thirty-nine. Thieves, Warriors, Slaves and Saints. They strived for their place at my table, and at my table they dine."
- Text2: "Each of them were once a lowly beast, but clawed and strived and ripped fire from the hands of man. In doing so they proved themselves my children."
- The Storm-Tossed:
- The Spirarch: Neutral. The Spirarch oversaw the Maw's pact, and for that the Spirarch has the Maw's closest equivalent to gratitude it can muster.
- The Perennial:
- The Red Lady:
- The Hunter/The Worm's Foundations:
- The Masquerade:
- The Bright Tapestry:
- The Die Cutter:
- The Mother Bear:
- The Maw Consuming: The Maw isn't one for much introspection. Still, the Maw has yet to wholly dismiss the lingering gnaw of why they seek to perpetuate the cycle of hunter and prey. Perhaps the answer might be just around the bend, another perpetuation of the cycle away...
- The Succulent Glow:
- The Knife's Edge:
- The Warrior Maid:
- The Ferric Brand: A twisted Reflection. When the Maw wasn't moonlighting as "Xipe Totec", one could scarcely tell another was... At least, superficially. Their focus on sensation is a grave disappointment, and their interfering with the natural potential of mortals unacceptable. Tolerable host, if unsatisfactory.
- The Monument: Misunderstanding Relic. It's glamorization of the past is deplorable, and though its treatment of followers at first seems satisfactory, in the end it stunts their growth all the same. Unsuitable host, but wouldn't be the first time the Maw Consuming's host was killed by (and subsequently killed as) a building.
- The Cub: Runt. Seedling. Ambitious. Formerly snack the same as all other hours were pre-pact, the fall has cleansed the scales and revealed what could have been, what yet might be. Neither understands the wisdom garnered by experience, or the value of endings. Suitable Host. Needs molded, guided, directed, but oh, the potential warrants the effort. Bares a sliver of the First Host to them, visible to those who remember.
- The Seraph: Paranoid. Loud. Fearful. Conceals itself in shadows, hides behind its creations. It's denial of self is crippling to its growth, furthered by its parasitization of others. This one is young, and might yet be saved, though never to the heights it could have reached. Mediocre host, but could yet be more.
- Flint-and-Steel: Compatriot(-in-perfidy)? This one reminds of the old days, of blood spilled on the alter and howling at the moon. Understands the value of sacrifice, but remains a reminder of the time before, a preacher of innovation seen in archaic light. Claims to know the value of sacrifice, but does it understand the value of what is sacrificed? ...Potential host, though its immaterial form poses difficulties. Will continue observation.
- Our Lady Betrayed: A Maryr! How admirable. Fertilizer for the growth of others is a lowly task, and one deserving of more respect than it receives. Unsuitable host, but one worth respect.
- The Worm Funktastic: Befuddled annoyance. The Maw is a primitive hour, and has little understanding of music or any variety of art. What it does understand is that not all of its murderers die in the forest, that some vanish to the tune of a saxophone in the night. Mediocre host.
- The Rotted Ox: Revulsion. The Maw understands the value of endings, but sees them as the foundation for new beginnings. A pause in song, a rest between hunts. The Rotted Ox's dedication to the end is a repulsive aberration to be denied. Mediocre host.
- Our Lady's Resolve:
- The More-Opened:Oddity. Its travels are peculiar, its relations with the deceased concerning. ??? host.
- The Unending Worm: Admirable in ambition, peculiar though it is. Satisfactory host.
- The Clavier: Parasite. A stern reminder of why the Maw seeks to keep Hour presence in the histories to a minimum. Stunts growth, spoils potential rotten. Unworthy host.
see User:Arcanuse for in-progress/where all the infos currently at edition