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The Baptist

The avian civil wars showed no signs of age.

Each battle was as fresh as its predecessor

Of all wars, civil wars are the most bloody

High causalities had been suffered on both sides

In a corner of the aviary away from the conflict there ran a small river, shallow but with a fast flow and in this river stood the baptist

He paid little attention to the wars even though the waters ran red on certain days. This colour was baptised to make it pure

All colours were baptised to make them pure

Except the colour mauve

Dying birds, injured in battle came to him

They feared their naked extinction

All birds were baptised and soon they died studying their astronomy

Their fossils began to stain the parched rocks which bore their eternity

Future generations would study their fossils but not their wars

The baptist was aware of this

More colours were baptised

More birds were baptised

The war ended

The persecutions began

Refugees were now being baptised

The baptist bathed their wounds and cleansed them as they were summoned into exile

The leader of this terror was a bird named Archer Methuen

He had three sisters

They visited the baptist often

But he did not purify them because of their mauve plumage

They mocked him for this but returned again and again hoping to be purified

“ Let your plumage turn to blue and you will be purified”  was his instruction

Archer Methuen grew tired of the baptist

But the sisters protected him

Two of the sisters escaped the aviary and flew close to the sun. Their plumage was bleached and they returned to baptist

The baptist purified them and they left the aviary, this time never to return in order to spread their celebration

The other sister visited the baptist but he would not purify her because of her plumage.

She flew close to the sun but her colour did not fade

“ Let your plumage turn to blue and you will be purified. You halt your own change “

The sister became angry with the baptist, in her temper she seduced her own brother

They married

On her wedding night Archer Methuen asked his bride to name her wedding gift

“ That the baptist is slain” was her answer

Her wish was granted and the baptist was weighed down with rocks and cast into the flow

Soon the sister became heavy in her own production and she died giving birth to a grotesque

In its first and only dream the grotesque was baptised

As she died the sisters plumage turned to blue

She had been forgiven

The strength of the terror grew and for many years there was no opposition

As his strength diminished Archer Methuen became troubled

Primitive opposition had begun to emerge

He visited the river to where the baptist once stood and to his surprise found him alive and well

He accused him of being a ghost and ordered him imprisoned

“ If I am a ghost you shall not imprison me. If I am of form then lock me away “

The baptist was imprisoned but returned the same day to baptise the oppressed

Archer Methuen ordered his slaughter for a second time, but this order was ignored

The civil war started again and Archer Methuen was killed in the first battle on the first day

Peace returned to the aviary

All birds flew in their own freedom

The river of many colours began to dry up, its flow slowed to a trickle

No baptisms took place as the baptist was no more. Those who came to be baptised only heard his voice distant but distinctive

“ Baptise thyself my friends for I am not here and will not return. The waters may have dried but the air is pure, immerse yourself in its flow. Baptise thyself, you do not require my ministry”