Opposite her, beyond the flames (where I cannot clearly see him) is a tall man, wearing a hooded cloak made of animal hide, and crowned with a set of horns (antlers? they seem to shift like branches in the wind). To me, he is shadow, and yet his presence reaches around the fire-circle like dark wings. He is sitting on a fallen log, one leg tucked into the bend of the other's knee and his right hand rests in the crotch of a short stang. It is his crutch... I think. The leg which does not touch the ground seems fairly well lamed. I realize that it is his side of the flames where I always am, and he is always behind me, but now I'm somewhere in the middle.
This man vexes me. His form shifts and is fluid. Leaves blow from the locks of his hair caught on the wind. His antler head-dress rattles like storm-blown branches. His face is utterly obscured.
He wears clothes made of hide, and heavy fabric. Except when he doesn't, and then he is in his cloak, with only buckskinned pants, and his chest is deeply scarred (it occurs to me that he's probably scarred all over). He wears boots with horn buttons, though he is barefoot at the fireside (the boots are near him). His right leg is scarred from knee to foot, as though a horse hooved at it, and tore away the flesh. His eyes burn like coals and he laughs. Serpents crawl around him, and speak to him. He speaks back.
Whereas she rules all transitions (birth and death and all between) he rules what lies beyond death, and beyond birth. There is a part of him that is utterly a faun, priapic and wild, drunken and laughing. And there is a part of him that is utterly a stodgy old man, stoic and chaste, sober and serious. Subtle as a serpent.
I think he was hung, once. He has rope-burns around his neck, and when I look into his eyes I see the gallows I see angel lust, and gallows-children. But of course, I also see life swelling up until it bursts into decay. For me, he is inexorably linked to the Mushroom. They both break down dead things into things which can again become alive.
None fear him at the fireside. He joins the dances at times, though he is awkward in it, he hops rather than dancing fluidly, and it is he who drinks first from the Cauldron Stirrer's brew.
When I speak to him I can only remember vague impressions, intent, and emotions. He leaves me with an innate knowing, rather than a conscious set of information. It's like hearing the thoughts of an animal. It is his infectious laughter that endears me to him. It is he that indulges the imps as they cavort.
He is the seed-sewer, and she is the reaper. He is the millworker, and she bakes the bread. It is he that puts the marks on my heart that let me run wild to that hilltop.