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Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Distant Echo Of Dark Shadows



As the cowl flew back when the same mysterious black steed also reared up and clawed at the open air, which had fallen suddenly perfectly still. Also the other was acting in the same particular manner, a mirror image of all and everything. The face had been everywhere that he had been, always there, always seeing. Always knowing. The newcomer's laughter echoed through out the meadow as if the other lone black rider had just found himself the base of some cruel jest. The insane laughter reverberated off the unseen boundaries that set up beyond the first row of trees. There was no turning back now. Nor would he have given in at the chance to remake this drastic decision. Both their cowls had fallen back in perfect even folds; revealing all that had always been. Or perchance would ever be? Or ever was?

The laughter from his adversary pieced like knives through his mind and burned his ears until he screamed out in pain for this to cease. And in disbelief the laughter went silent and he saw himself riding fast and hard on the one which had become the image of him. His ego. His adversary. He had boasted and woven tale after tale of own; of his bravery and his Blood Lust till he was heeded by the very Devil himself. And now he faced this demon spawn with an open heart that he could elevate to the next play of the game. The one that thought he had no equal had now met his match with the one that he never beaten. Himself. God help him. Why he thought this, he did not know, God had never been there in the past. So why would he be here now?

Both of the men encased in the strongest of black iron armour polished to a high sheen; met with a loud clap of thunder as their strength of wills crashed into one another as if to make one. Sparks few in giant sweeping arcs as the mighty steeds too wore armoured plating collided; the splendour of raw power it would have singed those if anyone were there to bare witness to this deadly melee. The air electric as their wills charged the very essence of life itself.
"I will execute thee and I, as well as any others that shall so come forth haunting to me with boasting! I will gladly forfeit my own life for the cause of "t’is a chance at eternal life!' " He hissed bringing his blade up he slashed downwards at the mirror image of the real best one. His ice blue almost colourless blue eyes were staring forth into the only difference betwixt the two; the eyes of the adversary were black as pits of despair. Empty black wells. Soulless. Heartless. Had he truly become what his heart had denied for a lifetime?

His well-honed blade sang through the air tearing through the chest of the mirror image steed so much like his own. The once grand beast began to fall to the hard packed earth; the ground thundered and shook with the impact of such a large animal. Then to his own horror, he felt fear for the first time, fear as cold as the claws snatched at what was left of his loveless heart. Fear. He was falling uncontrollably, the black sky shifted above at unnatural angles. He was not in control, but he had to survive. He would survive. He was the best after all, was he not? Doubt had become the enemy, but fear was an adversary seldom ever beaten; doubt was a powerful tool that ate away at the meagre sliver of a man's heart. But he would survive, he always had. T'would be no different this time around either.

The once noble steed that bore him to the four known corners of the land was now falling to the cold hard ground. Now he felt the ground beneath him come free and he was tossed over the head of his long time road companion. His sword flew from his outstretched hand, but he held little worry, for as he fell so did that of his adversary. For ever action there is an equal and just reaction. An eye for an eye.

He knew the game well and excelled at it, the fear was pushed back as he leapt to his feet. The doubt a bitter tasting memory was also pushed back further and further into the blackest recess of his mind. The fallen sword laid only an arms length away to the left, he went for the gleaming blade that shone like a beacon of the Almighty, but of course he had long since been abandoned by that unruly God, he thought to himself. Snatching up his blade in his gloved hand, he looked to see that indeed both steeds had suffered the exact same fate though only one had hit the mark true, but they both now lay dying labouring for the simplest of breaths. A loud painful wheeze echoed in the meadow, the adversary could not be seen. Could he be dead? Highly unlikely he thought, as he strode forward to where the same steed lay choking on its own spilled blood. Where is He? He thought then as he rounded the beast that was taking one last painful breath still struggling to stay in the realm of the living. But how could the steed struggle to live when the creature was not alive to begin with?

Then from out of the darkness voices that seemed to call out from everywhere at once. "So thee doth think that each blow falls without the same reaction to that of thyself and thy own? Can thee so see that both mounts are now dead, but thee only so smote mine inversely laying waste to that of thy own as well? What perchance mayhap of happened if thee so hit me on the mark? Death is but an echo on every mans soul!" Insane laughter came from all directions; then all went deathly silent.

Before he could move he heard the deadly song, he would not be quick enough to escape unscathed; the deadly song of the game had begun on the ground. T'was too late to react, he could only bring up his left arm in a weak show of defence. Hot burning pain ebbed up his arm; he had taken most of the blunt force against his forearm. Instantly he knew the deadly move that he himself overly so much loved to inflict on those that had befallen to his might blade. The Peoples Elbow is the name he had deemed suitable for such a crippling wound that made the victim suffer aplenty. And of course only he would know that and cripple his enemy slowly arm by arm. The Peoples Elbow a devastating wound and battle move. And so did he begin to suffer the effects of the intense pain.

And now as he suffered as those that had gone before him, his left arm hung limp and useless by his side. As did the same arm of the adversary, he turned to face the only one that could have inflicted him in this way; the very noticeable look to the adversary's arm one could tell it was broken in two places just like that of his own.

He, the adversary stood there his arm bleeding, broken hanging there, but he was grinning all the same he did not feel the pain like the one across from him did. He was positive that the burning was intense and nearest the threshold that any man could endure. He was excited at the show of pain and the taste of the Blood Lust that caressed his lips like a strange addiction.

“See even the pain that I inflict on thee has an echo effect on me as well. My arm now also hangs useless by my side. What more on an invitation doth thee so need to open the door of thy hidden destiny?” He began to grin wildly despite the pain he did not feel but tried to show that he did. His insane grin twisted and contorted until his facial features became anything but manly, he had become what the other mans heart always was. A Cimmerian. A carcajou.
“Doth thee not see blind one that I have become truly what thee always held high in thy heart so black and loveless. I would be doing thyself a favour by putting to death now thy mortal soul, but I choose not to do this at this point in time. To suffer endless life times while the centre of thy life falls through, the outer walls of thy life land on top of thee. Life eternal is also a curse.” The twisted mask of pure evil contorted to that of a hideous demon, teeth like daggers and the bloodlust quivering on its frothing lips. The gaping maw dripping with spittle and the breath of filth filled the area around them.

The lone man was still taken aback at the sight of himself standing before him gloating and twisting his features until he was barely recognizable to even himself. A witch’s golem, he had become. To see he, himself who speaks and moves, he who knew all that he did; there was no way to ever fool oneself. He would never be able to fully slay this demon pawn and reap the rewards of the life ever after. ‘Death before dishonour’ he thought facing the one who held a slim hope of winning against. A draw perchance? Never.

“’Death before dishonour’ How trivial coming from the likes of thee my friend!” The mirror image leered at him with a hungry maw of illusion. He smiled crazily as he looked on, “dawn comes friend! Does thee so tire?!” He tried to push the other into a senseless form of attack.

“Forsooth to see me bait my own self into such a deadly foolishness.” He drew his face closer to that of the adversary. “I give into no man. And no god either. There is naught that afears me; not even the coming of dawn tires me! What so say you the harbinger of sad tales? What so say you?”

He found one last surge of strength hiding in the recess of his soul or his adversary’s soul, but whence it came it did not matter, he had it now. And he acted on this single chance to avenge himself and to vindicate the calling. And to also receive his just reward for the efforts of his lifetime. His long mantle swirled and twisted around his dirty boots. The wind came up from no where, the trees aloft did not move but all else was rustling in the wind. The thin red line of dawn broke to the far horizon to the east so that all could see. The darkest hour before dawn fast approaching its glorious end. He brought the blade up on the mirror image of himself; he would not let this be! The sheer sharpness of the blade sliced very easily between the two men as they stood toe to toe. He felt the blade slide home in between the first and second plates of the other’s armour, the breast lay open for his blade and he thrust upwards as hard as he was able. He watched with sickening horror that the face of his adversary kept on grinning. He could smell the putrid breath of something that belonged to the dead and did not deserve a chance at life. Upon the other mans face he watched death cross over his brow in a heavy veil of dark shadow. He pulled the blade free from the armoured plating; he grinned wildly as he did so, like the adversary. Indeed they were a pair. The polished silver of steel of his blade ran red with the spilled blood of the adversary. Or was this is own life's blood that ran on the ground at his boots in thick rolling rivers?

Spewing forth blood and spittle the adversary spoke, his teeth stained red with blood. “I knew that of thee were to act just so, I know all that thee so knows. Remember. Plus many things that thee are not man enough to face; like the demons, those that rule thy simple life. But whereas I am god of all I see and touch, of all that will be and all of what has been. I have been everywhere without leaving to anywhere. I do this because I can. And that of thee my headstrong friend are still mortal and spill your lifes blood all over this meadow of fine gold.” The god stood and laughed while he spoke down upon the man that dared to call him out and dare to hint that he was of their league. “What doth thee so now say knave, caller of names?”

“ I am the black beast and there is no other. I am the best!” He shouted for all to hear, near and far. His words lingered in the air as if momentarily tangible like that of an oath of the heart.

“Are you?” Came the reply, that voice, doubting him until the very end.

Though this time he heard the word, instead of shrinking back he embraced the very fact. Ahead of him he could see the tunnel of the light that promised warmth and a freedom that could never have been attained on earth. The sense of always belonging, never to be thought of or treated as though he were an outcast. He had become hated, despised and known for his cruel and unjust outlook on all life other than that of his own. In his minds eye he reached out to the light to embrace what he saw and was praying to feel there. Was he truly worthy of finding eternal rest, after all those he had sent to their grave? Was he not to be judged by his peers? The light was so beautiful and calming. The singing of angelic cherubs; a man with blood on his hands and the blood of countless that littered his tortured soul. And he was still allowed to the land of the purest thoughts, he had then truly won the game.

“Mercy.”

Or had he?

His voice was more felt than heard as the man lay dying on the blood soaked earth, “but I will so grant thee this one leniency for one so bold to ask for mercy when none should be considered. A showing of compassion to that black heart of thine own.” With one wave of his mighty arm the scene around them began to shimmer and change.

“Relish immortality, ‘tis a curse as well as a blessing.”

“But I will grant thee to this... But I will grant thee to this.. But I will grant thee to this......................................................”

The words were repeated over and over until he thought he would drown in the very fact. And then all went silent and he could only hear the rushing of wind in his mortal ears. He saw the light and embraced the warmth and calmness. In his minds eye he had finally come home, a place that he never had. Or ever thought of needing. The wind whipped over his body as clawing nails tore at his garments. Higher and higher he ascended into the light and the warmth.

Then in his mortal ears he heard the wind begin to scream with the force of autumn’s rage. He no longer flew upwards, but came crashing down. The wind tore at his bare flesh and ripped the skin from his body as he screamed in horror. Blood gushed and the muscles worked freely without the covering of skin, he felt the fatal wound in his breast return as did the suffering that went with it. The words that he had heard echoed in his mind no longer came like a language of sounds, but that of an explosion of colour where the words should have been. The shapes and colours were that of never seen by that of mortal man. The world around him had become so alive with a intense display of colours that he had become bedazzled with it all he had to close his eyes on this brilliant New World. And then he felt the heat all over his body as the pain took control of his senses. He swore that his body was aflame with the heat of his hatred driven passions feeding those flames driving up the intense heat, until he could stand the heat and pain no longer. His body so hot that the pains in his chest from the gaping wound did not matter. Only the symphony of music being played out in the Cycle of Life that the whole world was bound by this chain and so was he, all that mattered was the music to never cease. Momentarily he had thought that this god perchance tested his threshold of pain, but then that thought flew from his mind and he was no longer alone within himself. At some point the pain had receded to that of just a distant memory and all he could remember was the song and that was all there ever was. Was this not so? He kept his eyes closed to the New World around; full of fear and the urge to flee was overwhelming; he then had to open his eyes. To the world that he was to behold was no longer seen through the eyes of mortal man. He opened his eyes wider to behold all that there was to see in this newest realm. He was quick to see that the sunrise was alive, not just there day after day; the red was a vein of blood as the thin line stretched out to him. He could hear the song of dawn; singing one glorious melody after another till every hue would be sung to. The red line of dawn more defined than ever before, he could not refuse the calling to soar to heights that he would never have been able to obtain else wise. No longer to just see the hues of dawn, but to hear them as well was beyond his belief, he knew that no mortal man would have been privileged to listen to the dawn, he must be dead.

The music that he heard was that of the Life Cycle, a chain to hold those that walked, swam or flew upon the earth. No longer did his chest burn; he was vindicated. Though the one who had caused this all to be was still present if not seen directly. He looked to the trees, all alive and breathing he could see the trunks expand with each intake of breath, all life breathed and had a will of their own no matter how subtle. He looked down to the ground and at himself. And he saw he was no longer a man.

Talons of sharpened claws were where his legs should have been and wings where his sword arm should have been told him that this other man had the power to do as he pleased and it pleased him to change his shape.

He cried out, but not with a voice belonging to that of a mortal man.

The entire forest and those lands beyond echoed with the blood curdling screaming screech of that of the lone black falcon in the tall yellow grass filled meadow. In tune with the screeching was the laughter of the god that had wielded this powerful magic. Occasionally even death was too grand of a punishment. A quick forethought had saved the day, sometimes he would grant eternal life as a reward. And also as an everlasting punishment those that think there is none better than they are. So the god did grant a form of eternal life though most definitely not in the manner expected of him or required of him. But this eternal life was not to be granted as reward but as a penance evermore; the god laughed out as his breath came as wind from the east.

“Fly away now best one! Forever to haunt the battle fray, never to be able to convey best one! Thy sentence is to be forever the hunted as a part of the game, thee shall always be coveted for thy ruthlessness and killing nature. This is my word, my bond, my law.”
More laughter echoed throughout the forest and beyond, stirring those that slept awake to feel if death himself had crept across them while they slumbered. A sharp wind blew across the land and rattled the walls of all dwellings of mortal man.

Women shivered and huddled to their husbands and the children cried out for comfort and warmth. And the world had only changed a fraction of what it had been before.
A moment later full dawn came as red as blood as the first full rays crested the eastern horizon as the sun edged up into the world of the living once more.
The once wounded mortal man screeched and spread his ebony hued wings to greet the warming rays of morn, no longer could he refuse the song of the dawning sun. Her song so ghostly and unreal. And he had finally obtained what he desired. Or had he?

The god of gods turned his misted face to the eastern horizon and the blood red dawn of the morn. As the sun crested the thin red line of the horizon the skies above bled with that of the birth of a new day. With a wave of his would be an arm the entire sky went that of subtle red to that of the crimson sea of flowing blood. And then he was gone as though he had never been at all. His laughter had once again become the wind from the east.

A lone black falcon soaring though an endless sea of red.

A boy child a lifetime away awakes screaming into the empty night.

A young girl cries in her sleep a life time away.
And so the story has been woven, come unravel the web of one lifetime...........

1 comment:

Djierke said...

ah! part II. Like a fine wine the words and the images they evoke only get more vivid, more intense as they age. Yet they remain timeless, forever etched into my soul. All of yours is Mine.
Love
~Dirk

That's Life

That's Life
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The Master Of Her Domain

The Master Of Her Domain
There is One for everyone. The Master of my Domain is the axis in which my world spins. There shall only be but One. Among men and women, those in love do not always announce themselves with declarations and vows. But they are the ones who weep when you're gone. Who miss you every single night, especially when the sky is so deep and beautiful, and the ground so very cold......