Sunday, 6 January 2008

Literary Section VII

Here it is then, with some delay: the promised aftermath of Act I of Prometheus's story. There will not be new fiction for some time, as it has to be written first, although a series of refreshing updates have been scheduled, which will cover the much ignored "reviews" part of the Section, so look forward to it!

Gothic Fantasy: The Memoirs of Prometheus
Act I: The Name of the Game
Aftermath: Season’s End

As a young man, his innocence ripped away from him, starts the journey that will lead him to his future fate, as a member of the undead Tectus, miles and miles away, across the sea where rage the Kaze Kami, who shielded Japan from the Golden Horde, across the vast planes which were the ancient home of the Rus and hunting grounds of the Bear-Garou and Loup-Garou, across the Arabian Lands of the expatriate Jinn, beyond the Kingdoms of the Middle Sea, past Stonehenge and Kildare, at the outermost fortress of the Old World, an ancient horn blows its dirge. The common people off the coast of Ireland and perhaps in the Isle of Man, find it a strange wind indeed, that makes Ireland’s shores and mountains sing thus. However, across the Mighty Isles, the Old Places vibrate and rumble, some silent and others not; and the people at Glastonbury Tor, Wyrd and mundane alike, feel the need to light a candle and pray.

Deep inside Skellig Michael, far under the ancient cloisters of the monks, deep beneath the slowly fading home of the Dragons of Kildare, in a hall protected by some of the most ancient survivors of the Wyrd and Words known only to few and then some to only one, two voices are heard: one is old and a bit strained with emotion, the other unknowable, akin to a deep echo in a stone valley and riddled with sadness and tiredness.

“Have the children all left?” booms the darkened hall.

“Almost my friend; Bowen is seeing to the last, as the final remnants of the Sanctum finally fade, except those who will come with me.”


“Young Selina, Plato, Kali from McFallon’s bunch and Helena will rendezvous with us in Greece, along with Catherine.”

“What about Myrdryl?”

“He…has some issues to work through. Though he never had much love for Gilda, her betrayal shook him up quite a bit. He always expected some form of retaliation but nothing like what she did. I believe even you were surprised.”

“That a serpent such as Kachtchei would penetrate our little piece of Eden was inexcusably unexpected. However, it made very clear that this time was nigh.”

“It has been over six decades now, hasn’t it?”

“Not enough. Time was when we could last a few centuries, 150 years at the very least. The Wyrd is waning my friend and I fear for the future. What if I have erred horribly in my ways?”

“You have done well by us, old man. It’s been a very long way and time since brash and reckless Aidan of York, don’t you think?”

“Indeed, but two World Wars? Two? Every one of the lives lost weighs heavily on me. I cannot find it in myself to forgive me.”

“Yet you are your only accuser. Human nature is not yours to control; never has been. Only, you could alter the course of events more dramatically in the past, same as our enemies. It is not as if you have erred, only that humans display an amazing capability for self-destruction.”

“…and what of the boy? Can I wash myself of that too?” Ozymandias bit his lower lip. Rarely was he at a loss for words but this was one of those rare times. He thought about it, struggled a bit with his thoughts and then answered with conviction.

“Free will is a sword that cuts both ways. You know it; bloody hell, you have even felt it.”

“Aye, yet free is as free is allowed. I should have kept him here. I should never have sent him in that place of ancient reasoning, of blood dressed in silk. I thought the worst could be avoided, I though Sorakirin would suffice. I even had Kurai check on him; but he too is born and bred of the eastern Wyrd…” A deep sigh, like a breath coming from cavernous lungs. “He was made to hold enormous potential and yet I fear the harshness of his story will alter him, if not break him. He is so young…”

“As was another, as I recall, a much greater burden forced upon him so many centuries ago; and look what he has achieved. A champion cannot be shepherded, cannot grow in safety. If good is to come from the boy it must be as it always has: by the Trial of Tales. We came to accept that a long time ago.”

“But at what terrible, terrible cost. I remember every one of them: every face, every smile, every death.”

“Aye, you hold the bad along with the good, forever. There has been much good done by these old hands and time will come when it will be done again. Your words, not mine.”

“Aye and that is why I will split the Three again. Rama needs to go first. Both worlds need a healer, not another warlord. That is why I need you to do something for me, something you will find unthinkable and yet is equally necessary.”

“Tamar, is that it? You want me to place him out of phase. You talk to me about errors and then ask me to court disaster. Why?”

“Listen to me; there is not much time left. Tamar is the swift one: he will grow enormously once he awakens, while Rama needs to mature slowly, grow into the tree others can lean on. He must have time to appear first!”

“You will make another martyr, another saint? You realize what you risk…You realize what might happen to you… Can you face another Gwehwyfar?”

“I must! I must entrust myself to you and Hagane and hope for the best. Trust in the stories my friend! They have always been strong enough to forge us anew and so it must be now for if not, it means our time is past.”

“Very well, I shall try my best. Have you found them or will we entrust ourselves to the whims of Quantum Mechanics?” A smile, unseen, more of a feeling.

“I have: they have not yet met, I believe but already they dream strongly, in their own ways. All of 13 years old, spiraling through their differences to their inevitable meeting: the unseen and the seer, the mercurial and the steadfast.”

“You always did have a good eye for allegory, though still anchored in the past.”

“I will take that as a compliment. I must go now; the epilogue beckons” and the voice seems to fade like calming wind, as an unearthly cold fills the chamber and Ozymandias’s breath starts to come out in puffs of steam. He touches one last time the large, stone hand of his Lord, his brother, his friend and then steps back from the granite bed. First is a sudden gust of wind, like the roar of a great beast and sure enough, a huge wolf, white as snow blindness and three meters tall at the shoulder, enters majestically: the North Wind. In a rumbling voice that would make lesser men tremble with primal fear, he calls his greeting:

“Well met, Artificer. I have come to fulfill my ancient pledge to the Wordsmith.”

“Well met Jarl of the Winds: you have been expected and are gratefully welcomed.”

Then, man and wolf bowed to each other in respect. As they turned to the cave’s opening, myriads of crystal bells echoed all around them, approaching, as the cold started to make Ozymandias a bit uncomfortable. For all his Magic and creations, this was not something he would endeavor to contend with; among the highest of the high, in any world, royalty in all its terrible presence and beauty. Ice Sprites entered the chamber in the dozens, singing the praise and announcing the arrival of their mistress and mother: the Ice Queen. She came in on wings of pure cold, filling the air with her presence, her uncountable, harmonic tunes and a cold as only the Heart of Winter could summon. She smiled at Ozymandias and he, in turn, attempted to, through lips blue from cold and made a deep bow, before leaving the cave; soon, more than the air would be frozen. She was the Keeper of the Vaults of Eternity, where even memories, dreams and ideas froze, to be preserved for all time.

He entered the tunnel whence he had come, just before the cave was sealed with black ice, hard as steel – probably harder. He took a moment to let his body return to a normal temperature and rubbed himself vehemently. For all his resistances and stamina, unlike his friend, he had no love for the cold. After he felt the blood flowing in all the parts of his body again, he turned to the seemingly uninterrupted black wall that sealed the chamber behind him. He placed a hand on the icy surface:

“Sleep and dream well, my King, until next we meet” and a small tear escaped his aged eye. After a minute’s silence, he straightened up, his features and his resolve tightened: much and terrible work had still to be done and he quickly followed the path that would lead him to the surface of an empty, titanic rock, where once stood a home.


Not making any sense?

Go to Part I. Right under the Dumbledore story.
Go to Part II.
Go to Part III.
Go to Part IV.
Go to Part V.
Go to Part VI.

No comments: